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Archive for January, 2019

                           Black and white

What happened to the last one? It sure went by quickly.

Do you have anything planned for this new year? I’m going to try to get two–maybe three–books out this year. The first should be nearly finished with the editing. The second one is ready for editing.

And the third? I have to go through it again on my own before anyone sees that one…

So, the next one out will be the next book in from Gambler’s Folly, in the Speranza Series. I know I’ve told you a little about it before. The Russian. I just love this guy. He’s been around so long, he doesn’t care what anyone thinks. He is who he is and doesn’t apologize for any of it.

But one thing is for certain. He loves his little soul-mate, Danni. Never have you seen a guy as gentle as he can be with her. A little bundle of energy with blond curls and hazel eyes peering up at him. Nor would she hesitate to speak her mind. They were a match made in heaven, something he’d thought he’d never experience again.

Let me see if I can give you a little excerpt from The Russian.

 

 

Chapter 1

The tall, lanky man strode through the emigration hall on Gambler’s Folly, with an ease and confidence that shouted danger. At first glance, most people assumed ex-military. At second glance they decided he was syndicate.

The shaved head, neatly groomed stubble, and ice cold eyes did nothing to dispel this impression. Neither did the expensive shirt, with the first three buttons open under an expensive and well-worn, dark leather vest. The black denim jeans hugged him snugly over boots whose cost would have fed a family of four for six months.

Dmitri Ivanovich Volkov, otherwise known as The Russian, encouraged this impression. It had served him well for a long, long time. People left him alone. He was a loner and preferred the peace the image brought.

Unlike most of his fellow travelers, he carried only a small duffle bag, since he had a local apartment in the establishment of his old friend, Damiano Leone. Looking at the time, he took a taxi to his place before taking a walk to work off the week of sedentary living on the shuttle.

His fourth floor apartment in the Stella d’Oro had been freshly cleaned and aired in anticipation of his arrival. Quickly stowing his bag in the wardrobe, he washed his face and checked to make sure his clothes were ready for the evening.

Back outside, he sniffed the breeze before turning to his left, toward the less privileged side of town. He strolled confidently down the walk as the crowds parted to give him passage. He liked to gauge the mood of a place when he arrived. Tonight he was picking up threads of anxiety.

A lot of it came from about a block to his left and a little farther down the street in the direction he currently traveled. Twilight had settled in, so he moved into the shadows and picked up his pace.

****

Danielle was scared. While walking the same route she did every night, several gang members surrounded her in this dark part of town. She’d always been concerned coming this way, but she had no choice without walking three time farther to avoid it.

“What have we got here?” the obvious leader of the group sneered. “Aren’t you kind of little to be out on your own?”

She was small, scarcely over five feet tall. But she felt even smaller now, as they slowly closed in on her. She thought she’d seen someone in the shadows, but a second glance showed nothing. Pity.

When strong, warm hands came to rest on her shoulders, she assumed the worst. Her mouth went dry and her knees nearly folded. She knew she was dead.

“Disperse. The woman is none of your concern,” she heard behind her.

“Who the hell are you? And what do you think you can do? There are five of us and only one of you.”

“Go your way. The woman is none of your concern.”

A tense silence followed for a few seconds before the leader of the group laughed and spoke again.

“Sure, man. Sorry.”

The entire group turned and retreated up the street. As she watched them leave, the shakes began. Turning to thank her savior, her nose caught the scent of woodsy loam and spicy autumn leaves, overlaid with hints of dark musk and tobacco. For a moment her head spun as she caught her breath.

“Are you all right?” the deep voice asked. “Did they hurt you?”

“No, I’m fine. Just scared,” she answered as she looked up into eyes as cold and blue as ice on a wintry lake. Eyes which seemed to pierce her soul held her captive.

“Where were you going?” he asked.

“I’m on my way home. Thank you for your help. I don’t know what I would have done if you hadn’t stepped in.”

“It’s part of my job—rescuing maidens in distress. I’ll walk with you and make sure you arrive safely.”

The smile was warm, though it didn’t melt the ice in those eyes.

“What did you do? He was right, you know. There were five of them.”

“Some questions it is better not to ask,” he answered.

They walked quietly toward her small apartment, her arm through his. Honestly, she doubted she could have made it on her own. Her knees still shook and her legs felt like rubber.

At her door he asked, “Will you be all right? Is there someone you can call?”

“No. There is no one. Thank you for your help and your time. I’m sure you had better things to do.”

His eyes held hers and she had the sudden urge to kiss this man. He must have had similar thoughts, as he reached toward her and traced her face with one finger.

By mutual consent, they leaned together for the kiss she had to have. It should have been a quick parting kiss, but between his scent and his taste, she was lost. Apricots in brandy with a hint of cardamom lingered as they parted. The look in his eyes matched what she felt.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I’ve taken liberties. I don’t know how that happened. I never do this.”

“Neither do I,” she replied. “I don’t even know your name.“

“I’m called Dmitri,” he said.

Her eyes focused on his mouth, wanting another kiss.

“I’m Danielle. Danni to my friends.”

“Danni. I like it.”

“Are you going to be on Gambler’s Folly very long?” she asked.

“No. I’m here for work.”

“Can I see you again?” she asked this man who had just saved her from rape and possibly death.

“I doubt I will have the time. Let me see you go into your apartment before I leave.”

“Goodbye, Dmitri,”

“And to you, Danni, my little flower,” he answered with a sad smile.

****

If it hadn’t been for her scent, he would have been fine. Lilacs with honeyed-vanilla and white musk had wrapped around him softly. Hazel eyes under blonde curls had drawn him in. He’d thought, after all this time, he had control over his urges. What had possessed him to kiss her?

Her mouth now, there was a treat. Fresh raspberries and sweet white wine still teased his palette. Between her scent and her taste, he was one messed up wolf. He wanted to run through the forest, roll in the leaves, and howl to his pack mates about this delicious female he’d met.

No, he wouldn’t see her again. He didn’t need a relationship. Life around him was too uncertain. Besides, he’d had a mate long ago and, when she’d died, she’d taken his heart to her grave.

He was here for a job. He had no time for females.

Happy New Year everyone!

Soul-bound lovers

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