Saturday, July 31, 2021

#SciFiFantasySaturday #StBatzyAndTheTimeMachine


St. Batzy and the Time Machine

Genie Gabriel


Excerpt Heat Level: 1

Book Heat Level: 1


Buy at: Amazon


BLURB: St. Batzy and the Time Machine


A modern day castle in western Oregon. An eccentric inventor is determined to reclaim his wayward time machine and save his beloved wife from her latest misadventure. If only they can travel safely past the black hole…



EXCERPT: St. Batzy & The Time Machine


Horace Ainsworth patted the side of the giant red fire hydrant towering two stories above him then addressed the terrier mix dog staring at him curiously. "It's finished. Now don't you dig in my Maddie's roses any more or potty on the pansies."


Batzy stared at Horace's retreating back for a moment before he hiked his leg on the nearest flowering plant.


Then he turned his attention to the odd-looking structure the Big Human had erected. Not like any fire hydrant he'd ever sniffed. A canine would have to be the size of King Kong to give this thing a proper marking. 


Though it did smell like the water that sprayed out of the hose when the human across the street yelled at him. Batzy grinned and lifted his leg, imagining he was returning the spray of the yelling human. 


As he circled this mysterious structure, the smell of fresh paint and overturned earth drifted into his nostrils. It was bigger than the merry-go-round at the park where his human, Chloe, sometimes took him. 


Wonder what's inside?


Batzy scratched at the side of the structure then trotted another few steps and scratched again. About halfway around he found an opening. Not tall enough for the Big Human, but just about perfect for his little girl, Chloe.Batzy darted inside and lifted his face to sample the aromas. 


No scents of danger but much to explore. Like this box of dirt. Odd. Big humans usually didn't appreciate the joys of digging. Hadn't he just been told not to dig in the rose bushes? A sniff and a poke with his paw uncovered a bone. Fresh out of the package. Batzy looked around. What game was the Big Human playing? 


"Batzy!" his little girl was calling him. 


Batzy stepped out of the digging pit. Hmm. I smell peanut butter.


He put a front paw on a cabinetfor balance and nosed a button. A bone-shaped treat fell into a bowl below. Also fresh out of a package. The Big Human was definitely up to something. Batzy gobbled it down quickly before looking around again.




Drat!He had to go. On his way out, Batzy stepped back into the digging box and snatched up the bone. Outside once again, he pushed the bone through the gap under the fence, and squeezed through after it. 


He popped up on the other side with only a few more streaks of mud on the white of his belly and wagged his tail at Chloe. He'd go back to explore the Big Human's structure later. 


~ * ~


Satisfied he had neutralized the threat to Maddie's rose bushes, Horace returned to the workshop in the basement of their castle-shaped home. In King Arthur's time, the sorcerer Merlin might have worked his magic in similar surroundings. Had Merlin simply been a scientist with an observing eye and a searching mind? 


That's how Horace saw himself: open to possibilities and what others might consider impossibilities. He loved to explore "what if" and took delight in disproving "facts." Edison did it with the light bulb. The Wright brothers did it with airplanes. Horace continued that tradition with a flying car and a robot that served dinner, as well as a play structure made out of a water tower and painted like a giant fire hydrant for the dog next door. After all, who said inventions had to be serious?


Horace scanned the stone walls lined with tables and shelves stacked with high-tech inventions and mechanical gadgets in various stages of development. What should he work on next?


He nearly set aside the recipe card propped on the computer keyboard, except he hadn't seen the word "urgent" on a recipe before. Horace realized it was a phone message from his cousin, Clement. "Will arrive tomorrow with submarine." 


Horace scratched his chin. What would his space engineer relative be doing with a submarine?


Suddenly, the alarm for the garages began wailing. A glance at the security monitor showed a truck pulling a trailer painted in vivid red and orange careening around the castle had clipped the gutter downspout and set off the alarm. 


A net dropped over the trailer, tangling in a wheel and jerking it sideways. Unfortunately, the truck continued its forward momentum until it also lurched to a stop, now sitting almost side by side with the trailer. 


If Horace didn't know his wife was safely painting in her studio, he would have sworn she was driving the truck. 


He hurried out of his workshop to be sure both truck and driver were okay. 


A tall, lanky man wearing a white shirt and black slacks jumped down from the driver's seat as the truck shuddered to a stop, grinning at Horace. "Hi, Cuz."


A frown creased Horace's forehead as he stared at the argyle suspenders that kept Clement Ainsworth's slacks pulled up into a permanent wedgie. The same suspenders Clement bragged had garnered him a date with the prettiest sorority girl at college some thirty-odd years ago. "But your message said you'd be here tomorrow."


Clement waved away Horace's confusion. "I called yesterday. You need a new secretary."


"My nephew took the message--"


"Like I said, you need a new secretary."


Horace made a mental note to come up with a more efficient way to deliver messages. "Why are you here? This doesn't look like a submarine."


Clement frowned. "Paperwork hold-up. But we can start work without it."


"Work on what?"


After a suspicious look around, Clement dropped his voice to a whisper. "A probe to explore black holes."


Horace also looked around, seeing nothing of danger except his cousin's lack of driving skills. "You mean black holes in space caused by stars burning out?"


"Well, that's the generally accepted theory."


"And do you have a probe in the trailer?"


"Nah. This is a mobile fabrication laboratory." Clement walked to the back of the trailer, stepping over the tangled netting that had captured one of the wheels. "This will make us a working prototype of the probe."


Horace stepped inside the trailer behind his cousin. "What is all this?"


"Laser cutter, CNC machine tools, robotic water jet, a rapid prototyping device--just to name a few. All run by cutting edge computer software."


Horace's hands tingled with the desire to pry open the metal casings on the equipment and see how the machines really worked. "Don't you make anything by hand?"


"You're still living in the dark ages, Horace." Clement laughed again. "No one makes things manually anymore."


Horace squared his shoulders, determined not to let his older, city slicker cousin make him feel inferior the way he had in college. "I do."


Clement's expression turned immediately apologetic, something Horace had rarely seen. "That's why I need you." 


With a deep breath and a frown, Clement looked Horace squarely in the eye. "You're the detail man. You make visions a reality. Others know the theories, but you know how to make them work."


"Um...right." Horace was still a bit off balance and definitely wary of his cousin's change in attitude. For the first time Horace could recall, Clement seemed to appreciate his skills rather than denigrating them. Surely Horace could give the man a chance to explain--and examine these intriguing machines--before Maddie threw Clement off their property. "Tell me what you have in mind."


"Saving the world."


Friday, July 30, 2021

#Friday'sFeaturedTitle #RoyalStreetDogs


Title: Royal Street Dogs

            Aunt Maddie’s Doggone Misadventures Books 4 and 5

Author: Genie Gabriel

Genre: Humor/Animals/Christmas

Book Heat Level: 1


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The last two books in Aunt Maddie’s Doggone Misadventures, where exploding inventions,hilarious misadventures and sweet romance are part of everyday life.


BLURB: Royal Street Dogs



With their world destroyed and their space ship malfunctioning, the dogizens of Planet Canid have little choice but to crash land on Earth...into the barn next door to Aunt Maddie's castle. With the Canine Queen in labor, elfenchaun Dori and Aunt Maddie help deliver the royal puppies and hide them from the evil commander of the Geeks in Green, who wants the aliens for tortuous experiments. Using Uncle Horace's invention of portable cloaking devices, Ryan and his zany family sneak into GIG headquarters to foil this dastardly plan while the Blue-Haired Ladies stage a Nertz tournament as a distraction.



Rescued and bored, the Royal Canines dream of a new dogdom. The search takes Aunt Maddie and Uncle Horace to an abandoned village in Sardinia, Italy, where they become caught up in rescuing dogs captured by a crime lord who wants all the kibble for himself. Using a retro-fitted space ship, they work cheek to jowl with their niece, who walks the streets in a dog suit to rescue street dogs who dream of home and family. A passionate Sardinian actress joins the rescue efforts when her beloved poodle is dognapped. She rallies her show dog friends to send the crime boss to the dog house–er, prison–and give street dogs the loving homes of their dreams. 



EXCERPT: Royal Street Dogs


“The cloaking device is activated.” Horace pointed to the drone’s monitor that showed a gaping hole in the roof of Agnes’ barn next door, but nothing in the barn other than goats and hay.

“Quickly! Let’s get into the barn while Fletcher is inside the house.” Aunt Maddie led the way, with Daphne, Ryan and Dori quick-stepping behind her.

When Maddie explained who they were, the aliens huddled in a whispered conference, then ushered them into the spacecraft where their Canine Queen lay in her chamber in obvious distress.

“Humans are not usually allowed to be present at this most sacred of events. However, we are a simple exploring vessel without a doctor. When the main ship was threatened by GIG, we slipped away with our Canine Queen. It is not her time, but the stress of the past few weeks…”

Another alien added, “Since the Queen’s physician is not with us, one of your females will take on that role.”

Maddie, Daphne and Dori looked at each other. “We’re not doctors.”

“But all females have the healer’s touch.”

Maddie looked at Daphne, who looked at Dori.

“In my elfenchaun form, I have the healing touch,” Dori said.

“Then you will attend our Queen.” The alien leader seemed relieved.

Maddie and Daphne nodded at Dori in encouragement, so she closed her eyes and drew in a deep breath. Then she shifted into her elfenchaun form. When she opened her eyes, the alien leader was looking at her strangely. “Is something wrong?”

“What is that thing you just did?”

Anxiety flooded through Dori. If the aliens had not seen a transformation, perhaps she really was the only elfenchaun left in this modern time. “I transformed. Sometimes I am human, but I can also be an elfenchaun. In this time period, my healing touch is strongest as an elfenchaun.”

“I have heard of transformations, but have not had the honor of seeing one.”

Hope surged through Dori again that other elfenchauns might exist somewhere in the universe. Then another moan from the Canine Queen redirected her attention. “I would like to talk more about what you have heard—after we welcome these royal babies into the world.”

The first puppy arrived with minimal fussing.

“Snuggle him next to the Queen,” Dori instructed. “He will need to be cleaned.”

The three aliens looked horrified. “One of the menials performs that duty, not the Queen.”

With a frown, Dori cleared the mucusy sac from the puppy’s face. “The babies must be cleaned immediately so they can breathe properly.”

Dori looked expectantly at those assembled, who stared back at her with confused expressions. “Quickly, bring warm, damp cloths and warm towels or blankets. We must be prepared for the others.”

As one of the aliens hurried to fetch the cloths, another puppy made her appearance. Dori handed the first puppy to one of the aliens, then gently cleaned birth goo from the second puppy’s nose and mouth. She wiped the rest of the puppy before wrapping her in a soft, fluffy blanket and handing her to Rissa. “The Queen’s milk may not be in yet, since the babies are a bit early. Does anyone have a small bottle—perhaps from a doll—and milk? Goat milk would be acceptable.”

“J-J should have doll bottles,” Daphne said. “I’ll ask Brenner to bring them here.”

“I’ll make sure GIG is gone and ask Agnes if she has milk from her goats,” Ryan said.







humorous, talking dogs, sweet romance, street dogs, enchanted tapestry, Christmas, fantasy, Alien Dogs, adventure


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Thursday, July 29, 2021

#CatchingMeara #ParanormalRomance


Title: Catching Meara

Author: Christine Young


Genre: PARANORMAL Romance

Excerpt Heat Level: 1

Book Heat Level: 5


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BLURB: Catching Mera


Meara Thorton was a feisty, world-class computer hacker—cornered by the FBI and shockingly given the chance to be their newly acquired technical analyst. Brilliant and intuitive, yet aching with the loss of everyone she has cared about, her restless heart led her to discover a love she fought and a world she didn't know could possibly exist.


Jace McKenna was an enigma, a loner, impossibly handsome, sincere and committed. The Apache shapeshifter blood running through his veins burned hotter than the blistering Sierra Madre sun. Jace knew the moment he caught Meara's scent she was his for eternity. 


Review: Catching Meara


Delane of Coffee Time Romance & More says:


"Catching Meara is a superbly written mystery that draws readers in and makes them a part of the team. The characters are vivid and provide a perfect canvas for the life of a unique team that catches some truly nasty villains. Ms. Young provides a perfect blend of paranormal, mystery and romance providing the reader an entertaining adventure."

Rating: 4 cups out of 5




EXCERPT: Catching Meara


Meara had been seconds from revelation, mere seconds. Now quivering with terror, she huddled in the corner of her electrified office while lights flashed and popped all around her, knowing there was no where to run. Monitors flashed and burst, exploding and sending shards of liquid fire into the air. A cop entered the small room, his arms stretched forward, gun in both hands and a flashlight on top of his gun.


Three more cops followed behind. No, they were government agents. The logo printed in white across their chest announced their profession.


Bright lights swept the room in a slow steady arc, searching for her. Finally resting on her face, she shielded her eyes. Smoke from the crucified computers filled the cubicle, making the agents choke. Sweat from fear beaded on her forehead, and her heart lurched to her throat. She closed her hands over her heart as if she could slow the furious beating.


"Hewitt, check this out. There might be more than this one. Barrister go search through the other rooms."


"Right, McKenna."


"My name is Jace McKenna," the man said as he approached cautiously, kicking debris from under foot until he stood above her. "Put your hands in the air." 


His voice held so much authority and sounded so calm. For a moment she thought he meant to reassure then she remembered she was his prisoner. Well, she would be as soon as she complied with his demands. 


Jace appeared dark, dangerous, handsome and tall, she noted at first. Very tall, which was hard to miss, since she was skinny and short. His eyes were an amber color with a hint of green. He towered over her. Beneath the deceiving bulkiness of his bulletproof vest, she observed next, his shoulders were very broad, and though his hips were lean, his thighs, tightly hugged by his jeans, were muscled and powerful.


His hair was blacker than the midnight sky, nearly indigo with its sheen, his amber eyes were cast into a rugged face that appeared naturally tanned. He was probably somewhere in his late twenties or early thirties. He seemed fierce, alive with a striking tension and a volatile energy that seemed to exude from him.


Shaking, sweat dripping down her face, Meara slowly raised her trembling arms. "D-don't shoot--me, please" She heard the pathetic whimper in her voice as she blinked the stinging sweat from her eyes where it melded with her mascara. Her heart pounded so hard against her chest she was sure it would burst through her ribs.


"Stand up, slowly." He swept the flashlight as well as the gun up and down the length of her body, which had been curled into a tight fetal position.


Rising to her feet, she leaned against the wall behind her, trying to keep her hands up and not fall flat on her face. She wiggled her butt against the wall and inched her way to a standing position. Her life flashed in front of her in a series of leaps and bounds until she saw the faces of her parents. 


"Do as he says," they whispered. "Everything will turn out fine. You'll see. We love you." Then, just as they appeared, they vanished.


Their faces faded into the smoke and flashing lights. Her eyes open wide, she gazed at her enemy--her jailor. The man who was here to arrest her. Mind games, or was it mind think that her parents used to play with her, teaching her to communicate through thoughts instead of words. She focused on his brain, sending out feelers, trying to read his thoughts and trying to tell him she was no threat.


The next moment he was beside her, grasping one of her arms, and in one swift move he had turned her, both hands were behind her back and handcuffed. Her breath stopped for a moment. The movement had been so sudden she was thrown against the wall. Her face flattened on the smooth surface. Yet she was glad for that because the impact brought her back to the reality of this moment. Her mind cleared for a brief second. For courage she inhaled a swift deep breath.



Manic Reader Review 

Rating:  4 1/2 stars out of 5

Reviewer: Alberta 



Meara is a loner, content to spend time with her computers, without the bother of having too many people around her. When she turns from hacker to government computer specialist, she meets Jace, who knows she is his mate, but all he has to do is tell her he is a panther shape shifter and that she is destined to be his.


There is a lot of dodging bad guys, dodging another shape shifter, and trying to keep secrets from each other. In the end, Catching Meara is pretty entertaining, and I liked both characters, despite Meara’s dysfunctional personality.







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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

#Caitlin'sDuke #HistoricalFiction


Title: Caitlin’s Duke

Author: Christine Young

Genre: Historical Romance/Regency

Book Heat Level: 4


Buy at: AmazonBarnes and Noble, Apple, Kobo, Google Play


Read first chapter




Roc Leighton knows the first time he watches Caitlin O'Shea play the fiddle and dance around the pub she will be his.



BLURB: Caitlin's Duke


She played a fiddle in an Irish pub....


Caitlin O'Shea Is the most beautiful woman Roc Leighton has ever seen. With her blue violet eyes and long black hair she captivates him. In turn he mesmerizes Caitlin. Caught in the power of his gaze as he watches her, she is wise enough to know he desires her but will never give his heart to her. Caitlin has vowed to never be any man's mistress.


And fell in love with an English Lord...


Roc knows the first time he watches her play the fiddle and dance around the pub, she will be his next mistress. Despite her protest, he will find a way to convince her that her place is with him. While Caitlin's determination to keep her vows, fate takes a cruel turn and she is forced to seek refuge with Roc.



EXCERPT: Caitlin's Duke


“You say things that confuse me,” she told him as she stepped over a large rock, lifting her skirts high enough he could see more than just her ankles.

He recalled a short glimpse of her legs earlier today when the dog knocked her over, but he’d uncharacteristically averted his gaze.

“If you were wise to the world, they wouldn’t confuse you, but I like you just the way you are.”

They stepped onto the sand, water whirling only a few feet away. She sat down on a rock, taking her shoes and stockings off. With her skirts lifted, she waded far enough for the water to cover her ankles and splash against her knees.

“Oooo, It’s cold.” Cat ran backwards away from the water then followed the tide out a ways. “You want to join me? Or are you too much of a coward to get your feet wet?”

The simple query gave him reason to pause. He was sure his grin spread from ear to ear. He couldn’t remember the last time he played in the waves. It seemed his life over the last ten years had been a bit stoic even though he’d faced life-threatening danger more than once. “Like watching you better.”

“Chicken,” she said, kicking up the water so the spray filled the air around her. “You will get used to the cold.” She turned toward him.

“Don’t want to get used to numb feet or wet pants. If you don’t watch yourself, you’re going to get all wet.” But he definitely didn’t believe he’d ever get used to seeing her ankles. They were so slim, tiny and her feet were narrow as were the muscles of her legs. A ragged breath caught in his throat as he imagined seeing other parts of her. Bloody hell, he had to stop thinking this way. When he was with her and even when he was not, it seemed his body was in a constant state of arousal.

A large wave caught her by surprise, reaching past her knees. She turned to run but not before her dress was soaked nearly to her waist. He stepped into the receding water, heedless of his perfectly shined Hessians, drawing her into his arms and striding to dry ground.

She was laughing and the sound was contagious. He sat on a large boulder, holding her close, their laughter echoing in the small area.

“You’re all wet?” He brushed her hair away from her face, taking the moment for a quick kiss.

“And your boots are most likely ruined.” She laughed, touching his lips with a fingertip. “Do you care?”

“My boots are meant to protect my feet, and they did the job perfectly. But your dress...” He paused before committing to his next words. “You’re going to have to take it off and let it dry or you most assuredly will catch cold. See, you’re already shivering. I can give you my jacket.”

“I can’t take off all the layers, so I might as well leave the dress on,” she told him, pushing slightly away as if she meant to see into his heart and soul.

If she did, she might find him lacking in too many ways to count. “I’ve an extra shirt and a pair of buckskins in the carriage. You can put those on while your dress and petticoats dry. I don’t want to take you home before the sun slips below the ocean. I won’t let a soaking wee dress ruin the day I planned for us.”

“They will be huge on me. How will I keep the pants up?” She set her hands on his chest.

“I’m sure I’ve got something that can be used as a belt. Otherwise, you’ll have to wear just the shirt and that won’t keep you warm either. As I said, I’d rather not end this outing before we’ve watched the sunset,” he repeated. Truly, there were too few alternatives here. He tugged on the leather thong holding his hair back.

“I’m really not cold.”

“No, of course you’re not. That’s why your lips are blue and you’re shivering so hard the quaking would wake the dead. If I didn’t know better, I’d think it’s an earthquake upon us.” He wrapped the leather around her waist. “Plenty to spare so you can keep the pants from falling down.”

“I am a bit cold,” she tried to stand but he swept her into his arms and strode up the path to the carriage.

“I can walk.”

“But I adore holding you.”



“Cat. Cat! Wake up. I want to show you something. I know it’s late but you’ve just got to see this. Cat.” Roc called, banging on her door eager to show her the shooting stars. He’d never seen so many sailing through the sky at one time. He looked in the window to see if he woke her.

“Roc?” She sat up, brushing her hair from her eyes. Swinging her legs over the side of her bed, she stumbled sleepily from the bed to the door. “You’re back. Is that you?”

“Only an hour ago.” He stepped inside the now open door. “Put your coat on and come. Never mind.” Grabbing a quilt off the bed, he wrapped it around her. “You always sleep in wool socks?” he laughed, wondering if she would do the same when she slept in his bed.

“When it’s cold, they keep my feet warm.” She sounded miffed and defensive to him, but he didn’t care. He was so happy to see her and have all his business deals wrapped up. He was going home in the morning and he hoped she’d go with him, but even if she didn’t, he’d come back as soon as he shared all the details of his mission with his boss.

“I’d like to keep your feet warm,” he blurted while he swept her into his arms and made his way down a path to a rock wall overlooking a field. “I saw these on my way home and knew you had to see this dazzling light show.”

Beast woke up and danced around the couple barking and seeming to cry out, Look I’m here. Pet me. Get me out of here.

For a moment he set her aside to pick up the dog. “You best behave or I won’t take you on another outing with your mistress,” he told Beast, roughing his ears.

“What are you talking about?” She snuggled against him and he guessed it was for warmth more than anything. The night was a cold one but clear which made this meteor shower more impressive.

Beast followed them, prancing around Roc’s feet then racing ahead only to return a few minutes later. He was so full of energy, Roc realized he must have spent most of his time in the pen.

Gently, he set his precious cargo on the stone fence before sitting down beside her. He pulled her close, making sure the blanket covered her. “Look in the sky and make a wish.” He pointed heavenward.

“Why?” She sounded petulant as well as sleepy. She rubbed her eyes, staring into the night sky.

“It’s a meteor shower. Most people call them shooting stars, but they aren’t stars at all.” He watched in awe as the show continued.

Beast stood on his hind legs, begging to be picked up but there was no room on his lap. “Lie down, Beast,” he told the dog who didn’t obey.

“What are they?” she asked, finally seeming interested in his excitement over rocks falling towards the earth.

Beast finally settled at his feet, his head resting on one foot. The dog would be loyal to her and possibly to both of them. He could only pray the animal wouldn’t have to prove his loyalty.

“They are,” he paused, thinking about Cat and all she meant to him, “what we call meteors, but they are really rocks falling through the earth’s atmosphere. The heat so far above us sets them on fire. Now make a wish and it’s sure to come true.”

She looked for seconds upon seconds and he didn’t know what she was thinking, perhaps she was wishing to come with him. Well, all she had to do was say the words and he’d have her on his ship in the morning, and they’d say goodbye to Portrush together.

“Did you make a wish?” she asked, finally smiling when she looked at him. “I did too.”

“Good, are you warm enough?” He tucked her in closer to his side. “Tell me what you wished.”

“My nose is cold.” She laughed, what about yours? “Nope,” she said when she touched his. “Can’t tell a person your wish or it won’t come true.”

Holding her close and watching the stars shoot from the sky was the best thing, he’d done in a long time. Their visit to the beach five days ago had been fabulous, but sharing something that he was excited about with her was heaven in disguise. He needed to savor this moment with her, keeping it tucked inside his mind.

“Can’t say I’m sorry I woke you but...” He didn’t want to tell her he was leaving with the morning tide. Didn’t think he stood one chance in hell of talking her into leaving with him, but he did need to know if anything happened during the week he’d been gone.

“I’m glad you woke me up. I was dreaming of you.” She picked up his hand in hers.

Surprised by the simple gesture, he thought perhaps his cause was better today than when he left. He spread his fingers wide, measuring her hand with his. So tiny, exquisitely delicate and fragile, she didn’t think of those as her characteristics, and she was too bricky for his taste. She’d take on the world alone with her fearlessness. Then he let his fingers entwine with hers, bringing their hands to his lips and kissing the back of hers.

“Does that mean you might change your mind about leaving with me?” He knew it was too soon to ask her, but he supposed the answer would be the same now as it would be an hour from now. They really only had a short time to figure this out.

“Honestly, I want to be with you but I can’t become your mistress. The position is not one I would...I have to feel joy and happy about my choices. I would always regret that decision. I will miss you though.” She leaned into him, her hands wrapping around him.

His heart fell for a few seconds. It wasn’t what he wanted to hear but what he expected. “I’m leaving this morning on the tide, only a few hours from now. If you change your mind...” He could always hope. After all, that was his wish, that she come with him.

Pushing away for a moment, he looked into her blue-violet eyes. She had the most unique and beautiful eyes, but when she leaned into him again, he felt the silent sobs of pain. “I understand. I’ll never see you again. I suppose it always had to be this way.”

“I will come back.” That was a promise he intended to keep. After debriefing he would have little to nothing to do with his life. His shipping company as well as the farms they rented pretty much ran themselves. The men his mother had hired were among the most competent in all of England. He’d told Cat he wanted peace and quiet, but what he craved was her beside him, sharing his life.

“But not to stay, just to try to convince me of something I just can’t bring myself to do.” She brushed away the new tears that had fallen. “Let’s not talk about this anymore.”

As if Beast agreed with her, he stood and let out a low growl as if he sensed something was wrong.

“If you turn down this offer, you might find yourself wed to Blair. Ida told me some things before I left. I don’t like what he has planned for you. It just doesn’t bode well,” he said, wishing he didn’t have to resort to bad news to convince her what was best for her.

“I won’t marry that man, ever,” she said softly, so softly he had to bend closer to hear the words. “He’s detestable and I know he’d hit me every time he got drunk, which is every night.”

“If you stay here, you might not have a choice, He’s a powerful man who is more than willing to wield that authority to get what he wants,” he warned, wishing there was some other way to tell her that her options were limited.

“I think we’ve had this conversation before.” She stood, “Come, Beast, we’re going home,” but it seemed she realized she wore only socks and no shoes and she sat back down.

Looking forlorn and a bit lost, she looked to him, more tears filling her eyes. She sighed heavily, her shoulders slumping. He wanted to kick himself for hurting her, but short of marrying her, there was nothing he could do.

When he first looked at her feet and realized her attempt to leave failed, he almost laughed at her expression but held it back, telling himself not to add insulting her to her misery. “I’ll be pleased to carry you. That way I can hold you closer to me and your socks won’t get wet.”

“You don’t have to do that.”

“I want to carry you. Come, Beast.”

Beast became more alert and looked at them when he heard his name and started homeward, leading the way as if he was the king and they were his ever-faithful followers. Once inside, Roc closed the door with his foot and let her slide to the ground against his body.

Beast growled at the partitioned room, but Roc ignored him, thinking the animal a little bit ornery for the late night. Still holding Cat, he opened the pen for Beast. “Go on, get inside and go back to sleep. This adventure is over.” Beast trotted into the pen then lay down, closing his eyes.

Then turning his attention back to the woman in his arms, “Mon petite chatte,” he murmured against her ear. In his arms she completed him, felt like heaven to his heart and soul.

Her quilt slowly slipped off her shoulders. His hands rested on her perfectly formed buttocks, unable to stop himself and needing to feel more of her than he’d allowed himself before, he wound the cloth of her nightdress in his hands until he could touch her, feel her silken flesh the way he’d wanted to for so many weeks now he couldn’t remember.



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Short Blurb:


She played a fiddle in an Irish Pub and fell in love with an English Lord. Caitlin O'Shea is wise enough to know Roc Leighton desires her but will never give his heart to her. Caitlin has vowed to never be any man's mistress, but fate takes a cruel turn and she is forced to seek refuge with Roc.