The Dirty Birdies Flock Hop! Giveaway and tasty excerpt for your pleasure!

GIVEAWAY!!

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As a part of the Dirty Birdies Flock Hop, if you comment on this post, you could win one of 3 ebook copies of my latest book, THE PARIS GAME, or if you prefer, two of my previous works.

And make sure to check out the rest of the blogs participating in the Flock Hop for your chance to win even more goodies.

 

And now, a bit of a chat about eye-candy…

Now, there’s nothing I like more than some gorgeous eye-candy, but it was incredibly difficult to find a photograph that represented Marc Perron, the art dealer profiting on the wrong side of the law, from my latest book. He’s French, multi-talented (art dealer, bilingual, and a cellist), and sexy with an edge. Putting those attributes into a search engine on a stock photo site left me with very little. Instead, I spent several hours combing photographs of dark-haired men, European men, musicians, and the like, on said stock photo site…and came up with just one.

Marc

 

I think it was well worth the time. Slightly rumpled white shirt, open just so. Dark, direct gaze. Cello.

That man…I still can’t keep my eyes off him.

Now, here’s a sexy scene to whet your appetite!

From Chapter 2 of THE PARIS GAME:

“We’ll be closing in half an hour,” the clerk told him. Marc nodded and continued into the bookshop. He had Madelaine’s number from several weeks prior, but he far preferred to surprise her at work. If she wasn’t available, there’d always be someone else. He turned a corner and made his way towards the back of the shop, passing military history and philosophy before he found her. She stood on a small stepladder, methodically dusting the upper shelves.

“I’m glad to see they’ve replaced the old stepladder,” he remarked as he came up beside her. She gave him a brilliant smile, and if they hadn’t been in the middle of the shop, he knew she would have kissed him. Still, he helped her from the ladder and bent to kiss her cheek, pulling her into a close embrace. His hand slid down her back and over the snug fabric of her dark skirt.

“Marc!” she scolded him. “You didn’t tell me you were in town.” She leaned into his embrace, her red hair brushing his chin. Small and delicate, Madelaine was a beautiful Irish girl he’d met during a quick stop to find a book he’d needed for a deal he’d been working on. She had found him the book and hand-delivered it to his room. There had been chemistry between them in the book shop, but when she had showed up at his door, she confirmed his hopes. She’d stayed for a drink, which had lengthened into two, and then the rest of the night.

“Are you free this evening, ma petite amie?” he asked, pushing aside her hair to taste the skin beneath her ear. He felt her shiver.

“Of course.” She drew back. “I just have to finish this and then I’m all yours.”

He chuckled. “Should I wait for you?”

“There’s a bar down the road—the Birchfield. I’ll meet you there when I’m done.” Madelaine stood on her tiptoes and he took the opportunity to kiss her. “I’m so glad to see you,” she said against his lips. He kissed her again, delving into her mouth. She gave a little moan that made him wish they had more privacy.

He pulled away, caressing her cheek. “I’ll be waiting.”

 

Marc found the bar easily enough—a tiny hole-in-the-wall that reminded him of Paris and some of the places he used to frequent. The interior held a dozen tables and a few booths, barely busy at this hour. He found a table for two and gave his order to the single waiter on duty. While he waited, he checked his messages. Bates hadn’t called and he doubted he’d hear from the man again. The receptionist at the firm had called to remind him of two late afternoon appointments upon his return to Paris tomorrow. He sighed. He’d have to send her an email later and see if she could reschedule or give them to Fournier, his associate. After two weeks of straight travel and auctions, he wanted to spend his Friday doing something more pleasant.

He slid his phone back into his pocket and took a long drink of his wine. A small feminine figure at the bar caught his eye and for a moment he thought she looked familiar. Her dark hair fell down her back in waves and she moved as gracefully as a dancer. However, when she turned, he didn’t know her. He felt a pang of disappointment. Seraphina was back in Paris, beguiling the crowds as she sang at Le Chat Rouge, not here.

The door opened and Madelaine walked in. She slid into the chair next to him and kissed him soundly.

“That didn’t take long,” he commented when they broke apart.

“I rushed the last bit,” she admitted. Her hand settled possessively on his thigh. “You know, I wasn’t sure I’d see you again.”

He poured her a glass of wine from the carafe before replying. “Why is that?”

“I know you said you’d come back, but I didn’t think you were telling the truth,” she replied. She flushed. “That sounded awful.”

Marc chuckled. He rarely bothered to see a woman twice; she’d read him right enough. But she’d been delectable and he wanted more.

“It’s true enough, but you’re more than just a one-night-stand.”

“Good.” Her hand slid farther up his thigh and the corner of his mouth quirked up in amusement.

“Hungry?”

“Very.”

“Then what are we doing here?” He rose, tossing a bill onto the table. They left the bar and hailed a taxi.

“Where are we going?” she asked as the black cab sped along Charing Cross Road.

“My hotel.”

“Claridge’s?”

“Always.” He would call room service, but first he wanted to see Madelaine sprawled on the gorgeous Art Deco desk in his suite, her arousal glistening between her parted thighs. He didn’t think she’d object to a bit of a wait for her supper.

The taxi ride was short and they hurried through the lobby, not pausing until they reached the door of Marc’s suite. Once inside, Madelaine’s giggles turned to a gasp as he pressed her into the closed door, his hands hiking her skirt around her waist. She squirmed in his embrace and he paused.

“What is it?”

“I’m wearing the most awful knickers,” she said in a low voice, her cheeks flushing.

He shrugged. “It’s not your knickers I’m interested in.” He tugged down her pantyhose and her underwear, going down on one knee to unhook the fabric from around her feet. He tossed the garments aside and stood, sliding his arm under her buttocks. She clasped his shoulders in surprise as he lifted her.

“Where are we going?”

“I had this vision,” he said, taking her through into the sitting room. His free hand swept the papers from the desk and he set her down. He pulled up a chair as she watched and when he’d settled, she had shifted to the edge of the desk, letting her knees fall open.

“Parfait.” His tongue penetrated her folds and he felt her fingers in his hair. Her legs quivered and he held them apart, his thumbs resting in the soft hollows of her inner thighs. He teased her clit and listened as her breathing turned to short gasps. Her hands left him and she slumped back on her elbows. He glanced up from between her legs and met her gaze. She licked her lips.

“Don’t stop,” she murmured. He didn’t plan to. He wanted to hear her cry his name, to have her orgasm on his tongue. He let his teeth scrape over her clit, provoking her into a guttural groan. It wouldn’t be long now.

He sated her twice on the desk, curling his fingers inside her until she begged him for release. Now she lay prone, her chest heaving as she tried to catch her breath. He felt his phone buzz in his pocket and he gave her a caress as he stepped away.

Read more in THE PARIS GAME.

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Check out all the other sites in the Flock Hop, and win some great prizes! Comment here to win an ebook copy of THE PARIS GAME, or check out the paperback on Amazon.

THE PARIS GAME now available for Nook / on B&N!

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THE PARIS GAME can now be purchased in paperback, or for the Nook, on Barnes & Noble.

“Royale wants to see you.”

The maître’d caught Sera at her dressing room door, blocking her way. She tried to step around him, but he persisted. “Now. You have time.”

“I should be on stage. Our next set starts in a minute.”

“I’d love to tell him that you wouldn’t come when he ordered. Have it your way.” He turned and she caught his arm.

“I’ll go.”

The back corridor of the jazz club frightened her, claustrophobic and dark. It seemed to stretch forever, until she turned the corner and a sliver of light shone from under a door. She moved towards it, her footsteps in her high heels echoing off the scuffed parquet. Cigarette smoke, and something more rancid, like rotting meat, hung in the air.

She knocked.

“Entrez!”

The wet sound of coughing greeted her as she opened the door. Monsieur Royale, the club’s owner, covered his mouth with a linen handkerchief. When he saw her, he tucked it away in his pocket and gave an imperious wave towards the chair in front of his desk. Sera took a seat, pushing a lock of her dark hair back behind her ear. Her gaze wandered as she tried to look at anything but him. She could pretend he wasn’t undressing her with his eyes, or calculating the money he could make from her.

The office was cramped and untidy, and it reeked of a combination of smoke and body odor. The rancid smell she’d noticed out in the corridor seemed to be from a forgotten plate on a shelf behind him, holding the remains of a meal. Her eyes followed Royale’s hand as he grasped the packet of Gauloises on the desk, bringing one to his fleshy lips. A diamond pinky ring glinted in the light. He dug a gold lighter from the pocket of his expensively tailored jacket and lit the cigarette.

“Mademoiselle Durand,” he said, clearing his throat. “You’ve disappointed me.”

Sera dared a glance at him. He glowered at her from under bushy brows, his eyes dark.

“What have I done?” Her fingers tightened on the folds of her black dress and she made herself relax. She hadn’t done anything wrong.

“When I lent you the money, mademoiselle, I told you quite clearly that it needed to be repaid swiftly. And you’re such a good girl, I thought you’d obey.” He coughed again and reached for a snifter of brandy that sat on a pile of old ledgers. “The €200 payment you left me this week is not what I would consider swift.”

“It was all I could afford,” Sera retorted, though she tried to keep her voice even. Work had been slow.

“That’s not my concern, just yours. Perhaps I didn’t make myself clear when you came begging.” He leaned forward, filling her field of vision. “If you default on your loan, you’ll pay up in other ways.”

Sera remembered, her stomach churning. He’d pinned her to the wall and yanked up her shirt. “A bit small,” he’d said as he groped her breast, his rancid breath washing over her. Now, his lewd gaze slid over her cleavage.

“I’ll give you more this week,” she replied, straightening in the chair. His eyes flicked up to her face, weighing her words.

“If I have less than €300 in my hand, I’ll consider you to have defaulted.” He looked at his watch. “And if I’m not mistaken, you have work to be doing, mademoiselle.”

Sera rose, swallowing against the bile that threatened. She smoothed her dress, anything to keep her from showing her fear to Royale. “Good night, monsieur.”

She backed from the room. Turning away from Royale always made her uneasy. Though his bulk meant he didn’t move quickly, she didn’t trust him. She pulled the door closed and hurried down the corridor. She could already hear Benoît warming up on the piano and the low tones of Patrice’s cello. She turned the corner and stepped out into the small club, nearly colliding with the bartender as he shifted a case of liquor.

“Sorry, Edouard!”

He smiled at her, the dimple showing in his olive-skinned cheek. “You’re late.” He scolded her gently. She hurried down the three steps and across to the stage, darting around a table full of carousing men. One tried to pinch her buttocks, but missed. Serge, the drummer, held out a hand as she ascended the stage, helping her up.

“It’s our last set,” he said. “Then we can relax. Are you ready?”

“Of course.”

He gave her a look and she squared her shoulders and looked back. “It’s Piaf first, then the Billie Holiday,” she replied. Any doubt in his eyes faded.

“’Le Vagabond‘,” he replied in a low tone. “Let’s wow them—make them glad they tore themselves away from M6’s cop dramas.”

Sera laughed. “Yes, let’s.” She stepped up to the microphone and looked out into the club, pretending that its faded crimson walls were instead the bright gloss of a club in Monte Carlo and the tarnished candelabra were glittering chandeliers.

A smattering of applause accompanied the first few bars of the song. She smiled, mostly to herself. One day it might be Monte Carlo. She wanted to leave this all behind.

THE PARIS GAME now available for Kobo!

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As Sera stepped up to the microphone, she glanced at the band. Benoît gave her a nod and she heard the opening bars of ‘Le Vagabond’.

The first lines came easily and she saw the club’s patrons turn their heads to listen. Even Jean paused in his work, holding a snifter of cognac. Her confidence swelled and she allowed a small smile to hover on her lips between verses, widening as she saw Jeremy Gordon moving from the bar to a better vantage point. Perfect. Near him, Sophie waited her turn for a drink. Sera met Edouard’s gaze across the bar and knew he’d spotted her as well. She watched them until the song finished and she had to turn her attention back to the band.

Benoît had chosen a song by Dietrich for their next piece, one of her favourites. It seemed appropriate to sing about falling in love again as she watched Sophie hover by the bar with her drink, Edouard speaking to her every time he had a lull in his work. Satisfied, she let her gaze wander.

The flicker of a cigarette lighter in the gloom caught her eye. It flickered again and held, illuminating the face of a man she hadn’t seen in weeks. Marc Perron lit his cigarette and his features faded back into the shadows. Not that she needed bright sunlight.

He would be elegantly dressed—a suit, pressed shirts with cufflinks, and depending on his mood, a tie. For all his apparent fastidiousness, he was never a dandy. Even now, moving amongst the crowd to stand at the rail, clear to her gaze, he confidently filled his space. He had a certainty about him, even when they’d first met in that tiny bar years ago. He’d beckoned her over, introduced himself, and had her telling him all her troubles before the night was over. Tonight, he gave her a hungry look that caused her to catch her breath in the midst of the phrase she was singing. She saw that half smile of amusement as he sipped a glass of wine. No one else had noticed her distraction, but he knew.

A Boxing Day Treat: An Excerpt from PROHIBITED PASSION

Bandit Creek, Montana
August 1929

Chapter One

Ruth thought her father looked ridiculous, his eyes closed and his hands raised to the heavens. His thinning hair had already gone grey and it fell untidily over his ears. A growing paunch strained the fabric of his clericals. She knew she would have to make him new ones. Just another task she couldn’t escape from.

Escape. She thought of little else. She wanted to leave Bandit Creek behind, but today, she’d satisfy herself by leaving the service. While the congregation followed her father’s lead, she rose silently from the end of the pew and crept from the church.

She had an excuse or two all ready if he asked her over dinner why she’d left the church.

I needed some air. I felt ill.

Not that he’d ask. As long as she had dinner on the table when he wanted it, kept the house in order and washed his clothes, her presence went mostly unnoticed. If she had been a boy, he would have taken her under his wing and taught her to follow in his footsteps. His sycophants hoped she might choose one of them to marry, and thus receive his blessing and the church’s leadership after he was gone. She disappointed them all. The thought of any of those young men – or any man – left her cold. She never understood how the other girls fawned over the attention from boys. She couldn’t feel an ounce of attraction to any of them, even if she tried to convince herself.

Ruth turned at the corner and strolled down to the small rail station, slowing her steps in the hopes of seeing strangers on the platform, hoping for a glimpse of the world outside. The platform was barren and the ticket office shuttered. She continued on to Main Street, where most businesses were closed for the Lord’s Day. She scuffed her toes in the dust as she crossed over in front of the hotel, the only building showing any signs of life.

If only she could go inside, just for a while. If she had money, she could order lemonade and sit at one of the tables in the tiny restaurant, pretending to be a lady on an exciting trip, waiting for her maid to finish packing. She never pictured herself with a husband or a chaperone; she wanted to experience the world on her own.

The lace curtains fluttered in the open window and Ruth lingered outside, carefully peering into the restaurant without seeming to peep. A woman sat alone at a table, a glass and a dirty plate in front of her. A napkin lay crumpled by her elbow and she absently turned her tea cup in its saucer. She seemed lost in thought.

Ruth stared. The woman had her dark hair cut into a stylish bob, with marcelled finger waves, and she wore a dress that left her arms bare to the shoulder and gave little shape to her form. Ruth fingered the end of her long, ginger braid and looked down at her homely and serviceable dress. The women of town would shun her if she dared wear a flapper’s dress or cut her hair, but she couldn’t help her attraction for the delicate and gorgeous woman. Her mouth had gone dry. A tremor went through her. From here, the woman’s skin looked pale and soft and Ruth wanted to touch her hand or run a finger down her bare arm.
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