Authors: Lori King
Six weeks ago, Judy Thompson passed away peacefully in her sleep. Two days after meeting her future daughter-in-law. It was a pleasant surprise that she was in a fairly clear mental state that day, and Claudia wished with all her heart that she had gotten more time to know her. Ryker and Mack took it pretty hard, but the three of them had pulled together to support each other.
“Yeah, they got it all straightened out, and all of Judy’s stuff was shipped down here. It’s still in boxes in the cellar for now. They aren’t ready to go through it just yet,” she explained. The chill on the breeze harbored the seasonal change from summer to fall, and Claudia couldn’t believe how much her life had changed over the summer.
“Give it time.”
“I know. They are doing much better now than they were. We’ve all been too busy to be sad lately,” Claudia said with a shrug, sipping the beer in front of her.
“I’m so proud of you, Claudy, and so is your father. You’ve become the woman we always knew you could be,” Linda said, her eyes glistening with unshed emotion.
Blushing because she knew the whole table had heard her mother’s endearing comment, Claudia shook her head, “I’m still just me, but those two make me better. I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for them.”
Like they were drawn to her by thought alone, Mack and Ryker headed her way with a plate of steaming burgers in hand. “You’re the one that’s rebuilt us, duchess,” Ryker said, planting a sweet kiss on her head. “I was a broken man before you.”
“Don’t you mean a broke man?” Sawyer asked with a snort that earned him another dirty look from Rachel.
“No, I mean broken. I let my anger over everything with Tina Ash and Scott Weber tear me down, but Claudia here built me back up,” Ryker said, stroking her hair gently.
“Uh, I had a part in that too, little bro. You did live with me for almost a year before she came along,” Mack said with a grunt.
“Yeah, but she’s prettier than you, so I’m giving her the credit.”
Laughter echoed through the yard again, and Claudia shook her head at their jokes. “I knew that first night that you two would be the end of Claudia Schmidt—”
“Damn right, duchess! You’re going to be Claudia Thompson soon and forevermore. Now, let’s eat!” Ryker said to a rousing cheer of happiness from the group. Surrendering her argument, Claudia accepted the fact that without each other, her and her two men would still be bobbing in a sea of despair unsure where to turn for safety. No, they weren’t perfect people, but sometimes it took a little polishing to find the diamond under the dirt.
“Life Ain’t Always Beautiful”: Gary Allen
“One of Those Nights”: Tim McGraw
“Country Girl Shake It For Me”: Luke Bryan
“Just a Kiss”: Lady Antebellum
“I’m Yours”: Jason Mraz
“Misery”: Maroon 5
“Making Love in the Rain”: Janet Jackson
“Firecracker”: Josh Turner
“You’re Gonna Be”: Reba McEntire
“Grenade”: Bruno Mars
“Not Ready to Make Nice”: Dixie Chicks
“Come Back to Me”: David Cook
“I Won’t Let Go”: Rascall Flatts
Or listen to the whole playlist on my Youtube Channel:
Books by Lori King
Published by JK Publishing, Inc.:
The Surrender Trilogy
Published by other publishers:
The Gray Pack Series
Fire of the Wolf
Reflections of the Wolf
Legacy of the Wolf
Dreams of the Wolf
Caress of the Wolf
Apache Crossing Series
Sidney's Triple Shot
Sunset Point Series
Point of Seduction
I would love to hear from you!
Email: [email protected]
Excerpt from Jen’s Journey
Masters of the Prairie Winds Club Book Three
By Avery Gale
Jen sat on the cold stone floor beneath the embassy and fumed.
Fucking ass wads. I paid a lot of money for this outfit and sitting on this moldy floor is not helpful. And what the hell is their issue with me anyway?
It had been obvious from the time the embassy had been stormed the men had known exactly who she was. Even though she had refused to acknowledge their repeated inquiries. In her opinion if they were too dimwitted to read the State Department identification card clipped to the lanyard around her neck, then they could go jump. It had been difficult to pretend she didn’t understand Spanish, but for once her finely honed skills as a ditsy blonde had paid off.
As a teenager, Jen had always struggled to fit in because she’d been shuttled between the various accelerated programs in different schools and had rarely been with anyone her own age. Her Mensa level IQ hadn’t been discovered until her freshman year of high school, after that her social circle had essentially dwindled to her instructors and her foster mother. The stab of pain that went through her heart whenever she thought about Millie Sinclair almost made her double over. Being moved into Millie’s home had been the biggest blessing Jen could have ever asked for. And when the sweet woman had died suddenly a couple of months before Jen turned eighteen, the only thing that had kept her from being turned over to yet another state agency had been Bill and Carol McDonald’s intervention.
Jen had been hired as a liaison of sorts for their daughter, Elza. The freshman girl had been struggling to adapt to college life because she was deaf and just negotiating the administrative system alone was difficult when none of the college staff signed. She and Elza shared an advisor and the young professor knew Jen was proficient in American Sign Language so it had been an easy match. What had been a surprise to everyone was what a godsend that pairing would turn into.
Elza was one of the sweetest people Jen had ever met and they’d bonded almost from the first moment they met. And even though her parents were wealthy beyond Jen’s comprehension, Elza had never been a diva or difficult to work with. The first time Jen had visited the McDonald Mansion outside of Austin she’d been so nervous she’d nearly turned around and headed back down the long drive to the iron-gated entrance without even slowing down. Elza had bounded down the enormous front staircase, her smile as wide as Jen had ever seen, her hands signing so fast Jen hadn’t even been able to keep up with her enthusiastic friend.
Pulling her legs up so she could rest her head on her arms, Jen turned her face from the men who sat staring at her from across the room. They’d released a few of the hostages when several had pointed out they were actually locals who didn’t deserve to be caught up in whatever issues the intruders had with the American staff. Jen had been scheduled to leave La Paz first thing in the morning and now the decision to stay an extra day and help the Ambassador with his special project seemed a little too coincidental for her liking.
If that twiddle-dicked midget sold me out I swear I’ll kick his ass, tie him up in some of those fancy-assed knots the McCall brothers used on me, and drop his worthless self into Lake Titicaca.
Jen snorted to herself, how fitting that a dweeb should land in a body of water named after words Americans associated with boobs and crap.
Excerpt from Mission: Compromised Submissive
Breaking Protocol Book Three
By Willow Brooke
Two months had passed since that night at the party, and things had only gone downhill since. Each time Vice was forced to interact with Dom, it had grown harder and harder, making her dread the deployment coming in just two days. The whole farm had been buzzing with blooming love and it made her want to barf.
This morning she had tried to avoid everyone like the plague, but it seemed the forces of Grey Skull were stacking against her. Now, here she was, stuck loading the damn truck in the blazing hot sun with none other than their fearless asshole leader himself.
“Vice, get your head out of your ass and get this shit tied up!” Dom snapped.
Vice fumed. She had been tying the damn tent poles and ammo boxes for the past three damn hours with him barking orders and had had just about enough. Standing up straight, she grasped the small of her back that was aching so bad she could scream and glared at him with daggers shooting from her eyes.
“I don’t know what the hell has crawled up in your ass and camped out but you best get it out before I knock it out.” Her fists doubled at her sides and her eyes narrowed, daring him to say something.
The corners of Dom’s lips tilted up into a cocky smirk. Slowly, he walked toward her, stalking like a prowling lion in that moment before it took down its prey. Her heart pounded against her chest, speeding with each step he took closer. Vice felt her stomach flip-flop, dropping into her toes as he came up, stopping only mere inches from her face. He had intentionally invaded her personal space, using the uncomfortable closeness to knock her bearings—and it worked. She could feel his breath casting against her face, seeping in her pores like a searing branding iron. His eyes roamed over her features, looking for her to falter. She tried to remain cold as stone and keep her feelings hidden but knew he could see straight through her act. When he grinned, her gut twisted. How the hell did one man turn her body into a walking pile of mash potatoes? She watched as his lips parted, seeming to be in slow motion. “I assure you, nothing is in my ass, but if you keep getting lippy I will stick a plug in yours and spank it until it’s a pretty pink.”
Vice’s jaw hit the ground. When she finally found her tongue, she was boiling. “Your threats don’t work on me, Dom. You should know that by now…and you made it perfectly clear where you stood the night after the party. So, unless you want to loose a vital body part, I suggest you back the fuck off.” Her lip curled over her teeth, giving in to the pent up hurt and anger she had been holding since that mouthwatering, panty-twisting kiss.
Dom took a step back, mimicking the same reaction he had when he stormed off that night and backtracked. “You’re right. You are my soldier. Nothing else. Take five and finish up here.” He spun on his heel and disappeared for the rest of the day.
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