Coming Spring 2015
Lucian finally shares his past heartache and guilt with Lia. Free of the shadows that have haunted them, they are ready to move forward together.
Until…the woman who destroyed Lucian’s life eight years ago is suddenly free. Lucian is in a frantic race against time to convince those around him that Cassie is
the ultimate threat to all that he holds dear. He’ll stop at nothing to protect the woman he loves even if he has to wage a war against his best friend to do it.
NOW AVAILABLE! No Denying You (Brant and Emma)
Good morning! How about a naughty little excerpt from No Denying You to get things started?? See below:
“Honey, have you given any more thought to getting some bigger tits?”
Emma rolled her eyes and dropped her head onto her desk. Why couldn’t her mother bake cookies, knit sweaters or do any of that other Betty Crocker shit? No-o-o, she couldn’t be that lucky. Katrina Davis—or Kat, as she liked to be called—had always wanted to be the cool mom on the block. Heck, most of Emma’s childhood friends still called her mother for advice. The woman didn’t pull any punches. “God, Mom, can we please not talk about my tits today? Or lack of them?”
“Em, it’s for your own good. You’re too attractive to sit at home all the time. Men are visual creatures so maybe a new rack is exactly what you need. Your father can’t keep his hands off mine. And you’re not getting any younger. You don’t want to wake up one day and have them fall out of bed before you do.”
“Gross, Mom. This whole conversation is really gross. I don’t want to hear anything about your sex life with Daddy. Ever. I’d like to be able to look him in the eyes just once without the constant stream of images in my head of the things you feel the need to confide to me. Maybe you should just go Catholic—then you could confess to someone with a more professional opinion.”
“Oh, Em, get over it. I’m just trying to help. You know what? I’ll even pay if I can pick them out. I’ll e-mail you some information and you can let me know what you think.”
“Mom, for the last time, I like my tits just fine!” As soon as she shouted that last bit, Emma froze at the sound of a throat clearing behind her. Please tell me that the asswipe isn’t behind me, ple-e-ease. As she swiveled slowly in her chair, she groaned. Fate definitely wasn’t on her side. Her boss, Brant Stone, stood behind her with his usual condescending smirk. She quickly said her good-byes to her mother although she could hear her still speaking as she gingerly placed the receiver back in the cradle.
Determined not to give him the satisfaction of seeing her rattled, she raised a brow, asking as politely as she could manage, “Did you need something?”
“Apparently not as badly as you do, Emma.”
Oh great, here it comes, another jab at my work performance. I wonder how much jail time I would get if I choked him with the paisley tie he’s wearing? Turning her back to nonchalantly pick up her coffee cup, she said, “Pardon?”
“I am positively riveted by your plight,” he replied.
More obscure code to unravel. She spent half of her time trying to figure out what in the hell he was talking about. She knew he did it on purpose, the sneaky bastard. “I bet you are considering you cause most of my misery.” She knew it was unprofessional as well as career suicide to talk to her boss this way, but she kept hoping he would have her transferred to another department so that he could find someone more suitable for his assistant. So far, that hadn’t happened. She had even started dropping hints, but, like every suggestion she made, he seemed to completely ignore it.
“That’s flattering, Emma, but I don’t think I can accept responsibility for your . . . shortcomings.”
Her coffee cup fell from her suddenly limp fingers and crashed to the floor. Then she plowed into him as she jumped back to avoid the hot liquid. “Shit!” The carnage continued as they both fell backward like dominoes. When she managed to get her bearings, she was horrified to realize that Brant was laid out on the floor underneath her, and her butt was nestled firmly near his crotch. Coffee stains were splattered all over his perfectly creased slacks, and it took her a moment to realize why her legs seemed so bare as they lay tangled with his. Her short skirt had blown up during their fall and was now resting well above the level considered legal in most states. Was that . . . ? No, it couldn’t be. . . .
Without thinking, she wiggled around experimentally. No way! Her boss, the spawn from hell, was not growing hard against her bottom. Oh my God, he was!
“I didn’t realize that ruining my clothing also came with a lap dance.” When she froze, he chuckled. “Oh, by all means, don’t stop now. Even someone with small tits is a turn-on when she’s grinding against your lap.”
Emma jumped up as if she were on fire. “You are such an asshole. I should file sexual harassment charges against you. I’m pretty sure there are rules in the Danvers Handbook against discussing my tits.”
Brant snorted as he rose to his feet. “I’m pretty sure there are also rules in there about talking about said tits on a company telephone on company time, and I’m even more sure there is a section about job performance.”
Chapter One Preview Coming 12/31/14
My beautiful girl is almost completely nude and lifeless. Her pants are around her ankles, and her panties are lying to the side, visibly torn. Her shirt and bra look like they’ve literally been cut from her body. There are marks that resemble handprints all over her small body. Her face is noticeably swollen and streaked with either dirt or mascara. Her nostrils are rimmed in red and have been bleeding at some point. One of her arms rests beside of her body, bent at an impossibly odd angle. Gashes on her stomach and thighs steadily drip blood. I hear a gasp from behind me and feel a hand on my shoulder. “Oh Christ Luc,” Sam says as he steps slowly forward. I am shaken from the trance I had fallen into when he drapes his jacket over her.
I hear sirens wailing in the distance as I sit next to her. I cup her head in my hand saying, “Baby, its Luc. Can you hear me? Lia, please open your eyes sweetheart. I’ve got you, I’m right here.”
Sam holds her wrist. “Luc, her pulse is slow, but it’s there.” I am stroking her hair, afraid to touch her anywhere else. I whisper repeatedly that I’m here, that I’ve got her. I have no idea if she can hear me, she’s so still. Sam has to pull me away when the EMT’s arrive. “Let them work on her. She needs them now.” He has Rose tucked against his side, trying to calm her down while they work on Lia.
As they are loading Lia onto the stretcher, she moans low in her throat and I leap forward. “Baby, can you hear me?” Tears leak from the corners of her eyes as a cry like that of a wounded animal escapes from her throat. She struggles to move and seems to panic when she feels the straps from the gurney around her. I speak soothingly against her ear, trying to calm her before she hurts herself further.
“Luc.” She gasps before collapsing back as if that little bit of effort was too much.
They rush her into the waiting ambulance. We follow closely behind and the crowd of people that have gathered outside of the apartment momentarily surprises me. Word has spread quickly and I want to push them all away. I don’t want strangers gawking at her. I try to accompany her into the ambulance, but they refuse saying they need the space to work on her.
Instead, Sam pushes me towards the Mercedes and both Rose and I get in the back. Sam takes off at a fast clip, following the ambulance through the city and to the emergency entrance of the Memorial Hospital. Rose sobs quietly beside of me, but I am incapable of offering her comfort. I can’t get past the image of Lia’s broken body. Guilt reaches out to choke me. I should have taken better care of her. How could I have let her out of my sight? Jim Dawson is a fucking dead man. It’s too coincidental to me that he was released earlier today.
When my phone buzzes, I pick it up with the intention of hitting the ignore button. When I see Max’s name on the Id, I take it instead. I need him on this, now. With no preliminaries, I say, “Max, he fucking got her.”
He doesn’t need to ask who I’m talking about, he knows. “Goddammit to fucking hell! What happened?”
“He pulled her into a damn storage room in her apartment building. He beat the hell out of her and I think…shit, I think he raped her.” I choke on the last words, feeling them burn like bile in my throat. I take a deep breath as Max curses, sounding as shaken as I feel. “Her clothes had been cut off in places and Jesus; she was bleeding and bruised all over. She was unconscious, but came to for a moment as they were wheeling her out.”
“Which hospital Luc?” When I answer he says, “I’m sure the police will be waiting when you arrive, but I’m going to call my friend Carly and have her meet us there. She’s an investigator in the violent crimes division and she’ll do what she can to get things moving. Luc…I’m so sorry.” I end the call without replying. There’s no shortage of sorrow and guilt right now. In such a short amount of time, Lia has gained the admiration of my friends. Everyone in my inner circle cares about her and this will hit them hard. Even now, I see Sam wiping away tears in the rearview mirror.
I want nothing more than to disconnect, but I force myself to reach for Rose’s hand and offer her what comfort I can. She is Lia’s best friend and she’s falling apart. As if reading my mind, Sam says, “Miss Rose, Jake is meeting you at the hospital.” Rose nods gratefully, mumbling her thanks. I don’t even bother to ask how Sam knew to contact Rose’s boyfriend. He is used to working behind the scenes and handling the details that others don’t think of. Of course, he would do what he could for the distraught young woman sitting next to me.
I continue to stroke Rose’s hand soothingly, but lay my head back on the headrest to regroup. I am equal parts shattered and furious. The feelings of anger I’m used to. However, it’s been a long time since I’ve been this devastated over a woman. Of course, Cassie was different. I was more traumatized by her than anything else. Complete shock and utter betrayal. Lia though has only brought light into my world. I want to fucking kill the bastard that hurt her. The only thing that gives me any peace is knowing I’ll find him. He will never touch a hair on her head again as long as I’m alive.
The ambulance doors are open and Lia is being unloaded when we arrive. Sam drops Rose and I at the curb so that he can park the car. Lia has an oxygen mask over her mouth and an IV line in her wrist as they wheel her quickly past us. Her eyes are closed and her body still. We follow them into the hospital and only make it as far as the double doors that lead into the emergency department before we are stopped. A nurse in blue scrubs blocks our path, shaking her head. “I’m sorry, only patients and staff are allowed past this point.”
I want to ignore her and follow Lia, but know she’s just trying to do her job. “Is Fae Quinn on duty?”
She looks surprised, but recovers quickly. “Yes, I believe she’s still here.”
Relieved, I say, “could you please tell her that her nephew is here.” The nurse relaxes, probably relieved that I’m not going to give her any trouble. I’m sure they have their hands full here most days.
“Sure, just a minute.” She walks through the double doors and within a few moments a worried looking Aunt Fae comes rushing out.
“Luc, what’re you doing here? What’s going on?”
Running an agitated hand through my hair, I say, “It’s Lia. She was assaulted at her apartment. She…fuck, I don’t know what’s happening. Other than one brief moment, she was unconscious when we found her.” Before I can ask, she’s running back through the doors. My chest lightens just a tiny bit for the first time since seeing Lia. I trust Aunt Fae with my life. If anyone can help Lia, she can.
Jake, Max and the police arrive within seconds of each other. I realize that Rose is still clutching my hand. I unwrap her fingers gently and hand her over into the arms of her boyfriend who pulls her to a sofa in the corner. Max walks up, clasping my shoulder. “Do we know anything yet Luc?”
“No, but my aunt is checking on her now. We should have news soon.” I turn to the attractive woman standing at his side. I assume she’s the detective that he spoke of, but her attire gives me pause. She’s wearing an above-the-knee fitted dress with hi-heels. Her long brown hair is curly and hangs loose on her shoulders. Maybe there’s a reason that Max is on a first name basis with her.
“Luc, this is Carly Michaels. She’s the lead investigator in the violent crimes division.”
“Mr. Quinn, I’m sorry to meet under these circumstances. I know it’s tough, but I need to take a statement from you and also from the young woman that was with you. Also, just to let you know where things stand, I have a couple of detectives at Miss Adams apartment now overseeing the evidence collection.” She motions for Max and I to follow her to a quiet area of the waiting room. Max gives me a hard look that I can’t interpret before she pulls an IPad from her purse and motions for us to sit. The nervous energy and anxiety makes this difficult for me, but I manage to lower myself to the edge of a chair, my feet moving restlessly. She had my complete attention with her next sentence. “Mr. Quinn, I understand that you’re Miss Adams Fiancé, is that correct?” She is busy typing, allowing Max a brief moment to nod just once. I have no idea what’s going on, but know there must be a reason behind this deception.
“Yes, that’s correct,” I answer easily. It surprises me that I feel no panic at the thought. I answer her questions, giving her as much information as I have. After about ten minutes, she moves across the room to speak with Rose. I look to Max who exhales wearily.
“I told her that you were engaged to Lia because otherwise any information given to you would be limited. I’d advise you to carry that forward with the hospital if your aunt will go along with it. Not one of my greatest moments as a lawyer, but Lia needs you.” Lowering his voice, he looks at me in concern asking, “How are you holding up?” I wonder if he has noticed the slight tremor in my hands. I have the momentary urge to admit that I’m fucking fall apart, but showing weakness is something I rarely do.
So instead, I ignore the question. “I want that fucker found. I don’t care how many people you need to put on it, I want to know every step he has taken since the moment he left prison.”
“I’ve already made the calls, we should have something soon. Is there anyone that I should contact for Lia?” Max looks pained as he asks the question. Our minds both go to her mother knowing that’s not even remotely an option. One person does come to mind though.
“She has a friend that she’s close to. Her name is Debra. I don’t recall the last name though.”
Max nods. “That’s not a problem. I remember her from Lia’s background report. I’ll pull the information and contact her. Is there anything else I can do for either of you?” Before I can answer, the sound of a loud slap fills the room. Both of our heads twist around to see an angry Rose and a swiftly retreating Jake. I grit my teeth, not wanting to deal with any drama.
“Yeah, how about seeing what in the hell’s going on with her and handling it.” Without complaint, Max stands and walks towards Rose. He raises his hand in a wave to Carly who is standing outside the hospital doors now on her phone. She looks curious, having obviously witnessed some of the scene through the clear glass walls.
Unable to sit still any longer, I start to pace again. I see Sam sitting in the narrow hallway with his eyes closed and his head bowed. I think he’s praying and for the first time in so long, I feel the urge to drop to my knees next to him. A life filled with loss and tragedy had long ago turned me away from asking for miracles. Now I wonder if maybe having Lia come so suddenly into my life was indeed some act of divine intervention. If so, it would be a dagger to the heart, to have her pulled from me in such a brutal and sudden fashion. Surely, God wouldn’t be that cruel.
As I make another lap, I feel a hand on my arm. Jerking around, I encounter the worried eyes of my aunt. She leads me past Sam until we have relative privacy. “I shouldn’t be talking to you since you aren’t her family,” She says while looking back over her shoulder.
“I’m her fiancé,” I say quietly. She simply looks at me for a long moment without comment.
“Lia is stable and sedated right now. The trauma team is working on her. It’s going to be a while before the level of her injuries is known. I…”
Before she can finish, I interrupt her. “Why is she sedated? She’s been unconscious except for a brief time. Was she awake?”
She rubs her temple, as if debating her answer. Finally, she says, “She awoke right after she was brought back. She…asked for you, and then in the next instant became almost hysterical trying to move from the gurney. She had to be sedated before…”
That’s all I hear. I’m down the hallway in an instant and pounding on the locked double-doors of the emergency entrance. “Open the fucking door,” I snap to the startled receptionist gaping at me from the desk nearby. She hurriedly picks up her phone, just as my shoulders are grasped from behind. I shrug the hold off as my aunt steps between the doors and me. She shakes her head at the receptionist, possibly trying to reassure her that I’m not a lunatic, which is exactly what I am right now. Lia is lying somewhere beyond those metal doors, scared and needing me. All rational thought has left my body and I’m focused only on getting to her.
“Luc!” She snaps, “Stop this right now! If you keep this up, you’ll be banned from the hospital and you won’t be able to see Lia. If you cannot think of yourself, then think of that girl who is going to need you.”
As her words hit me like arrows, I allow the hands that are once again on my shoulders, to pull me away. As if expecting me to bolt, Sam and Max take up positions on either side and steer me down the hall and into an empty restroom. My frustration boils over as I brace my hands on the porcelain sink before throwing a fist through the mirror above it. Both Sam and Max are utterly still, as if in shock as I pull my hand back and send it through the now shattered glass. Shards fly all around me as I prepare to do it again. Strangely enough, the pain searing through my knuckles grounds me, helping me to find an outlet for the torment that is suffocating me. Max grabs my fist before it can make contact this time.
“Enough Luc, fucking get it together before they have you locked up.” When I make no effort to fight his hold, he slowly releases me and slumps against a wall. “What the hell happened to bring this on?”
My aunt walks into the restroom, followed closely by Sam. I hadn’t even noticed him leave. She curses under her breath as she takes in the mess I’ve made. I’m shocked when she holds my hand up shaking her head at the steady stream of blood staining the white sink scarlet. With little sympathy for my self-inflicted injuries, she takes a bottle out of a plastic caddy that she brought in with her and liberally douses my shredded skin in something akin to liquid fire. As I flinch and try to pull away, she holds me firmly until she’s satisfied that the area is clean.
Next, she brings out some tweezers and begins pulling out pieces of glass that had embedded themselves in my skin and fuck, once again the pain is severe, but almost welcome. This I can handle. Physical pain is a pleasure compared to the emotional pain that has gripped me since finding Lia. That type of pain is sheer torment. My soul feels like it’s been ripped from my body when I think of her. Without looking up she says, “You’ll be making a donation to this hospital because in a few moments, I’m going to report that this bathroom was damaged by someone unknown and have it cleaned up. I’m doing this for Lia because she’s going to need you when she awakes again.” When she finishes bandaging my hand, she finally looks up. “Promise me you have yourself together now? If you don’t, I’ll have Sam take you home.”
I stare into her concerned eyes, before nodding my head. “I’ve got it.”
“Okay then.” She starts repacking her supplies. “I’m going to go check in on Lia. I’ll keep you updated as long as you can handle it.”
Her meaning is clear. One more outburst from me and the information flow stops. Regardless of whether we are family or not, she can’t have me wrecking the hospital every time I hear something that I can’t deal with. I don’t bother to reply, we both understand each other. She leaves the restroom followed by Max. As I start towards the door, Sam stops me.
“Luc, do you need to take the edge off?” I open my mouth, wanting to say yes more than I want my next breath, but a sense of shame washes over me. It seems pathetic and cowardly that I need something to help me cope with Lia’s attack while she is the one really suffering. What kind of pussy does that make me?
“No,” I say as I pull the door open. A part of me knows that this is probably the worst time to go cold turkey, but I refuse to attempt to alleviate my pain when Lia cannot. I walk back to the waiting room in a much calmer manner than I left it. My aunt is right, Lia needs and deserves someone strong and I’ll be that person…I’ll be anything for her.
COMING 2/15/15 Always Loving You (Mac and Ava)
Ava Stone has spent her entire life looking over her shoulder—waiting for the past to catch up with her…
After surviving a horrific attack as a teenager, Ava has never been able to truly overcome her fears. The incident was covered up by her family so she wouldn’t have to deal with it publicly—yet only one person understands what she had to endure in private. Her brother’s best friend, MacKinley Powers, who found her the night of the attack. But even he doesn’t know everything—and she’s afraid to open up to him.
Mac has loved Ava for most of his life—and being in close contact with her every day as Head of Security for Danvers International isn’t helping. In fact, it makes him realize the painful truth: he has to walk away to keep his sanity. But when Ava is forced to rely on the only man who’s never let her down, can Mac break through the protective walls she’s needed for so long?