Box Set #52: Gracie C McKeever's Special Collection 2 (All 3 books for $3.99)
In Eternal Designs, marriage counselor Gale Sinclair breaks his cardinal rule and falls in love with his client. Zoelle Sutherland calls for help one stormy night, and Gale is killed in route to her. When Zoelle’s estranged husband Laurent Crews is murdered after threatening a takeover of her interior design firm, Gale wakes up in his body and realizes that death has given him a chance—to love Zoelle.
In Between Darkness and Daylight, skeptical Nova Foxx has a near-fatal mountain climbing accident which ignites her dormant psychic abilities. But this gift comes with responsibilities, and she is compelled to find a stranger and save his life. Zane Youngblood is a high school social worker intent on saving the world one child at a time, including the one he is raising. Can Nova convince him without revealing who she is or how she knows someone is threatening him?
In The Wolf in the Mansion, reclusive Lincoln McCabe is thrown off-kilter when he encounters Deja Hamilton, a near-perfect physical replica of his dead wife. Lincoln’s blue eyes have haunted her since she started at McCabe & Associates, and even though their reuniting is neither ideal nor romantic, she is determined to make the most of it by helping him recover from the attempt on his life and snare the one responsible.
A Siren Erotic Romance
Click on each cover for detailed blurbs, awards, ratings, excerpts, and reviews for each book in Gracie C. McKeever's Special Collection 2.
Gale jerked open his eyes, blinked several times and saw her figure hovering above him.
Zoe's features—generous mouth set in a grim line, brows furrowed, flushed, copper-tone cheeks—slowly came into focus, her expression exuding relief before instantly changing to anger.
"Laurent…Damn you, you scared the crap out of me!" She punched him in a shoulder, knuckles connecting with his collarbone, shooting exquisite star-spangled flickers of agony to his neurons. "That wasn't funny."
"What...funny?" He wasn't finding anything funny in this entire situation, especially not the pain in his shoulder and head. What was the woman's problem? And how and why was she here?
Gale stared at her, noticed the subtle differences—her chestnut hair longer, flowing just past her shoulders, wavy and untamed around her face—but it was his Zoe. He'd know that scowl anywhere, had made a small fortune pointing her to the cuss box on his desk and the sign on the wall above his leather sofa: If you are grouchy, irritable, or just plain mean, there will be a $10 charge for putting up with you.
He reached for her and she recoiled, moved from her knees to her haunches to evade his touch.
"This some elaborate way to woo me back?" She kept her distance, warily eyed him.
"I don't know what you mea—"
"Oh please, Laurent." Zoe smirked. "Staging some sort of...dramatic incident, or whatever you want to call it. Feigning unconsciousness, scaring Wynn..."
"Feigning unconscious—" Gale tried to sit up, caught his breath when agony stabbed the back of his head. "I made it here as soon as I could."
Zoe frowned, shaking her head. "I don't have time for your games."
"Games?" He clenched his teeth against the pain, stopped short of reaching for her again and trying to rise.
"Do you have the keys with you, Sir Olivier?"
"I'd appreciate it if you'd stop parroting every question I ask." She put out a hand, wiggled her fingers in a give-me gesture. "You promised to return them, but like everything else, I guess you're going back on your word with this too, huh?"
"Zoe, you called me and I came."
She dropped her hand and put a fist on her hip. "I think you're a little confused, Laurent. You called me. I wouldn't have come otherwise, and the only reason I'm here in your office now is because you stood me up."
Stood her up? They'd had a date?
Well color him chagrined, he was under the impression he'd been tearing down the highway like a madman to save her from her husband, not that he'd been invited to a romantic interlude. And he probably wouldn't have been so desperate to get to her then if he weren't feeling guilty over that kiss. A transgression for which he was beginning to think he'd burn in hell. Or maybe he was already there and—Wait a minute! Why was she calling him Laurent?
He rubbed the back of his neck, vaguely aware of the hair cascading over his hand, down to the top of his shoulders. Silky and full, not close-cropped and curly like his but long and unfamiliar and...Gale realized something was severely trippy, like one of the acid junkets his mom and dad used to take in the 60's.
"When you didn't show up at the restaurant, I figured you were up to your old tricks," Zoe scoffed.
Gale glanced at his surroundings and frowned, disoriented. How had he gotten from the highway to here? Where was the van, his Rover, the rescue units?
"No tricks..." He paused, tempted to ask her what was going on, but afraid voicing the question would make him seem conniving, crazy, or dumb, none too desirable. "I'm not up to any tricks, Zoe, I just—"
"Didn't mean it when you said we could part amicably."
"Of course I meant it. I'm just not certain anymore if separation is the answer." Wow, that came out like he had seen the opening credits and hadn't walked into the middle of the movie!
"I don't care whether you're certain or not. I'm certain."
"Zoe, wait..." On impulse, he caught a sleeve of her jacket, tailored cut, expensive material. He'd always admired her taste in clothes but was more concerned now with the look of alarm and anger that sprang into her eyes at his touch. "Don't leave."
"Laurent..." Zoe sighed and knelt back.
Gale relaxed his hold, hoping for a minute to acclimate. He only needed to get through the next several minutes without giving himself away anymore than he already had.
He didn't know where he was. He knew who he was—or who Zoe thought he was—but he didn't know how, why, and when.
"We've gone over this already."
"Can we discuss it again...at home?"
"At home?" She gaped, expression frozen somewhere between sympathy and outrage.
Had he made such an unreasonable request?
"You've got to be kidding."
Well, that answered that, told him how far downhill things had gone between Zoe and her husband. He still had to try. He'd beg if he had to, and the look on her face told Gale that he might have to. "I'm serious."
"Of all the arrogant, big-headed tricks you've pulled, this just takes the cake."
Think, Sinclair, think! How would you normally handle an irate, resistant client in therapy? How would you handle this client?
Everything that he would have said to diffuse Zoe's fury was everything that Gale Sinclair would have said and these wouldn't serve any purpose, except to freak her out. He couldn't afford to alienate her any further.
"Yo, Mom! Everything okay?"
Gale sucked in a breath, eyes wide as Zoe clamped a hand over his mouth before he could say anything.
If she knew what her touch was doing to him, she’d stop. If she knew how much he wanted to wrestle her to the floor, strip off her clothes right here in the office, and fuck her senseless, she’d run.
He didn’t think he could take much more of being this close to her without acting the way nature intended, arms aching to enclose her in an embrace to end all embraces and feel her soft curves melting against him.
"Everything's fine. Be there in a sec." She removed her hand, glanced at him pleadingly.
"Take me with you." Christ, take me with you and put me out of my misery and let me make love to you like I’ve been fantasizing about for months.
"You'll never change, Laurent."
BETWEEN DARKNESS AND DAYLIGHT
Quivering in his embrace, she opened her eyes, her expression dazed and drugged as she watched him “You didn’t?”
“Nowhere near.” He slid the condom out of her listless fingers, tore into the packet with his teeth and one hand, staring at her the entire time. His dick jerked and throbbed when Nova slowly licked her lips and returned his look with a heated one of her own.
She reached for his hand. “Let me.” She took the condom and proceeded to roll it down over his jutting shaft to the base, holding him a moment longer then was necessary, loving him with her hand, pumping up and down before massaging the head of his cock with her thumb again. “I don’t think I enjoyed you the way I should have either.”
“It was too fast.”
“Way too fast. We’ll take it slow this time.”
He nodded his agreement, and he had every intention of keeping that unspoken promise until he slid halfway into her and felt her vaginal muscles tighten around him. It took everything in him not to move, to just enjoy the sensation of her clutching him, gloving his shaft in her warm woman’s sheath. He pressed his forehead against hers and took a deep breath. “Don’t move.”
“I won’t.” But her hands came up behind him anyway to grip his shoulders, her fingers digging into him, expressing desperate need that mirrored his.
“God, Nova, you make me so hot and wild. I just want to take you hard and fast whenever I’m inside you. It isn’t like me.”
“It isn’t like me either. I’ve been like this since I first saw y—since I met you.”
He pulled back to look at her, searching her face and finding the truth, that they were irrevocably linked, afraid of where this was taking them but willing to go with the flow anyway.
She cupped his face with one hand. “I’ll take hard and fast. I’ll take slow and easy. I’ll take you any way I can get you.”
Hearing his own reckless thoughts said out loud made his heart throb in concert with his cock, reminded him of how deep he wanted to bury himself inside her.
Zane circled his hips, caressing just inside her opening with several quick, shallow thrusts, taunting them both before he drove deep and held still again.
She hooked a leg around his hip as her canal opened to accommodate his length and width and panted when he lifted her, pinning her to the slippery tile wall.
Nova moved first, bucking her hips against him and urging him to reciprocate. He followed her lead, twisting his hips, alternating between slow deep plunges and fast slight caresses, balls contracting right before he pistoned his hips in earnest.
She pulled his head forward for a kiss and he slipped his tongue into her mouth, tangling it with hers as he lowered his hands to her ass and pressed her flush against him. The shudders started again, inside and out, her pussy muscles squeezing tight around him, the increasing pressure signaling her approaching orgasm. She cried out as she nuzzled his neck and gently sunk her teeth into the skin bridging his shoulder and neck.
Zane shivered, her bite and climax inciting his release. He came inside her, rasping her name over and over again until the torrent abated. Breathless, they clung to each other beneath the shower’s warm spray, their tremors slowly fading as they exchanged gratitude and sorrow through touches and looks.
“What did I do to deserve you in my life, Nova?”
“Nothing at all, except be.” She smiled, drawing away from him with a resounding sucking sound as his flaccid penis slid out of her. She pulled the curtain back, as if her work with him was done.
“I’m going to get dressed and meet you in the living room. I don’t want Ransom to come in and catch us both in the shower if I can help it.”
Zane watched her go; he was bereft and satiated, lost and found, and until he held her in his arms again, he didn’t think he’d ever be whole.
He lathered up with the soap again and rinsed off as fast as he could, eager to be with her again but trying to take his time and let her get dressed. Turning off the shower, he stepped out and wrapped a towel low on his hips, then drew up short in the master bedroom when he noticed Nova standing at his bureau. He smiled. "Hey you."
She started, turning quickly, hands behind her back. "Don't mind me. I just forgot something from my portfolio."
Zane smiled at the term. The thing was more like a bible and she carried it with her everywhere. "What are you hiding behind your back, lady?" he teased, meaning it as a joke, but he totally lost his levity when he saw the nervous look in Nova's eyes. Like she'd been caught with her hand in the cashbox. He crossed the room as lightly as possible, stopping short an inch away from her, and smiled down at her. "Show me what you've got there."
"I don't believe you."
"C'mon, Zane. You're making me nervous."
"That makes two of us." You and she aren't out of the woods yet.
Playfully covering her body with his, he reached behind her with both hands. He was truly surprised when she resisted strongly and balled up a piece of paper in her hands. "Something, you don't want me to see?" He slipped a finger into her fist and managed to get a hold of the paper with two fingers.
He slid the paper out of her hands, realizing she’d let him when it didn't rip in his fingers. "Now let's see what we have here."
He felt her staring, standing anxiously in front of him as he sat on the foot of his bed and unfolded the paper. The thing that struck him first was his own features staring back at him. Next he noticed the well-worn creases, as if the paper had been folded and unfolded, taken out to display and then put away for safekeeping too many times to count, like a favorite photograph of a baby in a wallet. Then there was the scariest part of all, the date, carefully engraved on the bottom of the sketch, the impossibility of it striking Zane at the same instant he realized Nova had captured his likeness before she’d ever met him.
The sketch was so accurate it was uncanny, as if he’d posed for it but had forgotten. He could have been staring into a mirror, one that showed him as he looked a few years ago—slightly longer hair, light beard and mustache—instead of the fairly clean-cut guy he was now.
Zane glanced up and saw Nova wringing her hands, and her anxiety and confusion began to suffuse him.
"I was going to tell you."
THE WOLF IN THE MANSION
There was no way anything, animal or human, could have survived that fall. If anyone had survived, that person was probably in pretty bad shape. An injured animal would surely be dangerous. Maybe she’d be better off just going to the Lodge and using the guest phone to contact some wildlife organization with the description of what she’d heard and seen.
Even with the doubt, Deja continued to paddle. She’d been shy and tried to keep a low profile all her life, especially once she discovered how different she was from all her peers, but she had never let fear rule her actions.
Deja peered into the night as she closed the distance between herself and what she thought had fallen. She caught the outline of someone draped over an outcropping of rocks, moonlight glinting off damp, bronzed shoulders.
She blinked at the fine black fur receding from the flesh of the man’s lower back. She shook her head at the impossibility. What she saw couldn’t be right!
Upon closer inspection, Deja noticed the wound in the back of one shoulder, blood still seeping and mingling with the lake water as she neared.
She pulled alongside the motionless figure, unsure if he was alive or dead until she noticed the fast rise and fall of his back as he panted.
She rowed closer, steering the boat towards the nearest piece of land and docking. She made sure it was moored tight before getting out. It wouldn’t do either of them any good if the thing floated away and left them stranded.
Deja squatted beside the man and turned him over onto his back, not knowing what to expect, but certainly not to see one of her employers. “It can’t be…”
She had no idea she had spoken aloud before a hand shot out to grab her wrist.
“What did you see?”
“Are you okay?” she asked, rather than answering him.
Lincoln McCabe blinked and stared at her. In an instant, his eyes lit with recognition, or so Deja thought, until he called her ‘Dahlia.’
“No, I’m Deja.” She tried to pry her wrist loose, but he had it in a death grip. She gave up and focused on him instead. “Mr. McCabe—”
“Lincoln. My name is Lincoln.”
She grinned at his verbal confirmation, as if she could ever forget him. “I know who you are. And right now we need to get you some help.”
He blinked, glance widening when he caught sight of the ankh dangling from a gold chain around her neck. He reached up and caressed the pendant before pinning her with a look. “You are a witch.”
How could he know? She’d been so careful. She didn’t even think Shawn knew. She did everything she could to keep her gifts from him before she thought he was ready to handle them. She hadn’t had the luxury, her powers manifesting when she’d been a young girl. She knew all too well what it was like to grow up different and with a mother who was different from everyone else’s mother, one too involved with her own needs to recognize those of her child. She did not want to put that cross on her son.
Her own mother flaunted her youth, acting like Deja’s sister instead of her mother, tried to hang out with Deja and her friends whenever she could as if her daughter was a peer. Deja avoided this scene by fostering as little friendships as she could. Her mother and her own burgeoning powers sealed her loner lifestyle. Better a loner than a freak. She’d become so accustomed to living this way, afraid of her powers and what she could do as a child, that keeping to herself easily followed her into her later years, until she met Shawn’s father.
Deja swallowed at the memory of his departure, what she’d done to him after he rejected her and before he left town. She promised herself she would never use her powers that way again.
Jeff had been lucky, leaving with a new lease on life, but Deja was left with the memory of how she’d let her self-righteous teen anger and hurt drive her into his dreams to ‘teach him a lesson.’ She’d pulled up the mirror in his soul, dug deep into Jeff’s subconscious to show him a vision of what he would become if he continued on his current course. It had been enough to frighten not only Jeff but Deja herself with what she could do.
“Are you working with him? Are you helping him?”
Deja shook her head and stared at Lincoln, train of thought momentarily lost before she found her voice to say, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I rowed over from my cottage to help you. That’s all. I’m not working with anyone and the only one I’m here to help is you. I’m not here to hurt you, Lincoln.” She tried to free her hand again and instantly stopped at his resistance. She tried to stay calm, softened her voice. “Please, let me go so I can help you.”
“No doctors. No hospital.”
Why was he so adamant but, more importantly, why was he so paranoid? Maybe it had something to do with how he had been injured and fallen off that cliff. Maybe it had something to do with why he was in his birthday suit!
He groaned, lifted himself out of the water onto the rock with his free hand to lay flat on his back and Deja gaped when her gaze drifted to his lap.
She darted her gaze up his body focusing on the shoulder and noticing the hole. The bullet must have gone straight through, since he seemed to have a wound in the front of the shoulder matching the wound in the back.
Deja let her glance move over the rest of his body, admiring his smooth, well-delineated chest and broad shoulders, then back down over his slim waist and lean, muscled thighs. She had a flash of herself and him together, Lincoln’s legs flexing as he pumped inside her.