Monthly Archives: July 2011

Media Monday…Alphas

So Monday nights have become my new happy place because of…drumroll…Eureka and Warehouse 13.

Alphas, the new show directly following Warehouse 13 is a bit of a conundrum for me.  I LOVE  the fact that the “alphas” are in fact betas, but I’m not quite sure if the series as a whole is going to hold me.  The premise is fabulous, but the baseline is little sketchy, and the chemistry of the characters isn’t quite hitting yet.  I WAS thrilled to see one of my favorite characters from Bones (Vincent Nigel Murray, played by Ryan Cartwright) in another role, so that’s a serious bennie.

I’m giving it two more weeks, and we’ll see what happens.

So what are YOU watching?

Free Chapter Friday…Chapter Three, Baptism by Fire

**warning–adult content**

This chapter begins the physical relationship of the characters, so if you’re under 18, this is no place for you to be!

Chapter Three

 Aidan poured two glasses of Chardonnay, proud his hands didn’t betray the tremors still racing through him. His cock was doing a dance of its own, demanding to be let out and complete the mating ritual begun so torridly moments ago.

He wasn’t sure what had happened back there in the living room, but his body and soul had responded to Leanan Murphy as it never had to anyone. How could a mere mortal draw him so? And why did it shake him right down to the marrow?

Turning, he pressed the cool, stemmed glass into Leanan’s hand. “Please, have a seat.” He gestured to one of the four chairs surrounding the old oak table, pleased when she took the seat directly opposite him. He needed as much distance from
her as possible, at least until he figured out exactly what she’d seen.

He’d been deep in conversation with Rhiannon when his locked and warded door had swung open, and even though the room had been dark, lit only by the ritual fire, it was possible the good doctor had seen more than she should have.

“So,” he began, glancing down at the glass of wine framed between his hands, looking anywhere but at her. “What can I do for you, Leanan?”

It wasn’t purposeful, the way her name slipped across his lips like a lover’s song, but it was there, and there seemed to be nothing he could do to stop it. Nor could he stop the want, the need to look up at her, to watch her expressive face as she answered his question.

Her eyes darkened from that unique golden color to almost brown, pupils dilating as she studied him across the table. The scent of her arousal teased the air around him for a long moment, and then she shook her head slightly, shrouding her face behind a mane of dark hair.

When she surfaced again, it was as if another woman had taken her place. The woman who had flirted with him this morning, the woman who had been a hair’s-breath of consummating something beyond words this evening, was replaced by the professor, anguished to find her collection had been destroyed.

“I think I may have a lead for you.”

With those words, Aidan’s purpose was restored. He could handle his libido … the rogue Fae was another thing altogether.

He reached back, snagging a pen and tablet from the counter and faced her again. “Go on.”

Something like relief flooded Leanan’s features. Yes, it was relief, and it was then he realized Leanan Murphy was as disconcerted by the strong pull of attraction between them as he was. For some reason, it spiked his interest even more.

“This morning I told you there wasn’t anyone strange hanging out at the exhibit, and there wasn’t,” she quickly amended. “But I’ve got a new kid in my class, a mid-semester add-on and he’s a bit odd. Sits apart from the other students. He’s very knowledgeable about folklore, and while he never volunteers anything, he always has the answers when I call on him. His papers are nothing short of brilliant. To be honest, I was thinking of asking him to be an aide next semester.”

Aidan rolled the pen absently between his fingers. “So what’s so odd about him? Maybe he’s just shy.”

“That’s what I thought. Until he missed my class today. I knew it was something he’d been looking forward to, so I was concerned. After class, I went to the dean’s office to get his address. Then I went to see if he was home.”

Without thinking, Aidan exploded out of his chair, the thought of the risk she’d taken shaking him to the core. What if she’d confronted the rogue from his clan? She could have been killed. He stalked around the table until he stood directly in front of her, towering over her. “You did what?”

“I went to his address.”

“Did you once stop to think how dangerous searching him out was? How stupid?”

Leanan surged up and poked him in the chest with a finger. Hard. “It’s not stupid; it’s called being a good teacher. It’s not like I was even thinking of the fire. I was just worried about my student.” Absolute fury claimed the fine lines of her face, and instead of making her look ugly or bitter, it emphasized the passion he now understood she was capable of. “Don’t you ever call me stupid again.”

Aidan drew in deep breaths, trying to calm himself. His mind kept flashing on her burning alive, flames leaping from her body as she died and everything inside him screamed to protect her, to make sure she was safe.

He needed to ground himself, and clasped her arms. Gently, so she couldn’t break his grip. “Listen to me closely, Leanan. Our suspect has already burned three warehouses to the ground, and killed a vagrant in one just two weeks ago. Going to your student’s house was foolhardy and could’ve gotten you hurt. What if he’s my arsonist?” He released his hold, running his hands slowly down her arms to grasp her hands. “Promise me you won’t do anything like that again.”

“I promise,” she answered shakily. When she lifted her eyes to his, he could see her anger had changed to something else, something elemental–and dangerous–for both of them. His pulse soared in response, and it took everything he had not to swoop down and claim her mouth with his, finishing what they’d started back in the living room.

Disengaging their hands, he pushed down on her shoulders, guiding her into a chair before he circled the table and reclaimed his own.

“I didn’t mean to call you stupid.” Aidan took a long sip of wine, giving himself time to control his expression and heartbeat. His own reaction to what she’d said had his mind in a whirl. He’d never felt such an overwhelming compulsion to protect, defend at all costs. “You scared me,” he finished simply, placing the glass on the table.

Leanan’s indrawn breath forced him to glance up. Her eyes were locked on his, filled inexplicably with moisture. Those unshed tears undid him and he started to stand, to go to her, when she held up a hand, forestalling him.

“I’m sorry,” her voice wavered, but the strength behind it was obvious. “I’ve never had a stranger, hell, even my own father, express so much concern over me.”

Aidan fought back a grin, relieved and a little bit amused at the reason behind her mistiness. “Not to sound presumptuous, Leanan, but I get the feeling you and I are anything but strangers.” The words hung in the air for a long moment and he
could almost see the air thicken between them again.

Purpose, Aidan reminded himself forcefully, he had a purpose here, and it wasn’t bedding Leanan Murphy, as much as he would like to. He needed to expend his energy and attention on his mission.

He broke the building web with much less subtlety than he’d like. “So what happened when you went to visit your odd student?”

Leanan gaped for a moment, then regained herself, the mist in her eyes vanishing. She stiffened her spine, sitting up straight. Aidan wondered if he’d gone about shifting the subject in the wrong way, even if it was for the best.

“You’re  right.”

Aidan wasn’t sure if she was referring to his “strangers” comment, or to the change of subject. He wasn’t sure he wanted to know at this point. The woman across the table puzzled and aroused him in equal measures. It wasn’t a feeling he was accustomed to and he didn’t like it.

“Ian’s home was a burned out shell down in Hillcrest.” She referred to the less-affluent neighborhood surrounding the
university, where down-on-their-luck students lived. “That’s what made the connection in my mind, made me think you needed to know.”

Aidan mused over her revelation, anger at the rogue Fae building in him again. The pieces were certainly coincidental enough, and getting more “official” information on the mysterious, odd student shouldn’t be difficult, given the fact the university had suffered such a heavy loss. What he did unofficially was another scenario altogether.

“Thank you. While I still object to how you got the information, you might have given me the lead I need to find this bastun.”

*

The vehemence in Aidan’s reply shouldn’t have surprised Leanan, but it did. It was obvious to her now. His demeanor this morning hadn’t hinted that finding this arsonist was personal to Aidan.

It made him all the more attractive and for the life of her, she couldn’t think of one good reason to squelch her desire for him. She wondered what an affair with him would be like and flashed back to the moment in the living room. And it had been a moment … one she’d been relieved to see end because it was so unexpected.

She considered him across the table.

No, it wasn’t going to happen tonight, or maybe ever, simply because Aidan personified the unexpected, and she liked her affairs hot, discreet and fast. Everything about Aidan Hughes screamed of long, sultry kisses and damp sheets, and as intriguing as her body might find the concept, she couldn’t and wouldn’t let her mind wrap around it. Regaining control, of both her profession and her life, was something she’d fought long and hard for, and the man across the table had her reacting in ways far surpassing her comfort zone.

Never mind the fact she couldn’t afford the distraction of having a man in her life right now, especially not a man as vital as Aidan. Not with the exhibit in ashes. As enjoyable as a brief fling might be, her professional life was on the rocks. She would need every bit of her time and attention focused on making the exhibit a success with the odds and ends she had kept in her office and home.

The thought was enough to depress her all over again. She needed to pull her head out of the clouds and go home.

With her decision made, she picked up her wineglass and took a last sip before standing.

“Give me a minute to make a call, please?”

Torn. She was seriously torn, but in the end, did what she knew to be best. “I really should be going. Thank you for the wine.” Turning, she walked through the living room to the front door, actually feeling Aidan behind her as he escorted her. While it certainly gave her a delicious shiver, Aidan Hughes–hell, any man–was off limits until she could stand triumphantly at the doors of the Corcoran on opening day.

She shot a glance at the fireplace as she passed, feeling a smile kick up at the corner of her mouth. Damned if her imagination wasn’t fanciful tonight. It was Ireland all over again.

“What’s so funny?” Aidan’s voice came from directly behind her and rumbled through her body, stoking the fire that had been banked within.

Her physical response and wandering thoughts had her answering absentmindedly.

“Nothing, I was just being goofy earlier, seeing things in the fire.”

Aidan’s presence behind her intensified as he drew in closer until he almost touched her. Almost. A brief flash of panic skittered through her, as titillating as it was frightening.

“And what did you see, Leanan Murphy?” His honeyed voice washed over her, making her knees weak and her body weep. Aidan Hughes should be declared a lethal weapon, with the way he was making her feel.

His warm breath feathered across her cheek as he leaned in still closer, bathing her in the scent of soap, sandalwood and good clean sweat. Her heart threatened to jump out of her chest.

Out, she had to get out before she made a total ass of herself. She did flings, not one-nighters, and being this close to Aidan had her ready to drag him to the floor. She surged to the door, opening it with more strength than necessary and stepped into the balmy San Diego night.

“Leanan.”

She turned, pivoting on her sneaker slowly, carefully. If he touched her right now, she wouldn’t be able to resist him. She’d definitely been without a man too long.

Aidan stood in the doorway, framed by the flicker of the fire behind him, face unreadable in the wash of the porch light.

She understood what he wanted, and gave it, as a condition of her release.

As she spoke the words, she knew them to be true, even though they sounded ridiculous, too much like the child who had seen the magic of the Fae twenty years earlier and been ridiculed and humiliated by her staunchly academic father.

“A Fae, that’s what I saw, all right?” A bit of anger drove her words as she braced for another round of the old hurt.

Instead of making fun of her, he did the one thing she least expected.

“Good night, Leanan,” he murmured, and leaned in, capturing her lips in a sweet kiss. The sweetness mushroomed immediately, eclipsing their moment in the living room, as sudden, complete desire enveloped her. She sagged into him, her body
turning to fire wherever she touched him. All thought vanished but the absolute need to have this man, and have him right now.

Aidan growled, deep in his chest. The vibration rocketed through her, making her wet, wanton and ravenous.

She opened her mouth, meeting his tongue with her own, sparring and thrusting, until the only thing in her world was the pure heat shooting in a never-ending circle from her mouth to her breasts to her pussy.

When his hand snaked beneath her t-shirt to cup a breast, she almost screamed her delight. Mouth still feasting, Aidan anchored a hand in her hair and tortured her nipple, circling it with hard, demanding fingers, squeezing it with just the right amount of force to bring her to the brink of coming.

Reaching down, she palmed the hard length of his cock through his shorts, measuring it appreciatively as she dove into his mouth, moaning as his hands tightened in her hair, on her breast. Sliding her hand up, she dipped her fingers beneath the waistband of his shorts, needing to feel the length of him.

A wolf-whistle cut through the fog of desire. “Get a room, why dontcha?” The catcall was punctuated by the bleat of a car horn and laughter coming from the street. Young, juvenile laughter.

Leanan froze, fingers centimeters away from his cock, then whipped her hand out and twisted her head to the side, breaking their mating of the mouths.

Jesus, what in the hell was she thinking?

She pulled out of Aidan’s arms, shivering with fear over her loss of control.

He let go of her reluctantly, shaking his head as if coming out of a daze. She understood exactly how he felt.

“Leanan…”

“I’ve got to go.” She turned and did something she’d never done in her life. She fled.

Won the trifecta last night!

We got a nice continuous thunderstorm, then the clouds cleared up and I got my latest Amazon order that included adorable new flats loafers (for work) and books. What a perfect way to end a loooong day at work!

Free Chapter Friday, Baptism by Fire, Chapter Two

Good morning all & Happy Friday!! Here’s Chapter Two of Baptism, and remember, if you’rehooked, you can grab it for 99 cents at Amazon (link to the left)

Chapter Two

Leanan Murphy pushed the strap of her agonizingly heavy purse off her shoulder, digging for her ever-elusive keys.

Aha, gotcha, you little buggers, she crowed silently as her fingers closed around the cold steel. Her victory was short lived.

“Doctor Murphy?” The voice behind her was warm, seductive, and shot through her like a dose of good Irish whiskey. Pivoting, she gazed appreciatively at the prime male specimen lounging against the wall opposite her office. Tall, dark hair, rangy build, with a set of to-die-for blue eyes. Brad Pitt … eat your heart out.

Her head had to be in the clouds if she’d missed him the first time around. Coffee. She definitely needed coffee.

She
dropped the keys back into the cavernous depths of her purse and extended her
hand. “Yes, I’m Doctor Murphy. What can I do for you?”

“Aidan
Hughes, Metro Arson Strike Team.” His hand engulfed hers, and for just a
moment, she swore sparks flew between their fingers.

MAST?
Even she’d heard of them, in her obscure academic life. They were a combination
of fire investigators, cops, ATF and FBI agents who were taking the danger of
arson fires to the people, instructing parents, teachers and youngsters on the
warning signs of what an arsonist might “look” like.

If
they were recruiting guys like this, then she was all for educating the
populace.

“MAST,
huh? I can’t imagine what you’d want with me, but hold on for just a sec, and I
can get us some caffeine and privacy.” She dug back into her purse,
miraculously locating her keys within a few seconds–a first.

The
smell of fresh-perked coffee from the automatic machine met her nose.

She
waved the out-of-uniform hunk to a seat in front of her desk and hit the coffee
credenza.

“How
do you take it?”

“Excuse
me?”

“How
do you take your coffee?”

“Oh,
sorry. I’m a bit punchy this morning. Black, please.”

“Coming
up.” She poured two cups, adding a generous dollop of the Irish-crème flavored
creamer she adored, then slid behind her desk after handing his mug over.

“So
what can I do for you, Mr. Hughes? Or should I call you Detective, or maybe
Agent?”

“Just
Aidan is good, Doctor.”

Leanan
smiled. On a first-name basis already? This morning just got better and better.
She couldn’t imagine a nicer way to start the day than flirting with a handsome
stranger.

“Please,
don’t call me Doctor … it makes me feel old and stodgy. Leanan is fine.”

“Very
well, Leanan.” He paused, looking at her intently. “Unusual name, especially
given your office.” He swung a hand around, encompassing the unique wall art
and figurines crowding her desk, the windowsill and credenza. They were her
pride and joy. Fairies, gnomes, and sylphs, in every medium from glass to clay
to marble, danced across the desk, benevolently watched over by a large oil
painting of her namesake, Leanan Sidhe, the most beautiful and provocative
water elemental of all.

“Do
I detect a bit of a brogue, Aidan? While lots of people comment on my name, not
too many figure out the significance, at least not so quickly.”

He
grinned, making him even more breathtaking. “My clan refused to let us grow up
without learning our history. What, may I ask, is your degree in?”

Leanan
returned his smile with one of her own. This was so much fun, and she hadn’t
had this kind of fun in a very long time. Maybe Aidan Hughes was just what she
needed to bring her out of her funk, in more ways than one. Nothing would ever
come of it, but it was enjoyable, even so. “Mythological Studies. Can’t you
tell?”

“That’s
kind of what I figured.” Then he became somber, serious, and her good mood was
dashed as quickly as it had begun.

“I’m
afraid I’m here for something less than pleasant, Leanan. I need to talk to you
about what happened in your warehouse last night.”

Leanan
crunched her forehead in confusion. “I’m afraid I don’t understand.”

“I
was told you were in charge of the warehouse over by the airport.”

“Well,
sort of,” she answered slowly, still puzzled. “We house some of our older texts
and some antiquities there, in addition to some of the theater props the drama
folks haven’t used in a while. It’s basically a catch-all storage space for
most of the university, broken up by department.” The reason behind his
presence slowly sank in. “It’s gone, isn’t it? That’s the only reason you’d be
in my office.”

“I’m
afraid so, Leanan. I was sent to you first because your department’s inventory
was probably the most valuable, at least in terms of replacement.”

Leanan
lurched back in her chair, the hinges creaking as she contemplated the utter
loss with horror.

“It
can’t be replaced, any of it. It’s one of the reasons the exhibit wasn’t here
at SDSU, why the warehouse was guarded,” she breathed, staring sightlessly at
her hands, which she’d balled into fists.

The
warm contact of Aidan’s hand on her shoulder jolted her. It was surprising
because she hadn’t even seen him move around the desk. She looked up at him
angrily. She wasn’t furious with him, but with the person who could so blithely
destroy something so precious. “I wasn’t truthful with you a moment ago,
because we’ve been very careful about what we publicly kept in the warehouse.
It did house some other department’s things, but it was more. We were using it
as storage for a museum exhibit we’re going to open next month in cooperation
with the Corcoran.” It didn’t matter the exhibit would have been the culmination
of her career. What mattered was all of the beautiful art, the priceless
antiquities and texts, were now reduced to ashes. “Is anything left?”

Aidan
squeezed her shoulder, shooting heat through her entire body and curling her
toes. “I’m sorry, it’s gone, all of it.”

“Well,
shit. Excuse me, but that pretty much describes it in a nutshell.”

He
dropped his hand and resumed his seat. The heat she’d felt disappeared
instantly, and for a moment she mourned its loss almost as much as she mourned
her magnificent collection.

“You’re
right, that does describe it well. You’ll need to start with an inventory for
the insurance adjustors, but I wanted to be the one to tell you, and to find
out if you were aware of any accelerants in the building.”

“No,
we were especially careful with anything that could possibly damage the
exhibit, simply because the tapestries and texts were irreplaceable.” She
pushed the agony of what had been destroyed away, desperately needing to deal
with this in a businesslike manner, just as her position demanded. She’d have
time for recrimination later.

“Was
there anyone who seemed to have a particular interest in the storage areas?
Someone who didn’t belong or asked strange questions?”

Leanan
shook her head. “Again, no. The contents were closely held. Only myself, the
dean, a few students, and several of the museum’s docents knew exactly what was
in there. And no one acted out of the ordinary. We were all excited about the
surprise exhibit, wanted to knock everyone’s socks off with our opening, and
then move the whole thing to Sea World for the tourist crush.” She was
babbling, but couldn’t bring herself to care. Gone. Five years of hard work and
even harder acquisitions, all gone in a flash of flame. Damn. It was back
again, the emptiness of having lost something which never truly belonged to her
in the first place.

Squaring
her shoulders, she met his eyes. Startling blue and filled with compassion,
Aidan Hughes was any red-blooded American girl’s fantasy–even hers–but right
now, she had to deal with reality. “Is there anything else? I need to get with
the dean and start figuring out where to go from here. And to top it off, I’ve
got a nine o’clock class on Folklore and Fairy Tales. If you’ll give me just a
moment, I’ll get the names of the students who worked on the project with me.
I’m assuming you’ll want to talk to them.”

Aidan
nodded sympathetically, as if he understood her brusqueness, and the reason
behind it. But there was something else behind his nod, something she couldn’t
quite get a grasp on.

She
dipped her head in confusion and wrote the names of the participating students
down on a Post-It note as an excuse to ignore his look. Her life was in enough
of a shambles right now; she didn’t need to add a hot arson investigator to the
mix, even if he was scrumptious. He handed her a business card and pasted the
sticky in his notebook. “If you think of anything, and I mean anything, give me
a call, day or night.”

Leanan
took the card, wishing for just a moment, amid the chaos that had become her
life, he really meant the “night” part of his statement as more than a business
offering.

* *
* *

Lush.
It was the only way to describe Doctor Leanan Murphy, Aidan decided as he
pulled into Fire Station 1 on First Street, where MAST was headquartered.

From
her midnight-dark hair and unusual tawny eyes to her generous breasts and hips,
she flashed a fire and radiance that reminded him of the gypsies of old. This
was not some model-thin impersonation of a woman, but the real thing, shaped by
time and fate as carefully and masterfully as a Botticelli.

It
had been a long time since a woman had truly caught his interest. Oh, he wasn’t
without female company on any given day, but most of the time it stemmed from
his desire to be around women, not any woman in particular. Suddenly, this
morning, everything changed.

He
found it ironic the first woman to set off a spark within him in years was also
his direct opposite, at least in name. Leanan, Daughter of the Sea God. The one
deity in all the worlds who could put out the flame of a Salamander, if she
chose. It was a damned good thing this Leanan was a mortal.

Aidan
shook his head with amusement. He’d never expected to find a true complement,
here of all places. And while his ultimate destiny awaited him back in Ireland,
in the company of his clan, it intrigued him to think about the merry chase a
woman like Leanan Murphy could lead him on, and the more than ample rewards he
could collect.

As
much as he would like to follow such a course, he had bigger things to do,
namely tracking down the Salamander responsible for using his awesome power in
a human environment. It was not only foolhardy, but forbidden by their people,
and would result in expedient, ruthless Sanctioning.

Personally,
Aidan didn’t have the stomach to act as Moira. Rhiannon, his playmate of old
had donned the hat and taken on the responsibility of assigning every creature
in the Realm their lot in life, be it on the outside, as in Aidan’s case, or
aiding their people from within. Unfortunately, the Moira also held the final
responsibility in Sanctioning.

Aidan
knew Rhiannon, with the backing of the High Council, should be here within a
day of his report, searching for the one who dared to stray beyond the confines
of the Realm.

In
truth, he had waited two fires too long to contact the clan, but he had to be
sure, had to know what he suspected was true before calling on the Moira. He
would do it tonight, for contacting the Realm required solitude and concentration.
Right now, he needed to check in and maintain appearances.

He
stepped from the SUV into the picture-perfect San Diego morning, greeting
firefighters as they continued the never-ending process of cleaning their rig.

“Hey,
Inspector. What’s the world coming to when a white shirt rolls in before
lunch?” jibed Mikey Alvarez, one of the few people he was fortunate enough to
call friend, at least in the Outer World.

The
attitude of the smoke-eaters was always different when they were away from the
fire, at least in how they treated Aidan. Even though they were on the same
team, arson investigators were cops, “white shirts”, different from the regular
troops, and that difference was never more evident than in the aftermath of a
blaze.

“Hell,
Mikey, gotta keep you on your toes, don’t I?”

Alvarez
chuckled and fell into step with Aidan. “So what’s the good word, Hughes?”

The
fireman was referring to last night’s fire. “Same shit as before, Mikey.” He
raked a hand through his hair, not really faking his frustration. While he knew
what had set the blaze, who was still an overriding question.

“I
go off shift at four, wanna get together and hit Old Town?”

Aidan
shook his head. “Love to, but I’ve got to call home. And you know my mathair,
it may take a while.”

Mikey
laughed. “One of these days I’m going to have to meet your mom, she sounds …
interesting.”

Fat
chance, unless you’re planning on hanging out in the middle of a remote forest
in Ireland, chanting incantations lost to humans for two centuries.

* *
* *

Leanan’s
hand paused in mid-knock. She could not believe she was standing on Inspector
Aidan Hughes’ doorstep. While she certainly had a purpose behind the visit
besides the rampant hormones that had plagued her all day and into the twilight
hours, she certainly could have used the telephone.

Finding
the address on Aidan’s business card was residential, rather than MAST
headquarters, had taken her by surprise and intrigued her. The house she stood
in front of now gave her the same feeling.

It
was a quaint cottage tucked away under the trees of an older neighborhood,
reminding her of Aidan’s barely-heard brogue. It pulled her under his spell as
surely as his presence had. Night jasmine scented the warm, dusky air, soothing
and arousing her senses in equal measures.

Enough
of this. She shook herself mentally. I’ll turn around, march right back to my
car, and call him from my place. It’s not like I have to invent a reason to get
a date, and I’ve got more than enough to do trying to reconstruct the exhibit.

Instead,
against all better sense, she let her hand fall, palm now open, against the
carved mahogany door.

A
surge of something hot and desperately primal arrowed through her as her palm
flattened against the ornate wood. Sucking in a breath, she yanked her hand
back, rubbing it against her shorts, watching shell-shocked as silvery, watery
mist rose from the unmistakable mark of her palm against the door. What in the
holy hell is that?

Her
instincts told her to turn around, to be the rational woman she almost always
was. Things like this did not happen to a professor. They just didn’t. Almost
against her will, her hand returned to the door. Anticipating the jolt this
time, she pushed.

Eerie,
powerful sensations shot through her again, head to toe, crackling the hair on
her nape. The door swung open silently.

Her
eyes adjusted slowly to the dim light, then were drawn to the magnificent,
fully lit fireplace, which sizzled and spit as if in defiance of the temperate
night. And hovering in front of the blaze was a small, winged figure bathed in
a blue shroud of energy.

Transfixed,
Leanan watched as the phantasm swung her way in slow motion. She could actually
see the shimmer of its movements against the dark room as its delicate body
pivoted. Her eyes locked on the almond-shaped, tilted gaze of the fairy, and in
a flash, it was gone, disappearing in a streak of cerulean light that arced
across the room like an afterthought.

She
shook her head once. Again.

The
second shake brought her to her senses. She was definitely seeing things. She
wasn’t ten years old any more, imagining the flit and flare of fairies around
an ancient gnarled oak. This was San Diego, not Ireland, and it was time to get
the hell out of Dodge. She’d call the delectable Aidan Hughes in the morning
when she had her wits about her and miles of telephone cable between them.

Too
late.

Aidan
strode out of a back room, wearing low-slung shorts and little else. If she’d
thought he was gorgeous this morning, she’d been seriously delusional. Aidan
was, quite simply, the most stunning example of prime male flesh she’d ever
seen, and every inch screamed man! Her mouth went dry as her eyes devoured his
sculpted chest, abs and horseman’s thighs. A jolt of desire shocked her nerve
endings, setting everything on fire and rooted her firmly in place.

“Leanan?
Doctor Murphy?”

Leanan
shook her head, this time to rattle some comprehensible words of salutation
into it.

She
was in serious trouble.

“Um,
Aidan, hi,” she began weakly, still staring at his chest. Forcing her eyes
upward, she swallowed hard when she saw the amused expression on his face. How
was she supposed to explain why she’d come?

Then
it hit her. She really did have a reason for showing up here. “I, uh, had some
information I thought you could use.” As the words left her mouth, she realized
how totally lame they sounded. God, could she be any more pathetic? She was the
youngest professor to ever seek tenure at SDSU, and right now she sounded every
bit of her thirty sheltered years.

Aidan’s
eyes snared hers; the smoldering heat he projected nearly had her melting into
a puddle at his feet.

They
stared at each other, and each second intensified the experience until Leanan
swore she could feel his hands on her breasts, brushing the hardened tips of
her nipples, sending liquid fire to her core. Her clit throbbed in time to her
heartbeat. The air thickened until she was panting in quick little bursts,
barely able to catch her breath. Each inhalation became a sensual, carnal
experience unlike anything she’d ever felt. Ever.

A
particularly loud crackle from the fire broke the moment, slingshotting Leanan
back into herself. Drawing in shuddering breaths, she stared at Aidan, trying
to ignore the moisture between her legs, the pounding of her heart, the
insistent press of her nipples against the suddenly too-tight t-shirt.

Aidan
was no less affected than she, if the tent in his shorts was any indication.
His chest gleamed with sweat and he visibly trembled as he glared angrily at
the fireplace. Leanan heard him mutter something like “a pox upon you,
Rhiannon,” before he swung those mesmerizing blue eyes back to her.

He
exhaled loudly. “How about we start again? Come on back to the kitchen and I’ll
get us something cold to drink.”

Leanan
sighed in relief. Whatever it had been, she was free from it for a moment. Even
if she didn’t really, deep down in her heart and body, want to be.

Thursday 13, My Netflix Queue

I’m right in the middle of watching the first disc of Season 4 of Eureka, in prep for the new season beginning next week, and figured this was a great time to update the Thursday 13 list with the top 13 in my Netflix queue…

  • Eureka, Season 4, Disc 2
  • Castle, Season 1
  • The King’s Speech
  • Inception
  • Zero Effect
  • Reservation Road
  • The Illusionist
  • 25th Hour
  • The Score
  • The Assassination of Jesse James
  • Sexy Beast
  • Traitor
  • Death at a Funeral

So what are YOU watching???

Diligently working away on Shoot to Thrill

Really, this time I mean what I say *G*. Maybe because it’s too freakin’ hot to do anything else but stay inside! On my way home I drove past the Officer’s Club and their thermometer said 111 degrees. Not shitting you here.

On the writing front, in rewrites last night I made it to the scene that was stalling me. It ALL has to go, but luckily it was only a few pages long and I can condense the outcome, which was what I was going for. The deets were just waaaay too much and totally detracted from the story arc. But sometimes we need to step away from the manuscript for a bit to see the forest for the trees.

Happy to say that I sat down and sketched out the last few chapters. That’s not to say they’ll actually play out that way *G*, but I’d say there’s a better than 80% chance the end is in sight. Whew! This one’s been a long time coming!!!

Behind Blue Eyes now available in print!!

I’m pleased as punch to announce that Behind Blue Eyes is now available in print through both the Samhain site and via Amazon.

Soooo, if you didn’t get this in “e” because you don’t have a reader, then now y0u’re set *G*.

I’ll also be over at the Samhain boards throughout the day doing some promo, so if you’re part of that e-mail loop, I’d love to chat!

Happy 4th, y’all!

Hanging in air conditioned splendor today. Lit “legal” fireworks with the kids next door last night when the weather dipped to a frigid 95. Back to work tomorrow!

A weather observation…

What does it mean when you walk outside and say “oh, it’s not so bad today!”…then look at the thermometer and realize it’s already 98 degrees…