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Sabrina 

Every day I watch Henry hike up the hill while I walk down. And every single day I want to run my fingers through his hair, wrap my hands around his biceps, stroke…his…dog.  

I never say a thing, though, because guys like him don’t date girls like me who aren’t model thin, who have a ten-inch scar down the middle of their chest, who may die on him… 

Henry 

I’m in no position to start a new relationship. I have plans to open my own store. I travel all the time. My dog died… 

But there’s something about the girl with the messy blond hair who eats lots of tacos and wears homemade knit hats…in a city where it’s never cold. I know I shouldn’t go after her…but after I fondled…her…dog, I couldn’t help myself. 

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Coming Soon

Whoever said that time heals all wounds . . . lied.

A decade after the death of her husband, Nari Yoon still mourns. On the ten-year anniversary of the worst day of her life, co-worker Lucas Tucker tries to save her from self destruction in a tropical paradise. But Nari doesn’t want salvation, she wants to keep her past buried.
Nari wants to forget, but Lucas wants to remember . . .
Tall and blond, Lucas always stood out in the short, brunette adoptive family. Driven by his search for truth, he flies two thousand miles to the Hawaiian island where he was born, determined to find his birth parents.
The truth may be more than he is ready for . . . .
When Lucas forces Nari to confront her past, she tries to forgive herself. But once Lucas discovers the truth about Nari, can he move past judgment to love?

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  What would you do if you met your soul mate, but you were already married?  In The Good Enough Husband, Sylvie Fox delivers a riveting story about a woman who refuses to let her past define her future. For years, Hannah Morrison Keesling’s marriage to Michael was good enough. Then she wakes up one morning and it isn’t. Taking her puppy Cody along, Hannah drives north to put distance between herself and her past. Planning to go as far as her SUV will take her, she has to stop on the Lost Coast when her dog gets sick. There she meets small town veterinarian Ben Cooper. Ben is the man Hannah wishes she had met first.  He’s perfect for her, but gun shy because he’s been lied to before and vows not to be betrayed again.  Hannah leaves Michael and moves to Ben’s rural town to pursue a future with the man she knows is her soul mate. But Michael won’t let go so easily. Forced to make a decision between the man she chose and the man she loves, Hannah soon realizes that her choices will define everyone else’s consequences.

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Who should I make it out to?



Daisy

 The last thing I want to do is move back in with my parents or my best friend. Unless I turn this around I might have to. I haven’t told a soul, but I’m nearly broke. Yeah, yeah it doesn’t look like my neatly ironed linen pockets are full of lint.

I know I have all the outward signs of success. I run my own business. I own my condo and car outright. FFS I graduated from an Ivy League school. But I can’t tell anyone what I do for a living or that my business is failing. If you keep it a secret, I’ll tell you.

I sell sex on the internet.

No, I’m not doing webcam work or anything like that, after all I’m from Connecticut. We Yankees like to keep it clean. I’m an adult webmistress. I made sexy websites that separate men from their hard earned money. And it was easy getting suckers, ahem, men to do that until free took over the web. Now my potential customers get off long before they pay for the good stuff. So my once booming business is suffering.

If I don’t figure out something soon, I’ll be out on my butt because property taxes and car repairs don’t pay for themselves. So I'm going to hop on over L.A.'s hottest gay bar. There's gotta be some inspiration there, right?

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Chapter One

Daisy

“This is so outside my wheelhouse,” Nari Yoon said. My best friend was nearly naked in her tiny bra and panties. Disgusted, she threw a heap of clothes on my living room floor. “Why, oh why do you think going to a gay bar is a good idea?”

“Can you please, please stop using ‘wheelhouse’?” I held up my hand talk show style. “It’s one of those damn words that’s way overused.” Then, as if talking to an impatient three-year-old, I explained it to her again, slowly. “I’m not making as much money on the straight stuff anymore. The old pros in the online forums, fora, whatever. They keep telling me I need to try a few male/male sites. I’m not a gay man. I just want to spend one night trying to put a finger on their tastes. The upside is that no one will hit on you. I promise.” Nari hated going to bars. A Korean woman in a straight L.A. bar was the heat seeking a million penis shaped missiles.

“Fine,” Nari said, stalking back to my room. She was in. Thank God. I would not have the courage to do that on my own. “So what do I wear to a gay bar?” she yelled. I didn’t answer. She’d work it out fine. Nari did not need my help with fashion.

Twenty minutes later, Nari emerged from my bedroom, this time fully dressed in a body skimming, grey silk mini dress with a stand-up collar, and some kind of embroidered flower down the front.

“Um, that kind of screams Asian,” I said. This was a woman who did not like to be boxed into a stereotype.

“I like the dress. My mom got it made for me in Singapore a few years ago. I never get to wear it. If no one is going to hit on us, I can be as Asian as I want, capisce?”

“That’s Italian.” I fished in my always full, Neverfull tote and pulled out the crumpled list I’d printed earlier. I looked at my watch. “So do you want to go to Big Fat Dick Friday or Fresh Meat Friday?”

Nari snatched the list from my hand. “Daisy Fletcher! Would you talk to your mother with that mouth?”

I shook my head, but the truth was that my mother would probably relish that kind of talk. She thought I was a prude. “Big dicks or fresh meat?” She put a red press-on nail to her matching ruby lips. “Are they both in Boystown?”

I shook my head. “Nope. One is right here. MJ’s is on Hyperion.”

“That settles it. A mile drive is doable. Plus there won’t be any cruising on Rowena. Sunset is a bitch on weekends.”

“We’re already here?” Nari asked seventeen minutes later.

It had taken us longer to get down the elevator, into the car, and out of the garage of my condo complex than to drive to the club. I was lucky and found a spot on a residential street around the corner, squeezing my twenty-year-old Mercedes between two hulking SUVs.

How had I never noticed the club before? I’d been on that street a thousand times, buying shit wine at Trader Joe's, less shitty wine at Gelson’s, or really expensive wine at Say Cheese next door.

Despite all those alcohol runs, the nondescript gray stucco building had never registered on my radar. I’d even been to that Burrito King across the street without noticing it. I looked around the streets of Los Feliz. Nothing about the upscale Los Angeles neighborhood screamed debauchery.

“Do you like this car? Seriously?” Nari liked her bling new and shiny. Any Mercedes older than a lease term was not on her approved list.

“It has airbags.” It was a tank. Even with soccer mom SUVs and Hummers barreling down the road, I felt safe in the car.

“You will never pick up a guy in this thing.”

“I don’t want to pick up a guy.” I’d seen the worst of men in my chosen profession. I did not need one in my life.

She looked up and down at my choice of clothes. “That’s obvious.”

I didn’t think I’d done too badly. I was wearing a Ralph Lauren black silkish jumper with spaghetti straps and a matching faux-fur collar jacket. Modest pumps. My Connecticut born-and-bred mother would have been proud. “It’s appropriate,” I said.

“You dress like that Charlotte from Sex and the City, only with less, um, sex in this city,” she laughed at her own joke. It was a high pitched cackle of a laugh. I started to think dragging Nari along was not a good idea. She would not be incognito at MJ’s.

“Her character was from Connecticut,” I said in my own defense. After living in Madison for my first eighteen years, and New Haven for four more, there was nothing I knew better than appropriate dress. Political fundraiser, baby shower, high school reunion, I knew exactly what to wear. After Nari, Ann Taylor was my second best friend.

“You haven’t been in Connecticut in ten years.”

“I’m thinking of going to our college reunion.”

“And what are you going to tell them about your day job?”

“I’m a web designer.”

She cackled then snorted. “Yeah, whatever. Let me talk to the bouncer. I’ll get us in.”

MJ’s was, well, wow. In the last ten years I’d seen almost every sort of sexual display there was. But even this, men in full sexual display, was a lot to take in. I hoped I’d remembered my small leather notebook. I could probably make a lot of money in gay porn. Dozens of men loitered outside. Whether they were waiting to go in or waiting to go home with someone was anyone’s guess.

Nari walked past the line of men and up to one with a clipboard and headset. A few hand gestures from her, and the bouncer sprung the latch and lifted the velvet rope. That was why I’d brought her. She could get into any place in L.A. Me, probably not. Without surgically enhanced tits or a skirt that stopped just below my ass, my appropriately dressed self wasn’t getting in anywhere that opened after dark. Nari was always my ticket in.

Inside the club was a whole other story. The music was loud and the bass thumping. Men in the teeniest, tiniest underwear imaginable danced on boxes strategically placed around the club. How any man could ever have a conversation in such a place was a mystery. Truth-be-told, there didn’t seem to be much talking going on.

Nari dragged me toward an open booth, and I followed her—knocking a few guys in the groin along the way with my poorly placed bag. My face tightened with embarrassment. Oops. I looked down at the tote hanging over my shoulder. Clearly this was a clutch kind of place. I mouthed ‘sorry,’ and shoved the purse as far into the booth as possible.

Nari volunteered to get us drinks. While she was gone, I watched. I itched to get that notebook out, but didn’t want to look like a gawker at the zoo. I was as liberal as the next person in L.A., but didn’t have any gay male friends. I hadn’t even been to the infamous West Hollywood Halloween parade, even though I’d always secretly wanted to go. Except for various billboards along Santa Monica Boulevard promoting condom use, warning against meth use, or urging HIV testing, I didn’t know a damn thing about the city’s gay culture.

“What the heck took you so long?” I shouted, sipping the Manhattan she’d brought me.

“‘Cute Asian Girl’ does not work here,” she shouted back. Nari put her glass of red wine on the table and we checked out the show. Not a single soul bothered us for at least an hour as the club filled to capacity. I kept trying to count heads, checking my numbers against the official limit on the fire marshal sign. I swore I’d leave, research or not, if the club looked like it exceeded capacity by too much.

A group of four or five guys pressed against the table, nearly upsetting the dregs of my drink.

“Can we share the booth?” the oldest looking one asked. His few gray hairs made me wonder what he was doing in this club.

Nari looked like she was going to shake her head. I intervened. This would be research gold.

“Sure.” I pulled Nari’s arm and scooted us to the top of the horseshoe shaped booth. The men piled in on both sides, except the asker, who went for drinks. I looked them over a little more closely.

“We’re here for his bachelor party,” one of the men said, jabbing a thumb toward another.

I wasn’t the most savvy person in the world, but two gay men having their stag party in the same place seemed counterintuitive. So was one of them not gay? I smiled tentatively.

“So who’s the groom?” Nari asked what I couldn’t.

“I’m Scott, the straight guy,” the blonde said, raising his hand. Political correctness crisis averted. “My fiancé figured I couldn’t get in trouble here. So she enlisted Rafe and Gabe to bring me out.”

I studied the guys for the first time. They were your run-of-the-mill above average L.A. guys, except the guy next to me. His arm brushed against mine, and our eyes locked. He looked good enough to eat. Too bad he was gay, and too bad I didn’t date. I pulled my right hand from my lap and extended it toward him. “I’m Daisy.”

“Rafe,” he said, grabbing the whisky or bourbon one of the guys had brought to the table. They’d got served a hell of a lot quicker than Nari. I put my outstretched hand back in my lap. Scott pointed, introducing each man in turn. They downed their drinks and left for the dance floor.

“Save our seats,” the one called Arturo said.

“O-okay,” I said. They disappeared into the gyrating mass of male flesh.

Half an hour later, they came back sweaty and far more tipsy than they’d been when we first met them. Drinks appeared again.

Nari looked at Gabriel and hot Rafe in turn.

“Are you Korean? Rafe?” She didn’t keep the disdain from her voice when pronouncing his name. I shoved my right leg against hers.

They looked at each other. “It’s Raphael, actually.” Rafe/Raphael answered. “Our mom is from Incheon.”

Nari said something in Korean. To my ears it sounded like “An-yŏng-ha-se-yo,” which even I knew to be ‘hello.’ I watched a lot of Korean drama. It was quickly becoming a second language.

“Sorry,” Rafe shook his head. “My Korean is shit.”

Nari sat back. “Oh.” Although she’d been born in New Jersey, her parents spoke strictly Korean in her house. Their only friends were from the small, tight-knit immigrant community in Riverside. To her, Raphael not speaking the language would make him one of those who dismissed their heritage like so much detritus. She hated those kinds of Koreans.

He looked at me. I’d been ignorable before. Now, in light of the evil looks shooting from Nari’s eyes like laser beams, I was a likely refuge. “So, you’re Daisy.” Undeservedly elated, I nodded. “What are you gals doing here?”

“Just wanted a girls’ night out without the guy pressure.” I invoked our cover story.

“Guess that’s not a problem in here. Do you live out this way?”

“Yep, I’m a Los Feliz girl.” I did my gringo pronunciation, making it sound like Felix the cat. “You?”

“West Hollywood. Rent control. My brother lives in the same building.” Well, that was expected.

“Is it crazy, living there?” My face flushed hot. I didn’t want him to think I assumed every night in every apartment in West Hollywood a den of iniquity.

“No, it’s a pretty quiet street, except for the tour buses.” He accepted another drink, slammed it back, then looked at me again. More closely this time. That stare made me shiver. It was too bad he was gay, because we had a spark. I started wondering just how gay he was then shrugged it off.

People are born gay, it’s not a ‘lifestyle’ choice, I admonished myself. My not so magic vajayjay wasn’t going to turn him straight. I looked back into those chocolate brown eyes, trying not to get lost in their depths. He answered a question I hadn’t asked. “F. Scott Fitzgerald died in my building. Huge tourist stop.”

“He died in your building in West Hollywood. The Great Gatsby guy?”

“Yep. Keeled over of a heart attack.” He turned away again. I wanted to do anything to keep him talking. The warmth of his leather-clad leg against mine was what I’d been missing all night. I just hadn’t known it.

“What do you do?” I asked. He hesitated for a bit. Hope burgeoned in my chest. Maybe he had a job like mine. Something you couldn’t quite tell anyone about until you sussed them out. Radical feminists and religious zealots never got the straight dope.

“I’m a comic.”

I could barely hear him above the latest song, louder than the last. Did he draw comics, like the funny papers?

“How does that work? I keep hearing newspapers are dead.”

He squinched his very even black brows and gave me a funny look.

“Rafe, you have to do it!” Arturo yelled.

“C’mon, you’re famous for it,” one of the other guys chimed in.

“You know I’ve retired Rafe,” he said.

Rafe or Raphael, which was it? Inside jokes were the hardest for those on the outside. I settled in to watch the back and forth. This was going to be good. I could tell.

Finally, the fiancé went for the kill. “It’s my last day as a single man. You have to do this for me. All the fun is about to get sucked out of my life.” He gave a little boy pout that seemed incongruous on a guy built like a linebacker.

Rafe acquiesced. “I need another drink for this.” He snatched fiancé Scott’s. “Lindsay will thank me for this.” He downed it in one swallow like the others that preceded it. In the hot club, the swish of air turned my leg cold as he stepped from the booth and went to confer with the DJ. No matter how I craned my neck, I could no longer see Rafe.

Madonna’s Vogue replaced Beyoncé on the turntable. The club suddenly went black. A single spotlight appeared on one of the dancing platforms and Rafe stood there in skin tight black leather pants and a black silk, button-down shirt. Clothes that had looked ordinary moments ago were sexy as hell under that light.

The din that had been constant, plummeted to a low murmur. I looked at the guys’ expectant faces. Then shivered in anticipation. What the hell was going to happen? Then the music got loud again.

“Strike a pose,” Madonna said.

And Rafe did. It was an incredibly sexy pose which I should have expected. I’d been in that damn club for nearly three hours. It had been nothing but posing from incredibly hot, incredibly unavailable men. With every beat of the music, she sang and Rafe undid one button after another.

The shirt sailed toward the table. I dreaded it touching the alcohol that had spilled on the wood. Real silk wouldn’t survive it. So I stood and caught it in mid air. I was rewarded with a broad wink. I pulled the shirt to my chest, and I couldn’t help noticing the heady scent that rose from it. Nari glared at me. After sending a brief apology to the dry cleaner who was going to have to fix it, I balled the shirt up and pushed it deep into my lap.

Lyrics got suggestive. The tight ribbed black tank Rafe was wearing close to his skin, came off as well. I didn’t try to grab for it this time. I was already in for a stiff lecture.

Bumping and grinding, Rafe was butt down on the platform undulating to the beat, the tight leather pants obscuring nothing. The names of movie and sports stars blasted from the speakers. The top two buttons of his pants came undone. Hollywood’s female icons thumped with the bass. The zipper came down.

I knew what was coming. How could I not? I couldn’t look away. I could look all day. Looking was okay. Like the black and white video of the song, lights pulsed, throwing the club into black and white relief.

A quick black out, and the pants were gone. I must have missed the shoes and socks, because Rafe was gyrating on the platform almost as naked as the day he was born, save for some black boxer briefs shot through with silver threads.

Those threads were only on the front center, and back of the shorts, highlighting what was underneath. Before I knew it, he was letting his body go with the flow. It was a nice flow. His skin was golden, and bathed in a sheen of sweat. The lights cast blue, red, and ended in gold on him. Silence. A single beat. And it went dark again.

I didn’t care if Nari thought I was crazy. I clapped and hooted as loudly as his friends and those around me. The lights and music started again, but Rafe was gone. Another of the interchangeable hot go-go guys took to the platform. The replacement dancer’s nearly naked form cooled me down right quick.

Find your next sexy, hot read in this collection of steamy scenes.

 

In Talk Dirty to Me, USA Today bestselling author Sylvie Fox hailed as a “must read author” who is “assured to blow you away,” reveals her most emotional and steamiest scenes yet. Talk Dirty to Me will take you from the hottest one-night stand to a hero whose years of yearning for his lady are finally satisfied.

 

Couples featured include: a buttoned up lawyer who learns to loosen up with his free-spirited woman, a pair who deserve a second chance at love, and another couple that makes a baby together. Also included are a virgin on her first night, and my favorite—hard loving blue collar heroes, a cop, a bus driver, and a construction worker who knows how to handle a woman. Not to be left out are multicultural couples whose connection is more than skin deep.

 

Due to the adult nature of some scenes, this collection is strictly recommended for sophisticated readers.

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Reviews

Long and Short Reviews

The romance between Sophie and Ryan was both sweet and smoking hot ... and I'm pretty sure my eReader caught fire during those times . . .  and the secondary cast was pretty awesome, too. The plot was fun, Ryan's family was seriously amazing (I LOVED his mother to death, and his brother was a hoot) and the romance was mostly believable. I was interested enough to never even feel tempted to stop reading, and I'm rather hoping there will be a sequel with Sophie's best friend ... yes, please?" - Poppy, Long and Short Reviews

Hannah tells lies.
Daisy keeps secrets.
Nari hides the truth.

Three women with three explosive secrets.

What would you do if you met your soul mate, but were already married? In The Good Enough Husband, Hannah Keesling must choose between the man she married and the man she loves.

Daisy Fletcher has a secret. She sells sex on the Internet. In Don't Judge Me, an Ivy League graduate navigates the world of online sex and real life love.

Nari Yoon has a husband that she's told no one about. But that's not her biggest secret. In The Secret Widow, her one night stand is determined to find out what it is.

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The nights are hotter in Los Angeles

UNLIKELY (Book 1)
There are only two things Sophie Reid doesn’t do: lawyers and sex. When sexy lawyer Ryan Becker waltzes into her life, he persuades her to pursue their attraction. But a Hollywood union strikes, and Ryan and Sophie find themselves on opposite sides of the bargaining table. Can their sparks in the bedroom overcome their standoff in the boardroom?

IMPASSE (Book 2)
Divorced and done with her dry spell, Holly Prentice is ready to get back in the game. At six years her junior, Nick Andreis is a perfect stand in for Mr. Right as Mr. Right Now. Will Holly’s unexpected pregnancy change the rules of the game? Or can they both decide to play for keeps?

SHAKEN (Book 3)
After he married Jessie Morales, Cameron Becker made a solemn vow: Once mine, always mine. Years later, Cameron still holds fast to this belief, even though he and Jessie are legally separated. When a natural disaster brings them together, Cam is poised to get his wife back. But will Jessie choose family and career over love a second time?

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Get yours on: Amazon, iTunes, Audible

The nights are hotter in Los Angeles. Hot and sexy romances. New Adult for the next generation.


STIRRED (Book 4)
Globetrotting cartoonist Zoe Andreis comes to Los Angeles to help her father recover from a serious medical scare. When she meets bus driver Max Kiss she is forced rethink the meaning of home.
SHATTERED (Book 5)
When an ex-child star decides it's time to emerge from her reclusive shell, she wants her handsome contractor to help her out. All he has to do is relieve her of her virginity… he should leap at the chance, right? Unless he's already fighting battles of his own.

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The nights are hotter in Los Angeles. Five hot and sexy romances are sure to make your toes curl. Sylvie Fox writes new adult for the next generation. 

 

UNLIKELY (Book 1) 

There are only two things Sophie Reid doesn’t do: lawyers and sex. When sexy lawyer Ryan Becker waltzes into her life, he persuades her to pursue their attraction. But a Hollywood union strikes, and Ryan and Sophie find themselves on opposite sides of the bargaining table. Can their sparks in the bedroom overcome their standoff in the boardroom? 

 

IMPASSE (Book 2) 

Divorced and done with her dry spell, Holly Prentice is ready to get back in the game. At six years her junior, Nick Andreis is a perfect stand in for Mr. Right as Mr. Right Now. Will Holly’s unexpected pregnancy change the rules of the game? Or can they both decide to play for keeps? 

 

SHAKEN (Book 3) 

After he married Jessie Morales, Cameron Becker made a solemn vow: Once mine, always mine. Years later, Cameron still holds fast to this belief, even though he and Jessie are legally separated. When a natural disaster brings them together, Cam is poised to get his wife back. But will Jessie choose family and career over love a second time? 

 

STIRRED (Book 4) 

Globetrotting cartoonist Zoe Andreis comes to Los Angeles to help her father recover from a serious medical scare. When she meets bus driver Max Kiss she is forced rethink the meaning of home. 

 

SHATTERED (Book 5) 

When an ex-child star decides it's time to emerge from her reclusive shell, she wants her handsome contractor to help her out. All he has to do is relieve her of her virginity… he should leap at the chance, right? Unless he's already fighting battles of his own. 

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Sophie

There are a couple of things you need to know about me.

First, my dad is a judge. That means he thinks he can control everyone. In my mother and my perfect sister’s case, that works. Newsflash: it doesn’t work on me. I went against my father’s wishes and got a union job instead of college.

Second, even though I have yellow, or purple, or blue hair and skimpy clothes, I hate sex. Every guy I’ve ever done it with has made it suck. I’m so over hooking up.

Stop it. Don’t feel sorry for me. I’m living my life as the artist I’ve always wanted to be. So you see I’ve got plenty of time for this puppy I rescued from traffic on the freeway. But I don’t have a single second to spare for the hot lawyer who helped me.

Ryan

My mom cleaned the bathrooms of rich doctors and lawyers in Beverly Hills. Now she’s retired without so much as a pension. I put on a suit, go to my top floor office, and work twelve hours every day just to support her.

After watching my mother being ordered around all day, I don’t like rich girls. I especially don’t like rich girls who go up against me at work. So why are this poor little rich girl and her new dog getting under my skin?

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Praise for Unlikely

Poppy, Reviewer, Long and Short Reviews

The romance between Sophie and Ryan was both sweet and smoking hot ... and I'm pretty sure my eReader caught fire during those times . . . . I was interested enough to never even feel tempted to stop reading, and I'm rather hoping there will be a sequel with Sophie's best friend ... yes, please? —Poppy, Long and Short Reviews

Reviews by Molly

Unlikely is a fantastic contemporary romance and I recommend it to readers who need something to enjoy a pleasant evening with.  —Nicole, Reviews by Molly

READ AN EXCERPT

Chapter One

Sophie Reid’s car inched onto the Laurel Canyon entrance ramp, slowing to the usual crawl to enter the Hollywood freeway heading east.  The hot, dry Santa Ana winds blew across the San Fernando Valley, causing waves of heat to shimmer on the asphalt.  She flipped down her visor and looked at herself in the mirror while waiting for the cars to creep through the light metering traffic at the top of the ramp.  She snapped her fashionably oversized shades over her gray eyes, and smiled, knowing she looked good to catch everyone’s attention.  She pushed the appropriate button with her French manicured finger, and the convertible top glided down with a whisper.

On a whim, she had dyed her chin length bob sunflower yellow to match the color of her new Volkswagen Beetle convertible, and she felt like showing off a little.  She’d gone braless as usual, and wore a raspberry colored Henley top adorned with rhinestone buttons.  She even gave a pageant style wave to the person behind her who had laughed and pointed at her vanity license plate.  EW A BUG.  It got her, and the car, a lot of attention, and admittedly, she liked it that way.

When more than a few minutes had passed, and Sophie hadn’t moved but a few centimeters, she was sorely tempted to bang ineffectively on her horn to try to get the cars to move faster.  At this snail’s pace, her good mood was fading fast.  She had left her house with little time to spare, forgetting about the ominous back to school and work traffic that jammed already clogged freeways every September.  Now she started to worry that her late arrival would delay the filming of the television show she worked on.  The idea of an entire production team of at least hundred people waiting for her arrival made her hands sweat.  She shunned a lot of traditional values, but punctuality was not among them.

After what seemed an interminable wait, she finally moved from the entrance ramp onto the actual one-oh-one freeway only to find the traffic at almost a complete standstill.  She looked at the car’s cute little dashboard clock and knew she was going to be very, very late to the studio for her call time, unless she did the improbably, get across six lanes of stopped traffic and onto the Ventura freeway to speed her way to Burbank.  Looking at the clock again, then her watch, as if the large faced man’s timepiece on her wrist would give her a different time, it was unlikely she was going to make it.

Berating herself for leaving too late and taking the freeway rather than the street, she fished in the large orange tote bag on the passenger seat for her mobile phone, ready to make her excuses.  She noticed that almost everyone was out of his or her car, and the freeway had come to a grinding halt.

“Hey, what’s going on?” she called to an older woman, who had exited her Bentley and nimbly sprinted past several cars in a designer business suit and four-inch Jimmy Choo heels.

“There’s a dog on the road,” she said breathlessly, only pausing for the briefest of moments to answer.  “We’re trying to catch him before he gets run over.”

It was then that she saw it.  A little red fur ball of a dog ran in between the stopped cars, and dodged every single one of the people who tried to catch him or her.  She stopped worrying whether she would be able to complete the actor’s make-up in time for the filming.  The long dormant animal lover in Sophie awoke and propelled her out of the car.

She was definitely going to be unacceptably late, didn’t give a damn, and joined the dog pursuit.  The thought of seeing an innocent dog killed on the road scared the hell out of her.  With no regard for her personal safety, she ran after the dog.  After about five minutes darting around the freeway, she and a tall impossibly broad-shouldered, sandy-haired man were able to corral the dog between themselves and their cars.  When he moved to grab the dog, it ran toward her, and she triumphantly scooped the warm body into her arms.  The dog’s heart beat a million miles a minute against hers.  She cradled the scared reddish-brown puppy and tried to calm it.

The handsome stranger waved at the frantic Angelenos, “She’s got him.”  He paused, looking at her hair, then her car, and smiling.  “Hey Sunflower,” he said nicknaming Sophie for her bright yellow hair, “You want me to take him?”

Sophie buried her nose in the dog’s fluffy head breathing in the warm dog smell, “No I’ve got him.  Can you just hold him while I put my top up?”  After handing over the wiggly bundle of fur, she sat back down in her car, and raised the convertible’s roof, to keep the dog secure when she got back on the road.  She didn’t think her heart, or the dog’s, could take a repeat performance.  When she turned around to take the dog, a cheer went up from the crowd who were now getting back into their cars, and getting back to the business of driving to work and school.

Their hands touched only briefly when he handed over the dog, but she felt a jolt that zinged her to the tips of her wild berry toenails.  The energy, decidedly sexual, was nothing like she’d ever experienced.  It traveled up her arm and zapped her somewhere down low.  She grasped the dog, cum security blanket, more securely and looked into the stranger’s midnight blue eyes for the first time.

He was looking at her intently, curiously, sizing her up.  It was probably the hair, she figured, not her.  Men like him did not look twice at women like her.  Her multiple piercings and tattoos shocked a lot of conservative types.  For just a moment she Forgot the furry bundle wiggling in her arms.  She felt an unexpected attraction to the man dressed in a starched button down shirt and pressed slacks.  His whole demeanor screamed uptight lawyer or bean counting CPA – just the kind of guy she worked to studiously avoid.

The traffic started moving.  To be safe, they both retreated to their cars, but Sophie could not shake the strong and instant connection she felt to the stranger.

He seemed just as bewildered.  “Hey Sunflower, I didn’t get your name.”

She smiled, trying to hide the shivers he caused.  Her usual sarcastic rejoinder froze on her lips.  “I’ll be fine.  Thanks, really, thanks for your help,” Sophie said, her gravelly voice, more husky than usual, deliberately leaving the question unanswered.  She cut the exchange short knowing that any further conversation with this guy, no matter how handsome his strong features were, no matter how well he filled out the conservatively cut clothes, was a bad, bad idea.

When second chances lead to new secrets...



After a long dry spell and a messy divorce, Holly Prentice is ready to get back out in the dating world. She’s looking for a man with some stability and the will to commit, but what she gets is far from what she wants. Sexy, younger Nick Andreis is not in her plans. However, she can’t resist their undeniable attraction. After all, what’s wrong with a little fun before she finds Mr. Right?



But Nick has other plans...



Now that Holly’s single and back on the market, Nick vows to finally get the woman he's wanted all along. But she seems to be holding back. Will Holly’s secret put an end to everything before they even get started?

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Trapped and alone, she turns to the one man she left so long ago...

Choosing her career over love years ago, Jessie Morales is finally reaping the rewards of her fateful decision. Just as she’s relishing in the idea of a possible promotion, Jessie finds herself trapped in an elevator after a life-threatening earthquake, questioning the path her life has taken.

LAPD officer Cameron Becker would do anything for his ex, so when she calls him, frantic for help, he drops everything to be there for her. When the immediate danger passes and old yearnings arise, Cameron and Jessie can’t resist what they still feel. With their families desperate to keep them apart and their careers still tugging them in different directions, can they rely on fate to keep them right where they belong—together again?

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READ AN EXCERPT

Chapter One



“Soy Yesenia Morales. Por KESP, buenas noches y cuídense.”


The camera’s red light winked off. At the floor director’s signal, Yesenia pulled out her earpiece and allowed her cheek muscles to relax for the first time in a half hour. The rousing Norteña music accompanying the commercial break was in sharp counterpoint to the uncertainty spreading from her chest to her limbs.


This was her last broadcast as temporary weeknight news anchor. Come Monday, Yolanda Salcedo was back from maternity leave. Unless Yesenia did something to kickstart her career, next week she’d be demoted to her regular weekend floating anchor position.


The last time she’d been on the edge of career implosion, she’d saved herself by busting that city-wide cockfighting ring wide open. But lightning didn’t strike twice.


Following the beckoning wave from her director, she stood and pulled at the fitted hot pink suit chafing around her breasts and hips. She had to work her way out of local Spanish language news to someplace where the women anchors weren’t gussied up like department store mannequins.


When the red light indicated they were back on the air, Hector’s arm slipped around her waist. She did the same, pretending to chat and laugh as they walked off the set.


“And we’re out,” the floor director called. She and Hector disengaged like the other had cooties. His shellacked hair and peach pancake makeup said one thing to her: dinosaur. It wasn’t that she didn’t like Hector García. He was a lovely old man from the Tom Brokaw reporting era, respectable, kind, honest. But he didn’t get the TMZ tabloid world journalism had become. As far as she could figure, they only kept Hector around to hold on to viewers from her mother’s generation.


She stalked to her desk, just another gray pressed wood rectangle in the cubicle farm of the newsroom, waving away the shouted invitations for Friday night drinks.


She sat at her cubicle only long enough to pack her bag and pull off the stilettos she had to wear now that the anchor desk was out. The station brass had replaced it with a Plexiglas stand no wider than a barstool. Gone were the days where she could hide jeans and sheepskin boots under a pressed wood desk. Yesenia stretched her cramped toes and massaged her aching foot after she eased the three inch pumps from one foot, then the other. She held back her groan of relief.


As decreed from up high, her whole body from head to toe was on display. But ratings were up, and that was good for everyone, from station owner on down to a lowly anchor. Viewers were all her bosses cared about these days. And if a little exploitation was what it took to get eyeballs on screens, then so be it.


Yesenia closed her eyes and visualized a weekend spent horizontal. Away from the anchor desk, she planned to fall into bed, and get up only when her mother summoned. Mascara glued her tired eyes together, making them hard to open. Time to get home and get the clown-like goo off. She could only hope the obligatory family dinner this week was Sunday instead of Saturday so she could rest up for whatever her mother and sister planned to throw at her.


Stapled packets of half researched stories littered her desk. One by one she shoved papers into her purse. The last stack was personal and caused her stomach to do a flip-flop. With shaking hands, she cursed her mother, the Catholic Church, and Cameron Becker; three factors that had kept her married but separated, when she should probably be divorced.


A Sale and Purchase agreement for her Ogden Drive apartment stared back at her. The building’s landlord was getting out of the rental business, converting the apartments in her building to condominiums. With little down payment, she could own a space of her own. But California’s Community Property laws and the mortgage company required that her husband sign off any right to the apartment.


She needed the signature of her estranged husband Cam. Nearly two years had come and gone with nothing more passing between them than cursory communication in April when tax season rolled around.


Maybe it was time to rip off the Band-Aid. She pulled her phone from her desk drawer. Fingering the contacts, she hit her husband’s picture. But as soon as the phone began dialing, she immediately disconnected the call.


Tomorrow.


Pulling her sneaker laces tight, she prepared for the fourteen-story descent from the station’s studios on the top floor of the Sunset Boulevard building.


She did not take elevators.


Her ready excuse was that she always needed to lose a few pounds. And given her mother’s penchant for dropping off carb-heavy handmade tortillas and tamales, that part at least was true.


“Yesenia.” The news director beckoned before she could make her escape. Nervous energy flooded her veins again.

She trudged the ten feet to Ernesto Barrero’s office. Ignoring his gesture to sit, she stood, trying not to shift her weight or show her fear of being fired.


“What are you working on?”


Nothing good, shot through her brain. But she was wise enough not to voice that thought. She sat heavily and made a show of ruffling through the papers in her bag.


“I have a few things coming together,” she started, forcing passion into their voice. “That scandal involving the county sheriffs and prisoner abuse. Hispanics were affected in greater numbers than anyone else.” Like a dancing minstrel, she continued.


“There’s also more on the Coliseum corruption scandal. Turns out there are other workers with grievances, mostly Mexican,” she said.


“That sounds great if this were Sixty Minutes. But we’re KESP. Sweeps are right around the corner. Our viewers are looking for sex, drugs, badly behaved rock and rollers.” He did an exaggerated shrug. “You know.”


“I’ve got some other irons in the fire,” she said, not mentioning those irons were cold, and the fire long banked.


“Yolanda’s coming back next week,” he said, changing the subject.


Moving to the three to eleven weeknight shifts to cover Yolanda’s maternity leave had been exhausting for the last three months. But even when she went back to her regular duties, she’d have more material for her reel. Maybe she could finally make that leap to a local English language station or national broadcasting on Telemundo. Be done with gotcha journalism. Chasing celebrities was one thing. Getting the dirt on reality show stars was a new low. Ernesto was looking at her oddly. Yesenia wondered how long she’d been quiet.


The constant anxiety that had sat in her belly for three months churning through the layers like battery acid, bubbled up. Her throat burned. “What does that mean for me?” Yesenia asked. Maybe she couldn’t pull the bandage off the wound of her dead marriage, but work was an altogether different beast. If she was fired, knowing now would be better than later.


“Don’t look so down. You did a great job on air. Had a meeting this morning with the higher ups and we’re thinking about trying something new.”


Even though she didn’t want to hang on his every word like a girl waiting to be asked to prom, she couldn’t help leaning forward.


“We want to add another woman anchor with Hector, change up the format.”


“Me?” God, now she sounded like that prom eager teenager as well, or Sally Field at the Oscars.


“Of course, you.” Ernesto said. “I didn’t want to tell you before, but the three month stint was mostly an audition.” He paused for effect. “You got the part.”


Glee replaced fear. A permanent addition to the nightly news would move her career to the next level. If being seen was the name of the game, then daily exposure was the best she could hope for.


“You’d have to wear dresses instead of suits, and keep the high heels.” Ernesto said as if exploitation were their every day stock and trade instead of hard news. “You interested?”


“Sí, yes,” she said without hesitation. She might regret it later, when push-up bras were her currency instead of investigative journalism. But for now, she was willing to stay put at KESP. A steady and hopefully increased paycheck would keep her mother and sister in the country. With a raise she could tuck a little more away for an immigration attorney who could finally get the rest of her family their papers.


Ernesto looked at his watch. “Damn. Past midnight. My wife’s going to kill me. Let’s talk on the way out.”


While snaking through the newsroom, they worked out most of the logistics of her new schedule.


He pushed the elevator button.


For the briefest second she closed her eyes. Avoid. Avoid. Avoid. The words pulsed in her brain like a strobe. Taking a deep breath to slow her heart rate, she put on her news anchor smile.


“I’ll take the stairs,” she said to her boss.


“You’re not fat, Yesenia.” Ernesto shook his head, muttering something about L.A. women under his breath.


“Exercise is good. Especially if I’m going to need a new wardrobe.”


She nearly lost the grip on her bag as sweat slicked her palms. With her free hand, she tried to be as cool as possible wiping the moisture from her upper lip.


“Let’s talk about compensation. It’ll be more private this way.” Of course, he wanted to finish the conversation—in an elevator of all places. That’s what normal people did. Pulling up her big girl panties, she stepped on, careful not to snag her shoe on the gap between the floor and the moving box. She needed money and Ernesto had the keys to the vault.


He punched the button with two arrows facing each other, and the reflective metal finally started to close them in. Less than a minute, and the descent to the garage would be over. In less than a minute, she could be richer.


“Damn. Forgot something. I’ll get off. Don’t want to keep you. Good night.” Ernesto said, then jabbed at another button. The doors whooshed open again. “We’ll talk Monday.”


Before she could push her way out and get off with him, the doors slid closed. She was alone. A single jerk and the box began its descent.


Her heart went from normal to attack range faster than a Porsche’s engine revved from zero to sixty. Post traumatic stress, her first therapist had diagnosed years ago. Sweat trickled under the wire of her bra and down her rib cage. The protein shake she’d had for dinner threatened to come up. Bitter bile made its way to the back of her throat.


She swallowed.


Death was not a reasonable fear. Millions of people suffered panic attacks and recovered every day. She fumbled for her pills then stopped. The alprazolam took at least a half hour to work. An elevator ride had to be less than a minute. Yesenia gritted her teeth against the chatter she could feel prying her jaw apart.


Closing her eyes, she took a deep breath. Held it. Counted to five. Released it. Opening her eyes, Yesenia looked at the red number.


Six.


Only five floors to go.


***


“You watching the sexy news?”


“Fuck off,” Cameron Becker said to his on again/off again partner.


Jean Rivera was the only woman in the LAPD he could say that to and not be busted down a grade or two. They’d done hundreds of sting operations together when Rivera had been younger and didn’t mind dressing up like a hooker. And when he hadn’t minded being out on the streets all night, busting johns.


Thank God, they’d both wised up to the fact that street-level busts didn’t make a dent in the skin trade about the same time they’d gotten too old for all-nighters.


Rivera came around the break room table to stand next to him. She crossed her arms, mocking his stance. “You look like someone ate your Pop Tart.”


Cam uncrossed his arms and tried to do the casual dangle at the side thing he’d seen other men do. Didn’t work too well. He crossed them again, tighter this time. Stiff cotton pulled across his biceps. The commercial ended and his ex—his wife—came up on screen with Hector something or other joking with Jessie like he was her best friend.


“Ahhh.” Rivera drew out the single syllable for a full two seconds, her voice full of distaste. “It’s Yesenia.”


“She’s been anchoring every night,” he informed her.


“Finally made the jump from the weekend, huh?” Her voice held no admiration.


“Shh.” His heart did the same little skip it did the first time he’d met Jessie. He wondered, not for the first time, if they were ever going to get back together. In the two years apart, the problems that had divided them were less and less important. Jessie gave her signature send off; good night and stay safe. A minute later, her pompadour sporting co-anchor had his hands around her waist, escorting her off set while the credits rolled.


Hector had what Cam wanted, the ability to touch his own wife. Torn between jealousy and attraction, he picked up the remote and muted the set. He hoped Rivera couldn’t see the heat he could feel prickling his scalp. Meant his face was probably pinker than it should be.


“Hey! I was watching that,” Rivera said.


“No you weren’t.” He added a bark to his voice to hide his embarrassment. “Go home to your husband.”


“What about you?” Rivera turned on him, her brown eyes unrelenting. “Going back to your tiny studio in Noho?”

Because, what? Going home alone was a crime? “Yep.”


“Want to get a drink?” she asked, barely masking her yawn.


Cam hated the pity behind the invitation. Bachelors got invited to every dinner, barbecue, and holiday meal in L.A. A party wasn’t complete without one. He’d become an accessory—like a Louis Vuitton purse, but not nearly as in demand.


“Early to bed,” he deflected.


“Don’t you ever get lonely?” she asked.

Women. Why did they always want to pair you up? Occasionally he met a woman at a bar in the nearby arts district. They had a good time. That was it. He wasn’t looking to get into a new relationship. The old one still had a hold on him.


“I’m good.”


“Why aren’t you divorced yet?”


The muscle below Cameron’s right eye twitched. Excuses stuck on his dry tongue. For anyone else, he would have dragged out the usual litany; she was Catholic, he had better health insurance. But neither was true.


“Jean?” He lowered his voice to let her know he was serious. She may have been at his wedding. But this was a no-go zone.


Her eyes held his for a long moment. He tried to telegraph that she didn’t need to worry. Her eyes were unreadable. Rivera picked up her purse from where she’d rested it on the table. “See you in three.”


They’d worked the four-day, ten-hour compressed schedule this week. Unless there was a riot or natural disaster, they’d be back at work after a much needed three-day break.


A flash of red from the TV pulled him back to thoughts of Jessie. It was a commercial for the nightly news. A camera panned up his wife’s stocking-clad leg. The voice over urged viewers to tune in again. Noticias my ass. There was nothing newsworthy—


“Shit!” Rivera dropped her purse and braced her arms against the door frame.


He heard the rattle of metal and glass before he felt the floor move under his feet. One part of his brain registered that Rivera was safe. For the moment. His training took over. He pulled her under the table, waiting out the shaking.


Ten seconds. Cam ticked off each one in his mind. As quickly as it had begun, it ended. Everything stopped moving as if nothing had happened. The way his heart had accelerated when seeing Jessie minutes ago had nothing on the pounding in his chest, ears, and throat. Blood had expanded too much for his vessels, they were so tight with pressure.


“Let’s go!” He moved to his designated command post.


Sergeant Sikes barked out orders.

“Rivera, Becker. You have Fountain, Highland, Beverly, Crescent Heights.”


Cam committed those perimeter blocks to memory. The minute the Sergeant was done, he booked it to the supply room, grabbed the first pool keys he could find, and ushered Rivera out the door.


***


Everything shook. Yesenia’s brand new sneakers slid around like she was on ice. She could barely keep her footing in the tiny elevator. The building rolled back and forth like a marble on a boat, and she went with it. Like Mexico City, the building was going to come apart. Was that the sound of cracking, stucco hitting pavement? Were windows shattering all around her? Minimal sound pierced the sealed box, got past her thundering heart and harsh breath.


Vowing to keep her head, Yesenia spread her legs hip distance apart, brought her head to her knees, wrapped her arms around her legs, and tried to stop the compulsive swallowing of the saliva pooling in her mouth. Uttanasana, the forward fold was to calm the nausea, ease the panic that had bubbled up in her throat for the second time tonight.


Another roll.


A jerk.


Silence.


The carpeted floor welcomed her like a mother’s arms. To hell with coping mechanisms. This was life or death. And death was looking more likely with each passing moment.


She was going to die.


In an earthquake.


Like her father.


God was vengeful.


When there was no further movement for seconds, or minutes, or years, she pawed through her bag for her phone. Pressing the home button cast dim light in the elevator. Weren’t there emergency lights in these things? How was she in the only elevator in the world where the emergency mechanism failed? She had been right to never trust these contraptions. Especially in Los Angeles, the least disaster-prepared city in the world. After New Orleans.


If she could tell herself that small joke, maybe she wasn’t going to die. Not yet.


Taking another deep breath of synthetic carpet, she pushed herself up to sitting and gripped her phone hard. The cool glass of her phone against her palm eased the panic a tiny bit more.


She pressed the small circle lighting up the digital display that had always signified connection with her family, friends, work. A tiny circle spun near the top of the phone, mesmerizing her with its perfection. Lazily, dizzily, the phone sought connection with a cell tower.


It stopped.


No service.


Her mother and sister would be in a panic if she didn’t reach them soon. What if they were hurt, their little house crumbled down around them? She couldn’t get to them, help them.


The memory of her father’s death busted out of the carefully placed closet she’d locked it into. She chanced a look at the ceiling. No pillar bisected it in the way it had separated her from her father in Mexico.


Fear stole her breath. No way was she going to die like her father. With no connection showing on the phone, she dialed anyway. That worked sometimes when she was way out in the field. Some kind of magic would make the phone connect to a tower. If it could work in Sun Valley, a Hollywood elevator shouldn’t be a problem.


She punched in the number.


The phone dialed.


Nothing.


Damn.


She couldn’t help her family if she couldn’t help herself. One deep breath later, she clawed her way up the wood and brass. She pressed her phone on again. A flashlight didn’t require a signal. Words had been long rubbed off the emergency button.


That single red plastic protrusion had been her one line of defense against panic. Her very rational therapist had told her that if she were ever overcome, press the button and someone would come to Yesenia’s rescue.


She pressed.


Dial tone.


Dialing.


Ringing.


No answer.


Like so much else in L.A., the buttons were for show. Her therapists had said her fear was irrational. But she’d known. She knew.

Defeat pulled her back down to the carpeted floor. She shifted from one side to another, trying to keep her stockings from sticking to her thighs. With the movement, a prickle started on her scalp. A bead of water dripped from her nose. She wasn’t crying…yet.

The air conditioning must have been off. It would be one of the first non essential systems to go. Suddenly, she couldn’t take it a moment longer. The side zip fitted gabardine top was the first to go. Then the skirt. Not giving a crap about runs, she skimmed the stockings from her legs.


The laugh that bubbled from her throat could have been hysteria. She chose to believe it was humor. If she was ever rescued, she’d be in a see-through camisole, bra, and thong. Great. Another laugh escaped her lips. She could only hope the paramedic wasn’t a fan with a cell phone. The last thing she needed was to see her sweaty, panicked, half-naked self on TMZ. Not that she was that big of a celebrity. But after that other television news reporter started dating the mayor, Spanish language anchors had bigger profiles.


If she was thinking about tabloids and not her imminent death, maybe things were looking up. The elevator jerked, and her phone dropped to the floor, plunging her into darkness.


***


Rivera glanced his way, communicating without words. He nodded in agreement. L.A. was never like this, especially on a Friday night. The streets were eerily quiet.


“Staying put for the moment,” he said.


“We can only hope.” Rivera glanced at the laptop, the map of their sector zoomed in on the screen.


They started on Beverly. There were quite a few valets standing quietly. The busy upscale Friday night crowd had either left before the quake, or were waiting out aftershocks.


He pulled over where a tight knot of citizens stood. “Can you check this out?”


Rivera gave him a strange look. Protocol dictated they step out of the vehicle together.


He held up his phone. “Wanna check on Jessie.”


While Rivera, hands on hips, her jacket spread so that her shoulder holster was visible, interrogated the crowd, he dialed his wife.


One ring.


Two.


Voicemail.


He didn’t leave a message. What could he say to a women deathly afraid of seismic activity?

shaken002


Warning: One kiss can lead to another...

Quirky cartoonist, Zoe Andreis puts her life on hold, flying back to the States to care for her ailing father. Spending her post-college years gallivanting all over Europe while capturing her adventures in comic form, Zoe grapples with the notion of being shackled to one city.

When she encounters, Max Kiss, Zoe's true adventures begin. Although Max would love to branch out and take carefree and crazy chances of his own, he too is tied to LA, tending to his aging father. Stirred by Zoe's zest for life, Max longs for a future full of love and spontaneity.

While they struggle to find balance between caring for their parents and living a life of their own, Zoe and Max form a strong and sensual bond. When tough challenges surface, Zoe and Max search for a way to have the life they want without feeling the burden of guilt. Can they find of balance of duty and excitement while building a future together?

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A sex tape.
A virgin.
A liar.

Keeping her name out of the tabloids is now impossible for Gemma Hart. After years of toeing the line and making the right choices, her reputation is in tatters. Suddenly, her sex life is being broadcast all over the country. But the only problem is: she's a virgin.

Or is she?

Between running his successful contracting firm and staying sober, Adonis Andreis has enough on his plate. When the sexy and sweet actress makes him an offer, he can't refuse. After all, who wouldn't want the virginity of America's Sweetheart? But when Adonis thinks that he's been betrayed, will the search for the truth shatter everything they've built?

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With the unbeatable combination of both compelling fiction and great insight on the writer's journey, these award-winning and bestselling authors of the Girlfriends Book Club join together to bring you ONE MORE PAGE! 

Enjoy 17 excerpts of outstanding fiction by authors Christa Allan (All They Want for Christmas), Judith Arnold (Changes), Marilyn Brant (The Road to You), Sylvie Fox (The Good Enough Husband), Jenny Gardiner (Something in the Heir), Maria Geraci (That Thing You Do), Tonya Kappes (Checkered Crime), Leslie Langtry (Merit Badge Murder), Leslie Lehr (Wife Goes On), Maggie Marr (One Night for Love), Ellen Meister (Dorothy Parker Drank Here), Ellyn Oaksmith (50 Acts of Kindness), Jess Riley (Mandatory Release), Saralee Rosenberg (Dear Neighbor, Drop Dead), Sara Rosett (Elusive), Wendy Tokunaga (His Wife and Daughters), and L.J. Wilson (Ruby Ink). 

Also included in this book as a *special bonus* are 34 of the GBC's most popular blog posts on the subject of writing craft and the writing life, which you won't want to miss. So pick up this sampler, sit back, and get drawn into a wonderful world of unputdownable essays & stories!

ANOTHER STORY: A Smart Women's Fiction Sampler

A collection of excerpts from romantic women’s fiction author Sylvie Fox.

Featuring women’s fiction titles: The Good Enough Husband, Don’t Judge Me, and The Secret Widow.

Also includes selections from the L.A. Nights Series: Unlikely, Impasse, Shaken, and Stirred.

Sylvie Fox has been hailed as a “must read author” who is “assured to blow you away.”

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Narrated by Steven Barnett.

Steven Barnett has been narrating audiobooks for the last 5 years, doing voices for the last 20, and telling stories all his life. An avid reader of all genres, Steven is the narrator of choice for such series as the Jeff Resnick Mysteries by L.L. Bartlett, the Never Hero series by T. Ellery Hodges, the Junkyard Druid series by M.D. Massey, and the L.A. Nights series by Sylvie Fox. Steven is a native of Florida, based currently in Salem, OR, and can be found at @letmetellyouastory on Facebook and @PlasmatixUltra on Twitter!

The nights are hotter in Los Angeles

Unlikely (Book 1)
There are only two things Sophie Reid doesn't do: lawyers and sex. When sexy lawyer Ryan Becker waltzes into her life, he persuades her to pursue their attraction. But a Hollywood union strikes, and Ryan and Sophie find themselves on opposite sides of the bargaining table. Can their sparks in the bedroom overcome their standoff in the boardroom?

Impasse (Book 2)
Divorced and done with her dry spell, Holly Prentice is ready to get back in the game. At six years her junior, Nick Andreis is a perfect stand in for Mr. Right as Mr. Right Now. Will Holly's unexpected pregnancy change the rules of the game? Or can they both decide to play for keeps?

Shaken (Book 3)
After he married Jessie Morales, Cameron Becker made a solemn vow: once mine, always mine. Years later, Cameron still holds fast to this belief, even though he and Jessie are legally separated. When a natural disaster brings them together, Cam is poised to get his wife back. But will Jessie choose family and career over love a second time?

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Narrated by Steven Barnett.

Steven Barnett has been narrating audiobooks for the last 5 years, doing voices for the last 20, and telling stories all his life. An avid reader of all genres, Steven is the narrator of choice for such series as the Jeff Resnick Mysteries by L.L. Bartlett, the Never Hero series by T. Ellery Hodges, the Junkyard Druid series by M.D. Massey, and the L.A. Nights series by Sylvie Fox. Steven is a native of Florida, based currently in Salem, OR, and can be found at @letmetellyouastory on Facebook and @PlasmatixUltra on Twitter.

A sex tape. A virgin. A liar. Keeping her name out of the tabloids is now impossible for Gemma Hart. After years of toeing the line and making the right choices, her reputation is in tatters. Suddenly, her sex life is being broadcast all over the country. But the only problem is: she's a virgin.

Or is she?

Between running his successful contracting firm and staying sober, Adonis Andreis has enough on his plate. When the sexy and sweet actress makes him an offer, he can't refuse. After all, who wouldn't want the virginity of America's Sweetheart? But when Adonis thinks that he's been betrayed, will the search for the truth shatter everything they've built?

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Narrated by Dan McGowan

Dan McGowan is a seasoned narrator with over 100 audio books and other narration and voice over projects to his credits. 

He has voiced for commercials, film, animation, training presentations and more.  Dan lives in Southern California and enjoys performing comedy in his spare time. 

Two rich families. One poor student. Who will win?

It’s spring in Cleveland, Ohio, but Casey Cort isn’t going to let rain and gray skies get her down. The last year of law school is a magical time. At any moment her long-time boyfriend, Tom Brody is going to pop the question. She’s ready to finish a successful year as a senior editor on law review, and her dream job at Morrell Gates is right around the corner. The bar exam is her last hurdle and she’s more than ready to jump it.

Or so she thinks.

When Casey reports an honor code violation to the dean of the law school, her perfect future comes crashing down around her as friends and fellow students fail to come to her rescue.

In this prequel novella of the Casey Cort series, Sylvie Fox—a former trial lawyer in Cleveland—weaves a tale that blends the best of today’s top legal thrillers with the heart and soul of women’s fiction, in a story ripped from real-world headlines.

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Enjoy your books in the car, at the gym, on a long walk? I know I do. After listening to audiobooks for more than twenty years, I’m thrilled that mine are now available.
Get yours on: Amazon, iTunes, Audible

Narrated by Steven Barnett.

Steven Barnett has been narrating audiobooks for the last 5 years, doing voices for the last 20, and telling stories all his life. An avid reader of all genres, Steven is the narrator of choice for such series as the Jeff Resnick Mysteries by L.L. Bartlett, the Never Hero series by T. Ellery Hodges, the Junkyard Druid series by M.D. Massey, and the L.A. Nights series by Sylvie Fox. Steven is a native of Florida, based currently in Salem, OR, and can be found at @letmetellyouastory on Facebook and @PlasmatixUltra on Twitter.

The nights are hotter in Los Angeles. Hot and sexy romances. New adult for the next generation.

Stirred (Audiobook four)

Globetrotting cartoonist Zoe Andreis comes to Los Angeles to help her father recover from a serious medical scare. When she meets bus driver Max Kiss, she is forced rethink the meaning of home.

Shattered (Audiobook five)

When an ex-child star decides it's time to emerge from her reclusive shell, she wants her handsome contractor to help her out. All he has to do is relieve her of her virginity.... He should leap at the chance, right? Unless he's already fighting battles of his own.

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Whoever said that time heals all wounds...lied.

A decade after the death of her husband, Nari Yoon still mourns. On the 10-year anniversary of the worst day of her life, co-worker Lucas Tucker tries to save her from self-destruction in a tropical paradise. But Nari doesn't want salvation, she wants to keep her past buried.

Nari wants to forget, but Lucas wants to remember....

Tall and blond, Lucas always stood out in the short, brunette adoptive family. Driven by his search for truth, he flies 2,000 miles to the Hawaiian island where he was born, determined to find his birth parents.

The truth may be more than he is ready for....

When Lucas forces Nari to confront her past, she tries to forgive herself. But once Lucas discovers the truth about Nari, can he move past judgment to love?

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Enjoy your books in the car, at the gym, on a long walk? I know I do. After listening to audiobooks for more than twenty years, I'm thrilled that mine are now available.

Get yours on: AmazonAudibleGoogle Play

Narrated by Steven Barnett.

Steven Barnett has been narrating audiobooks for the last 5 years, doing voices for the last 20, and telling stories all his life. An avid reader of all genres, Steven is the narrator of choice for such series as the Jeff Resnick Mysteries by L.L. Bartlett, the Never Hero series by T. Ellery Hodges, the Junkyard Druid series by M.D. Massey, and the L.A. Nights series by Sylvie Fox. Steven is a native of Florida, based currently in Salem, OR, and can be found at @letmetellyouastory on Facebook and @PlasmatixUltra on Twitter.

Warning: One kiss can lead to another...

Quirky cartoonist, Zoe Andreis puts her life on hold, flying back to the States to care for her ailing father. Spending her post-college years gallivanting all over Europe while capturing her adventures in comic form, Zoe grapples with the notion of being shackled to one city.

When she encounters, Max Kiss, Zoe's true adventures begin. Although Max would love to branch out and take carefree and crazy chances of his own, he too is tied to LA, tending to his aging father. Stirred by Zoe's zest for life, Max longs for a future full of love and spontaneity.

While they struggle to find balance between caring for their parents and living a life of their own, Zoe and Max form a strong and sensual bond. When tough challenges surface, Zoe and Max search for a way to have the life they want without feeling the burden of guilt. Can they find of balance of duty and excitement while building a future together?

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Enjoy your books in the car, at the gym, on a long walk? I know I do. After listening to audiobooks for more than twenty years, I'm thrilled that mine are now available.

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Narrated by Dan McGowan

Dan McGowan is a seasoned narrator with over 100 audio books and other narration and voice over projects to his credits. 

He has voiced for commercials, film, animation, training presentations and more.  Dan lives in Southern California and enjoys performing comedy in his spare time. 

What wouldn’t a mother do for her child?

Book 6 in the Casey Cort Series finds Casey in the middle of the most challenging dilemma of her career.

Casey Cort takes a pro bono adoption case—grateful for a break from headline making controversy. But her discovery of the baby girl’s origins thrusts her into the sordid underground of international child abduction.

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Enjoy your books in the car, at the gym, on a long walk? I know I do. After listening to audiobooks for more than twenty years, I'm thrilled that mine are now available.

Get yours on: Amazon, iTunes, Audible

Narrated by Dan McGowan

Dan McGowan is a seasoned narrator with over 100 audio books and other narration and voice over projects to his credits. 

He has voiced for commercials, film, animation, training presentations and more.  Dan lives in Southern California and enjoys performing comedy in his spare time. 

One bullet, two stories.

Troy Duncan has just two worries on his mind: how he is going to give his two young children and fiancé a Christmas they deserve and whether his job at a struggling restaurant will last through the winter. As he leaves work early on another slow night, he runs into something that changes his life forever. 

Cleveland Police Officer Marc Baldwin has been on the job for more than two decades, risking his life every day to keep the city streets safe for others. One cold night in December, he gets a routine call to break up drug activity in the newly popular Flats district, but what happens there is anything but routine, as circumstances prompt Marc to draw—and use—his service weapon. 

Attorney Casey Cort is finally changing her life for the better. After an uplifting year of pro bono adoption work under her belt, she is hoping to start a practice free of the emotional turmoil and problems of criminal defense and divorce. Easier said than done, particularly when a new, high-profile referral comes from a most unlikely source. Once again, Casey finds herself in the middle of a major controversy—and a city on the verge of riot. 

In this continuation of the Casey Cort series, Aime Austin—a former trial lawyer in Cleveland—weaves another tale that blends the best of today’s top legal thrillers with the heart and soul of women’s fiction, in a story ripped from real-world headlines. 

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Cleveland lawyer Casey Cort lost more than her job when she crossed the wrong political family, she lost her idealism. Casey’s scraped together a career as a solo practitioner which has offered her more than one opportunity for redemption…but its also threatened her life. In this thrilling, gritty, realistic series by former criminal lawyer Aime Austin, readers will experience stories ripped from the headlines with the heart and soul of the best women’s fiction. 
 
In  The Common Pleas Lawyer  Casey Cort crosses an influential family...Two rich families. One poor student. Who will win? 

In  Under Color of Law  Casey faces the Brodys again...The Brody family destroyed her. Now they want her back. 

In  In Plain Sight  Casey has to make the right choice between what is right and what is ethical. 
 
This bundle includes  The Common Pleas Lawyer, Under Color of Law, and  In Plain Sight, from the Casey Cort series. 

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Narrated by Steven Barnett.

Steven Barnett has been narrating audiobooks for the last 5 years, doing voices for the last 20, and telling stories all his life. An avid reader of all genres, Steven is the narrator of choice for such series as the Jeff Resnick Mysteries by L.L. Bartlett, the Never Hero series by T. Ellery Hodges, the Junkyard Druid series by M.D. Massey, and the L.A. Nights series by Sylvie Fox. Steven is a native of Florida, based currently in Salem, OR, and can be found at @letmetellyouastory on Facebook and @PlasmatixUltra on Twitter.

Trapped and alone, she turns to the one man she left so long ago...

Choosing her career over love years ago, Jessie Morales is finally reaping the rewards of her fateful decision. Just as she’s relishing in the idea of a possible promotion, Jessie finds herself trapped in an elevator after a life-threatening earthquake, questioning the path her life has taken.

LAPD officer Cameron Becker would do anything for his ex, so when she calls him, frantic for help, he drops everything to be there for her. When the immediate danger passes and old yearnings arise, Cameron and Jessie can’t resist what they still feel. With their families desperate to keep them apart and their careers still tugging them in different directions, can they rely on fate to keep them right where they belong—together again?

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Enjoy your books in the car, at the gym, on a long walk? I know I do. After listening to audiobooks for more than twenty years, I'm thrilled that mine are now available.

Get yours on: AmazoniTunesAudible

Narrated by Steven Barnett.

Steven Barnett has been narrating audiobooks for the last 5 years, doing voices for the last 20, and telling stories all his life. An avid reader of all genres, Steven is the narrator of choice for such series as the Jeff Resnick Mysteries by L.L. Bartlett, the Never Hero series by T. Ellery Hodges, the Junkyard Druid series by M.D. Massey, and the L.A. Nights series by Sylvie Fox. Steven is a native of Florida, based currently in Salem, OR, and can be found at @letmetellyouastory on Facebook and @PlasmatixUltra on Twitter.

When second chances lead to new secrets...

After a long dry spell and a messy divorce, Holly Prentice is ready to get back out in the dating world. She’s looking for a man with some stability and the will to commit, but what she gets is far from what she wants. Sexy, younger Nick Andreis is not in her plans. However, she can’t resist their undeniable attraction. After all, what’s wrong with a little fun before she finds Mr. Right?

But Nick has other plans...

Now that Holly’s single and back on the market, Nick vows to finally get the woman he's wanted all along. But she seems to be holding back. Will Holly’s secret put an end to everything before they even get started?

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Enjoy your books in the car, at the gym, on a long walk? I know I do. After listening to audiobooks for more than twenty years, I'm thrilled that mine are now available.

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Narrated by Michael T. Bradley

Michael T. Bradley was born and raised in the rural Midwest, but please don't hold that against him. He has provided voice talent for audio books, podcasts, riffing groups, and even a video game. He is currently a sales analyst in the corporate world in Portland, Oregon, where he resides with his disgruntled cat.

Fill a lonely city with one dash of playboy comedian.
Add a splash of adult webmistress.
Do not shake.
Stir

One-night gigs, one-night stands, even one-night in jail…comedian Raphael Augustine is not about the repeat performance. Now he’s closing in on a TV deal that might be his route to stardom, he can’t let anything unexpected shakeup his careful plans. Or so he tells himself.

During Raphael’s striptease act at a gay bar, a young woman catches his eye—and his shirt. Daisy is gorgeous, but she’s also from world more prim and proper than anything Raphael knows. Falling for her may be the biggest joke the world’s played on him yet.


Despite her Ivy League education, Daisy’s wound up doing the one job she never imagined: working as an adult webmaster. Her degree’s collects dust on the wall while she clings to a failing business and spends her days in virtual chat rooms. It’s enough to make her want to give up on men entirely—after all, they only seem to want one thing. But when Daisy meets a rakish comic, she begins to doubt her cynical view of love. Could he be the one?

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Enjoy your books in the car, at the gym, on a long walk? I know I do. After listening to audiobooks for more than twenty years, I'm thrilled that mine are now available.

Get yours on: AmazoniTunesAudible

Narrated by Steven Barnett.

Steven Barnett has been narrating audiobooks for the last 5 years, doing voices for the last 20, and telling stories all his life. An avid reader of all genres, Steven is the narrator of choice for such series as the Jeff Resnick Mysteries by L.L. Bartlett, the Never Hero series by T. Ellery Hodges, the Junkyard Druid series by M.D. Massey, and the L.A. Nights series by Sylvie Fox. Steven is a native of Florida, based currently in Salem, OR, and can be found at @letmetellyouastory on Facebook and @PlasmatixUltra on Twitter.

All is fair in love and law....

Sophie Reid is a survivor—and she's done just that by steering clear of lawyers and sex with hunky strangers. After enduring a childhood of judgmental, distant parents, Sophie knows that lawyers are the lowest form of life on earth, and she refuses to let anyone tell her different. After one smoldering kiss, she plans to leave the lawyer and her bad judgment in the dust. Ryan Becker, attorney-at-law, with his perfected art of persuasion attempts to convince Sophie that they can have more.

Ryan is ready to take on the biggest challenge of his life: proving without a shadow of doubt that he and Sophie belong together.

Torn between her desire for him and her deep-seated mistrust for his profession pulls her in different directions. Still harboring pain from her past, Sophie can't see a future with Ryan—especially when a controversy puts them on opposite sides. With a wedge driven between them, Sophie realizes that she was right all along. Now, it's up to the lawyer to convince her that the pain from her past won't destroy their future.

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Qualified Immunity
November 17, 2014
Sheila Harrison Grant is the first African American woman ever nominated to the federal bench in Cleveland. But when her thirteen-year-old daughter Olivia shares a family secret with a well-meaning guidance counselor, she sets the wheels in motion to feed a partisan senate’s opposition, threatening her mother’s position…and both of their lives. Once an ambitious young law student with promise, Casey Cort made the mistake of crossing a classmate from a prominent and influential family. Now she works as an unfulfilled, faceless cog in a broken legal system. When fate gives Casey a second chance, she has to set aside her lack of faith in justice and find the strength to fight for those with nowhere else to turn. In this first novel of the Casey Cort series, Sylvie Fox—a former trial lawyer in Cleveland—weaves a tale that blends the best of today’s top legal thrillers with the heart and soul of women’s fiction, in a story ripped from real-world headlines.

LISTEN TO THE BOOK:

qiaudiobook_TNEnjoy your books in the car, at the gym, on a long walk? I know I do. After listening to audiobooks for more than twenty years, I'm thrilled that mine are now available.

Get yours on: AmazoniTunesAudible

Narrated by Michael T. Bradley

Michael T. Bradley was born and raised in the rural Midwest, but please don't hold that against him. He has provided voice talent for audio books, podcasts, riffing groups, and even a video game. He is currently a sales analyst in the corporate world in Portland, Oregon, where he resides with his disgruntled cat.

THE GOOD ENOUGH HUSBAND 

What would you do if you met your soul mate, but you were already married? 

In The Good Enough Husband, Sylvie Fox delivers a riveting story about a woman who refuses to let her past define her future. For years, Hannah Morrison Keesling’s marriage to Michael was good enough. Then she wakes up one morning and it isn’t. Taking her puppy Cody along, Hannah drives north to put distance between herself and her past. Planning to go as far as her SUV will take her, she has to stop on the Lost Coast when her dog gets sick. There she meets small town veterinarian Ben Cooper. Ben is the man Hannah wishes she had met first.  He’s perfect for her, but gun shy because he’s been lied to before and vows not to be betrayed again.  Hannah leaves Michael and moves to Ben’s rural town to pursue a future with the man she knows is her soul mate. But Michael won’t let go so easily. Forced to make a decision between the man she chose and the man she loves, Hannah soon realizes that her choices will define everyone else’s consequences.

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The Good Enough Husband Audiobook Cover Sylvie FoxLISTEN TO THE BOOK:
Enjoy your books in the car, at the gym, on a long walk? I know I do. After listening to audiobooks for more than twenty years, I'm thrilled that mine are now available.

Get yours on: Amazon, iTunes, Audible

Narrated by Dan McGowan 

Dan McGowan is a seasoned narrator with over 100 audio books and other narration and voice over projects to his credits. 

He has voiced for commercials, film, animation, training presentations and more.  Dan lives in Southern California and enjoys performing comedy in his spare time. 

Sheila Harrison Grant is the first African American woman ever nominated to the federal bench in Cleveland. But when her thirteen-year-old daughter Olivia shares a family secret with a well-meaning guidance counselor, she sets the wheels in motion to feed a partisan senate’s opposition, threatening her mother’s position…and both of their lives.

Once an ambitious young law student with promise, Casey Cort made the mistake of crossing a classmate from a prominent and influential family. Now she works as an unfulfilled, faceless cog in a broken legal system.

When fate gives Casey a second chance, she has to set aside her lack of faith in justice and find the strength to fight for those with nowhere else to turn.

In this first novel of the Casey Cort series, Sylvie Fox—a former trial lawyer in Cleveland—weaves a tale that blends the best of today’s top legal thrillers with the heart and soul of women’s fiction, in a story ripped from real-world headlines.

READ YOURS NOW ON:

LISTEN TO THE BOOK:

qiaudiobook_TNEnjoy your books in the car, at the gym, on a long walk? I know I do. After listening to audiobooks for more than twenty years, I'm thrilled that mine are now available.

Get yours on: AmazoniTunesAudible

READ AN EXCERPT

*Warning: These scenes contain spoilers.*


*Don't read if you aren't ready for the unvarnished truth.*



Peyton & Sheila: The True Story

Sheila had first met Peyton over twenty years ago, in nineteen eighty. He was ten years her senior. When working at the firm during the summer of her second year of law school, Peyton had been assigned to be her advisor—the firm’s plan to pair a young summer associate with a more senior associate.

Although they had very different backgrounds, they’d hit it off right away. Peyton Bennett was the grandson of one of the firm’s founders, and had always been groomed to be an attorney. The grandfather/founder was long dead, and his father had retired from the firm. Despite the assurance his legacy provided, that he would always have a job, Peyton felt ostracized from the other associates who didn’t think he had to try as hard—that he was getting a free ride, while they had to slave away in the library.

Peyton had confided to Sheila early on that practicing law was what his father had willed him to do. He didn’t get any great pleasure from being scrutinized by his father’s friends, his every misstep reported to his father.

His rebellion had been twofold. He had taken some money he inherited, and bought an abandoned factory building on West Sixth Street in the Flats. For five years with his precious free time, he gutted and remodeled the building. Peyton leased the first floor to a boutique the likes of which had started to populate the Flats as the downtown renaissance started. The top three floors he’s turned into a home. His parents had only come to visit once, preferring to see him in their stuffy Fairmount Boulevard home in Cleveland Heights.

His other rebellion had been his relationship with Sheila. Looking back, Sheila thought, half of her attraction to Peyton—and probably his attraction to her had been the taboo of their relationship, partner versus associate, rich versus poor, black versus white. Not to mention the inviolable vows of her marriage to Keith.

Sheila had not set out to ensnare Peyton. That first summer, Sheila was just relieved to have someone to talk to. The older partners, just thought it novel to have hired a black woman—and generally avoided her. The other summer associates thought she was an affirmative action hire—and didn’t include her in their nightly drinking sessions. Instead, when she wanted to go for coffee, or lunch, or had a question about law, or even just about the way things worked at Bennett Friehof, she went to Peyton.

When Sheila started at the firm, full time, in the fall of the following year, she and Peyton renewed their acquaintance,. It was during her sixth year at the firm, when she was first up for partner, that her relationship with Keith started to deteriorate. Sheila was working between ten and twelve hours a day and Keith wanted her to quit and start a family. He’d waited long enough he said, almost ten years while she went to law school, and worked at the firm.

One Friday night, during that sixth grueling year, Sheila was in her office, ostensibly working, but really avoiding going home. Sheila was feeling, and probably looking fatigued, when Peyton stopped by her office, and asked her to dinner. Glad for the distraction, Sheila made a quick call to Keith, telling him that she needed to attend a last minute firm function.

When Peyton suggested they have dinner in his loft, Sheila didn’t think anything of it. Peyton had beamed with pride when talking about the work he was doing on his loft, and she was eager to see it for herself They walked the five blocks to his house which worked out some of the stress that she’d built up over the first few months with the firm.

Outside of work, Peyton was more himself, and more fun. To this day, she remembered that first dinner. Peyton cooked—and made a pasta dish he called bucatini all’Amatriciana, which they enjoyed with a Chianti Classico he’d brought from his last trip to Italy—a touch she remembered to this day. All the while, they talked, about work, about politics, religion—she was surprised that she admired his insight. He was more thoughtful than his upbringing would have led her to believe.

When eleven o’clock came and went, Sheila stopped looking at her watch. She eased off her heels, and decided to enjoy herself. They talked, had more wine, and listened to jazz—the first time she’d heard music on compact disc. Sheila didn’t know how much time had passed when the lull in their conversation became companionable silence. What happened next appeared neither planned, nor calculated, but at once they went from sitting, to kissing, to making love—and Sheila did nothing to stop it.

She stayed the night, and Peyton dropped her off at home first thing Saturday morning. Though Keith didn’t inquire—he’d stopped asking at that point—she volunteered that she’d put in an all-nighter at the request of a senior lawyer.

Their relationship continued for almost four years. They’d have dinner, and sometimes, but not always made love in his loft. When Sheila went off the pill, and became pregnant with Olivia, Keith never suspected, Peyton never asked, and Sheila never spoke of the possibility that someone other than Keith could be her father. When Olivia was born, Keith was so proud, that Sheila didn’t say a word.

Peyton and Sheila’s relationship ended when he met and married his wife, a new associate at the firm, Kimberleigh Sadler. Their wedding had been a big firm event, and Sheila had gone alone, and smiled, and danced. It was the first night she drank herself to sleep.

 

(deleted) Chapter 8

The Buck Stops Here

October 21, 2001

As she sat down at her vanity, in her white on white bedroom, to pay this month’s bills, Sheila was amazed as always at the paltry size of her checking and savings accounts. For someone who had been working professionally for almost twenty years, she hadn’t gotten very far.

As soon as she had gotten her first lucrative job as a summer associate at Bennett Friehof, she had spent the money on helping her sister. Deirdre was two years older than her, and had gotten married just out of high school. By the time Sheila was working, Deirdre was divorced, with three children, a deadbeat ex-husband, and struggling to make ends meet. Keith was working, and they were able to live better than most students on his salary alone.

So that summer, and fall, Sheila helped her sister buy a used Toyota when her old Oldsmobile died. She helped Deirdre put a security deposit on an new apartment after she and her kids had been evicted from the old one. And during that winter, while Sheila was in her last year of law school, she had helped Deirdre pay the heating bill on the drafty old house she was renting.

The requests for help kept coming, a cousin in jail, another in trouble in her parents’ home state of Georgia. By the time her father became sick, everyone expected Sheila to step in, and she did.

All her life, Sheila envisioned her father a strong man who could fix anything that broke around their house, who did the maintenance on their series of used family cars, a man who always seemed larger than life. It was only when he got sick, that she realized how hard his life had been. Her mother and father had come up from Georgia in their early twenties, seeking the prosperity of the north. It was not as easy as they had hoped.

With only an eighth grade education, her mother had never gotten work other than as a domestic—cleaning the large homes of the city’s wealthy in Shaker and Cleveland Heights. Her father, after a series of odd jobs, had finally gotten hired on during the war, at the shipyard on Lake Erie. Her father worked hard, year after year, surviving many rounds of layoffs—always hoping that his hard work and loyalty would earn him a coveted place in the boilermaker’s union. He was never admitted to the union, and one year before his pension would have vested—he was laid off.

At the time, Sheila thought him lethargic and depressed because of the devastation brought by the lay off, but when he started coughing, at first a dry cough that never seemed to dissipate, then repeated bouts of pneumonia, she and her mother started to worry. Because he didn’t have health insurance, he was reluctant to go to the doctor—but Sheila offered to pay. The diagnosis of Mesothelioma was a long time coming, especially in the early eighties before the effects of asbestos were widely known. By the time, Sheila knew her father was dying, she’d already exhausted her savings on radiation and chemotherapy treatment, and she hadn’t been able to save her father.

Her mother’s death of a heart attack quickly followed—although Sheila believed that her mother died of a broken heart. Her father’s illness and her parent’s funeral expenses really set Sheila back. She was divorced not soon after and then she didn’t have even Keith’s sporadic income to help her out. Now that her parent’s debts had been paid off, Sheila was hoping to save for a home of their own. A place where Olivia could play in the yard, and invite her friends over, and play loud music without disturbing the landlord.

Throwing her checkbook down in disgust, Sheila picked up her drink from the vanity, sank to the bed and switched the TV on with its remote. The first sip she took was the best of the night.

(deleted) Epilogue

Acceptance

March 23, 2002

Sheila left work and drove the ten minutes from her office at 16th and Arch streets to the Old Pine Presbyterian Church in the Philadelphia’s historic downtown area. Sheila parked her car on Pine Street and marveled at the church’s beautiful Greek Revival edifice. Though she had been coming here for about a month, this was going to be her first time speaking.

When she got to the church basement, Sheila poured herself a cup of liquid courage, ate a cookie, and smiled tentatively at a couple of the faces around her that she recognized. When everyone had taken their seats and the meeting came to order, Sheila walked up to the dais. She smoothed her skirt, and spoke:

“My name is Sheila Grant, and I am an alcoholic.”

Narrated by Dan McGowan 

Dan McGowan is a seasoned narrator with over 100 audio books and other narration and voice over projects to his credits. 

He has voiced for commercials, film, animation, training presentations and more.  Dan lives in Southern California and enjoys performing comedy in his spare time. 

The right choice isn’t the easy choice.


Struggling to pull together the pieces of her life after another falling out with Ohio’s most powerful political dynasty, Casey Cort turns her attention toward her budding relationship with rising assistant U.S. Attorney Miles Siegel. Things come to an abrupt halt when circumstances catapult them onto the scene of a horrific crime.

Miles investigates the identity of an unlikely criminal mastermind, known on the street as Sledge Hammer. Meanwhile Casey discovers she may hold the key to solve the crime—and to the freedom of innocent women and children in the sex trafficking ring. Can Miles and Casey put the clues together to solve the mystery before the trail runs cold?

In this continuation of the Casey Cort series, Sylvie Fox—a former trial lawyer in Cleveland—weaves a tale that blends the best of today’s top legal thrillers with the heart and soul of women’s fiction, in a story ripped from real-world headlines.

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Losing the most high profile case of her career ironically made Casey Cort a winner. Well-heeled clients now knock on her door, and Tom Brody, her rich ex-boyfriend, wants her back. But entry into the upper echelon comes at a price.

The newest assistant United States attorney, Miles Siegel, has set his sights on nailing a public figure he believes to be corrupt: Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court Judge Eamon Brody. But Brody’s brothers, one the presiding judge of the county, the other the state attorney general, aren’t about to let that happen.

When Casey gets retained by single mom Claire Henshaw, to wrest custody from her son’s irresponsible father, she handles her first case before the controversial judge . . . and learns something that will force her to make the hardest decision of her life.

In this continuation of the Casey Cort series, Sylvie Fox—a former trial lawyer in Cleveland—weaves a tale that blends the best of today’s top legal thrillers with the heart and soul of women’s fiction, in a story ripped from real-world headlines.

LISTEN AT:

ucolaudiobookEnjoy your books in the car, at the gym, on a long walk? I know I do. After listening to audiobooks for more than twenty years, I'm thrilled that mine are now available.
Amazon, iTunes, Audible

The Brody family destroyed her. Now they want her back.


Losing the most high profile case of her career ironically made Casey Cort a winner. Well-heeled clients now knock on her door, and Tom Brody, her rich ex-boyfriend, wants her back. But entry into the upper echelon comes at a price.

The newest assistant United States attorney, Miles Siegel, has set his sights on nailing a public figure he believes to be corrupt: Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court Judge Eamon Brody. But Brody’s brothers, one the presiding judge of the county, the other the state attorney general, aren’t about to let that happen.

When Casey gets retained by single mom Claire Henshaw, to wrest custody from her son’s irresponsible father, she handles her first case before the controversial judge . . . and learns something that will force her to make the hardest decision of her life.

In this continuation of the Casey Cort series, Aime Austin—a former trial lawyer in Cleveland—weaves a tale that blends the best of today’s top legal thrillers with the heart and soul of women’s fiction, in a story ripped from real-world headlines.

READ YOURS NOW ON:

LISTEN AT:

ucolaudiobookEnjoy your books in the car, at the gym, on a long walk? I know I do. After listening to audiobooks for more than twenty years, I'm thrilled that mine are now available.

Coming Soon.

Cleveland lawyer Casey Cort lost more than her job when she crossed the wrong political family, she lost her idealism. Casey’s scraped together a career as a solo practitioner which has offered her more than one opportunity for redemption…but its also threatened her life. In this thrilling, gritty, realistic series by former criminal lawyer Aime Austin, readers will experience stories ripped from the headlines with the heart and soul of the best women’s fiction. 
 
In  Conflict of Interest  Cleveland is on the verge or a riot after the shooting of an unarmed man.  One bullet. Two Stories.

In  The Right to Life  a judge faces a biblical decision. What wouldn’t a mother do for her child? 
 
This bundle includes  Conflict of Interest and  The Right to Life from the Casey Cort series. 

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