#MFRWHooks ~ Predator and Prey (@KA_Raines)

Welcome to MFRW’s weekly Book Hooks blog hop! To check out the other blogs in this hop, simply click the banner below or in the side bar. This week, I thought I’d share another excerpt from The Infiltrator, or the scene where Derrick and Keira are FINALLY about to get it on. Warning: This excerpt contains adult content, although it’s nothing too explicit.

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After stringing up a sheet in Derrick’s corner of the garage, Keira stepped back, admiring her handiwork. It wasn’t much, but it would afford them some privacy should the night rover find his way down here at this hour. Also, it muffled the light from the incinerator, leaving just enough of a glow by which to see. Satisfied, she began to undress. Her body hummed with anticipation, every nerve ending sensitized, her physical sensations heightened as she neatly folded her pajamas and placed them next to his cot. The hunting knife Derrick gave her went on top, her boots went lined up neatly next to the stack. As she climbed on top of the tattered but neatly smoothed quilt, clad only in a pair of ridiculously impractical panties—she didn’t bother asking Roz where she found them—she was so giddy with excitement she almost felt drugged.

Her heart hammered as she waited, warmth pooling between her legs and dampening the scant lace, all from mere anticipation of his touch. She was going to have him. She was finally going to have him. They had things to discuss—things that wouldn’t wait much longer—but they would consummate this thing between them first.

She laid back against his single lumpy pillow, hand roaming over her breasts. She pinched her nipples and bit her lip, trailing her hand lazily down her belly and between her legs. When she was younger, she had criticized her body harshly. But her body, while not as young as it once was, was strong. It was a tool that had enabled her survival, and she respected it. And she didn’t have any qualms about enjoying it—or about giving it over to Derrick for their mutual enjoyment. She didn’t dip her fingers into her panties just yet, but idly traced the dampness through the lace, lightly teasing herself. She was tempted to start without him as she thought about earlier that evening, before the alarm interrupted them. She recalled his words, raw and feral: “Wanna taste you.”

Did he think about that a lot? Tasting her? Did he fantasize about it? And she had no doubt in her mind that he touched himself while thinking about her. Because she thought about him…and she knew that he wanted her just as badly as she wanted him. She propped herself on her elbows, losing her patience and tempted to hunt him down, when she realized that he was watching her from the edge of the sheet she’d just strung up. In the dim lighting, his eyes looked almost dangerous, his expression rapt. He’d slunk in without her noticing, evidently frozen at the sight of her, halfway inside the barrier she’d erected, with the sheet draping over his back. He was bare-chested, droplets of water from his shower still gleaming on his chest and beard. He was beautiful. Keira sat up and wordlessly beckoned him, and he obliged eagerly, his expression turning predatory as he stalked toward her. When he stopped at the foot of the cot, she could clearly see, even in the semi-darkness, his sizable erection tenting his dark sweatpants. Her mouth practically watered as she crawled toward him on hands and knees, feeling every bit the predator herself, before raising fully onto her knees. Her arms slid up his bare chest before snaking around his neck, and their mouths met greedily.

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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.

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#MFRWsteam ~ Ball’s in Her Court Now (@KA_Raines)

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Welcome to MFRW’s monthly Steam Hop, a blog hop for steamy romance writers! Click the banner to the left or on the side bar to view the other blogs in the hop!

For my entry, I chose an excerpt from my debut novel, The Infiltrator. To set the scene, Derrick and Keira barely escaped a pack of blood-thirsty Ghosts with their lives. Wet, cold, hungry, and emotionally exhausted, it’s the perfect set-up…

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Keira sat up then—there was just room in the confines of the tent—and looked down as she watched him take a long, deep drag. As usual, she couldn’t read the look in his eyes because they were shielded by a fringe of dark hair, and there was something acutely masculine about the rugged set of his unshaven jaw. He had one arm casually bent behind his head, his bicep straining against the ripped cotton of his stained tee. “I’m going out on a limb here, Derrick,” she finally said. “I don’t have to go anywhere with you, but I am. I just wanna know what I’m walkin’ into.”

His eyes latched onto hers heatedly as he exhaled slowly through his nose, and the almost animalistic way he was looking at her had her clenching her thighs together, instinctively seeking friction as the familiar warmth pooled low in her belly.

“Yeah?” he said at last, his voice that now-familiar throaty growl that made her insides quiver. “Then what’re you still doin’ here? No one’s forcin’ ya. Can’t say I’d blame you for walkin’ away, since you don’t know me—not really, and you sure as shit wouldn’t be the first.” His free hand snaked out then, lightly landing on her hip, somehow timid yet bold all at once. His fingertips scorched her as his thumb just grazed the flesh beneath the hem of her shirt. She watched as his hooded gaze flickered downward, landing on her nipples that strained against the flimsy fabric, before trailing further down to the simple cotton panties she’d taken from a Dollar General north of Texarkana last week.

She forced her breathing into a steady rhythm, feeling, strangely, both annoyed and aroused—annoyed that he had the ability to arouse her with a simple look. No man should have the sort of power over her. “And no one forced you to come after me. I can take care of myself.”

His hand squeezed her hip ever-so-slightly, his gaze slowly dragging back up to meet her eyes once more as his exploring thumb slipped just beneath the waistband of her panties. “Yeah. No shit.” His eyes were dark with lust, and he didn’t seem embarrassed by the massive erection that his boxer-briefs did nothing to hide.

They continued to make eye contact in an unspoken challenge, the tension heavy in the air between them, and Keira knew that he was waiting to see what she would do next. The ball was in her court. If she wanted him, all she had to do was take him.

She was aware that she looked a mess, and she was sure she must smell even worse. Yet she felt emboldened when she shifted and leaned over him in the next instant, not allowing herself to put too much thought into what she was doing as she draped one thigh over his hips, rubbing her center lightly against him. She continued to hold his gaze as she took the mostly-forgotten cigarette from between his lips and brought it to her own, inhaling deeply. She hadn’t smoked since her college years, when she started dating Kevin and he’d deemed it unattractive, and so she savored the nicotine. Her eyes never left Derrick’s as she slowly exhaled the smoke and pressed the cigarette between his fingers.

She felt irrefutably empowered by his ragged breathing, and by the heat of his impressive length that strained insistently against her inner thigh when she dragged her leg back over his and settled at his side once more. She smiled thinly, knowing that she had regained her power. If she wanted to, she could fuck him stupid and slip off quietly next time he slept. She had been on her own for a while now, and she preferred it that way. She didn’t need other people, and she certainly didn’t need him.

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

3d Hardcover on transparent

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.

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#MFRWauthor ~ Let’s Just Get Through Halloween, Mmkay? (@KA_Raines)

MFRW’s Week 41 Blog Prompt: “Pre-Christmas Catalogue Blizzard. Hate them or love them?”

Okay, I’ll admit it. I wasn’t 100% certain to what, exactly, this topic was referring. It’s the word “blizzard” that threw me. I’m guessing we’re not talking about a literal blizzard, since a Christmas Catalogue blizzard seems like the stuff of nightmares (not to mention paper cuts). Therefore, “blizzard” used in this context must mean some sort of pre-Christmas catalogue frenzy. I’m suddenly picturing ugly-Christmas sweater-donned Stepford wives ordering truffles and fruitcakes in front of tastefully decorated mantles. Their plastered smiles never leave their Barbie-perfect features as they peruse the pages. *shudders*

Ugly-Christmas sweater-donned Stepford wives aside, “pre-Christmas” implies “before Halloween.” I could be wrong here and it means directly after Halloween. However, before I’ve even shelled out the money for over-priced yet shockingly cheap Halloween costumes (quite the conundrum, if I do say so myself), we’re being bombarded by the next big money-making holiday on the very next aisle over. All Hallows’ Eve and the birth of Christ are all the same to retailers, I suppose.

Don’t get me wrong; I love Christmas. I love hot chocolate and Christmas lights and Christmas music and peppermint mocha and…more Christmas lights. But I also enjoy celebrating one holiday at a time. Oh, and I’m pretty sure there’s a holiday involving family and good food somewhere in between Halloween and Christmas (for all of those, like me, living in the US).

Regarding catalogues specifically, I didn’t actually realize anyone ordered from them anymore. Personally, I do all of my shopping online and have for a couple of years now.

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#MFRWauthor ~ Corn Mazes & Bike Trails & Pumpkin Patches – Oh, My! (@KA_Raines)

MFRW’s Week 40 Blog Prompt: “It’s a sunshiny day, what do you do?”

Fall. I love it. So. Friggin’. Much. Don’t get me wrong; every season has its perks. I’m hugely fond of the Christmas season, but being in East Texas we don’t see a lot of snow. Just a lot of cold rain, which means a lot of wet, cold mud. (While I realize everyone who lives in areas who get snow view it as overrated and possibly a nuisance, I view it as magical). Spring, of course, means flower blossoms and the scent of honeysuckle, and it’s cool enough that I can sit on my patio and enjoy the view of the pine trees bordering my backyard without the risk of melting.

I loved summer as a child, and it still has its merits. I love campfires and s’mores and swimming and boating and rafting and beaching. However, lately these fun trips have been few and far between (what with COVID and trying to finish school during summer semesters). And did I mention that summer in East Texas is humid and hotter than hades? While during the spring I sat outside with my daughter while she played on her slip ‘n slide and swing set, by summer the heat and mosquitos had largely driven us indoors.

But, oh, fall, how do I love thee! I can sit on my patio and enjoy the trees again! My kids and I can hit the bike trail!

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We’ve already been out to the corn maze and pumpkin patch on the first sunshiny Saturday when the temp didn’t rise above 80, and we’re looking forward to going back for the Halloween festivities in a couple of weeks. Before COVID, one of our traditions was to visit Six Flags Over Texas for their annual Fright Fest, but my kids and I won’t be doing that this year (I put our memberships on pause). Still, I’m sure we’ll make some new traditions as a family!

What are your favorite things about fall? Do you have any Halloween traditions? Be sure to let me know in the comments!

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