Rick Jette pushed the doorbell firmly. He heard it chime in some stately arrangement. Ding-dong-ding. His brother Bob thankfully called out, “I got it!” Thankfully, because Rick never knew what to say to Bob’s wife, Candy.
First of all, she was gorgeous. Second of all, she wasn’t too bright except about fashion, celebrity gossip, and proper martini mixology. Lastly, Rick couldn’t look her in the eyes, especially knowing she used to be a hooker. Correction—escort. Don’t want to make that mistake again. Note to self: avoid the subject of prostitution.
The door opened. Bob smiled wide. “Bro.”
Two things Bob had lots of, money and teeth. Rick wasn’t sure he came by either honestly. He’d probably brokered some back-alley deal in exchange for veneers.
His brother was ten years older than Rick. The only things they had in common were a mother and a last name, because their mom never married either of their fathers. She did eventually marry a guy Rick and Bob both referred to as Dickhead, but the union never stuck like the name had. Even their mom called him Dickhead. The nail in the coffin of the doomed marriage. With a marital example like Mom, it was a wonder either son could make a relationship last longer than a one-night stand.

“Bob,” Rick replied. They hugged, including a manly back pat.
When they broke apart, Bob shoved the door closed and waved him along. “Girls are in the kitchen.”
Girls? He swallowed a lump that lodged in his throat.
What choice did he have but to follow? Looking back toward the closed door, it felt too late to run. He’d brought with him his appetite and a bottle of wine he clutched by the neck. Home cooking did not happen every day, at least not in his world. In the kitchen, the aroma of roasted garlic mixed with a lemony scent. Add cooking to Candy’s repertoire. Go figure.
She greeted him with a double-cheek kiss. “Jade, meet Rick.” She waved her hand elegantly in the direction of what looked to him like living, breathing perfection. “Rick, this is my friend Jade. She’s staying with us temporarily.”
“Pleasure.” She bobbed her head in his general direction, but her tone denoted boredom along with annoyance and a hint of dread as well.

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“Tell us about your new business venture.”


“Me!” Ash’s heart pounded. She shook her head. I wish I’d never mentioned it. Why did Dara, who, by the way, never worked an honest day in her life, have to make a big production out of everything? When Juli’s birthday bash got the ax, the only things left to celebrate were Tracy’s divorce, which struck her as more of a tragedy than a triumph, and Ash’s new job. “It’s…it’s a little…um…a little naughty.”

“I’ll take a dozen,” Dara said. “Whatever it is. Make that two dozen.”

Ash and Tracy both laughed. Dara had a way of setting everyone at ease with her blanket acceptance of…well…everything. Tracy, the queen of suburbia on the other hand, would not be so tolerant.

Ash had no idea how she’d gotten roped into Sexy Siren Solutions after losing her last dull job as a technical writer for procedural manuals. Yes, she had a degree in marketing, minoring in education. And no one, especially her, could argue that she spent much too much spare time masturbating. As a matter of fact, she’d discovered the job opening while perusing the SSS website for a new and more reliable vibrator after the old one bit the dust. Old being a relative term.

“Out with it.” Tracy giggled. “We won’t judge—much.”
Ash squared her shoulders. “I’m the new Marketing Liaison for Sexy Siren Solutions.”
“Whoo hoo!” Dara exclaimed. “Can you get me a friends and family discount on a butt plug?”
“Wait now.” Tracy held her hands up as if Ash were a hungry lioness needing to be reasoned with. “What have you gotten yourself into? What exactly is Sexy Siren Solutions?”
Swallowing a lump in her throat, she knew Tracy wouldn’t be as open-minded as Dara. And her opinion meant the world to Ash. She spent too much time wishing she was single and independent like Juli, married and independent like Dara, or divorced and starting out fresh like Tracy. Being anyone other than her boring self struck her as improvement.
“It’s one of those home dildo parties, right?” Dara high-fived her. “Nice work if you can get it, girl.”
Tracy scowled. “Like Tupperware for nymphomaniacs?”

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“No, sweetie. I’ve got to go. But I did send you a little gift. Enjoy.” Dara hung up.

Juli held the phone out, staring at it, bewildered by the abrupt brush-off.

Another knock brought her to her senses.

When she opened the door, phone still in hand, a summer breeze blew along her skin. Two police officers, completely opposite in appearance, stood on her stoop, stone-faced serious. The taller, darker cop had a white-knuckled grip on his nightstick. The other, shorter and fairer of hair and complexion, wore a pair of intimidating, mirrored sunglasses despite the darkness.

The taller officer cleared his throat. “Ms. Falzone?”


“May we come in?” the shorter—just shy of six feet—blond man asked.

Her instincts said, no, don’t let them in. But she hadn’t done anything wrong, and they were peace officers. Maybe a crazed killer ran loose in the area, and they wanted to search her backyard, secure her locks and ensure her safety. But after the harrowing day she’d spent at the airport that morning, she was a quart low on trust, dubious of authority figures, and testy in general.

Oh, what the hell.
She opened the door wider, looking past them to the curb. “Sure.” A streetlight shone

bright on a sedan. No other cops appeared to be canvassing the neighborhood. The uniformed duo filed in, but she wasn’t in the mood to make a pot of coffee or answer a bunch of inane questions. She’d filled her quota for the day.
“What’s this about?” She closed the door.
“We have a warrant.” The tall man whipped out a tri-folded piece of paper like he meant business.
She scoffed. “A warrant. For what?” She put on her tough girl act, but had visions of spending life in prison. “I haven’t done anything wrong.” Ever. Someone must have stolen her identity. First the no-fly list, now this.
The blond whipped off his shades, treating her to sky blue eyes. “Haven’t you?”
Dara always encouraged her to take a walk on the wild side. But every potential one-night stand date had struck her as a prospective serial killer or would-be stalker. She didn’t want to have regrets for living a boring life, but she’d seen too many friends, family members and co-workers make tragic mistakes in judgment. Unplanned pregnancies. Bad marriages. Worse divorces. Bankruptcies. She avoided all of the above.
“What’s the charge?”
Officer Tall-Dark-and-Handsome’s upper lip quirked. “The charge is being too sexy to be thirty.”
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A chill ran the length of his spine in spite of the warm air swirling around him. The dark, grainy picture looked overexposed where other areas seemed underexposed. But the resemblance to Meri appeared unmistakable. Her translucent skin against the dark background leapt off the screen. Her eerie red eyes, caused by a flash photo at night, haunted him, preying on what little hope remained after year upon year of heartache and disappointment. Touching the screen, he traced her features with his index finger.
Gooseflesh rose on his arms seconds before the doorbell sounded. The buzz jolted him to his senses. Anyone who knew him—really knew him—would leave him alone tonight.
Crossing the room, he opened the door, preparing to give someone a piece of his mind. Freezing instead, his extremities tingled but everything else numbed. Including his brain. Especially his mouth.
“Invite me in before you faint.”
“Meri?” Her whispered name on his lips barely registered due to his pounding heart.
“Luke.” Her tone mocked him. She peeked around the door and held out a bouquet of blood red roses like the ones he’d given her for Valentine’s Day way back in the day. “I guess we know who we both are.” Her eyebrows arched up. “Invite. Me. In.”
“I….” Teetering on wobbly legs, he staggered backward a few steps. Spots danced in his peripheral vision and a flash of heat swept through his trembling body.
“Don’t you dare pass out, Luke.” Her blurry finger waved as blackness closed in. “Invite me in, damn it! Can I come in, please?”
“That’ll have to do.”

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By reading any further, you are stating that you are at least 18 years of age. If you are under the age of 18, it is necessary to exit this site.
An Excerpt From: BLIND PASSION
Copyright © KELLI SCOTT, 2012
Here he comes. Here he comes.
Nicole fluffed her unruly brown hair with one hand and smoothed her skirt with the other while licking her lips, before realizing he wouldn’t notice her efforts. His darling dog wouldn’t even notice.
She closed her mailbox loudly so he’d know she existed, and said as brightly as possible, “Hi Sal.”
Salvatore Lopez stopped and fished the key to his mailbox out of his jacket pocket. “Hi yourself.” He flipped through the keys, thumbing each one until he found the right key. “6C, right?”
“Right.” He remembered me. He ought to, as much as she put herself in his vicinity. She pointed to herself, for all the good it would do. “Nicole Adkins. Nicki.”
“Nicki,” he repeated. Her name rolled off his lips like the beginning of a love poem. Ode to Nicole. “Nicki the accountant, right?”
Not exactly poetry.
She gently patted the top of Hercules’ head because Sal had told her previously that she could, so she did. The adorable golden lab panted. If only his owner would do likewise.
“That’s right.” Although she possessed an accounting degree, her position was more of an accounting assistant for a major department store. She was one of many accountants in a large pool, all scrambling to climb to the top of the heap and shine.
Sal was a lawyer but ought to be an underwear model. One of those butt-hugging, cock-cradling boxer-brief-wearing underwear models. Not that he would hug a butt or cradle a cock. His boxer briefs would. She knew all about his underwear of choice and—damn—she approved. If she were a better person she’d remind him he had window blinds for a reason. Instead she simply enjoyed the view of his apartment from the large picture window of her apartment. In his business suit, birthday suit or underwear—it was all good as far as she was concerned.
“Seems we have the same schedule,” he said, pocketing his mail.
If by same schedule you mean I’ve been waiting twenty minutes for you to amble by, then yeah. “Seems.” She pushed her black-framed glasses up the bridge of her nose. If he were any other hot New York City male she’d regret the glasses and lament not investing the time into putting in her contact lenses that morning. But Sal couldn’t care less about her appearance. “I’ll get the elevator.” Nicki crossed the lobby and tapped the button. Five more minutes and they’d run the risk of riding up with old lady Kerensky and her bickering nephew again. Awkward.
“Thanks.” He smiled and followed.
Sal probably had no knowledge of the dimple on his cheek or the effect that dimple had on her libido. Feeling hot, she guessed her face was flushed a rosy pink, but who cared? Not her. Certainly not him.
“No bother at all.” She held the door for him and Hercules. Once the doors had slammed shut, she said, “You got any big plans for the night?” Please, no. If he told her he had a date—blind or otherwise—she’d spend the night curled up in the fetal position sucking on a bottle of tequila.
He sighed. “I think I’ll just chill out with a beer and listen to a baseball game on the radio. You?”
“Wine and a good book.” She rocked on her heels. Or a dirty book. Yeah, that. Her tummy dipped—because of the elevator ride, or due to his total hotness, or maybe from nerves. She’d never made the first move before, but she’d grow old waiting for him to do it. It was time to take their relationship, such as it was, to the next level—as terrifying as that sounded. “Exciting lives we live.”
Sal pocketed his sunglasses. “We should get a life.”
Funny he should mention that. That was what Nicki had been thinking. “If…you know…if you ever get bored, you should come over. We could order takeout and watch a movie.” Nicki heated up more. A movie? Seriously? “Or…or something else. Not a movie. A board game. Wait. That’s even stupider.” She pounded the heel of her hand to her frontal lobe.
The elevator doors dinged and opened. Why couldn’t they live on the top floor of a twenty-story building with a slow elevator?
Sal chuckled and stepped into the corridor, led by Hercules. “It’s not stupid. I have a TV you know. And a deck of cards in braille. But it’s true—I do suck at most board games.”
“Then come,” she blurted. “Over, I mean. Sometime. Doesn’t have to be tonight. Some other time. If you want. Or…or I could come to you.” I sound so desperate.” You don’t have to dress.”
“Excuse me?”
“I mean you don’t have to dress up,” she said. “Come casual.”
“Sounds like fun,” he said, turning in the direction of his apartment. “Rain check?”
“Sure.” An odd mixture of disappointment and relief descended around her like a fog. Part of her feared a change in their dynamic—the part that knew getting closer would eventually tear them apart. In her experience, relationships tended to end in a nasty breakup. “Any time. Just let me know. See you tomorrow.” Same time. Same place.
Stopping, he turned toward her but looked past her as if she weren’t there. “I’m actually going away for a few days. Maybe longer.”
“What?” Feeling slightly dizzy, Nicki reached out, planting her palm flat against the wall, letting it hold her up. “Where?” Why? she wanted to add.
“Upstate New York. A visit. My family.”
She sensed he had more to say, so Nicki waited for an explanation. Awkwardness replaced the previous fog of disappointment and relief.
“Anything I can do while you’re gone? Feed a cat? Water a plant?” Snoop through your closet? Sleep in your bed?
“No cat. No plants.”
“Right.” She knew that. “See you when you get back.”
See you when you get back? Had she really said that to a blind guy?
Sal walked away, led by his dog. He waved over his shoulder.



“You all ready, Heather?” Tasha called out, probably worried about how long it took me to get undressed.
I shoved the drape of the dressing room aside. “Absolutely.”
She led me to the room across the hall as if through a slow motion dream. She was that graceful and lithe and willowy. Tranquil sounds filled the space. Waves lapping at a sandy beach.
She patted the massage table. “Up or down?”
“Excuse me?” I didn’t know there’d be a quiz.
Perusing the clipboard, she asked, “First massage?”
“That’s right.” Then couldn’t help but add, “I’m a massage virgin.”
“Well, we’ll see what we can do to remedy that.” She smiled, not taking my comment offensively, unless she was a really good actress. “Would you like to start face up or down?”
“What do you recommend?” I stopped myself from repeating the virgin reference.
She skimmed the clipboard again. “Lower back pain. Tense, knotted muscles. Insomnia. Headaches. Stress. Let’s start face down.” Looking up from my long list of afflictions, she asked, “Would you like me to step out while you disrobe?”
Would that be rude? “Of course not.” I scoffed. “We’re both women, right?”
Tasha turned her back, preparing her oils or instruments or whatever. With her attention elsewhere, I slipped out of the robe, hung it on a peg, and hopped on the table quick like The Flash, hauling the sheet over my nakedness, which I still wasn’t sure was appropriate. Oh, well, what the hell? She’d just have to deal with it. I planted my face in the face donut and waited.
The acoustics transitioned into raindrops on a tin roof. Occasionally a clap of friendly thunder rumbled in the distance to mix things up. She positioned me like a rag doll, placing my arms at my sides on the outside of the sheet.
“Comfortable?” she asked.
“Yes,” I mumbled.
I fixated on her delicate bare feet, her toenails painted a fuchsia color. The fringe of her sarong nearly tickled the floor as she gracefully glided around. A silver chain encircled her ankle. How I wished I could be more like her. Free-spirited. Serene. Bohemian.
“Be sure to tell me if I rub too hard.” She rested her palms on my skin, and I tensed.
“Relax, Heather.”
“I am,” I protested.

By reading any further, you are stating that you are at least 18 years of age. If you are under the age of 18, it is necessary to exit this site.
An Excerpt From: COSTUME BALL
Copyright © KELLI SCOTT, 2012
Jennifer sat at the vanity in front of the mirror and skimmed her fingers along the length of the raised scar on her cheek.
For a second she was transported from her hotel room, back in time to a dark night and a rain-slicked road. The metallic taste of blood, the smell of smoke and gasoline and fear flooded her senses as if the accident had happened minutes ago instead of months before. She felt the warm, thick blood drip into her eyes, blurring the chaos around her, the same as she had felt it that night. Tires squealed and people screamed. Sirens echoed in her mind, too far away to offer any comfort whatsoever.
Coming to her senses, she whispered, “I can’t do it.” Jennifer snatched her hand away from the ghastly scar as if the gash burned her fingertips. The long curl of dark hair flopped back into place to hide the jagged mar across her otherwise perfect features. “I can’t go through with it.”
“You can,” said her sister Marlene, the practical and rational voice of reason. “And you will.” She also leaned toward being bossy.
Taking after their father’s side of the family tree, Marlene had come to grips with her plain appearance long ago, actually embracing her ordinary looks. Instead of dabbling in the finer points of makeup application like Jennifer, Marlene focused on her education and interpersonal skills, sort of how a blind man develops a heightened sense of smell and hearing. Not that their father wasn’t an attractive man. The handsome features and large bone structure simply didn’t translate as well on the face and body of a woman. What Marlene lacked in striking beauty she made up for by being chatty and opinionated and amusing. Also like Dad.
Jennifer took after their mother, a beauty icon in their circle of friends. Fashion forward. A lover of fine footwear and trendy eateries. Jennifer was like the Macgyver of accessorizing. Give her a couple of hair pins, a silk scarf and a skinny belt and she’d give you glamour.
Finger-combing the curl of hair for maximum coverage, Jennifer asked, “What if people are horrified?”
“Then they’re dirt bags who aren’t worth your time or a second thought,” Marlene replied with a wave of her hand.
Jennifer snorted a laugh.
Easy for you to say. Jennifer’s fingers glided over the embossed invitation to the Forty-seventh Annual Volunteer Appreciation Masquerade Ball. A yearly excuse for adults to dress in costume, drink to excess and pat each other on the back for their charitable endeavors. She’d been attending all her adult life. Her mother too. Her Grandmother before that. Goodwin gals came from a long line of volunteers. Each year the celebration grew bigger, the decorations more elaborate, the invitations more expensive. Why was a pressed invitation with gilded lettering a beautiful thing and her raised scar triggered double-takes and gasps? It wasn’t fair. On a man a scar added character. Intrigue. Danger. On a woman, it overshadowed all else.
“I can’t take one more sympathetic comment or pitying look,” Jennifer said, her voice cracking with emotion. Suck it up. Be strong.
“I dare anyone to be so stupid,” Marlene said. “My advice, Jenny—forget about the scar. If you do, everyone else will. Swear to God, I don’t even notice it anymore. Focus on having fun. If it makes it easier, leave the mask on. Get hammered. Be mysterious. Flirt with every hot guy. Get laid.”
Get laid! Nothing could be further from her mind. She hadn’t flirted since way before she’d broken up with Gage, her Marine pen pal turned love interest. Her intention had been to brighten the life of one Marine in Afghanistan with care packages and cheery news from home. Soon she’d been in love with Gage. Yes, in love with a man she’d not yet met. They’d never said the word—love—but she’d felt it stronger than any force of man or nature.
Jennifer had wanted to save her declaration for when she met him face to face. Shortly after the car accident, she’d broken his heart. Hers too. No explanation. She’d decided it was better that way.
Marlene had pulled no punches at the time and had called her a moron.
Jennifer turned to Marlene and couldn’t manage to stifle a burst of laughter. Her sister, dressed like Rhett Butler, mustache and all, cracked her up every time she laid eyes on her. It would never get old. Her husband was somewhere in the hotel dressed as Scarlett O’Hara, wearing a hoop skirt and a wig with corkscrew curls.
“How do I look?” Jennifer asked.
Wearing a white peasant blouse and a multi-colored flowing tiered skirt she’d made herself—no rental costume for her—Jennifer decided to embrace the mystical Gypsy deep inside and take her sister’s advice. Well, some of it, anyhow. She could get on board with being mysterious, drinking, flirting and possibly some fun.
“Gorgeous,” Marlene said, twisting the upturned ends of her fake mustache. She handed Jennifer a colorful, glittery mask adorned with peacock feathers.
Maybe it would be a magical night after all.


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Copyright © KELLI SCOTT, 2012

The late model Miata in front of Diego Ramos crossed the centerline for the second time in the span of as many minutes before swerving into the left-hand turn lane without using a blinker.

Typical. Probably drunk, he thought. Diego had just come from towing a BMW to the city impound lot—the driver had been issued a DUI and hauled off to jail. It was a weeknight, but the owner of the BMW had stopped off after work for a nightcap that had turned into three or four. Maybe the driver of the little red sports car ahead of him had too.

Now I’ve seen everything. Or rather, despite his headlights cutting through the murky darkness, he could see nothing in the car ahead of him. Not even the driver’s head. Oh. There she is. He assumed she was a she because she drove a total chick car in a color that probably matched her fingernails—red. She must have had her head between her legs, kissing her ass goodbye. Excellent use of time, judging by her driving skills.

A hip-hop beat thrummed from her car, carrying all the way to the cab of his tow-truck. Diego watched her head bob to the music as they waited for the light in the turn lane to change. What is she doing? Applying lipstick, as near as he could tell. When the arrow glowed green, he waited a few beats before tapping his horn. Nothing.

She gunned her car through the intersection as the arrow turned yellow. Diego threw his hands in the air, but stopped his truck just short of the crosswalk. He didn’t need another ticket on his record. He beat his fingers against the steering wheel while he waited. When the light changed to green again he eased through the intersection and turned into the parking lot of the grocery store, as the sports car had.

She whipped her car into a prime compact spot close to the front doors as he cruised the lot for something roomier that would accommodate his large vehicle. Diego backed his tow-truck into a space alongside the building adjacent the grocery store, where he could enjoy his dinner in solitude later. But he could still clearly see her sports car. Not by accident or circumstance. Diego was drawn to trouble as a nail is drawn to a magnet. Being a wise man with a fair amount of common sense, he should head across town to a different store. She struck him as dangerous in the best possible way.

And sexy, he decided when the driver opened her car door and planted one lethally high-heeled pump on the pavement. What followed did not disappoint. Good thing he was done with curvy, conceited women with mile-high legs. He was on the lookout for a round little chica with big, brown eyes who could cook like his mother.

No harm in watching the driving-school-dropout from a distance though. So he did. Auburn curls bounced around her head and shoulders as she hurried into the store. Diego sauntered along behind her, which was a real treat for him. She wore white thigh-high stockings that stopped a couple of inches short of her flirty, pleated plaid skirt. Bows accented her stockings a few inches below the hem. On top she wore a plain, white cotton dress shirt, probably so as not to distract from the assets she had going on below the waist.

He needed a closer look and something to eat. Dinner and a show.
Little Miss Wild-Behind-The-Wheel bent at the waist to pluck a hand basket from the stack by the store’s automatic sliding doors. As she bowed, her skirt stopped just shy of her panties…if she wore panties.

Diego bit his tongue to stop himself from hollering, “Nice!”

Following her to the produce department, like your garden-variety pervert, he plucked an orange from the display and sniffed it for no other reason than to look as if he weren’t following her. He gave the orange a firm squeeze to decide whether it was a keeper. The orange was. She wasn’t. But that didn’t stop him from watching her. Hell, a city-wide blackout wouldn’t have stopped him from watching her.

She placed a head of lettuce in her basket. As she leaned in and reached for a long, thick cucumber, her foot came off the ground and bent at the knee. The sight reminded Diego of one of those 1940s black-and-white movies where the gal does the flamingo stance while getting kissed. Even her shoes looked like reproduction 40s footwear—on stilts. Or steroids. They were dangerously high. No wonder she’d been all over the road—she’d been driving with a disability.

Upon closer inspection, she didn’t seem drunk. The woman could probably walk a straight line if pressed by the cops. She deserved credit for walking at all on heels that high. The rest of her apparel appeared sort of Catholic schoolgirl gone bad. Very bad. She needed detention.

And a spanking.

His mind went off to a dark place as he imagined turning Naughty Dotty there over his knee to smack his open hand on the naked, milky flesh of her thighs. Right there in the sweet spot between her hem and her stockings. Desire sizzled all the way down his spine like a burning fuse. Diego mentally stamped out the flames before he exploded, imploded or needed to hide his erection behind a shopping cart.

He’d come in for a salad. Nothing more. I’m working, for Christ’s sake. Diego did not need the kind of trouble that came wrapped in a package like hers. His “type” was earthy, sweet and natural—starting now. The girl next door, not the whore next door. He’d had enough of bad girls. I’m thirty, for crying out loud. It was time to settle down and stop getting his heart tramp-stamped like a passport to sin. Don’t even get me started on the ding to my pocketbook. He’d been conned and outright robbed by the naughty-next-door type. He’d decided he must have a “kick me” sign on his back, visible only to hot chicks with very high heels, short skirts and low morals.

He weaved a path to the salad bar to feed his cravings with a chef’s salad—extra ham, egg and cheese. He needed protein to muster the strength to stay clear of the danger zone. Along with the healthy salad, he loaded his to-go container with some bad choices. Heavy pastas, bread and half a dozen butter pats. He’d pay dearly at the checkout, but better to feed his desire with food than a mistake.

Diego groaned a few minutes later when he found that the checkout lane was backed up with late night shoppers. Spotting his wet-dream-come-to-life in the shorter express line, he decided to brave the traffic jam of carts to avoid her.

“Sir…” A floor manager attempted to usher him to the more logical express line.

Diego raised his hand in protest. “I’m fine here.” An overflowing cart with a fussy toddler and a stressed-out mother pulled up behind him, making him feel guilty for holding up the line because he was too chicken to get within twenty yards of the hottie in high heels.

The manager tilted her head. “We have less wait time in the express line.”

He patted his back pocket, where he’d stuffed his checkbook. “I’m paying by check.” The express line clearly stated cash only. Diego played by the rules. Not always, but starting recently.

She waved him along. “Not a problem.”

The mother of the toddler flashed him a postpartum glare that might kill under certain circumstances. Her kid wailed, leaking tears and snot that threatened to ruin his appetite.

“Sure.” Diego followed the manager along to the express line. Stopping way short, he left a good four or five feet between him and the sex kitten.

Her white shirt was gathered up and tied in a knot near her navel, giving the impression that perhaps she was wearing her lover’s dress shirt after an evening of romping. She had her basket on the conveyer belt directly behind some guy purchasing a case of beer, a carton of smokes and a smutty magazine—the trifecta of debauchery. The woman ahead of him was twitching as she bought her weight in lottery tickets. Diego decided to count ceiling tiles. One, two, three…


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An Excerpt From: PASSION PILL
Copyright © KELLI SCOTT, 2012

Millie’s little helper.

Millicent Kowalski sat staring at the little bottle of pills on the kitchen table as if they might break into a song and dance number. A sexy dance routine with suggestive gyrations and pelvic thrusts played out in her mind’s eye. A vision of booty-shaking and boobie-bouncing set to a loud hip-hop beat soon followed.

A rueful chuckle strangled in her throat as she rattled the bottle of pills like a set of maracas. How had her life come to this? Passion in a pill. Why couldn’t it be enough that she loved her boyfriend Tom with unequaled fervor? He loved her back just as much if devotion, respect and pure determination were clear indicators of love.

Why isn’t that enough?

He worked construction and had hard muscles, six-pack abs and a butt so solid it could nearly stop a bullet. Dishwater-blond hair often spilled over his forehead in the most endearing way. She choked out a laugh, recalling how he constantly swept the stray locks away from his face with his fingers. The hair never stayed in place and he refused to use any hair product.
  Too metrosexual, he’d said.

After three months of dating they’d consummated their relationship, celebrating the bond they shared in the most intimate way possible. Sex. Six months after that he’d asked her to move in with him. And she had, against her family’s wishes. The way Tom spoke of the future—a future with her—a proposal was on the horizon. Despite all the sexual celebrating they’d done since falling in love, total sexual satisfaction evaded her.

No orgasm for her. Not one. Not even close. Ever.

Poor Tom, she thought. He worried night and day that he’d failed her as a lover. And not for lack of trying. He’d even strutted around the bedroom doing a sexy dance in nothing but a tool belt, steel-toed boots and a hardhat—no orgasm. Rose petals and candlelight—nada. Alcohol to blur her inhibitions—she fell asleep. Tom had gotten his hands on one of those boner pills for himself and pumped her pussy until she couldn’t walk straight the next day. He’d licked her as if she’d dipped her vagina in caramel—and he loved caramel. Every encounter only proved to remind them of their failure. Hers and his.
She blamed herself. Tom blamed himself.

Her failure left Millie no choice but to enter a clinical trial for an experimental drug to enhance the female libido. Why not? What did she have to lose? Nothing. Millie had everything to gain—if the drug worked.

She rattled the pills again, wondering what magical compounds bonded together to create desire. She’d been poked and prodded, her medical and sexual history recounted for a panel of researchers. They’d scrutinized her menstrual cycle and analyzed her sexual habits and fantasies, which had probably put them to sleep. They’d attached electrodes to her head and measured her reaction to sexual stimuli, visual, auditory and olfactory. Their conclusion—physically there was nothing wrong with her. No reason why she couldn’t pop out an orgasm at will. The news did little to mollify her but it did make her a perfect candidate for the drug trials.

She was young and healthy.

Tom pushed through the door to the sunny kitchen of the tiny, one-bedroom row house they rented. He set his thermos and lunch pail on the counter. “Honey! I’m home!”

A black T-shirt stretched tight across his chest and was tucked into a pair of faded blue jeans. The timbre of his voice sent a quiver down her spine. The quiver always stopped way before reaching her pussy, like a vault door slammed shut to protect her orgasm from escape.

Millie stood and crossed the room to him. “How was your day, sweetie?”

“Same shit,” he said.

“Different day,” they chimed in unison and they both snickered.
In no time flat she was in his arms, wrapped in his warm embrace. It wasn’t clear who’d initiated the hug. It never was—clear, that is. She and Tom always ended up connected. Touching. Hugging. Kissing. Fingers twined, arms entangled, nearly from the first time they’d met. Her brother had brought a somewhat skinnier Tom home for Sunday dinner at the Kowalski household. Millie and her mother’s cooking, along with hard physical labor had put a few much-needed pounds and muscles on him since then. His foot had “accidentally” connected with hers about a dozen times under the dining table that night. His eyes had held hers across the room a dozen more times.

Those hazel eyes of his did her in. The way he looked at her, then and now, caused the hair on her arms to stand on end.

“Thought about you all day,” he said, nuzzling her neck.

She held tight, needing his love and support now more than ever. “Glad you’re home, Tom.”


By reading any further, you are stating that you are at least 18 years of age. If you are under the age of 18, it is necessary to exit this site.

An Excerpt From: HAIR OF THE DOG Copyright © KELLI SCOTT, 2012

“Ivy? Ivy Fontainebleau?” he inquired.

She raised her hand. “That’s me. I’m Ivy. All day long.” I’ll be whoever you want me to be. She pushed her glasses up the bridge of her nose. Not so much because they’d slipped. More out of habit.

“I’m Grant Grayson.” He smiled reassuringly, shook her hand and lifted her bags into his idling vehicle before his words registered in her brain as anything more than pleasant noise. Very pleasant noise indeed. “We spoke on the phone.”

“Mr. Grayson.” His name escaped her lips quietly like air leaking from a tire. Yes, she fondly recalled their verbal exchanges. His face exceeded the picture his words painted in her mind and his physique was nothing to complain about either.

“My friends call me Grant. I hope you will too.” He opened the passenger side door for her, his gaze scanning the surrounding area. “Sorry I kept you waiting.” His eyes flashed with awareness. His nostrils flared. “You know how it is.”

As if in a hypnotic trance, Ivy slid into the seat. She decided she’d slide into a flaming chariot from Hell if he opened the door and smiled in her direction, flaring nostrils and all. While he rounded the front of the car, she checked herself in the mirror. Sadly, nothing had changed. On a scale of one to ten, he was a ten. She was a five on a good day. Not so much on a day like today after a seven-hour bus ride and an impromptu blackout on a roadside bench while critters closed in around her.

Her eyes had an unfortunate habit of playing off the colors around her. Hazel, some called it. Today they were probably a dull gray like the pavement and the darkening sky and the interior of his car. Why couldn’t he have violet upholstery? The poets would describe her hair in prose as mousy brown, which rhymes with blousy gown and lousy frown. Nothing about her stood out except her mediocrity and her inability to create sensible rhymes.

Grant took a seat behind the wheel and flashed her a slow-motion-instant-replay of his previous smile. His smile melted her insides to a warm, gooey liquid, but couldn’t melt the gold wedding band on his finger. Even without the band, his starched collar, matching socks and pressed button-up shirt gave away his domestic classification. Married. Like a cherished garden, he was well tended.

“Beautiful, beautiful countryside,” Ivy said. “Just breathtaking.”

“I’m glad you’re enjoying it,” he replied, easing his Jeep back onto the country road. “Wait until you see the spring.”

“I can’t wait.” Her entire face ached from smiling. Muscles she hadn’t exercised much in her twenty-nine years of life. Needing to fill the silence, she said, “Funny story—”

“Funny ha-ha or funny peculiar?” He checked his side mirror before his eyes cut to her for the answer.

Ivy tilted her head and crinkled her brow. “A little of both. Anyhow, when I graduated from high school—”

“Franklin High School in Arizona, class of—”

She held up her hand in protest. “Let’s not go there.” She didn’t need to be reminded that her life was not on the fast track to success for a woman her age. “As I was saying, I craved some adventure in my otherwise dull life, so I pinned a map on the wall—”

Glancing over at her, he asked playfully, “Did you throw a dart at a map?”

“Yes! How did you know? Oooh, look at that creek.” Ivy pointed out the passenger side window. “Pretty. So, so pretty. Where was I?”

He threaded the car effortlessly along the ribbon of road and said, “You threw a dart at a map.”

“Oh yes. You’ll never guess where it landed. Guess.” Am I babbling? Yes. Shut up, Ivy. “I’ll give you three guesses and three guesses only.”

“Mystic Springs?” he replied.

She smacked him in the arm, which probably didn’t happen much to him, being the mayor of Mystic Springs and all. “Yes! How did you know?”

He took one hand off the wheel and rubbed his arm. “It’s a better punch line than Paris, France.”

“Which is sort of where I wanted the dart to land,” she admitted with a regrettable laugh that took the unfortunate form of a snort. “No offense.”

“None taken,” he quickly said. “I’d say that sort of thing happens a lot. You know, random darts landing in unfortunate places. Did you give yourself a do over?”

“Yes I did, but you’ll never believe what happened.” How boring am I? Someone stop me, please. There’s no shame in comfortable silence. “Never in a million years,” she babbled on. “Guess.”

“It landed in the same exact spot,” he guessed.

“Yes! You’re good at this.” Wish I was. I wish I could stop talking.

“I thought about guessing Paris, France,” he said, “but again, Mystic Springs is a much better ending to—”

“An otherwise boring story?” I know it’s rude to interrupt, but he did it to me—twice.

“Not at all.” He smiled. Again. Warm. Brilliant. Kind. “It’s a charming story.”

A charming story that I should keep to myself. It gets better. I’ll save it for some other awkward moment when I should shut up but can’t. “That’s a darn big tree.” Ivy pointed at the darn big tree as they whizzed by it and many other darn big trees. “Pretty country.” I’m sure he never gets tired of hearing that. “Pretty, pretty, pretty,” she muttered. If you say pretty one more time…

“Out of curiosity, where did you end up going?” he asked, probably to stop her from saying “pretty” again. Someone had to. “Not Mystic Springs? I’m sure I’d remember you.”

Ivy’s eyebrow shot up. Is that just something people say? Am I so grotesque he’d remember me for ten years? “Fate intervened. I got a summer job at Pizza Hut and stayed in Arizona.” Gained ten pounds.

“You should have come,” he said, teasing her with a warm smile.

If only he knew she was still recovering from actually coming. Her pussy was still throbbing a little. And his smile might make her come again.

With a tone so husky he nearly growled, Grant Grayson added, “Never tempt fate, Ms. Fontainebleau.”

“Ivy.” She sighed, an attempt to cover her wanton desire. “Just Ivy.” Just plain ol’ Ivy.

“Ivy.” He treated her to a softer smile. Like a private joke between loved ones. It was nice. If his smile were a cocktail, it would be a sweet and fruity umbrella drink. She’d slurp it on the rocks with a cherry on top. She’d twirl that cherry around the tip of her tongue before sucking the juices out and swallowing it whole. “We’re glad you finally made it,” he said.

I could totally get drunk on your smile. Ivy had a sobering moment, shaking her head before saying, “We?”

“The town.” He smiled again. A regular smile. Sadly. “Mystic Springs.”


By reading any further, you are stating that you are at least 18 years of age. If you are under the age of 18, it is necessary to exit this site.

An Excerpt From: DRIVE IN
Copyright © KELLI SCOTT, 2011

Chapter One

Brandi leaned forward, crossing one leg over the other and raised the hot dog to her mouth. She’d been craving a Demon Dog smothered in sauerkraut and tangy mustard all week. Her diet regime and wallet only allowed for the treat once a month—the rest of the time she brown bagged it—and today was her day. Brandi took a bite, moaning quietly as she chewed.


Grumbling noises came from the throng of Demon Dog worshipers. An impressive line had formed after she’d shown up, the lunch crowd growing restless now with the quick tick-tock of the clock between the hours of eleven and one. More specifically, time sped up during whichever hour one chose to take their lunch. The rest of the day dragged on unmercifully. Patrons only had an hour away from their desks to get their lunch on, and then they were back to business as usual.

Hell’s Kitchen was a sinful, guilty pleasure for sure. Brandi knew to come early or not to come at all. She’d been lucky to scope out a seat with a table on hump day, the most popular lunch-on-the-run day, it seemed. Sure, she could take the hot dog back to her office, devouring it behind closed doors, but it would end up cold before she’d find a chance to enjoy it between phone calls, interruptions and urgent e-mails.

Just as Brandi dove in for a second bite, a heavy-set man in line shoved another man into her table. She saw the catastrophe coming at her almost like it happened in slow motion. The eatery went pin-drop silent. The man’s leather shoulder bag collided with her hands. Her hot dog slammed into her nose. She fumbled for her teetering soft drink, but couldn’t stop the cup from tumbling over. When the cold liquid splashed onto her lap, ice and all, she gasped.

“Hey, pal!” the man said, still wobbling near Brandi as if he might topple over on her. “Watch it.”

Heavy guy, still in line, treated his victim to an unflattering hand gesture that required no interpretation. The noise resumed as if nothing at all happened, everyone returning to their lunches. Regaining his balance a little too late to save her soda or her dry-clean-only ensemble, tall-dark-and-handsome said to Brandi, “I’m so sorry.” If given a choice, she’d much prefer he, rather of the finger-flashing fat man, fall on her—for a variety of reasons. “Are you all right?” he asked.

No! “I’ll live.” Brandi scooped the ice from her skirt with her hands, dumping the mess in and around the cup.

The klutz, who looked like a GQ cover model, swooped in to shovel the next load from where it rested piled between her thighs, melting slowly from her angry body heat. She shot him one of those you’ve-invaded-my-comfort-zone looks that transitioned into more of a jaw-dropping come-to-mama stare once she got a better look at his flawless profile. Dark, wavy hair topped his head. His face sported a strong jaw and regal nose. Eyes, startlingly blue and familiar, met her stare.

He kept absently mopping at her lap with a pile of napkins, a serious breach of etiquette, as the other patrons went about their business. “Brandi Alexander?”

She cringed upon hearing the name her parents pinned on her. It was like a really cheesy stripper name or an eerie omen about her future sobriety. “Oh my God. Evan. Evan Bangs.” Okay, his name wasn’t a keeper either. Together they could be one of those before-and-after puzzles on Wheel of Fortune. Evan Bangs Brandi. I wish.

Spreading his arms, he said, “Long time.”

Brandi sputtered, babbling a string of vowels before finally standing to give him a half-assed hug with the customary awkward back pat. The remaining ice cubes fell from her lap to the floor, tink tink tink, like the beginning of a hail storm.

Three back pats seemed called for under the circumstances. In the social order of hugs, if such a thing existed, family was entitled to a few extra pats, depending on how close a relation they were and how you felt about them in general. Immediate family, mother, father and siblings warranted a squeeze. This guy, cute as he was, was still little more than a stranger from the past who’d stumbled in to ruin her lunch in the present.

“How have you been?” she asked, still clutched in his hearty embrace.

He looked like he’d been doing very well. Very well indeed. Suit. Tie. Leather satchel slung over his shoulder. He sported a healthy, golden tan. Smelled every bit as good as he looked—almost as good as a Demon Dog. Brandi knew first hand that looks could be deceiving, though. Her ex-husband had been a handsome charmer.

Evan stole a squeeze before releasing her. He’d always been that guy—the easygoing guy who didn’t stand on ceremony. A hugger. “Fine. Good. Great.” He wiped at her face with a napkin and then explained with one word. “Mustard.”

Great. Nothing like running into an old high-school crush—literally running into him, ending up covered in soda pop and mustard. Could it be worse? Yes. Don’t even go there, Brandi. She could have ketchup instead of a soft drink on the front of her cream-colored skirt. I said, don’t go there.

With all orders being shouted about, the noise level in the place had risen to obnoxious. Several people were eyeing her table, obviously coveting the location. Prehistoric man battled over the biggest cave—modern man fought for a wobbly, soda-covered bistro table at a moderately priced luncheonette.

“Well, I should go…get back to work. It was nice seeing you again, Evan.”

“I’ll walk out with you,” he said it like a point of fact rather than an offer she could refuse.

“What about your lunch order?” she asked, glancing at the dog-eat-dog procession slowly moving to the front of the line.

Evan waved his hand. “More trouble than it’s worth.” He’d lost his place in line anyhow. To get it back, he’d need to be an angry pit bull or have a concealed weapon under his suit jacket.

“You’ve obviously never had a Demon Dog.” A regrettable flirty tone leaked out with her words. Where’d that come from?

He squinted at the menu behind the counter. “I’ve never had a satanic sandwich or a sinful salad with devil dressing, either.” He chuckled. “I feel damned just being in the joint. I better go before I find myself at the nearest church confessing my sins.”

She knew how he felt. Brandi was having an impure thought or two herself. Her sinful contemplations had nothing to do with food—unless dipping her old high school crush in chocolate, rolling him in sprinkles and licking him clean was about food. Not likely.

Brandi gathered her purse and what remained of her lunch and headed for the exit with Evan by her side. Her face heated up at the stares from the customers filing in as she and Evan attempted to squeeze toward the door. She wiped at her nose, wondering if her face still sported a glob of mustard. She could still smell the spicy concoction and wondered if it was lodged way up in her nasal passage. The stares were more than likely because of the brown stain on her skirt, but she didn’t want to stand in line for the restroom. Besides, stains on designer suits should be left to professional dry cleaners.

Evan held the door open for her. “After you.”

“Thank you.” She looked around the crowded eatery for the man who’d shoved Evan into her so she could call the guy a jerk and perhaps treat him to her finger. But there was no sign of him or his offending finger. Outside in the sunshine, Brandi wiped at the wet spot centered in the middle of her skirt. Great. “I look like I wet myself,” she complained.

“Actually,” he said, pursing his lips, “it looks much worse.” Evan shrugged out of his suit jacket. “And I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the mess leaked to the back side.”

Brandi groaned. That must be a big part of why her panties felt wet between her legs. She had thought it might be his twinkling eyes, dimpled smile and broad shoulders affecting her pussy. Without a doubt, something wet, warm and wicked was going on down under. An inconvenient stirring she’d like to explore further, but not here. Not now.

He placed his jacket over her shoulders. “Again, so sorry.”

“It’s not your fault.” She slipped her arms into the sleeves, which came down to her knuckles. Fastening the button in the front, the worst of the mess was covered by his charcoal wool blend. “I have my dry cleaning in the car.” Thankfully. She didn’t want to spend the last twenty minutes of her lunch break shopping for off-the-rack business attire, paying with a rubber check.

Brandi made for the parking garage. Evan could do whatever he pleased. If he wanted his jacket back, he would follow. He did follow, quickly falling in beside Brandi. Her nose twitched, breathing in the scent of aftershave on his jacket that mingled with the lingering mustard smell. The two scents belonged together like caramel and chocolate or cinnamon and raisins. And someone needs a sweet treat—stat. Her warm, wet panties became warmer and wetter from carnal—as well as caramel—cravings.

Brandi and Evan chatted about the good old days while they walked. Reminiscing with him encouraged her to relax in spite of the awkwardness she’d felt earlier. Evan caught her up on his family as well as friends from the neighborhood he’d remained in contact with. He didn’t remind Brandi of her questionable high-school fashion choices like her family did every chance they got. Evan talked about the good times, not Brandi’s bad hair days, tragic cheerleading tryout and unfortunate yearbook photo.

Her thighs began to chafe. Wet and sticky—plus rubbing—apparently equaled discomfort in this particular situation.

The cool shade of the parking garage was a welcome relief from the effects of the bright sun, coupled with his suit jacket and the sticky soda drying between her thighs.

“This is my car.” Brandi pointed.

“Nice,” he said, admiring her sedan with his expressive eyes.

He’d be less impressed if he knew how much the payment was. Don’t get me started on the cost of insurance. Sadly, she couldn’t sell it for what she owed on it. Tried. Failed. Brandi had mixed feelings about being stuck with the status symbol she could no longer afford.

“Here. Eat.” She handed him what remained of her Demon Dog. “Prepare to be ruined for all other dogs.”

She unlocked the doors to her car. He took a generous bite from the uneaten end of her hot dog and moaned, similar to the way she had earlier before the entire mess got shoved into her face. When she bent over to reach into the backseat, she glanced over her shoulder and noticed him lean in, watching her butt intently. Probably because it was a wet, hot, sticky mess. She wondered if her ass had expanded much since high school. At least he didn’t snap a photo from his cell phone to post on the internet with a less-than-flattering caption. Don’t let this happen to you.

“What do you think?” she asked. “Of the dog, I mean.” Brandi was afraid of what he might think of her caboose.

“Nice. Very nice. Tasty. I’m officially ruined for all other…” he cleared his throat, “…dogs.”

Brandi positioned herself between the open passenger side doors like they were a makeshift-dressing stall. With a reputation as a stern task master to uphold, she couldn’t go to her office like this. Her co-workers were like vultures, waiting for her to show any sign of weakness. “You’re my look out, so keep your eyes peeled.”

His head pivoted right to left. Pointing to himself, he said, “Me?”

“Yes, you. Don’t act so innocent, Evan.” She flashed him a teasing grin. “You were an A-number-one lookout back in the day when it came to ditching class for smoking, drinking or necking behind the bleachers.”
“Nasty habit, that smoking,” he said.

Brandi scoffed. “Not the necking?”

He treated her to his teasing grin. “No. I’m one-hundred percent in favor of necking.”

She changed her clothes by slipping the clean skirt under the soiled one, showing less skin than one of those fan dancers at a burlesque show of yesteryear. Just in case he had X-ray vision and could see through her car door, which she doubted, despite his Superman good looks.

Starting back in high school, she’d grown quite adept at changing clothes in tight quarters. To please her dad, Brandi had joined the swim team and, for her mother, the drill team. For herself, she was the editor on the school newspaper, among other extra-curricular activities. To this day, Brandi often found herself dressing in airport bathrooms and the occasional taxicab. Modesty was a luxury she couldn’t always afford.

Evan scanned the garage for unwanted intruders. Once her clean skirt was in place, she skimmed the dirty one off.

He whistled like a bird.

“What’s that about?” she asked, snorting a laugh. She hoped like hell mustard hadn’t sprayed out of her nose as a result.

“That’s the signal,” he replied. “Someone’s coming.”

Shoving one of the car doors closed, she said, “I’m done anyhow. Here’s your jacket, kind sir.” She curtsied. Their would-be interloper got in his minivan and left, none the wiser.

“Wow.” He slipped into his jacket, inhaling deeply. Hopefully she hadn’t gotten mustard on his jacket. “That was fast,” he said.

She heard something odd in his voice. Awe? Disappointment? If anyone had happened upon them, the scene would have appeared more than a little naughty, like a lunchtime rendezvous. If only. Her pussy had been on a forced hiatus and for very good reason.

“I’m all about adapting and overcoming,” she said. Her job as an onsite computer hardware and software trainer required thinking on her feet and expecting the unexpected. Nothing could prepare her for cream-colored stockings with her black silk skirt. As inconspicuously as possible, she reached her hands under her skirt and peeled away her thigh-high stockings, dropping them on the floorboard of her car. With her coloring, she could get away with no stockings. “I’ve got to get back to work, but it was great seeing you again, Evan.”

His eyes were wide from the mini peep show. It was only a little thigh, for heaven’s sake. You’d think he’d never seen legs before. Maybe he’d been living in a monastery for the last decade. Brandi wanted to ask what he’d been doing for the past twelve-plus years since she’d seen him, but being late would not set a good example at the office. Especially with her zero tolerance for tardiness.

“We should do this again sometime,” he said. That’s what people say when they encounter a blast from the past. What they mean, especially in this case, is We should do this again sometime, like when there’s peace in the Middle East or when unicorns walk the earth.

“Absolutely.” She could be polite too. How about our twenty-year high school reunion? She’d purposely skipped the five and ten-year reunion, her life not up to public scrutiny at the time. Her fifteen-year wasn’t looking good either. And really, why did the reunion committee insist on getting together every five years? Be reasonable.

“Well, maybe not this, per se, but something like this.” He whipped out his cell phone. “Can I get your number?”


“Come on, Brandi.” He smiled a crooked little dimpled grin in her direction. His eyes darted to her naked ring finger, where her wedding band used to be. Not even an indent remained to dissuade would-be suitors. “You’re acting like I didn’t ask you out in high school. And like you didn’t stand me up.” Touching his heart with his free hand, he said, “Over a dozen years hasn’t dulled the sting of adolescent rejection.”

Brandi squeaked indignantly. “I had mono.” She had been thinking—and hoping—that he didn’t remember he’d asked her out way-back-when. She couldn’t forget, even after all these years. It seemed he hadn’t either. But he could have pretended.

He squinted his skepticism. “You got mono from Ted Mankowitz.” On Evan the squint appeared endearing and yet she found his critical look annoying, like an accusation of wrongdoing.

“I was tutoring him,” she protested.

Ted was a big, dumb oaf whose only skill was playing football. Evan had been a long distance runner, the sport of thinkers. Or she guessed he did a lot of thinking. What else was there to do while you’re running for miles upon miles?

“Is that what you call it?” he teased her. “Tutoring?”

Brandi gasped, swatting at him. “The only thing Ted and I shared was common air and a soda pop.” As a result, she’d become so sick she had not only missed her highly anticipated date with Evan Bangs all those years ago, but also missed the graduation ceremony with her class.

“I want a do over,” he said, quite matter of fact. As if she owed him. She half expected him to whip out a court order for her to comply.

Thrusting her hand, the one that used to sport a wedding band, at him, she said, “My divorce just became final a few months ago. I’m really not ready to date.” And that wasn’t just a handy excuse. It was an understatement he should take as a warning.

Brandi was still harboring some resentment against the male species as a whole. Not without valid grounds, either. She hadn’t had the best luck with men, starting with Ted Mankowitz giving her mono before her big date with Evan. Ending it with her ex-husband and his many transgressions that left Brandi raw inside. In between high school and her divorce was a string, albeit a short string, of failed romances running the gambit from cheaters to losers. Sprinkle in a backstabbing male co-worker she’d trained and then watched slither up the corporate ladder ahead of her. Her college professor—a man—gave her a C+ in Economics when she clearly earned a B-. Brandi guessed the grade was because she hadn’t responded to his creepy charm. More recently, her neighbor’s cat kept depositing dead mice, birds and snakes on her doorstep. Both the neighbor and the cat were male.

The point was, the next man in her life was in for a rough ride. He’d get blamed for things he didn’t do. He’d be her transition guy. Transition guy would be her emotional punching bag. And she’d forever be referred to as the crazy bitch he’d hooked up with for a short time, but whose name he couldn’t recall. Yes, there would be steamy, angry sex. But it would all end with a restraining order. She didn’t want that man to be poor Evan.

“Yeah, well, my advice is that you get ready,” he said.


By reading any further, you are stating that you are at least 18 years of age. If you are under the age of 18, it is necessary to exit this site.


Copyright © KELLI SCOTT, 2011

Chapter One

One more toast to the bride and groom and Rachel McAllister would fork someone in the heart. Simple as that.

“To Rachel and Rory,” her dad said. Everyone in the hall raised their glasses. “To Rachel and Rory!”

Rachel’s face warmed from all the tributes, attention and toasts. But she couldn’t fork her own dad. Rory must have read her mind because he squeezed her finger like a Chinese handcuff. He knew her so well—and still wanted to marry her. The waiter took her empty plate, fork and all. Maybe he had read her mind too.

Her Uncle Jimmy stood and cleared his throat.

Rachel groaned down low in her throat. Him, she could fork, spork or butter knife to death.

Everyone had sage marital advice to offer the bride-to-be. Where were they when she needed an ally for her elopement scheme? “Hey, let’s run off to Stone Cliff Lodge—and get hitched,” she’d suggested to Rory only two short months ago after his über-romantic Valentine’s Day proposal, complete with flickering candlelight, fragrant flowers and bubbly champagne. If she’d expected him to pop the question at all, she had pictured a mid-inning proposal on the big Jumbotron screen at a baseball game, including a celebratory beer and a hot dog chaser.

“Great idea, Rach,” he’d replied at the time. “You, me and our closest family and friends.”

Looking around, she suddenly realized she’d had no idea how many close family and friends they had, or how much food they could scarf and liquor they would guzzle.

Uncle Jimmy raised his glass high. “It seems like just yesterday I was refusing to change your poopy diapers and telling you to go play in traffic.” Everyone laughed. “Tomorrow you’ll be getting married. I’m glad you didn’t listen to me.”

Rachel raised her glass. “You and me both, Uncle Jimmy.”

“And,” Rory added, “we will not be needing your babysitting services in the future.” More laughter.

Babysitting! Damn skippy we won’t, not anytime soon.

There was a lull in the toasting as dessert was being served, because it was just rude to toast with a mouth full of tiramisu. Rachel leaned in to whisper in her fiancé’s ear, “I need some air.” Boy, did she ever. Air and solitude and a shot of tequila.

Rory winked. “I could use some too.”

Rachel read between his lines. He could use some necking and a cheap feel to carry him through until the honeymoon night.

Her chair legs screeched along the polished floor of the Stone Cliff Lodge’s dining room, which their combined family and friends tested the capacity of. Rory was already up and moving away from the pre-matrimonial meal mêlée, as she’d dubbed it. Say that three times fast.

“Don’t do anything we wouldn’t do,” some jackass sang out.

Rachel faked a laugh. Like killing you with my bare hands, for instance. Rory took possession of her hand and pulled her toward the clearly posted exit. He pushed through one side of the double glass doors to an expansive veranda overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

The Stone Cliff Lodge was just as advertised—a stone lodge perched on a cliff above the ocean. Romantic. Elegant. Picturesque. Waves crashed against the rocky shore with thunderous power. The photos on their website didn’t do the place justice. With both their families there, it resembled a cross between a failed Weight Watchers meeting and an episode of Family Feud. Name for me a wedding disaster. Top five answers are on the board.

Wind hit her face in the most refreshing way. Freedom. She closed her eyes, opening them when cool lips butted up to hers. “Uhm.” She saw stars, but also clouds and a thumbnail moon. “Are those people in there planning on hibernating?” They ate like they were storing fat for the long winter, but winter was over.

“What do you care?” he growled against her lips. “It’s your dad’s dime.”

If by dime you mean ten grand or more, sure. “Yeah.” She smiled at the thought, but the money would be better spent feeding the hungry or housing the poor, her passion and occupation in life. At least it made her mom happy to see Dad letting loose of some hard-earned money. It was ten or twelve grand his new wife couldn’t spend.

“What exactly is it your cousin wouldn’t do, just so I’ll know what not to do?” Rory wrapped his arms around her, warding off the chill she’d found refreshing only a moment earlier.

“My cousin, Brent? Was that the loudmouth?” She burrowed into Rory’s warmth and sighed, avoiding the question. Hopefully Rory wouldn’t date his second cousin—not that it was illegal, but let’s just say Brent would. “Are you sorry we waited, Rory?”

“For sex?” He swayed her in his arms. “Every damn day. Sometimes twice a day.”

She looked up into his sparkling green eyes. He smiled that lopsided grin that told her he was content, if not satisfied. Towering over her tiny five-foot-three-inch frame, she wondered why he’d waited for her. Being a tall, dark and clichédly handsome up and coming architect, he could have had any beautiful, flexible, big-boobed bimbo he chose, probably including his second cousin if he were so inclined. “Well, at least this is the last day.”

Rory picked her up and spun her around. “That’s exactly what I told my reflection in the mirror this morning.”

“You’re not just marrying me to get laid, are you?” Rachel teased him.

It was like asking if he was marrying her for her money, of which she had very little. But her high school boyfriend, Michael I-can’t-even-recall-your-last-name-that’s-how-over-you-I-am, dumped her after she’d served nearly eighteen months of what felt like a prison sentence with him and the beginning of the end was sex. The relationship spiraled out of control within days of the deed. She’d thought they were in love, but looking back, it turned out to be something akin to the flu, resulting in losing her virginity in his basement bedroom on dirty sheets while his parents were in Reno for a long weekend. Very romantic.

“Yes, Rachel. Am I that transparent? I hounded you for a solid six weeks for a date, thinking the only word in your vocabulary was no, and here we are only a year later with a hundred or so dates under our belts. If I only knew then what I know now, which is that it was as simple as marrying you.”

Rachel laughed. “And no bachelor party.” She patted his cheek. “Poor baby.”

“I knew what I was getting into.” He kissed her temple. His hand skimmed lightly over her breast. Accidentally on purpose if she had to guess. She couldn’t wait for it to be his lips floating over her skin. His other hand cradled the curve of her ass. He loved to see how much he could get away with. His wasn’t the only resolve tested by their celibacy, although she’d had the power to end their misery at any time by saying the magic word yes. “Besides, who in their right mind would want to watch half-naked women bump and grind and shimmy and strut around a shiny pole?” He exaggerated a shiver at the prospect.

“Uh-huh.” She looked up at him skeptically. “I can feel your shiny pole poking me in my navel just from talking about it.”

He swatted her butt playfully. “So let’s stop talking about it and go back in where it’s warm.”

“I love you.” She pushed up to her tiptoes and kissed his chin.

There was a sharp change in the weather of scattered showers and gusty winds since they’d arrived the previous day, and fouler weather in the forecast. The Channel 7 weather guy, who had predicted partly cloudy weather with a chance of sun in his seven-day forecast, was going to single-handedly ruin the fancy-schmancy wedding ceremony she never wanted. High winds and pelting rain nixed their plans to wed on the expansive lawn of the lodge with the roaring waves as a backdrop. But they’d taken the luck of the draw, snatching up the first available weekend. The lodge had actually been closed for remodeling, but opened a week early to accommodate the wedding party. It was either that, wait until autumn, or pick another venue. “The sooner the better,” Rory had said. It had been his neglected penis talking. Her lonely vagina hadn’t objected.

He led her back into the posh, marbled lobby. Peeking into the dining hall where they’d had the rehearsal dinner, Rachel spotted only a few folks lingering over coffee and conversation.

“Check the bar,” Rachel said dryly. It’s our family and friends, after all. And it was her dad’s dough they’d been chowing and chugging on. Hopefully he’d left his generosity and credit card at the heavy mahogany door of the bar and made her guests finance their own hangovers.

Rory pulled her to the bar, where dark woods met polished brass and muted candlelight. Ferns spilled out from oriental pottery. Glasses clinked. Ice cubes rattled. The buzz of conversation floated and swirled in the air around them. Outside the picture windows, the wind rustled through the treetops.

She squeezed his hand. “I’ll catch up. I see Gram.”

“Give the old bat a peck from me.” He held her hand until distance made the connection impossible. He double tapped his heart with his fist and pointed at her. I love you. She in turn put her fingertips to her lips and then toward him. It wasn’t quite as hokey as blowing a kiss, but darn close. Rory drifted across the length of the bar to his pals, the same ones who would continue to rib him about not having a bachelor party.

In Rachel’s opinion, if a man needed a strip show performed by a stranger while in the company of hooting men and overpriced beer, that man wasn’t ready to settle down and get married. Rory’s stag party entailed a basketball game with friends from work and college buddies. They got a good drunk on afterwards— in other words, it was his normal monthly guys’ night out.

“Hi, Gram.” Rachel slid into the recently-vacated seat next to her grandmother. It was no well-kept family secret that Gram needed constant monitoring and not for her health. A toddler was less likely to get into trouble than Gram. The terrible twos had nothing on the terrible eighty-twos. “Whatcha drinking?”


Tea, my dying ass. Rachel reached over to pick up the dainty, hand-painted teacup. She sniffed it. Whiskey. “Isn’t that on your no-no list?” Along with operating a moving vehicle, online gaming and, more recently, Internet dating. Basically anything to do with the Internet.

Gram squared her shoulders. “Not my no-no list. Your mother’s.”

Who was Rachel to deny her Gram that one small pleasure? “Your secret’s safe with me.” If she believed in nothing else, she believed in quality of life over quantity, especially when it came to her own wicked pleasures. Chocolate ice cream under a thick coating of chocolate syrup. Coffee. Coke. Candy. The four Cs. And she knew firsthand how unforgiving her mother could be about decadence in any form.

Gram patted her hand. “Big day tomorrow.”

“Yeah.” The biggest. “Any words of wisdom?” As long as they weren’t don’t do anything I wouldn’t do. Since Gram was a terror in the nursing home, pinching orderlies’ asses, organizing high-stakes poker games in the recreation room during quiet time and wandering off to catch the bus to the nearest bar, Rachel wasn’t sure what or who it was that she wouldn’t do.

Although Gramps had passed on to the great golf course in the sky, if there was a God, he and Gram enjoyed over fifty years of marriage. Or they looked like they’d enjoyed it, always teasing each other. They were inseparable. Gramps kissed her whenever he left and again upon his return. Not a sloppy kiss, just an affectionate peck. Anything else wouldn’t have been remembered fondly. Yuck. He called her Ma and she called him Pa. Cute. I’d shoot Rory if he called me Ma.

“Men love their whores,” Gram said, quite out of the blue.

“I…uh…excuse me?”

Rachel knew her dad loved his whore. He’d married her after a torrid affair that had ended her parents’ marriage. Which reminded her. She did a quick visual inspection to make sure her mother remained a good fifty feet from the whore in question. There was no official restraining order or anything like that. It was simply a good policy.

Fifty feet didn’t separate them, but with the many obstacles resting between the two women, tables, chairs and people, it was the equivalent of fifty feet. Next Rachel found Rory leaning casually against a round pillar with a beer in his hand. By his stance, he could be debating only one subject with his best man. Green technology. His passion. Better you than me, Greg.

Too bad his best man Greg, a childhood friend, was not the intellectual equivalent of Rory. He was nice enough, but Rachel suspected he’d need to remove his shoes, socks and pants to count to twenty-one.