New Release – Novella – Amory’s Mate by Nevea Lane


You asked, now you shall receive.   We ran an experiment for a while of shorter stories, however, most fans have indicated they want something longer… (don’t we all… *snicker*)  So here I give to you, Amory’s Mate, a longer work that will knock your socks off with action and sensuality.     The heroine is a independent damsel that is in distress but you won’t see her faint nor swoon.   She is packing guns and knows how to use them.     Here is a blurb and an excerpt.  It is available now at http://www.sharaazod.com/ebook/amorys-mate.html

 

Amory's Mate

 

Blurb –

Running in the woods through deep snow in the middle of the night wasn’t a good idea no matter who you were. Running through the woods at night, during a blizzard with a stolen laptop, several stolen microchips, and two goons chasing you was an even worse idea. Angel Harmon was always full of ideas, but this late-night run hadn’t been her plan. She thought for the hundredth time that hour that all she was doing was her job. She thought she’d chosen a safe career in the IT field. Being a security specialist, she found security breaches in websites and company programs. All she was doing was her job, and now someone was dead and she was obviously next.

Amory Monteclaire had been out on a run with his packmates when he’d crossed paths with the mocha skinned female running through the woods.  Her scent was intoxicating enough for him to want her, the fact that she was in danger made him want to protect her.  The question is, would the wildly independent woman stay in his world once she was out of danger?

EXCERPT –

“Angel.” It was all he could say; his chest was heaving, the urge to howl was too close, and her lips were still pressing closed-mouthed kisses on his cheek and his chin.

“Amory,” she returned. Her voice was serious, even if she had no idea what she was doing or what he was saying. She sighed then laughed. Stopping her assault on his body with her mouth—for which he was grateful—and sitting up, she looked him in the eye. Her normally almond-shaped eyes were in the most seductive slits he’d ever seen. There was something to be said about a woman who could look at a man without a look of fear—he just couldn’t think what it was. What he saw, in that moment, was the warrior his Angel really was. Her look was sensual and defiant. His chest swelled as she stared at him. “What? You think I’m going to cower because of what you are? You think you howling, growling, grunting, and whimpering is going to stop this want I have for you? Are you really that bad of a wolf, Amory?” That last question was asked in defiance, as if she was daring him. “Well, are you? Are you that bad of a wolf that you don’t think I can handle you?”

 

 

Go pick up your copy and of course, let me know what you think.    Happy Reading!

New Release – If I Could Go


*Peeking around*  Wow, is it empty in here.  *dusting microphone off* Hello?  *echoes*  *Tapping mic*

HELLO UNIVERSE!

It has been a while.   I could say, shame on me, but I’m really not ashamed.   Everyone needs to recharge their batteries every once in a while, we are all human, well most of us are.

Which brings me to my point of stopping in.   We are all human, apt to faint, be fickle, get tired, lose our phones, marbles, watch, mind…you name it.  As humans, as much as we gain, we can lose.   Given the emotional time of losing loved ones and letting things go, sometimes we wonder, what are we doing it all for?  Love.  Love, in its many forms, does make the world go round.  Whether it be for love of money, love of yourself, love for others, love for the world… Love does play a part in everything we do.

Moving on to my next point – What would you do for love?  Would you stick around for over a thousand years just for a glimpse of a soul you once knew?   Would you believe your dreams, no matter how absurd they sounded or looked?

I’ve decided to go down that word and examine what two souls would do for love.  This short novella is a starting point to introduce you to my new set of characters,  Marius and Fia.   While this beginning work is short, it is merely just a ‘jump-off’ to the next work which is in progress.

With that being said, how about a buy link? Click the image or go here – http://www.sharaazod.com/ebook/if-i-could-go.html

 

Fia Nyx was exhausted. Not from her job, leading an analysis team in Italy to expand the Roman section at the Smithsonian sounds like it would be exhausting, but it was actually her sleep that was keeping Fia exhausted. The dreams of the sexy male with his blonde hair and blue eyes making her squirm and cry out in passion would be great, if they stayed in her dreams, while she was in bed. Now the dreams were occurring mid conversation. Her sister is begging her to come home, but Fia can’t help to feel there is something more to these waking dreams. What she finds is a lot deeper than sleep deprivation.

New Release Available at http://www.sharaazod.com/ebook/if-i-could-go.html
New Release Available at http://www.sharaazod.com/ebook/if-i-could-go.html

Coloring Outside the Lines (with a New Release)


Why did you do this to me? 

I’m an extremely dominant woman and usually can’t be told what to do, unless it is in role-play, but unless you are my mate, don’t even think about it.  So, what I concluded is that I have a very hard time hearing ‘you belong to this box’.  I belong in no-one’s box.    So I did not write a non-interracial book to irritate fans or to do anything but the obvious: to avoid being pigeon-holed.    I could have come up with another pseudonym but I  already have enough muses talking to me, I really don’t need another ‘voice’ coming at me with ideas.  So I wrote a non-IR work for no other purpose but to flex my literary muscle.

Love is colorless 

It doesn’t matter what color of skin you live in, all that matters is that love conquers all things.  Now, could I take some flack for not being a certain color and writing about a heroine in that color? Yep, but I’m not hearing you.  Love is colorless and no matter your pigment, you know distress, you know romance and you know emotions.  Emotions are not based upon how much melanin is in your skin or what ‘hood’ you grew up in.  As far as I know, rage is rage, hurt is hurt and love is love.

The New Release

As you can tell from the cover, this is a non-Interracial book that exceeds color lines.  LOOK AT THAT COVER!  How could you not want to write about them?  Look at that embrace, the look in their eyes.  It is sensual, seductive and erotic.  How could I not craft a story for this wonderful couple?

Initate and Ignite
Initate and Ignite

So now that you know somewhat why I wrote this  touching and endearing story of a PTSD suffering Marine and a touch therapist, how about an excerpt to entice you?

Blurb – Massage therapist Celine Beauregard came across all types of people in her line of work; those who were nice, and those who could be classified as the scum of the earth. Then there was Gunnery Sergeant Xerxes Talmay, a war-weary vet with a case of post-traumatic stress disorder. Something always ached in Celine when she set eyes on the tall handsome Marine, and her job was to help. The soldier needed different therapy, and Celine decided it was time to initiate the man to the true power of touch.

EXCERPT

Perhaps it was her mind playing tricks on her. She’d like to think she’d always kept the relationship between her and Xerxes one hundred percent professional, but in his arms now, she questioned why she always made him the last appointment of her day. Maybe it was because she wanted his face to be the last face she saw before she settled in for the evening.

“I’ve never tried to dance with a client before, Xerxes. This isn’t typical.” Celine felt like she needed to defend what she was doing in his arms, as if there was some sort of code of conduct she signed. The only code she was going by was her own personal morals, and she didn’t want to feel like she was taking advantage of someone.

“I wouldn’t think it was typical for you, and if I had any inkling that it was, you wouldn’t have seen me after the first session. I’m a Marine, Celine. I’m trained to spot inconsistencies.”

“Then you and I are a lot alike. I’m trained to spot them as well. Care to tell me what you think your anchor is, since I’ve been trying to figure it out,” Celine said. She didn’t expect him to twirl her around and dip her in a move that could have been in a Fred Astaire movie. When he pulled her into his embrace, and wrapped his arms around her, her body involuntarily shuddered with delight.

“My guess is that my anchor,” Xerxes said as he looked her up and down, “is you.” His gaze strayed to her lips again. She knew he was going to kiss her even before he licked his lips. It was the look in his eyes, and she wasn’t going to stop him. Her eyes fluttered closed even as he took his time leaning down to her lips.

The kiss was as soft as a whisper, at first, dancing across her lips, leaving the memory of his mouth on hers. Working with Xerxes over the past months, she’d always kept her distance, letting him find his own pace with their sessions. Now, in his arms, she realized the months of touching him, trying to soothe him, she’d formed an attraction to him that went beyond his mere physical appearance.

He raised his head from the kiss, his deep brown eyes burrowing into hers, making her feel hot, desired, wanton and scared shitless all at the same time. She met his gaze unwaveringly, and tried to read his expression. It was lust for sure. She’d seen that plenty times before. However, Xerxes lustful look contained just enough longing to make her womanhood clench.

“Will you be my anchor?” He asked as his lips descended on hers again, this time, the light kisses were gone. His tongue plundered her mouth as if he was on a mission to capture every single one of her breaths and inhale it as his own. Over her mouth, his tongue raked against her lips, his teeth nipping the corners, his hands roaming over her bare back. Every motion whipped up a frenzy of lust that made her feel faint. He broke the kiss, and she had to take in big gulps of air.

“Anchor me, Celine. Be the calm in the midst of the noise.”

If you want more, click the cover and head on over to Beautiful Trouble Publishing to get your copy. 

Until we meet again, love is limitless, color outside the lines and break free from stereotypes.  

New Release! Get Ready To Chase Nickels…


 

Chasing Nickels Around Dollar Signs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you ready for a little treat?  This inexpensive little treat will definitely get you revved and ready.  Are you ready for a little heat to start your summer off just right?

I know, enough with the questions right? (See what I did there *smirk*) The tax season is finally over and we all get a little punch drunk and woozy during those times.  Let’s face it,  working into all hours of the night, your mind tends to run away with you.  You never know what may happen once your brain is fogged.

Take Sasha Nickels for example.  She works hard and well…take a peek ~

The April tax deadline is fast approaching for Sasha Nickels, and the last thing she needs is an unannounced visit from her questionable client Cesar Parisi and his associate Sonny Amato.  Cesar and Sonny are two men who won’t take no for an answer. Obedience is expected.

When they show up unannounced on the busiest tax day of the year, she wants give them both a good piece of her mind.  However, Cesar and Sonny make it known they’ll take a piece of her mind, but they want her body as well…

Excerpt:

It was difficult to stand in their menacing presence one at a time, let alone both of them at the same time.  They both stood well over six feet, but Sonny had the advantage by an inch.   The stare down couldn’t last all night.  She moved to the side and pushed her hair behind her ears.  Keep it quick and simple, stick to the points, and don’t think about touching their hair.    Touching their hair was always on her mind, as Sonny’s hair was jet black and Mr. Parisi’s hair was a tussle of blonds and browns.  For the two years of their working relationship, she was more often tempted to touch their hair than their money. Clearing her throat, she motioned to the leather chairs in front of the desk.  She watched as they sat and noticed there wasn’t a briefcase between them.  What the hell is going on?

“So to what do I owe the pleasure of your presence, Mr. Parisi?”
Sasha walked to her desk, sat down, and folded her arms in front of her.
“Come on, Sasha.”  His voice dipped, and her name sounded like a melodic seduction rather than a greeting.  “You’ve known me for years now. Can’t you bring yourself to call me Cesar?”

Not if I want to keep myself from sitting in your lap as if you’re Santa.
“Mr. Parisi, I’m a busy woman.”

“And Mr. Parisi is a busy man.”  Sonny’s voice was as gruff as always.  She cut her gaze to him. Like she didn’t know that.
“Since we are both so busy, why don’t we skip this verbal sparring and get to the point of why you’re here?”   She’d directed her question at Sonny, but it was Cesar who answered.

“You’re amazing.”
That wasn’t what she’d expected.
“Excuse me?”
“You said to drop the verbal sparring and that is exactly what I’m doing.  Sasha, mia cara, you’ve done an amazing job for me for the last few years, and I wanted to show you that I’m more than grateful.”

“Send me a bottle of Chianti and a box of chocolates and we’ll call it even.”  She waved him off with a flick of her wrist and picked up her pencil with the other hand.  Sasha didn’t have time for this. She needed to review returns and try to get at least three hours of sleep tonight.

“You are worth far more than a box of chocolates and some wine,” Sonny said. For once, he didn’t sound ticked off.

She turned to look at him.  In her line of work, as frigid as it may seem, she wasn’t surprised by much.  In her life, being the only child, growing up dirt poor and having barely enough to eat, she could match attitude for attitude, but this bad cop, good cop or whatever these two were doing was unraveling her carefully constructed wall of self-preservation.

“Your eyes are sparking.  Does that mean you are interested, mia cara?”  Sonny’s voice was definitely lethal, and he was using it to his full advantage.  She’d never bothered to wonder if her eyes sparked or not because they were hidden behind her glasses most of the time.   Sasha stared at him a long time before she spoke.
“Interested in what, Sonny?  You haven’t proposed anything for me to be interested in.”

“A proposal would be a bit premature. How about one night together first? We’ll get around to wedding plans later.”

End Excerpt

Want to know how Sasha responds?   Pick it up: Available at the Beautiful Trouble Publishing website ONLY:

http://beautifultroublepublishing.com/genres/new-releases-home-page/chasing-nickels-around-dollar-signs-ebook.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NEW RELEASE – Silver Bells and Straps by Nevea Lane


Silver Bells and Straps by Nevea Lane CLICK TO BUY!

Yes, I did it. My first light BDSM tale.   I fear I haven’t been completely honest with you all.  I like kink. I’m not sure if that was a confession or just a ‘just so you know’ announcement.   Shara Azod LLC knows a little something about kink.  I’m pleased to throw my name into their marvelous Whipped Dreams line.    For those of you who know the imprints works, you know that Whipped Dreams center around BDSM or D/s story lines.   I took it one step further.  This time, the heroine is the Domme.

Below is the blurb and a spicy little excerpt to get you wondering.  Click the link, buy the tale, and warm up your holiday season with a bit a sugar, spice and and a whole lot of kink.

BLURB

Athena Divan had it good; her own company, a premium New York apartment and a secret.   Gerard Bourdain was much the same; his own company, a premium New York apartment, a restless spirit and a secret.  These two had butted heads in the board room, but they were about to find they had a lot more in common when their secrets collide at the Black Tie bondage club.

The only thing is, Athena was Mistress Minerva. She knew who he was, but Gerard was in the dark about her secret identity.   Would she take the opportunity to have a bit of revenge at Gerard’s expense?  Of course.  Yet, could she keep herself in check and not step over the line and jeopardize her identity?
*EXCERPT*

As he stood on the other side of the door, he took a deep breath. This
mistress was supposed to be the best, as the owner kept telling him. A second generation dominatrix. He’d never heard of such a thing. Pushing the heavy
door open, he stepped into the room.
His stomach immediately tightened when his eyes focused on the woman
perched on the throne. She looked like a deity, her shoulders back and her long
legs crossed in a striking pose. Her mouth was pursed, and her burgundy
lipstick looked like a fine wine staining her lips. The black masquerade mask
did little to hide her features. Her high cheekbones stood out in the dim
lighting, but her eyes were the most striking almond color he’d ever seen.
He swallowed hard. She raised her arm and, in a regal movement, turned
her palm upward and curled her fingers forward, beckoning him to her. He
dropped his head and took slow steps toward her. He stopped a mere foot away
from his appointed mistress. For the first time, he was intimidated by a woman.
His mother didn’t intimidate him, and she threw her weight around better than
any man he’d met.
“Well, well, well,” his mistress said in a husky, breathless tone. She
uncrossed her legs and stood. Her heels didn’t make a sound as she walked
toward him across the carpeted floor.
Without pausing, she began to walk around him, looking him up and
down. He didn’t dare move his head to follow her movements, knowing that
would bring him punishment. The leather of her glove felt cool as she laid the
palm of her hand against the small of his back. The simple touch made his cock
stir.
“Mmmm. There is nothing I like more than fresh meat.” She smacked his
ass with an echoing slap that stung his flesh even through the leather pants.
Her palm cupped his ass in a soothing motion, and she began to rub his
stinging cheek as if to soothe the sting. The smell of her hung in the air, and it
was all he could think about as he tried to force himself to breathe in through
his nose and out through his mouth.
“What is your name, slave?”

*End Excerpt* 

Well there you have it, what do you think?

 

New Release! Midnight and Mayhem by Nevea Lane


CLICK TO BUY! Midnight and Mayhem by Nevea Lane

I’ve got a new release for you all and it is longer than most stories I’ve written.   I’ve always wanted to create a vampire.  I didn’t think I had enough knowledge to create a believable one.  Let’s face it, I was a pre-teen when Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles hit bookstores and Ms. Rice created such angst and believable characters, I was convinced that she’d captured what a vampire should be. I’ve been hooked on the blood suckers ever since.  I read every book in that series, some of them twice.   A part of me hid away the desire to create a vampire universe because I thought it would be too time consuming. The thought nagged at me for years.  Finally, on a whim, a hunch and a really good bottle of red wine, I tied myself to the computer and created this.  Book One in my Midnight series, Midnight and Mayhem.   Continue reading for an excerpt.

Blurb

Etienne Le’Maistre was dedicated to hunting rogue vampires and anything that threatened his status as the vampire leader of his coven. Everything he did was part of his vow as a warrior and a leader. When he heard the terrifying screams of a child in the night, he acted from a new perspective, that of protector. Saving the life of a human mother and child from a vampire attack was just a part of his duty—or so he thought.

Thirty years later, that child was a grown China Kincaid. Since that fateful night, she’d focused all of her energy on one thing: revenge. She knew vampires were real and she was going to kill them all, or die trying. When her hunting led her back to Etienne, the vampire who’d saved her all those years ago, China realized there was another world out there she didn’t know. Would she be able to survive in Etienne’s world of midnight and mayhem?

***EXCERPT***

“Miss Kincaid, please understand you are going to start a lot of trouble, and I can assure you there are less understanding people out there than I. You could get hurt.”

“People, you aren’t people! You are dead things playing alive and you…”
Before Etienne could stop himself, he rounded the desk and had China in his arms. He looked down at her shocked face, her pink mouth slightly agape, yet her eyes half-lidded, as if she was drunk. There was nothing he could do against the strong pull to kiss her. Before he could find the willpower not to kiss her, his hand had entwined in her ponytail and he tugged her hair back just a bit. His lips danced lightly over hers, kissing, prodding. The pleasure of her mouth on his forced him to keep his top lip curled over his incisors, even as they began to descend. He didn’t want to nip her. However, there was nothing he could do to shield her from the hard line of his painfully aroused cock pressing into her stomach.

Breaking the kiss with a hiss, Etienne backed away from China and made sure she saw his gaze. He knew what he looked like caught in lust: his eyes would be glowing, and his skin would be flushed. His pronounced canines would be gleaming by now, fully descended and ready for a drink.

“Did that feel so dead to you, Miss Kincaid?” Her hand flew to her lips in horror. He told himself that he kissed her to make her see the danger she was in, but he just couldn’t bring himself to believe that lie.

New Release! “Falling Leaves in Autumn” Available Now


Click Here to Buy Now!
 
 
I love Autumn!  I love the smell, the sounds of leaves crunching under your feet.  Your eyes become sensitive to all the sensitive hues of orange, yellow and gold…  Which is why I had to give Autumn its own book in the Seasons of Love series.   There was “Disturbing the Yuletide” then “Shaking up the New Year” and now you have “Falling Leaves in Autumn.” Check out the excerpt below and enjoy! 

 

Justine Marshall is in a mood. Not that she doesn’t adore the fact that her best friend Topaz is was marrying the great love of her life; she’s ecstatic, but being alone while trying to plan the wedding to end all weddings has her in a funk and admittedly jealous. In an effort to keep her emotions from spilling into Topaz’s happy day, Justine comes up with one surefire solution: find a bed buddy. 

Clark Pinot has been trying to get Justine’s attention for months, which is the only reason he volunteered to go shopping with the guarded woman in the first place. When she comes to him with the ridiculous idea of being her “booty call,” he sees it as the one opportunity to prove he isn’t the Casanova she thinks he is and what he wants is much more than a tumble in the sack. Breaking down Justine’s defenses won’t be easy, but he’s determined to see them fall like the leaves in autumn.


**EXCERPT**The sun was setting, casting a comforting orange glow over the turning leaves. It was my favorite time of year, the transition into autumn, and I found the hues of oranges, yellows, and reds comforting. Taking in a deep breath, letting the partially chilled air fill my lungs, I knew I had to get a grip. What are you doing? You know dang well Clark Pinot is nothing but a rolling stone with an accent. Who’s to say you can’t have a bit of a fling before he leaves? I sighed. Flings weren’t in my nature. Even as I tried to summon up some of my courage to just flirt with the man, I couldn’t even do that. It’s funny how when you are warring with yourself, you can’t pick a side. 

“Well that is one way to end a discussion.” His voice made me gasp. It was a rich baritone that vibrated when he laughed, like it was doing now. I had to cross my legs to keep my wayward womanhood under control. 

“There was nothing to discuss. You have your opinion, and I’ve got mine. You don’t make it in this world without having to drop the rose-colored glasses sometimes. I’m not jaded on love, I just don’t think it is perfect, and I haven’t found the other half to my imperfection yet, just like you, Clark.” 

“I can see that, Justine.” Oh the way he said my name made me want to curl up beside him and purr. Yet, I still couldn’t bring myself to even entertain the idea of making a bed buddy out of Clark. It would be too dangerous. 

“So, you want to take some bags with you back to…” His lips touched mine before I even realized he was standing that close to me. It was a gentle, tentative, and explorative kiss that left me breathless. His hand, which was resting slightly on my shoulder, moved down my biceps, down my forearm, and then, just when I thought I couldn’t take any more of his subtle touches, his large, tanned fingers intertwined with mine. It wasn’t the kisses I’d read about and hoped for in my novels, the ones that bruise your lips, but a light kiss, an appetizer with the promise of so much more.

New Release – Java Rain by Nevea Lane


That is right,  its  my turn in the 31 Days of Steamy Mocha going on at Mocha Memoirs Press.   The little heater will make you love coffee and rain.  It would be a wise dollar invested…and less money than a large coffee. 

Blurb: In the rolling valley of Papua New Guinea, Ansley, a coffee bean farmer has his sight set on Kalia, the American bean buyer whom he’s known for years. The skies open and rain falls, but Ansley wants Kalia to open for him and to admit the one thing that he already knows, she was meant to be his.

http://www.mochamemoirspress.blogspot.com/2012/07/31-days-of-steamy-mocha-nevea-lanes.html

Buy Now!
Quick and Hot, like a shot of espresso.

Coming Soon to Beautiful Trouble Publishing – Ronni’s Romanian by Nevea Lane


They are finally finished.   It took me a while to finish the character of Lucian Covaci.  It took me even longer to finish Ronni Cadell.  They were complex and slightly introverted characters that needed to be coaxed out of their shells.

So if you remember, I posted character write-ups on Lucian http://wp.me/PRJAl-18 here.  So, after a year of developing him, his habits and even finding the perfect dog for him, he found a place to call home, and he found a face!

The wonderful thing about them having an identity is that their story can now be told.   Are you curious how they turned out?

Ronni Cadell’s business is in trouble, but she can hardly concentrate on her professional life when her mother is constantly trying to set her up on dates and nagging her about dying alone and miserable. 

Corporate raider Lucian Covaci knows Ronni’s business is floundering and she has been dodging his company’s attempts to sit her down and buy her out.  Although he’s normally the silent out-of-sight type owner, Lucian takes her elusiveness in his own hands.  Ronni can’t dodge Lucian when he waltzes into her charity fundraiser and places a ridiculously high bid for an hour of her time.

Ronni can’t believe her luck when Lucian places a bid for a tour of her company.  Lucian can’t believe he just acted so uncharacteristically just to meet a client.  Now Lucian must convince Ronni that his interest in her goes beyond just business.  

They will be out soon.  I’m glad you all stuck around to see the finished product.

Disturbing the Yuletide – Available now at Beautiful Trouble Publishing


Disturbing the Yuletide [EBOOK]

 

Disturbing the Yuletide
Click the Link to Purchase
Topaz Aura Sinclair, aka DJ Bluefire, has been feeling a little lonely this holiday season—the first one she’s spending without her family. She’s even taken on extra gigs just to stay active during the season. At one of her assignments, she meets Sebastian Rosser, an ex-military officer turned caterer. Sparks fly immediately… But when one of Topaz’s gigs turns dangerous, will she and Sebastian find a way to keep their holiday bright? 


**EXCERPT**

Topaz laughed and looked at Sebastian. She finally took the moment to really study the man who was before her. He looked delicious and dark in his black slacks and turtleneck. His toned arms seemed about to split the shirt at the seams. The deep green of his eyes gave him a dangerous air and made Topaz shudder. Then she remembered the way he’d gotten her out of the brawling fiasco at the Den. 

“What did you do before you became a chef, Sebastian?” He couldn’t possibly have been just a caterer all his life, not with those moves.

“I was in the British Army. I enlisted young, and applied for my discharge about three years ago.”

“I kinda figured you were military. You’re too sharp.” 

Sebastian lifted his eyebrow at her. She giggled and took another sip.

“What I mean is that you were cool under pressure. You didn’t seem to mind I was poking around in the kitchen when we met. Most caterers I know aren’t like that—they’re territorial.”
“Oh, I’m territorial, but not about food,” Sebastian countered, his tone serious.
“I see. So what brings you to the States?” Topaz knew the hour was late, but she didn’t want to let him go just yet. It was better than being in her small apartment, lonely and cold. Christmas was merely a week away, and she didn’t want to think about spending it alone. 

“Opportunity and a change of pace. Working with The Det, I spent most of my time in Northern Ireland, and London no longer seemed like home after my parents died, so the States seemed logical.”

Topaz could relate to what Sebastian was feeling. She knew what it was like to feel out of place. “The ‘Det.’ What is that?” Topaz asked.

“It’s a special recon unit. We’re plainclothes operatives, and that’s all I’m telling you,” Sebastian said, his lips playing around with the idea of a smile.
“Oh, it’s like that?” Topaz said, lifting her own eyebrow and staring at him. Sebastian gave a slight nod, and this time he actually did smile. 

Topaz gasped at the smile that transformed his face. It seemed to make the hard lines around his mouth disappear, and he looked so human. She felt a lump in her throat, and her words were lost. Sebastian Rosser was one fine man when he smiled.

* * *

Sebastian felt the sides of his face ache as he broke into a grin. He was sure he had smiled before he entered the military, but he’d never remembered it feeling so good. He was sure it was because of the company of one Topaz Sinclair.

From his days in the military, Sebastian had used his contacts to dig up important information on Topaz. Even with the little information he could find, he found that she soothed the restlessness he had been plagued with most of his life. He’d always been known as the one to take the first shot, the one to take the lead. With her, he didn’t want to jump in too fast, but he felt like he was on a roller coaster of emotions. “So tell me about you.” Sebastian said, knowing her soothing voice would calm the restlessness he was feeling again.

“What do you want to know?” Topaz asked, taking another sip of her coffee.

“Everything. Every last detail.” Sebastian didn’t mince words, but he didn’t think she would mind.
“Well, let’s see. I’m an only child. My mom and dad had me late in life, so they didn’t get the chance to have other children. They passed away earlier this year.” 

Sebastian nodded and again grabbed her hands. He was amazed at how small they seemed in his own. His thumbs circled over her palms, mindlessly tracing figure-eights on her warm skin. He looked at her long fingers, nails without polish, the simple silver thumb ring the only jewelry she wore. She was simplicity personified, and he wanted to know everything about her.

“I’m sorry. This time of year must be rough for you.” Sebastian gave his sympathy, but he couldn’t help but wonder if she would mind spending the holiday with him.

“Yeah, that’s why I took on so many extra gigs. I needed to be moving, doing something, anything.”

“So, what are your plans for the holiday then? More shows? Your calendar seemed pretty open.” 

Topaz looked at him, and Sebastian could see the scrutiny. He braced himself for the question.
“Was tonight the only night you came looking for me, Sebastian?”
“No. I think I’ve been looking for you all my life.”