Night Relations

(Night 5)

Erotic Romance, Contemporary, Romantic Suspense, Paranormal, BDSM, MFM, HEA

Married to Ian and Alastair Wyndham, Serena was happier than she’d ever been.

She knew it was difficult for Ian and Alastair to deal with her dark visions, and relied on their strength to get her through them.

Determined to find the kidnapper and rapist she’d seen in a new vision, she relied on their help and that of their handler from a secret government agency.

Ian and Alastair knew that Serena’s visions, her ability to see future events, and her ability to read the minds of people around her were all very much a part of her.

They’d learned how to bring light to her when darkness threatened to overwhelm her.

But someone else, someone from her past sent her into a turmoil.

They admired her strength in facing him, but it cost her, and only their love could make her whole again.


Disconnecting, Alastair tucked his phone away and carried the suitcases to the master bedroom, surprised to find Ian and Serena standing by the window deep in conversation.

Frowning and alert for trouble, Alastair set the suitcases just inside the door. “Is something wrong?”

Ian appeared intrigued at whatever they’d been talking about. “No. Just a theory we need to test. Coming to the gym with us?”

“No.” Approaching Serena, Alastair loosened his tie. “Jonathan called. He was watching for us to fly in. He needs to see me, and it sounds urgent.”

Serena frowned and stepped closer, flattening a hand on his chest. “He—”

She paused, stilling in the way she did whenever she had a vision.

After just a few seconds, she took a breath and lowered her hand with a nod. “Women are being kidnapped. Women with wealthy husbands. Huge ransoms. If they tell anyone, he’ll kill their wives. It’s people we know. Louise Tanner was first. Two months ago.”

Ian ran a hand down her back. “What happened?”

“He paid ten million dollars in diamonds to get her back.”

Alastair raked a hand through his hair, remembering that Edwin Tanner was a jeweler. “Jesus! Was she hurt?”

“He raped her. Over and over.” Serena sniffed and wiped a tear away. “He’s one of the waiters from a catering company. These rich people have it all and don’t even see him. He’s going to get money from them and take the rich, stuck-up women. Rape them. Make them enjoy it. He’s got toys. Sex toys that he’s learning how to use.”

She wrapped her arms around herself as if chilled, and he could already see the headache forming. “When he lets them go, he’ll see them again at parties. Functions. All those fundraisers and get-togethers the rich people enjoy. He’s there. Working. He can watch them. While he’s holding them hostage, he wears a mask and lets them see his eyes. After he releases them and sees them at parties where he’s working, they’ll see his eyes and know that he not only raped them but made them enjoy it. But they won’t know for sure. And when he’s rich enough, he’ll be able to have his pick. And one by one, he’ll use them.”

She took a steadying breath and moved away from both of them, a sob escaping. “He kept her for four days.”

Shaking her head, she held out a hand to keep them from touching her. “No. Wait. I need to see.”

Alastair fisted his hands at his sides, hating that she lived horror after horror.


And again.

It infuriated both of them to watch her suffer, but they’d learned that they had to give her the room she needed to experience the visions that were so much a part of her.

They could be there, though, to light as much of the darkness as they could and to give her the support she needed when she became overwhelmed.

She took another deep breath and let it out slowly, a sign of her need to settle herself before continuing. “Deborah Miser was next.”

Ian reached for her, dropping his hand when she shook her head and stepped back again. “Hell. Is she all right?”

Turning away, she stared out the window, and Alastair suspected that she saw nothing outside. She rubbed her temple, a sign that her headache had gotten intense. “He did the same thing with her. He demanded money be sent to an account. It was faster. He got the money faster. Another ten million dollars. She’s back home with Thomas now, but they’re both devastated.”

Serena turned to him, including both of them in her tense smile. “He’s afraid to ask for more. He doesn’t know how much money the rich people have, and he’s afraid that someone is going to tell him that they don’t have that kind of money. He doesn’t want to negotiate.”

She stiffened again, her eyes going wide, her features deathly pale. “He’s picked out the next one. Oh, God. He’s taking her now. Mary Jenkins. I can’t see where they are. It’s blurred.”

Alastair had had enough. Snaking an arm around her, he pulled her against him. “Enough. You’re white as a ghost, and you’re shaking.”

Ian ran a hand over her hair. “Alastair is going to meet with Jonathan and get more information.”

He bent to kiss her temple right above the spot that she rubbed. “Although I can’t imagine that Jonathan has gathered as much information as you have.”

He sent Alastair a look. “Tell Jonathan what she knows. I don’t give a damn if he believes her or not.”

“I will. Get her out to see the dogs. They always cheer her up.”

Alastair grimaced when Serena shivered, picturing each of the victims in his mind, remembering how happy they’d appeared the last time he saw them. “We’ll get him, baby. We’ll find Mary.”

Straightening, she nodded and turned to Ian. “I agreed to your self-defense lessons because I saw us together in the gym. Now, I’m really sure. Something about your training helps me.”

Alastair released Serena when Ian pulled her closer. “Oh? Helps how?”

Shaking her head, Serena frowned. “I don’t know. There’s something missing, and until I figure it out, there’s a big hole. It’s not all connected. I need to figure it out before I see him.”

Ian stiffened, gripping her shoulders and holding her at arm’s length to see her face. “See him? You’re not getting within a mile of this guy.”

Serena’s took another deep breath. “Yes. I will. After we rescue Mary, he’s going to try to kidnap me.”

Steely Desire

(Desire, Oklahoma: The Founding Fathers 5)

Erotic Romance, Historical, Menage, Western/Cowboys, Romantic Suspense, MFM, HEA

Hart and Gideon Sanderson were too hard and cold for marriage, but when they made the trip to Tulsa for supplies and picked up a mail order bride, they knew they couldn’t let her marry anyone else.

After burying her brother and husband, Charlotte Mullen took the money her outlaw brothers left behind when they deserted her.

Despite the caring and passion between them, the threat of her brothers hung over them, her lack of trust in their ability to protect her from them a wedge between them.

Hart understood that Charlotte had no experience with trust or feeling safe.

He could only be there for her.

When her brothers arrived and were dealt with, he’d thought the matter over, but another surprise lay in store, one that changed everything and made him realize that love brought its own miracles.


Once they made their way out of town and started the long ride back to the ranch, Hart became aware of the other men’s interest in her, including his brother’s.

Glancing at her, Hart saw that she stared straight ahead. “Sorry about your husband.”

She nodded once, still staring straight ahead. “Thank you.”

Irritated that she didn’t look at him, Hart glanced at her again. “Married long?”


His irritation grew at the one-word answer.

“How long?”

“Almost a month.”

Hart had to bend closer to hear her, the cold wind whipping her words away. “What happened to him?”

“They hung him.”

More intrigued by the minute and aware that the wind and the noise from the buckboards and horses made eavesdropping almost impossible, Hart eyed her again. “For what?”

“Robbed the bank—well, tried to rob the bank.”

“How long ago was this?”

“Three months ago.”

“Town folk turn on you?”

“Yeah. No chance at work.”

“So you decided to go to a strange place and marry a total stranger?”

She turned to him, her eyes flashing.

Filled with satisfaction that he’d finally broken through and gotten a glimpse of the woman beneath the hard shell, Hart held her gaze for several long seconds before she turned away, facing forward again.

“Women don’t have the same choices that men do.” With a shrug, she glanced around. “Word is out that the men of the Circle T take care of the women and keep them safe. I’m hoping that’s true.”

Clenching his jaw at the fleeting glimmer of fear in her eyes, he sought to relieve her. “It is. All the women on the Circle T are well protected. We make that a priority.”

She turned to him again, appearing both relieved and curious. “Why would you make it a priority?”

“Because the bosses are buildin’ somethin’, and it’s hard to do that without women on the place and the babes they have. Can’t get women to come if they don’t feel safe.”

“That sounds like a real smart idea.”

“The bosses think so, and we’ve all begun to think the same way.” He glanced at her again as she brushed snow from her blanket. “Are you warm enough?”

“I’m fine, thank you. When I get to the ranch, is there a place for me to stay until someone wants to marry me?”

Jeremiah moved closer. “We built a place for the doctor’s office. It’s a house with several bedrooms. You’ll stay in that house with the doctor until someone claims you and you accept the claim.”

Her eyes went wide. “Claims me?”

Jeremiah inclined his head, his gaze flicking to Hart. “Yes. Preacher’s in Tulsa, but if a man, or men, claim you and you accept their claim, he or they are responsible for you as if you were married until we can make it legal.”

She stared up at Jeremiah for several seconds before turning to look at Hart. “So some man has to say he wants to marry me, and I get to say yes or no?”

Hart inclined his head, reaching back to get another blanket for her. “Yes, ma’am. You’d have to agree.”

Jeremiah inclined his head. “Just to let you know, some of the men share a wife. You might find yourself married to more than one.”

Charlotte frowned and stiffened. “I’m sorry. I don’t think I heard you right. It sounded like you said that I might find myself married to more than one man.”

“That’s what I said.” Jeremiah inclined his head. “The ability to share a woman is why my brother and I started the ranch. You could have two, or even three husbands.”

“What?” Charlotte gaped at him. “You’re kidding!”

“No. I’m not. That’s a subject I take very seriously.” With a frown, Jeremiah started toward the outside of the group, scanning the tree line. “Put that other blanket on. Can’t have you freezin’ to death before we get there.”

Charlotte wrapped the other blanket around her shoulders. “A woman married to more than one man? Is that legal?”

“It is on the Circle T. Jeremiah and his older brother, Eb, share a wife. Her name’s Maggie. They have a little boy, Ace, and another babe on the way.”

He gestured toward Phoenix driving the other buckboard. “Phoenix there shares a wife with his brothers, Blade and Hawke. Their wife, Sarah, just had a baby boy a couple of weeks ago. His name’s Matto. The sheriffs on the Circle T, Wyatt Matlock and Hayes Hawkins, have been friends for years. Their wife, Savannah, has a baby boy, too. Jacob.”

“Does every man share their wife?”

Hart shook his head, glancing at his brother, who’d moved closer, his lips twitching. “Duke Faulkner doesn’t. His wife, Esmerelda, is getting ready to have a baby in about two months.”

Phoenix looked over and chuckled. “I haven’t heard you string so many words together since you hit your thumb with a hammer.”

Adam smiled faintly. “I was just thinkin’ the same thing.”

Hart glared at both of them before looking straight ahead, the thick snow slowing their journey.

They rode in silence for several minutes before Charlotte turned to him again. “Are you married?”


“Why not?”

Hart glanced over at his brother, shifting uncomfortably in his seat. “We wouldn’t be good at it.”

Charlotte stilled, swallowing heavily. “We?”

Inclining his head toward one of the men on horseback who rode ahead of them, Hart glanced at her again. “My brother, Gideon, and I share women but don’t plan to get married.”

Aware that his cold bluntness would put an end to the conversation, Hart nevertheless regretted it.

It was a long, cold ride back to the ranch, the frigid air seeming even colder when the conversation with Charlotte ended.

He’d always been a man of few words, finding small talk useless.

He wished now that he had the words that would make Charlotte smile.

Warlocks’ Witch

Erotic Romance, Contemporary, Multiple Partners, Fantasy, Romantic Suspense, MFMM, HEA

Alexandria Breyson stood at the graves belonging to her family, vowing to make their murderer pay.

Unnerved by the appearance of Maximillian, Drake and Armand Blackstone, the three most powerful warlocks in the world and the Council commissioners, she did what she’d always done.

Masked her powers.

But the commissioners saw through her mask, and when another attack came, they convinced her to go to with them for safety in exchange for teaching her to use her powers.

Lust flared between them, quickly becoming so much more.

Fighting to protect her from a crazed warlock intent on having her, they fought to come to grips with their own feelings for her and the jealousy that came with sharing her.

Working together, they took on a deranged warlock who wanted her for himself, while learning that love was the strongest power of all.


Warlock Impact.

Alexandria Breyson had experienced it several times in her life but never with the intensity that she did now.

The large number of people gathered at the gravesite faded into the fog surrounding her, leaving only the three powerful warlocks standing across from her.

The minister spoke, but the words disappeared in the mist.

The homicide detective with sharp eyes and dozens of questions faded into the background.

The horror and pain that had surrounded her the last three days had been pushed behind the wall of ice she’d carefully erected between her and the rest of the world.

Looking down at the graves of her mother, father and younger sister, she knew she had to keep the wall in place, especially around the three warlocks who headed the Council.

The Commissioners.

They were powerful and ruthless and, if they knew the truth about her, would take away her powers.

She was alone now, and she needed her powers to get revenge against the outlaw warlock who’d killed her family.

She kept her head down, purposely focusing her attention on the large arrangement of pink roses she’d ordered for her younger sister’s grave.

Anna had loved pink roses.

She’d loved everything pink.

Alexandria lifted her gaze and drew a deep breath and did what she’d been avoiding.

She looked at the three coffins containing her mother, her father, and her baby sister.

Her entire family.

Her throat clogged with tears, the agony of knowing she would never see them again nearly ripping her apart.

She took a deep breath and closed her eyes, struggling to push all emotion except fury aside.

She could handle the fury.

She reveled in it.

She could mourn their deaths later.

Right now, she could only focus on one thing.

Making their killer pay.

If she thought about anything else, she’d go mad.

Once she felt back in control, she opened her eyes, taking another deep breath, something compelling her to lift her head, and without meaning to, she looked across her family’s grave to the warlocks staring at her, their position ensuring that she would see them each time she looked up.

Her breath caught at the power emanating from them, an intense power that those with power understood and those without could only feel.

Those without power would see them only as compelling and intimidating, men other men eyed with caution and women eyed with interest.

She’d never met them before, but her father had shown her their pictures.

The Commissioners.

Maximillian, Drake, and Armand Blackstone.

Before her stood the most powerful of all warlocks.

Their power was legendary and the reason they headed the Council.

The Council, the governing body for those with power, also ran the Enforcement Agency, an agency of men and women with power who fought to maintain law and order.

She had to avoid the Council and the Enforcement Agency at all costs.

She snuck another glance at them, but their images had already become imprinted on her mind.

They were more handsome in person and bigger than she’d expected, tall and powerfully built, but it was the power glittering in their light brown eyes that made it difficult to breathe.

She knew them to be distant cousins, having inherited their powers from the same ancestor.

Each stood well over six feet tall and had wide shoulders and ink-black hair, Maximillian Blackstone’s thick hair shorter than the others, as if a civilized haircut could disguise the primitive power emanating from him.

Dressed all in black, he wore a structured raincoat against the drizzle, another attempt to appear businesslike and perhaps to blend in with the crowd.

Alexandria couldn’t help but wonder how many of those without power noticed that his hair remained dry.

Armand wore his hair the longest, past his shoulders, and even with the black suit he wore, he wore a billowy coat that came just past his knees and moved in the slight wind, giving him the appearance of a gunslinger right out of the Old West.

She glanced at Drake, who stood on the other side of Maximillian, his layered hair just barely brushing his shoulders.

His sleek leather coat gave him a dangerous look, his steady stare unnerving her.

Alarmed at what they might see, she hurriedly lowered her gaze again, hoping that once they paid their respects, they would leave and she’d never see or hear from them again.

She couldn’t let them interfere with her plans.

Furtively glancing to the left, and then to the right, she located the detectives who’d asked her dozens of questions during the past week.

Watching them move in the background, she saw that they took notes, a photographer snapping pictures in the background.

They’d become frustrated at their lack of leads, but they were way out of their league.

They’d never find her family’s killer.

Even if they found him, they’d never be able to capture him.

Only someone with a great deal of power could.

She’d briefly considered going to the Commissioners for help, but she knew that they wouldn’t allow her to take part in finding him.

Worse, they would make it impossible for her to get the revenge she desperately needed.

The possibility that they would try to stop her by taking her power strengthened her resolve.

Her father had been very explicit about avoiding them, and now alone, she found herself even more determined to honor her father’s wishes.

She needed to stay hidden in order to do what she had to do.

She would find the warlock who’d killed her family, and when she did, she would make him pay—with his life.

Reluctant Desire: Mastering Charity

(More Desire, Oklahoma 8)

Erotic Romance, Contemporary, BDSM, Romantic Suspense, Small Town, MF, HEA

Charity Parrish was madly in love with her sexy as hell husband, Beau, and thought things couldn’t get any better between them.

But lately, Beau had begun to exhibit a need for a more.

So she did what her sister would do.

She provoked him.

His reaction had the desired effect, his shock and anger unleashing the Dominant inside him with a vengeance.

Beau knew Charity to be calm and logical, with a soft heart, and feared that the need to possess her in ways he hadn’t before would scare the hell out of her.

In his playroom at Belle Fleur, his estate in Louisiana, they began a journey that drew them closer than ever.

He needed her to look to him for strength.

She needed to be all to him.

They found it in each other, and an intimacy that carried far beyond the walls of the playroom.


He ran a hand through his hair and met her gaze, his hands light on her waist. “I’m sorry.”

Stiffening, Charity closed her hands on the edge of the table. “What are you apologizing for?”

Beau offered a small smile, one filled with tension and self-depreciation. “For being so…intense.” He looked down at the photo of her. “Just the thought of any other man seeing you like that drives me crazy. I didn’t mean to scare you.”

Deflated, Charity slid from the table and walked around it, closing her laptop and shoving it into her bag. “You didn’t scare me, Beau. You aroused me.” Glancing at him, she picked up the picture she’d been so proud of and ripped it to shreds. “Evidently, you don’t think I’m woman enough to handle that darker side of you.”

After tossing the pieces of the photo into the trash can, she hooked her purse over her shoulder and grabbed the bag holding her laptop. “I’m not stupid, Beau, and I’m not as weak as you seem to believe. I wouldn’t marry you until I knew that your playfulness didn’t mean you took our relationship lightly. You’ve shown me that love can be playful. You showed me another side of myself and made it clear that you wanted all of me.”

Beau stepped closer, holding out a hand to her. “I do, my love. I love every part of you.”

Ignoring his outstretched hand, Charity forced a smile. “Meanwhile, you hide part of yourself.”

His eyes narrowed. “It’s not that I’m hiding a part of myself. We play, Charity. I told you how important I think it is to play.”

“There’s more.” Charity lifted her chin, her insides clenched so tightly it hurt. “I’ve seen it. I’ve tried to encourage it.”

His eyes narrowed. “You try to piss me off. You try to make me lose control.”

Charity smiled faintly, wishing she knew how to make him understand. “At times.”

Beau sighed, running his hand through his hair again. “Baby, it’s not something I want to subject you to. I’ve always liked to play, but since…you—hell.”

“Since me…what?”

Beau closed his hands over the top rung of the chair. “I want more. You’re right. It’s a dark part of me that I thought ended when I met you.”

He lifted his head, something dark and tormented in his eyes. “With you, I’ve learned that wanting is much more intense when it’s built on love. You’re mine. You wear my ring. You bear my name. It should be enough. It was enough.”

“But it’s not anymore?”

“I love you.” Shaking his head, he grimaced. “Hell, that used to sound so profound to me, but now it doesn’t come close to describing what I feel for you. I love to take you slowly and give you the tenderness I need to show you and that you deserve.”

His eyes glimmered with something so stark it took her breath away. “I love when we play. But there are times when I want more. I want primitive. Raw. I want to drive you insane with hunger and show you just how much I want you. How much I need you.I want you to feel that hunger.”

With a sigh, he clenched his hands so tightly on the back of the chair that his knuckles turned white. “The need to possess you, have complete control over you is so intense that I have to walk away. It’s not something you signed on for. It’s getting harder and harder to contain. But I’m scared of setting it free. If you saw that part of me, it would probably scare the hell out of you.”

Closing the distance between them, Charity lifted a hand to his chest. “Do you think I don’t see it? How can you be so blind? How can you not see how much that darker side of you excites me?”

Dropping her hand, she tugged her purse higher on her shoulder. “How can you expect me to settle for any less than all of you?”

“Charity, you have all of me.”

Dropping her hand, she shook her head sadly. “No, Beau. I don’t, and it’s creating distance between us. That’s what scares me.”

“There’s nothing to be scared of.”

“Well, I am. You’re already holding part of yourself back from me. Eventually, it’ll be more and more. I can’t live like this, Beau. You always say that I’m impatient. Maybe I am, but I feel like I’ve been patient for months, and you still pull away.”

In a move too fast to anticipate, Beau gripped the back of her neck and yanked her closer, his lips hovering over hers. “Charity—”

Charity waited, the feel of his warm breath against her lips, the look in his eyes unlike anything she’d ever seen before.

The intensity in his look both excited and scared her, a look she’d seen only glimpses of in the past but now appeared more frequently.

Recognizing it as a part of him, a dark hunger for more dying to break free, Charity realized how much of himself he’d kept hidden from her.

She held her breath as the look in his eyes sharpened even more, the hand at the back of her neck holding her close, her face lifted to his.

His eyes suddenly became shuttered, and releasing her, he stepped back. “I won’t keep you from your plans. I have things to do myself.”

Sucking in a breath at the pain his cool tone inflicted, Charity nodded, finding she had to swallow the lump in her throat before speaking. “I’m meeting Hope for lunch. I’ll see you later.”

She went outside, closing the door behind her before releasing the breath she’d been holding, feeling better now that everything was out in the open.

And the different ways it could play out really scared her.

Undercover Lover

(Erotically Yours 4)

Erotic Romance, BDSM, Contemporary, Romantic Suspense, MF, HEA

Carly Smith had given up on ever finding a man who could fulfill the fantasies that her last boyfriend had found silly and unbecoming.

The sudden appearance of Rick Swan changed everything.

A man with fantasies of his own who took her into a world of play and erotic pleasure.

Unknown danger surrounded them, and when a man dressed in black rescued her, she found herself comparing him to Rick.

Rick was a computer geek who traveled to help those who needed him, his work highly classified.

Horrified that she’d been kidnapped, he taught her what she needed to know how to protect herself.

With Rick out of town for work, Carly once again found herself in danger, but this time she was ready.

She escaped the immediate danger, but found herself in the position of needing to be rescued once again.

The man in black appeared again, but this time removed his mask, revealing features she knew all too well.


Dressed all in black, Rick slipped out the back door, keeping to the shadows as he made his way around the house, listening to the other men bragging about their conquests.

Every house around him, except the one he’d been watching, had been dark for more than an hour.

Pushing thoughts of the sexy blonde out of his mind, he crossed the yard to the tree in the middle of the yard, noting the two agency cars parked down the street on either side.

Although the bright streetlights made it harder to stay in the shadows, he stayed low and moved silently across the street to the back of the gunrunners’ van.

Scanning the area, he drew a tracking device from his pocket and reached under the van to put it into place.

Once he finished, he started back across the street, making it to the tree just as the four men he had under surveillance poured out the front door.

Stiffening, he watched them stagger toward the blonde’s house next door, his chest tightening as several scenarios played out in his head.

Irritated at the thought that she might be involved with them in some way, he watched in disbelief as they stood in front of her flowerbed and unzipped their pants.

He didn’t find it hard to believe that Chenkoff’s men could be that stupid, but glancing up at the window, he stiffened again when he saw something that made no sense at first.

When he realized what it was, he stiffened again with the urge to turn her over his knee.

The low illumination reflecting onto her face told him that while they pissed on her flowers, she stood there videotaping them.

The gunrunners Chenkoff hired had already proven themselves to be stupid, but Chenkoff didn’t hire people for their brains.

He hired them because they were violent and were willing to kill or torture on his orders.

Rick couldn’t bear to think about what the four men would do if they caught the blonde videotaping them and held his breath as they finished and rezipped their pants, his hopes that they would continue on dashed when one of them looked up at the window.

“Hey! That fucking bitch is taping us!”

Rick barely bit back a groan when the sexy vixen threw open the front door and stormed out, her bare legs visible beneath the short robe.

“Yeah! I recorded you pissing on my flowers! Again! Don’t you have a bathroom over there?”

Rick had already tucked his earpiece away, covered the gun at his waistband with his sweater, and crossed to the sidewalk in front of her house by the time she’d finished, using the distraction to get closer to her.

“Give me that phone, you fucking bitch!”

One of the men leapt forward, but Rick was faster, pressing his leg against the back of the other man’s knees as he reached for the long-legged blonde standing on the top step.

Rick ignored the drunken man he’d knocked down, hiding a smile at the other man’s groan when he hit his face against the top step. “I warned you what would happen the next time I saw you with another man.”

The blonde blinked, her jaw dropping. “What?”

Before she could say something to put herself in even more danger, he covered her mouth with his, immediately deepening his kiss while remaining alert to the four gunrunners staring up at them.

Alert for a threat from Chenkoff’s men, Rick hadn’t anticipated the danger wrapped in his arms.

She met his kiss with resistance and then a passion he didn’t expect, her soft body pliable and warm against his.

The scent of her filled his senses, momentarily distracting him when he couldn’t afford to be distracted.

To punish her for making him lose his head, however briefly, and giving him the control he needed, he slid the hand hidden from view higher, using his thumb to caress her beaded nipple.

Her soft moan went straight to his cock, and irritated that the four men heard her soft moan of pleasure, he lifted his head, keeping her body between hers and theirs.

He turned her and slapped her ass. “Get inside. You and I have some things to discuss.”

She gasped but went inside, slamming the door behind her. “I’m calling the cops.”

Turning, he faced Chenkoff’s men, unsurprised when the one who appeared to be the leader pulled out a gun.

Pushing his straggling and dirty hair out of his face, the gunrunner pointed the gun at Rick’s chest. “Get out of my way. I want that phone.”

Rick smiled faintly at the thought of dealing with the other man in the near future, ready to pull his own gun. “Put that away before I shoot you with it. Don’t try my patience. I have a woman to deal with, and if you were smart, you’d go back to whatever rock you crawled out from. I want to deal with her before she has a chance to call the cops because then I’ll have to wait.”

He narrowed his gaze. “Waiting to discipline my woman pisses me off.”

The gunrunner blinked his surprise at Rick’s claim, and seemed to understand and respect Rick’s need to deal with his woman. The other man grinned, nodding in agreement. “I can understand that. Good luck, man. Smackin’ ’em around is the only way to deal with some of these broads. The only reason we pissed on her flowers is because she gave us shit the other day for throwing our trash out with hers.”

His smile fell, and tucking his gun away, he inclined his head toward the house. “Tell her if she calls the cops, we’ll rip her flowers out and give her a beatin’ she won’t forget.”

Hotel Desire

(Desire, Oklahoma 15)

Erotic Romance, Contemporary, Small Town, Menage, MFM, HEA

Ethan Sullivan and Brandon Weston always dreamed of sharing a woman, but a past relationship made them rethink their decision.

Until Nicole Dixon moves to Desire.

Ethan falls for her almost immediately, and when he sees the chemistry between Nikki and Brandon, he knows he’s found the woman they’ve both been looking for.

Not believing a menage relationship can work, Nikki fights her attraction to Brandon, but the chemistry between them won’t be denied.

Her accident raises the stakes, showing them just what she means to them.

Nikki hadn’t thought it possible to love two men at the same time, but with Brandon and Ethan, it proves inevitable.

Worried that it can’t last, she doesn’t want to admit, even to herself, that she’s fallen in love with both of them.

But facing death, she can’t hold back any longer.


Nikki watched Brandon go, fighting to hide her disappointment.

She’d enjoyed talking to Brandon.

She’d enjoyed his presence in a way she hadn’t expected to.

Besides the fact that he was drop-dead gorgeous, the chemistry between them kept her off-kilter.

She turned to Ethan, curious to see that he also watched Brandon’s exit. “Is something wrong?”

Turning his attention back to her, Ethan smiled and reached for her hand. “No.” He kissed her fingers and gestured toward the approaching waiter. “Gabriel is bringing the dessert cart. I can’t wait to find another of your weaknesses.”

Nikki blinked, her stomach fluttering at his playful smile. “Another one? What kind of weakness do you think you’ve found?”

Ethan smiled again, his eyes twinkling. “Choose your dessert.”

She eyed the cart, her mouth watering. “It all looks so good.”

The chocolate cake and mousse drew her attention, but she determinedly looked away. Crème brulee. Cheesecake. Cannoli. Strawberry shortcake. Carrot cake. They all drew her attention, but she settled on a slice of layered coconut cake, something she hadn’t had in a long time.

Ethan smiled. “Good. It’s from the local bakery. It’s occasionally served at the diner.”

“Good to know.” Aware of his interest, Nikki took a bite of her coconut cake, moaning at the burst of flavor as the cake nearly melted in her mouth. “Good Lord. This is incredible. Aren’t you having dessert?”

Ethan’s lips twitched. “I prefer my sweets in another form.”

A warm rush flowed through her at the meaningful look in his eyes as his gaze raked over her. “You’re a flirt, but I think it’s only fair to tell you that I have no interest in becoming involved with anyone.”

His eyes narrowed slightly and glimmered with something darkly erotic. “And I think it’s only fair to tell you that I plan to change your mind.”

Nikki’s breath caught. “I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

“I do.” Ethan reached out to run his fingertip over the back of her hand. “We’re adults, Nicole. You’re not going to try to deny the chemistry between us, are you?”

With a shrug, Nikki scooped another bite of her cake. “Just because you make my stomach flutter doesn’t mean I should sleep with you.”

Grinning, he leaned closer. “I make your stomach flutter, huh? How about the rest?”

Enjoying their flirting, Nikki held the bite of cake to her mouth. “The rest of what? I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

Ethan’s eyes flared, the challenge in them unmistakable. “Let’s start with the fact that your breath hitched when I first touched you. Your nipples beaded when I spoke to you after Hope and Charity left.”

Surprised that he’d noticed, Nikki hid a smile as she ate another bite of cake. “The first was surprise, and the second was air-conditioning.”

His eyes narrowed on hers. “Interesting.”

“What’s interesting?”

“The fact that you’re daring me to show you.” He took her hand in his and leaned closer. “When I kissed you, you melted against me. You want me as much as I want you. I think that’s something worth exploring.”

Setting her fork aside, Nikki leaned toward him until they were close enough for her to see the flecks of gold in his green eyes. “I’m not in the habit of sleeping with men I barely know. We only met this afternoon.”

Ethan shrugged. “I just thought it fair to state my intentions.”

Nikki ran a tine of her fork along a strand of coconut, the butterflies in her stomach making her hesitant to try to eat more. “I guess we could see each other.”

He smiled again, a smile that held both promise and playfulness. “I’m going to hold you to that. There’s dancing in the lounge. Would you like to go?”

Sitting back, Nikki grinned. “I might as well go now. Once the diner reopens and I’m on my feet all day again, I won’t be doing a lot of dancing.”

“Then we should take advantage of it now.”

She walked through the lobby with him to a closed door with a man standing outside, who came to attention when he saw Ethan and rushed to open the door for him.

With an arm around her, Ethan guided her inside and to the dance floor. “I’ve been looking forward to holding you again all through dinner.”

Surprised to see Charity on the dance floor, held in the loving arms of her husband, Beau, Nikki scanned the lounge.

Intimate horseshoe-shaped booths took up three walls, while the band and bar took up the other.

The booths had high backs, effectively creating a barrier between them, creating an intimacy, heightened by the low lighting.

The large dance floor, bordered by built-in low lights, held several couples of all ages, who danced to the slow music the band played.

Ethan guided her to a deserted corner of the dance floor and took her into his arms, a warm hand at her back guiding her steps while holding her other hand enfolded in his. “I want you.”

Dakota Dawn

(Dakota Heat 7)

Erotic Romance, Contemporary, Menage, Cowboys, MFM, HEA

Dawn Hopkins has been beaten by her husband for the last time. She waits for him to go to work and sets her plan in motion.

She hadn’t planned to run into one of her husband’s employers, Ben Parson. Her attraction to him and his brother, Gabe, and the feeling of safety whenever they are near, along with their anger at her bruises, leaves her more than a little unsettled and anxious to get out of town.

Before she can leave, her husband collapses and is rushed to the hospital. With a small son to raise, Ben and Gabe became her anchors. Even more so when her husband commits suicide, almost taking her son with him.

Patiently showing her that they can be counted on, they protect her from danger, and slowly, steadily convince her of their love.


Gabe Parson stepped into the grocery store in town, automatically searching for any sign of Dawn Hopkins.

She was married to one of his ranch hands, and he had no business lusting after her, but he couldn’t help it.

Both he and his older brother, Ben, had felt the chemistry with her at their first meeting, and no amount of bedding other women or avoiding her lessened his hunger for her.

In fact, it made it worse, especially since she was married to a drunk who felt it was his right to take his failures in life out on his petite wife.

Ignoring the attention he drew, he made his way past the register and to the office counter, disappointed that he didn’t see Dawn.

He and Ben, were used to drawing attention, their size and the fact that they owned the third largest ranch in South Dakota seemed to interest people, and they’d long ago learned to ignore it or use it to their advantage, whichever happened to suit the situation.

The manager, Sally Johnson, came forward with a frown. “She left about ten minutes ago. Bought a gallon of milk, loaf of bread, and a dozen eggs. She also bought another bottle of ibuprofen.”

Gabe clenched his jaw. “Any new bruises?”

Sally snorted. “She wears long sleeves year ’round, so my guess is that she always has bruises. Had that worn jacket on and was shiverin’ like crazy. It’s too damned cold out for that poor excuse for a coat. As usual, she had a smile for everyone, despite the fact that her lip was split.”

Fisting a hand on the counter, Gabe inclined his head. “I’ll take care of it. What do we owe you?”

Sally gave him a figure and, while he counted out bills, leaned forward. “And how are you doin’? I saw you at the dance with Brenda Swanson Saturday night. She was eatin’ you up with her eyes.”

Gabe allowed a small smile as he handed the money to her, while inside a familiar frustration ate at him that he hadn’t gotten to Dawn first. “She’s a nice woman.”

Sally stuck the money into the register and handed him a receipt. “Judging by the dress she wore, she wasn’t goin’ for nice.”

Another one of the locals approached the counter, a widower who’d been hitting on Sally for almost a year. “Hey, Sally.”

Sally blushed and straightened. “Hey, Henry. How’s it goin’?”

“Pretty good. Hey, Gabe. How are you? How’s your brother?”

Gabe tucked the receipt away and offered a smile as he turned. “We’re both good. You?”

“I’m fine, thanks.” He glanced at Sally before holding out a hand toward Gabe. “I was over at the sports store to buy myself a new reel for my fishing pole. Surprised to see Dawn Hopkins there. She was so cold she was shivering. Limping, too.”

Gabe stiffened, unsurprised that Henry would know the information would interest him and furious at what he was learning.

Everybody around town knew that he and Ben looked out for her.

With a shrug, Gabe narrowed his gaze. “Probably buying something for John.”

She doted on her son and appeared to do her best to protect him from the truth about his father.

Henry frowned. “I don’t think so. She bought a baseball bat. Nothing else. No glove. No baseball. As far as I know, John doesn’t play baseball and the middle of fall seems like a strange time to be buying a boy in South Dakota a baseball bat to play with.”

Sally smiled, but Gabe couldn’t miss the concern in her eyes. “Good for her. It’s about time she decided to fight back.”

Gabe grimaced. “She’s fought back before. I’ve seen the bruises on Jeff. It sounds like she’s upping her game.”

Henry grimaced. “Hell, I don’t like the sound of that. He’ll kill her for sure.”

Gabe hid the rage and fear inside him. “No. He won’t.”

He made the ride back to the ranch in record time, the tires of his pickup squealing as he turned onto the long driveway.

He brought the truck to a halt and jumped out, slamming the door behind him.

Ranch hands scattered to get out of his way as he strode across the yard to Jeff Hopkins, his fists clenched at his sides.

Backing up until he pressed against the post and rail fence, Jeff loosened his hands at his sides in an apparent attempt to appear unafraid. “Mr. Parson? What’s wrong?”

Gabe didn’t stop until he stood toe-to-toe with Jeff and bent to get in his face. Keeping his voice low, he let his rage show. “If I see your wife with another bruise, I’ll tear you apart. Understood?”

Jeff swallowed heavily but lifted his chin in defiance. “I don’t know—”

“Don’t tell me you don’t know what the hell I’m talking about.” Gabe wanted nothing more than to grab the other man by the throat but didn’t trust himself not to beat Jeff to a bloody pulp. “If you do, or if you hurt her again, I’m gonna show you what it feels like to be beaten by someone larger and a hell of a lot stronger than you.”

Straightening, he took a step back. “The only reason you still have a job here is because I don’t want to take away your ability to provide for them, but if she’s ever looking for a place to stay, I’m gonna make sure she has one, and then you’re gone.”

Jeff glanced around, puffing his chest out when he saw that, although the other men didn’t approach, they watched the scene play out. “My wife is none of your business.”

“If any man beats on a woman, I make it my business.”

Submission to Desire: For Their Love of Brenna

(More Desire, Oklahoma 7)

Contemporary, Menage, BDSM, MFM, HEA

Royce Harley and King Taylor loved their wife’s playfulness, especially in the playroom, but had begun to sense a desperation in her submission that worried them.

They realized her need to play was her way of reassuring herself that they wanted her and not the submissives that visited the club they ran.

Anxious to reassure her, they changed tactics, desperate to establish the intimacy the three of them so desperately needed.

The flood of emotions pouring from her had them falling in love with her all over again, their tenderness getting through to her when nothing else could.

Happier than ever, they didn’t realize that the biggest threat to Brenna didn’t come from the submissives, but from a Dominant with an axe to grind.

They’d taken his submissive from him, so he would take theirs.

And since they loved her, the pain he inflicted would be even worse.


Brenna Harley-Taylor looked up from her dinner, eyeing her two husbands, who both smiled back at her. “You know, sometimes I still have trouble believing that I’m married to both of you.”

Royce Harley could have made a fortune as a model, his lean muscular physique, shoulder-length curly black hair, and a face that appeared to have been carved by the gods themselves made him so good-looking that his loving smile still had the ability to make her heart beat faster.

King, on the other hand, had more masculine features and could chill with a glance.

He wore his dark blond hair short in a military-style cut and had a body covered with corded muscle.

Both stood much taller than her, were sexy as hell, and made her feel deliciously feminine.

Royce reached out to run his finger over the emerald stone attached to the collar she wore, one that matched the stones in her wedding band, his eyes dancing with amusement. “I would think you’d be well adjusted to that fact by now.”

King raised a brow, his lips curled. “It’s a lesson I don’t mind repeating. Does this have anything to do with the bag you brought home with you from the lingerie store?”

Smiling, Brenna slid a hand from the stone on her choker downward, following the material of her low-cut dress to the curve of her breast, amused and aroused that both Royce and King followed the movement with their eyes. “It’s supposed to be a surprise. Do you always have to know everything?”

King smiled faintly and took a sip of his beer. “Concerning you? Absolutely. So what’s our surprise?”

Smiling and already aroused at the thought of their reaction to her purchase, Brenna reached for her wine. “You surprise me all the time. This time, I want to surprise you.”

Sitting back, she slid her foot from her high-heeled shoe and ran her toes up King’s leg. “You’re going to be busy tomorrow and tomorrow night with the auction. I see how eager they are to get one or both of you for themselves.”

King frowned and reached down to caress her ankle. “You don’t really think we’re interested in anyone but you, do you?”

Brenna shrugged, hating that she couldn’t help but doubt her ability to hang on to two such amazing men. “I know how much you like variety. When you’re surrounded by all those naked women, I want you to remember that you have a wife upstairs who’s more than willing to satisfy those decadent hungers.”

Royce smiled, raising a dark brow. “Decadent hunger? Is that what you call it?”

His eyes glittered with amusement and heat, his long hair loose now, the curls touching his shoulders, but it would be tied back when he walked into the playroom.

Brenna smiled when King caught her foot and lifted it to his lap. Turning to him, she wiggled her toes. “What would you call it?”

Leaning closer, Royce ran a fingertip over the back of her hand and down to her wedding band. “I call it love and lust for my incredibly sexy wife, with whom I get plenty of variety.”

She pouted, aware that both of her husbands’ gazes settled on her bottom lip. “Do you still feel that way? Maybe you’re getting bored with me.”

King took her foot and pressed it against his erection. “Never. I knew we should have gotten a privacy booth.”

Royce shrugged. “They were booked. Besides, our little sub is too loud when she comes to take her here.”

King smiled and ran his hand up her leg, running his fingertips over her silk stocking and to the spot at the back of her knee that drove her crazy. “Even when we gag her. Do you want dessert, Red?”

Brenna giggled, her pussy clenching. “I don’t think what I have on under this dress is going to allow that.”

Royce sat forward, his eyes narrowed, the look of a Dominant. “What do you have on under there?”

Brenna smiled. “I know how much you like dressing me in black.”

King’s eyes narrowed. “You’re wearing black under that dress? Black what?”

She’d bought a leather corset with cutouts at her breasts, slit, and bottom, trimmed in the lace that matched the top of her stockings.

Unable to stop smiling, she pulled her leg from King’s grasp and straightened, reaching for her wine again. “A little leather. A little lace.”

Royce lifted his hand for the check, his eyes raking over her. “Your bag was from the lingerie shop.”

Brenna ran her fingertip over the rim of her glass. “I stuck the bag from Logan’s Leathers inside.”

King’s eyes narrowed dangerously. “We take you to Logan’s store ourselves.”

Amused, Brenna sipped her wine again. “You don’t have to worry about him measuring me. He has all of my measurements on file.”

Reaching out, she ran her fingertips up his arm. “Besides, the places you don’t want him to measure are cut out.”

A Dominant’s Love

(Rapture Island 5)

Contemporary, BDSM, MF, HEA

Jennifer Monroe feared her life would change when the chain of stores where she worked sold, but nothing could have prepared her for the change the new owner, David Shaw would bring to her life.

Intrigued by the prospect of running a small private island boutique, one that catered to Dominants and submissives, she argued against his objections and begged to go.

A one-day trip to Rapture Island with David changed everything, the passion of submitting to him teaching her things about herself she could never have imagined.

But the danger she hadn’t seen coming ruined everything, David’s rage and guilt at not protecting her destroying what they’d begun to build.

He watched over her, but couldn’t touch her, so she made the only assumption she could.

He no longer wanted her.

Leaving him, she headed home.

But David wasn’t about to let the woman he loved just walk away and would do whatever it took to win her back.


Jennifer straightened, the hairs on the back of her neck standing on edge.

Turning, she sucked in a breath, her heart beating nearly out of her chest.

Raw power.

Directly in front of her, not more than eight feet away, stood the handsomest and most riveting man she’d ever seen in her life.

The man standing in front of her was handsome as the devil himself, wearing an impeccable dark designer suit, a gleaming watch that had to have cost a fortune.

The aura of power and raw sexuality surrounding him stole her breath.

He watched her steadily, his gaze sharpening as it raked over her, his sharp gaze leaving a trail of heat and awareness in its wake.

Sophisticated with a primitive edge.

A dangerous combination.

He had to be several inches over six feet tall and had incredibly wide shoulders that she could see had nothing to do with padding, but it wasn’t his size that made him appear powerful.

The power came from his dark, glittering eyes.

They glimmered with intelligence and amusement, his lips twitching slightly as if knowing the effect he had on her.

Stepping aside, he gestured for her to precede him, her new boss apparently curious about how she would handle it.

A test.

Not about to show weakness, she lifted her chin and started past him, unnerved at the warm, tingling awareness that came over her at his closeness.

He watched her as she passed, his eyes sharp as if once again knowing his effect on her.

Determined to ignore him, she hurried her steps, alarmed when he walked beside her. “Nice catch.”

Jennifer swallowed again. “Thank you.”

“Perhaps I should introduce myself. My name is David Shaw.”

Jennifer continued toward the elevator. “I know.”

David Shaw owned Shaw Enterprises, a conglomerate comprised of everything from shoes to software.

He dated heiresses and movie stars, but he never seemed to stay with a woman for more than a few dates, leaving tabloids continuously speculating about his love life.

And of course, her new boss would have to arrive just as she found herself dealing with an employee stealing from the store he’d just purchased.

He followed her into the elevator, his silence ominous.

Feeling his gaze, she glanced at him before staring straight ahead again. “Would you mind if I handle this before our meeting?”

“I insist.”

The low silkiness in his voice sent a wave of heat through her, her hormones getting the best of her as she imagined him speaking in the darkness to a lover.

The elevator felt smaller than usual, the awareness encompassing every inch of her body making it nearly impossible to focus on the task at hand.

“Have I done something to offend you?”

Jennifer stared at the numbers above, wondering why she’d never noticed that it took so long to go up one floor. “No. Of course not.”

The door opened, and she hurried out, heading down the hallway to her office. Sharing a look with her assistant, she ignored her Elise’s look of shock and then appreciation when her gaze went to David Shaw.

“Elise, Karen Scott was working the makeup counter and slipped her friend a ninety-dollar lipstick. She’s on her way up. Security has her friend and will be bringing her up, as well. Get the police here. I want to press charges and ban both of them from the store. Arrange for Karen’s paycheck to be sent to her.”

Intensely aware of her new boss’ presence, Jennifer paused. “This is Mr. Shaw. Mr. Shaw, Elise Mosley, my assistant. We’ll be in my office.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Once in her office, Jennifer moved away from the door, watching as Mr. Shaw came in and closed the door behind him. Clasping her hands in front of her, she watched David Shaw walk around her small, windowless office, grimacing as he scanned his surroundings.

“Do you like working here?”

Jennifer swallowed heavily. “Yes.”

Hooking a thigh over the corner of her desk, David studied her features. “You’ve been working for Lumiere a long time. You started while you were still in high school and managed to earn a degree while working full time here.”

Jennifer smiled. “It was worth it.”

His dark brow went up again. “The only picture on your desk is of your parents. I take it this job has cost you when it comes to your social life.”

“My social life is none of your business.”

His lips twitched again, and he slowly rose to his feet, her small office making it impossible to move away without appearing afraid. “I read the reports on Lumiere’s managers. You intrigue me.”

Jennifer blinked, surprised at that. “I do? Why?”

“I’m not quite sure.” His lips twisted as if the admission irritated him. “I thought if I met you, I would understand you better, but meeting you has only left me more curious about you.”

“Do you usually begin your interviews this way?”

His eyes narrowed, his gaze speculative. “Not until now.”

Running a damp hand down her thigh, she shrugged and moved to the small refrigerator on the other side of her office. “There’s nothing mysterious about me.”

She reached in for a bottle of water, silently offering it to him.

He waved a hand, refusing it. “Hmm. We’ll see. Have you started looking for another job yet?”

Opening the bottle, she took a small sip before answering, her stomach muscles tightening painfully at the suspicion that she was about to be fired. “Yes. When I found out about the sale, I started sending out my resume. I’ve got several interviews scheduled already.”

His expression softened. “Before you accept another offer, I’d like to present my own. Over dinner.”

She took another sip of her water before recapping it, struggling to hide her surprise. “I heard from the other managers. Everyone’s scared of losing their jobs.”

David’s lips twisted. “They should be. I’ll pick you up at seven thirty.”

Second Chance at Desire

(Desire, Oklahoma 14)

Menage Everlasting: Contemporary, Menage, Romantic Suspense, Small Town, M/F/M/M, HEA

Dispatcher, Talia Armstrong wanted Marshall, Joe and Carter Garrison almost as soon as they started working as deputies in Desire, but they’d spent months avoiding her, the guilt of their past preventing them from searching for happiness.

She liked them.

They were sexy as hell.

And she was tired of being alone.

She’s counted on passion, but not the intimacy.

When the stalker from her past returned, she brushed it off, but soon found she was fighting for her life.

The threat came from her lovers’ past, a past that left them filled with a guilt they didn’t deserve.

Loving them, she couldn’t handle being another unwanted responsibility.

Knowing her fears, they vowed to be patient.

No longer feeling guilty, they felt nothing but rage for the woman who’d cost them so much, and love and fear for the woman who’d brought happiness into their lives.

And love for her and the child she carried.


Marshall parked and got out, the music coming from inside the bar and the number of cars parked outside reminding him that it was ladies’ night.

He walked through the front door, finding the place as crowded as he’d expected and, to his shock, the woman he couldn’t stop thinking about.

Wearing a light blue dress and a pair of cowboy boots, with her long hair loose, she drew him like a beacon.

Stiffening at the sight of the man lowering himself onto the bar stool next to her, Marshall started forward, his stomach tightening with anger.

John Dalton, one of the owners of the bar, approached her with what appeared to be a glass of whiskey, his lips twitching when he saw Marshall. He set the glass in front of her, looking slightly relieved. “Hello, Marshall. Beer?”

Inclining his head, Marshall moved to stand behind the man sitting next to Talia. “You’re in my seat. Beat it.”

The other man, one he didn’t recognize, stiffened and turned to look up at Marshall over his shoulder, his features tight with anger.

One look at Marshall seemed to change his mind, the anger being replaced with deference.

Grabbing his hat, he slid from the stool without a word and went to join the crowd.

Looking around with fresh eyes, Marshall saw that Talia had gained the attention of several men in the bar, attention she didn’t appear to notice as she sat watching John, Michael, and one of their newest bartenders fixing drinks.

The wave of possessiveness staggered him, the idea of another man touching her filling him with a jealousy and anger he had no right to feel.

Pushing it aside, he lowered himself to the bar stool next to her, pleased that it put him in the position of being between her and everyone else.

John slid a mug of beer down the bar to him. “How’s it going, Marshall?”

Marshall set his hat on the bar and glanced at Talia, irritated that, after all the times she’d flirted with him, she wouldn’t look at him. “That remains to be seen.” Eyeing the shot of whiskey and mug of beer in front of Talia, Marshall leaned toward her, speaking just loud enough to be heard over the music. “Who’s your friend?”

Talia shrugged and took a sip of her beer, staring straight ahead. “He said his name was Bob. When you were a U.S. Marshal, did they call you Marshal Marshall?”

“Cute. No. Not if they wanted to keep their teeth.” Looking up, he met John’s gaze. “How many shots has she had?”

Talia reached for a pretzel. “None of your business.”

John smiled and refilled the pretzel and peanut bowls. “That’s her second.” Raising his voice to be heard over the music and conversation, he smiled at Marshall. “She walked here so she won’t be driving drunk. I think almost every man in here has had a turn on that stool tonight offering to give her a ride home.”

Talia tossed back her whiskey with barely a grimace, pushing the glass forward in a silent request for a refill before reaching for another pretzel. “Jeez, John. Why don’t you tell him my life story?”

John glanced at the glass with a frown. “Just telling Marshall that he doesn’t have to worry about you driving drunk. You’re sure in a mood tonight, aren’t you?”

Talia finished her pretzel and wrapped her hand around the handle of her beer mug. “I’m fine, John. It’s Friday night. The drinks are cheap, and I can sleep in tomorrow morning.”

Closing her eyes, she blew out a breath. “Shit. No, I can’t.”

Marshall reached for a handful of peanuts. “Problem?”

She glanced at her watch and took another sip of beer, meeting John’s gaze and gesturing toward her shot glass. “No. John, can I have one more?”

Marshall’s palms itched to connect with her well-rounded ass, a phenomenon that had never happened with Emily. “Don’t you think you’ve had enough?”

Her lips twitched as she reached for another pretzel. “If I thought that, I wouldn’t have ordered another.”

He reached for a couple of the pretzels, inadvertently brushing his hand against hers. “Any particular reason you felt the need to drink tonight?”

She yanked her hand back, proof that she’d felt the jolt of awareness as strongly as he had. She took another sip of beer and smiled her thanks when John came over to refill her glass again. “If I felt the need to drink, I wouldn’t be here. I just wanted a distraction.”

“Oh?” He couldn’t help but wonder if her conversations with Joe and Carter had anything to do with her mood. “Want to talk about it?”

Talia tossed back her whiskey and finished her beer. “No.” Sliding from the stool, she reached into her pocket. “Hold on to your hat, Deputy. As soon as I leave, the women who’ve been watching you ever since you came through the door are gonna be all over you.”

Reaching out, he wrapped a hand around her forearm, unable to resist touching her again. “I’ve got your tab.”

Tossing bills on the bar, Talia laughed and jerked away from him. “No thanks. Men only buy drinks for women if they’re expecting something in return. You’ve already made it clear that you don’t want anything from me. Happy hunting.”

Stunned that the woman who’d flirted shamelessly with him for the last several months would walk away from him without a backward glance, Marshall cursed at the realization that he and his brothers’ distance had already hurt her. Getting to his feet, he threw several more bills on the bar.

John approached, raising a brow. “You going after her?”

“Damned right I’m going after her.”

John inclined his head and smiled. “It’s about damned time.”