Welcome AC Katt!

 

 

 

Jack Romano is a policeman who has just killed in man in the line of duty. As if this wasn’t bad enough, he found out that his bemoaned first love’s wife has died in childbirth and his ex-lover killed himself leaving the sickly newborn to Jack. Carlo Del Monte who has been chasing Jack for nine months uses Bella as an opportunity to get Jack in his house as well as his bed. The two of them set up housekeeping with the help of the Soccer team, their partners and Carlo’s big Italian family then tragedy strikes, little Bella gets the measles.


 

 

 


Excerpt
Prologue
 Four Years Ago
“Beau, get your lazy ass out of bed. I have the afternoon off.” Jack Romano went to the fridge and grabbed a beer and with a smile in his voice he continued, “Unless, of course, that’s where you’d like us to spend our afternoon… Beau? Where are you? Beau?” 
Jack walked back to the bedroom of his and Beau’s apartment following the sound of voices. Figuring it was one of the soccer team, Jack walked through the door and glanced around looking for his man. He found him. Beau was fucking Meredith Simmons in their bed.
“I’m sorry that you had to find out like this, Jack. I’ve been trying to tell you, but…” Beau got out of bed and started to dress.
“Tell me what? What is this?” Jack’s voice broke. “This is a mistake. You’re gay. We’ve been together since high school.”
“Meredith, get dressed. We’ll be in the living room. Finish your beer, Jack.”
“No, I don’t want to fucking finish my beer. I want to know what’s going on.”
“It’s pretty straight forward, I’m in love with Meredith and I’m going to marry her.”
“Honey, I’m leaving so you can get this mess straightened out. Don’t let him corrupt you again.”
Meredith let herself out, the door closing quietly behind her.
 “How long?” Jack asked needing to know.
“Six months, maybe more.”
“But we made love yesterday.”
“We fucked yesterday. Let’s get down to business. Meredith and I would like this apartment so we’d appreciate it if you found somewhere else to live.”
“No fucking way…it’s my name on the lease, and you’re the one who’s leaving.”
“You’ll be sorry you’re doing this. I was planning on seeing you on the side once Meredith and I are married. You know I love you but I can’t get ahead at work being a fag, I need a wife.”
“No, you’re wrong. Gays are accepted everywhere. Please, we can work this out.”
“We can’t. I won’t put my future in jeopardy.”
“You’re gay. You aren’t going to change that.”
“Actually, I’m bi.” Beau came up to put his arms around Jack. “You love me. We’ll talk about all of this when I get back.” 
Jack broke Beau’s hold and with tears streaming down his cheeks said, “Get the hell out of my apartment. You can move out tomorrow. I’ll sort out your things tonight.”
“You can’t do that.”
“As I said, my name is on the lease. Get the fuck out. You’re leaving me.”
“Jack, be reasonable, we can be together when I come home from the honeymoon. We’ll have to sneak around but—”
 “Do you really think I’m capable of that? Helping you cheat? No, just no.”
“You’ll change your mind when I come home. I’ll be back.”
“Get the fuck out, get out of here, right now.” Jack’s voice broke again. 
Beau slammed the door on his way out. Jack sat down on the sofa that he and Beau picked out for the living room seven months ago, put his head in his hands and wept.
“Beau, Beau, how can I live without you? But I can’t be with you as long as you’re with her.”
 
***
 
Bobby and Keith’s House
 
Thursday in June, Four Years Later
 

Eight in the Morning

 

Jack was distraught when he came back to Bobby’s. Carlo was with him. “They’re not doing anything to you because you shot Billy are they?” Reggie asked obviously worried. Reggie and Mark were staying with Bobby because of the fire.

“No, but any officer-involved shooting requires a hearing. The captain already called it a good shoot. The rest of the procedure is all technicalities…” Jack still had storm clouds over his face. He and Carlo sat down at the kitchen table and Marla poured them some coffee. Jack appeared dumbstruck. 

He finally blurted out, “Meredith died in childbirth three days ago.” Jack’s voice broke. “She had a little girl. Beau killed himself yesterday and left custody of the infant to me in a new will he made after Meredith died. They tried to contact me yesterday, but I was busy with the Billy business. I have to go sign paperwork at Social Services if I accept custody. No one has been there for the baby for three days.
Carlo’s going with me to identify Beau at the morgue.” 
“Why do you have to identify him?” Bobby was incensed.
“There isn’t anyone else.” Jack’s shoulders shook.
“I have to go see her at the hospital if I accept custody. There is no family. If I don’t take her, she’ll go into the foster system. I have to make up my mind right away.”
“What?” Bobby screeched in anger.
“You heard me. Carlo came to my apartment when he heard about the shooting. He’s going to help me with the legal mess. I’ll take that security job with you, Keith, if the offer is still open. Now that I’m going to have a child, I need steady work that doesn’t require me to place my life on the line.”
“Of course the offer is still open.” Bobby put his arm around Jack. “Are you okay?”
“I haven’t had time to think about it. They’re holding a note for me from Beau at his lawyer’s office.”
“Do you need any baby things? I have Kitty’s things, although they’re not the best quality,” Jason offered.
 

“I have to get some stuff from their apartment. Meredith probably bought things for the baby. I’ll need to purchase a house. My apartment has only one bedroom.” Jack’s face scrunched up in worry.

“Do you need money?” Reggie asked.
“I don’t know Reg. I promise I’ll let you know.”
“The two bedroom across the street from us is for sale. It’s small, but there is plenty of property if you want to expand later,” Jason said. “Stella is going into Assisted Living.”
“I might be interested. Carlo needs to look at Beau’s finances. I’m going to visit her at the hospital now. They’re keeping her for a while, she’s underweight.”

“How much underweight?” Bobby asked. 

“She weighs only three pounds even though she was full term. Although she’s finally breathing on her own and just started sucking the bottle, they told me she can’t go home yet. Meredith wasn’t eating much. She
wanted to keep her figure,” Jack said, the disgust plain on his face.

Bobby’s jaw dropped. “What a bitch.”
“Carlo’s coming with me. The Billy mess is cleaned up, now I have one of my own.”
Bobby reached out and touched Jack’s arm. “You don’t have to take her. An infant girl is greatly prized on the adoption market. She’d get a
home quickly.”
“I have to keep her. She’s all I have left of Beau. I’ve got to go,” Jack choked on a sob. He left with Carlo and the door closed behind
them.
“Goddamn Beau, he’s sabotaging Jack’s relationships from the grave,” Jason cursed.
“It’s clear that he’s not going to change his mind about keeping her. Carlo was doing more than a flyby here. I wonder how he feels
about this.” Keith poured more coffee.
“Not you, baby, you’re on medication, remember, Greg said limit your caffeine,” Reggie told Mark.
“Have juice with Bobby. He’s on meds too.”
“We’ll all have to help him do this. The little girl is an innocent, she can’t help that her father was a lying, cheating, son of a bitch,” Bobby said eyes moving from Jason to Reggie.
 

“It isn’t like we haven’t taken care of little girls before, we have Kitty-cat. As far as Carlo is concerned, he was interested. We’ll find out how invested he is now. Let’s see how this all plays out.” Reggie moved to the
sofa and sat down in a huff.

Bobby lifted his juice. “A toast to Billy’s fortunate demise. As for Beau, may he rest in peace, if that’s possible for a liar and a cheat whose only good deed was offing himself?”
“Here, here…” They men clinked their coffee cups and glasses.
“We’ll know more about what Jack wants to do once he and Carlo take care of the legalities,” Keith observed.
“I don’t know about you, but to me it looked like Carlo was all in,” Zach noted.
Jason’s face was rife with speculation. “I believe you’re right.”

 

 

 

 

 

 
About the Author: 

AC Katt was born in New York City’s Greenwich Village. €She remembers sitting at
the fountain in Washington Square Park listening to folk music while they
passed the hat. At nine, her parents dragged her to New Jersey where she grew
up, married and raised four children and became a voracious reader of romantic
fiction. €At one time she owned over two thousand novels, until she and her
husband took themselves and the cat to New Mexico for their health and its
great beauty.

Now, most of AC’s books are electronic (although she still keeps six bookcases
of hardcovers), so she never has to give away another book.

She hangs out at ACKatt.com; or ackattsjournal.com. This is a very opinionated
kitty and at ackatt.com where you may find snippets of her current releases, as
well as some from works in progress. She also puts out a Newsletter once a
month. You can sign up at ackatt@ackatt.com.

 

 

 

Waiting For Mark (Book 3)

 

 

Throwback Thursday!

destiny

Amazon |Extasy | B&N | ARe

Liang wakes up and discovers breaking the curse had separated him far from the others. The bad news is another dragon has captured him, the good news is he found his mate.

Proteus couldn’t believe he found his mate. Unfortunately circumstances make it impossible for him to go with Liang and it breaks his heart when his mate goes on without him.

Aden has been struggling to keep everyone safe. With the evil against him mounting and the number of people he needs to protect increasing, will he be able to live up to his destiny and become the leader the dragons need or will evil triumph against him?

 

Excerpt:

Liang waited for several minutes before he dared to turn his head. Gone. No one else remained except for Liang and the sea creature, or at least nothing else in the dome.

He needed to get out of there and find his friends. He pondered his choices as the sea beast floated a slow trek across its aquarium. The king hadn’t shown any interest in the aquarium creature, but he must keep it for some reason.

“Hello, little guy,” he called out.

“You need to escape before Bingwen returns.”

The words spilled across his mind in a soft, intimate invasion. The creature had a male voice with a silky, seductive tone that had Liang’s body awakening for the first time since his petrification.

“I can’t get out of the cage. What are you?” Maybe he hadn’t asked in the most elegant fashion, but he needed to keep the conversation going in order to hear that voice again. Whatever compulsion he felt had nothing to do with spells and sorcerers.

“I’m a leafy sea dragon. We’re different from seahorses.” The sea dragon didn’t say how they differed. He didn’t appear eager to engage in conversation at all.

“I’m a water dragon. My name is Liang. What’s your name?” He held his breath as he waited for a response. He didn’t like having to pry information out of the little beast, but he needed to hear his voice again.

“Proteus.”

“Nice to meet you, Proteus.” Liang sighed as each word Proteus sent across their mind link settled in and made his cock sit up and take notice. He’d never met a sea dragon shifter before. Something about the male had Liang ready to do whatever was necessary to get them both out of their cages.

He ground his teeth together. Exchanging one prison for another hadn’t been in his plans. During his long petrification he’d imagined his life if he ever got free. He’d made elaborate plans to make a home with his brethren dragon somewhere, not live inside a cage. By now the China he’d known had no doubt been buried beneath office buildings and tons of cement. Besides, the land of his birth no longer belonged to his kind.

Once he escaped he needed to find his dragon horde and retrieve a bit of treasure to exchange for modern money. He’d amassed quite a fortune before his capture by the emperor.

“There’s the key!” The sea dragon’s voice snapped Liang out of his introspection.

Liang followed where the sea dragon pointed his nose. A ring of keys sat on top of a bookshelf. “That’s a little far to reach.”

“Use your magic!”

The frustration in the sea dragon’s voice had Liang snapping out of his bout of self-pity. He was a water dragon, under the water. The leafy sea dragon had a point.

Maybe being stone for all those years had broken his brain. He should’ve been able to come up with that solution on his own. Liang took a deep cleansing breath, and for the first time since he woke he pulled at his magic.

Energy rushed through him with a crackle of power. He focused his magic on the keys and pulled at the seawater flowing outside the dome. A thin thread of liquid spiraled toward him. Liang manipulated flow around the keys. The water danced under Liang’s direction. He reveled beneath the joy of using his magic again. Even if the emperor killed him in the end at least he had one more chance to use his power.

“Stop playing, Bingwen won’t be gone forever,” the sea dragon snapped.

“Sorry.” Liang had ignored the urgency of his situation beneath the joy of reconnecting with his magic. Properly scolded, Liang tightened his control and transformed the tip of the water flow into ice. The small hook snagged the key ring. Grinning, Liang called the water to him.

When the keys finally dropped into his hand it took all of Liang’s restraint not to shout his victory and draw Bingwen’s attention. Just because the dragon was out of sight didn’t mean he couldn’t hear what was going on in the dome.

“Good job,” the sea dragon praised.

“Thank you.” Flush from his success, Liang slipped the hand holding the keys between the bars and after a few false tries, he unlocked the cage. As soon as he was free he headed for the aquarium. Liang pressed his fingers to the spot nearest the sea dragon.

“You’re welcome.”

This close he could see intelligence glowing in the creature’s eyes. “If you shift I can get you out of here.”

Leafy green fronds floated around the little beast as he shook his head from side to side.

“Why not?”

“Can’t change.”

Liang wanted to ask why, but he needed to get out of there not get into a debate. Still, he couldn’t abandon his new friend. A strong connection pinged between them, compelling him to take Proteus along with him.

“Mate!” The sea dragon’s awed tone whispered in his head.

“We’re mates?” Liang didn’t know what to do with that information. He’d always thought he’d bond with one of his own kind, but he knew better than to question The Fates. He stroked the side of the aquarium. “Are you in danger?”

Sadness flowed from the sea dragon. “Not right now. He will keep me safe for a bit longer before.”

Various scenarios flashed through Liang’s head and not one of them was pleasant. “Why?”

How did the little creature know he’d be safe and why was Bingwen keeping him at all? Liang had never known the emperor to be interested in the smaller sea shifters before, but he didn’t know what might have changed during his curse.

“I can’t say. I don’t know you well enough.”

Liang ignored the pang in his heart protesting that his mate should trust him regardless. Weren’t mates fated to be with their better half? Why would Proteus choose to stay here after he claimed they were mates?

“I could take you in your shifted form. My water ability could keep you warm.”

“What about when we travel? I have to retain the same temperature or I could go into shock.”

Liang refused to acknowledge defeat, however he knew some tropical animals were extremely sensitive to changes in their environment. If he weren’t careful he could kill his mate with too large of a temperature fluctuation. He couldn’t chance it.

“I’m going to go get my friends. We’ll come back and get you out of here. I can carry you in a ball of water, but not as a dragon.”

He didn’t dare risk his mate’s life. As much as he didn’t want to leave Proteus, he couldn’t stay there and wait for Bingwen to recapture him. He had to go find his friends and warn them that others were hunting their kind. Telling Zhou the emperor had turned other dragons against them would be painful. His leader had always fought for the prosperity of dragon kind, to learn of their betrayal would be a hard blow. Hopefully the king of the Coral Sea was the exception instead of the norm for dragons.

“You need to go,” Proteus prodded him.

Crap.

“I will come back for you. I’m not going to leave you here forever. If you don’t want to shift, you’ll have to wait until I can get help.”

The sea dragon’s melancholy increased like an icy shard piercing his heart. “I understand. Save yourself.”

Guilt stabbed at him like broken shards of glass. “As soon as I find my people I will be back. I promise.”

The little shifter nodded, but Liang could feel his distress mingled with fear. He suppressed a burst of anger at the shifter’s resistance over leaving.

“I’ll be here when you return.”

“I wish I didn’t have to leave you behind, but I won’t have hands to hold you in dragon form.” He hated to admit a weakness, but if he couldn’t confess a flaw to his mate, who could he confess to?

“I understand. Good luck finding your friends.”

Liang wished he knew what his mate looked like. “When I come back will you show me your human form?”

“If it’s the right time.”

At least now he had a reason to survive.

He nodded his goodbye to Proteus, unable to say any more words as the pain of separation twisted him up inside.

Proteus seemed to understand since he returned the nod and said nothing else. Liang went to the door and opened it. Some magical force field kept the water out. He checked around, but the king of the Coral Sea must’ve gone off to get a snack because Liang saw no one as he shifted back into his dragon shape then swam away.

My First Cozy Mystery is Out!

A Frosty Reunion jpg.jpg

Buy link

Welcome to Magehaven Cove, where most of the town are witches, wizards, or some other supernatural being.

Hanna Frost always wanted to be like everyone she knew… magical. But born without a single spark of power, Hanna stands out as the odd duck among her family, and not in a good way. When Hanna grew up, she left the magical town to embrace normalcy, and she stayed away even after her husband died. Still grieving, she spends her days at home immersed in her painting and drawing, with only an oddly devoted pixie for a companion.

At her mother’s insistence, Hanna attends a family reunion, only to find herself embroiled in family politics, a death, a group of attractive would-be suitors, and the secrets of a mystical mansion. With magic, mischief, and murder all around her, Hanna will have to quickly figure out who killed her aunt—if she wants to avoid being the murderer’s next victim.

Chapter One

Chapter One

I stared at the blank canvas, with my paintbrush raised to dip into a color at the first twitch of a creative impulse. My landscape painting had taken four days of trying to achieve the right color of green, but I still wasn’t positive I’d gotten the shade quite right. I contemplated my choices, but none of the paints were calling to me. My inspiration was fading along with the sunlight.

“You need to stop wallowing.”

The lilting voice had the musicality of a thousand tinkling bells. If only the words were as pleasant.

“I am not wallowing!” I snapped, glaring at the tiny annoying pixie perched on the top of my canvas. “And stop dusting my canvas.”

Dandelion Thistleberry flicked her diaphanous wings, releasing another wave of rainbow-colored glitter. It flattered her sparkly pink doll dress, but my canvas—not so much. On the plus side, only happy pixies created the magical powder. On the negative side, it made a mess all over my house.

Dandy set her tiny fists on her hips. Her dress swirled around her as she pointed her toes and glared like an angry ballerina. “You’re wal-ohh-ing,” she mocked in a singsong tone.

I eyed my bright green flyswatter longingly. Only the knowledge I’d be fined for abuse of a pixie stilled my hand. “I’m in mourning,” I snarled.

I gave up trying to explain despair to a pixie. Dandy couldn’t keep any emotion longer than a wing flutter. My sorrow over Don’s death two years before was a gazillion minutes too many to my flighty friend.

Sighing, I tossed my brush into a nearby ceramic pot, then stood and stretched. I wouldn’t be getting any more painting done today, and my butt had grown numb while I stared at the canvas. It had been months since I last finished anything—a subject my agent continually harped on about. If she had any magic at all, I probably would’ve received reminders written on my bathroom mirror each morning. Instead she settled for emails and passive-aggressive texting.

I walked through my almost-empty house, forlorn and disheartened over my barren creative desert. The gaps in my household furnishings mocked me. They represented the holes in my life that I had surgically cut away to keep my mental health. After Don’s death, I’d packed up everything that reminded me of him and put it into storage. Only my paintings and my new furniture remained, like a showroom floor. All my personal items were stripped away, like a tree after winter hit, leaving behind only the skeleton of my life. It had taken me the first year to stop crying.

“Let’s go shopping,” Dandy said.

Her light weight landed on my shoulder as I headed for the kitchen. She grabbed onto my hair to keep her balance. Used to her behavior, I barely felt the tug from her tiny hands. My passion to avoid shopping was only surpassed by my love of art.

“How about a snack? I bought a fresh bag of gumdrops yesterday.” Most people thought of pixies as nature spirits, they didn’t know the dark side of a bored pixie with a credit card and a cable subscription.

“Ooh, yes,” Dandy squealed.

I set her on the kitchen counter while I fetched her snack. The pixie hummed an offbeat tune as I pulled the candy jar out of the cabinet. After popping open the container, I snatched up the one on top.

“Here you go.” I presented her with a red gumdrop.

“I want green.” She folded her arms as her mouth formed a petulant pout.

“You can have red or nothing.” The closest green gumdrop huddled in the middle of the candy jar. I wasn’t going candy-diving to fetch it.

Dandy sighed but held out her hands for the red one. The speed with which she polished it off told me the color hadn’t made any difference in her enjoyment, despite her demands. Pixies liked to push. I’d be at her beck and call 24/7 if I gave in to her every whim.

My phone rang, shattering my peaceful afternoon. I don’t like phones. No one ever called me with happy news. Not once had I been informed I’d won a million dollars or a mysterious benefactor had magically paid off all my debt. Phone calls were about unpaid bills and nagging parents. At least my twin brother had the good sense to email or visit in person.

“I’ll get it!” Dandy fluttered away, leaving a stream of pixie dust in her wake.

I treated the mess like regular dust and cleaned up after her once a week. Since only people with magical blood could see pixies, my neighbors thought I had a serious glitter addiction… and possibly a screw loose. I didn’t care. The crazier I appeared, the less they bothered me. Isolation suited me.

Dandy flew back carrying my cell phone. She landed in an ungraceful heap on the counter. Good thing pixies were abnormally strong for their size. A cloud of sparkle exploded around her, leaving a glittery circle. Hmm, maybe that was where fairy rings came from.

“Here you go!” She held out my phone with all the enthusiasm of handing over a birthday present.

“Thank you.” I blew on it a few times to clear the stubborn dust. More than one phone had met its untimely end beneath an avalanche of sparkle. I winced when I saw the name on the screen and took a bracing breath in and out before pressing the button to connect. “Hi, Mom.”

“Hello, dear, how are you doing?”

“Fine.” I waited for it. Carla Frost didn’t call for casual things. Life, death, and marriage were the minimum reasons she’d call. She never wasted her social niceties on a blood relative, but kept her best manners for congressmen, business leaders, and their accessory wives. For her children, she saved scolding and ultimatums.

“Are you still doing your little painting thing?” she asked in a condescending tone.

I should be used to it by now—the way she dismissed my art degree, awards, and the fact I earned enough to live on…well, almost. Boxed macaroni was a legitimate food group, right?

“Yes, Mom, I’m still painting.” I tried to keep the anger out of my voice. If I were smart, I’d see my therapist more than twice a week. I could talk nonstop for years about my parental issues, but I doubted my discount insurance plan would cover the cost.

“You haven’t gotten another job to pay the bills yet, have you?”

“No.”

Silence followed my response. I could almost see the tidal pressure of her will coming for me, but I lacked the lunar influence to push back.

“Then there’s no reason you can’t come to the family reunion, since you set your own schedule,” she replied with smug self-assurance.

I groaned. I didn’t even try to hide my dismay. I’d fallen for her trap with ridiculous ease.

“Mom, I don’t have time to go.” I didn’t hesitate to lie. No way was I going to my hometown, where I would be regarded with pity. As the only Frost child who didn’t inherit any of the family’s magic, I received scorn from my relatives and sad sympathy from everyone else.

Yeah, not in a hurry to rush back there.

“I’m in charge of this family reunion, and I expect all my children to attend. Now, wrap up whatever you’re working on and come home.”

She hung up before I could argue. Carla Frost always had the last word on everything.

I almost cursed—it took concentrated effort to bite back the words. Like a perpetual toddler, Dandy took great delight in repeating anything I said. I didn’t need to go back home with my pixie cursing like a sailor. My mother wouldn’t let me live that down, and my brother would delight in telling everyone he’d ever met.

I’ll be driving home this weekend,” I told Dandy, not looking at her.

Maybe if I didn’t make eye contact, I could escape the upcoming conversation.

“We’re heading home?” Dandy hopped up and down. “Yay! I always wanted to see your home!”

I winced at her shrill tone. I don’t know why I thought I could reason with a pixie. Maybe my lack of sleep had started to affect my reasoning. I gave it one last, probably futile shot.

“Wouldn’t you rather stay here? The weather is supposed to be nice for the next few days. You could play in the garden….” I let my voice trail off so she could imagine all the joys to be had.

She’d spent most of the spring and summer organizing my backyard to suit her needs. I knew she had fall tasks she planned to do. I didn’t know what, since I stopped listening when she rhapsodized about the varying depths of planting seeds.

Don had been the gardener.

“There are toads,” Dandy announced flatly. Scowling, she flapped her wings until her feet left the counter.

Pixies hated amphibians. I’m not certain where the animosity came from, but I’d never met a pixie who didn’t want to kill them all off.

“Be good. They’ll eat the bad insects.” I’d lost track of the number of times I’d repeated that mantra. I firmly closed the cabinet to hide the toothpicks, just in case she tried to skewer them again.

Dandy’s scornful sniff didn’t reassure me. “They’re nasty things. I don’t know why you don’t let me stab them.”

“I’m funny that way.”

Frog guts… ew!

She tried a different tactic. “You need me to go with you. I’m your familiar.”

I groaned but refused to get involved in another dispute over Dandy’s familiar status. I didn’t have enough magic to compel one, and even if I did, I’ve never heard of a pixie familiar before. A month after Don died, a storm had blown her through my open kitchen window.

Dandy had announced it was fate and never left. I’d been too heartbroken to evict her. Sometimes it was nice to have a companion, especially on the days when depression sank its sharp talons into my soul.

“Are you sure you want to come?” I had to give it at least one more try.

“You promised.” She stamped her foot on the counter.

Damn, she was right. I had said I would take her on my next trip; I just hadn’t planned on visiting my parents, but more along the lines of a drive down the coast or a visit to the ice-skating rink to watch the skaters. My parents weren’t the most tolerant of magical beings.

Maybe if I left her at my brother’s place, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal. “Fine. We’re going home.”

Her sharp squeal threatened to pierce my eardrums. “I can use my new luggage. I’m going on a real trip. Yippee!”

She clasped her hands rapturously before flying off, no doubt to see how much of her extensive wardrobe she could cram into her trunk.

The last time I visited my agent in the city, I had purchased Dandy a Barbie trunk. It had more to do with self-preservation than anything else. Never annoy pixies. They have ways of getting even that involved itching powder in your sheets.

While I was gone, she ran up my credit card on Etsy, ordering an entire wardrobe of custom doll clothes.

I put the rest of the gumdrops away and went to examine my own wardrobe selection. Unlike Dandy, I didn’t enjoy clothes shopping, or any kind of shopping, really, but I knew my mother couldn’t have a reunion without throwing at least one formal event. My relatives were the stuffy type. My twin brother and middle sister were the only exceptions to the rule.

I opened my closet door and pushed past the casual garb. Way in the back I’d tucked my nicer clothes, still in their dry-cleaning bags. Why take them out only to get them messed up? Not to mention that the bags kept them safe from pixie dust. Honestly, it wasn’t pure laziness, no matter how much Don used to laugh at me. Common sense should be rewarded, not mocked.

I pushed away that pang of remembrance and grabbed my two nicest dresses. I didn’t care if my relatives had seen them before; I didn’t have a fortune to blow on clothing, and even if I did, I’d probably use the money for paint. I could get a lot more use out of a tube of cerulean blue than a fancy gown I’d only wear once or twice in a lifetime. I also included some casual clothes, because I always ended up helping Harvey with something that resulted in me being covered in either flour or grease, sometimes both. Between baking and working on his car, my brother never stayed tidy.

After setting my clothes on the bed, I dragged my suitcase out of the hall closet. As I propped it open, I smiled when I found it free of pixie dust. With my mind on my family, I absently grabbed my dress shoes. They were gold, sparkly, and one of the few pairs of girly footwear I owned.

Despite my wish to keep my packing light, I ended up filling my suitcase to the top. Not bringing the right clothes wasn’t an acceptable excuse for my mother. It would only end with me having to go shopping and wasting money I didn’t have on clothes I didn’t need. Luckily the reunion only lasted one three-day weekend. I could get in and out, and maybe hide behind my twin when I wanted to avoid anyone. Since Harvey was six foot two to my five foot seven, odds were good I could get away with it.

After I’d zipped up my suitcase, I headed back to the living room to grab my cell phone. I chose the first person on my speed dial. If I had to suffer through this reunion, I was going to line up support.

“Hey, sis. What’s up?” Harvey’s deep voice eased my anxiety over the trip.

“Mother just called.”

“I take it you’re coming to the reunion?” I could hear his amusement over the phone line.

I bit back a curse. “Yes. I’m coming. If I bring two dresses, do you think that’s enough?”

“There’s one formal dinner and a lunch thing. Other than that, I think it’ll mostly be casual. It’s only for the weekend. Didn’t you get the itinerary? There’s also some sort of party before everything starts.”

I vaguely remembered the piece of paper I’d chucked in the trash along with the vellum invitation. “I seem to have misplaced it.”

Harvey’s laughter told me he wasn’t fooled. “Uh-huh. I’ll email you the schedule.”

“Thanks, Harvey. How are things going with you and Valerie? Is she coming to the reunion, or has she gotten out of it?”

Harvey had been seeing the same woman for three months, a new record for him.

“She broke up with me last week. Apparently I ‘didn’t spend enough time with her.’” In my head, I could see Harvey applying air quotes to the last part of his sentence.

“Didn’t you tell her you were starting a new business?” I asked, indignant on my brother’s behalf. What kind of woman wouldn’t cut my wonderful twin a little slack? She obviously didn’t deserve him if she lacked the basic understanding of the hours required for a new business venture.

“I think that was her point. She felt I cared more for the bakery than for her. I think maybe she was right.”

Harvey’s warm laughter made me smile. My brother always had a way of cheering me up. After Don died, I emailed Harvey almost daily. I would have felt guilty for eating up so much of Harvey’s time, but we’re twins. You can’t impose on someone who’s the other half of your soul. Don always claimed he’d gotten a package deal when he married me. Luckily he’d always liked Harvey. I hoped whoever Harvey ended up with liked me too.

“You’re better off without her,” I soothed.

“Maybe, but that leaves me without a date for the reunion.”

“Hmm, I’m sure Mother will find someone for you,” I teased.

“I didn’t tell her Valerie and I broke up,” Harvey confessed.

“And you think that means she doesn’t know? Poor, foolish boy.” I clapped my hand over my mouth to hold back a giggle. Our mother was determined to marry off her only son to a good family. With three daughters and one son, my mother had dreams of making a political connection with one of the other powerful magical families. She didn’t much care which of us she had to use to achieve her goal. Right now, she had Harvey in her sights.

So far, Mother’s track record wasn’t so great. Harvey and our older sister, Jane, were single, our middle sister, Farah, had wed a blue-collar miner with little magic, and I had married a human. Since I didn’t have any magic of my own, Mother hadn’t expected me to marry well anyway, but Don had never found acceptance with my parents. One of the many reasons we moved several hours’ journey away. A newlywed couple didn’t need disapproving in-laws living nearby.

After catching up with the latest gossip and securing a spot on Harvey’s couch for the weekend, I said good-bye to him, then went to collect the rest of my belongings. I might as well get everything together now if I planned to leave in the morning. Best check on Dandy first and make sure she wasn’t trying to bring her Barbie Dreamhouse or the convertible. I’d always heard pixies preferred the outdoors. Leave it to me to find the only materialistic one.

Cover Reveal with Guest RJ Scott!

Gabriel – The Second Legacy

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Available 30 September 2016

To find out more: http://rjscottauthor.blogspot.co.uk/2016/03/the-legacy-series.html 

Trapped in darkness, can an escort find a man to help him into the light?

Gabriel Reyes never gave in. He fought and was hurt, was abused but escaped with his life. He made his way in the world using the one thing he was good at: sex. Using his body, he earned the flash car and the apartment with the views. Gabriel’s a success; he’s made it.

He needs no one and he has no one. But that’s okay, because he’s safe.

Cameron Stafford hires Gabriel for a night, needing nothing more than eye candy to persuade his family that he’s happy. With the money he has in the bank and a job that takes him all over the world, why wouldn’t he be happy? It doesn’t matter that a degenerative disease is stealing his vision; for now he has purpose.

One night with an escort was all it was supposed to be, until Cam is thrust into Gabriel’s world. He soon realizes he’s fallen for Gabriel, a man caught in his own world of darkness.

A new story set in the world of Jack and Riley Campbell-Hayes and the Double D Ranch, Texas.

 

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Throwback Thursday!

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Augustus Griffin has never recovered from the desertion of his first love, Basilio Downs. Even though he’d gone on to get married and have children, his bittersweet memories followed him late into life.

Basilio left his love for reasons of his own. He didn’t want to drag his beloved into his new life as a vampire. Over the years he watched Augustus’ joy and devastation never going too far away.

When Augustus is attacked and transformed into a vampire he brings with him an entirely new outlook to vampire kind. Will he be able to adapt to his new life and forgive his old love or will outside forces tear them apart?

Excerpt:
Anger fueled Gus as he left his apartment and shuffled down two flights as quickly as he could, hoping to reach the screaming man before it was too late. If he’d had any sense, he’d have called the police, but he was tired of punks roughing up people in his neighborhood. This time, he would do something about it. Fury kept him going to the ground floor. He stopped, winded, at the base of the stairwell to catch his breath before he could continue.

Straightening his shoulders as much as he still could, Gus pushed open the heavy door that exited out to the alley. The punks had already left, and a man lay still as death on the ground.

“Poor kid,” Gus muttered. The victim didn’t so much as twitch when Gus approached. Damn, Gus hoped he wasn’t dead! The young man couldn’t have been much older than his mid-twenties.

Using his bat to balance himself, Gus kneeled beside the battered male, his arthritic knees screaming with pain as they hit the rough asphalt and bits of stone dug into his skin through his thin cotton pants.

Damn, he wished he’d grabbed his phone. In his hurry to rescue the guy, he had foolishly left his cell phone on his coffee table. Gus brushed the victim’s hair back from his face. To his surprise, the young man’s eyelids snapped open, and dark, liquid, pain-filled eyes stared back at him.

“Hey, buddy, you all right? Do you think you can stand?” Gus asked in his gentlest tone. He didn’t know if the man should be moved or not, but he couldn’t abandon an injured person in the middle of a filthy alley. What if the assailants returned? Unfortunately, he also wasn’t strong enough to lift the guy up the stairs either. Being old sucked.

“Help me,” the man whispered.

“I’m trying to, but I need to get you upstairs. I don’t have my phone,” Gus explained.

When the young man didn’t speak again, Gus crouched down to slide his right arm beneath the stranger’s shoulders while using his left hand to balance himself with the bat.

The man struck like a viper. Sharp teeth pierced Gus’s skin and sank into his jugular. With a cry, Gus dropped the bat. It hit the ground with a hollow thud, then rolled away.

Why did it never pay to be a Good Samaritan these days?
As he futilely tried to pull the man off him, Gus’s heart stuttered in his chest and the world went black.

Cover Reveal with guest RJ Scott!

Kyle – The First Legacy

Available 12 August 2016

 

 

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Love Lane Books

 

 

Two men destroyed by the past learn to live—and love—again.

Kyle Braden has nowhere else to go. With no money, no prospects, and no drive to be something else, he turns to the only man who promises him help. Jack Campbell-Hayes wants to show Kyle that he can be more than he ever thought.

Kyle gets to realize just how far he’s come from being the scarred man who shut everyone out, when the first person through the doors of Legacy Ranch carries a gun and threatens to kill anyone who comes near him. Kyle wants to be the man that someone turns to for help and it scares him.

Thrown out of his house and with three years on the streets marking every inch of his body, Jason Smith is scared. His life is an evil mess of hate and despair, and even the offer of a fresh start and a clean bed isn’t enough for him to hand over his gun. He’s cheated death twice, and he’s not letting there be a third time—he might not be so lucky.

For these broken men, Legacy Ranch offers more than a place to live and work.

It offers hope.

A new story set in the world of Jack and Riley Campbell-Hayes and the Double D Ranch, Texas.

 

 

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