Wednesday, February 29, 2012

What’s it’s Like to be a Bear and 50 in a Twink World

By Tom Webb aka A Bear on Books

Hi, everyone.  My name is Tom W and I am a bear.  *Hi Tom!*

I guess the first thing I should do is tell you, I have always been a big hairy guy.  Even in high school, I was tall and stocky and hairy.  And gay.  Didn’t have a clue what being gay was all about – this was in the 70’s, and hairy was in.  Think Burt Reynolds, Sam Elliott in Lifeguard.  Yeah.

So I grew up with some masculine role models, but being gay in the South wasn’t easy.  I kept it hidden mostly, and after high school it was suddenly college and a chance for freedom.  It was 1979 and I thought, finally, I can go off and meet some other men like me and then it will all be good

Then the 80’s happened and suddenly slim shaved young men came into vogue as the gay ideal.  All the porn changed from hairy chested guys with moustaches to blonde boys with shaved…everythings.  And suddenly it was like being back in the closet again. 

The little unspoken secret of the gay world, even back then, was the double standard that exists.  See, all us gay guys (I’m not gonna try to talk about gay women – I’m not one and anything I can say would be wrong anyway) want to be looked at and treated as equals with our straight counterparts.

But, there are two camps in Gaytopia.  The haves and the have nots.  The haves are the pretty boys and they think they make all the rules.  The have nots are the rest of us. The bigger guys.  Older.  Hairy.  Ask some of my friends here in Atlanta, and you will find out it’s the minorities too.  Anybody who isn’t young, slim, toned, smooth and hot.

So, I stuck around and dated a little and then, wonder of wonders, in the 90’s,  found something.  A group here in the big city that was nothing but men like me.  Big old hairy guys who like to be comfortable and don’t shave our chests. *cue music*  Bears!

I seriously thought it was a joke when I saw the ad for Atlanta Bears (later Southern Bears).  They met at The Eagle, and there was also another group called Girth and Mirth, which catered to big guys and those who like em (Chubs and Chasers).

And the gates of Heaven opened and the Angels sang.  No, for real.  I went to a few Saturday night gatherings and suddenly, “we” were the majority.  We all looked at each other with pride and attraction and nobody shaved (well, except for faces, and not all of us that) and it was relaxed and we all could wear jeans and tees and be…normal.  And other guys liked what they saw.

Then I started seeing more and more of us on television.  In ads.  And in movies.  Kevin James.  Tom Selleck back again.  John Goodman.  It became okay to be bigger, hairier and older.

And I was all three. 

Now here I am at 50, and the chest hair is turning a little silver and the goatee is almost all white.  I shave my head and damn it, I like myself.  And guess what – so do a lot of other people.  Sure, they like to look at twinks, but I get messages all the time from men AND women saying, “I’d love to cuddle up to you”.


So now I’m part of the norm, of the mainstream.  How do I feel about that?  Well, I’m still me.  Nothing there has changed.  But what has changed is society’s view of what is sexy and attractive, for men at least.

I’m not Brad Pitt, but I don’t wanna be.  I wanna be Tom Webb, Bear.

Now come crawl into my cave and hibernate a little with me, okay?  Grrr.

Visit me at my blog for reviews of M/M related books:

I am the Director of Finance for a nonprofit agency in Atlanta, Georgia. We provide housing assistance for people living with HIV/AIDS, which is a cause very close to my heart. I am 50, single, have four dogs who are my kids, and read just about anything I can get my hands on. I love my family and friends, and as with most things, a little of each goes a long way.

Tom is giving away a set of the Amy Lane "Promise Rock" series to one lucky commenter. So make sure you leave your email address to be contacted! Contests runs through the end of the tour.

We’ve got a full week planned, with contest giveaways at every stop. Please visit the other authors on our tour, check out the full schedule Bear Talk Blog Hop.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What made Dana Littlejohn (@AuthorDanaL) blush while #writing The Seven Year Switch?

Dana will be giving away a promotional pen to one randomly drawn tour commenter and a promotional T-shirt to another during the tour.

Hello everyone I am Dana Littlejohn, multi-published erotic romance author. I have done countless interviews and blogs in the five years that have been published. More questions than I can even count, most of the time it’s basically the same few questions making interviews rather routine and easy to do. But I tell you ladies and gentlemen, but not this time. I have arrived at Louisa Bacio’s blogspot and she has given me pause with an original question.

Does anything Dana writes make her blush?

A wonderful question to which I answer YES! All the time in fact. LOL I have been told that my writing process is kind of unique. I get this kind of tunnel vision thing and my immediate mindset is transformed to where I am. The making of the book becomes my reality. As the story unfolds before me I write what I see. It isn’t until the story is done that I read it through for first round edits. I am not objective while doing so, mind you, I am merely checking the flow and looking for boo-boos. Once that is done I put the story to the side for about a week and then do it again. I’m still not really reading it, just doing one last check before sending it in for submission.

Depending on where the story is accepted it could take six months to a year before I see it again. When I get it back that’s when I ‘see’ it for the first time. Before, my brain was on work mode. I was taking dictation getting it on paper (so to speak) and cleaning it up. Now, I have the opportunity to actually read the story the characters have done for me. More often than not I’m reading and saying to myself, holy cow, I wrote this? Or rushing to my husband with my face burning saying, honey, look, can you believe I wrote that?

People ask me what my most memorable moment when I am writing. That’s a hard question for me because I don’t have times like that during the writing process. That stuff happens to me later and then I remember what writing it was like. It’s more of a recollection for me because when I’m in my zone I’m not here, I’m there so what’s here doesn’t stick. Time stands still for me. Hours feel like minutes. My husband has to poke me wave stuff in front of me or something to get my attention to feed me or speak to me. The only thing that has the power to hit pause during that time is when I have to go to the bathroom. Everything stops then. LOL I usually take that opportunity to eat or do whatever else someone is portioning me to do.

What I remember most while doing The Seven Year Switch, is all the research that went into it. It wasn’t until I read the finished product after the fact that I remember all the embarrassing questions I asked folk during interviews, all the stuff I tried mimicking what I had learned from books and such. The stuff I asked my husband during dinner for the sake of research didn’t seem to bother me then because I was hunting for information, but now just thinking about it makes me blush. He said a long time ago that he would support me in my writing and answer whatever question threw out to him openly and honestly. He would ask, is this for a book? And when I said yes, he would answer without hesitation. I look back on my notes and say, oh my gosh! He answered me! I know he must have thought I was completely bonkers! LOL

I remember every character from every book that I have ever written and the story that they are in, but after so many it is hard to remember all the details about each story. When my friends get around to reading the books they bring it to me saying, ‘oooo girl have you tried this? What was you thinking when you wrote this?’ I would read the passage they’re talking about and blush and they would burst into laughter saying, ‘what are blushing about? You’re the one who wrote it!’ That may be true, but when I re-read the books I’ve written it doesn’t feel like it was me. When I’m in the writing process I’m not reading I’m writing. I it’s something like having an outer body experience.

I look back on Sonja’s lessons from Bianca wide eyed and cheeks flaming stunned that she really did it like I didn’t know it was going to happen. Going over some of the scenes in this book I surprise myself and wonder, how the hell I even got through writing it. Must be my Catholic school back ground and that whole ‘be a good girl’ thing coming back to haunt me. LOL

Thanks for having me, Louisa. Your question has not only reminded me on what a weenie I am, it was also different from the rest and fun!

Dana Littlejohn

 A peek inside The Seven Year Switch, available Muse it Hot

     Could you make the switch from dutiful, submissive wife to paddle wielding queen bee to save your marriage?
Sonja Winters was enjoying the good life with a great job and being married to the man of her dreams. As she prepared to celebrate their seven year anniversary she came across a secret that her husband had been keeping from her that would alter the course of their marriage forever.

Bianca sat next to her and openly looked her over. “I see now why he chose you. You are beautiful and strong. You will be able to control him well.”
Sonja scoffed. Her anger at the situation came back, fueled by Bianca’s nonchalant description of her ability to deal with her husband.
“If you’re talking about my husband, I was controlling him just fine until you came along.”
“Hmm, I can appreciate how you must feel, but you do not have all the facts.”
Bianca clapped her hands and two men appeared. They looked similar to the biker guy who led her into the room except they were much younger and more firmly built. They dropped to one knee and bowed their heads.
“Yes, Mistress,” they said in unison.
Sonja’s eyes widened and her jaw dropped. Bianca’s voice roused her from her stunned state.
“Sonja, would you like a drink?”
“Coffee, tea, perhaps a glass of wine,” she offered.
“Umm, yes, a glass of wine would be nice.”
“You heard her and bring fruit, too,” she told the men.
Sonja’s emotions teetered between anger, confusion and amazement. These large and strong looking, fully grown men were seemingly at Bianca’s beck and call. They left the room to do her bidding with only a comprehensive nod. She turned a look to Bianca. Sonja was sure her face reflected the surprise and shock wavering inside her over the men’s behavior. It was hard to hide as she looked at her hostess. 
“Please, allow me to explain. These men come to me from various places and all walks of life, but they all want the same thing and they pay me to give it to them.”
“Uh-huh, and what’s that?”
“They want to be dominated by a woman. Submissive men will always seek strong women because they are in need of her guidance,” Bianca said continuing her explanation.
Bianca’s voice was in an audible octave, not at all a whisper for Sonja’s benefit or to spare the feelings of the men. Sonja sipped her drink and sent a quick glance toward them. To her surprise, they stood at perfect attention, staring straight ahead showing no signs of emotion at all to what Bianca just said.
“Yes, well, I wouldn’t know that, Bianca. My husband is not a submissive man.”
“No disrespect to what you think you know, Sonja, but I beg to differ. Kyle is, in fact, a submissive man. He is what I call an alpha submissive. At work he can be very dominate and extremely aggressive when it comes to other men, but with a woman he has the desire to be humble and subservient.”
Sonja crossed her legs and turned her body toward her adversary. “Look, you must have my husband confused with another one of your men,” she sent a pertinent wave in the men’s direction, “because I know my husband. Kyle and I have been together for—“
“You have been together for the last ten years. You met while you were still in college. Kyle’s company was doing a project on your campus. He bumped into you, and you guys have been together ever since. Since then, you have graduated and have become a successful lawyer. You and Kyle were married October fourteenth, and yesterday made your seventh year anniversary. You have no children, but you want at least two, and a dog. You are leaning toward the Jack Russell breed because you want a smart dog that will not out-grow the child physically.”
Sonja’s eyes widened as she raised the cup to her mouth.
“Have I left anything out?”

Get yours at Muse it Hot

Dana Littlejohn was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, but has called Indianapolis, In. her home for over ten years. She has always wanted to write since early childhood, but put that wish on hold to raise her growing family and have a career. With the encouragement of her husband, Dana picked up her pen again in 2003 and has no intention on putting it down. With 3 novels, 8 novellas, 4 stories in anthologies, 42 short stories published to date and a long list of wips (works in progress) she is literally living her dream. Join her on the wild journey through her imagination. It’s a ride you’ll never forget! 
Facebook: search authordanalittlejohn
Twitter: follow @AuthorDanaL

Thanks so much for visiting today, Dana. If you’d like to read more, visit Dana’s other stops on the tour. The more you comment, the better the chances of winning. The tour dates can be found on Goddess Fish Promotions  

Monday, February 27, 2012

From Smooth-Sailing to Fur-Tastic

Shaved, smooth and slick. When I first met my husband, and saw him sans-shirt, not a strand of hair adorned his sculpted chest. Then, as the months started to pass, things started to sprout.

Do you enjoy a little bit of Bear Talk? This week, I’m taking part in a multi-stop tour, kicking off today at Johnny Miles’ blog, with some sexy photos and a giveaway for a $10 gift certificate to Ravenous Romance.

How can you not love a sexy man, with a little bit of fur that adds to the friction?

We’ve got a full week planned, with contest giveaways at every stop. Please visit the other authors on our tour, check out the full schedule Bear Talk Blog Hop.

Friday, February 24, 2012

How a Trip to Fort Sumter morphed into SOUTHERN FRIED DRAGON

Joining me today is multi-published author, Nancy Lee Badger, whose latest e-book release, SOUTHERN FRIED DRAGON, is now available. Nancy has promised to explain why she set one of her signature dragon romances in Charleston, South Carolina, on the eve of the American Civil War.

Thanks for having me back as a guest author, Louisa. I am excited to have self-published a book that sprang from a romance…mine! About a year ago, I decided to surprise my husband with a birthday trip to South Carolina. We have only lived in the south a few years and are both historical buffs. Our ancestors have lived in America since the early 1600s and we have recorded several instances where several ancestors fought in wars on American soil. Imagine the thrill of discovering that we lived within hours of several important historical sites. One such site we have always wanted to explore is the place where the Civil war began 150 years ago—Fort Sumter. (See links below)

The Fort Sumter Museum

I went to the internet to research the island and its museum. The busy city of Charleston, South Carolina is steeped in history. Information was easy to come by and we enjoyed the local fare and vistas. The Fort Sumter Museum is on Charleston Harbor and sits next door to the South Carolina Aquarium. Easy parking is located close by in a parking garage. The on-land museum is very informative and includes a gift shop. The ferry to the island leaves from the back of the museum and reservations are strongly suggested. We took the ferry ride on noon on a cold Wednesday in March and the ship was full.

My husband and I enjoyed the view of the harbor, which included the naval base, sailboats, water fowl, and other small land-based forts. Fort Sumter, itself, is impressive. Considering that half the building had been blown away during the conflict I can just imagine what the fort looked like on the eve of battle. We walked along the balustrade, a small grassy slope, and through the remnants of the armory and enlisted men’s quarters. Broken bricks, holes, cannons, and remnants of spent shells were eerie.

Fort Sumter Ferry
I imagined the men firing on the Fort Sumter soldiers from land-based forts that, up until the War Between the States began, were all Federal outposts. The echoes of former men haunted me even after we boarded the ferry for the return trip. Ideas formed and questions sprang up. How can I use this information to create a love story? How can I use the Civil War Sesquicentennial in a story with dragons? My husband has gotten used to me scribbling in my notebook even on vacation!

After we returned home, I began to think of ways to combine my love of Scottish dragons and the Civil War. The story I came up with quickly morphed into SOUTHERN FRIED DRAGON. I hope my readers will look back on the Civil war and remember.

For more information on Fort Sumter and Charleston:
Fort Sumter National Monument
Charleston, SC Welcome Center
South Carolina Aquarium

Amid cannon fire, and the threat of Civil War, love and trust will find a way.
Dru Little flew away from her home in a cave beneath a Scottish Island to end her lonely existence and find companionship across the sea. Her journey in late 1860 has led her to the modern American city of Charleston, South Carolina. Hiding her true self, she takes over the life of a serving girl and enjoys the hard life working in a tavern near the wharves. She has no idea that her life will turn upside down in a dark alley the moment a handsome soldier saves her life.
Lieutenant Shaw Stenhouse has his own worries. Southern secessionists are talking up a storm in Charleston. His fellow Federal soldiers are suddenly at risk from the community they are here to protect. The possibility of civil war takes a backseat when he saves a comely lass from drunken sailors. A good deed and a stolen kiss put a smile on his face until the threat of war becomes a reality. Their instant attraction proves disastrous when Dru spots her former lover, the Black Dragon, working for General Beauregard and the southern troops. As the clandestine group plans their attack on Fort Sumter, and Shaw’s soldiers, she takes to the sky.
Dru fights against the threat of detection, while she fears losing Shaw’s love. What will he do when he finds out that she is a powerful Scottish dragon Hell-bent on carrying him to safety? When Shaw discovers her hiding inside the heavily guarded fortress, thoughts of espionage—and worse—catapult the two lovers into danger from many sides.
When her former lover threatens Shaw, Dru must decide which is more important: protecting another of her kind, now nearly extinct, or protecting the human male, the man she has come to love.

The thought made her lips tremble, itching to taste him. Not as dinner, of course, but as the human male standing before her. When he gazed down at his feet, then back at her mouth, she’d smiled. The weird longing to kiss him senseless was out-of-place in their situation. She planned to pass through this human existence until something better came along. Dru had no need for sexual entanglements.
Not tonight, anyway.
“I feel I’m a’keepin’ ye from yer duties, sir.”
“If they come back—”
“Fear not, sir. I will not remain outside this night. Where are ye’ headed?”
“Across the harbor, to Fort Moultrie. I am part of the 1st U. S. Artillery regiment. I travel by boat once a week to the Charleston docks for supplies.” He turned and gazed toward the end of the alley facing the harbor. “My men are waiting…” 
When he turned back to face her, Dru tossed her loosened hair over one shoulder and couldn’t help giggling when his eyes tracked the movement. “Maggie needs this flour.”
“Maggie?” he croaked, as he stepped closer.
The young man sounded like he needed a stiff drink. Too bad the inn’s dining hall had closed for the night. His scent washed over her anew. Salt, sea, and male. Human male, a new scent she was beginning to like.

Author:  Nancy Lee Badger
Genre: Paranormal Historical
Length: 30,000 Word Novella
Amazon ASIN: B0074CX7SE

More about the Author
Nancy loves chocolate-chip shortbread, wool plaids wrapped around the trim waist of a Scottish Highlander, the clang of dirks and broadswords, and the sound of bagpipes in the air. Nancy lives the dream. After growing up in Huntington, New York, and raising two handsome sons in New Hampshire, Nancy moved to North Carolina where she writes full-time. She and her family continue to volunteer at the New Hampshire Highland Games each fall. Nancy is a member of RWA, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, Sisters In Crime, FF&P Romance Writers, and the Celtic Heart Romance Writers. Nancy is a proud Army Mom, and she also writes romantic suspense as Nancy Lennea.

Check out her website
Follow her on Twitter @NLBadger
and on Facebook

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Why do people read romance novels?

By Cassandra Carr

Have you ever wondered why people read romance novels? Not books in general- the romance genre specifically. Is it for the hot sex? Nope, at least not overwhelmingly. So why?

For the vicarious thrill of falling in love.

Seriously. Bear with me, here, people. In what I'm sure is a wonderful book called Writing a Romance Novel for Dummies, the author says, "Everyone dreams of falling in love, and it's the reason romance novels exist: So readers can experience the vicarious thrill of falling in love as if for the first time with every new book."

There you have it. Now I want you to think back to the last romance you read? Did you sigh, or perhaps have some part of you clench *ahem*, when the hero kissed the heroine for the first time? Did you ever think to yourself, "If that heroine is dumb enough to let him go he can come warm my bed?" What about saying "Yes!" out loud when the hero asks the heroine to marry him? Admit it, you've done it...

Why do you keep going back to romance, over and over? Because everyone likes to feel like they're falling in love. Even simply reading romance novels (rather than experiencing the real thing) can release similar amounts of dopamine as the real thing. Cool, huh?

So the next time you're feeling guilty about plowing through another romance novel while your dishes get crusty in the sink, just remember - this is good for my health!


Professional bull rider Conner Raub hides a secret from the world. He’s a Dom. When he meets a submissive on tour who pulls at his Dom tendencies, he fights to deny his true self, believing his colleagues will condemn his lifestyle.

Jessica Talbot is new to the BDSM scene and the bull riding tour, but after seeing Conner come to the aid of a submissive being mistreated in a club, she sets out to have him for her own. After their first night together she asks him to train her to submit and he refuses, afraid to mix business with pleasure. But Jessica isn’t deterred. She’ll do whatever it takes to make him realize he can have it all—a career, true love, and the BDSM lifestyle he craves.


  Conner packed up the last of his stuff and threw it into the duffel bag. The first event of the new season was starting in a few days and he was flying out to New York City later tonight. He was looking forward to meeting up with his best friend Brady Parrish. His mind flashed back to the previous evening at Decadence. He wished he could tell Brady about the BDSM lifestyle he wanted. Brady was a great guy and wouldn’t judge him, so maybe he would some day, but how do you bring something like that up? 
    Hey dude, pass me the rosin. By the way, I like to tie women up, spank their asses red, and then have them suck my cock to thank me for it.
    He rolled his eyes. 
    Yeah, right. No big deal.
    He couldn’t tell anyone on the tour about his lifestyle preferences. The NBT wasn’t exactly the most liberal-minded sport around. After all, many of the riders, as well as the officials and executives were from the Bible-beltin’ South. It was bad enough evidently many of the riders had been aware he and Brady sometimes shared women—he didn’t need word of this getting out. It could ruin his career. The NBT was all about family and hardworking values, not Doms and whips and spreader bars.
    His cell phone rang, jolting him back to the present. “Yeah?”
    “Yeah? Nice greeting,” Brady replied.
    “Sorry,” Conner answered. “My mind was a million miles away. What’s up, dude?”
    “Just wanted to find out what time you’re getting in tomorrow. I’ve got a rental, so I can swing by and pick you up.”
    “You don’t have to do that. I was gonna take a cab.”
     “Not necessary. Besides, then you can buy me dinner. What time does your flight get in?”
    “Hold on.” He rummaged through his stuff until he produced his ticket. “Nine fifteen. US Air, Kennedy.”
    “Cool. See you then.”
* * * * *
    Jessica loaded her computer into her messenger bag and headed out onto the event floor. She still had four stock contractors to find before she could relax and watch the competition. Her co-liaison had said the first event was always crazy and this one was certainly living up to its hype. Between the new contractors, new bulls, and the new her—well, not exactly new, but new to this “first event” stuff, she was about to blow a gasket.
    Jessica had known when she’d taken the position she might encounter some old-fashioned attitudes regarding her ability to do her job, but she was still astounded at how often it happened. She knew bulls—her daddy was a cattle rancher. She knew all about the different breeds, and why one breed was preferred for one job over another. She understood which made a good bull-riding bull, and how to pick one in a draft based on what you needed to get out of the ride. But it didn’t matter. Some of these assholes saw her big boobs and figured she was here as eye candy.
    Spotting Jack Tucker, she hurried after him. “Mr. Tucker,” she called. She was gaining on him but he appeared to be ignoring her. “Mr. Tucker.  I’m Jessica, the liaison from the NBT. We met last season? I need to go over a couple of things with you.” She’d just caught up with him by this time and she glanced over to see if he was listening at all.
    “I turned in my paperwork,” he replied as he kept walking. “Now get outta my way, girlie. I’ve got stuff to do.” He spit a stream of tobacco right in front of her and Jessica had to consciously try not to flinch. It wasn’t the first time she’d seen tobacco being spit, but to know he’d purposely done it right where she’d be walking—ick. He’d done a similar thing last year and was obviously trying to intimidate her, but was barking up the wrong tree if he thought she was going to slink away like some chastised dog.
    “Mr. Tucker,” she began, trying to keep her voice down and even. “You left a few pieces of your paperwork blank and I need to have those parts filled in.”
    “I’ve been doin’ paperwork for the tour for longer ’n you’ve been alive, girlie,” he said. “I’ve never had a problem.”
    Jessica took a deep breath and tried again. “We’re putting the bulls into a database. Without information like year of birth, weight, etcetera, our database will be incomplete. If you just take a few moments of your time to look at your records I’ll leave you alone.”
    He stopped and turned to her. “This tour’s gettin’ to be more of a pain in the ass every year.” He stabbed a finger in her general direction. “People like you comin’ in and tryin’ to change everything. Modernize, you say. Well, I say if the system ain’t broke, don’t fuck with it.” Jessica decided she’d had enough after she saw his pompous expression.
    “Mr. Tucker, you have one hour to have this information to my colleague, Rick O’Meara, in the Official’s Room. If you don’t, I will disqualify your bulls.” Spinning on her heel, she began to walk away, forcing herself not to run. Before she got ten feet, though, a rough hand gripped her arm.
    “What did you say, you little bitch?” He squeezed and she gasped from the pain.
    Before she could process anything further Conner was there, prying the man’s fingers off her arm. “Get your fuckin’ hands off her.”
    She looked up at him. His lips were set in a thin line and his eyes were as dark and stormy as one of the Texas tornadoes she’d seen dozens of times living on the Panhandle.
    Tucker released her. “I’d suggest you go find the information the lady requested,” Conner growled, getting in the other man’s personal space. Since Conner had a good eight inches and at least seventy pounds on the man, he backed down immediately.
    “This isn’t over,” he told her, then turned and stalked away.
    Conner lifted her arm. “He hurt you.” It wasn’t a question.
    “It’s not a big deal,” she answered. A profound sense of gratitude swept through her body and as she stared up at his eyes, which had darkened even further as he looked back at her, she felt as if she could drown in them. Normally she’d prefer to fight her own battles, but she didn’t know what Tucker would have done to her if Conner hadn’t intervened. She shivered.
    Her skin felt searing hot where his fingers touched it, and whether from the leftover adrenaline of the situation or from her reaction to him she didn’t know, but her breath was coming fast and furious, making her look like a panting fool. His gaze flickered down to her breasts and then slowly returned to her face.
    “I saw the whole thing. You have to report him. He can’t be treating you like that. You were just doing your job and he wasn’t doing his.”
    She was mortified he’d witnessed such an embarrassing situation. Jessica was afraid he would go tell the tour she couldn’t handle herself and she’d be out of a job. Even with all the crap she had to take, she loved this job. If she could’ve been a bull rider she would’ve, but she’d been cursed with the wrong DNA, so she did what she could to be close to the sport. She looked down, sighing. “Don’t worry about it,” she mumbled, dropping her eyes. 
    He grabbed her chin and forced her to look at him again. Her pussy heated as she remembered how he’d done the same thing to his sub that night at Decadence. “I am worried about it, and you’re not gonna waylay me.”
    “Conner, please.” She bit her lip to keep from saying anything else. She had a feeling saying ‘Conner, please kiss me, please make me yours, I want you’ wouldn’t go over very well.
    He took a giant step back then and dropped his hand. “I apologize. I don’t even know your name and here I am touching you. I have no right.”
    You can touch me all you want…
    But since she couldn’t say that, instead she held out her hand. “Jessica Talbot.”
    “Conner Raub, but I guess you know that,” he replied, grinning as he took her hand in his much larger, work-roughened one.
    “Yes,” she confessed, her face flaming. She hoped her interest wasn’t written all over her face.
    “I don’t think I’ve seen you around here. You new?”
    “I came on board around the middle of last season when Steven had his heart attack.”
    Conner nodded. “Steven worked too hard. It looks like you do too.” He studied her face and then his eyes narrowed. “Do you have the power to disqualify his bulls?”
    “No, but if I told the officials to they would.”
    “Just like that, without an explanation?”
    “Of course not, but if I told them he withheld information I requested they would disqualify him. They’re cracking down on that stuff this season.”
    “So you were ready to make an example outta him?”
    Jessica shrugged. “I did what I had to do.” And now what she needed to do was get away from Conner Raub. “Anyway, I still need to find three other contractors. Thank you for coming to my rescue. I hope we can keep this between us—I don’t want people thinking I can’t handle myself around here.”
    Conner’s jaw tightened. “I don’t like the idea of him getting away with mauling you.” He stepped closer and Jessica felt her nipples tighten against the lacy confines of her bra. Thankfully she needed a sturdy bra to give her large breasts the support they needed, so her arousal didn’t show. That would’ve been more than she could’ve handled. Yes, she wanted Conner, but not like this. She needed time to figure out how to seduce him in her own way, in her own time.
    “I’ll let you go, on one condition,” he told her. “I wanna see your arm later tonight. If it’s bruised you’re gonna report him. I’ll come with you.” His tone brooked no argument and her sex flooded with more moisture. His nostrils flared and her face flamed. Could he smell her?
    She turned away, calling over her shoulder, “Okay, thanks again,” as she fled as fast as her legs would take her.
    Conner felt as if he’d been kicked in the chest by an ornery bull. He’d been walking back to the riders’ prep area after registering when he’d come upon Jessica and that guy. When she’d said she’d disqualify the asshole’s bulls he’d silently cheered, loving the way she’d stood up to him. He wanted a submissive in the bedroom, but a girl with spunk outside it was so much more entertaining.
    But the guy had gone and grabbed her and Conner had seen red. After he’d sent the guy packing Jessica had looked up at him like some kind of hero and his dick had instantly gone rock hard. Trying to avoid her eyes he’d looked down, only to see her gorgeous, lush breasts heaving and he’d almost lost it. Only through sheer force of will he’d garnered through his years of being a Dom had he been able to drag his gaze back up to her face.
    Then he’d touched her chin, and she’d said please and bitten her lip, and he’d moved away so fast he’d probably left skid marks with his boots lest he act on what his brain had started screaming at him. In that moment he’d seen what this woman was—a natural submissive. He’d automatically reverted to how a Dom would treat a sub. He’d apologized for touching her without permission. But all she’d done was stuck out her hand to shake his, so he’d ignored his still-screaming brain and introduced himself as if nothing out of the ordinary was happening. 
    And he thought he’d gotten away with his sanity until he’d told her he wanted to see her arm later. Even from a foot or more away he’d smelled the force of her arousal after he’d issued the command—another sign she was submissive. He’d very nearly lost his cool and then she was gone.
    Rubbing his face, he continued toward the prep area. When he arrived, Brady was already there. “Dude, you okay? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
    “Fine,” Conner answered. He placed his gear bag on the table in front of him and began to pull out everything to inspect it.
    “Yeah.” He figured that was the easiest explanation he could give for why he looked shaken up. He sure as hell felt shaken up, but he needed to get his head in the game fast or this event would be all over for him.
    Brady left him alone while they finished their prep work. Then they took their stuff up to the area behind the chutes and settled in to watch. When Brady’s turn rolled around, Conner provided his usual assistance getting him situated on his bull and helping him loop his bull rope underneath the bull’s massive girth and bring it up the other side. He was pushing the bull away from the near fence when he felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. He ignored the feeling for the moment and concentrated on his friend. When Brady nodded he let go and Brady and the bull went careening out of the chute.
    Brady held on for the full eight seconds and then scrambled off the back of the still-bucking bull, landing on his shoulder and rolling left, away from the pounding hooves. He sprang up and ran toward the rail. Conner reached his hand out and grabbed Brady’s biceps, ready to pull him over if need be. The bull fighters got the beast corralled, though, and both he and Brady directed their attention to the scoreboard.
    “Ladies and gentlemen, that was last year’s winner, Brady Parrish, the King of Rodeo, ridin’ Extremist.” There was a pause. “Looks like Brady’s picking up where he left off last year. He scores an 89.5. That puts Brady in first place with five riders remaining.”
    “Good for you,” Conner said, clapping his best friend on the back. “But I’m gonna beat your ass.” Finally he allowed himself to turn around. Standing not thirty feet from him, looking at him as if he were a dessert buffet and she was a starving chocoholic, was Jessica. She licked her lips and Conner barely stifled a groan. His dick took notice and he ruthlessly forced it back down. Riding with a hard-on was a bad idea for a whole bunch of reasons, not the least of which was the riders didn’t wear cups and getting bounced around on a bull while sporting a boner was bound to be a very unpleasant experience. He allowed himself to stare her down for a moment before touching the brim of his hat in a silent salute and turning back to the chutes.
    When it was his turn to ride he was thankfully able to focus and stayed on for the full eight seconds, scoring a 90 and taking over first place. After completing his turn and picking up his bull rope from one of the bull fighters, he climbed over the rail. Now his ride was done, and he wanted to see Jessica’s arm. He had a feeling there would be a clear handprint visible on her pale skin. While that thought would have turned him on if it was his handprint on her ass and she was a willing participant, it made him want to kill if that bastard had hurt her. How often did she get manhandled? He intended to get some answers. 
    Looking around, though, he didn’t see her. Accepting congratulations from his fellow riders, he continued to scan the area around him. Where had she gone off to? Now he was pissed. She knew he wanted a look at her arm. Was she avoiding him? After the look she’d given him a few minutes ago, that possibility seemed unlikely, but maybe she’d run like a scared jackrabbit. Wouldn’t be the first time he’d scared off a woman when they got a peek at his dominant side. Maybe it was for the best. He damn well shouldn’t be opening that can of worms while he was on tour. But man, she made him want to.
    Jessica hid behind a sponsor sign, her back pressed to the cool plastic. What was she doing? She knew Conner wanted to see her arm and instinctively he wouldn’t rest until he’d tracked her down, and yet here she was, hiding from him. Isn’t this what she wanted—him coming to her on his own? She wiped her damp palms on her jeans and raised her eyes to the roof of the arena. Was she strong enough to do this? Was she strong enough to go after what she wanted?
    She knew the draft would be starting soon and she had no choice but to face him then. She had to be there to note which bulls got drawn so she could deal with the contractors tomorrow. Grabbing her bag, she peeked out from behind the sign and then darted into the corridor.
    “Thought you could avoid me?” A silky Texas drawl wound its way around her ear and she jumped.
    “C-Conner,” she whispered. Clearing her throat, she continued. “I was going to the draft area.”
    “Me too. I’ll walk with you.” He fell into line with her, making his long-legged stride shorter to match hers. “How’s your arm?”
    “Fine, truly. Thank you for asking.” She bit her lip and looked away.
    “Don’t do that.”
    Her head whipped around. “Do what?”
    “Bite your lip. It gives a man ideas.” 
    “Ideas?” God, she was turning into a parroting idiot…
    “Yeah, ideas. Ideas me and any other warm-blooded man around here would have after lookin’ at your mouth. I don’t like it.” He glanced at her. “Dammit! You’re still doing it.”
    She did, and the thought only excited her more. Her sex clenched hard and she gasped at the onslaught of sensation. 
    He stopped and looked down at her. His eyes blazed with lust and something else—anger? Was he angry with her? And if so, why?
    He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “I’ve never,” he paused and took another breath, “ever met a woman like you, Jessica. I hardly know you but you make my blood boil.” He closed his eyes for a second, and when he opened them they had cleared. Her brow lowered in confusion. “But as much as I’d like to act on the attraction I feel for you, I can’t. I won’t. You work for the tour. I can’t get involved with someone who’s employed by the tour. If it went south my career could be ruined and I can’t abide that. Have a good night.” He turned and continued down the hall, his long legs creating distance between them quickly. What had just happened?
    Jessica finished her work for the night and called her neighbor Viola to check on her apartment. Viola was watching it for her while she was on tour. Jessica’s daddy had pitched a fit when she’d decided to hold on to the place, saying it was stupid for her to spend money on an apartment she wasn’t even at eight months out of the year, but Jessica treasured her independence and had dug in her heels.
    “Viola? You sound tired. Did I wake you?” Viola wasn’t old by any stretch of the imagination, but Jessica still felt a little guilty having her bringing in her mail and watering her plants for weeks at a time between the periods Jessica could be at home.
    “No, I was just absorbed in my reading.”
    Jessica smiled. Viola went through murder mysteries like most people went through oxygen. “All right then. How are things?”
    “Oh, fine. But my life is boring, you know that. Tell me what’s going on in yours. Did you talk to that boy yet?”
    Jessica had told Viola about Conner during her last visit with the woman before leaving for New York City. She’d been bursting at the seams wanting to talk about him, and since most of her friends from high school or community college were wrapped up in their own lives she hardly talked to them anymore. Of course, she didn’t tell Viola where she’d met him—she wasn’t ready to discuss her sexual proclivities with anybody, least of all her older friend.
    “Yes, actually, I did. But it didn’t go quite like I expected.”
    “What do you mean?”
    Jessica winced as she recalled Conner’s face. “He happened along when I was trying to deal with an ornery subcontractor. They’re the guys from each farm who handle the bulls. Anyway, this guy is a real jerk. He wasn’t cooperating with me—giving me the information I need, so I threatened to disqualify his bulls. Well, he didn’t like that idea at all and grabbed my arm.”
    “He did what?”
    “It wasn’t that big a deal. Things like that happen sometimes.”
    “Did you report him?”
    “No. If I reported every guy who said or did something offensive I’d be reporting half the contractors on tour. It’s just part of life here.” She could feel Viola’s disapproval through the phone line, so she plowed ahead. “Anyway, Conner made me show him my arm. He got this look in his eye and I thought maybe he’d ask me out, but then he turned tail and ran. I don’t know what to think now. He seemed almost… I don’t know, angry or something.”
    “That I can’t help you with. I never know what men are thinking. If I did maybe I’d be married right now.” Jessica made a dismissive noise and Voila laughed.
    “Those men don’t know what they’re missing.”
    “So what’re you gonna do now?”
    “I don’t know. I guess wait and see how he reacts the next time I see him.”
    “Probably as good a plan as any.”
    “Listen, I should go. It’s late and I’m tired. The first event is always kind of crazy with everybody getting used to new rules, new staff…”
    “You take care of yourself, you hear?”
    “I promise.”
    Jessica ended the call and tossed the phone on the bed. Flopping down next to it, she blew out a loud breath. Why did Conner act so strangely around her? She resolved to find out.
Copyright 2012, Cassandra Carr


Cassandra Carr is a multi-published erotic romance writer with Ellora's Cave, Siren, and Loose Id who lives in Western New York with her husband, Inspiration, and her daughter, Too Cute for Words. When not writing she enjoys watching hockey and hanging out on Twitter. For more information about Cassandra, check out her website at, "like" her Facebook fan page at or follow her on Twitter at