NOTE: This 50-page, contemporary romance short story features an R-rated reunion of a couple ready for a little “sexploration.” Here’s the blurb:
His best laid plans…
DJ “Rabid Ron” Hart has a grand scheme to win back the woman he loves. It involves an animal adoption fair, a goofy hairless dog named Charlie and an offer she can’t refuse.
Her hidden desires…
Cara Wilson has fantasies she’s never admitted, and her ex-boyfriend still features in her erotic dreams. If only he didn’t keep his bad-boy urges so tightly leashed.
Tonight they’ll learn that winning sometimes takes losing control.
“Marcia James writes characters that draw you in and have you rooting for them from the start. …James is definitely going on my must read list!!” — Joyfully Reviewed
To read this free e-book, click on the following link:
Bloody footprints. What a way to start a weekend.
Mike Karlson dropped the bag of Chinese food on the granite counter in his kitchen and stared at the red footprints on the white tile floor. The prints — obviously made by the paws of some small animal — led from a spilled bowl of viscous scarlet liquid in the corner through the archway into his living room. This had to be one of his girlfriend’s animal therapy sessions gone bad. “Cindi!”
“In the office!” Her voice sounded muffled, like she was inside a packing crate.
Sighing, Mike followed the fading paw prints across the hardwood floor of his living room, down the hall, and into his home office. His antique rolltop railroad desk stood against the far wall, and inside its kneehole was Cindi. She was on her hands and knees, with her upper body hidden in the shadowed space and her lower body offering quite a tempting sight. Her tattoo of a Chinese crested hairless dog peeked from the gap between her crop top and her jeans. God, just a glimpse of that tramp stamp — not to mention her cute butt — almost made him forget the ominous prints.
Mike tamped down his lusty thoughts. “Cindi, do we need to call an exterminator?”
“What?” She backed out of the kneehole, pushed to her feet, and faced him. “No, of course not. Boll Weevil just got away from me and is hiding under the desk.”
He grinned as he crossed the room to her. “Are you expanding your practice to include insects?”
“Very funny.” She stood on her toes to give him a too-quick, welcome-home kiss. “A client inherited a California rabbit named ‘Boll Weevil.'” Cindi raised her hand traffic-cop style when he started to speak. “And before you ask, ‘California’ is a rabbit breed, not his birth place or state of mind.” She grimaced. “I wish this bunny was a laid-back dude, but he’s been such a difficult pet, the client nicknamed him ‘Evil’. I hope you don’t mind that I agreed to work with the rabbit over the Easter weekend.”
“Kind of appropriate…having a bunny house-guest for Easter.” Mike cupped her face and gave her a proper kiss. When he finally raised his head to look into her dazed eyes, he had to force his sex-fuzzed brain out of the gutter and back on the red paw prints. “Uh, does Evil drink blood?”
Her expression went from pleasured to confused, and then she laughed. “I’ll clean up the mess in the kitchen. The rabbit likes tomato juice mixed with water. But he spilled the bowl to let me know he wasn’t happy to be in a strange condo.”
“Does he like Chinese food? I brought home a bag from Fast Fusion for dinner.”
Cindi shook her head. “Evil’s more into hay, carrots, and some fruit. But I’m starving.” She took his hand and tugged him out of the office. “The cranky rabbit will wander back into the kitchen when he’s ready. Let’s eat without him.”
That was alright with Mike. He’d brought home a little surprise for his sexy girlfriend and was eager to get through dinner and on to dessert — edible strawberry massage oil. And he couldn’t wait to show her the new vibrator he’d bought. The two purchases from his local sex shop were in the pocket of his leather coat, which he hung on the back of a kitchen chair before helping Cindi unload the takeout food.
He set the table, while she cleaned up the spilled tomato juice. Then they sat down to a feast of Chinese dishes, from spring rolls and crab wontons to Kung Pao chicken and moo shu pork.
God, he loved having her here…in his home and in his life. He’d given her a key to his condo, and she spent more time here than at the apartment she shared with two other woman. One of these days, when the moment was right, he was going to ask her to move in permanently. His stomach quivered with nerves at the thought. Would she turn him down?
Like him, Cindi was a San Francisco native and frequent Chinatown visitor, which explained her dexterity with chopsticks when she reached across the table and used them to tweak his nipple.
“Hey!” He crossed his arms over his t-shirt and leaned out of her reach.
“You were frowning. Something got you worried?”
No way was this the moment to pop the move-in question, so Mike changed the subject. “Just trying to remember if I was born in the Year of the Horse or the Year of the Tiger.” He picked up the Fast Fusion takeout menu and showed her the Chinese astrology chart on the back. “I’m pretty sure it was the Year of the Horse.” He read the description. “That makes me wise, cheerful, and good with my hands.” He gave her an exaggerated leer.
She chuckled and used her chopsticks to feed him a water chestnut. “I was born in the Year of the Dog. That makes me…” she took the chart from him and read “…loyal, honest, and compatible with people born in the Years of the Horse, Tiger, and Rabbit.” She set down the menu. “Speaking of rabbits, Evil has deigned to join us.”
Mike slowly turned his head so as not to scare the critter. Evil was pure white except for his black ears, feet, nose, and tail. He would’ve looked sweet if it weren’t for the menacing gleam in his pink eyes. His nickname seemed very appropriate.
Cindi dropped another potsticker onto Mike’s plate. “I’ll give Evil some pellets and oak hay in a minute. Let him get used to being around us while we finish our meal.”
He nodded, watching his leather coat sway on the chair back as the rabbit brushed by it. “I hope he takes a long nap after dinner, because I have the night off and want you all to myself.” High Spirits, the bar he owned, took up most of his nights, but Cindi often had evening appointments with her practice and mornings off. So they tried to synch up their schedules whenever possible.
“I’ll get Evil settled into his cage after dinner.” She glanced at the rabbit and did a double-take. “What the hell?”
Mike choked on his Tsingtao beer. The crazy rabbit had dragged his sex shop purchases out of his coat pocket and nibbled through the paper bag to the strawberry massage oil. Laying on the floor next to the tube of oil was his other gift — a carrot-shaped, orange vibrator. Evil moved against the toy to get a better grip on the oil and stomped the “On” button at the top of the plastic carrot. It started buzzing, and the startled rabbit shot a foot off the floor before racing from the room.
He groaned, dropping his forehead into his hand. So much for a sexy surprise. Giggling, Cindi left her chair to slip onto his lap. Her round bottom pressed against a part of Mike that didn’t give a damn if his plans for the evening had altered, as long as the night ended with him making love to his girl.
She kissed his nose. “Cheer up. You aren’t the only one who made a stop at the adult toy store today. I bought some dark chocolate body paint and a special brush for all those hard-to-reach, sensitive areas.”
Hey, he was nothing if not adaptable. Mike grinned, his body’s reaction to her erotic plans making her squirm in his lap. “Why don’t you take off your shirt? I call first dibs on the brush and chocolate.”
She teasingly deflected his hands when he reached for her crop top. “You box up the leftovers while I crate the ‘rabbitnator’, then we can meet in the shower for some soapy foreplay.”
He stood with her in his arms and reluctantly set her on her feet. “Okay. But don’t take too long or we’re having Hasenpfeffer rabbit stew for dinner tomorrow.”
Cindi pinched his butt, then dodged away laughing. “Last one in the shower is a rotten egg.”
Mike looked after her as she hurried from the room. Tonight might just be the perfect time to ask Cindi to move in. It was going to be a great Easter.
For more about Marcia James and her books, please visit her website: www.MarciaJames.net.
NOTE: You don’t have to leave comments on the blog stories to be entered into the contest, but we all enjoy hearing from readers. 😉
ST. PATRICK’S DAY BLOG HOP
by Marcia James
“Well, if you’re not going to take your pain pill, would you like some green beer?” Cindi Benton smiled at her grumpy lover, who propped his sprained ankle on a pillow on the kitchen chair. “Maybe a wee pint,” she said in her best Irish accent. “Erin go bragh, Ireland forever, kiss the Blarney Stone, and all that.”
“Happy friggin’ St. Patrick’s Day,” Mike Karlson groused, as he sank deeper into the chair next to the one his foot occupied and gingerly set an ice pack on his ankle. “Do you know how hard it was to find a good bartender to fill in for me tonight? I should be there.”
Considering Mike owned High Spirits, the bar that would be packed to the gills on this hard-drinking holiday, she cut him a break for his bad mood. Besides, it made her faint to think of how much worse he could have been injured by the taxi that had sideswiped his bike and knocked him onto the sidewalk. He’d almost broken his right ankle. He was lucky to be alive. Pressing her hand over her stomach at that thought, she walked to the refrigerator. Tonight was not the time to mention how scared she’d be in the future every time he would ride his bike in San Francisco traffic.
“Sorry, Cindi. I’m not good company tonight.” With a frustrated shove of his hand, Mike pushed his reddish-brown hair off his forehead. “Maybe you should go bar-hopping with your girlfriends.”
She glanced over her shoulder as she pulled two bottles of his favorite brew out of the fridge. “And miss a chance to cuddle up with you by the fire?” A video of a roaring fire in a stone fireplace played on the small flatscreen TV on the kitchen wall.
Cindi was glad to see that brought a reluctant smile to his lips. She poured the Guinness dry stout into two tall glasses — her technique as perfect as if she’d been trained in Dublin, Ireland — and Mike grinned as she added a couple drops of green food dye.
His gaze drifted down her body as she carried the glasses to the table. She knew that look. He might have trouble walking at the moment, but the rest of him was in perfect working order.
Cindi barely suppressed a chuckle. She knew exactly how to take his mind off his bum ankle and his busy bar. She’d planned to seduce him tonight after work, until his accident had convinced her to delay her sexy idea. Maybe he was up — pun intended — for a good time, after all.
Walking to his pantry, she snagged a bag of her favorite chocolate — Hershey’s Pot of Gold truffle collection — that Mike kept stocked for her. She emptied the bag into bowl, which she set on the table. “I think I’m craving chocolate and some play time,” she teased, enjoying the way his eyes sparked when she bit into a truffle and moaned. Then she walked into his living room and retrieved the Scrabble game from the bookshelf.
When she placed the game on the table, his disappointment was almost comical. “You know the doctor said to rest tonight.” Cindi leaned over to kiss the top of Mike’s head, making sure her breast grazed his cheek. His groan was very satisfactory.
Sitting to his left, so she wouldn’t bump his foot, Cindi set up the game. She reached into the bag and pulled out a “W” letter tile. Then Mike, appearing decidedly unhappy, followed suit, getting a blank tile. “You’re first,” she said. “Unless you don’t want to play Scrabble. I could read you a good book instead.”
“We can read each other letters from Penthouse Forum,” he suggested with an exaggerated eyebrow wiggle. “Then we can act them out.”
She shot him a look, and he sighed before taking turns with her, drawing seven tiles each from the bag. He seemed so pathetic, Cindy took pity on him. “We could make the game more interesting…maybe Strip Scrabble?”
Mike, who’d just taken a sip of his stout, choked. When he could speak, he gave her a glance hot enough to melt the truffles. “You’re on.” He studied his letters, then placed all seven on the board, spelling “whiskey.”
Cindi gaped at the word, worth twenty points even before the board multiplier he’d hit. And he got a fifty point bonus for using all of his letters. Sometimes she forgot he was a master at Scrabble. Mike took seven more tiles from the bag and waited for her to remove an article of clothing. Slowly, she reached up, paused by the buttons of her kelly green blouse, then moved higher to take the diamond stud out of her left earlobe.
He opened his mouth as though to object, but then shut it and waited to see what she’d do. Building off the “e” in “whiskey”, she laid down the tiles to spell “finger”. Mike pulled the sneaker off his uninjured foot. Then he picked four tiles and added them to her word, creating “fingernail”. She took out her other earring.
The game progressed with her spelling “love”, which rendered Mike’s left foot sockless. Then he racked up more points with “nipple” — hitting a triple word score space. He glanced pointedly at her blouse, through which her own nipples were clearly erect. But she chose to untie the silk scarf she’d used instead of a belt and drag it languidly through the loops on her print skirt.
He frowned when she spelled the easy, two-point word “no” off the “n” in “nipple”, but his sweatshirt hit the floor. That left his gorgeous torso exposed. Damn, she wanted to run her tongue over his tanned chest and down those impressive abs…but she could wait. The anticipation might be making her crazy, but teasing Mike was deliciously empowering.
He picked up three tiles and spelled “sexy” off the “s” in “whiskey”, hitting a double letter score for the 8-point “x”. She was losing bad. He took a long draw on his Guinness, his eyes never leaving hers, and she felt the pull of his mouth as though it was on her body. Geez, who was teasing who? When she didn’t remove any clothing, he made an impatient wave with his hand.
“Don’t get your knickers in a twist,” she mumbled. Cindi could have kicked off one of her short leather boots, but she decided to shimmy out of her skirt, taking her sweet time about it. She made sure he got a peek at her shamrock-covered thong before the tails of her blouse blocked his view. When he almost swallowed his tongue, she knew she’d made the right choice.
Checking her letters, she spelled “pen” off the first “p” in “nipple”. Mike untied the drawstring on his sweatpants. Cindi stood and helped him carefully slide the pants down his legs and over the injured foot. She let her fingers brush against the skin of his powerful thighs, amazed as always how cycling around San Francisco’s hills could develop these drool-worthy muscles. Her pulse spiked and her skin dampened.
Mike was clearly as affected as she, his erection as impressive as his body. “Cindy Erin Benton, you’re killing me.”
To hell with anticipation. Cindi met Mike’s intense gaze and slowly unbuttoned her blouse. “I forfeit the game.” She dropped the shirt on the floor, stripped off her bra, and stepped between his legs. When he rubbed his palms over her nipples, they both moaned.
Reluctantly, she stepped back to unveil her surprise. Cindi drew down her thong and stepped out of it. Standing in her boots and nothing else, she followed his stare to the juncture of her thighs. “It’s amazing what you can tint with food coloring.”
His jaw dropped. “Uh, why is that green?”
“Michael, me boyo,” she said with a brogue, “everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day!”
And she kissed him.
For more about Marcia James and her books, please visit her website: www.MarciaJames.net.
NOTE: You don’t need to comment on these blog stories to be entered into the blog hop contest. I do, however, always enjoying hearing from readers at Marcia@MarciaJames.net. 😉
ART of the HeART…a Valentine’s story
by Marcia James
Friends with benefits. What a cutesy term for a friggin’ frustrating situation. Mike Karlson kept a pleasant smile on his face even as his thoughts roiled. A month and a half had passed since that New Year’s Eve kiss, when Cindi had moved their relationship from buddies to bed partners. But he wanted more. He wanted forever.
Cindi’s small hand felt warm and so right in his as they strolled the romantic art gallery. Visiting this place had been her idea — a way of spending a lazy weekend day together in downtown San Francisco. Since they’d exhausted the morning tearing up the sheets, he’d have followed her anywhere, even to this mushy museum. God, he had it bad. He glanced at Cindi’s profile. Was this relationship more than nuclear sex to her?
Speaking of sex, the next gallery over was X-rated — open only to those 18 and older. Despite their morning sexercise, he was worried his reaction to the erotic art might prove embarrassing. Mike had enough trouble keeping his lust in check just touching Cindi’s hand, smelling her citrusy scent, seeing her beautiful face…
“What do you think?” Cindi’s soft brown eyes met his.
He froze. Oh, God, had he spoken his thoughts aloud?
Smiling, she pinched his chin and turned his face toward a painting of a dog with a pink ribbon in its mouth. “Why do you think they included this crestie in the Romance Gallery?”
Mike’s muddled brain focused. The canine subject of the painting looked like the same breed — a Chinese crested hairless dog — that Cindi had tattooed on the small of her back. “Uh, it’s holding a breast cancer ribbon.” His aunt Alicia had beaten the horrible disease, so finding a cure was a cause he supported with donations and Race For the Cure participation.
Mike leaned closer to read the card below the painting, “‘Live, Laugh, Love.'” He faced Cindi. “I think this makes a statement that we need to love the women in our lives enough to keep them safe, make sure they’re healthy, you know, get regular check-ups. And even as we fight to find a cure, we can’t forget to make the most out of every moment we have with them.”
Her expression sobered. “Oh, Mike. That’s amazing. That’s…just perfect.”
Cindi went up on her toes and hugged him hard. The unexpected embrace rattled Mike, and he wrapped his arms around her strong, slim body, pressing her close. His love for her was a sharp ache in his chest, trying to force words from his mouth that she probably wasn’t ready to hear. What the hell would he do if she was only interested in having this…fling and not something permanent?
Too soon, Cindi ended the hug. “You always surprise me.” Her mouth quirked even as she studied him. “You’re a keeper, Karlson.”
Looking surprised at her own words, she quickly turned toward the next painting while he stood like a gobsmacked fool. Did she mean that? “Cindi–”
“What’s your interpretation of this one?” she interrupted, her voice slightly higher, the way it got when she was nervous.
Mike barely glanced at the couple in the sepia-toned photograph. He didn’t want to talk about the artwork, dammit.
“It’s definitely romantic,” Cindi continued, talking uncharacteristically fast as a blush rose up her pretty neck to redden her cheeks. “They only have eyes for each other, like they’re the last two people in the world.”
Hope stirred in Mike. She was flustered, a state so at odds with her usual confidence that it was surely a sign. He slid his arm around her waist and examined the framed print. “I think the photographer chose the warm look of an antique picture to reinforce the old-fashioned values of love and romance.” Mike pressed a kiss to her temple, her skin so soft against his lips.
Cindi trembled. “The man is offering the woman a rose, but it seems so much more than that. Like a proposal or a promise.”
“Since he’s on his knees, I think he’s really giving her his heart, as well.” When she continued to stare at the photo, Mike cupped her cheek with his left hand, tilting her face to meet his gaze. “And if she accepts his love, he’ll have the world.”
Did she know he was no longer talking about the photograph? Yes. The same feelings that were flooding him shone from her moist eyes, and Mike took that irreversible step. “I love you, Cindi.”
Several tears spilled down her face, but she spoke clearly through the emotion. “You’re everything I never knew I wanted, Michael Karlson. I love you.”
Joy surged through him as he took her mouth, showing her just how much she meant. This was no casual fling between friends, but the start of the rest of their lives together.
It was a damn fine Valentine’s Day!
For more about Marcia James and her books, please visit her website: www.MarciaJames.net.
NOTE: You don’t need to comment on these blogs to be entered into the blog hop contest. I do, however, always enjoying hearing from readers at Marcia@MarciaJames.net. 😉
A Romantic Resolution…
by Marcia James
“Happy freakin’ New Year,” Mike muttered.
He knocked aside balloons to fill two more flutes of champagne for the revelers crowding his bar. What the hell was wrong with him? He’d racked up record sales tonight at High Spirits, the combination pub and wine shop he’d launched three years before in San Francisco’s Mission District. Being firmly in the black, however, couldn’t dispel his bad mood.
Three feet away, the lovers swabbing each other’s tonsils were a bitter reminder of his own lousy love life. Mike’s gaze tracked to Cindi, the reason he wasn’t celebrating the arrival of 2011. His sexy part-time bartender was bent over the credit card machine, ringing up the check for booth five. Cindi’s “tramp stamp” — a ridiculous term for the cute Chinese crested puppy tattoo on the small of her back — was clearly visible as her black t-shirt rode up from her black jeans. Seeing that damn dog always made Mike’s mouth go dry.
He’d hired Cindi ten months ago, enjoying her wry wit and — when she wasn’t looking — her subtle curves. They’d become great “buddies” and nothing more. Mike’s lip curled in disgust. Just what every straight male wants — to be a beautiful woman’s platonic friend. But, dammit, he hadn’t imagined the erotic currents generated every time their hands met pulling drafts and mixing drinks.
So why hadn’t he tested that attraction? Sure, he was her boss, and she’d needed the job to help her through her last year at Stanford. No way was he chancing a sexual harassment charge. And Mike’s hesitation had nothing to do with his fear of being rejected, he told his inner Dr. Phil. Just because his feelings for her might be unrequited…
His eyes followed Cindi as she dropped off the credit card slip and wished the couple a happy New Year’s. Tonight was her last at the bar, thanks to getting her Masters in early December. She was joining a thriving Haight-Ashbury pet psychology group on Monday. Cindi Benton, canine shrink.
“Go for it, you idiot.” Barry, the bar’s version of Norm from Cheers, urged. “But before you do, give me another Boilermaker.”
Mike bit back his instinctive, “Butt the hell out,” and filled the order. Barry was his best customer, despite his tendency to offer advice. Besides, the guy had just verbalized Mike’s own thoughts. His tempting employee was wrapping up her last shift. It was tonight or never.
Cindi circled the bar and stood close enough for Mike to smell her clean, citrusy scent. She nodded toward the couple bent on setting a face-sucking world record. “Are you superstitious? I read that New Year’s kisses bring good fortune.” She turned, lifting her gaze to his. “Especially if you kiss someone you love.”
His heart literally stopped, then twisted in his chest and kicked into high gear. He had to be dreaming. But her “dare you” grin spoke volumes, and she sealed the deal by licking her full, pink lips.
Mike yanked Cindi flush against him, their bodies fitting like an erotic puzzle. Her arms circled his neck as he took her mouth. Yes. God, yes. She was sweet and spicy — an addictive taste he’d always crave. The room tilted, sounds blurred, and his world shrank to this one moment, this special woman.
His hands slid from her hips to her back, tracing her dog tattoo as they surfaced from the kiss minutes, or was it hours later. Her eyes, darkened with want, met his as she teased, “If a kiss brings good luck, imagine what some long, hard lovemaking could do.”
2011 was going to be a damn fine year.
For more about Marcia and her books, please explore the rest of her website. Happy New Year’s!
NOTE: There is no need to leave comments on the New Year’s Blog Hop blogs to be entered into the contests. Thanks!