Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Escape to @WiccanHaus for Mid-Winter Healing #pnr #anthology @SSaraDaniel

Dear Friends,

If you're dying for a getaway this winter, you're in luck. Escape to the Wiccan Haus for some Mid-Winter Healing. You'll get three magical, paranormal romances including Solace for the Psychic Soul, featuring Monica Smic and Dex Seer who were first introduced in Psychic Lies.


A Wiccan Haus Holiday anthology

ALINA’S LIGHT by Carolyn Spear
LOVE’S MAGICK by Leigh Daley

They must heal each other or lose everything in winter’s fiercest storm. 

Dex Seer has spent his life on the wrong side of the law, working for anyone who will pay him enough to afford the medicine his sister needs to keep from going blind. But the medicine no longer exists. In desperation, he books a stay at the Wiccan Haus to heal his sister. With a sexy government spy following him through the portal, he stands to lose everything he’s spent his life protecting.

After too many years reading the evil, sadistic thoughts of her government’s enemies, Monica Smic is exhausted and cynical. Worse, her soul discovered its mate in a lawless bounty hunter, and staying away from him is destroying her from the inside out. When she passes out on the job, her boss forces her to take a week off at the Wiccan Haus to get her act together.

Despite their mutual distrust, the more time Dex and Monica spend in each other’s company, the more their battered souls find solace in the other’s. But Dex’s first loyalty is to his sister, and Monica’s is to her government. On the Winter Solstice, they will either heal each other or lose everything in winter’s fiercest storm.

Buy Links:
Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06WRP4M83/?tag=sardanromaut-20
Nook http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/mid-winter-healing-sara-daniel/1125731271
Google Play https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Sara_Daniel_Mid_Winter_Healing_Wiccan_Haus_Holiday?id=sPUWDgAAQBAJ&utm_source=Decadent+Publishing+Newsletter&utm_campaign=98251329ab-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_02_07&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_64baa358da-98251329ab-136242461
Kobo https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/mid-winter-healing-wiccan-haus-holiday-anthology
iBooks https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/mid-winter-healing/id1192443371

Monday, February 20, 2017

New Release ~ Unrequited Mate by TL Reeve and Michele Ryan

Good Morning everyone! I am so excited to share with you, Unrequited Mate. This has been a labor of love for Michele and I. We know Hayden and Nico so well, that telling their story was like writing about our best friends. This is the beginning of our new series that will focus on NA books, and be featured at Turnskin University, a college for shifters and humans alike. This is the one place shifters can come and be themselves and not have to worry about hiding. I hope you enjoy their adventure as much as we did writing it. We hope to have Sorority Row, book 2 of the series out soon! But, until then, enjoy Nico and Hayden's book: Unrequited Mate.


Welcome to Turnskin University...

Hayden Raferty, left behind her entire family and all her friends to get away from her mate, Nico Lopez. In a single night, he crushed her hopes and dreams of finding true love. Now, years later, Hayden has decided to move on and start over.

Nico Lopez knows he screwed up, but letting his mate walk away isn’t in his plans. It's time to make his move. With a little help from 555-ROAR, Nico obtains a spot in the Greek Shifter Games and is determined to show his mate there isn’t another male worthy of her. If has to put his body on the line to prove it, so be it.


The growing bond between them seemed to spike the year she’d turned seventeen, but no one seemed hard pressed to explain the inexplicable need she had to rub against him or the anguish of not having him near. The frequency of their visits became shorter due to both of them working or school. However, when the weather turned warmer, no matter what, they went swimming. Hayden stepped up to his door and knocked. When he didn’t answer, she knocked again then called out his name.

Nico’s rag top jeep sat in the small parking lot so she knew he was there, but fear gripped her. She pounded on the door once more, heart in her throat. The door opened a few seconds later and her best friend in the whole world stood before her, bleary eyed, with a sheet wrapped around his hips. The thick putrid smell of alcohol clung to him along with something else. Her wolf bristled at the scent.

“Are you coming back to bed, Nico?” A woman’s voice called out and Hayden knew what the smell was. She backed away from the door, horrified. Some visceral emotion sliced through her, shredding her ability to breathe.

“Hayden,” Nico called after her, but she’d already started running. She shifted mid-stride uncaring if anyone saw her. The tattered remains of her clothes floated to the ground like the slivers of her soul.

She finished up the rest of the semester, and avoided him at all costs. He showed up at her high school graduation that May, and she ignored him. He brought her flowers and a locket, but she refused both. She couldn’t stand being around him. He broke her that day and it took two years to muster up the courage to move on with her life.

Now a sophomore in college and all of twenty years old, the urge to mate clawed at her. But the guys she sat through class with or in study group did nothing for her. She found herself comparing them to he-who-shall-not-be-named, and didn’t that just suck donkey dick? A low growl of irritation passed her lips and she balled her hands into fists. What’s done is done. He made his choice and you weren’t it. She opened her notebook and wrote a quick note to her dad. She needed them to understand she was moving on, and she would appreciate if they didn’t ask about him—Nico. It was time.

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://a.co/3fqcYRD
Amazon Uk: http://amzn.eu/g5P2JlP
Amazon Ca: http://a.co/e1SYGjf
Smashwords: http://bit.ly/2lfDA06
Bookstrand: http://bit.ly/2lG8oIj
iBooks: http://apple.co/2lG9YK9
Site: http://turnskin-university.blogspot.com/

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Order of the Black Knights~ Multi-author series

US Marshal Jaeger Tripp is assigned to the Federal Witness Protection Program. The hurt and destruction he’s seen—along with protecting criminals who are only cooperating with the authorities to keep themselves out of jail—have left him with a bleak and jaded view of both life and people. His current assignment is Wren O’Riley, a computer wizard who witnessed a high-profile cartel hit.
To Jaeger, Wren is the same as any other job. He must protect him long enough to get him to testify at trial, and his personal feelings have no place in his work and must be set aside. But that’s easier said than done. On the run and fighting for their lives, Jaeger and Wren can’t help but grow closer. And Jaeger can’t help seeing beyond Wren’s nerdy exterior to a man who might be just what Jaeger needs to settle his soul and capture his heart—if they survive long enough to get that chance.
Order of the Black Knights
Every century has seen its knights, but they are not always seen. Some of them do what must be done—getting their hands dirty when no one else is willing. Assassins and antiheroes who work from the shadows, they are called the Black Knights. From the time of the society’s creation in the 1100s, these men are cursed to repeat their lives of bloodshed. But for each knight, there is one who can bring out the man that waits inside and break the cycle. The question is whether or not the knight will kill his true love before he figures it out.

Prologue 1981

OPPRESSIVE HEAT caused the sweat to trickle down Jaeger’s back and pool at the waistband of his camouflage BDUs. For three fucking days, he’d been entrenched in the mosquito-ridden jungle of Colombia, waiting for his mark, Carlos Quintanilla—drug runner, coca grower, and major player in the Colombian cartel. He and his team were paid handsomely to sit, wait, and dispose of a target. And though the original twenty-four hours—in, shoot, and out—had grown to three days, mercenaries were paid to wait under any conditions.
Once the deed was done, he would trek four klicks through the jungle and rendezvous with the team, cross into Venezuela, and transform into a businessman for the trip back to the States. With his payoff, he planned to retire—hang up his hat as a killer for hire and live on an island in peace and quiet. Maybe. If the nightmares stopped and gave him respite.
He watched through his rifle sight as Quintanilla lumbered along the edge of the pool of his multi-million-dollar fortress. Security was a priority for him, but that was of little consequence to Jaeger, who was perched approximately half a mile away from the complex in a makeshift tree stand with his Remington 700, nicknamed Lolita. He waited.
Movement to the right of the pool caught his attention. Jaeger shifted ever so slightly as the slim figure of a man dressed in blue flowered board shorts, a white undershirt, and flip flops approached Quintanilla. The young man couldn’t have been more than twenty-four.
A dirty blond mop of hair fell over his eyes. His skin was only slightly tanned, as though it had been kissed by the sun, and his ass was meant to be grabbed.
Jaeger didn’t have time to ogle over some squeeze Quintanilla kept at his house. Or maybe the young man was the drug runner’s son. Intel reported that Quintanilla’s wife, children, and mistress were away on vacation. So either the young man was a fuck buddy or a returning son, there to see daddy. Additionally, the team had watched the workers and security guards and knew the next few days were the only time that month Quintanilla would be alone. It looked like a vacation from the world. Quintanilla sent everyone else away and stayed to enjoy the amenities he acquired by dipping his hands into blood money. Carlos Quintanilla believed himself so powerful that no one would dare to touch him. He’d soon be proven wrong.
“Target in sight.” Jaeger spoke softly into the mic attached to the lapel of his camouflage shirt. The earpiece in his right ear crackled with static.
“Can you take the shot, Arrow One?” The speaker, located approximately four kilometers away, waited with the rest of the team for Jaeger to complete the deed and return to the rendezvous point.
“Roger, Base One. Shot available, but there’s a slight problem. The target is not alone. Over.”
Jaeger waited for base to confirm or negate his mission. He hoped it was a go, because if not, the sitting in a mosquito-infested jungle, being eaten alive would have been for naught. And that would highly piss him off.
“Can you take them both out, Arrow One?”
Jaeger thought and quickly contemplated the speed of the traveling bullet, the wind velocity, and the reaction time for the second target to move and attempt to take cover and fall at Quintanilla’s feet. He couldn’t guarantee it.
“Negative, Base One. Advise.” Jaeger waited.
Sitting in the jungle required patience, which any mercenary or sniper had in spades. The average man found it torturous to sit in silence for three minutes. Jaeger did it for days at a time. So the five minutes it took for base to get back to him was nothing. If Quintanilla attempted to leave the premises, Jaeger would have to either take him out and leave the young man alive or try to eradicate both of them.
“Base One to Arrow One. Over.”
“Arrow One here.”
“It’s a go, Arrow One. Target first, then the secondary. Take the trip to the destination and see if any cleaning is required. We are still a go for the meet. Over.”
“Roger, Base One. Over.”
Jaeger had the green light. Kill Quintanilla, shoot the young man, and confirm both kills. Jaeger had no doubt Carlos Quintanilla would be dead, but was not sure of the second target. He’d put a bullet in him on sight, if needed.
Jaeger peered through the lens, blinked his eyes to refocus, and stared at Quintanilla. He and his blond companion were seated side by side in chaise longues. The young man’s hands moved earnestly, as if the talk was at the forefront of his young life. Jaeger inhaled and filled his lungs. The feel of Lolita against his cheek and on his shoulder and the caress of the scope and wood stock comforted him but had also brought him great pain. But this was not the time to become maudlin. He had a job. One that would enlarge his bank account and maybe deliver the solace he’d struggled so hard to find.
Ever so slowly he released his breath as his index finger rested on the trigger. As he let go the last of his breath, Jaeger squeezed the trigger. The whiz of the bullet rang through the air and blended with the cacophony of birds in the untamed Colombian jungle. Jaeger released the shell, inhaled again, and aligned his second shot. Dead-on, the bullet pierced Carlos Quintanilla’s skull, and blood oozed from the hole. Quintanilla fell over in the lounger. The young man dropped to his knees and covered his mouth with his hands. The angle of his body made it impossible for Jaeger to kill him, but he’d maim him until he was onsite and could finish the deed. This better involve a bonus. And not a two-fer-one sale.
The second shot, strategically aimed at the young man’s side, tore through his ribs and pierced a lung, incapacitating him until Jaeger arrived. The man dropped.
Jaeger slung his minipack onto his back, hoisted Lolita onto his shoulder by her strap, and jogged through the foliage. Normally the slight trek would have taken about ten minutes on solid ground, but in the thick of the Colombian jungle, half a mile could take up to an hour. Jaeger didn’t have the luxury of wasted time. He humped the half mile as fast and expediently as the surrounding area allowed and arrived at the fortress in less than thirty minutes.
Careful and mindful of any unwanted guests, Jaeger quickly entered through a low-lying wall on the back side and made his way to the pool area. The silence was welcome, except for the slight whimpers of the wounded bystander. Jaeger verified Quintanilla’s death and turned his attention to the young man who struggled for breath as his lungs obviously filled with blood and his heart enlarged and worked overtime to pump. Blood trickled from the corner of his mouth. His soulful chocolate-brown eyes pooled with tears as he peered up at Jaeger. Blood, snot, and tears did not detract from the young man’s good looks. In retrospect Jaeger realized he was Quintanilla’s son and not a boy toy.
Jaeger removed his Sig from the side holster and aimed. The young man resignedly closed his eyes. Sadness illuminated Jaeger’s soul at the prospect of taking an innocent, but no witnesses were allowed. And Jaeger was paid to kill. He wasn’t quite sure where his feeling emanated from, but a job was a job, and Jaeger and the team were being paid handsomely. The boy had the misfortune to be born into the Quintanilla family and grow up the son of a notorious drug runner. Maybe not so innocent, then—tainted by his genealogy. Jaeger pulled the trigger. The sound was louder than usual.

Dreamspinner Press
Barnes & Noble

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Lei'd Hawaiian Style....NEW RELEASE!

And that's just what happens to my heroine Jimi Calloway in A Cowboy In Paradise. Coming out March 2017 with Harlequin Blaze. Yes, it's my last Blaze :( I'm so sad Blaze is no more because there was more to this tale in Hawaii. Dallas Wilde has a feisty sister and a sexy, extreme living cowboy brother. Maybe one day their story will be told.

Jimi and Dallas have a great story together. Full of passion, unpredictability, surprises and hot sex. Amazing what you can get up to with a pineapple ;) I hope you give their story a chance! I'm having a giveaway for a signed copy of A Cowboy in Paradise for one of my newsletter subscribers. Please click to sign up. I promise I don't spam and only send out once a month - and always with a prize of some sort :)

In her designer dress and high-heeled shoes, Jimi clearly didn’t belong on a dusty Hawaiian ranch. Or with rugged cowboy Dallas Wilde. Dallas may be a delicious temptation, but could a city girl ever trade Laboutins for lassoes?

Her island nights are heating up! 
Losing her luggage was Jimi Calloway's first clue that her friend's Hawaiian destination wedding would be a nightmare. The fact that it's at a ranch instead of on the beach and she'll be "glamping"? It's officially the Vacation from Hell. Until this city girl gets a glimpse of her smokin'-hot cowboy guide. Suddenly this vacation is looking up…
Sure, Jimi's designer wardrobe is lost somewhere over the ocean, but she's too busy learning just how incredible—and incredibly wicked—"roughing it" with the sexy, rugged Dallas Wilde can be to care. Besides, it's only a vacation fling… Only, no one warned Jimi how easy it was to fall for a cowboy in paradise.

Mini Excerpt

Dallas couldn’t believe his eyes. A vision like that wasn’t something you saw every day. He’d grown used to the daily ritual of horses, ranch hands and mountains. In all the years he’d been running the guest ranch, never had he walked by a tent to see a near naked and fantastically gorgeous woman. He’d watched her for only a few moments. Just long enough for his cock sit up and take notice, and make him feel like a peeping tom. Hell, could you blame a man? Standing in her lacy and very see through ivory bra and panties for all the world to see was totally unexpected. He was captivated.

He couldn’t look away from this woman, like a lioness ready to pounce. Her blonde curls fell wild around her shoulders and down her back, his fingers twitched with the urge to bury his fingers in the strands. It juxtaposed the virginal image against an untamed sexuality that oozed from her, it reached deep down inside and grabbed him by the balls. Her smoking hot body was anything but virginal. It was a body made for pleasure. And he’d be at the front of the line if given the opportunity.

Buy Links

Friday, February 17, 2017

Posting a bit late today, but it's my birthday and I'm entitled to be a little lax today. I'm going to be even laxer and post an excerpt from Guilty Secrets and then go to dinner with my daughter and her family.

So here's the excerpt. Adam and Corry have yet to admit they love each other, although their marriage has been happy. Adam saved her from a  vicious father by marrying her, and Corry can't believe he loves her.  And Adam's guilty secrets are keeping them apart.

Are you on Wattpad?

Recently, I joined Wattpad. I'm still finding my way around there, but have managed to add some sample chapters, including one of Tempted by the Gargoyle

Are you on there? If so, what do you think?

How do you use it? 

Here's my profile if you want to connect, or read some sample chapters! I hope to add some more in the next couple of months! 


P.S. I'm off to Wild Wicked Weekend in San Antonio next week. If you're going to be there, stop by to say hi! I'll be at the book signing, as well as most of the events. 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Romance "on-demand?"

Inspiration hits for another romance!
Not long ago, I was with my husband at a memorial for one of his cousins.  I don't believe I ever met her, though he thought I might have.  She was a couple of years older than the two of us, but still was taken far too early.

It was interesting talking to so many of his cousins, many of whom I don't know.  Some I've developed friendships with, though I don't know their siblings much.  At one point, when people were getting up to say a few words about the deceased, her significant other got up to speak.  His voice was strong at first, then broke as he continued.  Seems he's a plumber, and got sent to her house when she had some clogged pipes (ahem). They hit it off, one thing led to another, and he moved into her house not too long after that.

I teared up as he finished, as did many of us.  One of her brothers, a cowboy-hat-wearing guy with pointy boots and a gray pony tail, leaned over to me and said in a loud whisper, "So now you know, that's what you should write about next!  This was a real  love story!  It needs to be told and shared."

I was shocked, to say the least.  We had spoken briefly before that, and it turns out that his cousins who knew me, had shared with him that I write romance novels.  He was a bit patronizing, in the, "Oh?  You little women still like reading that kind of crap?  I suppose someone has to write it.  Buy you have an English degree also?  Can't you think of anything better to write about, other than porn for bored housewives?"

There are so many things wrong with that attitude that I was speechless.  Then I tried to avoid him, so I wouldn't get goaded by him into engaging in what would surely turn ugly...and after all, it wasn't MY family, and it WAS a memorial.

But really?  Only women (of any size, really, not just those he would diminish by calling "little") read "that sort of crap?"  I've been contacted by men who have read and enjoyed my books...and my husband and one son both told me they did also.  And what's with the demeaning attitude, that, what, only stupid women write romance, so an obviously well-educated woman like me should write something more, what, uplifting? I think at one point I did manage to mention briefly that I'm also a Mensa member.  Genius IQ, top 2% world-wide.  Not that I was bragging (much), but guys like him make me want to punch them!

Needless to say, I spent the rest of the time trying to avoid him.  Husband helped, since he sensed an imminent explosion.  He's a wise man.

But afterwards I got to thinking about a couple of things I should have said to him.  Like, "If you think your sister's love story is such a great narrative, why don't you write it?  Should be easy for a big guy like you.  After all, women write romances all the time, so how hard can it be?" And the other thing was what I really said briefly to him before I excused myself to visit the powder room: "That's not how things work with writers...at least not with me.  My muse doesn't write 'on-demand.'  She gets inspired by things I'm not even aware of, then give me stories, sometimes in dreams, sometimes when I'm not looking for them, like when I'm driving. It's like lightning striking...you never know when it's going to hit.  But it's never because I planned on writing any particular story. You can't force inspiration."

How about you?  Can you make demands on your muse?  Does she or he "produce" for you when you want her/him to do so? Am I the only one whose muse is capricious? 

To read more about my books, visit my website: http://www.fionamcgier.com.
My plan is to update it soon...when I get some time off.  Hey, spring break is coming up soon, right? 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Brand New Release - Poppy's Secret

Today is the release of Poppy's Secret, its an MM secret baby book.  A friend loves these stories and was lamenting that there were none in MM for obvious reasons.   So I wrote one.  Enjoy!!!

A second chance born of love.
Pat Corrigan and Edgerton “Edge” Winters were ready to start a family—or so Pat thought. At the last minute, Edge got cold feet and fled. Pat didn’t bother telling him the conception had already gone through and little Emma was on her way. He didn’t want a relationship based on obligation. He’d rather raise his daughter on his own.
Nine years later, Emma and her Poppy are doing fine. Edge isn’t. He realizes what he threw away by leaving, and he’s back to turn his life around and reclaim his family. It’ll take a lot to prove to Pat that he’s a new man, and even if Edge succeeds, the secret Pat has hidden for years might shatter their dreams all over again.

Purchase a copy:  https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/poppys-secret-by-andrew-grey-8070-b

Pat went inside and locked the doors, then went right upstairs and into the shower. He needed to get the scent of sweat and strange men off him. Once he was clean, he climbed into bed and closed his eyes, trying to sleep. Of course the one face he’d spent nine years trying to forget came roaring back. When they’d been together, Edge had been his life, and Pat had thought it wasn’t possible to get any happier. He and Edge had made so many plans—travel, a family, a home together. He’d thought they were building a life and that they wanted to do the same things. Then Edge had gotten a job offer, and suddenly everything had changed. Edge wanted to leave, their life wasn’t good enough any longer, and then he was gone. After his very unconventional childhood, Pat had wanted stability and happiness, but just when he thought he’d found it, everything had changed. Then less than a year later, the wheel had changed one more time and Emma had entered his life. So small and with the bluest eyes he’d ever seen. And then he realized he could have everything he wanted, just in a different way.

But Edge was always there in his mind. No matter how many times he’d tried to truly get him out of his life, Pat couldn’t. And now he was back and Edge had found him. Pat hoped like hell that he’d be left alone. He’d managed a long time without Edge, and he could continue doing it forever. All that needed to happen was for Edge to stay away. Pat hoped that after tonight, Edge would leave him alone.

Pat rolled onto his side, punching his pillow. He wanted to clear his head and stop all these thoughts about Edge. He was so hard he could pound nails. All he had to do was think of Edge and how much he’d missed the way he’d always reacted to him. “No.” Pat sat up and groaned. He was not going back through all this. Never again. Edge had walked out of his life, and that was the end of it. This whole fascination with him was simply the fact that Pat was horny as hell. He probably should have gone to a different club. It was still early….

Clubs weren’t what he wanted. Pat longed for something more than that. He needed someone who cared about him and would be a true part of both his and Emma’s life. That was what he needed, and Edge had already proved he wasn’t that man.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

New Contemporary Cowboy Series

It's called, Cowboy Lovin' Series, and the first in the series is Broken Hearted. Here is an excerpt for you:

"You got a visitor up at the house, Dwayne," Bill Collier said, taking his hat off so he could scratch his head.
"Yeah, who is it?" Dwayne asked not paying much attention to his foreman as he cut his newest mare out of the herd and moved toward the corral.
"Don't know, I didn't see her myself." Bill watched Dwayne move the horse and smiled at the way he handled her with such ease. Bill could spot a cowboy a mile away and Dwayne was one of the best.
"What's her name?" Dwayne asked as he closed the corral gate and glanced at his foreman with interest.
"I don't know boss, Joe let her inside the gate."
"He did what? You know better than that, Bill. Since when do you let a person in that we don't know?" Dwayne barked.
Bill twisted his head at his boss' quick temper. "Sorry boss. I wasn't there, just relaying the message is all."
"I have too much work to do to worry with a female," Dwayne complained, then shot Bill a quick apology. "Sorry Bill, it isn't your fault. Didn't mean to snap. But you tell that new fella Joe he isn't to let anyone in unless I give that order. I guess I'll have to go see who it is, and what she wants. Probably one of those nosey reporters who found out that J.D. sold me his top breeding stock. No one can believe that he's going out of the horse business. His name's gonna be all over the ranching magazines for months."
"Yeah, that's probably it." Bill acknowledged and nodded. "I'll tell Joe. He should have known better. But that's why I told you, I knew you would run her off if she got too nosey."
"Yeah," Dwayne glanced up as he wrapped his rope over his saddle horn. "You're right about that."
Dwayne' shoulders tensed and tightened, confronting a woman this early in the morning wasn't his idea of a good start for the day. He mumbled and fretted for a full five minutes before he realized Bill was staring at him.
"It'll be alright boss; you can cut her claws quick." Bill managed a slight smile.
"Bill I think I need a personal secretary or whatever they call them to run interference for times like these. On second thought, tell Joe to send her out to the breeding shoots. She wants to see me, she'll do it on my time, not hers."
"You sure you want to do that?" Bill's mouth hung open in surprise.
His defenses eased, replaced by quiet assurance. "I'm sure. Do it. First time she steps in cow dung she might rethink wandering around on a ranch. Especially the Triple R."
"Alright, anything you say boss." Bill shook his head and adjusted his hat. "I'll get right on it."
Dwayne went about his business. If the lady came to disrupt his day, she'd think twice before she did it again. Today was not a day to mess with him.
He looped his rope around the mare he'd cut out of the remuda. Trotting over to the breeding stalls, he handed the rope to one of the hands. "Take her in Clint…" He directed.
"Yes sir." The young cowboy led the mare to one of the stalls.
"Mr. Bigalow called said he'd be here in about ten minutes." Bill whipped about to tell Dwayne.
"Good, I think she's ready. This ought to be a good match." Dwayne smiled at Bill.
Bill nodded.
Dwayne saw the mare was a little nervous, so he ambled up to her on foot, with soothing words and a strong hand against her neck. "Easy girl, Midnight's gonna pleasure you a little, so settle out, nothing to be afraid of."
"I don't believe it," Came a voice that Dwayne knew only too well. "Dwayne Dillon gentling a horse…"
Dwayne felt the tension in his shoulders again. His brain nearly froze up he was so tense. The mare moved away from him, obviously sensing the tension.
Knowing he was upsetting her, he moved away from the mare. In order to do so, he had to turn and face the one person he wasn't sure about facing.
Andrea Lee Colbert stood not more than a yard away from him. J.D.'s step daughter. She might be Andrea to most folks but to Dwayne, she was Andi, and always would be. Her perfume tickled his nose. It always had, but now it seemed more an irritant. Even though the woman made his blood boil with male urges, she was his ex, and he had to remember that. Her red ruffled blouse and tight, black leather skirt accentuated her perfect little figure. The red high heels added that touch of sophistication she wore like an armor.
With one swoop of his long lashes he took her in.
His body reacted like a time bomb about to go off. Just looking at her stirred things inside him that made walking difficult, something he couldn't control. He felt like a stallion presented with his first mare. In that regard, nothing had changed.
In some ways, that's exactly what Andi was, his first filly. And oddly, his last. She might have left him, but he hadn't been out of the corral since.
 He wished time and age had dwindled her appeal, but it hadn't. She was more beautiful now than ever. She wore an air of sophistication, but Dwayne knew how to break through that thin veneer.
When they were married, she was still child-like, at eighteen. Now seven long years later, she was more powerful than a tornado gone wild. Her black mane of hair lay in clusters against her thin shoulders. She flexed her mane and tail like a proud mare. And the stallion in him reacted, quite naturally.
He firmed his lips into a semi-smile, trying to look unaffected. "Andi what are you doing here?" He made his voice sound casual, unaffected. It was far from what he felt.
"The name's Andrea, not Andi. I quit using that name tag a long time ago, Dwayne." The woman clamored for composure too. She was stirring like a nervous filly.
That was interesting. She might look confident, but he could tell, her shields weren't up.
"Sorry, old habit," Dwayne mumbled.
"I hear J.D is going out of business, I wanted to find out the truth before I spoke to him? Knowing my brothers, I won't be welcome, but I want to see him." She asked in an impersonal tone.
"Yep, it's true." He nodded, not bothering to look at her. "I heard you became a reporter for the Ranching Guild. Congratulations. You always were the nosey type."
"Why what?" Dwayne asked his tone just as impersonal as hers but his gaze meeting hers.
"What happened to him?" She asked as she climbed upon the railing and stared at his back. "Why's he selling out? Do you know?"
How could she just walk in and act as though she hadn't broken his heart into a million pieces?
"You're his step-daughter and you are asking me why? Age, mismanagement, maybe. I don't know. Why aren't you over there talking to him?" Dwayne asked still not looking at her. "He's your father after all."
"You know very well why. I'm doing a piece on it, wanted to get the whole picture. I don't want to see his name go down in the mud." She answered. "There are all kinds of rumors floating around. I wanted the truth. I figured you'd give it straight up."
"That's kind of you." He took the bridle off the mare now and loosened the ropes. Her compliment through him, letting down one of the barriers between them.
"Who you breeding Cletty to?" She asked as though it were her business to know, as she cast her glance toward the barn where Bill was leading the mare.
"Bigalow's stallion." He answered automatically. "But this isn't Cletty. This is Star."
"What happened to Cletty?"
"She's fine, she's out to pasture now. Too old to breed."
She seemed to cringe at his words. He took note of it but didn't say anything. Why would that bother her, she walked away from all of this years ago?
"She's a beauty. That's a powerful match, isn't it?" She practically whistled through her teeth.
"It'll be a good match," Dwayne affirmed.
"She's beautiful. I hear you're doing well."
"Not too bad, I guess."
When a silence hung between them, he slightly turned to give her a glance. His heart lurched. He immediately and defensively shrugged it off. "What do you want Andi?"
"The story…" She sighed heavily. "If you can bear to tell it."
"Well, I don't have a story. So why don't you run along and do your thing somewhere else? I'm a little busy right now, in case you haven't noticed." Dwayne sounded unusually harsh and he could tell he got to her as she backed away from him.
He didn't want her backing away from him. It hurt him as much as her to be cruel and unfeeling.
"I guess I was a fool coming here." She murmured and started to leave.
"That's the truth." He barked, harder than he intended. He didn't want Andi thinking he was enjoying this reunion of sorts. Yet the sight of her filled him.
"As close as you and J.D. used to be, I can't understand you wanting to see him go down like this." She said, her expression bland. "I guess I'm wrong. I thought you cared about him."
Dwayne felt her words and tried to let go of the tension long enough to face her. "Look, he's getting old, he wants to retire. Maybe it's just time."
"Have you seen him lately?"
"No, I have no reason to visit, he never liked me much anyway."
The way he said that had Andi wondered what was going on. Dwayne looked almost sad.
"Maybe, and maybe there's something else behind it. Like his sons, forcing him to get rid of the place. You know he's got it up for sale, don't you?" Her look cut through years of hurt and landed in his heart like a branding iron.
No matter how much he tried to reject her now, he realized quickly he couldn't deny she was still part of him.
For a moment, he steadied himself and pushed away the bad between them, to answer her. "I didn't know he had it up for sale yet. He talked about it. But I didn't figure he would do it. I haven't seen him in quite some time."
"He's had that place for over forty-five years, Dwayne." She muttered miserably. The pain in her words stabbed him.
"A lot of things change in time, Andi. Maybe it's best for him." Dwayne answered, not looking at her now.
"I'll never believe that." She mumbled, stumbling on a rock and landing in cow dung.
Dwayne smiled crookedly to himself.
That was part justification, he thought to himself. Red heels and cow dung. Appropriate!
But he had to hand it to her, she didn't act the least bit upset, instead, she took a tissue from her huge purse and wiped it off as though it were nothing. He had to hand it to her, she didn't fluster easy. He was downright proud of the way she shrugged it off. Any other woman would probably curse.
Dwayne' felt the tension draining away. He remembered how Andi would fight for lost causes. She loved her father, but she had no use at all for her half-brothers and they felt the same. He used to be proud of her for fighting the good fight. But that was before she cold-heartedly walked out on him.
Somehow inside him, he knew he had to let go of the hate and the past. Maybe now was the time to do it. Face her down, confront his hurt and move on with his life.
He turned to stare at her and he saw a tremble in her lips. He saw a tear she wouldn't let fall. "Look, I guess you deserve to know, J.D. has Alzheimer's. He's had it for the last couple of years. It's getting worse the doctors suspicioned it for a while, but after thorough testing, they are sure. That's about all your so-called brothers needed to hear. They started auctioning everything off. He must quit, doctor's orders. And of course, it tickled your brothers to death, all but Billy. Now…are you satisfied you got a story. Want to print that up in big letters?"
"My God…Alzheimer's?" Andi looked as though she'd been slapped in the face with the news. She almost fell off the railing. Her body trembled.
He thought he saw a hint of tears in her eyes. "Last time I was over; he didn't even know who I was."
The news hit her hard, some of the self-confidence she wore like armor dissipated.
"Thanks…for telling me," her words were choked.
"Not as big a story as you thought it would be, huh?"
"That's unkind…" she managed to stare at him and started to walk away but tossed a curt glance. "I loved that old man…. still do. And as I remember you never used to enjoy hurting people. I guess everything changes in time."
"Let's don't talk about hurting people Andi. I don't want to go there. You got a funny way of showing your love for the old man. You haven't visited him since you left here." Dwayne heard the ugliness in his own voice. She was right, he never used to hurt people. That changed the day she walked out on him. If she were honest, she knew she was the reason for him changing. And regret mingled with that hurt.
"You're right. You're always right, Dwayne. You're a good guy with the white hat and all. I never thought I'd see the day when you could cut a person down so easily. It's not your style. You've changed…. Hardened. It doesn't become you."
He followed her now, even though he heard his foreman calling him. "Sure…I've changed. I've gotten just as hard-hearted as you, Andi. But if I were you, I wouldn't talk about cutting people down to size. You're a master at it. I should know."
She turned around to find him just behind her, leering over her. They were almost inside the barn that led to the corral where the breeding took place. No one was around at the moment. "I would have thought that would have been behind us now…" Her words were softer, but her brown eyes penetrated him.
He grabbed her hand and drug her inside the barn, so no one could see or hear.
"It'll never be behind us." He stared her down.
"I guess it won't." Her voice trailed off.  "So long Dwayne…." She murmured. "It was a mistake coming here. I'm sorry I took up your time."
"Damn you…" He barely breathed as he took her into his arms and crushed her to him. His lips came down like a punishment, but that punishment faded quickly as the touch of her soft lips ignited a flame in him.
The kiss that began as a relentless assault became such an immediate pleasure, they seemed locked into another world. Lost.
For the moment, she was his, and he knew it.
There was a huge difference now, in the woman he held, and the girl he'd loved. Gone was the naïve innocence of youth, replaced by a maturity he hadn't expected from her. And the woman was even a better kisser than before, if that were possible.
His heart moaned with pleasure but it never passed his lips.
His little Andi had grown into a beautiful, and desirable woman, and the problem was, he wanted her just as much today as he ever had yesterday. Maybe more.
Shock riveted through him like a jack hammer gone wild.
His lips devoured any protest she might have had.
He groaned into himself as though her submission crashed around him in a million pieces.
His arms went around her back, urging kiss after kiss.
She was an active participant. She was as hungry for him, and it shocked him how submissive she was in his arms now.
Her arms went around his neck and she hung on, clinging to him. Her fingers splayed into his blonde hair, as she pushed his hat away. Muscle and brawn met softness, the contrast melting away the years between them that went so sour.
When he broke contact, and pushed her away, she stood in stunned silence. She looked inside the barn and the mating of the horses lured her.
Her mouth hung open.
Slowly her hand crept up to wipe her lips.
"You can't wipe it off, Andi…" He almost smiled at her.
"I'm not trying to. I’m wiping it in. But you wouldn't know the difference. Goodbye Dwayne…" She whispered.
He stared at her a long and hard. "So long…Andi."
There was a hollowness in their goodbyes that they both recognized.
She walked slowly away from him and he felt that same old hurt come into his heart once more. Would the pain ever go away? Would she ever stop walking away and walk toward?

Broken Hearted