flash fiction

The Lady Always Wins, XOXOConnects, and More!

If you've been following me on social media, you know that I'm right in the middle (literally) of writing book two of a three book trilogy about Victorian governesses that's tentatively set to release next year. It's been a busy, busy fall already but I'm poking my head out of the writing cave today to share a few more things that I think are pretty exciting. The Lady"The Lady Always Wins" 

First off, I've got a new short story up on Wattpad! "The Lady Always Wins" is a super fast read jam-packed with a rake, spinster, some kissing, and a big confession. I had a blast writing it, and I hope you'll enjoy reading it too. If you do, please give me a vote and leave a comment! That helps other readers on Wattpad find "The Lady Always Wins" too.



I wrote "The Lady Always Wins" because my publisher, Pocket Star, is hosting a writing competition for readers that's going on right now. All you have to do is write up a quick short story (2000 words or less) and post it to Wattpad using the tag #XOXOConfessions. The grand prize is a publishing contract with Pocket Star, the digital-first imprint of Simon & Schuster! Full details are available here, and definitely check out the stories already posted to vote for your favorite!


#XOXOConfessions  is actually part of the bigger XOXOConnects all-day readerfest that's happening right on your computer Oct. 24 from 12-8! Writers, editors, and bloggers will be hosting Q&As, teaching workshops, and celebrating everything romance. It's all digital so you don't even have to get out of your PJs if you don't want to.

I'll be on the historical roundtable with Sabrina Jeffries, Meredith Duran, and Candace Camp at 5 p.m. EST. It's running on Google Hangouts just like my First Draught show does, so be sure to watch live!

The entire schedule of events has been posted (and includes some huge names in romance).  You definitely don't want to miss this one!

That's the latest from me. It's back to the writing cave for now!

A New Look

A couple of my short stories are getting a fresh, new look thanks to Audra North who designed the covers. You can download both Accidentally (On Purpose) and Earn It at major ebook retailers (although I'm still waiting on Barnes & Noble and will update once that's up). Most are priced as free right now, and I'm hoping that soon Amazon will match to make both stories free as well. UPDATE: Amazon has price matched Earn It and Accidentally (On Purpose) so they are now free for Kindle! Also I'm now a Goodreads author!

UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: Nook books now available. Thanks for being so patient, Nook readers!

What do you think of the new look?

Beautiful portrait of young man lips

Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | Nook | Smashwords

JK-Earn It-band FINAL

Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | Nook | Smashwords

And don't forget that my anthology One Week in Wyoming is coming out September 9th!


Available for preorder at iBooks!

First Kiss Undressed

Earn It

FirstUndressing1-300x300Jana was done.

Just fucking done.

She slammed the door of her tiny studio apartment and let her purse slide off her shoulder. It fell with a thud to the cheap, laminate floor. Her boots were covered with mud thanks to a speeding cab hitting the wrong puddle at just the right time, she was soaked from the torrential rain, and she was pretty positive she had a snag in her last pair of tights. Now all she wanted in life was a glass of bourbon the size of Texas and a long soak in a steaming hot bath.

She threw her keys down on the bar at the end of her hallway and shucked her coat off. Snatching up a bottle of Jefferson’s, she marched straight into the kitchen, threw some ice cubes in the glass, and poured.

The sweet burn of the bourbon hit the back of her throat, and her tense shoulders dropped an inch. Not much in the grand scheme of things, but it was a start.

Glass in hand, she wrestled her way out of her boots. It was more than likely that the churned up grease, dirt, and mystery gunk that accumulated on every Manhattan road would fuse with the leather, ruining the shoes. The next logical step would be to grab a kitchen towel and clean them, but it was Friday night and she was in a foul mood.

Reaching around her back, she pulled on the zipper on her dress to free herself. It was halfway down when the harsh sound of the door buzzer cut through the silent apartment, making her jump. She frowned at her intercom. She wasn’t expecting anyone.

The ice cubes in her glass rattled as she padded over in her ruined stockings and hit the “Talk” button. “Who is it?”

“Me.” The crackle of street noise obscured his voice, but she’d have known Wes Murphy’s voice anywhere. After all, she’d been in love with him for nine years.

She leaned hard on the button, willing him away even as she asked, “What are you doing here?”

“You told me to stop by and pick that book up.”

She dipped her head so her forehead bumped the edge of the intercom. She’d totally forgotten they’d emailed from their respective desks earlier that day. She’d teased him about not having plans on a Friday night. He’d asked what could be better than digging into a new book—added bonus that he got to see her. The no doubt careless words had melted her just a little. Now with her back up and her temper flaring, they just pissed her off.

Still, she pressed the “Door” button long enough to make sure he cleared the double door of her building’s lobby.

Knowing she looked a hot mess and caring not even the littlest bit about it, Jana went to hold the front door open. She liked listening with anticipation as his feet fell heavy on the two flights of stairs to her walk-up apartment. The top of his head would bob up first, giving her a glimpse of the thick curls he wore cropped close to his head. Then she’d see that grin as he spotted her. The grin that made something twist inside of her.

It was no different this time, except that she was sopping wet with her arms crossed over her chest.

Wes’ smile faltered just a little at the sight of her, but then came back at full force. “You’re wet.”

“Bad end to the week,” she muttered.

“I’m sorry.”

“So am I.” She stepped back to let him into the apartment.

Once inside, Wes peered around at the carnage. “What happened to your shoes?”

“Boots,” she corrected. “I had a run in with a cab.”

“Who won?”

She shot him a look and turned retrieve his book from the living room.

“Your dress is unzipped.” He said it as though it was half question, half revelation—like he had only just realized that Jana got undressed like every other woman.

“And?” she challenged him, hands on her hips.

Wes approached her slowly, looking for signs of an attack all the way. She thought he might be angling for a hug or some other show of friendly camaraderie for her rotten day, but instead he put a hand on her shoulder and spun her around. She could feel the weight of his fingers on the zipper tab that hung between her shoulders.

He pulled carefully, stretching the moment out. The intimacy of it cut through her. She nearly gasped as the zipper went lower. Lower.

Keep it together.

She might have stood a chance and been able to move away to safety, but then Wes touched her. A finger traced the line of the zipper down her spine until it stopped at the small of her back. When he stepped back, she was shaking.

With a hard swallow, Jana looked over her shoulder. His gaze fixed on the skin he’d just exposed. His tongue flicked out over his lips.

“What do you think you’re doing?” she asked.

“Just helping.”

And wasn’t that just like Wes. Hold her in a hug just a little too long. Tuck her hair behind her ear. Work her shoulders over with his hands to ease the tension of the day away. He kept doing these things before hiding behind the barrier of their friendship. She was tired of this bullshit.

“Wes, kiss me or get out of this apartment. That’s all I can handle tonight.”

He was on her in a flash, his lips crushing hers with nine years of pent up need. She pushed up into him, pouring every once of anger at the day, desire for him, and annoyance at herself that she hadn’t commanded him to kiss her sooner. When his hands plunged into her hair and pulled a little, she gasped, giving him the chance he needed to rough her lower lip with his teeth.

“Jana,” he groaned as his hands dipped into the gaping back of her dress.

She pressed her body against the hard length of his before shoving his leather jacket off and tugging the hem of his worn in t-shirt over his head. Her hands ran down his arms, chest, stomach, wanting nothing more than to explore the man who knew her best and was still a mystery.

Her dress fell to the floor. All that covered her was a thin silk slip. He ran his fingers under the straps. “I’ve never seen a girl wear one of these,” he said, breaking the hot, frantic pace to reveal something sweeter underneath.

She looked up at him. “Now you’ve seen me.”

“Is that okay with you?”

Rather than answer, she lifted her hands to the thin straps and pushed them off her shoulders. The silk pooled at her feet.

He followed suit, undoing his belt and pushing his jeans off.

Standing there in the middle of her apartment—nearly naked—they simply stared. She’d never imagined their relationship would come to this. Ho could she when he’d never done anything?

I never did anything either.

“I’m glad you finally kissed me,” she breathed.

He reached out and stroked from her elbow to her wrist before lacing their fingers together. “I’m glad you finally told me to.”

“I’ve been telling you for years, you just haven’t been listening.”

A smile tugged at the corners of his mouth. “Then I’m glad I finally paid attention.”

He pulled her to him, wrapping his arms around her so that all she could do was rest her cheek against his chest. That was just fine with her.

“We’re going to bed.” His voice reverberated low through his chest. “Then tomorrow, if you haven’t kicked me out of your apartment yet, we’ll take it from there.”

“And what if tomorrow works?”

“Then we see about the next day. I’ve waited nine years to get up the courage to kiss you. You think I’m letting go now?”

It was her turn to smile. “As though I’d let you.”

“I’m still going to want that book.”

She cast her head back and laughed. “Earn it.”

With a grin, he boosted her up so her legs wrapped around his waist and walked her across the living room to her bed. When her toes hit the edge of her bed, he murmured against her lips, “I will. Promise.”



Thanks for reading! This is part of the First Undressing blog tour.  The full schedule is posted on Audra North's website and please check out today's other posters Amber Belldene and A.L. Parks!

If you liked this story, please consider signing up for my newsletter for the latest news on releases, free short fiction, and giveaways!

New Short Story Coming

FirstUndressing1-300x300Well isn't this just the week of updates? RWA really got the creative juices flowing and shamed me into tackling a couple housekeeping projects for this site that I've been putting off. I have a few projects in the works I'm not ready to talk about yet, but here's one that's coming up soon and won't cost you a dime. The women behind the First Kiss blog tour are at it again with a First Undressing tour starting next Tuesday. I'm cleaning up a "friends to lovers" story for that first day. In the meantime, you can check out my story from the original tour called "Accidentally (On Purpose)".

And on a final note, please consider signing up for my newsletter! You can expect news, updates on projects, and giveaways. And who doesn't love free books?

The First Kiss Blog Hop

FirstKiss-iconI couldn't be happier to be participating in the First Kiss Blog Hop! In March a video of strangers kissing for the first time went viral. It was sweet, sexy, and compelling. It turned out that those strangers were actors, but it inspired a group of more than 20 authors to write first kiss short stories of our own.

Today Mary Chris Escobar, Pieper Vaughn, and I are posting our installments of the First Kiss Blog Hop. I hope you enjoy this short story and check out all of the other authors too!

"Accidentally (On Purpose)"

It was official.

I was going to kill my roommate as soon as I got home.

I stood in the middle of an airy Brooklyn studio adorned with nothing more than a camera, tripod, and complicated rig of lights. My right hand smoothed up and down my left arm — a nervous, child-like gesture I’d never shaken— while I tried to calculate exactly how many seconds it would take me to sprint out of the metal double doors, through the lobby, and down to the comforting anonymity of the street below.

The click of a heavy boot on white-washed floorboards made my head snap up. I spun on my heel to see Jessalyn, filmmaker and my tormenter for the day, approach. Behind her followed the most beautiful man I’d even seen.

He wore his hair cropped as close to his head as the clippers could go which only served to bring out the sharpness of his cheekbones. His deep brown skin glowed like he was lit from within, and his eyes flashed with a spark of amusement behind a pair of thick, navy rimmed glasses. But it was his lips I couldn’t stop looking at. Full. Beautiful. Biteable.

Who are you?

I laced my hands together to keep from broadcasting my nervousness. This man was so far out of my league it was laughable. Whether he was Jessalyn’s assistant, colleague, or partner didn’t matter. He wasn’t for me.

But someone else was.

I swallowed hard as Jessalyn asked, “Are you ready to start, Meredith?”

“Su-sure,” I stammered.

The woman put a hand on my arm and smiled. “I promise you’ll forget the camera is here as soon as we get started.”

I very much doubted that. You see, I was about to kiss a total stranger. On camera. While it was rolling.

The thought made my stomach flip. Growing up I was the type of girl who threw up before going on stage during mandatory school musicals. Thankfully I’d grown into a slightly less tragic version of myself, but I still required a pep talk complete with notes before every phone call. I was the last person who should be doing this. And yet I had agreed to it.

I couldn’t tell if Jessalyn chose to ignore my obvious distress or really didn’t see it. Either way she turned to the god of a man standing next to her, and said, “This is Meredith.”

He stuck out a hand, his smile warm yet shy. As if I wasn’t a melted pool of woman already.

“I’m Jason.” The bass of his voice rumbled through me as we connected — palm to palm. I don’t know whether the voice or the touch made me shiver more.

“Great,” Jessalyn clapped her hands together. “Let’s get started. It’ll just take a minute to get the camera rolling.”

I glanced around me looking for my leading man before meeting Jason’s eyes accidentally (on purpose). He stuffed his hands in his pockets and rocked back on his heels. Suddenly it all dawned on me.

Jessalyn wanted me to kiss Jason.

Oh fuck.

The urge to run gripped me, but it didn't stop me from sending up a silent thank you.

“Is something wrong?” he asked.

A quick shake of my head and I squeaked out, “Nothing!”

Very convincing, Meredith.

We stared at each other in silence. Jason cracked first, the edges of his lips quirking up. “It’s kind of awkward isn’t it? The whole kissing on camera thing.”

I huffed out a breath. “Beyond awkward.”

He cocked his head to one side. “So why do it?”

He didn’t know me. I could have told him anything, but the truth was a lot easier than concocting some lie on the spot. “My roommate went to college with Jessalyn. It’s hard to say no to Becca, so when she said they needed volunteers for this project I just sort of agreed.” He started to nod, but that wasn’t everything. “And I might have been drunkish at the time.”

That got a full-fledged, from-the-belly laugh from Jason. My heart pounded a little faster. I liked that I’d been able to make him laugh like that.

“My sister got me. She thinks I don’t take enough risks,” he said.

“Older or younger?”

“Older. Of course. She always thinks she’s right.”

The words tumbled out before I could stop myself. “That’s probably because she is.”

"Don’t you ever tell my sister you said that,” he said.

“Your secret is safe with me.”

Now over the worst of my embarrassment, I'd apparently decided to try flirting with the man assigned to lock lips with me in a few moments. That was new for me, yet something about the fact that I knew we'd be kissing soon calmed me. I suddenly felt bolder than I had in a long time.

I could do this. I just had to kiss Jason. My task wasn’t exactly torturous, and no one would blame me if I enjoyed it.

That cool, collected attitude lasted until Jessalyn called out from behind the camera, “I’m rolling! Whenever you guys are ready.”

I froze.

Finally Jason reached out and touched me. He placed a gentle hand on mine to stop its anxious rubbing at my other arm. His fingers entwined with mine. He stepped forward and caught up my free hand, running his thumb over the pale skin of my wrist. My mind stopped racing. All I could focus on was him.

My gaze slid up to find that his dark, rich eyes had softened. “Is this okay?” he asked.

He was concerned about me. He wanted to know if this was really what I wanted.


The answer hit me with such force it sent me reeling. I wanted to taste him. To feel his beautiful mouth under mine. To press flush against him while the power of that strong, tall body loomed over me. I wanted this stranger.

Screwing up my courage, I rose on my tip-toes and brushed my lips over his. He didn’t move, only tightened the grip on my hands a fraction. I took that as encouragement, a silent nod that this was okay. With a little less caution, I feathered his lips again before pulling back. His move.

With the utmost care, he traced his hands up my arms until they framed my face. Then Jason kissed me right.

His lips opened over mine, inviting me in. There were no sparks or symphonies — none of that movie stuff — only a deep, delicious burn that coursed through my entire body. I needed to feel more. Without thinking, I brought my hands to his biceps and dragged my body closer. His arms dropped to my waist to pull me in.

A low moan reverberated through his chest as he ran his tongue over my lower lip. I gasped my mouth open just enough for him to slide in and stroke me. He tasted of a hurried mint to mask a cup of coffee. I sighed and poured my hunger for this stranger into every suck of my lips and lick of my tongue. I let myself sink into the fantasy.

Just as quickly as the kiss started, it was over. Jason broke the connection before it crossed from slow and seductive to something more fiery. Regret sliced through me. I began to ease away, but he tightened his fingers at my hip and brushed his lips over mine once more. Only then did he release me, his hand lingering a moment longer than perhaps it should have.

I stepped back, stunned by the heat that rose up in my cheeks, as he fixed me with a smoldering stare.

“That was—“

“Yes,” I cut him off.


“That was great guys!” shouted Jessalyn from across the room.

The studio. The camera. The waiver I'd signed. It all came rushing back, forcing me into a reality I wasn't ready for.

“We’re done?” I tried my best to keep my voice neutral.

“That’s it. Easy, right?” asked Jessalyn.

“Easy,” I repeated.

“Okay then,” said Jason.

Jessalyn turned to me. “You have a coat?”

“I do.”

“Let me get that for you.”

Jason said a curt goodbye and strode out of the studio. I watched the metal doors bang behind him, signaling the end of all of those possibilities swirling in my head. Jessalyn pulled my bright yellow coat out of a closet and handed it over. I buttoned it against the lingering spring chill and tried to ignore the leaden feeling spreading through my chest.

In the building’s ancient elevator, I slumped against the wall and let my head fall back.

I should have done something. Asked him for his number. Asked him for a drink. Asked him to take me to bed. Anything. Now he was gone.

But I kissed him first. I opened my eyes as the elevator doors groaned apart. I made the first move. That — Becca would tell me — was progress.

I braced myself for the first brisk bite of air off the East River as I pushed open the building’s front door. With my hands stuffed into my jacket pockets, I put my head down and began to walk.


That voice sent butterflies backflipping in my stomach. I glanced over my shoulder to see Jason jogging towards me.

“You walk fast,” he said.

“What are you still doing here?” I blurted out.

He actually looked bashful. The beautiful specimen of a man who I’d just kissed in a weirdly manufactured fantasy moment was shy. Around me. The thought warmed me.

“I wanted to see if you wanted to get a drink sometime,” he said.

I didn’t even have to think about my answer. “Yes.”

He blinked. “Yes?”

Tendrils of anticipation stirred in me again. “I would like to see you again. A drink sounds great.”

He laughed and rubbed the back of his neck. “Well, I’m really glad to hear that.”

I sucked in a deep breath and said, “How about we get a drink now while we decide where you’re going to take me for a drink later?”

With a grin, he crooked an elbow. “I know just where to go.”

As I placed my hand on his arm I couldn’t help but think that this could be the start of something very good.

First Kisses

25 Romance Authors25 First Kisses simpleWhat is the best part of a new romance? I love the sparkling banter laced with flirtation and tension, but really we all know it's the first kiss. It's hoped for but not guaranteed, and when it finally happens everything slows. The world falls away, desire fires through you, and then -- when lips finally touch -- your mind goes blissfully blank. The first kiss is magical.

Starting today, 25 authors are writing about those first moments as part of an exciting spring blog hop. The stories are short -- around 1,500 words -- but they're big on passion and romance. The entire list of participating authors is at Audra North's website. My story "Accidentally (On Purpose)" goes live this Thursday, April 10th. I'm posting along with Mary Chris Escobar and Pieper Vaughn. I hope you enjoy reading your way through all of the stories and discover some wonderful, new authors in the process!