Only a Taste – Out Now!

I’m very excited to announce that today my latest release, Only a Taste (Chance Encounters #3) goes live! This is the third in the Chance Encounters series and follows Mandi Grewal as she tries to figure out life as a young adult, juggling her very traditional Punjabi family, as well as a guy, Callum, whom she’s convinced her parents will never accept. For your reading pleasure, I’m including an excerpt below.

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Reviewer Giveaway

To celebrate this release, I’m running a limited time giveaway exclusively as a thank-you to readers who have reviewed this title. To qualify, please provide a link to where your review is published. This can be either Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple, Google Play, Smashwords, Goodreads, LibraryThing, etc., or even your own book review blog if you have one. The point is it must be visible publicly so it can be verified when it becomes time to pick a winner. Please note the review should be genuine & honest and does not necessarily have to be positive in order to qualify.

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Chapter Two : Callum (for Chapter One, click here)

“Mr. Byrne, I can assure you that you won’t find a better location for your new restaurant in all of Brighton.” The estate agent flashes his extra-white teeth. He looks almost like a shark, readying himself to shred his prey to pieces – me in this case.

“The rent is too high, it won’t be viable,” I argue, while looking around the empty establishment again. A lot of decorating would be needed as well. It’s too much.

“Think of the footfall!” He points out the window which is currently partially obscured by white paint. Still, masses of day-trippers can be seen from where we stand.

“How about you speak to the owners again and let me know if the lease is negotiable. It will take a lot of investment to bring this property up to scratch.” I offer him my hand, signalling the end of the viewing, as well as the discussion. If he comes down enough, I may consider this property, otherwise, it’s back to the drawing board.

“Very well. Thank you very much for your time.” The estate agent shakes my hand slightly less enthusiastically than at the beginning of the meeting.

After leaving the empty shop, we say our goodbyes and go our separate ways.

It’s a beautiful day, deep blue skies with not a cloud in sight. Warm too, the surging temperatures of our current summer heatwave evident in the amount of exposed skin outside. Apparently I’m overdressed. Swimming trunks and bikinis, that’s Brighton’s dress code in the summer. I stand out like a sore thumb in my jeans and button-up shirt.

The footfall would be good here, though I’d expect my new restaurant to quickly become bookings-only once the new show airs. Perhaps I should consider a location that’s a little further away from the mad crowds, and hopefully more affordable. I don’t want to have to shutter up the place as soon as I’m no longer on TV.

Enough work for one day though. Today is too lovely to waste.

The beach is crowded, so much so I’m not at all tempted to go near it. Perhaps if I walk further out towards the western side of town I’ll find some peace and quiet. But not without sampling some of the local refreshments. The only establishment not selling Fish & Chips around here seems to be the ice cream truck parked up on the pavement. There’s a queue of people already waiting, but I can’t help myself. Gelato will do that to a person.

I join one of the two queues and wait my turn. It takes a while, but it’ll be worth it.

“One scoop of Rum & Raisin, please,” I say, shocked to find that the girl to my left has word-for-word ordered the exact same thing. The two guys behind the counter look at each other and pause.

“OK, you’re going to have to sort this out between yourselves,” my guy says. He seems to be in charge of the truck. “We’ve got one scoop left.”

Looking over at the girl I’m competing with, I’m struck by her exotic beauty. Big brown eyes gaze up at me, a mixture of disappointment and hope. Her full lips half-parted as if she’s about to say something, but something interrupted her. I find myself uncharacteristically reluctant to speak up first, but it looks like I have no choice.

“Let’s flip a coin for it,” I attempt a joke.

Her stare tells me I failed. My eyes are quickly drawn to her hand, clutching a purple leather wallet. No ring, no tan line where one might have been. She looks young, but not inappropriately so.

“I can just get something else,” she whispers at last. Her eyes are still glued to me. Did she recognise me and that’s why she’s staring? Or is it something else? Have I got something stuck in my teeth?

“I hope you won’t take this the wrong way,” I pause, while she raises an eyebrow. My guy, who decided to serve the customer behind me instead of waiting for us to resolve our gelato stand-off, pauses a bit too long, clearly listening in to our conversation.

The black-haired girl patiently waits for me to finish, but something in her body language has changed. I’m sure she gets this all the time. Fuck it, I feel like a sleaze for even trying.

“You have it.” I turn to face the chalkboard again, ready to pick another flavour. “I’ll have tiramisu,” I tell the guy behind the counter, who just shrugs. I guess he was looking forward to watching me get shot down by this girl, had I actually made a move.

Meanwhile, the younger guy hands the girl her scoop of Rum & Raisin in a cone, which she accepts with a smile. God, what a radiant smile. She takes her change and turns, walking off towards the beach. I quickly take my cup and impossibly tiny spoon and rush after her.

“Excuse me, miss,” I say, when I catch up with her a few steps ahead.

She turns and stares at me again. How the hell do I do this without coming across like a total douche bag? Funnily, coming across like a douche has never been much of a concern. You win some you lose some, and ever since the first season of my show aired, I haven’t really had to work hard to get female attention. But there’s something different about this one. I wonder if much of my interest in her is caused by how hard she’s making things?

“Yes?” she asks, sounding stand-offish. Her rich amber coloured eyes are too distracting, I almost forget what I was about to say.

“I was wondering if I could take you out to dinner?” I ask at last.

She scrutinises me from head to toe, as she considers the question. Perhaps she’s wondering if it’s worth the sacrifice to stick the ice cream in my face.

“Do I know you from somewhere?” she says finally.

Normally, I may have been more than happy to explain, but not this time. Oh yeah, I’m on TV, seems way too tacky. So I shrug. “Maybe I just have one of those faces?”

My answer makes her pause as she cocks her head and looks me right in the eye. Shit, she can tell I’m bullshitting her.

“Where would we go?” She has a lick of ice cream, rescuing some droplets that were about to dribble off the side of the cone.

I hadn’t thought ahead so far. What is it about this girl that she throws me off so much?

“That entirely depends on what type of food you like.”

A hint of a smile plays on her lips.

“I’m here with a friend, is she invited too?”

Bollocks .

Finally a full grin does appear on her face. “No need to look so shocked, I’m only joking.”

I smile back at her, relieved to have not made a complete arse of myself. Yet.

“But I’d better let her know anyway.” The girl turns to scan the beach stretching out ahead of us, before facing me again. “So. What time and where?”

“Nine? Here? Unless you have a better idea.”

“Bear in mind I’m only here for the day, so I don’t have a change of clothes with me. What you see is what you get I’m afraid.” She glances down at herself, smoothing down the multi-coloured cotton summer dress that covers what appears to be a bikini.

“No matter, same here.” I suddenly realise I don’t even know her name. “I’m Callum by the way.” In the absence of a better idea of what to do, I stretch out my hand towards her.

She accepts the handshake, though the slight curl of the corners of her mouth suggests I did indeed just make an arse of myself at last. “Mandi. Lovely to meet you.” Yep, her tone confirms it. Ouch.

I try to think of something else to say to break the tension, or at least to distract me from the instant reaction I feel upon touching her hand. What is it about her? You’d think I’ve never interacted with a beautiful girl before. Why does she make me feel more like an awkward teenager than a successful and established thirty-year-old man?

“Perhaps we should exchange phone numbers, so we don’t miss each other in the crowds here,” I mumble, while quickly pulling my hand back and fishing my mobile out of my pocket.

“Sure,” she says, before giving me her number. When we say our goodbyes immediately after, I can’t help wondering if I’ll ever see her again, or she’ll decide she’d much rather vanish with her supposed friend. Only time will tell.

Gratis : Summer Fling. A taste of Summer.

gratis3-boxsetsmallIt’s live! Gratis : Summer Fling, the fourth and final Gratis Erotica Anthology is now available for download at all major ebook retailers. To celebrate, we’re running a little giveaway (see below), but first, some more information about the book and my contribution, A Day in Brighton (including an excerpt).

Gratis: Summer Fling, Official Description
The fourth and final installment of the Gratis Anthologies of quality, literary erotica, Gratis : Summer Fling is going to hit the shelves on the 21st of June. In it you’ll again find a mix of various well received authors, sharing little glimpses into their fantasies for your entertainment. And the best part is, you haven’t even got to pay for it! Download now to get a novel length collection of perfect beach reads

Contents:
Bringing Angels to Life by Chloe Thurlow, Isabelle’s Submissive July by Emily Tilton, A Day in Brighton by Hedonist Six, The Fashion Model Diplomat by KM Dylan, Dear Diary by M.J. Carey, Marsala Sweet by Molly Synthia, and Generation Game by Secret Narrative.

A Day in Brighton by Hedonist Six
When Mandi is forced to move back in with her conservative Indian parents, she’s preparing to say goodbye to all the freedoms she’s enjoyed so far: no curfews, no questions, and the freedom to date or hang out with whoever she wants. She spends a day in Brighton with handsome stranger, Callum, to mark the end of her independence.

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Excerpt: 

Chapter One

All my belongings are neatly packed into cardboard boxes, but all I feel is chaos inside.
I don’t want to go. I don’t want to leave this little flat which I’ve been sharing with Alice for the past three years. But with no money or prospects, and I don’t have a choice.
I let out a deep sigh and sink down on the edge of the sofa.
“You alright, Mandi?” Alice asks, handing me a cup of tea. Strong yet milky, just how I like it.
I just shrug.
“This sucks, hey.” She puts her hand on my shoulder.
“Life’s a bitch, especially when your family can’t accept that in this country, things work a little differently.” I respond.
“At least you won’t have to worry about laundry. Or rent.” Alice is only half joking. Moving back home to act like the perfect Punjabi daughter to my parents will have some – admittedly small – benefits. Mostly it’s a big, fat negative though.
“Yeah, I get to relive my childhood. Yay.” I rest my head in my hands and try not to panic.
No more pretending to be a grown-up at twenty-three. No more staying out with Alice – or anyone else for that matter – until the clubs close and our feet stop cooperating. No more freedom to hang out with anyone of the opposite gender, forget about inviting a guy home with me.
Sure, I’ll have a job to go to, with Mr. Gupta – Dad’s friend, but that’s hardly a pleasing prospect
“I’ll miss you, you know.” Alice plops down next to me and puts her arm around me.
“Yeah, I’ll miss you too.”
“OK, this is bullshit.” Alice lets go of me and sits upright. “It’s sad you have to move back in with your folks, but it’s not like anyone died. They’re not expecting you until tomorrow. Let’s go do something!”
“Like what?” I ask, while still feeling way too sorry for myself to really care.
“I dunno. It’s a nice, sunny day, I don’t have anything on, neither do you. Let’s just drive down to Brighton or something.” She’s lost her mind.
“And then what? I’m broke, remember? That’s why I’m moving back in the first place.”
“How much do you have exactly?” She grins at me expectantly.
“I dunno, about a tenner in cash, plus perhaps fifty in the bank?”
“Great! Get dressed.” Alice jumps up, visibly excited.
I stare at her in disbelief but once she’s set on something, Alice cannot be deterred. She grabs my hand and starts dragging me off the sofa and towards the large suitcase that contains all my clothes.
“What’s the plan exactly?” I wonder out loud. Does she even have a plan?
“We drive down, hang out at the beach, eat Fish & Chips, get a bit of a tan” She looks over at me; my skin is already pre-bronzed of course. “OK, so I’ll get a bit of a tan – head to the nearest pub or whatever, get sloshed. Dance, enjoy ourselves, have a proper farewell party for you. What do you say?”
“You did hear me when I said I have literally no money?”
Alice shrugs. “Since when do you have to pay for your own drinks when you go out?”
She makes a fair point. But when we’re done partying, then what? “I’m sure even the cheapest guest house down there would wipe me out though.”
“Who said anything about a guest house? I’m not planning on sleeping! Plus, we can always crash in the car.”
Sometimes she has the craziest ideas. But I have to admit that the prospect of being all but grounded with my parents breathing down my neck every day is a powerful motivator to go along with her spontaneity. What have I got to lose?
“Fine. You win.”
She winks at me. “Admit it, we both win.”
For all my earlier grumpiness, I can’t suppress a smile now. Within minutes we’ve thrown on colourful summer dresses – bikini underneath of course – and shoved a random collection of supplies into a pair of beach-ready canvas bags. Towel, sunscreen, sunglasses, plus a couple of books – check.
Before I have the chance to change my mind, she’s herded me into her piece of shit car which sounds so rattly I’m surprised nothing of note has fallen off it yet. The stereo – possibly the best part of the entire car – does its best to drown out the traffic noises and rattles with loud music. I don’t care what happens anymore, today I still get to be me, not who my folks expect me to be.

The traffic has been horrendous, and the parking situation is no better. But at last, at just after four – three hours after setting off – we finally make it to Brighton beach.
As I take my sandals off and try to follow her towards an empty spot among the sunbathing crowds, I remember why I fucking hate Brighton as a beach. Who the hell decided it’s a good idea to sunbathe on rough gravel? The stones cut into my feet with every step, causing me to swear under my breath.
“What’s that?” Alice turns and asks.
“Nothing. Bloody stones.” I try to tiptoe ahead, but it doesn’t help. In the end I decide to put my shoes back on.
“No pain no gain, darling.”
Whatever.
We manage to find a spot between some giggly teenagers and a family with a crying toddler. Not how I had wanted to spend my last afternoon of freedom, but choices are limited when the entire south of England seems to have congregated on the same stretch of stony coastline.
“Put sunscreen on me?” Alice asks, handing me a bottle.
I do my best coating her pale back, not leaving any spots, but I already know it’s hopeless. She’ll be bright red within an hour, or two at the most. I would put money on it.
“Me too, please,” I request when I’m done doing her.
“You sure you need it?”
“Hey, just because I have darker skin than you, doesn’t mean I’m immune to cancer.” I push the bottle into her hand and turn around, lifting my hair up to give her room.
“Fair point.”
Soon we’re both sticky, but reasonably protected against the rays. I lie down on my towel, keeping my beach bag behind my head as sort of a pillow while I decide to make a start on the novel I brought. Alice has other ideas though.
“Don’t you want to go in the water?” she asks.
Not really, no. I shake my head and open my book to the first page.
“Come on!”
“I can’t swim!” I protest.
“We won’t go that far.”
I put the paperback down and scrutinise the waves, rolling in and crashing against the stones up ahead.
“Don’t be a spoilsport!” Alice insists.
“Fine. Fine! But if it’s cold, I’m not going in.”
The sun is burning down onto the beach, if it wasn’t for the light breeze, we’d be getting cooked. Still, the idea of cooling my toes in the water isn’t so bad. Almost attractive, if it wasn’t for the hellish walk to get there. Once again, I seem to have an uncanny ability to place my feet onto the sharpest rocks I can find. I’m surprised I’m not bleeding anywhere yet.
Alice meanwhile is about ten feet ahead of me, rushing towards the sea much more eagerly, as if she’s impervious to the pain of walking on hot, sharp stones.
“Oh my God, it’s lovely! Not cold at all.” Alice exclaims as she takes the first steps into the water.
I soon follow, finding a definite chill travelling up my spine when I take the first dip. Then, I must admit it’s pleasantly cooling.
As soon as I’m knee-deep in the water, a wave comes and wets most of the rest of me too. I squeal, trying to regain my balance, while Alice’s laugh rings loudly in my ear. It takes all sorts of inelegant acrobatics for me not to fall over.
“Very funny,” I remark dryly, while Alice continues to giggle at me.
“It was. You should’ve seen yourself.”
I take a few steps in her direction, emboldened by my desire for revenge, and try to splash water at her. She promptly dives down under the water, evading me and wetting the rest of her body in the process, ruining my plans. No matter, I’ll get you sooner or later!
When she pops up again, she gives me a wide smile.
“See? It’s fun!”
Another wave rolls in and she paddles along with it effortlessly, while I’m again almost thrown off my feet. But I refuse to go in further where the waves are less intense. Just because I’m grumpy about moving home, doesn’t mean I’m ready to drown myself.
Five, maybe ten minutes pass while we continue to soak ourselves. It occurs to me that our stuff is sitting in a crowd of strangers, unguarded, and I decide to head back.
“You enjoy yourself I’m going to read now,” I call out to Alice, who has gotten distracted by a stray volleyball, thrown in her direction by a group of guys also enjoying the waves.
“Fine, see ya!” She waves at me, then throws the ball back to one of the guys. Well, I guess she’s not going to get bored at this rate.
I’m in the process of limping back to my towel, when my stomach starts to growl. Of course, in our hurry to get out of the house, neither of us bothered with lunch, or packed any snacks. A quick scan of the surrounding area reveals that the only thing somewhat nearby is a food truck close to where we left the boulevard. That’s one hell of a walk.
Needs must, so I grudgingly take my wallet and phone out of my bag and go on limping over the hot stones. Why couldn’t we have gone to a sandy beach instead of here?

 

Friday Filth: The Rebound List

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In preparation of Monday’s official launch, here’s a little snippet of something that happens early on in The Rebound List… 

Looking at him, despite the dimmed light of the theatre, still I feel a jolt run through me when our eyes meet. He runs his fingers through my hair again. Hoping this is going where I want it to, I look at his lips, so tempting. I want to taste him, right here and immediately.

His hand cups my cheek but he continues to just look as if asking for permission. Over-eager and impatient, of course I jump the gun and reach for him, planting a soft kiss on his lips. I feel his breath against me, his arms drawing me towards him closer.

He kisses me back. It’s a bit awkward at first but then our lips, tongues, our beings seem to be in tune. Every inch of me appears to sing with excitement. My eyes flick open and find his staring into me, smiling as I am.

I wrap my arm around his neck, my hand reaching for his hair now. It’s hard not to get carried away, after all, a cinema does not afford all that much privacy. But I suppose there’s no harm in indulging my impulses just a little.

Running my fingertips over his shirt, I enjoy the outlines of what I know to be underneath. Mystery is overrated. I have spent enough time looking at, no, studying his naked photographs to know what awaits me and frankly, that’s reassuring as well as arousing.

He doesn’t have this advantage though, until today he had only seen the bottom half of my face and my eyes and that too in black & white instead of colour. I kiss him with more energy, more passion and feel a moan travel over my lips. Was it mine or his? Does it even matter?

Suddenly aware of angry stares burning into us, I pause, biting my bottom lip and try to signal to make him aware of the grumpy man ahead of us. He continues to hold me, grinning back at me until I decide to turn and use him as a backrest; his arm draped across my front in a similar position as you’d keep a seatbelt in a car.

He seems to be enjoying this changed dynamic as much as I am, because he starts to nuzzle my neck, where all the little hairs at the back stand right up. His hand, fingertips soft and careful, running up and down on the fabric of my dress, just over where my ribs end and the soft part of my waist starts. It’s beautiful, the slow progress we’re making towards the inevitable.

The movie, although kind of gory and scary, passes by quickly and largely unnoticed. His face remains comfortably resting in the crook of my neck and I’m hanging onto his arm, my hand travelled up his sleeve just enough to hold him. There should be no mistaking that I want him here, this close and even closer to me.

His confidence grows and he wraps his other arm around me too, caressing my arm which is still pretty cold in the unnaturally chilled cinema air. By the time the credits start, I can’t wait to get out, away from grumpy man who interrupted our first, tentative kisses.

“I think I want to go…” I say.

He sits up, letting go as I turn towards him.

“Thought it was going well…” he says, his gaze lingers on my lips just a bit.

“Oh yeah, I meant both of us, somewhere more private… if you want to.” I smile at him. “You didn’t think that I want to leave? No, not at all.”

Want more? You could read part one of The Rebound List already for free, or wait until Monday the 28th of July and get the whole collection (parts 1~4) together for a special introductory price of 99c/99p! 

Stranger (The Rebound List 3) Chapter 1

Disclaimer: This is a rough draft, it has not been edited or revised yet so I apologise in advance for mistakes and typos.

I’m having one of those evenings. The ones that stretch on forever. Can’t sleep but can’t face sitting around on my own for much longer either. I know it’s because I’m troubled by everything that’s happened lately, which I’ve been unwilling to deal with. But if I keep bottling it up, I’ll never get to sleep…

A dejected sigh later, I find my diary and decide to expose all and confess my sins, even if nobody will see them but me.

“Dear Diary,

Today was my last day at work. And with it, perhaps the last time I see Craig, ever. Ever since our crazy hook-up at the Christmas party a couple of weeks ago, he’s been acting weird. That’s actually not even a fair assessment. Ever since I quit the Monday after the Friday that we hooked up, he’s been cold and indifferent. I hadn’t handled it well, not at all. Not only did I have the worst timing ever, I’d been way too blunt. Sal later wondered if he was about to ask me out a mere moment before I told him, so perhaps he was hoping for more as well. Could that even be? I’d made it abundantly clear beforehand that it was going to be just sex. Not that that plan had gone well the first time around.

Meanwhile, my first list-based lay, the ex-virgin, has been posting a lot about his latest tragic love interest. Apparently she’s great, and perfect, and cute, and god knows what else. And taken.

We’ve talked off and on, but I’ve taken care not to broach the subject of his crush in conversation. I’m curious, but I’m also still pissed off about it, but realise I have no right to feel that way.”

I put the diary and pen down again and take a deep breath. None of this is helping, rather than having a calming effect, my rant is just getting me more and more upset. I hate how things have ended with Craig. And I hate even more how the ex-virgin has seemingly breezed past our night together as if it meant nothing to him.

“Sally meanwhile has set the wheels in motion for item 3 on my list. I am to pick up a stranger at a New Year’s party, with her support (in case I get the urge to fuck it up with my now-legendary bluntness). God knows why I ever decided I’d wanted to do a stranger, it’s a scary prospect. But Sally’s idea of doing it at a party seems solid. Yet the plan does not excite me. Perhaps I should try internet dating and just act normal. Boring.”

I don’t know how you’re meant to feel after a breakup, but it’s been a big, stinking river of shit so far. And I’m not sure the occasional list-inspired highlight has made up for any of it.”

Snapping the diary shut and throwing it away from me onto the coffee table, I rest my head in my hands. There’s no option but to try and stick to the plan. I’ve crossed out two items on my list, meaning I’m halfway through. It doesn’t feel like halfway, it feels like the easy part is over and the real struggle will begin now. A stranger and a threesome. So first I need to find one random guy to sleep with and then two of them?! What was I thinking?

A stranger. It seemed like a good idea back when I wrote the list. Now it seems stupid. But I’d set these tasks for myself and would hate it if I gave up now. Sally will be there with me. She even joked that if a particularly cute guy comes along, we might end up killing two birds with one stone. I didn’t have the heart to tell her I was after a threesome with two men, not just one and her.

So indeed today was my – our – last day. It was also the last day before the Christmas holidays start for most people, so the new job doesn’t begin until the new year. Which reminds me of another thing I’d been dreading. Christmas.

Christmas by myself. No family, no boyfriend and no turkey. The dreariness never ends.

The only positive that’s come out of the entire previous week was bittersweet as well. Our departure at work opened up a vacancy in the internal system, the details of which I was able to send to the ex-virgin. I haven’t heard back from him yet, but I assumed he’s still hunting for work. I’d recommend him to Craig myself, but at this point, that might have the opposite effect.

A glance at the clock reveals it’s 3am and I still can’t sleep. Wonder what’s on TV.

***

Ding. What a strange noise he just made. Ding.

Ding ding ding.

From there his gorgeous face morphs into Craig, but not the one I remember working with before. Rather he looks like the version of Craig that I’d just quit on with a stare that cuts right through me and chills me to my core. His tense lips hardly move as he continues to make the weird sound. Ding, ding.

I blink a few times, trying to shake that overwhelming lethargy you experience when you’re woken at the wrong time. Within seconds, I’d gone from being bedded by the guy this whole list debacle had started with to being bombarded by strange noises and seeing guilt impersonated in front of me. Where’s that godawful noise coming from?

My phone lights up, presumably for the tenth time at least and dings again. Argh, my head. Facebook Messenger is merciless.

“Hey, where the fuck are you?” Sal writes. “I’ve got something to run past you, wake up, sleepyhead!”

Stretching my arms fails to loosen my shoulders which are suffering the consequences of sleeping on the couch.

“What?” I type.

Sally appears to be writing furiously on the other end and I decide to make myself a cup of tea. This morning has started all wrong. That dream. I won’t forgive her for interrupting that dream. It had felt like the guy wasn’t just doing me, but rather we were making love. The way he was looking at me… I’m still on edge because of it. But now that glorious moment has passed.

Ding.

Goddamnit, I’m coming, woman!

The kettle starts bubbling in the background and I check the message that’s just arrived.

“Change of plans for xmas, you still around on the 25th?”

“Yep.”

“OK, awesome. Looks like I’ll be as well. Let’s do something.”

Sal to the rescue, to save me from a lonely Christmas without even any roasted poultry to look forward to? Why not.

“Call me in 10.” I hit send and slump down at the breakfast bar in the kitchen, rubbing my forehead with the palm of my hand. Caffeine. Need caffeine.

A few sips of tea and a biscuit later, the phone rings.

“Morning,” Sally cheers at the other end.

“Meh.”

“Oh you’re such a grouch, you know that? It’s fucking 11 in the morning, not like I’m calling you at an ungodly hour or anything.” She chuckles. Her cheeriness is making me even grumpier.

“I slept at like 5. Or 7. God, I don’t know. Had someone else been around, I’d be accusing them of bashing me over the head with something after I finally did fall asleep. Bloody headache.”

“You’ve got to go easy on the wine,”

“I wasn’t dr-”

“Anyway, stop changing the subject. Christmas Day. You, me, turkey, roasties and all that stuff. What do you say?”

“Alright.”

“I may ask around if anyone else is free as well, for those of us not visiting family that day, we might as well make our own fun.”

“Fine.”

“Since you’re the only one I know who can actually cook, you’ll be in charge of the food. We’ll pool together to buy everything, but it’d be nice if it was actually edible.”

“OK.”

“Awesome. Talk later.” With that, she hangs up and I’m left wondering what exactly I just agreed to.

I’m in charge of the food. Suddenly I wonder if sitting at home by myself without the hassle would have been preferable to this new plan. Still, she had a point. We might as well have something edible on the table that day and I know what her cooking is like. Finding a notepad and pen in a nearby drawer, I make a quick list of ingredients I’ll need to hunt for. Five days to find a suitable bird, that ought to be doable.

***

Turns out, time flies when you’re planning a feast. Sally’s main contribution, beyond the initial idea, came in the form of a few more attendees, and a ridiculous email inviting us all to her place for her proposed “Christmas Day for sad, lonely fucks”. You simply can’t make it up.

I’ve accumulated more food than the average household would eat in a month without even noticing, while leaving her in charge of the booze. The kitchen is covered with a mountain of dishes I thought I’d need, just in case. I need to give her one credit, a big one. I haven’t had time to feel guilty about anything that was bothering me last week.

Hearing Craig’s voice greeting Sal at the door and thanking her for the invite comes as quite a shock. Even so, I don’t have time for a meltdown, instead I nod at him once he enters and continue to try and not burn any of the food.

When we finally sit down at the table; Craig, Sally’s two school friends and a neighbour, her and me, I notice everyone is in much better spirits than I’ve allowed myself to be. But the food is ready, and I think I’ve managed reasonably well, despite the constant interruptions earlier. Everyone agrees, even Craig, who seems a lot less cold and horrible than I’d remembered him.

By the end of the evening, which drags on a lot later than just lunch, apparently all is forgiven. A huge weight falls off my shoulders. He had indeed wondered whether to ask me out the day I quit, but more out of a sense of obligation than anything else. In the meantime, he’s been on a first date with Sarah from HR and found they have a lot more in common than expected.

Despite the herculean task of putting together a meal for all of us on my own without much in the way of previous experience, the day leaves me content. It has been a success, and someone I’d worried about turning into an enemy, ends up still being a friend.

Thanks for reading. Stranger (The Rebound List #3) comes out sometime in April. If you’d like to find out when exactly, please sign up for my newsletter, and you could even get your copy as a free welcome gift!

The Rebound List – Deleted Scene

cover2-3-site

I’m starting work on The Rebound List #3, Stranger, and with it am thinking about what’s to come. This scene has been left out of Silver Fox and I’m not sure it fits into Stranger either so I may just skip it. Anyway, hope you enjoy it as a little teaser 😉

“That’s how you said it, in that context?” Sally’s eyes are wide, chin about to hit the floor. “You didn’t seriously tell Craig you’re quitting right when he was about to figure out whether to ask you on a date? That’s cold, no that’s downright evil!”

“Umm, well… Better out than in?” I shrug, trying to hide the stabbing embarrassment that overcomes me every time I replay the conversation in my head. She’s right, that was absolutely terrible. I should learn to think before talking.

“You are as tactful and subtle as a rhinoceros at times. Damn!” Sally looks like she might burst into laughter, if only she could remember to breathe.

“Fuck, I don’t know. Let’s talk about something else…”

“Fine. Damn… No wonder he didn’t take it very well though. Next time, please talk to me first, OK? I’ll tell you what to say and how.” She leans forward and grabs the bottle of Merlot from the table, refilling our glasses.

“So, Becks. Remind me what’s next.” Sally  scoots closer to me and slides my glass back in my direction.

I show her the pad. Two entries crossed out, two remain.

“Ohh, I like the sound of that!”

I’m not convinced and lean back against the sofa, taking a sip.

“Yeah, I guess.”

My tone must’ve tipped her off because she pats me on the arm reassuringly.

“Seriously, that one will be the easiest yet. We’ll go out together, I can be your wing-girl. Or whatever. Perhaps we should go to a club. Wait!” Sal smacks the armrest of the sofa with her flat hand.

“I’ve got the perfect plan! Four words: New – Year’s – Eve – Party!”

I sigh and let the idea sink in. Pick up some random at a party? That’s so not me. But then, that’s the whole point of the list, isn’t it?

Stranger (The Rebound List #3) is coming sometime in Spring 2014.

Still on the Rebound (Silver Fox)

cover2-2-kindleIf you’ve read Virgin (The Rebound List #1) and are wondering what’s going to happen next, here’s a little sample of #2, Silver Fox:

Commuting by bus can be a pain in the ass. This winter morning it’s cold, drizzly and I missed the first two because they were full. There is hardly anything more disillusioning than standing at the bus stop, shivering uncontrollably and watching a full, steamed up bus drive right past you without even slowing. We’re only two people at this stop, surely the drivers could’ve fitted us in!

It takes another 5 minutes for the next one to arrive which thankfully does have a bit of room inside. A seat is too much to ask for the first five minutes, so I’m forced to stand, hanging on to a grab handle and trying not to get ill while at the mercy of the world’s most erratic bus driver.

The heated air is finally starting to penetrate into my woollen coat, allowing me to open my muffler a bit. At the next stop, someone gets off, freeing up a seat which I am all too eager to take. This gives me another ten minutes or so to take out my diary and write.

Dear Diary,

It has been a month since I started my journey: a quest towards sexual enlightenment sparked by my breakup with Jeff. I’m not sure it’s going brilliantly, in fact I haven’t a clue how to move it all along. Seemingly everything on my list, although tempting, has some kind of drawback or obstacle. But I did by some stroke of immense luck already manage to find myself a virgin to fuck, which was pretty great. The thing that isn’t so brilliant is that I’m having a hard time sticking to the first half of ‘casual sex’ as a concept. I can do sex, not sure I’m casual enough about it.

As a result, I’ve been thinking a lot about him, despite not knowing him at all, not even his name. This is not a situation where I’m fondly remembering just one of the items on my sexual wish list, but rather an inconvenient obsession with the guy. I liked him. And with where I’m at in my life right now, I can’t have that.

We ended our time together with the suggestion (from my side) to perhaps stay friends. I’ve shied away from making contact though. My worry is that I’ll get even more lost in this fixation.

I had planned for more experiences and I’d better get on with it all. But for some reason I feel a bit blocked, like something drastic needs to happen for me to finally consider the rest of my options, or I may just give up. The truth of the matter is, it’s not that I’m not in the mood. But I just happen to want a lot of reruns of that night with him.

I should definitely put that idea out of my head now. This wasn’t what I had signed up for. I didn’t want all this what-if bullshit going on in my thoughts; all I was after was just a bit of fun…

Something needs to happen soon, or my plan will be doomed. I remind myself with my original list, written on a little notepad kept with me pretty much all the time.

To Do:
Virgin
Silver Fox
Stranger
Threesome

A glance at my watch tells me there’s little hope of still making it on time. Not that that really matters, most of my colleagues work flexi-time. As long as I’m there the 8 hours they’ve hired me for, it’s irrelevant if I’m a little late coming in. Plus in the four years that I’ve been there, Craig has never given me any grief about little stuff like that. In fact he’s never really given me any grief at all.

The moment I reach work, I’m greeted by Sally’s radiant grin.

“Hey Becks, don’t you look grumpy and miserable this morning! No matter, allow me to change that,” Sally says.

“Morning Sal,” I say while taking off my soggy coat.

“You know that guy, the one I told you about?” she continues.

“The one you were doing last weekend, or the weekend before?” I tease.

“Shut up, you slag. Last I checked you were the one making a name as the corrupter of innocents, not me.”

“Fair point. So yeah, the guy. What about him?” I smile.

“Well, so he’s managing the sales team over at Aspect. I sent over our CVs and he’s just called me to say they’d be willing to hire both of us!” Sally is having a hard time keeping her voice down, she’s that excited.

“No shit, that’s awesome!”

“I know, no offense to Craig and all, but this place is kind of a sinking ship. Over there we’d get a raise and I hear they’ve got their own on-site gym. How cool is that?”

“Wow, thanks so much for putting in a good word for me. I’ve been getting kind of sick of the endless austerity bullshit around here. Not even a raise in two years…” I say.

“Totally. It’s going to be great. New surroundings, new people, but we’d still have each other.”

Sally wanders off again, chatting to some other colleagues who have come in. What an amazing opportunity. She was right; this news has indeed cheered me up to no end.

“Morning,” Craig says, steamy mug in hand.

I often wonder if he uses his ‘The Boss’ mug ironically, or because he can’t be bothered looking for a different one after a bunch of us gave it to him two years ago.

“Happy Monday.” I grin.

He makes a face at me and starts talking about the Christmas party. In support of further cost cutting, the one event we’ve all been looking forward to – no, gagging for – has been affected.

“So rather than cancel the whole thing, which would inspire nothing short of a revolution and a bloody coup, I managed to convince them to let us organise it in-house,” Craig explains.

I sigh. He’s a nice guy and I’ll miss him when Sal and I leave, but she’s right. This is a sinking ship.

“I guess, so long as there is booze and halfway decent food. No, strike the food. So long as there is lots of booze, it’ll be fine.”

 

Friday Filth 5

champions-siteThis Friday Filth teaser is from British Champions, the sequel to Ladies’ Day (so you might want to start there if you haven’t read it yet…)

“You’re special. Let me show you how special…” He peels my top off slowly, kissing any skin as soon as it’s exposed.

I smile at him, a little more reassured about our situation than before and completely ready for a good, hard reconciliation. When he makes me feel the way I do right now, how can I worry about what may or may not happen in future? Here and now, everything feels right.

With one hand in his hair, I try to guide him towards my nipple which so far he is carefully avoiding; kissing and teasing only the surrounding skin. I impatiently start unbuttoning his shirt before lifting myself and quickly taking my own top off too.

“In a hurry?” He grins, I just give him a look that says it all.

He leans on one arm and takes my wrist with his other hand. Before I know it, he pins first one arm back against the armrest of the sofa, and then the other. I’m helplessly spread and his appreciative gaze tells me he likes it this way.

“I want to touch you…” I beg.

He shakes his head and kisses me firmly, gathering both my hands together before I have the chance to regain my composure. His lips make me weak. I can’t take my eyes off his face but quickly get distracted when his free hand finds its way down between us, massaging my thighs from the outside in. Getting ever closer to where I really want to be touched.

I let out a moan and he leans in for a further taste. His tongue slips into my mouth the very moment his hand moves past the waistband of my pants.

“How wet you are,” he groans against my lips.

A Day in the Life of – me actually

The lovely Miranda Stork has kindly allowed me to take up a little space on her blog today for her A Day in the Life feature. So if you’ve ever wondered what I (and the other people she’s featured previously) get up to on an average, boring old day, check out A Day In the Life of Hedonist Six!

(A tiny little sample below:)

WAKE UP! WAKE UP! WAKE UUUUUUUUUPPPPPPP!

And so I do, almost. Clumsily feeling around the bed, underneath my pillow, accidentally elbowing the hubby while trying to locate my phone to turn off the infernal Crazy Frog Alarm still ringing in my ears. There are probably less annoying ringtones I could use to get me out of bed in the morning. None of the others are quite so effective in discouraging me from simply giving it five more minutes though.

Friday Filth 4

Onenight2-siteIt’s only obvious that I’ve chosen Just for One Night to pick a teaser from for Friday Filth this week; Get your copy FREE from Amazon (US, UK) until Saturday 15th June!

A glint appears in his eyes and before I can wonder what he’s thinking he firmly grabs both my wrists. He turns onto his back and I’ve no choice but to be dragged along.

“You interrupted me last night, it’ll not happen again.” His deep voice is not one to argue with.

He lets go of my hands and instead lifts me up from under my armpits. My legs spread, surrounding him, but he’s not satisfied with me yet.

“Sit on me,” he says.

“But I already am…”

He shakes his head, dragging me upwards by hooking his hands through the bend of my knees. A smile forms on his lips when I begin to understand and crawl further upwards, finally ending up covering his face.

It wasn’t the drink that made this so amazing the first time around. He does know exactly what to do, but more than that it’s obvious he enjoys this as much as I do.

The moment his tongue reaches my clit I am positive that whatever happens between us, it’ll be a fun ride. I’m taken over by waves of pleasure, starting small like a little itch scratched in just the right manner, then growing in intensity.

Just for One Night – Free

Onenight2-siteFor what I’m expecting might be the last time, I’m giving away Just for One Night free on Amazon starting today. The promo will run until Saturday 15th June, so if you haven’t read this short story yet, you’ve still got a few days to get a free copy.

Available for FREE on Amazon; US, UK, DE, FR (and others)

If you’re not sure if Just for One Night is for you, let the excerpt below sway you…

 

 

He turns towards me as soon as I reach and I’m frozen in place. Concentrating on continuing to breathe, I tuck my black wavy hair behind my ear and glance in his direction.

I take in his strong Nordic features, his full lips and steely blue eyes that stand in stark contrast against the dark brown of his hair and short beard. All I can manage is a shy smile before hurriedly looking away.

My instincts served me well, if I had stayed in my seat, I would’ve regretted it. I feel tiny standing next to him, which causes me to feel an even stronger attraction. And his eyes on me, I can almost feel them stabbing and probing.

His hands are huge as well, manly. I wonder how he’d touch me, if those hands could be gentle or if they only know how to be rough. There’s no sign of a wedding ring; what a relief.

It has been decided, I want him at any cost.

“What can I get you, darling?” The bartender interrupts my thoughts.

“Oh I’ll have a Bailey’s, thanks.” Taking a deep breath I turn towards my mark. “Would you like anything, while I’m buying already?”

Surprised, it takes him a few seconds to respond. Or perhaps he’s as distracted by our eye contact as I am.

“Ice?” the bartender asks. I nod in response before resuming to look at the giant’s face again.

The short interruption appears to have helped him get his thoughts in line too.

“Another Guinness.” He tells the bartender.

His deep voice matches his impressive stature and makes my heart jump a few beats. I put a Tenner down on the bar, hoping that the goose bumps on my arms aren’t too obvious.

“Mind if I take this seat?” I say, “You’re not holding it for anyone, are you?”

“Sure, go ahead.”

While I get onto the stool, our drinks appear in front of us.

“Cheers,” I’m trying my best to sound a lot more confident than I feel.

“Cheers,” his voice elicits another wave of chills to wash over me.