Nine Ten, Love Comes Crashing In #KIBJ #paranormal #fantasy Free Read

Happy Sunday and welcome to Behind Closed Doors! Today I have the next installment from Karma In Blue Jeans for you to read. This week you get to meet a few more of Karma’s charges. Brighton Alderidge is the former BFF of Evangeline’s and the victim of her climb to the top of the publishing world. How will she handle the news of Evangeline’s fall from “grace”? Charlotte and Joe have lived the last few years of their lives numb with grief. The loss of their spouses has them spinning out of control…until Fate and Karma step in.

If this is the first time you’ve visited, you’ll want to catch up with the story from the beginning. Click on the links to take you to each post and then come back to continue the story. I hope you enjoy the book so far. It’s become one of my favorite projects to write. I’m sure you’ll understand why…

Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4

Chapter 5

 

Chapter 5 Karma memeBrighton stared at the television, stunned by the news. Sure they had their differences and even all out wars but she’d never wish upon anyone what Evangeline Cross was facing now. Did she deserve to fall from the top? Hell yes, but to suffer a debilitating stroke on top of it was more than anyone should have to bear.

She snatched her cell from the coffee table in front of her and hit the button that connected directly to her publisher at Bliss.

“Jessica Raine.”

“Hey doll. It’s Brighton Alderidge. Got a minute?”

“For you? Of course. What’s wrong? You don’t sound like yourself.”

“Have you seen the news about Evie?”

The woman on the other end of the conversation snorted. “Besides putting out all the fires she started around here, I haven’t heard anything more. Why? What’s she done now?”

“She’s in the hospital. Dallas held a press conference just now. Apparently she’s had a stroke.”

“Holy shit. Well, Karma’s a bitch—“

“Jess!”

“You of all people should be dancing in the streets to see her finally get what’s coming to her. She put you through the ringer and her nut job fans were more than happy to go after you too.”

Brighton cringed as the memory of the worst time in her life came back to her. She’d been accused of plagiarism by an obscure, unknown person on Wattpad. Come to find out, the accuser was a uber fan who wanted to take her down so Evangeline’s book could then be at number one. Two years of legal battles and thousands of dollars in legal fees later, she’d been cleared. Her love of writing didn’t survive. Writer’s block had paralyzed her through the entire process. It had only been within the last six months she’d been able to jump back in with a tell all memoir that shot straight to the top of the nonfiction best sellers lists. A month ago she’d been approached by the local talk show to see if she’d like to be a regular on their panel. Life had turned out great for her—much to Evangeline’s chagrin.

Even after all this time, Evangeline continued to claim ignorance of the whole mess, but screen shots from her private Evie’s Angels Facebook group told a different story. Brighton hadn’t wanted to believe her once best friend would have encouraged the horrible attack, but there it was in black and white. While the betrayal had crushed her, it had also opened her eyes to the backstabbing, mean girl mentality swirling around the publishing world.

Gone was the wide-eyed, naïve Midwestern girl. In her place stood a stronger, more determined street smart woman ready to put her past behind her and move on. She’d vowed to never forgive Evangeline for orchestrating the mob that had ripped her apart and called her a thief.

And yet, her heart ached for the friend she used to be.

No one deserves to be struck down in her prime even if she is the biggest bitch of the century! “I know. I should be dancing over this but I feel awful for her and her family.”

“I understand what you’re saying, but save it. She could care less about your sympathy. She’d think you had ulterior motives by offering her any help.”

She sighed. “I know you’re right but I’m still going to stop in and check in on Dallas and Marissa.”

“My advice? Don’t do anything in public. She’ll only turn it against you.”

“Thanks Jess. I promise I’ll be careful.” She made her way to the kitchen and then dropped her cell phone into her purse and retrieved her keys. She scribbled a quick note for her husband and then headed out to her car. We had been so close. I miss that Evie. Maybe this is my chance to get her back.

  * * * *

Young man and woman drinking coffee outdoor and having a chat

A crash echoed throughout the cafeteria followed by the sound of breaking glass and china. All eyes turned toward Charlotte as a man with the most amazing blue eyes helped her from the floor.

“Oh my god! Are you all right? I wasn’t watching where I was going.”

Her head swam and she found it hard to catch her breath after her collision with the wall of muscle standing over her. “I…I…I think I’m okay but my lunch has seen better days.” She looked down at her smock and groaned. I can’t believe this is happening to me today of all days.

He crouched next to her and proceeded to help her pick up the mess of food and broken dishes. “Please. Allow me to buy you another meal and pick up the dry cleaning tab for your clothing.”

She shook her head and smiled. “That’s not necessary. You weren’t the only one with their head in the clouds. I’ve been preoccupied today and this is just as much my fault as it is yours.”

“Nonsense. I insist.” He glanced at her name tag and smiled. “Charlie? Are you the one the kids chant for every morning?”

She couldn’t pull her eyes from his. Something about him seemed so familiar to her. She nodded. “That’s me. They love their story time. I’m sorry, but do we know each other? You look so familiar. I can’t place it, but…”

He helped her removed the soiled smock and accompanied her back to the food line. “Don’t think so. I would remember someone as beautiful as you.”

She laughed. “I bet you say that to all the girls you crash into.”

He stopped and raised his right hand with three fingers up. “Nope. Scout’s Honor. You’re the very first.”

Her spine tingled.

Scout’s Honor. Darrin had said that to her all the time.

He smiled. Not just any smile but a slow Cheshire cat grin she thought she’d never see again.

“Wha…what did you say your name was?”

He leaned close and took her hands in his. “It’s Joe. Are you okay? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

She squeezed his fingers and asked again. “Have we met before?”

He nodded. “In each and every lifetime. Our names are different but our hearts always find each other.”

She swallowed back the lump that had formed in her throat. “It can’t be. Today is…”

“The anniversary of the day we had to part.”

“Darrin?” Her voice cracked and she berated herself for sounding like a lost little girl.

“I don’t understand it either, but seems we’ve been given a second chance here and now. I didn’t realize what was going on until I heard your voice singing to the kids. All of it came back to me. What do you say we grab our food and get reacquainted?”

Too stunned to do anything but take his arm, she walked back through the line and let him fill her tray with all of her favorites.

* * * *

kissIt took all he had to keep calm and not throw his arms around her and never let go. Three years ago his wife of twenty years had lost her battle with breast cancer and he’d lost his will to live. Now here in front of him she appeared to be living again in the body of another, with the voice of an angel—an angel who’d given up on life and wished to be reunited with the love of her life.

Just as he’d done the night before.

Today was the anniversary of his wife, Carrie’s death. Now here she was sitting across from him as if the last three years had never happened. Her laughter tickled his ears and set goosebumps up and down his spine. It wasn’t the fact she was his Carrie that gave him the sense of déjà vu. He remembered his life as her husband, Darrin. Every single moment of it flooded back to him.

She reached across the table and placed her hand over his. “Now you look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

“Carrie?”

She nodded. “I think so. I can see a wedding on the beach.”

“Cabo.”

“Darrin and I were married on Maui, but the memory I’m having now is of me walking across the sand to you.”

“The memories are swirling around each other in your head and combining into one?” Please let her say yes and not think I’m out of my mind.

She exhaled. “Thank God! I thought I’d smacked my head on the floor when you knocked me to the floor.” She smiled and the color in her cheeks turned a rosy pink that made the freckles all the more adorable.

“I’ve been drawn to you for the last couple days and I didn’t know why. Something compelled me to have lunch here today instead of running up the street to the diner.”

“O’Malley’s?”

He nodded. “Yeah. It’s my favorite spot here in the city. They have the best mac and cheese around. My wife used to try to duplicate it and she came damn close.”

“Same here! I’m thinking they use a special blend of cheeses but I have yet to match it.”

He turned his hand over and laced his fingers with hers. “Charlie, I think we’re supposed to find each other here, today.”

Tears filled her eyes and her grip around his fingers tightened. “I’ve all but given up and asked to be reunited with my Darrin again. I don’t want to go on without him.”

“You don’t have to. We can have our second chance. All we have to do is believe.”

“Do you? I’m afraid to let my heart feel again.”

“If you would’ve asked me last week, my answer would have been a resounding hell no. I can’t believe in anything that could take away my heart and soul. But now, sitting here with you I want to believe. I need to believe this is the answer to our prayers.”

“Before you get excited, I should tell you I’ve been diagnosed with stage four.”

His stomach tightened and the room spun. No. No. NO!

“I refused treatment but now…”

“You’ll give it a try? I mean, I’ll be there with you every step of the way. I won’t let you go through this alone.”

“This is all so overwhelming but somehow it feels right. Promise me this isn’t a dream. You’re really here?”

“Yeah. I’m really here. Time for my confession.”

She wiped the tears from her cheeks and tilted her head to the side. She winked and then smiled.

Carrie’s smile.

“I was going to go home tonight, close up the garage and let the car run. Like you, I wished to be with my one true love and thought the one way was to leave this world.”

She shook her head and then got up to join him on his side of the table. She wrapped her arms around his neck and then sobbed. “Then it’s a damn good thing we’re both klutzes.”

He chuckled and pulled her close. He rested his cheek on the top of her head and rocked her until her tears slowed. “We’re two peas in a pod. Someone’s been looking out for us, that’s for sure.” My prayers have been answered. Please don’t take her away from me again.

  * * * *

Justice smiled. “Now there’s a couple I wouldn’t have seen together in a million years. He’s really robbing the cradle with Charlie.”

Karma put her head on his shoulder and kept her eyes on her new project. “Both are old souls. He may be two decades older that she is in this life, in their hearts they’re the perfect match. His wife died exactly one year before her husband. The stars and worlds were aligned perfectly the moment they collided today so they could reunite.”

“Their heads must be spinning with all the déjà vu going around.” He draped his arm over the back of her chair and twirled her hair between his fingertips. Even in human form her tresses reminding him of the silk spun by the nimble hands of the Faery folk. His cock stirred against his scrub pants with the thought of having her in his bed tonight and every night for as long as The Three allowed her to be with him. Sure she still had to perform her duties, but at least he could play a greater role in her life other than to satisfy her carnal urges.

Not that he was complaining. He’d be an idiot to turn down any moment with her, but he’d be lying to himself if he said he didn’t long for more from the woman he’d loved for centuries. If only she felt the same.

As a demigod, he could never ascend to her status of immortality. Eventually he would leave this realm and have to wait for his next life cycle. Karma would live forever unless she did as Lucius and gave up her status as a goddess.

Something he’d never allow her to do.

Ever.

“What’s wrong, love? I thought seeing the two of them reunited would make you happy. Instead it’s had the opposite effect.”

He kissed her forehead and then stood up. “Nothing. It’s been a long day with Evangeline and your surprise in the on call room. How about we head over to my—our house and get you settled in?”

She pouted and took the hand he offered. “I don’t think I like not being able to read your thoughts in an instant.”

“Get used to it. You’re the one who wanted the human experience.”

“Don’t remind me.” She turned for one last look at Charlie and Joe and smiled.

“Is she really going to beat stage four?”

“It’s in their hands now, but yes. She will and the two of them will have their happily ever after. They’ve taken the first leap of faith. The rest will be a piece of cake.”

She continued to rattle on about a few of the other cases she had to handle over the never few weeks, but he didn’t hear a word. Instead his mind wandered back to Evangeline strapped to the hospital bed. She’s one of the worst cases I’ve ever had to deal with and I’m not sure if she’s redeemable. Maybe it would be better just to cut her loose and let her completely self-destruct.

 * * * *

Next week: Chapter 6

Brighton visits Evangeline

Charlie and Joe get to know each other again

 

KIBJ free read meme

#OhMY! Monday: Author @DakotaSkye69 Shares Her New #Paranormal #EroticRomance

Oh My! Mondays Banner For Behind Closed Doors

 

Welcome to Behind Closed Doors! Today I’ve brought out the Oh My Monday banner to welcome a new author to the world of erotic romance. Dakota Skye just released her very first erotic romance novel. Blurred Lines is a paranormal tale filled with one hot love triangle—with a ghost in the middle of it! Check out the blurb.

Letting go is like a death. Sierra never thought she would be caught in a love triangle between her writing partner, Alex, and the love of her life, Shane—especially because her ex-fiancé is now a ghost. Tormented with both guilt for moving on with someone else and a desire to be free of the past, she’s pulled between both men. Shane struggles with accepting his death and seeing the woman he loves with someone else. Alex is determined to free Sierra from limbo and change their relationship from casual to serious, but the bond she has with Shane transcends death. One of the three needs to let go.

Only the good die young. When Shane Weston is murdered before prosecuting a key member of the Mexican drug cartel, he can’t accept the idea that all of the plans he had had for his life will never come true. More than that, he can’t let go of the love he has for his fiancée.

Love never dies. Sierra Daniels is crushed after Shane’s death. Head writer on a successful television series, she can’t get back into the groove of life. All enthusiasm for work is gone. Ready to quit everything, she travels to her cabin in Lake Tahoe in hopes of escaping everyone’s expectations and disappearing for a while.

The lines between right and wrong often blur. Alexander Blaine has risked his future on a career change from DEA agent to lead consultant and writer on hit television series. Sierra’s grief has shadowed everyone around her, including him, and jeopardizes both of their careers. Unwilling to accept defeat, he follows her to Lake Tahoe determined to break through the barrier enveloping her and make her see that life is still worth living. 

EXCERPT

 

BlurredLinesDakotaSkye6Murder. The word still didn’t roll off her tongue with ease. ‘My fiancé was murdered…” she doubted she would ever get used to saying those words. Ironic, in a twisted way, that she wrote about crime for a living.

Shane had been killed during a high profile trial of alleged members of the Mexican drug cartel. Some teenager had been arrested for the crime, but she knew he’d been a punk hired to do the deed. Of course he wouldn’t talk, was probably a folk hero south of the border.

Sierra and Shane…that’s how she’d come to think over their four-year relationship. Always a duo, their names always said as one entity.

Palms against the door, she pushed herself away and forced herself into the room. She needed to make a fire, unpack, settle in…her gaze landed on the framed photograph above the mantel. Shane and Sierra, arms around each other and laughing, with Lake Tahoe as their backdrop—joy and love captured in a snapshot. Now he would always be forever tan and young.

She had been in a downward spiral ever since…now she clung by her fingernails to a career she’d fought and sacrificed for all these years.

I miss you, Shane, she thought with tears in her eyes.

She shook off the dark thoughts and resumed starting the fire.

“Sierra…” Her name whispered through the house, a memory of Shane saying it so long ago.

A tingle went up her spine, lifting the hairs on the back of her neck, before caressing her skin with a feather-like touch.

Shane’s touch.

If only, so many if-onlys.

She poked at the kindling, wishing they had bothered to install a gas fireplace when they’d originally bought the property.

Her cell phone sounded with the horror movie music indicating it was the dreaded Alexander calling again. How many times did she need to hit ‘decline’ before he got the message? Didn’t the man have a life beyond work?

He thought he was some kind of god simply because he was former DEA turned writer. She snorted again and poked at the sticks in the hearth. Ass. Know-it-all. She had a Masters in Creative Writing from Berkley, not to mention three Emmy’s on her desk, and an Oscar nomination for a documentary she’d produced. She was a writer, not Alexander Blaine who bragged about ‘stumbling into it.’

Ignoring the phone, she started the fire, knelt back on her heels, held her hands up to the warmth, and grinned with satisfaction.

Shane had called her a certifiable city girl. Well, look at her now.

She searched the kitchen for the supplies Mary had stocked before her arrival. Grabbing a bottle of wine, she smiled.

“Mary, you know me too well,” she muttered as she turned the bottle around in her hands before reaching for the corkscrew.

“You’re so beautiful,” Shane’s voice echoed through her memory. “I’m the luckiest man in the world to be loved by you.”

She squeezed her eyes closed and indulged in remembering him holding her, kissing her, making her believe in fairy tales and love stories.

BlurredLinesDakotaSkye6“I’m here. See me.” The voice startled her from indulging. Clear. Deep.

Dropping the corkscrew, she swiveled around and glanced across the room. No one. Only the empty kitchen with its clean marble countertops and gleaming pans met her vision.

“I really am losing my mind,” she muttered as she skipped the glass and drank straight from the bottle.

Endless days of work on the set of a hit television series took its toll. The stress of having to mesh with a partner had given her anxiety attacks, not that she’d ever admit that to anyone. In show business, writers were only as good as the ratings of the most recent show. Fickle. Not exactly the safe life in academia she’d once envisioned for herself.

She dropped her iPhone into the stereo after making sure to put it on ‘do not disturb’, scrolled down to her favorite playlist, and kicked off her shoes. Music filled the room, drowning out any imagined ghost voices. Settling onto the sofa with the bottle nuzzled against her chest, she watched flames snap and crackle.

She could see Shane without closing her eyes. Often she’d imagine seeing him in a crowd, his tall silhouette a head above the others on the street. Sometimes she would see him at their favorite restaurant sitting at the bar while she picked up her take-out after another late night at the office. She’d always do a double take only to find him gone, a figment of her imagination.

Dreams were the most vivid. She would wake up and swear she’d been touched, her skin tingling where she had imagined his fingers to be.

“I miss you so much,” she whispered, allowing the tears to fall. She suppressed them most of the time by staying busy and immersed in her career. But now—in this place that had once been their hideaway—emotions bubbled to the surface despite the pills designed to keep them buried. “Without you I’m just a stressed out work-a-holic. No one’s ever going to love me like you did.”

“You’re wrong, Sierra.”

She took another swig from the bottle, in a way resenting that she still heard his voice in her head. People nagged at her to snap out of it, let him go, move on; but how was that possible when she saw him in her dreams and heard him in her head?  The therapist told her that it was okay to talk to the deceased, that she could still have conversations if that made her feel better. Of course, she’d neglected to tell the doctor that often she heard a response.

Just my imagination.

“I’m here.” Shane’s voice.

“If only…”

A surge of energy rushed through her like an electrical shock. She closed her eyes and sighed.

A caress against her lips. She opened her eyes and saw Shane leaning over her. Despite being a lawyer who could wear a suit like an Armani model, he’d had the surfer dude look down to a tee. She grinned at the lock of blond hair falling across his tanned forehead.

“Always too handsome for your own good,” she whispered to the image. “I miss you so much.”

“I’ve never left you,” he said.

She covered her eyes with her hand and shook her head. “You did, they took you from me, too young, never should have happened…”

“I’m here, Sierra. See me.” He touched her hand. She felt it. Heavy. Warm.

Impossible. Too much work and too little sleep had pushed her over the edge, add pills and wine to the mix and everything felt unreal.

“I’m losing everything, you know. I can’t function. The show has dropped in ratings despite some damn DEA expert slash pain in my ass who was supposed to save us from going in the ditch. I can’t write anymore. Period. I can’t do anything anymore, not like I used to, not without you. Now I’m going crazy.”

“Believe.”

“You’re not here.”

“I’m here, I’ve never left you. Look at me. It’s taking all I’ve got to do this.”

One finger at a time, she lifted her hand from her eyes. She swallowed disbelief despite the warm energy rippling through her body.

Shane leaned over her, contagious grin in place, body heavy on top of hers. She reached up, simultaneously scared and fascinated. When her fingers touched his hair, she froze.

“I don’t believe in ghosts,” she whispered.

“I’ve noticed. Do you know how hard I’ve been trying to connect with you?”

Frozen with fear yet driven by curiosity, she forced a whisper from her lips, “Why here? Why now?”

“You’re so sad, I don’t want you to be sad anymore.”

Tears slipped from the corners of her eyes despite his words. “How can I not be sad? You were my world.”

“That’s not true.” He kissed her, the touch like a breeze over her lips. “You had it goin’ on when I met you, don’t you remember? You ignored me because I looked like an uptight lawyer in my suit. You were at that restaurant with all of your artist friends and I couldn’t stop staring. You avoided going out with me for a full month, always too busy working. Don’t you remember? You never needed me. You wanted me. There’s a difference.”

She shook her head, unwilling to remember. Hanging onto sorrow had protected her from living without him. She didn’t want to remember life pre-Shane…and she didn’t want to think about life post-Shane. Limbo felt like a safer place to hide from reality.

Now she had conjured him up from memory; that had to be the only explanation. She’d taken talking to the void a step further.

BlurredLinesDakotaSkye6“You’re not real.” She touched her fingers to his face even as she said the words.

“Want me to prove it to you?”

She shook her head ‘no,’ even as her thumb moved along his chin. The energy rippling beneath her fingertips zapped like electrical shocks, rather than a solid form. Maybe she had lost her mind, which was the only explanation she could believe.

“I see you everywhere,” she whispered.

“I am everywhere.” His smile made her heart ache with longing.

She slid her fingers over his lips with fascination and relaxed against the sofa cushions. Eyes narrowed, she stared at the image above her. She wanted to believe, but her imagination had gotten her into trouble in the past.

“You’re not here,” she said. “I just want you to be so badly I’m seeing things.”

“Believe.”

“You ask a lot.”

She closed her eyes and shuddered with the need pulsating through her body. Her hand moved beneath her sweater, fingers tracing over her abdomen before sliding over her bra. Where her hands drifted, ripples of energy followed, creating a trail of sensation over her skin. Desire warmed her blood.

“I miss being loved,” she whispered.

“I love you.” Shane’s voice against her ear. “Let me touch you.”

“I wish you could.” She ached for him, for the love they had shared, for the laughter, and the partnership.

With a sigh, she set the wine bottle onto the floor and pulled her sweater off. Another shudder went through her body, ripple after ripple of intensity. Closing her eyes to submit to fantasy, she moved her hands over the swell of her breasts.

She felt his lips against her neck, breath against her skin. Shane’s blond head bent over her, the familiar scent of his shampoo overwhelming her senses, his voice whispering about how much he loved her.

She missed making love, holding a man against her, tasting him on her tongue, feeling him move between her thighs.

“Believe in this, Sierra. I’m really here,” the whispered command made her squirm against the seat and reach for the zipper of her jeans.

But the zipper slid down without her fingers touching it. Her eyes snapped open.

“Is this really happening?” She choked out the words from a throat swollen with fear while her heartbeat raced with hope.

“Do you want it to be?” He loomed over her, a solid form, yes, but one zapping with an electrical current. “You see me.”

“I see you.”

He kissed her; energy sizzled between their mouths as he shoved her jeans down her legs. Where he touched, her skin reacted with an intensity born from loneliness and need.

 

About the Author

DSpic

Dakota Skye is an author fascinated by the paranormal. After having several personal “unexplained experiences” in her life, she started exploring the idea of the “other side.” Ghosts, angels, Spirit Guides…what are they and do we interact with them more than we know? In her stories, she incorporates that fascination with fantasy while always focusing on the love.

Author Contact information:

http://www.facebook.com/DakotaSkye

http://www.twitter.com/DakotaSkye69

http://authordakotaskye.blogspot.com

 

Where to Find Blurred Lines

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