Loose Id: $4.79
All Romance: $4.49
This is pretty cool, because I was putting words on the sequel last night. Poor Glyn. That wolf of his is like that one friend that’s always right about stuff, but never knows when to shut up.
Okay, so this one isn’t strictly MM, but Skye’s in my crit group and her characters are really well drawn.
Liquid Silver Books
What’s it about?
Kayley Edwards has spent the last four years closing herself off after a vicious attack by her lover left her scarred and terrified. After fleeing her native Alaska, she ran the length of the country and began a new life in Miami far from her family and friends.
When her cousin and his friends decide to vacation nearby, he invites her to join them, saying he has important news. Determined not to let fear rule her life, Kayley agrees to meet with them, only to have her world turned upside down. His friends include the two gorgeous men who’ve haunted her dreams for months, kindling her desire, and challenging her to take a chance on love.
Pack alpha, Luke Johnson, has sensed Kayley in his visions for years. He and his mate, Sean Wallace, know she is meant to be theirs. But how will she react when she finds out the world they inhabit is one she never dreamed existed? As passions collide, Sean finds himself acting as a bridge between his strong willed alpha and a skittish Kayley. But can they break through Kayley’s defenses and convince her to join their family?
Just as it seems the three may have a future together, a ghost from Sean’s past strikes at the heart of their happiness. They must fight for everything they hold dear to win their chance at love.
A Sneak Peek…
Chapter One. Part one.
It might not be Carnegie Hall but the acoustics still rocked. Kayley sang with gusto as her voice resonated off the bathroom walls, the thunder of the shower spray providing a dramatic backdrop. Soap ran in rivulets over her newest tattoo, playing hide and seek with the ink. Falling silent, she admired the twist of roses climbing her wrist in delicate strands. From afar it looked like an old-fashioned gothic bracelet, but up close you could make out the individual stems and tiny, deep red roses. It matched her style, and in the past it would have matched her dark mood. These days her emotions tended to be a little brighter, a little less despairing. Thanks to copious therapy and years of medication.
As she peered at the tattoo, the memory of her dream from the night before snuck up on her again, firing up synapses and sending flashes of arousal skittering through her. The sensation of getting turned on was still so new it caught her off guard.
Four years on antidepressants may have saved her life, but they’d done a number on her libido. Since finally being able to stop the medication two months ago, her sex drive had kicked in again. Night after torturous night, disturbingly vivid, erotic dreams tormented her. They always featured the same two men and they always left her wide-awake, aroused as hell, but unable to come. Not even when using the new, state of the art, vibrator she’d ordered online.
As hot water beat down on the back of her neck, she leaned her forehead against the cool tiles and let last night’s dream wash over her again. The image of the two men burned bright behind her closed lids, both tall, both handsome, one blond and one dark. They’d taken one another in a fevered sixty-nine while she watched, aching with desire. She never got to touch, to taste, only to watch. As with all other encounters with her dream men, she remained a perpetual voyeur, always on the edge. It scared her. It elated her. Why the same men? Over and over and over again.
Tentatively, she trailed a hand down her stomach, ignoring the jagged scar that began there, until she found her already slick folds. A moment’s hesitation gave way to pure need as, with a breathy sigh, she slipped a finger inside and let her thumb trail over her sensitive clit. A shiver tore through her, despite the steamy warmth of the shower room.
All she yearned for was a moment of pure release, the sweet oblivion as she flew and soared, riding a wave of bliss, her worries and cares forgotten. Yet again it eluded her, stretching her aching need to almost unbearable levels.
The water ran cold as with a soft moan she pulled her hand free and tried to ignore the tears stinging her eyes. Perhaps she wanted it too much? Put too much pressure on herself and should back off?
Kayley stepped out of the shower and dried herself off, frustration and nerves making her movements brisk. In a few hours, her cousin would be expecting her for the weekend. It would be the first time she’d seen any of her family in four years, and the excitement couldn’t quite calm her growing anxiety at the thought of why Will would visit out of the blue.
She’d missed a couple of calls from him the day before, only to find his cell off when trying to call back. She’d checked her e-mails in the evening and seen a brief message from Will telling her he was coming to visit. He wrote that they needed to talk. He’d be renting a place with some friends up the coast. Talk about mysterious!
With a sigh, she stepped out of the steamy bathroom and walked down the hallway to the bedroom.
The morning sun streamed in through the window as she dressed, the bright rays bouncing off her latest series of paintings, currently adorning her walls but soon to be put up for sale. Distracted from her worries, she looked them over with an ever-critical eye. Kayley’s work mostly consisted of landscapes of her native Alaska and many of the pieces featured wolves, a creature she’d been fascinated with since childhood. One of the paintings snagged her attention. It featured a lone, silver wolf bathed in moonlight, its startling blue eyes reaching out from the canvas. For some reason, she came back to the drawing over and over again.
“Looking good.” Her roommate’s voice startled her. Adam lounged against her bedroom door, watching her. Kayley gave him a smile as she sat at her dresser and twisted her neck side to side, working out the kinks.
Adam used to pass by her apartment and would often stop to talk as she painted on the stoop. Despite her past, Kayley felt safe with Adam from day one. She’d learned he worked as a tattoo artist and counted himself a major art freak, too. They’d gradually become solid friends. She’d ended up working with him, and eventually they’d moved in together, sharing the rent.
“Looking good, feeling worried.” She tried to smile, her muscles tight. “I’ve been a nervous wreck since Will’s e-mail. It’s pretty weird. I mean, he says he wants to talk but then why bring that bunch of roughnecks he works with?”
“Sweetheart,” Adam laughed, “you don’t know they’re roughnecks.” He made quotation marks with his fingers. “You’ve never met them.”
“A bunch of bounty hunters? I imagine they are kind of rough, but the point is, why bring them? What if it’s to do with Dane?”
Her throat closed, making it hard to breathe. Kayley’s biggest fear had always been her ex-boyfriend, Dane, finding her, coming after her, finishing the job he’d started four years ago when he’d almost killed her.
“I think it’s going to be good news, whatever it is. If you were in any sort of danger, Will would have told you straight out in his e-mail.”
“I still don’t get why he brought his colleagues if he wants to have a serious talk with me?” Kayley knew her voice grew petulant, but her anxiety at meeting Will’s friends wouldn’t abate. Since the attack, she didn’t do well with strangers and the idea of spending a weekend with people who hunted down criminals for a living scared the crap out of her.
Adam came to stand by her and placed warm hands on her shoulders. “Babe, what’s to fear? They are his friends. If Will likes them, they’ll be cool. They might be hot, too. Hot, sexy bounty hunters! I’m jealous, wish I’d gotten an invite.”
“They could be as hot as the surface of the sun and it wouldn’t do me any good. Bits don’t work properly, remember?” Anxiety made her bitchy.
“Ah, that’ll work itself out. You’ll be fine, trust me. Antidepressants are known to affect your libido. My friend Johnny couldn’t come for the whole two years he was on Prozac. Straight up. Now he’s fucking like a bunny rabbit. Rampant!”
“Wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the damned dreams night after night.”
“Dreams?” Adam let go of her shoulders and moved to sit on her bed, long legs crossed under him, his dark brows raised.
Kayley sighed. She might as well spill. He wouldn’t give up now she’d blurted it out. “I’ve been having really intense dreams since I came off the meds. They started when I tapered the dose but unlike all the other side effects of coming off they’ve gotten worse since I stopped completely.” She bit her lip and looked down at the floor. So far she’d kept her nocturnal visitors to herself. With a deep breath, she spilled her guts.
“Every night I dream about two men having sex. It’s odd because it’s always the same two guys. One’s blond and one’s dark, a walking cliché right? Last night they gave one another blowjobs.”
“And you’re complaining because?” Adam asked with a smirk. “I’d pay good money to have night time adventures where gorgeous men entertain me.”
“It’s like torture, Adam. I wake up all sexed up from these incredible dreams with these two…sex gods, putting on the show of a lifetime and…nothing, nada. I still can’t come and yes, I’ve watched one of your porn films, and yes, I bought a vibrator. Nothing works. Plus, dreaming about the same men every night creeps me out.”
She didn’t add how she worried her inability to orgasm was about far more than medication withdrawal. Deep down, Kayley feared men now, saw them as dangerous, her few male friends and relatives the rare exception. She’d not been remotely interested in a relationship for the last four years and couldn’t see things changing anytime soon. She also viewed her own body as flawed, her scars a reminder of the battle to survive. Sensuality was hard to come by in those circumstances.
“Give it time, gorgeous.” Adam shot her a blinding grin. “You’ve not been off the antidepressants very long and your body needs some time to get back to normal. It’ll come back, trust me on this. God wouldn’t have given you such a hot bod if he didn’t intend for you to get some joy from it.” He paused then and pursed his lips. “Your dream always featuring the same two men though…that is a tad strange, maybe—”
The buzz of her cell jolted Kayley out of the conversation, and she pulled it free of her purse with a frown. Will’s picture lit up the screen. With trembling fingers, she pressed send and picked up the call.
“Has he found me?” She didn’t bother with the pleasantries.
“What? No.” Her cousin’s familiar voice rang out loudly, and she knew Adam would be able to hear. “I’ve got news. Huge news. It’s why I’m here, why I asked you to come over tonight. I thought you deserved to be told in person, but you’re in no danger. Don’t you think I’d have told you straight away if you were?” His words echoed Adam’s from moments ago, and guilt at not trusting her cousin flared in her gut.
“God, I can’t wait to see you, Kiki.” Will’s use of the familiar childhood name soothed her jangled nerves. “This place is incredible. I put the second best room aside for you. Sean nabbed the best for him and Luke, and you can’t argue with the bosses.”
“Sorry?” She thought she’d misheard. She’d read from Will’s e-mails that Luke was the guy in charge, and Sean a member of the team, along with Will and two others, Julie and Taylor.
“Sean and Luke are a couple, and Sean grabbed the best room before I could put dibs on it for you,” he chuckled. “Listen, I know you’re nervous about meeting everybody but you’ll love them, I swear. Julie can’t wait to meet you. She says it will be lovely to have some female company for a change and you’ll like Sean, he’s so laid back and easy going.”
Her nerves relaxed another notch at the warmth in Will’s voice as he spoke of his friends.
“Bring some beach clothes, we’ve got a pool, and a Jacuzzi, and the beach is at the end of the garden, but…if you’re really not comfortable coming over here, I’ll come to you. I can be there in a couple of hours.”
“No.” Her mind made up, she stood, pushing the stool away from the dresser. “I’ll come to you. I’ve packed a weekend bag and if I do find myself getting anxious, I can always go to my room, right? Have some breathing space?”
“Of course you can.” Will understood her anxiety and its source all too well.
“I’ll be there in a couple of hours. I really can’t wait to see you.” She ended the call and looked over to Adam, her hands slick on the phone as she dropped it back onto the dresser.
“Finish gussying yourself up and get over there.” He pressed a kiss to her forehead as he stood. “I’ll make you a cuppa while you finish your makeup.”
She smiled at his use of the Britishism. Her father had been English and she’d used certain British turns of phrase all her life, despite losing him at the age of twelve, and now Adam had picked them up, too.
“Or I could just pour you a shot of vodka?” he added.
“God, no. Tea will be fine. If I start drinking now, I won’t want to stop.”
He gave a mock salute and sauntered out of the room.
Stomach churning with equal measures of nerves and excitement, Kayley turned to her mirror to finish getting ready.
Who is this Skye Jones person, anyway?
Skye Jones is an erotic romance author who loves a tortured hero. Her first story was about a talking hobby horse, but now she’s moved on and likes to write about that moment when lust and love meet head on.
I sent this to the Editor in Question the other day, as we were batting around ideas for lightening the mood in the second part of Bite Me. We’re heading for 90K now. *shakes head*
Glyn licked the last of the grease off his fingers and wondered when the hell KFC had become an option for supper. For that matter, eating on the couch, with his head in Levi’s lap, instead of at the perfectly good dining table he owned. He tipped his head back to look up at Levi, happily devouring another deep-fried heart attack disguised as chicken.
It was tasty, though. Still, he needed to do something to derail this descent into trailer park living. “Where’s the laptop?”
Levi swallowed, and said, “Kitchen, I think.”
Glyn thought about it for a moment, but he was far too comfortable here. “What about my phone?”
“Side table. You want it?”
“I’ll get it. Your hands are greasy.”
“And yours aren’t?”
“But they’re my hands.” Shamelessly, he crawled across Levi’s lap, hanging over the arm of the couch to poke at the phone. Out of habit, and because it was fun and he was part witch, he pressed himself against Levi’s thigh harder than was truly necessary.
Levi tossed a stripped bone into the box on the coffee table and grabbed Glyn’s ass with both hands. “Don’t mind if I do.”
Glyn jumped. “Fido, I hope you wiped your hands before you did that. That’s virgin wool.” Glyn craned his neck in an attempt to assess the damage.
“Not anymore.” Levi cocked his head to one side, very much in the manner of his wolf, and eyed Glyn’s ass speculatively. “I suppose I could lick it off.” He squeezed the muscle and grinned.
“Be my guest,” Glyn said as he turned back to the phone. The Times had a section on what was playing at the theatre. It had been a while since he’d gone anywhere except work and home. “Ouch, Fido. Fewer teeth please. I have to sit on that later.”
Still a few tweaks to tweak, but very much the fun side of Glyn. 😀
Pop over to Inlinks to catch all the links to all the stories! I went literal with the concept of Summer Madness, by the way, instead of writing a summer fling. But when witches are involved, it’s all madness. 🙂
Glyn turned from wiping up the countertop and nearly jumped out of his skin. “Gram!” After silence for half a year, he’d been sure he’d been cast off. But here she was, and it lifted a weight from his heart he hadn’t entirely acknowledged.
“Hello, Glynnie.” She stood in the doorway of his and Levi’s new kitchen, like a beam of sunshine transplanted indoors. “You moved.”
He smiled and hung the cloth over the handle on the oven door. ‘“I did.” Edges lined up just so, the middle row of checks exactly in the center of the handle. The more structured his environment, the less his craziness tried to break free of the bonds he placed on it. As the pattern of the cloth aligned, Glyn’s witchblood settled back into his new normal—slightly agitated and precariously balanced between sanity and witchiness.
“It seems rather…plain. Do you need money?”
“I’m fine, Gram. We only finished building a couple of weeks ago. I’m still decorating.”
“You may call on the coven at need. For anything.”
The tone of her voice raised his hackles. “I’m telling the truth.” He spun to face her, only to be brought up short by the look on her face.
She lifted his chin with one hand, examining his face, his expression. A faint tingle raced over his skin as she read his energy. “You didn’t do it.”
“I would have. I was going to.” Glyn looked away. He’d been willing to trade his free will for Levi.
She frowned, her eyes darkening from spring leaf to summer moss. “What changed your mind?”
“I didn’t.” An unaccustomed flush rose in his cheeks.
“Then what happened?”
“Levi poured it out.” Glyn had been willing, but Levi hadn’t.
Her eyes widened. “He did? So he does love you.”
“Of course he does. He wouldn’t put up with my shit if he didn’t.” She still hadn’t explained why she’d come in person.“Gram, you could have seen this just looking back. Why did you come here to ask me?”
“Oh, Glynnie. I love you. Of all my grandchildren, you’re my favorite.” She glanced away, and a rare glimmer of discomfort flickered across her face. “I should have come earlier, but I didn’t want to see you like that. No witch should live in such a fashion, bound in faerie chaine.” Her gaze met his again. “Even to someone who loves them.”
“He wouldn’t have hurt me.”
She stroked his cheek again. “You were always such a trusting child.”
Glyn rolled his eyes, an old habit he thought he’d given up years ago. “Gram.”
Her eyes danced, and she smiled at him with a witch’s smile, wild as the north wind and careless as the south. “Well, that doesn’t matter anymore. I think we should celebrate.”
Shit. “No, it’s okay—” But it was already too late. Her blood called to him, and his gleefully slipped its bonds, rising to join its voice to hers.
* * * *
Levi closed the truck door and reached in the back to grab the picnic basket he’d picked up for cheap on the way home. He’d started swinging by yard sales whenever he saw one—it helped with the limited decorating budget. Glyn never said a word, but the man had lived in a Central Park condo. Levi knew in his bones what a come-down their current situation was. New house or not.
As he got closer to the front door, he heard the rapid beat of a drum. Not rock music, which wasn’t Glyn’s style anyway, but something more exotic. Maybe African? Had the stubborn witch finally given in and spent money on something that wasn’t absolutely essential? The thought brought a smile to Levi’s lips as he walked through the door.
His excited greeting died half-formed at the kitchen door. The first thing he saw was Glyn, stark naked and laughing hard enough tears streamed down his cheeks. The walls were covered in something that looked like hieroglyphics, the same color as the paint splashed so decoratively over Glyn’s body.
The next thing he noticed was a willowy blonde, sitting on the floor with her back against the refrigerator, a set of bongos cradled within the nest of her crossed legs. She reminded him of Glyn, something in the graceful lines of her body and the way she moved as she tapped the surface of the drums.
A chair danced by, smacking his ankle sharply as it pirouetted in front of him, before galloping across the room to dart underneath the table. A table which stomped ponderously around the edges of the room like a near-sighted elephant with gout.
“Levi!” Glyn whooped in delight and spun over to him. His eyes practically glowed, and an eerie not-quite-human aura surrounded him. “My grandmother is here! Come dance.” He laughed madly and led Levi into the center of the room, singing off-key in some language that wasn’t English or Spanish.
“What’s going on?”
“We’re celebrating!” He hooked his arms around Levi’s neck and practically swung off him. “Somebody’s overdressed.” He let go of Levi and attacked the buttons of his workshirt.
Levi fended him off and looked at the woman. “And you are?”
“I just told you—that’s Gram.” Glyn struggled against Levi’s grip. “Oh, are we playing?” He laughed, and now that he was listening for it, Levi could hear something else in his voice. Magic, maybe? He’d heard Glyn go witchy before in a bad way, but he’d never heard him happy and drunk on power. His lover was normally locked down so tight.
Levi thought he could grow to like this side of Glyn.
“So this is the man my grandson loves.” The blonde—how could she be Glyn’s grandmother?—threw her arms around the two of them and made all three sway in time to the bongos, which played themselves on the floor at their feet.
She smelled like Glyn, a wildness like the call of the forest at full moon. He wasn’t particularly interested in women, but even so, his body reacted to her.
“He looks good in clothes, Glyn. What does he look like out of them?” she said.
Levi jumped back as she started tugging at the waistband of his jeans. “Glyn!” he protested.
Glyn laughed and kissed him. “Gram, mine!” Glyn pushed her hands away, only to replace them with his own.
She reached again for Levi’s clothing, giggling as she did. Glyn shoved Levi behind him and grappled playfully with her. Her laugh was joyful and happy and felt like a warm summer night with pack all around. It was like Glyn, a hundred times over.
But he’d be damned if he was going to let her undress him.
Glyn appeared to have the same idea. He shoved gently at the blonde and chivvied her toward the door. “Goodbye, Gram. You’ve seen him. Now it’s time to leave.”
“Such a greedy child.”
“Blood tells. Bye, Gram.”
Her laugh floated down the hall, the door slammed, and they were alone.
Glyn came back into the kitchen. “Celebrate,” he said and jumped on Levi.
Levi kissed him. “Celebrate. And tomorrow we can clean the paint off the walls.”
Finished out at 79, 400 words. It probably won’t stop there, but it was a whopper of a story. It’s entirely possible we may cut some chapters before we’re done, but that will have to wait for editorial comment.
In the meantime, I’m feeling a bit at loose ends. I shouldn’t feel like I still owe words, because I wrote 3000 today alone, went through the manuscript twice, and completely rewrote the ending. But I do. I guess because I’ve never shut down LSB before 10 pm in a long time.
I think, for tonight, I shall have a bath, read a book, and play a bunch of Tapped Out. I’m grinding for cash and Stonecutter emblems. Woohoo!
Back to near the beginning of the story. I should be turning this in by the end of the month. I added another chapter today, so we’re at 22 now, and looking to finish out at something close to 72 or 73 K. Which, as anyone who knows me can tell you, probably means that the final manuscript will be closer to 80K.
Every time I touch these things, they get longer. (Go ahead and giggle. I did. 🙂 )
So, after the bite, before the ‘everything else’:
Trevor followed Zachary’s orders to the word. There were never any fewer than four people in the cabin with Levi, and he was never left alone, even in the bathroom. He was fed, often, and sent to bed whenever he showed an inclination to roam.
“Rest. You’ll need your strength,” they told him, over and over.
“I’m fine,” he’d growl. At first, they’d just laugh at him and manhandle him to wherever they wanted him. By noon the next day, the laughter had mostly stopped, and by late afternoon, they’d taken to shooting questioning glances at each other every time they redirected him.
By the way, probably the last one for this book. Gotta keep something for later, right? 😀
I need to be wary of this turning into a darling, but it was so unexpected and funny I wanted to share it.
Glyn smiled back at him and plotted a distraction. One more movie filled with explosions and random violence, and he was going to hotwire a car himself and go on a rampage—to the theatre. “Depends. Maybe I can interest you in something different?”
Levi slouched to bring his head on a level with Glyn’s and sipped at his beer. “What are you thinking of?”
Glyn raised his glass to his lips and contemplated the man sitting next to him. “Anything without car chases.”
“I like chasing cars.”
Delighted, Glyn sat up and put his wine safely out of harm’s way. “Fido, did you just make a joke?”
You would think, after all this time, I would recognize that when a chapter isn’t working for me, it’s probably a point of view error.
Nope. To parody Writing Excuses: “Fifteen hours, because no one can see it happening and I’m not that smart.” I’ve spent the past three days tweaking and rearranging this chapter, making it incrementally better with each change. Yet, no matter what I did, I was still unsatisfied.
I was driving home from paying the vet bill today when I realized that this chapter needs to be from Levi’s point of view. I have information I need to pass on to you all, but to do it from Glyn’s point of view means rehashing information you already have, and going ‘public’ with information that Glyn can’t have during this book. (Because I wrote myself into a corner in Bite Me Tender.)
Coming at it from within Levi’s head… I can toss all sorts of tidbits your way, and leave Glyn in the dark. *cue evil laugh* I love Glyn dearly, but I love torturing him more.
If he ever finds me, I’m done for. 😀
So, here’s a piece from the broken chapter. Look for Levi’s take on things in the published version. Unless the editor nixes it. >.<
The server caught Glyn as he was about to stomp out the door. He handed Glyn his credit card slip to sign, which gave Levi just enough time to catch up. Glyn glared at the werewolf, shrugged into his long coat, and walked out.
Levi was right on his heels. “Fine.”
Glyn kept walking. “Fine, what?” He shouldered through the outer doors and gasped as the cold wind blew his coat open.
“Fine, I’ll tell you. Hope it makes you happy.”
“Getting blindsided later on certainly won’t. What’s the big deal?” Glyn lowered his voice. “You keep telling me werewolves are tough.”
Levi came to an abrupt halt. “I was a monster. I’m trying to get better.”
Glyn spun to glare at him. “Really? Who do you think you’re talking to?” He gestured at himself. “Am I any less a monster?”
Levi stepped in close, and said in a low voice, “There’s monster, and then there’s killer.”
Just a few lines tonight. Writing’s been a hit-or-miss kind of project lately, with more misses than hits. Writer’s block–or, rather, depression masquerading as writer’s block (so I can feel even worse about myself, right? Depression’s a shady bitch.). I’ve learned to recognize it for what it is, which is half the battle. I haven’t figured out the other half yet, unfortunately, so the month’s wordcounts are rather ragged. But here’s a little bit, totally unedited and very first draft.
Levi wasn’t nearly drunk enough to deafen himself to the call of the moon. He lay on his bed in the rooming house and groaned as the liquor tried to drag him down to unconsciousness and his bones tried shift and take on their full moon shape. When he’d first arrived in the city, he’d kept things stable by hunting stray dogs. Since he’d discovered the witch, he’d managed to placate the wolf with sex and food—lots of both. But now Glyn wasn’t answering his calls.
He rolled off the bed and shook his head. A walk would clear the fog from his mind. And help him burn off some of this raging energy.
The wolf agreed.
A little bit from the point of view of the wolf:
There was another smell, this one also familiar, but not wolf. Known, but not family. It smelled of meat and fear and blood, and Levi drew in a long breath, savoring it and the anticipation of the chase. He swung his head back and forth, judging the direction the odor was coming from, then set off towards the house at a run.
It wasn’t long before his prey came into sight, pale skin almost glowing under the light of the full moon. It ran and stumbled—obviously it couldn’t see as well as he did. What did you expect from prey? He barked his excitement and heard his packmate close behind him. That was good; wolves were meant to hunt together.
The prey glanced behind and saw them. It made a loud noise and began running faster, but it was so much slower than Levi. He caught up to it with hardly any effort at all, his long legs eating up the ground between them.
Funny how strange I am after I write these bits…