Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Old Beginnings 6
Romances today - including a paranormal, historical, suspense, contemporary, and erotic. Are you interested in reading more? ("I never read romance" is not constructive or relevant.) Sources are posted at the bottom.
1. Chains rattled on the rough stucco wall as Audrey stretched her arms. Hours must have passed since Sterling stripped her naked and cuffed her beneath the colonnade. When she rolled her head to work the kinks from her shoulders, her long dark hair tickled her waist. It was a small, sensual stimulation, one among a host. Florida's velvet night had long since swallowed the raging sun. Palms rustled in an orange-scented breeze. Insects creaked and chirped. Tiny lizards skittered across the springy grass as if it were skillet-hot. Fifty yards from where she stood, the pool cast a lurid glow across the lawn. Its surface skirled, the lanes lit but empty. Sterling had chained her here alone. He’d trusted she wouldn’t want to scream. Not that it would matter if she did. Sterling’s walled Coral Gables compound was huge. Plus, the nearest neighbours were his friends.
2. A bead of sweat took a slow path down his throat and into the neckline of his dark T-shirt. Pushed by a hot, insubstantial breeze, a weed brushed his cheek. Clint never moved. Through the shifting shadows of the pulled blinds, he could detect activity in the small cabin. The low drone of voices filtered out the screen door, but Clint couldn't make out any of the slurred conversation.
Next to him, Red stirred. In little more than a breath of sound, he asked, "Fuck, I hate waiting."
Wary of a trap, Clint wanted the entire area checked. Mojo chose that moment to slip silently into the grass beside them. He'd done a surveillance of the cabin, the surrounding grounds, and probably gotten a good peek in the back window. Mojo could be invisible and eerily silent when he chose. "All's clear."
Something tightened inside Clint. "She in there?"
"Alive but pissed off and real scared." Mojo's obsidian eyes narrowed. "Four men. They've got her tied up."
3. When Tess Newhart threw open her apartment door, Nick Jamieson was standing there - tall, dark, successful and suspiciously happy to see her, his pleasantly blunt face a nice human contrast to his perfectly tailored suit. She stared at him warily, fighting down the ridiculous jolt of relief, happiness, and lust that welled up in her just because he was back. Then he threw his arms wide to hug her. "Tess!" he said, beaming at her. "You look great!"
Tess looked down at her sagging, bleach-splotched sweats. So much for relief, happiness and lust. She rolled her eyes at him, all her suspicions confirmed. "Right." She slammed the door in his face and shot home both dead bolts.
"Aw, come on, Tess," Nick called through the door. "It's been a month. Actually it's been a month, a week and two days, but who's counting? All right, I'm counting. I miss you. I keep calling but you won't call me back. Is that fair? I think we should talk about this."
4. Stunned, Bride McTierney stared at the letter in her hand and blinked. She blinked again. It couldn't really say what she thought it said. Could it? Was it a joke? But as she read it again for the fourth time, she knew it wasn't. The rotten, cowardly SOB had actually broken up with her via her own FedEx account.
But I need a woman more in keeping with my celebrity image. I'm going places and I need the kind of woman at my side who will help me, not hinder me. I'll have your things delivered to your building. Here's some money for a hotel room tonight in case you don't have any vacant rooms.
"You sorry, sycophantic, scum-sucking dog," she snarled as she read it again and pain engulfed her so profoundly that it was all she could do not to burst into tears. Her boyfriend of five years was breaking up with her ... through a letter that he'd charged to her business account? "Damn you to hell, you filthy snake!" she snarled.
5. London, 1807
Phillip Maddox, Duke of Colster, walked through the crowded halls of Parliament not meeting the eye of anyone he passed. They made way for him. He was a duke, after all, and one with enviable power. Here and there, someone would nod, and murmur, "Your Grace," but for the most part, they waited until he'd gone by to speak -- and when they did, he knew they were talking about him and how Miranda Cameron had jilted him at his own betrothal ball. She'd run away with her lover while her sister Charlotte, a brazen, unprincipled woman, had openly defied him when he'd attempted to stop her.
For eight months he'd had to put up with this. He'd tried to carry on, certain some other scandal would come along to occupy idle tongues. After all, what had happened was his private business. But London was a town of gossips and, unfortunately, of matchmakers. They didn't show any sign of letting this matter go.
Old Beginnings 6
1. Velvet Glove - Emma Holly
2. Just a Hint, Clint - Lori Foster
3. Strange Bedpersons - Jennifer Crusie
4. Night Play - Sherrilyn Kenyon
5. In the Bed of a Duke - Kathy Maxwell