Hey everyone. I’ve turned my blog over to the infamous Mari Carr today. If you don’t already know, I’m allergic to alcohol so… I’ll just be passed out under the table after one thimble’s worth of Patron (just ask Mari she’s done it to me before!!!). Have fun with your guest host and behave!
Welcome to the fifth stop in the Cocktales Pub Crawl. I want to thank Jayne for opening her blog doors to us. Jayne has an amazing series at Samhain called Powertools. If you haven’t checked them out yet, whoooo boy, you do not know what you’re missing! In honor of Jayne’s stop on the crawl, today’s drink is inspired by her sexy crew.
The fifth round is a Powerdrill. Jayne is deathly allergic to alcohol, so NONE for her I’m afraid! Remember to write down that drink title to be entered in the grand prize drawing. Details about the crawl can be found on my website (www.maricarr.com).
2 oz Grey Goose® vodka
5 oz Five Alive® fruit juice
Put 3 ice cubes into a highball glass. Pour in vodka. Fill balance of glass with Five Alive fruit drink. Stir and serve.
This week’s pub crawl is being held to celebrate the release of Screwdriver next Tuesday, March 20. It’s available for preorder at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The Cocktales books are about four friends who own a combination bar/bookstore in Portland called Books and Brew (this is my DREAM business). Each woman runs a different aspect of the business—bartender, bookkeeper/office manager, the marketing/events coordinator, and the bookstore gal.
How about an excerpt from the story?
Casey looked closer at the AC unit. “Damn. I was afraid of that.”
“What is it? What’s wrong?”
“I was hoping it was an issue with the belt, but the motor bearings are shot. I’m going to need to order a part.”
“So it’s not getting fixed today?”
“I’ll see if I can rig a work around for the time being.” He stood and stretched. “God bless it, Jordan. I apologize if this offends you, but it’s hot as hell in here.” Reaching for the hem of his t-shirt, he whipped the thin cotton over his head and fanned himself with it.
Her now-familiar blush returned and Casey felt compelled to prod, to see if his suspicions about Jordan’s underlying naughty side were true. “Just so you know, I absolutely will not be upset if you decide to follow suit and work shirtless for the rest of the afternoon.”
The twinkle in her eyes let him know she enjoyed his joke. “I’m fine with my shirt on.”
“You sure?” he teased, taking a step closer. “I don’t mind helping you peel it off.” He reached out but she darted away, her smile widening.
“Casey,” she said, swatting his hands away. She dodged behind the AC unit and he followed.
The two of them played a quick game of cat and mouse as Casey chased her around the storage closet.
He’d just captured her, Jordan squealing loudly, when the door to the closet opened.
“Jordan? Are you okay?” a deep voice asked from the hallway.
Gabriel peered around the door and Casey wondered what his best friend thought he was seeing. They certainly presented a risqué picture—Casey shirtless, his arms wrapped around Jordan from behind while she laughed.
“Hey, Gabe.” Casey released Jordan and pulled his shirt back on. “What are you doing here?”
Gabriel’s response was slow in coming as his gaze traveled from Casey to Jordan. “I was checking on your progress.” Gabriel’s eyes landed back on Casey’s face and they narrowed angrily. “Looks like you’re making some.”
Shit. Casey’s suspicions about Gabe’s feelings for Jordan were confirmed in an instant. His friend was hot for the accountant.
Problem was…so was Casey.
“We were taking a break,” he explained.
Gabriel looked at Jordan, his expression softening. “You’re blood-red, Jordan. You need to get out of this heat.”
Casey glanced at her face. Gabriel made the same mistake he had. Jordan wasn’t hot. She was blushing. Big time.
“I’m okay, Gabe. No worries,” she answered. “I can see why you two are friends. Casey’s cure for the heat wave is going topless too.”
Gabriel’s expression darkened even further as he snapped his gaze to Casey once more. “Topless?”
“Actually, I think we’re done for the day,” Casey said, anxious to change the subject before Gabriel pulverized him. “I need to order a part before I can fix the unit.”
Jordan frowned and he sensed she was surprised by his sudden retreat to safer territory. Gabriel had never referred to Jordan as anything more than a pal, but Casey could read between the lines—even if his oblivious friend couldn’t.
“Um, yeah. That’s right. We were just wrapping things up. It was nice of you to come by and check on us.” Jordan’s gaze drifted to Gabriel’s face and she smiled.
Crap. The pure longing on Jordan’s face told Casey all he needed to know in regards to her feelings for Gabriel. It told him more than he wanted to know.
Jordan’s cell phone rang. She looked at the caller ID. “It’s Steph. We made plans to do a late lunch. I should take this.”
She walked toward the door as she answered the phone. Gabriel stepped aside and let her escape. Casey suspected he wouldn’t be freed as easily.
“What the fuck were you doing?” Gabe’s question was murmured, but even in the quiet tone, Casey detected the anger. A small part of him was thrilled to hear any emotion at all from his friend.
“I told you. Taking a break.”
“With your clothes off?”
Casey shot him a dirty look. “I took off my shirt to cool down. I’ve been in this godforsaken sweatbox for nearly two hours. Besides, what the hell are you so pissed off about? I’m here because you asked me to fix the air conditioner.”
“Why was Jordan in here?”
And now they were getting to the heart of the matter. “I asked her to help me.”
“Since when do you need an assistant?”
Casey was hot and tired and annoyed. Not a good combination. Gabe was poking the bear. “I spotted a gorgeous woman and an empty closet. Come on, Gabe. You’re a smart guy with a degree in finance. Put two and two together. I’m not averse to mixing work and play.”
Gabriel shook his head. “You’re not playing with Jordan.”
His friend’s vehemence tweaked Casey’s temper. “Last time I checked, you weren’t my keeper. Or Jordan’s.”
Gabriel rubbed his neck wearily, and for the first time, Casey noticed the dark circles under his friend’s eyes.
When he spoke again, Gabriel’s voice was calmer. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to snap at you. I saw you with Jordan and I…shit, I guess I lost it.”
“Why? I’m not an asshole to women. You know that.”
Gabriel shrugged. “I know. She reminds me of Annie in a lot of ways. Somewhere along the line I’ve become a bit protective of her.”
Annie was Gabriel’s only sibling, and no little sister was ever loved more. Casey wasn’t sure how to respond. Gabe’s initial reaction screamed of jealousy, not brotherly instinct. “I can see why. Jordan’s very sweet.”
Gabriel didn’t seem to appreciate his answer. “So sweet you felt compelled to strip off your shirt and corner her in a storage closet?”
Yep. Definitely jealous.
Now how about a little contest? Leave a comment here on Jayne’s blog by 6 a.m. (EST tomorrow, March 17) and one winner will receive their choice of an ebook from Mari’s backlist. The question is a fun one. You’ve hired the Powertools Crew to do a little work around your home. What would they fix and why?
Random aside from Jayne: Powertools book five, Nailed to the Wall will be out on May 15th! Woot! Good luck in Mari’s contest 🙂
I am beyond thrilled to say that I found out tonight Western Ties, Compass Brothers 4, co-written with Mari Carr hit #17 on the New York Times Bestseller list and #59 on the USA Today bestseller list. OMG!!!! I hope you are proud of me because this time I didn’t even scream obscenities in Lindsey Faber’s (Samhain’s publisher) ear when she called to tell me. I saved that for when I hung up as I was bouncing on my bed and simul-tweeting my screams of joy. 🙂
Super huge THANK YOU to all of you who supported this series and all of mine and Mari’s books. I can’t tell you how much it means to have reached a benchmark of success in this industry (and not be a one hit wonder!). Every single person who has bought one of my stories has helped make my dreams come true and I would like to share my sincere gratitude for that. It’s because of readers like you that my books keep finding homes.
On that note… more good news…
My partners in crime from the Three’s Company anthology (which contained Nice and Naughty) are back in business. Lorelei James, Jess Dee and myself are working on a project for Samhain Publishing. The anthology will be called Two to Tango and will contain a book by each of us when it hits print. The three books will release separately in ebook on October 2nd of this year! Mine is called Where There’s Smoke. More details to come when I’m a bit more organized but I thought you’d like to know that Lorelei’s story, Ballroom Blitz, is going to feature Jon Whitefeather from the original anthology!!! Woohoo!
So… there you have it. Good news and more good news. Again, thank you for your part in making it happen. I hope I keep writing stories that make you want to read them. I’ll do my very best!
To celebrate the release of Western Ties, I’m holding a Spread The Word contest. It’s quite simple. Mari and I are asking you to help us spread the word about this book. Tweet it, Facebook it, talk about it on a yahoo group, email a friend, tell your neighbor, call your mother, blog about it. Anything! Just…well, anything.
Then…come back here, tell me how you shared the news and your name will go in the hat for a drawing. One winner will receive promo goodies as well as any ebook from my backlist.
And on behalf of Mari and myself, THANK YOU for all the support and well-wishes, lovely emails and posts about this series. Your kindness as we’ve muddled our way through this uncharted path of co-writing has been more appreciated than we could ever say. I’ll announce the winner Sunday evening (Mari is doing a shorter version of this contest ending tomorrow if you’re quick!).
Western Ties is available at Samhain, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Sony and All Romance Ebooks.
How strong are the ties that bind?
Compass Brothers, Book 4
Leah Hollister’s sex life needs a swift kick in the pants. Small-town Compton Pass, though, isn’t the place to explore her need for bondage. When she gets an invitation to a BDSM party out in LA, she wastes no time booking a flight.
Her plan to play anonymously is shot to hell when she runs into high-school crush Sawyer Compton—and he lays immediate claim to her.
Sawyer Compton commands total control, in and out of the bedroom. He never thought Leah could handle his darker urges, but one look at the white bracelet that marks her as a sub ripe for the picking, and he knows exactly how this night is going to end. With Leah in his bed.
Leah didn’t expect to enjoy the comfort Sawyer’s familiarity brings, even as his touch takes her to unimaginable heights of pleasure. When bad news from home sends him reeling, she’s more than prepared to offer him anything he needs: her body, her friendship. Even her heart—if Sawyer can loosen the reins over his own to accept her love.
Invest in tissues. Lots and lots of tissues. Between spicy, set-the-sheets-on-fire bondage romps and the last Compass brother coming home, you’ll need them.
“Leah?” a familiar male voice behind her said.
Leah closed her eyes and prayed she’d imagined it. There was no way. No possible way—
She sighed. Fuck. What were the chances?
Turning, she realized her night wasn’t going to end as she’d planned. She should have saved her money. Should have stayed inComptonPass.She was screwed.
“Sawyer.” She didn’t bother with the pretense of being happy to see him. “What the hell are you doing here?”
“Leah,” Stacey whispered, her voice full of warning.
Sawyer narrowed his eyes, refusing to answer. His gaze started at the top, taking in her dramatic makeup, before drifting lower to her breasts, accentuated by the tight corset Stacey had loaned her. She willed herself to remain still as he finished his visual tour with a long look at her short leather skirt and stocking-clad legs.
“Enjoying the view?” she taunted. “You still haven’t answered my question. Shouldn’t you be inSan Francisco? What are you doing here?”
He scowled. “That’s my question for you. A BDSM party inL.A.is a long way from a kindergarten classroom inComptonPass.Last time I saw you, you were leading a pack of five-year-olds around my family’s ranch.”
A couple of years earlier, Sawyer had helped her organize a field trip to Compass ranch. It had been one of the highlights of the year for her students—and for her. It was also the last time she’d seen Sawyer. Two years was a long time. She certainly hadn’t expected their reunion to take place inL.A.
She sucked in a deep breath and tried to hide her disappointment. He was right. She’d purposely put herself as far away from home as possible, so that she could indulge in these two nights. One weekend to confirm a few suspicions she’d always held in regard to her sexual preferences. Sawyer was going to put a wrench in the works.
She gestured at her outfit. “I would think my role here would be obvious.” For the first time, she allowed her gaze to travel over him as well. Her body heated with arousal as she noted how unbelievably sexy he was. He wore tight dark jeans and a black T-shirt that hugged his muscular chest to perfection. No one in the place would fail to read the dominance in his stance, the aura of power he projected.
On the surface, she was shocked to find her friend in a place like this, but there was another part—deep inside—that wasn’t a bit surprised. He belonged here.
“So you’re a Dom?” She fought the urge to laugh as she asked the absurd question. Of course he was.
His gaze drifted to her arm. He grasped her wrist, pulling it up and toying with the white wristband the host had given her upon arrival.
“You understand what this means, right?” he asked, gesturing to the bracelet.
Sawyer completely ignored her Dom question. It didn’t matter anyway. It had clearly been rhetorical. He was aCompton. Anybody and everybody from their neck of the woods knew that name was synonymous with alpha male.
She gave him an annoyed look. “Of course I do.”
It was evident from his tone he didn’t think she belonged here any more than Stacey. One of the reasons she’d planned this adventure far away from home, surrounded by strangers who didn’t know her, was because rumors spread like wildfire in their small hometown. She knew about Sawyer’s sexual proclivities, and she’d always wondered if she shared a few of them.
Besides, her sweet disposition didn’t inspire the more adventurous cowboys back home to ask her out, so her opportunities for exploration were seriously limited. Julie was right. She was a goody-goody.
Sawyer didn’t appear to like her answer, so he restated the obvious. “It means you are an unattached submissive who’s looking for a Dom. This wristband has declared it open season on you.”
She shrugged, unconcerned. “Sorry to shatter the illusion, Sawyer, but I think I can handle whatever this party dishes out. It’s not like I’m a virgin.”
He frowned. “You lost your virginity in the backseat of a Pontiac to Les Prescott after Compton Pass won the district football championship our senior year. The guy was a shithead. You should’ve chosen better.”
Leah laughed, though a ripple of desire slammed into her. It was always this way with Sawyer. Though they were just friends, there’d never been a time when she hadn’t felt his gaze on her. He’d scared off more than a few would-be boyfriends in her lifetime claiming they were only after one thing. Les had fallen into that category, but Sawyer had been playing on that championship team and had been a bit distracted that night.
Sawyer had appointed himself her personal guardian in third grade when Jordan Haskiell had shoved her down on the playground after she’d beat him in a footrace. As a result, Sawyer had endured an afternoon in the principal’s office and God only knew what kind of punishment at home after issuingJordana very physical, very painful warning of what happened to guys who messed with Leah. While Sawyer hadn’t pursued her romantically, he’d certainly taken the bonds of friendship to a new extreme.
Despite the fact they’d existed in different cliques at school, Sawyer hadn’t let social status stop him from being one of her best friends. He’d run with the jocks and cheerleaders, while she’d been firmly encamped with the brainiacs, less affectionately referred to as nerds by their peers. “How could you have known about Les?”
“I told you. He was a prick. He was bragging about it at school the following Monday.”
She flushed. She’d never heard of Les spreading rumors about her. “I didn’t know—”
Sawyer grinned. “Luckily, he started his boasting with me. I took him out behind the school and gave him a reason to shut his fucking mouth.”
His admission held a hint of humor, but she could tell he was angry. She decided to test the waters to see how screwed she was.
“Well, it was great to see you again, but Stacey and I were going to pop over to the bar for a drink.”
“I’ll go with you.” He confirmed her fear.
She smiled and shook her head. “No, I don’t think that’s a good idea. You’re scaring off all the other Doms.”
His wolfish grin let her know that was his intent.
Her temper sparked. “God dammit, Sawyer. Go away.”
Stacey lightly touched her arm, alerting Leah that she’d spoken too loudly. Several people glanced in her direction and frowned. She was never going to achieve her goal at this rate.
Sawyer was the only person in the room who didn’t take offense at her faux pas. “You realize this is a weekend party?”
She nodded. It was starting to look like it would be a long two days.
Sawyer reclaimed her hand, slipping off the white bracelet.
“What the hell are you doing?” She tried to pull her arm free, attempting to grab the wristband back.
Sawyer’s grip was implacable. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a green bracelet. Suddenly, she felt dizzy. There was no way he would—
Sawyer slipped it around her wrist.
“No,” she whispered when he lifted her hand.