Knowing when to reboot with Lila Munro

It’s odd for me to think at times in just a few weeks I’ll mark the fourth anniversary of that first “yes” coming to my inbox. While four years is in no way a lifelong career by most standards, it seems quite an accomplishment in my book because they’ve been four years filled with learning, and anyone who knows me knows I’m a lifelong learner.

And sometimes, that learning has to come in the form of knowing when to reboot.

My first “yes” came from a small publisher out of Tennessee whose doors sadly closed earlier this year as is the way I’ve watched many small publishers go the past few months. It is sad. Those doors not only close on a business, they close on someone’s dreams—often times they close on the dreams of many. While the press could in no way control the events (which I am not privy to in any way, shape, or form) leading to the decision to stop operations, it left several authors adrift and their dreams scattered on the winds of change. My works had found other homes before the closing by my choice not by chance as I’d pulled them in an effort to improve their quality.

My third “yes” came from a reputable press from the western US and it was with great pride I sent them a creation which met its match with an editor who I credit a least in part my knowing when to reboot to. That was the point I cemented my belief in quality over quantity any day. I worked really hard at fixing the problems littering the manuscript, but alas, perfection is an elusive creature and while I had improved greatly, I still had a long, long, long way to go.

In the interim, my career started a wide left turn from my original path of career choice. You see, in the beginning I was a straight up contemporary romance girl—no kink, no frills, no fuss. I liked it that way, my readers seemed happy, but the draw of the shiny thing known as the latest fad drew my attention and I soon found myself trapped within its lure. That’s when the BDSM novels started to fly off my keyboard and my life plan as a writer spun off somewhere into the darkness. But it wasn’t irretrievable. Thank goodness!

After a fairly successful run with my Identity series, I started to long for the calmer waters I’d left and sat down to take a serious assessment of what I was doing. Don’t get me wrong. I completely enjoyed and still enjoy writing the kinky characters I grew to know and love as did my readers, but that wasn’t what I originally set out to do. Then the unthinkable happened. My niece who recently reached the “age” asked me if she could read my books. Horror of horrors! Absolutely not, my beautiful niece of all of thirteen, not now not ever!

It’s a sobering experience when you realize what you’re doing isn’t something you’re so proud of you’d let your niece read it even in her adulthood which is years away.

It was while I was in this period of self-analysis when the words stopped and I wondered if they’d ever return, I started looking at my backlist and realizing the growth as a writer I’d always striven for was happening and some of my earlier works could definitely use some brushing up if not complete overhauling. That seemed like a place to jump start. Fix what was broken then maybe something new would come across my screen.

My third “yes” caught my eye. I went to my Kindle and opened it, and I began to read. Tears, laughter, embarrassment…They all collided for an emotional reunion with Madi and Rafe as I realized just how far from perfect their story was and just how hard my editor had tried to teach me things that only later made sense. Things I could now easily fix and make a good story something closer to great.

Point of view? What was that? She’d tried to tell me, but in my inexperience I’d failed to completely absorb the concept. Commas? Oh dear… Chapter breaks, descriptive dialogue tags, character development, plot holes… The list went on and on. After a series of emails with my editor and the owner of the press, I was able to attain the rights to the work back and after weeks which had turned to months of idleness at the keyboard, my muse came home. Not the naughty muse who’d taken over in her high heel boots and corset, but the girl-next-door muse with her hair in a ponytail and her reading glasses sliding down her nose.

I rebooted.

For weeks I ripped at, restructured, rebuilt, and sanded away at what is now titled One Tear. There is not a single incidence of head-hopping, the commas seem to be under control, the chapters are restructured, the plot is clean, the characters are more fully developed, and there are over 15,000 words of brand new content. And…there is a completely different ending.

In short, it’s a much better work. One I am proud of. One my initial readers have said they don’t even recognize as the same story aside from names (and they mean it in a completely good way). One I will let my niece read someday.
There is no shame in knowing when to back up and assess then act on that assessment. Redirection and refocus is a beautiful thing, a humbling thing. Knowing when to reboot truly shows growth.

One Tear will release January 3, 2014, I hope you’ll all join me in celebrating this triumphant moment with me…and don’t be afraid to reboot. You’ll know when it’s time. It’s hard to relent, but once you do, it’s a very freeing experience.

Have a realmantic day, y’all!

Lila Munro

Sometimes mourning the loss of one life while rejoicing the discovery of another requires more than one tear…

Living just outside an Army base in the Midwest meant Madison Melbourne grew up around soldiers by the thousands. While they were a constant in her life, she never envisioned herself filling the role of Army wife. Until Gage came along. Over the course of a few months, Madi knew two things. She might be head over heels and she was definitely pregnant. Against the advice of friends and family, she jumps over the state line and into a marriage that would later be defined by the secrets it held rather than the truths she thought it was based on. Upon his death in combat, Gage leaves Madi with more questions than answers and more debt than money forcing her from her Kentucky home and right back where she started. She may be at square one, but Madi’s determined to move forward and never to be left destitute and heartbroken again.

Seeing how difficult the Marine Corps is on marriages and families, Rafe McCarthy has sentenced himself to a life of hard time as a bachelor, living for the moment and never staying with any woman long enough for the grass to grow beneath his feet. In fact, Rafe has a reputation as the unit player that follows him everywhere he goes with a vengeance. But it seems biological time clocks aren’t just a female thing. In fact, Rafe’s biological alarm goes off one afternoon and like a man possessed, he falls into a wife seeking mode akin to the heat seeking missiles he’s watched zipping over the Middle East for the last several years. It’s only a matter of hours before he has Madi in his crosshairs and a matter of days until he realizes he’s sighted in on one tragically broken woman. But instead of listening to every single male instinct he possesses and running, Rafe digs in his heels, determined they can work and hell-bent on making her happy.

And then the tears come…

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Cleaning Not Just Good for the Soul Good for the Muses according to Lila Munro

Many of my readers already know I’m a military wife and after being stationed in North Carolina for some years and staying deployed for almost as many years, my husband received orders a few months back and this summer we made the move from the east coast to the west. He’s officially working at a reserve center in downtown Portland, Oregon, but we’ve made our new temporary home in Vancouver, Washington just across the Columbia River (which boasts some pretty fine salmon fishing—hubby brought home a 20 pounder recently. Yummy!).

Somewhere between Marinetown, USA and the City of Roses, we were on the road for several days, my muses decided they hated the nomadic life and ran for the hills, or some mountains or other as we crossed several ranges on our trek. Then it was several more days before we located a house suitable and within our rent budget and finally official moving in day arrived. And much to my southern heart’s dismay, we discovered several of our most prized possessions had been literally destroyed in transit. One such item being my beloved desk. To say I was steamed is an understatement.

A desk to a writer is a very personal piece of furniture. It must be the appropriate height, the right width, have the correct amount of drawer space and an accessible to her stature keyboard tray. My desk had been perfect on all counts and it now lay in pieces in my garage awaiting review from the blessed insurance adjustor. (I made several frowny faces during this process, needless to say.)

Initially I set up shop on my husband’s manly desk only to find it was neither writer friendly nor short, squatty female friendly and my back was soon killing me. I moved to the kitchen table where I sat with a cramp in my neck for weeks on end waiting on the insurance adjustor and not doing a lick of writing because this turn of events further frightened my muses who in short order told me to kiss their tiny hinies. Two weeks ago, a miraculous thing occurred—the insurance check showed up! And guess what? I still hadn’t found a desk to suite my needs. I’d touched, sat at, and tested so many I think the sales clerks at several stores in the area were sick of seeing me (actually that’s an understatement, I’m pretty sure a few of them learned my vehicle and when they saw it pulling in their lot they hid in the back).

Tired, frustrated, and near the line of giving up, curling into a ball, and pulling my lips—I found my desk! Literally. I mean I found a near replica of the desk which had been destroyed in transit. I rejoiced! I danced! I dragged it home and my husband, much to his credit, spent an entire afternoon assembling it with me over his shoulder with the directions the entire way. God bless the man, it must be love or else he’d have called the lawyers by now.

The next day I spent the day cleaning my office. I put all my things in the right drawers, found my water sprite and set her in the exact spot that’s always been hers, I bought a new wax tart warmer and filled it with my favorite scent—autumn wreath, and my rhinoceros is now once again sitting on the top edge of my gigantic monitor (thank God! I have it back, my eyes were about ready to tell me to kiss their hind-end, too).

I sat down…the muses were still skeptical.

Great!

I tapped my fingers, pulled my hair, and called my graphics guy.

New house, new state…I needed new everything. After redesigning my website and dragging out an old manuscript to “freshen up” and start the girls out slow, I am happy to say we’ve been pounding out words since.

Yes, moving is rough, but cleaning is good for the soul—and the muses!

Please come by and check out my newly designed website HERE where you can earmark my blog and find all my current releases, the most recent of which is Steele Clips: A Compromising Position which debuted September 17 and is available at Amazon and ARe.

Thanks for sharing a part of your day with me!

Lila Munro

Traveling cross country with Lila Munro and LOVE VINDICATED

Hello Manic readers and fans! And thank you so much to the staff for letting me take over the blog today. It’s always a pleasure to be here and I’m looking forward to chatting a few minutes at the end of the day when things settle and I’m in my latest home away from home for the night.

I’ll be honest. I nearly forgot to send this blog post last week. You see, being married to the Marine Corps isn’t always easy and for the last few weeks I’ve been in the process of moving across country—and I do mean literally. After my husband spending the better part of six years overseas, he finally came home to orders for us to report from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina to a new station in Portland, Oregon. He’d only been home three weeks when the movers arrived, packed up all my worldly goods, and carted them off. Then my grand new adventure began! I’ve been regularly blogging about it over at Realmantic Moments. Please do come by and catch up on where I’ve been, what I’ve seen there, and what I’ve been doing.

Now, being as I just about missed the boat (you must know I’m pre-writing this a week ago Sunday), I’m sitting in a hotel in Missouri the morning we’re supposed to pull stakes and head into Nebraska looking at my calendar and an “oh crap!” moment occurs when I see I am supposed to be here today and I have neither sent a blog post in or even entertained the idea of writing it. (Yes, the writer’s life—gotta love it!) Oh…wait…hehe…there it was! My topic of discussion or today. A bit of the writer’s life. You see, the writer’s life doesn’t just exist behind this screen, typing away fourteen hours a day…well, okay, I’ll concede at times it does. But, you have to live life to write it.

And at this point (June 9 by the by), I’m living it fully. There are a few things I’ve learned over the course of the past few years with Marshfox being gone so much. Things are just things and can be replaced—they matter not. People are what’s important and taking the time to smell the roses with the people that matter most to you makes life all the sweeter.

So far I’ve passed through ten states, June 9 will mark the eleventh and I’m enjoying every single moment of this nomadic adventure and taking notes along the way. You see living life in order to write it means watching, tasting, smelling, feeling…seeing something or someone and trying to discern what their story is.

One of those discerning moments occurred to me two states back last week when we were driving through the streets of downtown Indy (side trip—my best friend lives there and it’s home to my publishing company—check my blog out you’ll get all the skinny *wink*). In downtown Indy they have statues—very, very lifelike looking statues I might add—placed all over the place. They’re walking along, sitting on benches, playing. There’s a statue couple where the man is helping the woman out of a store holding her umbrella and another of a daddy hoisting his child up onto his shoulders for a Sunday stroll. Well, in the course of all of five minutes, those statues became as real to me as flesh and blood humans. And they began to tell me a story…

If you’re ever in Indy, downtown is a must stop.

Thanks for having me by today and please check out my latest novel which released today, Love Vindicated, Book One in my brand new series Steele Image.

Lila Munro

In 1980, Kyle Montgomery’s life was seemingly perfect. Heavily recruited by Force Recon fresh from the Naval Academy, he’d been working black ops for the Marine Corps for six years and was on the cusp of being promoted to Major. He was on the fast track to bigger and better things, had all the right people vetting him, and he’d married the woman of his dreams and was exploring a lifestyle which could have ended his career. With the Iranian embassy under siege and the Middle East in turmoil, Kyle was sent on a mission which would change the course of his life forever.

Returning home after three months of being invisible, Kyle finds his wife has been murdered by the very people he’d been sent to protect. And instead of the government retaliating, they hand him his walking papers with the agreement they’ll never speak of the events again. It’s like Kyle never existed. His wife never existed. And the people who maimed and tortured her never existed.

Resigned to never again walk that path again, Kyle opens the first Steele Image club with the thought of providing a safe haven for others like him, those who were invisible to the public and most of the government. Those who had eclectic sexual tastes. Those who would later become his allies. And his enemies. And both will drive him back to the place he’d thought he’d let go of forever to vindicate his love…

Now available at Amazon and ARe

Chicken Hotels with Lila Munro

The Culture de Chicken…Or, Chicken Hotels? Really?

For those of you who know me, you’re used to seeing me blog about my hotter reads like the Identity series and my BDSM or ménage stand-alone titles, but for the past couple of weeks I’ve been out and about the blogging circuit resurrecting my roots. My writing roots that is, the ones which started out in the more sensual side of the house and sort of sprouted a few sprigs here and there which eventually led to hotter and hotter and hotter titles.

The Slower Lower series was in fact my first series of books and book one, A Slower Lower Love, was actually only my third title to hit the e-shelves. In fact, it was a stand-alone in its humble beginnings until E (editor extraordinaire) emailed me one day after an initial read and said, “We need to talk.” **cue heart racing and cold sweat**

It turned out okay though because we needed to talk about the potential she saw in my characters and she wanted to see more and suggested I turn the whole thing into a series…thus the Slower Lower series was born.

Now, I’m sure at this point you’re wondering just what in a blue moon that has to do with chickens. Gather round kids…do I have a tale to tell you…

Way back in 1996, only a few short weeks after I’d met the love of my life and future life mate, I made the decision to road trip with the man I barely knew all the way from Missouri to Delaware—home state of said love of my life and the setting for the Slower Lower books. I had no idea then Sussex County Delaware would one day serve as backdrop for theDelaneybrothers and all their love woes. It was a few hours out from our destination when love of my life began to tell me the ground rules of being “introduced” to slower lower living (whatever?) and the eastern shore way (again, whatever?).

So, ground rules. Rule number one: Don’t crack chicken jokes. (hehe? Crack? Okay…moving on…)

I asked why not and he proceeded to tell me in a few miles I’d begin to see why and he’d not have much ‘splainin’ to do past that. Could he have been more right?

Oh. My. God.

My first glimpse of a chicken farm came in the early morning after 24 hours on the road and zero sleep. I thought at first I’d fallen asleep and was dreaming after his instructions not to make chicken jokes.

“What the hell is that?” I asked.

“That?” (love of my life swerves in the direction he’s talking toward) “That’s a chicken house. They take their chickens seriously here.”

Umm…ya think? I knew right then there would be no chicken jokes. Not that I really knew any, but had I I’d have kept them to myself. J

I kid you not kids. If you’ve never been exposed to the “chicken culture” let me ‘splain a bit. They are not chicken houses—they are in fact chicken hotels. Some of the hotels are three stories tall with auto-feeders and heat. Also, in case you get curious and go off in search of this phenomenon because you simply must see these chicken hotels, take a clothes pin with you.P.U.

And why do I visit today ‘splainin’ the chicken culture a bit? Because the Delaney boys are farmers and guess what they grow…

Have a realmantic day and thanks for spending a few moments of it with me…

Lila Munro

 

A Slower, Lower Leap

Book Three, Slower Lower Series

When you’re the last man standing…

Not only was Logan Delaney the last of his siblings to remain unmarried and unsettled, his entire family believed he’d never find a wife. The baby of eight, he’s been dubbed an irresponsible player and told he’ll never amount to a hill of beans. And at one time,Loganmay have been okay with those descriptions, but no more. On a quest to prove his worth, he’s spent the entire summer learning the family business, staying in at night, and saving his money. And if his family would stop meddling in his affairs and trying to dictate who he should and shouldn’t be seeing, he might just show them he’s found the one, Lizzy Jenkins.

And have a bad reputation to blame…

 

Elizabeth Jenkins had always known Logan Delaney existed, but he’d never so much as turned one glance her way until she handed him his butt on a silver platter in three sentences or less over the phone. After that it seemed at every turn there he was and the more she resisted the heat building between them, the bigger the fire got. Until his family interfered. And why wouldn’t they? BetweenLogan’s legacy and her baggage, they were a disaster in the making.

Can you be trusted with a fragile heart?

ButLogandoesn’t run when he finds out about Colby. In fact, he embraces Lizzy’s special needs son and defies the advice of everyone urging him to leave Lizzy alone. But after one moment of weakness, Logan finds himself knee deep in a marriage complete with the little boy whose father bailed before his birth and Lizzy’s grandfather, who needs constant care as well.  Then there’s the man who just might be the demise of it all.

Available now at:

Amazon               ARe                        Barnes and Noble

HELP MY FAMILY IS ON FACEBOOK with Lila Munro

I had to drag out my big old folder of blog ideas and get cracking as I have a few dozen to write between now and the first of the month. Not only am I going on blog tour for a few weeks beginning November 26 to promote my latest release, I want to catch up on my own blog as I’m getting company for the holidays and don’t want to be behind and have to post things while they’re here. In fact, I hope to be completely pre-posted long before the turkey thaws. And it was while thinking about that I stumbled across a topic jotted down about moms and social media outlets.

Now, I’ll tell you a little secret about my mom. She doesn’t have internet (by choice), she doesn’t have a smart phone instead opting for a simple flip-type model (she just learned to text a few weeks ago), and she refuses any and all attempts at any of use purchasing an e-reader for her. So, as you can probably guess, she’s not on Facebook. But, she did do an interview about me for my website once. That was pretty fun. 🙂 But, most of the rest of my family is on Facebook.

When I first began in this business I had a regular profile page over on Facebook under my pen name. I struggled with that for a very long time. How many people to friend, who to friend, and when to cut back. I never had a personal profile as the real me so it was only inevitable my real family and friends migrated to my pen name page which posed some challenges. First I had to worry what my relatives might think of all the erotica writers dropping by and chatting naughty talk and then I had to worry about my personal business being posted, not that anyone would have done anything purposefully, but it was hard keeping the two mes separated.

Early this summer I do believe the social media platform for writers took a nose dive. Granted that’s my personal opinion, but I do believe the etiquette some writers were migrating to spoke of less than professional behavior and quite frankly I’d seen enough. I also began to have a sneaking suspicion social media wasn’t doing it for me in the sales department. It’s my own personal belief sales aren’t driven by bombarding your followers with purchase links. I think word of mouth, professional reviews, and good quality writing drives sales. It’s a long hard road, but eventually if you work hard enough things start to fall into place. So, it was with all this in mind I made the executive decision to pull back from social media. I graduated from a “profile” to a “fan page.” I also built a real me page for my real family and friends, thereby separating the two mes.

What did that accomplish? Well, a few things actually. It made my life easier as I now have my fan page linked to my twitter and kill two birds with one stone each and every time I post. My real fans like my fan page. And real fans are where real sales come from. That’s not to say a few of my real family and friends and fellow authors aren’t there, they are, but they are also fans. I no longer have the drama floating by my news feed every few minutes. And it can be quite dramatic at times. A simple fan page avoids all that, at least for me. Not to mention, there are tons of cool apps and features you can use on the fan page you can’t with the regular profile, sales links and such. And my family and friends can now talk about my personal life because it’s hidden from professional me.

Life is easier, less stressful now, and I’m happier.

If you’re a writer feeling the pressure of the drama, I highly suggest the fan page alternative and keeping your personal life and professional life in separate realms.

Thanks so much for having me here today and readers have a realmantic day!

Lila Munro currently resides on the coast of North Carolina with her husband and their two four-legged kids. She’s a military wife with an empty nest and takes much of her inspiration for her heroes from the marines she’s lived around for the past fifteen years. Coining the term realmantica, she strives to produce quality romance in a realistic setting. Her genre of choice is contemporary romance that spans everything from the sensual to BDSM and ménage. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading everything she can get her hands on, trips to the museum and aquarium, taking field research trips, and soaking up the sun on the nearby beaches. Her works include The Executive Officer’s WifeBound By TrustDestiny’s FireSalvationThree for Keeps, the Force Recon seriesthe Slower Lower series,and the Identity seriesShe’s a member in good standing of RWA and Passionate Ink. Currently she’s working on sequels to several series to be released throughout 2012-2013 and has a brand new line scheduled for winter 2012-13. Ms. Munro loves to hear from her readers and can be found at her Realmantics Blog

The Voice of……Lila Munro

Thanks so much to Manic Readers for hosting me today and letting me take over their blog. For those of you who are unfamiliar with me, I’m Lila Munro, procurer of all things realmantica. And yes, that’s my own special brand of romance writing where the characters, story, and conflict therein are, well, based in the real. It’s who I am. It’s my voice.

And that’s what I wanted to touch base on today for just a few minutes before sharing a bit of good stuff with you all. A writer’s voice and how they find it.

I think it may be a common misconception that a writer just shoots out of the gate with all the I’s dotted and T’s crossed. Well, we might have a G looped just right at times, but rarely are all the parts quite working together as they all should early on. It’s the same with our voice. I like to think of this finding your voice akin to the way we develop the ability to speak at all. When we’re infants, the first thing we learn is screaming and crying will get results. We’ll either get fed, our diaper changed, or Mom and Dad will fall asleep in a rocking chair trying to appease our unhappy little bottom.

Eventually, Mom and Dad grow tired of guessing what each scream means and they begin to encourage us to use our “big girl” words to explain what we need, want, or desire. A few simple syllables at a time we figure out how to communicate through a word or two, a pouty face, and a glimmer in our eye we’d like a cookie, to be held, a toy, or, in my case and often, to be read to. From there it seems our instinct to achieve more and more results drives us to string sentences together and before we know it, we’re all grown up and off to kindergarten where we learn to take all that a step further and begin to use the written word in the most amazing ways.

As writers, we often stumble along finding our voice in the same way. At first our writing may be unfocused and simple. Someone points that out, “Use your ‘big girl’ words.” Usually this comes from a high school teacher that’s quite tired of marking out “like you know” from your essays. J College can be a brutal stage in this game. In fact, it was while in college I discovered I had a writer’s voice at all…and in high humiliating fashion I might add.

While I don’t recall the class number, it was in English 200-something-or-other (how do you like that for proper use of the language?). The instructor, who was hot by the way and may in fact be the object of one of my heroes or two, decided we should write a theme on someone we knew and what made them special. Well, after receiving C mark after C mark in his class all semester I thought, good, finally something I might be able to do to please this impossible man! (Funny my heroines spend a great deal of time now trying to please an impossible man in the form of a Dom or Master—interesting.)

I picked a young man I happened to work with at the time, and using all the descriptive skills I’d been taught by my sixth grade teacher, I elaborated on the poor boy without his knowing with complete abandon. I turned it in. I waited. The following week, the instructor, oh that impossible man, read my paper in front of the entire class as I sank further and further into my seat wishing I could crawl into a hole in the floor and disappear from the face of the planet. He proceeded to tell the class I was in love with said subject and that piece of garbage might make for a good romance book someday.

Well, the joke’s on you Mr. Impossible Man! That garbage is indeed receiving rave reviews and then some. Thank you for showing me my voice!

For that surely was the day I found it. I’ve spent the last several years perfecting it and I’ve found now it is recognizable as reviewers, readers, fans, and friends tell me so. I’ve heard from more than one person if they were handed a piece of my work with no name attached they would undeniably know it was me because I have a very distinct voice.

Who knew?

Writers, don’t be discouraged if you’re struggling to discover who you are and how you fit it. You’ll figure it all out.

Readers, are you able to identify any writers based on their voice alone?

If you’d like to follow me and my voice, you can find me regularly at:

Realmantic Moments  Facebook Pinterest Goodreads  Twitter and you can find all my works at: Amazon Nook ARe Bookstrand

Thanks again and happy reading!

Lila Munro

My latest release is from…

Toy Box Tales…

The Toy Box clubs, where the beer is always cold, the drinks are always perfect, and the sex is always hot, are found in the back alleys of cities across the world. Somehow, elite fighting forces always know where to locate one. Special ops team members stationed and deployed around the globe are guaranteed to find a piece of Americana, or something more exotic if they prefer, every single time they visit–no matter the mission. Owned by a mysterious man who wishes to remain anonymous, these clubs cater to every need, whim, and at times, every fetish imaginable. But as America’s best often find, what happens at the Toy Box doesn’t always stay at the Toy Box…

Volume One: Fayetteville
Sugar and Spice
Lila Munro

Drake O’Malley is in between deployments and looking to hook up, but not on a permanent basis. The Toy Box, Fayetteville, North Carolina, is his team’s regular haunt. While most of what goes on in the back isn’t Drake’s style, the club does make a righteous Irish Car Bomb. And the girls who grace the doors aren’t bad either. If only Drake could find one that liked the occasional spanking, wasn’t into the whole twenty-four seven scene, and would let go when he disappeared on a mission. Someone with some spice…

And spice is what he gets when Nutmeg Newman shows up. She’s not looking for a permanent mate, just a good time. In fact, she let’s go on cue and isn’t heard from again until her sister, Coriander, comes knocking on Drake’s door with a special Christmas surprise. One wrapped in a cute pink package complete with hair bow…

Please enjoy a short excerpt:

“Can I sit here?” a small voice whispered just as Drake pushed up on one foot, running a hand down his front pocket to retrieve a twenty dollar bill.

His eyes darted right and wonder of wonders, Miss Skittish Colt perched herself upon the black leather-clad stool next to him. How had he missed her approach?

“I suppose you can,” Drake drawled, tossing the twenty on the slick, varnished bar top.

“Thanks.” Her simple answer was filled with relief and she looked quite out of her element, eyes darting around, finger tips thrumming against the padded edge of the bar.

“First time here?”

“That obvious?”

“Yep. I take it you’ve decided not to play in the reindeer games?” Drake smiled as her eyes went so wide she resembled a doe in the headlights.

“I think I’ll pass. Have you seen what they’re doing back there? I think I’ve watched everything but someone being set on fire in the past few hours…”

The longer she talked, the higher pitched her voice became until her words came out in a squeak. Drake nearly laughed out loud at her innocence, but contained himself, noting the look of seriousness wash over her face. Poor little gal was a tad on the scared side.

“…I had no idea my sister was into this…stuff. Biting, slapping, pinching? Okay, but…”

“Wait. Cori’s your sister?” Drake twirled the napkin the bartender had set in front of him as she continued to pour his drink.

“Yeah. And yes, I realize we don’t look alike. There are six of us and none of us do. We’re like a box of crayons, the only similarity our chemical make-up.”

“Different daddies?”

“Different mommas.”

“Oh.”

The bartender set a glass of Guinness down and dropped a shot of Jameson and Bailey’s into it with a plop then turned to the girl. “Can I get you something?”

“I don’t suppose you’d have any Patron back there would you?”

A tequila girl. Drake wondered if it made her clothes fall off.

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