Wrangler By Dani Wyatt ♥ Release Blitz

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Wrangler Release Day  

 

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After five lonely years out west, Chad Butler spots a curvy beauty in the crowd at his hometown honky-tonk and knows he has to have her. He’s going to lasso this little filly straight into his bed – and into his life.

 

Rachel Sweeting enjoys the peace she’s found in the middle of miles of cornfields with her Aunt Jessie. Her new life keeps her safely tucked away from the pain and embarrassment of her past. But, when her truck breaks down in the middle of the night and a hunky cowboy rides to the rescue, she’s knocked straight out of her boots.

 

Her romance books have told her love-at-first-sight is real and for the first time, Rachel is a believer. But when a dangerous past connection threatens their ride into the sunset, will Chad’s devotion to his woman be enough to save the day?

 

Author’s Note: This cowboy hasn’t touched a woman in years, and when he falls, it’s hard and fast, making for an instant love connection and obsessed alpha hotness. If you’re looking for love-at-first-sight, NO cheating and filthy sweetness, come sit a spell but bring a fan, it’s hot.

AP new - excerpt.jpg

This gorgeous cowboy just took my virginity, and it’s beautiful and I’m breathing in fits hoping I don’t pass out.

Chad releases his hand from my neck and attacks me with kisses, covering every inch of my face.  The contrast between this gentle sweetness and the dominant animal that just fucked me gives me goose bumps where I didn’t think you could get them.  I’m losing the battle with a word that keeps knocking around inside my head.  Love.

That’s stupid, love?  How can I love him already?

He leans in next to my ear. “You know what this means?”

I’m in heaven. His hands cover my cheeks, his thumbs slowly caressing the flushed skin.

“No. What does it mean?”  As the words leave my lips, a soaking stream of his cum leaks out from around where his cock still rests hard and full inside of me and my belly flutters, realizing what I’ve done.

Oh my god…

“I’m never letting you go.”

I like how that sounds. Especially if it means more of this.  He’s opened the floodgates. I feel insatiable, and I want him again already even with the pinching pain that reminds me of how big he is and how new I am.  But I think I should go now.

“I have to go. Aunt Jessie will worry if I don’t come back tonight. I mean, let’s be honest, we don’t know you that well.  You could be a serial killer or one of those people that likes wine coolers or leasing cars.”  I joke.

“I told you last night I wasn’t a murderer.  But, I have sipped a wine cooler.  I’m quite ashamed.”

The flash of his grin only makes my belly tighten and I hug his cock while a bright flash of fresh pain shoots from inside me.

“It’s bad?” he asks, the grin gone and replaced by a look of genuine concern.

“It’s a good kind of bad.”  I shift under him, surprised by how far I can move.  He’s covering me and caging me but keeping his weight on his arms.

My free hand traces along his jaw, feeling the stubble and I pull him down onto me, his hands leaving my cheeks, tangling into my hair.

He thickens inside of me.

Pain shoots through my abdomen, making me wince.

“What?” he asks, his voice deepening and his eyes turning stormy blue.

I smile up at him. “I feel that.”

“Feel what?” He grins back and flexes his hips, forcing me to arch my back. As his cock twitches inside me I realize he’s full and hard again, ready for more. He moves in tiny pulses, stroking me.

“God. Chad.”

“Don’t worry my sweet girl, I’ll start slow.”

Wrangler t1

 

Wrangler t2

 

AP new -about the author.jpg

 

Dani Wyatt loves her alpha men; make them military, cowboys, MMA — any uber alpha with a wicked possessive streak and an insatiable libido. Receive a free exclusive unpublished title when you join Dani’s private readers group for updates, free chapters and discounts.

http://eepurl.com/bubxzz

 

She’s a 40 something regular lady who just happens to love badass alpha males who pull your hair and love their women with a lethal passion.

 

When she’s not writing (which is not often) she is probably laughing about some irony (like A-1 Steak Sauce is vegan), riding her horse, wondering why The Walking Dead can’t have a new episode every night, or looking cross-eyed at some piece of technology sent to ruin her day.

Author Links

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Wrangler By Dani Wyatt ♥ Blog Tour

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Wrangler Blog Tour

 

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Amazon US  Amazon UK  Amazon CA Amazon AU

 

goodreads-badge.png

 

wrangler 1

 

AP new - synopsis.jpg

 

After five lonely years out west, Chad Butler spots a curvy beauty in the crowd at his hometown honky-tonk and knows he has to have her. He’s going to lasso this little filly straight into his bed – and into his life.

 

Rachel Sweeting enjoys the peace she’s found in the middle of miles of cornfields with her Aunt Jessie. Her new life keeps her safely tucked away from the pain and embarrassment of her past. But, when her truck breaks down in the middle of the night and a hunky cowboy rides to the rescue, she’s knocked straight out of her boots.

 

Her romance books have told her love-at-first-sight is real and for the first time, Rachel is a believer. But when a dangerous past connection threatens their ride into the sunset, will Chad’s devotion to his woman be enough to save the day?

 

Author’s Note: This cowboy hasn’t touched a woman in years, and when he falls, it’s hard and fast, making for an instant love connection and obsessed alpha hotness. If you’re looking for love-at-first-sight, NO cheating and filthy sweetness, come sit a spell but bring a fan, it’s hot.

 

 

AP new - excerpt.jpg

 

“Lean back.  I just want to see something.  I won’t hurt you. You know that, don’t you?”

“I don’t know anything about you,” she stutters but she leans back, her hands moving to support her body as she settles against the cotton feed sack behind her.

“Yes you do.  You know a lot about me.”  I flip the final few inches of her skirt up to her waist, my eyes dropping from her parted, pink lips to see the matching hush of cotton panties covering what’s now mine.  “You watched me tonight as much as I watched you.  You can learn a lot about someone from watching.”

“I wasn’t watching you.”  She does her best to sound indignant and I stifle my chuckle.

“See, like right now.”  I drag my fingertips over the slip of fabric between her legs, feeling the warmth and the wetness that’s seeped through.  “You’re watching me.”  I give her a little grin. Even under my thick beard, I know she sees me.

Fuck, her panties are soaked through and I rasp my fingers over where her clit is hiding under there, listening to the way her breathing hitches and catches with each slight movement of my hand.

I keep my fingers moving, my eyes on hers as I groan the words that fill my throat.  “That feels good. So good.” Even my crazy ass knuckles are happy right now just because they get to touch her. That’s how good she feels.  My eyes move from her face to watch my hand and the sight makes another few drops of cum drip out of my dick.

“I shouldn’t do this.”  Her words don’t match the needy shiver in her voice.

“You’re not doing this, I’m doing this. You’re thanking me. And I told you what I want.”

“What?”  Her voice shakes as my fingers trace around the elastic between her pussy and the sensitive crease of her inner thigh making her twitch under my touch.

I push the offending fabric away, slipping the backs of my fingers inside.  When my touch meets the first soft brush of her hairless lips I think I might lose my shit right there.

“I said, I want to know how you taste.  And that, my sweet Dove, is going to require you spreading your legs and my tongue licking right here.”  I dip a fingertip into her folds. She’s hot and dripping as I caress just inside her juicy cunt.

“These have to go,” I mutter, my other hand pulling her panties down a bit more, then reaching into my pocket and flipping open my knife.  In one swift motion, before she even knows what’s happening, I slice the blade through the soft fabric and it falls free, still caught under her luscious ass but her slick bare pussy is on full display and I’m captivated.

I snap the blade closed and slip it back into my pocket as her wide eyes look down to see her naked flesh exposed to me.

She shudders, her head falling back and her hair cascades off her shoulders and down her back as she loses the last few inches of her upright position and melts against the feed sacks.

When I do put my cock inside her where it belongs, she will own my ass forever, but I’m pretty sure she already does.  “You’re going to cum on my fingers, Dove, so I can taste you on them for the rest of the night.  Then, it’s going to be my tongue.  You want that, don’t you?  You want my tongue inside this pretty cunt.”

I massage her hard little button and she collapses the rest of the way, boneless onto the sacks of feed. Her hands fly to her face, her palms pressing to cover her eyes as her mouth opens.  She likes my filthy talk, and that’s good, because I’m going to tell her exactly how much I want her and all the things I intend to do to her.  I may be a soft spoken country boy, but she’s released every filthy, depraved thought I’ve stored up and in my mind and it’s poetry.

I explore, shifting my thumb to rub in easy, smooth circles around her clit, reaching two long fingers low to scoop out the nectar that is already streaming from her.  “Jesus, you’re so wet.  It’s so fucking beautiful.”  A little more pressure from my calloused thumb and I slip a finger into her heat.  She’s tight as fuck, and my mind can’t stop playing over and over how she will feel the first time I sink my dick into her.

My hard-on is painful, but I know I would lose all control if I let him out, and my little dove isn’t going to have her first time with me in the back of a pickup truck on the side of the road.  No, she deserves so much more, and I’m the man who is going to give it to her, just not tonight.

She presses herself upward into my fingers and lets out a whimper, throwing her hands off her eyes and above her head.  Her body is tight, like a bow string ready to release.

“Spread your legs, Dove. Wider.”  I push my finger into her until she gasps.  “Let me see how pretty that pussy is in the moonlight.”  Her breath halts, then she does as I say and that bow string pulls back tighter and tighter. When she finally opens her legs to me, I give her what she needs.

 

 

 

 

Wrangler Teaser 6

 

Wrangler Teaser 5

 

Wrangler Teaser 3

AP new -about the author.jpg

 

Dani Wyatt loves her alpha men; make them military, cowboys, MMA — any uber alpha with a wicked possessive streak and an insatiable libido. Receive a free exclusive unpublished title when you join Dani’s private readers group for updates, free chapters and discounts.

http://eepurl.com/bubxzz

 

She’s a 40 something regular lady who just happens to love badass alpha males who pull your hair and love their women with a lethal passion.

 

When she’s not writing (which is not often) she is probably laughing about some irony (like A-1 Steak Sauce is vegan), riding her horse, wondering why The Walking Dead can’t have a new episode every night, or looking cross-eyed at some piece of technology sent to ruin her day.

Author Links

Facebook  Amazon page  GoodReads

 

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Promise By Dani Wyatt ♥ Blog Tour

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promise - blog tour 

  

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Promise_Final[1]

 

Ardent Prose Synopsis

 

Some promises are made to be broken. And others start out that way.

Promise Henderson knows all about being broken. She’s a down-on-her-luck former foster kid who needs to figure out how to get her brother into her custody before the State of Ohio ruins his life forever.

 

Enter Beckett Fitzgerald. A SEAL with a scarred face, a bad sense of humor and no place to call home. He has another asset though. A big one.

For ten years he’s tried to forget the girl with snow white hair and an angels eyes, but when fate throws her into his path once again, his obsession turns possessive and sparks fly.

 

Only, Promise has a Judas by her side vying for her heart and Beckett needs to reveal the truth before he loses her forever. Debts of the past come calling and Beckett shows her just how far he’s willing to go to protect what is his.

 

This full length novel has an over the top alpha hero, a curvy girl and some very saucy sexy times. Beckett and Promise get their happily ever after, but their story will continue. So if you like a romance with a heaping helping of HOT, step inside.

 

Ardent Prose Excerpt

 

“Wider. I want to see all of you.”

The burn of his handprint on the side of my ass is turning hot, his other hand still warm and flat just above my pubic bone, owning me there until I do as I’m told.

“God damn. You are perfection,” he murmurs as if talking to himself.

Stars are dancing in my head, and I can’t form thoughts as he lowers his hand, fingers dancing on the outside of my lower lips. His intense gaze is almost more than I can stand, inspecting me like a prized possession.

“You need me to touch you.” It’s not a question, but I nod anyway.

His hands are quickly everywhere. Cupping my breasts, sliding down and holding onto my hips, over my belly, down each leg to my toes, then back up until his hands are entwined in mine over my head and his face is right above me.

“Who do you belong to?”

For a moment, I’m confused by the question. His eyes do not waver. His breath is heating my cheek as his hands pull my wrists upward, stretching me under him.

“I feel it. Tell me, Promise. Tell me you belong to me. I need to hear it.”

I completely lose myself when he lets my wrists go, his face lowers and his mouth comes down with gusto between my spread legs. I hear my own cry as his tongue goes deep inside me with such force, I cum with a spasm.

He does not relent. His hands are around my thighs, spreading me wide and utterly open for him as his tongue takes over and everything spins out of control.

In a million years, I would never have imagined being here like this. Last week, I was the girl who managed to keep everyone away. Especially someone like Beck. Someone that would want this from me.

His mouth is doing things I didn’t realize a mouth could do. He is like a ravenous dog feasting on me. I can hear his own deep, throaty sounds of pleasure, and I feel the tightness gathering again.

Just as I raise my hips, chasing down something as close to magic as is possible, Beckett pulls his face away, and I let out a pained gasp. My hands move down to find his head, and I can’t believe when I try to pull him back into me.

The spinning tension has me blind. I want what he was giving me. I need more. My body demands more.

“Get those hands back up there.” It’s a command, and with a whimper, I do what he says. “Tell me, who do you belong to?”

He takes a long, slow lick from my gushing opening to where he scrapes teeth over my swollen clit, making me yelp and make sounds that are not human. Then he raises his face to challenge me with his eyes.

You.” That single whispered word comes out of me like a bullet.

It’s barely audible, but it shakes the entire room.

Beckett smiles at me and plunges his tongue so deep, my body curls into him. He is fucking me this way, with his mouth, and it is more glorious than what I would imagine heaven could be.

His face is solidly attached to me, and he shifts, moving his tongue up and down the slick creases and folds until I feel his fingers pressed inside and his lips center over my clit.

His fingers move slowly at first, gliding deep, curling and sending another deep spasm through me.  I feel his chuckle, then he starts to move faster, his tongue and his fingers attacking me.  His knuckles slamming into me when he can go no deeper.

All my muscles begin to twitch and quake, then I turn to liquid around him. I can’t stop saying his name just before my body gushes and tips me over into a place that has Beckett holding onto me to keep my violent, twisting hips connected to him.

I’m everywhere and nowhere for an amount of time that is not quantifiable. I’m inside the fire that follows me everywhere, and waves of something so incredible are breaking over me until I let out a scream and tears sting my cheeks.

“That’s a good girl. Now, you know this is mine.”

Kissing couple

PROMISETEASER.shatter medaniwyattfixed

 

PROMISE TEASERArdentMouthcouldDo

 

Ardent Prose About The Author

 

Dani Wyatt loves her alpha men; make them military, cowboys, MMA — any uber alpha with a wicked possessive streak and an insatiable libido. Receive a free exclusive unpublished title when you join Dani’s private readers group for updates, free chapters and discounts.

http://eepurl.com/bubxzz

 

She’s a 40 something regular lady who just happens to love badass alpha males who pull your hair and love their women with a lethal passion.

 

When she’s not writing (which is not often) she is probably laughing about some irony (like A-1 Steak Sauce is vegan), riding her horse, wondering why The Walking Dead can’t have a new episode every night, or looking cross-eyed at some piece of technology sent to ruin her day.

 

Twitter  Facebook  Web  Goodreads  Amazon Page

 

Ardent 4

 

 

 

 

Promise By Dani Wyatt ♥ Release Blitz

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promise - live

 

Buy Links

 

Amazon US  Amazon UK Amazon CA

 

goodreads-badge.png

 

 

Promise_Final[1]

 

Ardent Prose Synopsis

 

Some promises are made to be broken. And others start out that way.

Promise Henderson knows all about being broken. She’s a down-on-her-luck former foster kid who needs to figure out how to get her brother into her custody before the State of Ohio ruins his life forever.

 

Enter Beckett Fitzgerald. A SEAL with a scarred face, a bad sense of humor and no place to call home. He has another asset though. A big one.

For ten years he’s tried to forget the girl with snow white hair and an angels eyes, but when fate throws her into his path once again, his obsession turns possessive and sparks fly.

 

Only, Promise has a Judas by her side vying for her heart and Beckett needs to reveal the truth before he loses her forever. Debts of the past come calling and Beckett shows her just how far he’s willing to go to protect what is his.

 

This full length novel has an over the top alpha hero, a curvy girl and some very saucy sexy times. Beckett and Promise get their happily ever after, but their story will continue. So if you like a romance with a heaping helping of HOT, step insi

 

Ardent Prose Excerpt

 

“Where’s your bedroom?” His voice is deep and firm as his hands move lower, around my throat, gently tightening then letting go, and my head is full of some kind of heavy mist because I forgot where my room is.

“Down there, on the left.” I hear my answer, not sure what part of my brain is actually still functioning.

“I’ll get you to work on time, but I need you right now, and you need me.”

His hands whip around and scoop under my arms, lifting me like a doll to cling to him face to face. My body feels weightless, and my ankles lock around his back.

The motion of his walk and the nearness of his lips turn the quivering between my legs into a craving.

“That feel good?” he asks, tightening his grip, pressing me into him. I can feel the fabric of his t-shirt against my clit.

The scent of coffee and something masculine and spicy is making me feel drunk. I bury my face in his neck and inhale. I love the texture of his fresh shave, just a hint of course beard creating friction against my cheek. There is a burning inside me, and I want it — him — to consume me. To keep me here, clinging onto him.

His hands play up and down my spine as I hear him kick open the door to my bedroom.

Shit. Wait…

But the pause in his step reminds me of why I don’t want people in here.

I hold my breath, waiting for his arms to loosen and my feet to hit the ground as he stares at the furious disaster that is my bedroom.

But, he steps forward without a word, his lips on my cheek. Three more steps and he lays me down gently on my bed, pushing my hands over my head before rising to full height. For a moment, I see what others see.

His face turns from that smiling Beckett that helped me find my own smile to this intense monster with a primal glare looking down at me like his prey. When his brow comes together, the light from behind those amazing eyes offset with the close cut of his black hair sends me spinning.

“So fucking perfect.” He tastes me with his eyes, and I can feel it somewhere inside me that is new. Somewhere I’ve kept sealed up. Sealed off. Because it’s the place he could hurt me most.

I bring my arms down in defense. He’s seeing things I don’t want him to see.

His eyes flash, and his face turns dark.

“Don’t fucking do that. Don’t ever cover yourself in front of me. Understand?”

He’s using that voice again, and I don’t know whether to be frightened or cum.

He leans down, becoming a bridge over me as I stretch my arms back up to where he’d placed them.

“That’s good. Keep them there.” His lips are perfect, and they’re on mine. Little pathetic noises escape me as his tongue glides inside my lips. He doesn’t rush, and I want more. I want fast. But, the way he’s looking at me, it’s clear — I’m not the one in charge.

I want him inside of me. It’s all I can think as our mouths turn and move against each other.

This is what a kiss is meant to be. Something as simple as lips touching can make me feel like we know things about each other no one else knows. I’m telling him so many things I could never say out loud, and his kiss is telling me he wants to know it all.

His lips move to my forehead, feather soft, knowing more new things about me, and it takes all my will not to bring my hands down to wrap around whatever part of him I can reach.

I have to concentrate to take each breath. Some are deep yet most are so shallow, my head is getting lighter and lighter until I feel like I’m floating. Or falling.

Right into him. Hoping he’ll catch me.

Both his hands move up and tangle in my hair, holding me firm as his warm mouth discovers my collar bones, and then moves down, sucking my tit so deep into his mouth, I let out a cry.

My sounds loosen something in him. I feel it.

His lips turn to teeth on my sensitive flesh, biting down until my cry turns to a scream, but my hips raise up, my body begging for so much more.

I want this; I want this pain because it comes from him.

And, it fills in parts of me that need filling.

He moves to the other side, dropping one hand from my hair and grazing down over my stomach.

I can feel his power as he releases me from his mouth, his hand flat on my belly and his eyes watching me as I lie quivering.

“Spread your legs.” It’s not a request; it’s clearly an order.

And I freeze.

 

 

PROMISETEASERNo,ohbabe

 

Passionate couple in bed

 

PROMISE Teaser Ardent Kind of trouble

 

Ardent Prose About The Author

 

Dani Wyatt loves her alpha men; make them military, cowboys, MMA — any uber alpha with a wicked possessive streak and an insatiable libido. Receive a free exclusive unpublished title when you join Dani’s private readers group for updates, free chapters and discounts.

http://eepurl.com/bubxzz

 

She’s a 40 something regular lady who just happens to love badass alpha males who pull your hair and love their women with a lethal passion.

 

When she’s not writing (which is not often) she is probably laughing about some irony (like A-1 Steak Sauce is vegan), riding her horse, wondering why The Walking Dead can’t have a new episode every night, or looking cross-eyed at some piece of technology sent to ruin her day.

 

Twitter  Facebook  Web  Goodreads  Amazon Page

 

Ardent 4.JPG

 

 

 

 

 

Promise By Dani Wyatt ♥ Chapter Reveal

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promise - chapter reveal

 

Release Date March 24th

 

Add to your Goodreads shelf now.

 

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Promise_Final[1]

Ardent Prose Synopsis

 

Flames stole his childhood. Scorched his family. Scarred his face. Beckett Fitzgerald assimilated his hatred and his pain and gave it to the government. They trained him to kill and his life was set. Or so he thought.

 

Promise Henderson lives in quiet desperation. Her art is her solace, her brother her world. Only the State of Ohio has control over him and her only purpose left in life is to save Jordan from the same horrors she suffered. When the scarred face of a dark haired man with Monet blue eyes and a warrior’s countenance walks into her life everything changes.

 

When Beckett sees her, he knows this is his last chance. The little girl from the courtroom ten years ago is standing in front of him and he knows he cannot fail her again. One moment — one choice he made altered the course of her life forever. He must decide to go back to the only life that made sense to him, or tear down her walls and settle the debts of the past.

 

Ardent Prose Excerpt

 

Chapter One

Beckett

{Eight Years Later}

I’ve got my hand over Denise’s mouth.

She’s the loudest woman I’ve ever fucked. Not that I’ve fucked that many, I have to be honest, but enough to know that Denise is loud.

Her dime store, blue eyeshadow and the ever present snapping piece of Wrigley’s Spearmint didn’t deter my cock from being seduced by my landlord.

She’s Mrs. Robinson with red hair and a tramp stamp.

Her thirty-something body is twisted under me like a pretzel, the crooks of her elbows locked around the bend of her knees, holding herself high and wide. It’s how she likes it, and it sets my dick coal-miner deep, so win-win.

I’m in fifth gear. The sound of wet flesh slapping and the bed denting the plaster wall must be heard in all seven bedrooms plus the kitchen of this makeshift boarding house on the low rent end of Cleveland’s ass. Denise is letting loose, bucking like we’re in a damn rodeo while I try to muffle her crazy-ass screams with my hand.

I mean, come on. All that noise is distracting as fuck. I like to know the chick taking it from me is getting off, but I don’t need the whole fucking zip code to know.

She’s about to toss us both off the mattress when I realize the sheet is tangled around my foot. If we don’t finish this up, I may end up in the ER with a snapped ankle and a story to tell. I’m trying to kick the twisted linen off and not miss a beat. This is the second round with her this morning, and I should be enjoying myself, right?

But, I can’t keep my eyes off the clock.

7:41 AM.

Wrap it up, Mrs. Robinson.

I take my hand off her mouth. Her dilated, red-rimmed, emerald eyes widen then she gasps.

“Oh gawwwddddd— oh god!”

She starts right up with the fucking noise, so I slap my palm back onto her mouth.

I tip my hips, grinding down into her until her eyes roll to white, and I feel the tightness start to grab my dick. Then, I feel a warm rush as she gushes and from the way she’s flouncing and quivering, I’m hoping she’s done.

The muscles in my back spasm when Denise let’s go and her ankles lock behind my ass. I knock the last thrust home, and my chin falls to my chest. I cum along with her. It’s a sense of relief, but that’s about it.

A minute later, I’m off the bed, the discarded latex already taking a spin into the sewer and the shower heating up.

“You…” She points to me, making that single word sound like an accusation.

Denise is propped up on the threadbare floral pillows, checking her manicure and snapping on a fresh piece of Wrigley’s. Her tits are motionless, silicone coconuts standing unnaturally high on her torso.

Personally, I prefer whatever size mother nature designed. I’ll take a double A true-blue over triple D fakery any day.

“You’re gonna get me in trouble, you know that? I shoulda never rented you that room.”

A touch of her Brooklyn roots comes through.

“How are you in trouble?” I put one hand on my forehead and one on my chin and jerk my head around. The twist and the pop pop pop as much a part of my morning routine as taking a piss.

I blow out a breath, feeling the momentary pressure-release the neck cracking gives. I’ll do that twenty times today. I have to.

No. Of course not. But someone’s gonna catch on. And, I don’t even want to talk about Leon. If he finds out, we’re both dead. That lady in that back bedroom looks like a bible thumper. She might stick her nose where it doesn’t belong.” Denise’s shrill voice rakes on my nerves. She is so much more appealing when my damn dick is in charge.

I want to tell her if she didn’t howl like a fucking hyena on a fresh carcass, maybe half the neighborhood wouldn’t know she was letting the resident who rents room 4B bone her twice a day and three times on Saturday.

Why I don’t have a better sense of self-preservation, I’m not sure. I should. I‘ve seen enough shit to last me seven lifetimes.

She’s right about Leon. He would probably kill me first, then kill her with my dead body.

“How would Leon find out? Huh? You said he got picked up last night, right?” I have to yell over the rush of the shower as I stick my hand in to check the temperature.

The steam is hanging in clouds and beginning to mist the mirror that is cracked like an old road map. Whoever mounted it must have been on their knees or ten years old. All I can see in it is the bottom of the shiny, textured skin on my left shoulder and the cut of my abs… along with the shadows of my ribs.

I need some groceries.

I like this mirror. My face is not my best feature.

I step into the shower trying to keep my thoughts about the day in check.

“Yep, he got picked up at the Diablo’s.  That biker bar on 2nd.” I hear the faint squeak of the bed springs just when I lean back into the steaming water, squirting shampoo into my hand.

Denise’s sharp voice makes me jump as she pokes her head around the shower curtain, her eyes shamelessly settling down below my waist with a wicked grin.

Not again, crazy. I’ve got real life happening today.

“He’s in holding at county.” She glances up over my chest, avoiding my face, then back down. “Two warrants and he won’t see the judge ‘til Monday.” She’s snapping her gum, and each time she does it my neck twitches.

My twitching is nothing new, but she’s not helping. Today isn’t just another day. It’s when a judge decides what I already know. That I am perfectly capable of taking care of myself without help from the State of Ohio.

Don’t climb in here with me, please.

I lay my head back into the stream of hot water and close my eyes. Luckily, when I look again, her face is gone.

I throw on the one dress shirt I own and a worn pair of khakis. It’s the best I’ve got, and it’s been my standard uniform for the many days I’ve found myself visiting the fifth district court over the years.

One swipe of my fingers through my hair and I’m ready. I can’t see myself in the damn mirror without bending down, but I’m sure I’m as presentable as need be. I grab my backpack, double check my files and sketchbook are inside, then deep breath, and I’m on my way. My hand is on the door, my mind already halfway down the street.

“Do you even know how old I am?” I spin my head around to see Denise sitting on the edge of the bed, the sheets still twisted in a heap.

I grit my teeth until my jaw pops.

“No.”

Her eyes light on my face then dart away. I’m used to people looking away, but when that person  just came on my dick four times, they should give me the courtesy of looking at me when they talk.

“Well, I’m not telling you.” She flashes me what she thinks is a coy smile, but it comes off as sad. She stands up and takes a step toward me.

Jesus, whatever.

I should tell her she’s beautiful. That’s what she wants. But, I’ve never told anyone that. My mother was beautiful, and I don’t just mean in the physical sense. No woman since has made me think of that word.

“I’m leaving.” I should say something else.

Something nice, less pragmatic.  Something nice.

She still won’t look at me, standing there with her silicone double D’s and a worn, pale green bath towel in one hand.

“Bye.” She chirps going for cute, and I don’t miss her added eyeroll.

She knows where I’m going, what I have to do today, and she’s pouting? Why I don’t think with my brain instead of my dick sometimes is beyond me.

I let out the breath I’ve been holding. I shouldn’t be fucking my landlord anyway, especially since her boyfriend is facing twenty to life.

My neck is aching, and I can’t stop the urge to twist and jerk my head three more times as I pull the door shut behind me.

Half a step down the hall and I hear the click of the bedroom door latch opening.

“Hey.” Denise’s voice is softer.

I turn and see the towel is thankfully around her torso. Her bedroom is on the first floor, and this hallway has three other rented bedrooms. So, it’s common courtesy to at least wear a towel where there may be other eyes — though I’ve lived in plenty of places where the word courtesy is as foreign as proper hygiene.

“Good luck today.” She forces herself to look me in the eyes. I can see her counting silently, trying to maintain eye contact a few seconds longer than makes her comfortable.

“Thanks,”  I say.

She looks down at the floor after a few seconds, and I make my way toward the back door.

At the end of the hall, I’m already wondering who I’ll be at the end of the day. Will I feel different? Will there be any relief?

“I could fall in love with you, you know.” Her voice knocks me in the back of the head.

Oh, hell no.

I’m not turning around for that. Not now. Not today.

~~~~~~

 

It is ironic that on a day like today when something big is about to happen, I notice more of the small things.

Dimitri that works the metal detector didn’t shave this morning.

I toss my wallet, keys, and cell phone in the little plastic tray. No one needs to tell me what to do.

I also know exactly how much money I have in my wallet. Exactly zero.

Dimitri gives me a full nod with eye contact this morning.

Even he knows.

We’ve never exchanged much more than a few words here and there over the years. Today, I see something else in the movement of his head, the way he takes a deeper breath as I pass.

I fucking hate pity.

I step through the X-ray archway.

With any luck, when I walk out of here, I’ll be legit. On my own, according to the great State of Ohio.

Not that I haven’t been on my own for a long freakin’ time already. But, according to the law, I still need supervision. That shit is hilarious.

I grab my wallet and keys after I’m cleared through the metal detector when I look down and see the dark gray, flattened spot of someone’s discarded gum on the marble floor.

What kind of asshole does that?

I guess some asshole that might not like the way things are going for them. This place is ripe with people who think they’re getting the shitty end of the stick. Most of them sharpened the damn stick themselves and went about doing as much damage with it as they could. Then, they’re surprised when their lives turn into an episode of Cops.

You need a license for almost anything, right?

Want to drive? Well, you need to take a class, then a test, and then you have to abide by a fuck-ton of rules, or they will snatch that precious piece of freedom from you.

You want a dog? Get a license.

You want to burn leaves in the fall? You need a permit.

You want to start a business? Get a shit-ton of licenses, permits, and forms.

You wanna have a kid? Do your thing, nothing else required.

All along the top of the hallway ahead of me, there are slanted white streaks of dusty sunlight filtering through elevated windows. I’ve made this trek so many times.

I see the wide eyes and pinched brows on the people I pass. There is an overwhelming stink of old cigarette smoke when I walk by a forty-something lady with a worn, thick manila envelope clutched in her hand.

It’s not enough that none of the damn windows open in this catacomb of limestone and marble. You add in too many humans and not enough soap, stir that up with lawyers and the sharp scent of whatever they use to polish the floors, and my stomach is ready to reveal my breakfast.

My boots make a thunk-scrape sound with each step. Thunk-scrape, thunk-scrape.

I dip my right shoulder and put more weight on the right step than the left. For some reason, today I notice the uneven cadence.

Miriam at the information desk has a line of irritated people in front of her, yet she still manages to catch my eye, and I wink.

She tugs her lips to the side in an attempt to squash her smile. In her job, it’s important to stay in character. Just as quickly as I pick up on the rare curve of her lips, I see the same look that Dimitri gave me.

Pity and relief.

People pity me either because they know my past or because they can see the evidence of it on my face.

People feel relieved because whatever has happened to me, hasn’t happened to them.

I notice the way kids stare and adults look away. By now, it’s just an observation. I used to get pissed, now I understand.

I get it.

I catch a reflection in the glass that runs along the mile-long hallway outside the courtroom doors. I tower above most people. My hair isn’t unruly, but it does need a cut. Due to budgetary restrictions, a trip to the barber will have to wait.

The wall of glass is on my right, the heavy doors along my left. I hear the sniffles of a girl before I see her. I look down where she stands next to a bored looking woman with a thick file in her hands.

God damn, how hard would it be just to talk to her? Comfort her? Distract her from whatever bullshit is waiting for her today.

She’s probably six years old. I can’t help but notice she has a huge, unkempt knot in her dirty, blonde hair. She’s wearing a ponytail, a messy one, but no one bothered to brush her fucking hair before she came to court. Really?

On top of that, her socks don’t match, and she’s wearing green sweatpants with a cartoon image of The Hulk on one pant leg. Her oversized, yellow t-shirt hangs off one shoulder, and I can see the jut of her collarbones through her pale skin.

Jesus, my heart breaks looking at her.

Sorry kiddo, life ain’t fair. Get a good armor going.

I try to smile at her, but she won’t meet my eye. I want to scoop her up and tell her I get it. I understand. You can’t trust anyone. Especially the adults.

A blast of cool air hits me as I open the doors to Judge Horace Carmichael’s courtroom. I give my eyes a moment to adjust to the dim light, and I knit my brow straining to see as I step inside.

From behind, Louis’s voice greets me.

“Early as usual.” He has a voice that needs to be on the radio.

I like Louis. He’s the only — and I do mean only — person I’ve met in this bureaucracy that even hints at still retaining some humanity.

And a sense of humor.

That is not easy.

Louis’s barrel chest and dark stare would be intimidating attached to anyone else. He’s a monolith, towering over me by a good three inches. He must get his hair buzzed every day, because, in all the years I’ve known him, I’ve never seen it noticeably longer or shorter. A few more silver hairs replace black each year, but that’s the only change I’ve been able to detect.

“Yep. So, everything good? You think we’re good?” I despise the insecurity in my voice.

“Well, you know I’m always honest.” He gives me a reassuring smile. “Yes, I think we’re good. Could it still go sideways? Sure, there’s always that chance.”

“Fuck.” My hands go up and over my head, rubbing back and forth, gaining momentum. I can’t believe we could come this far and have it all fall apart.

I’m not going back. They can hang me by my balls; I’m not going. I will not live another day in another foster home.

“Hey.” Louis senses my rising ire, and he knows that will not work in my favor in front of the judge. “Breathe. I have a good feeling, okay? We’ve got all your bills, school records, recommendations — all the proof you’ve been knocking it out of the park on your own. You are the most organized almost-eighteen-year-old I’ve ever met.” He laughs, but I can still hear that halt of doubt in his voice.

I’m making a sound like a pressure relief valve on a steam engine when Louis lands a solid hand on my shoulder. My neck is twitching like a motherfucker.

After almost a year of taking care of myself under the watchful eye of my current social worker, I get a notice that Child Protective Services wants to place me in yet another foster home.  Fuck that.  I worked my ass off getting them to agree to let me live on my own even though I had just turned seventeen at the time.  They said it was a probationary arrangement, but I hit all my high notes for a year.  I worked, paid my bills, kept my grades in the four-dot-oh range and then this?

So, after I got the letter, I wrangled Louis and my social worker and petitioned the court to release me permanently from the nurturing care of CPS.  I’m just a bump shy of my eighteenth, so fucking come on already.

Louis gives my shoulder a squeeze, he can feel my tension.  He’s one of the only people I let touch me. I’m not a fan of people in my personal space.

“I’ve got another case coming before Judge Carmichael today. She should be here by now.” He scans the nearly empty courtroom and looks at his watch. “Just wait here, and I’ll be back.”

Louis turns away as I settle into the rearmost row of benches tossing my backpack next to me.

He stops a few steps away. “You bring your notebook?” He sets his eyes on me, raising his eyebrows.

It’s a rhetorical question; he knows I have it. I always have it.

“I want you to start right now. You’ll want to have something about today. I’ve got a feeling things will go your way.”

Over the years, I’ve discovered that sketching and drawing relieves my stress. Whenever I have a court date, I’m sketching faces, writing down thoughts, snippets of things I hear. It’s become a part of me.

Louis is out the door. There are two other people inside with me, huddled together in the kind of hushed whispers you find in the cool darkness of a court of law.

The room feels like a bulkhead, and no one leaves quite the same way they came in.

I unzip the top of my back pack and pull out my files and sketchbook.  I flip it open to a blank page and shift forward on the bench to dig for the pencil in my back pocket. I set pencil to paper. I love the sound of the surfaces meeting, and then making something new from the friction. I start writing.

Let this be the last fucking time.

I can’t go back.

I won’t go back.

The soft squeak of the hinges on the massive door draws my eye.

The very instant I lay eyes on her, my pencil comes to life.

Louis is guiding a young man a little younger than me inside the courtroom and gets him settled in a bench toward the front.

Right behind him, I see another little girl accompanied by what must be her social worker hustling into the room. Her eyes dart around like a cornered mouse, their color near translucent. Like the crystal clear shallow water of a tropical shore, I want to look away, but I’m mesmerized. Her hair falls to her waist in a tangle of silk the color of antique porcelain. She is as close to a living, breathing china doll as there could ever be.

My eyelids burn when she turns toward me. Her ivory cheek is decorated with an angry purple and red circle. I notice how she crinkles her nose when she looks up at the woman by her side, hoping she will be the one to save her. Because I can see she needs saving.  Then for just a moment, our eyes meet.

This broken, little soul with white hair and skin to match digs her sheer blue eyes into mine so deep, I feel her fear. My heart shatters inside my chest as I see the pain in her eyes and the way she moves so softly, gliding instead of walking.  Her arms around her waist, holding onto herself, hoping for protection that she seems to know will never come.

Someone else was born inside of me that day. Someone that knew she was part of me.

 

Ardent Prose About The Author

 

Dani Wyatt loves her alpha men; make them military, cowboys, MMA — any uber alpha with a wicked possessive streak and an insatiable libido. Receive a free exclusive unpublished title when you join Dani’s private readers group for updates, free chapters and discounts.

http://eepurl.com/bubxzz

 

She’s a 40 something regular lady who just happens to love badass alpha males who pull your hair and love their women with a lethal passion.

 

When she’s not writing (which is not often) she is probably laughing about some irony (like A-1 Steak Sauce is vegan), riding her horse, wondering why The Walking Dead can’t have a new episode every night, or looking cross-eyed at some piece of technology sent to ruin her day.

 

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