Play Me to Infinity – Sample Chapter

As this next week trickles by and you’re undoubtedly growing more and more impatient for the release of Play Me to Infinity, I figured you could use a heftier dose than a simple teaser. Enjoy!

Play Me
Release Date: March 29, 2016

Chapter 1

 

I sat at Fairfax, checking out the flavors of the evening while unwinding from a grueling day at the office.  It was slim pickings in the crowd, but the night was still young.

Sitting in the back corner at a table by herself, I spotted her.  Nicole.  I might have turned her unsavory attitude around where my brother-in-law, Jake, was concerned, but the woman now had a gun out for me.

Okay, so you’ve surmised that I’m single, perhaps even a player, and I’ll admit that you’re somewhat right.

I enjoy my bachelorhood… well, sort of.  I wouldn’t say that it’s the lifestyle I’d have chosen for myself, more like one chosen for me, thanks to my ex-fiancée.

Loving Tracey with everything I had hadn’t been good enough.  Despite the numerous warnings from friends, I had been living by the ‘denial is bliss’ adage until one day, the flip of her hair, the wiggle of her tight ass, and the batting of her lashes no longer clouded my perception.

After six months of dealing with her deceit, I shredded my devoted fiancé card and moved on.  I’ve been playing the field for a year and a half since.

Truth be told, I don’t have time for a relationship, as much as I’d prefer one.  I’m the CEO of Withers International, a multi-million-dollar company that specializes in public and government relations.  Need I say more?

Ben knocked me back into the present as he dropped himself in the seat across from me.  “Rough day?”

“Rough few months is more like it.”  I huffed out a breath.  “I need a new assistant.”

The man’s brows furrowed.  “You still haven’t gotten rid of Karen?”

A dry laugh escaped.  “You mean Tania.”  I didn’t have the gall to look at my friend, knowing I’d be met with his disapproving look, and rightly so.  As of late, there was quite the revolving door where my PA’s were concerned.

“Why do you do this to yourself?”

Okay, so I may have overstepped the boundaries on employer-employee relations.  In my defense, they were the ones who approached me, not the other way around.

Ben shook his head at me.  “Tracey really did fuck you up.  This is ridiculous.”

I took a swig from my beer and let out a loud tension-filled sigh while leaning my bottle in my best friend’s direction.  “You don’t know the half of it.”

 

It was late, and despite the fact that I’d made it out tonight, my interest in entertaining a possible suitor to cap off my day was lost once Ben returned to his bartending duties.

What about Nikki?  As soon as the thought occurred, I almost choked on my last sip of beer.  I would have to be desperate – no, insane – to even approach that man-eater.

Despite my intent on ignoring the woman who had eyed daggers at me all night, I turned my gaze toward the table she had been occupying to find that she was no longer there.

Nicole was a beautiful woman, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t remember much about her from our childhood.  Hell, she’d practically been a sister; and harassing her and my sister had been one of mine and Ben’s favorite pastimes.  In our later years however, she became skittish, always quick to leave the room as soon as I entered it.  The teenager I’d been had always wondered about the possibility of her having a school-girl crush.  I have to say that I enjoyed cornering her to see that blush, especially that last summer before Mom and Dad picked up and moved us all to Austin.

Shaking the memories from my mind, I left my empty bottle on the table.  As I turned to leave, I plowed into a tiny body.  Bracing my hands on the soft skin of slim shoulders to prevent the person from toppling over, I found myself staring down into bright green pools laced with flames that were Nicole’s eyes.

What color do they turn when…?  I groaned at the imagery that flashed through my mind.  Forget it, bud, there’s no way in hell that you want to go there.

“Watch where you’re going.”

“Sorry,” I mumbled, my voice a few octaves lower than normal.

“D-do you mind moving?”

Her unsettled demeanor had me smirking.  “Do I make you nervous, Little Nikki?”

As I let go of her shoulders, she stepped back.

“No.”  She gave me a saccharine smile, but her eyes showed mischievousness.  “You make me nauseous.  Now, get out of my way.”

As she made to pass me, I grasped her elbow.  “You know,” I leaned toward her ear, the subtlety of her scent clouding my thoughts momentarily, “if you’re ever looking for someone to help you get that stick out of your ass, I’d be more than-”

The claws came out.  “Bite me!”

“I’d love to, sugar.”  I grinned, pulling away just in time to see her face turn a delightful shade of pink.  Yes, that blush was still as much fun to bring about now as it was back in the day.

As quick as our interaction occurred, it ended when she turned and trotted off.

My gaze turned to follow her exiting the bar.  I let out a low whistle as I watched those hips sway in that skirt of hers.  Her rounded ass filled the material to perfection and images of that luscious derrière, bent over as I took her from behind began playing in my head.

Damn!  It’s too bad she’s as cold as ice.

And that was my cue to head home.

 

I came to a stop in front of my large four-bedroom house and sighed.  Purchased to avoid the cramped lofts and high-rise condos, it was a constant reminder of the dream I once had of a home filled with children and a woman to worship.  Nowadays, all I had to look forward to was the cold beer in my fridge, my comfortable furniture, and a house filled with silence.

Silence.  It was always there when you didn’t want it, and never there when you needed it.

Over the last eighteen months, I kept my new façade intact, my machismo held close to the vest in an effort to mask that I was a family man to the core.  Being honest, I was miserable.  Lonely.

Maybe it’s time to take a chance?  It had been two years since I’d left Tracey, a year and a half since I chose to have absolutely nothing to do with my ex.

Danica, Jake, and so many others disagree with the casualness with which I treated my suitors, but they understood why I did it.  Well, most of them, with the exception of my sister’s judgmental best friend, Nicole that is.

So why wasn’t I going for it after two years?

The answer was simple: I was scared.

As I settled into bed, I came to realize that maybe it was time I let go of my pessimism where relationships were concerned.

Want more where that came from? Pre-order your ebook copy of Play Me to Infinity right now and be one of the first to discover how Mike’s journey turns out!

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Sampling the Heat: Part I

I thought it fun to give you lovely readers, a subtle taste of the first book in The Broken Men Chronicles series. Let me give you a little insight–beyond the book’s jacket–on Paxton in Once Written, Twice Shy.
Once Written Twice Shy Full

Prologue

I stared at the overly large bags that lay by the front entrance with what must have been the world’s largest what the fuck look on my face.

“I can’t do this anymore,” she said.  Her words tore me to shreds.

“What do you mean you can’t do this anymore?  Julie, you haven’t been doing anything to fix this.”

“I’m done, Paxton.”

I ran my hands through my hair, pulling at the handful of tresses gripped between my rigid fingers.  The prickle in my scalp did enough to keep my temper in check and diffuse some of my anger.  “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

I couldn’t believe it but then again, I could.  She was giving up on everything.  My love, our life, our family; it had all disappeared in the blink of an eye.

I still loved her but in all honesty, I can also state that I haven’t been in love with her for quite some time.

We’ve been together for nearly five years.  In that time, we had built a home; one that was graced with our beautiful three-year-old son, Jasper.  My hand ran down my face.  Christ, how am I going to explain this to Jasper?

I was willing to try and work things out.  Hell, I’d even mentioned marriage counseling on multiple occasions but like everything else, work came first and the sessions had never materialized.

I looked up at the woman who stood in the entrance to what I had considered our home, frustration, anger, bitterness and that subtle feeling of failure were all too overwhelming.  “Fine,” I said, “but what about Jasper?”

“Can you keep him for this week?  It’s just until I get situated.  We can discuss custody later.”

“Where are you going?”

“Todd’s asked me to move in with him,” she said as if I had been in the know about her infidelity the entire time—no, not until a couple of months ago.

I huffed.  “So he’s still in the picture.”  I hadn’t asked as so much as accused her.  She nodded.  “How long have you two been…” I couldn’t finish the sentence.  Bile rose from my stomach.

“Does it matter?”

“Never mind,” I said in a defeated tone and looked down at my feet when all I wanted to do is ask her what happened to can we try and work things out?  I groaned at the memory and shook it out of my head in dismay.  “Get out.”

“Pax,” she said and made to step toward me with an outstretched hand.  I wasn’t about to seek comfort from the one who’d wounded me.

My blood pressure rose.  “I said get out!” I pointed toward the door, my stomach contents churning further.

The woman took off like a bat out of hell.

I was tired of having a one-sided relationship and thus relieved at the woman’s departure.  The news of her continued adultery had shocked me, especially when she had sworn to make an effort to sort things out between us.  It explained why we had remained in our separate rooms all of this time, living our lives separately as though we were roommates.  It more than proved that we were better off apart.  This was really the end of my marriage.

When I married, I had intended it to be for life.  Well, I guess life had a plan of its own, huh?

With each passing day, I picked up the broken pieces of me.  I hadn’t realized that I had stifled so much of myself over the years to try and please a woman that seemed to never be sated with anything I said or did.

Fueled by my feelings of loss and neglect, I made a decision which led me to rediscover an old love.  The proverbial flame was rekindled and I began to write again.

For what felt like an eternity, I wrote.  When I was done, I read my piece over so many times that my words no longer made sense, forcing me to put it down and go back to it later.

I stared at my finished manuscript displayed on my screen.  What am I going to do with this?

I had discovered a site, a few months before I found out about Julie’s adulterous tendencies.  It had been recommended by a colleague.  The venue allowed people from around the world to peruse and read various works written by amateurs.  Some of the work on there I found horrid while others, despite their various grammatical and punctual flaws, you wished you could set your hands on an edited and printed copy, they were so great.

What the hell.  I decided to chance it.  With a bit of copy and paste, a little restructuring, I hit the publish button and there it was.  My first written piece was out for the world to see.

It wasn’t until a few months after I had posted my work that I stumbled upon a comment that I couldn’t dismiss.  I ached for constructive feedback but the lack of it was getting to me due to the site being overrun by teenagers.  I debated getting rid of my profile altogether up until that fateful day.

That short message was where things began to change for me.  With simple words of appreciation, intellectual and heartfelt thoughts, followed by a click of her mouse, she had made me smile.

I sought her profile out and found that she was a fellow amateur writer just like me.

She’s gorgeous, had been my first impression.  Despite her evident beauty, something else could be seen in her profile photo; something that beckoned me further, begged my curiosity to look beyond the surface somehow.  It was in her eyes—loneliness.  Or was I reading into things too much since I was such a novice at these social media-like sites?

For a few weeks, I sat on her words alone as I read through some of her work.  She was good, better than good.

I thought that I’d end up with one of those written numbers that didn’t make much sense or that glittered in the night featuring vampires and werewolves.  Boy was I wrong!

The woman sure knew how to paint a vivid picture.  She pulled off the hot and sexy but kept it real all at once by adding emotion, drama, even a bit of action and suspense to her mix.  Her work was altogether something reminiscent of everyday life—the good, the bad, the ugly, the…well, you get the picture.

A few days after reading her last novel, a dream influenced by her work prompted me to finally write out an acknowledgment to her comment.  From there, we began to chat through private messages on a near daily basis.  We never stopped…

Wondering what this whole Part I thing is up in the title? Stay tuned…