Two more days . . .

Ad for CODefiance web

Excerpt

Jack stepped out of his Silverado and hesitated near the truck’s front end, keeping the thick engine block between him, the house, and anyone who might shoot. Besides, he wasn’t sure what mood Kat would be in.

The place appeared to be deserted. Not that anything looked different from last evening. Early morning sun reflected off the windows and exposed peeling paint beneath the eaves. The overgrown bushes near the long porch needed to go. Too easy for someone to hide behind and attack when entering the front door.

No birds chirped nearby. Something didn’t feel right. Kat wasn’t inside the house. A heavy sensation ran down his spine. Who was watching?

He stepped back and opened the crew door on his truck and pulled out a sawed-off shotgun. In the South, it was the weapon of choice against thieves and burglars. Using rock salt, the spray would cover anyone heading his way, and he didn’t worry about his aim, or killing anyone. Rather ironic considering the field of work he’d been in so long, but he was tired of people dying around him.

CIRCLE OF DEFIANCE – Scene 2

[For Scene 1: click here to read]

“What are you doing here, sweetheart?” Jack needed her out of there quick. Even embarrassment hadn’t made her leave. The way her dark brown eyes examined every hard inch of him, he expected to explode any second.

For the last week, while the blonde did some finishing touches to the tat, he’d handled the sensitive location without a problem. The artist looked mighty fine but with her husband keeping an eye out in the other room, he didn’t dare touch. Truth be told, the blonde hadn’t interested him, so controlling his urges had been easy. But as soon as his vision focused on Katerina Savalas, he hardened like a shore-deprived sailor spotting a titty bar.

“I need your services.” She turned to face him. He liked her girl-next-door looks that included freckles across her nose.

“Services, eh?”

The first time he’d met her, she’d been rescued from a crazy human trafficker by the mercenary organization he worked for. The Circle normally didn’t get involved in local problems, but the psycho had messed with one of their own, and they had no option but to stop it. Luckily for Katerina. After questioning her, he’d been ordered to return the sassy young woman to her father.

And her family wasn’t the ordinary type. Katerina’s father was the head of the infamous Savalas crime family. The Circle had connections on both sides of the legal fence, and to deliver her unharmed was a good opportunity to ensure the powerful man owed them big.

The only problem had been that when he tried to take her home, she refused to cooperate. Without a qualm, he’d tied her up and rolled her wiggling body inside a rug. When he’d delivered the present to her father, he held one end and gave a good tug. The spitting mad hellcat tumbled out at her father’s feet like Cleopatra to Caesar. What could he say? He loved the classics.

He looked over her shoulder toward the front door. Except for the blonde’s husband sitting on the floor rocking and holding his groin ― he lifted an eyebrow at Katerina ― he didn’t see her brothers bursting through the door. The last thing he needed was for her no-holds-barred family to come after him.

After another sympathetic glance at the whimpering man, he concluded she knew how to handle herself. So had she run away from home again?

He lifted the bottle of bourbon but hesitated, then set it back down. Maybe he’d heard her wrong.

“What services are you talking about? Where are your brothers?” He narrowed his eyes.

The blonde smeared ointment on the section she’d finished and slapped a bandage over it. Then she ignored them as she began cleaning her area.

“Can we go to Ed’s Diner and talk about it? I’ll pay.” Katerina’s gaze stayed on his face as he stood and pulled up his boxer briefs and jeans, adjusting his wayward cock.

Her cheeks turned a brighter pink. When was the last time he’d seen a woman blush ― and not from anger?

“Sure. It’d do some good to get a little food on my stomach.” When was the last time he ate? He remembered eating some chips last night. Or was that the night before? Drinking could do that to a person.

As he zipped and buttoned his pants, he continued to stare, looking for differences from the last time he’d seen her. She still had that roundness about her he liked. Women should be soft with some meat on their bones. The blond highlights in her brown chin-length hair looked real, obviously produced by the sun. The sprinkle of freckles across her cute nose confirmed her hours outside. With the small heart pendant on her necklace and dangling silver hearts from her ears, nothing shouted crime family princess. He’d never been interested in women like her, naive, stick-up-their-asses types.

What the hell was he thinking? The last thing he needed was trouble from the Savalas family. Yet, she looked at him as if she wanted to pour chocolate over his body and lick every inch.

No. To think of it, that was what he’d like to do with her. Certainly a good reason to stay away.

The most important reason to get rid of her fast was that if she hung around him long enough, she’d turn up dead.

They all did.

[updated 5/23/15 edited version]

An Excerpt of CIRCLE OF DEFIANCE

A few weeks ago, the kind people who signed up for my newsletter got the first peek of the first scene in Jack Drago’s story. Would you like to know who the heroine is?

CIRCLE OF DEFIANCE

The sharp smell of blood and alcohol penetrated the cool air as the glass door closed behind Katerina Savalas. She hesitated and scanned the unfamiliar surroundings. Being in the less than safe side of town, she wanted to get her business done and over with as fast as possible.

Never in her wildest nightmares had she imagined stepping into such a place. When her dad kicked her out of the house, she’d sworn she’d find another way to express herself. Too many people believed it to be the perfect way to protest. Instead, it became a rebellion that led to a habit. Not her. No way.

Looking at an intriguing drawing on the wall, she shook her head. Maybe it was a tiny bit tempting.

“Hello, pretty little girl, what can I do for you?” The man smiled and his skin pulled at the black swirling pattern covering one side of his face. A chain connected his pierced nose to a large spool in his ear and jingled when he moved around the counter. He stopped a little too close.

She swallowed, trying to keep her stomach from turning upside down. Just thinking about a needle sinking into her skin gave her the willies. Taking another deep swallow to settle her stomach, she forced her legs to stiffen and hold her up.

Wrenching her gaze away from the maltreated chunk of fat and skin, she looked over his shoulder to regain her composure. “I was told Jack Drago’s here.”

“Who told you that?” His tone was threatening.

“Phil at the Sandbox,” she answered, straining to see around a curtain in the back of the room.

Whoever named the bar had thought they were cute, playing with Sand City’s name. She agreed the place was pretty decent as it sported a couple pool tables in the back and a small stage for local bands. Even on Tuesday nights, families gathered and enjoyed an old movie shown on a drop-down screen. A person could call the atmosphere homey, for a bar. She’d visited it several times since moving into the small town. But then again, the Sandbox being the only bar in town limited her choices.

The owner had told her to hang around until late that evening. Jack often showed up by nine. The problem with that was she didn’t want to waste any more time. So he’d suggested checking at Lonnie’s Place.

From what she’d seen so far of Lonnie’s, she preferred the Sandbox Bar and Grill.

“Phil’s going to get his ass beat, if he ain’t careful. He knows better than to give out info about Jack.”

“So he’s here?” When the man’s brow wrinkled in confusion, she added, “Jack. Is Jack here?”

The Mike Tyson wannabe leaned close, his onion-loaded breath bursting across her face. She moved back a step and pretended to scratch her nose. Anything to block the smell.
“Whatcha going to give me?” He grabbed her arm. “Everyone pays a toll.” The leer told her what he expected.

Without thinking, she pushed forward and brought her knee up hard. He hit the floor with a scream so high-pitched it came out more like a squeak before he curled into a ball. Thanks to her brothers’ endless roughhousing, she’d learned that little trick a long time ago. She grinned and stepped over his body, heading toward the large red satin curtain separating the back of the room. He’d think twice before placing a hand on her again. Nevertheless, she’d better find Jack quick before the man recovered.

Pausing for a second to take a deep breath, she then fisted the soft material, yanking it across the pole, making the large metal rings clank. She gasped.

Stretched out on a recliner, head shaved, broad chest bare, jeans and black underwear around one ankle with a large smirk on his face, was Jack Drago. A shapely blonde sat between his legs with her head bent over his groin.

Face hot, Katerina took one step back but hesitated, squashing the desire to turn and run. She needed his help, and she couldn’t put it off any longer. With her decision made, she forced her gaze to meet his, not caring about whatever she intruded on. Light blue eyes examined her with lazy, licentious interest. No matter how uncomfortable his stare made her feel, she refused to look away.

The man was still as gorgeous as she remembered with his grid-defined abs and huge muscled arms on full display. Some type of Celtic design covered one shoulder to wrist. Piercings through his nipples, one brow, and a loop in his lip made him look like a pagan god while the woman worshiped his . . . staff?

Warmth spread across her face and neck.

“Hey, you look familiar,” he said in the deep gruff voice she remembered. “I know.” He lifted a stubborn chin. “You’re that Savalas girl. Kristina. No. Katerina. Yeah, that’s it.” He slung a beefy arm over his head; his relaxed pose displayed muscles and toned body like a romance novel cover. “Come over and tell me how she’s doing. She claims to be a pro at it, but I think I’m her first.” He chuckled as he lifted a bottle of Devil’s Cut in his other hand and guzzled a third of it.

Shaking her head, Katerina held up a palm. “No. No. I’ll pass. I didn’t mean to interrupt.”
The blonde huffed and leaned back. “I’ve been doing this for ten years, and I’m a hell of lot better at it than the fellow in Atlanta you were telling me about.”

Fellow? Eyebrows raised, her gaze returned to his face. He swung both ways? Then a mechanical humming stopped. What in the world? Unable to resist any longer, she peeked over the blonde’s shoulder.

She breathed a sigh of relief on seeing the artwork the woman worked on. Feeling a little stupid ― it was a tattoo shop ― she eyed the design.

On the left side of Jack’s groin, a large black ink pattern depicted a fallen angel with wings curled over a bowed head and around a bruised, bloody body. Dark feathers brushed Jack’s abs and ended where his thigh and torso met. The design was beautiful and poignant.

When Jack’s cock twitched, she realized where her gaze had drifted, and her face heated again until it probably looked like an overripe tomato.

She twirled around, giving him her back. “Uh . . . I need to talk with you. After you pull up your pants.” The image of his cock would be seared on her brain for the rest of her life.
Sure, she’d seen the male species in their altogether ― her brothers lacked the modesty gene as kids, and she enjoyed the occasional picture on the Internet. For that matter, she was no twenty-six-year-old virgin ― but Jack was different. First, her interest in him was in no way family related, and second, he looked ten times better than anything on the Internet or any of the men she’d dated. Jack was a mature man, with muscles and tats bulging and rippling in places she never imagined could exist in real life. Oh, yes. The man was sin incarnate. And dangerous.

That was part of the reason she needed him.

[Update 5/22/15 edited version]

**

 If you would like to be one of the first to read more, then click here to sign up for the newsletter.

[For Scene 2 – click here.]