Always Cambridge

Always Cambridge
Follow the saga from the beginning... Always Cambridge

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

#Excerpt First Chapter — Running Book 2 in the Always Cambridge Series #AlwaysCambridge

It's almost time for the release of book three in the Always Cambridge Series Misfortune of Birth and I just realized, I haven't shared a tease from book two Running.

So here goes:

The Always Cambridge Series chronicles the life of Holly Cambridge through her tumultuous childhood, violent teen years, into adulthood, and the consequences that stem from being the daughter of mob boss, Bill Cambridge.
                                                        * * * *


No matter how far or fast you run, you'll never escape the past.

It’s been three years since anyone has seen or heard from Holly Cambridge. But when she surfaces, she doesn't return home to the loving arms of her family. Instead, she heads straight to the FBI offering information that will destroy the Cambridge crime family.


Special Agent Alex Orton sees Holly Cambridge as nothing more than the next commendation standing between him and the ultimate promotion. What he doesn't bargain for is the shy, damaged, but feisty little woman that convinces his superiors to let her infiltrate a rival family, with Alex heading up the mission.
 

Holly and Alex clash at every turn, but Alex is intrigued by Holly’s sharp mind and boundless courage and must constantly fight his burgeoning feelings for his lovely informant. Alex is a strict disciplinarian of the rules and can’t reconcile the girl who can’t play by them.
 

As Holly carries out the sting and insinuates herself into the enemy’s camp, she develops a close and common bond with the middle Mayhue son, the exotically good looking and charismatic Victor. The very man who could end her life, if he were to discover her secret.
 

Hands tied, Alex must stand back, for the good of the team, and watch the tragedy play out.

Always Cambridge Book Two 

Running
Chapter One

I sat behind my desk reading over the file. Not that I needed to. I knew every detail. I could barely contain the rush of excitement at the thought of finally getting started. This case would earn me the final commendation I needed to get promoted. Holly Cambridge, the mob bosses’ daughter, was my steppingstone to greatness.
 
“Right in here, Ms. Cambridge.”
 

“Thank you.”
 

The sound of the soft polite reply immediately snagged my attention from the photographs scattered across the desktop. The Bureau surveillance photos on file were old, taken on another operation. She’d been blonde, then, a young looking sixteen, according to the dossier. In almost every photo the same man shadowed her, her bodyguard Randy Phillips, and later Luke Walker.
 

I observed the twenty-one year old brunette before me. Her hair was now shoulder length, except for the wispy bangs that gave one the impression that she used them to hide behind. Which, to my knowledge, was exactly what she’d been doing since she’d left her family and gone on the run three years prior, taking documentation of their illegal activities with her. It was with a letter that she’d first approached my superiors, Trey and Sid with, identifying her father as the suspect responsible for her mother’s murder, and not the rival mob family that had long been the
suspicion.
 

I stood as my betters, Trey Thompson and Sid Morgan, ushered her into my office. She appeared dwarfed between the two formidable men. I had the privilege of working with both of these dedicated, no-nonsense agents. I learned from them. I admired and looked up to them. I wanted to be them. To follow in their footsteps up the ladder of success.
 

“May I get you a beverage, Miss Cambridge?”
I squinted at Trey in surprise as he all but simpered at the young woman.
 

“No. Thank you. I’m fine. Please Agent, Thompson. It’s Holly.” She smiled slightly.
 

“Holly, then.” He coughed nervously.
 

I couldn’t help but grin at the older man. She was young enough to be his granddaughter, for Christ’s sake. I’d never seen the pair of them fall all over anyone, but they practically came to blows escorting our informant to the chair positioned in front of my desk.
 

And here was the only hitch in this whole dream assignment. Having to work with her. I’d already assessed that attempting to convince Trey and Sid that she was going to be trouble, was futile.
 

I didn’t have a problem with finding out what she knew or what info she had on her family. I didn’t mind picking her brain or climbing right inside her head if need be, to collect Mob Intel. The hindrance was, they also wanted my team and me to facilitate an infiltrate of the rival family, the Mayhues. Miss Cambridge had somehow persuaded them that only she could gain entry into the inner sanctum of her adversaries, and now I had to find some way to convince my bosses that she was in way over her head. She needed to step back and let the professionals take over. We could just as easily insert a female undercover. I mean, honestly, what were they thinking, serving up the mob princess right into the clutches of her enemies. It was insane and reckless. And I had no intention of jeopardizing my people, nor would I submit to her blackmail.
 

Sid and I’d had this same argument earlier this morning, before they brought her in. He pulled rank and directed me to do my job or I would be replaced as lead on this case. I was not about to let that happen. This case was too important to me. I would do my job. I was extraordinarily good at it. I would manipulate the situation and simply convince her there was no possible way she was capable of attaining the desired outcome. She would realize her shortcomings and come to her senses. She would gracefully back out with Sid and Trey and I would then be able to run my operation and my people to achieve our objective without having to babysit Miss Soprano.
 

Holly Cambridge was obviously one of those women who thought she could use her looks to get anything she wanted, accustomed to having her own way. She’d been protected, pampered, sheltered by her mob daddy. No doubt, she would be spoiled and impossible to work with.
 

I’d read the file. According to the information I’d received, she was allegedly intelligent. Her transcripts were beyond reproach. But I also knew how simple it would be to doctor such things. Just as easy as it would have been for her family to change her name at the outset, making it possible for her to attend university under an assumed name. It was essentially effortless to re-write one’s history. So, I wasn’t anticipating much. Nor did I expect to trust anything that came out of her mouth. As far as I was concerned, she was using the other evidence that she had obtained as means to blackmail Sid and Trey into agreeing to her terms. If they gave her the Mayhues, she’d give them the Cambridges in return.
 

“Agent Alex Orton, Miss Holly Cambridge.” He said her name like a proud papa.

I extended my right hand in greeting. My first mistake. I’d read the file. I was aware of her injury. But I stupidly put myself at a deficit with her right from the beginning. It made me seem unprepared and uninformed, two things I never was.
 

She smiled slightly as she extended her left hand. She might as well have mocked me verbally in front of my betters. I retracted my greeting, realizing my error.
 

She looked down at the open file and photographs of herself and her family strewn across my desktop. “Haven’t made it that far yet?” Her nose crinkled and her eyes sparkled. And if I wasn’t mistaken, she gave me a quick wink of amusement.
 

I was not amused. The intimation that I hadn’t done my homework pissed me off, especially in front of Sid and Trey. It just confirmed my first instincts. This woman and I would not work well together.
 

I noticed her right wrist was wrapped up tightly in a stiff looking brace.
I extended my opposite hand, out of politeness. I wasn’t certain that I would have conveyed that much civility if not for the scrutiny of my superiors.
 

I shook her small hand firmly, then looked into her eyes, and I finally caught a glimpse of what the other two men might have been competing for. The surveillance photos did not do her justice. She was striking. She had the most unique greens eyes I’d ever seen. It was my job to notice details and I could honestly say I’d never encountered their colour before.
She surveyed me steadily. She didn’t seem intimidated by me at all.
 

“Miss Cambridge.” I nodded stiffly in greeting.
 

“Agent Orton,” she replied, slipping her palm from my grip, giving me the impression she didn’t wish to be in contact with me any more than I did her.
 

“We’ll leave you in Alex’s capable hand, Miss Cambri…er, Holly,” Trey uncharacteristically stumbled.
 

“As usual, if there is anything you need, feel free to contact either one of us at any time,” Sid added.
 

“Thank you. Agent Thompson. Agent Morgan,” she acknowledged them formally and sat down primly in the chair as they left.
 

I took my own seat. Staring at me expectantly, she waited. I flipped the folder closed and I began to gather the pictures.
 

“Those are old photographs,” she said softly, leaning forward slightly.
 

“Clearly,” I said coldly, barely sparing her a glance.
Her gaze skittered away. Perhaps she was more nervous in my presence than I had earlier assessed. Or now that she was alone with me, she’d realized I was a little tougher to charm than my predecessors.
 

“Do you realize what you are getting yourself into? I would like to strongly advise you to leave this to us. We are the specialists. We are trained to handle every situation…”
 

“Would you like to go over the file, Agent Orton?” She cut me off. I couldn’t believe her audacity. The spoiled little…
 

I continued speaking as if she hadn’t. “…And the further risk you will be placing on my agents because of your inexperience is unacceptable. We welcome your input and the inside information that you can provide for us…”
 

“The file, then.” She determinedly interrupted again.
 

I clenched my jaw shut in irritation.
 

“I get it, Agent Orton. You don’t like me. You don’t like my kind. But you don’t have to like me to work with me. You don’t know me. You can read that file front to back and memorize every detail about my life, but you still will not know me. The only thing you need understand about me is that I am determined to end the activities of both families once and for all. Or I will die trying…”
 

“And you intend to take as many of my agents with you, with this half-baked scheme of yours. I will not allow it!” I stormed.
 

“My concern for the safety of every person, on both sides, is paramount, Agent Orton.”
 

That was another thing that disturbed me. Where did her loyalties lie? She included both sides in her statement, the mobsters and the Feds in equal value.
 

She continued. “That is another thing you will never determine from that folder. Everything I have done since I was sixteen, I did to protect the ones that are important to me. I left to protect…”
 

“My agents are not vital to you, Miss Cambridge, they are just a means to an end for you.”
 

“That’s not true. They are important to me. I respect all the lives involved here, Agent. That is why I couldn’t abide the life style I was forced to endure. I will not be foolish when it comes to the safety of your people. And I promise you here and now that if anything happens during the operation to endanger your team I will step back and let them take over. But I can help. I know how things work. I know how they think. I know the inner workings and I will be able to adapt…”
 

“Let’s go over the file.” I would humour her for the time being. “We’ll start with the Cambridge file. And if there is time we will attempt to outline the Mayhue…”
 

She sat back in the chair and folded her arms over her small frame. 

“Perhaps there is another agent…” She all but dismissed me.
 

“Another agent?” I leapt from my chair in outrage.
 

“Your obvious hostility towards me seems to be clouding your judgeme…”
 

“You, Miss Cambridge, know nothing of me! I am the best! If you wish to meet your objectives, you need me!”
She looked at me levelly, then spun the file on the desk towards her. “Well then, Agent Best,” she challenged, raising an elegant brow. “Can we get started?”
 

She didn’t wait for me to respond but began to fan out the photos. “This is Tom Bennett. He’s my father’s personal bodyguard. He is in my father’s presence ninety percent of the time. He is dangerous, ruthless and has no conscience. He will die to protect the Cambridge, but he will take out as many as he possibly can before he goes down.”
 

“This is Buddy Crane. He has been with my father for as long as I can remember. If Tom is with my father ninety percent of the time, Buddy is with him ninety-nine. He is like a shadow of William Cambridge, his minion, a glorified gopher. His yes-man. A cleaner if need be. He would also shield my father, keep things from him if the situation called for it. Or incite him if that was his whim. The thing you need to know about Buddy in relation to my father is that he can affect his mood.”
 

And as much as I tried to fight it, I found myself caught up in the sound of her voice as she tried to paint me a picture of the complex situations and relationships that had surrounded her in her former life. She seemed incredibly detail oriented. She knew her stuff, I had to reluctantly admit. She did know these people. Their secrets and talents. Their habits and personalities. Their specialities and their limitations.
 

“What do you mean, he can affect his mood?”
 

“My father can be…” She bit her lip as if she measured her words carefully. “Changeable, emotional. Volatile. Unpredictable at times. And Buddy can either calm him immediately or, as I said, provoke him. My father’s mood swings have worsened, and become more frequent with age. He has panic attacks, which I believe he is taking medication for, as well as some other things. Anti-depressants and anti-anxiety pills, I believe. But you might have to dig into his medical files for clarification. I haven’t had time to do so myself.”
 

“I didn’t know that,” I said taking notes. “It was not in the file.”
 

“No. It wouldn’t be. That would be considered a weakness. If the enemy were to catch wind of this, it could be used against him. It’s not common knowledge, not even to some that are close to him. It would be too dangerous.”
 

She continued, “Now as for Buddy, I don’t think he would take a bullet for anyone. Including my father. I personally think he would put my father in a bullet’s path to save himself.”
 

She’d given me some good stuff here. I was almost convinced her father just might be unstable. We were getting to the substance. I was impressed. She was clearly intelligent, meticulous in her observations and in details. I was like that myself.
 

I pulled out another photo. “And this?”
 

“Jason Cramer,” she said, without hesitation. “He is no longer with the organization.
 

“Why?”
 

“He is in hiding, avoiding prosecution for the murders of six Mayhues. He is in seclusion along with Phil.” She pulled out the photo along with another. “And Teddy.”
 

At my raised eyebrow she continued, “They were killed in retaliation for the murders of three of ours.”
 

“The shooting at the food bank.” I didn’t need to ask. I found myself crossing to the other side of the desk, sitting next to her.
 

“Yes.”
 

“You were also injured in that incident.”
 

“Yes.”
 

“You were the only survivor, I believe.”
 

“Yes.”
 

She pulled another photo down. “This is…”
 

“Wait.” I stayed her hand, which she immediately withdrew from my touch. “What were you doing there that day? Why were you at the food bank?”
 

“I volunteered there every week. We were dropping off some canned goods and I was helping Mrs. Small, the organizer, stock shelves, when it happened.”
 

I’d read in the file that she helped out with many aid organizations, but I was having a hard time meshing the mob princess with the Good Samaritan act. She was just not fitting the profile. “Was there anyone else forced to go into isolation after that?”
 

“Uh?” Her brow furrowed and she evaded my gaze. “I don’t remember. I was in the hospital,” she said, too quickly, and I assumed she was holding something back.
 

I remained still, waiting for her to either meet my gaze or continue. Her amazing green stare turned to me.
 

“If we are going to do this, Miss Cambridge, we have to do it all the way. You cannot pick and choose who you are going to give to us. You can’t protect them any longer. You need to tell me everything you know and you must be completely honest. We take them all or we take no one. It’s up to you.”
 

Her gaze darted as she tried to read me. She didn’t trust me, either. Her full lips stretched into a thin hard line of indecision.
 

“We are not on opposite sides here, Miss Cambridge.” She stiffened at my words and her head cocked slightly to the side. I must be getting through to her. “This is a two way street. We need to trust each other.”
 

“I’ve heard that before, Agent,” she said quietly. “They are just words. You want what you can get from me.”
 

“And you need what I can give you,” I answered.
 

She raked her lip with her teeth and then inhaled deeply before pulling another photo out. “Gunner. I’m sorry, I don’t know his real name. I never did, that’s all we used to call him. But give me a few minutes with your database and I could come up with that for you.” She nodded towards my computer.” She flipped over the picture. “But I see you’ve already done that—Herb Gunderson,” she read. “No wonder he preferred Gunner.” She smiled slightly and looked at me sideways.
 

She really was attractive. I couldn’t deny that.
 

Her eyes narrowed. “Why do I feel like I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know?”
 

“You are filling in plenty of the finer points that we were uninformed of. And maybe there are a few details that I can pass on to you. We can fill in the gaps for each other, be as prepared as we can be.”
 

Sceptically, she looked up at me through her bangs.
 

“Are there photos in that pile of the three men that were killed that day?” I asked gently, knowing it must have been a difficult day for her.
 

Pursing her lips, she sighed. I knew then that she was fully aware that I knew those three photos were in the file. But she didn’t call me on it. Shuffling through, she pulled them out.
 

“That’s Jeffy. Dale.” She lined them up on my desk. “And this is Trenton.” 

Her voice softened. The mildness indicated she’d cared for this man. Absently she stroked the photo with her left thumb. I examined the kind-faced man as he smiled back at her.
 

“He was your driver.
 

“Yes, he was my driver. He was my friend.”
 

I wasn’t good at comforting. I cleared my throat. “Let’s make categories as we go. Men who are still in your father’s employ. Those who are in hiding. And those who are…uh…no longer with us,” I suggested, not so delicately. I began to throw the photos into their respective piles. “All right. Tom, Buddy, in the current employ pile.”
 

She put the four men in hiding into the middle stack. “Gunner, Teddy, Phil and Jason in the…hidden file.” She smiled and gave me a slight wink as if she hadn’t just made reference to a computer operating system like some kind of computer geek. I was almost unsure I’d seen it. Was she joking? I was quickly reassessing my preconceived impression of Holly Cambridge. Perhaps she wasn’t just a bubble headed blonde.
 

“Do you know where these men are?”
 

“No. I don’t.” She looked into my eyes as if challenging me to either see the truth or detect the lie. I’d interrogated hundreds of informants and or criminals in my time. Liars, award winning actors most of them. And even after my earlier attempt to intimidate her, and our awareness of each other’s mistrust, for some reason she wanted me to believe she was telling me the truth before she continued. “I have done some research of my own. I vaguely remembered a conversation I’d inadvertently overheard about the Caymans.” I didn’t consider the inadvertent part, but I did believe she didn’t know where the men were hiding. “Apparently, William Cambridge owns an island. But, I guess, that isn’t a surprise to you, like it was to me.”
 

I confirmed with a nod.
 

“I travelled there.” She dragged her lip with her teeth. It was a nervous habit, and sensual as all get out.
 

“You took a trip there? I thought you just said…”
 

“No. After I left. By myself. I tried to find them, thinking that might be where they would go.”
 

She’d gone alone? I had no record of her ever leaving the country. Not even under one of her aliases. Why were we not aware of this? Although, I reasoned, from the ages of eighteen to the present, her whereabouts had been sketchy at best. She’d taken to hiding like a fish to water.
 

“And what did you find?”
 

“I couldn’t locate them. I have no proof, but from the clues I did find and the people I spoke to, I think my father had them killed. I believe he is more cold and sinister than even I believed. Even after all these men had done and sacrificed for him and our family, they were no longer useful to him. He doesn’t leave loose ends, Agent Orton.”
She had detached herself from William Cambridge. I noted it earlier how she referenced him as either the formal my father or William Cambridge, trying to depersonalize or distance herself from him. She didn’t refer to him as my dad, which might be considered an appellation.
 

Holly looked at me then and I knew that she was fully aware of her own predicament. She was a loose end that William Cambridge either needed to tie up or cut away completely. Perhaps it had been that precise realization that convinced her to come to us. She was scared, and she knew we could protect her. It must have been absolute shell shock for her to leave the safe and sheltered Cambridge life to live completely on her own. So young and unprepared, unprotected. Always on the move, on the lookout for family and enemy alike. Looking over her shoulder, just waiting to be captured or killed. It was only a matter of time. She must have realized she couldn’t stay out there on her own anymore. She’d given it a valiant effort. I’d give her that. But she’d finally come to her senses and come to the Bureau.
 

“Until we have proof, will we leave them in the hidden file?” She asked holding up the pictures.
 

“All right.” I nodded. “Unknown, for the time being.” She returned them to the middle stack. I pointed at the kind-faced man that had been her chauffer and friend. I was departmentalizing and sorting in my own mind and didn’t think before I spoke. “Deceased. They are no longer important.”
 

Her expressive eyes widened, turning cold. “If we are going to do this,” she spat my own words back at me. “You need to respect my people. Those people are important to me. Dead or alive. They may be nothing but gangsters and criminals to a straight-laced lawman like yourself, but they were my family. My team. The people who had my back and ultimately gave their lives for mine. You will not dismiss them as collateral damage. If you expect me to respect you and yours, then you need to acknowledge and respect mine, Agent.” Although her voice was angry, I saw that she was struggling to hold back tears that threatened to break the tough exterior she was attempting to maintain.
 

“The ones that remain, are no longer yours, Miss Cambridge, and you need to accept and acknowledge that, and separate yourself from your tender feelings. These are the people we are going after at your request.”
 

“I don’t think we can work together,” she said, at length, as if she had a choice.
 

She was halfway to the door when I heard myself say, “I apologize for my insensitive comments, Miss Cambridge.” What was I doing? She was halfway to no longer being my problem. I should have just let her walk out. But I needed this case. I wanted it. And I could admit to myself now, looking back—it was much more that made me stop her that day. There was just something about her. I wanted to know more. My fierce curiosity and quest to know all gnawed at me. And I knew I had just scratched the surface of Miss Holly Cambridge. My preconceived idea of the mafia princess was rapidly evaporating as she challenged me at every turn. No one tested me. She was not fitting into the box I had placed her in before she’d even walked through my door.
 

She stopped at the sound of my voice but she didn’t turn in my direction.
 

“Are you finished psychoanalyzing me, Agent Orton?” she said, as if she could read my thoughts. She did turn then. “Go ahead. Profile me. Is it really that great a feat, Agent, when you think you have all the answers right there in that file? As I said before, you don’t know me.”
 

Again. A Challenge. I could not resist.
 

“The mob boss’ daughter. Mafia princess. Protected. Sheltered. Spoiled. Poor little rich girl. No friends. No social life. Lonely.” I looked down at the file one last time, leaving behind what I thought I knew about her and turned to what I had gleaned since she walked in the door. “You turned to books and school to fill the void.” I recognized her need for knowledge and detail only because I, too, possessed those qualities. “You are quiet. Shy. You pay attention, absorb, observe, research. You listen and learn. You have known from an early age what’s right and what’s wrong. Your character is so strong that the life style that you were forced to live warred with your own morals and ethics, which you did not learn from your father or the people around you. A father who was cold to you most of your life, ignoring you and your sister. Perhaps he is even unbalanced, bi-polar, paranoid. You threw your energies and your money into charitable organizations, in an attempt to ease your own conscience. You gravitated towards the men around you to replace the family and friends you didn’t have.”
 

I thought of her caressing the edge of the photograph of her driver and the way she’d staunchly defended her employees, her team, as she’d referred to them. “The criminals around you became your own dysfunctional family.”
 

She sneered at me when I referred to them as criminals. “You could no longer endure that amoral life, so you sacrificed your own. You want nothing more than to belong. To be loved. To live a quiet normal life.” I took a shot in the dark with this one. “With a husband. Perhaps even a child.” I could have smiled at how easy it was getting. I walked towards her with every intention of continuing, as we kept our focus on each other. I was just getting warmed up.
 

“My turn, Agent Best?” she remarked, sarcastically.
 

“Oh, be my guest,” I invited, smugly. If nothing else, we knew how to antagonize one another. This should be good.
 

“FBI. Special Agent.” She began slowly, as I had. “Single-minded. Career man. Cold. Stiff. Curious. Almost obsessively so. Your quest for knowledge is your driving force.” I was no longer smiling.
 

“You have to know everything about each person and everything around you. You have known from your earliest memory that this would ultimately be your career. You followed in your father’s footsteps. Also a career man. You are an only child. Also no friends, no social life. You moved around a lot as a child because of your father’s career, but that isn’t the reason you didn’t make friends. Your intelligence and your intellect was way too complex for children your own age. You found them boring, tedious, unintelligent compared to your advanced IQ. Knowledge came easy to you. You didn’t have time or make time for baseball or football. You also turned to books not to fill an emotional void, as you intimated that I did, but to fill your insatiable appetite for knowledge, and that drove you to learn as much and as fast as you possibly could, to fill that massive brain. You are the classic over-achiever. You graduated high school early and entered an accelerated program to fast track you into an Ivy League school. I’m going to guess, Harvard. Only because it is the best law school and would impress the Bureau. You would settle for nothing less than the best. You are a strict disciplinarian. You are ruled by rules. A perfectionist. You cannot commit to a long-term relationship because your passion is your work. How am I doing, Best?”
 

“You have obviously accessed my personnel file. Which is a federal offence, Miss Cambridge,” I accused, stiffly, crossing my arms.
 

“I have done no such thing, Agent Orton. Go ahead,” she invited gesturing towards my computer. “Check. If your file has been accessed recently it will be flagged.”
 

“Then Sid or Trey gave it to you.”
 

“That would also not have been procedure. I can assure you, they did not. You know neither of them would ever give an agent’s file to an informant, and again, you can check.”

I stared at her. Obviously she was a better liar than I’d realized.
 

“It was interesting meeting you, Agent Orton. Have a good day.”
She walked out the door. I couldn’t believe it. She didn’t want to work with me.
 

I followed out into the hallway. But she was gone. The elevator must have been ready and waiting for her departure.
 

“Maeve. Have security stop Miss Cambridge before she leaves the building.”
 

“Miss Cambridge, sir?”
 

“Yes. She just exited my office.”
 

“I didn’t see her leave.”
 

“She just left. Thirty seconds ago, at most.”
 

“I’m sorry. I didn’t see her, sir.”
 

“Call down, and notify the desk, anyway. I want her stopped before she exits the building.”
 

Another thing she had been able to convince Trey and Sid, which I also disagreed with, was no protection. She needed to be in protective custody. It was imperative for the kind of mission she’d convinced them to undertake. She needed to be corralled.
 

That was the first of many occasions in which she disappeared without a trace. According to the security guards, she’d not taken the elevator down. She was not picked up on the cameras in the stairwells either.
I was so angry. There had to be an explanation. I called Sid’s office, thinking she’d gone to him to complain about me. He guaranteed me he hadn’t seen her since he’d left her in my capable hands.
 

I contacted Trey and he gave me the same song and dance. Trey assured me I didn’t need to worry. She was quite capable of taking care of herself and she would make contact with us when she was ready.
That wasn’t good enough. We were the FBI, for Christ’s sake. We made the rules. We were in charge.
 

I sent out half my team after her. As they searched I accessed my file. I don’t know how she’d done it, but according to the log, my file hadn’t been accessed since I myself had done so eight months ago to update my new address when I moved into my penthouse apartment. There was no way she could have come so close to the details of my life without having seen my file.
 
My street agents called in one by one. There was no sign of her.

Running
Copyright © 2014 H K Carlton



Experience the saga from the beginning....

Always Cambridge Book One

Releasing June 1 from eXtasy Books book three Misfortune of Birth


The Always Cambridge Series

Books should be read in sequence. The first five installments end with To Be Continued...

Monday, 19 May 2014

Toot Toot #BlogTour Genre Confusion #amwriting

Many thanks to Christina Mandara — Authoress of the The Riding School, Learning the Ropes, Hot to Trot and Named and Shamed: Pony girl training begins...in the Pony Tales Series. Lover of all things BDSM, sarcasm and fetish — who tagged me in the ‘Toot Toot’ blog tour and persuaded me to submit to answering the following four questions...


What am I working on at the moment? 

I am working on edits for books three and four in the Always Cambridge series, at the moment. Book three Misfortune of Birth is due for release June first from eXtasy Books. It is a romantic suspense family saga series.

  Always Cambridge

Also, last week, I signed the last three contracts for a paranormal erotic romance series for MuseItHot Publishing for the Wild Darkness Calls collection. That will be a seven book series. The first book will release sometime late 2014. The series title is Lustful Possession and the first book is entitled Meet Me in the Dark.



In between I am dabbling with a contemporary erotic short story and also a novel length erotic romance set in the 1950's.


How does my work differ from others of its genre?


My work differs because I don't stick to one genre. I can't even write a decent bio for myself because I can't narrow down the classification of what I write. So any given time, you might stop by Pick a Genre here, I might be introducing some new category to my library. One day historical, the next month contemporary. Sweet and sappy or kinda raunchy. It's like Forrest Gump around here, you never know what you're gonna get. LOL! 
Family saga. Paranormal. Time-travel. Ménage. OH MY!


Why do I write what I do?

I write what I write because that's where the 'muse' takes me. I go with the flow. It makes my life much easier if I don't fight it. I know that on certain days I'm 'supposed' to be working on a specific manuscript, say for editing or deadline purposes. But if I get up and another story is clamoring for some attention, I know that I should give it some time or I just get downright ugly, because that's what I would rather be doing. 


What is my writing process?

I don't really have a structured process. I am envious of organized authors who have 'idea' files and character spreadsheets; detailed outlines and neat little work spaces.  :)  I have little pieces of paper or random notebooks filled with scrawl. They get thrown in a drawer or bawled up in my purse. I also have a folder on my computer with several unfinished manuscripts. As I said earlier, I have to go with the flow. I'm fairly undisciplined but I am dedicated.
 
Usually the process begins with one scene, one idea or a little snippet of conversation that starts to resonate and then it grows and expands from there. Often, I don’t even have the entire story plotted out when I sit down to write. Sometimes I have to start writing before it unfolds for me. It is the action of scribbling or typing that seems to direct the creativity. And that dictates where the story will go.

In the case of Always Cambridge; I wrote the first book from beginning to end. I thought it was a completed stand alone. But every time I went to bedthat’s where I do most of my thinking, my tales are like bedtime stories for meit wouldn't leave me in peace. More story began to unravel. So I had to go back and tie up the details, until I was satisfied that Holly’s story was complete. Several years, and six books later, I'm confident that the entire story has been told. 

On other projects though, an idea will form and it is a whirlwind from conception, to writing it, to submission, editing and publication. With the Wild Darkness Calls series for instance, my editor sent out the call, and I wrote the first book, thinking it was also a stand alone. But when I was about to type THE END, it just wasn't and books two and three came fast and heavy on its heels. But the last three books were like pulling teeth. I was battling against what I thought should happen and what was churning inside my head. In the end, I had no choice but to go with the direction that I was being shown. But this was still a whirlwind write for me. I don't think I began book one until February and I just signed the contract for book seven. So still a good turn over I think. :)

I like a little noise in the background too, while I'm working. It's usually the TV. Right now the hockey game is on. Habs / Rangers! Tied 1 - 1  :) 

Thanks, Christina Mandara, for tagging me in this uniquely named bloghop! "D
I'm not tagging anybody specifically but if you'd like to get in on the fun, hop right in. 

Take Care, eh!
H K

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Prequel/Sequel Gave Good Face / Hard and Fast - Now Available

Meet twins Josslynn and Pasha Rossdale as they find love with two very different men!


Behind his beauty hides a secret.

Male model, Lot Reardon has been the reigning ‘it’ guy on the runways of the world for the last decade, but he’s beginning to realise his time in front of the camera is winding down. While mulling over his options for the future, Lot is asked to do an impromptu cover shoot with the glamorous and alluring, up-and-coming Pasha Rossdale.

Pasha Rossdale is thrilled and a little bit star struck when she’s paired with the striking and charming Lot Reardon. As soon as Lot and Pasha begin to pose, and play off each other under the hot studio lights, raw desire consumes them.

However, one night of smouldering sex turns into something more meaningful, making Lot and Pash the new ‘it couple’.

Can the beautiful relationship survive their changing roles and massive egos, or will Lot’s jealousy and suspicion jeopardise all that they have?


Reader Advisory: This book is best read in sequence, followed by Hard and Fast.
 
Totally Bound     Amazon Canada     Amazon UK     Amazon US      
All Romance    Nook    Kobo

now available for early download at Totally Bound

 She’s looking for a forever kind of thing, not just some meaningless fling.

Josslynn Rossdale has dedicated the last ten years of her life making her sister’s dreams come true, and happily so. But now that Pasha is on the cusp of taking the fashion world by storm, 

Joss realises she needs some time apart from Pash to find her own direction. Temporarily breaking away from the fast-paced modelling industry, Joss returns to their hometown and decides that opening her own agency is the way to go.


An overly hot and humid summer season has kept repairman Billy Maas more than busy. But when he attends a routine service call, he doesn’t expect the most beautiful woman in the universe to answer the door, let alone allow him to service more than just her air-con unit.


But Joss isn’t looking for a simple fling. After seeing how happy her sister, Pasha, is with her husband, Lot, she wants some of that. Billy is fun and exciting, but their lives and interests are very different. So when Joss begins to have real feelings for the adorable Billy, she sees no alternative but to distance herself from the younger party boy—leaving the bewildered and lovelorn repairman with a crisis he can’t fix.


Reader Advisory: Hard and Fast is best read after enjoying the prequel Gave Good Face.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Cover Reveal - Daddy’s Game by Normandie Alleman @NormandieA #BDSM #Kink #Football

Cover Reveal for Daddy’s Game by Normandie Alleman

Daddy’s Game, Book Two in the Daddy’s Girl Series

Football and kink collide when the game’s biggest star tries to convince a beautiful artist to play Daddy’s Game.

Unofficial Blurb

Sparks fly when up-and-coming artist Carmen Harris meets football star Natron Dakers at her first gallery opening. As they grow closer he introduces her to his particular brand of kink – he wants to be her Daddy Dom and make her his little girl submissive. She agrees, and they explore their passion through a variety of sexual games.

Dallas Vipers’ wide receiver Natron Dakers is on top of the world. At the top of his profession, he has money, fame, and all the perks that go with it. Finally having found the perfect partner in his curvy little girl Carmen, his life feels complete. Until one day, in a split second, everything comes crashing down and it looks like he will lose it all. Will Natron self-destruct or will he dig deep and fight to win the ultimate game of love?



Excerpt : (R) BDSM

With the flip of his wrist he brought the first strike down on the alabaster skin of her back. The leather made a soft thudding sound as it made contact with her flesh.

She flinched, but otherwise seemed intact.

He let fly another stroke of the whip. And another until he developed a pattern that ran from her buttocks up her torso, up one side then down the other. The smell of leather wafted through the air as he pulled his arm back to prepare for the next blow, and the welcome sound of pleasure rose from her lips.

“You like that, babygirl?” he crooned.

“I do. It doesn’t really hurt. More like a little sting, but it feels good.”

“That’s it, baby. Go with it.”

“Yes, Sir.”

He raked the tails across her backside until her skin began to pinken. At that point he set the flogger down and stood behind her.

“Now back up a step and lean over and grab your ankles.”

This flustered her. “What?” she asked, clearly stalling.

“I’m going to inspect you.”

“For what?” she asked leaning over hesitantly.

“My pleasure.”

“I’m not sure I can grab my ankles. I’m not very flexible.”

“Hmm. You might want to work on some daily stretches then. But for now grab your legs as low as you can go.”

“Yes, Sir,” she said and grabbed her lower calves.

He cupped her sex with his hand, and he could feel the heat coming from her most intimate region. Smacking her pussy a few times elicited a small cry from Carmen, and he could tell it was the first time anyone had ever done that to her.

Breaking in a virgin to BDSM was an intoxicating experience. No one would need drugs or alcohol when an experience like this was available. He caressed her ass, her warm globes feeling heavenly under his touch. When he spread her cheeks to inspect her asshole, her whole body tensed.

“Relax,” he said.

“That’s easy for you to say,” she muttered.

He laughed. “The point is for you to trust me, become comfortable with me exploring your body.”

“It’s embarrassing,” she whined.

“It shouldn’t be. I want your body to belong to me. Everything about it is beautiful. Allow me to enjoy it. Do you think you can do that?”

“I guess so.”

“Did you mean to say ‘Yes, Sir’?” he prodded.

“Yes, Sir,” she said sounding like a chastised schoolgirl.

“That’s more like it,” he said spanking her ass before wetting his thumb between his lips then slowly inserting it into her rear entry.

She flinched, but remained silent.

“Good girl. Relax and it will start to feel good.”

He found her lips with his other fingers and worked them in and out of the complex womanly folds between her legs. Dipping in and out of her ass and her pussy at the same time had begun to arouse her. Her hips shifted slightly to meet his attentions and she coated his hand with her sweet nectar.

“Be still,” he commanded and he felt her struggle to control the urge to ride his hand.

His middle finger sought the center of her lust, and he flicked back and forth over her clit until he felt her muscles tightening more and more. Just when she was about to tumble over the edge he withdrew.

“Stand up.”

She obeyed, her legs wobbly.

“Turn and face me.”

She whirled around and he saw the confused look in her eye. The look that said, why?

With the pitifulness of a baby harp seal, she looked up at him. “Daddy, I was about to come. Why did you stop?”

His big Dom heart almost stopped. She was too adorable, too perfect for him. How could he deny her?

Clearing his throat he said, “Because your orgasms are mine. I tell you when you can come and sometimes you will have to wait until I give you permission.”

Daddy’s Game will be released later this month. Stay tuned, and follow Normandie here to get the announcement when it comes out:


In the meantime, have you read the first book in the series Daddy Morebucks?
Daddy Morebucks

From the moment she laid eyes upon him, Marley knew in her heart that James was not just another client, and the difference wasn’t even the large sum of money he offered in return for a single night of submission. No, what set him apart was the fact that when she called James “daddy”, it was her own heart which beat faster and her own body which ached with need.

After that night, Marley does her best to put all thought of him behind her, using the huge payday he provided to get on her feet again and start over… until James knocks on her door and walks right back into her life. He makes her a simple offer: if she will live with him and submit to him whenever he wishes, he will provide for her every desire.

Even before she accepts his offer, though, Marley knows what she truly wants is not money or clothing or even a fancy new car. What she longs for is a daddy who will give his little girl what she really needs… a daddy who will spank her bare bottom when she is naughty, tie her up and take her any way he pleases, and then cuddle her until she falls asleep in his arms. Can she dare to hope that James will be that daddy?

You can pick up a copy of Daddy Morebucks here:

Friday, 9 May 2014

Enter to Win a copy of Gave Good Face @Totally_Bound #erotic #contemporary #romance

 This Contest has Ended!
Enter to win a copy of my brand new release Gave Good Face!

Contest has ended!
Click HERE to Enter
 Contest ends 7am Monday May 12 UK time

Behind his beauty hides a secret.
 
Male model, Lot Reardon has been the reigning ‘it’ guy on the runways of the world for the last decade, but he’s beginning to realize his time in front of the camera is winding down. While mulling over his options for the future, Lot is asked to do an impromptu cover shoot with the glamorous and alluring, up-and-coming Pasha Rossdale.
 
Pasha Rossdale is thrilled and a little bit star struck when she’s paired with the striking and charming Lot Reardon. As soon as Lot and Pasha begin to pose, and play off each other under the hot studio lights, raw desire consumes them.
 
However, one night of smoldering sex turns into something more meaningful, making Lot and Pash the new ‘it couple’. 

Can the beautiful relationship survive their changing roles and massive egos, or will Lot’s jealousy and suspicion jeopardize all that they have?
 
 Excerpt:

To Lot’s surprise country music sounded and Pasha sailed back to him, all smiles.
 

“Now that’s something we can get in to.” Placing her hands back on his shoulders, she began to move, playfully at first, she was presumably still feeling a little awkward about being thrown in to this situation, just as he was.
 

“Let’s win us a cover, Lot.” She grinned, lightheartedly, her eyes flashing with mischief.
 

He held onto her as she flowed. She slid her hands off his shoulders and down his biceps, but when the next song came on, everything changed.
 

“Oh, I love this song,” she cheered as if they were in a club, and not only did she dance, she sang the words. And just as he’d expected, he had lift-off.
 

It was one of those ‘come over here and get me’ songs. She knew all the lyrics and when she invited him to come closer, she punctuated it with some hip action that had his mouth watering.
 

“Come on, Lot, dance with me like there’s no one else here watching. Just you and me.”
 

She did a complete body roll that actually took his breath away. “Fuck! Where’d you learn to move like that?”
 

“I just love to feel the music. Touch me, Lot. Feel it with me.”
 

Slowly, she moved her hands, skimming them up her slim waist and sides. The gesture pulled at the silky, loose fitting top she wore. And when she reached the hem, she snagged it with her fingertips giving the impression she might remove it altogether. She had him completely mesmerized. Right at the last minute, as her blouse unveiled the plump underside of her breast, she released it and it fell back down her torso. But as she raised her arms over her head, it lifted, showing off her midriff. It was fuckin’ sexy.
 

Lot caressed her stomach greedily, wanting more than anything to touch the smooth, soft skin with his lips. Instead he splayed his hands up her back and pulled her closer, following her lead with his own modulation.

“Yeah,” she breathed, snagging her full lower lip with her teeth, her gaze landing on his mouth briefly. He actually felt his skin tingle, as if she’d nipped him. “Like there’s nobody watching,” she finished in a whisper.
 

Suddenly, she skimmed her hands over his ribs. He couldn’t stop the hum of pleasure from leaving his throat. After a long leisurely, feel-good trip over his skin, she finally reached his collarbone. After inserting her hands into the shoulders of his shirt, she then coaxed it from him.
 

“Let’s get rid of that. Ahh, yes, that’s much better,” she purred as it floated to the floor, forgotten.
 

She explored his shoulders and chest and, by now he didn’t give a rat’s ass who was watching. He was being caressed by Pasha-freakin’-Rossdale and there was going to be photographic evidence.
 

“You have amazing pecs, Lot.” She dug her fingers into his flesh. “Whew, it’s getting warm in here. Must be the lights, huh,” she teased.
 

“Or all that dancing.”
 

“Or a certain male model with an incredible body.”
 

“Are you flirting with me, Miss Rossdale?”
 

“I believe that’s what the man asked for.”
 

“Well, then, I guess I should do my part.”
 

Generally, he wasn’t much of a dancer, but he was encouraged by how carefree and easy-going she seemed, and tried to be the same. He spread his hands up her back and thrust his own hips forward, so that he could copy her undulations. She’d be extremely aware of his hard-on, but she seemed like she was up for just about anything.
 

“That’s great, Lot, get into it. Pash? How would you feel about taking off your top as well?” Doug called.
 

She slowed, so Lot did too. An expression of anxiety crossed her lovely features—a delicate line marring her forehead, for the briefest second.
 

“You don’t have to,” Lot reassured her. “It’s up to you. If you don’t feel comfortable, don’t do it. I’d like to work with you again. So, I don’t want you walking away today with any bad feelings.”

“No, I trust you,” she said softly. He didn’t know why but that meant a great deal to him.
 

“I’m not wearing a bra, so I’ll want to keep you close.”
 

“I’d prefer it,” he said grinning.

 This Contest has Ended! 
Click HERE to Enter
Contest ends 7am Monday May 12 UK time


The sequel Hard and Fast is now available for early download @Totally Bound 


To purchase Gave Good Face
Totally Bound     Amazon Canada     Amazon UK     Amazon US      
All Romance    Nook    Kobo