Thursday, April 29, 2021

A sign, an omen, a warning... #CozyMystery #ParanormalMuseum #Giveaway

Damsel in a Dress cover


Bridesmaid duties can be deadly…

Maddie Kosloski has more than wedding cake on her plate. She’s managing her paranormal museum, helping her best friend Adele with wedding plans, and trying to prove that Adele’s vintage wedding dress is most definitely not haunted.

But when a bridesmaid turns up murdered, Maddie has to solve the crime to save the wedding. As her bouquet of suspects grows, and everyone’s alibis have the ring of truth, Maddie begins to doubt this wedding will go off without a hitch.

If you love laugh-out-loud mysteries, witty heroines, and a touch of the paranormal, you’ll love Damsel in a Dress, book 5 in the Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum series of novels. Read this twisty cozy mystery today!


The wedding gown ghosted into my museum on a slither of plastic and a shiver of air conditioning. Since it was a paranormal museum, I should have figured that was a sign, an omen, a warning.

But all I worried about that morning was stepping on the hem of my best friend’s newly altered dress. I carried it like it was an atom bomb, arms extended, treading carefully.

File that under the had-I-but-known category.

My assistant, Leo, looked up from behind the glass counter and slid one finger inside the collar of his Paranormal Museum tee. “Yo.” His black leather jacket was slung over the back of his tall chair. A shock of his ebony hair fell forward, obscuring his eyes.

The museum’s front door drifted shut behind me, and the bell jangled above it.

Thanks for managing things.” I draped the dress over the counter. Unpeeling the staticky plastic from my jeans, I scanned the museum, alert for disasters.

Visitors wandered between the shelves displaying haunted objects and creepy dolls. Photos of long-dead murderers gazed impassively from their frames beneath the black-painted crown molding.

How many decks did you sell?” I bounced in my low-heeled sandals. The museum was doing better, but we needed to increase our in-store sales.


I deflated. Bummer. Still, I’d only been gone thirty minutes.

GD, the museum’s ghost detecting cat, rose from the haunted rocking chair in the corner of the main room. It swayed beneath the ebony cat’s weight.

How’d you get stuck with dress duty anyway?” Leo asked.

I’ll do anything for wedding cake.” Really, I will. Also, I was a bridesmaid, and one of my bridesmaidly duties was picking up the altered wedding gown. Cruelly and unfairly, I had not been selected for cake sampling duty.

About the Author

Kirsten Weiss has never met a dessert she didn’t like, and her guilty pleasures are watching Ghost Whisperer re-runs and drinking red wine. The latter gives her heartburn, but she drinks it anyway.

Now based in Colorado Springs, CO, she writes genre-blending cozy mystery, supernatural and steampunk suspense, mixing her experiences and imagination to create vivid worlds of fun and enchantment.

Kirsten sends out original short stories of mystery and magic to her mailing list. If you’d like to get them delivered straight to your inbox, make sure to sign up for her newsletter

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and tag her @kirstenweissauthor, or send her an email.

She’ll answer you personally…which may be a good or a bad thing, depending on your perspective.

Email: kweiss2001 [at] kirstenweiss [dot] com


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Book Series

Sensibility Grey Steampunk Suspense -

Tea and Tarot cozy mysteries -

Pie Town cozy mysteries -

Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum cozy mysteries -,

Doyle Witch -

Doyle Cozy mysteries -

Riga Hayworth paranormal mysteries -

Kirsten Weiss will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Tuesday, April 27, 2021

No respectable woman... #LesFic #SteamPunk #MFRWHooks

Burn Baby cover

I’ve been spending a lot of time lately in Victorian England, working on the next volume of my steam punk trilogy The Toymakers Guild. So for today’s Book Hooks hop, I thought I’d share another bit of steam punk – though this story is set in Victorian period Hong Kong. “Her Own Devices” part of my F/F collection Burn, Baby: A Sapphic Six Pack. This excerpt, however, has no sexual content. Indeed, you might wonder where the lesbians are! 


A whisper of silk. A faint click of wooden heels against the paving stones. Lin Xiao Chung strode along Des Voeux Road as swiftly and silently as her voluminous skirts and breath-stealing corset allowed. During the day this street would be clogged with pushcarts and carriages but now, on the cusp of midnight, Lin encountered no one. She had released the chair and bearers near Central Market in order to continue on foot. Lin was on the master's business—delicate business—and the fewer souls who knew, the better.

Mist haloed the gas flames that lit her flickering way. A sticky fog rose from the harbor, redolent of rotting fish and human waste. Lin ignored the familiar stench, turning uphill onto Chiu Lung Road. Orange lantern-light filtered from the shuttered stalls. Incense from family shrines sweetened the air. As she crossed Queens Road, a carriage clattered by. Her slender form melted into the shadows of a doorway.

Lin scanned the empty thoroughfare through her veil, concentrating on slowing the heart that beat frantically under her snug bodice. A sliver of moon glimmered overhead. Lin murmured a quick prayer to Chang'e, asking for help in her venture. One gloved hand strayed to the blade belted under her tablier overskirt. It was always advisable to be prepared.

The moon disappeared, blotted out by a giant airship on its way to the dirigible port in Repulse Bay. The bulbous craft sailed over Victoria Peak and out of view in a matter of seconds. Lin's brows knotted into a frown. Christopher Burton's revolutionary hybrid engine had cut the England to China voyage from months to weeks—for military as well as civilian purposes. Every day now, the British tightened their hold on the Imperial throat.

Lin didn't really care about politics. Now, however, Burton had applied his engineering genius on a more intimate scale, threatening her master's fortunes. This concerned her very much indeed.

She paused before the granite facade of Burton's house, catching her breath. According to the master's spies, the butler and housekeeper should both be off-duty this evening. Burton was reportedly a strange creature, unlike the other white barbarians. Despite his enormous wealth, he kept only a small staff. He preferred hiking the scrubby, solitary hills of the island to the balls and card parties frequented by the other English. It was rumored that he was fluent in the dialects of both Canton and Peking.

Lin brushed the dust off her gown and arranged her features into a mask of composure. The doorbell echoed in the bowels of the house and, after a moment, the heavy door swung open.

Well then! What a delicious surprise! What brings you to my threshold so late, my pretty?”

The figure in the portal was shorter than the average Englishman Lin had met, clean-shaven with cropped silvery hair. Brilliant blue eyes burned in a tanned, mostly unlined face. A broad smile revealed unusually white, even teeth. Despite the hearty friendliness—indeed, the inappropriate informality—of Burton's greeting, Lin sensed a challenge, a wariness that fit with her knowledge of Burton's checkered history.

The owner of the house wore well-fitting wool trousers and waistcoat, his shirt open at the collar and rolled up to just below the elbow. Lin noticed a gold loop piercing one shapely ear. The rumors were true. This was no gentleman.

Lin's English was precise, with only the faintest trace of an accent. “Please accept my apologies for disturbing you at such a late hour, sir, but I wish to confer with you on a private matter. May I enter?”

Of course. Please. Where are my manners?” He stood aside, making a gesture of welcome. “Come into my parlor. I was just reading and enjoying some sherry, which I would be delighted to share. My servants are off tonight, however. We will be completely alone. I hope that you are not overly concerned for your reputation.”

Lin could not miss the mockery in his voice. Of course no respectable woman would show up on a strange man's doorstep in the middle of the night.

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Monday, April 26, 2021

Review Tuesday: Carter's Mistress by Pebbles Lacasse -- #BDSM #Erotica #ReviewTuesday

Carter’s Mistress by Pebbles Lacasse

What do you do about forbidden desires? If your significant other has no interest in or stomach for exploring your kinky fantasies, are you justified in looking elsewhere? If you do, might you find the satisfaction you so desperately crave? Or is that just another hopeless dream?

Carter and Leah have both been married forever, and for the most part, they’re happy with their spouses. But Carter has always wanted to submit to a stern and demanding Mistress who’ll push him to the limit, and his wife flat out refuses to play that role. Meanwhile, Leah craves the rush of seeing a man kneel at her feet and promising to obey her commands, but her husband doesn’t have a submissive bone in his body.

Frustrated and aching for the kinky thrills they’ve been denied, Carter and Leah meet in an online chat room for BDSM newbies. After getting to know one another, they finally decide to get together in person – to see if it’s possible to turn fantasy into reality. Pebbles Lacasse chronicles their first encounter in her sizzling short story Carter’s Mistress.

If you’re a fan of D/s erotica, you won’t be disappointed by this tale. Ms. Lacasse excels at conveying the heat of power exchange relationships, and this book is no exception. Carter’s willing surrender to Leah is hot as hell. Beyond this, though, the author has done a wonderful job making the two of them human. They’re both nervous as well as excited. They’re both wondering whether this encounter will turn out to be a mistake. And they’re both realistically concerned about how their intense connection will affect their marriages.

The other aspect of this tale that I loved was way it demonstrates the mutuality and reciprocity of BDSM. Dominant and submissive are two parts of an intimate puzzle. Neither is compelled by the other, despite the trappings of harsh authority. Complementary desires bring them together. They’re complicit in their thrilling and taboo interactions.

Furthermore, although BDSM can be life-changing, it can also be play. There’s a light-heartedness to Carter’s and Leah’s scene, with a significant hit of humor. This isn’t what some people would expect from BDSM, but I can tell you from personal experience that it’s realistic. With the right person, BDSM isn’t just scorchingly arousing – it can also be great fun.

As you may gather, Carter’s and Leah’s connection is successful enough to have them worrying about the future. This too is realistic. This first meeting might be the start of a satisfying side relationship for the two of them. Alternatively, it might signal the break-up of marriages that neglected important aspects of Carter’s and Leah’s natures.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Words of love are an indulgence … #RegencyRomance #Giveaway @EllaQuinnAuthor

The Most Eligible Viscount banner


In bestselling author Ella Quinn’s intriguing new Regency trilogy, a dashing suitor must decide if love and marriage are mutually exclusive.

Viscount Gavin Turley is convinced that love matches cause nothing but trouble. Still, after months of courting, he’s fallen for Miss Georgie Featherton. He’s passionate about her, in fact. But words of love are not an indulgence he will allow himself. When he presents Georgie with his marriage proposal, he will lead with his head—not his heart. His qualifications as a husband are excellent, after all. What could go wrong?

No sooner does Gavin kneel on one knee than Georgie’s heart goes aflutter with joy. Finally, the proposal she longed for had arrived. Yet Gavin seemed to be listing his credentials for a business partnership, not a romantic union. Without a declaration of love, Georgie can only reject his offer—unless the ladies of the ton, and Georgie’s grandmamma, have anything to do with it. For sometimes it takes a wiser eye to see the love behind a guarded heart—and a clever scheme to bring it out of hiding . . .



He climbed the steps to Brooks’s and the door opened.

Good day, my lord.” One of the footmen bowed.

Good day, Johns. Have you seen Lord Exeter?”

Aye, my lord. He’s in the reading room. Just got back from Paris from what I heard and wanted to find out what has been going on here during his absence.” The servant took Gavin’s hat and cane. “Told he me had an excellent time.”

Well he would, wouldn’t he? He’d been on his honeymoon. “Thank you.”

Pleasure, my lord.”

Gavin walked through the hall and down to the reading room where he found Exeter with a stack of newspapers next to him. “Finally back, I see.”

Turley!” The man stood, knocking over some of the newssheets. “Well met.” Exeter looked happier than Gavin had ever seen him. His friend grabbed his hand and shook it.

Eying the newssheets, Gavin said, “I see you are making sure you didn’t miss anything that happened when you were gone.”

Dorie”—his friend’s face took on a happily distracted look at the mention of his wife—“and I ventured away from Paris where there was no news from England to be found. When it was time to depart, rather than returning to Paris we headed straight to Calais and back home.” Exeter grinned. “She had ordered all the newspapers to be delivered to the house and is no doubt going through them as we speak. But I thought I might discover additional information here.” He stared at Gavin for a moment, and his brows drew down. “Is everything all right?”

I need a brandy.” Or the whole bottle.

That bad.” Exeter put down the paper he’d been holding. “Let’s go to the dining room. It must be almost time for luncheon.” They went to the corner table their little group had claimed as their own last Season. “What has occurred? Your sister and her family are still well? Nothing has ensued since we saw them last month, has it?”

There is no need for concern on that front. Elizabeth, Harrington, and their daughter thrive. I received a letter from her that she is expecting their next addition in the spring.” Gavin debated telling his friend what was troubling him and decided he needed advice as well as someone with whom to share a drink. He took a breath. “I offered for Miss Featherton, and she refused me.”

Really?” Exeter’s eyes widened as if in shock, and his jaw dropped for a second before he recovered himself. “I mean that is unexpected.”

Why was he so astonished? Or perhaps the question should be what had Gavin missed? “I feel as if you know something I do not.”

The man glanced to the side and seemed to focus on something on the far wall. “Yes, er, well. You see. Dorie was certain.” Exeter frowned as if unsure how to continue. “And I too was under the impression Miss Featherton was expecting an offer from you and would be, er, happy to receive it.”

Blast it all. Gavin wanted to kick himself. If only he could have brought himself to lie. Yet that was not an ideal basis upon which to begin a marriage. “That might very well have been the case, but she requires something I am unable to offer.”

About the Author

USA Today
bestselling author Ella Quinn's studies and other jobs have always been on the serious side. Reading historical romances, especially Regencies, were her escape. Eventually her love of historical novels led her to start writing them.

She is married to her wonderful husband of over thirty years. They have a son and two beautiful granddaughters, and a Great Dane. After living in the South Pacific, Central America, North Africa, England and Europe, she and her husband decided to make their dreams come true and are now living on a sailboat. After cruising the Caribbean and North America, she completed a transatlantic crossing from St. Martin to Southern Europe. She's currently living in Germany, happily writing while her husband is back at work, recovering from retirement.

Ella loves when readers connect with her.

Author Contact and Social Media







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Saturday, April 24, 2021

Charity Sunday: For the MS Warriors – #MultipleSclerosis #Research #CharitySunday

Charity Sunday Banner

Charity Sunday snuck up on me this month! Only on Saturday did I look at the calendar and realize that today is the last Sunday in April. Where did the month go?

Today I’m highlighting the work of the National Multiple SclerosisSociety. For seventy five years, NMSS has been providing information and support to people living with MS, as well as funding research and disseminating the latest in scientific advances in the attempt to conquer this devastating disease. 

Several of my author friends have MS. One of them styles herself as an “MS Warrior”. She has been having a hard time lately – it’s the nature of MS to have flare ups, then subside – so I want to dedicate this post to her (though I won’t embarrass her by mentioning her name).

For every comment I receive on this post – open all through May – I will donate two dollars to the National MS Society. And if you yourself, or someone close, suffers from MS, I invite you to share a bit of your story.

I don’t have any particular relevant stories of my own to share, so I’ll give you another bit from my new release The Understudy: Acts of Submission, which came out last Friday. In fact, if you go back to Friday’s post and leave a comment there, you’ll be entered into a giveaway for a free copy of the book!

Don’t forget to leave a comment. And please visit the other bloggers participating in today’s (tardily organized) blog hop. You’ll find their links at the end of my post.


Excerpt (Rated R)

I headed for the stairs, exhausted by the emotional cartwheels I’d been doing. He caught up with me in the front hall. I smelled his cologne, felt his bulk behind me. His hands settled on my shoulders and I really thought, for a moment, that I’d faint from the rush of desire that touch triggered.

Sarah.” His voice was a caress.

My frustration and resentment evaporated in the heat of my lust.

I see that you’ve made yourself more—accessible. Wait, don’t turn around.” He let his fingers wander along my throat, tracing my collarbone, then barely grazing my taut nipples.

I shuddered with delight.

Without a bra. Very good.” He gave the aching nubs symmetrical squeezes.

Pleasure sizzled through me.

He molded my hips, feeling for a panty line. “And panty-less, too! What a sweet, obedient slut!” He began to raise my skirt.

I remembered that we were in a public place, that a cast member, another guest or a member of the hotel staff might wander into the hall at any moment. “No…” I moaned as he brushed his palm across my exposed bush.

No? You’d refuse me?”

I felt a fingertip parting my curls, stroking my slippery outer lips. His gentle tap on my clit sent lightning up my spine. I went rigid, holding my breath, silently begging for more. The finger disappeared. His big hands smoothed my skirt over my buttocks.

No…” I tried to stifle my sob, but knew he wouldn’t miss it.

Meaning what? Are you mine or not?”

I—I don’t know.” I was desperate for his touch, but fear held me back. Not the fear of being discovered. The fear of what I might discover about myself.

He twirled me round to face him. “An honest answer. I appreciate that. Just as I appreciate the fact that you’ve followed my instructions. Really, I do.”

I searched his eyes. He appeared to be sincere.

Then why—why did you ignore me all through dinner?”

His laugh was edged with mockery. “Did you want my attention, little one?”

My cheeks burned.

He cupped my chin. “I thought you might be more comfortable if I wasn’t undressing you with my eyes. Believe me, I saw you, Sara. I saw your gesture of submission, and rejoiced.”

He bent to me and pressed those arrogant, sensual lips to mine. This kiss was different from the ones in his room. It was deep and quiet, like a pure forest pool. Our mouths locked. Our breath mingled. I seemed to feel his thoughts, probing, questioning, inviting me to fall further under his spell.

I forgot where I was. I was loose, wet, ready to let him take me then and there. When he finally broke the kiss, I felt almost physical pain.

They’re waiting for me now, your friends. They’re dying for my company, too.” He gave an evil chuckle that reminded me, once again, that he was a rock god and I was just his groupie. “I’ve got to go.”

Then his voice became velvet and I melted once more. “Tonight, Sarah. Eleven p.m. I’ll expect you in my room. If you’re ready for more—come to me then.”

Please, please – leave a comment and do a bit to help brave MS warriors everywhere!

And do visit the other authors participating in today's Charity Sunday:

Shari Elder:

Dee S. Knight:

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Like the snake in the garden ... #BDSM #EroticRomance #NewRelease #Giveaway

The Understudy cover

Happy Friday! It’s release day for my most recent erotic romance, so I hope you’ll help me celebrate.

I’ve got an exclusive excerpt for you. This snippet is PG, but it gives you a hint of things to come. Rest assured that the book as a whole packs plenty of heat. If you enjoy romantic tales of dominance and submission, you’ll love The Understudy.

And I’m giving away a free copy, to one lucky reader who leaves a comment with an email.


One look from him and I melt. One word, and I’m on my knees.

When the Berks Hills Summer Playhouse offered me my first real acting job, I never expected to share a stage with theater legend Geoffrey Hart - let alone his bed. Nothing in my education or experience prepared me for the paradoxical pleasures of submission.

Now I’m devoted to my master, for better or worse. According to the rumors, though, Geoff’s heart is taken. Dumped by his long-time sub, he has escaped to the Berkshires to lick his emotional wounds. Geoffrey’s dark games arouse me beyond belief, but I fear I’m just a substitute for the real object of his affections. Am I willing to settle for the role of understudy in this perverse passion play?

Note: This book was previously published by Totally Bound. It has been revised, expanded and re-edited for this release.

Exclusive Excerpt

Fiddler on the Roof opened in two days. We should have been in dress rehearsal. The arrival of Geoffrey Hart, however, had thrown the troupe into crisis.

We sat in a circle on the stage, talking things out. Arthur Rosen, the director, had been in the theater for thirty years. He knew how to handle a fractious cast.

Damn it, Arthur, it’s just not fair! I’ve been rehearsing Tevye for two weeks! My agent has already sent out the press releases!” Jack Clarkson’s usually good-natured features were distorted by anger. “Now you tell me I’ve got to play Fyedka instead, because the all-mighty Geoffrey Hart insists on top billing.”

Calm down, Jack. You know he’s good for the Playhouse. Our Town has played to half-full houses at best. We announced the cast change two days ago, and we’ve already sold out the next ten performances of Fiddler. That means extra money for all of you.” Arthur ran the troupe as a kind of cooperative. Every staff member, even the stage crew, got a percentage of the take.

Fiddler has always been popular in the Berkshires,” Jack grumbled. “Can the guy even sing?”

Like an angel,” Helen assured him. “You should have heard him do Henry Higgins at the Cambridge.”

I supposed he walks on water, too,” snorted Jack.

Actually, he’s something of an arrogant bastard.” Adele threw in her two cents as usual. “You wouldn’t believe the way he bossed poor Sarah.”

The hot blood climbed into my cheeks. I didn’t really want to remember what had happened an hour ago. It still felt too raw. “Oh, he’s okay, I think. Just overcompensating for being a big fish in a small pond.”

Well, nobody invited him into the pond…” Jack continued to gripe, while Arthur worked to soothe his ruffled feathers.

I knew that it would work out. It didn’t really concern me anyway. I don’t have much of a voice so I was just playing one of Tevye’s younger daughters. I was on stage for quite a lot of the play, but had only half a dozen lines.

The doors at the back of the stage were open. The chirp of crickets and the smell of newly cut grass drifted in. I shifted on my metal chair. The smooth cotton of my skirt caressed my bare bottom. The sensation was as exhilarating as it was shocking.

I glanced at my watch. Six thirty. Dinner was at eight on the nights when we didn’t have a show. We’d gather in our corner of the dining room at the inn and officially welcome the newest member of our troupe.

I dreaded the moment when his eyes would snag mine. He’d see that I’d swapped my jeans for a skirt. He’d know I was naked underneath. I couldn’t bear the thought of that nakedness—not the physical fact of my bare ass but fact that I’d obeyed his directive, the tacit admission that I wanted his dominance.

What in the world was I doing? If getting involved with my peers had been risky, surely an entanglement with Geoff Hart was far worse. At the very least, I was risking my professional reputation, never mind my emotional equilibrium.

I couldn’t resist, though. He had drawn back the curtain, letting me glimpse a part of myself that I’d never dreamed existed. Then he had invited me deeper, promising me more revelations.

Like the snake in the garden, he promised me secret knowledge. Like Eve, I couldn’t help but give in to temptation.


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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Making their fantasies real …. #Femdom #Pegging #Pansy @PebblesLacasse

Carter's Mistress cover


Leah’s been happily married for 13 years and they have a great sex life, but her curiosity for something more has her seeking a submissive man.

Carter loves his wife of 22 years, but she refuses to entertain his submissive nature. He secretly joins an online chatroom designed for novice doms and subs.

After chatting for several months, Leah and Carter meet at a hotel to live out their BDSM fantasies.

Will the afternoon live up to their expectations or end in disappointment?

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My fist freezes in the air, an inch from the door to room four-twenty. Breathe in through my nose, out through my mouth. Shoulders back. Head high. I’m in control.

Strangely enough, my fear is draining away. It’s as if I’ve flipped a switch and suddenly become someone else, a more powerful woman with a calmness that doesn’t match my tough attitude.

I knock.

The door quickly pops open and reveals a face I’ve never seen but a body that I have. The photos didn’t lie. From what I can see, he’s fit and handsome.

Carter’s sexy mouth slowly forms into a smile. He seems relieved that the woman standing before him is the woman from the photos, but with an unfamiliar face he seems to approve of.

I return his smile and his shoulders ease. Was he worried I wouldn’t approve of his looks? He’s a good-looking man.

His perfectly styled black hair is thick and lush, great for pulling. It’s not all that bright here at the door, so I can’t be positive, but I think his eyes are brown. His smile increases the slight wrinkles worn into the skin on the outer edges of his eyes. His complexion is slightly darker than mine, like a man who works outdoors under a blistering sun.

You must be Carter,” I say as I offer my hand. There’s a smoothness in my words that has me wondering who spoke. I expected my voice to fail me.

He whispers, “Yes. Leah?”

That’s me,” I reply with a shrug. “May I come in?”

He blinks quickly as if I’ve just woken him from his deep thoughts. I stride past him on the three-inch high boots with several buckles on the sides that send off a tiny ting with each step. He closes the door and flips the safety latch to ensure nobody can walk in, like a maid, for instance.

He clears his throat as he walks up behind me. “Would you like a drink? I’ve had two.” He runs his hand through his hair and it rests exactly the same as before he had. “I’m nervous.”

He pulls his fluffy hotel robe closed when he realizes the top fell open when he lifted his arm and my focus dropped to his bare chest.

Yes, please.”

This is a new hotel, and the room is not what most hotel rooms look like. The comforter, folded and resting on the sofa chair, has a grey, red, and purple swirled design that matches well with the grey walls. The artwork prints hanging are a perfect accent to go with the red and purples splashed about the room. It looks clean and crisp in here, not old and stained with other people’s skin cells and bodily fluids. It even smells cleaner than any hotel I’ve ever been in. I like it here.

He pinches his bottom lip between his teeth while his eyes seem seduced by my legs. He holds a glass with bended elbow, but it’s empty. He’s distracted by my thighs and knees that aren’t covered by my short dress.

You’re nervous?” My voice startles him from his thoughts, and the quickness of his eyes to meet mine answers my question.

I am,” he confesses, and walks past me to the minibar to fetch me a tiny bottle of whiskey. “Do you want ice?”

I shake my head. He looks away to prepare my drink, and I have to press my hand to my tummy to calm the nervous butterflies. He’s very handsome but worn, like a hardworking man who hasn’t had an easy life. I like his voice; it’s rough and scratchy.

He crosses the room and hands me a glass of amber liquid. I take a big sip and set it on the dresser.

Would you like to use the washroom before we get started or do you want to talk about, um…” his voice drifts off.

That depends,” I reply.

He scratches his naked calf with the toes on his bare foot. “On what?”

On whether you need time. I’m ready to start whenever you are.” 

My voice still seems foreign to me. Who is this woman possessing my body? I like her!

He nods with a heavy sigh and a relieved expression. “Good, because if I have to wait any longer, I’ll talk myself out of this, and I don’t want that.”

I tip my head and nod as I smooth my hand down the tummy part of my dress, not to fix the dress, but to calm the flutters. A smile reaches my eyes and I clear my throat. Now he knows I’m nervous, too.