Can I just say…this month is crazy, awesome, terrifying, and did I mention awesome?
I learned my debut release with Ellora’s Cave, an erotic contemporary entitled Elevated Exposure, will be available on Friday, April 27. Three days later, A Friend In Need, an erotic paranormal, releases from Liquid Silver. And though A Friend In Need is paranormal in nature, both main characters come from the human world and are more or less dealing with understanding aspects of the paranormal, so that’s something slightly different as well.
This also coincides with a rather large event in my personal life that will pretty much dominate my time from April 25-May 7, so I’m going to be GONE (and having fun!) while two of my babies are thrown into the world.
So, this whole April thing. Kinda crazy. Kinda big. I’m nervous and bouncing all over the place.
Below are covers, blurbs, and excerpts for Elevated Exposure and A Friend In Need.
Lennon Bishop’s harmless crush on his hot secretary, Kenzie Drake, morphs into an overwhelming obsession when it arrives. A tape delivered anonymously. He has no idea what to expect when he plays it, but it certainly isn’t a naked Kenzie bringing herself to orgasm. Soon his obsession becomes too much to handle and he has no choice but to quietly remove her from his staff.
But then he comes home one evening to a burglarized apartment, and when he catches the culprit in the elevator, his shock at discovering it’s Kenzie is quickly overshadowed by his anger. She’s stolen a confidential file that he needs for his first high-profile case—but that’s not all she took.
The power goes out and the elevator breaks down, trapping them inside. Which gives Lennon plenty of time to explain to his former secretary why she found her own personal sex tape in his VCR. And maybe, finally, give into temptation.
There were any number of things Lennon Bishop expected to have waiting for him at home. An answering machine full of messages he’d ignore until tomorrow, a sadly barren refrigerator, and a stack full of paperwork sat at the top of his list.
His front door busted open, however, hadn’t even warranted honorable mention.
Lennon blinked. It was one of those funny instances that seemed unreal, as though the longer he stared, the more inclined the door would be to close and go back to normal. So he stared. He stared until the reality of the moment caught up with him and forced his brain to kick-start.
“Shit,” he muttered, pushing through the door. The apartment looked normal enough. There was the couch in front of his forty-two-inch flatscreen baby, the coffee table he’d had since college and refused to part with, the bookshelf filled with his favorite authors, and a few law books in case anyone decided he didn’t look old enough for his degree. The large glass door that led to the veranda looked shut and his file cabinet—
The file cabinet gaped open. It stood innocuously beside his DVD shelf—safely out of sight but always handy in case he needed to take work home with him. The first drawer was really more a collection of important notes on retired cases. He took home court notes and a few photocopies, but nothing too incriminating. The second drawer was reserved and completely dedicated to Theodore Buckingham.
And it was open.
Lennon couldn’t really say what overcame him the next second. Most rational people instinctively searched for other stolen valuables or at least double-checked to make sure the thief was off premises and phoned the police. Lennon, however, hardly felt rational, and quickly tore back down the hallway toward the elevators, reaching the area just in time to see a foot disappear inside the open lift.
His mind fought and found something familiar—a memory he would have otherwise tossed aside. Yes, yes, there had been someone else in the hallway. A hoodie-wearing punk had bumped into him just seconds before Lennon discovered his front door ajar. Perhaps the kid had seen something.
Or, more likely…
“Hey!” Lennon yelled, racing toward the closing doors. “You there!”
The kid looked up, nothing visible under the hood save for his eyes, which went wide as saucers. Upon locking gazes with Lennon, he began pounding on the elevator panel.
At the kid’s side, tucked under his arm, was the Buckingham file.
Tomorrow’s headline: Prestigious Doran and Gage Lawyer Charged With Assault.
“Not so fast, asshole,” Lennon grunted, forcing his body between the closing doors. He half-expected the pint-sized terror to knee his gut or try to push past him, but instead the kid backed up, flattening against the wall and trembling with what had to be the purest panic he’d ever seen.
At that, Lennon’s anger waned. Criminals typically didn’t shake that hard.
“Hey,” he said, his hands coming up. The elevator door closed behind him. “It’s all right. I won’t hurt you. I just need that file back.”
The kid’s head wagged fast. No.
Lennon took a cautious step forward. The elevator glided effortlessly toward the bottom floor. “It’s all right,” he said again. “Really.”
The words seemed ridiculous, but what else could he say? The kid had likely been picked up by someone on the plaintiff’s payroll. Quick cash in exchange for petty larceny.
“I won’t press charges.”
At that, the kid’s shoulders dropped and a surprisingly feminine sigh tickled the air. Lennon paused, frowning. He knew that sigh.
“Of course you won’t.” She reached to pull the hood away, but hesitated at the last second. It wasn’t needed then, but strangely he had to see her face in order to believe it. It couldn’t be…
The second her name escaped his lips, he knew the thought was absurd. Wishful thinking, a guilty conscience, or all the above. His former receptionist wouldn’t be caught dead anywhere near the scene of a crime unless she was the one victimized.
Kenzie Drake. Though he hadn’t seen her since she’d been shuffled to a different department, she’d never been far from his thoughts. Sweet, funny, and damn talented Kenzie Drake. She was the one receptionist at Doran and Gage to break the mold, the one receptionist who refused to kowtow to convention. Rather than don black suit-jackets and white blouses, she’d stroll to her desk in a gray pencil-lined skirt and a soft pink sweater. Rather than kill her feet in six-inch heels, she wore sensible flats and rarely bothered with pantyhose. Rather than mount her hair into a bun or some other design, she wore her soft, dark curls at her shoulders. Her makeup was always fresh and natural, and every morning she’d greeted him with a smile and a cheese Danish. Lennon had nearly tripped over himself the first time he’d caught a glance of her, and the following months hadn’t been any more gracious.
But Kenzie didn’t work for him anymore. Hadn’t for two weeks. Lennon had asked his boss, Howard Martin, to recycle her to one of the other lawyers. He couldn’t focus on work. Not with her around. Not after the tape.
As far as birthdays go, university librarian Clarice St. Clair hasn’t had a string of successful celebrations, and her twenty-fifth doesn’t look to be any different. It’s not enough that the sexy subject of her schoolgirl crush walked in on her with her pantyhose around her ankles, but now her mother has dropped possibly the largest bomb in the history of large metaphoric bombs.
Happy birthday. You’re about to become a succubus.
Professor Weston Ryans has known Clarice since her days as one of his students. Though now they are nothing more than friendly colleagues, he clearly recalls her enthusiasm, her wit, and the litany of sinful things he wanted to do with her after hours. After catching her with her nylons around her ankles, he decides to smooth things over, but ends up hearing his favorite former student is the bargaining piece in a demon contract. And Weston knows something about demon contracts—he lost his father to one.
Suddenly everything is thrown into question. Clarice is about to change, but she doesn’t believe it. Weston is determined to help, but he doesn’t know how, and the clock is ticking. Yet when the transformation starts, Clarice finds herself hungry for one thing…and Weston is happy to cater to her needs.
“Well ... I dunno, but that’s kinda what I tell myself.” A long breath rolled through Weston’s lips. “And your soul is not being ripped away. You’re becoming something else.”
“A being that likes sex.”
“Feeds off sex,” he clarified. “You’ll need it to survive.”
“Yeah, yeah. Do I at least get to like it?”
“I’d hope so.”
Clarice crossed her arms and sat back. “She said it’s supposed to start soon, you know. The transformation. Didn’t you just say a succubus drains the life outta anyone they ... you know.” She gestured crudely. “Fuck?”
“Depends on the succubus,” Weston said, pointing at the open page before him. “Human hybrids operate like vampires, though, so ... yes. You’ll pretty much sap whoever you ... umm, fuck.”
Clarice wet her lips. It likely wasn’t the best time to mention that talking about sex, even in casual reference, had done things to her libido it ought not. She wasn’t twelve years old and she had enough sensibility about sex not to become a panty-throwing, swooning teenage type at the mere mention. Yet the second the word dropped off Weston’s tongue, something in her gut stirred, and a small shock tickled her clit.
Oh, not good.
“The life?” she whispered, wiggling in her seat. “I don’t wanna be responsible for ... you know, draining life. And Pixley said it was going to start almost immediately.”
Weston met her eyes again, and a spark of heat singed through her body. Clarice squirmed once more, doing her best to ignore the sudden warmth in her skin and the moisture pooling between her legs. Whatever it was, it couldn’t be good.
The power of suggestion was not to be underestimated. No way just talking about sex could make her...
Another rush of heat crashed and she had her answer. Her skin burned and she felt positively drenched between her thighs. Hot, aching, and in desperate need of contact. At once all her senses kicked in, and her nostrils flooded with the scent of woods and leather, of aftershave and ... Weston.
“It’s not as bad as all that,” Weston said.
“I kill who I fuck. Define not bad?”
“Who said kill? I never said kill.”
“You said sap. What does that mean if not kill?”
“Sap? Pretty much means sap.”
“Like the stuff in trees?”
Weston growled, and the sound did little more than make her insides tingle. “No,” he barked. “I mean you’ll ... it’s like a battery. Say we were to—”
“Fuck?” she coughed.
“Have sex,” he clarified, as though the terminology mattered.
Her body was primed and ready to jump across the table, tear his pants down his legs, impale itself on his hard cock, and ride him like a bronco.
Clarice coughed, shoving the seat back and springing to her feet. “No,” she said. “No, no, no, no.”
Weston stood, as well. “Well, I’m not suggesting we have sex. I’m just saying if we did, you wouldn’t kill me. Not in this state. I’d just be a little useless for a while.”
A warm, naked, Weston stretched across her mattress. Clarice’s knees about buckled, her hands shaking and the heat between her legs almost too much to bear the strain of walking. “My God...”
“I think you should leave.”
“Because I don’t know how much of this I can take.”
“How much of what you can take?”
“I pretty much want all of it.”
Weston blinked. “All of what?”
“What I can take.”
“I have no idea what you’re saying right now.”
Another wave washed over her. Clarice lost her footing and went sailing to the floor, her back crashing against the wall. “Shit!”
“Shit,” Weston echoed, tripping over his feet to help her up.
If he touched her, it was all over. Clarice held up a hand. “You stay there.”
“Back. Just over there. And don’t talk about sex.”
“Don’t...” It took a moment, but understanding finally dawned in Weston’s eyes. Understanding followed by something she could only identify as masculine pride. “Why, Ms. St. Clair...”
God, the things the man did with his voice. Was he trying to get her...
Clarice’s eyes narrowed. “Just stop.”
“Talking. Standing close. Being alive in my apartment. Go be alive somewhere else.”
Weston shrugged. “Seems you don’t have much of a choice if you wanna survive the next two days. You need sex. So take it from me.”
Something itched the back of her throat. She flexed her fingers and worked her neck from side to side. “You don’t know what you’re saying.”
“Sure I do,” he said, grinning one of those grins that made the coeds go weak-kneed, and she was no exception. “Take it from me.”
The tickling sensation matured into an inhuman growl, one that seemed to seize the walls and floors and consume all in a cloud of hot, aching need. In all her years she’d never felt at all out of control. Not once. Not even the few times she drank until the room grew fuzzy or took a hit off her friend’s funny-looking cigarette. Now, though, now all sense of command she possessed had simply vanished.
If he didn’t run, she’d take him. And she wouldn’t show mercy.
“I’ll sap you,” she said, though the words came out more as a sultry purr than the warning she’d intended.
“No, you won’t. You’re still young in the transformation.”
“How ... ahhh, how do you know these things?”
“Years of study.” Weston was suddenly up close, his chest pressed against her small breasts. A trembling breath rolled off Clarice’s lips, pangs of longing shooting down her diminutive resistance. “It’s me or it’s someone else, and I know what I’m getting into.”
“I’ll guide you.”
Whatever she wanted to say, if there had been anything aside from a mixture of vowels and consonants to form actual words, disappeared the second his mouth descended upon hers. No more fighting. She surrendered, her body both weak with desire and surging with strength that felt too good to question, but similarly nothing like anything she’d ever touched. Whether it was the rush of the moment or his kiss, she didn’t know, but one touch, one hint of what she could have, had her convictions checked at the door. He was warm, inviting, tasted of coffee and cinnamon, and she wanted to devour him whole.