Friday, November 27, 2009

Sex

My best friend came across a quote from Larry Flynt today that struck me as funny. He said..."Murder is illegal, writing about it is not. Sex is not illegal, but writing about it is. Why?" Not looking at what he does, just at what he said, I have to say that it is funny. And sadly kind of true even today.
I'm often stopped by people who know that I write just not what. They are so excited to talk to me, ask questions about how I got started and where they can find a book. Some are not so happy when they realize that I write erotica. I've even been told more than once, "So you write porn?" Usually with a sneer and a condescending look. I have to say that I find that amusing as well.
I don't write porn. It is not what our industry is about. There are no pictures here. It is a story of words, very descriptive words that hopefully paint a picture for the reader. We write about sex with no apologies for it. And we demand that our sex be the very best. No shades of grey here. No missionary with the lights off. Here it is as bad as you fanticize it to be, as rough as you want it, and as stimulating as you can handle.
It saddens me that even today we are labled and judged not by the person we are, but often by working in an industry that most seem afraid of. Erotica is not a bad thing. Sex is not bad. Sex is a natural part of who we are. And writing about it in detail does not make me any less or more than anyone else. I am a mom, a damn good one. I am a friend, a confident, and when I chose, a lover. I have fears and uncertainties...just not in the bedroom. I've loved. I've laughed. And yeah, I've shed my fair share of tears.
But bottom line is that I am a single mom who writes. This is the path that I have chosen to take to help me take care of my families financial needs. I'm not the best...yet...lol But I'm not the worst either. I'm just a woman. I cannot be defined by what I write anymore than Stephen King can. Writing sex doesn't make me something cheap or dirty. Just as writing murder doesn't make you a killer.
Just my take on a quote that I found interesting.

Lacey Thorn
It's your world...unlaced
www.lacythorn.com

Thursday, November 26, 2009

New Release! Jillian's Job

Jillian's Job

Fran Lee

What good is a dream income, access to a private jet, all the perks that go with being Mike Furie’s ├╝berproficient personal assistant, if Jillian has no life? She wants a life with a man in it. And staying with overbearing, totally sexy, self-serving bachelor Mike, will lead nowhere.

A trip to Aspen to “rescue” Mike from the clutches of the latest woman seeking to sink her claws into him, an excess of champagne to fortify her, and she tells him what she thinks of his high-handed tactics. She’s quitting. Again. So how the hell did she end up in bed with him in a Tahoe honeymoon suite, naked? Why can’t she recall how her signature got on that marriage license?

Mike discovers talents he never knew Jill possessed. Now he has her right where he wants her. And he wants her again…and again. In his bed and under him. But it’s not all about the lust, and if he gets his way, Jillian won’t be leaving his side, or his bed—ever.


Excerpt:

She stepped up the final carpeted stair and paused, glancing around the smaller salon that opened up over the gallery at the head of the stairs, before narrowing to the corridor that led to the bedrooms at the back of the level. The bronze and smoked glass chandelier at the apex of the vaulted ceiling cast warm light over the area, and made her shimmery gold overdress and glittering jewels look even more amazing than they had in the showroom. She decided that not a soul would recognize her unless she introduced herself, so she gathered her courage and moved slowly toward the center of the gallery, looking about for Furie.

Heads turned to follow her progress, but no one called out her name. She was not a familiar face to the beautiful people. Only his employees knew her well enough to recognize her. Her anonymity was assured.

And then she saw him, standing uncomfortably in a tight group of people, with a stunningly beautiful supermodel type holding onto his arm like she had grown there, her laugh a high tinkle of feigned amusement that never quite reached those gorgeous amber-colored eyes. She stood for a long moment, relishing the amount of discomfort he was experiencing, waiting for his eyes to swivel her way before she made her grand entrance.

A man turned to glance at her from a jovial conversation beside her, and gave her a keen once-over before sidling up to her and introducing himself. He didn’t have to. She would known his face from the magazine covers and the tabloids as Jerrod Lane, two-time Academy Award winning actor and heartthrob of millions of females the world over. She glanced at him with a cool smile and replied to his outrageous compliment with a simple thank-you, before turning her gaze back to her boss.

“I haven’t seen you around before. And from the look of that boulder on your hand, I’d say you were taken…but Heaven help me, I wouldn’t be a red-blooded male if I didn’t try.” Jerrod slid one lean hand around her waist, and tried to draw her closer. His reward was an acid stare that could have wilted the entire White River National Forest. He grinned and released her waist, and said in a husky tone that had dropped an octave, “Who’s the lucky devil who’s got you wrapped around his pinkie?”

The moment he spoke, Michael Furie glanced up, his ice-laden dark blue gaze locked with hers, and his body unfurled from the defensive posture he’d assumed, forcing the female hanger-on to loosen her grip. Jill tried not to look shaken. She tried not to react to the heat that ran through her like a shot of fire from head to toe-tips, making her wonder numbly if the Manolo Blahniks had melted off. She smiled across the room at him, and Jerrod followed her gaze, instantly whistling softly and backing off a step.

“I should have guessed, Gorgeous. But if you ever decide to trade up, I’m always around.” He vacated his spot beside her as Furie slowly extracted himself from the other woman’s grasp, with a quiet “Excuse me.” Heads turned as he stepped out of the tight knot of bodies and moved across the gallery toward her, and she fought the urge to bite her knuckles and whimper. That man had such a walk!

She managed a brilliant smile up into his eyes as he stopped so close, she could feel his body heat through the silk of her gown, and she placed her hand with the blinding rock on it on his forearm, and said just loudly enough to be overhead for about ten feet, “Mike! Darling! I’m sorry I’m late!”

She noted the circuitous route those eyes took as they slipped over her gown, her jewelry, and the impressively breathtaking engagement ring she was prominently displaying, and a muscle twitched in the deep groove beside his mouth. He seemed to be fighting some dark and angry emotion that she feared she would hear about later, and in the most uncomplimentary tones possible, but surprisingly, he gave her a sexily crooked smile.

“Don’t I even get a kiss after waiting all this time for you to finally show up?” His voice was a sexy growl that was just loud enough for everyone within ten feet to hear clearly, although he pretended to be speaking for her ears alone. Jill felt like they were in a fishbowl, the way all eyes were glued to them. She stood up on her tiptoes and aimed for his cheek. But before her lips made contact, he turned his head and she ended up planting one smack-dab on his smiling mouth. And oh, what a mouth the man had…

And he didn’t settle just for a friendly kiss. He slid his arms around her body and dragged her up against his chest, smoothly covering her jerk of shock by catching the back of her head in the palm of one hand and slanting his mouth to take hers completely. His strong, champagne-flavored tongue slipped easily past her lips as she opened them to ask what the hell he was doing. Her heart rate ratcheted up as he traced the inside of her mouth sensuously. If she hadn’t known her boss so damned well, that kiss might have fooled even her, but she figured he had paid through the nose to be kissed, and she decided that she might as well let ’er rip.

Warring with his tongue, she explored the warm depths of his mouth as she slid her hands up behind his head and arched her body into his tuxedo, pressing her hips against his suddenly burgeoning cock, ignoring the rush of excitement his highly obvious arousal gave her, as she did exactly what she had wanted to do for the past six-plus years.

She kissed him—savagely, hungrily, possessively! Giving as good as she got from him, even though with him it was just an act to discourage the positively fuming blonde who had turned and stomped off toward the stairs back to the second level.

His mouth was decadently hot and delicious. The expensive champagne was dry and heady on his tongue, and she could not possibly have imagined how it would feel to have him kissing her like this—not even in her wildest wet dreams! His hot, spicy masculine scent filled her nostrils. Her heart felt like a super ball that might easily zap its way straight out the front of her silk gown and go bouncing wildly across the carpet if he kept kissing her.

Tongues tangling voraciously, breathing uneven and heated, their bodies were plastered hungrily against each other as his arms pulled her so tight into his embrace she could almost feel his spine. And then his hand cupped her ass in a familiar, possessive squeeze, and she inhaled and tried to back away. He murmured huskily against her lips, “Relax. You’ll survive.”


She would smack him upside the head later.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sixty Years!

I've always wondered why people get so uptight about their birthdays. Personally, I think every birthday is a blessing. After all the alternative is not a lovely picture.

I'm sixty years old today. When I was ten, that was unimaginable. When I was twenty, the day was far off when I would turn sixty. Now I'm here and I'm wondering how I got here. What happened? I'm not ready to be sixty already. I still have a lot of things to do.

Sixty is a pretty significant number, you know? So in order to celebrate with my friends and readers, I'm having a Birthday Bash at Joyfully Reviewed from 7 PM to 10 PM EST! Drop by and say hello! If you're a writer bring an excerpt to post. If you just want to chat with the guests, then come on over and talk! If you don't belong to the loop, the link is up above...click on Joyfully Reviewed.

Earlier in the afternoon the house hunk is going to take us all out to Don Pablos for Mexican food. I always love to eat Mexican food and the restaurant is family friendly.

Until tonight...blessings on your day!

anny

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Feeling Juicy? Erm, creatively?

Where do you write?

I pretty much write everywhere. Once in my life have I ever raised my head from my pillow in the middle of the night to jot down a plot. Twice more I should have because I promptly forgot the "perfect story" by the time morning rolled around. Once more time, I woke with lyrics for a love song in my head and only remembered half of them. No worried there. The lyrics were far better in my semi unconscious state.

I've been known to work out a plot predicament on the bedding paper in my doctor's office a few times. She's used to it and pays me no attention. I've never written on a dental bib. Three times I jotted notes on a cocktail napkin, one time on a paper dinner napkin, another time-accidentally-on the fold down table of an airplane, so wrapped in my thoughts that I didn't realize I'd forgotten to take out paper. The airline staff was not amused. I was. Clorox took it right off after I'd transferred it.

Two instances I made notes on paper table cloth. One of those was on a date. He bored me. It was here I learned that one should never go on a date with a man who takes you to a sports bar if your intention is to learn more about him than the color of his nasal mucus. His head cocked back, mouth open in rapture at the elevated screen of football players was more than I could stand of his excitement to be in my presence... so I left his, figuratively.

Coffee shops, bakeries, restaurants with friends and their laptops, hotel rooms, my apartment... they are all fair game for working. It is fortunate that my primary computer is a laptop then, no? I'd hate to haul around a hard drive on my hip and monitor beneath my arm. Doesn't leave one place to hold her coffee. My niece, bless her, understands this and discovered that not only is my laptop red, but so is my portable hard drive for back ups. She promptly set me to rights with a red and black Swiss computer bag. All matchy-matchy and beautifully my favorite color.

And when I'm alone in the confines of my apartment, I sit cross-legged in an overstuffed chair, my back to the corner in utter silence. I may have to close the drapes to avoid the Johnson visual swinging across the courtyard, but no matter. It is in this chair, tucked legs, drink by my side, where the majority of my work is done.

In case my boss is reading... No, of course I never, ever email the latest chapter to my office inbox and likewise never add to it and send it home again. Not I.

Friday, November 20, 2009

A Rose by Any Other Name

My senior moments are catching up with me. Wednesday night when I went to bed, my thoughts were focused on this blog and an idea came to me. Not wanting to turn on the light and disturb my bedmate, I assured myself I’d remember exactly what I wanted to write. And of course, upon waking Thursday morning, I couldn’t remember a bloody thing! Desperate, I let my mind drift and achieved that semi-sleep, semi-awake stage where ideas emerge and then get lost—some never to be seen again.

I don’t know what circuitous route my mind took, but it eventually arrived at Shakespeare and the title of this piece. Ah ha! I intended to write about how I chose my pen name. Which, now that I think about it, really isn’t all that interesting. Well…the first name “Dee” is kind of fun, but not all that intriguing. Except I’d never had a nickname until this lovely actor friend started greeting me with “Hi, Dee, didee.”

But one thing I did learn through this lost-and-found adventure is that I can no longer rely on memory. I must put a notebook and pen by my bed—just in case the plot for the best ever erotic, futuristic, paranormal, fantasy tiptoes in along with my dreams. Which I can’t remember either. Anyway, I know for a fact that my bedmate can sleep through anything, so my turning on the light won’t bother him at all.

Okay! Found the notebook. Now where did I put that pen?

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!

Dee Brice

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A bite of my new cherry, AT HER SERVICE out Nov. 30 plus my new video

Dear All, YES! I am getting better from my broken wing and sprained ankle. Sights have NOT been pretty at my house! But I am getting better and can type for a few minutes a day 2-handed!!!! WHEW! What a relief! I have never broken a bone so this has been quite a WILD experience.
Do not want to go here again.
On to the good stuff!
FIRST, a reminder to continue allllll the way to the bottom of this post and watch my new trailer for AT HER SERVICE! Come to my own blog too for the introductory excerpt! SLURP! http://cerise.deland.blogspot.com
Introducing my medieval romantica, AT HER SERVICE out Nov. 30 from www.total-e-bound.com, I am delighted to tell you about my newest cherry!
Here, a lovely childless countess must bear an heir—or lose her lands, her honor—and her life. The man sent to sire a child with her is none other than the one who grew up fostered in her father’s castle as a boy—and the man Elise has yearned for lo, all the lonely years since he left.
A taste of AT HER SERVICE!
Circling up, up, up the winding tower that was the back entrance to their private rooms, Elise heard no one behind her. She breathed deeply in relief for that. Simon would not dare to come to them in full view of Alphonse’s retainers and servants. Simon might be under her husband’s thrall, but he would not leave the hall after her and, thus, make the servants aware of what his mission was.
She pushed open her husband’s bedroom door. It creaked, an eerie sound that sent shivers up her spine. But the warmth of the hearth fire, always blazing in the winter’s snow, rushed out to bathe her face and welcome her inside.
“Close the door, Elise.”
At the distinctive husky tone she could still identify after all these lonely years, she paused with one foot upon the threshold. She watched in amazement as Simon unfolded himself from the chair nearest the door and stood to his ungodly height. Anger flooded her at Simon’s impertinence of speaking to her before her husband bid her enter. Her gaze shot to Alphonse who lay beneath a pile of woollens and silks, snoring, his thin face grey, his mouth lax, his once manly frame reduced to a skinny child’s.
Simon took a step forward and extended his hand to the chair opposite his. “Come.” His rough bass voice flowed across the expanse of the chamber like thick molasses over her senses, her body warming to his sensuous tone. Simon’s merest words could entangle and enslave her.
Against his allure , she braced her spine. “How did you get in?”
Mere feet away, she noted how his silver eyes shown like the hard coin he would take for his service to her. “Your husband gave the order to his steward.”
“He should have told me, asked me,” she objected without regard to wake her husband, clenching her fists in fear at Cleve’s knowledge. Her voice bore her outrage that she could not countermand the great earl of Atherton, even as he lay dying in his bed.
Simon strolled forward, his head high, his expression earnest and pleading. Beneath his breath, he spoke to her alone. “The steward put me in the room below.” He nodded towards her alcove and the private winding stairs down to his tiny room. “We must talk.”
“No.” What good was talk? She was chained to Alphonse’s bargain and bound up in a torment wanting Simon de la Poer but knowing she should not have him. Yet she would take him to her to please Alphonse. Aye, and in the taking, she would also surely please herself. She snorted, stepped fully into the cosy apartment and shut the door to the world below.
“You need to know—”
“I want to know nothing.”
“That,” he whispered as he stepped close to her and threaded his long, supple fingers under her wimple up into the coil of her hair, “is a lie.”
She flinched backwards, wrenching to escape his reach. “You must do as I say. Agree or this will not happen at all.”
(Copyright 2009, Cerise DeLand)
Come to my blog for more nibbles: http://cerisedeland.blogspot.com

Watch my new trailer for AT HER SERVICE out Nov. 30

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Ya gotta rewrite!!!!


Ya gotta rewrite. I've just fully faced that fact, to the point I was ready to throw out my computer. I can't say it any better than Ed McBain does. "The only true creative aspect of novel writing is the first draft. That's when it's coming straight from your head and your heart, a direct tapping into your unconcious. The rest is donkey work. It is, however, donkey work that must be done.....you must rewrite."

I just finished the most serious rewriting I've ever done. Can't tell you how hard it was. For the first time my wonderful editor took objection to almost everything in the book. Mostly concerning the plot line, which made perfect sense to me and was completely illogical to her. After the inital shock of her unxpected reaction I buckled down. A trifle indignantly at first, I must admit, but gradually realizing she was right. As usual. Let me tell you I've never labored so at fixing a ms. It's done now and accepted and it's the thirteenth book I've written to be published. Any symbolism in the thirteen? Don't wanna even think about that.

This the first Quest book and it's about the twins Jason and Jono. Jason sets off for Ireland to find himself as a separate entity, and Jono is too shocked to gracefully accept Jason's decision. Quest for Love will come out in May.
The cover shows when Jason goes outside to sleep by a campfire, afraid he'll try to seduce Aislinn if he stays in the cabin. She follows him, and guess what happens!

Quest for Magic (about Jono) is finished and I'm moving on to the next member of my Mage series, Songs of the Mages. It will be called Victoria's Vision and tells about the youngest child in the Earl of Sinclair's family.

Always something to do, although I certainly prefer the writing to the editing. Whoosh, I hope that's the worse rewrite I have to ever do.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

THANKSGIVING HUNKS & REVIEWER TOP PICK: "SEXY GAMES"

Before I start and you get to see the Thanksgiving Hunks near the bottom of the blog, here's a reminder: Vote 12-30 November in NIGHT OWL ROMANCE'S KISS SCENE CONTEST! Go to: http://www.nightowlromance.com/nightowlromance/contests/authorcontests.aspx
MARIANNE STEPHENS' ENTRY IS #4




Reviews can both deflate an author's ego or give it a giant boost. My latest erotic romance book, "Sexy Games" by April Ash, received a great review...one I'm very thankful for receiving!

Diana Coyle of Night Owl Romance gave it a 5 HEARTS, REVIEWER TOP PICK. She said:
"I thought this was a fantastic story from the start. I loved the creative storyline and enjoyed that Sloane and Stacy were going to “work” together for one whole week. I hoped that even though they were using the games as the excuse for their spending time together, that they would open up to each other and see where they really stood with one another. I thought Stacy was perfect for Sloane and I only wished that he would eventually see that himself. Ms. Ash is a very talented storyteller and she knows how to transport you into her storyline with ease. Well done, Ms. Ash!"

BLURB:

Naughty Games Company Invitation: Test new games. Consenting adults. Male-female. Company penthouse. One week. Associates of NGC only.

Invitee employee Stacy Newman accepts. Betrayed by a past ex-fianc├ę, her goal is to concentrate on her career, sell a game idea to NGC, and open her own store.
Invitee Sloane Hoffman, son of NGC’s CEO, accepts. He knows his dad wants him to take over the company. He’s been hurt and used by past lovers only after his money and what he could do for them.
Months earlier, they shared a night of passion but a panicked Sloane left without a word when Stacy inspired thoughts of “commitment” and “settling down”. His disappearance left her heartsick.
As game partners they’ll test games that require role-playing and sex. Undeniable lust and mutual desire quickly resurfaces, and they agree to a business-only venture. They choose games called “Hot Sands” (sheik and bride-to-be), “Teach Me” (nerdy professor and stripper/lap dancer) and “Royal Romps” (Lady and butler).
Spending time together offers chances to learn more about each other, fall in love, and share passionate sexual adventures. But, two misunderstandings occur, threatening to pull them apart once again, this time forever.

Here's a Thanksgiving treat for you:
Photo By jd_the_linguist


http://www.mariannestephens.net
Cerridwen Press:
http://www.jasminejade.com/default.aspx?skinid=13
Breathless Press:
http://www.breathlesspress.com

"Anything You Can Do" Release Date TBA
http://www.aprilash.net
Ellora's Cave:
http://www.jasminejade.com/default.aspx?skinid=11
SEXY GAMES
http://www.jasminejade.com/p-7393-sexy-games.aspx
5 HEARTS, Diana Coyle, Night Owl Romance, REVIEWER TOP PICK

Saturday, November 7, 2009

up a tree

My mind is so full of promoting and writing my latest book, Quest for Magic, I can think of little else. In the midst of all this I've been plagued for almost a month by the tune Deep Purple. Isn't that weird? Is the term for this musical fuzz? Anyway every word came back to me from some far corner of my brain and I can't get the damn thing out of my head. A month is a long time for one tune, even for me, and I'm constantly the servant of one tune or another. This is driving me bonkers. Some new tune will replace it soon, at least I hope so, but I've often got some melody lingering past the time I want to get rid of it.

And I'm trying to turn my last book into erotica. I must say it's fun. Deeply sensual is easy for me, but erotic is harder. To make it more difficult, the time of this book is 1921 and some erotica buzz words weren't used then, so I have to be careful. Some of my fellow authors at Jasmine Jade have been extremely, helpful. Way beyond the call of duty.
I find writing buddies are uniformly wonderful. Here's an excerpt from my WIP.

Exulting, he again lowered his lips to hers and let some of his ardor free. Opening his mouth, he licked and teased her lips until she opened hers. Still being careful, he tentatively advanced his tongue into her warm crevasses, and when she didn’t try to stop him he loosed more of his passion and caressed every nook of her sweet mouth. To his delight, she seemed to be learning and liking this kind of kissing. She quickly turned enthusiastic. She sent her own tongue mingling with his.
She sighed his name, but it came out as a plea, not a reproach.
Knowing his control was slipping, Jono turned his mouth to her breasts.
Looking into her expectant and ardent eyes, he began to undress her. She made no protest, although her whole body blushed. Like a ripe peach about to be plucked for his pleasure. Keeping his eye on her reactions, he set to the most pleasurable task of his life. With delight, he saw she wore nothing but a slip and her panties. Her firm breasts showed plainly erect and he lowered the straps to her slip and before she could say anything transferred his mouth to the peaks.
She moaned and tried to twist away, but he held her firm and caressed every inch of her breasts and then moved his mouth to her flat stomach. When he and kissed licked her belly button she caught her breath with a little shriek. He attacked her thighs and moved his busy mouth to the insides, spreading her with his legs as he kissed her along the upper skin of hers, growing ever closer to his heart’s desire.
She watched him through her gold tipped lashes, as he strove for more self-control than he’d ever exerted with any woman. He wanted her so ready for him she’d explode along with him.

There you are, guys. I find writing erotica is downright fun. Hope you enjoyed reading it.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Flash Fiction--The Thief

Today, I'd like to share a bit of flash fiction and I hope you enjoy it. The original inspiration came from a movie I was watching just before Halloween. I don't know if it will grow into a story of it's own, but it's giving me some definite ideas.

The Thief

Liesa hurried down the crowded street. She moved as fast as she could without drawing attention to herself. She chanced a glance back over her shoulder. Still there. Dressed completely in black, the man stood out amid the sea of color worn by
those around him. Who the fuck was he? He definitely wasn't with the city guards. He wasn't wearing the bright red uniform and he wasn't ordering her to stop. Still, she was sure he was following her. No matter how many turns she made, he was right behind her. She couldn't lose him. He was definitely after something and she had a feeling it was the relic she'd just stolen. She was just lucky she was near the exchange point. After that, it didn't matter if the man caught up to her.

She saw her friend Darnell as she entered the town square. Water showered from a statue into a pool in the center of the large primarily cobbled area. The paving was broken only by squares of grass and carefully cultivated flowers. He stood near the ornate fountain. She saw him start walking and knew that he'd intercept her at a point about halfway across the square. She didn't worry about his pace or hers just kept walking and concentrated on making this the cleanest pass of her life. She didn't want the relic stolen before they even collected their pay for it. As Darnell brushed past her, she slipped the chalice into his hand. It was up to him to conceal it before anyone saw it.

She kept going, hoping to draw her follower away from Darnell. She continued hurrying through the city. Glancing over her shoulder, she saw the man in black clothes still behind her.

A few strands of long glossy black hair hung over his shoulder undoubtedly blown there by the light breeze. He didn't look happy. His eyes were narrowed and his lips set in a frown. She turned her attention back to the city streets and getting somewhere unoccupied. She'd like to put some distance between them and now that she had nothing to fear from any guard stopping her, she intended to do it.

He didn't look like a thief. The thought flashed through her head. He was muscled and tall. His broad shoulders and large frame wouldn't lend themselves to tight spaces. Not to mention the fact that the whip and the short sword at his waist did make him stand out a bit. Most of the male thieves she knew were short and wiry. They could go anywhere, blend in with almost any crowd. That man would stand out and not just because of his size. His eyes were a riveting green. The combination of that with high cheekbones and a strong jaw gave him a hard male beauty that drew the eyes of male and female alike.

She turned onto an empty street and exhaled heavily. Finally. Not pausing a moment longer, she ran. Her shoes made almost no sound on the stone street. When she heard the staccato thud of boots on the pavement, she knew she wasn't going to lose the man easily. Her eyes scanned the street ahead. There had to be somewhere she could go that he couldn't. Finally, she saw a thin pipe going up the outside of one of the larger, dark brown stone buildings. She'd have to take the chance that it would hold and that her shoes wouldn't slip on the stone. It was probably a warehouse, but she didn't care right now.

Taking a running leap, she grabbed the pipe and began climbing. The wall wasn't as smooth as she feared and she managed to get up to the top without tumbling back to the stone paving. She looked back down and saw the man stop at the base of the building. She waved to him and then took off at an angle across the roof.

At the other side, she hung down and dropped to the ground before turning and running again. Relief flooded through her when the only sound she could hear was the soft scuff of her own shoes and the normal sounds of the city. Her thighs began to ache and her throat felt dry and rough. She wanted to stop and just walk, get a chance to catch her breath, but there was no time. She didn't slow down and kept going because she wouldn't be safe until she was out of the city. She saw the bridge that separated the more genteel side. A smile crossed her face. On the other side of that bridge were the working docks and a man who'd take her out of this city. Nearly there.

She rushed to get across the bridge. About halfway across, she saw a man step out of the shadows of a building and into the center of the road in front of her. He had long gleaming black hair and piercing green eyes. Dressed entirely in black, she couldn't miss him now that he was away from the building. She stopped and stared at him. It couldn't be. She'd left him on the other side of the building. There was no way that he could have gotten in front of her. But she couldn't deny what she saw. The handsome predator was the same one who'd been chasing her. For a few moments, she didn't move, but when he started forward, her muscles unlocked. She backed away and spun.

All she saw was black. Hands clasped her arms, holding her. She tilted her head back and looked up into riveting green eyes. She blinked and she wondered if her mind had fractured. He'd been at the other end of the bridge. She looked over her shoulder and saw the mirror image of the man holding her strolling toward them. Twins. It made sense now.

"I don't have what you want." She shook her head. She tried to pull away but the man holding her, but his hands tightened preventing her from moving away from him.

"Since you have no idea what we're after, how can you be sure of that?" The man holding her asked. His lips curved into a smile, but it wasn't at all friendly.

"I don't have anything of value." She licked her lips.

"You don't?" the man behind her asked. "Well, what we're after is very valuable."

She knew she shouldn't ask it, but the man in front of her wasn't letting go and the one behind her was closing in fast. This wasn't good. "What are you after?"

"You."