Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Guest Post: Emilia Mancini

Hi, my darlings! I'm excited to have my dear friend Emilia Mancini (aka, Marci) here today. Please make her feel welcome!

~~~~~~~~~

Parker! Thank you for letting me join you today.

As many of you probably know, Marci Boudreaux and Emilia Mancini are two sides to the same coin. Emilia is a wee bit (and by that I mean a lot) naughtier than Marci.

Separating the two can be difficult though. When I’m writing for Emilia, I don’t just like to have hot sex, I like to have lots of it! If you’ve read Seducing Kate or The Rebound, you probably know there are far more pages with sex than without.

I have to tone that down a bit for Marci’s books. I can’t quite claim they are the traditionally “sweet” romances where sex is behind closed doors, but the sex in these books definitely don’t reach the Emilia Mancini level.

In The Road Leads Back, sex doesn’t happen until nearly the end. WHAT? Yeah, I know!

But it is definitely worth the wait.

Harry and Kara never quite got over each other after spending one night together in high school. Harry had always saved a piece of his heart for Kara, while she’d been waiting almost thirty years to give him a piece of her mind for walking out on her without a word before she could tell him she was pregnant. Once they clear the air and realize they’d both been lied to all that time, they can start trying to pick up where they left off.

I really like all the layers to this story, and I hope you do as well.



Kara Martinson and Harry Canton weren’t exactly high school sweethearts, but they did share one night neither will ever forget. Twenty-seven years later, Harry surprises Kara at an art gallery opening and discovers he left her with more than just memories when he went away to college. Desperate to connect with the family he never knew existed, Harry convinces his son to move to Stonehill—and pleads with Kara to come, too.
Kara hasn’t stepped foot in their hometown since the day she was sent away to a home for unwed mothers. Now Harry’s back in her life and as they put together the pieces of their parents’ betrayal, old heartaches start to feel anew. She wants to be near her family, but returning to Iowa means facing some things…and some people…she isn’t quite ready to.
Can Harry convince her to forgive the people who betrayed her so they can embrace the future they were robbed of so long ago? Or will the pain of the past be too much for Kara to overcome?




Excerpt:

Kara squeezed her way toward the crowded bar, nudging between two kids who she couldn’t quite believe were old enough to be legally drinking in public. Shouldn’t they be funneling cheap beer in a college dorm somewhere? Or sneaking shots from Daddy’s liquor cabinet?

Art gallery openings used to be much more sophisticated than this. When she was a young artist, openings were about appreciating the art and the artist, not the free booze.

Shit.

Had she really gone there? Kara shook her head at her bitter thoughts.

The bartender, a walking tattoo with spiked black hair, leaned close so she could hear him. “What’ll it be?”

She realized all she wanted was wine. And quiet. The kids around her were acting more like pre-teens jacked up on sugar than art aficionados. One made a face, squished and reddened, as he held up an empty shot glass as proof of his triumph.

She wondered when she had gotten so damned old. She never used to snub her nose at a good drink. Actually, she completely understood what her problem was, and it had nothing to do with age. She’d conformed. She’d fallen into line. She’d done what she was supposed to do. Agent? Check. Gallery opening? Check. Interviews with all the local fancy-pants magazines? Check.

But this wasn’t her. None of this was her.

Frowning, she leaned in as well, making sure he heard her over the jeering of the kids next to her. 
“Tequila.” Within seconds he set a glass in front of her and filled it with amber liquid. He started to walk away but she held up one hand and lifted the glass with the other. She downed the drink, slammed the glass down, and gestured for another—one shot wasn’t nearly enough to numb the misery of this evening.

The young man lifted his brows and smirked as he gav­­­e her another shot. He laughed as she motioned for him to fill the glass a third time. “I can’t do this all night, lady.”

“One more.”

“Some of the crap in here costs more than my car. No puking. Got it?”

Kara chuckled. Clearly he didn’t recognize her as the artist who had made the crap. “Honey, I was doing tequila shots before your daddy dropped his pants and made you.”

The barkeep threw his head back and laughed, then filled her glass one more time. “Nice one, babe.”

Babe? Kara snorted as she lifted the glass. It was almost to her lips when a hand squeezed her shoulder.

“Kara?” asked a deep, smooth voice as if the man wasn’t certain who he was touching.

She turned. Her eyes bulged as she looked into an intense dark gaze she hadn’t seen since the night she’d lost her virginity.

The music had been loud, the beer lukewarm, and everybody who was anybody—and several nobody’s like Kara and Harry—in their senior class of Stonehill High was at the graduation party. The only person she had cared about, though, didn’t care about her. Or so she’d thought. Until she’d somehow ended up on Shannon Blake’s disgustingly pink- and ruffle-covered bed with Harry Canton, book club president and algebra superstar, clumsily removing her clothes, leaving slobbery kisses in their wake.

Kara swallowed hard as the flash of a memory faded, and the man standing before her, looking as shocked as she felt, came back into view.

She downed the liquor, slammed the glass against the bar, and sighed before she announced, “I’ve been looking for you for twenty-seven years.”

He sank onto the vacant stool next to her and lifted his hands as if he were at a loss for words. Something that appeared to be guilt filled his eyes and made his full lips sag into a frown. She’d be damned if temptation didn’t hit her as hard as it had when she was a hormonal teen.

“I wanted to tell you I was leaving,” he said, “but I didn’t know how.”

“You should have tried something like, ‘Kara, I’m leaving.’”

“You’re right. But I was a kid. I didn’t have a lot of common sense. All I could think about was how I finally had my freedom.”

She tilted her head and narrowed her eyes at him. “You had your freedom? You selfish prick.”

His eyes widened. “Well, that might be a little harsh. I was just a kid, Kara. Yes, I should have told you I had no intention of staying with you, but I was a little overwhelmed by what had happened. I’m sorry.”

“You’re sorry?

Harry’s shoulders slumped, as if he had given up justifying sneaking out on her in the middle of the night. “Look, I saw a flier for your gallery opening, and I wanted to say hello. I thought maybe… I don’t know what I was thinking.” He sounded hurt, dejected even. “I didn’t mean to upset you.”

He stood. She put her hand to his chest and shoved him back onto the barstool. The move instantly reminded of her their one night together. All of seventeen and totally inexperienced, she’d fancied herself a seductress and pushed him on the bed before straddling his hips like she had a clue what she was doing.

Touching his chest now, warmth radiated through her entire body.

She glared, pulling her hand away and squeezing her fingers into a fist. “Are you living in Seattle?”

He shook his head. “I had a conference in town. There were fliers at the hotel. As soon as I saw your picture, I knew I had to come.” His smile returned and excitement oozed from his face. “I can’t believe you have a gallery opening. This is amazing, Kare.”

She wasn’t nearly as thrilled by her accomplishment as he seemed to be. She felt like she was selling her soul instead of her art. She’d always preferred to go the indie route, but that crap agent had cornered her at a particularly vulnerable moment and convinced her she needed him…just like he convinced her she needed to be in a gallery. Although, now she was glad she’d conceded on the open bar.

The tequila swirled through her, making her muscles tingle, preventing her from fully engaging the near-three decades of anger she’d been harboring. She had spent an awfully long time wanting to give Harry Canton a piece of her mind.

Even so, hearing him say she’d done something amazing warmed her in a way very little ever had. If he had come looking for another one-night stand, she hated to admit that she would consider reliving that night again—only this time with more sexual experience and less expectation of him sticking around.

He might be almost three decades older, but his face was still handsome and his brown eyes were just as inviting as they had been when he was a high school prodigy and she was a wallflower.

She smirked at a realization: he was in a suit, probably having just left a corporate meeting, while she was wearing a red sari-inspired dress at her gallery opening.

He was still the straight arrow. She was still the eccentric artist.

“Did you hear what I said, Harry? About looking for you for the last twenty-seven years.”

His shoulders sagged. “I never meant to sleep with you that night. I mean”—he quickly lifted his hands—“I was leaving and should have told you before taking you upstairs. I shouldn’t have just left like that, but I didn’t think you wanted to see me again anyway. If it’s any consolation,” he said giving her a smile that softened the rough edges of her anger, “I’d been working up the courage to kiss you since junior year when you squeezed a tube of red paint in Mitch Friedman’s hair after he made jokes about Frida Kahlo’s eyebrows in art class.”

She frowned at him. That hadn’t been her finest hour. Then again, neither was waking up thinking she was starting a new life as a high school graduate and the girlfriend of the cutest boy she’d ever met, only to find the other side of the homecoming queen’s bed empty. “There’s nothing wrong with a woman embracing her natural beauty.”

His smile faded quickly. “I’m sorry,” he said, sounding sincere. “I shouldn’t have left you like I did. I hope you believe that I regret it. Not being with you,” he amended, “but leaving without explaining.”

She laughed softly. He’d had that same nervous habit in high school. He’d say what was on his mind and then instantly try to recover, afraid his words had come out wrong. Usually they had. For as awkward as she’d been, at least she’d always been able to say what she meant and to stand behind it. Of course, that ability got her in trouble more often than not.

She’d told herself a million times that Harry didn’t owe her an explanation. They hadn’t been in any kind of relationship. She’d drooled over him from afar, but other than an occasional smile in the hallway, he’d barely acknowledged her existence in high school. Even if he hadn’t gone off to start his Ivy League college career the day after graduation, he likely never would have looked at her again. Well, at least not until she could no longer hide the truth of their one-night stand from the world.

“I expected so much more from you, Harry,” she said sadly, the sting of what he’d done back then numbed slightly by the tequila.

His shoulders sagged a bit. “I know.”

“Why didn’t you ever write me back?” Her voice sounded hurt and pathetic. She was surprised that after so many years of being angry, there was still pain hiding beneath her fury. “I must have sent you a hundred letters.”

He creased his brow. “Letters? I didn’t get any letters.”

Kara searched his eyes. He looked genuinely confused.

“I sent them to…” Her words faded. Suddenly the tequila-induced haze wasn’t so welcome. “Your mother said if I wrote to you, she’d make sure you got my letters.”

“My mother? I never got any letters.”

“But you sent money.”

Harry shook his head slightly. “What the hell are you talking about? Why would I send you money?”

She stared at him as realization set in. He hadn’t responded to her letters because he hadn’t received her letters. And if he hadn’t received the letters, he hadn’t sent her money. And if he hadn’t sent her money, he hadn’t known that she needed it. Sighing, she let some of her decades-old anger slip. Her head spun, either from the alcohol or the blurry dots she was trying to mentally connect. Leaning onto the bar, she exhaled slowly. “She never told you, did she?”

“Told me what?”

Kara couldn’t speak. Her words wouldn’t form.

An arm wrapped around Kara’s shoulder, startling her and making her gasp quietly. She turned and blinked several times at the man who had just slid next to her.

“Sorry to interrupt,” he said, “but I need to get home.” Leaning in, he kissed her head. 

“Congratulations on the opening, Mom. It was great.”

“Um…” She swallowed, desperate to find her voice. “Thank you, sweetheart.” She flicked her gaze at the man sitting next to her. The longer Harry looked at her son, the wider Harry’s eyes became.

Phil cast a disapproving glance at Harry then focused on his mother again. “Don’t forget that Jess is expecting you to make pancakes in the morning. You promised.”

“I haven’t forgotten.” Kara returned her attention to Harry. His jaw was slack and his cheeks had grown pale.

Phil nodded at Harry as if he were satisfied that he’d made the point that his mother didn’t need to be staying out all night and walked away. Harry watched him leave while Kara waved down the bartender and pointed at her glass. The tattooed kid hesitated, likely debating the ethics of giving her another shot. She pointed again, cocking a brow for emphasis, and he finally filled her glass.

“Kara…” Harry’s voice was breathless, like he’d been kicked in the gut. “Was…was that my…son?”

No. His mother definitely hadn’t given him the letters Kara had written. She lifted her shot, toasting him. “Congratulations, Harry. It’s a boy.”

Contest:


Sorry, but I do have to put in one little rule here. International shipping is crazy expensive. If the winner is not in the Continental US, you will receive an e-copy of The Road Leads Back and your choice of one of my backlist.



Blog Tour Schedule:


Monday, March 30:  Rants and Raves by KaLyn Cooper
Tuesday, March 31: Christy Gissendaner
Wednesday, April 1: Sara Daniel
Thursday, April 2: Emilia Mancini (What? I’m totally allowed to host myself!)
Tuesday, April 7: Jianne Carlo
Wednesday, April 8: Parker Kincade
Thursday, April 9: The Gemini Girls and Sotia Lazu

About Marci

Marci Boudreaux lives with her husband, two children and their numerous pets. Romance is her preferred reading and writing genre because nothing feels better than falling in love with someone new and her husband doesn't like when she does that in real life.

As well as writing erotica under her pen name Emilia Mancini, Marci is a content editor for Lyrical Press, an imprint of Kensington Publishing. She earned her MS in Publishing from University of Houston-Victoria in 2014 and worked with Des Moines publishing company Big Green Umbrella Media, Inc. as a freelance writer until she recently opted to focus on working in books.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Hearts in Danger

Happy Friday, my darlings. Today, I finally get to talk about the project my partner-in-crime, Mandy Harbin, and I have been working on.

Did you know every minute in the United States, a woman dies from heart disease, stroke or another form of cardiovascular disease (CVD)? (Source: American Heart Association, www.heart.org)

Every. Minute.

According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death for African American and white women in the US. I could go on and on about statistics, but I won't. What I will do is encourage all of you to be aware of the symptoms. The American Heart Association offers great information to get you started. Click here for more info.

Cardiovascular disease runs in my family. More than that, I've felt the pain of losing a loved one to this dreaded and deadly disease. One of my dearest friends, Paul Waits, passed away on October 2, 2014, of a massive heart attack. He was 44 - only 5 months older than me (he passed the day before I turned 44).

Paul had no warning. No symptoms. One minute he was here, the next he was gone.

If cardiovascular disease runs in your family (and even if it doesn't), I urge you to see a doctor to check your cardiovascular health. I've done it. It doesn't hurt. It's cool to see your heart as it beats on an ultrasound screen. (I don't know the technical term for this machine - the test is called an Echocardiogram). Have a carotid doppler. Also painless. Have whatever test your doctor/cardiologist recommends. And then you'll know, hopefully BEFORE there's an issue. Even if you are asymptomatic.

There is a reason they call it "the silent killer."

In honor of Paul, and all the men and women who live with (or have died from) CVD, a portion of the proceeds from our new project--Hearts in Danger--will be donated to The American Heart Association.



This romantic suspense boxed set includes 14 novels, by romance authors at the top of their game. Many of these novels are "first-in-series", so if you're looking for a new series to get hooked on, this is a great way to try it out!

AVAILABLE JUNE 2, 2015 - for only $0.99! Here's what you'll get:

Accidental SEAL by Sharon Hamilton: Navy SEAL Kyle Lansdowne goes looking for his missing SEAL Team 3 buddy Armando who has been kidnapped by a drug gang intent on buying specialized military equipment. Newbie Realtor Christy Nelson holds her first Open House but is given the wrong address, and finds a hot naked SEAL in the master bedroom. Their little misunderstanding leads to a hot affair until the gang uses Christy as bait to lure Kyle into a trap to ransom his honor.

Pick Your Poison by Roxanne St. Claire: Meet Benjamin Youngblood - he’s sexy, smart, spectacular and ... about to lose his job for the best security firm in the world. He’s got one chance to prove himself and nothing will stop him. Not even a flower farmer. When Ben sets out to track and trap an assassin, he's forced to trust a feisty farmer who could be as dangerous as her homegrown poison. Ben and Callie join forces to zero in on the killer, taking a few heated detours along the way. Can they stay alive long enough to save Ben’s job, stop an assassin, and find true love?

Protective Custody by Paige Tyler: Someone is stalking reporter Paisley McCoy, and police detective Gray Beckham is the only man who can protect her. Having a dad on the force has led to one hard and fast rule – she doesn’t date cops. And while she might be sexy as hell, there’s no way he’s going anywhere near the captain’s daughter. Paisley and Gray can’t deny the chemistry between them, though. But as that connection turns into romance, they find out the stalker is a far greater threat than they had originally thought. And that if he can’t have her, no one will.

Hot Pursuit by Lynn Raye Harris: When someone starts shooting at Evie Baker, there's only one man dangerous enough to help her--the man who broke her heart ten years ago. Hostile Operations Team soldier Matt Girard uses all his considerable black ops skill to protect Evie from someone who thinks she possesses information that could bring down a crime syndicate. But working together shows Matt what he gave up--can he claim Evie for his own after what he did in the past?

SEAL's Honor by Elle James: Two Navy SEALs jeopardize their lives and hearts in a battle-torn land when they vie for the love of one sexy Night Stalker helicopter pilot.

Against The Dark by Carolyn Crane: Angel is an ex-safecracker forced into one last heist. Cole is an undercover agent with big plans for his gorgeous thief—he'll make her pose as his girlfriend to help with a dangerous mission.

Hidden Prey by Cheyenne McCray: Tori flees an abusive relationship and heads to her hometown in Arizona. When she arrives, she’s in the wrong place at the wrong time and witnesses the execution of a Federal agent by the son of the head of the Jimenez Cartel. Special Agent Landon Walker rescues Tori and sets out to protect her, but soon protecting her isn’t enough. He’ll go to the ends of the earth for her—and never let her go.

Dangerous Curves by Nina Bruhns: A spec ops transporter for STORM Corps takes on drones, bad guys, and car chases on the coast of Italy—and falls for a beautiful scientist whose curves are far more dangerous than the road!

Deadly Pursuit by Misty Evans: One year ago, rookie FBI agent Celina Davenport pulled off the ultimate undercover operation…she seduced Emilio Londano – the dangerous leader of the San Diego Mafia – and destroyed his illegal empire. When Londano escapes a maximum security prison and begins picking off Celina’s friends and coworkers, everyone she knows becomes a target. Including DEA agent Cooper Harris, the man who once broke her heart and is now assigned to be her bodyguard. Cooper must risk his career – and his heart – to keep Celina alive. But will their past, with its forbidden passions and impulsive choices, put them directly in the killer’s crosshairs?

Protecting Caroline by Susan Stoker: Caroline helps foil a terrorist plot when she finds herself on a plane that’s hijacked (with the help of three members of a SEAL team), but after she gets home she finds herself still in the sights of the terrorists. She can only hope Wolf and his team will be able to save her in time.

One Night Stand by Parker Kincade: Amanda Martin decides to have a one-night stand. No relationship, no promises … just hot, indulgent sex. What she doesn’t anticipate is meeting a handsome-as-sin stranger who gives her pleasure unlike she’s ever known. A stranger with a deadly secret…

Brody by Mandy Harbin: Brody “Brutus” Jackson isn’t your average small-town mechanic. He's a man with no memory of his past, and no hope for the future. Under FBI protection, Alexandria Collins and her son have been in hiding for ten years. When it’s time to move again, her piece of crap car breaks down and the man giving her a tow is the biggest, hottest guy she’s ever seen. She is determined to ignore the need her long-neglected body hungers for. After all, the last man she showed interest in put a gun to her head. Brody thinks the skittish Xan is sexy as hell, but it’s not her hot body that has him rocked to his core. He knows her from somewhere, and in his line of work, that’s a dangerous thing. Following orders have never been this hard, but when he finds out she’s his next assignment, he will protect her at all costs … even if what she needs protection from most is him.

Enemy Mine by Megan Mitcham: Born in the blood of Sierra Leone's Civil War, enslaved, then sold to the US as an orphan, Base Branch operative Sloan Harris is emotionally dead and driven by vengeance. With no soul to give, her body becomes the bargaining chip to infiltrate a warlord's inner circle. As son of the warlord, Baine Kendrick will happily use Sloan's body if it expedites his father's demise. Yet, he is wholly unprepared for the possessive and protective emotions she provokes. In the Devil's den with Baine by her side, Sloan braves certain death and discovers a spirit for living.

Caught in the Crosshair by Barb Han: On a tropical island with a hurricane brewing and dangerous men closing in, private security firm owner Jaden Dean will need to work side-by-side with Lauren James to survive and find her brother. The cartel he's associated with seems to be one step ahead and Jaden’s operatives are being killed one-by-one. He will have to use all his specialized training and risk everything, including his heart, to outwit the deadly group and keep Lauren safe. Their magnetic attraction isn't helping matters...because even a slight distraction might just get them both killed.

*******

This set will only be on sale until the end of June, so you'll have to act fast. And remember, it's for an excellent cause. We would be grateful for shares and likes!

This boxed set will be available for pre-order soon. Stay tuned for preorder links and more information.

Until next time...
~Parker

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Guest Post: Allie Ritch

Happy Tuesday, my darlings! I've got a treat for you today. Allie Ritch is here - and she's going to tell you about her new paranormal romance from Loose Id! Take it away, Allie! 


Vampire Territory 1: Drinking Partners by @AllieRitch

Thanks for hosting me here today, Parker. I’m thrilled to share a little bit about my latest paranormal romance, Drinking Partners, which is the first book in my new Vampire Territory series.

Usually when someone says they have a drinking partner or drinking buddy, they mean a friend who joins them at the bar or club. For the vampires in my new paranormal romance, this term means something very different.

As master vampires, Lucas and Alexandra are strong and powerful, and they have the ruthlessness and determination to lead. So what draws them together? An instant attraction between them is the first thing, but thanks to all the death threats they’ve gotten, trust is hard to come by. Then add the benefits of a partnership.

By becoming drinking partners — feeding from each other instead of humans — they reduce the risk of being poisoned. The Human Rebellion has been sending Lucas tainted suicide donors for some time in an attempt to exterminate him and every other bloodsucker. Alex reduces that risk so that he doesn’t have to watch what he eats.

Since two master vampires are scarier than one, they can also have a lot more fun frightening their subjects into obeying their laws. The intimidation factor frees Alex from having to face nightly challengers and assassins who assume a female is too weak to lead (something she usually disillusions them about with a swift sword to the throat).

Add attraction, passionate lovemaking, and a good partnership together, and a new relationship starts to form. As these two master vampires fall in love, their attempts to outmaneuver each other become more of a flirtatious game. Alex appreciates Lucas’s cunning and ruthlessness, though she doesn’t want him using those traits to take over her territory. These two alpha vampires are very well matched.

Blurb: Being the master vampire for the Mid-Atlantic Territory is a tough job. Between the Human Rebellion trying to kill him with poisonous suicide donors and snobby born vampires bucking his authority, Lucas Thane has his hands full. What he needs is a regular drinking partner to feed from and a bigger power block. He finds both in the form of Alexandra Gage, the master of the territory south of his.

Alex could use a little help herself, but she has no intention of letting Lucas take over. Turned into a vampire against her will, she has had enough control taken from her. She’ll never let Lucas usurp her right to rule, but will she let him steal her heart? Passion ignites between them, and it’s amazing what vampire bodies can do.





Excerpt:

Lucas carried her onto the elevator and rode up to the top floor.

He brought her all the way to her door before he spoke again. “May we come in?”

“I guess so.” She shifted in his grip. “The key is in my jacket pocket.”

Zander fished it out, smearing his hand with blood in the process. Her garments were completely saturated, and Lucas could feel the stain seeping into his shirt where her body pressed against his.

He wasn’t sure what he’d expected inside, but certainly nothing so normal and homey. Over time, he’d seen many vampires favor ostentation or an eclectic mix of furniture and art from various time periods. Alex’s living room was minimally furnished with clean, contemporary pieces, and he could see she kept the place neat.

“We need to get these bloody clothes off you and stanch your wounds until they have time to heal. Since you fed tonight, they should close up quickly, as long as you don’t move around too much.”

She jerked her head up to glare at him nose to nose. “I’m not taking my clothes off in front of you. And how do you know I fed?”

Lucas was tempted to lie, but he’d pay for it later if she learned the truth. “Zander and I followed you to the blood bar tonight. I was curious what errand you intended to run.”

“It sounds like you were stalking me.”

“Nobody stalks better than a vampire,” he teased her. “You should be glad. If I hadn’t followed you, I wouldn’t have arrived in time to rescue you.”

“You didn’t rescue me. I would have killed them all eventually.”

Her confidence acted as an aphrodisiac on him. He’d always liked and respected fierce women, and this woman in particular drew him. The blood coating her skin also excited his vampire nature, though pain had never turned him on. At the moment, the knowledge that she was hurting was the only thing that kept his cock from growing fully erect.

“I expedited, then.”

She growled low in her throat but returned a shallow nod. “Yes, you did.
Thank you for that.”

“You’re welcome.” Without thought, he planted a light kiss on her forehead.
Alex didn’t jerk back like he thought she would. Instead, she gave him a look so vulnerable he tightened his hold on her out of reflex.

“Now, let’s see about getting you out of these dirty clothes and patched up.”

The vulnerable look evaporated. “No.”

“You’d rather get blood on your couch, then? Because I plan to sit down with you.”

She may have been the most unique woman he’d ever met, but she was still a woman. He knew stains drove females crazy.

Her sigh of exasperation made her deflate in his arms. “All right, but I’ll undress myself.”

“You can’t even stand up. As beautiful as you are, I promise not to ravish you the second I see bare skin. I’ll cover you again as quickly as possible.”
She kept her jaw stubbornly set for a moment. “Fine. Grab fresh clothes for me from the bedroom. If you put me on my feet and help steady me, I can get everything off by myself.”

“Do you have any plastic wrap?” Zander asked.

“Excuse me?”

Zander looked at her expectantly. “I know a great trick with plastic wrap.”
Lucas couldn’t understand why she goggled at his friend.

Then she turned the expression on him. “Is he serious?”

“Of course I’m serious.” Zander didn’t give him time to answer. “If we wrap your wounds tight, they won’t spill blood as quickly, and you don’t have to worry about linen fibers sealing into your skin as you heal. It’s the best bandage a vampire can use.”

“Oh.” The blush that spread across her cheeks beguiled him. “I don’t have any, but you might find a roll in the unit next door. The tenants cleared out kind of suddenly and left lots of stuff behind.”

“Got it.” Zander left them alone to go look for plastic wrap.

“Hurry up. I’d prefer to strip in front of you.” The blood rushed to Alex’s face again. “I mean, just you and not your pal.”

Lucas fought back a smile. “As you wish.”


About the Author: Allie Ritch is a multi­published author of sizzling sci­fi and paranormal romance. She has an active imagination and enjoys entertaining others through storytelling. Allie lives in her own little world in the Southeastern United States, where she spends time appreciating the ocean and sunshine.