Excerpt…Playing for Keeps

This is an ebook novella coming out from Samhain on 1/13. Contemporary erotic romance, and NOOOOOoooooo… I’m not sharing spoilers, you want to know how the story plays out, you gotta get it from Samhain and see.



“You tramp.”

Dana Cochran slid her best friend, Cissy a sidelong glance as she ducked her head and climbed into the low-slung Mazda Miata. The car had a custom paint job, hot pink, that matched Cissy’s favorite designer sunglasses, and today it even matched her perfect manicure. Following Cissy’s gaze, she looked back to the porch and saw Jacob McCoy standing there, wearing nothing but a pair of jeans and a smile as he watched her.

Swinging her head around, she grinned at Cissy and said, “You’re just jealous.”

“Hmmm.” She slid her sunglasses down her nose, watching as Jacob shoved off the wall and headed back inside the house. “Quite possibly. Was Mason there, too?”

“He left early last night, had to work.”

“Shacking up with two men—two gorgeous men,” Cissy muttered. She shook her head and slid her sunglasses back into place. “A sexy freelance photographer. A doctor. Geez, you’ve got some good karma. So how long you plan on enjoying these kinds of fringe benefits with these two friends of yours?”

Dana grinned wickedly. “I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts.” She couldn’t exactly call both of them friends, though. Jacob, definitely. He’d been one of her best friends for as long as she could remember. They’d dated off and on throughout high school, drifted apart in college—he’d won an athletic scholarship, she’d joined the Navy and gone to college on their dime, training to be a nurse and then leaving once her time was up.

Upon coming home, she’d bought her parents’ home from them when they made the decision to move to Florida, settling back in across the street from Jake, her childhood best friend. At the time, he’d been living at home with his mom while he finished up his internship. When Mrs. McCoy had died of a sudden heart attack in her sleep, Jake had inherited the house.

Once more, they lived so close together. They saw each other of a morning when going to work, very often of an evening, from time to time in the hospital while they were working…and as of a few months ago, they often saw each other in the morning over coffee.

Mason Caldwell was a newer addition to her life. Dana had been dating Mason since February, but she really didn’t expect her relationship with him to last. She liked the guy—and she flat-out loved his body, loved what he could do to hers. But even she knew there was a lack of depth to the man. He was too hung up on what he could capture with the big Canon he toted around damn near everywhere, too focused on catching his “big break”, too focused with living on the edge and playing as hard and fast as he could.

Made him fun, but not altogether wonderful as a future life partner.

From the get-go, she’d made the decision to enjoy her time with Mason while it lasted and that was what she planned on doing. When it ended between them, she suspected she’d handle it just fine.

Cissy slowed at the stop sign and Dana glanced back over her shoulder. Jacob had gone back inside, but he hadn’t closed the door. He was watching her—even though she was too far away now to really make out his face, she didn’t need to see. The memory of his features were burned inside her mind. That slow, lazy smile, the way he watched her, the way he liked to smooth her hair back from her face as she woke up in the morning.

While it lasts…

Yeah, she could enjoy things with Mason in that manner just fine.

Jacob was a different story—he was part of her life. She wasn’t so sure she could easily let go of him when the time came.

“I can tell you one thing.”

Waving at Jacob, she dragged her attention back to Cissy. “Yeah, what’s that?”

“Fantasy material, Dana. I’m telling you, you’re living a life that is one hundred percent fantasy material.”


Fantasy material?

Dana snorted under her breath as she stripped off the protective gown she wore over her scrubs. It was stained with blood and afterbirth. Off in the background, she could hear cries coming from the newborn nursery. Under her scrubs, relatively clean today, she was sweaty and the muscles in her back screamed from bending over for so long.

Her patient, a thirty-nine year old woman who’d just had her first child, hadn’t had an easy delivery and if the baby hadn’t finally come when she had, Dana would have told one of the nurses to put in a call to the office. A certified midwife, she handled the easy deliveries that came during the week and left the more difficult cases to one of the OB/GYNs she worked with.

Wasn’t exactly what she’d call a glamorous job, but it was one she loved. She took a minute to wash her hands and then went to take a peek at the baby while the nurses finished with the mom. Paige, the new mom, gave Dana a wan smile and said, “Isn’t she beautiful?”

One of the nurses approached, carrying the little blanket-wrapped bundle close against her chest. Leaning in, Dana peeked at the small, red face, dominated by big, dark eyes. “Absolutely beautiful,” she murmured. She examined Paige quickly and then stepped aside so the mom and new baby could spend some time getting acquainted.

Tired and hungry, she glanced at her watch and decided she’d head to the cafeteria once she’d done her charting. Who knows…maybe she’d get lucky and run into Jake down there.


He heard her laughter before he saw her, and for one minute he was tempted to turn around and head back to his office. He could hop on the elevator, catch the pedway and be back in his office in ten minutes, easy. Avoid seeing her and getting tangled up in knots over things he wasn’t ever going to have.

At least, not the way he needed.

But the need to see her was too damn strong and instead of hiding in his office with a lunch of Mountain Dew and the half-empty bag of Doritos, Jake found himself walking into the cafeteria. She was just ten feet away, her back to him. Her long, gold-streaked brown hair was twisted into some complicated knot, a few stray strands working free. The pale pink scrubs she wore were wrinkled, covering a body that had pressed up against his throughout the night.

Damn it, he loved that body.

Somebody called his name and she glanced over her shoulder, saw him and smiled. Her eyes, a pale golden brown, met his. Heat and need threatened to swamp him. With a wave in the general direction of whoever had called him, he crossed the floor and settled on the empty chair next to Dana. “Hey.”

“Hey, back.”

By unspoken agreement, they kept their relationship quiet around the hospital. Made it hard for him to sit next to her without touching her, kissing her, wrapping his arms around her, but he managed. A wayward curl fell into her eyes and he brushed it back without thinking. “You look like you’ve had an interesting morning.”

Dana rolled her eyes. “Interesting? We could call it that. My back is in knots.” Her gaze dropped to his mouth and she murmured, “Maybe I’ll get a massage or something later.”

Or something—yeah, he could give her a massage or something.

A grin flirted with her lips as though she knew exactly what he was thinking. Dragging his eyes away from her face, he made himself focus on the other people sitting at the table. If he kept looking at her, he was going to do something stupid.

Of course, when it came to Dana, he’d been doing stupid shit for half of his life, it seemed.


For those that don’t read ebooks…at some point, this may come out in print…just depends on when I write another contemp at the right length.  Shorter stories are paired up for print and they want ‘comparable’ as in two contemps, two paranormals, etc, etc.

Since I’ve already cut back on how often I do ebooks, it might be a while before I get another one the right length to pair up with this.  But more than likely, it will happen at some point.