Wednesday, August 9, 2017

AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER: Home In His Eyes

HOME IN HIS EYES

Cade Creek 15
coming August 24th
Adam Bozeman's world ended when he was informed his lover had been killed in a shooting. Unable to get over his heartache, he decides to go home to Cade Creek. But his misery only grows worse when he discovers his lover alive and well and living in his hometown. Before he can deal with the betrayal he feels at being lied to, he has to make sure Mike stays alive.
DEA Agent Mike Ryan spent months in Cade Creek recovering from a bullet wound from a botched mission and a broken heart from being dumped by his lover. Coming face to face with Adam changes the betrayal he feels into confusion. Someone is trying desperately to keep them apart and Mike is determined to find the culprit.
Learning to trust each other again seems simple compared to trying to keep each other alive when the bullets start flying. But Cade Creek is a close-knit community and they don't take kindly to someone going after one of their own. When trouble arrives, Adam and Mike learn they have the support of more people than they thought.
http://www.bookstrand.com/book/home-in-his-eyes

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER: Taking Care of You

TAKING CARE OF YOU

Taking Care 1

PRE-ORDER TODAY!

AVAILABLE: Tuesday, August 22nd

[Erotic Alternative Contemorary Romance, M/M, HEA]
Shane Turner never hid the fact that he was out and proud, not even when it cost him the use of his legs. When he's attacked on his way home from the Pride Parade, he learns that being out and proud might be dangerous, but it also brings him the rescuer of his dreams.

Michael Franks has issues on top of issues, but the frightened cries of a man being attacked make them seem insignificant. When he rescues Shane and discovers a man who makes his heart race, he has to find the courage to step outside of his comfort zone in order to hold onto Shane's heart.

The instant attraction Shane and Michael feel for one another is something they want to explore, but physical and mental challenges are ahead for the two men. Will they be able to overcome them while trying to survive the three attackers who want Shane dead?

 http://www.bookstrand.com/book/taking-care-of-you

Saturday, July 29, 2017

FINISHED & SUBMITTED: Home In His Eyes

HOME IN HIS EYES

Cade Creek 15
coming August 24th
Adam Bozeman's world ended when he was informed his lover had been killed in a shooting. Unable to get over his heartache, he decides to go home to Cade Creek. But his misery only grows worse when he discovers his lover alive and well and living in his hometown. Before he can deal with the betrayal he feels at being lied to, he has to make sure Mike stays alive.
DEA Agent Mike Ryan spent months in Cade Creek recovering from a bullet wound from a botched mission and a broken heart from being dumped by his lover. Coming face to face with Adam changes the betrayal he feels into confusion. Someone is trying desperately to keep them apart and Mike is determined to find the culprit.
Learning to trust each other again seems simple compared to trying to keep each other alive when the bullets start flying. But Cade Creek is a close-knit community and they don't take kindly to someone going after one of their own. When trouble arrives, Adam and Mike learn they have the support of more people than they thought.
http://www.stormyglenn.com/homeinhiseyes.htm

STORY EXCERPT
Adam Bozeman sighed as he pulled up in front of his brother's place. He turned off the engine and just sat there and stared up at the big white farmhouse he had spent so much time in growing up. He had expected to feel the same comfort he always got when he came home for a visit, but it wasn't there, not this time.
Home had a different meaning to him now, and it was one of the reasons he had come back to Cade Creek. The home he had found in the city had been ripped away from him, painfully, horribly. He had come home to regroup and try to move on with his life.
Adam's eyes watered as he realized it wasn't going to work. Adam wondered if coming home had been such a good idea. He didn't think he would find the answers he had been looking for here. He was starting to doubt he ever would. There seemed to be no place on earth that would tell him why good people got taken and bad ones got to stay.
Adam pressed his hand to the twin rings hanging from a gold chain around his neck. He drew in a shaky breath and then blew it out. The number of coping mechanisms he had learned over the last few months were astronomical. That not a damn one of them actually worked was even more amazing to him.
He knew that was why he had come home. Nothing was working back in the city. He was slowly fracturing. It was becoming harder and harder to pull himself out of bed each morning. Adam was terrified if something didn't give, he would.
Coming back to Cade Creek had seemed like his only option. His family was here. His friends were here. The town he had grown up in was here. Maybe, if he was really lucky, he could find himself here as well.
Adam smiled when he saw the porch light come on right before the front door opened and Russ stepped out, a hot cup of coffee in his hands. Adam could see the steam coming off of it. Russ was the only person Adam knew who liked his coffee lava hot.
Adam opened the door of his truck and climbed out. He pushed his hands deep into the pockets of his jeans as he walked around the front of the vehicle and made his way across the driveway to the porch.
"Russ."
"Adam." Russ nodded to him as he held up his cup. "Coffee?"
"Yeah, that'd be great."
Russ turned without another word and walked back inside the farmhouse. Adam climbed the steps and followed his brother into the house, making sure he closed the door firmly behind him. There was a nip in the air and Adam knew there were small children in the house. Keeping them happy and healthy was important.
As early as it was—the sun hadn't even come up yet—Adam was a little surprised to see Jonny in the kitchen making breakfast. He figured the man would still be in bed sleeping.
"Hey, Adam." Jonny smiled at him before flipping the eggs he was cooking. "Hungry?"
"Naw, man, but thanks. I'm just going to do some coffee."
"Well, you know where it's at."
He did. Adam walked over to the red coffee pot plugged into the wall. While the color and brand had changed over the years, the placement had not. There had been a coffee pot in the corner of the countertop for as long as Adam could remember.
He poured himself a cup, keeping it black. He really didn't need the sugar right now, no matter how much he liked his coffee sweet. He probably didn't need the caffeine either, but he had to do something with his hands. Holding a coffee cup was as good as anything.
Adam swallowed tightly when the room went silent. He glanced up. Jonny was cooking, but Russ was sitting at the small kitchen table, staring at him between sips of coffee. He was waiting, and Adam knew it.
"I need to come home for a little while, and staying with Mom and Dad won't work. I love them, but I just can't deal with the questions right now."
"All right."
That was Russ, a man of few words.
"Can I stay here?" Adam asked. "It won't be for long, a few days, maybe a week. I just...I need someplace to get my head screwed back on straight."
"You in trouble?"
"No." Adam wished it was that easy. "Some things happened back in the city, things I'm not ready to talk about yet. I need to get away for a little while."
Like forever.
"What about that veterinarian internship you were getting set to take?"
Adam dropped his eyes to stare down into his coffee. He drew in a shaky breath and then released it slowly. He wasn't sure he was ever going to take it now, but that was another thing he wasn't ready to discuss. Not yet. He knew he wouldn't be able to put Russ off forever, not to mention their parents. But for now, they would just have to accept that he needed time.
"It's been postponed for awhile."
He could give Russ that much.
"All right."
Adam smiled as he glanced up. "So, can I stay?"
Russ's eyebrows shot up. "You have to ask?"
Adam shrugged. "It's the polite thing to do. You bought this farm with Mitch. I'd think you'd need to discuss it with him as well before saying yes."
"Has the city fried your brain?"
Adam chuckled as he brought his cup op to his lips. Leave it to his brother to put things into prospective.  "No, but I didn't want to presume."
Russ's eyes rolled. "Presume, jackass."
"The second bedroom at the top of the stairs is free," Jonny said as he set a plate down in front of Russ. "Why don't you go get your stuff and put it away? I'll make a fresh pot of coffee for you."
Adam nodded as he took another sip of his coffee and then set the cup down on the counter. He knew Russ had to get to work pretty soon, which meant Jonny was going to want a few minutes alone with him. Adam was good with that. He just didn't want to see it.
It hurt too much.
"If you need anything, Adam," Jonny called out as Adam headed for the door, "we're here."
Adam gave a sharp nod of his head without turning around. Maybe coming home hadn't been a good idea. He was still having trouble coming to terms with the new direction his life had taken. It wasn't that he didn't want to share that, but that he didn't know how to put it into words.
How did he explain that one moment in time had destroyed his entire world?

Thursday, July 27, 2017

RELEASE DAY: Boone's Baby (Scent of a Mate 9)


BOONE'S BABY
Scent of a Mate 9

AVAILABLE NOW! 

[Erotic Alternative Paranormal Romance, shape-shifter, M/M, HEA]


As sheriff of Potter's Creek, Boone Marshall was just doing his job when he went to investigate a report of vandalism. He never expected to find his future. When he discovers Jackie is his mate, he's overjoyed.
Jackie is not. His fear of shifters sends him into a panic, uncaring that they have already mated. He wants nothing to do with shifters, even if he is one. After being tortured by a madman bent on creating omega shifters, the last thing Jackie wants to do is get involved with someone on four paws.
But fate will not be denied. Suffering from a mating heat gone wild, both men give into their desires for each other. When truths are spoken, they both discover that they have a lot more to learn about the world than they thought they knew. Shifters and humans come in all shapes and sizes, some good, some not so good. Boone and Jackie just have to figure out who they can trust before the past destroys what they are trying to build together.
 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

FREY ORTEGA: Canute


Canute
~ The Kindred Series ~


An immortal soldier, tested in the fires of war…

In the aftermath of the attack on his brother and his family, Canute is coaxed into joining forces with another vampire family in the hopes of ending a long feud between two rivaling clans vying for control.

A false pretense…

Under the guise of a Kindred bond, Canute finds himself used as a pawn in some war he wants no part of. Angry, confused, and unable to trust himself, he loses his already tenuous control and becomes berserker, losing himself into the night.

Fighting with fear…

When Canute wakes up, he finds himself in the presence of a young man named Haru, who ends up being his true Kindred. Afraid that he’s still beguiled and unable to fully trust so soon after an immense betrayal, Canute has to fight past his fears and his weaknesses to accept his Kindred. Between immense betrayal and a war where no one can trust their judgment, can he learn to trust—and love—again?

-=-=-=-=-

CANUTE , the second book in the Kindred Series, is an M/M vampire romance with no cheating, no cliffhangers, and a happily-ever-after. Expect magic, a little angst, and just the tiniest bit of darkness!

-=-=-=-=-

Story Snippet:

Canute wondered how a young man could be so openly giving, so openly trusting, in this cruel, cruel world that they both lived in. He said he was a kami, so he had to know that there were evils lurking around every corner, right?

Still, he wasn’t about to turn down a drink. It was probably in part due to his interest in Haru, which was strong enough that Canute could consciously realize it, and another part due to his thirst. Desperate times called for desperate measures. And on the other hand, Canute wanted to feel that warmth and sunniness for himself.

Canute gingerly took a hold of Haru’s wrist, and he rubbed his thumb slowly across the middle, just firm enough to figure out where exactly the vein was. He lifted Haru’s arm up until it was mere inches away from his lips.

“Are you sure?” Canute asked.

Haru nodded. “It’s not going to hurt, right?”

Canute shrugged. He probably wasn’t being reassuring, but he didn’t know if Haru was particularly sensitive, or if he was somehow the type of creature who weakened easily. “It shouldn’t.”

Haru looked up at Canute, then back down at his wrist. He did this a couple of times, enough so that Canute realized that Haru was probably feeling a little conflicted.

“If you don’t want to, I can always just hunt outside,” Canute said, trying to reassure Haru. “I won’t hurt a human, if you’re worried about them. But a willing donor will always beat an unwilling victim.”

There was a flicker of uncertainty that Canute saw in those eyes, but it was enough for Canute to realize that toying with this young kami was perhaps too much for Haru. He’d gone from embarrassed and red in the face, to scared and nervous in the span of minutes.

Haru looked up at Canute, then back down at his wrist. Back up at his face, and then down at his wrist. This happened a number of times more, before the kami finally took a deep breath.

“Please, if it’ll help you, then you should have some,” Haru said. “Immodesty is a small price to pay for helping someone in need. Besides, this is for your health. It’s not like we’re doing anything bad.”

Canute couldn’t contain his surprise. He raised an eyebrow at Haru and nodded, the thought crossing his mind that he probably didn’t need to tease the younger man so much.

Canute yanked the young kami forward until Haru was only about a foot away from his body, and then he lifted the man’s wrist to his lips. He felt his fangs ache. His inner demon already wanted out. The gentle thrum of a pulse was so close, it would have been so easy to just take it…

The vampire stilled his body, taking a deep breath before baring his fangs. There was no better way to do this than just quickly—otherwise he would be going hungry for maybe a couple hours more, at best, and maybe even weeks at worst.

Canute plunged his fangs right into that vein, bursting with vitality and life and letting the taste, the essence, flow right into his lips. It made him shiver with both arousal and need.

Gods, Haru tasted like the sun. He tasted like warmth, and heat, and all the things that Canute didn’t know he could still feel. Haru’s blood was sweet and gentle, much like the man himself, and Canute knew he had to keep himself from drinking too much. Even though Haru was immortal, it wasn’t as though he was a fount of blood. Canute had to pace himself, both for his sake as well as Haru’s.

He might have been a monster, but he wasn’t that much of a monster.

One sip, and then another led to a groan coming out of his lips, and it preceded Haru’s own unceremonious squeak. Canute thought it was cute, much like the rest of Haru’s actions and his demeanor, and with every slow, but light sip he partook of the kami’s blood, he felt strength return to his body. Strong enough to feel, in full effect, how Haru made his cock rise in arousal, and things that once lay dormant inside him to come out, brimming with life.

When he looked up into Haru’s face, the expression that met his was flushed. Haru was biting down on the corner of his lower lip, and the effect was as immediate as it was strong. Canute wanted nothing more than to slide right into the kami’s body right there, and claim him.

It felt like something was clicking into place, and Canute needed to push it aside. If he did this, he would bring so much untold danger to these kind souls. No, he couldn’t think about the possibility…

The possibility that maybe, just maybe, this young kami was his actual Kindred.

Was this the universe’s way of righting a wrong, of giving him back his hope?
 
-=-=-=-=-

Author Bio:
Frey Ortega writes erotic romance, primarily of the gay variety. He lives in what a friend affectionately calls “the south-easternmost part of Spain,” which is an archipelago called the Philippines. He’s a graduate of the Royal, Pontifical, and Catholic University in Manila, with a Bachelors of Science degree in Psychology. Primarily, he works as a writer, a novelist, sometimes a video game journalist, and overall a homebody who spends way too much time on the internet.
He loves writing about people, especially people of all different shapes, sizes and backgrounds, falling in love. You might also find him playing video games from time to time! His favorite ones are MMORPGs, and role-playing games in general (and not just the ones in the bedroom.)
 
Stalk Me!
Personal Website: http://freyortega.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/freyortegawrites
Facebook Fanpage: https://www.facebook.com/writerfreyortega/
Facebook Group: Frey’s Friends and Follies, https://www.facebook.com/groups/754579891359495/
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Frey-Ortega/e/B00P50H6AC/
 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/freyortega
 
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8581516.Frey_Ortega

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER: Boone's Baby


BOONE'S BABY
Scent of a Mate 9

PRE-ORDER AVAILABLE!

AVAILABLE: Thursday, July 27th

[Erotic Alternative Paranormal Romance, shape-shifter, M/M, HEA]

As sheriff of Potter's Creek, Boone Marshall was just doing his job when he went to investigate a report of vandalism. He never expected to find his future. When he discovers Jackie is his mate, he's overjoyed.
Jackie is not. His fear of shifters sends him into a panic, uncaring that they have already mated. He wants nothing to do with shifters, even if he is one. After being tortured by a madman bent on creating omega shifters, the last thing Jackie wants to do is get involved with someone on four paws.
But fate will not be denied. Suffering from a mating heat gone wild, both men give into their desires for each other. When truths are spoken, they both discover that they have a lot more to learn about the world than they thought they knew. Shifters and humans come in all shapes and sizes, some good, some not so good. Boone and Jackie just have to figure out who they can trust before the past destroys what they are trying to build together.
 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

RELEASE DAY: Stone Cold Lover

STONE COLD LOVER

Assassins Inc. 2

[Erotic Alternative Paranormal Romance, shape-shifter, M/M, HEA]

Sinclair
Now that I had replaced Councilman James as leader of the panther shifters, I figured life would get a little easier. Boy, was I wrong. Between losing my mate and the attempts on my life, I have to find out what happened to seven missing shifter kids, and I don't know who I can trust.

Stone
I had made myself stay away from my mate for years out of a sense of guilt. That all ended when I discovered someone was out to get him. In order to keep Sinclair safe, I'll have to do something I never thought I'd do...ask for help.
  
Note: This book is written in the first-person point of view of both main characters.

http://www.bookstrand.com/book/stone-cold-lover

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

FINISHED & SUBMITTED: Boone's Baby


BOONE'S BABY
Scent of a Mate 9

coming July 27th
As sheriff of Potter's Creek, Boone Marshall was just doing his job when he went to investigate a report of vandalism. He never expected to find his future. When he discovers Jackie is his mate, he's overjoyed.
Jackie is not. His fear of shifters sends him into a panic, uncaring that they have already mated. He wants nothing to do with shifters, even if he is one. After being tortured by a madman bent on creating omega shifters, the last thing Jackie wants to do is get involved with someone on four paws.
But fate will not be denied. Suffering from a mating heat gone wild, both men give into their desires for each other. When truths are spoken, they both discover that they have a lot more to learn about the world than they thought they knew. Shifters and humans come in all shapes and sizes, some good, some not so good. Boone and Jackie just have to figure out who they can trust before the past destroys what they are trying to build together.
 

Saturday, July 1, 2017

MANLOVE FANTASIES - Summer Edition


The summer is here and it’s sizzling hot and we’re just burning up with ideas. I've given our authors one requirement this time. Their stories must involve a wedding with at least one character being a shifter. Let’s see how creative our ManLove authors can be…

Our contest will run the entire month of July. Enter to win our grand prize, a Kindle Fire HD loaded with MM stories. So, come back every day and leave a comment along with your email addy (failure to leave an email disqualifies you). Each day a new winner will be chosen. At the end of the month, ALL comments (with emails) will be entered to win our grand prize (even if you already won one of our gift certificates, you will still be entered).

Rules of the Contest:
You may enter once per day, but only once per day. Each day the contest runs from 12:01am (PST) to 11:59pm (PST). Once that day has ended, no further entries may be added for that day. You must wait for the next day to enter again.
To enter every day, you MUST comment every day, on that given day. Any entries added after the 11:59pm (PST) cutoff time will not be entered.

You MUST leave your email address in your comment or we will have no way to contact you if you win. Any comments left without an email will not be considered.
Once the contest has started, leave your comment on that author's page to be counted each day.

 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

RELEASE DAY: Hot Mess 5

HOT MESS 5

AVAILABLE NOW!

[Erotic Alternative Contemporary Romance, M/M, HEA]

Lany
There came a point where I began to believe life was perfect. I was married to the sexiest Italian ever trained to be a SWAT officer, I had two beautiful little girls, and more friends than I could count. And then my world fell out from beneath my feet, and I discovered that evil was alive and well and coming for me. I had two choices. I could hide in my panic room or spit in the devil's face.

I spit in the devil's face.

Salvador
Protecting my family from the evil in the world would be a whole lot easier if I wasn't married to Lany, but I wouldn't change a second of our life together, no matter what came our way. I just wished my gorgeous husband wasn't such a hot mess. When the devil arrived on our doorstep and threatened all I held dear, I did the only thing I could.

I spit in the devil's face.
 
Note: This book is written in the first-person point of view of both main characters.

http://www.bookstrand.com/book/hot-mess-5

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER: Stone Cold Lover

STONE COLD LOVER

Assassins Inc. 2

PRE-ORDER TODAY!

AVAILABLE: Thursday, July 6th

[Erotic Alternative Paranormal Romance, shape-shifter, M/M, HEA]

Sinclair
Now that I had replaced Councilman James as leader of the panther shifters, I figured life would get a little easier. Boy, was I wrong. Between losing my mate and the attempts on my life, I have to find out what happened to seven missing shifter kids, and I don't know who I can trust.

Stone
I had made myself stay away from my mate for years out of a sense of guilt. That all ended when I discovered someone was out to get him. In order to keep Sinclair safe, I'll have to do something I never thought I'd do...ask for help.
  
Note: This book is written in the first-person point of view of both main characters.

http://www.bookstrand.com/book/stone-cold-lover

AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER: Hot Mess 5

HOT MESS 5

PRE-ORDER TODAY!

AVAILABLE: Thursday, June 22nd

[Erotic Alternative Contemporary Romance, M/M, HEA]

Lany
There came a point where I began to believe life was perfect. I was married to the sexiest Italian ever trained to be a SWAT officer, I had two beautiful little girls, and more friends than I could count. And then my world fell out from beneath my feet, and I discovered that evil was alive and well and coming for me. I had two choices. I could hide in my panic room or spit in the devil's face.

I spit in the devil's face.

Salvador
Protecting my family from the evil in the world would be a whole lot easier if I wasn't married to Lany, but I wouldn't change a second of our life together, no matter what came our way. I just wished my gorgeous husband wasn't such a hot mess. When the devil arrived on our doorstep and threatened all I held dear, I did the only thing I could.

I spit in the devil's face.
 
Note: This book is written in the first-person point of view of both main characters.

http://www.bookstrand.com/book/hot-mess-5

Monday, June 5, 2017

TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS BY DANI GRAY

TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS
 
Coming Soon
 
[Erotic MM Contemporary Romance]
 
After being beaten nearly to death by his father for being gay, Travis Cooper escapes and finds safety with friends. He learns to make a life for himself, but one that doesn't require him to leave the house or the security he's found there. When the world intrudes on his safe zone, he has to rely on others to keep him out of harm's way.
 
When Abraham Isaacs is called in by his boss to protect a friend, he finds a frightened young man who needs his special brand of protection, both for his safety and for his heart. Getting Travis to trust him might be the hardest battle.
 
While trying to figure out who is sending threatening letters, Travis and Abraham have to figure out if the attraction building between them is worth stepping outside of their comfort zone and into danger, because someone wants them both dead.
 

TAKING CARE OF YOU BY DANI GRAY

TAKING CARE OF YOU
 
by
 
Dani Gray
 

Coming soon
 
[Erotic MM Contemporary Romance]
 
Shane Turner never hid the fact that he was out and proud, not even when it cost him the use of his legs. When he's attacked on his way home from the Pride Parade, he learns that being out and proud might be dangerous, but it also brings him the rescuer of his dreams.

Michael Franks has issues on top of issues, but the frightened cries of a man being attacked make them seem insignificant. When he rescues Shane and discovers a man who makes his heart race, he has to find the courage to step outside of his comfort zone in order to hold onto Shane's heart.
 
The instant attraction Shane and Michael feel for one another is something they want to explore, but physical and mental challenges are ahead for the two men. Will they be able to overcome them while trying to survive the three attackers who want Shane dead?
 
 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

STORY SHORT: Another Hot Mess

 
 
ANOTHER HOT MESS
 

Lany
"Thank you so much for coming."
My smiled stretched my lips to the point of pain.
"We'll get together later this week. I'll call you."
Officer Lyn Philips chewed on his lower lip for a moment before sending me a quivering smile. "You sure you don't want some help cleaning this up? I don't mind staying."
"No, that's okay.
By the time I shut the door behind the last of the people I had invited to Sal's surprise birthday part, I was ready to scream. The smile instantly fell from my lips when I turned to survey the room behind me.
I had decorated until there wasn't a spot that didn't have a balloon or a candle or a streamer. Something bright and shiny and birthday like. The dining room table had been set up as a type of round buffet. I had cooked everything myself under the supervision of the master chef my mother had hired.
She didn't cook, but she could plan a social event with the best of them.
She knew the best chefs.
Some of the food had been nibbled on, but most of it still sat on the table. I had tried to send it home with people. What was I going to do with it?
Everyone had declined.
The beautiful three layer birthday cake sat prominently at the head of the table.
Sal's spot.
Except Sal wasn't here.
Again.
Tears swam in my eyes as I started for the kitchen. I was going to need a shit load of containers to put away all of the leftovers. We'd be eating hors d'oeuvre for days.
Up side? I wouldn't have to cook.
There was entire birthday cake left. The idea of eating all that sugar—no matter how much the chocolate ganache and butter cream cake tasted—made my stomach roll. That was a lot of sugar.
I rubbed my stomach, my lip curling back in disgust.
I wasn't sure if it was the thought of all that sugar or that I had no one to share it with that had my stomach so upset, but I was on the edge of saying to hell with it and just going to bed. And I would have if I didn't know there was no one else here to clean up the mess except me.
The partiers had all been sent home and the birthday boy had never come home.
This seemed to be a reoccurring theme with Sal, one that I fully intended to break the man of, even if I had to use a baseball bat.
He had missed our anniversary, not once, but twice. Granted, his reasons were pretty good, but still. I had planned special nights each time, and each time, he had either shown up late or not at all. Now, he had missed his surprise birthday party.
I wasn't sure there was an excuse for that.
My anger at Sal hadn't even begun to cover how embarrassed I had been when I had to call it a night and send all of our friends home. It had been all I could do to keep the smile on my face as I said goodnight to everyone. I had no idea how I was going to face them again.
I had so many reasons for being angry at Sal, and as much as I wanted to stay angry with him, I knew I wouldn't. The sexy man's smile along was enough to make me forget everything except him.
Damn it.
I finished putting the food away and then wiped down the table and put the party supplies away. Maybe I could use them sometime in the future. Maybe not. At this point, I didn't know if I would ever plan another surprise anything.
It hadn't worked out so well for me in the past.
Taking the streamers down was easy enough. I just had to grab one end and yank. The balloons were a little harder. There were a lot of them.
My anger still rooted in my gut, I grabbed a safety pin out of my office desk, bent one side back, and then walked around popping balloon after balloon. By the time I made my way around the great room and over toward the dining room, it looked as if there had been a balloon massacre. Multi colored balloon pieces were everywhere.
I giggled, some of my anger fading.
I reached out and poked three more balloons as fast as I could.
Pop. Pop. Pop.
That was actually quite satisfying.
I began to smile as I danced around the living room, popping any balloon I can across. One by one, they all fell prey to my safety pin kung fu!
Pop. Pop. Pop.
The front doors crashed open.
I screamed and spun around, automatically reaching out to slam my hand down on the panic button built into every room. The alarm would silently sound downstairs in security, alerting them to a problem. If a call wasn't made, the police would be alerted, and because my uncle was the police commissioner, they'd come with sirens blaring, all hands ready.
"Sal!" I shouted when I saw my man standing in the broken doorway, his gun drawn. "What the fuck?"
 
* * * *
 
Salvador
I quickly looked my lover over, making sure he was uninjured. He looked okay, but one could never be too sure. More than once, that had not been the case.
I shuddered at renewed memories before turning my attention to the rest of the penthouse I shared with Lany. "Where are they?"
I didn't see anyone except Lany.
"Where are who?" Lany asked, the frown on his face not promising.
"I heard gunfire."
Lany's eyes rolled.
I jumped when he reached over and poked something at a balloon hanging off the wall.
Pop.
Lany's eyes narrowed at me.
Pop. Pop. Pop.
Fuck.
He was pissed.
I lowered my gun, taking one more look around before I placed it back in my hip holster. "You were popping balloons?"
Lany just stared at me.
I shrugged, embarrassment flooding my cheeks.
It had sounded like gunfire.
Sort of.
"What's with the balloons, Lany?"
It looked like a balloon massacre.
"Nothing." Lany turned and went back to popping balloons.
Pop. Pop. Pop.
Oh yeah, he was pissed.
I wasn't sure what was going on, but it was obvious I had done something wrong. Lany could barely look at me. I was almost afraid to hear what he would say if he tried to talk to me.
Still, I couldn't have my baby mad at me. Lany and I didn't work that way. He was my world and I was his. We only worked when we were a team.
"Caro, amore mio."
I was not above using underhanded means to get my Lany to smile at me. The man had a distinct weakness for Italian love words.
Lany turned and glared.
Again.
I was the commanding officer of one of the most elite SWAT units in the city. I faced armed criminals and psychotic people on a daily basis. I put my life in harm's way so that others could live free.
Lany in a snit scared me more.
I grabbed Lany and drew him into my arms.
Lany fit perfectly against me as he always did. His head tucked into my chest. His slim body pressed to mine. His arms looped around of much of me as he could reach. When I cupped a hand around his pert little bottom, Lany's legs lifted and wrapped around my hips.
"Baby, what's wrong?"
Lany sniffled.
Fuck.
"Lany?"
"You didn't come home," Lany mumbled against my chest. "Again."
"You knew I was going to be late."
Lany's head snapped up. "No, I didn't."
"Lany, I told you last week I had to work late tonight. I had to take my six month qualification tests on the shooting range."
Lany blinked up at me for several silent moments before swallowing hard. "That was tonight?"
"Yeah."
Lany's eyes went wide. "Oops."
My eyes narrowed. "Lany, what kind of mess have you gotten into this time?"
 
* * * *
 
For more on the Hot Mess series... http://www.stormyglenn.com/hotmessseries.htm