Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Hot Jocks Blog Hop & Giveaway

When I signed up for this blog hop, I expected to be well into writing the continuation of Baby Dom Luke Denton's story (Nobody's Dream, #5) in the Rescue Me series, but, as you know, I'm still working on Nobody's Perfect (book #4). 

So, I don't have any new scenes about my one and only jock in the series. As fans of the series know, Luke played for the University of Texas Longhorns in college, but he went there primarily for the opportunity for higher education. While he wanted to study industrial arts, he had to change his thinking when he found out they didn't offer that major, so he became an art studio major instead. Now he makes awesome BDSM equipment for the Masters at Arms Club in Denver, as well as does carpentry. 

However, because everyone's awaiting Nobody's Perfect (due out in August), I thought I'd share a brief new scene from that book that involves Luke. This is a Christmas Day scene and we're in Damian's point of view. He thinks he can keep Savi and Marisol in the kitchen and private living quarters of the house on this day, so there shouldn't be a problem. 

Then he notices something that surprises him. 

(Unedited excerpt from Nobody's Perfect, copyright 2012)

Damián pulled in next to Luke's new gray Dodge pick-up truck in the driveway. Judging by the amount of mud on the fenders, he'd been off-road somewhere this morning because it hadn't looked like that last night when Luke had delivered the dollhouse. Marc's friend and SAR partner was becoming a regular at the club. Of course, they'd all worked together a few years ago trying to get the club ready. The man was a helluva carpenter, but his work creating the beautiful equipment in the club was his real gift. Lately, Damián  had been training the "baby Dom," as Marc liked to call him, to wield a bullwhip. The man had finesse with butterfly kisses and Damián doubted he'd want to go any harder on a sub or bottom—not for a while, at least. Lately, the newest Dom at the club seemed more interested in learning rope bondage from Dad.

Damián wondered how Adam and Karla were getting along on their honeymoon. It was hard to believe the wedding had only been a couple weeks ago, given all that had happened since then.

Savi and Marisol had happened. His life would never be the same again. He opened the back door of the Nissan and helped unbuckle Marisol while Savi eased out of the passenger side. She still moved stiffly, favoring her healing rib, but Marc assured him it was just going to take time. There was nothing much they could do. He hated feeling so fucking helpless.

He motioned for them to precede him onto the porch. He didn't expect anyone but Grant and Luke to show up today. He'd told them Savi had no idea the building was a kink club, but they were only going to be in the private residence today, so no sense mentioning it. This was still Dad's house, until he and Karla found a new place.

Normally Damián would be in California for Christmas, but he couldn't leave Savi and Marisol—and sure as hell wasn't going to take them back there. Good thing he'd been able to give his sister Rosa the presents he'd bought and made. They'd left a few days after Savi showed up. He would give them a call later today to see how their day went. He felt torn between two families now. But Rosa and Teresa were healing and Savi and Marisol needed him more now.

He braced himself before opening the screen door. Savi would probably roast his nuts if she knew what went on in parts of the house. But it was also Dad's home, at least until he and Karla found a more appropriate place to raise a kid.

Savi took the screen door as Damián pushed the inner door into the kitchen and was hit in the face with a number of smells.

Italian seasonings. Ham. Cinnamon.


Whoa! Mierda. He didn't realize people could smell the club's leather all the way out here in the kitchen. Not to mention a little sweat. He'd never noticed it before, but was probably just used to it. He looked down at Savi and saw her cute little nose scrunching up as she appeared to sniff out the unexpected scent as well.

The confusion on her face was evident. "Adam and Karla's is someone's home?"

Either she hadn't noticed the leather, or was too polite to point it out. "Yeah. This is my adopted dad's place—Adam Montague. Do you remember meeting him and his new wife, Karla, at Rosa's house?"


"They were married the day you…arrived. They're on their honeymoon right now. Angelina offered to prepare dinner for me and some of…Dad's friends so we wouldn't have to fend for ourselves this Christmas."

Damián looked down at Marisol and back at Savi. "Now you're included. I know he'll love seeing you again, Savi, when he gets back next week."

"Maman, why does it smell like horses here?"

"Shhh, Mari," she whispered, bending down to Marisol. "That's not polite." Still, Damián hadn't missed the question in Savi's eyes.

Okay. How to explain this?

"Hope I didn't smell the place up too badly." Luke came down the hall drying his hair with a towel. He wore a western-cut plaid shirt, jeans, and cowboy boots. "Been on a horse all morning and didn't have a chance to change at the SAR barn, so I just came over here and took advantage of the facilities."

Horse leather. Damián grinned, relaxing his guard a bit.

Marisol leaned a little closer to Damián's leg, reminding him that introductions were in order. "Savi and Marisol Baker, I'd like you to meet Luke Denton. He's a…friend of mine. He does search-and-rescue with Marc."

Luke shook Savi's hand, smiling, then hunkered down to Marisol's level and extended his hand to her, as well. "Hello, darlin'. You're cute as a button."

Marisol still wasn't sure about this strange man—good girl. Damián put a protective hand on his little doll's shoulder to reassure her that she was safe. She released her grip on his leg, not as scared, and drew herself up a little taller.

"Buttons aren't cute."

"Hmmm. Well, maybe that's true." He grinned. "But you sure are. Pleased to meet you, Marisol." 

Luke waited for her to become comfortable enough to make the next move. Damián's thumb stroked her shoulder and she stretched her tiny hand out to be swallowed up in Luke's much bigger one.

Now, it's giveaway time! Please comment below and tell me what is your favorite trait of a jock in a romance novel. Winner will receive a free e-book (current or future) in the Rescue Me series--and a set of swag (Master Adam hand fan, "Ahh, Kallypso...the stories you tell" purple ink pen, a bookmark, and a set of three Rescue Me Romance Trading Cards). Drawing will be on/after July 18. As with all my contests, this is open internationally. 

And don't miss the 68 other entries in this Hot Jocks in July Giveaway Blog Hop, sponsored by Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews and Under the Covers blogs! 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Cocked & Loaded, Shootin' Stars & Blasting Giveaway Hop

July Blog Hop

Blog Hop hosted by:

As those of you who have been reading my RESCUE ME series of BDSM erotic romances, you know that the first four books in the series are about some very honorable, heroic Marines, all of whom are wounded warriors. And many of you also know that the Wounded Warrior Project is my favorite charity. I just joined the Advance Guard there with a monthly donation and the fleece blanket they'll be sending me in 4-6 weeks (along with some RESCUE ME swag and an e-book) is going to go to the winning commenter below. 

In a bit, I'm going to share a bit of a scene from my upcoming release about one of the wounded warriors in my series, but first I want to honor some wounded warriors who have touched my heart. 

First, Dane Christopher Sattler, who served in the Army in Iraq and lost his battle with PTSD in January 2011. His mother, Sue, is one of my loyal readers and misses her son so much. This family really brings home to me the sacrifices our military personnel and their families make every day to preserve our freedom. Their service and sacrifice doesn't end with discharge papers.

Another is an anonymous Master Sergeant, US Marine Corps (Retired) who served in active service 22 years and continues to serve as a military contractor now. After reading the first three books in my series, he became a fan and contacted me and has been a big help to me in getting the Marine mindset right in my books--and just before Masters at Arms was released as a free book, he went through the entire book and added even more realism to it, as well as helping me improve the firefight scene at the Second Battle of Fallujah (Iraq) in 2004, the incident that bonds Marc, Adam, and Damian as "family" in this series. 

Last, but not least, is my dad, Joe. He served in the Navy in World War II (lied about his age to get in early) and in the Army in the Korean War. He came home from Korea with PTSD before it had become known as that--and, of course, went without treatment. At family reunions to this day, his brothers and their wives still talk about how bad it was when he first came home. I remember my uncle telling me that his mother and he would roll my dad in a bedroll and sit on him to try and keep him from hurting himself or anyone else. And my mother said one night they were sleeping; she was very pregnant at the time. He suddenly rose up, jumped over her and landed on the floor in the midst of a night terror, but didn't even touch her belly. The memories plagued him for the rest of his life--and he never talked about it, so we don't know what he went through to this day. He died in 1985, but will never be forgotten. When I visited Washington, D.C., a dozen years ago, I went to the Korean War memorial and still remember those haunted faces in the statues there, plus the words "Freedom is not free."

Now, the scene. This is my upcoming (due to be released later this summer) Nobody's Perfect (Rescue Me #4), which continues the story of Damian Orlando, an amputee from Iraq, and Savannah/Savi, the woman he dreamt about for eight long years, who suddenly showed up on his doorstep in need of his help. In this scene, he prepares to reveal his amputation to Savi. 

She held her breath. He seemed so serious, his jaw and body held rigid, guarded.

"Sit down."

Savi looked around. The only place to sit was on the bed. That didn't seem like a good idea.

"Sit. Down." He pointed at the bed, clearly upset with her. She wasn't sure why that bothered her so much. "Savi, I'm not going to…touch you. We're just going to talk."

Savi crossed the room and sat on the same side of the bed, keeping a safe distance away. She wasn't sure what she was afraid of. Damián wouldn't hurt her. He'd been nothing but gentle and supportive since she and Marisol had arrived here.

But he was still a man.

So, what was it he needed to tell her that made him so uncomfortable? She didn't want to know anything bad about him.

"When I got out of Iraq, I was fucked up."

"Damián, that's not unusual. You saw horrific things. War is…"

He held his hand up and halted her string of supportive words. She supposed they sounded trite, but she hadn't meant them to be.

"Don't go into therapist mode on me, Savi." He grinned, so maybe he wasn't upset with her for naturally trying to put him at ease. He was such a gentle soul. Last night, when Marisol had surprised him with the cake, he'd had unshed tears in his eyes. Processing the horrors of war would be difficult for someone who was much better at making love than war.

Don't think about making love with him. That would never happen again.

His grin faded and he ran his fingers through his hair, pulling it back from his face. She wondered why he didn't have it tied back. She didn't see it loose like this except when he got up in the morning.

"I fucked up a mission."

Savi's heart went out to him. She knew how hard it was for Marine to fail on a mission.

"We lost our sergeant because I couldn't act fast enough…"

"Damián, you can't blame yourself for…"

He glared at her. "Hear me out. This is hard enough to admit as it is."

"I'm sorry. Go on."

"I still have nightmares about it, especially around my Alive Day."

"Alive Day?"

He looked down at his feet. "That's the day I should have died, too. But I surv…I didn't die."

Savi knew not to interrupt anymore. He needed to talk and she needed to just listen. His body was held so stiffly, he barely breathed. She waited. After several moments, he continued.

"A grenade came over onto the roof where we'd held our position all day. I saw the damned thing, but I froze until it was too late to get away. When it went off, Sergeant Miller was killed. He…" Damián's breathing became rapid and she scooted closer to him on the bed, laying her hand on his thigh. She squeezed, hoping to help him focus on the present and not get lost in the memories. He placed his hand over hers and squeezed her back as if she were a lifeline.

"He died on top of me."

"Oh, God, Damián. I'm so sorry!" Savi shuddered as she thought about how that must have felt for him. Thoughts of having a weight like that on her caused beads of sweat to break out on her upper lip. But that was different. What Damián had been through was even more horrific.

"I'll never block out that image as long as I live. I could have saved him, but I…froze."

Hearing him take the blame for something beyond his control broke her heart. Not unusual for those in combat situations, though. They were trained to watch out for each other. Nothing she could say would help assuage his guilt that a member of his unit was killed, even if she could come up with the words to say. She just squeezed his thigh again, knowing there probably was more to come. She braced herself mentally.

"I came to in a military hospital in Germany. When I realized what I'd lost, I didn't want to go on."

"Lost?" Instantly, she knew he wasn't talking about his sergeant now.

He avoided making eye contact with her, but nodded, his gaze remaining on his feet. Oh, God, no! It became clear to her why she'd seen him limping so many times. She looked down at his feet. For the first time, she realized she'd never seen him without his shoes or boots on. Odd, considering they'd lived in such close quarters for two months.

Dread washed over her as she slid off the bed onto the floor. With shaking hands, she sat in front of his feet and reached out to touch his legs. Starting at his knees, which were flesh on solid muscle, she ran each of her hands down the backs of his legs until her left hand bumped into straps on his right leg. On the other leg she felt sinew and muscle. Unharmed.

She reached down to the hem of his jeans leg and folded up the right one. Damián reached out and stayed her hand, but she brushed him away.

"Please, Damián. I need to see what they did to you."

His hand went to her chin and he lifted her face to his. The pain—no, the torment—there told her how hard this was for him. She needed to back off and give him time to prepare himself. This wasn't about what she needed. She had to do what Damián needed.

Two Giveaways
Contest Information

There are two types of contests as part of this blog hop. The first (see #1) is provided by the hosts of this blog hop--Queentutt's World of Escapism blog and Close Encounters of the Night Kind blog. The second (see #2) is a chance to win a prize package I'm providing. 

1) To enter into the Cocked and Loaded Grand Prize drawing for one of two Kindle Fires and lots of other cool prizes, you must go HERE and sign up using the Rafflecopter form provided. 

2) To enter to win your choice of e-book from my Rescue Me series, some swag (bookmark, Master Adam hand fan, Rescue Me trading cards, and a pen), plus the Wounded warrior Project fleece blanket, please sign up for my newsletter HERE (if you haven't already done so) and comment below WITH your email address. (Please allow up to 8 weeks to receive the blanket, because I won't get it from the WWP for 4-6 weeks from today.)

This hop ends midnight on July 11 and winners will be chosen and emailed by the 13th. Thanks for stopping by--and please keep our wounded warriors in your thoughts and prayers! If you are able, consider a donation to help the good people at the Wounded Warrior Project continue to provide services and support to those who have given so much to us.