#CoverReveal – Fae Bound by @AuthorDulce @changelingpress #fantasy #GayRomance

DD_Fae Bound

PRE-ORDER AT AMAZON

Captured by the Dark Fae Dirian and kept in a spelled cage, wolf shifter Navarro wonders if he’ll ever see freedom again. Being imprisoned takes an interesting turn when his mate steps through the door at Dirian’s side, his torso and back scarred from years of abuse. Navarro wants nothing more than to save the both of them, but he doesn’t know how.

When the Wood Elf Tabor first touches the red wolf in the cage, he knows the two of them share a special connection. Dirian gives Navarro to him as a pet, but the shifter is so much more. For the first time in three hundred years, Tabor wants to bind someone to him with Fae magick, a commitment not taken lightly by his kind.

The two make the best of their captivity, but when an opportunity to escape presents itself, Navarro knows they must take it — and in doing so, free everyone Dirian has enslaved.

COMING OCTOBER 13th from CHANGELING PRESS

Available at Amazon, B&N, iTunes, and Kobo October 20th

 

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#NewRelease – Grizzly Affair @AuthorDulce @changelingpress #PNR #LGBTQ #Suspense #Romance

Grizzly copy for DD

Publisher: Changeling Press
Cover Artist: Angela Knight

Genres/Themes: Paranormal, Suspense, Interracial, Men in Uniform, Gay
Length: Novella

With a rogue shifter on the loose leaving a trail of bodies, it isn’t the best time for bear shifter, Roarke Hilliard to have his heat cycle. Especially since he’s the lead Special Agent on the case. But nature must take its course. When his partner, agent Spencer Malloy, places himself in Roarke’s path during his greatest time of need, the bear is worried he might break the human. But Spencer wants Roarke badly… bad enough to call in a paranormal escort.

Grigore Gabor may be a male escort, but he’s never slept with any of his clients… until now. The moment the wolf shifter gets a whiff of the bear who hired him, and his human companion, he knows he’s found his mates. But getting the surly ursa to agree is another matter.

With a killer on the loose, now isn’t the time for finding true love. With Roarke handicapped by his heat cycle, there’s only so much the agents can do against the rogue shifter. They can only hope to bring the man to justice before another body is found.

Available 9/15 at Changeling Press

Available 9/22 at Amazon, B&N, iTunes, Kobo

Excerpt

Special Agent Roarke Hilliard, Bureau of Paranormal Affairs, scented the air as he scanned the crime scene for clues. Darkness filled him, narrowing his world to this one moment. Blood soaked through his pants and coated his hands as he knelt beside the too still, mangled body. The copper tang of the teen’s blood teased his nostrils. His nose flared as he searched for other scents. Gunpowder residue and the stale smell of sweat hung heavy in the air.

A gun was clutched in the young man’s hand, his fingers gripping it even in death, and yet the weapon hadn’t been able to save him. Slashed across his sternum, the killer’s claws had dug deep, all the way to the bone. His clothes were torn in other areas. His belt had been partially torn from him. The clues were adding up to a terrifying, grisly picture.

This wasn’t the first victim, and if Roarke couldn’t catch the bastard responsible, it wouldn’t be the last. Up to this point, the killer had targeted male prostitutes. But this one was different. There were no indications of drug use, no condoms in the victim’s wallet. Was the killer branching out? Or were his tastes changing?

“This is definitely our guy,” Agent Spencer Malloy said as he surveyed the scene. “If we don’t catch him soon, we’ll be on every channel in the country. You know how much the Bureau hates bad publicity.”

Roarke stood. “There has to be a pattern. The first known victim was in Chicago. The second was in South Bend, Indiana. But now, victim number five is in Atlanta. Where is he going?”

“I still say they aren’t planned. I think our guy is picking up young men, then he gets frustrated when they won’t give him what he wants and he kills them.”

“They’re prostitutes living on the streets. There isn’t much they won’t do for the right amount,” Roarke reasoned.

“What’s that super sniffer of yours telling you?”

“I don’t smell semen. I don’t think he got very far before he killed this one. Maybe that was his motivation. Either he couldn’t get it up, or the victim resisted.” Although he could be wrong. Roarke wasn’t about to admit it to anyone, but during his heat cycle his nose was not the most reliable. It took every effort not to turn bear the closer the time got.

Spencer ran a hand through his short, blond hair. “I don’t like this. Rogue shifters are one thing, but one bent on murder?”

“The lab ran the sample three times,” Roarke reminded him. “No match was found in the system, but the DNA suggested a hybrid.”

“Which explains the instability,” Spencer muttered. “He obviously has impulse control issues. My gut says there are more murders. Unless some switch flipped in this guy’s head, there’s no way his first murder was last month. Not unless he was just turned, and what’s the likelihood of a just-turned hybrid?”

Roarke sighed. “I’m afraid I have to agree with you. We need to have records run a search on all unsolved shifter related homicides nationwide for the past five years, see if anything pops up that matches our guy’s MO.”

“I’ll call it in while you check out the rest of the scene. Maybe we missed something on the first walk through. Then you’re going to the hotel for a shower and a change of clothes.”

Roarke nodded and looked around again. He began a slow circuit of the space, sniffing for something he might have missed as his gaze touched on every square inch of the room. He knew from experience they wouldn’t find anything new. Fingerprints and DNA did them no good when the killer wasn’t in the system. According to the shifter laws of 2023, formed when shifters came out of hiding, all shapeshifters were required to have DNA and fingerprints on file with the government. Those who didn’t comply were termed “rogue” and would be put to death if they were found to have committed a heinous crime. If you weren’t registered, you didn’t have rights.

Spencer motioned to him from the doorway and Roarke stepped out into the sunshine. With the smell of death and decay surrounding him, he’d forgotten how beautiful it was outside. Spring was in the air, which spelled trouble for a bear on a never-ending job. The urge to mate would hit him hard and Roarke would be powerless to stop it. Last mating season, he’d damn near lost his job when he’d holed up in a motel room for three days with a willing male from a shifter run escort service… he might do well to keep their number handy.

“I passed on our thoughts about there being more murders and Rawlins said he would put a team on it.” Spencer began walking toward their SUV. “He asked why the hell we couldn’t have thought of that weeks ago. I told him we were too busy chasing a trail of mangled bodies. Pompous ass.”

Roarke grinned.

“I say we go get you cleaned up and grab a bite to eat. We missed lunch and I know that beast inside of you has to be starving.” Spencer held out his hand. “Keys.”

Roarke pulled them from his pocket and handed them over. He climbed into the passenger’s seat and patiently waited for Spencer to get in and start the vehicle.

“Speaking of my beast, there’s something you should know,” Roarke said as they pulled out of the parking lot. “My mating heat is going to hit soon. Since I don’t have a mate, my bear is going to seek the first willing male available. It’s going to possibly put me out of commission for a few days.”

“So we take a break.”

Roarke shook his head. “The mating fever is going to hit our killer grizzly too. It means more murders if he can’t find someone willing and able to handle the frenzy. Think double or even triple the body count we have now.”

“Fuck. We have to catch this guy!” Spencer slammed his hand against the steering wheel.

About Dulce

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With an overactive imagination and a penchant for making up stories, was it any wonder Dulce Dennison decided to be an author? From cowboys to shapeshifters, she has a story for them all, but her passion lies in writing m/m romances. Dulce believes in love in all shapes and sizes, and that everyone deserves a happily-ever-after.

Married since 2000 to a man she isn’t sure is quite human, her husband and children (which she fondly calls the demon spawn) keep her busy, but never too busy to write. Is there such a thing as too busy to write? Most mornings you can find Dulce set up with her laptop, a cat curled up next to her, and a steaming cup of coffee just an arm’s reach away.

Dulce loves to hear from her readers! You can find her on Facebook or Twitter. If you’d like to hear more about new releases from Dulce, please sign up for her newsletter.

 

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#NewRelease – Yes, Sir #BDSM #Romance

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Publisher: Changeling Press
Genres/Themes: BDSM, Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance,
Second Chance Romance
Length: 109 pages

Zoe: If someone had told me one sexy biker would change my life, I’d have laughed. Men had come and gone in my twenty-one years, but I’d never found one worth keeping. Until the sexy Dom strolled into my place of work with the most outrageous offer I’d ever heard. Or maybe I was the crazy one since I agreed to his proposal.

Beau: There’s only one thing I love more than my Harley or my shop… my daughter. I’d do anything for Allie, even something as crazy as finding a fake fiancée. But if that’s what it takes to get full custody, I’ll do it. I never counted on falling for the temptress I dragged into this mess though. The way Zoe surrendered to me was beautiful and addicting. The more I had of her, the more I wanted.

WARNING: Spanking. Bondage. And a Dom who won’t take no for an answer.

Excerpt

Summer in Texas was no damn joke. The temperature had been over one hundred degrees every day for weeks now, and it wasn’t letting up anytime soon. It might not have been so bad, but the humidity had been up too.

I wanted to kick the crap out of my car in frustration, but my footwear held me back. The last thing I needed to do was break a toe or worse. Hands on my hips, I stared at my piece of crap car, like it had all the answers. Unfortunately, it didn’t seem to be imparting any wisdom to me, and I was seriously melting on the sidewalk. Something cold skated down my arm and I turned to see Mr. Sexy standing next to me, a cold bottle of water in his hand, and a panty-melting smile on his lips.

“Looks like you could use this,” he said. “Bad day?”

“You could say that.”

I accepted the bottle of water and took a big gulp, hastily wiping away the droplets that spilled from the corner of my mouth. He nodded toward my car, which still had the windows rolled down from my drive over.

“Either you like fresh air or you don’t have A/C.”

“A little bit of both. The vents don’t work at all anymore, which is a pain in the ass when it rains and the windshield fogs because the defroster doesn’t work either.”

He frowned and leaned through the window of my car to check it out. What the hell he could tell by just looking at the interior I didn’t know. Cars were a mystery to me. I knew you put gas in them, turned the key, and pressed the pedal to make it go. Other than that, I didn’t have a clue. I’d never had a dad to show me how to change the oil or fix a flat tire.

“Why don’t you pull it over to the shop for a minute and I’ll take a look?”

I bit my lip. “I appreciate it, really, but I can’t afford –”

He cut me off. “No charge. No one should drive around in this heat without air. If you got stuck in traffic too long, you could overheat and pass out. I can’t promise I can fix it, but what would it hurt for me to check out it?”

“Why would you do it for free?” I asked, more than a little skeptical. No one ever did anything for free. I just couldn’t figure out what he’d possibly want from me. I wasn’t exactly ugly, but with my hair not brushed and windblown, I wasn’t looking my best.

“Maybe I’m hoping it will convince you I’m a nice guy.”

My eyebrows lifted. “And are you?”

“Most of the time.” He chuckled. “So, what do you say? Let me take a look?”

“Sure. I appreciate it.”

He walked back over to the shop next door and I climbed into my car to pull it over to the open bay that didn’t have a motorcycle parked in it. The interior of the garage was a little cooler than the sidewalk had been and several fans were blasting a nice breeze through the place. Some of the guys stopped what they were doing to see what was going on, and there were one or two smirks, but Mr. Sexy scowled at them and everyone got back to work.

I’d left the keys in the ignition, so Mr. Sexy cranked the engine and played with the air controls. Then he got out and walked around to the passenger side. I saw him grab some tools from a nearby cabinet, but I didn’t want to lean into the car to watch him. He popped back out of the car a few minutes later with some strange looking thing in his hand.

“This is your problem,” he said. “The actuator burnt out. It’s the little motor that controls your air flow. I can look up the part and see if anyone local has one.”

“I really do appreciate you checking it out, but I can’t afford to replace anything right now. I was hoping it was just a loose wire or something.”

His gaze scanned me from head to toe before taking in my poor car. My RAV4 had more dings and dents than most cars, and at twenty years old, the leather seats were tearing and the paint was losing its shine. Even the windows had sounded like they were having trouble rolling up and down the last few times, and I worried they would crap out too and I’d be stuck without so much as a breeze to cool me down.

“Just how much trouble are you in right now?” he finally asked, his gaze going to the bruise on my cheek.

I didn’t know how much to share with him, what with him being a stranger and all. It wasn’t like we were BFFs chatting over coffee. It was sweet that he was trying to take care of me, but I’d been standing on my own two feet for so long I’d almost forgotten how to accept help when it came my way, which was seldom. He nodded toward the door on the far side of the shop and I followed him out of the work area.

Inside, the air conditioning was going full blast and I nearly sighed in relief. There was a small waiting area with black leather couches, a desk with a register, and then two closed doors. One had a bathroom sign on it, so I assumed the other was the office. Mr. Sexy pushed open the unmarked door and motioned for me to have a seat across from the rather large desk littered with papers.

“So, you’re the manager here?” I asked, checking the place out.

That damn irresistible smirk was back. “I’m the owner.”

Purchase September 1st from Changeling Press

Pre-Order for September 8th from:
Amazon / B&N / iTunes / Kobo

#NewRelease – Coming Home #SecretBabyRomance #MilitaryRomance

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Publisher: Siren Publishing
Length: 38,500
Heat Level: Scorching

When Bowen finds out the love of his life is marrying his brother, he hauls his ass across country to stop the wedding. The last thing he expected was a pint-sized little girl running down the aisle calling him daddy. One look in her eyes and he knows that Caitlin is his. With the wedding off, Bowen demands time to get to know his daughter and has no intention of ever letting Lorelei go again.

As a web of lies makes itself known, Lorelei and Bowen realize they still love each other as much as they did before. Barely able to keep their hands off one another, is it any wonder they decide on a quick engagement, hoping for happily-ever-after this time?

Bowen isn’t backing down this time, he’s making Lorelei his in every way that counts.

Excerpt

Bowen looked at the clock on the dash as he entered his hometown city limits. The wedding was about to start, and he was going to be late. He’d wanted to get at least cleaned up a little before showing up. His hand rasped against the whiskers on his chin. It had been two days since he’d last shaved. The T-shirt he wore was wrinkled and probably smelled since he hadn’t done laundry in over a week.

He’d woken two days ago, realizing he couldn’t let her go through with it. The logical part of his brain said he should stay gone, let Dex and Lorelei go on with their lives, have their happily-ever-after. But then those damn emotions, the ones he always shoved down deep, had reared their head, demanding that he do something before he lost the woman he loved forever.

For two months he’d stayed faithful to Lorelei, hoping she was doing the same. Then he’d talked to Dex and heard the happiness in  his brother’s voice. He’d joked and said Dex must have met a woman. His brother had dealt the killing blow that he’d been spending time with Lorelei and that he still loved her. Bowen had gone out that night and gotten shitfaced. It had been oh so tempting to tell his commanding officers to fuck off and go AWOL just to be with Lorelei again, beg her to wait for him. Giving her the freedom to be with someone else had been the dumbest thing he’d ever done.

When Dex had told him of his engagement to Lorelei, Bowen had decided he wouldn’t return home when his service was up. He’d gotten out of the Marine Corps months ago and had hit the road. He’d bought a truck and just traveled from one town to another, losing himself in a different woman a night. It hadn’t worked though. When he closed his eyes, it was still Lorelei’s face he saw, her body he felt pressed against his. He’d often wake and think he smelled her perfume in the air. Knowing she was about to say vows, to bind herself to his brother forever, had left him shaken but determined.

They’d had only one night together, but he’d known there was something between them. There was a connection he’d never felt with another woman and knew he never would. Lorelei was it for him. If he couldn’t have her, if she denied him, he didn’t know what he’d do. Probably hit the road again. He didn’t think he could stand to see her with Dex all the time, sit back and watch them have kids. The envy and jealousy would eat him alive.

He whipped into a parking space in front of the small church and jumped out of the truck, slamming his door and practically running toward the double doors, his dog tags jangling against his chest. Even though he was finished with the Corps, he wasn’t quite ready to let go. The dog tags were part of who he was. He burst through the entrance, and his heart nearly seized as he saw Lorelei at the front in her ivory dress, her hands clasped in his brother’s. He started down the aisle, and their attention focused on him. When he didn’t slide into a seat, he saw the nervousness in his brother’s eyes. The bastard had a right to be nervous, trying to steal his woman.

A small spot of pink began hurtling toward him, a child he hadn’t noticed, her sable curls bouncing with each step. He froze, not knowing what to expect. Did Dex and Lorelei already have a child together? His brother had never mentioned a daughter.

“Daddy!” the child cried, throwing herself at him. His reflexes being better than most people’s, he easily caught her, pulling her into his arms.

There were murmurs in the church as everyone stared at him. Almost as if they knew something he didn’t. As he studied her face, he realized he was staring at a miniature version of himself. His heart kicked, and the world narrowed. He had a daughter? Why hadn’t Lorelei said something? Why hadn’t his brother? Their deception cut him to the quick. He returned his gaze to the couple at the front of the church.

“I object to this wedding.”

The murmurs grew to a dull roar as everyone had something to say at once. He heard the different voices, everyone expressing their outrage and shock over his interruption. Lorelei looked scared, her eyes wide with fright as her gaze darted from him to their daughter and back again. She damn well had a right to be scared, keeping something like this from him! Because of her omission, he’d missed years of his daughter’s life. If she’d only told him, he’d have returned to her, taken leave and asked her to marry him. He’d have done the right thing by her.

“Bowen,” Lorelei said softly. “I can explain.”

“Oh, you will, sweetheart. But first, you’re going to change out of that dress.”

His daughter patted his cheek. “Daddy, why’d you take so long to come see me?”

He mustered a smile for her. “I’m sorry, honey. I’m here now, though, and Daddy isn’t going anywhere.”

Pre-Order for August 30th Release

#CoverReveal – Grizzly Affair @AuthorDulce @changelingpress #paranormalromance #LGBTQ #gayromance

Grizzly copy for DD

Coming September 22nd

Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre(s): Paranormal, Suspense, Gay, Interracial, Menage

With a rogue shifter on the loose leaving a trail of bodies, it isn’t the best time for bear shifter, Roarke Hilliard to have his heat cycle. Especially since he’s the lead agent on the case. But nature must take its course. When his partner, agent Spencer Malloy, places himself in Roarke’s path during his greatest time of need, the bear is worried he might break the human. But Spencer wants Roarke badly…bad enough to call in a paranormal escort.

Grigore Gabor may be a male escort, but he’s never slept with any of his clients…until now. The moment the wolf shifter gets a whiff of the bear who hired him, and his human companion, he knows he’s found his mates. But getting the surly ursa to agree is another matter.

With a killer on the loose, now isn’t the time for finding true love. With Roarke handicapped by his heat cycle, there’s only so much the agents can do against the rogue shifter. They can only hope to bring the man to justice before another body is found.

Spotlight: Fatal Games by @AuthorDulce #LGBT #gay #romance #books

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When a ghost from his past begins to haunt him, Griffin loses the only man he’s ever loved. Not one to be knocked down for long, he joins the local police department, donning the badge once more, determined to catch his lover’s murderer. But the killer isn’t done with him yet.

When a rash of crimes break out, all targeting Griffin, he knows that his days are numbered if he can’t catch the person responsible. With fellow officer Garrett Peterson aiding his investigation, Griffin knows it’s only a matter of time before he catches the killer. What he doesn’t count on are the developing feelings between Garrett and him.

But how can he possibly make time for love when his life hangs in the balance?

Purchase at:  Evernight Publishing / Amazon / Bookstrand

“I need to change. Then you can give me a ride to the station since it seems I’m without a ride until I can replace my car.”

Garrett leaned closer and sniffed. “You are a bit smoky.”

Griffin snorted and turned toward his house. He could feel Garrett’s presence behind him as he entered his home and left the door open for the other officer. If he was determined to play bodyguard, Griffin supposed he would have to let him. In his bedroom, he quickly stripped out of his uniform of jeans and a dress shirt, and pulled a clean set out of the closet. He pulled on his pants and slipped on his shirt. Leaving it hanging open, he gathered his boots and walked back to the living room. Through the open door, he could see his fellow officers milling around his yard as they examined the scene.

He felt Garrett’s gaze on him and he met the hazel eyes caressing his body. It hadn’t been an intentional temptation when he’d come in half dressed, but it seemed Garrett was taking it that way. Garrett stepped closer until their bodies were nearly brushing. Despite his intentions to hold the other man at bay, his heart sped up, leaving Griffin wondering if maybe he felt more for the man than he’d thought.

Garrett gripped the back of his neck and pulled him down for a scorching hot kiss, his lips rough and demanding as he took what he wanted. Griffin could have pulled away, could have put a stop to it, but as Garrett’s tongue flicked against his lips, he found himself opening, wanting more, needing Garrett’s taste on his tongue. He dropped his boots and his hands rose of their own volition, gripping Garrett’s waist and pulling him closer. So lost in the moment, Griffin didn’t care if someone saw them. It was no secret that he was gay and the guys on the force didn’t seem to have a problem with it. It was completely out of character for him to flaunt it though.

The deep, devastating kiss was both exploratory and fierce. Garrett demanded that Griffin give in to him and Griffin found himself powerless to do anything else. It was a long, drugging kiss, Garrett’s lips lingering as if he couldn’t bring himself to pull away. Garrett’s tongue thrust into his mouth again, dancing, curling, coaxing. The kiss turned seductive and Griffin couldn’t fight his body’s response to the other man. His cock stirred with interest and for the first time in six months Griffin wanted more than basic human contact: he found himself desiring another man, needing him with an urgency he thought he’d never feel again.

When Garrett finally pulled away, Griffin was panting, his heart hammering against his ribs, his body hard and tense, wanting a release that he knew wouldn’t come. Not yet anyway. After that kiss, Griffin knew if Garrett pursued the growing attraction between them that he would be powerless to turn the other man away. His body craved satisfaction, but now wasn’t the time. He wanted more than a quick tumble, wanted more than to just take the edge off.

“I’m not giving up on you, Griffin. We will finish this later. Count on it.”

#NewRelease – His Virgin Babysitter #kindleunlimited

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$0.99 or Free with KindleUnlimited

Get It Here

Ashley

I’ve wanted Liam Doherty for as long as I can remember, even when he was married. Maybe it was the Irish accent, or maybe it was just his ripped abs. But now he’s a sexy single dad in need of a babysitter. Is it wrong that when I hold that precious baby I imagine that she’s mine and we’re a family?

But what would an Irish hunk want with a college dropout?

Liam

My tongue nearly hit the floor when I opened my front door to the goddess on my porch. And now she’s babysitting for me, and all I can think about is how spectacular she’d look spread across my bed. Watching her with my daughter doesn’t douse my desire even a little. If anything, it just makes me want her more. 

But there’s twenty years between us. Why would a sexy little thing like her want an old man like me?

Excerpt

Nearly two hours had passed by the time I had finished getting ready, so I rushed downstairs and out the door. I’d barely left my yard when I heard a baby crying. As I neared Mr. Doherty’s door, I heard his frantic shushing and cooing as he tried to calm his daughter. The doorbell chimed loudly, just making Caitlin even angrier and her screams increased. Mr. Doherty looked harried as he answered the door, his shirt was unbuttoned and he hadone sock on and one sock off. His hair stood in disarray, as if he’d been trying to pull it out.

And I’d never seen a sexier sight.

“Mr. Doherty, I’m Ashley Morgan, from next door. My mom said you needed a babysitter tonight.”

“Tonight. Tomorrow. Every day for the next eighteen years,” he muttered. “Come in.”

He stepped back and I followed him inside, trying to take everything in. I’d never been inside his home before and I was impressed. The baby doubled her efforts to be heard, her face turning bright red, and I reached for her. He hesitated only a moment before handing her over. Caitlin stared at me, her screams dying almost instantly as she hiccupped and tried to figure out who I was. Her hair was dark as pitch, just like her dad’s, and her eyes were a bright blue.

“Hi there, gorgeous girl.”

Caitlin cooed and waved a fist.

“You’re a miracle worker,” Mr. Doherty said. “Whatever you want, you can have it. I’ll sign over ever cent in my account if you can just keep her quiet. I think she’s cried nonstop for months. I’ve taken her to the doctor so often, convinced something is wrong with her, that they won’t even set an appointment until I’ve spoken with a nurse.”

“She’s probably just missing her mom.” My cheeks flushed as I glanced at him. “Sorry, I didn’t mean…my mom told me today that Mrs. Doherty wasn’t in the picture anymore. I didn’t mean to be insensitive.”

He snorted. “Good riddance to that harridan. Caitlin will be better off without that kind of influence in her life.”

Okay, so he was still bitter.

“Let me show you where everything is and then I’ll finish getting ready. I’ll try not to stay out too late. We have this banquet once a year and it can go for most of the night with drinking and dancing. I wouldn’t even attend, but I’m supposed to get some ridiculous award.” He shook his head. “Anyway, help yourself to anything you want. The kitchen is fully stocked if you’re hungry. I’m sure you’ve missed dinner at home.”

“I can stay as long you need me.” Forever sounded pretty good.

He nodded and gave me a tour of the house, pointing out Caitlin’s room and everything I would need for my babysitting duties. While he finished getting ready, I sank onto the padded rocker in her room. The back and forth motion helped keep her calm and she blinked up at me sleepily. She was probably the prettiest baby I’d ever seen. I wondered how heartless you had to be to leave something so precious behind.

When I was certain she was sleeping soundly, I laid her in her crib and tiptoed from the room, snagging the baby monitor on my way out. Mr. Doherty still hadn’t resurfaced, unless he’d snuck out while I was otherwise occupied. He’d said I could help myself to the kitchen so I headed that way. It was a chef’s dream come true with granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances, and a stove that I would have killed to have. I felt a little odd rummaging through his fridge and pantry. I found some chicken breasts, everything I would need for my favorite corn casserole, and a can of crescent rolls. I’d have preferred to make some rolls from scratch, but it would take too long.

As I chopped, seasoned, and prepped a dinner that would easily feed not only me, but give Mr. Doherty leftovers for a night or two, I started singing. It was something I always did when I cooked, no matter where I was. I’d always had a thing for country music, especially the songs that were popular when I was little, so the Dixie Chicks “You Were Mine” spilled from my lips. As I slid everything into the oven, I noticed Mr. Doherty leaning against the doorframe, watching me. There was something in his eyes that made me very aware that I was a woman alone in a house with a powerful man.

“I hope my singing didn’t bother you.”

He pushed off the doorframe and prowled closer. “You sing like an angel.”

My cheeks flushed. “I don’t know why, but I always sing when I cook.”

He was close enough that I felt the heat of his body pressing against me. There were fine lines on the corners of his eyes and a hint of silver at his temples, but it only made him look more distinguished. He leaned a little closer and then abruptly pulled away. My heart was pounding in my chest, and I wondered if he’d been about to kiss me. Or was that just wishful thinking on my part? Despite the fact I was a grown woman, I’d never been with a man before, and had kissed only a handful of boys at college. What would it be like to have a man like him lay claim to me?

“I’ll try not to be late,” he said as he backed away further. “If you need to reach me, my cell number is on the fridge, as is the number to Caitlin’s doctor.”

“We’ll be fine.”

He nodded and walked off, leaving me shaking and wondering what the hell had just happened. I could still smell the spicy scent of his cologne and my lips tingled from the almost kiss. I’d never wanted anyone so much in my life. In that moment, I knew I’d do whatever it took to make him mine, even if it was just for one night.