Seize the Night - Out Tuesday October 28!
I have a new story out - SEIZE THE NIGHT, an erotic rom-com homage to Romeo & Juliet set among rival Thoroughbred racing families in Central Kentucky. Four years ago Remi and Julien's budding romance was cut short by an ugly feud between their families. Now there's much ado about something bad in the world of Kentucky horse racing, and Remi's certain her family and Julien's are behind it. She has nowhere else to go but to Julien for help, and she takes her trusty (and weird) assistant Merrick along on her quest. Will true love triumph over their families' wicked dealings? Read to see...
Click CAPTIVATED for order links. Read an excerpt below! This is one of my favorite stories I've ever written. Merrick, my homage to the great Mercutio, is like a male Nora if that gives you any idea why I like him so much.
I hope you buy it and enjoy both stories!
P.S. Between now and October 31st, you can enter to win a signed copy of SEIZE THE NIGHT on Goodreads. Click HERE!
SEIZE THE NIGHT
“You’re stressed about seeing this Julien guy again. Yes?” Merrick asked.
“A smidge,” she said. “A skosh. ”
“Are you going to tell me why?”
She shook her head. “Not if you won’t let me have your vodka.”
He gave her the vodka. “Sip it and talk. You can’t say something like ‘Julien and I started this rivalry’ and sashay off all dramatic-like without telling me the story.”
“It’s a humiliating story,” Remi said.
“Miss?” Merrick addressed the passing flight attendant. “I’m going to need some popcorn.”
“Talk,” he said. “And don’t leave out any juicy details.”
“I’m leaving out all the juicy details,” she said. “You get the bare bones.”
“Is there boning involved in the bare bones?”
“Near boning,” she said, wincing.
“Go on…,” Merrick said.
“This was back when I was in college—just graduated, actually. Winter graduation. I’d come home for Christmas, and Mom and Dad dragged me to a big Christmas party at the Rails.”
“That’s that huge horse farm in Versailles, yes?”
“Yes, bigger than Capital Hills and Arden put together.”
“Got it. So it’s Christmas. It’s a party. You’re what? Twenty-one?” Merrick asked.
“Twenty-two,” she said. “It was a formal party, so I had an excuse to buy an awesome dress. Jade strappy thing.”
“Did it make your tits look good?”
“You could have seen them from space,” she said.
“I approve. Continue, please.”
“Anyway,” she said and paused to sip Merrick’s vodka. “I was there about an hour before I saw this gorgeous guy. He was standing on the other side of the room talking to a big, hotshot Kentucky basketball player. So I assumed he was a University of Kentucky student, probably a freshman. He was drinking a glass of white wine, and he looked so handsome in his tuxedo. He had messy red hair. I couldn’t take my eyes off him.”
“Do you want to hear this story or not?”
“Julien was so beautiful that I had to chug a whole glass of wine just to work up the courage to go talk to him.”
“And you did, and he was smart and funny and nice and all that boring shit women love?”
“All that and more,” Remi said. “We walked through the house together. Gorgeous house. Every room decorated in a different Christmas theme. It was like something out of a fairy tale or a movie. I’d never seen anything like it, never felt anything like it. The night was perfect. Ever have a moment so perfect that you know you’ll remember it the rest of your life while you’re still living in the moment?”
“Never,” Merrick said. “But it’s a good dream.”
“It felt like a dream, but it wasn’t. This was real.”
Remi closed her eyes and found herself once more in that house on that night. She and Julien stood by the fireplace mantel lined with a dozen yellow candles in antique brass candleholders. The room was filled with antique toys and a tree that soared all the way to the cathedral ceiling. The silver and gold stars on the tree reflected the dancing light from the fireplace. She’d never been the sort of girl who believed in love at first sight. And then she met Julien and that night, that one perfect night, she believed.
“This guy must have been special,” Merrick said.
“I thought he could be.” Remi knew she was the world’s worst liar. Might as well tell the truth. “I didn’t know how special he was, because he only told me his first name—Julien. We talked about everything and nothing. I don’t even remember what we talked about except that he made me laugh and asked me questions like he wanted to know everything about me. Before I knew it, there we were, standing under the mistletoe.”
“Best kiss ever?” Merrick asked.
“Best kiss ever,” she agreed, remembering how Julien’s lips had shivered lightly at the first gentle contact. The gentleness quickly turned to passion, and before she knew it, her arms were around his back and his mouth was on her neck, at her ear, at her throat. Every Christmas since then she’d thought of Julien. The lights, the tree, the scent of pine and candles brought the memories back. Maybe that’s why she couldn’t imagine spending Christmas with Brian Roseland. Christmas was already claimed by Julien and that one perfect night he’d been everything she’d wanted but never thought to ask for.
“I’m guessing the inevitable happened,” Merrick said.
“We found an empty guest room. I thought I remembered locking the door behind us.”
Merrick cringed. “I see where this is going…”
Remi nodded, her face flushing at the memory.
“We kissed for a long time. Julien seemed a little nervous, and I didn’t want to rush things since we’d just met. But then he unzipped the back of my dress and I unbuttoned his shirt…and his pants…and then.”
“And then while things were happening, he said something weird and I stopped.”
“Weird? What? Did he deny the Holocaust or something?”
“He said…‘This feels better than I ever dreamt it would.’”
Merrick cocked his head to the side.
“Ever dreamed it would? You mean he’d never had a girl do the thing on him before? I assume you were doing the thing.”
“Oh, yes. I was doing the thing. With gusto. And when he intimated that no woman had ever done the thing on him before, I sobered up and asked him how old he was.”
“Oh fuck,” Merrick said.
“Merrick, I was half naked on a bed with the virginal barely-seventeen-year-old son of one of the most powerful families in Thoroughbred racing.”
“Two seconds after I told him we had to stop, the door opened. My dress was down, his jacket was off, his shirt was open, his pants were unzipped…and his mother saw it all.”
Merrick’s eyes went comically wide. Remi would have laughed but for the pain the memory still caused her.
“How bad was it?” Merrick asked. She appreciated that he seemed to understand the gravity of the situation instead of making Mrs. Robinson jokes.
“Bad. Julien’s mom had had a little too much Christmas punch. It turned into a screaming match that everyone at the party heard.”
“Oh, that’s bad.”
“Very bad. My parents showed up and started defending me. His parents called me every ugly name in the book. My father told Julien’s father, ‘Sir, control your wife.’ And five minutes later, my father and his father were fighting. Like physically fighting. Dad gave Mr. Brite a black eye and Mr. Brite gave Dad a bloody nose. It’s a miracle no one called the cops.”
“The moms pulled the dads off each other, but that almost turned into a catfight until Mr. and Mrs. Railey showed up and calmed everyone down. Poor Julien was begging everyone to just shut up and leave us alone so he and I could talk. Instead his parents dragged him—literally dragged him away from me—and he’s apologizing to me the entire time. ‘I’m so sorry, Remi. I should have told you. I’m so sorry…’”
She could still hear his humiliated words ringing in her ears.
“And that started the feud?” Merrick asked.
“That was the beginning. My parents were furious at the Brites for making a scene and accusing me of seducing their baby boy. The Brites were furious at my parents because my parents blamed Julien for lying to me about his age. It was awful. My parents forbade me from contacting Julien. I haven’t seen him since that night. Not even at any of the races.”
“Where did he go?”
She shrugged and tried to pretend that she had never looked for him and wondered that same question. Every race she’d looked for him.
“He disappeared. And that was that. Except his family still hasn’t forgiven me for almost seducing their son, and my family still hasn’t forgiven them for publicly humiliating me—us, really—at the party.”
“Have you forgiven him?” Merrick asked.
Remi smiled. “Julien didn’t do anything wrong. And while his mom was going batshit crazy on me, calling me every possible variation of slut, whore and harlot, he stood up to his parents and defended me.”
“I believe the words ‘blonde Jezebel’ were also employed. Julien told her off. He told everyone off.”
“Like a man. I approve.”
“He’s twenty-one now. I keep thinking I should…but it doesn’t matter. It was a long time ago.”
Merrick looked at her with searching serious eyes.
“You miss him,” he said.
Remi didn’t bother to deny it. “I had a perfect moment with him. You don’t get many of those in your life.”