Tag Archives: #AubreyWynne

A Mermaid’s Quest – Episode 3

By Aubrey Wynne

 

An invisible rope pulled at him—no, something subtler and even more compelling. A silky thread of gentle influence that spun around his head and shoulders and drew him toward the highest boulder. Simon climbed the rock, his fingernails scraping the slick algae that clung to his skin. A yellow froth simmered in the water. Just below his line of vision, a splash dissolved the golden foam.

He peered over the top, sharp points digging into his chest and ribs. A glint of sparkling scales in blues and greens and silvers. A soft sigh. He inched closer to the edge. Long slender arms gracefully stroked the water. The moonlight shimmered off her pale, creamy skin and gave the woman an almost ghostly appearance. As if sensing his presence, she turned her head.

He froze, feeling the earth spin beneath him as sea green eyes gazed up at him. She wasn’t a ghost; she was an angel. And then his hand slipped, his chin smashed against the stone, and he tumbled over the ragged cliff and into the water below. Splash!

He fought for breath as the cold water soaked his clothes. He kicked and floated up, breaking through the clear surface with a yell. He tread water, turning in circles, searching for the heavenly, raven-haired girl. Where did she go? Have I lost my mind? The scent of suphur burned his nostrils again.

“Are you all right?”

Her voice washed over him and warmed his skin. It was the sweetest sound he had heard in two years. She sat just inside a small cave, her knees up and arms wrapped around her legs—naked. I do need therapy. No one will ever believe this.

“Perhaps we can help each other?” She spoke in a slow, sensual tone like honey dripping from a spoon.

He swam over to her and she reached down to help pull him from the water. As he dripped over her, she quickly covered herself again. “Could you spare a wet shirt for a female in need?”

Simon opened his mouth, closed it, and opened it again. Shut your mouth, you look like a gaping fish. Her slender arms barely covered perfect, rounded breasts. The curly dark shadow between her legs glistened with beads of water.

“Who are you? How did you get here? Where are your clothes?” Now that he’d caught his breath, every question in his head seemed to spill from his lips.

“Give a girl a break. I’ll trade you answers for the hoodie.” She smiled and his heart beat faster.

He pulled off the wet material and handed it to her. “What’s your name?”

“Narissa, and thank you. I came a bit unprepared.” The last of her words were muffled as she struggled to push her arms through the sopping sleeves.

Simon started to tug and when her head finally appeared, he was rewarded with a lovely grin on her soft, pink lips. Without thought, he reached around and gently tugged her hair out from the hood and laid it gently over her shoulders. Thick waves of midnight fell through his fingers and framed her heart-shaped face. A tremor passed through him, and he felt himself harden for the first time since… What the hell? I just got out of the ice-cold ocean, how can I be—

“And you are?”

“Simon. Were you in a boating accident? How did you get here?” An image flashed through his mind, the hull of his boat jutting out of the water, blackness all around, a cry for help.

“Oh no, nothing like that. Elnora was a little too adamant about the mission. I took off without a plan.” Narissa shrugged. “I have a bad habit of not thinking first.”

The late spring air chilled his skin and goose bumps rose along his arms and chest. He suddenly felt the stones under his bare feet and his chin hurt. As if reading his mind, she reached up and delicately touched it.

“Is there much pain? I can’t tell without any light.”

“Aren’t you cold?” He caught her hand as she pulled away. “How do you know my chin hurts?”

“I could feel it. And your teeth will start chattering soon if you don’t find some warmth.”

 

 

The Scribblers at RT16 Vegas

It’s been a long week and I think some of us might be recovered. I thought it would be fun to share some photos of a few of the Scribblers who met up at RT16 in Las Vegas about a week ago. As always, time is too short when you’re having fun.

Watch for upcoming episodes (as soon as we all get caught up on deadlines) and of course, Enchanted Keepsakes!

2016-04-16 09.37.29Our very own Kishan Paul at the Giant Book Fair.

2016-04-16 17.20.48 Kishan Paul and Aubrey Wynne at the top floor of the Presidential Suite at the Rio.

2016-04-13 19.54.59 Valerie Twombly and roomie, Kishan Paul.

2016-04-14 09.56.11 Valerie Twombly at First Base with an Author, reader event.

13007104_10154059533378361_583836292906336054_n Group photo. Lena Hart, C.A. Szarek, Valerie Twombly, Kishan Paul & Aubrey Wynne.

13006514_556480401220514_2153752404816722194_n Valerie with cover model, Vikkas Bhardwaj and her newest release, Sultry Nights.

13007303_10154059547213361_242424788551382117_n Group photo. Angie Daniels, C.A. Szarek, Valerie Twombly, Aubrey Wynne & Kishan Paul.

13010637_557198784482009_3061971121271219790_n Valerie fangirling with Larissa Ione.

Accidental Witch, Episode 2

Episode Two

By Aubrey Wynne

 

 

“Gus, did you purchase my supplies?”

“Yes, sir,” the chauffeur said over his shoulder, weaving through traffic. “You will be pleased with the pendulum. It’s a brilliant clear amethyst. However, there were no white candles only red.”

“That’s fine. I only need the red for tonight.” Stirling Drake smiled at the fat raindrops now splattering against the windshield. He loved a good storm. “Did you find the sixth volume?”

“It’s on your desk, sir.” At the red light, Gus looked in the rear view mirror. “Will you be needing my assistance before the charity auction tonight?”

Stirling needed to take care of this hex before he left this evening. “No, I think can manage without assistance.” He let out a sigh. “The last thing I want to do is put on a tux tonight.”

“But it’s for a good cause, and she should be there. Speak of the…” He slowed the car. “Is that Miss Reynolds, sir?”

Through the tinted glass, he saw the stunning honey blonde march toward the curb, a tote bag slung over her shoulder. Her purse swung wildly from her wrist as she shook her fist at what appeared to be the heavens. A wicked smile curved Stirling’s lips, and the rain immediately turned into a downpour. The thin material of her dress now clung to her delicious curves.

“I believe the damsel is in distress.” He rolled down the window of the Mercedes. “Can I give you a lift?”

She leaned down, wiped the sodden gold tendrils from her face, and gave him a disgusted look. “If you can improve my day, I’ll go anywhere with you.”

He opened the door, stretched out his long legs, and took the tote from her. “Allow me.” Mary rewarded him with a dazzling smile. She left a trail of water across the dark leather seat as she slid across.

“Mr. Drake, how nice of you. It’s been one hell of a day, and I don’t think it’s noon yet.” Her voice cracked. “I’m not a vengeful person but if I could—”

“Why don’t you tell me what happened, Miss Reynolds?” The anger flashing in those green eyes sent heat through him. This woman had stirred his blood when he first met her last month. Drake Corporation raised funds each year for literacy, and she had catered the dinner. Asking her out, he had been politely informed that dating clients went against her moral business standard. Stirling vowed then to never hire that caterer in the future.

“So I told that spiteful pastry chef that I’d put a curse on her.” Her head slammed against the back of the soft leather.

Can you put a curse on her?” he asked in a low voice as he slid closer. Stirling’s midnight eyes locked with Gus’ tawny stare in the rear view mirror.

Her laughter seemed incongruous to the previous rant. The sudden switch in mood made her even more attractive. Yes, there was something about this female; she awakened a longing deep inside him.

“Don’t be sil… You’re not serious.” Her full lips pursed slightly, and she gave him a wary look. “Are you?”

“Of course not, Miss Reynolds. However, your misfortune is my good fortune.” He gave her his most charming smile and slowly reached out his hand and brushed a dripping curl behind her ear.

“And how is that?”

“I can no longer be considered a client if you are no longer employed. Perhaps I could share some magic with you over dinner. Would you be my date for the charity auction tonight? I believe an event you were in charge of?”

A grin curved her mouth. “Please, call me Mary.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ranger’s Reprieve, episode 6

By Aubrey Wynne

 

Java stood, tail wagging, and sniffed at the artificial hand. Her pink tongue licked a finger and then another. An unexpected smile curled his lips. At least one female is good with it.

“She understands verbal commands as well,” Lindsey said with more than a hint of laughter. This time, she held out her right hand.

Jess unclenched his fist from inside his pocket and felt her warm fingers slide over his. For a brief moment, he allowed himself to remain lost in those clear green eyes. When his jeans tightened, he gave a fake cough and ended the contact.

“So what’s on the agenda today? How to take her for a walk?”

“We’ll get to that. Today you both need to get acquainted and make sure you are compatible,” Lindsey said in a professional tone. “Have you owned a dog before?”

“Sure, as a kid. And our unit had a shepherd that sniffed out bombs.” Dammit.

“I only ask to make sure you have no fear of canines. Some people think they want a dog but are intimidated by the size, exuberance, or just the barking.” She studied him for a moment. “I don’t think that will be an issue.”

“Why?”

“I get the feeling there isn’t much that frightens you.”

No smile, no hint of teasing. She was serious. I’ll remember to keep the windows closed so she doesn’t hear me at night. “Nope. I’ve survived hell, and I’m here to tell it about it.” He absently rubbed his aching arm.

A flash of jade eyes took in the action, and a sadness shadowed her face. Not pity—he knew the difference by now. “I’d like to hear your story.”

She gently squeezed his forearm and the ache moved to his chest. He wondered again if he might find comfort in the warmth of her skin next to his, her body filling the cold emptiness that had settled in his heart since that day…

The next few hours flew by as he learned the skills of his new canine companion. He had even managed a few grins and a genuine laugh. An apology might be a good way to end the session.

“Thanks for all your help. I can be a real ass sometimes, and I appreciate you not holding it against me.” His mother would be proud of him but he could almost hear Chuck hooting with disbelief.

“Well, I know Shelby can be a bit obnoxious but she’s a work in progress. I’ve only had her a couple of months.” She bit her plump bottom lip then looked up at him under thick, dark lashes. “Since I’m your neighbor, we could probably arrange to bring Java home sooner and do more of the training at your house. Would you like that?”

Would he like that? No. Yes. Fuck! “Sure, if it isn’t too much trouble. I guess that would work.”

“We can introduce Shelby and set up some play dates.”

“Play dates?” Could you wipe the stupid grin off your face? She’ll think you’re a pervert.

“For the dogs,” Lindsey answered. “Or whatever.”

Those kissable lips turned up at the corners as she turned and bent over Java to attach her leash. He stuck his hand in his pocket to keep from giving her firm, round ass a light smack. Flirting had once been second nature to him but he hadn’t felt the urge in years. She’d also made him forget about his arm for a few hours. It might be an interesting summer after all.

 

Days Of Auld Lang Syne, Episode 10

By Aubrey Wynne

 

Jojo shook her head. “I have too much work today. I need to get an article finished by tomorrow. And… And I’m meeting Lara tonight for dinner.”

She gazed down at her boots as the excuse came to her.

“Lara? The redhead from high school?” He rubbed his chin. “I vaguely remember a Lara O’Brien—tall, lean, on the track team. Pretty but no filter.”

She laughed and dared a glance up. Big mistake, his penetrating gaze locked onto her. It was hard to lie when he stared through her like that. “Yep, that would be her.”

“Where are you going? I’ll meet you both.” His hands rubbed up and down her arms and she could feel his heat through the thick leather.

“We were, uh… We were having a girl’s night out.” Really?

He tipped her chin up and she thought he might kiss her again. “I’ll stop in, buy you both a drink, and when you want me to go just say so.”

“Say what? It’s time for you to leave?” Please god, let Lara be available tonight.

“No arguments, no persuading you to change your mind.”

She bit her lip and dug her fists deeper into her pockets. “Okay. Seven o’clock at BLVD. It’s the old Boulevard Bistro on Lennox at 122nd. Look for us in a back booth.” What will she do if her bestie skips out on her? Or has plans? The tangled webs we weave…

Shawn tried to walk her back to the train; it had taken some quick thinking to get rid of him. She sat next to an old woman holding a shiny black vinyl purse and a crinkled, paper shopping bag. Her lips moved as she mumbled to herself and rocked slightly with the rhythm of the train as it hummed along the tracks. Jojo wondered if that would be her someday if she didn’t get over the past.

Her therapist said she’d made excellent progress. It was typical for victims of an attack to be leery of a relationship. Joanne had been lucky. A cop had scared the guy away just before the actual deed had ben committed. The officer had found her half naked, beaten, and hysterical. The cuts and bruised healed in a few weeks. But she still struggled emotionally.

Shawn had been the first man to touch her without her soul going cold. His kiss had swathed her with a warmth that had been missing for over a year. Move at your own speed. You’ll know when you are ready. Don’t be afraid of intimacy and it will happen. Great advice but not so easy to follow.

She knew from Shawn’s kiss that he would want more. What if she broke down? Would he look at her as if she were a freak? Most guys didn’t want to deal with baggage and she certainly carried a big suitcase.

Fumbling for her cell, she tapped her foot and waited for the reassuring sound of Lara’s voice.

“You almost blew off Shawn Davis for me? Are you crazy?” Yep, that’s what she needed to hear. “Of course I’ll be there. Tell me he’s just as gorgeous.”

“He’s just as gorgeous.” Better. The years had added a sensual maturity to him. A man with confidence who knew what he wanted.

“Ask him to bring a friend. Guys like that don’t have ugly friends.” Lara had many qualities but chastity was not one of them. “I’m in the middle of a dry spell.”

“Um, no, and did I tell you we are exchanging Christmas presents?” Jojo held the phone away from her ear.

“And I’m supposed to buy you something? You owe me,” she ranted. “I’ll come by around 6:00 and make sure you look presentable. No turtlenecks or I go home. It’s time, my friend, it’s time.”

 

 

Exes and Ohhs: A Thanksgiving Romance

Exes and Ohhs!

A Thanksgiving Romance

Episode One

by J.A. Coffey

 

The doorbell jangled a frantic greeting over the buzz of customers. The chill November wind sent a flurry of fallen leaves creeping across the black and white linoleum tiles.

“Hey, Sugar. Gimme the house special.”

To any other woman, the sobriquet would be annoying. To Sugar Dennison, it was the norm.

“You got it.”

Despite the cold drizzle making tear tracks on the fogged up row of windows, inside the packed Dennison’s diner was warm and cozy with the scents of bacon and maple syrup. Sugar put a warmer on the coffee of a city councilwoman and made change for the two teachers at the end of the counter.

“Two eggs sunny side and a side of grits, Beau,” she hollered over her shoulder.

“Table Six Order up!” Her cousin Beau set the plate of steaming flapjacks on the serving window as Sugar’s twin sister Honey moved behind the counter, the front of her cotton uniform freshly pressed.

“Can you cover Table Six for me? I need to prep the biscuits.” Honey’s dark eyes scanned the busy breakfast crowd and rested on the regulars stuffed into every booth and wobbly table. Sugar sighed and resisted the urge to smooth the creases out of her own butter-colored apron. She’d gotten ready at the ass-crack of dawn. It was barely six a.m. now but the diner was at full capacity. Her hastily gulped black coffee hadn’t even hit her system yet.

“Okay, but tell Mama I’m clocking out early today. I’ve got an interview at two.” Sugar felt her natural curls bounce as she tucked a nibbled stub of pencil behind her ear. Time to take more orders.

The doorbell jangled again as a pair of uniformed police officers made their way into Dennison’s diner, slumping in the vacated stools. Sugar felt her palms go slick, then reminded herself that she wasn’t that same stupid girl who’d gotten sprung out of the county jail last year. It had all been a misunderstanding, but she’d learned her lesson. She gulped and snatched up her notepad.

“What’ll it be, officers?” She willed herself to remain calm.

“You tell me, Sugar Pie Dennison. What’s keeping you busy these days?” Officer Frank Milhouse gave her a slow grin like burnt molasses.

Autumn always twisted her broken heart into shreds. The dead leaves clung to branches just as she’d clung to the memories of the one man who’d abandoned her in this godforsaken backwoods, country town. It hadn’t felt like home since the day Jax Brandon had been assigned overseas three years ago. She’d cried when he showed her his orders to ship out. But he hadn’t. That man might have been carved of stone, but he had more honor rolled up in his pinky than she had in her entire body. Sugar felt her cheeks burn, thinking of how Jax would’ve reacted to the news she’d been arrested.

“Just workin’ as usual.” The bell chimed again. Sugar grit her teeth. Busy season or no, there was no way in hell she was going to encourage Milhouse. She hadn’t hit rock bottom yet.

“Yeah? Think maybe you could find a little free time this Saturday?” Milhouse’s fair skin made a sharp contrast to her own, as he wrapped his fingers around hers and pulled her closer. His partner chuckled and looked away, flushing slightly. “Girl as pretty as you shouldn’t be getting dishpan hands. I don’t like ‘em rough.”

“Then maybe you should take your hands off her,” said a voice she’d never thought to hear again.

 

Episode Two

by Luanna Stewart

Sugar’s next breath stuck in her throat. No, it couldn’t be him. She’d just about healed from his desertion. Had forgotten the look in his eyes when he had devilment on his mind. Had forgotten the taste of his kiss.

She pulled her hand from the cop’s grip and turned. “Hey, stranger.” No way was she going to let the folks in the diner see what Jax’s arrival did to her heart.

Officer Milhouse stood with his hands on his equipment belt. “Do I know you?”

She could almost see the testosterone floating in the air between the two men.

“I know him. Excuse me for a minute.” Sugar motioned Jax to follow her into the hall that led to the bathrooms. This could not be happening. Not today. She had enough on her mind with the interview that afternoon, to say nothing of arranging extended childcare for her daughter.

Jax’s daughter.

Holy hell.

“Hey, Sugar, how are you? You’re looking good.”

“I’m fine. When did you get back?” Standing this close, it took every bit of self-control not to wrap her arms around his trim waist, press against his firm chest, and inhale his scent. After all this time, just one hit of his pheromones was all it took to make her forget that he’d left way too easily. That his responses to her emails got shorter and shorter until they stopped. She called to tell him she was pregnant but changed her mind when it became clear he was too busy to talk—at eleven o’clock on a Wednesday night. She’d not called again and neither had he.

“I landed yesterday, spent the night at my folks. They told me you still worked here.”

“Yup, still slinging hash. And as you can see we’re busy as hell, so…”

“They also told me you had a run-in with the police last year.”

Oh, the joys of small town living. She bet they all knew when she got her period too because Mrs. Hennigar at the drug store would notice when she bought tampons, and the checkout clerk at the grocery store would notice when she stocked up on chocolate.

“It was a misunderstanding, all cleared up. What else did your parents tell you? You must have had a long conversation, catching up on everything over the last three years.”

“You have a child, a daughter. How’d that happen?”

She smirked. “Based on my experience, you know exactly how that might happen.”

“How old is she?”

Well, shit. Luckily Sophie was petite, so some fudging on her age wouldn’t be too hard to pull off. “She’s two.”

His eyebrows lifted. “Who’s the dad? Anyone I know?”

Sugar’s stomach plummeted. She hated lying. But Jax had made it abundantly clear he wasn’t interested in maintaining their relationship when the going got rough. She didn’t want him back if it was just because of some sense of responsibility. He hadn’t loved her three years ago, at least not enough. And she wouldn’t settle for anything less.

“No one important, just a guy who left and never came back.”

 

 

Episode Three

By Aubrey Wynne

 

Jax Brandon looked at her through hooded eyes, catching the jab aimed at his failed communication. How could he explain? The memory of her tears the day he left had haunted him every night since. Before each mission, he would look at her picture, running his finger over her smiling face. Yet he knew the chance of a safe return became slimmer with each assignment.

He’d stopped all contact because of his love for her. The pain she’d felt that day would have been nothing compared to her misery if he’d been killed in action. And Jax cared too much for Sugar to cause her that kind of grief. But he also knew she would never understand.

“You look damn good.” The words were out of his mouth before he could stop them. Jax had intended on avoiding her while he was in town for the holidays. Somehow, he had found himself walking by the diner and there she stood in the window, taking an order. When he’d seen the cop putting the moves on her, he couldn’t help himself.

“Yeah, right,” she said as she pushed those silky, dark curls away from her face. He fisted his hands to keep from reaching out and tucking one stray lock behind her ear. “Looks like the Marines have been good to you.”

“Well, they didn’t kill me,” he answered lightly in the hopes of seeing a smile.

“That’s not funny.” Her blue eyes flashed with anger. His stomach clenched with remorse; his crotch tightened with three years of pent-up desire. Had he really thought he could let her go?

“You’re right,” he said and reached out to brush her cheek with his thumb. “War is a serious game and I’m very lucky to be here.”

Sugar’s eyes closed briefly and her slight tremble told him that her feelings had not changed. Did he have a chance? It would take a lot of convincing. This woman still held a grudge from a fifth grade romance.

“Please don’t do that,” she whispered. Shaking her head and backing away from his touch, she continued in a tight voice, “I have to get back to work. It’s been nice seeing you again.”

“I deserve that.” Jax didn’t want to end the conversation quite yet. He hadn’t heard that sweet southern drawl in three years. “Are you going to the tree lighting Thanksgiving weekend?”

“Of course. Sophie and I will be there with my parents.” Panic shone in her eyes then she quickly turned and walked away.

Sophie. The name they wanted for their first girl. Sam for a boy. He suddenly had a few more questions for his parents.

“So, Stranger, I don’t seem to recognize your mug.” The cop who had been flirting with Sugar stood in front of him, invading his personal space. “How do you know my girl?”

“Your girl? You’re dating?” Shit. Had she met him when she got arrested? He still needed to find out more details on that tale. When the man hesitated, Jax had his answer. “I’m Jax Brandon. My folks run the hardware store. I don’t seem to recognize you, either.”

“I transferred here from Atlanta a year ago. And I was about to ask Sugar out when you interrupted.” He puffed out his chest like a rooster, as if trying to make himself bigger, then fondled his holster. Jax towered over him by at least a foot and enjoyed the man’s obvious disadvantage.

“Thanks for the warning, but Sugar and I have a history. And the ending hasn’t been written yet.” He brushed past the officer, winked over his shoulder at a grinning Honey, and walked out the door.