Saturday, 29 April 2017

It's Release Day! Chapter 1 of Sex, Heat and Hunger: Part 2

It's LIVE

THE DARK AND DAMAGED HEARTS SERIES

BOOK 4

SEX, HEAT AND HUNGER: PART 2

JAMES AND EMMA

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Chapter 1
I was in love. Hopelessly, mind-bogglingly, head-over-heels, make everyone else around me either green with envy or gag with disgust, in love. Life was perfect, my man was perfect, and I was blissfully happy despite the fact that I was forced to say “goodbye” to my perfect man Tuesday morning. Not even twenty-four hours had passed since we’d finally professed our love to one another, out in the middle of the street, red-faced and screaming at one another. And now, wrapped up in his big plush robe, I found myself standing on his threshold waving after his car as it grumbled down the driveway, wishing him a safe flight to Seattle and a productive work week.
                I missed James terribly while he was away, especially at night when I was forced to sleep alone, staring at the empty space in the bed next to me that was usually reserved for his big, gorgeous body. But at the same time, as much as I missed him, it was nice getting back into the routine of things —hitting the gym, vegging out in my pajamas in front of the television before bed. Mundane and monotonous, maybe, but they were things I looked forward to after a long and busy day at work.
                Having finally said those three magical little words to each other was the glue we’d needed to solidify and finalize our commitment to one another.  I no longer felt as though I was suddenly going to have the rug ripped out from beneath me, that he’d call it quits or just stop calling. We were in this, both of us, for the long haul. For the happily ever after, for the forever.
Wednesday night after the gym Alyssa and I grabbed dinner, where we re-hashed my stupid St. Patrick’s Day run-out. She agreed that I had yet to find closure when it came to Tom, that the memory of him still haunted me regardless of how much Max, Alex, and James had changed my opinion of men and my own self-worth and exorcised the demon from my life.  She also gave me shit for how I handled things, calling me ridiculous and childish, and agreeing that James had every right to get upset. As seems to be the case these days, I conceded and told her she was right.
Friday was here before I knew it. I was excited to see my parents but more excited to have James home. My addiction to him was becoming a bit of a problem, but I just couldn’t stop, nor did I want to. He couldn’t have gone away on business at a better time, though, for the day he left I got my period, and the day he returned it ended.
I drove home after work, packed a bag for the weekend and then made my way out to his house. The lights were on when I arrived, which was surprising as James had texted me when he got back into town to let me know he didn’t expect to leave the office until six thirty or so. When I opened the door, and the most mouth-watering aroma embraced my senses, I was nearly knocked off my feet. Oregano, basil, and roasted garlic —someone was cooking Italian!
I walked into the kitchen to find my man, wooden spoon in hand, wearing a dark green apron over two pieces of his tailor-made suit, white dress shirt, black vest, and the sky blue tie I’d bought him last week. I’d noticed it in a shop window and knew instantly how it would make his eyes glow. I’d been right. His sleeves were rolled up, and a dish towel flopped casually over his shoulder; marinara sauce simmered enticingly on the stove, and garlic toast was ready to broil. He even had a salad sitting in a big bamboo bowl and something delicious baking in the oven, chicken parmesan maybe? He knew it was one of my favorites. His back was to me as he stirred the sauce, the Sinatra on the stereo had muted my entrance. I walked up behind him and slid my arms around his waist kissing that sexy spot between his shoulder blades and inhaling his intoxicating James smell; woodsy, spicy and all man.
Turning around and taking me in his arms, he kissed me soundly.
“Hi,” I managed to say after I caught my breath, his cobalt eyes twinkling with love. I ran my hands up and into his hair, pulling ever so slightly on the dark silky strands.
He growled low and manly. “God, I missed you.” His lips against my neck, peppered kisses up one side and down the other.
“I missed you too.” I put the grocery bag up on the counter and went over to peek inside the oven; it was chicken parmesan —yum. “I thought we were just going to take my parents out for dinner tonight, and then maybe eat in tomorrow night. You said you had to work late.”
He lifted one sexy shoulder. “Yeah, I know, but I worked so much over the last three days that I’m just drained, and I want to make a good impression on your folks. And I’m dying to fuck you. Serious blue-balls here.” He pinned me against the counter with his hard body. “It’s been a long hard week. Very hard, if you get my drift. And you smell so damn good.” He thrust his hips into mine, deftly rotating them, my eyes closed from the delicious friction against my clit. Even with layers of clothes between us, the man drove me wild, made me swoon, made me yearn to yield to him. “Do we have time for a quickie before they get here?” He wiggled his eyebrows and then tilted his head down to nip at my neck.
“Probably not.” I pouted. “They’ll be here any minute. Are you nervous?” I reluctantly pushed out of his grasp and started putting the groceries away in the fridge.
“No. Well, maybe a little. I haven’t really done the whole ‘meet the parents’ thing before, and I really want them to like me. I’m kind of in love with their daughter, you know? Besotted in fact.” I looked at him and raised my eyebrows. “Oh yeah…” He nodded. "I bought a Word of the Day Calendar, I need to keep up with your verbose loquacity, and today’s word was besotted.
He poured a glass of Zinfandel and handed it to me as I giggled at his use of the new wordhis playful grin making my knees weak and my core tighten in need.
“I know.” I wrapped my arms around his neck and stood on my toes, so I was eye level with his mouth. “They’ll love you, don’t worry. And I’m besotted with you too.”
Suddenly there was a knock at the door. I looked at the clock, and it said six thirty —show time!
“Mum, Dad!” I opened the door to find my parents standing on the front steps in quiet awe of the house.
“Hi, sweetie!” My mum dropped her bags and pulled me into her arms, one of my favorite places to be. I love how my mum smelled; scents from my childhood, clean linen, Pantene shampoo and chalk from the pre-school she taught at. I’d inherited my coloring from my mother, we both have peaches and cream skin, hazel eyes and honey blonde hair. But unlike my mermaid tendrils, my mum chooses to keep hers in an adorable pixie cut that shows off her long neck and high cheekbones. Without a doubt, Anita Everly is a very attractive fifty-three-year-old woman.
I heard an impatient throat cleared behind my mother. “Hey, what about me?”
“Sorry, Dad,” I laughed, letting my mum go. “Hi.” I wrapped my arms around my father, giggling like a child as he lifted me off the ground and spun me in a circle. My dad was the fire chief and had been on the rowing team in university, he was anything but a slouch, and didn’t show his fifty-six years at all. This was a man who still ran thirty miles a week and could bench press a smart car; he was built like a “brick shit-house” as his friends liked to say. And although all three of the Everly children shared their mother’s hazel eyes, my brothers got their coloring from my dad.
All the men in our family shared that naturally tanned skin with dark blond wavy hair, though my dad kept his cut quite short and it was starting to thin. As a child, I had whined about not getting my dad’s eyes. In my opinion, they were his best feature, bright green with flecks of copper and yellow, alert and wise with humor and passion bubbling beneath the surface. The running joke in our family was that if you looked up “Daddy’s Girl” in the dictionary, there would be a picture of me clinging to my father’s legs and standing on his feet as we danced at my Uncle Dan’s wedding. Phil Everly rarely said “no” to his little girl.
I wasn’t sure if James had followed me to the door or if he was waiting in the kitchen for us, but I had my answer when my dad dropped me abruptly, and I stumbled to get my footing.
 “Oh shit, sorry. James this is my dad, Phil, and my mum, Anita. Mum, Dad this is…,” I said with a sigh as I looked at the man I loved, “this is James.” They all shook hands, and I could tell that my parents were eyeing him up warily. James, on the other hand, tottered back and forth on his feet and licked his lips nervously; it was a whole new look for him.
“Come in… come in,” I urged. “We’re going to put you in the garage apartment, but we can take your stuff up there later. James made dinner, and it’s almost ready.”
I grabbed my mum’s bag, and James reached for my dad’s. However, my dad reached for his bag at the same time, and they had a little awkward hand-over-hand moment. Poor James’ face went crimson.
“You have a lovely home,” my mother said as we led them through the foyer into the open floor plan of the house.
“Thank you, Mrs. Everly.”
“Oh, please call us Phil and Anita.”
“James designed the house himself, Mum, and did most of the work as well, bringing in his most trusted contractors only when he had to. I’ll give you the full tour later.”
“Can I get either of you anything to drink? Wine? Beer? Water? The bar’s fully stocked so just name your poison,” James asked, as he made his way back into the kitchen and started decanting a second bottle of wine.
“I’ll have a glass of wine please,” my mother said.
“Wine for me as well,” my dad said but didn’t bother to turn around. He was too busy wandering around the living room examining the rockwork around the hearth and the wood beams of the ceiling. My dad had designed and built my parent’s house as well, although not as complex or grandiose as this, I could tell he was sizing James by his craftsmanship and style.
                James seemed to relax once the meal was on the table and the wine had calmed his nerves. And his chicken parmesan had us all sporting some pretty righteous food babies.
“So, Mum, are you still interested in coming to my rebounder class in the morning?”
“Yes, honey, I’d love to try your trampoline class. I’m just afraid I’d fall off.”
I scoffed. “Nah. Nobody falls off. James’ sister came with me last weekend, and it was her first time, and she didn’t fall off. You’ll be okay. You do yoga; you’ve got core strength and balance. Dad, what are your plans for tomorrow?”
“Well, sweetie…” He took another sip of his wine while rubbing his stomach. “I would like to get to a running store or two, I need some new shorts, but it doesn’t have to be tomorrow, it could be Sunday on our way home. We’re just here to see you.”
“Well, I think James wants to do some work on his boat this weekend. Wasn’t that right, James? You wanted to try and get the boat out of winter storage and put it back in the marina?”
James nodded while taking a sip of his wine. “Oh, uh, yeah, but that can wait if your parents wanted to do something specific.”
“What kind of a boat do you have?” my dad asked.
I knew my father, the avid fisherman and boating enthusiast, would have his interest peaked the moment I mentioned James’ boat. I hoped that this would earn some brownie points for James and dissolve any last bit of awkwardness between him and my dad. I was right. My question spurred a thirty-minute discussion about fishing spots, lure preferences and boats of all sizes. As we were clearing the plates, I could tell by my dad’s questions that he was eager to see James’ boat and check it out.
                “Tell me, James, do you golf?” We were all sitting in the living room enjoying more wine and discussing our upcoming Caribbean holiday when my dad abruptly changed the subject to one of his key “are you worthy of my time and worthy of my daughter?” questions. Fortunately, however, it was a subject I had prepped James for. My father hates golf. Despises it. He calls it the “lazy man's past time” and spits when anyone calls it a sport.  Plus, as the fire chief, he loathes the amount of water it takes to hydrate the courses, especially during the hot summer season when the rest of the city is on water restriction, and there are severe fire-bans because the tinder is so dry.
James was ready. He shook his head. “No sir, I don’t. Not unless I have to, that is.” And he was telling the truth, James didn’t golf, in fact, he hated it as well and shared many of the same reasons as my father.
“Ah, I getcha.” My dad nodded, indicating he understood the pain of having to do something you hated for the sake of the greater good. “Like a golf tournament for charity or a schmoozing, elbow rubbing, ass-kissing event.”
“Yeah, exactly. But I don’t consider it a sport. After golf I still have to go for a run, get a real sweat going, you know what I mean?” And that was that. James was my father’s new favorite person.

***
                “Your father and I really like James, dear. We think he’s very kind and he seems to really care for you,” my mother said as we stopped into a drugstore on the way home from the gym the next morning.
“Yeah? That’s good. I’m glad you guys like him. He was so nervous.”
She ran her hand affectionately down the back of my head like only mothers can do. “And he’s one heck of a cook, and handsome. Boy, is he ever gorgeous. And he’s won your father over entirely, boats, fishing, running and a mutual hatred for golf. It’s like your dad has found a new BFF.”
I snorted, picking up a perfume sample and sniffing the nozzle, wrinkling my nose at the over-powering scent of musk. “Yeah, I figured Dad would love him.”
“Do you?”
“Do I what?”
“Love him?”
I gave her the side-eye, a small smile playing on my lips. “Yeah… I do. I’m crazy about him, Mum.”
“Awe honey, that’s wonderful.” She beamed, resting her hand on my shoulder and giving it a motherly squeeze. “And he feels the same way? Why am I asking? Of course, he does, I see the way he looks at you. He’s crazy about you.” I smiled, picturing James’ handsome face and the way he lights up when I walk into a room.
“Do you think our age difference is going to be a problem?”
“How old is he?” We were now perusing the cosmetics section, mindlessly putting samples on the back of our hands while having one of our many heart-to-hearts.
“He just turned thirty-eight. His birthday is in January. Do you think he’s past the time of wanting to get married and have kids?”
“He’s thirty-eight?” She raised her perfectly tweezed brows while her bright hazel eyes twinkled with excitement. “Wow, he looks really good for thirty-eight. I don’t know, honey. What has he said? Does he want kids?”
“Since meeting me, he said all his priorities have changed, but I’ve never asked him to elaborate. He’s normally such a closed book, but he’s been flipping pages for me so much lately I haven’t wanted to pry too much, so I don’t really know what he means.”
                She smiled, her classically symmetrical face rosy from our workout and her eyes taking on an extra glimmer as we talked about love, my mother has always been a hopeless romantic, she believes we all have a soulmate out there just waiting for us.
“Then that’s exactly what he means, honey,” she said.  “A man like James puts his career first and his love life on the back burner, waiting for the right woman to come along. And you, my love, are that right woman, I can see it in his eyes —in both your eyes. I don’t think you have anything to worry about.”
“What’s your key to a happy and long-lasting marriage, Mum? You and Dad have been together for almost thirty-five years. What’s your secret?”
My mother shrugged. “Keep the fights clean and the sex dirty, honey.” And she wandered off to look at the Elizabeth Arden makeup leaving me stunned.
“Mother!” I chased after her.
She rolled her eyes and exhaled with a chuckle. “Oh, chill out.”
We were giggling so much we were drawing attention. My sides hurt and I had to go on the hunt for a tissue to wipe the tears from my eyes. A hopeless romantic she might be, but my mother was also a straight shooter, she tells it like she sees it and doesn’t beat around the bush. And as much as I didn’t want to hear about her and my father’s sex life, I’d rather know that they still had plenty of romance in their relationship, then find out that they were in a loveless marriage and only stayed together out of habit.
I felt my phone vibrate and checked my text messages. It was James.

J: Your dad and I are going out in the boat. What are our dinner plans?
               
“Well, it looks like Dad and James are still hitting it off. They’re taking the boat for its first run of the year.”
She gushed. “Oh, your dad must be in his glory right now. Anything having to do with boats and he’s like a child at Christmas.”
“James just asked what we want to do for dinner. What do you think?”
She shrugged, holding up her hand to show me a foundation shade. “I’m good with whatever.”
I shook my head and made a face; it was much too dark for her complexion.
“Well, how about Thai? I can make reservations for later in the evening, so we’re not rushed. Are we going to go downtown after our showers?”
My mother nodded. “Yeah, sure, that sounds good.”

E: Thai for dinner. Will make a reservation for 7:00. Have fun. Xoxo

J: Sounds good. Love you.

A small tingle ran through me at the sight of “Love you” in his text. I hoped the feeling never got old.


Friday, 14 April 2017

April Showers Romance BLOG HOP





Welcome to the April Showers Romance Blog Hop! 
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Visit all of the stops in the bloghop by using this list below…
Kayelle Allen  https://kayelleallen.com/
Courtney Hunt  www.courtney-hunt.com/blog
Laura Haley-McNeil  http://laurahaleymcneil.com/

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

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Tuesday, 11 April 2017

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Monday, 10 April 2017

In Blood We Trust -Elodie Colt



I’ve got the stunning and talented Elodie Colt on my blog today. Her very first book In Blood We Trust just released April 5th. I met Elodie though a random post on Goodreads. She was looking to build her Facebook following and was offering free “likes” for anyone that “liked” her page in return. From there we’ve stumbled into this fantastic friendship where she makes me beautiful teasers and I help her with her blurbs. I couldn’t imagine a better person to find on this crazy journey into the publishing world than my new friend, Elodie. Welcome Elodie and thanks for taking the time to hang out.

So, I know where you’re from, but how about we let everyone else know too.

I live in Vienna, Austria, so probably very far away from you all!

Yes, very far from me indeed. But that’s the beauty of social media, we can connect no matter where we are. What about family? Relationship status? Kids? Fur-kids? Tell us who you share your life with. Who celebrates your sales and release days with you?

I’m in a long-term relationship with my boyfriend, no kids, no pets. I want to have kids someday but I’d rather focus on my books for a few more years. I celebrate my release days with my best friend, and of course all those awesome people online!

Was this your dream career or did you just fall into writing? Do you have another career or job outside of writing?

 I really just fell into writing. I’m an avid reader since the Kindle came up, and wrote for myself for a couple of months. After I realized that I wrote 150K words within 2 months, I decided to publish. Unfortunately, I have a fulltime job which takes most of my time, but I spend every free minute on writing (much to my boyfriend’s annoyance).

How long have you been writing?

That’s a difficult question. I think no one “starts” writing at a particular point. If you love writing, you probably loved it your whole life. I remember writing fan fictions when I was little, just for the fun of it. I started with “serious writing” just two years ago.

That’s a great answer, an I totally agree. Do you read the same genre as you write? What do you read?

I have a wide range of genres I like – Fantasy, Romance, Paranormal, etc. This is also why I write everything, no matter if contemporary, paranormal, or dystopian, as long as it includes some steamy romance 😉

Where do you draw your inspiration?

From everywhere, really. I talk to my boyfriend about his work and suddenly I have an idea. I watch a movie, or hear a song, and a book scene plays in front of my mental eye. I write down every idea I have and use this patchwork to create a book.

Who’s your book boyfriend? Tell us the hero you’d date or marry if he existed out here in the real world.

That would definitely be Dominic Draven from Stephanie Hudson’s gothic/fantasy/erotica saga “Afterlife”. I think he’s every girl’s wet dream. He’s the king of demons & angels who exists since the beginning of time, is dominant, gentle, sweet, just everything! I can’t describe him in words, you really need to read the books 😉

I’ve never read that series, but it’s definitely on the TBR pile. Tell me about your current WIP, if it was made into a movie and you had your choice of actors, who would play the hero and heroine?

I’m currently finishing the 1st book of a 5-book contemporary erotica series called “The Heed Me Novellas”. In “Hire Me” she’s the sweet girl next door and he’s the sexy gardener working for her neighbor. I think the best choice would be Emma Roberts & Nicholas Galitzine (he should gain some muscles for the movie, though 😃)

Muscly is good, I agree. How do you choose your character’s names? Do you have a process or a pattern?

No pattern. If I can’t come up with a name by myself, I search on Google.

How many of your characters are based on people in your life

None, all of them are completely fictional.

How do you de-stress and deal with writer’s block?

I’m lucky, I don’t have writer’s block that often. I can usually write a book from beginning to end without complications. When I don’t know how the story should continue, I just close my eyes and replay every possible outcome. If that’s not working, I write something else, and focus on the other book a few days later.

You’re lucky, I get writer’s block all the time. Take us through your process. From the plot bunny bouncing around in your head to the day you write “The End” how do you write? Plotter, pantser, quilter? Do you have several WIP’s on the go at one time?

I usually don’t work with concepts, which is bad, I know ^^ I get the ideas while writing, not before. Now that I’m working on 2 projects at the same time, I make a rough concept of the first 3 chapters, that’s usually sufficient.

What’s your favorite guilty pleasure?

Cakes & cookies with as much chocolate as possible.

Mmm, chocolate, yes! What about relaxation? How do you unwind?

Playing with Photoshop while listening to music usually does the job. I create all graphics myself, so I can be productive and relax at the same time.

Your graphics are beautiful, so even when you’re relaxing you’re creating magic, that’s awesome. What about peace? Where do you find yours?

 In writing. I think there’s nothing that brings an author more peace than writing, don’t you think?

Favorite cocktail or wine? Do you drink while you write?

No, I don’t drink when I write. I’m not an at-home-drinker in general, but I enjoy white wine & cocktails whenever I’m going out, so I definitely have my fun :D

If you could sit down and have lunch with anyone, dead or alive who would it be, and what three questions would you ask them?

Author Stephanie Hudson of the Afterlife saga. I’m pretty sure I would ask her more than 3 questions, haha, but maybe 1) how did you get the idea for this awesome saga? 2) how did you manage to write so beautifully when you were diagnosed with dyslexia? 3) did you know that the series will become 9 books when you started the first?

Now I really have to read this series. What is your brand? Who do you write for and why?

I write wholly for myself. I love writing, and wouldn’t do anything else. Even if I didn’t sell any books, I’d write anyway.

What are your writing and publishing goals for 2017 and 2018? How many books do you hope to write and hope to put out? What’s your lineup look like?

Well, I’m currently working on 2 projects: A 4-book urban fantasy/steamy romance novel series, and a 5-book contemporary erotica novella series. I hope to publish all of them within the next 2 years but as I just became an author, I don’t know how that plan works out in the future.

Best piece of advice you could offer a newbie writer on how to get their name and books out there to the masses?

Read at least 100 books of the genre you want to write, and stalk all the authors. I read more than 200 books before I even started writing. This way you internalize the language, the writing styles, the stories, the structures, etc. I think that’s the best you can do, it will save you a lot of work.

Anything else you’d like to add or tell us about yourself and your books?

As some might know, I’m not an English native. My mother tongue is German, but I read English books my whole life, so I couldn’t even think in German anymore. This is also why it took me a long time to really take the step into publishing because I was afraid that I wouldn’t get anywhere with being a non-native. My determination won in the end, and I hope it was worth it 😊

Thanks so much for being here, Elodie, this was so much fun.  I really appreciate it and I wish you nothing but great success and a big future in your writing career! Congratulations, girl! xoxo

FIND ELODIE HERE!
Goodreads Profile: http://bit.ly/ec_goodreads




2078. The Future, as it was once called. A better time you imagine? Most would say yes.
Jordan would say they’d switched one evil for another…
Ever since the SDCT—the Scientific Department for Cancer Treatment—made a scientific breakthrough, creating a cure for cancer and therefore saving billions of lives from the cruel disease over the last few decades, the world seems to be a better place.
But the Cure came with a side effect.
The Recipients need to consume human blood along with it, and as Jordan has the rarest blood type, she needs to donate every week. To keep a tight legal structure between Recipients and the rest of the population, the FDR—Federal Division for Recipients—was created, making her job as Sergeant at the NYPD hell on earth.
The real trouble, though, begins the day she becomes burdened with a case that will force her to extend the law to its limits. Worse still—the new Lieutenant, Aiden Davis, has set an eye on Jordan, and it doesn’t help that he is an unrelenting, too-hot-to-be-allowed ex-marine and more intense than she can bear. But her past makes it impossible to get involved with anyone without resurfacing memories of the one fateful night she desperately wants to forget.
And when the one man she’d never wanted to lay eyes upon again—the man who had inflicted pain on her worse than anyone could ever imagine, the man who had drained her until there was nothing left—shows up once again, her growing attraction toward the new Lieutenant seems to be the least of her problems…

Suspenseful Dystopian Romance

*This book contains violence, as well as explicit sexual content and harsh language. Recommended age 18+
*Written in first person, single POV
*Stand-alone, no cliff-hanger




I took a gulp of air bracing myself for what was about to come. Sheryl knocked on the door, and I ran my hands over my dress in an attempt to smooth out the fabric. My need for food nearly made me sick. I hoped my stomach stayed quiet.
Patrick and Davis lifted their heads simultaneously as we entered.
“Patrick,” Sheryl greeted him. Her voice changed to a sweeter tone as she addressed the newcomer. “Lieutenant Davis.”
I stood next to Sheryl but deliberately stopped a foot behind her. Davis looked at Sheryl, but to my surprise, his gaze never went lower than her face despite the amazing view she provided at chest height. He gave her a short nod in greeting, neither overly friendly nor unfriendly. I bit my lower lip. He didn’t seem like a social kind of guy. Was that a good thing or not?
“Ah, yes,” Patrick said, adjusting the knot of his tie before standing up. “Lieutenant Davis, let me introduce you to my best.”
Davis raised his eyebrows appearing surprised that Patrick was referring to two women, and it was only then that his gaze finally fell upon me.
His eyes zoomed in on my face, his stare penetrating me. I automatically held my breath. Then, he raked my body head to toe with one quick but thorough glance. Fast. So fast, I nearly missed it.
My heart did a crazy little jump. Was he checking me out? Why would he do that when a sexy goddess like Sheryl was standing next to me? I suddenly felt very naked, as though he’d just stripped me down to nothing but my underwear with his intense, unwavering stare.
Davis elegantly rose from his chair. He was so intimidating—respect and power pouring from him in waves—I had the urge to avert my eyes, but they appeared to be glued to his. My headache from before was suddenly forgotten.
He stepped around the desk closing the distance between us in a few strides. He towered over me when he stood that closeclaiming my comfort zonehis strong neck at my eye level. I bit back the urge to step back. Or was it an impulse to step forward? Confusing.
“Sergeant Jordan Lively,” Patrick introduced me, oblivious to the wordless conversation that the Lieutenant and I were having, although I wasn’t sure what exactly our silent exchange meant. Standing that close, I could make out the color of his eyes that continued to bore into medeep blue with shades of turquoise that reminded me of the sea’s hue. I remembered seeing that color printed on the old postcards of a tropical island paradise that had been swallowed by a tsunami decades ago. I think it had been called ‘Hawaii’ or something exotic like that.
Simply stunning. Beautiful, drown-worthy, and unique.
His eyes flitted back and forth between mine until stopping to rest on a particular spot. I could read the question on his face. Everyone asked the same question when they met me the first time: Why was there a misshaped little speck of gray next to my left pupil whereas the rest of the eye was a regular green like the right one? I usually gave my standard excuse: Genetic. No one knew the real truth besides me.
As if on cue, Davis’ gaze landed on my scarf most likely wondering why I was even wearing one. Understandable. It was far too hot in here. I was probably the only person in this part of the country who even owned scarves.
“A pleasure to meet you.”
His voice skimmed my senses, an underlying timbre I couldn’t quite decipher swinging with it. The way the word ‘pleasure’ left his mouth sent funny vibrations through my belly. It took me a second to realize that he’d extended his hand to shake mine. I grasped his hand, and I swear I felt a thumb softly caress my skin before he pulled away.
“It’s an honor,” I managed to say before lifting my chin a little higher. I didn’t want him to think he’d intimidated me. He stepped sideways to greet Sheryl long before his slicing gaze left mine.
“And Detective Sheryl Frayman,” Patrick informed.
“Welcome, Lieutenant Davis,” Sheryl greeted him with a strong voice emanating way more confidence.
“Thanks. Nice to meet you.”
Polite. Nothing more. Was I imagining it? I threw a sideways glance at Sheryl expecting to find disappointment on her face, but instead, she smiled after Davis’ eyes found mine again.
My heart rate increased pounding through my eardrums. Damn, it was stifling in here. The air conditioning must have conked out again.
“What are you specialized in?” Davis asked, perching on the office desk and crossing his ankles. Sheryl folded her hands in front of her but didn’t answer. Davis looked at me expectantly. Apparently, the question was meant for me.
“Murder and rape,” I answered. No point in sugar-coating that. I swear I saw his nostrils flare a tiny bit. Yeah. The question wasn’t exactly one people used to reply with ‘Really? What a great thing to do!’
“Why?” he asked. That was a question I couldn’t possibly answer honestly. It would be a, let’s say, extremely heavy topic to discuss during an initial meeting.
“Because it’s so much fun,” I blurted sarcastically, quirking an eyebrow. I regretted my words as soon as they were out of my mouth. What had gotten into me? Must have been the low blood sugar. Sheryl’s head shot in my direction, and I could feel her what-the-fuck-are-you-doing glare on me. I glared back, shrugging. What was an appropriate answer here?
“Jordan!” Patrick exclaimed in shock, but Davis didn’t seem to bother. His expression hadn’t changed in the slightest still deeply lost in analyzing me. His stare made the air around me even more stifling.
He smacked his lips, the movement attracting my attention. I imagined tracing a finger over them which was silly, really. “You’re one of the best in what you’re doing. That only comes with a proper amount of devotion,” he stated, continuing to study me carefully.
We were getting into dangerous terrain. I needed a way out, so I prompted, “You mean the satisfaction I feel when I finally put the bastard behind bars?” In all honesty, I felt immense satisfaction when I took one of them down during an exchange of fire. It was exhilarating, giving me the feeling I’d done the world something good. However, that wouldn’t be the appropriate thing to say if I wanted to stay professional. I always tried to hide my dark side as best as I could.
“Sergeant Lively apprehended over thirty criminals on her own last year,” Patrick threw in, doing his best to cast a positive light on me. “She tends to work alone.”
Davis nodded in acknowledgment, though he seemed distracted. I transferred my weight to my other foot. God, my heels were killing me. And you couldn’t even open a window when you were stuck on the hundredth-something floor!