Feeding the Flames
Part of the Five Alarm Alpha boxed set, coming November 7th
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© 2014 Leah Braemel
“You’re pretty bossy considering I’m your boss.” Not that she begrudged Shannon for calling her on her shit. Tabatha lined up the six to-go paper cups in a line and began filling them. “Sorry, I’m distracted today.”
Shannon snorted. “Yeah, I saw you talking with Mr. Hot Shot over there. Make my day and tell me you grew a set and finally asked him out.”
“Come on, girl. I’m tired of your excuses about needing to get the diner up and running, and or how you need to get settled first. The diner’s doin’ fine, and from what I saw of your apartment, there’s not a box left to be unpacked. So it’s time for you to get off your ass, march yourself over there, and take the stud by the horn.” She eyed Zac. “Or with that man, by the long horn.”
“Cut me some slack will you? Zac pretty much came right out and said he’s not interested in me.”
“Oh hon. Are you sure you didn’t just misinterpret what he said?”
“I don’t see any other interpretation for him arranging for me to go on a date with another guy, do you?”
Shannon stared at her, her mouth open. “Are you fuckin’ kidding me?”
“Unfortunately no.” She pulled the tickets from the apron’s pocket and shoved them in Shannon’s face. “Get this—he gave me these tickets and told me I should ask Quinn out because Quinn’s been sweet on me but too shy to ask me out himself. Can you believe it? Like Quinn has ever not said exactly what he thought. ”
“Oh, hon. Why didn’t you take ’em and shove them in his coffee?”
She’d wanted to, though his coffee mug wouldn’t have been her first choice of insertion site. “Believe me, I was tempted.”
“So instead you asked Quinn, just like a good little girl, didn’t you?”
“I like Quinn.” Even though he was only three years older than her, he’d been like a big brother. Sliding over to give her a seat on the bus when no one else would—sometimes being the last one picked up on a bus route sucked. Then there was the time a senior with an entitlement issue had flicked his lighter in an attempt to set her hair on fire because she had turned him down for a date; it had been Quinn leading the charge to teach that asshat a lesson. Except, like Zac, he hadn’t shown anything but a protective big brother side to her all these years. “Besides, I couldn’t have afforded the tickets myself and we’ll have a good time.”
Plus she would have eaten dirt to see the Dirt Road Graduates again. While she’d thrown that comment about Jake Grady in to tweak Zac’s tail, it wasn’t far from the truth. Pity he’d gone and married an accountant. Or manager. Or whatever she was.
“So go out with him. It’s just one date.” Shannon glanced over at the duo. “A girl could do worse. Or are you trying to tell me you’re not thinking of what it would be like to have him on top of you in bed at the end of the night?”
It hadn’t been Quinn she’d been picturing in her bed all these nights. “It’s not like I need a guy in my life right now. I mean, you’re right. Both about the diner being in shape and my apartment too.” Not that she’d brought much back home with her to unpack. “I’m happy. I don’t need a man in my life.”
Especially one who wasn’t interested in her. She’d spent the past five years in one of those relationships and she’d vowed never again. The next guy she hooked up with would have to rock her world. Preferably starting by leaving dents in the plaster behind her headboard.
“Of course you don’t, hon.” As Tabatha filled the last cup, Shannon added cream or sugar as needed, and snapped a lid on it. “But guys do have their good points. Of course, it’s usually between their legs, and those points are usually only good for about five minutes, until they change direction from north to south, but sometimes it’s nice to have the real thing instead of a B.O.B.” Shannon cast a quick glance over her shoulder at Quinn and Zac, who were digging through their wallets to pay the ticket. “And honey, as much as I love Dave, I’d take either of those men in a heartbeat if they asked me to join ’em. Hell, I’d take ’em both at the same time if they asked.” She chuckled. “I wouldn’t mind seeing their hoses in action.”
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I’ve been so buried by deadlines that I’ve let my blog slide — so now the worst of my deadlines are done, (though I still have plenty of books left to write) I’ve decided to revive Snippet Saturday.
So how about a sneak peek into Feeding the Flames, which releases in less than four weeks…
Feeding the Flames
part of the Five Alarm Alphas bundle
© 2014 Leah Braemel
She tugged on his collar and stepped backward, leading him to the back of the diner. After pausing to flip off the remaining lights, she resumed their trek toward the stairs to the upstairs apartment. Well, she’d intended to. They’d made it as far as her office when Zac banded her wrists with one hand, dragged them above her head and pressed her against wall with his body. With her trapped, he captured her mouth.
Even her most erotic fantasy hadn’t prepared her for his kiss.
Her eyes drifted closed so she could concentrate on the pure sensation. From the hardness of his chest pressing against her, holding her in place, and his breath on her skin, to the soft prickle of his stubble on her cheek. That he was showing a side of himself she’d never seen before was just as erotic. She’d seen him playful before, but there was an intensity to him, as if carefully stoked embers had ignited.
His long fingers slipped to the back of her neck. A quick tug and her apron sagged to her waist. Cool air from overhead brushed bare skin as he unbuttoned her shirt. The heat of his touch as he pushed the fabric over her shoulders caused her nipples to harden into tight buds.
He released his grip on her wrists and shoved her bra beneath her breasts, the fabric rasping over her sensitive nipples. She lost herself in how his eyes were now nearly black with desire.
His groan rumbled through her chest. “Do you have any idea how long I’ve wanted to see these?”
As long she’d wanted him to touch them?
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The sky outside hadn’t changed to the slate gray it usually did when Jake got up. Another hour before the alarm clock would squawk its irritating noise. Which meant he could still catch a few minutes sleep. He flopped onto his side and waited for sleep to claim him. And waited. He switched sides again. Flipped onto his back. The damned alarm clock mocked him, telling him only five minutes had passed since the last time he’d checked it.
An hour after they’d arrived home, Ben had pounded on his door. Paige had sent him on his way, while Jake hid like a damned fugitive in the bedroom, his brain whirling as if someone had stuck his mother’s hand blender into it and cranked it to high. A half hour later, Gabe had shown up. Once more, Paige had intervened.
Around midnight, his brain had fritzed out. He’d stared at the ceiling for another hour, thinking…nothing. But he still couldn’t sleep. He’d spent the last hour watching Paige sleep, the way her hair drifted over the pillow, at the soft curve of her mouth, the arch of her eyebrow. Sexy. Confident in who she was.
Peace he thought he had yesterday. Now his life was complete chaos.
Well, except for her. She was the calm in his storm. While he ranted, she listened. Really listened. Heard not only what he said, but what he was too afraid to say.
Not just last night, but before too, when he talked about his music and worried about Ben’s reaction. She made him feel like he could say anything and she’d stay by his side.
Defend him. Support him.
Outside of the family, no one else had cared enough to defend him unless they thought they’d get something out of it. But Paige? She was in his corner every step of the way. Since the first day they’d met.
If it hadn’t been for her last night, he would have stormed off the ranch. Kept driving. Maybe that’s why he’d taken the ATV to the lake instead of climbing back into his truck. Maybe he’d wanted her to follow him. While the impulse to flee was still strong, he wouldn’t leave without her by his side.
Impossible to put down; No Accounting For Cowboys was filled with twists, turns, and secrets new and old making it another fine offering from author Leah Braemel. ~ Slick, Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews
He stayed frozen in place, waiting for her eyes to flicker open, for her to move, to run away. But she didn’t. Her breathing stayed even, her eyes closed.
Only then did he settle back and take a deep breath. He could wait to hear it back from her. His imagination provided pictures of her moving in permanently. Her coming on tour with him. Her looking up at him from the crowd as he sang, the only face—or opinion—that mattered. Then they’d come home and take their quads down to the lake. Have picnics. Look up at…
The main house, and remember that his mother was up there. Looking down on them. Still keeping her secrets and telling him lies.
Shit. So much for the fairy tale.
I’m changing things around and instead of giving you a snippet of one of my books, I thought I’d share a snippet from one of the books I’ve read this week. After reading Lexxie Couper’s excellent story in her Down and Dirty Bundle, I moved on to her Heart of Fame series. And have been glomming them up like chocolate. Nom Nom Nom.
Now normally it’s better to promote an author’s latest work (which is Getting Played, the lastest in her Heart of Fame series), but as one of those readers who must read series in chronological order, I’m going to start you off with Tropical Sin. Why not feature the first book of the Heart of Fame series? Well, while Tropical Sin isn’t technically part of the Heart of Fame series, it’s sort of a prequel, since it introduces Nick Blackthorne the way Private Property introduces my readers to Sam Watson…
Nick gets his own book in Love’s Rhythm, which is technically book 1 in the Heart of Fame series, and you don’t have to read Tropical Sin to understand his story in Love’s Rhythm. But, trust me, you want to get the full Nick effect.
Copyright © 2011 Lexxie Couper
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication
Nick Blackthorne weaved his way through the smattering of guests milling around the Bandicoot Resort’s massive reception area, a small smile curling at the corners of his mouth. It wasn’t the fact he was here, at the soft opening of the resort, that made him happy, nor the fact he was walking around without a minder or bodyguard or groupie to be seen. It was simply because the woman laughing behind him had a delightfully throaty, infectious laugh.
He stopped himself from shooting a look over his shoulder, concentrating instead on finding the correct passageway that would lead him to the Oasis Bar. He was a touch jetlagged and needed something more than coffee to wake up.
A touch? You’ve been on one plane or the other for the last three days. You’re more than jetlagged, you’re jet-freaking-dragged-through-the-turbines stoned. Besides, the need for something more than caffeine has nothing to do with jetlag. You just want to sit out in the sun and pretend you’re a normal person for a short while, don’t you?
He smiled wider. The truth was always less sensational. It had been a long time since he’d been able to sit at a bar and relax. When his agent had offered him the chance to attend the resort’s soft opening he’d jumped at it. Minimum number of guests, all hand-picked by the hotel’s manager, all—Frankie assured him—too discreet or important in their own rights to worry about him being in their presence. A nice change from where he’d just been, that was for sure.
The thought made his smile falter. A little. He wasn’t going to let his mind turn to where he’d just been. Not when he was walking through Eden.
Ah, so the romantic you used to be is still buried in that craven pit you call a soul, is he?
Behind him the woman laughed again, another low, throaty chuckle and, before he could help himself, Nick turned.
She was only a few feet behind, grinning up at a guy almost half again her height, her long, strawberry blonde hair a flaming halo in the sun’s warm rays, her pink lips stretched in a grin that said very clearly, “Yes, I am completely in charge of this situation.”
Nick let his gaze flick to her companion, noting with an experienced eye the man’s latent strength in his six-foot-plus form, his fluid, steady movements, and his utter adoration for the woman gripping his arm.
Christ, they were a sexy couple. Damn sexy.
He scowled, turning away from the young lovers. There was a time he’d have walked straight on up to them and suggested something far more depraved than either could probably imagine. Something very dirty and very enjoyable. That time had passed, however.
The woman laughed again, the delicious sound accompanied by a lower, deeper chuckle. The guy’s laugh. Relaxed. Easygoing. Coming up from his chest to slip past his lips in a humored rumble. Equally as infectious as hers.
He drove his nails into his palms and scanned the lush gardens on the other side of the glass wall. Where the hell was this bar? Somewhere outside beside a pool? He needed a drink.
No, not a drink. You need—
A face of an angel with filth on her mind,
I pray to burn in her fire,
I pray to die in her arms.
The words—lyrics of a song he hadn’t written yet—whispered through Nick’s head and he raised his eyebrows, his heartbeat quickening. Just as it had been too long since he could relax in public, it had been even longer since words of music came to him. Whoever the redhead was, she stirred something in him.
Yet the arms of her lover reach out for more.
Like a sinner I will burn in his fire,
I will die in his fire as she pleads for more.
Nick came to a halt, the unexpected lyrics floating through his head. It seemed they’d both stirred something in him he hadn’t felt for a long time, not just the woman.
The whisper of a rhythm teased him and he closed his eyes, a familiar sensation stirring in the pit of his gut. Carnal thoughts and lyrics? Coming to Bandicoot Cove really was a good—
“Excuse me, but can I ask you a question?”
The soft, husky voice speaking beside him could only belong to one person. Opening his eyes, Nick turned around, leaving his sunglasses firmly in place as he fixed his gaze on the flame-haired woman smiling up at him. This close she wasn’t just sexy, she was stunning. Stunning and gorgeous. As was the man standing next to her, his expression unreadable, that sleeping strength radiating from him in waves of…
Like a sinner I will burn in his fire,
I will die in his fire and beg her for—
“You’re Nick Blackthorne, yes?”
The woman’s question took Nick by jarring surprise. It shouldn’t have, but with the words of a hidden song taunting him and the unexpected lick of sexual interest teasing him, he wasn’t prepared. Especially for what she said next.
“I’m McKenzie Wood from Goss Weekly.” Her clear blue eyes turned direct. Intent. “I’m wondering if you’d like to comment on your stay at the Vergnügen sex clinic in Germany?”
I’m going to give away a copy of Tropical Sin, to get you hooked on Lexxie’s series, but I’m also going to be giving away a copy of Down and Dirty to give you a taste of Jess Dee, Sami Lee and Rhiann Cahill’s writing too.
Now the rules — you must be 18 years of age and older, Facebook doesn’t endorse the giveaway and has nothing to do with it, void where prohibited…and one prize per winner, in other words, you can enter both, but you can only win once, so if you win the Down and Dirty Bundle, you can’t win the Tropical Sin bundle too, and vice versa. (But I’m betting you’ll want to go and buy more of Lexxie’s books afterward!)
And remember, if you like an author’s books, the best way you can help them out is to leave a review on Amazon or Barnes & Noble or wherever you bought the book — Amazon and the other places use the number of (good) reviews in their algorithm when determining who else to show the title to in their “Readers who bought this also bought…” bar. Which means more people get to hear of your favorite author and it’ll encourage the author to keep writing.
P.S. (I’ve met Lexxie in person a couple times — first in Kansas City, and then in New Orleans, so now whenever I read her stories I hear her narrating them in my head in her wonderful Australian accent. If you want to hear her reading an excerpt, watch this video)