Thursday, January 1, 2015

Now available: Kiss the Frog

Chapter One
The lot of them were up to no good, and if Felice Larson could read her friends right, they were about to drop the trouble into her lap. What the zoology department laughingly called the graduate student lounge couldn’t hold more than five or six people in addition to the ratty couch and the Steelcase table with the ancient microwave on top. With Ben’s height and broad shoulders, which he at present was using to block the doorway, her buds from Professor Marc Fanley’s lab created quite a crush as they circled in on her. As they came forward, she backed up. And backed and backed until her legs hit the couch and she plopped down. “Okay, what’s up?”
Crystal took the opportunity to sit next to Felice, almost on top of her, actually. “We’ve come to a decision.”
“Why do I get the feeling it involves me?” Felice said. “And why are the butterflies in my stomach telling me I won’t like it?”
“Oh, you’ll like it.” Sandra sat on Felice’s other side, bookending her. Both women appeared ready to pounce if Felice so much as tried to stand up.
Alex nodded toward Ben. “Better close that door.”
Ben did and rested against it. For heaven’s sake, this was starting to look like a parody of a gangster movie. Next thing, they’d be threatening her with cement overshoes and speaking out of the sides of their mouths, even the women.
“Are you going to tell me what all this is about, or do I have to figure out what you’ve decided on my own?” she said.
Crystal dug her index finger into her hair and twisted a blonde curl tightly around it—a nervous habit of hers that manifested itself every time she didn’t have an answer to a question and had to stall for time. Felice glanced to Alex but got no more than a view of his faded jeans and university sweatshirt. His brown eyes gave nothing away. Ben wasn’t any more help. He simply crossed his arms over his chest and stared at the opposite wall.
Finally, Sandra took charge. She grabbed Felice’s hands and leaned forward. “You owe us. You said so yourself, remember?”
“Owe?” Felice searched her memory. She’d used that expression lately. Though she couldn’t recall what debt she’d incurred, she had a pretty solid feeling she’d paid it off.
“The research trip,” Sandra said. Though she was the smallest of all of them, her red hair made her stand out. She joked that no one should cross her because of her temper, but after getting to know her, you didn’t dare laugh.
“I can see I’m not getting through to you,” Sandra said. “Kangaroo rats.”
A shudder went through Felice at the mention of the word “rats.” Ever since reading the novel 1984, she’d had a terror of the miserable creatures.
“The trip we were all supposed to make to the desert,” Crystal tossed in. “The one we let you skip out on. The one when it rained for three solid days and we all came home covered in mud.”
“It’s not my fault you got stuck with the one week the desert got rain,” Felice said.
“We all ended up with colds,” Alex said.
“And I sat on a cactus,” Ben added.
Of course. Her mind hadn’t quite managed to block out the fact that she’d bailed on the rest of them and had stayed in her warm, dry apartment while they’d chased over half of the Sonoran desert counting the population of kangaroo rats. Awful, nasty creatures.
“She’s got it now,” Alex said.
“We’re connecting,” Ben said from his station at the door. A man of few words, but every one was important.
“I’m writing half the paper,” Felice protested.
“And you’re first author,” Alex said. “Not enough.”
“All right, all right. What do you want from me?”
“Well-ll.” Crystal let the blond curl loose for a moment, and then went back to twirling it. “You know Dev.”
“Of course I know Dev.” The new grad student was kind of an odd bird. A few years older than the rest of them, Dev came from a tiny European country, Latstonia or Bardstokia or something like that. He always mumbled the name when people asked. But then, he swallowed most of his words, making it difficult to know for sure if he was speaking English some of the time.
“He’s really nice,” Crystal said.
“How can you tell?” Maybe Crystal knew him better than Felice did. He glanced away whenever she looked at him. Poor guy. It had to suck to be that shy.
“I’ve talked to him,” Crystal said.
“We all have,” Alex added. “We spent six days in the rain with him, remember? If you’d come along on that trip, you’d know him, too.”
“I shared a tent with him. He’s a good guy,” Alex said.
“Well, I don’t know him,” Felice said. “He hasn’t said more than ten words to me, and he’s swallowed six of those.”
“He only clams up around you,” Sandra said. “Which makes you perfect.”
“None of you are making any sense,” Felice said. “Perfect for what?”
Crystal’s finger gave her hair a work-out, twisting and twisting. “You tell her, Alex.”
“Not me.” Alex glanced at Ben, whose face turned a bright pink.
“Oh, for crissake,” Sandra said. “You’re perfect to sleep with Dev, that’s what.”
“Sleep? Dev?” If Felice thought for a minute, she could probably put those two words into a sentence that would make sense – as long as they didn’t have “with” between them. Sleep with Dev. “As in have sex with him?”
“Why not?” Sandra said. “He’s a good looking guy.”
Maybe he was behind the glasses with the huge rims. If he combed his hair out of his face. And burned the corduroy pants. Lord, did he shop at Dorks R Us?
“Look, Dev’s been here for months, and he hasn’t interacted with a woman except for the ones in Marc’s lab,” Alex said.
“Heck, he might never have been with a woman,” Ben said. “In fact, I’m pretty sure he’s a virgin.”
“How in heaven’s name could you know a thing like that about him?” Felice demanded. This whole conversation had gone from weird to bizarre to insane within less than five minutes. What man Dev’s age would be a virgin?
“We didn’t have much to do but talk at night in that tent,” Ben said. “I asked about women, and he shut right up.”
“I’ve tried to draw him out on the subject, too,” Ben said. “He won’t talk.”
“Think about it. You could be his first.” Ben nodded as if that settled the matter.
If Ben thought that made the whole thing better, he’d missed by a mile. “You want me to take a guy’s virginity?”
“Believe me, that’s one thing a man never misses.” Ben stood there, an immovable tower of certainty, and no one else in the room seemed eager to contradict him. True, the first time meant different things for men than women, but still…Dev ought to share that special moment with someone he cared about.
“It just doesn‘t seem right,” Felice said finally.
“We’re his friends,” Alex said. “We should do this for him.”
“Fine. If you all think that’s such a great idea, Crystal or Sandra can sleep with him,” Felice said.
“I’m taken,” Sandra said.
“So’s Crystal,” Ben added. The two of them had obviously paired off. They’d been giving off signs for weeks. That only left Felice, or the sane and logical choice, which was to let Dev find a woman on his own.
“Besides, he doesn’t look at us the way he does at you,” Sandra said.
Felice glared at Sandra. “And how is that?”
Sandra opened her eyes wide and imitated a kind of puppy-dog face. “Like he wants to follow you home.”
Good God Almighty. Felice rose and paced to the other side of the room. Her hip bumped the table, rattling the microwave. “You all must be out of your minds.”
“He’s thousands of miles from home. He only knows us,” Crystal said.
“He really needs to get laid,” Alex said. Always helpful, Alex.
Crystal’s expression brightened. “You could make him feel welcome.”
“It’s your patriotic duty,” Sandra concluded.
“Now, I know you’re kidding.”
Sandra gave Felice her best menacing stare. “Try me.”
“You mean this. You really mean this.” Felice glanced at each of her friends in turn, from Ben’s stern features, to Alex’s open expression, Crystal’s smile, and the look on Sandra’s face that said she knew she had Felice trapped.
“A little action might do you some good, too,” Sandra said.
Felice couldn’t stop the gasp from escaping, and she charged across the room to Sandra. “I told you that in confidence.”
“Everyone knows you’ve been…” Alex cleared his throat. “…lonely since whatsizname left on his post-doc.”
James. It had been three months, two weeks, and a day, not that she was counting. Even the e-mails were getting short and seldom as James slipped off into the ether of her past.
“Give Dev a shot,” Crystal chirped. “He might be good.”
“A virgin? Good? The first time?”
“Well…you could teach him,” Crystal said. “Show him all the things that turn you on.”
“I am not giving Dev VonRamsberg a crash course in the Kama Sutra.”
Sandra rolled her eyes. “Do it any way you want. Just do it.”
“Right.“ Felice planted her hands on her hips. “What am I supposed to do? Walk up to him and ask, ‘If you don’t have anything scheduled between seminars, want a pity fuck?’”
“Of course not. You’d scare him to death,” Alex said.
“Well, then?”
Alex reached into his pocket and produced a key tied to a loop of string. “He gave me this when I took care of his pet iguana when he was out of town. Sneak in in the middle of the night and ambush him.”
“That’s just great.” Felice threw her hands into the air. “You want me to assault him.”
“It’s not assault if he likes it,” Alex said.
“How do you know what he likes?” Damn, they had her shouting now.
“He’s a guy.” Ben counted off the points on his fingers. “He’s horny. He wants you.”
She turned to the two women for some logic. “You couldn’t ask me to do something so stupid.”
“We not only ask it, we expect it,” Sandra answered.
“You owe us,” Crystal said.
Well, shit, they meant it. She paced the room again, what little of it there was. She did owe them. She’d meant it as an expression, but they had her. Technically, she didn’t have to have collected the data to write the paper and be first author. But what would Marc think if he found out she hadn’t gone on that trip? He prided himself on putting out PhDs who’d had hands-on training. How could she explain to him that what he thought of as cute, little rodents were to her disease-ridden, blood-thirsty vermin just dying for the opportunity to put their fangs into her face? She stopped pacing for a moment. “If I do this, I don’t owe you anything more, right?”
“That’s it,” Sandra said. “Paid in full.”
“I only have to do it once?”
“Unless, of course, you want more.” Crystal smirked at her. Actually smirked. She could smirk easily enough. She didn’t have to skulk her way into a near-stranger’s apartment, get naked, and do the nasty with him.
But then, she’d only have to do it once, and Dev was a sweet person, except for his fascination with side winding rattlesnakes. If he’d never made love before, he might finish quickly, and she could go home to her own bed. Women had put up with worse in their sex lives. In fact, she herself had. She could face a few minutes in the sack with Dev a hell of a lot easier than she could face Marc’s disappointment in her.
“Okay,” she said. “Give me the damned key.”

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Think three's a crowd? Alice Gaines' sexy new Club Ecstasy series proves that three only makes the fun hotter …

Susan McGraw knows she's demanding. And after a rough breakup, she thinks she's earned it. Luckily, Club Ecstasy can satisfy her every desire. Only tonight, one man won't be enough—she requires the devotion oftwo hot men. But when one of her lovers turns out to be the boyfriend she loved and lost, Susan realizes she may be in over her head …

When Adam, manager of Club Ecstasy and Susan's former boyfriend, realizes he's going to have to share her, he thinks he'll lose his mind with jealousy. But instead of making him envious, watching her with another man turns him on like mad. Together, the three of them experience the ultimate sensual and sexual exercise—but after all is said and done, will a new trick heal old wounds?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Total Temptation is out!

Chapter One

The butterflies in Cassandra Willis’s stomach hatched their own butterflies as she waited for the owner of Club Ecstasy. Seated on the visitor’s side of an antique mahogany desk, Cassandra flipped through the pages of the photo album Madeline Shaw’s assistant had given her. Madeline would only be a few minutes late, the young woman had assured Cassandra, and suggested she might spend the time selecting the man who would serve her.

For a moment, the assistant had sounded ready to say the man who would “service” her. If she had, Cassandra might very well have dropped the book and fled. Paying a man to serve her in bed was bad enough. She might have come here for a stud but not for stud service. Semantics aside, reality remained. If she went through with this scheme, and her body would never give her any peace if she didn’t, in all probability, she’d end up making love with one of these beautiful strangers before the evening was over.
No, not making love. Having sex or maybe even that other, coarser word that had never passed her lips. She would not make love with any of these men. She’d only made love with one man in her life. Now that Howard had died, she might fall in love again. After what her parents would consider a respectable number of years, of course. Until then, no lovemaking for her.

But she’d have sex. Tonight. With one of these men. Oh, God, what was she doing?

Still holding the book, she got up and paced around the room. In her normal life, she never would have considered coming to a place like this, no matter how elegant, to hire a man to give her pleasure. But Howard had died months earlier, and she’d had nothing other than the vibrator that had come delivered in plain brown paper to take the edge off the aching need that plagued her waking moments and stole into her dreams.

The desperation had driven her to Club Ecstasy—to the only place in the city where a woman could safely and discretely find not just relief from sexual frustration but fulfillment of all her fantasies. She’d had to take a risk to visit a facility owned by one of her husband’s acquaintances. Madeline Shaw had known Howard longer than Cassandra had. But Madeline also had a reputation for strict confidentiality. After all, she had herself to protect as well as her clients. An operation like this couldn’t be legal.

Cassandra paced some more and stewed, half wanting to run like hell and half vibrating with excitement at the prospect of finally having a virile lover of her own age after a marriage to a much older man. She couldn’t afford to get caught here, but neither could she stand to go home without finally experiencing the sensual pleasures she’d been denied in her marriage.

“Please excuse me for making you wait.” Madeline Shaw swept into the room, bringing a hint of San Francisco’s cool climate fog with her.

Cassandra started, nearly jumping. When her heart settled, she smiled. “I’ve been entertaining myself.”

“Good.” When Madeline removed her coat, the scent of an elegant perfume wafted from her. Perhaps something from Madeline’s own line of colognes. Very sophisticated, but Cassandra would not be able to carry it off for years and years.

“See anything you like?” Madeline asked.

“Like? Of these men?” Cassandra held out the photo album. “That’s an inadequate word. They’re all so . . .”
Madeline chuckled and took her seat. “They are, aren’t they? All my men are top-notch.”

Cassandra also sat. “Would you mind if I asked you a question?”

Madeline folded her hands together on top of the desk. “Feel free. I won’t answer if I don’t care to.”

“All this?” Cassandra gestured around her. “Why?”

“Why have an exclusive club for women?”

Put that way—as no more than a club—this place made perfect sense. Women needed to get away from the stresses of life, and a facility like this one, with its spa and gym, beauticians, and private shoppers, didn’t seem unusual at all. But then, there was a lot more to Club Ecstasy than that. “No, that isn’t what I’m asking, I guess.”

“You really want to know why I have male sex providers,” Madeline said.

Cassandra’s cheeks warmed. She’d be blushing brightly enough for Madeline to see. She’d be doing worse than that in a few hours if she could keep up her courage.

“Don’t be embarrassed. That’s what everyone asks,” Madeline said. “My men are here to give my clients pleasure. Women deserve that as much as men do, perhaps more.”

“But you’ve been so successful with your careers, first modeling and now your perfume and makeup lines. You don’t need to do this.”

Madeline leaned back against her chair and smiled. With the elegant cut and style of her hair, her perfect makeup, and her designer clothing, Madeline made the very picture of understated wealth. She didn’t have to run a facility that would earn her scorn if its existence became public.

“Let’s just say Club Ecstasy has always been a dream of mine,” Madeline said.

“Do you use the men . . . that is, their services?” Darn it all, there was that word—services.

“Well, now, I’m not dead yet.” Madeline’s smile broadened. “But let’s talk about you. That way, I’ll be sure we can find you just the right match.”

Cassandra’s fingers clenched together in her lap. “There’s not much to tell.”

“Au contraire. There’s a lot to say about you.”

Cassandra had done her best to rehearse some explanation for why she’d shown up in search of, well, sex. Nothing had come to her, and for sure, nothing would now, either. Cassandra and Madeline had been in the same social set for years. She couldn’t possibly share the fact that Howard had been a considerate lover but not what every young woman dreams of. Certainly not the stuff of the books she kept in a box in the back of her closet.

“If you won’t put it into words, I will,” Madeline said after a moment. “Howard was too old for you.”

“Howard was a wonderful husband.”

“Of course he was. He was a dear man, but he was still too old for you. How many years, exactly?”

Cassandra’s stomach twisted. She always hated confessing she’d married someone only a year younger than her father. The difference in age made her seem like a gold digger, which was exactly what his sons were trying to prove in court so they could invalidate the will.

“Thirty years,” she said.

Madeline’s brow creased, the first mark of imperfection on her beautiful face. “How old are you now?”

“Twenty-seven. I was twenty-two when we married. Howard was fifty.”

“And were you . . . how shall I put this . . .”

“A virgin? Yes.”

“Oh, dear Lord,” Madeline said. “It was your father’s idea, wasn’t it?”

“No. I loved Howard. I was happy to marry him.” Her parents had encouraged her, despite the fact she’d just graduated from college and hadn’t begun to figure out what to do with her life. Her mother had insisted she’d be “set,” and her father went on and on about what a good man Howard was. He hadn’t mentioned the business deal he’d hope to win through the match.

And then, Howard had seemed so dignified when they’d met. The grey at his temples perfectly complimented the cut of his business suit. They’d joked about how he didn’t do apps or social media, even though he bought her all the latest electronics—her toys, as he’d called them. They’d both insisted age was a number.

But underneath the clothes, he’d still been a middle-aged man. Would she have changed her mind if they’d made love before the engagement? The woman who loved him said no. The young woman who’d never shared a bed with a young man might give a different answer.

“Still, your father was happy for the marriage and moved things along quickly, didn’t he?” Madeline asked.

Cassandra might have wondered at that if she hadn’t been so excited about being in love and planning a gorgeous wedding. Now that she’d inherited much of Howard’s company and could complete the merger her father had wanted for years, she didn’t have to wonder. Of course, if Howard’s sons got their way, Cassandra wouldn’t inherit anything, and her father would lose the business connection he’d married her off for. None of them could find out she’d visited Club Ecstasy.

“Never mind that now.” Madeline nodded toward the photo album. “Let’s see what we can do for you.”

Cassandra opened the book again and flipped through the pages. One of them men wore a tuxedo with the bow tie undone and hanging from his neck. Like Howard, he looked fabulous in clothes, but the planes of his chest and flat abdomen promised a firm body underneath. The next page revealed a surfer dude with a warm smile and naked torso above swim trunks snug enough to outline his genitals. Quite an impressive display. She barely noticed the surfboard next to him. For a moment, Cassandra could imagine the scent of sunscreen as his slick body moved against hers. Definitely tempting.

“Jeff would be a good choice for you,” Madeline said. “I imagine you’ve had enough of elegance and would like some fun.”

“I’m sure he’d be wonderful.” The closer it came to coming true, the more ridiculous the whole plan seemed. And the more inevitable. She simply couldn’t go back home unfulfilled. Not to more days and nights of denial and misery. “Everything I do here will have to remain secret.”

“Of course. All my clients need privacy.”

“It’s not only a matter of general principle,” Cassandra said. “Howard’s sons would love to brew a scandal around me.”

“Ah, yes. Cynthia’s boys,” Madeline said.

They’d never seemed like boys to Cassandra, what with the eldest being a few years older than she. And now, they were making her life miserable. First, the lawyers. Then, the faceless men who followed her everywhere. Even if she had planned to sleep with someone after a few dates, the boys’ private investigators had ruined that plan by scaring off any man she’d stepped onto a public sidewalk with. No, Club Ecstasy was her only option, as unbelievable as that sounded.

“They’re putting out the lie that I slept around during our marriage,” Cassandra said. “If I’m caught with another man, they will claim I was involved with him before my husband died.”

“But, surely, that wouldn’t invalidate Howard’s will,” Madeline said.

“Not that in itself, but they’re claiming he had early-onset dementia. They even have a quack of a psychiatrist who’s looked through Howard’s medical records to make his diagnosis.” Her fingers made air quotes the word around “diagnosis.” “The sons accused me of taking advantage of his mental status by drugging him and getting him to change his will in my favor.”

Madeline scowled, actually showing the lines in her face. “I see they inherited their mother’s temperament. And love of money.”

“I didn’t help things, I’m afraid.” She cringed inwardly remembering her stupidity. “I dared to go out on a date shortly after Howard’s passing. To a club with a man I’d just met.”

“Surely, there’s no crime in that,” Madeline said.

Most of the details of that evening had dissolved into a blur of light-headedness and wobbly legs. Then bright flashes of light and yelling. “I drank too much. I was a mess when I came out of Le Cabaret, leaning all over my date. The press caught it all.”

“I didn’t pay much attention to that. It was you?”

“Howard Junior has all the pictures, and he’s shown them to the judge,” she said. “Who’s a member of his yacht club.”

“I see.” Madeline clucked her tongue. “Well. We practice strict confidentiality. My men know they’ll be fired if they kiss and tell. The other patrons won’t even see you here.”

That fit with everything she’d learned about the club. One of her friends had gotten tipsy at a party and mentioned privately to Cassandra that, as a young widow, she might want to try the place out. Even after too much to drink, Tina wouldn’t give her many details for fear she wouldn’t be allowed to come back if she said too much. She’d only given Cassandra an e-mail address and code word. Then, Cassandra had waited to hear back that she’d been accepted. The whole time her anticipation and, yes, a certain amount of titillation had grown.

“Everything seems secure,” she said.

“Good. Shall we get Jeff for you?” Madeline asked.

“Let me look a bit . . .” Cassandra turned a page, and the rest of her thought flew right out of her mind. The man in the picture was like no one she’d ever seen. He had a fabulous body with broad shoulders and well-defined biceps, but she could have said that about all the men in the book. Unlike the others, however, he wore clothes that molded to his body—a snug T-shirt and leather pants. Rather than an affectation, the pants made sense, given that he sat astride a motorcycle. Spiky blond hair and a gold earring in one ear gave him a decidedly dangerous air, but what really made her breath catch was the expression on his face. The insolent smile on his ample lips and the light of defiance in his eyes suggested he’d like to eat her up and he knew how to make her enjoy it.

Madeline glanced at the page. “You found Bobby.”

“Yes, I think I did.”

“He could be right for you, although . . .”

“Although what?” she asked.

“Bobby’s new, and he’s a little rough around the edges,” Madeline said. “But, his clients have complimented him on his stamina, if you get my drift.”

That he wouldn’t fade but could make the sex last for a good, long time. She almost melted at the thought. “Anything else?”

“He can be adventurous, but of course, you decide what you want to do.” Madeline reached over and placed her hand over Cassandra’s. “You’re very nearly a virgin. Are you sure you’re ready for a wild ride like Bobby?”

“There’s one way to find out, isn’t there?” Her mind may have hesitated, but her body had decided the moment she’d set eyes on his image. Bobby was everything she’d dreamed of ever since she’d learned she was a sexual creature with powerful urges. Urges that had never been fully satisfied. They would be tonight.

“I want Bobby,” she said. Possibly the first time she’d ever made a direct statement to anyone about what or who she wanted. Her first step toward sexual freedom.

“Bobby you shall have.” Madeline rose. “I’ll show you to your suite.”

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Lots of opportunities to win a free copy of Total Temptation

Lots of blogs will be featuring contests to win a copy of the first story in the Club Ecstasy series in the coming weeks.  For now, check out one of the following blogs:

I'll post more on future dates.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Covers for my new series

Check out the gorgeous covers for my new series from Avon Impulse (due out this September)