Wednesday, April 19, 2017

RELEASE DAY: The Right Time For Us

THE RIGHT TIME FOR US

Cade Creek 14

[Erotic Alternative Romanctic Suspense, M/M, HEA]

Robby Fletcher had a lot of things to be ashamed of, but being assaulted by his oldest brother and his pals wasn’t one of them. It’s been going on for years, but after one beating too many, Robby has finally had enough.

When he learns that Moose is in danger, Robby wants to protect his brother for once, and that means going to Cade Creek to warn him that Billy is out for revenge. But nothing ever comes easy for Robby. He barely has time to step foot in Cade Creek before he’s running for his life.

Gus Fletcher knew something was wrong the second three rough-looking guys stepped inside his feed and seed store. He knew they were after something, and he was determined they wouldn’t get it, especially when he discovered the frightened man hiding under his desk.

Between misunderstandings, the danger from Billy and his cohorts, and trying to help Robby and Moose mend their relationship, falling in love seems easy. But finding the right time for it is almost impossible.

http://www.bookstrand.com/book/the-right-time-for-us

Saturday, April 1, 2017

MANLOVE FANTASIES SPRING EDITION

Welcome to the ManLove Fantasies
 
~ Spring Edition ~

We’ve done a lot of different thing on this contest, and this time is no different. I’ve asked our participating authors to tell us a story about the picture on my blog. Each author has chosen a different city around the world. In their story, they must include a kiss, a bouquet of spring flowers, a love letter, and the rain. So, let's see what our authors have in store for us...

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. Please your comment on the author's page to be counted each day. Winners will be chosen on April 30th and announced on the blog.

GRAND PRIZE:
Kindle Fire HD7 loaded with MM stories from all of our authors.
Just to give you something to look forward to, our grand prize is a brand new, just released Kindle Fire HD7. Every author in our contest is contributing an eBook, which will be loaded on the Kindle before it gets shipped to the winner.

Check in with us every day to discover which new book is being added and leave a comment (and your email) for a chance to win our grand prize. That's MM Romances from authors you know already and some you will want to know. So, don't forget to enter each day.

http://manlovefantasies.blogspot.com/
 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER: Hot Mess 4

HOT MESS 4

PRE-ORDER TODAY!

AVAILABLE: Thursday, March 9th

[Erotic Alternative Romance, M/M, HEA]

Lany

I had once thought that my life was the comic relief for the universe. Today, I was positive I had been right in my line of thinking. It was the only way to explain how I ended up sitting on the floor of my favorite Thai restaurant, surrounded by armed men and hostages.

It was my anniversary after all.        
 
Salvador  
I wanted to go to Lany the moment I stepped into the Thai Rose and saw him kneeling on the floor next to Eddie, but dealing with the people threatening him with guns came first. I didn't want him in the line of fire if trouble started. Of course, knowing Lany's luck, just being on the same city block put him in the line of fire.  

He was a hot mess.

Note: This book is written in the first-person point of view of both main characters.

http://www.bookstrand.com/book/hot-mess-4

NOW IN PRINT

Stealing His Warrior's Heart
Warrior of Akasha
Níx is a thief, and he makes no apologies for it. When he spots a handsome warrior walking through the marketplace, he sees an easy mark, and a purse full of coin. Stealing from the Captain of the Royal Guard of the House of Elvellon, was never in his plans. But revenge is.
 
 
 
Hot Mess 1
Cinnamon and whiskey had a delicious scent and it was S.W.A.T. commander, Lt. Salvador Delvecchio. I wanted to roll in that scent, sink into it, and never come out. I wanted to be consumed by everything that was the lethal man who had rescued me and decided I belonged to him.
I was a hot mess.
 
 
 
Barclay
Battle Bunnies 4
Barclay knows he's going to die. He makes the ultimate sacrifice by refusing to mate with his sweet duck. African Buffalo, Tavarus, sees things a bit differently, and he has the strength to back up his opinion. For Barclay, losing control never felt so good.
 
 
 
Basil
Battle Bunnies 5
Basil is the last unmated Battle Bunny, but there's a reason. The tiger stalking him is his mate, and Basil has known it for years. As strong as the mate draw is, Basil doesn't know if he can trust the handsome tiger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

RELEASE DAY: Beyond Regret (Dark Court 2)

BEYOND REGRET

Dark Court 2

available now!

[Erotic Alternative Fantasy Paranormal Romance, M/M, M/M/M, HEA]

Doc has quietly loved Rocky through their years together as Marines. But their arrival at the Seelie court and a lust-fueled encounter shatter all his expectations. One stolen passionate encounter unravels years of friendship. Devastated, Doc volunteers to lead the search for Monte, a Seelie elf missing in the human realm.

Locating Monte doesn’t turn out to be nearly as difficult as Doc expected, a small mercy now that Doc is sharing a cell with the elf. Despite the dire circumstances, Monte appeals to Doc on every level. He’s sweet, passionate, and utterly open to Doc.

Shattered by Doc’s departure, Rocky sets out to rescue the man he loves. Discovering Doc with another hurts, but as their escape turns dangerous, Rocky finds that to love Doc, he’ll have to make room in his heart for Monte, too.

Note: This books was previously published and has been revised and extended.

http://www.bookstrand.com/book/beyond-regret

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

FREY ORTEGA'S VALENTINE'S NOVELLA


Be Mine
a Valentine’s Novella

by: Frey Ortega

Jackson Darragh has the best Valentine's Day planned--dinner and romantic gesture included. All those plans blow up when his boyfriend suddenly breaks up with him. Broken and dejected, he goes to his neighborhood gay club to drown his sorrows in alcohol.
David Young didn't know what possessed him when he leaves his Mormon family abruptly for a life of total authenticity in the big city. Alone, his first taste of independence lands him at a gay club with no prospects, no roof over his head, only a future filled with uncertainty. All he has is the desire to live a life that is wholly his own.
A strange twist of fate and one conversation overhead through club music later, and David finds himself living with the kindhearted Jackson.
Now, one year later, Jackson is still hurting from his sudden break-up. David, who can't fight off his attraction for his friend any longer, is determined to make better Valentine's memories for Jackson. The more time that passes, the more Jackson wants to see the light come back in the brooding artist's eyes. He knows he has only to say those two magic words, and their lives change forever.
"Be mine."

 
-=-=-=-=-
Be Mine is a stand-alone friends-to-lovers gay romance novella with a HEA, no cheating, and no cliffhanger.
-=-=-=-=-
Story Snippet:

“Hey.”

David turned to look at a figure sitting nearby. He hadn’t seen the man from behind Sare, but he realized there was actually a man sitting there, with a good couple of shot glasses scattered around in front of him.

The strange, tipsy, borderline drunk man looked rather handsome. He was wearing a long-sleeved shirt with one of the buttons unbuttoned, and his hair was mussed, though David could see that he’d put some hair product of some kind in his dark, wavy, cocoa brown-colored hair.

He had the aquiline features of one of those angel statues David had seen. So handsome, if the drunk hadn’t looked like he was in repose. David’s cock even had a little twitch of a response, though he felt a little ashamed of that.

David’s first thoughts shouldn’t have been that he wanted to fuck a stranger in a bar, no matter that it was a status quo.

Overall, the stranger looked a little disheveled and stressed, but there weren’t any alarm bells ringing in David’s mind at first glance of him. In fact, if it weren’t for the grimace on the guy’s face, David might have been a stammering mess in the stranger’s proximity. He was never very good at talking to attractive people.

If the man beside him hadn’t looked like he’d been drinking to forget something painful, David would have tried to screw his courage to the sticking place—Shakespeare pun intended—and maybe he’d have tried to ask the stranger out on a date. He was already out, why not try to be courageous, right? Forget the fact that he didn’t have a home, or work!

Self-preservation told him not to do that, though. Years of having to hide his sexuality and his entire identity tended to do that.

“Hello,” David replied, and politely he added, “May I help you?”

“What you said back there, about leaving home,” the stranger asked. “Was any of that true?”

David blinked.

“Yes, that was all true,” he replied. “I figure I might stay at a motel for a couple of nights while I try to figure my situation out.”

“Do you want a place to live? I have an extra unit available in my building. I bought the entire place recently, so it’s barebones as shit, but we can work something out if you’re interested,” the man said, taking a swig of another shot of hard liquor.

“Is there a catch?” David asked, his voice clearly a little incredulous. He knew not to expect handouts or too much charity in the big city, but…was there something about his face that made people want to go out of their way to help him? Maybe it was just something about being gay? Or was this one of those serendipitous moments in time where things were just aligning incredibly perfectly?

“No catch, except for the fact that I only have an old mattress and some older stuff I’d much rather give to a guy who knows what he wants out of life, and I need a tenant anyway. There’s a lot of space I don’t need in my building,” the man replied. “I’m Jackson, by the way. Call me Jack.”

“I’m David Young. It’s nice to meet you.”

Jack grinned. “Boy, you’re real polite, aren’t you? It’s nice to meet you, David Young.”

David felt some heat in his cheeks at that statement. “It’s just how I was raised.”

-=-=-=-=-

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://www.freyortega.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/

Bookstrand: http://www.bookstrand.com/frey-ortega

Twitter: https://twitter.com/freyortega

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8581516.Frey_Ortega

FINISHED & SUBMITTED: Hot Mess 4


HOT MESS 4

coming March 9th
Lany
I had once thought that my life was the comic relief for the universe. Today, I was positive I had been right in my line of thinking. It was the only way to explain how I ended up sitting on the floor of my favorite Thai restaurant, surrounded by armed men and hostages.
It was my anniversary after all.
Salvador
I wanted to go to Lany the moment I stepped into the Thai Rose and saw him kneeling on the floor next to Eddie, but dealing with the people threatening him with guns came first. I didn't want him in the line of fire if trouble started. Of course, knowing Lany's luck, just being on the same city block put him in the line of fire.
He was a hot mess.

STORY EXCERPT
Lany
I had once thought that my life was the comic relief for the universe. Today, I was positive I had been right in my line of thinking. It was the only way to explain how I ended up sitting on the floor of my favorite Thai restaurant, surrounded by armed men and hostages.
It was my anniversary after all.
Every year for the last three years—four if you count the actual day I had met Lt. Salvador Delvecchio and he decided to keep me—something occurred that fucked up us spending our anniversary together.
On our first anniversary, Sal had been sucked into going undercover. To give the man some due, he had thought our anniversary was a week later than it actually was. That hadn't been the problem. That, I would have understood. It was him trying to hide what he was doing from me that caused our world to turn upside down.
He never made that mistake again.
Last year, Sal had been hurt on the job while chasing a perp. I had been hurt while trying to protect him, and then things got really interesting.
This time around, I had planned to skip all the bells and whistles—or sheer fabric shirt and g-string, in our case—and just let whatever happened happen.
This was not what I had in mind.
I glanced to the brown haired man sitting to my left. His blue eyes were as round as they could be, watching every little thing our captors did. With Lyn Philips being a police officer and all, that kind of made sense. He was probably watching so he could give a good statement later and help prosecute the bad guys.
A quick glance to my right showed that my other friend wasn't so wide eyed. In fact, his eyes were narrowed into tiny little slits. I had a sinking feeling he was seething with anger. That too made sense. Eddie Wu tended to get angry when people tried to cage him in. More than one idiot had learned that the hard way.
I was afraid these morons were going to learn it, too.
Painfully.
I just wasn't sure if it was going to be the SWAT unit Sal belonged to that was going to teach them that valuable lesson or the "alleged" mobsters that kept Eddie safe that were going to do it. Either way, these bumbling idiots didn't have a chance in hell.
My eyes rounded and snapped to the three armed men when my phone suddenly started playing the theme song from "Bad Boys". It was stereotypical to have that as Sal's ringtone, but "I want to sex you up" wasn't exactly appropriate.
I winced when the song snippet played again and again, drawing more attention than I really wanted at the moment.
"You!"
I jumped and cringed back when one of the gunmen stopped in front of me. I wanted to reach up and break off the finger he pointed at me.
I didn't.
"Get up."
I swallowed tightly, the ball of nerves clogging my throat making it hard to breathe.
"Hurry the hell up!" the masked man snapped when I didn't move fast enough.
When he waved his very large, very black automatic rifle at me, I scrambled to my feet. I had seen enough weapons in my time to know that this idiots gun could not only take me out if fired, but half the hostages in the place.
"Give me your phone."
I pulled it out of my pocket.
"Will I get it back?" I asked as I gripped it tightly in my hand, not handing it over. I liked my phone. Sal had given it to me. It was neon green. "Because it has all my pictures and stuff on it, not to mention my phone numbers, and god knows I can't remember a phone number to save my life. It's just so much easier dialing one or two or seven or whatever. Don't you think?"
The dark eyes visible through the small round holes in the guy's mask widened briefly before filling with anger.
I always expect violence to happen when I'm being held hostage—or kidnapped or attacked by hit men or driving a car—but then when it does, I'm still surprised. When the man pistol whipped me across the face, I cried out, grabbing at my cheek, which hurt like hell.
A shaft of pain ripped through the side of my face, and for a moment, I wondered if my jaw was broken. I opened my mouth wide, feeling my jaw pop. Okay. Maybe not broken, but damn, it hurt.
I stared at him. Hard. "Why'd you do that? I was going to give you my phone."
Meany.
My opinion of the man's manners didn't get any better when he grabbed me and dragged me over to the hostess counter where his two friends were standing. I much preferred the floor with the other hostages.
Well, truthfully, I preferred my penthouse, but I didn't think I was going to get my wish there, and it wasn't like I was going to invite these yahoos back to play Parcheesi.
"What is your name?" the man I thought of as the "chief asshole" asked.
Well, he kind of demanded.
"Lany Delvecchio."
That's what it said on my driver's license, and I had no problem sharing that bit of information. I was proud to be Lany Delvecchio. It was better than Lancaster Harris III, the name I had been born with.
Sal had christened me Lany when we met. He had made me a Delvecchio when we got married three years ago.
I went by nothing else.
Well, I went by caro, too, but only for Sal. And my parents and uncle called me Junior. I hated it, but long ago accepted it.
My eyes popped wider when the man held my cell phone out to me. I started to reach for it, but then paused, the wheels in my brain working over time. Hell, they were practically leaving skid marks.
"He just took my phone from me." I gestured toward Mr. Meany. "Why are you giving it back?"
"I want you to make a little phone call."
"Oh hell no!" I took two steps back before spinning and running back over to where Eddie and Lyn sat. There was no way I was going to be the go between for these idiots.
As big as their guns were, Sal's were bigger.
"Hey!" the chief idiot shouted. "Get your ass back here."
I jumped when the man fired off a round into the ceiling, but that didn't stop me from returning to my spot on the floor.
They might have been idiots, but I wasn't.
"Hey!"
I rolled my eyes at Eddie and Lyn as I crawled between them and sat down.
"I'm gonna shoot your ass if you don't get back here."
I shook my head vehemently. "Then you're just going to have to shoot me. I'm not making that phone call."
"He wants you to make a phone call?" Lyn asked.
I nodded.
"But he just took your phone."
"I know, right?"
It was nice to know I wasn't the only one that saw that as weird.
And somewhat counterproductive.
Just how unprofessional were these guys?
"Who does he want you to call?" Eddie asked.
I just stared at the man.
Eddie's eyes rounded as he sucked in a quick breath. "Oh no, you can't do that."
"Right?"

 ADULT EXCERPT
"I've been waiting for you, caro."
Sal's beautiful copper colored eyes were filled with heat as he gazed down at me. "Ho bisogno di essere dentro di te."
I swallowed tightly.
God, I loved this man.
I had wanted Sal from the moment I first laid eyes on him. Things between us had been intense almost from the moment we met. I had serious doubts that I would ever get enough of my handsome Italian SWAT officer.
Italian. SWAT. Police officer...this was a wet dream waiting to happen.
"Clothes off, caro." Sal's voice was deep, and slightly rough.
I shivered as Sal released me. My hands shook as I stood and started stripping my clothes off. It wasn't like it had been that long since the last time we had sex—in the shower this morning before Sal went to work—but if felt as if an eternity had passed us by.
 I groaned when I bent to remove my socks and felt a hand glide over my ass, giving me a little pat.
"I love your ass, Lany."
Not exactly romantic, but I'd take it.
I turned to watch Sal toss his clothes aside. When he was done, Sal stepped up to me, cupped my face between his hands, and then leaned down and melded our lips together in a kiss that made my toes curl.
The man was a really good kisser.
I moaned with wanton abandon when Sal cupped my ass in his large hands, pulling me closer, taking the kiss deeper. Goose bumps broke out over my skin when Sal's hands left my ass and slid over my back. I wanted to climb the large man like a monkey and hang on until we melded together.
"You're mine, Lany, all mine."
I was.
I nodded vigorously.
A low guttural growl left Sal's lips. 
"On your back, caro," he instructed.
I twisted around and jumped up on the bed, scrambling to do as Sal commanded. My skin buzzed with excitement at the knowledge that Sal was going to claim me again. I laid down on my back and spread my legs wide.
"Beautiful," Sal whispered as his eyes roamed over my naked body. The molten heat in his eyes was something I knew only burned for me.
I fisted the sheets as Sal dropped to his knees and crawled up the blanket, his hands smoothing over my legs. I was dying to move, to wiggle around and beg Sal to fuck me already, but I sealed my plea behind my lips. Sal seemed to be on some sort of mission tonight, and I wasn't about to mess that up.
My eyes damn near rolled to the back of my head as Sal's fingertips played over my skin, slowly making their way up my thighs toward my aching cock. I almost whined at the slow pace.
When Sal wrapped his large hand around my hard shaft, I couldn't stop my moan. I spread my legs wider as Sal stroked my cock from root to tip and then back down again. Sal's other hand cupped my balls, massaging them between his fingers.
He was really good at that.
I writhed and squirmed on the bed, moaning loudly as I succumbed to the waves of ecstasy trying to pull me under. I lay there, drowning in a flood tide of exquisite rapture as Sal took me to another place, a place where I was no longer my own person. It was a place where Sal owned me, mind, body, and soul.
"Come for me, caro."
My back left the sheets as I arched up and cried out, hot jets of cum shooting from my cock. The pleasure was pure and explosive. I shouted Sal's name, thrashing my head from side to side.
Sal stroked my cock through my entire orgasm. I panted heavily as Sal milked my cock, pulling every last drop from my balls.
"You're beautiful when you come, Lany," Sal whispered. "The way you look at me, you make me feel like I could conquer the world."
I licked my lips as I gazed at Sal, wonderment filling me. I was always so amazed that a man like Sal had not only wanted me, but had kept me. He had saved me from a beat down in a bar and swept me off my feet from the very beginning. Of everyone I had ever known, Sal was the one who never let me down. He was it for me. Without him, I was nothing.
"Ero fatto per te."
Sal's eyes flickered up to mine. "You were made for me, caro."
I watched as Sal swiped his fingers through the cum cooling on my groin and then reached below me. My breath hissed out of my mouth when Sal circled my hole with his large finger. At that moment, all I wanted was to feel Sal deep inside of him.
"Fuck me, Sal."

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER: Beyond Eternity

BEYOND ETERNITY

Dark Court 3

PRE-ORDER TODAY!

AVAILABLE: Thursday, February 23rd

[Erotic Alternative Fantasy Paranormal, M/M, HEA]

Brandon Thomas liked his job as an orderly at the Gervais Institute of Study, but, lately, things have started to get a little weird. The military moved in and armed soldiers roamed the halls. Told to report to his supervisor, he's surprised to learn that he has received a promotion.  

Brandon's promotion turns into a nightmare when he is poked and prodded by a mad doctor and told he is now part of a government experiment. Escaping seems impossible until a sexy man with beautiful blue eyes comes to Brandon's rescue.  

One thing leads to another and Brandon finds himself bonded to a Seelie elf from another world. On the run from the institute's retrieval team, Brandon tries to understand everything Kavin is telling him while wondering if the man is crazy. He has to be right?  

But Brandon's nightmare isn't over. When he's forced to go through the veil between worlds, Brandon ends up in the Unseelie Court and in the hands of a total stranger. With no hope of escape, Brandon wonders if he will ever see his perfect elf again.

Note: This books was previously published and has been revised and extended.

http://www.bookstrand.com/book/beyond-eternity

Monday, January 30, 2017

Pirating is Illegal


I don't often bring this up, but I wanted to share just a little math with everyone. Now, the first thing you need to know is that I am the sole support for my family and writing is my ONLY job. Money does not come in from any other source.

Today, I did the pirate link thing on 30 books...that's 30 books out of about 200 books, so maybe less than 25% of my published books. Let's give a round sum here and say each book was $4.50. Now, of these 30 books, I sent out 403 take down notices...403.

Here's the math... 30 books x 403 takedown notices x $4.50...comes to = $1813.00 (and this is assuming only ONE person downloaded each of these illegally pirated books, which we all know isn't true). Now, I don't know about you, but $1813.00 will pretty much take care of my bills for a month.

People tend to believe that authors live in fancy houses, drive expensive cars, and throw money away like it grew on trees. If you're on the New York Times Best Seller's List, that might be true. Guess what? I'm not. When I have to decide between cough medicine and milk, there's a problem.

If you download a book that you did not legally purchase, you are committing a crime. You probably won't get caught because the laws have not caught up with technology, but it's still a crime. That's on your conscience.

Over the last year, I have read post after post from authors that have simply given up because they cannot feed their families while writing. I'm not saying pirated books are the only cause of this because let's face it, the economy sucks, but they certainly contribute to it.

When you go to work, you expect to be paid for your hard work. Authors are no different. We work hard. We put our heart and souls into our books. I do not believe it is too much to ask to be paid for our hard work. We have bills and families just like you do. Please give us the same respect you would want for yourself and purchase your books legally.

For those of you that do purchase your books legally, you have my heartfelt thanks.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

RELEASE DAY: Precious Love (Special Operations 7)

PRECIOUS LOVE

Special Operations 7

AVAILABLE NOW!!!

[Siren Publishing: The Stormy Glenn ManLove Collection: M/M, HEA]

Frankie Di Salvo thought he had died and gone to heaven the day Porter Reece walked into his life. The man was everything Frankie had always dreamed of. But more than that, Porter's friendly personality and protectiveness drew Frankie in like an eager puppy. He was willing to agree to anything to keep Porter.  

Porter Reece had been looking for one good thing in his life, and he found it in a gorgeous man named Frankie. The times he was able to spend with Frankie between missions were the only things that kept him going when life got hard.  

When Frankie's life gets put in danger, Porter does the only thing he can think of and takes him back to the compound, knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that his fellow marines and friends will help him protect Frankie. But the danger his precious love is in isn't just coming from an outside source. There are those at the compound that want Frankie gone as well.

Can Porter convince them that Frankie is innocent before it's too late?

And even if he does, will Frankie still be around for him to love?

http://www.bookstrand.com/book/precious-love


Monday, January 23, 2017

HOT MESS 4 - coming soon!

 
Chapter One
 
Lany
I had once thought that my life was the comic relief for the universe. Today, I was positive I had been right in my line of thinking. It was the only way to explain how I ended up sitting on the floor of my favorite Thai restaurant, surrounded by armed men and hostages.
It was my anniversary after all.
Every year for the last three years—four if you count the actual day I had met Lt. Salvador Delvecchio and he decided to keep me—something occurred that fucked up us spending our anniversary together.
On our first anniversary, Sal had been sucked into going undercover. To give the man some due, he had thought our anniversary was a week later than it actually was. That hadn't been the problem. That, I would have understood. It was him trying to hide what he was doing from me that caused our world to turn upside down.
He never made that mistake again.
Last year, Sal had been hurt on the job while chasing a perp. I had been hurt while trying to protect him, and then things got really interesting.
This time around, I had planned to skip all the bells and whistles—or sheer fabric shirt and g-string, in our case—and just let whatever happened happen.
This was not what I had in mind.
I glanced to the brown haired man sitting to my left. His blue eyes were as round as they could be, watching every little thing our captors did. With Lyn Philips being a police officer and all, that kind of made sense. He was probably watching so he could give a good statement later and help take down the bad guys.
A quick glance to my right showed that my other friend wasn't so wide eyed. In fact, his eyes were narrowed into tiny little slits. I had a sinking feeling he was seething with anger. That too made sense. Eddie Wu tended to get angry when people tried to cage him in. More than one idiot had learned that the hard way.
I was afraid these morons were going to learn it, too.
Painfully.
I just wasn't sure if it was going to be the SWAT unit Sal belonged to that was going to teach them that valuable lesson or the "alleged" mobsters that kept Eddie safe that were going to do it. Either way, these bumbling idiots didn't have a chance in hell.
My eyes rounded and snapped to the three armed men when my phone suddenly started playing the theme song from "Bad Boys". It was stereotypical to have that as Sal's ringtone, but "I want to sex you up" wasn't exactly appropriate.
I winced when the song snippet played again and again, drawing more attention than I really wanted at the moment.
"You!"
I jumped and cringed back when one of the gunmen stopped in front of me. I wanted to reach up and break off the finger he pointed at me.
I didn't.
"Get up."
I swallowed tightly, the ball of nerves clogging my throat making it hard to breathe.
"Hurry the hell up!" the masked man snapped when I didn't move fast enough.
When he waved his very large, very black automatic rifle at me, I scrambled to my feet. I had seen enough weapons in my time to know that this idiots gun could not only take me out if fired, but half the hostages in the place.
"Give me your phone."
I pulled it out of my pocket.
"Will I get it back?" I asked as I gripped it tightly in my hand, not handing it over. I liked my phone. Sal had given it to me. It was neon green. "Because it has all my pictures and stuff on it, not to mention my phone numbers, and god knows I can't remember a phone number to save my life. It's just so much easier dialing one or two or seven or whatever. Don't you think?"
The dark eyes visible through the small round holes in the guy's mask widened briefly before filling with anger.
I always expect violence to happen when I'm being held hostage—or kidnapped or attacked by hit men or driving a car—but then when it does, I'm still surprised. When the man pistol whipped me across the face, I cried out, grabbing at my cheek, which hurt like hell.
A shaft of pain ripped through the side of my face, and for a moment, I wondered if my jaw was broken. I opened my mouth wide, feeling my jaw pop. Okay. Maybe not broken, but damn, it hurt.
I stared at him. Hard. "Why'd you do that? I was going to give you my phone."
Meany.
My opinion of the man's manners didn't get any better when he grabbed me and dragged me over to the hostess counter where his two friends were standing. I much preferred the floor with the other hostages.
Well, truthfully, I preferred my penthouse, but I didn't think I was going to get my wish there, and it wasn't like I was going to invite these yahoos back to play Parcheesi.
"What is your name?" the man I thought of as the "chief asshole" asked.
Well, he kind of demanded.
"Lany Delvecchio."
That's what it said on my driver's license, and I had no problem sharing that bit of information. I was proud to be Lany Delvecchio. It was better than Lancaster Harris III, the name I had been born with.
Sal had christened me Lany when we met. He had made me a Delvecchio when we got married three years ago.
I went by nothing else.
Well, I went by caro, too, but only for Sal. And my parents and uncle called me Junior. I hated it, but long ago accepted it.
My eyes popped wider when the man held my cell phone out to me. I started to reach for it, but then paused, the wheels in my brain working over time. Hell, they were practically leaving skid marks.
"He just took my phone from me." I nodded to Mr. Meany. "Why are you giving it back?"
"I want you to make a little phone call."
"Oh hell no!" I took two steps back before spinning and running back over to where Eddie and Lyn sat. There was no way I was going to be the go between for these idiots.
As big as their guns were, Sal's were bigger.
"Hey!" the chief idiot shouted. "Get your ass back here."
I jumped when the man fired off a round into the ceiling, but that didn't stop me from returning to my spot on the floor.
They might have been idiots, but I wasn't.
"Hey!"
I rolled my eyes at Eddie and Lyn as I crawled between them and sat down.
"I'm gonna shoot your ass if you don't get back here."
I shook my head vehemently. "Then you're just going to have to shoot me. I'm not making that phone call."
"He wants you to make a phone call?" Lyn asked.
I nodded.
"But he just took your phone."
"I know, right?"
It was nice to know I wasn't the only one that saw that as weird.
And somewhat counterproductive.
Just how unprofessional were these guys?
"Who does he want you to call?" Eddie asked.
I just stared at the man.
Eddie's eyes rounded as he sucked in a quick breath. "Oh no, you can't do that."
"Right?"
Chief Idiot stopped in front of me. I swallowed tightly when he pointed the barrel of his gun down at me. He held my cell phone in the other hand.
I shook my head. "I'm not making that phone call."
"Do you understand that I have a gun pointed at your head?" As if to prove his point, the guy pressed the end of the barrel to my forehead.
Tears sprouted to my eyes. As brave as I tried to sound, I wasn't. I was shaking in my Dolce & Gabbana boots. They had been a present from my mother. They were slate gray.
I tiled my head back just far enough to see into the guy's eyes, which was all I could see of him through his mask. "I do understand that you have a gun and I don't want to die, but if you force me to make that phone call, somebody is going to die and it's not going to be me."
"Well, I can't make that phone call," Eddie insisted when the masked man glanced at him. "This place would turn into World War III. No one would survive." Eddie shrugged. "Well, I would, but it's doubtful anyone else would."
He was probably right.
"I'm not making it," Lyn insisted. "Can you imagine the ribbing the guys would give me if I had to call in a hostage situation? I'd never live it down."
Lyn was right. He'd get a lot of shit if he was the go-between in a hostage situation. The guys on Sal's SWAT team were great guys, but they were still guys. The brain to mouth filter didn't always work.
"Somebody is going to make this fucking phone call or people are going to start getting fucking shot. Now, who the hell is it going to be?"
Okay, the chief idiot was pissed. I got that, but really... "Do you talk to your mother with that mouth?"
"Yeah, he does," replied one of the gunman.
Good god, it was a woman under that mask.
"He's been swearing like that since he was five years old."
I blinked up at the chief idiot. "Dude."
Eyes so narrow, Lany could see them through the mask, the gunman waved his gun around. "Why are we even discussing this? I want someone to make this fucking phone call."
"Ask nicely," Lyn said.
"And apologize to your mother," I insisted as nodded my head toward the masked female. "You should be ashamed of yourself, talking like that in front of a lady."
The woman in the mask snickered.
The gunman raged, turned the gun and shot Eddie in the leg.
"Eddie!" I rolled to my hands and knees and started putting pressure on the bleeding wound. "Lyn, I need something to stop the bleeding."
"On it." Lyn jumped up and raced to the back of the restaurant despite the three gunman standing there.
"You're going to be okay, Eddie." He had to be. As son of one of the city's—allegedly—most notorious mobsters, not to mention nephew of another prominent—but also alleged—mobster, if he died, there wouldn't be a sidewalk in the city that was safe.
Eddie wasn't crying, but I could see that he wanted to. His lips were pressed together so tightly, they were white. His hands were clenched.
"It doesn't look like it hit the bone." I hoped that would make Eddie feel better. "It's a through and through."
"This is going to screw up my art show next week."
"Oh, Lyn and I can help," I said quickly at the fallen look on Eddie's face.
It was an art show. How hard could it be? It wasn't like we had to paint the damn things.
"Hey!" Chief Idiot shouted. "You do remember who has the gun here, right?"
"Man, you screwed the pooch this time, dude." I shot the gunman my dirtiest glare. "We tried to warn you, but you just had to go and prove how much of an idiot you were, didn't you?"
"Who the fuck are you?"
I didn't have the time to explain it.
"Give me my phone." I held out my hand until the guy handed it over. I knew he expected me to call the police negotiator, blah, blah, blah.
He was in for a big disappointment.
I dialed the one person I knew who could save us all.
Sal was good like that.
"Lany."
"Hey." Crap, he was mad. I could hear it in his voice. "So, these guys in here are really stupid. They shot Eddie."
I glanced up when Lyn came running back with some towels. The man slid to a stop next to us and dropped the towels into a pile on the floor next to Eddie. I immediately grabbed a couple and applied pressure to the bullet wound.
"Have you been injured, Lany?" There was a thread of violence in that question.
"No, I'm okay." Sal worried.
I frowned when my smile sent a wave of pain through my cheek. "The guy did pistol whip me, but I don't think anything is broken."
"Which one hit you?"
"Um..." I glanced over. All of the gunman were wearing the same gray zip up overalls and black knit ski masks. I'm sure they felt that would keep their identities secret.
Like I said, idiots.
"I think he's the brother of the chief idiot. He's shorter than the main guy, but not the female, who is the mother of the chief idiot, so this might be a family endeavor."
"I see."
That was my Sal, a man of few words.
"He wanted me to call and negotiate, but I didn't think that was a good idea. Then he shot Eddie, so all bets are off." I glared up at the gunman who was staring at me with wide eyes. "You can come in and shoot them now."
"We'll be right in, caro."
"Okay."
I hung up my cell and slid it into my pocket.
"It's okay, Eddie. Sal and the others will be right here."
"Good," Eddie gritted out through his clenched teeth.
"Lyn, would you make sure everyone is sitting on the floor by the wall, hands clasped on top of their heads? I don't want anyone hurt in the crossfire."
"I'll take care of it," Lyn said as he got to his feet and hurried over to where the other hostages were sitting. Within moments he had them moving back against the far wall.
It wasn't rocket science. SWAT, a pissed off husband, and guys with guns. Someone was going to get hurt. I wanted to make sure those that needed not to get hurt, didn't. Those that needed a serious time out were on their own.
"Stop!" The head gunman shot into the ceiling. Again.
"Would you knock that off," I griped when one of the female hostages cried out. "You're scaring people."
The guy waved his hands wide. "This is a fucking hostage situation. What part of that don't you understand? I am the one with the gun. I give the orders. You follow them. That's how hostage situations work."
I rolled my eyes dramatically.
"Why are you not listening to me?" The guy stomped his foot. "I have a gun. You're supposed to be scared."
He seemed totally confused as to why Lyn, Eddie, and I weren't trembling in the corner along with the other hostages.
Idiot.
Lany pointed to the rather large SWAT commander who stepped into the restaurant behind the gunman. "He's scarier than you are."