Read an Excerpt
'Sun, Surf and Sex on a Beach' by Tuesday Morrigan
“You were supposed to arrive over an hour ago.”
A smile spread over Michaela Jameson’s face at the familiar sound. Months passed since she heard that voice in the flesh. “Well, Cliff, it’s not my fault the plane took off an hour later than it should have.”
“I bet that cramped your careful plans,” he said with a smile as he wheeled the luggage cart forward.
She chuckled. The man knew her too well. Those familiar with Michaela understood that she lived her life according to a schedule. It was the only way she got anything done. Normally, there were so many things she had to accomplish in a single day, she found herself always checking her planner to make sure all was going according to schedule.
“So what did you do for that extra hour?”
Her smile widened as she followed him to the conveyer belt-distributing luggage. “You mean after I adjusted my schedule to fit the new timeline? I spent the remaining time going over my reading.”
“Getting ahead of schedule, huh?”
She shrugged. “It seemed like the most reasonable thing to do under the circumstances. Plus, they didn’t have any movies I wanted to watch.” She mumbled the last few words as she stifled a yawn.
Cliff glanced back at her just as she lowered her hand. “I booked you a red-eye for a reason,” he admonished.
Embarrassment flushed her system at his words. He’d been looking out for her when he scheduled the flight, but it was hard for her to change. Despite the night flight, she’d spent much of her time reviewing and reading the latest articles that touched on her specialty, bio-medical engineering. It was what she did normally.
“I’m a workaholic. Sue me.”
<strong>'Aloha Kaua' by Jenna Byrnes</strong>
Michaela Donovan had just finished the best Screaming Orgasm of her life. Several of them, in fact, and each had been the perfect mix of vodka and Kahlua. Now, she feared the alcohol was getting to her. She glanced around the dimly lit bar, much darker than it ought to be, considering her watch indicated it was barely late afternoon. The windows were covered with blinds, but through the slats she could see how bright it was outside. Not a surprise. She’d only been there two days, but, thus far, Hawaii had proven to be a sunny, cheery place.
Everywhere except right here. She looked around again. The bar was deserted except for a couple who really needed to take the lift upstairs to their hotel room.
Michaela wasn’t sure if the man’s tongue was all the way down the woman’s throat, but it had to be close. His right hand caressed her breast through a sheer, gauze shirt, and both of them seemed oblivious to everyone else in the world. They were a cute couple, both blond enough so it was easy to tell they weren’t native.
She’d tried not to stare while nursing her last drink, but it was somewhat like a train wreck. No one wants to look, but it’s hard not to.
The only other person in the room was a middle-aged, black-haired bartender who’d been friendly but not too chatty with Michaela. She’d liked him better before she’d noticed him ogling the couple who couldn’t keep their hands off one another. He obviously enjoyed looking and wasn’t trying to hide the fact. No wonder he hasn’t asked them to leave. He’s getting off on the show.
<strong>'Honeymoon for Three' by Christy Lockhart</strong>
“He left you at the altar?”
A little thrill chased up Claire’s spine as the big bear of a Viking with a shock of red hair swept his gaze over her, from the top of her head to the tips of her toes. He lingered for a few seconds on the fullness of her breasts. There was approval in his green eyes, and something even more thrilling: lust.
After her dud of a fiancé, Finn’s appreciation was a welcome change.
“This almost-husband of yours, Miss Cavanaugh…did he lose his mind?”
“That’s what I’d like to think.” Claire tried to smile, but failed. The truth was, being jilted had dealt a devastating blow to her self-confidence. What was so horrible about her that Bruce Marley left her at the church, with a dozen attendants and three hundred of their friends, colleagues, and relatives shifting uncomfortably in their seats?
“Christian, did you hear that? This beautiful woman was left at the altar. So she’s come to see us all by herself.” Finn looked past her as he spoke. “Aren’t we lucky?”
“He wasn’t man enough for you, perhaps?”
She turned around to see who asked the question. Her mouth watered. The man standing on the dock, legs spread, arms folded across his chest, highlighted by the Scandinavian sun had the looks of a Norse god. Well over six-feet, with blond hair, blue eyes, and shoulders that could carry all of a woman’s burdens, this man was straight out of her fantasies.
“Christian Petersen,” he said by way of introduction.
Oh, yes. This man was definitely man enough for her.
“You’ve already met my partner, Finn Odegaard.” Christian offered his hand. “Welcome to Norway.”
<strong>'Selene's Awakening' by Jude Mason</strong>
Leaning against the rough bark of an old cedar tree, David ran the rag over his face, sopping up some of the sweat that had trickled into his eyes. His eyes stung. His back ached from the steady, monotonous swinging of the axe, but the clearing was getting bigger. Soon it would be large enough for the garden he planned.
He flipped the long ponytail over his shoulder and wiped his chest with the damp cloth, then tucked it back into the rear pocket of his jeans. Gazing across the stump strewn field, he groaned, thinking about how difficult pulling those babies out was going to be. The gravel roadway just beyond was silent, as usual. From the angle of the sun, he figured he had about an hour before night fell—half that time to actually work.
“Better get back at it,” he muttered and pushed himself away from the tree. The axe gripped tight, he wrestled the next round of wood onto the splitting block.
He soon found his rhythm—lift, place and swing, then flip the cut pieces to the side. The pile of firewood grew steadily, until daylight went and he had to stop.
The muscles in his arms and shoulders hummed with fatigue, but he piled as much wood as he could into his cart before he felt he could call it a day. The handcart held enough wood to keep him going for a few days, and the large wheels made it easy to transport. Building it had been a stroke of genius.
<strong>'Sex Therapy' by Nadia Aidan</strong>
Elena’s hand froze over the mouse of her computer as she read that one line over and over, the words swimming before her eyes.
With trembling fingers, she set her coffee aside, afraid the shaking of her hand would send the scalding hot liquid sloshing over the rim of her mug. She apparently had a stalker, she didn’t need to add third degree burns to her list of woes.
She read the sender’s name in the email line. firstname.lastname@example.org. Every muscle in her body knotted with tension as she read the name again, rolling it around her tongue. Something about it was familiar.
Dragging in a deep breath, she clicked on the subject line, before she could lose her nerve, sending the email popping open across her screen.
She’d hoped this was a hoax, a prank from some dirty old man, but there was nothing about the content of the email that was remotely amusing. She skimmed the pages of the document, her fury growing with each word she read.
The Queen of Sex should be dethroned is how it started before continuing in vivid detail about how she wouldn’t know what a butt plug looked like even if it was staring her in the face.
She frowned. Now that was harsh. She would recognise a butt plug. After all, she was the reigning Queen of Sex, also known as the Sex Doctor or, her personal favourite, Doctor Kink. As the foremost expert in women’s sexuality, she was bigger than Dr. Ruth, with her own radio talk show, a thriving chain of sex toy stores, and dozens of sex help books to her name. Yes, at thirty-seven Elena had made a solid career out of selling nothing but sex. Her business was to sell sex, so she knew <span style="line-height: 1.6em;">what a butt plug was, even if she’d never used one.</span>
<strong>'Light on the Water' by Mima</strong>
When Sid was twenty-two, a summer storm took her. The morning began as perfection. Four strangers joined up to charter a day’s sail, their northern skin tinged red at the start of their vacation. The burning blue sky held fluffy, tabletop clouds. They sailed above idyllic, cerulean waves, a shade only the tropics could produce. It all disappeared in approximately ten minutes. A grey wall rose from the horizon, sucked the colour from the sky, the heat from the air, and blocked out the sun.
She knew fear when the storm came so fast. She knew terror as they worked to take the boat back to the resort. Radioing in their distress, the four were silent and tense while they motored as fast as they could in the twenty-foot swells. She knew she was going to die when she washed overboard, and the cleat she’d tied her safety line to snapped off. Her life preserver hardly mattered as she was battered wildly in the black water. None of that morning’s August heat was left. Breathing was a challenge between the cold and the spray. Everyone knew the ocean could be a real bitch. But even with her lifetime of experience, Sid was shocked at how quickly and completely the grand dame had turned today.
As horrible as it was, she never quit struggling to stay on the surface, to grab a breath. Her brain was shouting, You’re done. You’re dead. But her arms fought the waves, her feet fought to move through the paralyzing cold, her eyes struggled to find the boat’s running lights.