The Complete Series

Book Cover: Hauberk Protection: The Complete Series Bundle
Editions:ePub: $ 8.99
ISBN: 978-0-9959429-4-3
Pages: 850
Kindle: $ 8.99
ISBN: 978-0-9959429-4-3
Pages: 850

All six Hauberk stories will soon be available in one digital bundle.

From FIRST NIGHT a spicy short story of how security specialist Jodi Tyler and her boss Mark Rodriguez started their no-strings affair.

PRIVATE PROPERTY introduces Sam Watson, the owner of the HAUBERK PROTECTION Group as he helps his best friend Mark see the light about his relationship with Jodi.

Sam is the center of PERSONAL PROTECTION when his team at Hauberk Protection try to protect him from a stalker. By assigning him his own bodyguard--kick ass Rosalinda Ramos.

DELIBERATE DECEPTIONS has Sam's second-in-command Chad facing down his ex-wife Lauren as they avoid a killer out to get revenge.

HIDDEN HEAT follows Sam's assistant Sandy as she explores Troy McPherson's dual career-personality as both a good guy and an assassin.

And PERFECT PROPOSAL returns to Sam attempting to propose to Rosie. Except things don't go exactly as he'd hoped. Naturally.

 

Excerpt:

Thirty minutes later, a rhythmic noise had her peeking around the door. Wearing only a pair of shorts, Sam was working out on a rowing machine. His shoulder muscles rippled and his thighs bulged as he hauled on the pulley. Rosie stood in the doorway, entranced by a bead of sweat as it rolled down his forehead and slid down his neck.

The play of his muscles as he worked out made her imagine his chest flexing as he positioned himself over her, his arms planted either side of her head. She’d dig her fingers into those broad shoulders, feel his strength as he held himself above her. When he drove into her, she’d wrap her legs about his, feel the power of his thighs flexing as he whipped her into an orgasmic frenzy.

He’s your boss, her conscience hissed. She fled to the safety of the living room, wondering if she was fleeing Sam, or the strength of her desire.

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You’re just horny, she reminded herself. It’s been almost a year since you’ve been with a guy and now you’ve got the man of your dreams at your fingertips. You’ve been on a starvation diet and he’s a delicious hunk of cherry chocolate cheesecake.

Forty minutes later the sounds changed and the whir of the treadmill started, followed by a regular thumping that gradually sped up as his feet pounded on the belt. An hour more had passed when she heard the shower turn on in his bathroom.

She found herself prowling along the floor-to-ceiling windows like a panther trapped in a cage. He’d be naked, those four showerheads in his expansive bathroom were pounding his back with steady pulses of hot water. Water that would cascade over his chest, sluice down his belly and over his cock. A cock she wanted to—STOP IT!

When the water shut off, she turned her back to the room and pretended to focus on the lights of the city. But once he stepped into the room, the lights faded and all she could see was the reflection of Sam. Wearing only a pair of navy sweats and a towel wrapped around his neck, he prowled across the room to stand directly behind her. The broad expanse of his chest was still visible in his reflection for the top of her head barely cleared the base of his sternum.

“The view is beautiful, isn’t it?” he said softly. Except he wasn’t looking at the panorama of the city, he was looking at her reflection.

“Y-yes.” It took every ounce of her willpower to continue facing the windows, not to turn into the chest that formed a wall at her back, not to touch the scar down the middle of his chest, or the star-shaped bullet wound just to the left and ask him about it. She’d once asked, but no one, not even Chad, would tell her about the story of who’d put it there. She closed her eyes and forced herself to breathe slowly.

Closing her eyes only made her awareness of him worse. It let her focus on the warmth that flowed from him, enveloping her in a comforting blanket. While he hadn’t put on any more of that wonderful cologne he wore, she was aware of a scent underneath the smell of the soap he’d used. Every man she ever met from now on would be compared to the man standing directly behind her.

Her breath left her in a whoosh when he placed his hands lightly on her shoulders.

“You look like you’ve had a tough day, Ms. Ramos. You need to relax.”

Heck he didn’t even have to touch her, his voice alone could melt her bones and turn her into a puddle of goo at his feet. When his fingers massaged her shoulders, she couldn’t help but lean into his touch.

“That’s it, Rosie. Just relax.”

Her breasts felt heavier, warmer, the fabric of her blouse tightened over her nipples longing to be touched by the fingers that caressed her neck.

And then her cellphone rang, a unique ring she’d assigned to Chad’s number. Crap! How had she forgotten that she was not only Sam’s employee but his bodyguard?

Employee, not lover. Remember his type. Tall, lithe and beautiful. And if she added the news clippings and photos of his last girlfriend to the equation, rich.

She straightened her shoulders as she removed her Berry then, without looking at Sam’s reflection, took a half step sideways and fled to the kitchen.

 

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Reviews:on RT Book Reviews:

(On HIDDEN HEAT) ...almost too hot to touch

Shannon on The Romance Studio wrote:

HIDDEN HEAT: Nominated as “Best Romantic Suspense of 2012” by the reviewers at The Romance Studio for their annual Cupid and Psyche Awards (CAPA)

(On HIDDEN HEAT) The sexuality, sensuality, passion and suspense blend together perfectly into a wonderfully engaging and entertaining story that keeps the reader on the edge of their seat.

Miranda on Joyfully Reviewed wrote:

DELIBERATE DECEPTIONS is wrought with heady emotions and explosive sex…a gorgeous love story that will break your heart and mend it all over again… a stand-out in the contemporary erotic genre.

Shannon on The Romance Studio wrote:

Nominated as “Best Contemporary Romance of 2011″ by the reviewers of The Romance Studio”

(On DELIBERATE DECEPTIONS) Once again author Leah Braemel infuses her pleasurably sensual love stories with compelling characters, depth of emotion, delights of passion and the joy of love that equals a treat for the reader.

Shannon on The Romance Studio wrote:

(On PRIVATE PROPERTY) …a wickedly delicious and daring story taken directly from most women’s fantasies…a raw sensuality that holds the reader captive from the first page..a luscious, fast paced adventure that is sure to please readers who enjoy an edgy and intense erotic romance…a refreshingly touching twist to the menage theme…

NOMINATED AS BEST EROTIC ROMANCE, and Leah for BEST EROTIC ROMANCE AUTHOR by the Romance Studio reviewers for the Cupid and Psyche Romance Awards

Lea on Blackraven's Reviews wrote:

Recommended Read! If you read Private Property when it was first released, it is time for a re-read. If you somehow missed this book, get it now. You won’t be disappointed.


Available August 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9959429-4-3

Length: 850 pages

Nominated as Best Contemporary Romance by The Romance Studio reviewers
Nominated as Best Contemporary Romance by The Romance Studio reviewers

Nominated for Best Contemporary Romance of 2011 by the reviewers of The Romance Studio

Nominated for Best Erotic Contemporary Romance 2009

Book Cover: Unashamed

Contractor Max Moretti knows that once he turns over the keys on his latest project, he and his business partner Noah McNaughton will have to say goodbye to shy but sexy house flipper, Hayley O’Connell. Something neither he nor Noah are ready for. When Max overhears Hayley discussing a ménage fantasy, Max wonders if she’s the woman they’ve always wanted. With Noah’s help, Max constructs a plan to see if their attraction is mutual.

Being sandwiched between the two sexy construction workers introduces Hayley to pleasure she’d never known before, but watching the two men care for each other quickly becomes an addiction. An addiction that both intrigues and overwhelms her.

One passion-filled night turns into two, and Max and Noah find themselves faced with a bigger challenge than revealing their sexy secrets to Hayley—convincing her that forever is better with three.

Excerpt:

Not only would it get her used to the idea of both of them touching her, but it would give him the freedom to take his time going down on her. Man, did he want to taste that sweetness between her thighs.

Max wrapped an arm around Hayley’s waist, his skin dark against the porcelain of hers. She twisted her head to look at him—there was an almost visible connection between them that Noah wanted to be part of. Love in Max’s eyes, and friendship and trust in Hayley’s.

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Hayley twisted in Max’s arms, draped her arms around his neck, the length of her spine curving like a ballerina’s, her breasts pressing against Max’s chest, the two of them unaware of anything else, of him. Max caught Hayley’s mouth with his… Her soft sigh spoke of need and desire as her eyes fluttered closed. Max cupped her breast, his thumb teasing her nipple that peaked with the attention until she moaned and arched up. Only then did he capture one nipple between his teeth, tugging slightly, earning a sharp intake of breath.

Her eyes still closed, Hayley’s head fell back, the pins in her hair sparkling under the overhead lights.

Max was hard angles, muscles covered in tanned skin, made darker from the dark hair, especially over his chest, the cut of muscle sloping over his hips, the heavy erection bobbing from a nest at his groin were all angular compared to Hayley’s curves, from the plump breasts to the slope from her waist to her hip.

They were a living Vermeer, a study of light and dark, of smooth and hard, of beauty both masculine and feminine.

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UNASHAMED was originally part of the Hunks, Hammers and Happily Ever Afters bundle.  I have expanded the story and had it re-edited to make sure you get the best book I can give you. I’m also going to be releasing it in print which will also include a bonus story! Look for more details coming soon.

 

Get a sneak peek at some of the inspiration I used for the settings and characters in Unashamed on Pinterest.

Book Cover: The Tangled Bundle
Part of the Tangled series:

Texas Tangle (Tangled Series, Book One)
Thanks to her cheating ex-husband, all Nikki Kimball has left is a bruised heart, an over-drawn bank account and an empty home. When sex-on-legs Dillon Barnett and his foster brother Brett Anderson start showing more than just neighborly attention, Nikki is intrigued. Back in high school, the two friends fought a bitter battle to win her heart. Society says Nikki must choose between the two men she loves. Is she strong enough to break all the rules in order to find happiness?

Tangled Past (Tangled Series, Book Two)
Forced to marry a man she just met, Sarah McLeod clings to the hope that she'll finally find the love and acceptance she's always craved. But her tenuous dreams of a happy life on the frontier are in danger of being dashed by the one thing she can't change—her husband's love for another man. With the open frontier closing in around them, is Nate's suggestion of a permanent threesome their path to happiness? Or will others destroy what they've found together?

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Publisher: Carina Press
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Copyright © 2010 Leah Braemel

Dillon eased himself into the hot tub with a groan. He’d come home from work aching and sore. Nikki had pushed him down on the couch and given him a back rub that had him soft everywhere but the groin.

Damned if Nikki hadn’t suggested this dip and then dropped every stitch she had on to entice him. If he hadn’t been so tired, he’d have bent her over the arm of the couch and taken her from behind.

When he pulled her to sit on his lap, he noticed she was having trouble meeting his eye. And that her thumbnail had been chewed down–a habit he’d noticed she only did if she were worried about something. He also couldn’t miss the tension in her shoulders. Hellfire, she’d needed a massage as much as he had.

“You’re feeling guilty about going out on that date with Brett last night, aren’t you?” Guilt gnawed at his conscience that he’d not admitted he’d watched them.

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Nikki buried her face against his neck and nodded.

“Brett and I had sex last night.” She’d said it so quietly he barely heard her confession over the hot tub’s motor. If her jaw hadn’t been touching his neck, he may not have even realized she’d spoken.

He cupped the back of her head with one hand while he drew lazy circles along her spine with the other. “I told you, no regrets, okay? I want you to make sure you’re making the right decision, no matter who you choose.”

But damn it, he’d hoped they wouldn’t be as great together as they had been last night. The hallway practically glowed from the heat the two of them had thrown off.

“When did you get home? I didn’t hear you come in.”

Ah. Guess this was where he should come clean about his little act of voyeurism.

“It wasn’t too late. After I’d dropped off my estimate with the Sniders, I stopped off at TJ’s Grill and watched the Rangers game.” And here was the opening where he should tell her how Ethan had ended up dropping him off because he’d had that third beer and didn’t think he should get behind the wheel. Which might explain why he’d ended up sacked out on the couch instead of in bed.

He leaned back against the jets, wondering why the hell he’d prevaricated. He should have told her he’d watched the two of them. And how not only had it not bothered him but he’d fucking well jacked off to it.

Shit. That was just too perverted to admit. Better to keep my mouth shut on that one. Luckily, Nikki had still been asleep when he’d had one of his guys pick him up and take him over to the bar to retrieve his truck that morning.

They were still soaking when Brett came home from his shift. “Anyone home?”

“Hey, buddy, we’re out here.”

Carrying a beer, Brett wandered out onto the deck, his normally neat uniform torn at the shoulder and muddied at the knees. He slowed, a frown creasing his forehead when he noticed Nikki sitting beside Dillon.

Dillon leaned back, stretching his arms along the edges of the tub. His cock hardened as he remembered the night before. His imagination expanded the possibilities, picturing the three of them in bed together. God, that would be so fuckin’ hot. He’d love to have a ménage, watch Nikki go down on Brett while he fucked her from behind. Did he dare risk it? Why not? The worst they could do is say no. “Why don’t you ditch the suit and jump in with us?”

“I don’t have any trunks.”

“I’m not wearing any.” Dillon held his breath when Brett eyed the hot tub with a wistful look. “Nik, would it bother you if Brett drops trou?”

“What sane woman would object to having two hot guys buck-ass nekkid on each side of her?” A flush filled her cheeks, though whether from the heat of the tub or her anticipation of being naked between them, Dillon couldn’t tell.

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Reviews:on The Romance Reviews:

Tangled Past was nominated as “BEST EROTIC MENAGE A TROIS OR MORE” OF 2011
by The Romance Reviews

Talia Ticci on Joyfully Reviewed wrote:

For a truly great ménage read, TEXAS TANGLE is the book for you. I couldn’t get enough of it and had to read it twice, okay – three times!


Tangled Past by Leah Braemel
Part of the Tangled series:

Forced to marry a man she just met, Sarah McLeod clings to the hope that she’ll finally find the love and acceptance she’s always craved. But her tenuous dreams of a happy life on the frontier are in danger of being dashed by the one thing she can’t change—her husband’s love for another man.

Jackson Kellar’s determined to do right by his bride, yet he’s torn between his newfound love for Sarah and his still-burning desire for Nate.

Ranch owner Nate Campbell loves them both. He hates to see Jackson’s loyalties so divided, and doesn’t want Sarah hurt either. But how can they fix the tangled mess they find themselves in? Nate suggests a possible solution – a permanent threesome.

With the open frontier closing in around them, is Nate’s solution their path to happiness? Or will others destroy what they’ve found together?

Published:
Publisher: Carina Press
Editors:
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© Copyright 2011 Leah Braemel

Texas, 1887

Danged devil’s rope.” Jackson Kellar checked the stallion’s withers where the barbed wire had nicked it. “It ain’t too bad though, Nate. Shouldn’t be a problem for the trip back home, less it festers.”

“Good. McLeod was right about this fellow being high-spirited. It should be a treat to ride him.” Nate ran a hand down the horse’s neck and crooned softly until it gentled. Nate had mighty talented hands when it came to soothing the beasts. Or any other animals he came across.

Jackson included himself on that list.

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Aware of the McLeod field hands watching them, Jackson positioned himself between the horse and the hands to check his six-shooter. Something about the look of some of those men left him uneasy. Once assured the gun was loaded, he surveyed the ranch. Long strands of the barbed wire outlined the fields and pastures, where a decade before this valley had been open. Not that it stopped the cattle rustlers from tearing down the silver barriers. Rumors he’d heard in town questioned just which side of the McLeod fence the rustled cattle were herded.

A flash of pale blue hurtling at Nate had Jackson whirling on his heel. He cocked and aimed the Colt until he realized Nate’s attacker was a shovel-wielding woman.

He holstered his weapon and watched the she-devil swing the shovel at Nate with an admirable ferocity. From the way he was deflecting the blows instead of landing his own, Nate must have figured out she was of the female persuasion. If the woman was as pretty from the front as she was from the back, Jackson couldn’t blame him.

“Need some help there, Nate?”

“Nope, I got it.” A grinning Nate dodged the shovel, and again when it returned for a yet another go-round. She’d put so much oomph into it, she lost her balance. Seizing the opportunity, Nate snatched the shovel and tossed it to Jackson, who caught it one-handed.

Danged if the she-devil didn’t ball her hand into a fist and catch Nate with a right hook that snapped his head back.

“You sure you don’t want some help?”

“Naw, I got it.” Nate caught the fist as it whizzed past his face a second time, pulling the hellion against him. “Now, see, ain’t this more cozy, darlin’?”

“I’m not your darlin’.” She jammed her knee into a part of Nate’s anatomy that no knee had a right being anywhere near.

The color drained from Nate’s face, and he dropped to the ground with a croaking sound that had Jackson wincing in sympathy.

With a growl, Jackson caught Nate’s attacker from behind. He banded his arms around her, trapping her arms at her side. It didn’t stop her from hauling her foot back to continue the assault.

“That’s enough of that. He ain’t goin’ nowhere for a while.” He swung her out of the way before she kicked Nate into a patch of prickly pears.

She struggled against him, her behind rubbing his cock. From the way she was cursing him six ways from Sunday, he doubted she was aware of how the danged thing was rising up to salute her efforts.

“Your mama know you use language like that?” Jackson asked, keeping an eye on Nate, who was turning a disturbing shade of green.

“My mama died last spring.” She stilled, her voice dropping to a whisper.

“Well now, I’m right sorry about that. But you can’t just go around attacking folks for no reason.”

“No reason?” The hellcat started struggling again. “You’re on my land, stealing my horse. If I’d had my gun handy, I could have shot you and no one would have stopped me.”

Her land? Was this Josiah McLeod’s chit? That explained why the ranch hands weren’t lending a hand to the fight. “Now haul in your horns for a second there. We weren’t stealin’ this here horse. Nate bought him fair and square.”

Still on his hands and knees, Nate shook his head like a dog that had just crawled out of a pond. “You can check with your pa if you don’t believe me.”

All the piss and vinegar she’d had before disappeared, and she sagged in his arms. “He sold Bandit?”

“Yes, ma’am.” The bay in question watched them as he paced the fence line on the other side of the pasture.

Jackson took a chance and released her, but he didn’t relax his guard, staying ready to grab her again just in case she decided to take another shot at Nate. He introduced himself then gestured with his chin toward Nate. “The fellow you just tried to castrate is Nate Campbell.”

“I’m Sarah McLeod and Bandit’s my horse. I’ve trained him since he was born.”

“Well, Miss Sarah, Nate here just bought Bandit and a couple of mares from your pa. Deal was done fair and square.”

“A couple of mares…” Sarah’s eyes narrowed.

Right pretty eyes she had too. Dark like coal over high cheekbones. Looked like the rumors about Josiah’s wife taking up with an Indian fellow were true. Especially with those full lips that a man could lose himself in for a week. Lips that would look mighty fine tight around a man’s cock. In her struggles, her bonnet had fallen to the ground, and strands of long black hair feathered along a strong jaw. Pity she’d pulled her hair back into that god-awful bun, but it probably was easier to care for that way rather than letting it get tangled up in the wind when she was riding. Like her horse, she had a strong and wild air, so different from some of the frail young misses coming west these days.

Her blue calico skirts highlighted a nicely rounded behind when she bent over and picked up the shovel he’d dropped on the ground. Out the corner of his eye he saw Nate flinch, but Sarah simply hefted it and headed back toward the house.

“You all right?” he asked when Nate staggered to stand beside him.

“Yup. She caught me unawares, is all.” Nate adjusted himself with a grimace, but he didn’t take his eyes from watching Sarah’s behind swing as her long legs ate up the dirt between them and the family home. “She’s something, ain’t she?”

Nate’s sigh had Jackson’s head turning toward him. Had he lost him to a woman? Considering the way his own cock had reacted to her, he couldn’t fault Nate’s taste.

Ah, well, he knew it was too good to last. Besides, it was probably better if Nate did take a wife. Their relationship was downright dangerous. A woman in the house would put any rumors to rest. Of course, he’d have to find somewhere else to live if Nate wedded.

Jackson admired the bruise starting to form on Nate’s jaw. “She’s got a good right cross, I’ll give her that.”

Color tinged Nate’s cheeks. “Guess we better follow her. Maybe we won’t be leaving with that stallion after all.”

They caught up to Sarah just as she reached the barnyard, where her father was talking with his son Walt and another man. Though Josiah’s hair was red and Walt’s hair white blond, there was no mistaking the protruding family chin and freckled complexion, so different from Sarah’s jet black hair and golden skin.

Who the third man was, Jackson had no clue. Ranch hand, he guessed at first from the lariat the man carried, but revised his estimation when he drew closer and noticed the expensive tooling on his chaps and fancy silver belt buckle. Neighbor, perhaps? Another buyer of one of the horses?

Both McLeods frowned at Sarah’s approach, while the third man openly leered.

She positioned herself in front of her father so Walt was between her and the third man. “Did you sell Bandit?”

For some reason he couldn’t explain, it annoyed Jackson to no end that neither of her kin seemed to be bothered by the man’s lecherous expression.

“Yup, sure did.” Josiah McLeod’s frown deepened, especially once he caught sight of Jackson and Nate leaning on the fence, watching.

“But I’ve had him since he was a colt. Mama raised him and trained him. How could you sell him without telling me?”

“Listen here, girl, that horse is mine. Just like everything else on this land is mine. Including all those animals who are eatin’ my feed and filling stalls that I could fill with animals that’ll pull their weight more than you or that damned horse. So don’t you go getting all high and mighty because I sold a half dozen of my own stock without seekin’ your approval.”

“But they—”

“I ain’t sayin’ another word on the subject, girl. You live here on my good graces, so don’t push your luck if you know what’s good for you. Now you go get dinner ready.” McLeod tilted his head Jackson and Nate’s way. “We’ve got two extra guests, as well as Jed sitting down at the table tonight. You make sure the grub’s good, ya hear?” He headed to the barn, leaving her staring at him, her shoulders slumped in defeat.

As Walt sauntered past, he spit onto the ground in front of Sarah’s feet so it splattered across the tips of her boots and muttered, “Lazy squaw.”

Jed strolled up to her and whispered something so low Jackson couldn’t hear, but whatever it was, Sarah’s eyes widened and she took a step back. He was about to jump over the fence to intervene when in front of his eyes, the hellcat regained her confidence. Two seconds later, Jed was curled in a ball on the ground, gasping for breath and clutching his balls as Sarah stalked into the house.

“Damn, she’s somethin’, ain’t she?” Nate breathed, admiration filling his voice. Guess Nate had either forgotten his own experience with Sarah’s knee, or he’d decided it was admirable when used on someone else.

Still moaning, Jed hauled himself to his knees, then his feet. “Fuckin’ squaw needs a good beatin’ to teach her her place.” He spat in the direction of the house. “If I was McLeod, I’da dropped both her and her ma off at the nearest reservation as soon as I’d realized my wife had fucked a goddamned Indian. If I’d let ’em live in the first place.”

With a pointed look at Jackson, he resettled his hat and headed for the side of the house, where a flashy thoroughbred had been tethered.

Jackson grabbed Nate before he vaulted the split rail and went  after the stranger. “Don’t. He ain’t worth it.”

“Someone should set him straight,  stand up to him.” Nate shrugged him off. “How come you ain’t going after him?”

“You mean considerin’ I’ve got Indian blood in me?” Jackson shook his head. “He wouldn’t learn nothing from it. Besides I’d probably end up with a bullet in my back or a rope around my neck for attackin’ him. As I said, he ain’t worth it.”

“She’s worth it.” Jackson almost missed Nate’s whispered, “So are you.”

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Reviews:Lisa Watts on Fresh Fiction wrote:

…a sweet, believable ménage story with the perfect balance of plot, emotion, and steamy sex.

Terri on Night Owl Romance wrote:

5 Stars and a Top Pick: Once again Ms Braemel has made her story come to life and taken me along on the journey

Judith on Book Binge wrote:

…a story that will take the reader on an emotional roller coaster… not be difficult to literally enter into this story and be deeply touched by their joys and disappointments.


NOMINATED AS “BEST EROTIC MENAGE A TROIS OR MORE” OF 2011 by The Romance Reviews 


 

…a story not to be missed ~ Chris, Night Owl Romance

Recommended Read: Sinful, sexy, mesmerizing and intoxicating. ~Lady Rhyleigh, All Romance eBooks Cafe

…Tangled Past is definitely a keeper. ~ Melinda, Night Owl Reviews.

…The characters are compelling while their relationships are complex. Their story pulls you in right from the beginning. ~ Heather, Everybody Needs a Little Romance

…an emotional tug of war… a truly beautiful story that I highly recommend ~ Wendy, You Gotta Read Reviews

…this was a book with a little bit of everything I didn’t know I was looking for, but was glad I found!~ Happily Ever After Reads

…Filled with action, love, and excellent sex scenes this book takes you on a believable trip back in time ~Drea, Judging the Book By Its Pages

… soak up the love story and enjoy the characters, because it’s beautifully written and Braemel’s voice is terrific. ~ Lori, Goodreads review

Book Cover: Private Property

Security specialist Jodi Tyler has a great job and a great relationship with her boss, Mark Rodriguez—in the office and in the bedroom. Their casual arrangement is all she wants, and she’d thought it was all Mark wanted too. Right up until she’s busted while testing the security of a Lake Arlington mansion. To her surprise, and with the help of the mansion’s owner, Sam Watson, Jodi’s no-strings affair with Mark is about to become a little more…binding.

Sharing Jodi with his best friend Sam was supposed to be fun. But as the intimate evening progresses, certain feelings come to light, feelings Mark didn’t know he had.  Feelings he doesn’t know what to do about. But Sam does. And he knows exactly what to do about them.

By evening’s end, the decisions Mark is forced to make will change everyone’s lives. He will either disappoint them all—or claim Jodi as his own private property.

Published:
Publisher: Somerlane Publishing
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Copyright © 2009 Leah Braemel
Somerlane Publishing
All rights reserved

A deep reverberating thrum filled Jodi Tyler’s chest and stroked the back of her throat with its raw promise of latent power. The unmistakable growl of a Harley. The sound bounced off the highwalled estate hugging the shores of Lake Arlington, then abruptly stopped.

She lifted the night vision binoculars and peered through the tinted windows of the surveillance van. Nothing. Deciding there was no threat from the road, she swiveled her chair back to the monitors. Her fingers flicked the switches controlling the surveillance cameras aimed at the estate. Images flashed across the monitor in rapid succession. They all showed the same thing. Nothing.

So where had the motorcycle gone?

“Must’ve turned off,” she muttered to herself. She grabbed the black T-shirt she’d discarded earlier and blotted the sweat trickling down her neck.

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Maybe the pimply teenager three doors up drove a Harley. More likely his mid-life-crisis-aged father, she thought, wiping the perspiration pooled between her breasts. Being stuck in a stifling black van in Dallas during a heat wave was not her idea of excitement. Especially on her birthday. Which Mark had forgotten.

Or ignored.

After hinting for weeks about how she wanted to spend the night, starting with a romantic dinner at their favorite restaurant, after teasing him about the sexy negligee she’d bought, even after that stupid list of all the sexual fantasies she’d written for him, he’d still gone ahead and arranged for her to penetrate the estate tonight. Tonight!

“If he expects me to be in any sort of romantic mood when I get home, he’s got rocks in his head.” She plopped down in the chair with a huff. “He can sleep in his own bed tonight. Alone.”

She switched the monitor back to the camera aimed at the Lexus parked in front of the five-car garage. If the assistant kept to her regular schedule—and that woman was punctual to a fault—the car would soon be cruising up the drive. Which meant Jodi’d be out of this Easy-Bake Oven and into the air-conditioned estate to finish this assignment. Then she could go home and shower. Alone.

An insidious thought slithered into her mind, puncturing her self-confidence with an icy-cold needle. That’s what he’s planned all along—he’s trying to dump you without actually having to say anything.

No, she thought, shaking her head. Mark doesn’t play games like that.

How do you know? the voice whispered. Why else would he arrange for the estate to be penetrated today of all days? He’s easing his way out of the affair by pissing you off, hoping you’ll dump him first. And don’t forget how he insisted either one of you could walk away at any point.

She leaned back in the chair, her arms folded across her chest. Easing out of a relationship had to be better than being dumped by text message the way Todd had done. “Let’s just be friends.”

Friends, my ass.

Would it hurt less than it had when she’d found another woman’s bra under Danny’s bed and been forced to endure his long, stumbling explanation? “She’s softer, less demanding, you know?”

Yeah, she knew.

Permanent scars etched her heart after Jace’s less-than-flattering comments about her lack of femininity when she’d graduated from the police academy. More fool her, she’d actually quit the force trying to please that asshole and he’d still dumped her.

Maybe Mark’s way of easing out of a relationship was better. Maybe it would hurt less. She rubbed the heel of her hand over the ache in her heart. Who was she kidding? Despite agreeing with Mark that the affair wouldn’t be long term, she’d fallen in love with him anyway. If he was breaking up with her, she was soon going to feel like her skin had been stripped off layer by layer.

When a branch snapped behind the van, interrupting her pity fest, she grabbed her gun from the console and headed to the driver’s seat. There was no way she was going to sit here as a witless target.

“Jodi? Open up, babe, it’s me,” Mark whispered through the back panel.

Excitement flared in her chest at the sound of his voice. When she realized her heart was racing just from hearing his voice, she silently cursed herself for acting like a bookworm with a serious crush on the quarterback.

“Jodi?” Mark said, a little louder this time. “You okay in there?”

She thumbed on the safety of the Glock and, after taking a deep breath, opened the door. A glance around showed no sign of his Humvee—he must have parked it farther down the road and walked up.

“You could have phoned to say you were coming in. I might have shot you.” In the groin.

The van dipped when he stepped up into it. His six-foot-two-inch frame filling the narrow confines, he gently closed the door so it wouldn’t give away their position. The dragon tattoo on his biceps flexed as he placed a knapsack on the console beside the surveillance equipment. Muscles rippled beneath the Celada Security logo emblazoned across the chest of his black T-shirt. Muscles she’d felt flex beneath her palms the night before.

Her fingers itched to run themselves through the thick crop of black hair in his Marine high-and-tight. Normally she didn’t go for guys with short hair, but that glistening four-inch-wide pelt reminded her of a mink coat she wanted wrapped around her body. Between her legs.

Get over that desire real fast, she told her fingers. “You’re late.”

“Got stuck at the lawyers’. There—” He stopped as his eyes adjusted to the gloom, reminding her of what she was—or rather, wasn’t—wearing.

Every cell in her body went on high alert, trembled with need and expectation as if he’d touched her wherever he looked.

His grin widened and his chocolate brown eyes glinted. “Is a sports bra and thong the latest fashion for surveillance?”

Jodi flipped him the bird while she searched for the T-shirt she’d discarded.

“It was hot. I stripped down. So bite me,” she said, though without the rancor she’d intended.

“Anything you say, babe.” He pulled her against him and nipped at her earlobe. “But I fully approve of your outfit. Think I should make it part of the dress code.”

“Yeah, that’ll go over real well.” She attempted to maintain her anger. And failed. “Everyone’s been dying to see Hector’s fat ass in a thong.”

When his hands cupped her breasts, Jodi melted into his touch. Magic fingers, she thought, as his thumbs brushed her taut nipples. Was this the last time he’d touch her like this? Or was it just her insecurity making her paranoid?

“Have I told you lately how beautiful you are?” he said, his breath hot on her neck.

The citrus fragrance of his aftershave, and the lack of his usual dark five-o’clock shadow told her he’d recently shaved. His fresh scent reminded her how grungy she felt having been cooped up in over one hundred degree heat all day. It took a charming—or incredibly obtuse—man to tell a woman whose hair clung in damp strands to her neck and probably smelled like the inside of a stable that she was beautiful.

Surely a man planning on dumping her wouldn’t be acting like this. Or was he overcompensating?

“The assistant leave yet?” His tongue brushed over her earlobe, sending a shiver down her spine.

“Um…” She struggled to think under the onslaught of sensation. His tongue trailed down her neck, teeth nipped at that spot that made her need him inside her. What was it about him that made her knees turn to jelly and her insides to liquid heat?

“Babe? Did Ms. Janssen leave?”

She barely heard him repeat the question when his hand released her breast and moved lower. She forced one eye open and peered over his shoulder at the monitor, verifying the car hadn’t moved.

“No, not yet. If she keeps to her usual schedule she should leave in ten minutes. I thought I heard an engine a few moments ago. You see anything on the way in?”

“Nope.” He turned her away from the monitor and pushed aside the thin strip of her thong. His fingers—those broad, callused, talented fingers—stroked her vulva, sending streaks of pleasure deep inside.

She struggled to maintain focus the way he could. “Must have been… Oh, Mark, yes, right there.”

Her legs opened wider under his murmured instructions, while her hands fumbled with the zipper in his blue jeans. Fingers were all very well, but when there was a cock willing and eager to penetrate her—and from the rock-hard erection beneath her palm, he was more than ready—there was no contest. She heard the rustle of canvas when he reached behind her, and she wondered what was in the knapsack that he needed at this precise moment.

“Got a present for you.” His mouth covered hers, swallowing her squeak of surprise when something hard and cold touched her labia and pressed inward. “Something to keep you on your toes.”

A moan left her when the object started vibrating inside her. He had to be kidding!

She reached down to remove the vibrating egg, only to have her wrist circled by his fingers, pulling her hand away.

“Oh no you don’t. Leave it in until I take it out myself.” An intense look filled his dark eyes, replacing the earlier amusement. He stepped back, all business, and picked up her black twill pants. “Better put these on. The assistant will be leaving soon. Don’t forget you have to get through the gate right after she leaves.”

“I know the plan.” She tugged on her pants, doing her best to ignore the overwhelming need the device was creating. “Do you seriously expect me to break into the house and crack a safe with this damned thing vibrating inside me?”

He flashed a six-megawatt grin. “Yup, I do.”

Jodi stuck her tongue out at him. Okay, it was childish, but she hated that he’d got her so hot and bothered and then wouldn’t let her come. Until she noticed the bulge in his pants. Proving that despite Mark’s business-like demeanor, he was just as horny.

“We’ve got a few minutes before Ms. Janssen leaves.” She trailed a finger down his chest, slid her hand between them and rubbed his erection, intent on torturing him and silencing her insecurities. “You must be aching as bad as I am. No use both of us being unfulfilled all night.”

His grin fading, Mark flipped a switch on the remote. The vibrations ceased within her, leaving her with a completely unsatisfied pussy. Damn it, she needed to finish what he’d started.

“Look, babe, I know you wanted to celebrate, but the owner insisted it be today. And since you’re our best at infiltration…” He tucked the remote into his shirt pocket then lifted her hands in his.

At least he’d remembered her birthday.

When he pressed his lips against her knuckles, her insecurity crawled back under its rock. Hopefully forever.

“I’d still rather have you inside me than this vibrator.”

He chuckled and kissed her fingers again. “I know. So would I. But we don’t have time.”

“So why are you insisting I keep it in?”

He let her hands drop and cradled her head to his shoulder briefly. “Just for fun. Besides, you’re always practicing cracking those safes wearing headphones, listening to loud music and street sounds. So think of my present as just another distraction, something to add to the challenge.”

She relented. A little. There were worse ways to be distracted—like having firecrackers or guns aimed at you—both of which had been done to her in the past. His professionalism had attracted her to him in the first place; it wasn’t right that she snark about it now, she supposed. Besides, what could be more exciting than breaking into a house, knowing you could get caught, a vibrator your lover had placed deep inside arousing every fiber of your being? By night’s end, she’d be so horny, so desperate for him, he could fuck her in the middle of Dealey Plaza at high noon and she wouldn’t deny him.

She bent over to pick up her T-shirt, making sure Mark had a really good look at her butt. Might as well give him something to think about while she was away.

“You got the letter I’m supposed to leave in the safe?” The shirt muffled her voice as she pulled it over her head.

He held up a sealed envelope. “Right here.”

She grabbed the envelope and shoved it in her pocket. “You sure the owner hasn’t upgraded the system? Or tipped the current security company off?”

“Nah, I have his word that if you crack the safe tonight, I’ll have a signature on a contract at our lunch tomorrow. And then I can concentrate on the merger.” Mark perched on the edge of the console and folded his arms. A smug look on his face told her he expected her to encounter no problems.

Yet for all his confidence in her, the envelope weighed a ton in her pocket. “Mark, are you sure you want to sell out? You’ve worked so hard making Celada the top security firm in Texas—you can’t just hand over the reins to some stranger, even if he was your old college buddy. You love running your own company too much to see it gobbled up by Hauberk Security.”

He grabbed her hand and tugged until she stood between his legs. “It’s just a merger, babe, not a complete takeover. I’ve told you I’ll continue to run ops this side of the Mississippi, and Sam will manage everything to the east from D.C. We’ll both have to agree on any major decision, each with an equal say.”

“And if you can’t agree?”

“It’ll work out. Trust me.” His hand cupped her buttock and squeezed as he glanced at the monitor behind her. “Time to move, babe. Ms. Janssen is driving toward the gate.”
He couldn’t have staged a better way to avoid the subject if he’d planned it.

After pulling on a pair of surgical gloves, Jodi picked up the two-way headset and tucked it around her ear. “Give me a sound check, will you?”

Mark flipped on the microphone to the radio, and whispered something in Spanish.

Shivers flared down her spine and sent a bolt of heat into her core. “One of these days I’m going to take Spanish lessons. What did you say this time?”

“I promised to tie your hands behind your back and make you get on your knees. Then I said I’m going to put my dick in your mouth until I spew come down your throat.”

Grabbing the back-door latch, Jodi pressed her knees together as her pussy clamped around the egg lodged high inside. “If you’d let Javier do this job the way I’d suggested, I’d be on my knees in a heartbeat. But since you didn’t, I guess you’ll have to keep dreaming.”

“Maybe. Maybe not.” He winked and tossed her a black knit cap. “Forget something?”

With a muttered curse about wool caps and Texas heat, Jodi tucked her hair beneath the cap’s edges. Once Mark had flicked off the van’s dome light, she eased the door open. As she squeezed through the narrow opening, branches scraped against the door’s paint job and tugged at her thin black cotton shirt.

Headlights slanted up the curving driveway, backlighting the ornate wrought-iron gates that creaked as they swung open.

“Right on time. Someone needs to teach you there’s safety in unpredictability, lady,” she murmured.

The sleek dark blue Lexus drove through the gates and turned right.

“Show time, babe,” Mark said over the headset.

Heart thumping, Jodi slid in through the gates as the motor whirred, jumping only slightly when the gate clicked shut behind her.

Keeping to the shadows cast by the half-moon, Jodi crept down the long driveway toward the sprawling three-story Tudor mansion. She skirted the massive garage, then followed the path around back and stopped by the first French door. Whatever security expert designed the current system hadn’t insisted that a deadbolt be installed on this one. Or the installers had missed it. And that was the reason she—no, she reminded herself, Mark’s company—was going to prove they were the best security firm in Texas.

She pulled out the thin strip of plastic she had tucked in the pouch on her belt and shoved it between the jamb and the latch. Seconds later, she straightened and opened door.
As she’d expected, a red light flashed in the security panel beside the door. She punched in the number she’d memorized and breathed a sigh of relief when the light turned a steady green. They hadn’t changed the security code since she’d reconnoitered. Another point for her report.

“I’m in,” she whispered, knowing Mark was listening in the van. She wiped the sweat from the back of her neck, angling her head to catch the cool breeze rushing through the air-conditioning vent.

“You never told me how you got the security code,” she heard Mark say in the earpiece as she headed through the empty room toward the center hallway.

“I have my secrets,” she taunted. That weekend she’d bribed to call in sick so she could fill in had paid off—even if it meant she’d had to scrub toilets. The work hadn’t really been hard—the new owner had only furnished four rooms so far, so there’d not been much to clean.

A smile tugging at her lips, Jodi paused at the door to the office, ensuring it was empty. Moonlight streamed between the heavy curtains that flanked the French doors and across the floor in a rectangular pattern, slanting up the bookcases lining the walls. The red power light on the cordless phone reflected in the brass base of the banker’s lamp on the desk. Assured she was alone, she walked confidently toward the desk.

“The safe’s in the floor behind the desk,” Mark reminded her. “Figure you’ve got less than an hour to crack the safe, leave the envelope and get out before the next patrol cruises by.”

She rolled her eyes. Cruise was right—that’s all the minimum-wage cop wannabees currently providing security did for their visual inspection. Her van had been parked in the area for a week now and they hadn’t slowed down enough to read her license plate or check why she was there.

She pushed the leather office chair aside and knelt on the hardwood floor, inhaling a whiff of lemon furniture polish. The very same polish she’d applied on the weekend. Reaching beneath the desk, her fingers found the latch that would free the panel hiding the safe. Her breath left her with a whoosh when she heard the audible click.

“Got it!” she whispered, pumping her fist in the air. Now the real fun began.

Still on her knees, she reached down and swung open the square section of floor concealing the safe. A chuckle escaped her. She’d never bothered to tell Mark that during her stint as a replacement maid, she’d been assigned to dust this room. Or that she’d discovered the safe’s combination on the flip side of the leather blotter.

“Hey, Mark, start the timer—I’ll bet I can have this baby cracked in under three minutes.”

Mark’s low chuckle reverberated in her ear. “Two. Loser gets tied up and spanked.”
Jodi’s butt tightened. Spanking usually meant Mark was in the mood for ass play. Maybe she should deliberately take four minutes. No, she thought with wicked delight as she glanced at her latex covered fingers, it was time Mark got a taste of his own medicine.

“Then drop your pants, big boy, and show me your sweet ass, ’cause you’re going to get a whoopin’ tonight.”

Clenching her penlight between her teeth, she leaned over the dial of the old-fashioned safe. Then jumped when the egg started to vibrate deep inside her.
Sonuvabitch. She stopped herself from screeching. She’d completely forgotten the damned thing. Her nipples hardened into swollen buds rubbing against her cotton T-shirt while her pussy throbbed in time with the vibrations.

No way was she going to let Mark win this bet. Ignoring the vibrator as best she could, she carefully turned the dial clockwise to the first number. Heard the click as the mechanism released. One-and-a-half-turns counterclockwise. Another click. Clockwise again. Click. Grinning, she checked her watch.

“Mark, your ass is going to be sore tomorrow,” she whispered.

A quick tug on the handle opened the safe. Her penlight’s thin beam of light illuminated a thick rope of gold with a massive ruby pendant resting upon a black velvet-covered board. A set of dangly earrings that matched the pendant and several diamond-encrusted bracelets winked back at her. A fortune in easily fenced gems and the idiot had left the combination to the safe where anyone could find it.

Shaking her head at the owner’s stupidity, she pulled out the envelope. Then froze when the sliver of light from the French door lengthened, slid beneath the desk and over the safe.

She peered beneath the knee space under the desk. The moonlight outlined the shape of a dark figure shutting the doors.

“Under two minutes, Mark, I win,” she announced as she crawled from beneath the desk. She straightened and smiled, expecting Mark to flash that sexy smile of his. She was so ready to fuck him, to have him ram his cock deep into her.

But her smile froze when the intruder took a step into the room and the moonlight gleamed off his head. His shaved head.

Not Mark.

“Welcome to my parlor, said the spider to the fly.”

COLLAPSE
Reviews:Shannon on The Romance Studio wrote:

…a wickedly delicious and daring story taken directly from most women’s fantasies…a raw sensuality that holds the reader captive from the first page..a luscious, fast paced adventure that is sure to please readers who enjoy an edgy and intense erotic romance…a refreshingly touching twist to the menage theme…

NOMINATED AS BEST EROTIC ROMANCE, and Leah for BEST EROTIC ROMANCE AUTHOR by the Romance Studio reviewers for the Cupid and Psyche Romance Awards

Chrissy on Romance Junkies wrote:

Leah Braemel’s PRIVATE PROPERTY delves into all of one woman’s naughty fantasies and promises to leave readers hot and sweaty. … All of these characters will touch your heart in one way or another. …

Lea on Blackraven's Reviews wrote:

Recommended Read! If you read Private Property when it was first released, it is time for a re-read. If you somehow missed this book, get it now. You won’t be disappointed.


  Nominated for Best Erotic Contemporary Romance 2009

by the reviewers of The Romance Studio


This book was originally published in 2009 by Samhain Publishing, but has been given a new cover and re-released in 2016 by Somerlane Publishing.  Other than some minor editing to update the technology, the contents remain unchanged.

Book Cover: First Night
Editions:Trade Paperback: $ 9.99
ISBN: 978-0-9879304-9-1
Size: 8.50 x 5.50 in
Pages: 200
Kindle
ISBN: 978-0-9879304-3-9
Pages: 36
ePub
ISBN: 978-0-9879304-3-9
Pages: 36

When it comes to her love life, security specialist Jodi Tyler has hit a dry spell the size of the Sahara. Not to mention her track record for choosing guys who aren’t threatened by a strong woman isn’t the best. When a friend at her company’s New Year’s Eve party issues a challenge to seduce their boss, the uber sexy Mark Rodriguez, Jodi accepts.

The last thing Mark Rodriguez needs right now is another distraction. His company is under attack and he’s desperately trying to hold it together. When the blonde bombshell he hired as his second-in-command struts into the room and straddles his lap, who is he to turn her down? Especially with her offer of a no-strings-attached affair.

But when the clock strikes midnight, and the ball drops on Times Square, has Jodi won the bet or lost her heart?

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Publisher: Somerlane Publishing
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Copyright © 2008, 2014 Leah Braemel

It might have been the two glasses of champagne that drove Jodi Tyler to consider her friend Terri’s dare. Or maybe, she told herself for the fifth time, she really was concerned her boss was working himself too hard.

Though her mouth was moving, Jodi could barely hear a word of Terri’s explanation over Hector’s attempts at singing and the amps blasting full-power. The music itself wasn’t bad—Juan and Tyrell both played a mean guitar—but Hector needed to be muzzled for mangling U2’s New Year’s Day so badly.

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Champagne sloshing over the side of her wine glass, Terri gestured toward their boss, who stood in the farthest corner, his cell phone pressed to one ear and a hand covering the other. The suit jacket Mark Rodriguez had worn earlier was nowhere in sight. His tie had disappeared too, leaving the top two buttons of his shirt splayed open. What was it about that peek-a-boo V that she found so attractive? He twisted to allow a waiter to pass, which caused his shirt sleeve to pull taut. Damn, the man must work out five hours a day to maintain those shoulder muscles.

Though he had an excellent physique his recently-earned MBA spoke to his intelligence, a trait Jodi found just as sexy as his kick-ass body.

From the deep furrow in his forehead, whoever he was talking to was pissing him off. Bingo, there was his tell of running his hand over his head, something he only did when he was trying to keep his cool. Normally he kept his dark hair trimmed in a Marine’s high and tight, but he’d been so harried lately, he’d let the top part grow longer. Long enough that every time she’d seen him, she’d been tempted to run her fingers through it.

Poor guy. Celada Security had the best rep in the Metroplex, yet the damned competition kept swiping clients by undercutting their rates. It wasn’t that Mark was doing anything wrong—the man had a flair for keeping both his clients and his employees happy—but he didn’t have the type of money their competition did. Which meant this might be the last party they’d all celebrate together. Unless he pulled off whatever Hail Mary pass he’d hinted at during today’s staff meeting.

Terri put her mouth to Jodi’s ear and repeated, “Come on, Jodi. Mark brought his laptop to the party, and when he’s not working on it, he’s been on that damned phone. You need to get him to loosen up.”

Jodi rolled her eyes. “And just how do you propose I do that?”

Terri flattened her free hand over her stomach and wiggled her hips. “There’s no better way to start a New Year than with some hot monkey sex.”

“Terri!” Laughing at her friend’s antics, Jodi shoved Terri’s shoulder.

“Jodi.” Terri mimicked Jodi’s exasperation. “He’s not seeing anyone, and neither are you since you finally saw the light about Jace and kicked him to the curb. Sex is the perfect way to relax and, honey, you both need to relax. Besides, I’ve seen the way you eye Mark when you think no one’s looking. You’re dying to get him naked.”

“I am not!” Yes, I am. I want to pull his shirt off and run my fingers—hell my tongue—down his pecs, over his abs. To trace that line of dark hair from his navel to where it hides beneath his fly.

“It’s time you get back up on the horse and Mark’s the perfect stallion to ride.” Terri grabbed a champagne flute from a passing waiter and pressed it into Jodi’s hand. “Here. Give him this. Tell him there’s a private party and he’s invited. I bet he’ll have you seeing fireworks before the ball drops in Times Square.”

As Jodi argued internally about whether it was a good idea to have sex with the boss—which she knew wasn’t smart at the best of times—Terri fumbled in her purse, withdrew a package and shoved it in Jodi’s bag. Jodi peered inside to see what her friend had given her. “Holy crap, you brought a box of condoms to the party? What the fuck were you expecting? An orgy?”

“No. But it never hurts for a girl to be prepared.”

With an entire box? Terri obviously had far more to her beneath that standard Celada uniform than she let on.

“You know you’ve been fantasizing about him for months. It’s time you go hook up with him and ride that man into the sunset.” Terri shoved her in Mark’s direction. “Or let him ride you.”

What the heck am I doing? Jodi asked herself, as she maneuvered her way through the crowded room.

Taking responsibility for your own happiness, that’s what.

COLLAPSE

FIRST NIGHT is also available in print as a bonus in the PRIVATE PROPERTY paperback.