Tuesday, February 28, 2017

It's Release Day!! Woot Woot!


Love, Passion and Power: Part 2

Now Available for Purchase!

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The Story Begins...

Book 2 of 10
The Dark and Damaged Hearts Series

Ten hearts, ten books, ten years...




Chapter 1 
Excerpt
            “So, can you tell me about your first consensual time?” Justin asked later that evening. “You know, the first time you agreed to have sex with another man? How old were you? Was there a woman present?”
He was massaging my shoulders as we sat in the giant soaker tub of the en suite bathroom. Jerry and Maureen claimed that they were exhausted and had retired to bed almost immediately after we’d gotten home, meanwhile, Justin had grabbed a bottle of scotch and two glasses and run us the most luxurious bath, complete with vanilla scented candles and soft music.
I could feel his erection lying against the top of my buttocks but chose to ignore it for now. It would come and go for a while and when I felt like using it if it wasn’t already hard it would spring to life in seconds. That was one of the greatest things about him; he was always ‘up’ for it, always ‘up’ for anything really, ‘try anything once’ seemed to be his motto.
I craned my next around to look at him and gauge his reaction but then faced forward, maybe my story was best told without eye contact.
            I took a deep breath. “Well, I was eighteen and it was with my friend Ravi. My best friend in high school was Becca, we were pretty much inseparable and had started secretly sleeping together at around sixteen. We knew we liked boys and girls but were too nervous to get anywhere near a penis, so we just had sex with each other. But then we started to get curious and didn’t want to graduate as virgins, even though I already wasn’t but Becca didn’t know that. She does now. But as a kid, I kept my rape a complete and total secret from everyone. Kids gossip and spread rumors, and I just didn’t want it getting out and into the wrong hands.”
He made a low rumbling noise in his throat. “Understandable.”
“Anyway,” I went on, “one of our really good friends Ravi Pander, a gorgeous six-foot-four Indian boy, with long eyelashes, big brown eyes and the kindest heart, was also a virgin and the three of us talked about ‘just getting it over with’.
“Ravi was kind of shy, even though he had a lot of friends. He was captain of the basketball team and had actually been awarded a full scholarship to CalTech for computer science, he was… is ridiculously smart. Anyway…” I closed my eyes as Justin squirted shampoo into his hands and started lathering my hair, his hands were magic. The tension of the day started to melt away with the pop of each bubble.
“Anyway… as I was saying, the three of us decided to have sex together, we asked Ravi if he would be interested in a threesome with us and really… what eighteen-year-old boy wouldn’t jump at the chance to full-fill a scenario they’ve been masturbating to on the internet for five years? And it was great, I felt safe… not only because Ravi was a friend but also because Becca was there and because I had taken control of my own sexuality and had finally gotten to choose when I had sex with a man.”
            He began dropping feather light kisses on my shoulder. “That’s great baby, I’m glad it was so enjoyable for you. Where are they now, Ravi and Becca?”
            “They got married, believe it or not. We ended up having sex quite a few times the three of us. Ravi was very good and really came out of his shell, it’s like he became this whole different person, confident and charismatic, like night and day from the moment he got his first blowjob. Ha!”
            “And they live here?”
            I shook my head. “No. Becca followed Rav to California after high school. She got into modeling and now they live in San Francisco. After a while I realized that their sexual interests were a little too ‘out-there’ for me so I willingly backed off and let the kinky lovers have at it.”
            “Out there how?”
            “It started off pretty innocent in high school, some bondage, spanking, blindfolds. But I found out later that they’re big into the swinging lifestyle, they go to a lot of fetish parties and have worked their way up in the BDSM community. He drags her naked ass around on a leash and collar at these things, and she loves it.”
            “Really?”
            I lifted one shoulder, while closing my eyes. His fingers on my scalp were hypnotic. “Yeah. They invited me to come visit one weekend a few years ago to see what happened at the parties, and I thought, sure, what the hell? And while I was there we indulged in some nostalgia and had few pretty fun nights. But the party was something else. They did a bondage demonstration where he had her blindfolded, gagged and bound to a St. Andrew’s Cross, and then flogged her until she came. And then there were the fetish and fantasy rooms. A room was full of men with foot fetishes who were dying to rub your feet. I must admit I indulged in that one, even let a guy come on my feet, boy was he grateful.”
            “Did you try anything else at the party?” he asked as he grabbed the shower nozzle and started rinsing my hair. I tilted my head back and closed my eyes again, relishing the feel of the warm water, how wonderful it felt as it cascaded down my skin like a caress.
            “Would it change your opinion of me if I had?” I opened one eye and looked at him.
            “No.” He smiled. “As you can probably tell, I’m hard as a fucking rock back here so I’m obviously not turned off by the fact that you went to a sex party. I’m just curious. You’re a hell of a lot wilder than I am, but I’m not against exploring, trying new things and expanding my sexual proclivities.” What’s he talking about? I’m not wild at all.
            I let out a small laugh and closed my eyes again as he started working the conditioner into my hair. “I eventually felt comfortable enough with the people and incredibly turned on by the whole damn thing that I did try a few things. In one room another couple joined Ravi, Becca and I, they were probably in their early thirties and to this day I still don’t know their names. Becca and I had sex with the man, nothing too kinky, just straight up threesome stuff, while his wife sucked Ravi off through women’s pantyhose as he watched in the corner. You’d never know it to look at him but Ravi is a kinky fucker.”
            “So is this something you still do from time to time?”
            “No, no.” I shook my head. “It was just an adventure like any other. I thought, what the hell, why not? So I did it, had some fun, made some memories, got out of my comfort zone, and I don’t regret it. But I haven’t been back in a few years. I’m really not that wild Justin.”
            “Do you want to do it again?”
            I spun around to look at him. “Is it something you’re interested in?”
            He cocked his head to the side and scrunched up his face in thought. I smiled at how adorable he looked. “I hadn’t really thought about it until you started talking about it just now, but it sounds interesting. I could probably stand to be a little raunchier in the sack… or out of the sack, if these parties don’t have any beds at them. But for the record, you’re definitely wilder than me. Just because you had never had sex with a man alone, or anal sex before you met me, does not mean you haven’t had your share of kinky adventures. You’re a little sexual deviant, baby, and I love it.”
He reached around and tweaked my nipple. I squeaked but then melted into his hand.
“If you could score us an invite to a party with them I wouldn’t object to going. Try anything once, that’s my motto… except for the pantyhose thing, that sounds weird.”
            I gave him a stern look, my eyes boring into his and driving home the seriousness of the situation. “Well if you ever meet Ravi you have to feign ignorance, this is all supposed to be very hush-hush.”
            “Does he wear them out, like under his pants, even when he’s not at the parties?” he asked as he started rinsing out the conditioner.
            I rolled my eyes. Suddenly worried that I’d betrayed Ravi’s confidence and Justin was going to treat my friend like some perverted weirdo if the two ever met. “I’m not sure,” I finally said. “I wouldn’t assume so but who knows?”
            “Do they have any kids?”
            “A daughter, Aria, she’s two and Becca is pregnant with another and due any day now, I think it’s another girl.” I pulled my thumb out from between my teeth. “They’re wonderful people, Justin, don’t judge one part of their lifestyle and write them off as freaks. He’s a gazillionaire philanthropist and she is a model turned mom, turned entrepreneur. She even has her own line of maternity clothing.”
            “I’m not,” he said, holding his hands up in surrender. “I’m sure they’re very nice people and I won’t judge them until I meet them. But when one of the first things you tell me about someone is that he likes to get sucked off while wearing women’s lingerie, the mind starts to wonder and wander…”
            “Well, just reserve judgment until after you’ve met them. And forget I ever mentioned the whole women’s pantyhose thing, okay?”
            He chuckled low behind me and gave my butt a naughty little pinch. “Yes, ma’am.”
            I motioned for us to switch spots to that I could wash his hair. The shuffle was a bit awkward and I felt like I was hiding behind Poseidon himself, big and muscular —and god-like, a true force of nature to be reckoned with. But eventually we made it work without causing a tsunami and I started to massage his scalp. He let out a moan of satisfaction and sank back against my breasts.
            He groaned in delight. “I love my pillows…”
            “So now that you know all about my ‘first-time’ and who it was with, it’s your turn. Tell me, who ‘deflowered’ the Dark Knight, the insatiable sex machine that is Justin Williams?”
            “You really want to know?” His body had become a little rigid as if he were kind of reluctant divulging his secret. Was he worried I wouldn’t approve? Had it been consensual? Oh god, how could I think that? Of course, it had been. Justin isn’t the type to take a woman by force. He has women throwing themselves at him daily, he’d never have to resort to assault to get laid.  
            “Yeah… tell me.”
            “It was my science teacher in high school. Miss Munroe. I was sixteen and she was twenty-four. I seduced her.” Suddenly the song Mrs. Robinson started playing in my head.
            He contorted his big torso around to gauge my reaction, and I must admit I was pretty shocked, but then Amy’s comment about older women came flying back and I sobered up. Ah, so this was probably the root of his interests.
I quickly thought of something to say as he was staring at me, waiting for an answer. “Did you get her fired?”
            “What?” His eyes went wide. “No, of course not! I was young but wasn’t so stupid to ruin a good thing by bragging about it to my friends. We kept it a secret.”
            “So then it happened more than once?” I guess my expression had softened enough that he thought it okay to turn back around and face forward. I continued to massage his scalp but my mind was a million miles away. He’d seduced his teacher!
            “It went on for a while. Her apartment was really close to the school and because she had a spare block after lunch I rearranged my schedule to match, and we’d go back to her place and fuck like animals. She taught me everything. How to not explode the moment a chick takes her top off, eating out, and foreplay. I mean she’d found her forte, she was a wonderful teacher, be it science or sex, the woman knew how to educate.”
            “So… so… so did you not have any girlfriends in high school?” I was stammering, this was so not the response I had been anticipating. “Tilt your head back so the soap doesn’t run in your eyes.” He did as he was told and I turned on the water.
            “Yeah but nothing lasted more than a few months.”
            “And all the while, were you still sleeping with your teacher?”
            “No, we’d take a break once in a while. But I think part of the reason why my relationships ended so quickly was because the high school girls didn’t know what they were doing in bed and I got bored. Sonia had other boyfriends too. But she didn’t care so much about the whole ‘not cheating thing’ like I did. One time her boyfriend almost caught me, I had to hide in the closet for an hour until he decided to go have a shower.”
            “And you didn’t feel bad about being ‘the other man’?”
            “I was sixteen and fucking a twenty-four-year-old, I had morals and a conscious but I wasn’t a saint. What she decided to do with her relationships was her business. If she’d wanted to stop I would have but she called me over. I got hard just seeing her name come up on the call display for Christ sakes. What was I to do, say ‘no’ and then go beat off to a Hustler?”
            “No,” I said with a sheepish grin. “I guess not.”
            “Are you judging me? Do you think less of me because I nailed my teacher?” His voice had taken on a defensive tone. “Because I don’t judge you for taking part in some kinky swingers shit with whips and chains.”
            “I was neither whipped nor chained, thank you. And no, of course, I’m not judging you. I had just hoped that for at least one of us our first time could have been romantic and somewhat normal or conventional, where we were in a loving relationship and it was all awkward and wonderful. I guess it just kind of makes me sad.”
            “Well if it’s any consolation, my first time was incredibly awkward and wonderful, I just wasn’t in love.”
            “Have you ever been?”
            “What… in love? You mean besides with you?”
            “Yeah.”
            He spun back around to face me; water droplets falling provocatively down his chiseled chest. My eyes followed the drops, past his pecs, between his abs and disappearing down beneath the bubbles to where what I’m almost certain, was a raging hard-on. I couldn’t help myself and I licked my lips at the thought of it. “No. Well maybe. I’ve never felt about anyone the way I feel about you, so I don’t think I have been. Have you?”
            I shook my head. “I don’t think so. I’ve never been in a relationship for longer than a few months, so probably not.
            “So I guess in a way then,” he said, scooping me up to place me on his lap, I shifted and shimmied until I was straddling him, the tip of his cock, bobbing enticingly against the apex of my thighs, “our first time is with each other, together.”
            I wrinkled my nose in confusion.
            “I mean neither of us are virgins, not by any stretch of the imagination.” He grinned when I rolled my eyes. “But we’re both virgins at love and it’s awkward and wonderful in its own way. Don’t you think?”
            I smiled, loving the corny but thoughtful idea. He leaned forward and rubbed his nose against mine and then kissed the top of my head. I wrapped my arms around his neck and lifted up, sliding back down slowly until he was sheathed inside of me. He raised his eyebrows in query; we weren’t using any protection.
            “We’ll pull and pray like we did before at your cabin,” I said, winking. “You can finish in my mouth.” He flashed me a salacious grin before he buried his face in my chest and began rooting for a nipple.



A West Coast baby born and raised, and married to her high school sweetheart, with a spirited toddler and a fluffy dog, Whitley spends her days making food that gets thrown on the floor, vacuuming Cheerios out from under the couch and making sure that the dog food doesn't end up in the air conditioner. But when nap time comes and it's not quite wine o'clock, Whitley sits down, avoids the pile of laundry on the couch, and writes.
A lover of all things decadent; wine, cheese, chocolate and spicy erotic romance, Whitley brings the humorous side of sex, the ridiculous side of relationships and the suspense of everyday life into her stories. With mommy wars, body issues, threesomes, bondage and role playing, these books have everything we need to satisfy the curious kink in all of us.


Whitley had lots of releases coming out this year, so be sure to follow her on FB, Instagram, Twitter and visit her website to stay up-to-date on upcoming releases, freebies and .99cent deals.

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Monday, February 27, 2017

Monday Mojo - Sexting

Over half of American adults have used the phone, email or text message to have sex.
The best sexts are like great foreplay—they're spicy but still leave a little to the imagination. They are short little messages to leave your honey with a smile and maybe wanting more.





And remember...
laughter is an aphrodisiac as well.

đź’–



Author Mary Quast is offering Love Knot, a St. Patty's Day story, for FREE on Smashwords. Click HERE. 
Love Knot
She's a homebody and he an Irishman who doesn't like to be in one place very long. When Robbie makes the decision to settle down, will Mimi believe him?

Check out Mary Quast's new release, Taming Rachel. Click here 

Taming Rachel
Rachel Willis signed up for a 1Night Stand with hopes of finding something that is missing in her life. Is it a coincidence her date is scheduled during a class reunion? And why did the one person she’s avoided for years have to show up? 

Dusty Stiles never recovered from the one that got away. Madame Eve is his last hope to get her back.

Will one night be enough to erase the pain of the past and rekindle the passion they once shared?



Sunday, February 26, 2017

Aran: Love Me Harder By: Serena Simpson




Aran
Love Me Harder: Book one
#Free


                                                          Chapter One



       “Rena, you’re turning into a stuffy old woman.”
     “Thirty-two isn’t old, and I’m not stuffy.”
     “You could’ve fooled me.”
     “Dee, I don’t want to mix and mingle tonight, and I definitely don’t want to pick up men. Even hot men from your job.”
     “So you just flirt with them, Rena. How will you meet Mr. Right sitting at home?”
     “I have to go, Dee. Talk to you later.” Rena hit the end call button on her phone like it offended her when she was really mad at her best friend.
     Dee didn’t understand. How could she understand something Rena herself still didn’t understand? She was simply tired of it. She wanted something different, someone different, but that wasn’t going to happen. She felt like she’d stepped back in time, where everyone had to hold up certain appearances, and no one was really free. Free love. Free sex, when really everyone was trying to one-up the other person. Few people, in her opinion ever felt free enough to be themselves, even with the one they said they loved.
     Dee wanted her to go to a company party. They could meet up with some of the men from the departments Dee had not yet had time to explore. Maybe hook up with someone. Another night of boring sex didn’t excite her. She wanted to tell Dee, but how could she tell her best friend something like that.
     Sighing in frustration, she grabbed her purse making sure she had her keys and her cell phone then walked out of her apartment. She would just wander around a while, maybe hit a bar and pretend to get drunk. That might take her mind off her problems.
She had plenty of problems. There was word going around that they may be downsizing at her company, another reason not to jump in bed with anyone from Dee’s company. She may have to look for a job there. If the prospect of losing her job was her major worry, she would be ok. Yeah, downsizing sucked, but she had a stash and had been paying some bills in advance.  She was in much better financial shape than some of the people she worked with.
     Right now her job didn’t matter. It was her life that was bothering her. She was thirty-two and lived alone—no boyfriend, fiancĂ© or husband. Was she butt ugly? No, not even close. She wasn’t a model or beauty queen either. True, she was a little bigger, maybe a smidge bigger than she liked to admit, but she could twerk with the best of them.  So why didn’t she have a man? She liked sex just like everyone else.
     Well, she thought she liked sex as much the next person. Therein lies the issue. She’d never had sex. Well, good sex. Yes, she’d been with men before who thought she was so adorable, they touched her like she was going to break. Maybe some people liked that stuff, but she was a big girl. Big girls liked to be touched. They liked to feel their men thrusting hard inside of them. She wouldn’t break, but for some reason men thought she would. Rena, the sensitive. Please, give her a break!
So, in the end, it had led to this, her life of fantasy and a refusal to have one more man, who had no idea how to please her, sweating over her. Who needed a man; she had her toys. Ok, so she would prefer the right man.
     The sound of a car horn tore her away from her thoughts and back to her surroundings.
     She’d only managed to walk about two blocks up her tree-lined street when the red dodge charger slowed down, and Dee blew the horn. Her friend had a thing for muscle cars.
     “Thought I’d find you wandering the streets like no one loved you.” Dee smiled at her as if she’d just spouted the last words of wisdom ever to be said.
     “Leave it to you to track me down.” She had to smile at Dee. They had been friends for years, and she always seemed to be there when needed. Rena never had to ask.
     “So am I going to take you back to your place so you can change before we go to the party or am I going to follow you in slow motion like a horrible stalker movie for the rest of the night?”
She would vote for the stalker movie. Unfortunately, Dee would ditch the party and actually follow her. 
     “Sounds like a change of clothes and a party is in order.”
     She slid into the car and listened to a new Ed Sheeran song pumping through the stereo. She tried not to sing along. Rena was a closet Sheeran fan. That was the other secret she kept from Dee.
     “You might as well sing, girl. I know you like him.”
     She got out the car laughing and was still laughing when she entered her apartment.
     “You might as well sit. I’m going to be a few.”
     “I’ll sit, but you know you’re not as bad as I am when it comes to getting ready.”
      Rena took a quick shower and then bumped the curls in her hair. She usually wore a ponytail, but had decided to do her hair earlier in the day. She was a minimalist when it came to makeup. She looked good in less and liked it that way. Not too bad on time. Now all she had to do was find something to wear. It was a company party, but she’d seen pictures of them on Dee’s phone. They dressed rather sexy for a company function.
     She pulled out a formal black number and discarded it. It wasn’t her company party. Then she pulled out a beautiful sea green dress that screamed do me now, so not the message she wanted to send. Standing before her closet, she tried one more time.
     “Hey girl, what’s taking you so long?” Dee called from her living room.
     “Looking for a dress.” She was surprised her best friend hadn’t waltzed into the bedroom yet. It’s not like she hadn’t done it in the past.
     “Looks like I’m going to have to save the day. Move away from that closet. I Love your clothes. If we were the same size borrows would be on.”
     Dee brought out a red dress Rena just recently purchased. Why? Not because she needed it. Just because when she felt bad, she shopped. The dress had spaghetti straps of delicate gold chains and then flowed down into a short skirt that moved when she walked. There was a beautiful sash around the waist.
     “What do you think?”
     “I think you look hot.” They laughed as they headed for the party.
     “Thanks Dee, but no one will notice me when they get a look at you in that number.” Dee wore a blue dress that would drive the guys crazy. It moved over her like a second skin. Every now and then, Rena wished she looked like her.
   
***

     Aran watched as the all too breakable human focused on him. She was slowly working the floor as if she was just aimlessly wandering, but he knew better. She was coming for him. Her breasts were on display for all to see and her arousal screamed for him to do something about it. She was petite with golden skin and ruby red lips, and she wanted a man tonight. Correction, she wanted him.
Why was it that he seemed to attract every fragile female ever born? He watched as she gathered enough courage to approach him.
     “Hi, I’m Sally.” She gave him a bright smile and offered her hand in greeting.
     “Aran,” he said, introducing himself. Taking the hand she offered up he raised it to his lips while giving her wrist a small squeeze.
     He watched the small look of pain on her face as he barely squeezed her wrist and acknowledged again that he wouldn’t be getting laid tonight. He could imagine her under him, her blonde hair spread out over the pillow, her ruby red lips swollen from his kiss, her nipples a dark color because they had been pinched and sucked and bitten too hard. Her body would be twisted like a limp rag doll because she’d been unable to accept the force of his thrust when he lost control. He’d contain his need to sink into soft, willing flesh and she would live a normal life. It was a win for everyone involved.
     She’d been talking, but he hadn’t been listening. “Excuse me, Sally. I need to go see my partner.”
     He walked away and left her to the very human male who approached her the minute he deemed it safe.
     “Sergey.”
     “Aran. She’s a pretty number.”
     “Yes, she is, and she will stay that way.”
     “The harder we look, the further we get from the one thing each of us needs.”
     Aran looked around the floor. The room was filled with beautiful women, many of whom didn’t work for them. That was part of the reason for the parties, to meet females who may be potential mates. Unfortunately, each new party was a disappointment.
     “We can hit an underground club after this affair is over.”

     Sergey nodded, but they both knew neither of them wanted what those clubs offered. He scanned the room again, this time looking for the rest of his brothers. They worked for the company posing as simple employees, but they were family. They had followed him here, looking for a better life. If they didn’t find what they needed in this city soon, he’d relocate them to a more female-friendly city.


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Saturday, February 25, 2017

Fashion Maven of the Future

Darlings,

You've heard the expression fashion forward? I your Fashion Maven of the future bring you the designs of today that will influence Selina Shirley, the top designer in the Tallavan sector of Federation space. In the centuries to come, haute couture will transform again and again, but the past will always influence the direction individuals like Selina take the garments they create for a new generation of those who love clothes, shoes, and accessories.

With my fashion crystal ball, I can point the fashionistas of today to the cutting edge designs that will make an impact on the far future. My exclusive revelations are posted on Cailin Briste's Pinterests Boards: Dresses, Skirts, & Skirted Suits; Evening Dresses; Pants & Short Outfits; Outwear; Accessories & Odd Bits; Swimwear; Lingerie (ooh la la); Shoes (who could live without them); Men's Fashion; and Children's Clothing. Visit my own little corner of the blogging world: Fashion Maven. Now you can join the ranks of those whose personal style is cutting edge.

Just for the readers of Romance Writers Behaving Badly, I've reposted my very first report here. (Prior to this journalistic endeavor, I posted many, many delightful finds on Pinterest. Lots to see!)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Michael Kors Collection Fall 2017 Ready to Wear Show was A-may-zing! I’ve added my favorites to the following boards:

Dresses, Skirts, Skirt Suits
A female musketeer anyone?!?

Outerwear
Wild for this coat!

Pants & Shorts Outfits
Two pins. One with a faux fur coat and the other just looks so comfortable and elegantly understated.

You can read all about the show at Vogue or visit The Impression for more stunning photos.

Until Next Time
Fashion Maven of the Future

Friday, February 24, 2017

First Chapter Friday! BROTHERS IN BLUE: MAX by Jeanne St. James


BROTHERS IN BLUE: MAX
Brothers in Blue trilogy, book #1
Jeanne St. James
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Loose Id, LLC

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32296110-brothers-in-blue

Chapter One

For forty-five minutes the little red rental sat in the parking lot. Amanda Barber remained frozen in the driver’s seat. She stared through the windshield at the brick building in front of her. The car’s engine was off, the keys still hanging in the ignition. It wouldn’t take much for her to reach out, turn them, and go back the way she had come.
She read the sign on the building one more time as if reading it would put off the inevitable. HOWELL’S ADULT DAY CARE.
It was getting dark; she couldn’t sit there anymore. She had promised her stepmother’s attorney that she would stick around for a couple weeks. Just a couple of weeks. Fourteen days. Half a month.
She had to stop being a wimp.
Okay, no more hesitation. She grabbed the keys and tossed them into her purse. She had to get this over with. She left the car and went into the building before she could change her mind.
As the door closed behind her with a click that sounded deafening to her own ears, Amanda glanced around. A few older people sat knitting, reading, and talking in small groups. A television droned in the background. A very elderly gentleman sat in a wheelchair in front of a large picture window, his head bobbing as he dozed off.
A woman, just a few years older than her, looked up and spotted Amanda. A frown creasing her forehead, the woman straightened from helping the young man who was sitting at a card table. Amanda wasn’t quite sure what the young man needed help doing. It looked as though he’d been drawing. The woman leaned over and said something in his ear before approaching Amanda.
“Can I help you?”
“I guess so.”
A puzzled look crossed the woman’s face when Amanda didn’t continue.
The woman prodded, “Do you need information? Or a tour of our facility?”
“No.”
The woman squinted in confusion and tilted her head with an unspoken question. As she opened her mouth, Amanda interrupted her. “I’m here for Gregory Barber.”
She must have said it loud enough, as the young man at the table lifted his head from his project and turned toward them. He laughed loudly and brushed away the hair that fell into his eyes with the back of his bent wrist.
An O formed on the woman’s lips. “You must be Amanda.”
Amanda frowned. Of course the woman knew who she was. She bet all of Manning Grove had been waiting for her to show up.
“Yes, I’m here to pick up Greg.”
Amanda bit her lip as the young man rose from the table with a crooked smile. Next thing she knew he was running toward her, his arms flailing in the air. Amanda automatically stepped back. She really wanted to turn and run, but the young man’s arms wrapped around her, squeezing her until she couldn’t breathe.
The woman grabbed his arms, trying to peel him off. “Greg! Greg! Let her go.”
Greg rocked Amanda back and forth, pressing his head into her chest, squeezing her even tighter. She groaned in pain.
“Greg!”
“Donna, is this ’Manda? Is this ’Manda?” His booming voice vibrated against her chest.
“Greg, you are going to squeeze her to death.”
Greg reluctantly let her go and stepped back, the crooked smile on his face even larger. A bit of spit sprayed out of his mouth as he yelled, “My sister ’Manda!”
“Yes, Greg, your sister is here to pick you up.” Donna turned to Amanda. “As you can guess by now, I’m Donna. I manage this facility.” Concern crossed her face. “You look pale. Do you want to sit down?”
Amanda shook her head. “No.” She took a deep breath, rubbing her ribs, checking for damage. She pulled down her skirt and adjusted the sweater that was askew under her jacket. “No, I’m okay.”
“Are you taking Greg back to his mother’s house?”
“Yes.”
“Have you ever dealt with a special needs person before?”
Amanda looked at Greg, who stared back at her with the biggest grin on his face. “No.” Greg couldn’t stand still; he was fidgeting about and mumbling to himself.
Donna frowned. “Oh boy.”
Amanda didn’t want to hear that. Oh boy. What did that mean? She knew that she would be in over her head. But “Oh boy”?
Shit.
“Uh, is he ready to go?”
Donna looked at Greg. “Yes. He’s very excited to meet his sister, as you can see.” She returned her attention to Amanda and lifted her eyebrows. “This is for the first time, right?”
Amanda nodded. She didn’t know whether to be ashamed or afraid. Shame was quickly clouding her feeling of fear. She had no doubt that Donna knew the answer to that question before she had even asked it. Amanda was sure that the whole town knew the truth.
Double shit.
Donna grabbed her arm, pity in her eyes. “Look. I’ll give you my card. If you have any problems or questions, call me. Greg’s a good kid; he’s easy to work with, easy to please.”
Amanda looked at the person in question. He was no kid. Her half-brother was twenty-two years old. Twenty-two.
Old enough to drink, vote, join the army.
An adult that only acted like a child.
“Thanks. I might take you up on that offer.”
Donna smiled for the first time. “I’m sure you will. Here is a brochure on my facility and my card. Greg comes here three days a week. A bus will pick him up before eight a.m. on Mondays, Wednesday, and Fridays, except for holidays. A bus will drop him off after six p.m.”
Amanda’s head was spinning. “Okay.”
“Greg, are you ready to go now?”
“Yep. Yep. Yep. I’m ready to go.” Greg hopped on one foot, then the other, in his excitement. “We’s going now!” He ran up to Amanda again and held out his twisted hand.
Amanda reached out and grabbed it. His huge grin was irresistible. She gave him a weak smile back. “Ready, Bud?”
“Who’s Bud?”
Amanda looked at her brother. He might be only a half-brother, but he was still blood. He was family. Amanda relaxed her stiff muscles a bit and gave his hand a squeeze. “You are, Bud. You are going to be my new best bud.”
“Oh! Oh! Donna, I’m Bud! I’m a Bud!” Greg started to pull her toward the door.
“Oh wait, Ms. Barber!” Amanda’s head turned toward Donna as she was being tugged out through the entranceway. “Don’t forget Chaos.”
“What?” She grabbed the doorjamb to keep Greg from dragging her out the door and bouncing her over the pavement in his enthusiasm.
“Chaos,” she repeated as if that clarified everything.
Donna went to the back door and held it open. A black-and-white border collie bounded through the door and circled them, barking, just as out of control as Greg.
Chaos.
How appropriate.
* * * *
Keys jingled and hinges squeaked as Amanda opened the front door of her new home.
New temporary home, she reminded herself.
Due to the long flight followed by the boring, long drive to this in-the-middle-of-nowhere town, she was exhausted. She needed to get a good night’s sleep so she could think clearly in the morning.
She glanced at her watch. Seven.
Neither Greg nor she had had dinner yet, and here she was, thinking about going to bed. Like an old maid. In Miami the nightlife hadn’t even begun yet.
Chaos brushed past her. The dog probably needed to be fed too.
“Greg, do you know how to feed Chaos?”
When there was no answer, Amanda turned to look at him. He was still standing near the car. He had been suspiciously calm and quiet as they drove into the neighborhood and up to the house. The excited “boy” was gone.
“Greg?”
“Is Mama in there?”
Even in the dark and him being so far away from her, the sadness and confusion was clearly recognizable on his face. But his question made the hairs on the back of her neck rise.
“No, Greg, your mama is gone. Come on. I need to make you some dinner.”
“Mama makes good food.”
Amanda sighed. She didn’t want to deal with this. He wasn’t her responsibility. She had never even met her brother before today. She knew he existed, but they’d lived in different worlds. Her world had never included her father, her stepmother, or her half-brother. Amanda’s mother Anne had made sure of that.
“Hey, Bud, I might not be the best cook. In fact, I’m probably one of the worst. But I can sure make a bowl of soup and a mean grilled cheese sandwich.”
His new nickname seemed to perk him up a bit. He reluctantly followed behind her into the house.
Amanda ran her hand along the wall, since the house was pitch-dark, looking for a light switch. Her fingers located one, and she flipped the lights on. The house was cute. And small. Everything seemed to have a place, and it was really neat. And despite the fact that her stepmother Dolores had died over a week ago, the house seemed relatively clean.
The living room to her right was comfortable looking with a big, soft couch and a few beautifully carved, old, but heavy wood tables. Antiques, probably. Most of the decorations on the wall were framed photos. She would look closer at them later. After she got some sleep.
One thing Amanda quickly noticed was that there was nothing delicate. No pottery or glass or even small knickknacks. Amanda could imagine why when she heard a crash. She rushed back toward the rear of the house.
The large kitchen was modern with all updated stainless steel appliances and gorgeous granite countertops. A copper pot rack hung over an island, which was surrounded by dark wooden stools.
And in the center of that beautiful kitchen was Greg with a sheepish look on his face. “Sorry.”
He had dropped Chaos’s metal bowl, but the dog didn’t care. As fast as he could eat, the dog vacuumed up every last kibble wherever they had rolled.
“It’s okay, Bud. Now let’s find something for you to eat.”
After a few minutes of searching cabinets, she put together a quick dinner for Greg, and as he ate, she explored the house some more. Even though the house was small, like she first thought, it was comfy. It was a two story with three bedrooms and two bathrooms.
The kitchen had to be one of the biggest rooms in the house. The backyard was long and narrow, adequately fenced for the dog. The part Amanda loved the most was the sunroom that appeared to have been recently added to the deck in the back.
Amanda returned to the kitchen to check on Greg. Maybe she shouldn’t have left him for so long. Or at least should have given him a napkin. As she helped him wipe the tomato soup off his clothes, she quizzed him, trying to find out what he could do and not do.
Around ten p.m., after Greg watched, according to him, one of his “favorite” programs, she went up with him to his room.
“I see you’re a NASCAR fan, Greg.”
“Love NASCAR. Love racing! I’m gonna be a race car driver.”
“Let me guess. Tony Stewart is your favorite driver.”
Greg squealed excitedly. “How’d you know?”
Amanda looked around the bedroom, which was full of the number-fourteen posters, model cars, and memorabilia. She pulled down the Stewart bedspread. Hmm, how did she know?
“Can you take it from here? Can you get ready for bed?”
“Yep.”
“Okay, night, Greg.”
“’Manda?”
“Yes?”
“Can I get a hug?”
“You bet, Bud.” His hug wasn’t so bone crushing this time. “Night, Buddy. I’ll see you in the morning.”
“Night, ‘Manda.”
Amanda headed back downstairs. She went directly to the white envelope that the lawyer had given her, where she had left it on the kitchen counter earlier. She grabbed it and went into the sunroom. She sank with a tired groan into the plush love seat and ripped it open. Chaos ran in and jumped up, curling next to her. Amanda smoothed a hand down his silky back.
She unfolded the letter and began to read.
Dear Amanda,
I know we never met, and I regret that. Nothing can change that now. First thing I want you to know is that your father loved you, no matter what you thought. He made a good life for us, and for that I’m grateful. I loved him very much.
I know that this must be a big shock for you, meeting your brother for the first time. Gregory is a good boy. I hope you’ll see that for yourself.
It’s been tough for Greg after your father died from that heart attack two years ago. Not to mention me. I know it’s going to be even tougher for Greg after I go. Greg has no idea that I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I don’t think he’d understand it anyway.
If you’re reading this, then Greg has lost both of his parents. I hope you find it in your heart to help him and love him. I know he’s only your half-brother, but he’s still your brother. You’re all he has.
Please look deep within yourself to open your heart to him. It’s not an easy job. Gregory can take care of himself somewhat, but he needs a lot of guidance. I was trying to get him to be more independent, but he will never be able to live on his own. He really needs you. I don’t want him to end up in a home, alone.
The house is yours now, along with a trust that your father and I had set up in which you will receive monthly income to help take care of Gregory. It should be enough that if you stay in Manning Grove, you should be able to not work and be there for Greg when he needs you. If you take him back to Miami (I hope you won’t), it probably won’t last long at all.
This is a great town and the people are friendly and they know Gregory. I know this might not convince you, but I don’t think Gregory would be happy in a big city.
I’m babbling now.
Amanda read through a “grocery list” of what tasks Greg could do on his own and what he needed help with. Amanda crushed the letter in her hand and threw it across the room. It bounced off a lamp and landed in the middle of the floor.
Chaos leaped off the chair and retrieved the “ball” before ceremoniously dropping it back in her lap. She glared at him and the crumpled, damp letter, trying not to scream. Struggling not to cry.
She didn’t want to do this. She couldn’t do this. This woman had no right to ask her. She never asked for a brother. Never cared that she was an only child. Her mother had spoiled her. Not because she loved Amanda, but because she wanted to control her and, when necessary, keep Amanda out of her hair.
Chaos nudged her hand, waiting for her to throw the “ball” again.
Staring at the black-and-white dog, she realized that she was expected to be responsible. Her—Amanda Barber! She who had never even owned a pet. Not even a hamster. Now she was actually responsible for another human being. It was too much.
She’d let Greg down.
Her head dropped into her hands, and she lost it. Sobs racked her body until her stomach ached, her nose was stuffy and swollen, and her eyes puffy. She sniffled loudly. Chaos sat at her feet, ears perked, and tilted his head up at her with a silent inquiry.
She was scared.
And alone.
Not even her mother could—or would—help.
The thought strengthened her. She didn’t need her mother. Her mother was angry with her. She had said that Amanda would never be able to do it. That she was incapable.
Amanda would show her. She would be better than her mother. Greg was her blood. Her family. She would be caring, warm, and loving.
At least she could try.
Chaos, tired of waiting, jumped back up beside her. Amanda’s hand stroked his head. She was determined to prove her mother wrong.
 

Blurb:

Big city party-girl Amanda Barber has been spoiled most of her life. But life for Amanda suddenly becomes a major challenge: adapting to small town life, dealing with her handicapped brother and constantly butting heads with a frustrating local cop.

As a police officer and former Marine, “responsibility” is Max Bryson’s middle name. Never having been in a serious relationship, he has no plans for being in one in the near future. He likes being his own man. And even if he were interested in a serious relationship, he certainly wouldn’t choose it to be with someone so immature and irresponsible as Amanda. But no matter how hard he tries, he can’t get sexy Amanda out of his head or his heart. Watching her mature in front of his eyes, his protectiveness towards her only strengthens.

Bossy and possessive aren’t the only words Amanda uses to describe this frustrating cop. She can’t deny just looking at the man makes her tremble. But she’s done with having anyone control her and this man isn’t going to be any different. Or is he?


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JEANNE ST. JAMES is an erotic romance author who loves an Alpha male (or two). She was only 13 started writing when she started writing since it gave her an escape from teenage angst! Her first paid published piece was an erotic story in Playgirl magazine. Her first erotic romance novel, Banged Up, was published in 2009. She is happily owned by farting French bulldogs. She writes M/F, M/M, and M/M/F ménages.
She has a few new releases coming up in 2016 and 2017. So keep an eye on her website at www.jeannestjames.com or sign up for her newsletter.