But he soon discovers that greedy men have dammed Lily's river, using her strength in pursuit of their own selfish needs. He’s galvanized to desperate action…but will he be able to save her, or is it too late?
~~~~~ Excerpt ~~~~~
Charlie followed her as she turned, and the breeze brought the scent of her hair to his nose. He shifted uncomfortably. Over the past year he had been growing more and more aware of Lily's physical presence during their time together. In fact, it was now a rare day when he did not have to duck into the barn after spending time with her and bring himself to shuddering release.
Today Lily was wearing a dress which seemed to incorporate all the flowers of spring. Thousands of delicate petals were somehow woven together into a multi-hued pastel garment which clung to her body like a second skin. From his vantage point beside her, he could peek down the open neckline and see the swells of her growing breasts.
She turned back towards him, her eyes wicked, and he flushed crimson.
“What were you looking at, naughty little boy?”
“I'm not little anymore,” he said, stung by her tone. “I'm taller than you are now.” Indeed, that had been a day to savor last autumn, when he finally passed her in height.
Lily flipped a hand dismissively. “All little boys are the same. They all want what they can't have.”
Hardly daring to breathe, Charlie reached out his hand and took hers, their fingers entwining. “I'm not like other boys,” he said.
She turned her head and looked deep into his eyes. He sank into them, feeling as if he were drowning. She cupped his cheeks in her tan hands, the cool skin a balm on his hot face.
“No, you're not. But neither am I like other girls, Charlie,” she said sadly. “Don't expect me to give you what they can.” Soft as a whisper, her lips brushed his cheek, making him burn.
Suddenly, she bounced to her feet, then dove into the pool, giving him a heart-stopping glimpse of her long legs before she sliced into the water. She bobbed to the surface, her eyes laughing. “Come in for a swim!”
He peeled off his shirt and set it aside on the warm grass. He then climbed up the path to the waterfall. He backed away a few steps, then charged forward, his bare feet slapping against sun-warmed stone. For an instant he flew through the air, then hit the water with a tremendous splash, throwing spray in all directions.
He came to the surface with a grin, watching as Lily wiped water from her streaming face. Treading water, he took in her delicate, finely-carved features, blossoming like a flower in the sun.
When she is grown, she will be beautiful, he thought with sudden prescience. I should tell her. Tell her how I feel.
He took a deep breath and was at her side in a few strokes. As promised, Lily had been a good teacher, and he was a strong swimmer, even if he had never been in a body of water bigger than her pool.
He stopped only a few inches away from her. Reaching through the water, he set his hands on her hips, feeling her muscles flex as their legs slowly kicked in the clear water, occasionally brushing each other. He looked into her eyes, trying to come up with the right words.
“Lily. Lilaea.” He took a deep breath. “I-”
“There you are,” came a voice from behind him. He spun in the water, seeing Maggie standing on the riverbank. She made a disgusted face. “Get out of the creek and into your shirt and shoes, Charlie. Mama's been calling you for supper for the past twenty minutes.”
Swearing under his breath, Charlie turned back to Lily, but she was gone.
Charlie Griffin had sworn to save himself for marriage. When he met hot, sexy Elena Rodriguez, he thought his prayers had been answered. But then Elena is cruelly taken away from him on their wedding night. Succumbing to despair, Charlie sinks into depression. But he hasn't counted on the willpower of one young woman. Jasmine, Elena's daughter, won't let him throw his life away. She will do anything to claim the love of "My Virgin Daddy."
~~~~~ PG Excerpt ~~~~~
Charlie was shivering with pleasure and fear. This was not what he had imagined his first time would be like. Rather than the culmination of weeks of planning after a wedding, he was being seduced by his dead wife's daughter. His eyes feasted on her incredible body, seeing for the first time what he had known unwillingly. Long, slim legs melded into a pair of subtly curved hips, the white lace of her high-cut panties emphasizing her slender waist. Above, her stomach was flat, the dimple of her navel winking at him saucily. The delicate fan of her ribs morphed irresistibly into the lovely curves of her breasts, standing out high and proud from the wall of her chest, obviously not needing the negligible support of her filmy bra.
“Thirty-six C,” she said, catching his look. “A little smaller than Mama's, but then,” she shrugged, “I haven't had any babies yet. They'll probably get a bit bigger when I do.”
“It's all right, Charlie,” she said. “Men like to know.” She stepped closer, until he could feel the heat of her body. “Would you like to go to my room?” she asked quietly.
She shook her head. “Too many memories. I know Mama never slept with you there, but...it would still feel like I was trying to take her place.
“I'm not, you know.” Her face, looking up into his, was solemn. “I know I'm not her. I'm me. But I'm a me who loves you, Charlie. And I don't want you to hurt anymore.” She shook her head. “I'm sorry. I'm screwing this up. I just...”
Greatly daring, Charlie laid his fingers across her full, kissable lips. His heart was hammering in his chest. Slowly, carefully, he enfolded his stepdaughter in his arms, until their bodies were pressed together. He could feel her soft curves against his bare chest. His arousal was an iron bar inside his slacks, pressing against her bare belly. Jasmine didn't flinch away. Instead, she made a low, growling noise deep in her throat, and her hands reached around him to grab his ass, pulling them even closer together.
Her eyes, when they met his, were shining. “Are you ready?”
“I think so.”
~~~~~ Excerpt ~~~~~
“Um.” He swallowed. “I want to apologize. When I was upstairs yesterday, I opened the curtains because I hoped to see you naked.
“You have every right to tell my parents, or call the cops, or whatever else you think is appropriate.
“I’m sorry,” he finished. “I’m really, really sorry, and I will never do anything like that again. Not to you or to any other woman.”
After, a long moment, she blinked. “An apology. Well. Apparently you’re not a complete prick.” She paused, seemingly gathering her thoughts. “So, Jack.” Her tone was chilly. “Here’s the question. Were you spanking the monkey last night because you were seeing a naked woman? Or because I was naked?”
Jack didn’t need to think about it. “It was because of you.”
“Oh? Do you think I’m beautiful?” He thought he could see something stirring in her eyes.
“No,” he answered honestly. “I don’t think you’re beautiful.
“I think you’re hot.”
“What? What are you talking about?”
“Lots of women are beautiful. Or want to be. And they’re going to spend the rest of their lives trying to hold onto the way they look right now. And the older they get, the harder they’ll try. Eventually, they’ll be nothing but makeup and liposuction and dye-jobs and botox. I’ve seen it with my mother’s friends. It looks like their faces will crack if they smile.”
Jillian’s lips twitched, and that gave him the courage to go on. “But you, Mrs. Murphy. You don’t seem to care. I mean, you look good. But you don’t have to work at it. You have this grace, this natural flow about you. You remind me of a tiger. Or a leopard.”
“Not a cougar?” Damn it, there was a smile playing around one corner of her mouth. For the first time, he felt himself relax slightly.
“Maybe. You’re…you’re just sexy, Jillian. I’ve thought so for years. And I wanted to see you. All of you.”
“Hmm.” For a long moment, Jillian stared at him. She nodded once, abruptly. “All right. Apology accepted.”
He felt his knees buckle. “Oh, thank God,” he said. He turned for the door. “I’m sure you don’t want to see any more of me,” he said, realizing he was babbling, but unable to shut up. “I’ll see you later.”
He felt his shirt sleeve seized in an iron grip. “Oh, no you don’t.”
Her face was lit by some unnameable emotion. “I said I accepted your apology. I didn’t say that I was done with you.
“I. Own. You.
“So here’s how it’s going to be, Jack. You can walk out of here. And sometime in the next couple of days, your entire comfortable little world is going to come tumbling down around your ears. Maybe it’s an anonymous phone call to the cops. Maybe it’s a letter in the mailbox. Maybe I show up on your front doorstep, and walk to talk to your parents.
“So unless you do what I want, I ruin you.”
Jack could almost feel the blood draining away from his face. “So what is it? What do you want?”
Jillian stepped closer, so close he could almost feel the heat of her body. “Oh, don’t look so scared.
“Do you know,” she asked, one hand tracing patterns on his chest, “how long it's been since I've been in bed with a man who found me attractive? It has to be nearly twelve years.
“So here’s the deal, Jack. You show me exactly how hot you find me. And I’ll keep my mouth shut.”
He stared at her. "You're blackmailing me into sex?"
Mona Lisa St. James made a deathbed promise that she would do anything to save her mother's art gallery. Unfortunately, not only is The Red painted red, but it's in the red.
Just as she realizes she has no choice but to sell it, a mysterious man comes in after closing time and makes her an offer: He will save The Red if she agrees to submit to him for the period of one year.
The man is handsome, English, and terribly tempting...but surely her mother didn't mean for Mona to sell herself to a stranger. Then again, she did promise to do anything to save The Red...
“Deliciously deviant... Akin to Anne Rice’s ‘Beauty’ series.” — Library Journal (Starred Review)
"A delightful, wicked fairytale." — Smart Bitches, Trashy Books
"Kinky, well-written, hot as hell." — Little Red Reading Hood
"Smart and intriguing." — NPR
"Tiffany Reisz at her best." — Collector of Book Boyfriends
"[A] best romance of the month." — Goodreads
"An exploration, exploitation, and celebration of sex." — Heroes & Heartbreakers
"Four stars." — RT Book Reviews
"You can't quite believe what you're reading." — Lil Maso
"Not your average erotic fantasy story... [Leaves] you hot one moment, then raw the next." — Texas Reader Stacy
"Filthy." — Blogger Vivien Olvasókuckója
"I tossed sleep aside to finish it in a night... This book is worth it." — No Pithy Phrase
"No holds barred." — Sarah Tandy, A Woman and Her Books
"A lovely bit of literary smut, full of art and sex and mystery." — RITA Finalist Kira Gold
"Unlike anything I've ever read before." — A Reader Who Reads Blog
~~~~~ Excerpt ~~~~~
“We're home!” Becca shouted cheerfully as Mary turned on the lights. She took off her jacket, then helped Debbie do the same thing, hanging them up neatly on the battered coatrack by the door. Free of the jacket, Debbie toddled over to her, her small round face creased in a frown.
“I'm hungwy, Mommy,” she said.
“I'll have something ready for you in a few minutes, sweetheart,” she said absently. Then she realized that Evey was looking at her with something like horror in her eyes.
'Mommy?' This child? Evey's mind reeled. She had thought the two girls were Mary's nieces. Or perhaps she was a babysitter. She looked at the two children and her mind did some rapid mental math. She couldn't have been more than fifteen when her first child was conceived. If that. Maybe less.
Mary looked at her, her chin raised, daring her to say something. “They're both mine,” she said with painful dignity, “and no one is going to take them away from me.”
“I wasn't judging,” she replied quietly. “I do social work myself. I've seen worse, believe me. I've seen thirteen-year-old boys strung out on heroin. I've seen women who shouldn't even be allowed to be near children having baby after baby. I've seen...too much,” she finished lamely, unwilling to catalog all of the horrors she had seen over the last three years.
“You talk funny,” Rebecca observed, from a spot down around her knees.
“Rebecca!” Mary said, her voice horrified. She looked at Evey in apology. Instead, she knelt down to kiss the child's cheek.
“Ah do, don't ah, punkin?” she said, emphasizing her Georgia drawl. “Why, bless yo heart, but you're just as sweet as pah.”
The little girl giggled, then spun away to sit on the couch. “You mentioned a shower?” Eveline asked, feeling her frigid, waterlogged jeans sticking uncomfortably to her thighs.
“Of course,” Mary said, blushing. She led her down a short hall to a bathroom. “Just toss your clothes outside the door. I'll put them in the dryer. It's one of the few extras this place has.”
She skinned out of her wet clothes quickly, tossed them blindly out the bathroom door, then stepped under the blessedly hot spray of the shower, letting the heat soak into her bones. Unwilling to get her long black hair wet when she had a long drive home in terrible weather, she lathered with a bar of soap over and over, until the last remnants of chill had been driven away.
She stepped out, drying herself with a threadbare but clean towel. She was just hanging it up and beginning to wonder what she was gong to wear while her clothes finished drying when there was a polite tap at the door. Mary came in, with a small pile of clothes held in her arms.
“I thought these might fit,” she started, then broke off, staring at her naked body. Her pale face, her skin like cream under Evey's gaze, flushed scarlet.
Eveline kept her face carefully neutral. Oh. So it's like that, is it? But inside, her heart leaped, even as her belly spasmed in frustrated longing. Two children, and a lesbian? She must have one hell of a story to tell. And I doubt it's a happy one.
“Thanks,” she said calmly, taking the clothes.
“I've...I've got your clothes in the dryer,” Mary stuttered, still unable to peel her eyes away from her chest. “Come on out when you’re ready.”