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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Heart Of Stone by Denyse Bridger


Title: Heart of Stone
Release Date: October 11th, 2010
Author: Denysé Bridger
Publisher: Solstice Publishing
Genre: action/mercenary/thriller/erotic romance

Blurb: Randall Stone is the stuff of heroes, a mercenary given a discharge from the army he has served with his life. But the government is still interested in using the skills they've taught Major Rand Stone, and he continues to work with his hand-picked team. Into his shadowy world a light has come, and in her love, Stone discovers unhoped for joy, and, perhaps, unbearable sorrow?
  
Welcome Denysé! What is your latest offering?
My latest offering is actually a re-release that has been wonderfully rated by reviewers but kicked around big-time by the two publishers who had it on their catalogues previously. When I asked Melissa Miller about submitting it to Solstice Publishing, I told her I was really looking to place it with a publisher I not only trusted, but one where I could leave it with confidence. She was wonderful, as she always is, and it was released a month later with a sexy new Jimmy Thomas cover!

What is Heart of Stone all about?
Heart of Stone stretches the emotional boundaries of a hero turned mercenary. Randall Stone is the hero, he leads an elite mercenary team that works outside the boundaries of convention – for the government, but never acknowledged. His life is deadly, and his liaisons casual. Then he meets a woman who changes all that, and just as he's realizing how much he loves her, he's told she's dead. He refuses to accept it, his gut tells him she's not gone. So, as he digs, he discovers that an old enemy is playing a deadly game – and the lengths he'll go to get his woman back surprise even him.
I like to think it's a passion driven thriller with a touch of political thriller added to the mix, as well. There's certainly a lot of room for more stories to be told!

That sounds exciting. How did you come up with the idea?
One of my favourite television series from about 10 years ago was a thing called "Soldier of Fortune, Inc." and the whole concept was born then, it just took me a long time to settle in and write this.

Tell me about your past releases and a little secret about yourself that no one else knows—I promise I won’t tell!
Past releases? Wow – there are so many. I love to write in multiple genres, so I have a catalogue of stories that range from Old West erotic, to Victorian mysteries, to contemporary sweetheart stories. I love them all. I write a lot of paranormal, too, although I'm not really wild about it.
A secret... hmmm.... I'm considering my first ménage tale, which for me is a real challenge... I have no problems with the story or the writing of it – just wondering about the acceptance of it from readers who've been with me for years. It's a bit "out there" coming from me! J

Any new releases on the horizon for what's left of this year?
I've had about six new ones already this year, and there will be at least three more before end of the year. My next one is slated for November 9th, from XoXo Publishing™, and it's an adult retelling of a fairytale. The original tale is called "Bella Venezia" – an Italian fairytale – the story is called Favola, which is the Italian word for Fable. It's very sexy, and very sweet at the same time.
Also on the horizon is a story for a Special Edition Tattoo Anthology, again from XoXo Publishing™ - the book trailers for these titles are on my YouTube channel, and I think they're pretty cool! (http://www.youtube.com/denysebridger)

What are you working on right now?
Right now I'm working on my first shifter novella, Unleash Your Passion. It's set in Venice and is really shaping up to be wonderful. I'm also finishing a novel called Grande Amore, and preparing my next major fantasy novel, An Alteration In Destiny – which involves gargoyles and a magical town in Sicily. All in all, the usual diversity!

Thank you for joining me, Denysé. Is there anything else you'd like the readers to know?
That each and every one of them is valued and appreciated. I spent a lot of time interacting with readers and friends via my sites, and there are days when I seem MIA, but believe me, every comment and note is read carefully and I try hard to reply to everyone. Your support means everything, and I am grateful for the time you give to me and my books.
Blessings to you all!

G Rated Excerpt- 
"How many messages do you think he's got waiting for him?" Blake asked as they trailed after Stone.

Rand heard Jennifer's laughter, and suppressed a smile at his team's banter.

"Well, we've been gone three weeks, and he said to call in three days. By now she might not even be talking to him."

"That don't look promising," Nick Holloway, a temporary team member selected for this particular mission, noted when they entered the military hangar and spotted Brookman waiting for them. On loan from the CIA, Nick had been an unofficial presence on many missions organized by Donald Brookman over the years. He'd worked with Stone's team several times before, and was giving serious thought to making the move permanent.

"Listen, Brookman," Rand began when they reached the International Security Director, who was their unofficial boss. "We're tired, and I am not going anywhere for at least a couple of days."

The rest of the team had stopped at his back; their muttered affirmatives echoed his assertion. When Donald said nothing, the silence settled, a strained, tension-laden quiet both ominous and unnerving.

"Brookman?"

Donald ran a hand over his silvery hair and looked Rand directly in the eyes.

"She's dead, Rand," he said with no preamble or cushioning words.

"Who's dead?" Rand responded automatically, his weary brain sluggish. But his body grew taut with contained panic. He knew already. He really didn't want to know at all.

"Robin Bourne died three days ago," Donald stated. "Her car went off the road. She was killed in the explosion."

The silence held for several seconds.
"What?" It was an expulsion of air, disbelief the only emotion present in the whispered word. Rand's smile faltered. His gut told him it was true, but his head wasn't ready to accept it...

HOT EXCERPT:

“The only thing I knew then is the truth I know now,” she said, looking up into his eyes when he came to stand in front of her again. “I need you and I love you.” She hesitated. “Do I still mean anything to you, Rand?” She was scared to death of the possible answer, but she had to ask.

For the first time since she’d come into the room, Rand permitted himself to touch her. His hands slid around her waist and he pulled her to her feet and into his arms, the contact sudden, hard, and demanding as he molded her curves to his hungry body. His mouth descended on hers, crushing with the intensity of his passion. Robin pressed herself tighter to him, opened her mouth to his, and surrendered to him, heart and soul.

The ringing of the phone interrupted the kiss as it threatened to suffocate them both. Robin gasped when his lips left hers, and she began to haul his T-shirt free of the waistband of his jeans, eager to feel his skin against her palms. She was only dimly aware of his curt replies to whatever was being said, then his attention was fully on her again.

Rand buried his hands in the thick fall of her hair and held her head, forcing her focus to steady as he looked at her.

“Brookman’s called off the mission,” he whispered, then kissed her. “Let me tell the others, then we’re going upstairs for a few days.”

“A few days?” She laughed softly, breathless with excitement.

“Maybe longer,” he said, hands smoothing over her from the contours of her bottom to the generous swell of her breasts. His thumbs lingered over the rigid tips, caressing them to greater sensitivity beneath the thin barrier of her top.

Her eyes closed and her mouth opened, lips parted slightly as she gasped with pleasure. Slender fingers encircled his wrists, and he grinned down at her when she guided his hands back to her waist, then upward again, under the lightweight tank top. Rand hooked his fingers in the shimmering material and quickly pulled it over her head. Silken, warm skin seemed to ripple beneath his caressing hands and her back arched, pressing her closer to his chest.

A discreet knock on the door interrupted the downward trek of Rand’s lips just before he reached the nipple he’d been seeking. He pulled Robin behind him so his big body blocked the view of hers. “Who is it?”

“Jenn.”

“Come in.”

Jennifer poked her head into the office, smile broad and teasing.

“I know you were probably going to tell us at some point, but was that Brookman?”

Rand nodded.

“We’re free to go?” she asked.

“For now.”

“How long are you going to be incommunicado?” she asked.

“A few days,” he answered, his voice a hiss of air between clenched teeth. Robin was caressing the back of his neck and rubbing against him, the motion of her hips almost feline in its grace and eroticism. His eyes flickered closed, then he opened them again, grinned, and shrugged. “Maybe more.”

Jennifer’s laughter was cut off as she closed the door and left them alone.

Rand locked the door, then turned back to the woman he loved.

“Robin…”

His voice trailed off as she unfastened his belt buckle and pulled his jeans open. Her hand slid into the loosened material, and he groaned when her fingers began to trace the hard ridge of his erection. The couch in the small office was going to have to do, he decided, and pushed her toward it as he peeled off his T-shirt and tossed it aside, then stopped long enough to get rid of his jeans and briefs. Robin’s skirt was a wrap around, and he grinned in surprise when he slipped it free and discovered she wore stockings and a garter belt, but nothing else under the length of material.

She straddled his thighs and lowered herself onto him, moaning softly as their bodies merged. Rand’s tongue began caressing her nipples, sucking gently at one then the other. She pushed harder, taking him deeper into her. His head lifted, and he pulled her into another searing, lusting kiss as their rhythm grew frantic with need. Before their passion peaked, Rand eased free and rearranged her on the worn sofa. Leather creaked and he lifted her hair and let it spill over the armrest as he stretched over her. He reentered her with a strong thrust that made her cling harder to him, and this time their desire consumed them and pushed them into an abyss of pleasure they hadn’t shared in much too long.

Friday, October 22, 2010

IN HIS ARMS by Tina Donahue


Title: In His Arms
Release Date: September 3, 2010
Author: Tina Donahue
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Genre: Erotic romance with suspense elements

Blurb: 
Owned by one man, loved by another. . . 
Abducted and delivered into sexual slavery, Lori has surrendered her will in order to survive. For more than a decade, she’s been known as Summer, a lovely submissive, her owner’s possession until he gives her to his newest lieutenant, a mysterious man called RJ. Commanding and virile, RJ dominates without cruelty and possesses without threat, engendering a mixture of safety and passion. In his strong arms, Summer enjoys carnal pleasure she’s never known and tenderness she’s craved. In his heated gaze, she experiences a sense of recognition she doesn’t immediately understand until it proves dangerous in a way she could never have imagined. Bound by desire and their growing love, RJ traverses the shadowy world of human trafficking, risking all for Summer’s freedom only to learn she harbors a fateful secret that threatens to tear her from him, leading to an irrevocable event that risks both their lives. 

Welcome Tina! What is your latest offering?
Hi, and thanks for having me!  My latest offering is a suspenseful erotic romance, In His Arms

What is In His Arms all about?
The story involves abduction, the shadowy world of human trafficking, and the love between Summer and RJ, a commanding man—an Alpha male—who risks everything for her freedom and safety.
The reviews for In His Arms have been phenomenal. Thus far, I’ve received FIVE – 5 Star Reviews from The Romance Studio, HEA Reviews, TwoLips Reviews (they also gave it a Recommended Read), Romance Writers Reviews, Book Junkie, and also a TOP PICK from NOR (Night Owl Reviews).
Just reading the blurb made me want to read the book! How did you come up with the idea?
I was watching the news one night when yet another report came on of a young woman being abducted and her parents’ fears that she’d been sold into sexual slavery. I was so moved by the report, I began to think of what a young woman like that must go through…and what would happen if one man tried to rescue her.

I get my ideas from weird places too. Now, tell me about your past releases and a little secret about yourself that no one else knows—I promise I won’t tell!
My past releases this past year have been Adored, Lush Velvet Nights, and Deep Dark Delicious, each of them erotic romances. Here’s the blurb on each.
Adored: A shameless fantasy come true…
When tall, dark and delicious Adam Farrell crosses Danni’s radar at a trade show in Vegas, it’s not lust at first sight. He’s been the star of her wicked fantasies for a while, pleasuring her in acts of domination and submission that leave her breathless. Aching for his masterful touch, believing she’ll never have it, Danni indulges in a public sex act Adam alone witnesses. What follows is a night of wild and unrestrained passion in his powerful arms. It’s only the beginning. An undisclosed business deal has turned Adam from competitor to Danni’s new boss. His hunger for her is absolute and he’ll make her fantasies seem tame as he takes her in ways she never imagined – whenever he wants, wherever he desires. Seduced by Adam’s plan to mix exquisite control with adoration, Danni’s swept into a sensual adventure she can’t resist. Until corporate politics intrude and she learns what Adam’s been hiding to protect her. . .a secret he’s long feared will tear them apart.

Lush Velvet Nights: When wanton desires & love demand all… 
During the day, Adriana’s a lonely corporate heiress, helming a supermarket empire. At night, she hires escorts, scripting provocative fantasies of kidnapping, lust, submission and endless longing. It’s all she has to excite her until she meets Nathan Wynn. Tall, blond and muscular—like a modern day Viking—Nathan’s a labor relations attorney representing Adriana’s union employees. His imposing presence intensifies her basest desires. When he protects her from an escort he believes is an attacker, she knows he’s wonderfully dominant and unrestrained. Fascinated by Adriana’s underlying sensuality, Nathan brings her to his secluded mountain estate, determined she submit fully to his hunger. At a gentleman’s club, he makes certain she denies him nothing. Engaging in a seductive sexual journey, Nathan’s caught off-guard by his stunning need for Adriana. An attraction he fears because of past events in his life. A growing emotional connection she will not let him deny.

Deep, Dark, Delicious: A wickedly sensual feast…
Eden DeCarlo may have narrowly lost Miami’s best chef competition and the prize money she desperately needs, but she has caught the eye of dangerously virile Rafael Zayas, one of the judges and a wealthy restaurateur. Despite her vow not to let any man derail her life, Eden’s captivated by Rafe’s imposing masculinity, then challenged by the business deal he offers. He’ll invest in her new venture if, for one month, she can satisfy his culinary expectations and the sexual attraction they both feel.  Dominant and unashamed, Rafe knows what he wants when it comes to carnal pleasure and will spare no seduction to have Eden in all the ways he demands – naked, wanting, submissive. Within thirty days, he will teach her the delights of yielding to passion, relinquishing all control to him and fulfilling her deepest, darkest and most delicious desires.

My secret?  I’m addicted to House, The Next Food Network Star, and The Office.

My daughter loves House, too. So, any new releases on the horizon this year?
In His Arms was my newest release. However, I have just submitted another erotic romance to one of my editors. J
What are you working on right now?
A paranormal romance that has a lot of danger, great sex and a fantastic love story.
Oh, that sounds great. Let me know when that one is published! Thank you for joining me, Tina. Is there anything else you'd like the readers to know?
Each month I hold a monthly contest at my site. I also host other authors who have contests. And I’m always blogging somewhere and offering a chance to win one of my back titles.
Here are all my links:
Website/blog: www.tinadonahue.com

Excerpt of In His Arms:
(In this scene, Summer has learned that her owner, Anthony, has given her to RJ, a mysterious newcomer to Anthony’s operation, and now RJ is about to take possession.) 
Summer’s breaths grew shallow. A pulse beat steadily between her legs. More moisture answered, the wet warmth seeping from her opening.
Don’t touch her, RJ had ordered Hogan. With those three words, he’d offered her the greatest and dearest protection she known, along with a measure of respect.
Gratitude mingled with her growing attraction to RJ, the power of both emotions overwhelming her. She wanted to feel his weight and heat. Her body ached to touch his.
RJ made her wait. He stepped away from the bed, his hands on the edge of his sweater, lifting it over his firm torso.
Eyes fixed on his smooth, golden skin, Summer forgot to breathe, her gaze following his sweater as he pulled it upward, the ends fluttering over his pecs.
      Her lips parted on a wanton sigh at his unusual tattoo. The geometric design, a series of thick black swirls that ended in sharp points, covered his right pectoral muscle and flowed over his shoulder to his back. Several of the points curved from behind to reach just below his right nipple. Another set curled around his muscular biceps. The effect proved startling, savage, the kind of marking men would have used in ancient times to declare their strength to an enemy or a woman they held captive.
For the first time in eleven years, Summer didn’t feel trapped. She hungered for this, wanting nothing more than to have RJ mount her, his heavy weight and heat making her feel protected, safe, treasured…if only for a time.
Her heart beat crazily at the thought. At having something—someone—she wanted.
She stared at the tufts of hair beneath his arms, a deep coffee color, bearing his male aroma. Her eyes shifted to the side, another tattoo circling his left biceps.
As black and geometric as the other, this one was a tribal band, with loops and whorls that jumped as his muscles flexed.
He pulled the garment away from his head, tousling his hair, giving it a bed-mussed look complemented by his hooded eyes.
A new rush of moisture bathed Summer’s opening. Her breaths came fast and hard.
Hogan cleared his throat, demanding notice.
Summer ignored him, unable to drag her focus from RJ.
His beautiful eyes strayed to her parted and waiting vaginal lips.
She longed for him to touch her.
He did not, instead retreating several steps to one of the gold satin sitting chairs, a dainty design made more ineffective by his masculine bulk. Slowly, as though he enjoyed having her anticipate their coming pleasure, he removed his leather boots. His black socks followed, revealing his large feet and long toes.
Before the night ended, she’d lick and suckle them before moving to his cock.
Standing, he unbuckled his belt, lowered his fly and pushed his pants to his knees, letting them drop with a faint whoosh to his ankles.
The sound matched her quick exhale of air.
Navy boxer briefs hugged his narrow hips and powerful thighs. Behind the stretchy placket, she saw the promise of his meaty cock and balls. She spread her legs even more, summoning him to fill her, wordlessly begging him to do so.
With a smile curling his beautiful mouth, RJ pushed down his briefs and stepped out of them.
The room seesawed, along with Summer’s thoughts. Naked, RJ faced her, confident in his masculinity and ability to bring her pleasure.
A thin sheen of perspiration coated her throat, intensifying her perfume, enhancing her female scent. Never had she been as ready for another man, not in all the years since Anthony had owned her, changing her life forever. Her pulse points throbbed, marking each beat of her sprinting heart. She feasted on RJ’s tall, perfectly formed body, the thatch of thick, dark hair covering his groin, his rigid penis, ruddy with arousal, his balls plump and tight against his groin.
Padding to the edge of the bed, RJ sank to his knees and slid his large hands beneath her ass, bringing her close to him. At his commanding touch, her lips parted and her lids fluttered. Once he had her in position, he met her eyes, confirming her approval, then licked the length of her cleft.
Molten heat flooded her. Chin pointed at the ceiling, Summer lifted her ass, bringing her cunt closer to RJ’s tongue, wanting everything he had to give.
      He ignored her wordless request for more. Working two fingers inside of her sheath, he stretched her opening as though he wanted to make certain it would be adequate for his thick cock.
She relaxed her muscles, accepting this invasion as readily as she would his stiffened rod.
With his fingers still inside, RJ finally returned to her clit, his mouth latching onto it, his stubbled cheeks scraping the tops of her thighs, his tongue swirling around her tender nub.
Summer’s fingers curled into tight fists. Her lusty moan filled the room.
Clearly not wanting her to come too quickly, RJ withdrew his tongue from her nub to lick the edge of her vulva and her smooth mound. Summer swallowed and panted. She elevated her hips to force him back to the only spot that mattered.
He paid no heed to her willfulness. Hand on her belly, he directed her body to return to the mattress. Once she complied, he held her there, his fingers still inside, pressing into her much softer flesh, his tongue continuing to ignore her nub.
A protest gurgled in the back of her throat.
Immune, RJ lapped her juices, as though testing her reaction to him as a man and as a lover, one she’d chosen. Never had she known anyone like him and she responded without artifice, mewing for more, for every—
Her thoughts halted at his teeth bearing down carefully around her nub, his tongue negotiating its contours. Something indescribable and thrilling coiled between her legs, tensing her muscles, snatching her breath. Crudely and loudly, she cried out at the orgasm sluicing through her, the contractions of her inner muscles sucking RJ’s fingers deeper.
There they remained as Summer fought for air. She’d barely managed a full breath when his thumb replaced his tongue on her clit.
No. Even the slightest stroke became more than she could endure, the pleasure too deep, unbearable. The points of her high heels gouged the comforter. She heard the fabric rip. Her hips thrashed trying to escape him.
He wouldn’t allow it, keeping his fingers deeply inside, his thumb poised on her nub. She whimpered.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Kelly and the Candidate by Fran Shaff


Title: Kelly and the Candidate
Author:  Fran Shaff
Release Date:  May 1, 2010
Publisher:  Wings ePress
Blurb:  Reporter Kelly Graham, who isn't the least bit fond of politicians, finds governor candidate Brett Conifer completely irresistible. Brett, who can't stand reporters, makes an exception where the lovely Kelly is concerned. Scandals, fist fights, miniature matchmakers--Kelly and Brett are in for one very complicated love affair.

Welcome to Sizzling Releases, Fran. I’m so pleased you could join me today. What is your Sizzling Release?  
Kelly and the Candidate, a contemporary romance is one of my May, 2010 releases.

What is Kelly and the Candidate all about? 
Kelly is an intrepid, award-winning reporter whose editor assigns her to cover the candidacy of boring, third-party gubernatorial candidate Brett Conifer.  She describes him as being so clean “he can disinfect a surgical room just by walking through it.” Good character in a politician is death to a newspaper woman’s career, but Brett’s integrity is as attractive to the woman in Kelly as are his handsome face and fine physique. It doesn’t take long for these two natural rivals to fall in love.  Of course, scandals and other complications quickly arrive, placing their love in jeopardy.

That sounds like a fun read. How did you come up with the idea? 
I enjoy pitting opposites against each other in my romance stories.  A politician who dislikes reporters, and a reporter who can’t stand politicians seemed like two perfect, polar-opposite characters.  Interesting because they need each other professionally, yet they hate having to cooperate with each other to get a job done.  Since conflict is the name of the game in any compelling story, I took the idea and went with it.  The challenge in writing the story and the fun in reading it lies in finding out how opposites will fall in love.

As a multi-published author, what advice do you have for those just beginning their writing career? 
There is so much to know about writing from craft to publication and beyond.  Most importantly, anyone who wants to be a published author should never give up. Work, write, study, write, research, write.  Keep learning, keep improving.  Never give up.
Tell the readers about your backlist.  

My books include contemporary and historical romance and young people’s novels.  They are available in hardcover, paperback and e-formats.  Most are available at Amazon.com.  For a complete listing of my books I hope readers will visit my web page at: http://sites.google.com/site/fshaff 

There you’ll find book descriptions, links to excerpts, interviews and guest blogs and even a picture of the family bulldog.  J  Be sure to take advantage of my free e-book Change of Heart, an acclaimed historical romance.

What are you working on now?   
Currently I am working on For Love of Maggie a contemporary romance due out in July and Christmas Cruise, another contemporary romance which has not yet been scheduled for release.  I’m also working on a non-fiction series Novel Workshop.  In this series, the teacher in me meets up with the writer to produce workshops writers can use to hone their skills.  I hope to have the first book available later this year.

Is there something in particular that sparks you to write something new? 
Not any one thing.  Sometimes I get an idea and run with it.  Other times I have a terrific idea and can’t make it go anywhere.

What do your family and friends think about you being a published author? 
Hm…I’d have to say it doesn’t mean much to them one way or the other.  I used to get discouraged because I didn’t receive encouragement from those close to me, but eventually I decided to just do what I wanted to do--write.  That change in attitude made all the difference in sticking to my goals.

It’s May-do you celebrate Cinco De Mayo?  
I do speak a bit of Spanish, but I don’t celebrate Cinco De Mayo.
Speaking of Cinco De Mayo, have you ever been to Mexico?  
No, I haven’t, but it seems like a beautiful country, especially the beaches.

Thank you so much for being here. Is there anything else you’d like the readers to know?  
A few things, yes.  Thanks for asking. 
In addition to Kelly and the CandidateStolen Son, another contemporary romance, is being released in May.  Look for it in paperback and e-formats at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Sony, Kobo and other places on the Internet.
Readers who enjoy historical romance should know my book Change of Heart is available for free download in 10 formats at Smashwords.com, bn.com and kobo.com as well as other places on the Internet.

I’d love to connect with readers at Twitter, MySpace and Facebook. Readers can find excerpts and writing tips at my blog: http://blog.myspace.com/franshaff  Contact me at: writerfran@gmail.com and visit my web page at: http://sites.google.com/site/fshaff 


And before we go, can we get a juicy excerpt from Kelly and the Candidate? 
Most definitely!  Look for more excerpts at “Kelly’s” web page: http://sites.google.com/site/kellyandthecandidate 

EXCERPT:
Setup:  Brett, while protecting one of his children, has engaged in an altercation with another man. Kelly has spent the evening caring for his little girls, waiting for him to return home after having been arrested.  It’s late when he arrives.

      “What happened?”
      He inhaled deeply and winced when he did so.  His ribs were obviously hurting from his beating.
      “It took a while, but the ambulance finally arrived.  They took Caldwell and me to the hospital.  After the doctors patched us up, the police took us to the precinct and questioned us.”
      “No, that isn’t what I mean.”
      He looked away.  “I know what you mean.”  He gazed at her once more.  “I’m not going to tell you what happened.”
      She straightened her stance.  “Yes, Brett, you are going to tell me what happened.  You’re going to tell me every detail.  You and this man Caldwell were beating the life out of each other right in front of your daughters.  I deserve to know why.”
      He nodded toward her.  “Yes, you do, but not tonight.  I won’t explain a thing to you tonight.”
      This was outrageous.  She walked closer to him and looked up at him squarely.  “If you think I’m going to wait for an explanation, then Caldwell must have beaten all sense of reason out of your brain.”
      “Kelly,” he said firmly, “not tonight.”
      “Yes, tonight,” she said just as determinedly.  “Do you know what I’ve been doing since we left you in the park?  I’ve been worrying myself sick over you.  Yet I didn’t dare let Becca and Ally see that I was at all upset.  They were distressed enough without having to see me fall apart.”
      “I’m sorry,” he said, his voice taking on a surprisingly angry tone.
      “Ally was beyond grief.  She was convinced you were going to die.  Do you know how frightened a little girl gets when she believes her last remaining parent is going to die?”
      “I’m sorry,” he said again, peppering the angry tone of his voice with regret.
      “I’ll tell you how frightened she gets.  She gets so frightened she gets sick to her stomach, so sick she won’t eat any supper.  Then she starts throwing up.”
      “Kelly, stop it!  I said I’m sorry.  What do you want from me?”
      “I want an explanation.  You owe me an explanation.”
      “Not tonight!”  He whirled away from her.  “Go home, Kelly.”
      “No!”  She went to him, took his arm and made him look at her.  “I won’t leave until you tell me why the two of you were fighting.”
      “Kelly, go home,” he said firmly.
      “No.  I won’t leave.  I won’t let you bully me and send me on my way.  I want to know why my evening turned into one of fright and worry.  I need to know why you had to make me heartsick with grief over what I saw you go through.”  She squeezed his arm as hard as she could.  “Brett, I’ve never been so frightened in my entire life.  With all of the misery I’ve seen because of my job, I’ve never experienced anything that scared me the way seeing you hurt scared me.  Brett,” she said softly, a tear sliding down her cheek, “tell me what happened.”
      He pulled her gripping fingers from his arm and tugged her closer to him.  In the next moment, Kelly found herself wrapped tightly in his arms.  His lips came down on hers and demanded she surrender to him.
      Kelly inhaled sharply.  She hadn’t expected him to touch her like this.  For a brief moment, she considered pulling away.  But when his mouth spoke to her in this intimate, wordless manner, she was powerless to move away from him.
      Brett’s kisses made her want more of him.  She slid her arms around him and ran her hands up and down his strong back.
      “Kelly,” he whispered into her ear when his lips left hers, “Kelly, I need you.  I need you so much.”
      He kissed her more passionately, and she felt her insides beginning to ignite.
      What was he doing to her?  What place in her heart did he find that even she herself did not know existed?
      She should pull away from him.
      This was not right.  He should not be kissing her.  She should not be urging him to do more than hold and kiss her.
      In the next second she was in his arms again, and he was trailing kisses along her cheek and down her throat.
      “Brett…”
      He kissed her lips hard and drove her wild with passion.
      She pulled back slightly and gasped.  “Brett, Brett…”  She needed him more than she needed her next breath of air, and she didn’t understand why.  Weren’t they arguing a few minutes before?...............