Decadent Publishing

Be still…be still…be still…. The words became a mantra, slowly overpowering the distant shrieks, enabling her to focus on the moment. Wickedness radiated through the floor as it always did on the nights demons came, but something else lingered on the air. Something gentle perhaps, maybe kind. She breathed in deeply, searching for the unknown beyond the smell of scorched flesh and death.


She inhaled again. The acrid scent of demons nauseated her, but beneath the stench, the subtle tingle of a clean essence filtered through. Nearly a dozen different evils hummed in the room below. Careful not to make a sound, she lay down on the hot floor, ear pressed to the wooden planks, and listened to her father and his visitors.

“I mean it, Laris. I can’t have him here. I’m a go-between. I cannot take a side.”

The demon’s red hot aura swirled through her head as he snorted. “Enough of your sniveling, Smith. You will keep our prize safe, or we will destroy everything you hold dear. I can smell the innocence of your daughter where she lies in her bed.”

Luca bit her lip as her father’s fear swamped her. “Leave Luca out of this. She knows nothing of your world. She has no power to read thoughts or commune with those who have passed. She is simply a blind girl of no use to you or your king.”

The one called Laris laughed but no humor tainted the frightening sound. “Ah, but you value her. That makes her the perfect morsel. My men would love to feast upon such beloved flesh.”

“Fine, I’ll keep the creature. How long?”

“Until we no longer have need of it. The rogue demon that spawned it demands the return of his son, but my king will not negotiate. Once the seers have deciphered the prophecy, we will return.”

They left without further comment. The boards quickly grew cool beneath Luca’s cheek once the gates closed over the mouth of hell. Silence held her captive as surely as fear had moments before. In that quiet swelled the deep rumble of something powerful, strong and good, perhaps even honorable.

Her father dragged a heavy load across the floor and the bump, bump, bump of his burden echoed his footsteps on the wooden attic stairs. “You may be the death of me, but if my daughter is harmed, I will haunt you and whatever creatures spawned you to the very edges of my personal hell.”



Gavin chuckled as the girl scurried behind the curtain. He turned and surveyed the chaos in the main part of the store. Future brides, friends, and mothers ran about while frantic salespeople fought to keep up. Then he saw her, the most exquisite creature he had ever seen smiled from her reflected image. She stood before a three-way mirror with a much shorter blonde. Loose, ebony curls, muted by a gauzy sheer veil, brushed her shoulders and framed her oval face. Huge, wide-set eyes sparkled when she looked down at her friend. She flashed a Julia Robert’s style grin as something the other woman said made her laugh.

All the stories his family had told about knowing the perfect woman when he saw her filled his head. He didn’t need to hear her name or anything else. His heart knew without question. Nothing mattered beyond that. He started toward her before the wedding dress she wore registered.

Too late. She belonged to someone else. Still, he could not turn back to the counter. He had to see that smile directed his way, had to hear her speak at least once. He leaned a shoulder against the heavy white lacquered mirror and smiled at his dream. “Have you run the dance test yet?”

She started as he spoke, turning toward him in curious surprise. “Excuse me?”

Her short friend assessed him, but he ignored her, studying instead the breathtaking and unexpected sky blue of the beauty’s eyes. Her expressive gaze narrowed and a confused scowl erased her exquisite smile. Her voice sounded as lovely as he had expected, but he needed that grin back.

He stepped behind her, careful not to touch, while he studied the dress in the mirror. It outlined her tall, slender body in aching detail without losing class or grace. He could see her gliding down the aisle while some lucky bastard waited at the altar. “The dance test. Dancability is an essential element in selecting a wedding dress.”

Her smile and spirited sparkle returned. “Is it, huh? And how do I test for that?”

You step into my arms and let me hold you. “First, you need shoes so the gown doesn’t drag.”

The short woman disappeared and reappeared almost instantly with a pair of cream-colored pumps. “How about these?”

Gavin dropped to his knee and held out a hand for the shoes. “Let’s see shall we?”



She cleared her throat. “So tell me more about why your sister needed to set you up.”

Even his chuckle had a masculine edge to it. “Cari is hopelessly in love with her husband and feels everyone should be in the same state of euphoria.” He shifted to his side, offering Devlynn a perfect view of his muscled chest through the thin fabric of his shirt. “She doesn’t believe me when I say I am happy alone or that when I’m ready, love will be there.”

“Are you happy? Alone, I mean?”

“Most days. Are you?”

“Sometimes. My work keeps me busy, and I don’t have much luck finding men worth dating. I’ve almost quit trying.”

“Maybe that’s what you should do.” He brushed a curl off her cheek and the rough texture of his finger proclaimed him a working man. “If you quit trying, maybe you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for.”

Raw need simmered through her with the compelling rasp of his husky voice. Her own blind date didn’t stand a chance, which made her nervous. What if the guy was really perfect? Her friends claimed that Madame Evangeline guaranteed uncanny compatibility. Perhaps Erik just seemed so damned sexy because it had been too long since she’d felt a man’s touch. She drew in a deep breath, and his cologne coaxed her to climb onto his lap and forget about the nameless, faceless guy in Vegas, something she couldn’t do. “You suggested the man I’m meeting will be the rebound guy. What if I didn’t want that? What if I wanted to start with a clean slate?”

An eyebrow quirked above one gorgeous grey eye. “I’m not sure what you’re driving at.”

Blood rushed to her cheeks as she leaned toward him to whisper, “I was thinking maybe we…you and I, that is…maybe you could help me get the whole rebound sex out of the way and clear my palate for my date. That way I could give him a fair shot.”


Decadent Publishing

Brenna shook her head and read the note again.

Ms. Halsted,
Welcome to Greece. I assume you will find your room satisfactory and the wine at the appropriate temperature.

I have taken the liberty of placing guards outside your door. Should you feel the need of them at anytime during the next twenty-four hours, simply call my name and they will assist you in any way you desire.

Please, do not take their presence as a lack of faith in your date for the evening. Mr. Kostas Drakos is a respected businessman. Rest assured, I have investigated every aspect of his personality and trust he will offer exactly what you need to overcome your problem. The guards are simply a security blanket, requested by Mr. Drakos himself. Should this venture exceed your comfort level at any point, the men will move you to different accommodations and ensure your utmost privacy.

In the basket beside the bed, you will find everything you need to fulfill both yours and Mr. Drakos’s fantasies.

Enjoy yourself, my dear,


The basket held a red satin mask, two sets of matching fur handcuffs, several long strips of white silk, condoms, and another note requesting she remove all clothing and lie on the bed wearing nothing except the blindfold.

Good God, what have I done?


“Quit changing the subject, Darcy.”

“I’m not. It’s just...you make me uncomfortable.”

He smiled. “Is that a bad thing?”


Marc scooped up another bite of cheesecake and held the loaded fork toward her. “Live dangerously.” When she hesitated, he brushed the rounded tines over her lips. “Come on, let the tart creaminess melt in your mouth. Let it slide down your throat. No one’s here but you and me.”

She couldn’t resist. The pretzel crust hit her tongue, crisp and salty, moments before the smooth filling spread across her taste buds in a burst of lime and subtle orange liquor. The tangy citrus, combined with his presence, had an aphrodisiac quality. “Mmm.” Her eyes closed of their own accord. Her nipples tightened. Sensual pleasure swirled in her stomach then swept downward.

He leaned closer. So close his warm breath tickled over her lips. “Another?”

Her eyes flew open. God! What kind of person practically had an orgasm over a bite of dessert? She shook her head no as he lifted the fork to her lips.

“Why not?”

“I don’t eat sweets.”

“That’s too bad. No one should deny themselves such a simple pleasure.” With a shrug, he slid the fork into his own mouth. A bit of whipped cream caught on his upper lip.

She didn’t think, only reacted to the growing need to touch him. Her thumb stroked over his mouth. His eyes widened as she wiped away the sweetened cream and sucked it off her thumb.

His tongue swiped across his lip.

Darcy wanted to drown in his natural sensuality. Her hands trembled. Heat raced across her skin. Geez, Darcy what were you thinking? How had she become a sexual puddle so fast? She stepped around him and fussed with the washcloth at the sink. “I can’t believe I did that.”

His chuckle sounded with the same warmth she had seen in his eyes. “Are you sure you got it all? Double check.”


Help me.

The voice from her dream floated from the cage. Malachi’s eyes held hers without wavering. Hannah looked around for someone playing tricks on her, but the night remained still, eerily quiet as it had been every night since the big cat arrived. “Who’s out there?” No one answered her call. She strained to see beyond the dim circle of the yard light. Nothing moved.

Help me, Hannah.

Fear edged its way into her thoughts. Unconsciously, she slid toward the big cat to protect him. Her hand brushed the back of his massive paw. Malachi did not move. She crawled a little closer. The putrid smell of infection drifted from his open sore. “Do you trust me, Malachi?”

He lay still as she reached carefully through the bars and patted his neck gently. With a shaky laugh, she pulled her hand back glad it remained on the end of her arm.

“Maybe we should try this alone, you and I, huh?” She considered the insanity of the idea only a moment before she ran to the medical lab and gathered the necessary equipment. She had never treated an animal by herself but had assisted Harry often enough to feel confident in what she was doing.

Within moments she stood outside Malachi’s cage once more. The cat lay as she had left him. On her knees so as not to frighten him, Hannah inched across the safety line and sat next to the animal’s outstretched paw. She readied the antiseptic on a clean cloth and laid out bandages and antimicrobial solution. “Are you ready for this?” With a shaky smile, she gently patted his leg. “I hope so because I’m not sure I am.” Her hand shook as she picked up the cloth. “Don’t eat me, okay?”


“I design computer games.”

A generation next job. What other profession would a self-made rich kid have? “Of course you do.” She let go of his bicep and scooted away. “You have to go.”

Surprise swept across his strong features. “What? Why?”

Because every word that comes out of your mouth reminds me of how old I am. A woman who grew up with Pacman and Donkey Kong should not want to jump a modern gamer. “Because I’m out of my mind to be here, with you, like this.” She forced herself to rise, to move away from the bed and the illogical allure of his presence.

He stood, blocking the narrow path to the door. “Tell me what’s wrong.”

“What’s wrong? Every time I’m around you, I start thinking things I shouldn’t, that’s what.”

“Really? Anything you’d like to share?”

His cheeky grin teased her senses. She longed to kiss it, to soak up his sexiness for later. “Get out of my room, brat.”

He trailed a finger down the side of her face and across to slowly outline her lips. Heat pooled hot and heavy between her legs. “Don’t send me away, Jess. Not when I want to stay so very much.”

How did he know exactly what to say? Did someone teach that to young men? Guys of her generation didn’t have a clue for the most part. “Damn it, kid. I’m twice your age.”

“You are not, and even if you were, who cares?”

“I don’t want to want you.”

“But you do. I see it.”


His grin flashed again. “When you look at me, you lean ever so slightly forward, and your nipples tighten under your top.”

“They do not.”

“Do, too.” He chuckled and edged closer. His long, muscular hands circled her waist and kept her from collapsing in an embarrassing puddle at his feet. “You also lick your lips, wetting them for my kiss. I wonder where else you’re ready for me.”

Everywhere. “Damn it, what do you want?”

He brushed his mouth over hers, more graze than touch. “I want you. Plain and simple.”


Lily dumped three pills in his palm and waited while he threw them in his mouth before she gave him the water bottle. He gulped a couple extra swallows and handed it back. “Wait a second.”

“I’ve got all day, cowboy. Whenever you’re ready.”

He sucked in a deep breath as he sat up fully. Lily tossed the water bottle into the hall so Falcon couldn’t mess with it, and squatted beside Thor’s right shoulder. He inhaled again then wrapped his arm over her shoulders and pushed up with his left leg. He kept the right extended in front of him, but it still tapped the ground.

“Fuck!” The color drained from Thor’s face as he hopped and lifted the wounded leg higher.

Lily wrapped her arm around his waist holding him steady as he got a handle on the pain. Her stomach lurched and sympathy weakened her knees. “Maybe I should have found Big.”

Thor shook his head no then shifted slightly toward her. “Kiss me.”

The husky request triggered a shiver down her spine. “What?”

Air hissed through his teeth as he fought for control. “Kiss me. Distract me. Do something.”

Was he kidding?

He shook his head again. “Never mind.” Pain still pinched his mouth and tightened the corners of his eyes.

“You’d better not be messing with me, Thorvold.” She turned carefully toward him and stepped over his knee so she straddled his sore leg. “How’s this for distraction?” She took his free hand and brought it to her breast. His long fingers flexed, and heat flashed through her as her body remembered his. With both hands at his waist to keep him steady, she offered him a trembling smile. “You’re going to have to bend to me. I can’t hold you and stand on my toes.”

“You don’t have to do this.”

“Your call.” She held her breath as she waited for him to make a decision. Hoping he’d back down. Praying he wouldn’t.

With a groan, Thor lowered his head until a scant half inch remained between them. His warm breath caressed her cheek as he hesitated. “Tell me no and I’ll back off.”

His thumb stroked across her nipple and she pressed closer. A small sigh escaped her lips. It had been so long. She had no will to turn him away. “Kiss me, cowboy.”


Holiday Release

He followed her into the kitchen. His broad shoulders and impressive height dominated the space. Refined cologne teased her nose, spicy and exotic. Did he sense that she wanted to do more than feed him? If she kissed him would he taste as good as he looked and smelled? He reached around her to set the empty mugs beside the sink and her bones melted a little. What would he do if she leaned against him and let his strength take her weight?

He shifted closer and sexy heat warmed the space around her. “I just realized I don’t know your name either. Jenny doesn’t seem to fit.”

She closed her eyes and absorbed his manliness. It had been too long since a man sparked her interest, but Burk’s presence radiated sensual heat and pure electricity. Her hands trembled as she fought the urge to turn into his arms. She set the dirty dishes in the sink and grabbed the faucet sprayer to rinse them hoping the mundane chore would distract from his inherent appeal. “My full name is Jenica.”

Strong arms circled her waist. He tugged her back flush to his chest and her legs weakened further. “Are you as hungry as I am, Jenica?”

That depends on what you’re hungry for. Liquid heat pooled between her legs at his touch. She had to be out of her mind. “I thought we were going to wash up first.”

He groaned and pressed closer. “I wasn’t talking about food.”

The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews