First anniversaries are so special. Wedding anniversaries, first birthdays—they’re all deeply held memories, but I think I want to talk about the first anniversary of my first book going on sale. I remember it vividly. July 7th, 2010. I was writing as Sophie Oak at the time. The book was Small Town Siren and I had modest expectations. I remember sitting down with my husband and we made a plan. I had already submitted two other books (Siren in the City and Three to Ride) and we decided that if between the three I managed to sell a thousand copies in that year, I would consider it successful. I wanted nothing more than to bring in a little money to help us out. Just enough so I could keep writing. It had been my dream for years and in 2010 I hit forty and I was finally ready to go after it.
Flash forward to July 7th, 2011 and I had managed to sell significantly more than my expectations. I had already written several more books. I sat down on that anniversary and realized I could do it. My author birthday!
Happy first anniversary, Mayas!
Here’s a peek at my next release, Dungeon Games: A Masters and Mercenaries Novella. It’s coming out on May 13, 2014 and is available for pre-order now on Amazon.
Derek Brighton has become one of Dallas’s finest detectives through a combination of discipline and obsession. Once he has a target in his sights, nothing can stop him. When he isn’t solving homicides, he applies the same intensity to his playtime at Sanctum, a secretive BDSM club. Unfortunately, no amount of beautiful submissives can fill the hole that one woman left in his heart.
Karina Mills has a reputation for being reckless, and her clients appreciate her results. As a private investigator, she pursues her cases with nothing holding her back. In her personal life, Karina yearns for something different. Playing at Sanctum has been a safe way to find peace, but the one Dom who could truly master her heart is out of reach.
On the hunt for a killer, Derek enters a shadowy underworld only to find the woman he aches for is working the same case. Karina is searching for a missing girl and won’t stop until she finds her. To get close to their prime suspect, they need to pose as a couple. But as their operation goes under the covers, unlikely partners become passionate lovers while the killer prepares to strike.
“I’m going to open the door now.” She couldn’t just sit there when he obviously needed affection.
She heard him shuffling, moving even as she opened the door. And then he was there, his muscular body seeming to shrink in on itself.
“You can’t be around me when I’m like that, Karina. I could have hurt you.”
She followed her instincts now and walked right up to him. He didn’t move as she folded her arms around him, tucking her head under his chin. “I wasn’t going to let you hurt me, Derek. I had a plan.”
It took him a couple of seconds, but his arms wrapped around her, squeezing her tight. His big palm came over her head in a protective gesture that warmed her. “What was your plan?”
It felt so good to be in his arms. The man knew how to hug. He enveloped her, surrounded her. She couldn’t help but cuddle closer. “I kissed you because I figured the dream was from your Army days. I’d tried to talk you awake, but I figured you probably hadn’t kissed your Army buddy a whole lot.”
He chuckled and she felt it all along her spine. “No. I hadn’t even kissed Jones once. It was effective. You stayed calm, didn’t you? I didn’t really worry you at all.”
She would bet he’d freaked the hell out of other women. “It takes a lot to panic me, Brighton. I know you don’t like it, but I can handle myself. And I can handle you. You weren’t going to hurt me.”
“I almost killed Maia once. I thought I was trying to keep Jones quiet, but she was smaller than him. I covered her nose, too. She couldn’t breathe. She hit me, but I didn’t wake up. She finally managed to pick up a glass on the nightstand and broke it over my thick skull.”
So he had his reasons to be worried. “I’m not Maia. I’m bigger and stronger than she is. I bet she hasn’t had the same self-defense training I’ve had.”
His hands began to stroke her. One flowed over her hair, the other down her back. “Yeah, she wouldn’t have thought to kiss me. Do you think you might want to kiss me in some situation other than trying to save your own life?”
Such a drama queen. She lifted her head and found him staring down at her. Heart-stoppingly sexy. That’s what he was. With his sleepy eyes and that sexy beard of his, she couldn’t quite look away from him. And his lips. Oh, they were plump and sensual and she wondered what it would feel like to have those lips on her body, worshiping her skin, kissing and licking and sucking.
She had a choice. She could step back and go to her widow’s bed or she could make one small move and the night wouldn’t be spent alone. She would spend it in his arms and she would finally know what it felt like to be Derek Brighton’s woman—even if only for a little while.
With a shaky breath, she went on her toes and pressed her lips to his.
* * * *
Derek’s whole body reacted to her. His heart pounded, his skin tingled. Every available ounce of blood seemed to flow right to his dick. She was saying yes. She was offering herself, and he wasn’t about to turn her down.
The need to burn off the dream was riding him hard. When he’d finally woken up and found Karina’s body trapped under his, he’d damn near lost it. He could have hurt her, could have killed her. It was precisely why he didn’t sleep with women. He fucked and pleasured and found his comfort in their bodies, but he went to his own bed so he couldn’t hurt them.
Except Karina really did seem to have handled him.
He gave her a minute, allowed her to explore. Her mouth was oddly tentative for an experienced woman, but then Karina seemed to be a study in contradictions. She was on her toes, her hands moving from around his chest to his jawline where she brushed against his beard, her light touches making him shiver slightly.
He didn’t shiver. He didn’t get this weird tightness in his stomach. He fucked. He brought pleasure. He didn’t get worried or nervous.
But he was kind of both because he wanted her so fucking bad, he couldn’t see straight.
From the moment he’d woken up and found her underneath him, his cock had jumped and pleaded and twitched in his pants. His brain might know that she wasn’t his type but his cock had entirely different ideas about what was attractive.
She kissed him and he kept still, allowing her to explore, to be in charge for now because she wouldn’t be later. What was attractive? She was. God, he loved the fact that she’d been willing to take off his balls if she had to. He also kind of loved that she’d come up with a way to save his balls.
He could still remember Maia crying. She’d sobbed for hours after the incident. Not Karina. Karina had that crazy sexy smile on her face that let him know she hadn’t been bothered at all by his PTSD dreams. She’d handled it. She’d taken care of it and she hadn’t needed to nearly kill him to do it.
Karina wasn’t his forever sub, but damn he wanted her now.
She stopped, pulling slightly back. When she looked up at him, he nearly got to his knees.
She was fucking gorgeous. She bit her bottom lip, obviously nervous. “Do you want me to stop?”
He had zero plans to stop. He might never fucking stop. A dangerous thought played through his head. He didn’t have to stop. He could fuck Karina until he didn’t have an ounce of come in his body and then he’d just wait until he had more and he’d give that to her, too.
“Yes. I want you to stop.” Because it was far past time for him to take over.
Her face fell, the sweetest pink flushing through her. He loved her skin when she was embarrassed or emotional. She couldn’t hide from him. It all played out over that precious flesh of hers. “Okay.”
She started to take a step away, but he wouldn’t allow it. She might be able to handle him when he was asleep, but he was going to make it very plain that he was her Master when he was awake. He caught her, pulling her to his body, letting her feel every ounce of his will because it was all directed her way.