New Release Titles

New Release Titles
The Naughty Nights Press LLC blog page is designed to share with you, the reader, the individual release dates and reviews for our digital publications, submissions calls and other NNP news, intense informational articles by guest authors, intimate personal interviews with our naughty authors and special guest blogs & giveaways! Don't miss out!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Guest Post – An Excuse to Read by Kiki Howell


Years ago I came across two books on dragon magick in a bookstore. The idea of spells that take you to a realm where dragon live fascinated me. Beyond belief or disbelief in these books labeled as non-fiction, I had to have them. Of course, with my schedule, family, writing, and all, they sat on my book shelves yellowing. But, when I was asked to write a story for a shifter paranormal romance boxed set, I knew I’d found my excuse to finally open them up and read.

Part of the books is a listing of all of the dragons that the author had met with the spells. Their names and clans and a little about what they revealed to her is there. Given I read the books in the summer, and I’m not a fan of the heat, the snow white dragon caught my eye as my shifter. I didn’t read the books in their entirety, but I never found a description of what the realms themselves were like. So, I mixed this black abyss with the lore of them guarding treasure to create a place where one floats in a gem-lit sky of sorts. To be honest, I wanted the challenge of writing a hot sex scene there *winks*

A happy accident in reading the books was finding a spell to heal auric wounds. Like many spell books, there are always spells or parts of spells that prepare the witch, clearing energy and such to give him or her a clean slate in which to practice, free from the trapping of this world that could interfere. Since I prefer to write the damaged hero or heroine, I gave my human the auric wounds in the story, creating yet another obstacle between her and her dragon mate. You know, as if being a dragon shifter from another realm in love with a human wasn’t enough.

Regardless, I had a lot of fun both researching and writing my dragon shifter story. I hope you will enjoy reading it. It has never before been published, so it’s releasing first in the Alpha Shifter Seductions Paranormal Romance Box Set alongside many other fantastic shifter stories that I’m dying to read myself.

Below is a little information on the Alpha Shifter Seductions Box Set and an excerpt from my contribution.

****WARNING: HIGH HEAT LEVEL**** 

Alpha Shifter Seductions features your favorite NYT, USA Today, International Bestselling and Award Winning Authors bringing you a scorching ***ALL NEW*** book collection of never-before-seen page turners filled to bursting with seductive shifters.
These hot Alphas will seduce you as you follow dragons, wolves, big cats, and other shifters behind closed doors and between the sheets toward that happily ever after every romantic at heart secretly craves.
Find out what pleasures these Alphas can offer when the temperatures shift!

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B013TJQW82





When the Snow Flies by Kiki Howell Excerpt:
She couldn’t shake her head and make it go away. No amount of rubbing her eyes with gritty hands made it any different. Even blinking didn’t change anything. She didn’t need to pinch herself to know she was awake, given the tiny cuts she had on her body that stung with the dust and debris that had landed on them. She had no choice at some point but to believe that this dragon above her was real, even though some part of her still fought the idea as ridiculous.
After some time of patrolling, the white dragon landed gracefully on the ground. She got up on her knees to keep him in view. In a swirl of lights filled with sparkling snow—not stars as she had originally thought—the dragon seemed to literally melt into a human. As soon as the light died down, this completely naked man ran into the cabin, took the stairs, and ended up in the doorway to what was left of the room.
Now, her breath really caught. Her heart and lungs failed her for a minute as she took him in. His unnaturally white locks hung in longer waves, framing his face, playing off of the glittering scruff of hair over his lip and lining his jaw. Her eyes trailed down over him, his pale skin covering tight muscle that bulged over his shoulders and chest, leading to a perfect cut of abdominal muscles. At the base of his stomach, just below his belly button, a patch of glistening hair led her eyes to a handsome package, already getting excited just by seeing her.
Her heart did a flip in her chest. She glanced at his hands in fists, appreciating the way his veins on his lower arms trailed over the muscles there. Her body begged to be touched in an undeniable hunger that she though permanently dormant inside of her. He looked at her, as filthy as she was from the fall of the roof, as if she were the most beautiful thing he had ever seen, with a hunger of his own glistening in those ice-blue eyes that she swore pierced through her to her very soul.
“We have to go,” he said suddenly. “You need to follow me out. Once I turn, you will climb onto my back, and I will take you away with me. I know it is a lot to ask, but he will come back. This is what he does, takes off and returns. He’s not done with me tonight, or trying to get to you. Especially now that he knows you are my mate, or I would not have been here protecting you. You have to trust me. I can hide you in another realm, get you cleaned up, and we can talk all you want.”
“Fly away with you, on that white dragon into another realm?” she cried, choking on each word she managed to get out.
“Yes. He can’t get to us there. We have dragons that protect the realm. But, we can also be alone and talk. I’m sure you have more questions.”
“Questions? Right. But, get on an animal, I guess for lack of a better term, one that I’m still having trouble even believing exists and let it take me away to another realm, whatever that means, that is so far beyond a leap of faith I don’t know what to call it.”
“I know. And, I’m sorry. I haven’t hurt you. You must trust me. He is going to come back any minute, and I have to protect you. I will take you by force otherwise; grab you and fly away. I don’t see as if you have a choice. Sorry. Again. It is all I can do to keep you safe, keep you alive.”
“You do realize that you are not only asking me to trust you, but you are asking me to accept a world of myths and legends. Of things that kid’s books or sometimes nightmares are made of?”



Tuesday, September 29, 2015

NEW RELEASE! Only 99 cents! Alpha Shifter Seductions (Shifter Paranormal Romance Boxed Set)

Alpha Shifter Seductions features your favorite NYT, USA Today, International Bestselling and Award Winning Authors bringing you a scorching ***ALL NEW*** book collection of never-before-seen page turners filled to bursting with seductive shifters.
These hot Alphas will seduce you as you follow dragons, wolves, big cats, and other shifters behind closed doors and between the sheets toward that happily ever after every romantic at heart secretly craves.
Find out what pleasures these Alphas can offer when the temperatures shift! Only $0.99 and available NOW for download!

Amazon - All Romance Ebooks - Barnes & Noble - Kobo - ibooks - Goodreads


At First Sight (Book One of Kitsune's Raven) by Phoenix Johnson

She's a Fox. He's a Raven. From opposing sides of a shifter clan war, their relationship is against the rules...but nothing is sweeter than forbidden fruit.
When Kitsune returns home for a fireworks festival, she doesn't expect to run into Karasu, a handsome young man with a smile that melts her heart and dampens her panties. Their attraction is instant, their love bright and hot.When she discovers he's from an enemy clan, and a Raven shifter, she fights her instincts and the clan laws to be with the one she loves.
Will their love be the balm to heal the rift between the two clans? Or will it spark an all-out war?

The Claiming by Lashell Collins
Xander Salvador knows he's destined to be Alpha of the Woods Canyon Pack. He’s felt it in his soul his entire life, even through the taunting and ridicule he’s suffered over the disgrace of how his parents died. But the Claiming is drawing near. The ancient, and some say barbaric practice, where the strong and worthy males battle for the right to be Big Dog often ends in death. And in order to join the battle and step into his destiny, Xander must first claim the heart of his chosen mate, Antonia Montgomery.

Toni doesn’t have time for love. She’s driven to take the reins of her ailing father’s company and prove that she can keep it on top. Her eccentric aunt’s tales of werewolves and bizarre mating rituals have no bearing on her life. Until she’s bitten by a wolf one night and her safe, structured world begins to spiral out of control. Now, strange things are happening to her body. And the mysterious, sexy man who always seems to be watching has her wondering if her aunt’s wild tales could be true.

Savage by Kim Faulks
The transition from woman to wolf is a right of passage, one hidden in secrecy and terrified whispers of those females left behind. Not all who transition live to warn the others, and so the female population in the packs dwindle. Trapped by the call of the moon and her own body’s yearning to mate,Mia does the only thing she knows—run. Can she survive when her scent sends the males in her pack into a frenzy? Or will two unlikely Alphas show her that both pain and pleasure are two sides of the same coin?
My feet slipped on the sodden leaves, so I ended up crawling more than I walked. Rough branches slapped my face as I grabbed branch after branch, using fallen trees to pull myself up the steep incline. Fallen trees gave me something to hold onto. My heaving breaths were white in the cold air, burning my chest and stealing the moisture from my mouth. The sirens faded behind me. I dared not turn around. That place was no longer my home. Those I left behind weren’t my people.
 My steps speared through sunken holes, jarring my ankles and knees. I slid backward more distance than I gained as I raced for the peak. A howl ripped through the air. The faint sound brought tears to my eyes.
Not a dog.
A wolf.

Love Like Wings by Amy Lee Burgess
Dragon shifter Sebastian knows the value of things but no one can put a price on Alexa, the woman he knows is his mate. He has three days to convince her they belong together or he will lose her forever. Can he overcome Alexa’s pride in time?

Claiming His Mate by Bethany Shaw
Erik hasn't stopped thinking about Lexi since he was forced to leave town three years ago. When he returns, he is devastated to learn that Lexi has moved on. It’s for the best. Wolves don’t mate with humans. But there is something about Lexi that keeps drawing him in. Will he be able to claim her for his own?Or has he lost his chance for good?

Complication by Elle Thorne
Bootilicious Laken Araya has to serve as a judge in the equivalent of a shifter Supreme Court. No problem right? Until the one presenting the case is a one-night stand she never should have had.

Polar bear shifter Malachi—Ky—Romanoff is in a hell of a position. He’s representing the petitioner in front of a woman who was butt-naked in a reverse cow-girl the last time he saw her. He couldn’t even find the memorable woman because they’d never exchanged names. And now he can’t talk to her outside the confines of the case.


When the Snow Flies by Kiki Howell
On a spiritual journey to heal after a tragic accident, Anna thought the worst that could happen while walking in a labyrinth was to be taken by a stranger. A human stranger. Little did she know her meditation would capture the attention of dragons.

Unbroken by Fiona Steele
A woman who belongs to another. . .

All her life Emma Pearce only wanted one thing—to live amongst the magnificent winged steeds known as the Pegasi — even if it means accepting a ring from a man she’ll never love. When a storm sinks their ship and tosses her ashore on a remote island, she finds herself torn between two men, both dark strangers who’ve been battling for centuries.

A wounded king. . .

Davian Belmarric, once king of the free Pegasi, allowed himself to be imprisoned on a remote island with his mortal enemy, the leader of the serpent shifters, the Belleros. Despite torment by his foe, he takes refuge in the knowledge that his sacrifice saved the Pegasi from extinction. But when a shipwrecked young woman brings news of the greater world, he discovers his sacrifice might have been in vain . . .

A battle for her heart

Davian never cared about escaping the island or even surviving—until Emma’s arrival awakens in him a savage need. When his enemy suggests a contest to end their conflict and decide who will leave and who will stay, Davian fears his need to win will cost Emma her life.

Not Your Bitch by Angelica Dawson
Zoe doesn’t like being Elliot’s bitch, but doesn’t think she can do better. Linc is bound to prove her wrong, by making her his bitch, his mate.
“You are beautiful.” To make his point, Linc traced her upturned nose.
Zoe's eyes drooped sleepily. “You're just saying that.”
His glow went out like a snuffed candle. “You are,” he insisted.
“Yeah, really sexy,” she said with unveiled sarcasm, patting at the ring of flesh around her middle.
Linc ran his fingers down her side, over her belly, under her breasts, and over her breasts. He imagined drawing on her skin, shading all the curves to give them depth.
“I am just saying it,” he said at last and her eyes went wide in his peripheral vision. He continued to follow his finger, dark, on her pale marble skin. “I'm saying it without promises, without strings, without my own reasons. Just saying it.”

Ngyong's Tiger by Melissa Bell
Ngyong is a secret part of Japanese Folk Law - He is the last of his line,and his family's tales of the 'Legend of the Fox' will die along with him. He is resolved in his decision to never take a mate.
Savannah is Ngyong's new neighbor, she's beautiful, curvy in all the right places and she likes what she sees on the other side of the fence. She has her own secrets, ones that could get them both killed.
It's impossible to outrun your fate, especially when it's all claws and Legend.
(Five Brothers Series Spin-Off)

Changeling's Revenge by DJ Shaw

Peyton Milne had grown up feeling like she was different from everyone else. She’d always been able to do things, sense things, others couldn’t. When she turned twenty, her mother told her something every person fears; she wasn’t a Milne and never had been. She wasn’t even human. She was Fae; a Changeling – the only good news, a unique type since she’d survived to adulthood.Now Peyton is on a mission to find her Fae family and find out why she was left out in the human world to die. And for that she was going to need some help. Enter Basil, a shifter with a chip on his shoulder and banishment under his belt.With this kind of fire-power backing her, she hoped her family had a really good answer to her question.
Peyton stood and positioned herself between the two men when she saw Basil tense like he was getting ready to pounce on their visitor, “Excuse me, gentlemen. Remember me?”
The men looked at her, making her feel overexposed, “Yeah, hi. While I’m sure you boys would like nothing better than to beat the shit out of each other, Basil here and I were just leaving so that we could discuss some important, and rather delicate, business in private. Besides that, I happen to like this establishment and would prefer not to frighten the owners and patrons. How about we take this outside?”




~ Lady Gina Kincade,
Author of Erotica and Erotic Paranormal Romance

Thursday, September 24, 2015

ARRROOO Wolf Pack Mates & Shifter Lovers! CONGRATULATIONS to the WINNERS of the Alpha Shifter Seductions Boxed Set Celebration Giveaway!

On behalf of the Wolf Pack Authors in this sizzling hot boxed set: Kiki Howell, Angelica Dawson, Phoenix Johnson, Lashell Collins, Kim Faulks, Amy Lee Burgess, Gina Kincade, Bethany Shaw, Elle Thorne, Fiona Steele, Melissa Bell, and DJ Shaw!


Winners will be emailed their prizes, but if you happen to know them personally, please feel free to direct them to this post and congratulate them on their successful entry! :D

Prizes are to be awarded as listed below:
$50 Amazon Gift Card - Jessica Rivera
$25 Amazon Gift Card - Lisa Reader
$10 Amazon Gift Card - Iris Rosario
$5 Amazon Gift Card - Carlotta Massey Patterson



To order your copy of this upcoming boxed set chock full of Alpha Shifter heat, pre-order now to receive it promptly delivered to your e-reading device on release day, September 29th! Only a few days left to wait!


Alpha Shifter Seductions features your favorite NYT, USA Today, International Bestselling and Award Winning Authors bringing you a scorching ***ALL NEW*** book collection of never-before-seen page turners filled to bursting with seductive shifters.
These hot Alphas will seduce you as you follow dragons, wolves, big cats, and other shifters behind closed doors and between the sheets toward that happily ever after every romantic at heart secretly craves.
Find out what pleasures these Alphas can offer when the temperatures shift!


Visit us on Goodreads to learn more about the authors and the boxed set.


At First Sight (Book One of Kitsune's Raven) by Phoenix Johnson
She's a Fox. He's a Raven. From opposing sides of a shifter clan war, their relationship is against the rules...but nothing is sweeter than forbidden fruit.
When Kitsune returns home for a fireworks festival, she doesn't expect to run into Karasu, a handsome young man with a smile that melts her heart and dampens her panties. Their attraction is instant, their love bright and hot. When she discovers he's from an enemy clan, and a Raven shifter, she fights her instincts and the clan laws to be with the one she loves.
Will their love be the balm to heal the rift between the two clans? Or will it spark an all-out war?

The Claiming by Lashell Collins
Xander knows his destiny is to lead his pack as their Alpha, and he’s willing to enter the savage Claiming to prove it. First he’ll have to claim Antonia’s heart, because every Alpha needs his mate.

Savage by Kim Faulks
The transition from woman to wolf is a right of passage, one hidden in secrecy and terrified whispers of those females left behind. Not all who transition live to warn the others, and so the female population in the packs dwindle. Trapped by the call of the moon and her own body’s yearning to mate, Mia does the only thing she knows—run. Can she survive when her scent sends the males in her pack into a frenzy? Or will two unlikely Alphas show her that both pain and pleasure are two sides of the same coin?

Love Like Wings by Amy Lee Burgess
Dragon shifter Sebastian knows the value of things but no one can put a price on Alexa, the woman he knows is his mate. He has three days to convince her they belong together or he will lose her forever. Can he overcome Alexa’s pride in time?

Claiming His Mate by Bethany Shaw
Erik hasn't stopped thinking about Lexi since he was forced to leave town three years ago. When he returns, he is devastated to learn that Lexi has moved on. It’s for the best. Wolves don’t mate with humans. But there is something about Lexi that keeps drawing him in. Will he be able to claim her for his own? Or has he lost his chance for good?

Complication by Elle Thorne
Bootilicious Laken Araya has to serve as a judge in the equivalent of a shifter Supreme Court. No problem right? Until the one presenting the case is a one-night stand she never should have had.

When the Snow Flies by Kiki Howell
On a spiritual journey to heal after a tragic accident, Anna thought the worst that could happen while walking in a labyrinth was to be taken by a stranger. A human stranger. Little did she know her meditation would capture the attention of dragons.

Unbroken by Fiona Steele
When curvy Emma is castaway on a remote island, she suspects the gorgeous and mysterious Davian Belmarric might be the lost alpha of the winged horse shifters known as the Pegasi. Will a wounded alpha and a woman who belongs to another risk everything to find a future together?

Not Your Bitch by Angelica Dawson
Zoe doesn’t like being Elliot’s bitch, but doesn’t think she can do better. Linc is bound to prove her wrong, by making her his bitch, his mate.

Ngyong's Tiger by Melissa Bell
Ngyong is a secret part of Japanese Folk Law - He is the last of his line, and his family's tales of the 'Legend of the Fox' will die along with him. He is resolved in his decision to never take a mate.
Savannah is Ngyong's new neighbor, she's beautiful, curvy in all the right places and she likes what she sees on the other side of the fence. She has her own secrets, ones that could get them both killed.
It's impossible to outrun your fate, especially when it's all claws and Legend.
(Five Brothers Series Spin-Off)

Changeling's Revenge by DJ Shaw
Peyton is on a mission to find her Fae family and find out why she was left out in the human world to die. And for that she was going to need some help. Enter Basil, a shifter with a chip on his shoulder and banishment under his belt. With this kind of firepower backing her, she hoped her family had a really good answer to her question.

Box Set Compiled and Organized by:
~ Lady Gina Kincade,
Author of Erotica and Erotic Paranormal Romance

#shifter #alpha #boxedset #preorder #99cents #paranormal #pnr #romance ‪#‎werewolves‬ ‪#‎dragons‬ ‪#‎tigers‬ #1click #limitedtime #giveawaywinners

Monday, September 21, 2015

Always FREE for KU users, and it's also out in paperback!! #RB4U #kindle #MFRWauthor

Just released in paperback. If bought from Amazon in paperback, the eBook is FREE. However, if eBook is your preference, and you’re a member of Kindle Unlimited, it’s ALWAYS FREE!!


CHAMPAGNE AND CHOCOLATE
(Historical Western romance)
* Best-seller *
Watch the Trailer

eBook: Amazon

Paperback: Amazon | Createspace

Book Launch Page

From different worlds, drawn by desire, passion is about to change their lives forever...

Indulge in a wickedly seductive taste of CHAMPAGNE AND CHOCOLATE:

Austin Standish is a man of refined tastes. Intelligent and educated, Austin enjoys all of the best life has to offer. A gambler, a gunslinger, and a man who has plans to taste the sweetest prize at The Palace Casino and Saloon - the lovely owner, Chantille L'Amour, the most sought after jewel on the Barbary Coast.

Running a high-class brothel and casino isn't exactly the life she was born to but Chantille is determined to overcome the ruin her family was left in once the Civil War ended. But, she has chosen a difficult path... one that demands much and leaves her lonely. She's noticed the handsome man who comes into her world from time to time, and when she chooses to give in to desire, the passion evoked by Austin's touch may change her life forever...

Excerpt:

“Will you be needin’ anything else, Miss Chantille?”

Chantille L’Amour turned and looked at her maid. Carrie was hovering close to the door, clearly eager to get on with other chores if she wasn’t needed here.

“No, Carrie,” Chantille said with a shake of her head. “I just want a few quiet minutes before business begins for the night.”

Carrie hesitated, her mouth opened to speak, then she shook her head and nodded. A moment later, the door to the suite of rooms closed with a soft thud.

Chantille sighed heavily and walked to the French doors, then leaned against the door frame. The last faint rays of the glowing afternoon were giving way to the steady encroachment of evening as she stared out at the glittering, sun-dappled beauty of San Francisco Bay. For several more moments, she delayed the increasingly wearisome task of preparing herself for the evening ahead. For a few precious moments, she allowed her heart to pine for a simpler world in which to live. The world her parents spoke about with such longing, life as it had been before the Civil War tore everything to pieces. Born in the midst of that conflict, Chantille had never enjoyed the peace and happiness her parents had known in their youth. She’d resented it deeply, and, because of the devastation wrought by the war, she’d made choices that weighed heavily on her. Those dictates had done their part to age her spirit well beyond her twenty-five years.

The scents and sounds of the Barbary Coast wafted up to her, assaulting her senses now where they had once caressed. She’d arrived in San Francisco several years ago, bright-eyed and determined to be the mistress of her fate. She’d been tired of living on the dead dreams that sustained her family, fully aware that the South would never again possess the lazy, luxurious languor that had enabled it to fall to its own complacent arrogance. In San Francisco, Chantille’s money and family meant nothing to the hordes of men who flocked to her place of business. They cared only about the quantity of drink and companionship to be found at The Palace. The quality was another wasted effort on her part, though she steadfastly refused to compromise it.

With a barely audible groan, Chantille pushed herself from her casual slouch and went to her bed. She’d laid out her clothes before bathing, a custom she often found soothing. She slipped the silk dressing gown off her shoulders and reached for the soft, ribbon-trimmed cotton drawers. The ritual of dressing eased her nerves, as it always did, and her spirits lifted as she closed the hooks on her corset and carefully tugged free the hand-woven froth of lace that decorated her chemise. Layers of crinolines and petticoats came next, and, once she’d fastened them, she walked to her dressing table and sat before the mirror. She applied a slight hint of rouge to her high cheekbones, and then repeated the color in darker tones on her lips. She selected earrings, and a sparkling diamond necklace that was worth more than most of her customers would see in their lifetimes. She’d done her hair earlier and turned her head to survey the results of her work. The pale ash blonde of her hair was set off by the inky black, velvet ribbons that she’d taken time to weave into the intricate knot. Strands of fair hair had already escaped the confines of her careful design, but she knew better than to attempt to contain them further—by night’s end, many more curling wisps would be falling around her face, giving her a deceptively angelic appearance that she knew appealed to men.

Her gaze fell to the ivory swells of her breasts, the ample curves made more prominent by the corset she wore. Her waist was naturally tiny, and the tightness of the shaping undergarment made her appear delicate, almost fragile. Another illusion, she thought, as she laughed inwardly. She walked to the bed to retrieve the glowing silk gown she’d selected for the evening. It was pale amethyst in color, trimmed with deep plum lace and ribbon. She settled the heavy dress over her hips, pulled it closed, tight to her body, then tugged the wide straps downward so her shoulders were almost bared. As she bent forward to retrieve a handkerchief from the top drawer of her dressing table, she caught her reflection in the mirror. Her parents would have been horrified to see her like this, her bosom all but falling from her dress, her face painted, and her dark brown eyes filled with knowledge that decent women would run from.

Oddly, the sadness that would once have accompanied the observation was missing now, and she realized she’d grown beyond caring what other people thought of her. There was no profit in opinion, and she’d learned that money was the only real power that mattered. So, she dismissed the whisper of censure from her past. However, the appealing image in the looking glass created an entirely different kind of ache within her. Loneliness, yes, but not the heartbreaking pain she’d known when she’d first arrived in San Francisco. This evening, she was lonely for the very companionship the girls who worked for her sold on a nightly basis. Chantille seldom accepted any of the numerous propositions that came her way in the course of an evening, but, tonight, she decided, she would attempt to be more receptive to the invitations she received.

It had been a very long time since she’d permitted a man’s arms around her. Longer still since she’d enjoyed more intimate pleasures. Smiling, she turned and headed down to the main room of the vast saloon she owned and ran.

* * * * *

Austin Standish alighted from his carriage and glanced at the incongruous, regal splendor of The Palace Saloon and Casino. He paid his driver, then headed into the sprawling building, an old opera house that had been abandoned for a number of years before Chantille L’Amour bought the place and set about reinventing it. He’d come to this particular establishment on numerous occasions since first discovering its existence and had enjoyed most of the pleasures offered. He’d thus far failed to make one conquest, however, and he was honest enough to admit it was that very challenge that kept him coming back. The owner of the saloon was an enigmatic and alluring woman who’d quickly seen through the charm and easy arrogance with which he had enticed so many ladies before her. Despite several invitations, she’d never granted him an audience.

Inside the grand saloon and casino, the décor was a reflection of surprising sophistication and good taste. It was wasted on most of the clientele.

Austin spotted several gentlemen who frequented the place, gentlemen who preferred not to be seen in the company they presently enjoyed. He ignored them and went through to the casino’s private room. He was known to the doorman and was immediately granted entrance. He spotted his quarry the minute he walked in; she was standing near the polished bar, surveying the customers and their talent at the tables.

Somewhere inside him, he felt a familiar flutter of excitement, but he dismissed it as ludicrous. He’d long ago learned the high price one paid for infatuation, and he refused to be swayed by it ever again. He wanted this alluring woman, but nothing more than that. A night in her bed, and he’d be content to never again step inside The Palace.

When the lovely Miss L’Amour glanced his way and held his eyes with her dark gaze, he had to ignore the self-mocking laughter that bubbled up inside his head. He inclined his head in a casual bow of acknowledgment, then went to purchase his usual thousand dollars’ worth of chips. He seldom lost, but his starting sum always remained the same; when he deviated from the practice Lady Luck withdrew her favor more often than not. He entered the casino with a thousand dollars, and usually left with considerably more than he’d had upon his arrival.

The chandeliers set in the high ceiling threw off enough light to rival the early afternoon sun, and the noise level, while something that couldn’t be entirely disregarded, was nowhere near the din that pervaded most saloons on the Coast. Standish was content for the moment to enjoy himself. He’d concentrate on the beautiful saloon owner after he’d indulged his more mercenary tendencies.

* * * * *

Less than two hours later, Standish’s winning streak forced a division of his attention. His last bet at the roulette wheel had earned him in the vicinity of ten thousand dollars. The man in charge of the table was looking more than a little bit worried, and he requested a moment to consult with the owner. Austin smiled and waited for the pretty woman to join them. He watched her for a few moments as she listened to whatever was being whispered in her ear. Once again, his stomach reacted with a disturbing flutter when she glanced at him, her stare bold and refreshingly direct as she considered her course of action. He realized, much to his inner horror, that he’d been holding his breath while he waited; he almost gasped in air when she smiled and began to walk toward him.

“Mr. Standish,” she murmured when she had reached the roulette table. “How lovely to see you again.”

He was surprised by the familiarity, and he arched one eyebrow, the response reflexive. “I wasn’t aware we’d met, Miss L’Amour.”

She laughed softly, and he was further enchanted.

“I don’t believe we have,” she agreed. “Not officially. But I do know who you are, Mr. Standish. Otherwise,” she added with a hint of irony, “you wouldn’t be permitted to gamble in this suite.”

“And am I to be permitted to continue this game, ma’am?”

“How lucky do you feel tonight, Mr. Standish?”

He grinned with an expression he knew was both confident and charming, a device well used over the years. Miss L’Amour’s tinkling amusement whispered in the space between them. Then she nodded and went around the table herself.

“Place your bets, gentlemen,” she said, gesturing at the numbered black and red table surface. She picked up the gleaming white marble and prepared to send the roulette wheel spinning.

When she bent forward, giving him a deliciously full view of her cleavage, Austin placed a reckless bet and sat back to watch the outcome.

“Your luck holds, Mr. Standish,” she said less than a minute later. “It would seem that I now owe you a substantial sum of money.” She walked from behind the table. “I’ll inform the cashier of your good fortune. When you wish to cash in, the money will be in my office.”

With a brief nod of her head, she left the table, smiling despite the loss of revenue. Standish was charmed all over again.

“Sir?”

He turned to look at the man next to the roulette wheel. They were waiting for his next bet. He shook his head.

“Not this time, Marty,” he said with a laugh. “I think I’ll quit while I’m still winning.”

The other man nodded, and, the moment Austin left his chair, he was aware of another man taking his place. He headed for the bar, intent on exchanging more than a few words with Miss L’Amour.

* * * * *

Chantille watched Standish from her vantage point at the end of the bar. He was a handsome man, one she’d noticed on several occasions. As he stood, she took quick inventory of his appearance, chewing her bottom lip unconsciously as she absorbed the man’s almost palpable presence.

At a height of over six feet, Austin Standish was a man not easily overlooked. He had sandy blond hair with a lock that perpetually fell over his forehead. Under the shaggy blond hair, the most startling green eyes Chantille had ever seen missed nothing that came within their scrutiny. His face was a fascinating blend of angles and contours, the individual features not perfect, yet the overall combination completely arresting and pleasing to the appreciative eye. He was slender, yet there was an undeniable sense of strength and power in the long line of his body. Tonight, as on other nights, he’d chosen a suit of black, the inky shade contrasted sharply by the stark white of his shirt. The frills at his cuffs and along the front of the shirt could have lessened the impact of strong masculinity that emanated from him, but, instead, they only added to his imposing aura. His brocade waistcoat was a shade of palest gray, adorned by a gold watch chain that disappeared in a pocket at his left. Silver-trimmed boots finished the polished and cultured image, and Chantille wondered how he’d remained a free man for so long. She didn’t doubt for an instant that the company of women was something he never lacked.

She straightened when he caught her gaze and began to walk in her direction. Deep inside, she began to quiver, and the awareness that he could shake her so intensely with no effort was both disconcerting and annoying. Yet….

“Miss L’Amour.” Austin smiled when he reached her side. “Would you do me the honor of joining me for dinner?”

“Thank you, no,” she replied. “Have you come to collect your winnings, Mr. Standish?”

“If you can’t be persuaded to grant me your company, then I’ll have to settle for your money.”

“You’re far too charming to suffer loneliness,” she countered. She walked away from the bar and led him into her office. She arched one eyebrow in subtle surprise when he closed the door behind them.

“I assure you, Mr. Standish,” she said, her tone cool, “money is all you will be collecting in this office.”

Austin continued into the small room until he was directly in front of her and she had to tilt her head back to hold his gaze. The gleam of amusement in the deep green eyes that bored into her was irritating, and intriguing.

“Are you certain I can’t change your mind about dinner?”

“Not entirely,” she conceded with a smile that wanted to become laughter.

“Ahh,” he whispered. “Hope at last.”

“Hope has a way of disappearing just when you’re learning to count on it, Mr. Standish.”

“But the times it doesn’t are so sweet it makes the disappointments bearable, Miss L’Amour.”

“Right you are, sir,” she agreed with a thoughtful smile. She made a decision then, a reckless choice that she didn’t take time to consider. “Perhaps I could persuade you to dine with me in my suite?”

Austin’s gaze was pensive, and she wondered, with a tiny leap of panic, if she’d miscalculated his interest.

“It’s never a good idea to offer a man paradise if your plan is to shut the gates before he has a chance to come inside, Miss L’Amour.”

It was a veiled warning, but a warning just the same. This man was not one to be toyed with or played for a fool. He was drawing her a little more deeply into his presence, in spite of herself.

“And you think I’m offering you paradise, Mr. Standish?”

“I’m fairly certain of it, yes,” he murmured, voice low and compelling.

She smiled and went past him to the safe that was in her office. She collected his money and brought it to him.

“Your winnings, Mr.—”

“Austin.”

“Austin,” she said.

He took a double-eagle from the pocket of his waistcoat and held it between his index and middle fingers. With a quick grin, he slipped it into the valley between her breasts, caressing silken skin for the briefest instant before drawing his hand back. Something betrayed her reaction and made his smile deepen.

“You take liberties with great ease,” she whispered, her voice husky and exotic.

“Before the night’s over, I plan to take a great many more,” he assured her.

“Perhaps I’ll be the one to take liberties tonight, Mr. Standish.”

“I’d be delighted to put myself in your hands, Miss L’Amour.”

She smiled. “Would you wait here for a few moments? I have to speak to my maid.”


Short Author Bio and Links:

Canadian born and bred, and a lifelong dreamer, I began writing at an early age and can’t recall a time when I wasn’t creating in some artistic form. My life has had several on-going love affairs that shape much of what I write.  In the past half dozen years, I’ve released books in all lengths and genres, and it’s something I hope to continue to do for many more years. A visit to my websites will show the diversity of what is currently available, as well as other surprises and extras!