COMING 12/2/14 No Denying You (Brant and Emma)
The official synopsis for No Denying You:
After Emma Davis’s first week at Danvers International, she’s convinced her boss will drive her crazy…
Being the assistant to uptight workaholic Brant Stone is more than Emma can bear. But in her weaker moments, she can’t help but admit that the sexy control freak can turn her on with an insult more than any man she’s met…
So when Emma gains an unexpected advantage, she blackmails Brant into accompanying her to her high school reunion. After all, the enemy she knows is preferable to a blind date arranged by her meddling mother.
But before they realize what’s happening, they are doing more than acting the part…they’re living it. The war that has been raging between them shifts playing fields to the bedroom, as hate turns to lust and then to something so much more…
“You know, you’re kind of cranky today,” Suzy said. “Are the batteries dead in your vibrator again? One word, rechargeables.”
“My batteries are fine. I just have a wicked case of PMS, and my boss is a turd.” Emma was happy to see Suzy joking around after looking so upset earlier.
“You know,” Suzy began, “I hate to be the one to point this out again, but Brant is kind of a stud. I’ll grant you, he’s all over the place personality-wise, but in the ass department, he has got it going on. You could bounce a quarter off those firm cheeks of his.”
“My God, Suzy, no! Stay away from the light! Just hang on; I’ll call 911 and get help for you right away. Do you feel dizzy? How do you treat a stroke brought on by bad taste in men?”
Suzy roared, causing heads all around the deli to turn in their direction. “Honey, my taste is just fine. Everyone else agrees with me. If you guys would just have angry office sex, you would both feel better. He works so much that I bet he hasn’t gotten laid in ages. A bad case of blue balls will make a man cranky as hell.”
Emma dropped her head in her hands. “You did not just say that. My lunch is about to climb back up my throat. Ugh! It’s hard enough to work with Mr. Sunshine without thinking of him with ball issues or even worse, having sex with him. NEVER GONNA HAPPEN!”
Suzy raised an eyebrow, clearly skeptical over her denial. “Never say never, my friend. I pretty much said the same thing about Gray, and then I went and married him. He seemed just as uptight as Brant in the beginning, but nothing could be further from the truth.”
“That’s not the only problem Brant has, though,” Emma protested. “He annoys me in so many ways that I spend part of every day fantasizing about ways to kill him and dispose of his body so I don’t get caught. This is bad, but I’ve even wished he didn’t have a brother or sister so there would be no one to miss him if he did disappear.”
Suzy gave her an admiring look. “You’re kind of a scary person sometimes, Em, but I like it. I had a few thoughts of choking Gray in the beginning, too, but never seriously pondered ways to hide his body.” Pointing to the to-go plate on their table, she added, “That’s probably cold and soggy by now. I told you to order it after we were finished.”
Emma gave her friend an evil smile and said, “People who don’t get their own lunch don’t have much say in how their food arrives. He’ll just send me down the hall to the microwave anyway.”
Chapter One Preview Coming 12/20/14
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?