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Not What He Expected ~ Excerpt from 'Men Under Fire'

Talley’s nails clicked on the wood floors as they approached the door. Nick’s heart beat erratically, his palms were sweaty, and his mouth was dry.

Hollie looked up from her desk as he walked through the door. Surprise registered on her face as she stood and came around her desk. Her hair was piled on top of her head in a high ponytail, and she wore a soft white dress that clung to all her curves. Her sweet and innocent look was a fist to his chest. He was having trouble moving air in and out of his lungs.

“Talley, Sgt. Welby, is something wrong? You don’t have an appointment today.”

She looked young and virginal, nothing like the dominatrix that his male mind had created in the late nights. The swimming regime recommended by Dr. Walters to help Talley was taking the edge off the long days, but the nights were still bad. And when he woke from the same nightmare, he lay in bed and fantasized about Hollie, her incredible bod in the tight black skirt, fishnet stockings, and black boots, and her gentle touch of his dog.

She looked closely at Talley. “Is Talley ill?”

He couldn’t speak but stared at the enticing woman as his heart thudded against his chest like a marching band drum. He shook his head. “No, we’re good. Really good.” God, he sounded like a simpleton. He could feel his ears burning in embarrassment. “We were in Seattle and thought we’d stop by. That’s not a problem, is it?” Of all the lame shit to say.

“Oh, I’m glad nothing’s wrong.” Hollie bent and patted Talley. “It’s good to see you, Talley,” she crooned in a soft, alluring voice.

Talley’s ears perked up, and her body relaxed at Hollie’s voice.

As she was bent over Talley, he tracked the creamy angle of her neck and a coiled black curl. He could feel her heat, and he caught a whiff of her flowery fragrance.

She didn’t look like the badass woman of just three days ago. She was soft, womanly, and enthralling.

Men Under Fire

The Witness - Excerpt from 'An Inner Fire'

Davis stared down the hallway after Dr. Walters left. He hated surprises. Getting back late to the office, he hadn’t been able to do a rudimentary background check before the interview.

The delectable Dr. Walters was more than disorienting. Her big green eyes, short skirt, and the way she laughed, lying on the ground with Henny licking her face, was a shock to his system. And he wasn’t sure he liked the jolt.

He sat down and opened his computer to do the witness profile he hadn’t been able to do before the interview. The woman was brilliant, Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Michigan, honors from Vet School at Cornell. There were endless pages on her research, papers, and presentations. Now, she practiced animal acupuncture. What the hell was that?

She was a good witness, factual not emotional. Her lack of reaction left him suspicious. Most witnesses needed to describe the experience of encountering criminals. Not the intrepid Dr. Walters. She seemed frightened as she described the man with red hair. But unlike most witnesses, she disclosed none of her fears.

He appreciated the irony of the situation. She had given the perfect interview logical, precise and it made him suspect her. Dr. Walters hadn’t offered any personal insights. He was familiar with the tactic; he used it all the time. When his neatly constructed world had careened out of control two years ago after his father’s slow, agonizing death, Davis learned the only way to survive was not to reveal anything.

There was something inexplicable about Dr. Walters, something he couldn’t grasp. She bore watching. God, who was he kidding? Her tight little body and her legs bore watching.

An Inner Fire

A man, a dog...and a woman - Excerpt from 'Men Under Fire'

Men Under Fire by Jacki DeleckiDr. Walters looked up from her note taking. “I’d like to treat Talley once a week for the next three months. You live in Auburn. Will it be a problem to drive into Seattle?”

“Not a problem, ma’am. I’d do anything for this dog.”

She leaned across her desk. “Do you swim, Sergeant?”

“Yes, ma’am.” He didn’t get what swimming had to do with acupuncture.

“I’d like you and Talley to start swimming in a lake or deep river. It’s important you do it together.”

“Lake Young is close by our family farm. Talley and I can swim there.”

“Water will soothe Talley’s ratcheted up nervous system.”

Why did he feel as if the doctor wasn’t talking just about Talley?

“Don’t do any training around the swimming. Talley needs a real break from her work. Her senses, especially her focus and her nose, are working overtime. She’ll have a break in the water.”

He nodded. “It will be great to swim after our morning runs.”

“Sounds like we’ve got a plan. Let’s see how the swimming works.” Dr. Walters stood from her desk and walked toward the door. “I can hear that my assistant is back. She’ll make your appointment for next week.”

Talley woke up with the doctor’s movements. With her front paws planted forward, the usually hyper dog stretched her spine and then slowly hoisted herself to follow Dr. Walters. He couldn’t explain exactly what had happened, but like Talley, he felt a deep sense of relaxation. For the first time since he had arrived stateside, he could breathe calmly and catch glimpses of the contented man before the war. He and a tranquil Talley followed the doctor to the outer office.

Dr. Walters stopped suddenly in the doorway. A young, curvaceous woman was balanced on a stool, reaching into cupboards, as she sang the painful lyrics from Nirvana’s song “Sliver.”

When she stretched her entire body forward, her short, black skirt inched higher, giving him an incredible view of her sweet, rounded backside. He swore under his breath at the tempting sight. She wore fishnet tights and thigh-high boots that were right out of every red-blooded male’s fantasy.

His whole body tightened, not in danger but in hunger. Lust and need hummed through him, an invigorating feeling that he hadn’t experienced in a very long time.

Men Under Fire

All About Kissing - Excerpt from 'A Code of Love'

Excerpt from A Code of Love

Gus pounced as Henrietta rose from her knees, the task of weeding the flower beds complete. Henrietta teetered but the impact of the four-stone Labrador couldn’t be stopped. She fell backward on her heels, giving Gus the perfect position to lick her face. His wet kiss landed squarely on her lips and was followed by a full frontal assault. Her shrieks encouraged Gus to intensify his slobbery affection.

“Gus, you kiss better than the gentlemen of the ton.” She stood, brushing the paw marks from her pale yellow muslin dress.

“You never told me that you kissed a lot of men.” Edward came down the steps. Her younger brother never appeared to be listening, but it was like him to hear her slightly risqué comment.

“I was joking, and a gentleman would never ask a lady whom she has been kissing.”

“Why were Michael and his friends laughing about Lady Hawksley’s lips?” Edward asked.

Henrietta was going to wring their older brother’s neck for being indiscreet about the voracious widow in front of Edward. “I’ll let Michael explain what he and his friends were discussing.”

“I knew you weren’t going to tell me anything. Michael is in France and isn’t going to be home for at least four or five years.”

With his round baby cheeks and the golden Harcourt hair, Edward looked like a cherub in a Raphael painting. Leaning over, she tousled his hair. “I’m sure Michael will be home before you’re twelve years old and will answer all your questions.”

She had definite plans for educating Edward on the relationship between women and men, to shatter the male balderdash that women needed to be protected and thus excluded from the workings of the real world. With Michael’s departure to France for intelligence work, the management of the entire household fell on her shoulders.

Edward chased Gus over the grass and behind a tree. The dog came then waited for Edward to give chase again. The boy and dog ran circles around the giant oak.

Watching their enthusiastic play, she felt a deep longing for something she couldn’t identify. When Edward and Gus came to a halt near her, she hugged her younger brother. “I’ll tell you about kissing. It’s delightful when you’re kissing someone you care about, like your younger brother or your dog.”

“Hen, I’m not talking about that kind of kissing.” Edward, appearing to have no interest in the conversation, drew away and threw a stick to Gus.

“Kissing between women and men is exactly like kissing between families, a sign of mutual affection between people who care about and respect each other.” She shook her gardening gloves, carefully choosing her words. “Women want to know men respect them for their minds, their wit, who they really are, before they share their affection.”

Why was she thinking of a man whose kisses wouldn’t be the least respectful?

Bookish Holiday Traditions

As an author and reader, books have always been a part of my Christmas celebration ~ giving books as gifts, writing books with a holiday theme, enjoying quiet time with a new book, splurging on books with gift cards, reading traditional holiday stories to my children.

Want to add books to your holiday traditions? Here are six ideas.

Build a child’s library by gifting them with classics as Christmas gifts. You can start with Dr. Seuss and, as they mature, add favorites like Harry Potter.

Celebrate Jolabokaflod. “Christmas Book Flood” is an Icelandic tradition of gifting books to each other and spending the evening reading.

Acknowledge booksellers and librarians during the holidays. Thank those who serve readers and authors with home-baked goodies or a financial donation.

Add books to your holiday decor.  Whether it’s a stack of Christmas-themed romance novels or beautifully illustrated children’s stories, books on display encourage people to slow down and enjoy the written word.

 

Trade favorites with your book bestie. Share a favorite book you’ve discovered by gifting a copy to your best friend and have her do the same for you.

Go Christmas shopping…at the bookstore. In addition to books, you can find bookish gadgets, merchandise, and other nifty items. If you have children or grandchildren, make this outing something special ~ lunch, shopping for gifts, and, of course, a book for them as well.

What is your favorite bookish holiday tradition?