Baby It’s Cold Outside And You’ve Got Work To Do!

Hello and welcome to the first Just Romance BlogHop of 2014! If you’re just joining us, you can check out all the participating authors from the beginning by clicking the picture below:


JustRomance.me Bloghops

And now here’s my contribution to the warm chills and heated shivers: An excerpt from my latest release, The Royal Wizard. Winter days are perfect for getting cozy and learning a little magic, wouldn’t you agree? 😉

* * * * *

Concentrate

* * * * *

TRWNew“Listen until you hear everything. Every movement of the air as you breathe, every beat of your heart, the hum of the candle flame, the chatter of mice…everything.”

Saeran shifted to find a more comfortable position and strained his ears to listen. “I hear nothing.”

“You are not listening hard enough. Concentrate. It helps if you close your eyes.” She closed her own to demonstrate. “Put everything from your mind but the sounds, and listen not only with your ears, but with your heart.”

Saeran breathed in deeply and held his breath, counting heartbeats. He could hear them getting louder, but only because they were thrumming in his head now. Expelling the air from his lungs in an explosive sigh, Saeran shook himself and tried again. He drummed his fingers on the table—that he could hear. He tapped his foot. Also a sound his keen ears were able to pick up. Besides that, he heard nothing. “This is boring. When can I work a spell?”

“When you learn to hear what is around you,” she said without opening her yes. “A thing will tell you how it wants to be changed. It will know your intent and help you achieve it. A pitcher will know when you want it to float next to the table instead of sitting on it. It will do as you command. But a flower will not obey a command to grow if it knows your only intent is to pluck it.”

There was wisdom in her words. She sat unmoving, composed, but still at ease. Saeran’s backside was starting to ache from sitting on the hard chair, yet Nia didn’t show any discomfort at all. Her control over herself was astounding.

She knew what to do and was the only one who could teach him. He would have to learn on her terms and trust she would lead him true. Saeran closed his eyes again and quieted his mind. For a long time, nothing happened. He heard nothing but his own breathing, felt nothing but his weight sinking into the chair.

But then it began to change. Slowly, he began feeling lighter, almost floating. His hands felt warm, his head swam. The flicker of torchlight cast shadows on his eyelids, and he followed the movement as if he could see the real flames dancing.

Suddenly he heard them. Two torches, then three, and then all of them. They were singing! Not in the sense of a human voice, but it was a melody nonetheless. They sang in the direction of the book shelves, as if performing for them, and Saeran’s awareness floated toward the dark alcove. The scrolls and tomes there whispered. He could hear words so ancient and powerful they sent a chill up his spine, and he knew such knowledge in the wrong hands could destroy with impunity.

Wary of it, Saeran withdrew.

He pictured Nia in his mind, sitting in front of him, regal as any queen, and suddenly he heard her breath as he did his own. He heard her heart beat like a drum to the rhythm of life all around him.

SaeranSaeran opened his eyes, amazed when the sounds didn’t dull. He saw Nia there, and she was so beautiful it pained him. She hadn’t moved, sitting quietly with her eyes closed. Saeran had faced armies, felt warriors’ souls leave their bodies and seen peace at last in their dying eyes. He’d met with great kings, masters of every trade, wizards and holy men; sought their knowledge and wisdom. Nia’s silence was more profound than anything those men had ever taught him. Her serenity seeped into his bones and made him feel as if no ill or plight could touch him as long as she was there.

He leaned toward her, captivated by this strange, beautiful dream, and reached out to touch her. His fingers brushed through her hair, and the golden strands chimed for him a harmony of countless strings. Nia tensed. But she didn’t move. Saeran felt like a master musician, playing the silken strands to yield a melody that shamed the most accomplished bards.

The music all around him grew louder to compliment his movements. He did it again, savoring the sound as clear as crystal, and then he leaned closer still and touched his mouth to hers.

The song quieted. His ears became deaf to everything but the beat of his heart, thumping in perfect unison to hers. He kissed her softly, reverently, and Nia yielded to him with a sigh that shivered through his soul.

In that moment, Saeran sensed everything stop and wished it could stay that way forever. Shrouded in silence, hidden in the depths of time itself, Nia looped her arms around his neck and he pulled her closer still. The table was gone. They floated together in a warm current of air that folded around them like a blanket.

They had no anchor to latch on to except each other. Saeran held Nia so tightly he could feel her heartbeat against his chest, yet it still wasn’t enough. He needed more. Her heart set the rhythm of his. Saeran wanted inside her skin, to touch her soul and bind it to his.

Sounds began to intrude. Someone was approaching.

A sharp knock at the door rang out in deafening echoes, jolting Saeran and Nia out of the trance and they fell to the ground several feet apart.

Nia stared at the prince, frozen in shock, unable to look away. Her heart was racing so fast she couldn’t catch her breath. Saeran seemed similarly incapacitated. He looked as if he wished to say something, but couldn’t find his voice. And neither of them dared to blink.

Want to read more? The Royal Wizard is now available in eBook and print format!

Smashwords | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | All Romance eBooks | iTunes |  Sony eBook Store

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Midsummer Night’s Dream Men

Hello and welcome to another fantastic blog hop! If you’re just joining us, check out the hop from the beginning. Just click here. The theme for this one is Midsummer Night’s Dream Men and the moment I heard it, I knew I would be sharing an excerpt from BLOOD DEBTS because not only is Gabriel one of my dream men, he features rather prominently in some very naughty dreams Dr. Amelia Chase has. I had two to choose from. This one is the… shall we say tamer of the two. 😉 Scroll down and enjoy!

midsummernights

A Dream For The Journals

Blood DebtsShe was in her solarium, but it felt more like a jungle. The plants were overgrown, hiding the pathway completely. The entire floor was covered with soft moss. It was hot and humid, the glass walls and ceiling trapping heat inside.

Amelia followed a path from memory to the artificial waterfall. The surface of the pond glistened and glittered in the moonlight. She could see something moving beneath the surface and frowned. Fish? But she hadn’t ordered any.

Then something drew her gaze to the waterfall itself and she watched as a looming shadow emerged. Clouds moved overhead, allowing moonlight to spear down and bathe the man in its glow.

Gabriel.

He stood waist deep in the pond, water trickling down his upper body. “Come to me,” he said, his gaze holding her captive; mesmerizing. “Come,” he said again, holding out his hand.

Amelia’s breathing became shallow. She knew what would happen if she succumbed to that hypnotic voice. Her body heated in anticipation while her mind screamed to stay away. She stepped over the edge into the pond. Her dress soaked instantly and slowed her down, tangling around her legs.

Gabedream“Come,” Gabriel repeated, closer now. He disappeared beneath the surface, but she still heard his voice, commanding her.

The water was warm. His hands on her legs felt hotter. Amelia gasped when he caressed his way up her leg from the outside, his mouth following the same path on the inside.

“Come,” he said again, and this time his meaning was completely different…

Amelia woke with a start, out of breath. Her sheets were tangled around her legs and she was an inch away from falling off the bed. She moaned. This could not keep happening! How was she supposed to stay professional and detached when she kept dreaming things like that?

Now she wouldn’t be able to sleep at all.

Watch the BLOOD DEBTS trailer

Want to read more? Find BLOOD DEBTS at any of these fine retailers:

Liquid Silver Books | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | All Romance EBooks | iTunes | Sony eBook Store

Love a Tree, Read an E-Book Blog Hop

Greetings! You have found the Love a Tree, Read an E-Book blog hop! If you are just joining us, check out the hop from the beginning. Just click the image below to go back to the start.

This is a special event so I am postponing my usual Friday DIYday post until next week, but don’t worry, it will be there 😉 Okay, so Earth Day is not exactly a pagan holiday, but it’s as close to it as modern society will probably ever get to honoring the Earth which, you know, keeps us all alive. I was going to post another episode of Wacky Weres but then I realized I have something better. So instead, I am sharing a little excerpt from my latest release The Royal Wizard, which is both pagan and a teasy. Enjoy!

* * *

Beltaine

* * *

TRW_ERRTorches were lit all at once when the sun kissed the western tree line, flooding the courtyard with blazing light. It was magic as much as fire; hundreds of hearts beating together in the same wish for children and a healthy harvest later in the year. Saeran could almost see their prayers shimmering interspersed with torchlight, floating among the sparks thrown by bonfires. It was a beautiful sight to behold.

Every house was decorated with vibrant flags and ribbons to celebrate the beginning of summer, every man woman and child dressed in their finest. The music was loud, the laughter even louder, but through it all the breeze teased him with secrets of things unseen. The Others were walking among them tonight. Saeran strained to catch a glimpse of even one, but he saw nothing.

He weaved amidst the crowds, searching for anything that was out of place. The courtyard was a melee of dancers and revelers, the great hall open to everyone on this holy night, for all were equal before the gods. Instead of formal feasts, everyone would go to the altar on the hill where offerings to the gods would be made.

Nia would lead the procession. She would weave spells around her to make sparkling lights follow in her wake and her white robes would glitter in the dying light with a magic of their own. There would be flowers in her hair and a golden mask covering her eyes and nose.  She would be the embodiment of the goddess Frigga.

They come, they gather, the breeze whispered. They come to see…

“What?” Saeran asked.

See, the breeze repeated, swirling around him once and then streaming toward the castle. See…

Saeran walked in the direction of the wind. He focused his intention as Nia had taught him, willed it into a vision to See the Others among his people. It took him long moments to realize he was following a leyline, and when he saw what it was leading him to, the young king almost dropped to his knees.

In an instant, all became quiet and the crowds parted to create a passage. They bowed deeply as Nia passed, paying homage to her and the goddess of fertility she embodied. Saeran forgot to breathe. She glided along the uneven ground on bare feet, her step silent but for the tinkling of tiny bells that none could see. It was an illusion, the king told himself, but couldn’t be certain.

See…

He saw.

He kept his features calm, falling in step behind her; the first in the procession. It was his right as king. The breeze wafted over him, bringing with it the scent of her. She was summer. She was sunshine and flowers, rainstorms and life.

As they passed the outer gate, a cheer went up and the music and revelry resumed, following in their wake. Nia never faltered. She led the way to the hill, oblivious to everything else. When she reached the altar, she turned to face the crowds and raised her arms above her head, speaking to the heavens and the setting sun. She called for blessings upon the land and all who lived on it, asking for a bountiful harvest and happiness for couples young and old.

When she finished speaking, she rounded the altar and passed her hands over it. Then the villagers came forward, placing their small offerings onto the slab of stone. They brought wreaths of wild flowers, pieces of fruit, if they had any, or puppets made of hay, ribbons and cloth. They brought what they could spare to please the gods, laying it before Nia and speaking soft prayers as if she truly was the goddess who looked after them.

Nia accepted the gifts formally, thanking each person and blessing them as they passed. The offerings would be left on the altar for the gods to do with as they pleased. No one was allowed to take from them, lest they incur their wrath.

The foreigners came forward at the end, each taking part in the ceremony as they would. Sir Frederick gave a silken handkerchief, saying a prayer of thanks to both the gods and Nia herself. He bowed deeply to her as he stepped away and Nia nodded to him in acknowledgement. The rest of the knights followed suit, one bringing a piece of bread, another a carved wooden horse, the third a piece of chain mail, and the last a single red bloom. She nodded in thanks and blessed all of them as well.

Finally it was the king’s turn and, for him, Nia rounded the altar once more to face him without barrier. The king had no tribute to give. It was tradition for him to show respect to the gods by proving his humility.

Saeran stepped forward, grateful the ritual required no words. His mouth was too dry for him to speak. The fires sang out with the wind, even the sky added its voice to the chorus. He bowed his head before Nia and knelt. The crowd echoed with a prayer for the king, that he might find a wife soon and sire offspring, and their voices made the earth shudder beneath him.

Nia touched a hand to his chin, urging him to look up. When he did, she leaned down and kissed him, as was custom. Saeran balled his hands into fits, fighting the urge to pull her to him and kiss her the way he wanted to. He was drunk with the scent of her, the feel of her lips so chaste against his.

Too soon, she withdrew. In the darkness, only he could see the hesitation in her movements as she straightened and he wished the others would disappear. “Rise, King Saeran,” she said, her voice ringing out over the hill. “May your reign be prosperous for all the years to come.”

He obeyed, but he couldn’t make his feet move him from the spot. For a moment they merely stared at each other, caught in an instant of pure magic. It pulsated in the air around them like a heartbeat, making it difficult to breathe.

Another cheer went up, startling them both, and Saeran forced himself to walk away. The bonfire would burn all through the night, and few would leave before the sun rose again to light their way home.

Nia faced the altar and once more raised her arms above her head, her own tribute and offering. She removed the flowers from her hair and placed them on the altar, saying a soft prayer. Then she turned in a circle thrice and dissolved into mist, disappearing from sight.

When she reappeared next to Saeran, her golden mask was gone. Instead of white robes, she wore the blue ones she’d received at her presentation and the wolf skin over it. She watched the celebrations with a smile on her face, though it seemed a disguise for something else lurking beneath her carefully composed mask of calm.

Only those too young or too old stayed to the side; the rest danced around the fire in celebration. The foreigners, Saeran noted, did not dance either. But while four of them watched the revelers, the fifth’s eyes searched through the crowd until they settled on Nia. It was the selfsame knight who had gazed at her in the great hall, the same one who’d presented her with a red bloom and placed it so close to her hand. Arnaud was infatuated with the wizard, and he’d scarce seen her once since he’d arrived.

Lady Brigit spun out of the circle and caught Saeran’s hands. “A dance for the fire spirits, your Majesty?” She pulled him into the throng before he could answer, obliging him to dance. She held him so close he was tripping over her skirts, but Brigit only laughed. Saeran suspected the lady had sampled the mead one too many times. It loosened her tongue enough to say, “A finer king Wilderheim has never had! Maidens are praying for you tonight, that you will choose a wife and make her queen, but each of them wants you for herself.”

It was nothing he hadn’t heard before, but tonight the flattery only served to remind him that he’d already chosen.

Brigit grabbed his waist and spun them around. She leaned in and said, “If you choose me—”

Saeran didn’t hear the end of it because the seamstress sisters, Finna and Maeve, pulled him away, chattering one over the other. He danced around the fire thrice, and each time he thought he was free someone pulled him back into the jig. Saeran heard Nia squeal. The woodsman, Dahl, had picked her up one-armed to dance her around. Like Saeran, she was passed from one to the next, but unlike him, she seemed to enjoy it. The fire illuminated her laughing face as she spun and hopped directly across from him.

Then, out of the corner of his eye, Saeran saw the knight Arnaud step into the fray, following Nia. She was in Hundr’s arms now, but before Arnaud could join them, Hundr passed Nia to Geir and away from the knight. Geir lifted Nia by her waist to spin her around while Saeran found himself with the shy Dagmar in his arms. He smiled at her briefly, but his attention was on Nia and the knight following after her from Geir to Konall, to old Sigmarr, and back to Geir.

“Your Majesty!” Brigit called, but Hundr pulled her away as Elsa replaced Dagmar. Maeve caught the knight’s hand, but he shook her off and continued around the circle after Nia like a bloodhound after a scent. Saeran turned Svana around to go the opposite way. Hundr with Brigit danced quicker than the rest, past him and halfway around the circle in a few steps. And just as Nia spun away from Tannir, as Saeran was preparing to switch partners yet again, Brigit stuck her foot out and tripped Nia in the direction of the blazing bonfire. Saeran let go of Svana with gasp and made a grab for Nia as she tipped forward, arms flailing to stop herself.

He caught hold of her sleeve and pulled her upright into his arms just in time, and when her gaze met his, Saeran went deaf and blind to the world. Nia.

She shivered as if she’d heard him speak her name. She couldn’t have. Only in the deepest, most secret corner of his heart would he ever dare to say it that way, with the whole of his soul calling out in anguished longing to the mate it could not reach.

“Lady Nia,” Arnaud said close enough to startle him.

Saeran felt his mouth pull into a snarl. With Nia in his arms, he spun out of the circle of dancers. Darkness pulled around them and a facsimile of them broke off to continue in the current of dancers. The darkness was his; the illusion Nia’s. Taking her hand in his, he pulled her into the woods, far from prying eyes.

Want to know what happens next?

Check out The Royal Wizard at your favorite eBook retailers:

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On the 4th Day of Christmas, Santa gave to me…

Hi and welcome to the Jingle Bell Hop! If you’ve stumbled here first, click here and check out the Blog Hop from the beginning. Really, it’s more enjoyable that way. And now, the 4th day of Christmas:

Four Ex-Boyfriends Calling

Breakfast in bed. Braith smiled sleepily and stretched, careful not to disturb the tray of goodies.

“Good morning,” Jake said and kissed her just as she was about to wish him the same.

“G’mornin’,” she replied. “What’s all this?”

“Oh, this? This is nothing. Just something to get you into holiday spirits. I have the whole day planned.”

Braith raised an eyebrow but left it at that. She already knew there was no point trying to pry anything out of Jake. When it came to surprises, he was worse than the sphinx. So instead she ate her breakfast, croissants, fruit and coffee with a healthy side of Jake. It was cold outside, the windows white with frost. She didn’t want to leave the bed, but Jake had other plans.

When they were finished with breakfast he left her to wash up. Her cell phone was ringing when she got out of the shower. Scrubbing a towel over her head, she didn’t even look at the caller ID, just answered. “Hello?”

“Braith! Hey.”

Braith held the phone away from her to frown at the screen. “Matthew?”

“Yeah, just wanted to wish you happy holidays, you know?”

“Uh… okay.”

“So listen, are you busy today? I’m in town and I really wanted to see you before I leave. Just to talk.”

Talk. Braith shuddered. That’s all he’d ever done in their three month relationship. Talk. About everything. His work, his friends, his family, his plans for the future – which somehow turned into plans for their future… “Yeah, Matt, I’m busy. My new boyfriend’s taking me out on the town.”

“Oh.”

“Yep.”

“Huh. So… you don’t have a half hour to grab a cup of coffee or something? I really want to see you.”

“I’m sorry, Matt,” she said. “Don’t… don’t call me again, okay?”

Braith was still frowning when she got dressed. She’d broken up with Matt two years ago, why would he be calling her now? That was weird, right?

“Hey, babe, everything okay?”

Braith shook herself. “Yeah, fine. I just had a really—”

Her phone rang again.

“—weird phone call.”

Jake frowned. “Who’s that?”

Braith checked out the caller ID. “What the…” She held up a finger for Jake to wait and answered. “Tommy?”

“Braith, hey! I’m so glad you didn’t change your number.”

What the hell? “I’m starting to think I should have.”

Jake was giving her a strange look and all she could do was shrug helplessly. All she wanted to do today was spend time with her gorgeous boyfriend and at this rate she’d be lucky if she got out of the house with him. What was it, day of the exes? Someone should have told her.

“Oh, you funny girl,” Tommy said. “Hey, you wanna grab some lunch today?”

“No, I don’t. You broke up with me a year ago.”

“Uh, yeah, that’s kinda what I wanted to talk to you about.”

Braith hung up and threw her phone on the bed.

“What was that?” Jake asked.

Braith stared at the phone as if it had grown a head. “I have no idea. Can we just go?”

“Yeah, come on.”

He took her to the ice skating rink. It was so cold that the rink was almost deserted, and they got to skate around any which way they wanted. They danced to a slow song, and Jake spun her around to a fast one, and she laughed until her face started getting numb with cold.

Afterward he took her to a cozy little café to warm up and they spent two hours sitting in a plush love seat by the fireplace, sipping hot chocolates and joking about Christmas presents.

At four in the afternoon her phone rang again. “Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me.”

“Who keeps calling you so much?”

“I swear, it’s like the holidays bring all the bugs out of the woodwork.”  The caller ID said Jonah. Sweet merciful God, was there some evil fairy screwing with her today? Just his name brought up godawful memories of the fiasco that had been their break-up. She’d ended up the butt of jokes for weeks afterward.

Disgusted that his number was even still in her address book, she rejected the call. “For some reason all my exes seem to thing today’s a good day to get back in touch,” she told Jake.

“I’m not sure what to think about that.”

“Yeah well, I’ve told you about some of the guys I’ve dated.”

“Yeah,” he said, just as her phone rang again. “That’s what concerns me.”

It was Jonah again. Braith rejected the call. Three seconds later, he called again. “Oh for the love of God.” She picked up. “Stop calling me.” And she hung up again. For a couple of minutes, both of them stared at the phone, waiting to see if it would ring again. It didn’t.

Breathing a cautious sigh of relief, Braith stuck the phone in her pocket and hugged herself to Jake’s side. He put his arms around her instantly. How did she ever get so lucky?”

They went Christmas gift shopping. Braith only had a few people left on her list but Jake, the male that he was, had left everything to the last minute. She helped him pick out presents for his entire family and two of his friends, and by the time they were finished, the car was loaded and she was exhausted.

She was so happy to be back home she almost missed it when Jake said, “I made reservations for dinner.”

That usually meant somewhere fancy. Braith stifled a groan. He had that come-and-get-me smile on his face that always made her want to take a nip of his lower lip. She could deny him nothing when he smiled at her like that, because she knew he reserved it just for her.

So she dressed up, put on mascara and lipstick, and met him at the front door. He was holding her fancy coat out to her and looking very pleased with himself. “What have you got up your sleeve?”

In answer, he showed her his sleeves. Nothing.

There was fancy in this town, and then there was La Riviere, a French restaurant people made reservations in months in advance. To say she was slack jawed didn’t even cover it. They ate three scrumptious courses by candle light, and then dessert arrived in the form of a small chocolate cake for them to share. It had two sparklers stuck into the top and it wasn’t until they had burned down that she could see the diamond ring perched in a chocolate boat between them.

Braith’s breath caught. She looked at Jake to ask if they’d delivered it to the wrong table and saw a look in his eyes that almost made her cry. “Marry me, Braith,” he said softly.

Her phone rang.

Braith couldn’t form a single word while he kept holding her gaze. He hadn’t moved a fraction of an inch and it was like the world had frozen around them.

Except for her ringing phone.

Braith looked at the ring, a beautiful engraved golden band with a perfectly round diamond in the middle. It was one of a matched set she’d once seen in a magazine. The other would be a pure band that would fit into this one. It was a Celtic design she’d admired for maybe ten seconds. How could he have known?

Her phone rang louder.

Braith fished it out of her jacket, barely glanced at the screen. Richard the Rich. Also known as the pompous dick who’d cheated on her with the French maid with fake boobs. She accepted the call. “Dickie? Hey, I’m getting married. Bye.”

Jake’s smile lit up her soul. He took the ring and slid it on to her finger, then clasped her hand in both of his. “Now I’ve got you all to myself.”

Her phone vibrated with a text message. Braith turned it off. “Forever and a day. I hope you’re ready.”
**None of these pictures belong to me, they belong to their respective owners and are only used here for decoration 😉 **

The Story of Before and After

Hello! And welcome to the Labor Day Blog Hop. As the title suggests, we have some working men on tap this weekend. And I myself have a “before” and “after.” In case you stumbled upon this page by accident but are just titillated enough to want more, check out the entire Hop. It starts here. And now on to the good stuff:

 

“Right there,” she said. “Yeah, deeper. Deeper, as far as you can go. That’s it.”

He grunted and bore down.

“Perfect. Twist a little, yeah just like that. A little farther, yesyesyes!”

“Woman, will you shut up and let me do this?”

“But you’re almost there! Just a little–”

“Well maybe if you moved your ass a little I could get some leverage.”

Blushing, Linda shifted enough that her head wasn’t hovering over the sink anymore.

Breathing half in relief and half with defeat, Damon pulled his tool out. “This isn’t working.”

“What do you mean?” she whined, big eyes growing teary.

“I mean, love, that I can’t get in there from this angle. I’ll have to go in from underneath.”

She swallowed. “Can you do that?”

Damon scratched his head, contemplating the situation. “It’ll be messy,” he warned. “But yeah. Yeah, I can do it.” The things he did for this woman… on a Sunday, no less. He was pretty sure that when God invented the seventh day of rest, this was not what He had in mind.

“I’ll get some pillows and towels,” Linda said gravely.

He watched her lush ass sway left and right – he swore she did that just to get under his skin. And damn if it didn’t work. Every. Time.

She returned in less than a minute, her arms full. They arranged the pillows on the edge, towels at the ready. Damon lay down, his head right underneath. He clamped down and flexed his considerable muscles, honed from years of hard work. Doing this.

“You can do it, babe,” she cheered and he almost laughed. Hell yeah, he could do this. But he could show off a little, too. “Go… go…. Go!”

The tension gave way with a rush and Damon was drenched. Linda squealed and handed him a towel to wipe his face off. He grunted again when he carefully released the p-trap. It took some careful maneuvering to get out from underneath the sink. Linda watched him with baited breath as he turned the piece of plumbing over.

A mass of gunk plopped out on one of the towels, mixed in a decent sized hair ball. Damon eyed Linda’s long blond hair and refrained from commenting. It was useless.

Poking around in the stuff, he finally saw a faint glint of gold. Linda gasped and ripped it out of his hand before he could even get a good grip. And right back to the damn sink she went to wash it off.

With the p-trap still in his hand.

“Stop!”

Linda froze.

“Put it down.”

She did.

Glaring daggers, he stuck his upper body back under that sink to reattach the pipe and make sure it was sealed tight. When it was finished, he stood up and took the ring to rinse off for her. He took her hand to put it back on her finger. “Now what have we learned?” For the fifth time. This year.

“Don’t leave wedding ring at the edge of the sink when I’m washing up,” she answered obediently. Then, smiling so bright he felt his heart skip, she flung her arms around him and smacked a loud kiss on his mouth. “Thank you, honey.”

Damon grinned at his wife. “You’re welcome.” He slapped both hands over her ass. “Now what should we do for the rest of the day?”