Look Who Dropped By: Mya O’Malley

Title: Naomi

Series: Maggie Trilogy

Author: Mya O’Malley

Genre: Paranormal Mystery/Romance

Loved reading Maggie?

 

Follow Naomi and Bryce’s story in this new gripping paranormal mystery- sprinkled with a touch of romance.

Naomi has a knack for attracting attention from ethereal beings—whether she wants it or not. Newly engaged to her sexy neighbor, Bryce, she has little time to celebrate and plan for her upcoming wedding, because no sooner does she wrap up a heartbreaking cold case than she finds herself right back where she started, searching for answers alongside ghostly spirits.

This time, however, Naomi learns that things are not what they seem as a man from her past quickly becomes her worst nightmare. If she’s not careful, this man might crush her hopes and dreams forever as he proves to be her most difficult opponent yet.

Still, Naomi tries to focus on her relationship with Bryce. Can it withstand head games and cruel intentions? Naomi makes it her mission to keep Bryce and his daughter safe from harm, but will true love be tough enough to withstand her adversaries?

Naomi must keep her eyes wide open and question everything— and everyone—in order to survive.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

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Streaming sunlight filtered across the room, waking her gently. Incredibly enough, Nick had not graced Naomi with his presence during the night. Nor had she been plagued by nightmares. Who cared why she was given a reprieve, she would take it. After the night she had shared with Bryce, she felt positive about their future. All thoughts of Genna were long gone. The time alone with Bryce was exactly what they had both needed.

“You know what, Nick?” she called out, feeling refreshed. “I’m not afraid of you. We’ll deal with this unfortunate situation and then you’ll leave me to get on with my life.”

She was met with silence. Hm. Where was he? And for that matter, where did ghosts go when they weren’t lurking around?

“Well, fine. I’m pretty sure you can hear me. I have a book to write, and an appointment to make.” Shaking her head slightly, Naomi chuckled as she considered what others would think of her walking around talking to herself.

It was too early to call the doctor’s office, but never too early for a cup of coffee. Coffee first, then she needed to make up for the time she had lost with her writing yesterday.

Words flowed seamlessly as Naomi made the most of her upbeat mood. After practically begging for an appointment with Nick’s doctor, which she had no luck securing on such short notice, she had received a follow-up call stating there was a last minute cancellation for a late afternoon appointment. She would need to figure out the best questions to ask. She couldn’t just come right out and ask what he knew about Nick’s supposed drug problem.

Seconds had slipped to minutes and now Naomi realized she had completely lost track of time as at least a half hour had passed. Nick had invaded her thoughts and interrupted her writing once more. Gone was her carefree mood. Nick, tell me what you need me to do.

            It wasn’t that easy and she knew it. Even Maggie’s kind soul had such difficulty conveying her thoughts to Naomi. Maggie had spoken in riddles and then she had eventually pieced together the clues and solved the puzzle of her death. Nick was being a tyrant. He projected his words more forcefully and in a more direct way. Then why the hell couldn’t he just come out and speak to her, tell her what happened?

A chill prickled Naomi’s scalp as she heard a strange noise. She turned around, instantly locating her cat across the room. It was coming from upstairs and it sure as hell wasn’t Zelda making that racket.

With each approaching step Naomi took up the stairs, the sounds grew louder. One of the voices she detected sounded an awful lot like a woman. No, not just any woman, but Maggie. Or rather, a distorted version of Maggie.

Afraid of what she would find when she walked into her bedroom, Naomi tried to steady her thumping heart. She would need to confront Nick and his demons head-on.

He stood holding his head, wailing. She heard Maggie screaming, she heard Ryan, and yes, Nick. What was she witnessing? The only person in the room other than her was Nick. But how was he doing this?

He faced her, eyes black and soulless. Sucking in her breath, she walked backward toward the door.

“Oh no, you don’t,” Nick’s words boomed. “You get to join me in the fun.” His sick eyes gleamed as his hand reached out for her. Sucked back into the center of the bedroom, she fell to the ground with the force of Nick’s spirit pushing her. Now it was just her and Nick, the other voices a play on his thoughts—a trick of the mind.

“No, no . . .” she wailed, crying out for someone to help her.

Beside her, Nick sat on the floor. She could feel him there, but was afraid to look. Heavy arms pulled her into his dark embrace.

And then she saw what plagued his troubled mind. She saw, from his point of view, Maggie and Ryan falling to their deaths from that high cliff, his hand reaching out. He was too late. She felt the depth of his fear, his grief.  The images he had shared with Naomi sucked her down into her own place of bleak despair.

Darkness dissipated and her ragged breathing slowed. He had been gone for minutes, she knew that, but she wasn’t ready to open her eyes. He wouldn’t make this easy for her. He would make her suffer, just as he had. Nick would make Naomi feel every ounce of the pain he had experienced, even more if he could muster it.

He could make it so much easier on both of them. She knew he could.

But he wouldn’t.

It was to be a game of cat and mouse. Just how long would he make her suffer?

 

It’s wonderful to get a chance to sit down and talk, Bryce. It seems you and Naomi have been at it again, getting wrapped up in the spirit world, that is. Tell me about it.

 

Bryce: Well, I think Naomi would all the credit there. She’s the one who attracts these lost souls.  It’s as if she’s a magnet for the paranormal. Seems like every time I think things will quiet down, another spirit turns to Naomi, seeking closure.

 

Is that a bad thing?

 

Bryce:  (laughs) Actually, I hate to admit it, but no. I think one of the very things that drew me to Naomi is her gentle, generous soul. I believe that’s why these lost souls gravitate toward her.  And, hey- life never gets boring, that’s for sure.

 

I can only imagine. Without giving away any of the story, I will say that you and Naomi have been through a lot in this book. I worry that all of the stress may cause problems with you and Naomi.

 

Bryce: Oh, Naomi’s had a rough time, but she’s such a strong person. I won’t lie when I say  our love will be tested. I don’t have the connections to ghosts like Naomi does, so I can’t imagine what she goes through while trying to help these souls, but I admire her dedication to these spirits. She certainly has a gift.

 

Yes, absolutely.  I do recall her determination, but I also remember the paranormal became all consuming for Naomi in the book, Maggie. That must be difficult to deal with.

 

Bryce: When Naomi sets her mind on something, she gives it her all. What could be more admirable? Sure, at times, it’s frustrating, but when you take a step back and consider the big picture, it’s all worthwhile. I wouldn’t have her any other way.

 

What a wonderful role model Naomi must be for your beautiful little girl, Holly.

 

Bryce: The best. Naomi selflessly considers the safety of both myself and Holly before worrying about herself.

 

Why do you suppose these ghosts are connected to Naomi, I mean, I know she’s a kind soul herself, but have you ever considered there could be another reason?

 

Bryce: Every single day lately, but that’s for another time and another story.

 

Wait– are you saying there will be a third book in the Maggie series?

 

Bryce: Yes- it’s in the works now. This will be the last in the Maggie trilogy.  This one had really opened my mind to all of the possibilities of fate, destiny and the paranormal.

 

Sounds amazing. I can’t wait to read it.  Thank you, Bryce, it’s been wonderful talking with you.  I can’t wait to see what you and Naomi have in store for us next.  Is there a title to the upcoming book that you can share?

 

Bryce: Thanks, DDB. It’s been a pleasure talking with you as well. I suppose I could give you the title- the final book in the Maggie trilogy is titled Entangled Souls.

 

Wow- that sound absolutely perfect for the series.

 

Bryce: Oh, just wait.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Smashwords

Mya O’Malley was born and raised in the suburbs of New York City, where she currently lives with her husband, daughter and three step-daughters. The family also consists of two boxers; Destiny and Dolce and a ragdoll cat named Colby. Mya earned an undergraduate degree in special education and a graduate degree in reading and literacy. She works as a special education teacher and enjoys making a difference in the lives of her students.

Mya’s passion is writing; she has been creating stories and poetry since she was a child. Mya spends her free time reading just about anything she can get her hands on. She is a romantic at heart and loves to create stories with unforgettable characters. Mya likes to travel; she has visited several Caribbean Islands, Mexico and Costa Rica. Mya is currently working on her tenth novel.

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Midweek Tease: Just For The Weekend

mwtease15Good morning and welcome to another Wednesday and the Midweek tease, made possible by Angelica Dawson. This week, I’m teasing from Just for the Weekend. Since Mother nature refuses to send spring, I’ll find warmth and sunshine on my own.

The blurb:

It’s time to play with the grown-ups.

Kindergarten teacher Cleo James needs a change. Three years at her widowed dad’s beck and call are enough. A weekend in Vegas at a sci-fi convention with her best friend will do for now, and the hot guy who wants to spend time with her only adds to her excitement. After all – it’s just for the weekend. What can possibly go wrong?

Multimillionaire Sam Mason is sick of gold diggers. He’s looking for someone who’ll fall for him, not his wallet. When he meets a shy, green-skinned slave girl, she pushes all his buttons – the best part is she has no idea who he is and mistakenly believes he’s a Chippendale. Between the sexual attraction and too much alcohol, he wakes up married to his green-skinned beauty, but the bride has vanished. Finding her will be a lot harder than he thinks.

Sensuality Level: Sensual

Your tease:

Sam stood to put their glasses aside, and Cleo reached for the red bag she’d brought with her. She rooted through it, pulled out a tube of sunscreen, and handed it to him. “Would you mind helping me reapply? You have to really rub it in; otherwise, it’ll stay white, and I’ll look like Casper.” She giggled nervously.

“I don’t think rubbing your shoulders will be a hardship for me.” He swallowed. Maybe that wasn’t the right word to use.

He took the tube out of her hand and squeezed some of the thick, white cream into his palm, and rubbed his hands together to spread the cream evenly.

“Lift up your braid.”

She complied, her hand trembling slightly. He put one hand on each of her shoulders. Her skin felt warm beneath his palms, and she quivered slightly. He rubbed the cream in circles, and felt himself hardening. He thought of rubbing the rest of her body later and smothered a groan.

He eased his hands over each shoulder and across her exposed back, and realized that

Cleo not only blushed when she was embarrassed, her skin turned pink when she was aroused. From this angle, he could see her taut nipples jutting out. Unless you looked down on them, they’d be lost in the pattern of her top. He moved his hands to caress the skin above the front of her top as he had the back. The cream melted into her skin, and she moaned softly. He swallowed, aware of his own need as well as the fact Matt could open the cabin door at any moment.

“That should do for now.” His voice was husky, filled with desire. He was hard as a rock again. God, he hoped no one noticed.

Just for the Weekend is available in both e-book and paperback.

PLease take time to check out the rest of this week’s teasers! #MidWeekTease March 29, 2017

Tuesday Tales: From the Word DICE

badge-for-tt-very-small-1Hello and welcome to this week’s edition of Tuesday Tales. Each week, a group of us provide you with an excerpt from our current work in progress based on a word or picture prompt.  This week’s word is DICE. Enjoy

“Ready?” Mark asked coming up behind her. “I know we don’t have to be in the dining room for another hour, but Bill wants to plot our search for tomorrow. Noel and Rick are willing to humor him. There are two teams to each map section. I don’t think Mark is in our section, but if he thinks that’s where the treasure is, we’ll have a hell of a time keeping him out of it.”

“If he is, can we just forget about the treasure and focus on other activities?” she asked, knowing it was cowardly.

Mark turned her around and pulled her into his chest. “If it were up to me, I would say yes, but the others are keen on this, and it is only for the morning. If you’re worried about him, don’t be. I can take care of my own, and don’t sell yourself short. I seem to remember you had a mean left hook.”

MJ felt her cheeks heat. “That was an accident, and you know it.” She chuckled. “But you never snuck up on me again.”

It was just after ten when they finished their meal. As if by some prearranged signal, every time she had to go to the bathroom, at least two of the other three women had to go as well, reminding her of a princess never out of sight of her ladies-in-waiting. Tonight, instead of a band, a DJ was supposed to supply the music, but so far, he hadn’t arrived. Monsieur St Louis stepped to the mike.

“Forgive this interruption,” he began, and MJ could see he was flustered. “Tonight’s entertainment has been cancelled. There is music in the bar if you would like to have a few more drinks, but the staff is needed to secure the resort. An unexpected tropical storm has materialized off the coast. Monsieur Leroux and his crew have left the island hoping to make port in Saint Pierre before the winds increase and the storm hits. For those of you on the ocean side, the staff has closed and bolted the shutters and secured all outdoor furniture. Those of you in the lagoon should be more sheltered, but all small crafts and Jet Skis have been collected for tonight. They’ll be returned as soon as the storm passes.”

“Are we in any danger?” Rick asked, Cindy clinging to him, her face white. “We’re used to tornado warnings at home, but…”

“You are as safe here as you would be in your own bed,” the manager answered.

“That’s not saying a hell of a lot,” Bill grumbled. “We’ve been in Florida when these damn storms have hit.”

Noel smiled. “I think we should look on the bright side. I was reading about Jean Lacorneille and there was a freak storm the night his ship sank. Who knows, What one storm sunk, another might bring to the surface.”

Lindsay laughed. “Ever the optimist. I think we’ll skip the drinks, professor,  and go out to the cabin now. We’re on the ocean side so it should be an interesting night. Hopefully, it’ll all be done by breakfast. These storms blow themselves out quickly at this time of year.” She stood. “Besides, i should be able to get some spectacular pictures as it approaches. Goodnight.”

imagesOne by one the other couples left.

“Do you want a drink?” Paul asked, “Or do you want to go back?”

Torn between not being certain she wanted to be alone with Paul in that bungalow during a storm, and the fear of running into a very drunk Mark in the bar as he’d already been halfway there earlier, she chose the lesser of two evils.

“Let’s go back before the storm hits. I’ll warn you though, in case you’ve forgotten, I don’t do well in storms. You remember the night lightning split the oak tree and crashed into the Miller’s house?”

“Yeah. I was sleeping over that night.” Paul smiled. “I’ve weathered a storm here already and can guarantee those buildings are stronger than they look.” He stood. “Come on. We’ve got a bottle of champagne, and we can watch the fish play around the reef.”

Paul held her hand as they walked along the path to the lagoon. Even sheltered in the trees as they were, the wind was powerful, raining leaves and other debris down on them.

“Looks like the dinosaurs have all run for cover, too.”

Paul nodded. “As they say, it isn’t a fit night out for man or beast.”

They’d just reached the dock when the first rumbles of thunder could be heard in the distance. She shivered.

Greek underworld“Aunt Maria, Antonia’s mother, used to say that thunder was Hades tossing dice for the souls heading to the underworld to see who would be sent to Tartarus and who would go to the Elysian Fields.”

“And here I thought Tartarus was for the wicked,” he said. “You mean we have a fifty-fifty chance no matter what we do?”

“No. That’s not what she meant. Sometimes a beautiful outside hides a wicked soul. Take Mark for example. He shows people the side of him he wants them to see, not the ugly black heart he hides. The god’s dice can see beneath the surface and never lie.”

“That should be comforting, but strangely, it isn’t,” Paul said.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s post. Don’t forget to check out all the other on  Tuesday Tales.

Midweek Tease: From a Work in Progress

mwtease15Good morning and welcome to spring. Thanks to Angelica Dawson who makes this weekly blog hop possible. It may still be on the cold side here in Eastern Ontario, but the sun is shining and that’s a wonderful thing. These past weeks, I’ve been up to my eyeballs editing manuscripts and this morning I thought I would share something with you from my current work in progress. As most of you know by now, I tend to specialize in romance suspense and my new manuscript is no exception.

Here is the tentative blurb:

Hidden Assets

“Sometimes, love just isn’t enough,” Nancy said, reaching for her divorce papers.

Four years ago, a car accident robbed Nancy Frost of her child and her mother, taking what was left of her marriage with it in the process. If she could have any wish in life, it would be to erase the last six pain-filled years, but wishes are for fairytales. Suddenly unemployed, the forensic accountant agrees to help a friend look for hidden assets in a divorce case, not expecting to be caught in a terrorist attack.

US Marshal Neil Copeland lives only for the job now that his marriage is over. On a new case involving a dirty investment banker rolling over on a drug cartel kingpin, the last thing Neil expects is to hear Nancy is one of the victims of a mass shooting in downtown Baltimore. As the police investigate the massacre, evidence suggest the attack was a ploy to hide a hit, and the man he’s protecting might’ve been the intended target. When a professional assassin tries to kill Nancy a second time, it’s clear the two cases are connected.

To complicate matters, when Nancy awakes from her coma, she has retrograde amnesia and is six years out of sync. Not only doesn’t she remember what happened to her, she doesn’t recall her marriage to Neil. Hoping the amnesia is temporary, Neil faces two tasks: protect his wife from the unknown person who wants her and his “package” dead, and bringing her up to date, dredging up all the sorrow that tore them apart in the first place, hoping something jars her memory.

As he races against time to find a safe place for her, can he save her from an unknown assassin and rekindle the love they shared?

And here is this morning’s tease from the opening chapter.

She’d just slipped on her suit jacket when one of the firm’s security men shoved his way into her glorified broom closet, pulled the plug on her computer, undid the wires attached to it, and tucked it under his arm.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” she cried, reaching for her laptop.

“Come with me.”

The stone-faced man, probably a gestapo extra in some WWII movie, grabbed her by the arm and marched her down the hallway, her feet barely dusting the floor given the difference in height. Heads turned as other staff members watched the gorilla manhandle her to the CEO’s office, no doubt wondering what dastardly crime she’d committed.

She’d only been in Harold Olsen’s office the day she’d been hired. If intimidation was part of his job description, then Olsen had it down pat. He sat behind a large antique desk, his fingers steepled under his chin, his ebony head reminding her of a shiny new bowling ball. His thousand dollar suit fit like a glove, the pristine white shirt emphasizing his dark complexion. A pasty-faced Clive Connors, dressed in a sharkskin suit that befitted the eel and her immediate supervisor, sat in a chair in front of the desk. He didn’t bother standing, nor did he look at her. The security guard handed him her hard drive. She felt like a child dragged before the principal for throwing spit balls.

“Have it searched and then wiped clean,” Mr. Olsen said.

“Seriously? What do you expect to find on my computer? State secrets?” she asked, unable to hide her surprise.

“Yes, sir,” Clive answered, continuing to ignore her presence.

Clive had hit on her when she’d first started working here, but still in mourning, she’d fended off his requests. Last year, she’d finally agreed to go out to dinner with him, and the evening had been an unmitigated disaster. The man might be on his way to partnership, but he was a jerk on too many levels to count. He’d made working here difficult even since, but OJM paid well and she’d kept out of his way. Seeing him here didn’t bode well.

“Ms. Frost, can you explain why you opened a restricted file?” He spoke evenly, but his flashing eyes and pursed lips suggested barely controlled anger.

She exhaled audibly. “This is about that? I was on the phone and made a typo. I got out of the account as soon as I realized it. It was just an accident.”

She knew the people here were territorial, but this was ridiculous. They were acting like she’d committed a crime. That file was open ten minutes at most. Fine, tear a strip off her, but relax. No harm, no foul.

“There’s no such thing as accidents.” Mr. Olsen said. “Your services are no longer required.”

Stunned, she looked from one man to the other. “What? You’re firing me? For this?”

Clive wouldn’t meet her gaze.

“You misunderstand. We aren’t firing you,” Mr. Olsen answered, the jumping muscle in his jaw testifying to his annoyance. “We’ve decided to downsize. We have to reduce our workforce and the easiest way to do that is to reorganize our assets to be as efficient as possible. In view of that, your current position is redundant.”

“But, Mr. Olsen, that makes absolutely no sense,” she said, frustration and confusion giving her voice an edge. “I’m a tax accountant. Even if every client this firm has goes belly-up, there are still tax forms to complete. I’m exactly the kind of employee you need. My record is exemplary.”

“The decision’s been made,” he answered tersely, not even trying to hide his irritation. “Believe it or not, this firm functioned quite nicely before you arrived and will do so again after you’ve gone.”

“Clive, for Pete’s sake, say something. I’m good at my job, and you know it,” she begged, the desperation in her voice shaming her.

He shrugged and stared at her for the first time. “Sorry, Nancy, but it’s out of my hands.”

But he didn’t look sorry. The son of a bitch looked smug.

“In view of this decision and keeping in mind your work for the firm, a generous severance package is waiting for you in HR. Tomkins here will accompany you back to your office so that you can collect your personal items, and then he’ll escort you off the premises,” Olsen said, his face an impassive mask.

“You’re firing me right now? Without any notice? You can’t do that,” she whispered, so shocked she could barely speak.

This couldn’t be happening. Her heart thundered in her ears as the reality of the situation sunk in. How would she pay her bills? She’d refused alimony from Neil. Sure she had a few personal tax clients and could always do more forensic accounting work for Meredith and some of the other lawyers, but those jobs were hit or miss. Three years of her life down the drain just like that. She wasn’t the low man on the totem pole, so why cut her, why let her go?

“I can assure you we can, and we have. Don’t make this any harder than it needs to be. I’m sure with your abilities you’ll find work elsewhere.”

“Will I at least be getting a letter of recommendation?” She’d need one to find another job.

“By all means. Mrs. Willis has it ready for you. You can pick it up with your check. Good day, Ms. Frost.”

“I’m sorry, Nancy,” Clive said, opening the door for her, his thin lips drawn up in a smug smile.

“You bastard!” She spat the words at him. “Just because I wouldn’t sleep with you is no reason to feed me to the dogs. I could sue you for sexual harassment.”

“Don’t flatter yourself.” He looked down his nose at her as if she were some kind of bug. “And as far as suing me,” he said, chuckling, his sapphire gaze boring into her. “It’s your word against mine.”

Shaken by the icy animosity in his gaze, she swallowed her retort. “Who will take care of my clients?” she asked, grasping at straws. This couldn’t be happening. “I should talk to them bring them up to date.”

“I’ll look after them, and believe it or not, I can do the job as well as you can.” He dismissed her, entering his office without a backward glance.

“This way,” the goon reached for her arm again, and she yanked it away.

“Touch me again, and you’ll regret it,” she hissed. “I know where my office is.”

Mustering all the dignity she could, Nancy led the way back to the small space she’d called her own. In her absence someone had emptied her desk and packed up her photographs and other memorabilia. The partially filled box sat in the center of her blotter.

“If you’ll put your arms out at your side, I’ll search you.”

Gritting her teeth, her cheeks burned.

“Oh no, you won’t. I warned you what will happen if you put your paws on me again. There are no pockets in this skirt or jacket, and I’m not about to let you cop a feel,” she ground out, her chest heaving in her fury.

If you would like to read some of my books already published, check out my website.

http://www.mhsusannematthews.ca/

Now, please take the time to check out the other teasres this week.

#MidWeekTease March 22, 2017


Tuesday Tales: From a Picture

badge-for-tt-very-small-1Welcome to this week’s Tuesday Tales. Each week, a group of talented writers share their current work with you. This is raw, unedited writing becomes a novel, with each snippet you read based on a word or a picture. This week is picture time, and we are limited to 300 words. The picture theme is windows.

I’m continuing with Wedding Bell Blues. Here’s the window I selected.

window

Enjoy.

MJ stood watching the clouds mass on the horizon. There would be a storm tonight. Gazing at the lagoon outside, she frowned. Sometimes, the water was so still it resembled glass; at others, gentle waves lapped at the dock where Paul had tied the Jet Ski he’d rented earlier. Tonight, the brisk wind  rolled the water, now a much darker green, into waves reminding her of the hills she’d seen when the family had taken her grandmother’s ashes back to Ireland when she’d been ten.

They’d stayed with a relative, a great-uncle who lived in an old house that reminded her of a castle. She’d been given a room in a tower, complete with a canopy bed, fodder for her wild imagination at the time. How many hours had she spent sitting on the window ledge, looking out at the fields and hills in the distance, pretending to be an imprisoned princess waiting to be rescued by Prince Charming?

He hadn’t ridden to her rescue back then, but he certainly had today. Memories of her brief and yet far too long encounter with Mark made her shudder. They’d managed to avoid him the rest of the day, but he would be there at dinner. Maybe she could talk Paul into coming back to the bungalow right after dinner and skip the dancing tonight.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s post. Don’t forget to check out all the other on  Tuesday Tales.

Tuesday Tales: From the Word LEMON

badge-for-tt-very-small-1Hello, for many of us in the east, the weather is anything but spring like this week as we sit under a snowfall warning, but on Paradise Island, things are heating up nicely.

This weekly blog post is made possible by the lovely and talented Jean Joachim and a handful of wonderful authors who share their works in progress with you. Each week, we us a word prompt to generate our posts. Once a month, it’s a picture and the word limit drops to 300. This morning, I continue with Wedding Bell Blues. Our word of the day is LEMON.

Enjoy!

Paul led MJ back into the main building, fighting to keep his jumbled emotions hidden. When Cindy had returned alone, he’d known exactly who MJ had met, and then when he’d seen the bastard manhandling her … well, it had been a red flag to the bull in him. Had he been anywhere but here, he would’ve made good on his offer to beat the shit out of the son of a bitch.

But as troubling as Mark’s presence was, it was the kiss and the need for more of them that had him completely off kilter. He’d spent hours last night just watching her sleep, staying as far from her as he could, terrified by the strength of his need for her. Somehow what had started as a desire to help a friend, had exploded into a physical and emotional need for the woman at his side.

From the moment his lips had touched hers after the wedding, his emotions had been a jumbled mess. He’d kissed plenty of women in his day, but never once had a kiss affected him the way touching MJ’s lips did. At first, he’d thought it some sort of aberration brought on by the emotional shock of realizing that not only was the wedding happening, but it was the real deal—complete with Mama there to bless it. But then, he’d kissed her again, and the need to continue doing so had grown. MJ was his wife, and suddenly, knowing full well he didn’t deserve any of it, he wanted the whole enchilada.

What on earth had possessed him to show Mark all of his cards like that? If the plan was to trap him into admitting what he’d done, then Paul had blown that right out of the water. He’d not only accused Mark of identity theft, he’d implied they would be ready to accept restitution if he repaid her. What had happened to his yearning to humiliate the bastard? It had vanished in his desire to protect his wife. His wife. Never had two words held so much meaning and yet been so confusing.

MJ stopped before they entered the dining room. Biting her lower lip in a gesture that made her seem needier than ever, she put her hand on his upper arm.

“Why did you tell Mark you knew he’d stolen this vacation from me? I thought we’d planned to keep that to ourselves and trap him into admitting it.”

Paul looked into her beautiful eyes, and realized the truth. He didn’t care how MJ had come into his life again. He wanted to keep her there, and not because he was helping her get even with his old nemesis, but because of all the emotions he’d hidden years ago, the ones that had told him they were meant to be together. He’d loved her from the minute he’d seen her, but that didn’t mean she felt the same way. After all, he’d gone out of his way to tell her he was unlovable, incapable of loving anyone ever, unwilling to be a father in case he was too like his own. Why would she even want to take a chance on a broken man like him?

“I don’t know,” he admitted. “It seemed like a good idea at the time.”

She nodded. “Well, you certainly surprised him. Who knows? Maybe it’ll work and keep him away from me, and if it stops him from badmouthing me, I’ll be satisfied.”

Paul shrugged. “Maybe. It certainly won’t have made matters worse, and if he intends to evade the issue, he’ll keep his distance.”

Pulling open the door to the main room, Paul escorted MJ to their table, keeping his eyes peeled for Mark. He spotted him half a dozen tables away from theirs. The man’s face was still red and he was arguing with the brunette at his side. No one at his table looked impressed. Once a jerk, always a jerk.

They’d just sat down when Antoine Leroux stepped up to the microphone.

Bonjours, mesdames et messieurs. It’s my pleasure to welcome you all to join me on this hunt for Jean Lacorneille’s treasure. On your tables, the lemon-colored sheet of paper is the legal document you must sign to participate. While you may find the treasure, you cannot keep any of it.”

A chorus of grumbles greeted that announcement, and Bill Smith’s “What the hell do you mean by that?” was among the loudest.

“Hear me out,” Leroux interrupted. “There is a finder’s fee available, 10 percent of the value of whatever you find, but the treasure itself, if we find it, belongs to the residents of Paradise Island, the descendants of Lacorneille and his crew.”

Paul looked over at Mark whose face was as thunderous as Bill’s.

“Take a few minutes to read the document before you sign it,” Leroux continued. “Once you do, select one person at your table to be your leader. He will choose a portion of the treasure map for you and tomorrow morning, you will begin your search. May the best team win.”

“So this is all a big waste of time,” Bill grumbled.

Paul smiled at him. “Do you think so? You’re on a honeymoon island. This is just another planned activity for our entertainment. Your wife and her pleasure should be all that matters.”

He glanced at MJ, hoping she couldn’t see how much those words meant to him.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s post. Don’t forget to check out all the other on  Tuesday Tales.

 

Midweek Tease: Desert Deception

mwtease15Welcome to today’s Midweek Tease, the weekly blog hop made possible by Angelica Dawson. Each week this varied group of talented authors bring you a snippet from one of their published or soon to be published novel. The heat level varies from none to too hot to handle, so be warned. There’s something here for everyone.

This morning I’m taking you back to the Arizona desert and the Superstition Mountains with a tease from Desert Deception.

The blurb:

Seeing is believing, or is it?

When high-powered Santa Fe attorney Casey Stevens reluctantly returns to Fortune for Gold Rush Days, she is drawn to Cole Walker Junior, but he is no longer the shy, quiet boy she recalls. Then again, Cole isn’t the only one who has changed. The town may be celebrating its past, but someone is trying to destroy its future. A hit and run accident leaves Fortune’s only lawyer in a coma, forcing Casey to choose between helping innocent people and running away once more. Can she face the demons of her past or will they destroy her this time?

Cole Warner has a secret identity, one he’s determined to protect at all costs. The police officer, volunteer firefighter, and part-time store owner, is also popular western novelist, CJ Coleson, who uses Fortune and its people as the inspiration for his books. Having Casey walk into his life turns it upside down. When someone starts using the murders in Cole’s books to stage a killing spree of their own, keeping his secret may be too costly, but admitting the truth could ruin any chance they have for a happily ever after.

As the bodies pile up and the buildings burn down, Casey and Cole have to work together to stop a madman with gold fever before more people die. The answer lies on Superstition Mountain or is it all a desert deception?

Enjoy. 

She looked up at him. “How many other women have you brought out here for coffee?”

“Actually, you’re the first,” he admitted, glad she’d changed the topic.

“You’re kidding. With that moon and all these stars, this is probably one of the most romantic places I’ve ever seen. What makes me so special?”

“I’ve never met anyone I wanted to share this place with before,” he confessed. “I thought you’d appreciate it—kindred spirits, I guess.”

Suddenly, the sky was ablaze with streaks of white light as several meteoroids tore across it in the natural fireworks display Pete had mentioned.

“Did you know that was going to happen?” she asked.

The sense of awe in her voice pleased him.

“I’m impressed. Moonlight and fireworks—what a way to set the mood. And you’ve never shared this with another girl?”

“Nope. Did I know there’d be a meteoroid shower tonight? Not when I decided to bring you here, but Pete Putnam mentioned it when I was waiting for you.”

Putting down his empty mug, he stretched his body along the blanket, lifting his arms, and lacing his fingers behind his head. He watched the joy blossom on her face as she observed the heavenly shower.

“Well, it’s incredible. I can’t imagine any girl not being impressed in such a setting.”

Reaching up, he pulled her down so that she rested against him. He breathed in the floral scent of her shampoo.

“Good thing I’d finished my coffee,” she scolded, her voice catching as she spoke, but she didn’t pull away.

He nestled her head more deeply into his chest.

“How come we weren’t friends when I lived here?” she asked a few minutes later.

“I didn’t have the nerve to talk to girls back then. I was rather shy. Can you imagine what cradle-robbing would have done to what little reputation I had?”

“Seriously. I don’t think anyone would’ve accused you of cradle-robbing. Two years isn’t that big a gap.”

He twirled a strand of her silky hair around his finger. “We did talk once.” He closed his eyes, savoring the memory. “It was during my senior year. There was a carnival in town, and I’d watched you for over an hour trying to win a pink teddy bear. You came close, but then I heard you tell your friend that you’d run out of money. When you walked away, I decided I was going to win that bear for you.”

“I still have it. It’s on my bed at home,” she admitted shyly.

He chuckled. “A man likes to know his gifts are appreciated. Once I’d won it, I looked everywhere for you afraid you’d left. When I finally found you I said, very macho-man-like, ‛Here you go,’ and tossed it at you. You looked stunned. I walked away before you could say anything.”

“That was one of the happiest moments of my life. Thank you, Cole,” she whispered.

The soft brush of her lips surprised him, but like food offered to a starving man, he wasn’t going to refuse it. He groaned deep in his throat, entwined his fingers in her silky hair, and dragged her closer, pulling her body into his.

When she didn’t pull away, he deepened the kiss, giving free rein to the urgency within him. She moaned into his mouth fueling the fire burning through him. He shut his eyes blocking out everything but the sensation of her lips on his.

Casey was intoxicating and definitely the most wonderful thing he’d ever savored. He feasted on the flavor of his favorite coffee mixed with the tang that was hers alone, supped from the sweetness of her mouth, absorbing her very essence, and knew no other kiss had ever matched this one, and none ever would.

Please take time to visit the rest of this week’s teasers.