A Work in Progress

Below is a snippet from my current work in progress with the working title "Avoiding the Badge." I hope you enjoy it! 

“Ahem… He’s here.”

At her vet tech, Joanie’s statement, Doctor Rayna Michael’s looked up from the lab work report she was reviewing and furrowed her brow. “I’m sorry. He?”

Joanie leaned her hip against the counter and gave Rayna a level stare. “He as in the hottest client you have.” She shook her head when Rayna continued to stare at Joanie with what Rayna could only assume was a blank expression in her eyes, and continued. “Come on. He as in the cop who’s so freaking hot we could fry an egg on his abs. The same he who’s so totally into you, the rest of us are green with envy.”

Rayna rolled her eyes and set the report on the counter. Oh, she for sure knew exactly who Joanie was talking about, but no way was she going to let her vet tech know that. Yes, Derek Hansen was handsome—very handsome in fact. The kind of handsome every woman on the planet noticed, and if they didn’t they were likely dead, because yes, very handsome was true and an incredible understatement. She smothered the grin that attempted to tug at the corner of her lips. “I’m sorry, but you’re going to have to be a bit more specific.”

Shattered Heart Excerpt

It took everything he had in him, but he jerked his eyes away from her mouth. "Cyn, you keep licking those fine lips of yours and I'm going to end up kissing you." 

She arches a brow and grinned, a devious glint in her pretty brown eyes. Yep, screwed. Fuck!

Cyn's body tingled from head to toe as Shane danced her, slow and easy, around the dance floor. He wanted to kiss her. Which was bad-very bad, because she desperately wanted to be kissed. With his big body pressed against hers, she let herself pretend, if only for a few minute while the music played, that there was no Carlo, no horrible track record because of her broken picker, and for fuck's sake, no self-imposed moratorium. 

Before she'd run into him-literally-she'd been half-drunk. Maybe whole-drunk was more accurate. But now she felt stone-cold sober. Sober enough she was unable to deny that the man, who smelled better than chocolate ice cream, had been her unattainable dream. The one forever in the "what if" category. The very one she swore, if she ever for the chance-the freaking opportunity, she'd take it. In a hot second. And now he wanted to kiss her. 

What the hell was she thinking? This was Shane-fucking-Conlon! She was taking her goddamn chance; it was likely the only one she'd get. Cyn licked her lips again and she drowned. A thrill raced through her and lust pooled in her stomach. "What if I want you to kiss me?"

"I'd say you've been drinking." He turned them.

"So have you." She ran a fingertip down the side of his neck.

"You're playing with fire." He gazed down at her with his lips pressed tight together, and the muscles in his jaw twitched. 

"Nobody has to know. More specifically, Joey doesn't have to know." 

He sighed through his nose and his hand on her lower back slipped around her waist and gripped her tight "Killing me."

"I'd rather be kissing you."

He steered them off the dance floor, and walked Cyn to a far corner of the bar, turned her and backed her against a wall. "You think that'd be enough?"

The cool panel of the wall against Cyn's back sent a chill racing over her skin. Shane dropped her hand and framed her waist in his big palms. He was so much taller than her, and built like a truck-towering over Cyn, blocking out everything around her. Cyn gazed up at him was she ran her hands up his muscled chest and over his broad shoulders. With a slight grin arching one corner of her lips, she tiptoed up and circled the back of his neck with her palms, tickling the edge of his close-cut hair with her fingertips. 

Their lips were only a breath away, their bodies pressed tight together. He was hard; she felt the line of his cock against her stomach like a brand on her skin. "Do it, Shane. Kiss me."

"It's not going to be enough." He grazed his lips over hers.

It was a bare whisper of a touch, nothing more, but filled with so much heat Cyn's entire body ached for him-for more. "Do it."


Screw it. Cyn gripped the back of his neck and jerked him to her lips. His mouth came down over hers and his warm tongue swept inside, and-oh,sweet baby Jesus-he was right. Cyn arched against him and Shane's grip tightened on her hips, pulling her tighter to his hard body. 

Shane depended the kiss and knew this one taste wasn't going to be near enough. 

Defensive Heart Excerpt

“Hello, James.” Her sweet voice through the phone line was 
balm to the anxiety knotting his stomach in fear she wouldn’t answer.

Jimmy blew out a breath he hadn’t realized he was holding. 

“How’s your Saturday been?”

“Overall it’s been okay. You?”

Slouching down on the couch, Jimmy propped his feet up on 
his coffee table, crossing them at the ankle. “After waking up in 
an empty bed, which kinda sucked I have to say, it got better. 
Hung out with my best friend for most of the day.”

Surely you didn’t really expect to wake up next to me. I would 
think you’d prefer to wake alone. After all, isn’t that how things 
work when you’re single?”

Jimmy closed his eyes. She didn’t get it. “Yeah, I guess, 

“Except what?”

Screw it, he may as well hit her with it straight. “Except I would 
rather have woken up with you there, that’s all.”

“I can say your answer both surprises, and confuses, me.”

He chuckled then let out a loud sigh. Nope, Sonja-the-lawyer 
did not get it. “And I can say your reaction, sadly, does not 
surprise me.”

“I’m not sure what to do with you.”

Jimmy dropped his feet to the floor and sat up, rubbing the 
spot between his brows. “No need to be sure; I have plenty of 

She let out a soft laugh. “Oh yeah, like what?”

Memories of the prior night with her played through his mind. 
Vivid images of her naked body. Her voice echoing in his ears… 
Bliss. It’d been fucking bliss. But really, could you call 
something you hadn’t stopped thinking about since it 
happened a memory? It was more like a steady stream of 
awareness of an event he for sure wanted a repeat of. He 
lowered his voice. “Liiiiike… what you did with me last night. 
That’s a fine place to start.”

“Hmm… So your desire is to have more than a one-night fling 
with me?” Her tone was matter of fact, almost threaded with 
disbelief, nowhere near inquisitive.

“Desire? No, Sonja. I intend to have much more than a one-
night fling with you.”

“You sound quite sure of yourself.”

“I am.” He stood and walked to the loft’s big windows. “I know 
last night was more than a fling for you too, so don’t try and 
deny it. That kind of chemistry and being in sync with another 
person is rare and it will happen again.”

Silence stretched over the cellular waves between them. Her 
soft breaths in his ear the only indication she was still on the 
line, until finally she spoke. “I can’t deny there was chemistry 
between us, but I’m not sure it’s wise to continue.”

“Wise?” He laughed. “Of course it’s wise. It’d be the smartest 
thing you’ve ever done. Trust me on that.”

“You love to annoy me. You love to pick fights with me. Why 
on earth should I trust you, James?”

“Tell you what, come have a drink with me tonight and I’ll 
explain all the many reasons why you should trust me.”


“No? That’s it? Just… no?” Jimmy pinched the bridge of his 
nose and paced in front of the windows. Jesus she was 

“No is a complete sentence, James.”

“Yeah, I guess it is, but how does that count. I mean your 
favorite word to say to me is no. But last night you said yes. 
Finally. And you have to admit you’re grateful you did. The 
many orgasms we shared is proof of that.”

“I can admit I’m very grateful for the experience of last night.”

“Come have a drink with me, Sonja.”

“No. But if you must know, I have other commitments tonight 
I have to attend to.”

“Okay fine, you win. Tomorrow.”

“Sunday has it’s own set of commitments.”

Defeat, and disappointment warred for first place in Jimmy’s heart. Resuming his spot on the couch, he let his head fall back 
on the cushions and closed his eyes again. He thought for sure 
after last night, they’d be past the constant problem of her 
pushing him off. But, no. “No” was still her favorite answer 
when it came to him. And that fucking sucked. “You’re not 
going to make this easy, even a little bit, are you?”

“I’m sure I don’t know what you mean.”

Jimmy blew out an exasperated breath. “Oh, I think you do, 
but I’ll let it go for now.”

“Look, I had a very nice time last night.”

“Sonja, don’t. I’m not going anywhere, so you can tell me no all 
you want. I’m not giving up. So, although I’ll concede defeat 
tonight, be ready for me to call tomorrow.”

“Fine. Have a good evening, James.”

“You, too.” Jimmy tossed his phone on the couch beside him.

It was clear Sonja intended to keep him at a distance. And that 
wasn’t going to work for him. He could be patient though. He 
would show her, at every turn, he was serious. He’d found 
something in her that lit his world on fire… he knew it lit hers 
up just the same.

There was no way in hell he was going to let her rob either of 
them of that.

Unworthy Heart Deleted Scene #3

Maiya glanced away when her phone rang from her purse on the counter. Saved by the bell. At the same time the microwave beeped signaling the food was done. Getting up, she retrieved her cell, giggling when she saw who was calling. 

“Hello, can you not see I’m offline right now?” Maiya smiled and moved to the microwave. 

“You’re never offline. You’ve said it a million times. ‘I’m always reachable.’ In fact, if I had a dollar for every time you made sure everyone knew you were available, I’d be a rich man.” 

She smirked. Those may have been her words, but his voice sure didn’t sound anything like hers. His was smooth, and creamy. Like hot chocolate sliding down her throat, settling warm in her tummy. Mmmm. “You don’t sound anything like me, you know? But points for trying.” She pulled the cellophane wrap off the dinner plate and grabbed a fork and napkin. “Is there a point to this call or are you just calling to annoy me?”

“Annoy you? Maiya, I’m hurt. I don’t try to annoy you. Frustrate or tease maybe, but definitely not annoy you.”

“You’re so full of shit. What do you want? I’m busy.”

“And now you insult me? Thanks. See if I call you for help next time.” Ryan let out an exaggerated sigh.

“Oh come on. You’re really laying it on thick now. What do you need, Mr. Donnelly? I’m at your service.”

He chuckled. “Nice. I love it when you’re at my service. Makes things go so much smoother.” 

“Emmie, is that ready yet?” her mother hollered from the living room, not five feet away.

“Hang on, I’m coming.”

“Okay. Wait. Coming?”

“No. Shit. Not you. Just...give me a minute okay, Ryan?” Maiya scooped up the dish and utensil in one hand and brought them out to the living room.

“Oookay. Sure.”

“Here you go.” Maiya set the plate down on the worn TV tray that’d become a permanent fixture too long ago to remember and moved it in front of her mom’s chair.

“Who’re you talking to?”

“Its work. I’ll be right back.” Maiya grabbed her own smokes from her purse and stepped outside the door. Sitting down on the concrete steps, she lit a cigarette. “Nowwww, I’m all yours. What do you need?”

“Shoot, you really are busy. It can wait. I’ll talk to you about it tomorrow.”

“Hell no. You’ve got my attention now. Lay it on me. Blow my skirt up. Make a move.” When he didn’t answer she knew she’d stumped him again. Another point for me today!

“I never know what you’re going to say next.”

“Good. Keeps you guessing.” She took a drag and exhaled the remains.

“I think you like me guessing.”

“Maybe.” Maiya looked up at the door when she heard her mother calling her name again. Dammit. She didn’t want to cut this short, but it was looking like her mother wasn’t going to let her have a freaking half a second to herself.

“You don’t strike me as a woman who wears skirts.”

“Huh? Where’d that come from? And what the hell would make you think I don’t wear skirts?”

“You said, ‘blow your skirt up.’ I figure you probably wouldn’t make it that easy.”

The door opened. And, yep, Joanie came calling. “Emmie, I need you in here.”

Maiya gritted her teeth and glared up at her mother. “I’ll be right there.” The door slammed closed, and Maiya blew out a harsh breath. For fuck’s sake, the woman had no concept of life outside of what she wanted. 

“Hey, it really does sound like you have your hands full. I’ll call you tomorrow. No big deal.” 

Shit, his voice had gone all deep and soft, and a ripple of desire spilled through her, extinguishing her agitation, before pooling straight between her legs. She swallowed. Hell, she’d give anything to keep him on the phone now, even with her mother breathing down her neck. “You sure?”

“Yeah, I’m sure. Have a good night, Maiya.”

“All right. Take care. Talk tomorrow.” She listened as the call disconnected. Sweet, baby Jesus her hands were shaking. 

Maiya looked down at the forgotten cigarette pinched between two fingers, half burnt away. She’d taken only one drag. Stubbing it out in the coffee can on the stoop, she went back inside.

Unworthy Heart Deleted Scene #2

Two days later, Ryan, arched his back and stretched, popping his spine at the kitchen table after disconnecting from the seven a.m. weekly status call. Maiya had been on the line; her voice low and raspy like it always was in the morning. The tone vibrating through the headset made his skin tighten and prickle into goose bumps. She always sounded like she’d barely rolled out of bed and then dialed in to the call. She probably had. He could tell she wasn’t a morning person—where he was up, showered and dressed for the meeting each week. By the time the call started, he’d already had two cups of coffee, ready to head into the office when it ended. 

About to shut down his laptop, an instant message popped on his screen.

Maiya Rossini: Hey you, you’re in trouble. ;- )
Ryan Donnelly: When am I not? 
Maiya Rossini: Very true. Can I call? 
Ryan Donnelly: Cell.

He waited for it to ring twice before answering. “Ryan Donnelly.”

“Killing me here.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Feigning innocence, he chuckled to himself, knowing it would keep her talking. 

“You’re driving my analyst crazy, that’s what. And don’t give me that innocent tone.” She snorted. “Seriously, you went over Chris’s head, Ryan. You know you can’t do that shit. It makes the whole team look bad. Besides that, he’s been busting his ass for you, so you totally offended him.” 

Bingo. Maiya’s unfiltered rebellious nature popped out, front and center via curse words. This was his favorite part of their play. 

“We need to work as a team, you know?” She cleared her throat.

“Oh come on, you can’t be serious?” Ryan leaned back, stretching his legs out in front of him, her raspy voice rolling over and through him like a high fever as they fell into familiar banter. 

“Completely. Totally. Incredibly...serious.” 

“Okay, okay. What do you want me to do?” 

“I would like you to apologize.” 

As usual, she got straight to the point. No surprise there. “Don’t hold back much, do you?”

“Oh, please. As if you do?” She laughed.

“Okay, you win. I’ll apologize.” 

“Wow, I had no idea you’d be so easy! Do it today, pretty please?”

“Easy? I wouldn’t go that far, but I’ll make an exception for you just this once.”

Such a charmer.” 

Her sarcastic response had him chuckling. “I’m a pro at being charming. Easy? That’s a whole different story.”

Riiighhht. By the way, I’m coming into the office next week.”

“I heard. I’m looking forward to meeting you in person.” Ryan shifted the phone to his other ear and shut down his laptop. Their work relationship, especially as of late, teetered on a fine line between appropriate business discussion and flirtatious innuendo. It’d become an addicting habit for him—one he’d be wise to put a stop to. Regardless of his, so far, failed intentions to keep things on a professional level with her, he was looking forward to meeting her in person. 

“Definitely. There’s a team function planned. We can have a drink or...something.”

Was that subtle bait hanging out there for him? Oh, yeah, he’d bite. “Sure or…something.” He paused before packing his laptop in his bag, anticipating her response.

“Hmm. Alrighty then. I’ll let you go so you can handle the mess you made. I’ll talk to you later.” 

It wasn’t the response he was hoping to get from her, but it served to bring his thoughts back to where they needed to be. The marketing campaign he’d been assigned was the biggest one of the year. There was an opening for an Associate Director of Projects and he had his eye on it. Ryan hoped the success of the project would lead to landing the promotion.

“Talk soon, Maiya.” He disconnected the call, grabbed his bag and headed toward the garage. The last thing he needed was to screw up his opportunity by getting involved in a personal way with Maiya. 

The problem was, Maiya Rossini was a challenge and Ryan loved a good challenge. However, it didn’t escape him that she was also trouble. The other problem was, he liked talking to her, enjoyed flirting with her too, but it had to end therePlaying this game with her could prove disastrous, but when it came to Maiya, he wasn’t sure he could help himself.