#MFRWHooks ~ “She’s Mine.” (@KA_Raines)

For this week’s book hook, I thought I’d share an excerpt from The Infiltrator. In this scene, Keira is evading Seekers, independent contractors working for a human trafficking ring in the wake of the apocalypse. When she’s awakened from her hiding spot in the dead of night, she discovers she’s no longer alone.

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On the fourth night at the cottage, she was jerked rudely awake by a scuffling from above. Her sleep-deprived mind struggled to push back the panic that crept in and settled around her like a dark cloud. One hand closed around the revolver—the one with which she’d first planned to murder her husband—on her stomach as she bolted upright. She trembled beneath her threadbare blanket, nerves frayed as she rose from her pallet, tiptoeing through the pitch black to the bottom of the staircase. She held the revolver with a steady grip while listening to the noises of the cottage above. She was exhausted from only sleeping in two-to-three-hour stretches, but her senses were now fully alert as she detected another distinct shuffling noise followed by the timbre of male voices. Three at least, possibly more.

Her eyes flashed to the single window above the crates stacked in the corner as she considered her possibilities. The frame was narrow, but Keira had been thin even before the world ended. She could simply kill the men in the house above. It was the first suitable shelter she had encountered for miles, and it was an unusually cold night for this early in the season. Even with a roof over her head, the threat of hypothermia was very real, especially since the rain had started again. The ground would be frozen over by morning. Not wasting any more time, she marched to the window and stuffed her meager belongings behind a crate. The men clearly hadn’t yet discovered the cellar door off the small kitchen, but it was only a matter of minutes. Keira would wait outside by the cover of darkness and observe them through the windows, gauge how many she was dealing. She would likely wait until they were sleeping, slit the watchman’s throat, and then slip back inside and silently kill the others. She had long ago learned to do what she had to, and she didn’t stop to think about it. If it was a cruel world before, it had become something unspeakable now.

Keira clamored through the window and pressed herself against the cold stone of the house, eyes darting frantically about. It was dark, the rain still coming down in icy sheets, shocking her system, and rendering objects in her line of vision little more than shapeless masses.

“Weapons on the ground, and hands where I can see ‘em.”

The voice came from in front of her and slightly to the left, little more than a low growl that caused an involuntary shiver down her spine.

Her eyes shot in the speaker’s direction and her hands instinctively tightened on the switchblade in her left hand and the gun in her right. Her heart stuttered as panic seized it in an icy grip. Yet outwardly she remained calm. She’d dealt with Seekers more than once, but she’d take the Ghosts any day.

“Easy there.” He was stalking toward her slowly, and the large blur grew distinct, shaping into a lean, powerful frame and broad shoulders. A weapon—a rifle—was aimed at her center mass. “Don’t wanna hurt ya.” He was mere feet away now. Keira couldn’t see his eyes beneath a mop of shaggy dark hair, plastered to his face by the downpour.

“Whatcha got there, Derrick? That a woman?”

Her pulse fluttered in genuine fear at the second voice; there was something in it that chilled her blood, something unmistakably hard—and well-suited for this world.

“Nah, man,” the first man snarled as the second jogged out of the tree line, aiming some sort of bow at her. The rifleman’s free hand came up, stopping his companion forcefully in his tracks as he attempted to move forward and get a better look at Keira. “She’s mine.”

Buy HERE ~ Only $2.99 and always FREE on Kindle Unlimited!

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A virus has rendered humanity mostly extinct. Keira Starr is alone, staying alive by staying on the run, sleeping in empty gas stations and the trunks of cars long abandoned on the highway. The world is overrun by “Ghosts,” the mindless, bloodthirsty dead, but they are the least of her problems. She is being hunted by ragtag groups of ruthless men, independent contractors working for a mysterious human trafficking ring. When she is finally captured, she discovers that Derrick Caine, despite his gruff demeanor and appearance, may just have a different agenda altogether.

M/F, erotic romance, dystopian, post-apocalyptic, sci-fi/fantasy

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#MFRWauthor ~ I Want to Believe (That Mulder and Scully Were Totally Doin’ It) by @KA_Raines

MFRW’s Week 39 Blog Prompt: Favorite TV Show of all time? Why?

I’ve become hooked on a number of TV shows over the years – and have even become moderately obsessed with others. I went positively gaga over The Walking Dead. I watched every season of Orange is the New Black. I witnessed Walter’s downward spiral in Breaking Bad and felt a number of emotions including outrage as I feverishly watched the first three seasons of The Handmaid’s Tale (and am currently experiencing a ridiculous amount of frustration as I impatiently await the next season).

The X-Files: 12 episodes to get you ready for Mulder and Scully's new  series | Gillian Anderson | The Guardian

I don’t have a particular genre that I enjoy more than another. As long as there’s good storytelling, acting, and dialogue, I’m all in. However, there has only been one show that – in my opinion – has had it all: drama, original storylines, humor, cooky conspiracy theories, an intelligent, fiery heroine, and her handsome, somewhat eccentric wise-cracking partner – and at its core an untouchable friendship comprised of an underlying sexual tension. I am, of course, talking about Special Agents Dana Scully and Fox Mulder and the formula that cooked up The X-Files. This formula has since been replicated, but not as successfully. Every week, I was on tenterhooks

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waiting to see what sorts of shenanigans Mulder and Scully would get themselves into. Every week, when presented with an unsolved case, Mulder would present a crazy theory backed by no evidence, Scully would scoff and roll her eyes, tell him he was ridiculous, and by the end of it, Mulder’s crazy, ridiculous theory would turn out to be correct. It was predictable in this manner, but it was fun all the same.

Arquivo X volta em julho com as 11 temporadas na Amazon Prime | Metro Jornal

Perhaps the most enjoyable part, other than the creative, paranormal storylines, was Mulder and Scully’s interactions. Their chemistry was obvious, but it was deliberately downplayed by creator Chris Carter, who insisted that Mulder and Scully would never become romantically involved. Eventually, however, even Carter couldn’t deny the onscreen romance he’d created, and he jumped onboard the ‘Ship Wagon. When Scully became pregnant on the show, it was only confirmed later that the characters had, in fact, been carrying on an off-screen romance for some time. Perhaps, in retrospect, it was a calculated move on Carter’s part: The more he told fans a romance wasn’t in the cards for their favorite characters, the more they’d want it!

Mulder + Scully Dancing | X files, Mulder scully, David duchovny

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#MFRWHooks ~ Sweeter Than Peaches (@KA_Raines)

For this week’s book hook, I thought I’d share an excerpt from The Infiltrator.

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He entered the kitchen, finding it abandoned since dinner had technically wrapped up an hour ago. Food was left on the serving line for the returning groups and for people coming off their watch rotations. Only a single server and dishwasher remained, the latter of whom was currently out in the hall playing a rather boisterous game of poker. The remainder of the kitchen crew had already finished up and gone back to their respective rooms to enjoy the remainder of the evening or else to get ready for their watches.

He found her in the back by the freezer, standing on the tips of her toes and reaching for a bowl of peaches on a high shelf. He moved up behind her stealthily, barely brushing his body against her back as he reached up and plucked a peach from the bowl.

Keira jumped in alarm and wheeled around, one hand shooting to the base of her throat. “Jesus, you scared me.”

“Shouldn’t let your guard down—not even in here,” he admonished. “An’ I ain’t Jesus.” He took a bite from the peach, not bothering to put any distance between their bodies as he stared down at her wide eyes and parted lips. Lips that looked even sweeter than the peach. He wanted to take a bite, but he refrained. “Whatcha doin’ back here?”

“They were out of fresh fruit,” she said, swallowing noticeably. “I was making you a tray…and they only had the canned stuff left out there.”

He grunted. “Mighty thoughtful of ya.” He took another bite from the peach, the deliciousness exploding over his tongue as the juice drizzled down his chin.

They were staring at each other, the heated tension between them as thick as butter when Keira leaned up rather abruptly, her tongue darting out and tracing the trail of juice that had escaped his mouth. He growled at the raw, wet feeling of her tongue on his unshaven jaw, which elicited a jolt straight to his crotch. His hands going to her hips, he roughly hefted her up onto the countertop while squeezing her ass and stepping between her legs that instinctively splayed for him.

“You stayin’?” he growled, lips on her ear as he nipped her lobe—hard.

Keira gasped at the sweet pain, hands going around his back and working their way under his tee while her legs wrapped tightly around his waist. “Haven’t decided yet,” she whispered, a tremor in her voice, and it was obvious that it had taken her a moment to process what he was asking.

Her whole body trembled against his in clear anticipation, and Derrick growled again, overwhelmed by the idea that she was as desperate for him as he was for her, but he was conflicted. This couldn’t end well. He wanted her to stay, but he didn’t know why. He didn’t want to want her to stay, and if they did this it would fuck up his head even more. He couldn’t give her what she deserved; he simply didn’t have it in ‘im. And he wouldn’t use her to scratch an itch, either.

With a force of will he hadn’t realized he possessed, he took a half-step back, and her legs slid from around his waist, releasing him only reluctantly. She literally moaned in disappointment and bit her bottom lip.

Fuck. He had to leave. Now. ‘Cause if he didn’t, there was no going back. He was gonna fuck her right here on this countertop, and that would be that, consequences be damned.

Derrick picked up the abandoned tray of food on the counter next to her as she stared up at him with lust-clouded, confused eyes. Her chest was still heaving when she slid to the floor on noticeably shaky legs.

“Nah,” he growled, more certain of his words than he had been of anything in a long while. “Y’ain’t leavin’. Are ya?” He took another bite of the peach, turned around, and left her there staring after him with ill-disguised yearning. He didn’t know where this was going, and he didn’t know why he cared, but fuck if the woman hadn’t already fucked up his head. He was gonna eat, get himself off again, and then sleep for a goddamn week—and put off the inevitable for as long as he could.

Buy HERE ~ Only $2.99 and always FREE on Kindle Unlimited!

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A virus has rendered humanity mostly extinct. Keira Starr is alone, staying alive by staying on the run, sleeping in empty gas stations and the trunks of cars long abandoned on the highway. The world is overrun by “Ghosts,” the mindless, bloodthirsty dead, but they are the least of her problems. She is being hunted by ragtag groups of ruthless men, independent contractors working for a mysterious human trafficking ring. When she is finally captured, she discovers that Derrick Caine, despite his gruff demeanor and appearance, may just have a different agenda altogether.

M/F, erotic romance, dystopian, post-apocalyptic, sci-fi/fantasy

Thanks for stopping by! I’d love to hear from you!

Kari

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Cover Reveal ~ Arresting Jeremiah by Amber Daulton (@AmberDaulton1)

Title: Arresting Jeremiah
Author: Amber Daulton
Series: Arresting Onyx (book 2)
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Cover Reveal: September 23rd, 2020
Release Date: October 14th, 2020
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Length: 98k
Heat Rating: 5 Flames

Tags: woman in jeopardy, man in jeopardy, single mom, family, violent ex, investigations, police procedural, criminals, gangs, drugs, urban romance, HEA, no cliffhangers, standalone, series

Blurb

Injured Parole Officer Jeremiah “Jim” Borden never expected Calista Barlow, the sassy blonde waitress he’s craved for months, to ring his doorbell. She slips into his heart—and his bed—but he’s obsessed with a gangland investigation that threatens his career and maybe even his life.

Calista doesn’t trust easily, not with a daughter to protect and the stalker who keeps calling her. After her violent ex-boyfriend returns, she finds solace in Jim’s arms.

Jim may have to forego his need for answers to protect the ready-made family he adores, but how will he and Calista escape an unseen enemy that is always one step ahead of them?

Tagline – When threats escalate, will Jim and Calista succumb, or fight for a love they can’t deny?

PreOrder Links

Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Apple ~ Kobo ~ Google Play ~ Universal Link

Add to Goodreads

Check it out on BookBub

Excerpt

He hated to upset Calista all over again, but he had to know. “What were you thinking when you tried on the necklace?”

Air whizzed through her teeth. Silence stretched between them as they walked toward the diner. She sighed, her voice soft. “No offense, but I don’t know or trust you enough to let you in that much. I’ve made some mistakes—things I don’t want to talk about. Give me some time.”

Trust? He couldn’t blame her for that. If he demanded to know her secrets, he had to tear down the barbwire he’d erected around his.

No. That couldn’t happen. His life depended on his silence. Did her private thoughts and memories hinge on life and death too? His stomach twisted. Nothing bad would happen to her, not if he was around to stop it.

“What can you tell me?” Hell, only an asshole would ask something like that without opening up in return.

“The necklace reminded me of something I once wanted more than anything. Not the pearls itself, but what it represented. I couldn’t have it because I wasn’t good enough.” She pulled from his grasp and wrapped her arms around her middle.

“I’m sorry I forced you to try on the necklace. I thought you liked it. All women deserve something that makes them feel pretty.” The stench of oil filled his nose, and he sneezed. He glanced at the noisy passing cars and pulled Calista farther back along the sidewalk, away from a puddle in the road, before a vehicle splashed them. “I understand about lack of trust and the need for secrecy. I hope someday you can tell me what happened, but I do know one thing, even if you never tell me. You were good enough. You always have been and will always be.”

Her blue-green eyes widened. She traced her fingertips over his smooth jaw, leaving sparks in her wake.

“You’re so kind. I almost believe it when you say it. God, I wish I’d met you years ago, Jeremiah.”

“Why do you call me Jeremiah? Everyone else calls me Jim.”

“It feels more personal, as though you belong only to me. I may have to share Jim with the rest of the world, but Jeremiah—the strong, kind man I’ve admired over the past several months—is all mine.”

Her admission branded him like a fire poker to his skin. If he were alone, he’d beat his chest and roar. No woman had ever wanted to claim him. No one but her ever called him Jeremiah.

He coughed, clearing his throat. “Friday is only two days away, but I can’t wait that long. Let’s get in my car and go to a park, somewhere private, to talk.”

“Talk? Is that code for necking like teenagers?”

“I’m game if you are, but I don’t want to be rushed. We’ll have time for kissing and touching later.”

She pecked his cheek. “We better go before the rain starts again.”

He grasped her hand and they hurried back to the diner.

Official Book Trailer for Arresting Jeremiah

YouTube – https://youtu.be/jIsVXB1B_Pg

Great news! Arresting Mason, book one in the Arresting Onyx series, is on sale for .99 cents. Limited Time Only!

Find it here: https://books2read.com/u/m2vvY7

Release Tour Sign Ups

I’m working with the wonderful Maia from Silver Dagger Tours to host the release of Arresting Jeremiah. Readers, authors, and bloggers alike—we would love to have you on board for the month-long tour, beginning on October 14th.

There is also the option to review before the book goes LIVE!

Find out more here: https://www.silverdaggertours.com/tour-sign-ups/arresting-jeremiah-tour-sign-ups

About the Author

Amber Daulton is the author of the romantic-suspense series Arresting Onyx and several standalone novellas. Her books are published through The Wild Rose Press, Books to Go Now, and Daulton Publishing, and are available in ebook, print on demand, audio, and foreign language formats.

She lives in North Carolina with her husband and demanding cats.

Social Media Links

#MFRWauthor ~ Bromance? Or Nomance (K.A. Raines)

MFRW’s Week 38 Blog Prompt: MM Books: write them? Read them? Why or why not?

When I was a teenager, I was a huge Anne Rice fan. While not blatant, there are homoerotic undertones to her writing, specifically detectable between her male protagonist vampires Louis and Lestat, as well as between Louis and Armand in Interview with the Vampire. It’s not blatant, and as a younger reader I wasn’t aware that there was anything to be read between the lines. It wasn’t until I became more mature and reread the first few books of Rice’s Vampire Chronicles that I picked up on it – and found the prospect appealing. Literature and film of the past century have painted the vampire as charming and alluring, qualities that would assist in drawing in unsuspecting prey. Such fodder is inherently erotic, and the idea of multiple deceitfully charming predators is too delicious an idea.

While I have a personal preference for hetero stories – it’s what I primarily write – it’s certainly not a requirement, as I’ve developed a healthy appreciation for stories featuring men only. What can I say? I love men and the wide variety of packages in which they come. I love charming vampire antiheroes. I love dirty, crossbow-wielding zombie-hunters. I love biker-gang bad-boys. Well-dressed federal agents (preferably FBI, not IRS). Just give me MEN. Like in this video…

Thanks for reading and be sure to comment and tell me: What’s your favorite non-canon MM fantasy from any movie, TV, or book series??

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#MFRWHooks ~ Knight in Shining Leather (K.A. Raines)

Hi, everyone! I’m currently working on a couple of WIPs, but I’d like to share an excerpt from a romantic suspense novel I’m hard at work on. I’m super excited because it’s quite different from my debut novel. While it deals with serious subject matter, the heroine is spunky and quirky, and there’s going to be plenty of banter + sexual tension (my two favorite things). This work is as-yet untitled, but I’m looking at a released of early next year (if all goes according to plan).

It was nearing midnight as I walked to my car—or, rather, gracelessly plodded through the icy sludge accumulated on the sidewalk, impacted at certain intervals to the point of being dangerously slickened. Especially in these fucking shoes. And where the hell had I parked my damned car, anyway? I was sure I’d left it on the corner, in front of the crappy little all-night cafe where some of the others would fruitlessly attempt to sober up before heading home to their families.

“Elle—hey, wait up—!”

I rolled my eyes and kept walking. I wanted to snap, “It’s Detective Roshan,” but it felt petty, so I ignored him, finally spotting my car crammed between an SUV and a truck so needlessly large it seemed its asshat owner couldn’t not be compensating. Perfect. Just how the hell was I supposed to get out of that spot without ramming one of those monstrosities? “What do you want, Agent West?” I conceded with a sigh as he caught up. Agent Jackass, my mind supplied. A beer didn’t make up for that.

“Easy, there.” He let out what I’m sure he felt was a disarming laugh. “Just wanted to make sure you made it to your car okay.”

I stopped in my tracks, torn between annoyance and…well, annoyance. When I finally turned to face him, I was unprepared for how close he was. It was my stupid, impractical, and absurdly overpriced shoes combined with the beer—so, maybe I’m a lightweight—and most decidedly not his closeness that caused me to stumble and nearly land on my ass on the icy pavement.

When he reached out and grabbed my elbow to steady me, I attempted to yank it back, and all that managed to accomplish was somehow I now had a face-full of very hard chest. A very hard chest that smelled like leather and cologne. Not altogether unappealing, I had to admit. I stiffened as his arms tightened around my waist; I’d say instinctively, but I had a feeling he knew exactly was he was doing. I was just about to demand that he release me when I saw it, just behind his right shoulder as it passed and made a left-hand turn at the intersection: a 1980’s-style station wagon, the kind with the wooden side panels, completely not discreet. I had almost thought it was a joke when two separate eyewitnesses had reported seeing a similar vehicle at two of the murders. It was such a movie stereotype it was laughable—but apparently, no. No joke. This killer either took how-to notes from lame daytime TV or he wanted to get caught.            

At any rate, if it hadn’t been for the alcohol still coursing through my veins—and the fact that I was still flustered from West’s attention, which I hate admitting—I might have noticed that this couldn’t be a coincidence. But I was a big, fat fucking idiot. A slightly intoxicated big, fat fucking idiot.

Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear what you think!

-Kari

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#AuthorInterview – “The Infiltrator” by K.A. Raines

Amber Daulton

Let’s welcome K.A. Raines to the hotseat for a juicy interview!

What attracted you to the romance genre?

I’ve always enjoyed writing AND reading in a multitude of genres, but I always felt that romance gave a story its pulse. As a child, the romantic subplot is usually what cemented my enjoyment of a book or movie – even if the movie I was watching was science fiction or action/adventure. I also love some good sexual tension build-up, and I think this shows in my writing. I keep the romance (and sexy times) central while not allowing it to swallow the story. Although, I’m planning a series of erotica short stories that might have little in the way of plot, but we’ll see.

“When I started writing books, I wish I had known…”

How to go without sleep. Although, motherhood actually prepared me for this one. And so did bootcamp…

View original post 1,182 more words

#MFRWauthor ~ I Like Big Flaws (and I Cannot Lie)

MFRW blog prompt: “As a reader, what attracts you most to a character?”

From literature to film, I am most intrigued by male characters who are psychologically damaged – yet not beyond redemption. I like the outcast or scoundrel who might be concealing a softer side (Han Solo, anyone?). I like complicated antiheroes capable of redemption (How about Anne Rice’s Lestat?). These men come in many different packages. They might be handsome and charming in the conventional way. Or they may hide behind snark to conceal their insecurities (Severus Snape?). No matter the genre or medium – novel, film, or TV – I want to see men who are imperfect and flawed, their facades concealing more than meets the eye.

As for women, make them strong, assertive, and confident. I want to see (or read about) The Walking Dead‘s Michonne kicking ass and getting the hero – even if the ass-kicking itself is metaphorical rather than literal – or Katniss Everdeen with with her bow. This desire is why I wrote so many strong female characters into my debut novel, The Infiltrator – probably the only female-dominated zombie novel ever written – while I portrayed male characters as more prone to emoting than the women. I wanted it to bend gender stereotypes (as well as bend genres). Also, I simply enjoy writing about broken, fucked-up men.

My character preferences for damaged men and strong women can be seen in my current WIP as well, which is also a dystopian romance featuring two empaths whose mental battles are sexually charged. For this novel I chose to use several tropes including fated mates and enemies to lovers – and even a couple I might have made up (is fuck or die a thing?).

Excerpt from my as-yet-untitled WIP:

She closed her eyes. Centered the surging energy. Felt the pressure behind her eyes once more, imagined it flowing outward. She could almost see it. See where she needed to center it. She focused on his mind. Felt his resistance, as solid as a steel wall. All she needed was a crack, a small way in, then all she had to do was squeeze

She screamed at the effort, and for an instant—just an instant—she felt his barrier bow beneath her assault. With a heave, she pushed once more, felt the fissure form. And then she was in. Just as she concentrated the energy and began to squeeze, she was bombarded by images: A small boy with dark hair crouched in a corner. And a woman crying—

Jahnna was yanked up suddenly by her wrists. Her eyes snapped open as she was shoved violently out of his mind once more, the connection severed. He was angry, but he was also…she didn’t know what he was. She knew he could hurt her if he wanted to, but he was just staring at her, breathing heavily through his nose. Oddly, she thought he might kiss her. If he did, she would bite him—hard enough to make him bleed.

Thanks for stopping by! I’d love to hear from you! What are your thoughts? What kind of characters do you like to read about?

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#MFRWHooks – Derrick Gets Keira Wet (Excerpt)

When Derrick began to undress, Keira forgot to breathe. “What are you doin’?” she asked, laughing to cover up her sudden nervousness when his shirt fell next to his boots, and he reached for his belt buckle. She tried not to stare, truly, she did, but her hungry eyes drank in every scar that was revealed, every scattered tattoo, the coarse but sparse hairs on his chest that led a distinct trail down washboard abs.

Ordinarily, he was so painfully reserved that she was aghast that he was actually stripping in front of her. But, then, she’d witnessed his contradictory bold streak more than once.

“Goin’ for a swim,” he replied, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world, and she was a supreme dumbass. “What? You said it feels amazin’.” He pushed his jeans down his narrow hips and stepped out of them, leaving him clad only in boxer shorts. His legs were lean and strong like the rest of him, and she couldn’t help but admire them.

“Yeah, but—Derrick!” She laughed when he ran at the dock’s edge, tucking his legs into the classic cannonball position as he jumped and disappeared beneath the surface with a mighty splash. She was still laughing as she wiped the water from her eyes. Sure, it felt nice on her feet, but she couldn’t imagine actually swimming in it.

Her eyes skimmed the surface of the water as she waited for him to resurface, but, as the seconds ticked by and he had yet to make an appearance, she began to get nervous. She stood, dropping her pack and bow at her feet, preparing to go in after him as panic began to set in, when a sudden pounding noise below her caught her attention. Looking at her feet, she saw him gazing up at her through the slats. “You comin’ in, or what?” he asked as he swam to the side of the dock, his hands catching the edges to anchor himself in place.

She shook her head. “Asshole. You scared me.” Even as she said the words, however, she was struck by how carefree he seemed in that moment.

“Never said I weren’t. Don’t mean you can’t come in, though.”

She chewed the inside of her lip. Fuck it. Before she could talk herself out of it, she quickly stripped off her jacket before pulling her shirt over her head and shimmying out of her jeans. She didn’t look at him as she undressed, but she could feel the heat of his gaze as he soaked her up. She supposed she couldn’t begrudge him that, since she hadn’t bothered looking away as he undressed; she felt thankful, at least, that she’d worn a bra today. “This is all a ploy to get me naked, isn’t it?”

“Woman, if I wanted ta git you naked… I wouldn’t need a ploy.”

She shook her head and bit her lip, ignoring the heat that bloomed in her cheeks and between her legs in tandem. Once naked save for her plain white panty-and-bra set, Keira ran at the edge of the dock much as Derrick had, but, instead of doing a cannonball like he had, she dived in, her hands sluicing through the water as a shocking blast of iciness encased her. Remembering his words about Ghosts possibly being trapped on the floor of the lake, she kept close to the surface, flipping and kicking toward the murky sunlight before her head broke through.

She was still gasping from the shock of it and shivering mightily as she treaded water, eyes flashing toward the dock. Swiping the water from her eyes, she didn’t immediately see him, but she was no longer worried. On the contrary, she felt the stirrings of excitement, the adrenaline coursing through her veins as she swam for the dock, pulling one arm in front of the other. In high school, she had been on the school’s swim team. Not exactly Olympics material, but she’d always considered herself a strong swimmer, and it had been so long that the chilly water felt invigorating as she propelled herself fluidly forward.

She gasped in shock when a hand suddenly clamped around her ankle, dragging her beneath the surface once more, but she knew it wasn’t a Ghost: The grip was too strong, deliberate, the palm too fleshy. Nevertheless, she screamed, trying not to swallow a mouthful of water as she was yanked backwards and crashed into a warm body. Her arms wrapped around his neck as she clung to him instinctively, trying to stifle her automatic surge of panic when her head broke the surface for the second time.

Derrick was laughing as she coughed and sputtered. “You asshole,” she gasped, one hand pounding weakly against his chest.

“Seems t’be the theme o’the day,” he murmured once he finally stopped chuckling. “Calm down, woman—I gotcha.”

“I wouldn’t need calming if you hadn’t tried to drown me,” she grumbled, spitting her hair out of her face as she gazed up at him. Only at that moment did she realize how close he was, that she was literally wrapped around him. Her legs were straddling his narrow hips, her breasts smashed against his chest, and she flushed to realize that he was staring at her mouth.

“Wasn’t tryna drown ya—just gitcha a lil’ wet.” A sudden surge of warmth bloomed low in her belly at his words, and at the same moment he flushed, as if realizing what he’d said—but neither moved to disengage. On the contrary, they froze in unison while Keira forgot to breathe; they might have sunk to the bottom of the lake if Derrick hadn’t had have the presence of mind to keep treading water for them both.

She stared up at him, noting the clear hesitation on his face and feeling certain that it must mirror her own. Deciding to take the leap—and not allowing herself to think about it—she tilted her head up in clear invitation, stopping just shy of his mouth. She nearly cried in relief when he tilted downward just enough bridge the gap, his lips just brushing hers, so lightly she might have imagined it had her nerve endings not been on fire.

She held still with considerable effort, letting him take the lead as she sensed that any sudden movement on her part might halt him in his tracks. So slowly she barely registered the movement, he applied gentle pressure, his lips sliding over hers experimentally as Keira hummed her encouragement. His hand slid up her back, threading into her hair while his other braced against the side of her cheek, as if holding her in place, while he continued his gentle explorations.

When he hesitantly licked the seam of her lips, barely a prod of his tongue, she parted them, allowing him inside. As his tongue brushed against hers, he groaned into her mouth, and she tightened her grip on him with her legs in response, her own hands trailing down his bare chest, delighting in the feel of his warm flesh, in stark contrast to the icy lake water.

The kiss might have gained momentum from there; the passion had threatened to erupt between them for days, yet this felt different, even as the kiss itself lost its chasteness and became ever bolder. Still, this was decidedly sweeter than anything that had passed between them before, and she could tell that Derrick was deliberately holding back, not allowing this to develop into anything frenzied even as she sucked his tongue between her lips, the gesture absurdly erotic. His facial hair scratched the delicate skin of her cheek, the contrast somehow only serving to heighten the sensuality of the moment.

He broke the kiss with a grunt, his forehead landing against hers. “Keira,” he breathed, his voice ragged as he caught his breath. His erection was hot and heavy against her belly through the thin cotton of his shorts, but she followed his lead, sliding her fingertips up his smooth, broad shoulders once more, down his biceps, and trailing over his forearms until their fingers were intertwined.

“Yeah?” She opened her eyes to peer up at him through her lashes. She wanted him—she’d given up trying to fight it—but she would go at his pace.

“Nothin’.” He pecked her lips—once, twice, three times.

“No—what?” she said with a laugh, their fingers still intertwined at their sides, pulling back slightly to get a better look at his face. Her legs were still loosely wrapped around his waist, and she made no move to disengage.

“It’s just…” He ducked his head, and she realized that he was blushing furiously. “That was nice.” If possible, his face turned an even brighter hue. “I know. I’m fuckin’ lame. Never shoulda opened my damn mouth.”

She smiled up at him broadly, heart swelling to the brim with a sudden, intense affection for the man. She pulled one of his hands up between their bodies and pressed her lips to their clasped knuckles. “It was, wasn’t it? And you’re not lame, Caine. Not even close.”

Buy HERE ~ NOW $0.99 until 9/14 and always free on KU!

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A virus has rendered humanity mostly extinct. Keira Starr is alone, staying alive by staying on the run, sleeping in empty gas stations and the trunks of cars long abandoned on the highway. The world is overrun by “Ghosts,” the mindless, bloodthirsty dead, but they are the least of her problems. She is being hunted by ragtag groups of ruthless men, independent contractors working for a mysterious human trafficking ring. When she is finally captured, she discovers that Derrick Caine, despite his gruff demeanor and appearance, may just have a different agenda altogether.

M/F, erotic romance, dystopian, post-apocalyptic, sci-fi/fantasy

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#MFRWSteam Hop – The Infiltrator

The Infiltrator by K.A. Raines

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Thanks for stopping by! This is my first #MFRWSteam Hop, so I hope you’ll leave a comment if you stop by! For my entry, I’m leaving a steamy 18+ excerpt from my debut erotic romance/dystopian novel, The Infiltrator. I hope you enjoy!

M/F, erotic romance, dystopian, post-apocalyptic, sci-fi/fantasy

mfrw-steam-bnr-400

He was breathing hard and fast through his nose, eyes dangerous as they bore into hers. Only in that moment did she realize that his powerful arms were braced against the wall on either side of her head, his body solid steal where it trapped hers against the bulkhead. His scent—masculine, earthy—invaded her senses, leaving her dizzy. His breath was hot on her face and smelled like a curious mixture of peaches and tobacco. He hadn’t shaved since coming back, and coarse facial hair, peppered with gray, covered his throat and square jaw. She had the most insane urge to lick him as she’d done that night in the kitchen, to feel the rough texture beneath her tongue. She wanted to press her lips against the hollow of his throat, the patch of skin just visible above his collar.

“Why?” she finally asked, her gaze meeting his unwaveringly. Her fingers itched to reach up and touch his face, but she didn’t dare.

“What?” He seemed taken aback by the question, clearly unsure of what she was asking.

“Why do you care?” she breathed. “I’m not your responsibility, Derrick. So…why? It’s a fair question.”

His arms dropped to his sides, and he took several paces back then, putting distance between their bodies once more. He didn’t open his mouth to offer an explanation, but his intense gaze never wavered from hers.

“You wanted to talk,” she said softly. “So, talk.”

“Ain’t some heartless bastard that’d stand aside, let you be brutalized,” he finally muttered. “That what you think o’me?”

“No, I don’t think you’re a heartless bastard. Quite the opposite, actually. But you didn’t answer the question.”

Derrick was chewing his thumbnail, and he finally broke eye contact, looking down at his boots. “Don’t know what the fuck you want me t’say.”

“Tell me why you brought me here.”

“’Cause you was alone.”

“That why you kissed me, too? Because I was alone?”

He bristled. “Jesus, woman. You wanna know why I kissed you? ’Cause I wanted to fuck you,” he ground out harshly. “That’s all. I wanna fuck you, and I don’t want you t’die. Don’t make me no goddamn saint—and it sure as fuck don’t mean I wanna put a ring on your damn finger or whatever the fuck it is yer implyin’.”

“I know you’re not a saint,” she said evenly, “and I’m not implying anything. But you didn’t fuck me, when you could have. I wanted it. So, why didn’t you, Derrick?”

He stared at her for several heartbeats before turning suddenly, clearly on the verge of storming away. She sighed wearily. “Derrick, wait.” She launched forward, reaching unthinkingly to grab his shirt to stop him—but he jerked away so brusquely that the top three buttons popped off his shirt, ripping it partially open. He was staring at her, breathing heavily through his nose and frozen in inaction as he watched her watching him. Abruptly, the room felt absurdly hot, and she was having difficulty keeping her eyes on his face.

“What happened to you?” she breathed. “Who did you lose?” She knew she was pushing him, that she should stop before she went too far, but it felt like observing a train wreck, watching from a distance as the engine rushed ahead at full steam, and, even foreseeing the impending disaster on the tracks, being powerless to stop it. “You risk your life tryin’ to save women and children. Who was she? Your wife?” She didn’t even know why she cared. She didn’t want to care. Derrick Caine was a virtual stranger to her, yet she knew she was already in way too deep.

He growled suddenly, a low, guttural sound that jarred her out of her trance when she rather unexpectedly found her space invaded by him for the third time in the past several minutes. Yet the charge in the air had shifted subtly; he no longer seemed angry, exactly, but there was something decidedly predatory in his eyes.

“The fuck you want from me?” His voice in her ear was a dangerous rumble that elicited chills up her spine and ignited a fire that bloomed hotly in her womb, a delicious contrast. Quite suddenly, all she wanted was to relieve the dull throb between her legs that his voice and presence evoked; she wanted him so badly that she physically couldn’t endure not to have him soon.

You. Just you. “I could ask the same of you,” she settled for, and she couldn’t stop the tremor in her voice. She was overwhelmed by him—by his nearness, by the heat emanating from his body, drawing her in. She tentatively raised a trembling hand, reaching up to touch a raised scar on his chest, just above his left pectoral. His chest continued to visibly rise and fall, and he was breathing hard through his nose in an obvious effort to calm himself, fists clenched in tight balls at his sides. His breathing hitched when she barely touched him, a feather-light caress, her fingertips just skimming the jagged edge of his scar. She had known all along that he was in pain. So much unbearable pain—yet he would never admit it to anyone, least of all her.

“He’s selective about who he chooses to let in,” Lexie had told her. “He’s more vulnerable than he lets on…”

His hand snaked out suddenly, catching her wrist and effectively stopping the downward trail of her fingertips. She shuddered, an irrepressible moan escaping her lips. “Don’t,” he growled, voice somehow even more gravelly than usual. She got the distinct impression, however, that he didn’t really want her to stop, as evidenced by the sizable bulge pressed enticingly against her belly through his jeans. And she’d barely even touched him.

“Please,” she whispered, and his breathing noticeably hitched when she licked her lips.

“You don’t want this. You don’t want me.” His voice was no longer angry, but there was something distinctly aggressive about the way he ground his hips against her belly as he released her wrist, hands landing roughly on her hips.

“I know what I want, Derrick. I’m a big girl.”

He growled, a sound of frustration as he stepped back slightly, and her entire being mourned the loss of contact. “You don’t know what the fuck you’re talkin’ about.”

“Oh, I don’t, do I?” She was unable to suppress the frustration in her own voice as she took a half-step forward, closing the gap between their bodies once more.

“You want me to fuck you, Keira?” His voice was an aggressive bark as he abruptly grabbed her in one swift motion and pinned her against the wall. His head was suddenly tilted downward, his breath hot against her ear as he bit her lobe—hard. “I can do that,” he added, the aggression ebbing somewhat, replaced by a heated urgency as he hiked her leg over his hip and ground against her center. Keira gasped, her hands encircling the back of his head, and their foreheads met. Their lips were mere centimeters apart, his shallow breaths hot on her face, and she thought that he was going to kiss her again…

“…But this…”

Keira’s arousal-hazed mind struggled to remember what he was talking about as he thrust his hips against her core, hard, his large hands splayed on her ass, pulling her in and grinding her against him.

“…This is all I can give you,” he continued in a low rumble. “’Cause I ain’t got nothin’ else left to give.”

“Maybe I don’t either.” It was a lie, the same lie that she’d been telling herself. She did, but it was just a matter of whether she was willing. At that moment, however, all she cared about was that he didn’t stop. She was so close already, and they were still both fully clothed.

He let out a sound that was a cross between a grunt and a growl as he released her rather abruptly, allowing her leg to slide back to the floor—and Keira let out a whimper of frustration—but then she realized that he was on his knees before her, attempting to clumsily yank her pants down her hips without undoing the button. “Wanna taste you,” he grunted, his words and voice triggering a surge of warmth that bloomed between her legs anew. She groaned and bit her lip in anticipation, forgetting that they were in a public area even if it was secluded, and not really giving a damn at that moment, as she helped him shove her pants and underwear down her hips in one fell swoop.

Buy HERE ~ NOW $0.99 until 9/14 and always free on KU!

3d Hardcover on transparentA virus has rendered humanity mostly extinct. Keira Starr is alone, staying alive by staying on the run, sleeping in empty gas stations and the trunks of cars long abandoned on the highway. The world is overrun by “Ghosts,” the mindless, bloodthirsty dead, but they are the least of her problems. She is being hunted by ragtag groups of ruthless men, independent contractors working for a mysterious human trafficking ring. When she is finally captured, she discovers that Derrick Caine, despite his gruff demeanor and appearance, may just have a different agenda altogether.

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