I have lots to share before we get to the next #SampleSunday for The Sheikh's Sinful Seduction. Get comfy!
First, Dear and Very Patient Readers... If you have been waiting for my Montana Born books to quit being exclusive to Amazon and arrive on other platforms, they are starting to show up! I'm so excited!
Blame The Mistletoe is still in the queue. It turns out I'm not the only author on the planet and must wait my turn like everyone else. But here are the quick links for Hometown Hero. It's not on iBooks or GooglePlay yet, but the wheels are in motion and I'm super excited!
Hometown Hero is where you want to start for this four book series--sadly my series doesn't have a name. I couldn't afford one, lol. The truth is, I wasn't thinking of it as a series when I started. But when the Christmas book came up, I decided to open it at Skye and Chase's Christmas party and the characters have been linked from there.
Think: Hot Guys Under Montana Skies and if that does it for you, you want these books.
Blame The Mistletoe is Book Two and Book Three, The Bachelor's Baby, will be coming out on Amazon March 13th. Watch Tule Publishing's Coming Soon Page for a cover reveal for the Bachelor Auction page. They're all gorgeous! And yes, it will eventually make it to Kobo and iBooks etc. I'm guessing in the fall.
Oh, and I'll have bookmarks for The Bachelor's Baby--two designs. One has my three covers, the other has all the bachelor covers for all the authors in this series. I'll wait until they're in my hot little hands before I offer to send any out, but they're pretty fun.
Book Four in my Montana series is tentatively titled His Blushing Bride and scheduled for May 11th. (Happy Mother's Day!) I'm closing in on writing The End, hoping to do that today, but we'll see. Then it needs revision, but at the moment (shh, don't jinx it) I'm on track to have it submitted by the end of January. That would make me very, very happy.
Now, before we get to #Sample Sunday, I'll also quickly remind you that:
Hustled To The Altar is on sale for 99c ($1.15 Cdn / 99p UK) through the end of January, after which it will go up to $7.99. If you want it, get it now!
And here's today's excerpt...
Still with me? I told you there was lots to cover and we're only half way. Keep scrolling after the excerpt for giveaways and other news about my newsletter.
Last week, Fern arrived at the oasis and met Zafir. Here we see what Zafir sees.
~ * ~
Zafir watched a million freckles disappear in a bath of red and felt an unexpected urge to laugh.
Not nice, he realized, glancing away to hide the amusement brimming his eyes. He didn’t want to soften toward this English teacher, who was drowning in her own blush of sexual attraction. He was experienced enough to know that’s what was happening to her and man enough to like it.
Despite knowing how inappropriate she was for him, the prowling tomcat within him kept his tail standing at attention. His eyes traveled back to her of their own accord, counting the freckles that dotted her arms like cocoa sprinkled onto foamed milk. They were all over her, even the tops of her feet. The full effect naked would be an incredible sight.
One he would not make any attempts to see, he cautioned his libido, no matter how amenable she might seem.
He lifted his gaze from her disaster of a skirt, to shoulders covered in that Milky Way of freckles barely visible against the pink of her extensive blush, to liquid eyes locked on his face. He recognized the look, which was somewhere between nervous bunny and dazzled groupie.
Being a duke’s grandson had entitled him to more than an academic education. Alongside economics and diplomacy, he’d learned that Western women could be incredibly accommodating to a man’s basest needs. If he wanted her, he could have her.
That’s why he began fantasizing about setting his mouth against her shoulder, feeling the heat under her skin and tasting that smooth, pale flesh. That’s why his palm tingled to push into the folds of her skirt, to discover the shape of her backside and lock her hips into his own.
But tanned blondes were his preference. American or Scandinavian and only while traveling. He had enough power struggles with the conservatives in his country without having affairs inside his borders. He dismissed her with an arrogant blink, deliberately letting her see his rejection.
She swallowed, face blazing and lashes dropping. The corners of her lips pulled into the tortured bite of her teeth.
He had a near irresistible urge to cover her pursed doll’s mouth with his own, to lightly torture her until her lips were swollen and open. He could practically feel that wild hair tangled around his fingers as he held her under him, her clasp on him tight as he thrust deep and watched her eyes fog with ecstasy.
English, he reminded with a mild curse at his own weakness. Was it genetic that he could be blindsided by lust for one, so much so that he couldn’t smile, let alone speak?
He was only responding to her because he hadn’t been with any woman in over two months, he reasoned. It had nothing to do with a tainted streak in his makeup. He wasn’t like his father, who had fallen so hard for the wrong woman he’d gotten himself killed for it, leaving his bastard half-blood son to clean up the mess.
“Fern, this is my brother, Zafir. She may call you that while we’re here, yes?” Amineh turned back and clasped his arm, then leaned her weight on him in a familiar way that yanked him back into awareness. “Be nice to her. She’s shy.”
Fern. It was oddly suitable. His country favored names inspired by nature and something in her buttoned-down demeanor reminded him of those tightly curled fiddleheads he used to spy when tramping through his grandfather’s estate, searching for signs of spring and the end of the semester, when he could return to the warmth of home.
“Of course,” he managed to respond, fine with the level of stiffness in his tone. He was in the throes of a very wrong-time, wrong-place reaction. The feeling annoyed him enough to reflect in his voice. Still, he heard himself say, “If I may call you Fern.” He would regardless, but he willed permission from her all the same. Cooperation.
Damn. He really shouldn’t want her so badly that he was already finding ways to stake a claim. Like it was a given that he would have her. This was lust. Garden-variety. He was on vacation, relaxed. Horny. Of course he responded to an available woman. That’s all this was and he could resist it.
Her lashes quivered and she nodded shakily, fingers playing together restlessly.
Her discomfiture left him grimly pleased. He was vital and sexual and alpha. Asserting himself was second nature, but there was more at play here. Amineh might see only a blush, but Fern’s reaction was carnal and that held a special allure for him.
“We’re very informal here,” Amineh chattered on. “We’ll cover up again when the Bedouins come through, but for now the oasis is ours. That’s why I love it. Oh, I’ve been looking forward to this.” She squeezed his arm again, then gave him a frown. “But you look grumpy. Why? We’re going to have fun. Act like kids again. Come on, Fern. Let’s walk up to the camp and get settled.”
Fern began to gather her bags onto her shoulder.
Zafir bit back an urging for her to leave them for the servants, but she was Ra’id’s employee, he reminded himself. Not an ambassador’s daughter. She knew her place better than he did.
She packed like an ambassador’s daughter, he noted with a grimace, as he watched her try to heft a third bag onto her shoulder.
He moved to take it.
“I can come back for it,” she insisted, but he brushed past her attempts to keep it and reached to remove one of the others already bending her slender spine. His thumb grazed skin like duck down, punching a shot of hot need into his gut.
What the hell? From barely touching her?
The hair on his scalp stood on end with both alarm and excitement.
She dipped her head, making it impossible for him to decipher whether she had reacted as intensely. But if he wasn’t mistaken, her nipples were standing up in sharp points. It couldn’t be from a chill in this heat.
Which should not make his belly tighten with anticipation, but it did.
Amineh was halfway up the path with Ra’id, leaving him to accompany Fern. He forced himself to find a neutral topic of conversation.
“The oasis is roughly seventeen square kilometers. My father designated this as a nature reserve when we were children. We have one tribe allowed to camp here without a permit as they follow bird migrations. We anticipate they’ll come through while we’re here, but otherwise access is strictly limited.”
“I read about it before we came.” Her quick statement seemed to say “thanks, but I know all I need to.” She hurried along.
Let it go, he told himself. Let her go. If she had received the message that he wasn’t welcome to a come-on, that was a good thing.
But his longer legs easily kept up to the scurrying pace that kept the color high in her cheeks. And he couldn’t take his eyes off the way her remarkable hair bounced and her small, firm breasts barely moved.
And all the while, she looked straight ahead as though trying to ignore him.
“How long have you been teaching the girls?” he asked.
“Three months.” She flashed a look up at him that was vaguely defensive. “I feel a bit of a fraud, to be honest. Amineh, I mean, umm Bashira…”
“It’s fine,” he said. “As she said, we’re casual here. No need to use her title.”
“Right. Thank you. What I was going to say is that her English is perfect and the girls are already switching back and forth very easily. Aside from correcting their grammar and spelling, I’m not sure they really need me. It’s just such a remarkable opportunity to experience another culture and…” She cleared her throat and her gaze flickered over him like a searchlight picking out the best parts. “The girls are lovely,” she murmured faintly. “I feel very fortunate to be here. Well, there. And here.”
Another blush. She was really in the throes of sexual interest. How utterly captivating. The hormones that told a man to pursue a woman seared his veins like adrenaline.
“I’m sure she’s delighted to have you in the household,” he said, his voice as tight as his skin, brain somehow maintaining a grasp on the conversation. “My sister and I prefer our father’s world, but we often feel homesick for England.” He closed his mouth, not sure why he had said it like that. It wasn’t real homesickness, just that all his life he’d wished he could live in both places at the same time.
Which felt like a traitorous admission, as though he wasn’t wholly committed to the country he ruled, but he was. Willing to make deep sacrifices for it even. He frowned.
Beside him, Fern halted abruptly and cast a jerky glance up and down the beach. It was a scene of controlled chaos: tents going up, pillows spilling from baskets and silk rugs unrolled. “I, um, don’t know where I’m going. Do I sleep with the children?”
“No, they have their own tent.” He pointed to where his son was hanging the partition between his side and the girls’ in the undersized tent they used.
The servants were settling near the water pump at the far end of the beach, where the cooking fire would be laid. A large tent was going up not far from the children’s, for Amineh and Ra’id. His own tent was already standing at the end of a small bench of sand facing the water. Security would place their small tents at strategic places at the perimeter of the oasis.
Deductive reasoning allowed him to single out the only unclaimed lodging. Halfway between the two ends of the camp, tucked beneath an overhang of palms where a small footprint of sand pushed into the tall grass, sat a bundled tent.
Apparently Fern was expected to know how to erect the tent herself.
“That one,” he said, as he grazed light fingers on her upper arm to catch her attention then pointed.
Yes, he was that weak. Unable to resist touching her again.
Her breath caught and he experienced a surprisingly strong pulse of satisfaction that she responded so sharply to his barely there caress.
This was going to be a difficult two weeks.
~ * ~
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A lot to digest, right? It is for me, too! I have a very busy spring ahead of me, with four releases by June and those Montana Born titles going all platforms on top of it. I'll be at RT in Dallas in May and I'm already looking at preparations for RWA in NYC. At this precise moment, however, I just want to finish my bride book. So I'm going to go do that.
Have a great weekend.