Monday, February 19, 2018

The Fantasies Unmasked Series is LIVE and FREE in KU!

3 steamy books
3 strong women
3 sexy as hell men
3 fantasies lived out to their fullest

You do NOT want to miss this series!

Lacey Wilson is a lot of things. She’s beautiful. Sweet. A little sassy. And about to be divorced. Now, on the verge of turning thirty, she’s on a mission to find herself, both emotionally and sexually. No attachments. No baggage. No problems. But when her best friend convinces her to attend a private party, where masked men and women go to have a little anonymous fun, she finds herself staring into the eyes of the most incredible man she’s ever seen, and caution gets thrown to the wind. After all, what’s just one night?

Cameron Jennings likes to keep things simple. He helps out at his father’s garage during the day, then goes home to a few beers and TV. No muss, no fuss. Until one night when he’s working as the doorman at a private party, and meets her… Once he slips the purple mask over Lacey’s eyes and gets a taste of what she has to offer, he’s done for.

With Lacey on a mission to rebuild her life, and Cameron completely infatuated, will she be able to convince him they could never have a real future after the way they met? Or will he prove her wrong?

Stassi Sanderson knows what it’s like to be alone. Her father left when she was six-years-old; her mother did her best, but may as well have gone with him. Those hard times taught her a valuable lesson: people always disappoint.

For Stassi, the private parties are her safe haven. From loneliness. From expectations. A place where she can slip on a mask and be the woman she wants to be, instead of the part she plays. The tall, stunning blonde who isn’t afraid to relax and simply feel. Who pushes her erotic boundaries. The party’s anonymity allows her to explore her own brand of intimacy on her own terms…until she meets him.

Alec Taylor goes after what he wants. He wanted a successful restaurant, he made it happen. When he began running the private parties as a favor to a friend, he turned them into an intensely erotic environment where people could live out their fantasies free of judgement. And now? Now he wants Stassi. Needs her. Craves her with a force he hasn’t felt in a long, long time.

As much as Stassi would prefer he be nothing more than a party favor, Alec is determined to show her the kind of man he is. A man who will love her, protect her, and never, ever leave.

Gigi Andrews has always been comfortable in her own skin. High heels and little black dresses never had jack on her combat boots and purple-streaked hair. She’s spontaneous. Fearless. And when she finds out he-who-shall-not-be-named is coming back into town a mere two years after he tore her heart into a million, agony filled pieces, she’s ready to get even.

Jackson Mirales is so close to opening his own photography studio he can practically taste it. While engagement and wedding shoots pay the bills, he’s ready to show the world what he’s capable of. Pictures that scream beauty. Desire. Lust. Everything he felt the second he laid eyes on her. He’ll do anything to get Gigi to pose for him, even if it means coming up with the most ridiculous scheme he can think of.

The stage is set. The rules laid out. Jackson and Gigi are ready to pull the wool over everyone's eyes in an effort to get what they want. After it’s all said and done, everything will go back to normal. But when feelings start to surface, they may find      something they hadn't even realized they'd been looking for.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

#Dirtyxcerpt #Dirtyexcerpt #LoveMeHard #HotDad #BDSM single dad firefighter romcom

Only 99cents



Since the moment I laid eyes on her I’ve wanted her.
But I wasn’t ready.
The kids were my world and my wounds were still raw.
For six months, I watched her from afar. Dreamed of her, lusted after her, fantasized…
But all that’s about to change. I’m finally ready to take the plunge and start dating again. And now that I know she’s single, I’m going to do this right and win Harper. I want her mind, I want her body, I want her heart.
And when she gives me all access, no limits, I know she’s the one for me.


He’s the one we all call Hot Dad at playgroup. The one who makes my knees weak and my panties wet every time he walks through the door. We all eye-fuck the bejesus out of him, and dream of his tongue between our legs.
But my kid is my world, and I’m a frumpy mom with a hole in the bum of her yoga pants. What could he ever see in me? So when Sam calls out of the blue, I’m stunned.
Now if only the kids can stop cock-blocking us, and his psycho ex would go away.
He’s turned out to be a master Dom and I’m willing and eager to be taught how to be the perfect little submissive.

Dirty Excerpt

I grabbed her by the elbows and hauled her arms over her head, pinning her hands into the pillows with one of mine. I held her there and gazed down. Pink bloomed on her cheeks and hunger swirled in her eyes. One hard kiss on her lips, and I dipped my head again and tugged a nipple into my mouth. Gently, but not without pressure, I scissored my teeth back and forth across her flesh. She sucked in air as she wriggled beneath me. Soft and feminine whimpers escaped her as I continued on with my torture. I kept her in place and worshiped her body with my mouth. Kisses and nibbles, licks and pecks. I raked my teeth across her ribs and under the gentle swell of her breasts until she bowed her back, shut her eyes, clenched her jaw and let out a growl of frustration as her hips pressed up to meet mine. I pulled away, lingering just above her.
“Too slow and gentle for your liking?”
“Yes,” she panted. “Sam … we’ve been cock-blocked so much, don’t waste time. You never know when Carly is going to wake up.”
She had a point. But I didn’t want it to all be over, either.
“Please, sir … fuck me?” She fluttered those damn eyelashes at me like some sexy little schoolgirl, and my cock grew longer and thicker against my stomach. I glanced down between us, and a drop of pre-cum beaded on the head of my dick. She followed my gaze. “Can I lick it off?”
Oh hell yes. Releasing her hands, I pulled her up so she was sitting. I leaned back on my heels and grabbed the base of my shaft.
“Suck it, baby. Suck it hard. I’ve thought of nothing but your lips wrapped around my cock since our phone sex date. I want to feel the real thing.”
With big wide doll eyes, she parted her lips, taking me to the back of her throat. And then she started to hum.
The woman was fucking humming.
Oh dear lord.
My hands moved of their own volition, and my fingers entwined with the short tendrils of her soft hair. I pulled on her scalp, tugging her harder and deeper onto me, loving the vibrations and the way my cock felt in her hot little mouth.
With one hand she stroked me, root to her lips, but she never took me out of her mouth. Never. I was always in that decadent heat. Whether it be the whole seven inches or just the tip, she never let me go. Her other hand came up as she squeezed and tugged on my sac, rolling my aching balls around in her palm, giving them a little yank every now and then just to keep me on my toes.
I was close in a matter of minutes, but I didn’t want it to end. Watching Harper’s head bob up and down in my lap was so damn hot. I’d go to bed every night for the coming week with the image emblazoned on the back of my eyelids. I tapped her head.
“I-I’m close, baby.”
The humming grew louder. She tugged down harder on my scrotum and picked up her pace. When she brought me out and just left in the tip, her tongue darted back and forth over the head before wedging its way into the little hole. Jesus fucking Christ, the woman was a sorceress. Her eyes were closed as she powered forward until I knocked her tonsils, but she didn’t gag, she just kept going. A beautiful lone tear slipped down the side of her cheek, and I wiped it away with my thumb.
“Look at me,” I demanded. I wanted her to watch me come. Even if I shut my eyes and tossed my head back, I wanted her to watch the kind of pleasure she wielded.
Her eyes flashed open, and she looked up at me. Fuck, she was beautiful, and with my cock in her mouth she was goddamn stunning.
“I’m going to come so hard, baby. You sure about this?”
“Mhmm,” she hummed.
Her tongue coiled around my length, and she let me bottom out. I exploded.
It’d been ages since I’d gotten a blow job, but even with the distant memories foggy in my brain, this one took the cake. It wasn’t that her mouth was just that talented, or her diligence endless and her tongue magical, it was those big brown bedroom eyes gazing up at me as I spilled myself inside her mouth and she swallowed me down. The convulsions of her throat swallowing, milking me, only heightened the pleasure. I squeezed my eyes shut, tossed my head back and groaned, pulling on the roots of her hair and bucking into her face. But she took it all. Watched it all. 

Saturday, February 17, 2018

#IntimateStrangers #NSFW #Xcerpt #KathleenLawless #LoveMeHard #RomanceCollections Check out this dirty xcerpt from the lovely and talented Kathleen Lawless.

Please welcome my friend, mentor and fellow Vancouver Island Romance Author, the lovely, Kathleen Lawless. 
From contemporary to historical, erotic to romantic comedy, this woman can do it all, and do it all well. 
And her erotic romance, Intimate Strangers is no different. 


Alisha King isn’t afraid of intimacy, or so she manages to convince herself.  After all, she experiences intimacy in a myriad of ways, from viewing the world behind the lens of her camera to a frenzied romp with her favorite vibrator. Focused on her upcoming photography show and finding the perfect subject, suddenly there he is, watching her watching him from across the courtyard of their apartment block. 
     The jolt through her system is instant, a familiarity that makes no sense.  She knows him, yet she doesn’t.  And trading the safety of her camera for up close and personal with the yummy Doctor Hanson Powers promises to lend a whole new level of intimacy to her photography.
     When his sexy neighbor asks to photograph him, Hanson is by turns amused and intrigued.  He isn’t interested in being a photo subject, yet he is curious to know how Alisha will go in the barter system.  A blow job?  More?

     Turns out the thing that scares Alisha the most is emotional intimacy.  So they start with the sex and more forward from there.   

Dirty Xcerpt

She caught her breath.  Was she so transparent?  He wasn’t supposed to anticipate her moves in advance.  He was supposed to be surprised.  Intrigued.  Caught unawares.  That’s how she captured the essence of a subject.  Already Hanson was proving more of a challenge than she had anticipated.
“Do you enjoy being seduced?”
“I’ve never been seduced by a camera before.”
“I promise I’ll be gentle.  Turn around.  Stand here.”  She gestured to the French doors leading to the balcony.  He did as she asked.  Already she could see the light was magic. 
She reached around and in a deliberately intimate move unbuttoned his shirt, conscious of her hands brushing the warm skin of his chest and abs. She pulled his shirt tail free and tugged the fabric off one shoulder, draping it so an intriguing play of skin and muscle was revealed.  “Place your hands on the doorframe.  Flex your muscles.  That’s it!”  She plopped the cowboy hat on his head and adjusted the brim.  “Tilt your head to the left.  Just a bit.  Perfect!  Don’t move!” 
She adjusted the light to enhance the rope-like shadows exaggerated in the slope of his neck and shoulder, the tensing of his muscles.  She picked up her camera and started to shoot, moving from side to side, assessing shadow and light, clicking away, getting the ghostly shadow of the building across the courtyard just perfect, light and dark.
“Okay! You can relax now.”  She changed lenses before she moved the light. 
Hanson proved to be an inspiring model.  He happily sprawled on the bed, unzipped jeans revealing that intriguing wedge of skin, so blatantly masculine.  He took to the blindfold with a wicked chuckle, as if he’d been born for this, and didn’t flinch when she sprayed his chest so beads of water clung to his skin, as if he’d just had a sweaty romp in bed.
He obligingly shucked the jeans when asked and rolled onto his stomach so she could position a wedge of silk across his tremendous ass, and slid the rose down his spine to his waist. 
When prompted, he rolled back onto his back, the silk protecting his modesty, the blindfold still in place.  Provocatively she picked up a cube of ice, cold on her fingertips.  He smiled when she she outlined his lips, caught a drip with his tongue.  Then she left the camera on its tripod, and picked up the remote shutter. 
Suddenly, not even sure how it happened, she found herself in the photo shoot with him. 
She hadn’t planned it that way.  Had no intention of sitting behind him with her bare legs wrapped around his torso, feeding him the ice cube as it melted and dripped down his jaw.
Still blindfolded, he reached up and stroked the side of her face.  When he tousled her hair her scalp tingled, stimulated by the pads of his fingers.  Her body was on fire, singed at every juncture it met his. 
He was hard and hot.  Her clit pulsed with the promise of further treats as her breasts brushed his back, a direct hit to her burning core.  He was breathing hard.  The silk across his hips formed a tent more erotic than if he was naked.  His hand found hers, played with her palm, turned it into an erogenous zone she hadn’t known existed as she writhed beneath him.  His mouth hit her palm, lips hot, tongue chilled from the ice.  She moaned.  The photo shoot was forgotten, the remote shutter lost in their tangle of silk and limbs as they found their way to each other. 
Alisha skimmed out of her dress and underwear.  Hanson lost the blindfold, his heavy-lidded gaze intent on her body.  She couldn’t move.  No man had ever looked at her that way.  Assessing.  Admiring.  Lust-filled. 
He picked up the rose, played it across her nipples, through the valley between her breasts, lower still to ring her navel, then tease her mons. 
Her legs parted slightly.  Her breath increased in anticipation, as her pulse raced. The rose teased her inner thigh, from her knee to her pubes and back.  Slowly. Torturously. 
It was like nothing she’d ever felt before.  She heard a whimper and realized it came from her.  How was that even possible?  She didn’t enjoy sex with men.  She had to turn this back, take control. 
Which she did.  Slowly and deliberately she took the rose away, and edged up onto her knees while Hanson lay in a tangle of silk watching her.  That knowing half-smile goaded her.  He knew she wanted him. 
She reached behind a pillow and pulled out a pair of handcuffs.  Hanson continued to watch in heavy-lidded silence as she cuffed his wrists to the headboard.  “I hope you know where the keys are.” 
“Don’t worry,” she said.  “I have no intention of keeping you here all night.” 

“We’ll see.”  

Kathleen Lawless’s earliest memories are of wanting to be a writer.  To create stories that would touch the lives of others who love to read the way she does.
     “I’m working on my 24th novel and it’s amazing to see the changes in traditional publishing, including ebooks and the opportunities writers have to interact with their readers.”  She enjoys pushing the boundaries of traditional romance into erotic romance, romantic suspense, women’s fiction and stories for young adults. 
     She also knows firsthand about happy endings.  “Can you believe I wrote A HARD MAN TO LOVE with a hero named Steele, years before I met my own hero named Steel?  His proposal to me on a remote island in the Caribbean was more romantic than anything I could have written about.” 
     Her books have garnered rave reviews and numerous awards including Romantic Times K.I.S.S., a Scarlett Letter, and a Golden Quill. 

Don’t forget to sign up for Kathleen’s newsletter to receive a free download of THE PLEASURE CLUB.

Friday, February 16, 2018

The #Authors from #LoveMeHard Anthology is doing a HUGE #Giveaway! #Enter NOW!

🔥     #LoveMeHard #GIVEAWAY🔥🔥🔥

The authors of the #LoveMeHard #RomanceCollections are SO EXCITED about our 15 book anthology being ONLY $0.99, we're dying to get the word out! And we want to reward one of YOU for helping us!!!

One lucky winner will get an exclusive #LoveMeHard tote
 filled with all kinds of goodies!

Prizes include:

*$10 Amazon Gift Card from Marissa Farrar
*$10 Amazon Gift Card from Lucy Felthouse
*$25 Amazon Gift Card from Nicole Morgan
*$10 Starbucks Gift Card AND naughty shaped suckers from Erica Lynn - Erotic Romance Author (A $15 value!)
*6 DELICIOUS Guittard chocolate bars from Alyssa Drake (A $20 value!)
*A signed copy of Her Christmas Daddy by Molly Alvarado (A $7.99 value!)
*A paperback copy of Lust Abroad by Whitley Cox (A $10.99 value!)
*A signed copy of Ice by Lita Lawson AND some red lip pencils (A $10 value!)
*A signed copy of Twisted Iron by T.J. Loveless, Author AND a mini Google Home (A $50 value!)
*Signed copies of Damaged, Brothers in Blue: Max, and Down & Dirty: Zak (Dirty Angels MC, book 1) by Jeanne St. James (A $36 value!)

That's $194.98 in prizes!
How can YOU get a chance to win these goodies? It's easy peasy!

Winner will be announced March 1st.
Good luck and THANK YOU! 💋

(Due to shipping cost, the contest is only open to US residents.)

#Firstchapterfriday #LoveMeHard #HotDad It's a single dad, firefighter BDSM romcom.



Since the moment I laid eyes on her I’ve wanted her.
But I wasn’t ready.
The kids were my world and my wounds were still raw.
For six months, I watched her from afar. Dreamed of her, lusted after her, fantasized…
But all that’s about to change. I’m finally ready to take the plunge and start dating again. And now that I know she’s single, I’m going to do this right and win Harper. I want her mind, I want her body, I want her heart.
And when she gives me all access, no limits, I know she’s the one for me.


He’s the one we all call Hot Dad at playgroup. The one who makes my knees weak and my panties wet every time he walks through the door. We all eye-fuck the bejesus out of him, and dream of his tongue between our legs.
But my kid is my world, and I’m a frumpy mom with a hole in the bum of her yoga pants. What could he ever see in me? So when Sam calls out of the blue, I’m stunned.
Now if only the kids can stop cock-blocking us, and his psycho ex would go away.
He’s turned out to be a master Dom and I’m willing and eager to be taught how to be the perfect little submissive.


Chapter 1

I fucking loved Mondays. No, seriously, I loved them. I know most people hate them, bitch, moan, snivel and complain about Mondays. People can have a “case of the Mondays” but not me. I loved them. Why? Because Monday was the day I saw my people. My coven. My mom posse. Well, moms and one hot, unobtainable dad. A dad I’d been secretly lusting over for six months but have had no more than half a dozen conversations with in that time. Monday was the day I took my toddler to playgroup at the rec center a few blocks away.
It was a day that for two glorious hours I engaged in a coffee- and chocolate-infused bitch-fest with my nearest and dearest as we ogled Hot Dad from afar and drooled over his ass when he spun around. My posse was filled with women just like me who were operating on far too little sleep and hadn’t peed alone in years let alone remembered the last time they washed and conditioned their hair. It was the one day of the week when I wasn’t made to feel guilty for plunking my kid down on the floor and letting her battle it out over the toy trains with another child, while I sipped my overpriced latte and had some much-needed adult talk.
But it was an ugly Monday. January was ugly. A West Coast baby to my very marrow, I loved nearly everything about living in Vancouver—except January. January weather was the worst! It held the kind of wet cold that slipped past all the layers of clothes and embedded itself deep in your bones. Rain, sleet, snow, wind. Like a sucker-punch to the kidneys, it made the whole city buckle, whine and wish for spring. Enough of this winter bullshit; bring on the flowers. This January was particularly nasty. We’d been hit with the snowfall of the decade on Christmas day, but by the new year it had warmed up just enough to melt the majority of it, leaving nothing but slush in the streets, brown patches, and clumps at the corner of people’s driveways and where kids had braved the chill to build snowmen or forts. But they were calling for another blast of cool weather from the north, so more snow was inevitable.
I finished the email I’d been writing on my laptop in the kitchen, hit send, then glanced through the wall cut-out at my happily playing child. Her bucket of dinosaurs sat between her legs as she methodically shoved each plastic reptile down the front of her loose-fitting tucked-in shirt. She insisted upon these kinds of sure for this very reason.
“Two minutes, Carly,” I said as a warning. “Two minutes, then we’re going to get ready for playgroup.”
Not even a glance my way.
Ignoring her rudeness, I went about getting myself ready. Wool socks, waffle-knit long-sleeved gray T-shirt, black hoodie, yoga pants. Check. Check. Check. Check. I placed my dark purple Hunter rain boots by the front door, then pulled on my raincoat and grabbed Carly’s boots and jacket before wandering into the living room to go wrestle my toddler.
I crouched down to her level so we were face to face. “Come on, baby, we don’t want to be late for playgroup.”
Still not even a jerk of the head or a flick of her eyes. Fighting back the rush of frustration inside me, I gritted my teeth and took a couple of deep breaths. My sweet, agreeable little girl had embraced “two” like it was a new fashion trend, the toddler’s version of a man-bun or an electric bike.
I pulled her into my lap and sat down on the couch to slip on her boots. “It’s time to go. We don’t want to be late.”
“No booooooots!” she wailed, squirming in my lap before arching her back until she was as straight as a two-by-four. “No booooots!”
“Carly Elyse! We are going to playgroup,” I said with an exasperated sigh. The child had been up before the birds (not that there were many birds out in January), climbing out of her toddler bed and throwing my bedroom door open at five-forty screaming “bottle” at the top of her tiny lungs, only to then toss all of her plastic dinosaurs on my face.
But I needed to go to playgroup. Probably more than she needed to go. It was my sanctuary. My place of peace. My safe space where I could wear my ratty ponytail, my torn and pilling yoga pants, feed my caffeine addiction all without judgment while gossiping and commiserating with all the other sleep- and sex-deprived mums. Only their sex deprivation was due to lack of sleep and not because they didn’t have a man to share their bed. My sex deprivation was because I hadn’t gotten laid since the night Carly was conceived.
It was a masked, drunken tryst in the dark break room at the New Year’s Eve party of an art gallery downtown. I never even saw his face, never saw much besides an orgasm and a good time. But apparently, he’d been handsome, because my kid was gorgeous—thank God. My fiancé of three years had just dumped me on Christmas Day, less than two months before our Valentine’s Day wedding, and I was looking for hot and dirty rebound sex with a stranger.
I’d found it.
I’d gone off the pill in early December as Vance and I had planned to start trying for a family right after the wedding, but my masked lover had used a condom, and yet I still managed to get pregnant. And at thirty-two, I was getting a little desperate. I wanted children. The circumstances just weren’t ideal. But now here I was three years later, with a perfect, healthy two-year-old, living in my sister’s basement suite in the heart of Vancouver and making a modest wage with my home-based business. Not ideal, but things could certainly be worse.
I pulled her other boot on, then reached over to the arm of the couch for her coat and toque. Zipping up her coat, I paused at the sound from the child on my lap. Her little chest lurched. Panic flooded me.
We all knew that sound. The deep throat convulsing sound. It was probably most recognizable when being made by a dog. I kept saying they should make alarm clocks with that sound. People would never hit snooze if they woke up to that noise. But even coming from a toddler, it was distinct, and before I knew it, I found myself pitching forward and running for the kitchen sink. It was closer than the bathroom, and even if we didn’t make the sink, the laminate was better than the carpet.
Cheerios, apple, and scrambled egg all mixed with milk splattered to the kitchen floor as Carly started to heave in my arms.
“Oh no!” she cried. “Uh-oh!”
“It’s okay, sweetie,” I cooed. “It’s okay.”
Ah, shit! I knew she was going to catch something from her cousins. Preschool and kindergarten were even bigger cesspools than playgroup.
Lillian and Emmet were both sick upstairs, having come home from school on Thursday because they’d lost their biscuits. They’d stopped puking by Saturday, but apparently Carly spending time with them Wednesday was enough. I looked at the calendar on the fridge. Yep, five-day incubation time. That’s exactly what my sister had said. Crap!
“Arly barted,” she whined, unable to pronounce the C in her name and deeply immersed in the third-person phase of her speech development. She referred to herself as Arly. And, of course, “barted” was her toddler butchering of “barfed.”
“It’s okay,” I said again. “Are you all done?”
I set her little feet down on the floor, then turned her to face me. An up-chucked Cheerio clung to her chin. I fought the urge to vomit and instead picked it off and tossed it into the sink. Her coat was covered in chunks, and the light-brown strands of hair that she refused to let me fix into a ponytail or clip were dripping with stomach carnage.
Surveying the damage, I tried to keep my face as neutral as possible. A sensitive soul and easily spooked, she would get upset if she noticed I was anything but calm. Her big brown eyes stared back at me, watery and confused.
“Arly okay, mama?” she asked.
I nodded. “You’re okay, baby. But we’re going to stay home today. No playgroup. We’re going to go have a quick shower, then cuddle up in our pajamas, watch movies and play dinosaurs. Sound good?”
Her eyes went wide and her smile even wider. “Dinosaurs!”
But then fear stole her glee, and before I knew it, I was holding her over the sink again as she tossed up more breakfast.
I guess I have to wait until next week to check out Hot Dad’s butt.


A short while later, after what felt like hours of playing dinosaurs, watching a dinosaur documentary on the Discovery Channel and coloring in dinosaur coloring books, my toddler was asleep. Though of course not in her bed. We’d tried, but she’d barfed. Now her sheets were in the wash and she was in my bed with me, her head on my lap as I stroked her hair and worked on my tablet.
I’m a virtual assistant, and damn good at it too. If you’re an author, an artist, an actor, a politician, a business person of any sort and need help organizing your life, your schedule, your social media or whatever, you come to me. Some kids used to play house or trains when they were growing up; I used to play secretary and wedding planner. I’d been organizing things and making schedules since I learned how to pick up a pencil, a ruler and make my own calendar. And I’d gotten very good at my job. Currently sitting with eighteen clients who all paid me handsomely to run their lives, I managed to make my own schedule and stay home with my kid, all while making a decent wage doing what I love.
But despite all that, it still wasn’t enough to afford a house in Vancouver. I’d have to sell Carly and my kidney just to manage the mortgage on a loft apartment downtown.
No thanks.
So instead, we lived in my sister Quinn’s basement suite, while she, her husband, Rick, and their two kids lived upstairs. It was a nice place, with lots of windows, a backyard and small garden. And what was best about it was my daughter got to grow up with her cousins, and I had my sister there to babysit when I needed a break.
Carly stirred in my lap, her body bunched into the fetal position and her face contorted into one of pain. I halted my finger on the touch screen and waited for her eyes to open. They didn’t. Her face relaxed, and her thumb found her mouth. She rarely sucked her thumb anymore, usually only when she was sick. This was not a good sign.
I continued on with work, typing out an email to Mr. C.J. Forrester, the grumpy but brilliant wildlife photographer and nonfiction writer. He had me managing his newsletter and calendar, but true to form, as a man not used to someone telling him what to do, he’d gone and double-booked himself for two exhibits in two different cities without coming to me first. I managed to move one to a later date, because I’m a freaking miracle worker, but now I had to touch base with him to make sure he knew where he had to be and when.
My phone vibrated next to me. I glanced down at it and then at my kid. She was still asleep, sucking away on that thumb. Her long, dark lashes feathered out against her rosy cheeks. She was deep in dreamland. If I answered, I might wake her. It continued to vibrate. I didn’t recognize the number.
It might be work. No matter how many times I told my clients that text and email were preferred as it put everything down in writing, left a paper trail and was less likely to wake up my kid, some still just had to talk to me in person.
Grumbling several “for fuck’s sakes” under my breath, I hit the green button then cupped the receiver.
“Hello?” I whispered.
“Hello?” a manly voice replied, mimicking my tone and volume. “Is it nap time?”
“Is she on you?”
Okay, who the hell was this person? That was a weird question. Accurate, but still weird. I considered hanging up but then thought better of it. Most of my clients had their own kids, and they knew how devoted I was to Carly, even if none of them had ever met her.
I decided to play along. “Yes. On my lap. Who is this?”
“Is this Harper?”
“Yes. Who is this?”
Sam? Sam who? I don’t know any ... WAIT!
“Hot—” I stopped myself before I said the whole thing.
Thank God.
“From playgroup. You probably know my kids better. Gemma and Landon?”
Fuck! Why the hell was Hot Dad calling me?
He paused for a second before he asked, “This is Harper from the Monday playgroup, right? Your daughter is Carly, the one who loves dinosaurs?” Hesitation colored his voice.
“Y-yeah. That’s me. That’s her.”
“Oh, good. Thought I might’ve had the wrong number.”
“Uh …”
His chuckle warmed my skin. It was as if he, his breath, was right there and not miles away. “How are you?”
“We missed you at playgroup today.”
What the fuck is going on right now? Am I dreaming?
            I’d missed loads of playgroups before, but never had Sam called me afterward to say he missed me. But then again, he didn’t say he missed me. He said we missed me. Who was we? Who was he speaking for?
“Gemma had the dinosaurs all to herself. She was happy but confused all at the same time.”
Oh, right! His kids. Jesus Christ, Harper, get ahold of yourself.
“Sorry. We meant to get there. Boots were on, toques and coats, the whole nine yards. And then barf happened.”
“Yours or Carly’s?”
“Oh God, mine! No wait, sorry. Carly’s, not mine. Fuck!” Carly wriggled on the bed, and I held my breath. She was a bloody mynah bird these days, so with my luck, she would pick up on my blasphemy in her sleep and be chanting it when she woke up. Her dinosaurs would no longer say “rawr” but “fuuuuuck!”
Dear sweet lord, this man flustered me. Why was the man I’d been hard core crushing on for the past six months calling me out of the blue? And how on earth did he get my number? Waiting with bated breath, I watched as my sick and dozy toddler spun like a log on the bed and repositioned herself with her head no longer on my lap but instead down by my knee. Her feet kicked up toward the pillows. She always was a squirmy worm. Couldn’t keep covers on her to save her life. But her eyelids remained fully shut; I finally exhaled.
“Sorry, what?”
He was laughing now. “I didn’t say anything. You just cursed like a sailor, and then I thought you’d hung up. Everything okay?”
Prying myself off the bed with ninja stealth, I wandered into the kitchen so I could speak above a hush. “Yeah, sorry. I thought I’d woken Carly up. My sister’s kids came home from school last week with the flu, and it looks like Carly caught it.”
“Oh, no. How do you feel?”
My insides began to buzz and hum from his concern.
“Okay so far. Though I wash my hands and tend not to lick the walls or furniture, so fingers crossed I manage to avoid it.”
“Aw man, I love licking the coffee table. Next to the ottoman, it’s my favorite thing to have my tongue on.”
Whoa! Now all I could think about was Hot Dad’s tongue and the various places I’d like to have it. Had that been his intention? Was he talking dirty? Why was he talking to me at all? Thoughts and images, questions and giddiness much too extreme for my age cannoned around inside my head as I paced my kitchen. I needed to do something. I needed to occupy my hands. As if answering my cry for help, my stomach gurgled, and I snatched a banana from the bowl and peeled it.
“You still there?” he asked.
Oh crap, how long had I been silent?
“Yup,” I said with a mouthful.
“What are you doing? You sound funny.”
“Eating a banana.”
Now it was his turn for silence.
“Seriously?” he finally asked.
“Whole, or did you cut it up into pieces first?”
Holy freaking frack, he’s flirting with me!
His chuckle swept over my skin as if he’d just licked each and every inch of it. Divine heat pooled between my legs, and I felt my nipples tighten against my bra. I resisted the urge to reach up and cup them to relieve the sudden strain of their weight.
“What are your plans this weekend, Harper?”
“Um …”
“Banana in your mouth?”
I swallowed and blinked.
“Mhmm. Sorry.”
“It’s okay. Swallow.”
Holy Mother of God, him telling me to swallow … my heart nearly leaped clean out of my chest.
“I guess I should probably double-check first that you are in fact single. That you’re not seeing someone but just haven’t bothered to let your friend Amy know.”
Amy! I could kiss that meddling little woman.
“Yes. Yes, I’m single.”
“Good. Me too.” I could practically see that sexy smile of his it came through so clearly in his voice.
“Well, Harper, would you like to go out with me this weekend?”
I nodded and then did a little hop. My pulse was racing and my brain was struggling to keep up. I was planning a date with Hot Dad! “When? What time?”
“How does Friday around seven sound?” 
Yes, woman. Say YES!
“You can think it over if you need some—”
But I cut him off. “I’d love to!”
“Great! So, Friday at seven?”
“Perfect. Text me your address, and I’ll swing by to pick you up. How does dinner and a movie sound?”
“Sounds great!” Oh shit, my voice was getting higher. Had he noticed?
“Awesome. I’ll see you Friday. Don’t get sick.”
I swallowed again. “Okay.”
“Bye, Harper.”
“G-goodbye, Sam.”
He hung up.
I stared at the phone and his number. Hot Dad just asked me out on a date!
Hot Dad.
On a date!
I brought up the number for Amy, my sister from another mister and my favorite mom in my mom posse, and texted her.

Harper: Umm, why did Hot Dad just call me and ask me out on date? What were you two talking about today at Playgroup? About how sad, lonely and sex deprived I am?

She texted back almost immediately, as I knew she would. She had Mondays off and usually spent the afternoons with Henry at home or out and about. I checked the time. It was nearly four. She was probably prepping supper.

Amy: Bahahaha. Yes. He knows you’re horny as a rabbit in the spring. Get on that, little bunny. He and I were the only two parents who brought their kids today to playgroup. We started talking, I found out he’s a single Hot Dad. I thought the two of you might hit it off. He’s hot, you’re hot. Be hot AND sweaty together. Are you going out with him?

Smiling, I texted her back. Amy was a gem. Feisty, petite and a true friend. We’d met on the first day Carly and I joined playgroup. She’d offered me a piece of chocolate from her pocket. She normally kept her stash hidden and slipped a square into her mouth when no one was looking. But based on the way I’d entered the joint, with a tear in the bum of my brand-new yoga pants, a screaming toddler, and hair caked in oatmeal and banana, she figured I needed the sugar. And we’ve been friends ever since. She brought me into the fold and made me one of them. There was no bashing, no judgment, just support. And even though I loved all the women at the playgroup, Amy was my person. I could always count on her and she on me. If I didn’t have Quinn as a sister, I would have wanted Amy. I texted her back, my pulse thundering in my veins as I replayed my phone conversation with Sam over and over in my head.

H: Duh!? I’d be stupid not to try to hit that. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to hit that for months.

A: Ha-ha! Yes, I’m well aware of your six-month love from afar. You deserve this. Good luck and let me know how it goes :)

H: THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!

I sent her a photo of me blowing a kiss, then tossed my phone onto the counter and started the most epic dance party of my life, all to the tune of the music in my head.