No “i” in team

So you may remember a little project me and the ladies of Love, Lust and Laptops has going a little while ago, Lucky’s Charms.

Lucky's Charms Cover small

well we have started working on another project and no, no matter what you offer I shall not tell you! You can’t force that information from me! I shall take it to the grave! Ooohh alright since you asked so nicely I’ll give you a little hint….

Get your glad rags on ’cause we got a party to go to!

there, that’s all I can give you…already I have said too much *whispers* this will be our little secret.

Ok on another note….my crit group and I have also got a little group project coming out this week.

7sinful secrets is a group of short stories all with a little twist in them.

Blurb:

Marriages shouldn’t have secrets, should they? Follow our seven couples, as they come to terms with the fact that their partner has been holding something back from them. Will it make or break their relationships? Read on to find out, and have your fan at the ready, because these secrets are hot!

7SecretsThis is out on August 2nd!

See there really is no “I” in team……..but there is a whole lot of fun!

Remember until next time: no matter how annoying your Dom/me is, making an “L” sign with your fingers and holding it against your forehead in the universal sign of Loser, at them…..just not smart….just saying

Those Nightmare Two P’s

Right now you are going….what the heck is the crazy english bird on about now?

So I’ll explain….the Two P’s really annoy me because writers don’t have an easy time of it, we don’t all live in large houses with a bank of staff to cater to our every need…we do however work really hard to produce stories we hope and pray you, the reader, enjoy…

The Two P’s have the ability to turn a quiet unassuming author, into a crazed serial nightmare….

P1 – Piracy……. where those who have no legal reason to do so, get copies of an authors book and sell it for financial gain and none of that gain goes to the authors. With the best will in the world…we don’t do this for free…we work hard, we give our hearts to writing the best possible book…..and someone steals it.

Because that’s what it is, stealing. Taking and selling something that isn’t yours….well where I’m from that would have the old bill knocking on your door before the night was done..

The “best” form of piracy I’ve seen is taken those short free reads we occasionally do, usually clearly marked on the cover as FREE and finding them for sale….yeah where is the sense in that really?

P2 – Plagiarism….. where those who think they can get away with it, steals another writers words and tries to pass them off as their own. Yeah, that’s not big or clever and people forget two important rules when they feel they can steal another’s work, 1) There are many writers but the writing community…that’s small and someone will know someone who will let you know if your words are being stolen and 2) writers write…be we also read *gasp* I know shocking right? What do we mean we aren’t stuck at our desks every minute of the day writing books…rude right! But we do, and most writers read a lot. So image the shock when reading a new book and realising it’s YOUR work….not nice.

The Two P’s hurt everyone, writers and readers alike. You want to get the best book you can and we want to give you that.

So please the next time you think of using a pirate site, or someone offers you a book that may not have come from a legitimate source, think again. Not only is it hurting the author but the quality of the book might not be what it should and that will only affect your reading experience.

And if you’re thinking of stealing words another author has sweated blood over and think you can do it without getting caught remember….don’t because we’ll know and we might be a small community but we are mighty.

I don’t often do “deep” and “serious” posts, but of late I’ve seen an increase in both P’s and I don’t like what I’m seeing, so if you’re reading this post and it clicks with you please let me know….I promise I don’t get serious too often…infact if you were at RT this year, you know I don’t do serious ever…but somethings need to be talked about to that they can be stopped. I’m just one voice of many.

So next time…I’m thinking FUN POST…. is there something you want to know about me or another member of the Love, Lust and Laptops….ask me and I’ll see what I can find out for you….I’m sneeky like that……What is Lynn working on? Does Becca have a new release coming out? What conferences with Monette be at? Does Jianne have a secret supply of Vikings she uses for “research”. You ask me and I’ll get you those answers……. just sshhh don’t tell the others it’ll just be between you and me….

Until next time…remember singing “Why are we waiting” when lying over the spanking bench…is just plain silly!

And the answers are…..

So the other week, I was sick….. and let’s face it, no-one does their best work when they are ill. I set a couple of riddles and said the first three people to guess right would win a copy of any of my books….

Sadly no one got both answers right. Below are both riddles with their answers….I know I know I’m mean….but hay I’m a Londoner, we’re famous for that!

1) What cold food burns your mouth when you eat it?  CHILLI

2) What type of cheese is made backwards? EDAM

So instead, I thought the make it fair, I have decided to run one more competition (don’t tell the others, this is just between you and me)

The first three people who can tell me what the name of my book, in the Under A Moonlit Night Collection is will get to pick one book from my back list. Don’t forget to leave me your email address to please and thank you!!

I should apologies now for getting this post up so late, but life got in the way. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that having a day job, can really get in the way of my author job. I have a hard enough time finding the time to write. It doesn’t help that I’m one of those people who has to be in the “mood” to write…..yeah I’m my own worst nightmare I tell ya.

I take my hat off to all those who write, have a day job and then run a family…..’cause wow I haven’t got a clue how you manage it I really don’t.

But as I like to say…where there’s a will there’s a way……..or I would say that if I was the sort to use quotes in everyday speech…but you get the idea…..

OK Sorry to post and run like this but the day job is calling and, seriously I will do better honest!!! Don’t forget to leave your answers below!

Until next time….remember……ice…..it’s not just for your drinks….heh

 

 

Sick as dog…

That’s right I have been ill and am still feeling the effects….. *shudder*

Because of that I’ve not had a chance to put together a really good blog post for you…sorry. But never fear I have a give away instead….

Here is how it’s going to work….

I will give you two riddles…. the first THREE people who solve them and leaves a comment with the right answers and their email address will be able to pick one book from my back catalogue. (here)

So you ready??

1) What cold food burns your mouth when you eat it?

2) What type of cheese is made backwards?

OK ready,…..steady….solve!

Sorry guys….I promise to be better next time! *sneeze cough*

Writing ain’t easy

Like the title says writing ain’t easy. Everyone thinks it just a case of writing a story and boom …done… you’re published….. yeah not so much. I’ve heard that a lot lately, and as I’m suffering with a intermittent ability to write I thought I’d lay out the starting steps to what a writer really does….. Also for those of you who have yet to be published, this is stuff I think I would’ve like to know before hand, it would have saved a lot of worry that I was doing something wrong, or something had gone wrong…. I can tell ya….so are you sitting comfy? Good, we shall begin….

The first part and probably one of the hardest parts is having an idea. Not just any idea but a good idea ….those little buggers are few and far between, trust me. Then comes the writing…rewriting….re-re writing…self-doubt….sheer joy…feelings of utter uselessness…and then you type those magic words “the end”.

But don’t be fooled….oh no dear blog reader that is so very far from the end it should really be called “just the beginning

Now comes the synopsis…or as most authors will tell you it’s called…the SUCKopsis…..this evil tool of torture is an outline of your book with all the main points laid out as well as the ending. Lots of publishers require them but not all, check your desired targets submission requirement.

Ah submission requirement….those sneaky little things that just jump out and catch you unawares.

So you’ve picked a target aka a publishing house that you want to submit to. Check their website. Every publisher will have a submission section detailing their requirements for any submission. You’ll find loads if information there but probably the top three will be:

1) most important; are they open to new submissions right now.

Some publishing houses will close their doors to “new to them” authors for a while as they have more submissions then their team can handle. They usually do this so they can give any submission they currently have proper time and consideration and not rush through it.

If they are closed check back frequently, they will often reopen for submissions after a short period of time.

2) style and layout; they will tell you what font they want, margin spacing the lot. Make sure you change your submission to match that.

 3) make sure the book you’ve written is suitable for them. They will usually tell you what genres and story lengths they’d accept. If it’s too short see if you can add to it without taking away from the core of your story. If not it might be any idea to either a) sub elsewhere or b)See if they have any anthology calls out that your story would be suitable for. One toe in the door is better than none.

Now you can submit your precious….and get ready to so a whole lot of waiting. Each pub house is different. Some will take a couple of weeks, some several months but know this going in and you will be fine…..which is a lie because you will freak out every time you check your email…but know that and you’ll be fine…..

I won’t string you along by saying they are going to pick your story up the second they see it. Yes, they may do but it’s more likely you’ll get a revise and resubmit, if they liked it but thought it needed some work or just an outright rejection. Don’t lose heart, if they gave you notes read through them,  see if you understand what it was they thought didn’t work or what needed to be added. You know the story they don’t so their fresh eyes might have caught something you didn’t notice.

Resubmit either to them or to someone else but never lose hope.

Someone somewhere will like your story and you will get published.

But, a word of caution, don’t rush into a contract with the first publisher that offers.

In this world there are good people and bad people. As there are in publishing. Research the publishing house before you submit to them, check the quality if their books, see if they put out good, well edited, creative covered books. Then research some more. There are many forums and blogs online that will give information on good and bad publishers alike.

Yes, getting that offer is the best thing in the world but that feeling won’t last if they ruin your book. Be aware, that’s the moral of the story.

So you’ve got that contract, with a good publisher, and now the serious work beings.

You’ll get assigned an editor this may or may not be right away. Your book is not the only one they are working on, so it may take a while before yours get to the top of the list. That editor will go through and edit your book, no matter how clean you think yours is, you won’t have caught it all. They will make suggestions on flow and continuity; again they have fresh eyes and will see things differently.

Then it will go to a FLE (pronounced flea) this is you Final Line Editor. This person will go through your story and find missing commas, spelling errors and all those sorts of things. They don’t read the story for continuity they look at grammar, punctuation, that sort of thing.

You will also get a Cover Art Request form. Read this carefully. The information you give on here will help create the cover for your book.

Give them your ideas but be aware that not everything will appear on the final cover. Your idea for a great cover and what a qualified cover artists ideas are may not match. Don’t be offended that they didn’t use everything, and don’t be scared to let them know if something just isn’t working for you. This is their idea on “paper” but if they haven’t quiet got the right feel let them know, they are usually happy to work with you. After all its their business and they want to put the best product they can out there.

Now you have done all your edits, have a stunning cover….what next? Well you will have a release date confirmed to you. This may be when edits first start or may not be until well after they are finished, each pub house is different so don’t fret, you will be told.

My suggestion, and this is just my suggestion different authors have found different ways that work for them. So about two weeks before your release date I would start promoting your book. Don’t go over board and use every tweet or status to mention it but a couple times each day, would be enough to start the slow burn.

I find a slow burn works for me, its always on the edge of their conscious then.

Perhaps offer a giveaway, my suggestion again here, don’t offer a copy of your book, people ain’t gonna buy something they think they can get for free are they? Perhaps a nice note book or pen or something to do with your book. If one of your characters is a cross stitched, perhaps a small cross stitch kit…..theme the giveaway to match your book.

Release day comes…..and go mental…scream it to the world, people will forgive you today because they will be just as excited as you are.

You’ve earnt this day of shear unadulterated “look at me” soak it up baby!!

I haven’t even covered, your blog your website, your brand, your contract with the publisher and promo…….

And you thought all you had to do was write a book…..sweethearts, that’s just the beginning……

I told you…I’m a writer, don’t mean I sit there all day tapping away at a keyboard, knowing at the end of it a magic publishing contract will appear….nope don’t happen like that.

I know it sounds daunting, but if this is what you want to do please, please, please don’t be scared. Yes it’s daunting but you can do it. Just pull on your big girl panties, or Spiderman boxers (this is a safe place we don’t judge here, so whatever undies work for you) and do it.

It’s not easy but nothing worth doing is….just remember when you are a New York best seller, to spell my name right in the dedication…..just putting that out there

Until next time remember…..The best pleasure comes with a little pain…..just my suggestion

too tired to think

Last week, as you’ve heard from the others, was RT. I was there…..dragging myself through a train ride, two planes and a mini bus, so I could experience it for the first time and I have to say…..man was it worth it. But you have no idea how tired I am now. Not only from the jet lag but from RT itself. It’s great fun but it seriously takes it out of you!

I had a great time with all the ladies, Becca, Vanessa, Moni, Lynn and Jianne, although there was translation needed ’cause really, we all speak english but man do we use words differently.

Ok so the first night we are there, Vanessa thanked Becca for lending her a belt to hold her pants up……took me a couple of seconds to realise she was talking jeans and underwear!!  But the relief of knowing that was what she meant was amazing…..you have no idea. heh.

As you all know I’m a Londoner, born and bred. As such there is a certain level of….distance from others that one learns from an early age. A firm yet friendly handshake is all that’s needed………yeah that doesn’t fly when you get a group of writers together……I have officially never been hugged so much by those not in my family, in my life…..ever….seriously.

You saw the image that Vanessa put up on Wednesday…. (here) yeah…that is real fear on my face. Americans are so friendly….and that just freaks me out.

Hahha although it has to be said by the end of the week I was taking a few tentative steps towards talking to strangers unprovoked too….but it’ll take me a few years.

I am hoping to go to RT 14 in New Orleans, so hopefully I’ll see you there!

Don’t forget the short story collection, Under a Moonlit Night, that has me, Lynn and Vanessa in is out on Monday!! You can pre order now here.

Until next time: remember……random hug-bys…..not required…..yeah I’m looking at you ladies, you know who you are! hahahahahaha

T – minus and counting

Hay All!

So this is my last post…..no not forever don’t worry or better yet stop cheering, rude!!  As I was saying this will be my last post before I head over to my very first Author Conference. I, as well as several other L, L & L ladies, will be at The Romance Times Conference in Kansas next week!

You may remember that I’m the european arm of Love, Lust and Laptops so this is kind of a big thing for me. Not only my very first conference of its type, but also my first time travelling so far and staying by my self. *gasp*

I have made lists and trust me when I say I hate lists….like alot! So me making them is a new-found need I have.

And I can tell you I’ll for sure be at the Liquid Silver Spotlight at around 4pm if you want to come and say Hi!! Or if you see me around, come up and chat….but remember I’m not really a hugger no matter what Vanessa North tells you!! Yeah I have my eye on you lady!

And guess what happens the week after I get back…go on guess….no?  Well my Femdom story comes out!! EEEEKKKKK it’s part of a short story collection with some of the other ladies here….  love at the heavenly cover!

underamoonlitnight

Tracing his Heart, started out as a brain dump and then turned into…..well you’ll just have to wait and see!

Under the Moonlit Night is out on Monday May 8th!

Right I have to love you and leave you…..the everyday job is claiming my attention….rude I know right? and just when I was getting to a teasing sex scene too….darn it…….

So until next time remember…….I may be cuddly looking…..but don’t mean you should cuddle me…..just saying…. 😉

 

 

Story time…..

Hay All!!

Guess what? It was my birthday the Sunday just gone! *does birthday dance*  Look at one of the things I got….every charm is the cover of my book!!  I love it!

IMAG0860

Yeah I know most people are like “pfft getting too old to care.” “or I don’t want people to know it’s my birthday cause I’m getting older.” But it’s different for me, every birthday is another poke in the eye for the medical “professionals” who said it wouldn’t ever happen, some of you who know me may already know this tale but for those who don’t are you ready for a story? Are you all sitting comfortably? well I shall begin…

Let me set the scene for you….it’s late seventies, the decade fashion forgot….trust me I’ve seen the pictures, it didn’t forget it pretended it never exsisted….however I digress…

So it’s late seventies and my parents have a lovely family, two boys and two girls and everything is peachy. Their kids are in the mid to late teens getting ready to start the adult lives. My mum doesn’t feel too well and is told she needs to have dialysis because one of her kidneys is not working to well. For several weeks, months she has dialysis and loads of meds.

On a standard visit to the doctor she mentions she’s not feeling well, perhaps coming down with something. The conversation goes something like this (fyi I obviously wasn’t there so in my head this it what it went like.)

“Mrs Nicholls, the symptoms your are decribing suggest you are pregnant”

“Doc, I’ve had four kids, trust me if I was pregnant I would know.”

“None the less, let’s just do a test to make sure and we can tick it off the list.”

“Sure, why not. Haven’t done one of those in nearly 13 years it will be like old times.”

Cut to a while later and both the doctor and my mum looking opened mouthed at a positive test result.

“But, but I can’t be.”

“You can and are Mrs Nicholls. Let me speak to your kidney specialist we’ll discuss next steps.”

So at this point my mother heads home and tells me dad who is shocked as well and then they tell their four teenage kids. My brothers are all like “yeah whatever, it’s baby just don’t expect us to change nappies or anything.”

My sisters are all squeally and already planning on baby clothes shopping…..

So a couple of days later my parents are called to the doctor’s office.

“Mr and Mrs Nicholls, we’ve run some more tests, and we have some serious major concerns about your health and the health of the baby.” Kidney Doc says

“Is that why I haven’t felt it move?” My mum asks.

“The medication you are on has in effect permanently been sedated the fetus, it hasn’t moved because it’s never woken up.”

More medical discussions occurs over several days. But let me break it down for you like this

* The child will be well over 11 pounds

*The child will be mentally and physically disabled

*The child will not survive

* You won’t survive Mrs Nicholls

* You need to have an abortion, It February, you’re not due until August, you can still abort.

So my parents went away and did some soul-searching. My mum went for that abortion, well I say she went, she walked out of our house down the street, turned around and came back. She couldn’t do it.

The doctors were less than impressed but she didn’t care.

Many tests and hospital stays later they send her home for some rest… yeah cause sending you home to a house full of kids is rest…..

Just as she gets home her waters break……yeah I know.,….. It’s early April and she’s not due until August…..queue major freaking out…..

Having been rushed back into hospital they tell her the only thing to do it have a c-section.

The operation causes my mum to hemorrhage and she is unconscious for 2 days. When she comes round, she asks what happened to the baby. No one tells her anything so my mum being tough as old boots goes looking for me, dragging her drip and the works with her.

She finds me, cause apparently I looked just like my oldest sister did, let me break down the health issues I had when I was born.

NOTHING!!!!!

yeah that’s right I was born TO TERM, 6 pounds 12 oz, perfectly healthy!!!!!

Yeah that’s right not only did the get the month I was expected wrong, not but a little but by 4 months! but they tried to kill me….I am holding a grudge….just so you know.

So every birthday I do a little happy dance and think about those medical professionals……and thank my lucky stars my mum is who she is!

And that’s my story for today…… not exactly what you were expecting I know, but I like to share every now and then. It helps remind me that even on days where the world is not being as helpful as it could be, things could be worse….I may not be here at all.

See started off on a “where the heck is she going?” type thing to “aww happy ending”

Happy Wednesday EVERYONE!!!!!!!!

Remember……something as simple as a cuddle can fix so many things…..share a cuddle today!  (except with me, cause I’m really not a cuddler.)

 

Series or stand alone

So yesterday I got my copy of Wolf with Benefits by Shelly Laurenston.

I devoured it in a day, less than actually. I love her writing, have done for a while know and every time a new book of hers is out I have a total meltdown until I get me sticky little mits on it.

Then I got to thinking, do I love these stories because I love the way Shelly Laurenston writes, of course. But would I love them just as much if they weren’t part of a series? Hmm I don’t know. With each book new characters are introduced but also characters I’ve loved in previous books return, my personal favorite in this series is Dee-Ann Smith.

So how about you? Do you love series or are you more of a stand alone person??

Neither answer is wrong, I’m just interested, well nosy to be honest.

I have my own series, Shifters of Hillside, and I’m currently working on another series…..I know glutton for punishment right.

But I do love a series, not only to write but to  read as well and I don’t think that will change.  Is there a series that you love? Something that you would recommend?

OK I am heading back into my writing, did I mention I had the week off work?? I know *squeal* you have no idea how excited I am.

Until next time remember: Making the shape of an “L” with your finger and thumb and putting that to your forehead in the universally recognized symbol for “loser” whilst looking at your Dom/me…..just plain silly….don’t say I didn’t warn ya!

Lucky’s: Lilly By Cherie Nicholls

Lilly

By Cherie Nicholls

“Someone is on the prowl tonight.” Lilly looked up as Sandy, one of the wait staff, came to the bar to have an order filled.

“What?” Lilly had been too busy to even think, let alone check out the comings and goings in the place.

Not that she should complain, the more customers Lucky’s brought in, the more money she made. But damn, if it wasn’t hard work.

“Mikal, the ice mountain, ain’t too icy tonight. See that little redhead over there?” Sandy pointed to a table of partying ladies. “As soon as she walked in, he looked like he was about to bend her over the coat-check desk and take her right there in front of everyone. I haven’t seen him like that, well rarely ever.” Sandy gave her a knowing smile.

Lilly rolled her eyes. “Do I really have to tell you again that nothing has ever happened between us?”

“Me thinks she doth protest too much,” Sandy said with a wink before she walked back into the crowds.

“Damn English majors.”

Lilly turned her attention back to the table of ladies. She drew in a deep breath and promptly swore.

“Nice language for a lady,” one of the regulars joked.

“Sorry, Clive, got a bit of an issue.”

“Need some help?”

“No thanks. I’m good.” She gave him a bright smile, turned, and headed toward the far end of the bar.

When she was farther away from the main section, she raised her hand. The staff’s signal to get the attention of the security team.

One of the team started toward her, but Lilly stopped him with the shake of her head and pointed at Mikal, the head of security, and the reason for the new headache brewing behind her eyes.

When the security man was finally able to drag Mikal’s attention away from the table of ladies, he sent him over to her.

“What’s the problem?” Mikal asked, still looking toward the table.

Lilly gave a deep sigh. Why did she always have to do the god damn right thing? Why couldn’t she be the person who just sat back and watched the drama unfold?

“You are.”

“Okay, let me get one of the team to sort that for you.” He wasn’t listening and started to move away.

Lilly grabbed his arm. She didn’t give him a chance to do anything as she dragged him into the stock room and slammed the door.

“What are you doing?” he demanded.

Lilly let him go and grabbed a bottle of water from the shelves. With a twist, she had the lid off. Holding the bottle flat in one hand, she slammed the other down on it hard. The contents rushed out and hit him in the face and chest.

“What the hell!” he roared.

“Are you back in the room now? ’Cause I can’t talk to you if you’re still in the middle of that fug.”

“What are you doing, you freaking mental case?” Mikal wiped his face with the bottom of his T-shirt.

The flash of tight abs made Lilly swallow hard. She dragged her gaze away from such perfection and focused on his face, his very angry face.

“I’m helping you before you do something really stupid and then blame me for it. ’Cause I just know this would end up being my fault.”

Mikal looked at her with narrowed eyes. “What?”

“The chick out there? The one you can’t take your eyes off of?.” Not that she was jealous, nope not Lilly. “She’s in heat. You, genius, got bathed in her scent when she came into the club. I thought you were smarter than that.”

Mikal’s hands went to his hips, and his chin dropped to his chest. “Dammit. I smelled her coming, but then I got caught at the door.”

“Well, my suggestion―go back to your office and stay there.” Lilly dropped the empty water bottle into the trash and headed for the door. She started to open it when a large hand pushed it shut.

She could feel the heat of him behind her, not touching but just there. It took more self-control than she cared to admit to keep from turning in to his body and wrapping her arms around Mikal.

“I thought you didn’t care.” He spoke the words softly.

“I don’t.”

“Then why do this for me? We both know if I’d spent five minutes with that woman, she’d have let me fuck her and I would’ve marked her.” He said the last through gritted teeth.

“Then you’d have woken up from your sex-induced hypnosis, and it would’ve been my fault for not stopping you. I didn’t warn you because I was worried about you. I did it because I knew you’d make my life hard, and I just won’t have that.” She pulled at the door handle.” Now move, I need to get back to work.”

For a second, she didn’t think he would move. When his hand finally dropped from the door, Lilly pulled it open and rushed back to the bar.

Out of the corner of her eye, she watched Mikal move across the room. He gave the problem table a wide berth and then headed behind the stage to where the offices were.

She breathed a sigh of relief when he disappeared from sight.

“Yeah, sure, there’s nothing going on with you two.”

Lilly looked over her shoulder as Sandy picked up another order and walked away.

“Great.”

The problem was Sandy was both right and wrong.

She and Mikal had never had sex, never even kissed. But there was something there, and it had been driving Lilly mad for the last two years.

From the second she’d walked into Lucky’s, Mikal had taken offense at her presence. Lilly hadn’t taken it personally. After all, he’d marked the club and the area six blocks in either direction as his territory. And there she’d come, just strolling into the place as if she owned it.

It was at times like that Lilly loved her tiger half. It gave her a natural cockiness, an extra edge.

Tiger shifters such as herself and Mikal were very protective of what they considered theirs. It had taken Lilly a while to assure him she had no desire to take anything from him. She roamed, that’s what she did. Never stayed anywhere for long and didn’t like the idea of borders or territory stopping her from moving where she liked.

Two years she’d been here, roughly eighteen months longer than she’d intended.

Lucky’s was a nice enough place to work. Lucky O’Reilly, a retired stripper, owned the successful strip joint. The acts mostly consisted of male strippers, but Lucky didn’t mind ladies performing if they were good enough.

Lucky also had good instincts. He’d taken one look at her and said, “If I slap your ass, you’re going to rip my arm off, ain’t ya?”

Lilly had assured him she’d do more than that if he put his paws on her. Lucky had given her a big smile and sent her over to the bar.

She shoved the memory aside and went back to work. She kept half an eye on the table with the little tiger shifter in heat.

The night was nearly over when the little shifter and two of her friends stumbled over to the bar.

“Three waters, please.” One of the shifter’s friends ordered.

“Coming right up.” Lilly grabbed the water bottles and dropped them onto the bartop.

“Hey, do you know where the scarred guy went? My friend was just wondering,” one of the women asked.

Scarred guy? Really?

“He had to leave.” Lilly spoke through gritted teeth.

“Aw, that’s a shame. Don’t worry, Brit, we’ll find you someone else.” Her friends headed off, but “Brit” stayed behind.

“I can still smell him,” Brit said.

“Can you?” Lilly wasn’t in the mood to play nice, definitely not with a little girl who went out while she was in heat. Any tiger could jump her, and the girl wouldn’t even care. Heat did silly things to shifter minds. Brit could’ve been marked and then she would’ve been screwed.

Lilly leaned over the counter, bringing herself closer to the woman. “Perhaps that’s because you can smell him on me.”

Brit’s mouth pulled as if she’d sucked on a lemon. “I didn’t scent he was mated.”

“I didn’t say he was.”

“Then why would his scent be on you?”

The corner of Lilly’s mouth tipped up in a half smile. “You’re a big girl. I’m sure you can figure it out.”

It took Brit a second, then anger came with the realization. “Fucking don’t make it permanent.”

“This is true, but I can assure you that if you even look at what’s mine,” the smile slipped from Lilly’s face, “I’ll rip the still-beating heart from your chest.”

She sensed the internal conflict in Brit, one side wanting to take on another tiger, who’d clearly challenged her, and the other knowing she’d get her ass kicked if she did.

Finally, Brit made the smart choice and headed back to her friends.

“See? That’s the kinda shit that makes me say, there is for sure something going on between you and Mikal.”

“God damn, Sandy!”

 

****

 

Mikal paced his office. His tiger wanted out; it needed to prowl, but he couldn’t allow that―not here and not now.

He’d scented the chick in heat when she had been about three blocks away from the club. Why the hell hadn’t he moved away from the door at that time? What he’d told Lilly, about being stuck at the door until it was too late, had been a lie. He could’ve walked away at any time, but he hadn’t. Instead, he’d waited for the woman in heat as if she was the answer to everything.

The roar he let out was long and loud and helped release a small amount of his tension. Mikal was grateful Lucky had taken one look at him five years ago and insisted on soundproofing the tiger’s office.

As simple as some people thought Lucky was, the man knew about things most normal full humans couldn’t even begin to understand. That’s why Lucky requested a full shifter security team which Mikal ran. His team had wolves, leopards, even hyenas. A perfect blend for security.

Mikal turned toward the bank of monitors that covered one wall. The club was slowing down for the night. Most people were leaving. He spotted the woman in heat heading toward the bar with two of her friends. He clicked a couple of buttons until the main monitor showed Lilly’s face and those of the group of ladies.

He didn’t need sound to know what they were saying. The mention of his scar had him rolling his eyes. The scar was long and deep and ran from eye to lip on his right side. A souvenir from the last tiger who’d tried to take his territory. Mikal didn’t mind the disfigurement. It helped with his role as hard-ass security man, and was strangely a magnet for female attention.

Two of the ladies walked away, but the shifter in heat stayed. He watched Lilly verbally slap her down and then groaned.

Damn, but Lilly was beautiful when she was aggressive. Mikal adjusted his trousers in an attempt to relieve some of the pressure on his hard-on.

Tonight, she wore another of her trademark corsets, this time in lime green, that showed of her curves. He used to think she wore the sexy tops just to tease him. He soon realized Lilly didn’t work like that, which just made it all the more of a tease.

Mikal shook his head. The fog of the other woman’s heat must have lingered, but it wasn’t a stranger he saw in his mind when he thought about fucking someone. No, his head was full of images of Lilly. How she would look lying naked under him. He wouldn’t have to hold back as he did with full humans. Lilly would be able to take all of him, and there would be nothing held back, not from either of them.

He’d made a move on her awhile back, but she’d shut him down. Now, they’d moved from politeness to sniping. She hadn’t been wrong; he’d have made it her fault if he’d marked another woman. He made sure anything that went wrong was her fault, whether she was there or not.

He was such a bastard sometimes. But Lilly gave as good as she got. She knew how to push his buttons in ways no one ever had, and it pissed him off so much.

He looked back at the monitor. Lilly was talking to Sandy.

Mikal picked up his radio and called his team. “Bring me Lilly. And, boys, don’t take no for an answer.”

It didn’t take long for his door to open and four of his team carrying an angry Lilly between them to come in. They dropped on her feet by his desk. She ran a hand through her short hair, smoothing it back into place before turning anger-filled eyes on them all.

“I’m going to kill you all, and then I’m going to make coats out of your hides!” she growled at them.

“Don’t be mad. We were only following orders,” one of the team told her.

“Out.” Mikal didn’t give them time to say anything more. He wanted her to himself. He followed his men to the door and then made sure to shut and lock it.

“What the hell is this about? Why the hell did you send the goon squad after me, and when did you start locking me in rooms―with you?”

She was good and mad, which only made him calmer, more focused.

He pointed at the monitors. “About the same time you started threatening customers―over me.”

He watched as realization hit her.

“That didn’t mean anything, and you know it.”

“No? So claiming me―that was just casual conversation, then?”

“No! Yes! Stop it. You know I was just stopping you from making a mistake.”

He could tell she wanted to stamp her foot.

“Really? What if I wanted to mark her, make her mine forever?” He stepped closer to Lilly.

“I have the perfect hat for the ceremony.” She all but snarled the words at him.

“Okay. See you at the mating party.” He turned to head out the door, but hadn’t gone two steps when Lilly leaped onto his back.

“I hate you.” She declared before placing a soft kiss at the base of his neck.

Mikal reached behind, hooked her around the waist, and pulled her around until he could press her back against the door.

“Show me how much you really hate me.” His voice was more tiger than man, more of a growl than words.

The grin on Lilly’s face could only be described as predatory. Mikal sent a silent thank you to Lucky and his demands for a soundproofed office.

There was no finesse when they come together, each fighting for control. Lips meshed and tongues parried.

Mikal pressed her harder against the door, using his body to keep her up so he could run both his hands through her hair, capturing her head, giving him greater access to her mouth.

Mikal rained kisses along her jaw line to her neck. Lilly tipped her head as much as his hold permitted, showing him her neck. A move that was both sensual and submissive. She was letting him know she trusted him. Which meant more than Mikal ever thought it would.

His hand slipped down and under her butt, holding her high as he moved away from the door. In three easy strides he had them across the room.

He dropped Lilly to her feet and took a step away. “Last chance to change your mind, Lil. This won’t be sweet and soft. When I take you, it’ll me, all of me, both sides and I won’t hold back. If you don’t think you can handle that, you need to tell me now.”

A small part of him worried she’d turn and walk out of the room. But he should have known better. Lilly raised an eyebrow as she stepped closer, making sure her body was pressed up against his.

“If you don’t think you can handle me, pussy cat, you just say so. Otherwise shut up and get on with it.”

He knew the grin he gave her was full of fangs, but he didn’t care.

They didn’t say anything more. Mikal turned and swept all the papers off his desk, not caring where they landed.

Lilly didn’t wait for him to make a move; she slipped back onto the desk, giving him a knowing smile.

It was that look, of pure desire, that finally snapped the leash he‘d gotten on his beast. He shoved his jeans down to his thighs, releasing his hard on. The relief was short lived.

Mikal caught Lilly around the waist, pulled her to the edge of the desk.

Lilly laid back, leaving herself open to him. Mikal took a second to admire the beauty of her like that before reaching under her skirt and ripping her panties off. The little bit of lace came away easily in his hand. Her laughter filled the office.

“I warned you, this is not going to be sweet.”

“Are you really still talking?” she shot back.

Mikal raised an eyebrow at her before thrusting his hard length into her wet heat.

He didn’t know if he groaned or she did. It was the sound of bliss. She felt so good around him that Mikal didn’t know if he’d ever want to be anywhere else.

He’d never been more grateful for his shifter genes that made it impossible for him to catch any human diseases and ensure that a female could only get pregnant when she was in heat. He didn’t want a rubber stopping him from feeling all that was her.

“Move.” Her heels and the base of his spin spurred him on.

Mikal moved, thrusting into her over and over.

“Please.” She whimpered. Mikal took hold of her hands, pinning them to the desk next to her head.

“Please, what?”

“Don’t stop.”

Lilly’s eyes were closed so she didn’t see the silent snarl he gave. Mikal leant forward, bringing his mouth close to her ear.

“Mine.” He growled.

Lilly turned to nuzzle against the tender skin of his throat. “Prove it.” She purred.

Mikal needed no farther encouragement.

As he trust into her again, he felt her climax start to take hold. He didn’t stop moving even after she screamed out her release, once, twice, before he allowed his own.

He collapsed down onto her, both were breathing hard.

Lilly kissed his ear and whispered four little words that made him grin.

“I still hate you.”