Rawiya Erotica

Archive for February 2012

 Greetings. I’ll be doing Tuesday Tales with a bunch of very talented writers     writing sweet and sensual 300 word stories. Here is my first post. Hope you like it. 

“Bring it here!” Peter called out to the young man he’d had has eyes on for the past three months. Finally they decided to go out on a date after both got over their fears. The resolution? They belonged together, regardless of their age difference, what their friends and or parents said. The couple was a match made in heaven; the attraction much too strong.

He watched the tall Hawaiian push the rowboat onto the grass. When he finished, the twenty-two year old waded through the blue waters, clad in only his swimming shorts. His honey colored skin shone in the sunlight, blinding him but still pleasing to him and anyone who could see.

 

What a man!

 

Peter raked his hand through his grey streaked brown hair and smiled, gawking at the hot guy coming towards him carrying two fish they’d just caught for dinner. That’s mine, really mine? His long brown locks flowed over his shoulders and his chest glistened with moisture.

“They look healthy. You did good old man!” Cruz sat next him and placed their meal in the icebox. “Are you going to clean them or me?”

“I suppose I could.” Peter’s mouth felt like the sand they were sitting on. He couldn’t help but blush over his new partner.

“Good, ‘cause even though I like to eat them, I hate cleaning them.” His long arm snaked around Pete’s shoulders and he planted a light kiss on his wrinkled forehead.

Peter laughed and shifted to gawk at his partner. “You sure you wanna be with an old man like me? I mean…”

“Shhhh…” Cruz stroked Peter’s bare arm, sending shivers up the man’s spine. “Yes I do. Only you Peter, with me, here in paradise, forever, you hear? I love you Pete.”

“Love you too.”

Please go back and look at the other Tuesday Tale authors

The blog tour continues!

Today I’m at Tara Lains

and I’m also giving away a copy at Ana Hart’s blog as part of her Bday celebration

Please welcome Allie Sandifer to Rawiya’s today. 

Hi and welcome to my blog, Allie. Please make yourself at home and grab a drink from my hunky cabana boys, Zeke and Jake.  So tell us a little about yourself.

How does the song go ‘I’m a little bit of everything all rolled into one J There’s nothing that doesn’t interest me, except golf. I’m a bit of a vagabond. Travelling, staying with friends all over. Thank God I have good friends who put up with me.

How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?

Life experiences are mandatory in writing at least that’s my personal opinion. Granted I haven’t been on the run from mutant sea creatures, but life is nothing, but fodder for my books.

Generally, how long does it take you to write a book?

Honestly it depends on the book. A short 15K I can write in a weekend. Mid-length takes a week or so. Full length at least a month. Granted this is if I gorilla glue my butt in my chair and write 3-5K a day.

What is your writing routine once you start a book?

There’s no routine with me. It’s simply a matter of making myself sit then fingers to the keyboard. I am old school when it comes to keeping book details straight. Most of my writers friends use excel to input character details, research notes and other odds and ends. I have a pretty shiny spiral book for each story. Handwriting the various particulars on paper make it easier for me to flip through character facts.

Tell us about your latest release or upcoming release. Lickity Split is my latest release at Decadence. What inspired it? The Sassy Seven, my beautiful writing friends, threw out the idea of writing a short story for Valentine’s Day. Since we’re all equally addicted to chocolate wine we had to do a story revolving around our favorite nectar of the gods J My story idea came from the idea of role reversal. In Lickity Split Juliet is finally out of the military and her first stop once she’s back in the States is to look up the man she’s always loved. The relationship ended because she didn’t want Trent worrying while she was deployed. The story starts with Juliet standing on Trent’s doorstep, clutching a bottle of Choco-Vine wine and box of chocolate.

What are your thoughts on love scenes in romance novels, do you find them difficult to write? (if you don’t have love scenes in your books, disregard this question)

Maybe I’m weird but I can’t write love scenes in public or with other people around. Hot, sexy and heated bedroom scenes are private. Which is weird considering my books are up for public consumption.

What kind of research do you do for your books?

The kind and level of research I do depends on the book. There’s no way to know ahead of time what and where my research will lead me.

What are some of your favorite things or hobbies to do?
 Travel, spending time with friends, reading, spoiling my awesome nieces and nephews and just soaking up and enjoying life.

Who are some of your other favorite authors and genres to read?

Of course I must include the books by my friends. Trust me I wouldn’t read them if they stunk. I’d think it would be impossible to be friends with someone if you couldn’t stand their writing. Recently I’ve stumbled on books by Kinsey W Holley, Lauren Dane, and pretty much all paranormal romances. I’m addicted to the whole what if’s.

Among your own books, have you a favorite? I’ve loved all my books, but usually my fav is the one I’m currently working on. Right now it would be Roarke, my Irish leprechaun with an attitude and the looks go with it.

Which comes first, the story, the characters or the setting?
For me it’s different with each book. Sometimes the characters come first. Other times it’s a single line I can’t get out of my mind or a place that sparks a character or plot idea.

What part of a book has been the easiest to write?  The first line is always the easiest. It’s the end of the book I always curse and struggle with.

What are the elements of a great romance for you?

Dialog between the characters makes the book for me. If they can’t communicate they how can they fall in?

What is the hardest part of writing/the easiest for you? The easiest is coming up with the ideas, plots & characters. The hardest is actually sitting down to write it.

Are you in control of your characters or do they control you? It’s a tug of war between the two. I think it makes the book better, crisper.

What are some of your current projects?

Oh wow, I have tons of projects in various stages. Some are just lines in a notebook, others have a few chapters and still other are fleshed out with proper grammar and everything. The book demanding the most attention right now is a contemporary called Wishes, Kisses & Corpses. I’m having a blast with the characters and the heroine’s friends. There’s nothing better than a strong woman with crazy friends.

Boxers, briefs, boxerbriefs…. Boxers or boxerbriefs

Or commando on a man? Why? In my opinion there is nothing sexy about briefs. It’s a total turn off for me & you’ll never read about one of my characters wearing them. YUCK!

What is your strangest habit? I have so many & you want me to pick one? Hmm, I’m addicted to lotion & lip-gloss. Those are the only ones I’m allowed to share with the PG public J

When you looked in the mirror this morning, what was the first thing you thought? Holy crap, when did I turn into a zombie. I’ve got the frog flu so I’m not looking very glamorous or royal right now.

What is your favorite pizza? Papa John’s Spinach Alfredo. Yummy!!

What is one thing scientists should invent?

Self driving cars so I can sleep on the long drives. Also a shower/drying tub using a particle cleaner instead of water. I hate messing with my hair everyday, but I know I’m lucky to have hair. I’ll shut up now.

If you could time travel, where would you go?

There’s no way I could pick just one time. There are so many things I’d want to change about history I’d be afraid of the consequences.

What is your favorite thing about being a writer?

I get to work in my jammies. Is there a better career out there?(Romance or other genres)

If I was a first time reader of your books, which one would you recommend I start with and why?

Club Botticelli for those who enjoy strong confident women, slightly insane friends and frequent smoking hot sex. The Poseidon series for those readers looking for sarcasm, humor, strong heroines, take charge heroes, nosy friends and family and endless possibilities.

What do you hope readers take with them after reading one of your stories?

If someone reads one of my books and closes it with a smile then I’m happy. I want my books to leave you feeling better or at least give you a chuckle or two.

Anything else you want to mention?

I don’t write humor. I write reality as it see it. If it’s a bit twisted, warped and on the insane side…welcome to my world, sit down, strap in and enjoy the ride.

 

   Good morning.

Since I have some blog appearances scheduled next week, I decided to turn it into a small blogtour for my book, Time to Make the Donuts.

7 Days, 7 appearances

Have a look at the dates

Saturday 2/25 Wicked Sexy Writers

Sunday 2/26 Amber Skyze

Monday 2/27 CoffeeTimeRomance

Tuesday 2/28 Kiki Howell Authors by Authors

Wednesday 2/29 Tara Lain

Thursday 3/1 Michael Mandrake

Friday 3/2 Sweet and Sexy Divas

Saturday 3/3 The Rainbow Studio

So there you go! I have a few interviews and promo and I’ll be giving away a couple of copies as well.

Look for the first date on Saturday.

   Greetings! Such a happy day for me. My book Time To Make the Donuts is out at All Romance  Smashwords  and Amazon Woohoo! Please go have a look at it.

Here is the blurb and an excerpt! Major squee!

Andre, a customer, comes in and pays Christopher a visit. The two lock eyes and immediately connect on a personal level. The intensity of this deep, instant connection convinces Christopher to pursue a potential interest – to find out just what might happen between them – when Andre passes him his card and phone numbers. He wonders what the young man does for a living however, he’s so smitten by him, Chris doesn’t give it much further thought.

Little does the shop owner know, Andre actually works for his biggest competitor as a secret shopper and has been told to use any method necessary to find out the secrets of the shop. Andre is ordered to convince Christopher to sell his shop and become part of the national chain.

When Christopher finds out, he has a surprise for Andre and deals with him in a rather humorous way. Will he trust Andre once he finds out this fact? Will he give up his shop under the pressure the well-known franchise? Will this newly found romance beat the odds and move past this bump in the road to happiness for both Andre and Christopher?

Excerpt PG

“Yep.” Andre Bentley pressed the button on his earpiece before making the turn on Belmont. “Yeah, I’m on my way there now.” He rubbed his smooth bald head with a handkerchief and removed the beads of sweat. “Damn, hot out here already.” Andre switched the air on and raised his windows up. “And you wanted me to pick up how many donuts? Two dozen along with a carton of coffee?”

“Yes,” the person on the other end replied.

“Cool. I’ll be back at the building in a bit.” Andre pushed the red button, disconnecting the call. Before finding a place to park on the street in front of one of the most popular places in town to get some breakfast for the company he worked for.

At times, being the go-getter had its perks. They paid him well to run errands and do tasks around the office. He also did some administrative things, which is what they hired him for in the beginning. Not that it mattered, but Andre liked being the “go to guy” for all they needed. It showed his wealth with this corporation. Many times, they cited him as the second most important employee at DD&G other than the president. The personal ties with the company executive didn’t hurt either. He knew by staying with them he’d go far and if he left, there would be a problem.

After feeding the meter and turning on the hazards, he walked in and stood in the semi-long line perusing the menu.

“Looks good,” he smiled and stood on the tip of his toes to take a glance at the counter. Any place he ate at he always liked to see just how clean it was. No way did he believe in eating somewhere that didn’t take the food and restaurants codes of sanitation and cleanliness seriously.

He pursed his lips and took out the company card. Everything in the donut case looked delectable but he knew a bagel would be better for someone like him who tried to watch the amount of sweets he ate. “Maybe one day, for dessert,” he muttered under his breath. Right now, the cinnamon raisin bagel looked to be the best choice. Perhaps some juice instead of coffee for him specifically since everyone else wanted coffee with the mixture of donuts.

The line inched up a little more and he took a look at his watch. The meeting would be starting in about a half an hour. Good thing the place wasn’t far from the headquarters of DD&G and since he went in the alternate direction of the traffic, he should’ve been able to arrive back at the building in no time flat. Still, Andre really hated to wait on things. Patience wasn’t one of the qualities he possessed.

Another move up closer to the cash register and his light brown eyes caught the sight of a very nice looking individual, a tall Caucasian man with brown eyes, brownish blondish hair, sort of lanky He grinned and moistened his lips, taking pleasure in the hunk that stood behind that counter filling the donut case with more products.

“Mhmm,” he smiled and rubbed his black goatee. This man more than held his interest and obviously his hardened muscle down below began to take notice since his trousers had suddenly become very tight. He wished he could stroke himself a little but in front of all these people it would’ve been quite an embarrassment. Andre wanted to talk to the man a little more to see if they played on the same team. They had to right, since this place sat smack dab in the middle of Boystown?

Hopefully so and if he did, is he available? Andre had been lonely for quite a while. Going home to an empty apartment didn’t hold the same appeal as it did before.

   Good morning. Welcome to Wind Down Wednesday.

This week, I have no specific book to talk about. Next week BL will be here to chat about Candyman the 4th book in the NNP Something New on the Menu series but today, I wanted to chat about the music that’s been fueling my interracial manlove inspiration.

The last 3 or 4 books, the characters have mentioned getting into smooth jazz music or old R&B. Despite the fact, me as the writer, loves metal music and Duran Duran more than anything, I’ve found that my characters, like the old smooth jazzy tunes to get them going. For Rawiya’s first book, Time to Make the Donuts, the characters talk about John Coltrane as a favorite. Smooth Like Latte, both my MC’s mention the song, Brown Sugar by D’Angelo and even a scene of Latte singing it to the crowd.

I believe there’s something about the soothing music whether its the sexy, sultry saxophone or the guitar riffs and bass that inspires my characters to get through the tough times and fall in love.  Jazz and R&B are two kinds of music that crossover races as well. So that might have something to do with it. Music definitely transcends the racial barriers and when writing about men and or women falling in love, it brings them closer together.

Here’s a song I heard a lot on the jazz iTunes station while writing both. It’s always been a favorite!

  Greetings fans! Welcome to Rawiya’s

Today I’m happy to have star author Cassandra Carr with a blog post and a promo from one of her latest books. Give her your attention!

What makes a Dom a Dom?
by Cassandra Carr
What makes a Dom a Dom? A true Dom, I should clarify. Anyone who is familiar with the lifestyle knows there are what I call “playing at it” Doms and then there are “true” Doms. The difference? For one, it’s a fun thing to pretend to be every now and then. For the other, it’s who he is.
With those definitions in mind, what makes a true Dom? Several things, in my mind. The first thing is his demeanor. True Doms bleed it out of their pores. They don’t have to try to be Doms, they just are. They are the Master of their environment. They have control over their feelings and reactions. They are in tune with their submissives.
What other qualities make a Dom a Dom? I would say the way he carries himself and the look in his eyes. Maybe that goes back to demeanor – it’s kind of hard to separate things. How about the tone of their voice, and how they use different tones to convey different things? There’s the deadly calm whisper, the biting set-down, and a million other intonations of things they say.
What do you think makes a true Dom?
BIO:
Cassandra Carr is a multi-published, award-winning erotic romance writer with Ellora’s Cave, Siren, and Loose Id who lives in Western New York with her husband, Inspiration, and her daughter, Too Cute for Words. When not writing she enjoys watching hockey and hanging out on Twitter. Cassandra’s book Caught was recently named Best BDSM Book 2011 by LoveRomancesCafe.
For more information about Cassandra, check out her website at http://www.booksbycassandracarr.com, “like” her Facebook fan page athttp://www.facebook.com/AuthorCassandraCarr or follow her on Twitter athttp://www.twitter.com/Cassandra_Carr.
BLURB:
Professional bull rider Conner Raub hides a secret from the world. He’s a Dom. When he meets a submissive on tour who pulls at his Dom tendencies, he fights to deny his true self, believing his colleagues will condemn his lifestyle.
 
Jessica Talbot is new to the BDSM scene and the bull riding tour, but after seeing Conner come to the aid of a submissive being mistreated in a club, she sets out to have him for her own. After their first night together she asks him to train her to submit and he refuses, afraid to mix business with pleasure. But Jessica isn’t deterred. She’ll do whatever it takes to make him realize he can have it all—a career, true love, and the BDSM lifestyle he craves.

BUY LINK:

EXCERPT:
   Conner packed up the last of his stuff and threw it into the duffel bag. The first event of the new season was starting in a few days and he was flying out to New York City later tonight. He was looking forward to meeting up with his best friend Brady Parrish. His mind flashed back to the previous evening at Decadence. He wished he could tell Brady about the BDSM lifestyle he wanted. Brady was a great guy and wouldn’t judge him, so maybe he would some day, but how do you bring something like that up?
    Hey dude, pass me the rosin. By the way, I like to tie women up, spank their asses red, and then have them suck my cock to thank me for it.
    He rolled his eyes.
    Yeah, right. No big deal.
    He couldn’t tell anyone on the tour about his lifestyle preferences. The NBT wasn’t exactly the most liberal-minded sport around. After all, many of the riders, as well as the officials and executives were from the Bible-beltin’ South. It was bad enough evidently many of the riders had been aware he and Brady sometimes shared women—he didn’t need word of this getting out. It could ruin his career. The NBT was all about family and hardworking values, not Doms and whips and spreader bars.
    His cell phone rang, jolting him back to the present. “Yeah?”
    “Yeah? Nice greeting,” Brady replied.
    “Sorry,” Conner answered. “My mind was a million miles away. What’s up, dude?”
    “Just wanted to find out what time you’re getting in tomorrow. I’ve got a rental, so I can swing by and pick you up.”
    “You don’t have to do that. I was gonna take a cab.”
     “Not necessary. Besides, then you can buy me dinner. What time does your flight get in?”
    “Hold on.” He rummaged through his stuff until he produced his ticket. “Nine fifteen. US Air, Kennedy.”
    “Cool. See you then.”
* * * * *
    Jessica loaded her computer into her messenger bag and headed out onto the event floor. She still had four stock contractors to find before she could relax and watch the competition. Her co-liaison had said the first event was always crazy and this one was certainly living up to its hype. Between the new contractors, new bulls, and the new her—well, not exactly new, but new to this “first event” stuff, she was about to blow a gasket.
    Jessica had known when she’d taken the position she might encounter some old-fashioned attitudes regarding her ability to do her job, but she was still astounded at how often it happened. She knew bulls—her daddy was a cattle rancher. She knew all about the different breeds, and why one breed was preferred for one job over another. She understood which made a good bull-riding bull, and how to pick one in a draft based on what you needed to get out of the ride. But it didn’t matter. Some of these assholes saw her big boobs and figured she was here as eye candy.
    Spotting Jack Tucker, she hurried after him. “Mr. Tucker,” she called. She was gaining on him but he appeared to be ignoring her. “Mr. Tucker.  I’m Jessica, the liaison from the NBT. We met last season? I need to go over a couple of things with you.” She’d just caught up with him by this time and she glanced over to see if he was listening at all.
    “I turned in my paperwork,” he replied as he kept walking. “Now get outta my way, girlie. I’ve got stuff to do.” He spit a stream of tobacco right in front of her and Jessica had to consciously try not to flinch. It wasn’t the first time she’d seen tobacco being spit, but to know he’d purposely done it right where she’d be walking—ick. He’d done a similar thing last year and was obviously trying to intimidate her, but was barking up the wrong tree if he thought she was going to slink away like some chastised dog.
    “Mr. Tucker,” she began, trying to keep her voice down and even. “You left a few pieces of your paperwork blank and I need to have those parts filled in.”
    “I’ve been doin’ paperwork for the tour for longer ’n you’ve been alive, girlie,” he said. “I’ve never had a problem.”
    Jessica took a deep breath and tried again. “We’re putting the bulls into a database. Without information like year of birth, weight, etcetera, our database will be incomplete. If you just take a few moments of your time to look at your records I’ll leave you alone.”
    He stopped and turned to her. “This tour’s gettin’ to be more of a pain in the ass every year.” He stabbed a finger in her general direction. “People like you comin’ in and tryin’ to change everything. Modernize, you say. Well, I say if the system ain’t broke, don’t fuck with it.” Jessica decided she’d had enough after she saw his pompous expression.
    “Mr. Tucker, you have one hour to have this information to my colleague, Rick O’Meara, in the Official’s Room. If you don’t, I will disqualify your bulls.” Spinning on her heel, she began to walk away, forcing herself not to run. Before she got ten feet, though, a rough hand gripped her arm.
    “What did you say, you little bitch?” He squeezed and she gasped from the pain.
    Before she could process anything further Conner was there, prying the man’s fingers off her arm. “Get your fuckin’ hands off her.”
    She looked up at him. His lips were set in a thin line and his eyes were as dark and stormy as one of the Texas tornadoes she’d seen dozens of times living on the Panhandle.
    Tucker released her. “I’d suggest you go find the information the lady requested,” Conner growled, getting in the other man’s personal space. Since Conner had a good eight inches and at least seventy pounds on the man, he backed down immediately.
    “This isn’t over,” he told her, then turned and stalked away.
    Conner lifted her arm. “He hurt you.” It wasn’t a question.
    “It’s not a big deal,” she answered. A profound sense of gratitude swept through her body and as she stared up at his eyes, which had darkened even further as he looked back at her, she felt as if she could drown in them. Normally she’d prefer to fight her own battles, but she didn’t know what Tucker would have done to her if Conner hadn’t intervened. She shivered.
    Her skin felt searing hot where his fingers touched it, and whether from the leftover adrenaline of the situation or from her reaction to him she didn’t know, but her breath was coming fast and furious, making her look like a panting fool. His gaze flickered down to her breasts and then slowly returned to her face.
    “I saw the whole thing. You have to report him. He can’t be treating you like that. You were just doing your job and he wasn’t doing his.”
    She was mortified he’d witnessed such an embarrassing situation. Jessica was afraid he would go tell the tour she couldn’t handle herself and she’d be out of a job. Even with all the crap she had to take, she loved this job. If she could’ve been a bull rider she would’ve, but she’d been cursed with the wrong DNA, so she did what she could to be close to the sport. She looked down, sighing. “Don’t worry about it,” she mumbled, dropping her eyes.
    He grabbed her chin and forced her to look at him again. Her pussy heated as she remembered how he’d done the same thing to his sub that night at Decadence. “I am worried about it, and you’re not gonna waylay me.”
    “Conner, please.” She bit her lip to keep from saying anything else. She had a feeling saying ‘Conner, please kiss me, please make me yours, I want you’ wouldn’t go over very well.
    He took a giant step back then and dropped his hand. “I apologize. I don’t even know your name and here I am touching you. I have no right.”
    You can touch me all you want…
    But since she couldn’t say that, instead she held out her hand. “Jessica Talbot.”
    “Conner Raub, but I guess you know that,” he replied, grinning as he took her hand in his much larger, work-roughened one.
    “Yes,” she confessed, her face flaming. She hoped her interest wasn’t written all over her face.
    “I don’t think I’ve seen you around here. You new?”
    “I came on board around the middle of last season when Steven had his heart attack.”
    Conner nodded. “Steven worked too hard. It looks like you do too.” He studied her face and then his eyes narrowed. “Do you have the power to disqualify his bulls?”
    “No, but if I told the officials to they would.”
    “Just like that, without an explanation?”
    “Of course not, but if I told them he withheld information I requested they would disqualify him. They’re cracking down on that stuff this season.”
    “So you were ready to make an example outta him?”
    Jessica shrugged. “I did what I had to do.” And now what she needed to do was get away from Conner Raub. “Anyway, I still need to find three other contractors. Thank you for coming to my rescue. I hope we can keep this between us—I don’t want people thinking I can’t handle myself around here.”
    Conner’s jaw tightened. “I don’t like the idea of him getting away with mauling you.” He stepped closer and Jessica felt her nipples tighten against the lacy confines of her bra. Thankfully she needed a sturdy bra to give her large breasts the support they needed, so her arousal didn’t show. That would’ve been more than she could’ve handled. Yes, she wanted Conner, but not like this. She needed time to figure out how to seduce him in her own way, in her own time.
    “I’ll let you go, on one condition,” he told her. “I wanna see your arm later tonight. If it’s bruised you’re gonna report him. I’ll come with you.” His tone brooked no argument and her sex flooded with more moisture. His nostrils flared and her face flamed. Could he smell her?
    She turned away, calling over her shoulder, “Okay, thanks again,” as she fled as fast as her legs would take her.
    Conner felt as if he’d been kicked in the chest by an ornery bull. He’d been walking back to the riders’ prep area after registering when he’d come upon Jessica and that guy. When she’d said she’d disqualify the asshole’s bulls he’d silently cheered, loving the way she’d stood up to him. He wanted a submissive in the bedroom, but a girl with spunk outside it was so much more entertaining.
    But the guy had gone and grabbed her and Conner had seen red. After he’d sent the guy packing Jessica had looked up at him like some kind of hero and his dick had instantly gone rock hard. Trying to avoid her eyes he’d looked down, only to see her gorgeous, lush breasts heaving and he’d almost lost it. Only through sheer force of will he’d garnered through his years of being a Dom had he been able to drag his gaze back up to her face.
    Then he’d touched her chin, and she’d said please and bitten her lip, and he’d moved away so fast he’d probably left skid marks with his boots lest he act on what his brain had started screaming at him. In that moment he’d seen what this woman was—a natural submissive. He’d automatically reverted to how a Dom would treat a sub. He’d apologized for touching her without permission. But all she’d done was stuck out her hand to shake his, so he’d ignored his still-screaming brain and introduced himself as if nothing out of the ordinary was happening.
    And he thought he’d gotten away with his sanity until he’d told her he wanted to see her arm later. Even from a foot or more away he’d smelled the force of her arousal after he’d issued the command—another sign she was submissive. He’d very nearly lost his cool and then she was gone.
    Rubbing his face, he continued toward the prep area. When he arrived, Brady was already there. “Dude, you okay? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
    “Fine,” Conner answered. He placed his gear bag on the table in front of him and began to pull out everything to inspect it.
    “Nervous?”
    “Yeah.” He figured that was the easiest explanation he could give for why he looked shaken up. He sure as hell felt shaken up, but he needed to get his head in the game fast or this event would be all over for him.
    Brady left him alone while they finished their prep work. Then they took their stuff up to the area behind the chutes and settled in to watch. When Brady’s turn rolled around, Conner provided his usual assistance getting him situated on his bull and helping him loop his bull rope underneath the bull’s massive girth and bring it up the other side. He was pushing the bull away from the near fence when he felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. He ignored the feeling for the moment and concentrated on his friend. When Brady nodded he let go and Brady and the bull went careening out of the chute.
    Brady held on for the full eight seconds and then scrambled off the back of the still-bucking bull, landing on his shoulder and rolling left, away from the pounding hooves. He sprang up and ran toward the rail. Conner reached his hand out and grabbed Brady’s biceps, ready to pull him over if need be. The bull fighters got the beast corralled, though, and both he and Brady directed their attention to the scoreboard.
    “Ladies and gentlemen, that was last year’s winner, Brady Parrish, the King of Rodeo, ridin’ Extremist.” There was a pause. “Looks like Brady’s picking up where he left off last year. He scores an 89.5. That puts Brady in first place with five riders remaining.”
    “Good for you,” Conner said, clapping his best friend on the back. “But I’m gonna beat your ass.” Finally he allowed himself to turn around. Standing not thirty feet from him, looking at him as if he were a dessert buffet and she was a starving chocoholic, was Jessica. She licked her lips and Conner barely stifled a groan. His dick took notice and he ruthlessly forced it back down. Riding with a hard-on was a bad idea for a whole bunch of reasons, not the least of which was the riders didn’t wear cups and getting bounced around on a bull while sporting a boner was bound to be a very unpleasant experience. He allowed himself to stare her down for a moment before touching the brim of his hat in a silent salute and turning back to the chutes.
    When it was his turn to ride he was thankfully able to focus and stayed on for the full eight seconds, scoring a 90 and taking over first place. After completing his turn and picking up his bull rope from one of the bull fighters, he climbed over the rail. Now his ride was done, and he wanted to see Jessica’s arm. He had a feeling there would be a clear handprint visible on her pale skin. While that thought would have turned him on if it was his handprint on her ass and she was a willing participant, it made him want to kill if that bastard had hurt her. How often did she get manhandled? He intended to get some answers.
    Looking around, though, he didn’t see her. Accepting congratulations from his fellow riders, he continued to scan the area around him. Where had she gone off to? Now he was pissed. She knew he wanted a look at her arm. Was she avoiding him? After the look she’d given him a few minutes ago, that possibility seemed unlikely, but maybe she’d run like a scared jackrabbit. Wouldn’t be the first time he’d scared off a woman when they got a peek at his dominant side. Maybe it was for the best. He damn well shouldn’t be opening that can of worms while he was on tour. But man, she made him want to.
    Jessica hid behind a sponsor sign, her back pressed to the cool plastic. What was she doing? She knew Conner wanted to see her arm and instinctively he wouldn’t rest until he’d tracked her down, and yet here she was, hiding from him. Isn’t this what she wanted—him coming to her on his own? She wiped her damp palms on her jeans and raised her eyes to the roof of the arena. Was she strong enough to do this? Was she strong enough to go after what she wanted?
    She knew the draft would be starting soon and she had no choice but to face him then. She had to be there to note which bulls got drawn so she could deal with the contractors tomorrow. Grabbing her bag, she peeked out from behind the sign and then darted into the corridor.
    “Thought you could avoid me?” A silky Texas drawl wound its way around her ear and she jumped.
    “C-Conner,” she whispered. Clearing her throat, she continued. “I was going to the draft area.”
    “Me too. I’ll walk with you.” He fell into line with her, making his long-legged stride shorter to match hers. “How’s your arm?”
    “Fine, truly. Thank you for asking.” She bit her lip and looked away.
    “Don’t do that.”
    Her head whipped around. “Do what?”
    “Bite your lip. It gives a man ideas.”
    “Ideas?” God, she was turning into a parroting idiot…
    “Yeah, ideas. Ideas me and any other warm-blooded man around here would have after lookin’ at your mouth. I don’t like it.” He glanced at her. “Dammit! You’re still doing it.”
    She did, and the thought only excited her more. Her sex clenched hard and she gasped at the onslaught of sensation.
    He stopped and looked down at her. His eyes blazed with lust and something else—anger? Was he angry with her? And if so, why?
    He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “I’ve never,” he paused and took another breath, “ever met a woman like you, Jessica. I hardly know you but you make my blood boil.” He closed his eyes for a second, and when he opened them they had cleared. Her brow lowered in confusion. “But as much as I’d like to act on the attraction I feel for you, I can’t. I won’t. You work for the tour. I can’t get involved with someone who’s employed by the tour. If it went south my career could be ruined and I can’t abide that. Have a good night.” He turned and continued down the hall, his long legs creating distance between them quickly. What had just happened?
    Jessica finished her work for the night and called her neighbor Viola to check on her apartment. Viola was watching it for her while she was on tour. Jessica’s daddy had pitched a fit when she’d decided to hold on to the place, saying it was stupid for her to spend money on an apartment she wasn’t even at eight months out of the year, but Jessica treasured her independence and had dug in her heels.
    “Hello?”
    “Viola? You sound tired. Did I wake you?” Viola wasn’t old by any stretch of the imagination, but Jessica still felt a little guilty having her bringing in her mail and watering her plants for weeks at a time between the periods Jessica could be at home.
    “No, I was just absorbed in my reading.”
    Jessica smiled. Viola went through murder mysteries like most people went through oxygen. “All right then. How are things?”
    “Oh, fine. But my life is boring, you know that. Tell me what’s going on in yours. Did you talk to that boy yet?”
    Jessica had told Viola about Conner during her last visit with the woman before leaving for New York City. She’d been bursting at the seams wanting to talk about him, and since most of her friends from high school or community college were wrapped up in their own lives she hardly talked to them anymore. Of course, she didn’t tell Viola where she’d met him—she wasn’t ready to discuss her sexual proclivities with anybody, least of all her older friend.
    “Yes, actually, I did. But it didn’t go quite like I expected.”
    “What do you mean?”
    Jessica winced as she recalled Conner’s face. “He happened along when I was trying to deal with an ornery subcontractor. They’re the guys from each farm who handle the bulls. Anyway, this guy is a real jerk. He wasn’t cooperating with me—giving me the information I need, so I threatened to disqualify his bulls. Well, he didn’t like that idea at all and grabbed my arm.”
    “He did what?”
    “It wasn’t that big a deal. Things like that happen sometimes.”
    “Did you report him?”
    “No. If I reported every guy who said or did something offensive I’d be reporting half the contractors on tour. It’s just part of life here.” She could feel Viola’s disapproval through the phone line, so she plowed ahead. “Anyway, Conner made me show him my arm. He got this look in his eye and I thought maybe he’d ask me out, but then he turned tail and ran. I don’t know what to think now. He seemed almost… I don’t know, angry or something.”
    “That I can’t help you with. I never know what men are thinking. If I did maybe I’d be married right now.” Jessica made a dismissive noise and Voila laughed.
    “Those men don’t know what they’re missing.”
    “So what’re you gonna do now?”
    “I don’t know. I guess wait and see how he reacts the next time I see him.”
    “Probably as good a plan as any.”
    “Listen, I should go. It’s late and I’m tired. The first event is always kind of crazy with everybody getting used to new rules, new staff…”
    “You take care of yourself, you hear?”
    “I promise.”
    Jessica ended the call and tossed the phone on the bed. Flopping down next to it, she blew out a loud breath. Why did Conner act so strangely around her? She resolved to find out.
Copyright 2012, Cassandra Carr

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