2021 End of the Year Wrap-up

Friday, December 31, 2021 No comments

Hello, lovelies!

It's the end of the year... can you believe it? It always feels like yesterday that we were starting a new year and then you blink and it's already over.

On January 1st of this year, I was still in recovery from my ovarian cyst surgery. However, I wasn't letting that bring me down and I had big plans for 2021. What were my plans? Well, I was starting to write a forbidden romance standalone and my goal was to publish 3 new books.

Did I manage to achieve that goal?
Nope. Not by a long shot.

Did I try?
You bet I did!

It was a tough year for me writing-wise. I started and stopped story after story. Honestly, it became extremely frustrating when I would make headway on a new story, and then bam! There would be an issue with the plot or the characters. Sometimes it was the fact that I wasn't feeling inspired enough to tell the story or there was something lacking in it that I couldn't pinpoint.

On top of this, I almost had to have another surgery (the cyst grew back, but then shrank within 2 months) and that really brought on a lot of stress. At that point, writing and publishing something by the end of the year was going to be too much pressure, so I decided to press pause.

Publishing takes a lot of work. It's not only writing the story but the long list of tasks in between there and when you click publish. It's not just time and energy but also costs money. While I do a lot of it myself (the covers, graphics, formatting, etc), I still have some expenses. Since I have a year's worth of medical bills to pay off, I couldn't afford to invest much into my books.

Despite all of the setbacks, I still had an okay year!

First of all, I was able to publish The Risqué Series as a boxset with 3 bonus scenes told from the POV of the love interests.

Also, I have finally gotten back into writing again! I "participated" in NaNoWriMo in November with the hopes of getting back to writing regularly. I knew there was no chance of me writing 50,000 words in a month given how little I had been writing the previous months. However, I had confidence that I could manage to knock out some words for the month, and I did! I ended the month with 6,904 words and spent part of December writing more words.

Even though 2021 wasn't the year I wanted it to be, I'm still grateful for all I have accomplished. All the stories I started were more experience and allowed me to hone in on my skills. The medical scare was a moment to reevaluate my author career (among other things) for the better. There's always something positive we can take out of not-so-great circumstances.

As far as my plans for 2022 go, well... you'll have to come back tomorrow to read all about them!

See you again in the new year!

Seducing the Star First Chapter

Monday, December 20, 2021 No comments

Chapter One

An ideal way to spend New Year's Eve is by drinking champagne and eating chocolates straight from the box in the dark in my jammies while the ball drops.

Instead of that glorious evening, my friends have dragged me to a party at a mini-mansion somewhere in the middle of So-Cal.

To be frank, it’s my fault for allowing them to convince me it would be good to get out of my apartment for the night to celebrate the new year with them. I could’ve said no. I could’ve put my foot down. But no… I let my best friend Goldie give me the puppy dog eyes and somehow I’m standing here among a group of mostly strangers in a tight red evening dress with a dirty martini in hand wondering why I caved.

Thank goodness for the alcohol.

“Violet’s house is beautiful,” Goldie says. “I wish I’d be the one to help design it. It’s too bad Luna already did before I started working for her.” Luna is Goldie’s boss and interior decorator extraordinaire.

“I’m sure if you did, it would be even more beautiful, like you,” her boyfriend Gavin says as he presses a kiss to her forehead.

Did I say thank goodness for the alcohol? I did. Clearly I need more if I’m to get through tonight, so I finish the last bit of my drink and excuse myself to go to the bar.

I love my friends, I do, but tonight feels like they’re throwing me a bone. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great hanging out with them. While they would never admit to it, they’ve been extra attentive ever since my long-time boyfriend broke up with me this month. Yes, it was quite the blow since it ended out of nowhere, but I’ve been surprisingly fine. I mean, other than wanting to sit around every night with a spoon in a can of frosting while watching reruns of the cartoons I used to watch on Saturday mornings.

But I digress.

Seriously, though, I’ve been handling the break up better than I thought I would. I was bitter for the first week, that’s for sure. It’s tough to face the music when a relationship you thought was getting serious is suddenly not. This is probably why my best friend and her boyfriend were so adamant about me getting out of the house tonight.

It’s just hard to be a third wheel on New Years' Eve. There’s not only the whole “new year, new me” thing, but those pesky resolutions that none of us keep. Let’s not forget that come midnight, everyone will be looking for someone to kiss and I’m all by my lonesome.

I may need a stronger drink.

The bar is circular and lit up with blue lights under the counter. Behind it are a couple of bartenders standing in front of rows of bottles of alcohol. I’m sure one of them could come up with something that would fulfill my needs based on the variety.

“Excuse me,” I say to the woman with the short orange hair.

She smiles. “What’s your poison?”

“I’m looking for something strong. Strong like a Long Island Iced Tea, but not a Long Island.”

Before she can recommend something, a deep voice next to me says, “How about a Zombie?”

Turning to the voice, I’m greeted with an extremely handsome dark-haired man in a suit without a tie. The shirt has a couple of buttons undone at the top. He’s standing at an angle, leaning against the bar with a champagne glass in his hand.

Tilting my head, I ask, “Are you an alcohol connoisseur?”

Chuckling, he says, “Something like that.”

Given I have zero knowledge of alcoholic drinks, I might as well leave it to the professionals. Shrugging, I tell the orange-haired bartender, “What the hell, I’ll take a Zombie.”

She nods. “Coming right up.”

As she’s gathering the ingredients, I turn back to the handsome man. “Is it going to knock me on my ass?”

“It might.”

“Thank God.”

“Bad night?”

“I wouldn’t say bad...”

“But you wouldn’t say good either.”

“It’s… complicated.” Hard to get into the details of your life with a stranger when all you’re doing is grabbing a potent alcoholic beverage before heading back to your friends.

“Here you go,” says the bartender as she hands me the drink.

Bottoms up, I think to myself. Raising the glass in the direction of the handsome man, I say, “Cheers.”

“Cheers,” he replies, raising his glass in return.

I take my first sip and it is perfection. I can sense the alcohol, but the flavoring almost covers it up enough that I could easily go overboard if I’m not careful. I hum in appreciation. “Damn, that’s good.”

“You’re welcome,” he says.

“Thank you… uh… what’s your name?”

He seems taken aback at first, but replies, “Phoenix.”

I brush off his surprise and extend my hand. “Maggie.”

“Pleasure to meet you, Maggie.”

His hand is warm in mine, and the slight tingle I feel at his touch almost makes me lose all focus. I manage to say, “Likewise,” before letting go to hold onto my drink with both hands.

“So, how do you know Violet?” Phoenix asks.

“I don’t, but my best friend’s boyfriend does somehow.” All I remember hearing on the drive here is that she’s had a bunch of small parts on movies and TV shows. This place seems a bit out of the price range of a small-time actress. Not that it’s any of my business. “How about you?”

“Some friends of mine did projects with her years ago.”

“Oh really? How about you? Are you an actor, too?”

He pauses before answering. “I’ve dabbled in it a bit over the years.”

“That’s cool.” I smile. “I tried to be an actress when I first graduated from high school. The only cool thing I got to do was a commercial once. Otherwise I might be seen in a background shot as an extra in a handful of movies.”

“Which ones?”

“A couple of indie projects. One went to Sundance. None are well-known.” It took me about an hour to spot myself in the final cut, and even then I wasn’t positive it was me.

“That’s awesome. I’d love to be in a Sundance movie.”

I open my mouth to ask him more about what he’s done when some random guy comes over and puts an arm around Phoenix. Random Guy says, “Dude! I think I can score with the chick you worked with on that movie you did last summer. She’s totally zoning in on me.”

Random Guy is obviously tipsy, probably at least one or two drinks away from passing out. Phoenix realizes this and tells him, “Maybe we should get you off your feet, Josh.”

“Hey!” Josh says, looking straight at me. “Do I know you? Because I don’t think I’ve seen you around here… but I could be wrong.” His words come out even more slurred than before.

“Uh, I don’t think so. My name is Maggie.”

“Hi, Maggie. How do you know The Phoenix?” The way he says his name sounds like he’s a royal or something. “Did you guys work together?”

“Oh, no. We haven’t worked together. I’ve barely done any movies. Mostly been an extra.”

“Oh, an extra, huh? Is that what they call it these days when there’s more than one girl?” Josh laughs like he’s told the funniest joke ever.

Whatever the joke is, I don’t get it. “What’s he talking about?” I ask Phoenix.

Phoenix stays quiet for a few seconds, then says, “Let me find Josh somewhere to sober up a little first.”

“What? She’s not one of your girls?” Josh asks. “Is she one of Rocky’s girls, then?”

“Who in the world is Rocky?” I ask. This conversation makes less and less sense as it continues.

“She’s not that kind of girl, Josh. Can you drop it?” Phoenix hisses out the last part. He seems very perturbed at this point and I still have no clue why.

“Oh, damn, man. I thought I could score with one of your… one of your girls. She’s sexy.”

“Hey!” Phoenix snaps. “Treat Maggie with respect.”

“Phoenix,” I say slowly as my eyes narrow, “what kind of girl does he think I am?”

Sighing, he reluctantly replies, “He thinks you’re in porn.”

My eyes widen. “What?” The word comes out practically as a screech. “Why would he think that?”

Josh replies matter-of-factly, “Because Phoenix is in porn.”


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Maggie Bloom doesn’t know why she’s at this party.

Recently dumped by her serious boyfriend, she would much rather be ringing in the new year at home in her pajamas. If she were there, she wouldn’t have to worry about the dreaded midnight kiss. She has to figure out what to do and time is running out.

Enter Phoenix Westbrook.

He’s sexy, he’s nice… and he’s a porn star? This information may have initially come as a shock, but just makes the idea of kissing him all the more tempting. They make a pact to share a kiss at midnight, no strings attached.

They didn’t count on the kiss leading them to other things.

Enticing the Escort First Chapter

Monday, December 13, 2021 No comments

Chapter One

I’m in a pickle. A dilemma. My worst nightmare.

There are only three days left before my friend Valerie’s wedding and I don’t have a date.

Of course that’s not the end of the world and under normal circumstances I couldn’t care less. Here’s the problem, though…

I told everyone I would be bringing someone.

Now, why would I do such a thing if I didn’t have a date? I’ll tell you why…

Because I’ve completely lost my mind.

Ever since most of my friends began entering serious relationships and getting engaged, things began changing. The dynamic between our friendships was different. We used to have so much more to talk about, but now that they’re in committed relationships our conversations have shifted. Instead of talking about meeting a guy at the bar, they’re talking about finding the perfect house or the perfect venue for the wedding.

I’m lost in the midst of all this. And it doesn’t help that some of my friends keep asking me if I’ve found someone to go steady with or if I’m flying solo at the next wedding. The questions caused me to reach the boiling point and I lied. I lied about having a date because I was tired of being singled out as the loser of the group. Not to mention tired of being hit on by the most annoying single men at these soirees.

So now… I’m panicking all day every day because I’ve yet to find someone suitable to use as arm candy for a night.

“You know, darling, I may have the perfect solution for your wedding date debacle.”

I turn to my mind-reading boss, the Instagram famous interior designer Luna Quinn. Leave it to her to not only know what I’m currently stressing over, but to come up with something that can be done. I haven’t even been working with her for more than a year and she has that kind of intuition. “What’s that?” I ask her.

“There’s this service I like to use when I require someone to accompany me to an event.” She strolls over to her desk, her long blue paisley skirt flowing behind her as she walks. After flipping through a few drawers, she pulls out a datebook. “Ah, here we go.” She snatches a pen and a sticky note, furiously writing something down. “These people will be able to hook you up with the perfect date.”

When she hands it over, I ask, “Are they a dating service?” I’ve tried the online dating route before, but it hasn't been successful. Maybe I just need a better company, one that can weed out the dick pics and horny college boys who only want booty calls to add to their little black books.

Luna sort of purses her lips to stop a laugh from escaping. “Not quite.”

I look at the sticky note. Elegant Escorts. Eyes widening, all I can say is, “Oh.”

“Don’t worry, darling. It’s not what you think.”

Furrowing my brows, there’s only one thing I’m thinking at the moment. “You mean they don’t...”

“Oh, they do, but it’s optional.”

“Optional?” Whenever I hear the word escort, the last thing I think of is sex not being included.

“Yes.” She straightens up, smoothing out her skirt. “These men are there as companions. They can do whatever you desire. That could be accompanying someone to an event, somebody to simply talk to, or something more intimate.”

“Huh. I guess I didn’t realize that this was an option.” I guess my preconceived views weren’t exactly correct when it comes to escorts. That’s what happens when society uses the word interchangeably with less politically correct words.

“If I’m being completely honest, I prefer to have men who want to sleep with me. While I’m sure some of the ones at this service actually do want to sleep with me, because well...” She gestures to herself with a smirk. “I’d rather not have my money tied to sexual favors. To each their own, of course, but that’s my personal choice.”

Even though I have a clearer understanding of what escort service can entail, I’m still unsure of utilizing it. I don’t want Luna to think I’m unappreciative, though. “Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll look into it.”

I tuck the number in the back of my notebook. Out of sight, out of mind. I appreciate her willingness to help me in my time of need, but the last thing I need right now is to be calling some service to pay a man to pretend to date me. I’m not that desperate.

Or am I?


At the end of the workday, I make my way through rush hour traffic to my humble abode, a large studio apartment a few blocks from the ocean. It was originally going to be a temporary thing, living in such a small place, but when I couldn’t find someone to share my life with, it ended up becoming my sanctuary.

I set my notebook and purse on the kitchen island so that I can get myself a drink. It’s been a long day of going over client requests and matching fabrics. A nice glass of pinot ought to do the trick. After I pour it out and take a sip, I sit at the barstool next to the island and open up my notebook to go over what needs to be done over the next couple of days before the weekend.

Oh, right. The weekend.

Flipping to the back of the notebook, I peel the sticky note from the hidden place I put it earlier. The phone number for Elegant Escorts.

While I have the utmost respect for Luna, I can’t see myself using a service like this. I don’t judge anyone who does, but it’s just not for me. I can’t imagine paying for a date…

Or do something more with a stranger…

Crumpling the tiny square of paper, I toss it into the trash can. There’s got to be another way, one that doesn’t require a company to set it up.

I make myself some angel hair pasta and whip together a simple alfredo sauce to go with it. After topping it with some parmesan cheese, I take my wine glass and plate and wander over to my big comfy couch. While watching a rerun of Grey’s Anatomy, I scroll through the contact list on my phone. There’s bound to be at least one man that I know who would be willing to take me to a wedding reception. However, each one I come across isn’t available in one way or another.

In a serious relationship.

Is a friend’s ex.

Recently got married.

Tossing my phone to the other side of the couch, I groan in defeat. It’s hopeless. I’m either going to have to face the music and show up stag, facing the ridicule of all my peers.


Or I can suck it up and make a phone call.

I pick up my empty plate and glass, placing the dirty dishes into the sink. Then I pick the glass up again, filling it with more wine. After taking a gulp, I reach into the trash can for a crumpled piece of paper. Smoothing it out, I sigh.

Desperate times call for desperate measures.


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Goldie Rivers needs a date… and fast.

She isn’t showing up to another wedding by herself. The incessant questions about why she’s still single, not to mention the men who won’t leave her alone when they find that out. What’s a girl to do?

Hire an escort, of course.

Gavin Pruitt is sexy, confident, and definitely not coming home with her tonight. He’s only there to keep the questions and other men at bay. But when his company proves far more tempting than she could have predicted, things heat up.

Will Goldie be able to fight it or will she give in?

Desiring the Dancer First Chapter

Monday, December 6, 2021 No comments

Chapter One

"When's my stripper getting here?"

Good Lord. I pull the last two champagne flutes from the cupboard and set them on the marble counter on the kitchen island. Holding back a heavy sigh, I reply, "I thought you didn't want one."

Valerie rolls her eyes, brushing by me as she walks to the refrigerator. "I changed my mind. Can't a person change their mind, Carlie?"

Of course they can. It's just funny that you waited until the night of your bachelorette party to do so. "Yes, you're allowed to change your mind."

"So, you'll get me one?"

"What?" I spin around, my jaw practically dropping.

"What do you mean?" She grabs a bottle of water from the fridge and chugs it.

Um, we're less than two hours from the party and I'm the one who's supposed to locate, book, and pay for a stripper? I'd like to say she's unbelievable, but this isn't out of the ordinary for my stepsister. "I wouldn't even know where to start," I say finally.

"I'm sure you could Google it. Oh!" Valerie snaps her fingers. "Myra got one for Cora for her birthday last year. Maybe she can put you in touch with them." She waves a hand and walks outside, her blonde hair flying behind her. "Thanks, sis!"

I stare after her, watching her walk down to the beach. Frustration builds up inside of me. It's unfair of Valerie to expect all of this from me. I doubt she'd be willing to put any effort if I were the one getting married. After all, I'm only her stepsister.

I make a fist and release it. Gotta focus. First, I need to call Myra, hope to God she has that number on hand, and cross my fingers they're available for a last-minute booking.

Myra answers after one ring. "What does Bridezilla need now?"

Valerie's best friend already knows the drill. "According to her, you're the one who can put me in touch with a stripper."

"I knew it! I knew she would want one last minute."

"Do you have a number for them?"

"Oh, don't worry about it, dear. I had a contingency plan for one just in case. I'll take care of it."

A wave of relief washes over me. I don't know a thing about strippers, other than the fact that they take their clothes off, obviously. Also, that some are themed, like firefighters and policemen. "Thanks, Myra. You're a lifesaver."

Now that the whole stripper thing is taken care of, I can get back to work on setting everything up for the party. Valerie said it's going to be a small, intimate gathering of her closest friends, but her estimate is likely way off. Especially given that she insisted on using her father’s fancy beach house for the party. Best case scenario, it's double her original number. As I stare at the glasses on the counter, I decide the smartest thing to do is assume she meant triple that number and get more glasses out.

When the doorbell rings five minutes later, I'm expecting to see one of Valerie's friends. Instead I open the door to find a woman with short jet-black hair, wearing a sharp navy suit. Behind her are a couple of vans and two cars in the driveway. Several men and women are standing around outside the vehicles and talking amongst themselves.

Blinking a few times, I say, "Uh… hello? How can I help you?"

The well-dressed woman says, “Hello, I’m Henrietta Livingston from Catering Limited. We’re here to cater the bachelorette party for a”—she glances down at her clipboard—“Ms. Valerie Coleman.”

After staring dumbfounded for a few seconds, I say, "Wait, cater?" Since when is a bachelorette party catered? I thought her father already had the refrigerator and wine cellar stocked before we arrived.

"Yes, ma'am." She holds out a clipboard. "Are you the bride to be?"

I glance at the paper and see Valerie's name on it. "No, I'm her stepsister, Carlie."

"Well then, I guess we are at the right place."

"I guess you are. Come in." I step back, holding the door open for them.

She tells the people at the van to begin bringing things inside. They file in, some carrying covered dishes and boxes of other items. As I follow them into the kitchen, I send a text to Valerie. Your caterer is here.

Oh, good! They're early.

Thank you for telling me earlier.

Sorry, I thought I told you.

Of course she didn’t tell me until after the fact. Leave it to my stepsister to not only spring this on me, but also not even be around when they arrive.

“Sorry about the counter full of glasses,” I tell Henrietta. “My sister didn’t inform me that you were coming and I started to get prepared.”

“Don’t worry about it, um...”


“Yes, Carlie.” She flutters her hand, gesturing at the huge kitchen. “We’ll move things around as needed as long as this is okay with you.”

“Of course, go right ahead.” I watch everyone move around the room with ease. It’s almost as though they’ve been here before by the way everything seems to flow. Must be a really good catering company. “I’ll leave you to it. If you need anything, I’ll be around.”

Walking away, I can’t help but wonder if she ran all of this by her father before setting it up. I’m sure he doesn’t care all that much about the expense, but I wonder if he’s aware of the fact that she wants men to strip off their clothes and let it all hang out in his vacation home. Knowing Valerie, she likely told him it would be a low-key affair with some friends. It’s the impression I got when she invited me to come last month.

As I wander through the house, I’m still overcome with how impressive it is. It’s the second time I’ve been here since our parents married. I feel out of place both in this house and the one they’re living in right now. My mom and I never lived in such fancy places. We rented a smaller house much closer to the Nevada border than coastal Southern California. While I do enjoy having the ocean nearby, part of me misses the quiet life away from the hustle and bustle. My mom is happy, though, so I can’t complain.

The doorbell rings again after I start to walk upstairs, so I go back down to see who’s out there now. Did Valerie hire a fire eater or a magician, too? When I open the door, it’s only a couple of Valerie’s friends, Cora and Felicia. They’re already dressed to impress, both wearing party dresses and carrying tiny presents. The two of them squeal when they see me, giving me a group hug and asking where the bride is.

“Oh my God, you guys are here already?” Valerie asks as she races toward them. They all hug and give cheek kisses, talking so quickly I can barely register the words.

“What do you need help with?” Cora asks.

Holding up her index finger, the almost-bride says, “First of all, I have to check to make sure the caterer is on schedule. Then I’ll need one of you to help Carlie move some furniture around in the sitting room and the other one to come upstairs with me to help me get ready.”

Wait, what? “Why do we need to move furniture?” I ask as I glance over to the room in question. It’s already pretty open as it is.

“Not just furniture, but also some of the breakables. I don’t want somebody to accidentally break one of Daddy’s heirlooms.” Her friends nod knowingly at her.

Given the fact that there will be alcohol at this party, this is pretty smart. Hopefully we don’t have any accidents even without fragile items sitting out. Maybe moving things around in there isn’t a bad idea after all.

“Cora, you help Carlie,” Felicia says, taking Valerie’s hair in her hands. “I want to practice my makeup and braiding skills on the bachelorette.”

As the two of them walk arm in arm to the kitchen, a disappointed Cora follows me into the sitting room to move things around. I pick up all the figurines and vases, tucking them in the bottom cabinets of an armoire in the corner of the room. The two of us move a few chairs around to create a more open space. I’m still not sure how many of Valerie’s friends will be here tonight. Hopefully this room is big enough for them all.

And a big enough space for… other things.

A few more of her friends arrive and come into the room to help us. Lydia tells us that she took an interior decorating class in college and knows the art of feng shui. Since I’m the only one in the room who isn’t even dressed yet, I excuse myself and leave them to it. I’m sure they can finish it up on their own.

Just as I’m walking away, Goldie calls out to me. “Hey,” she says with a smile. “You should leave your hair down tonight. I know you favor buns like me,” she points to the loose bun in her ash blonde hair, “but I think it’ll look great on you.”

Out of all of Valerie’s friends, I like Goldie the best because she’s the most genuine. And she’s right. I do wear my hair up often, like I am right now. I return the smile and tell her, “You know what, I think I will.”

Grinning, she gives me a wink and goes back to help everyone out. I finally make it up the stairs without having to answer the door for more arrivals. As I’m getting my dress for the party out of the closet, part of me wishes I didn’t have to be here for this. Yes, it’s my stepsister’s bachelorette party and I’m glad she even wanted me here in the first place. However, I’m a bit worried about how tonight will go down. Caterers, strippers, and a room full of twenty-something women drinking wine and champagne while eating hors d'oeuvres off silver platters?

Lord, help save me from the chaos that may ensue in the next couple hours.


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Carlie Coleman is not looking forward to her stepsister’s bachelorette party.

It was supposed to be a simple affair with a small group of Valerie’s closest friends at their parents’ beach house. Instead, the guests have tripled, there’s a fancy caterer, and at some point there will be strippers.

It’s going to be a disaster… until she meets the cute waiter.

Aiden Carter is sweet and she’s smitten. They can’t stop staring at each other from across the room. Their mutual attraction is undeniable. Before the night is over, she discovers something else.

The cute waiter is also the entertainment.