You know th drill, ladies. And my apologies for getting these posted so late. There were technical difficulties. 🙂
1. So what if he’d gained a reputation for being wicked. Dair Curator simply did what his race had done for thousands of yearsâ€“watch over mortals.
He shot a glance at the bottle-dyed blonde, who stretched like a contented cat. Good thing he was immortal, or she would’ve killed him with her sexual appetite.
2. I must’ve pissed off someone at Psych-Ops to pull down an assignment in Forgotten Detroit. I’d been deep inside the maze-like streets of the city’s underbelly half an hour too long, which made me the poster girl for cramped and crabby.
The slivered moon illuminated the deep alley of 14th, where I’d posted into a back corner of the derelict Detroit Hotel. The old building’s pre-Depression era structure and naked third-floor windows stared out hollowly.
3. Lindy perused Steven’s form for the one hundredth time since lunch, wondering if today would be the day she would seduce him. Over two months of dating and the hottest it had gotten was a little open mouth kissing.
She blew out a sexually frustrated breath and watched him load tools into the long bed of his black Ford pickup. Biting her lip, she stared in fascination as the well-toned muscles of his bronzed forearms strained against the steel of the heavy toolboxes.
4. Kenzie Summers swiveled on the bar stool, her gaze encompassing every inch of the lively room in an attempt to find someone to ruin her reputation.
Every hormone in her body clicked to attention when she saw him, the epitome of pure sin, weaving through the gyrating couples on the dance floor.
“Aren’t you supposed to be at your engagement party, Kenzie?” her friend Nate, the bartender asked.
“Hardly an engagement, more like a life sentence,” Kenzie scowled, her attention momentarily distracted from the handsome stranger who’d taken a seat three barstools down.
5. Jack Sutton heard a whisper of movement a split second before an arm wrapped around his neck and something sharp plunged into his gut. The shocking reality that he’d just been stabbed registered as he was shoved to the cold, grease-stained concrete floor, his entire midsection on fire. Instinct forced him to his hands and knees before a hard shove sent him crashing back to the floor.
“You should’ve slit his throat,” a croaky, unfamiliar voice complained.
6.He’d introduced her to passion in payment for his life. And yet, the woman who would be Captain AndrÃ© Marin’s salvation had closed her mind against him, locking him out of her dreams. A waning moon crawled across a starless sky over the bow of the Trident, the French merchant vessel under his command. He closed his eyes and reached for her with his thoughts, “Caitrina, open to my touch.”
7. To say I was running away would be to admit I couldn’t face the horror that had been inflicted upon me four months earlier. But at the moment, looking out the window of my fourteenth floor apartment, I was unwilling to acknowledge my life had been tilted off its axis. I wanted — no, needed, to believe this six-hundred mile move was motivated by an admirable sense of adventure rather than fear.
Like the humidity hanging heavy over my Manhattan neighborhood on this July night, I couldn’t seem to clear the self-doubt from my head.
8. “I can make a woman come using just my mouth.”
George Beringer squinted through an alcoholic haze at his friend Damian Hunt, Viscount Atherton, trying to figure out exactly what Damian meant by that remark. They were both much too drunk, but then, what else was there to do on a cold winter’s night tucked away here at the Atherton estate, except discuss horses and politics, and now, obviously, sex?
“What’s so impressive about that — I’ve never met a woman yet who could resist a man’s mouth on her private lips,” George declared.
9. “Maybe you should consider getting a boob job.”
“What?” Kelsie Collins said, pausing mid-bite to look at her mother from across the dinner table; which was, thankfully, tucked away in the far corner of the busy restaurant.
“Come on, honey,” her mother began as she reached for a dinner roll and pat of butter, “you and I both know that fake boobs are all the rage right now.”
“I’m not about to risk my health just to fill my bra out better.”
10. Kyra Delano sipped from her glass of whiskey straight, savouring the sharp burn on her tongue and chill of ice melting in its wake.
The intoxicating fumes invaded her refined sense of smell, removed her for a moment from the repugnant scent of cigarette smoke, old beer spills and sweat – a prerequisite for every nightclub she’d visited this last month.
A mirrored wall behind the bar, flaunted the outlook of jaded humans intent on having a good time – one woman in particular.
Kyra’s fingers clenched, the glass shuddering in her grip, and tossing back the remainder of her drink, she placed it back onto the pitted bar before coming to her feet, weight centred within the restraint of spiked knee-high boots.
11. Jordan James paced the tight confines of the elevator, her pounding feet echoed loudly in the tight space. Hospital staff, sick children, and anxious parents huddled in a corner and peered at her nervously. Not that she blamed them; her six foot four, solid size fourteen frame caused uneasiness under normal circumstances, now, she knew she looked positively lethal.
It was all Adam’s fault, she should’ve known better than to trust him.
12. No doubt about itâ€“Cosmo Fortune was a royal pain in the ass. Oh, he tried to make you think his brain-power had receded like his hairline, mumbled his way out of messes with his folksy charm, and all the while he juggled his numerous murky dealings with the same precise arcs as those flaming torches he now wielded onstage.
Mickey Kincaid stepped back into the anonymity of the stage’s curtained shadows, all too aware that alerting the wily old coot to his presence would be a mistake. Instead, he rifled his jacket pocket for the familiar shape of the pain reliever bottle.
13. “Damn, it’s hotter than the devil’s backyard out here.” Castana Castillo took her hands
from the steering wheel just long enough to swipe at the river of sweat running down the nape of her neck and to adjust the volume on George Strait’s “Amarillo by Morning”. The truck and two-horse trailer swerved, and she quickly regained control of the rig, but not before something bounced off the right front fender with a sickening thud.
Oh, no, what now?
14. “I’m sorry to call, but this is bad,” her father said, his voice melodramatic, like over-rehearsed lines from a low-budget horror flick.
Quick as the question, “Bad for you or wife number five,” formed in her mind, attorney Kaitlyn Davis dismissed it because she already knew the answer.
So did her very efficient legal secretary, who rolled her eyes as she plopped a nine-inch thick expandable folder on Kaitlyn’s cluttered desk and mouthed, “Good luck,” before she left.
Kaitlyn reached inside the folder, snatched out the latest prenup, signed and executed one month ago, and stared in disgust at the signatures of her father, James Davis III, and Claire Marie.
15. The man lay face-up in a pool of his own blood. Kyra Walsh recoiled but not in terror, she’d seen dead bodies before. In her other life, not here.
Recognition flashed – even in death the curly, black hair now tinged by a dull, reddish-brown, the bushy uni-brow, and the pointy nose all combined to give Larry Jones a look of cruelty.
16. “Your sorry ass is going to be even sorrier, Jimmy Ray!”
The bat connected with a sickening, satisfying crunch. Jimmy Ray’s pained, horrified expression should have sent a spurt of triumph through Angel, but it didn’t.
“You crazy bitch!”
17. I was in sophomore Englishâ€“midweek, early November, daydreaming about life after high schoolâ€“when Sam Blaine made his first move and Jane Austen made her first comment.
“Ellie-ee-ee,” the sinfully cute but annoying-as-hell Sam Blaine chanted softly from his seat behind me. He whispered my name again then walked two of his fingers up the imaginary ladder between my shoulder blades until I shivered.
“Stop it, Sam, or you’ll get us in trouble,” I hissed, scooching forward and trying to focus on Mrs. Leverson’s nasal-toned wrap-up lecture of the novel we’d just finished, *Childhood’s End*.
18. Jordan Blake always figured he’d go to hell someday, but he never expected it to be this soon. His first clue was a no-brainer, the sign posted outside the town limits read: Hades, Colorado, population two hundred and six.
He almost hit the second clue as he wheeled his Lexus onto Main Street and immediately swerved to avoid the horse tied to the hitching rail. Swearing under his breath, he parked across the street, then jerked on the rearview mirror to make sure he hadn’t been seeing things.
19. “Just keep on driving, Mister,” Moxie said as she struggled to keep the gun in her hand from shaking as she aimed it at the man’s head.
He turned to look down the barrel of the gun, his eyes then trailing up her arm to look into her face. She tried to put on a hard, outlawish-looking expression, but it wasn’t working—it’s hard to look evil when you’ve got curly red hair and freckles.
“You’re joking, right?”
20. “Are you out of your mindâ€“you can’t kidnap a cover model!”
“I don’t see why not—he’s only a man—not God.”
“I don’t care, Samantha—it’s wrongâ€“we’ll end up in jail, and I don’t want to get thrown out of my first Romantic Times Book Lovers Convention.”
“Relax, we’re just going to hold the man hostage until someone reads our manuscripts, but first, we have to figure out a way to lure one of those stud-puppies back to our room.”
21. Elizabeth squeezed her eyes tight and turned her face away from the wicked-looking blade. She’d seen what it could do. Knew first hand the destruction it could bring.
22. Like a snake, coiled and ready to strike, it’d been waiting for him when he’d arrived at work. And as it had when he’d first read it, his stomach knotted and cold fear wrapped around him.
He’d stared at the words, reading them but not processing them.
No, that was a damn lieâ€“he’d processed them all right, and what his mind told him was inconceivable.
23. Across the crowded ferry, the little girl looked up and Gabe Moreau ducked his head, praying she’d sit tight and stay the hell away. Blunt fingernails trenched into sweat slicked palms and a phantom tingle in his right palm itched to feel the reassuring weight of his standard issue Glock.
But the Glock was gone.
Along with his badge.
24. Through the darkness the child ran, dogging the woman’s heels. Short, angular legs that had never seen an ounce of baby fat, churned through the sweating foliage. The damp heat tightened, stealing her breath as the tropical jungle closed around her.
“Mama,” the child whispered and the faint sound of her own voice was comforting when everything around her breathed death.
25. When I walked into the office, it felt like the place was holding its breath.
“We’ve got a new client,” Laurel said in a low voice as I passed her desk. I stopped, and she added, “This client is… a little different,” pretending to fan herself.
Meredith, sitting at her desk behind Laurel’s, said, “I wouldn’t call him gorgeous, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a sexier man.”
26. The gossip about Cassie Russel swirled around town like a nasty dust.
When it got back to the originator, she smiled, *mission accomplished*.
At the Tunica Tavern, Jack Slater overheard the rumor and crushed the beer can in his hand.
He knew damn well he never screwed Cassie Russell.
27. Death comes to all of us in many ways. It doesn’t consider how it leaves us to the mercy of others who must view our remains.
This time, death had come suddenly and without warning. The young man had been in his prime and died with a look of surprise on his face.
28. Fighting the natural urge to fade away, disappear, and remain in reclusion, Lelandi Wildhaven spied the seedy tavern down the street where she would set up her first night of surveillance.
Why had her sister ended up deadâ€“here, of all the godforsaken places in the States? A pang of anger and regret scraped Lelandi’s insides like a ragged knife. Keep a cool head, she reminded herself; she was in *their* territory now.
29. “Some wild animal is going to eat you alive!”
The voice coming through the cell phone had Kia rolling her eyes, as she turned her car off the main road and through the narrow band of dark woods leading to her new home. The gorgeous, one-hundred year old, two-story house came into view, and she gasped, “Oh my God!”
“It *is* a wild animal, isn’t it? I knew it!” her sister’s voice got higher pitched with each word.
30. On Valentine’s Day, a Friday, Emma O’Manny woke up with two kids, a minivan, a house in the Portland suburbs, and a husband with a sick sense of humor. Three days later, she woke up with a headache, a bottle of Tums, no Kleenex —- and a purpose.
“God damn him!” she said into her cell as she turned the car left at the light onto Terwilliger. “I *am* going back for my master’s next fall, no matter what he and his *girlfriend* think.
31. “Damn loser recruit,” Captain Connors muttered as he sweltered in the alleyway, forced to endure the scents of week-old Chow Mein coming from the Dumpster he leaned against.
A mingle of sweet citrus and coconut strong enough to turn his stomach overpowered even the stench of the restaurant refuse surrounding him as the hairs rose on his arms. It was one of them, had to be, only shape-shifters gave off that cloying scent a recruiter could catch a whiff of a hundred yards away. He inhaled the rancid fumes rising from the pavement to clear the shifter smell from his nostrils.
32. “All men are lying, cheating sex-fiends,” said an irate caller on the radio talk show.
“Amen, sister,” Kat Windsor said as she parked her rented SUV behind Hank’s Antiques and secured the 9 mm Glock semiautomatic in her shoulder holster.
As for motorcycle racing champion Dylan Silver, Kat didn’t know whether she wanted to protect him from the female fan stalking him or shoot him herself.
Locking her gaze on the shiny motorcycle beside her, she stepped out into the mid-July Atlanta humidity, sank a four-inch heel into a pothole and fell against the motorcycle, sending them both crashing to the pavement.
33. Adam McKinnon stretched out on a tree branch and studied the full moon, his cool blue eyes contemplative. Several hundred feet down and off to the right, his small-looking but cozy cabin sat, puffing cheery clouds of smoke into the warm air from a stone chimney.
He inhaled deeply, the scent of the night and the surrounding forest rushed in, filling his lungs to bursting before releasing in a gush. How he loved the sidhe forest, with its all-around perfect weather, tall, tall trees and gentle, pulsing magic.
34. Lord, that man was gorgeous.
Of course, that was why I was standing in his office on a cold, wet Tuesday morning, dressed only in a form-fitting ruby red dress and matching strappy heels.
I was a little cold, but not enough to make me rethink my wardrobe choice â€“ long legs and perky feet were my only real assets, so I had no choice but to show them. It wasn’t as if I could rely on my *breasts* to carry the outfit â€“ nope, left to their own devices, they’d let the team down every time.
35. “Son, you’ve got more metal in you than the Terminator.”
Immobile in a hospital bed with one leg in traction, one arm fractured, and bruises painted on his body like modern art on a canvas, Garrett McCloud found no humor in his doctor’s joke.
Refraining from comment, he watched Dr. Shaw flip open the chart and wrinkle his lips while he studied whatever mysterious gibberish doctors wrote on the things. With his frizzy white hair, the good doctor remarkably resembled Einstein, and Garrett considered him as much a genius as the great scientist, in spite of the quirky, misplaced wit.
36. Wealth no longer amused Hugh Hennigan and tonight it suffocated him. Disengaging himself from the beautiful sable-wrapped woman climbing into his lap, he breathed, “Constance, please.”
The carriage was dark but he knew she frowned at him so he added, “I warned you, dressing an Irish stone mason in evening clothes and a top hat won’t make him one of the Four Hundred or even a suitable escort.”
Constance Morgan-Stapleton placed a kid-gloved finger on Hugh’s lips as she told him anyone would mistake him for a viscount if he just didn’t speak, but Hugh’s mind was far from her words in a place called The West where, he’d heard, no one cared how people spoke or dressed.
37. Joshua shuddered as the massive red door creaked open, allowing the stench of brimstone to steal into the room. Soon he would have to pass through that horrifying doorâ€“unless he could come up with some way to evade his fate.
He strode over to the Waiting Room clerk, a fat man whose inadequate wings fluttered anxiously as Joshua banged his fist on the desk. “Pray tell me, am I destined to go through that infernal door, or is there a path to redemption?”
38. She’d become nothing more than a common thief.
No, not common – nothing about Egyptologist Katherine Meyer could ever be construed as common, especially when she was legally dead.
Kat checked her reflection in the bathroom mirror one last time, took a deep breath to settle the nerves in her stomach and told herself she looked pretty good for a seven-year-old corpse. The black slacks and matching jacket were perfect, nothing fancy, not one thing about them the slightest bit memorable.
39. As much as he’d hoped Lacey McLaren had gained a hundred pounds and sprouted horns in the five years since he’d last seen her, she hadn’t. Noah cursed, unable to pull his gaze away; if anything, she was more beautiful now than when they’d first met. His heart tripped over itself, his gut twisting into knots as he watched her lead the chestnut mare into the middle of the indoor arena and mount up.
Thank God it was too damn hot for chaps today; the image of her ass framed in tight suede was one he really didn’t need to carry with him.
40. “Jesus Mari, when’s the last time you were laid?” The question, coming from this particular girlfriend, wasn’t really surprising; that she’d blurt it out in the middle of a crowded nightclub…well, that made me squirm.
“What,” I flashed a grin and batted my lashes in mock innocence “was I drooling?”
People around me started snickering, and I knew it was a sad reflection on my lack of a life, but I’d rather have them think I was ogling a stud muffin than learn that my apparent fascination with the young man had been no more than blank staring.
41. “Despite what you apparently believe,” Lieutenant Kathryn Glace snapped, the pale skin across her cheeks tightening and tinting peach, “I’ve given this a great deal of thought—the family is legitimate, and their unique. . .talents. . have proven significantly helpful in the past.”
“I know who they are,” Nick said, trying to iron the grit from his voice. He knew what they were too: gypsies, tramps and thieves. Okay, maybe not tramps, but the thievery bit sure as hell fit.
42. Trevor Carlton hated threats-when they were directed at him. He snapped the cell phone shut on his controlling wife’s warning not to drink excessively during her father’s wake; he planned to celebrate the old man’s death, just as he planned to celebrate hers. But first, he had to force someone else to pull the trigger.
The staccato of his heels against the ceramic tile echoed off the hallowed halls of Eaton-Smith Pharmaceuticals.
43. Who said dying was easy?
Ruby May stepped out the front door of the Delta Funeral Home in what had been her good luck dressâ€“until they buried her in it.
She studied her reflection in passing, and realized dying in Delta had a downside; she was Blue Light Special on heels.
The town slowly receded as Ruby walked the winding Tennessee roads, reliving life moments all strung together like glass beads.
44. Okay, let me say from the get-go, I do not have a problem with cops but right now, though, a cop has a real problem with me. What might give that away is that I’m standing on the side of the road in handcuffs with cold eggs in my pockets, making the fact that I really have to pee more pressing with every passing minute.
I’m bouncing around trying to ease the need when Officer Friendly puts himself in my face and says, “If you run, all you get as a bonus is sweaty.”
As scared as I am I should keep my mouth shut because, oh yeah, I just dropped the “F” bomb.
45. “Maybe I should become a lesbian for a week,” I blurted.
Carol choked on what was left of her watered down frozen strawberry daiquiri.
I intended to pat her back, but she had become a blur â€“ three too many daiquiris for me â€“ so even the beige walls of my den seemed to move.
“Where the hell did that come from?” Carol asked, staring at me as if I’d grown two heads.