Sunday, March 31, 2024

Charity Sunday, Easter Sunday – For a Just and Peaceful World #CharitySunday #AFSC #WorldPeace

Charity Sunday banner

Today is Easter Sunday. I was brought up Jewish, not Christian, but I can’t help but resonate with the spirit of this holiday: a rebirth of hope, celebrating emergence from the darkness of the tomb into the light of a new day.

Our world sorely needs that light. Gaza, Ukraine, Haiti, Sudan, Mali, Myanmar... around the globe, conflicts shatter lives and tear societies apart. We watch in horror as deaths mount and atrocities multiply, feeling helpless. It’s difficult to avoid bitterness and resignation, concluding that human beings are fundamentally aggressive and that war is inevitable.

Today, I reject that dark view of humanity. Most people around the world want peace. They want to raise their families and participate in their communities, safe and secure, respected and free from fear. War is the work of a minority, imposed on the majority. Day by day, country by country, conflict by conflict, each of us has opportunities to act in ways that create peace.

The American Friends Service Committee has been working for peace for more than 100 years. Founded by Quakers but fundamentally non-denominational, AFSC takes practical action to advance human rights, justice and non-violence around the world: education, advocacy, peaceful protest, bearing witness. These actions have made, and continue to make a difference.

AFSC logo

So today, Easter Sunday, I will be donating two dollars to AFSC for every comment I receive on this post.

As for my excerpt – my work tends to avoid dark themes, including violence and war. So instead, I’ll give you a chapter from one of my most light-hearted stories, a twisted riff on Shakespeare’s play "A Midsummer Night’s Dream" entitled A Midsummer Night’s Gender Bending. Enjoy!


The year is 1595 in the reign of Good Queen Bess. Stage-struck, young Ben Hastings leaves his father's farm for London, to join Will Shakepeare's band of players. Hugh Templeton, the handsome leading man, takes the innocent lad under his wing, but Ben soon discovers that Hugh wants more than just friendship. Meanwhile a savvy tavern maid named Jenny engineers a comedy of errors to save Ben from Hugh's lewd embrace and win him for her own.

A Midsummer Night's Gender Bending cover


Ben woke near dawn in the upstairs room. The quiet was astonishing. He heard no cart wheels clattering across the cobbles, no calling hawkers. He might have been back on the farm. The only sound was a train of soft, regular snores coming from the naked man stretched out beside him.


Ben winced as memories of the night came rushing back. The actor sprawled grandly on the cushions, his powerful limbs relaxed in sleep. Hugh’s cock cradled soft against his thigh. Ben had an almost overpowering urge to stroke it, but he didn’t dare. Didn’t really want to. Didn’t know what he wanted, after all.

He admired Hugh. He respected Hugh. He was grateful for all the help the older man had provided, all the tips on interpreting the script and reading the audience, all the insider tricks for getting the best of Master Will. But this – this physical connection between them – Ben didn’t know what to think. This couldn’t be normal, couldn’t be right. Yet when Hugh touched him, he had to admit, the pleasure was beyond anything he’d ever imagined, let alone experienced.

Ben’s head was surprising clear, considering all the ale he had consumed. He remembered all the details. His first spend, scattering his seed obscenely in Hugh’s face. His second, as Hugh circled his anus with an agile tongue and penetrated it with long, probing fingers. Hugh had wanted more, had wanted to bugger him. Unbelievably, Ben had wanted that too. But spittle was not enough to ease in Hugh’s huge organ, and they had to stop, to wait, Hugh said, until they could secure some goose fat, and then he’d truly take Ben to the gates of heaven.

Heaven. Dear God, Ben prayed, forgive me if I have offended Thee. I am a lost lamb, wandering in the wilderness. Show me the way that I may choose what is right and good in Thy sight. A short prayer, but somehow it made Ben feel more confident. He rose and dressed then slipped downstairs to the tavern’s main room, leaving Hugh asleep.

At first, the room appeared to be empty. Then Ben spied movement by the hearth. The serving wench was stirring up the fire under a kettle of something that smelled like soup. The aroma made his stomach twist, reminding him that he hadn’t eaten since last sunset.

He watched the girl for a few minutes before making his presence known. She moved with a quiet efficiency that appealed to him, building the coals into a glowing pile, coaxing the flame with the bellows, laying two loaves by the hearth to warm. She was built as slightly as a child, with modest breasts and slender hips, but Ben thought she must be close to his age. Her features were regular; her expression suggested stubbornness. Her hair was her crowning glory, a profusion of blonde curls that tumbled halfway down her back. Even as he noticed, though, she pulled a cap out of her apron pocket and stuffed her hair into it with an impatience that made him smile.

Good morrow, Miss,” he said finally. She looked up, annoyed, guilty to have been caught unawares though her activities seemed completely innocent. When she recognised him, however, a warm smile replaced her irritation.

Ah, Master Player. Good morrow. Did you sleep well?” Ben heard the hint of laughter in her voice. Was it only because of his drunken exit the previous evening, or did she know more?

Well enough, thank you. I ask your pardon for my excessive intoxication last night. I did not behave like a gentleman.” Ben was surprised to hear himself speak so fair. It must be the influence of Master Will’s verse.

This is a drinking house. We’re quite accustomed to intoxication in all its forms.”

Even so…”

She waved him into silence, placing a steaming bowl and a hunk of bread on the trestle in front of him. Then she sat opposite, staring at him until he lowered his gaze in embarrassment.

Tell me,” she said finally. “Tell me what it’s like to be on the stage.”

Well, I have only been a player for a few weeks.” He dipped his spoon into the bowl to cover his confusion. “I’ve only played women’s parts, so far. Because I’m young and mostly unbearded. Someday, though, I’ll play a general. Or a king.”

Or even, perhaps, a god. You are handsome enough.”

Something in her voice made him look up from his breakfast. The intensity of her gaze was unnerving. It was hot, like the sun beating down on a field in high summer. Under that gaze, his cock began to swell and harden. That reminded him of Hugh, which only made him harder still. He blushed, hopelessly, not knowing how to handle this brazen, unladylike person.

She reached across the table to put her hand on his. “I want you, Ben. As my first lover.”

He snatched his hand away as if burned. “What?”

She sat back and brushed a wayward curl from her eyes. Her bodice was half open; he could see the way her breasts rose and fell with her breath. “I want you. I think I love you. I know that I desire you. Will you have me? I’m a far better choice for you than that old lecher Templeton.”

Ben’s stomach lurched. Only with a supreme effort did he avoid vomiting all that he had eaten. “I don’t know what you are saying,” he choked out, standing and backing away from her. “What nonsense…?”

Just because I’m a virgin doesn’t mean that I’m naïve. I saw you. The two of you. Last night.”


Don’t worry, I’ll not tell anyone. But you should forget him, Ben, forget him and choose me. Help me to escape from my dog of a father, and I’ll help make you the greatest actor of our time.”

No – I – um, I have to be going, Miss. I have a performance this afternoon.” He tried to make it to the door, but somehow, she managed to block his way.

She grabbed his two hands in hers and locked her eyes on his. “Please. Think about it. My name is Jenny.”

I’ve got to go…” Ben was close to total panic.

Jenny stood on tiptoe and lightly kissed his lips. “Go, then. But you’ll see me again, before long.”

She stepped out of his path. He raced out into the street as if pursued by the devil.

Don’t forget to leave a comment. Every one brightens the light. And please do the same for the other authors participating in today's blog hop. Each one has a cause worth supporting.

Friday, March 29, 2024

Could she ever desire a man again? #HistoricalRomance #Vikings @katehillromance

Northman's Pleasure banner

My friend and colleague Kate Hill has another new release, a spicy historical romance novella set in Viking times. Read on for details!


Grim Hammerhand claims Asgerd in marriage, but can she win his heart?

Stories say that in the heat of battle, Grim Hammerhand becomes a two-legged wolf. His prowess prompts the king to send Grim after his daughter Asgerd who has been captured by the brutal warrior Stein. In return, the king offers Grim Stein's land as well as Asgerd's hand in marriage. Mistrusting of all women, Grim vows never to marry. He reserves his passion for battle and the forge.

Asgerd has loved Grim for years, but the handsome red-haired warrior has never noticed her. Defiled by Stein, Asgerd doubts she could ever desire any man again, but when Grim defeats Stein and claims Asgerd as his wife, she realizes her feelings for Grim are stronger than ever, but can she win the trust and heart of her reluctant husband?

Amazon / Apple / Barnes & Noble / kobo /  Smashwords

Northman's Pleasure cover

Spicy Excerpt

The way Grim looked at her and the sight of his naked body aroused her in ways she’d never imagined possible. He’d undressed fully now, but still stood in the doorway.

We can’t see!” Halfdan shouted.

Quiet!” Grim bellowed.

Asgerd glanced at him in surprise. His face remained stern, but he winked and a faint smile tugged at her lips. She finished undressing and climbed beneath the covers. Grim stepped inside and joined her.

Several people crowded in the doorway.

Grim turned toward Asgerd and raised himself on his elbow. He brushed hair from her face and held her gaze. He leaned toward her and covered her mouth in a gentle kiss.

Go to it, Grim!” another man called.

He turned abruptly and said, “You’ve seen enough! Shut the door.”


Shut it!” he growled and picked up his sword that rested against the nearby wall.

That’s enough everyone. We’ve seen enough,” Odd said, apparently noting his master’s anger. He closed the door, giving the couple privacy.

Grim turned back to Asgerd and asked, “Are you all right?”

I’m fine. Thank you for being considerate. Stein never was.”

Stein was a pig, and he wasn’t your husband.”

No,” she murmured. “He wasn’t. It’s hard to believe you are.”

His lips curved into a lopsided grin. “How do you mean that?”

I mean I often wondered what it would be like if we… What I mean is—”

He silenced her with another kiss, this one deeper and more intimate than the last. His mouth moved gently against hers and he traced the shape of her lips with his tongue. She parted them and he slid his tongue into her mouth. He explored with slow thrusts.

Asgerd closed her eyes. Her tongue met his and engaged in a sensual dance. His beard felt a bit rough, but she loved the sensation. Moaning, she threaded her fingers through his hair.

He groaned and pressed her a little harder into the bed. Then he broke the kiss to nuzzle her neck. Beneath the covers, he caressed her arm, shoulder, and finally her breast. He cupped it gently and kneaded it. It felt so good that Asgerd moaned again and arched her back, wanting him even closer, if possible.

No one had ever touched her like this, gently yet in a manner that turned her body to flame.

About the Author

Kate Hill is a vegetarian New Englander who loves writing romantic fantasies. When she's not working on her books, Kate enjoys reading, working out, watching horror movies, and researching vampires and Viking history. She runs the Compelling Beasts Blog that is dedicated to antagonists, antiheroes, and paranormal creatures. Kate also writes as Saloni Quinby.

Visit her online at Join her newsletter at

Social Links:











Wednesday, March 27, 2024

I just won’t admit defeat – #EroticRomance #StrongWomen #MFRWHooks

The Gazillionaire and the Virgin banner

For this last week in Women’s History Month, I want to introduce you to Dr. Rachel Zelinsky from The Gazillionaire and the Virgin. A lone female among the “bro network” of Silicon Valley tech titans, she breaks all the gender stereotypes. She’s the gazillionaire – and equally brilliant, borderline autistic Theo Moore is the virgin.


Trust can’t be bought—it has to be earned.

When Silicon Valley entrepreneur Rachel Zelinsky meets reclusive genius Theo Moore, she has a single objective —a deal to incorporate his AI software into her company’s popular virtual world. She finds Theo to be arrogant, sensitive and socially awkward, but his aura of power speaks to her carefully-hidden submissive side. Confused and aroused, she falls under his geeky spell.

Theo Moore can’t be bought. His past battles with poverty make him deeply suspicious of the billionaire CEO, though Rachel’s voluptuous curves and brilliant mind embody his ultimate fantasy. Too bad his knowledge about sex derives from extensive research and a stash of kinky porn rather than real-world experience.

Rachel may be Theo’s first lover, but Theo is her first true Master. One word from him, one touch, and she surrenders to bliss. It seems that love and complementary desire may harmonize their differing values, until Rachel’s unwitting violation of Theo’s trust tears them apart.

MFRW Book Hooks logo

The Hook

I’m used to getting what I want. It’s not because I’m smarter than most people, or richer. (Although I am. These are documented facts, not boasts.) No, I usually succeed because I don’t give up. I’m tenacious—or just plain stubborn, if you listen to my mother. If I can’t solve a problem via one approach, I’ll try another, until it finally yields to my attack. I can be patient, if I need to be, and I’m willing to work hard. I just won’t admit defeat.

I’ve always been this way, though I’m sure my education strengthened the personality trait. One woman in a class of thirty plus men, most of whom believed that the female of the species was incapable of logical thought... If I’d allowed myself the luxury of surrender I’d never have survived.

Hence, I’m not giving up on Theo Moore, no matter how many times he refuses my overtures. I want him—his technology and his brilliant mind. I won’t take no for an answer.

And I believe I’ve finally found a wedge I can apply, or at least chink in his armor. Some might call it bribery. In my view, it’s just business.

Diane sticks her head in my office door. “He’s here, Rachel.”

Thanks. Show him in, please.” I barely have time to run my fingers through my frizzy curls before Professor Theo Moore shuffles into the room and slumps down onto the couch opposite my desk.

I hadn’t expected him to be so big. He’s well over six feet tall, I’d guess, with the shoulders of a football player. A rumpled white shirt and loose trousers hide the details of his body, but I don’t think he’s fat, just large. His smooth, young face seems incongruous paired with his giant’s frame. Shaggy black hair overhangs his forehead and grazes his collar. Behind dark-framed, unfashionable glasses, his eyes dart from one detail of my luxurious office to the next, finally settling on the rust-hued trunks of the redwoods outside my window. He sucks in a deep breathe then releases it in a long sigh. He doesn’t look at me.

Good afternoon, Dr. Moore.” I rise, circle the desk and settle into a chair next to the couch. “Thanks for agreeing to see me.”

He ignores my outstretched hand, continuing to stare out at the lovely view. His fists are clenched on either side of his thighs. Rarely have I seen anyone look so ill at ease.

How far away is the sea?” he asks finally.

About fifty meters. Most of the time you can’t quite see the water, but at sunset you can sometimes catch the glint of the reflections.

You should have built closer,” he declares. The stark confidence in his voice is at odds with the nervousness I read in his body language. “I would have designed this place so that every office had a view of the ocean.”

That would have been my preference, too. But California building codes are pretty strict.”

With your money, I would think you could have arranged for a variance.”

I decide to ignore the jibe. He doesn’t seem to realize he has insulted me.

I appreciate your taking the time out of your busy schedule, Doctor. I know Looking Glass Inc. is a bit off the beaten track. Did you have a comfortable trip?” I’ve gotten plenty of flak for establishing my company’s campus in Santa Cruz rather than in the heart of Silicon Valley, but I don’t care. This is where I want to be.

Oh, yes indeed. That was one of the most comfortable limousine rides I’ve ever experienced.” Sarcasm drips in his reply. “With a ride that smooth, I was almost convinced that your company’s latest technology coup was an anti-gravity device.”

Not yet.” My laugh sounds forced. His social awkwardness is affecting me. “That’s on our agenda for next year. Would you like some coffee, by the way? Juice? Water?”

Nothing.” He yanks his eyes away from the view and stares over my head, focusing on the Klee original hanging behind my desk. “I drank my fill from the complimentary bar in your limo.”

I find myself in the unaccustomed state of being temporarily at a loss for words. Despite his lack of social skills, Moore somehow has gained the upper hand in this conversation. I swallow my annoyance and begin again.

About your charity—”

I don’t approve of you, Ms. Zelinksy,” Finally he looks at me, though he seems fixated on my mouth rather than my eyes. “You and your kind.”

It’s Dr. Zelinksy, actually.” Guess he hadn’t bothered to Google me. “And what do you mean, ‘my kind’?”

You Valley billionaires, who think your money can buy anything, including the human soul. You use technology to enslave the poor, benighted masses. You lure them into spending their time and money on devices and services they don’t need. You suction up their personal data so you can slice it, dice it and use it to sell them more trash. And then you brag about how you’re ushering in a brave new world of hi-tech miracles. Hmmph!”

Suddenly he’s on his feet, towering over my chair, his full lips twisted into a black scowl. For an instant I think he’s going to hit me. Instead he turns his back on me to stride over to the window. Sunlight filters through the boughs to dapple the earth below. The view appears to calm him somewhat. His fingers uncurl but his shoulders are still hunched and tight.

“‘Enslave the benighted masses!’ Don’t you think that’s a bit melodramatic?” I’m tempted to cross the room and stand by his side, to soothe and coddle him. I refrain. He’s too skittish.

The Gazillionaire and the Virgin book cover

Buy Links (Ebook)

Kinky Literature:

Amazon US:

Amazon UK:

Barnes & Noble:



Apple Books:

Add on Goodreads:

Audio (WordWooze):

Be sure to visit the other authors participating in today's Book Hooks!

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Join us for Charity Saturday, 31 March 2024 #CharitySundaySignup #Altruism #Marketing

Cherry blossoms

 Image by Andreas Lischka from Pixabay

Since 2017, I’ve been devoting the last Sunday in each month to a post which features some worthy cause. Often, other bloggers join me in this effort, turning the event into a blog hop. This month’s Charity Sunday blog hop will take place this coming Sunday, the 31st of March – which also, appropriately, happens to be Easter Sunday.

Charity Sunday is a meme designed to give authors and bloggers a chance to give back to the world, as well as to attract new readers.

How does it work? Each participant selects a favorite charity. Before
the date, you should prepare a blog post that: 1) talks about the charity and why you support it; 2) provides a link to the charity; 3) includes an excerpt from one of your books; 4) includes the code to show links to other participating blogs.

It’s fun if you can make the excerpt relate somehow to your chosen charity, but this isn’t required.

For every comment left on your post, you commit to giving some amount to the relevant charity. The specific charity and the amount to donate are up to you. You can set an upper limit to your donation if you want.

If you’d like to participate in the next Charity Sunday
on March 31st, sign up using the Linky List below. Please be sure that the link you enter will lead directly to your Charity Sunday post, not just to the home page of your blog.

You can get my brand new 2024 Charity Sunday banner here:

For an example
post, check out this link from my last Charity Sunday:

Friday, March 22, 2024

A battle of wills and sizzling desire – #RomCom #RivalsToLovers #Over40Romance

Love, Legacy and Little Green Aliens book cover


HEA vs. a curse, a ghost, and a plague of ETs.

According to the Anagnos family curse, second son Xander is doomed to failure. When he inherits his Uncle Gus’s business in Trappers Cove, Washington, Xander jumps at the chance to prove himself. Of course, he plans to remake the schlocky, alien-themed souvenir shop into something trendier and more upmarket. Who wouldn't want that?

Hannah Leone, that's who. Reporter for the Trappers Cove Beacon, Hannah is hell-bent on protecting Souvenir Planet, the beloved icon that draws thousands of tourists to their quirky beach town. The Beacon is struggling to survive, and there’s no way Hannah will let an inconvenient crush stand between her and the biggest story to hit Trappers Cove in ages.

Caught in a battle of wills and sizzling desire, Xander and Hannah discover the bizarre depths of Uncle Gus’s alien obsession. When disaster strikes, they’ll need Xander’s innovation and Hannah’s connections to save Souvenir Planet. But if these hard-headed foes don’t lay down their arms, the town they love will pay the price.

Come back to Trappers Cove for a steamy, laugh-out-loud, rivals-to-lovers romance full of found family, beachy fun, and out-of-this-world mystery.

Buy Links:



Barnes & Noble:



Google Play:





You okay, Xander?”

Stupid question. Face pale, lips clamped tight, forehead dotted with sweat, he was clearly as far from okay as Trappers Cove was from Australia.

His nostrils flared in a deep inhalation. Who knew nostrils could be so sexy?

She rubbed his arm from elbow to shoulder and found his muscles so tense she might as well be stroking marble. “I thought you were exaggerating about that second son business, but it looks like you understated the problem.”

He closed his eyes and shook his head. “I can’t stand to listen to them shredding Gus. My uncle was a good man. An oddball, yes, but so what? He was generous and kind and funny and—”

Hey.” She grasped both his shoulders and turned him to face her. “You’re doing the right thing. You are a loving, loyal nephew. And in a couple hours, all your bitchy relatives will leave, so you can get back to remodeling Souvenir Planet. I have faith in you, Xander. You’re going to make this place shine brighter than ever.”

His eyes widened. Okay, maybe she’d gone too far, but the only way through this debacle was forward.

You’ve got this, my friend.” She rose on her toes and pecked his cheek. At least, that was her intention, but a loud bang from across the room jerked his head around, and her chaste kiss landed on his lips. His soft, plush, slightly parted lips.

Xander gasped and blinked hard and fast, as if she’d blown dust into his eyes. “What the hell was that?”

A flush roasted her cheeks. “Sorry, I slipped.” She took a step back—well, she tried to, but he gripped her elbows, holding her in place.

That was totally inappropriate,” she spluttered. “I apologize, Xander.”

A flicker danced in his dark irises—amusement or something more interesting? A corner of his mouth ticked upward. “I meant the noise, not the kiss.”

They both scanned the room. On the far side, near the door to Gus’s office, a set of metal shelves had crashed to the floor.

Hannah tugged her neckline in a vain effort to diffuse the heat of her embarrassment. “I think Gus is telling us to get the show on the road.”

Xander groaned and dropped his chin to his chest. His shoulders quaked.

Oh no! Desperate to undo the damage, she clutched his arms. “I’m so sorry. Me and my lame jokes.”

Still quaking, he gripped her elbows and pulled her against his chest, burying his face in her hair. She wrapped her arms around him and rubbed soothing circles on his back—his broad, warm, muscular back…

What a perfectly awful moment for her libido to kick in. Tingles zapped up and down her spine as Xander’s arms banded around her, snugging her tighter to his solid warmth. What a monster she was, getting all hot and bothered while he wept in her arms and…

Hold the phone.

She planted her palm on his chest and shoved. “Are you laughing?”

About the Author

Author head shot

Award-winning contemporary romance author Sadira Stone spins steamy, smoochy tales set in small businesses—a quirky bookstore, a neighborhood bar, a vintage boutique. Set in the U.S. Pacific Northwest, her stories highlight found family, friendship, and the sizzling chemistry that pulls unlikely partners together. When she emerges from her writing cave in Las Vegas, Nevada (which she seldom does), she can be found shaking her hips in dance class, playing her guitar (badly, but getting better), exploring the Western U.S. with her charming husband, cooking up a storm, and gobbling all the romance books. For a guaranteed HEA (and no cliffhangers!) visit Sadira at

Visit Sadira on All the Socials!




Amazon author page:



Author newsletter:


ARC link on Booksirens:

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

It takes courage to surrender – #HistoricalRomance #BDSMRomance #MFRWHooks

Power and Persuasion banner

Continuing my March celebration of strong women in my books, I’ve got an excerpt today featuring one of the strongest: Olivia Alcott, intellectual, free spirit and labor activist during the age of the Robber Barons at the beginning of the twentieth century.

As it happens, Olivia also has submissive desires that complement the dominance of the book’s hero. Now, people who have a superficial understanding of BDSM might question whether this undermines her natural power and authority. I can tell you – from personal experience – that a true submissive must be strong. It takes tremendous courage to surrender, not just physical courage but emotional fortitude as well. It’s scary putting yourself in the hands of a Master or Mistress, even when you trust them.


She’s his natural enemy – and the only woman who can satisfy his perverse sexual needs.

Andrew MacIntyre, heir to a vast empire of railroads, mines and mills, is by far the most eligible bachelor among the society folk summering in Newport, Rhode Island. His mother has filled their opulent mansion with the daughters of bankers and industrialists, but Andrew knows none of these callow young women would ever consent to being bound and beaten, to serving and obeying him the way he craves. His money gives him the freedom to purchase anything except his heart's desire: a submissive partner to share his life.

Labor activist Olivia Alcott is dedicated to helping the exploited factory workers responsible for Andrew’s wealth. The strike she organizes triggers a confrontation between her and the handsome billionaire. Although their disparate backgrounds and values make them natural foes, something stronger draws them to one another: his need to command and hers to surrender.

Power and Persuasion book cover

The Hook

We’d rather starve quick than starve slow. A living wage or we just say no.”

Olivia Alcott chanted along with the mill girls as they marched in a circle in front of the rambling brick factory buildings. A semicircle of police and spectators fanned out in front of the strikers, but no one made a move to hinder them. Behind her, the normally clattering machinery lay quiet. When the workers paused for breath, Olivia heard the muted rush of the falls.

Itchy sweat gathered under her arms and at the base of her neck, where random strands of her hair had come loose from the pins that secured it. It was several hours past noon, and the summer sun battered them all. Like the women with whom she marched, Olivia wore a drab, ankle-length shirtwaist and heavy, laced boots, though her clothing was of finer fabric and in better repair. A red scarf knotted at her throat added a spark of color—and soaked up some of her perspiration. She was desperately thirsty, but they’d agreed not to take a break until three o’clock. She certainly wasn’t going to be the one who gave up early.

She glanced around at her companions. They ranged in age from thirteen to fifty-five, though most were younger than her twenty-five years. Their lean, wiry bodies showed the effects of their twelve hours of back-breaking labor per day, six days a week. Even the young women had lined faces and streaks of grey in their hair, and the older ones looked frail, almost skeletal.

In the cool of the morning, when they’d started the strike, there’d been a holiday atmosphere. Liberated from work, they’d laughed, joked with one another and sung old Québécois songs. Now each woman’s face was a grim, dusty mask. Each was determined not to surrender to fatigue or discomfort. They had made a commitment to one another. No one was willing to betray that commitment—certainly not Olivia.

Doubts assailed her, though, as her back ached and the blisters on her feet stung. Had she done the right thing, coming here and stirring up these women’s aspirations? Would it do any good? Greed ruled the modern world. Profit was all that mattered. Human beings were expendable, just cogs in the great industrial machine that was America. If one component failed, it could be replaced. Meanwhile, the masters of the new century grew ever richer.

She could have been at home, reading in her father’s shady garden with a glass of iced lemon at her side, or walking with her sister under the spreading elms of the Common. Indeed, if the strike failed, she could return to her safe and comfortable life in Amherst—become a teacher like her parents or an author like her brother Will.

These women around her, though, didn’t have those options. For them, this was a matter of survival.

Mademoiselle Olivia!” A skinny girl raced up the street that led to the riverside mill, stirring clouds of dust. “Il vient! He is coming!”

The sputtering racket of an internal combustion engine drowned out the girl’s excited voice. The crowd parted like the Red Sea for a boxy vehicle of shiny black, with silvery headlamps like extruded eyes. The noisy Studebaker rolled to a stop in front of the strikers, who stopped in their tracks like everyone else to stare at it.

The door creaked open. A tall man unfolded himself from the somewhat cramped interior, snatched off his hat and goggles and tossed them into the vehicle. He strode towards the massed strikers, his fists clenched at his sides.

Where is she? Where’s your damned leader?”

The newspapers generally described Andrew MacIntyre as handsome. The epithet did not do him justice. As he stormed towards her, Olivia was struck with a sense of physical power and keen intelligence. He had wavy red-gold hair, a high forehead, a square chin, a determined mouth. His eyes were hazel, deep set under brows darker than his hair. Those eyes drilled into her, fierce and compelling. The women around her shrank backwards in alarm. Olivia steeled herself, holding her ground and fighting the urge to grovel at his feet. Instead of retreating, she took a step forward, holding out her hand.

Mr. Andrew MacIntyre, I presume?” She marveled at the steadiness of her voice, the cool neutral tone.

Damned right. And you are…?”

Olivia Alcott.” She pulled herself up to her full height and forced herself to meet his gaze. She saw anger simmering there, but behind his irritation there was something else, something that intrigued and thrilled her. Something that she might be able to use to further her goals.

Olivia Alcott recognized lust when she saw it.

Buy Links

Kinky Literature

Amazon US

Amazon UK


Barnes and Noble


Apple Books -

Add on Goodreads:

Be sure to visit the other authors participating in today’s Book Hooks blog hop!