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Enjoy A Free Excerpt From Romance of The Week Novel The Bonk Squad by Kris Pearson – 9/9 Rave Reviews

Last week we announced that Kris Pearson’s The Bonk Squad is our Romance of the Week and the sponsor of thousands of great bargains in the Romance category: over 200 free titles, over 600 quality 99-centers, and thousands more that you can read for free through the Kindle Lending Library if you have Amazon Prime!

Now we’re back to offer our weekly free Romance excerpt, and if you aren’t among those who have downloaded The Bonk Squad, you’re in for a real treat:

The Bonk Squad

by Kris Pearson

4.8 stars – 9 Reviews
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:
A romantic comedy. Kiwi romance-writers plot hot juicy novels – and their real lives sizzle right along with their story-lines. They’re seeking publication and love with equal intensity. Some get luckier than they dreamed. Some…don’t.
The Bonk Squad is a quirky romp with three ‘real-life’ romances spanning the length of the book. There are also many shorter imaginary ones – all paying affectionate homage to the many faces of romance-writing.
You’ll meet hopeful Meg – librarian by day, writer by night – and her seventeen year old son Ben, who provides the inspiration for nubile Tigger’s self-published sexcapades. There’s shy garden center owner Ian, glamorous and bitchy divorcee Liz, handsome Al who wants a playmate, elderly Vi who certainly doesn’t, and Nurse Mandy who has the medical jargon but very little more. Actress Eloise tries to write historical novels like her published friend Romy, and vegetarian virgin Bobbie has heard there’s money in erotica… Step inside the characters’ fertile minds and you’ll spot the authors who are never going to sell. Come on – laugh yourself silly!

And here, for your reading pleasure, is our free excerpt:

 

CHAPTER 1 – MEG AND THE PUMPING THIGHS

 

I think about sex far too often, Meg thought—thinking about sex again as she watched a lanky boy in hip-slipping jeans kissing the bare shoulder of his skimpily dressed blonde girlfriend. It was all too easy to imagine his hungry young mouth on her own skin.

Maybe that boy is a car thief just out of jail? And the girl is a pampered princess from the richest stud farm in the Havelock hills? Plenty of conflict and angst there. No happy ending without a lot of clever writing.

Meg was trying so hard to become a romance novelist…

Sighing, she turned away, half closed her eyes against the late afternoon sun, and waited for the traffic lights to turn green. Something catchy burst and buzzed from the old car radio. She wound the volume up and tapped her fingers on the steering wheel in time with it.

Summer had almost arrived in New Zealand. Christmas was a bare month off. The brilliant weather had peaches and apples swelling on thousands of trees in the orchards around Hastings, and people wearing fewer clothes. Inspiration for a romance novelist sprang out everywhere she looked.

The old green Toyota rocked a little, shaking her out of her reverie. A cyclist leaned on the car, gripping the corner pillar. Meg’s eyes widened as they strayed over his bulging bicep, down his strong, corded forearm, and on past long tanned fingers protruding suggestively from his cutaway cycling glove.

I’m doing it again.

She could easily imagine that hand caressing her face, moving down the sensitive column of her neck, sliding insistently lower to her aching, tingling—

PAAAAAAARP!!!!

The huge farty toot from the truck right behind jerked her back to reality and she stalled the car. Cursing, she wrenched the key around and pumped the accelerator.

“Yer-yer-yer-yer-yer,” the Toyota said, without firing. By the time it did, the lights had changed again and the cyclist was way across the intersection, Lycra clad butt high in the air, long legs pedaling like pistons.

Meg sat there dazed and distracted, and mentally assigned his tight muscular backside to the assortment of characters in the stories her writing group was working on. It might be just the right rear for Higgins the pot-boy in Vi’s tale about Mistress Golightly and the handsome but impoverished vicar. Or maybe the dashing vicar himself was the owner of the excellent ass?

Eloise could use it, perhaps? For the stable lad who was giving Duchess Davinia a spot of rumpty-tumpty when the old Duke wasn’t about. Yes, that was more like it. The stable lad in the tight velvet breeches and ripped ivory-colored shirt. Eloise had read out a very cunning little scene at the last meeting where the Duchess had flicked a horsewhip onto his rippling golden back—just lightly, to spur him on. It had worked a treat. (The scene, as well as the whip. Meg pressed her thighs together as she recalled her reaction to it.)

She groaned; her friends were right—she needed a new man if she had all this sex on her brain. Ben would be off to university in a few months, and then she’d be on her own.

Fat chance of finding another pleasant looking, nice natured man who’d be happy with her incessant writing though!

I’ll do some housework tonight, she promised herself, dragging her thoughts away from possible future pleasure. If she left it until the morning she might never get around to it—and her writing group did tend to move the chairs about, exposing the fluffy pieces of floor for anyone to see. She needed to throw herself into some serious dusting, too.

And put some decent soap and a pretty hand towel in the powder room. Surely elderly Vi would have turned her nose up at the raggy old Star Wars towel Ben had hung there for the last meeting?

But she was itching to get back to the Italian billionaire plot she was playing with. Carlo. And the very English nanny, Angela, who had gone to his palazzo, which was furnished with priceless antiques, to look after his lively dark-haired children. The handsome billionaire needed to somehow discover Angela in her underwear. Real silk and French lace. Navy and cream? Coffee and cream? Black and lavender? Meg considered the myriad possibilities.

At last the lights changed again. She made an efficient getaway this time, just as Bruce Springsteen’s husky voice assured her he had ‘a bad desire’ and that he was on fire. Imagine having Bruce-baby crooning to you in bed! She drove on, nodding in time to the syncopated guitar breaks between the verses, and enjoying the smoldering sensuality of the song. In no time her imagination shot into overdrive again.

 

“I have a bad desire,” raven-haired Valerian murmured as he gazed down on Celia’s pale neck. Her veins showed tender blue under her silky skin. He smelled the faint richness of her delectable blood. His fangs throbbed as they slowly extended…

“No!” Celia gasped, trying to writhe out of his arms. “You promised you wouldn’t.”

He fixed his hypnotic eyes on hers, willing her to let him bite. Around them the trees thrashed in the gale. Fitful moonlight flickered between the branches, but apart from this faint silver glimmering, everything was dark. As dark as her eyes. As dark as his desires.

He bent lower. Gave her jugular a tender lick as she shuddered in his arms…

 

Meg stomped on the brake, finding herself going far too fast at the next corner with no recollection of how she’d got there. She let her fantasy fade, knowing she’d left it too late to break into the vampire market anyway. But she’d almost drawn level with the hunky cyclist again, so virtuously kept her speed down to appreciate his long sinewy legs pumping the pedals around and around.

Pumping—dangerous word, Meg.

She grinned to herself. It was second only to thrusting. Thrusting was excellent.

Enjoying those legs almost caused her to miss stopping at the Spots Off to collect her dry-cleaning. She’d vowed to make more of an effort with her appearance from now on, and planned to wear her good black trousers and the new taupe cotton jersey with the plunging V-neck tomorrow. Helpful for diminishing a generous bosom—or so Trinny and Susannah insisted. And Meg’s bosom was undeniably generous these days. Her hips were trying to balance the bosom up, unfortunately. She didn’t mind the boobs but she rather resented the hips.

“It’s much harder to lose that weight after forty,” her disciplined and stringy mother had warned her. Still, Meg knew she’d rather be a rounded thirty-nine than a skinny sixty-seven. And only rounded—not fat, you understand…

The Toyota chugged on in a cloud of music and exhaust smoke. The small commercial buildings started to thin out toward the end of Heretaunga Street. The old converted church stood aloofly on its corner, spire covered in lichen. A tall privet hedge burst with feathery full-sneeze white bloom. An over-optimistic Cambodian café had tried and failed; the signage lived on but the chef had long gone.

Meg trundled around a corner into middle class suburbia—past pastel colored timber houses with gardens where dogs barked behind gates, trees hung over walls, and impatiens and petunias ran riot in terracotta pots beside barbecues as big as bullocks.

She steered the car into her driveway and just about collected the side fence with surprise. The cyclist had obviously kept his sinewy tanned thighs pumping with great efficiency while she’d been waiting at the Spots Off, because he was knocking on her red front door. One long arm supported his racing cycle.

He turned as she lurched to a rather undignified halt. The late sun lit his dark hair with warm chestnut highlights. A most satisfactory bulge filled the front of his tight black bike pants. Curly hair burst from the neckline of his stretchy shirt. And he inspected her with arrogant eyes. Or possibly piercing eyes? Eyes as dark and watchful as a jungle predator? Jolly nice brown ones, anyway.

The door swung open. Ben ushered him in. To Meg’s amazement he took the bike inside with him. One of Ben’s friends? He’d looked quite a bit older than that.

She grabbed her handbag and the dry-cleaning, and forgot to lock the Toyota in her haste to catch up with them.

 

Sunshine drenched the house next morning.

God— ten o’clock already.

Meg stretched until her bones popped, no longer able to ignore the bright light at the faded edges of the floral curtains, or the accusing green numbers on the bedside clock.

Orlando and Bella sprang up from the foot of the bed, quite used to dry kitty-nibbles on Saturday mornings—but maybe their luck was in today?

Meg heaved herself out of bed, and the two sleek cats bounded ahead of her.

“Not yet, you two,” she called after them as they skittered down the stairs.

First she needed headache pills. Plural. She’d not had that much to drink for years. And never with a man with such a body.

Alan.

‘Call-me-Al’.

Father of Ben’s friend Michael. Computer expert, and owner of the pumping thighs.

She flinched as the pills hit the water and made a terrible noise. Once the fizzing had finished she gulped the mixture down, grimacing at the taste.

Two bottles of Chardonnay. One glass each for seventeen-year-old Ben and Michael, and all the rest for the adults.

Who’d been acting like stupid kids, she had to concede.

With some ancient Drambuie to follow, just to make really sure she’d be hung-over today.

No housework done. No progress with Carlo the widowed Italian billionaire and his pretty nanny who had to get her underwear on display somehow. No flowers in the powder room. The powder room—what a penny-pinching cop-out! Why hadn’t the builder squeezed in a shower box and put a pedestal basin instead of the over-large, wall hung vanity unit beside the toilet? A complete second bathroom would have been heaven.

Meg sashed her dark blue robe, picked up a suitable looking bottle of body lotion, and regarded herself blearily in the all too bright bathroom mirror. Lord! She shook her head at her rumpled reflection and staggered down the stairs, running her fingers through her tangled fair hair.

She decided the top of the vanity unit looked quite clean enough, placed the body lotion on it for decoration, and snaffled the crumpled lime green towel for the wash.

Grabbed a small glass vase and filled it with water, wrenched a strongly-fragrant white lily off the bunch on the sideboard, and set her floral highlight beside the body lotion.

Found a good thick cream towel with a band of useless scratchy embroidery, and hung it with exaggerated care on the towel rail.

Pulled the powder room door shut, closed her eyes, and leaned on the wall for strength. Right—one room finished.

The living area would take a bit longer. It looked and smelled like a neglected Italian café, decorated with empty pizza boxes and sticky glasses. Coffee mugs and pages from last night’s newspaper were strewn about. And something that looked like a puddle of congealed custard clung to the top of the dining table. Meg was surprised the cats hadn’t cleaned that up.

Or maybe they’d produced it? Eeuw!

She stepped cautiously closer, and relaxed. Definitely custard. Vague memories now of making custard in the microwave oven to pour over Watties tinned peaches. Over the table, too, it seemed.

“Here cats!” she called, wincing at the sound of her own voice. Orlando sailed up and began investigating the tasty offering. She gave him an affectionate stroke and turned to make coffee. Strong coffee. She collected plates, glasses and mugs, and dumped them all in the dishwasher; squirted some air freshener around, and collapsed into her favorite armchair, trying to remember exactly what had happened.

Okay, the man had disappeared into her house wheeling his mean looking bicycle. Fine. She’d followed. Found it leaning against the wall in the front entrance. Ben and Muscles had been stroking it and muttering things like ‘carbon fiber’ and ‘nine grand’.

(For a bike??? She could get a good secondhand car for that.)

Muscles had thrust his hand toward her in a very hearty and confident manner.

“Alan Sabatini. Call-me-Al. Good to meet you at last, Meg.”

She must have looked less than enlightened because Ben added, “Michael’s Dad. He’s helping me sort out the computer.”

She’d shaken handsome Call-me-Al’s hand and tried not to look like a gulping goldfish. “That’s very kind of you,” she’d managed.

Call-me-Al seemed not the least bit embarrassed his genitals were displayed in snug detail by the tight Lycra shorts. Or that his long muscular legs had been completely and beautifully shaved—rather better than Meg’s own were by the end of a busy week.

She’d gone upstairs to stow her dry-cleaning so she could recover for a moment. He was overpowering up close. A lot taller than her. And wafting the twin intoxicating scents of fresh perspiration and expensive cologne around her home. She’d squirted on some of last Christmas’s Opium to level the stakes, and taken a book downstairs so she could stay within earshot.

“Bloody machine!” she heard Al exclaim.

“What’s wrong?” she called.

“Your computer’s not co-operating.”

“Now there’s a surprise. Ben can make it behave, but not me. Do you two want coffee?”

Angry mutters continued to reach her after coffees were provided.

Time slid by. Ben’s cell-phone did its duck-quacking noise and there was a brief conversation. Soon afterward, someone knocked on the front door.

She put down her book. “I’ll go,” she said, feeling pretty sure no-one else would.

“Hi, Mrs Josephs—is Dad still here?”

It was Michael to see what had become of his father. So Meg took a few moments to review the contents of the fridge and decided there wasn’t enough of anything to feed four. She leaned around the doorframe to Ben’s bedroom. By now there were three annoyed males to glare back at her.

“How about I go for pizza?” she suggested.

“Get a couple of bottles of wine, too,” Al insisted, producing warm banknotes from somewhere mysterious inside his clothing, and insisting it was his shout. Meg decided that was fair enough if he could afford to spend so much on a bicycle. She’d provided the venue and would be stacking the dishwasher, after all.

So she burbled off in the Toyota and returned with ridiculous amounts of food, all of which disappeared with incredible speed down the throats of two gangly teenagers and one athletic father. And still they’d seemed hungry—hence the impromptu dessert delight of canned peaches and hot runny custard.

 

She sipped her coffee in the mid-morning sunshine. She had the strong and worrying feeling that while the boys had returned to Ben’s bedroom to surf the net, she and Al had danced to one of her father’s old albums by Herb Alpert and his Tijuana Brass. God, surely not. How drunk did you have to be to dance with a man in bike pants?

She definitely recalled teasing him about his shaved legs—and being told that racing cyclists all did that because they got grazed in accidents if they slid along the road surface. The scabs got full of hair (or the hair got full of scabs) and that was a Bad Thing.

He’d shown her several very fetching scars on assorted parts of his impressive body. She’d reciprocated by hitching up her skirt and displaying the line from the operation on her knee tendon. It was all she had, really. Well—there was the appendicitis scar, but she was reasonably certain she’d not been foolish enough to exhibit that…

And she suspected she’d shared a few woozy kisses with him on the big old cream sofa. But nothing more, for sure. Not with the boys in the next room.

She finished the coffee. The pills had not kicked in with any enthusiasm.

Ohhhhhh God. She’d need a smaller headache than this to drag the noisy, super-sucking, extra powerful cleaner around the floors. Dusting was quiet. She’d do that first.

“Morning, Mom.”

Ben ambled, blinking, out into the light of day. Tall and clumsy, and almost a man. He shuffled the newspaper together and Meg flinched at the vicious rustling. At least things looked more respectable now. They ate breakfast in companionable silence until—

“Hey, Mom, you know that old tea trolley in the garage?”

“Mmmmm?”

“Can I have it in my room?”

“Mmmmm.”

“Cool.”

What on earth is he up to now?

She tidied away the breakfast things, arranged plenty of mugs on the kitchen counter with the sugar basin, the jar of instant coffee, the tea caddy, a milk jug and some empty plates…spared the fluffy floor a guilty glance, and hurried upstairs to shower and dress with all possible speed.

She froze at her reflection in the bathroom mirror. Al’s mouth had undeniably acquainted itself with the slope of her left breast. She peered down at the all too obvious mark. Would the low V-neck of the new taupe jersey hide it?

Not really. She dabbed a bit of foundation on it, thought that made it look more obvious, washed it off again, and decided if anyone mentioned it she’d look mysterious. Old Vi would miss the point, and maybe her cred would go up a bit with naughty Liz, and thrice-published Romy, and Bobbie who wrote erotica. Meg wasn’t quite certain what erotica was. Somewhere midway between romance and pornography, she suspected.

Eloise wouldn’t be shocked by the evidence of Al’s advances. She was an actress—nothing shocked her, ever. And Nurse Mandy had seen it all before. Ian would have to take it or leave it.

But how had Al managed to burrow that far under her blouse? It was her first love-bite in years, and she’d missed the experience.

Oh Chardonnay! Oh Drambuie! Oh damn…

CHAPTER 2 – TIGGER TAPS HER TOY

 

Tigger trotted back to her old childhood bedroom with yet another mug of coffee, pulled her long legs in under the duvet, and settled back into her pile of pillows. A small smile tweaked at the corners of her pretty mouth. This holiday back home had been a great idea. Not only summer weather but lots more time to write.

After several sips, she set the mug down on her bedside table and opened her gleaming silver Mac. She was so into this story! She’d decided to call it ‘Exploring Ryan’ because that’s exactly what would happen. Lots of exploring by a girl who wanted to know more so she could self-publish her slightly dodgy stories on Amazon.

Not unlike Tigger herself was doing.

Advertising in the local paper had seemed a good place for her heroine to start. Tigger knew if she had the girl advertising online, she might be contacted by men from the other side of the world. And she needed them living locally for the story to work.

She tucked her tongue into the corner of her mouth, and her fingers raced over the keys.

 

Having placed the ad in the wanted column, Sophie waited for the phone to ring. Naturally she’d only put her cell-phone number—she didn’t want any of the men to track her down at the apartment.

In truth she was a little dismayed at how the ad looked.

Author seeks o-minded sexually exp. man for erotic chat. No phys. contact req.

Surprising the difference the abbreviations made to her careful wording. Might prospective callers read it as ‘sexually explicit’ instead of ‘sexually experienced’? God, she hoped not.

The first call came just as she arrived home. He sounded Scottish, and was certainly drunk.

“Aye lassie, you need a sexy man for dirrrty talk?” he slurred. “I’ll talk dirrrty. I’ll talk the lacy wee panties right off your bonny backside. I’ll—”

Sophie pressed the cancel key.

The phone beeped again just seconds later.

“Cut off in ma prime, girlie. And you should see the size of me. He’s a beauty tonight. So thick that—”

OMG—she hadn’t expected anything like this!

“Excuse me sir,” she snapped. “Someone has printed my cell-phone number by mistake. If you ring again I’ll call the Police.” She jabbed at the cancel key, praying she’d heard the last of him.

Her knees had turned to jelly. Maybe this was a really stupid idea? She clutched her arms around herself and rocked to and fro for a few moments before walking across to the refrigerator. The tall green bottle of Sauvignon Blanc waited patiently. Sophie opened it and poured a glassful for courage.

 

“Are you still in bed, Tigs?” her mother asked, pushing the bedroom door open without knocking. “Are you ever getting up? You can’t be that jet lagged, surely?”

Tigger angled the screen away from Eloise’s sharp eyes.

“Just emailing London, Mom. The band’ll be out working by now, so I can’t Skype him.” She sent Eloise what she hoped was a love-struck look.

“Hmmm,” was all she got in return.

“Only a few more minutes,” she begged.

“It’s nearly lunchtime. Have you had any breakfast?”

“I made toast.”

“Well don’t be much longer. It’s a lovely day out there.”

Tigger waited until Eloise swept dramatically out again before re-reading what was on the screen.

…a glassful for courage…a glassful for courage… She took a deep breath and started tapping away again.

 

It was more than half an hour before the next call, and by then Sophie had sipped her whole glassful of Sauvignon, very slowly, while she sat on the patio in the early evening sun.

“Sweetie!” an enthusiastic and sibilant voice exclaimed in her ear. “You’re a woman! Damn! I was hoping for a man when your ad just said ‘author’.”

“Sorry,” Sophie muttered, picturing a flamboyantly dressed theatrical type.

“Oh well, no probs. I’m Gordon, by the way.”

“Hi Gordon, I’m Amy,” Sophie lied. “Thanks for ringing anyway.”

“Satisfy my curiosity at least, darling—why are you advertising for a man when you could phone one of the sexy chat lines and get all the grubby talk you want?”

“Because I don’t want grubby talk…exactly,” she said, warming to the unknown nosey extrovert. “I enjoy writing, and there’s a huge market for erotica these days. It’s all some of the publishers are asking for.”

“You want a man for erotic chats to get you in the mood? Oh you are a naughty girl.” 

“Absolutely not. I can get myself in a sexy mood very nicely, thank you. I just need a bit more…information.” Heat spread up her neck and invaded her face. Damn her easy blushes. Would she ever grow out of them?

“You’re not a little virgin are you?” gay Gordon teased.

“No way,” Sophie snapped. At five foot nine, and almost too busty for her C-cups, she’d not considered herself ‘little’ for years. The virgin bit was none of his business. “But I’m writing male/female stories so you’re really not who I need, are you?” she added. “Thanks anyway.”

“I can give you lots of info about good lubricant,” Gordon continued, taking no notice of her polite dismissal. “Butter is useless. I know Marlon Brando was into butter in ‘Last Tango’, but it’s not the answer, sweetie. Lubricating jelly’s a bit too clinical for me—and if you’d ever had your prostate probed you’d know all about that.”

Sophie snorted at that unlikely eventuality.

“There’s baby oil of course, but the best I ever had was some stuff extracted from green kiwi-fruit. Lovely and slippery.”

“Thank-you,” she said. “Bye. Thanks so much.” She cut him off before he could go into further detail.

 

Once more Eloise flung the door open. “Tigger! Lunch is on the table.”

Tigger sighed. “Getting up right now, Mom.”

 

 

CHAPTER 3 – VI CONSIDERS AROUSALS

 

“Muffins or pikelets, Arnold?”

The old cat stared up, unblinking. The fridge had been opened. Another meal might be possible.

Vi knew the younger people rarely contributed proper food toward the writers’ afternoon tea. There would be chocolate biscuits. Packets of fudge or caramels. There’d once been a bowl of Easter eggs. And sometimes that expensive mild Brie cheese she’d never quite seen the point of, and gritty corn-chips.

Meg bought things from the local bakery and cut them up. Ginger slice or anemic sponge roll. So Vi always baked a proper batch of something, to keep the Standard from Slipping. She was very keen on Standards not setting off down Slippery Slopes.

Really—some of the stories the younger people wrote… They might be entertaining, but they were hardly proper. Swear-words (quite bad ones sometimes), and such a lot of sex. Eloise hadn’t turned a hair at naming the stable lad’s private parts at the last meeting. His penis. His pulsing purple penis. Vi had never been quite certain what color her late husband’s was. He’d been decent enough to keep it hidden and only produced it in the dark. Even when they were first married. Because he knew Vi had Standards.

Purple?! That had come as quite a shock.

Why couldn’t Eloise just have said ‘his private parts’ or ‘his masculinity’ or even ‘his arousal’ if she’d wanted to be a bit spicy? An arousal sounded quite nice. Soft and cuddly like a toy or a small animal. ‘His arousal peeked endearingly at her from around the tree trunk.’ The long, hard, up-thrusting, smooth, warm…tree trunk.

She huffed and shook her head. She’d never admit it to them of course, but perhaps it might be fun to try a little of ‘that sort of thing.’ She’d do it under an assumed name, naturally. Certainly not Violet Maybury. May Berryman perhaps? Lettie Berryman? May Hartly? Tartly? Choosing the name could be as much fun as writing the story. She mused on as she lined up the canister of self-rising flour, the milk, the eggs, and the caster sugar on her pale gray Formica counter top.

She decided on pikelets for their afternoon tea treat. Warm, floppy, steaming pikelets. A bit like the gentlemen who populated her safe stories for the genteel ladies’ magazines. Warm hands, floppy hair, steaming looks held in check by impeccable manners. Vi was quite good at setting up little scenarios that let her readers know what was likely to happen without anything really happening at all.

She peered out the window as she started to beat the mixture. The wind buffeted her trees, making them dip and sway and creak. They should have been trimmed back several years ago, but with Brian gone, these tasks did seem to slide. Now she’d have to find a proper arborist, who would no doubt cost an arm and a leg. She imagined a suitably strong young man as she splashed a few drops of water onto the hot fry-pan to test the heat. Arnold scuttled away as it sizzled and steamed. She wiped the buttery paper over the surface and started the first three pikelets, letting the pale mixture run down off the spoon into sticky little puddles.

Slowly they puffed up…growing…expanding. She waited for the bubbles, then flipped them over. The soft golden undersides were as smooth and hot as a man’s skin. She stroked one with her forefinger. Lovely to touch.

Just like that poor young stable boy’s back. The long golden back that had been rippling with lean muscles once the Duchess had tugged the ivory shirt off it. How could you take a horsewhip to something so beautiful? Time slid by as she daydreamed.

She sniffed. Burnt! And tossed her first effort into the garbage pail with an oath she’d learned from Liz McKenzie.

Now there was a hussy, if ever there was one. Liz was tall and slender. Always wore jeans that sat low on her slinky hips. Vi had never seen her in a top that fitted properly. There was a permanent band of bare skin on display, and often a belly-button, too. And a glittery stud thing sitting just above it. How could men be expected to keep their hands off her?

Vi always noticed the dark tattoo in the hollow of Liz’s back. What was the point of that? Liz certainly couldn’t see it. Vi kept her eyes open for it every time Liz bent or swayed and displayed a bit more skin. It looked like Batman, of all things. Why would you want Batman on your back?

She could understand the anchor on her late husband’s arm. A souvenir from the Korean War. Three young men all a little tipsy together and egging each other on; it was only to be expected.

She’d always presumed the anchor was a bit of an oopsie, really—Brian had been in aircraft maintenance.

She shook her head again as she slid the spatula under the final three pikelets and flipped them over. Maybe she could give her imaginary arborist a tattoo somewhere? And invent a pretty young landscaper to admire it? She could call it ‘Branching Out’.

 

Leah Walls halted abruptly in front of the mountain of fresh foliage. A huge piece of Magnolia Campbellii had broken off in the gale, entirely blocking the stone steps to number thirty-four.

She peered upward. A pale gash showed where the tree had split. A patch of dark rot explained why it had plummeted down.

How could she get past? And how would Mrs. Banks get home after visiting her elderly sister?

Leah needed some final measurements for a previously discussed landscaping project—a courtyard at the rear of the old house. She’d been assured Mr. Banks was home to answer any questions, so that meant he was trapped behind the tangle, poor old boy. She pulled out her phone to let him know. It rang for ages before he answered it, and the line crackled.

“Mr. Banks? It’s Leah Walls, the landscaper.”

“Who? Another landscaper?”

Damn—he sounded as though he wasn’t expecting her.

“I’ve just arrived,” she continued firmly, “and there’s a big piece of tree blocking your steps. I can’t get in, and that means you can’t get out.”

“I’ll be right down.”

She consulted her notes while she cooled her heels. Mrs. Banks had requested an enlarged lily pond, a more attractive fountain, a long colorful easy-care border, and some raised herb beds surrounded by recycled bricks. Leah had some extra ideas she was keen to incorporate. Wind protection for starters—a slatted timber screen would make it a much more inviting place to sit and relax.

She soon heard descending feet and a couple of surprised curses. The greenery shook.

“You’ll never move it,” she called upward.

“Watch me. Stand clear down there.”

She bristled, sure she could handle the job better than a grouchy geriatric.

The sound of sawing followed, and a grunt. A branch whistled over. She ducked. More sawing. Another branch. She was ready for this one and kept well back. Through a thinner patch of leaves she now glimpsed a red-handled pruning saw the same as hers. Wielded by a long tanned muscular arm nothing remotely like hers. Did Mrs. Banks have a toy-boy?

“Horrible wind today,” she tried. “Shame about the tree.”

“Stupid place to plant it.”

Well, wasn’t he in a good mood!

Another piece hurtled down. A very good leg appeared and braced itself on a large branch. A leg with a muddy brown boot, a hairy gray sock neatly cuffed above it, and a less hairy but quite spectacular calf and thigh above that. A Celtic tattoo curled up the side of the calf. Leah’s eyes widened as the sawing resumed. Mr. Banks had to be at least seventy. That leg was much younger.

She took a thoughtful step backward. And just as well, because the remaining piece of tree suddenly un-snagged itself and toppled down the steps toward her, whacking the side of her van.

“Hey!” she objected, glaring up. The wrecker stood there, one hand on his hip, the pruning saw hanging loosely from his other. A tall hard-bodied man of maybe thirty—wearing only a pair of low slung khaki shorts apart from his boots and muscles. And the odd gleam of sweat. And a frown.

Leah huffed out an annoyed breath and turned to inspect the paintwork. “Look what you’ve done.”

“How bad is it?”

She started to tug at the rogue foliage and he jogged down the steps to help. Fortunately the leafy end and not the jagged timber stub had hit the van.

“Walls’ Garden Design?” he queried, heaving the big piece of tree aside with impressive ease. “What are you here for?”

“I’m re-working the courtyard,” she said, wondering how she could get a better look at him without staring.

“Can’t be. That’s what I’m doing.”

“The back courtyard.” Maybe there was another?

“Yep—the back courtyard. New pool and fountain.”

“No! That’s my job. She’s paid a deposit.”

“Too late, sorry. I’ve already done most of it. What the hell is Gran playing at?”

“Gran? Mrs. Banks is your grandmother?”

“Dad’s Mom. Did she strike you as senile?” His scowl had softened. Leah now saw genuine concern in his very blue eyes.

“Not at all. Quite the opposite. Seemed to know exactly what she was doing.”

“Hmmm.”

“I’ve already bought the fountain she chose,” Leah added.

“Got it here? I can give you a lift up with it.”

“I hope she still wants it. It won’t be too bad to carry. It’s copper, not concrete.”

“Ric Banks,” he said, pulling off a dirt-encrusted leather gardening glove, and reaching out to shake her hand. She saw long fingers and well-tended nails.

“That’s not a landscaper’s hand,” she said, enjoying the scent of his warm skin and a hint of cologne on the frisky breeze.

“Guitar.” His sudden grin was gorgeous. “Have to look after them a bit.”

It was Leah’s turn to say ‘Hmmm.’ She wouldn’t mind being looked after by those hands. Or nibbled on by those even white teeth…

Ric dragged the big piece of Magnolia further away and sawed it up while she unlocked the van for the boxes containing the fancy French fountain.

“So she went for the three tiers with the cherub on top?” he said, inspecting the photo on the packing. “She was still dithering about it last time we talked.”

“That’s strange. She told me she wanted this design right from the start. I think it set her off on the whole scheme.”

He sent her a disbelieving look.

“Truly,” she added, beeping the van locked and hefting one of the boxes. He followed with the other.

She scooted up the steps in front of him, acutely aware her jeans were on the snug side. Thank heavens there weren’t many steps.

She sighed when she saw Ric’s work. The pavers were beautifully laid, the brick herb-boxes built, and he’d started on the lily pond.

“You’re right, there’s no job left for me. You’ve nearly finished.”

“Good heavens no,” Mrs. Banks said briskly, trotting through a gate from the property next door. “I thought we should get my grandson to do all heavy work because he’s nice and fit, and very good at this sort of thing.”

Ric rolled his eyes and struck an ironic body-builder’s pose. Leah took this as an invitation—checking him out was no chore at all.

Mrs. Banks smiled. “And I want your help with the pretty plants, dear,” she said to Leah. “You did some lovely borders for my friend Evelyn Mitchell, and I’d like something similar.”

Leah reluctantly turned away from her excellent view and tried to remember the Mitchell job. Buxus edging and clumps of raspberry-colored Heuchera and white Flower Carpet roses? Delphiniums? Impatiens to fill the gaps?

“It doesn’t really work that way, Gran,” Ric objected. “You can’t employ two people to do one job.”

“Why ever not?” Mrs Banks asked, raising her neat gray eyebrows and looking slightly too innocent. “You each have different talents, so I’m sensibly making use of them.”

Leah tried to stifle her laugh but a small puff of mirth still burst out. Ric heard, and grinned across at her.

“A set-up, ya reckon?”

“She’s very good at it.”

“Yeah, I wasn’t expecting this.” He turned back to his grandmother. “You’re a sneaky old schemer, Gran. How’s Cecily now? On the mend?”

Mrs. Banks managed to look reasonably contrite. “Better than she was yesterday. We’ve just had a cuppa and a nice chat.”

“And spied on us with the binoculars she keeps for the boats on the harbor, I daresay?”

His grandmother chuckled, plainly guilty. “Don’t be angry, darlings. You’ve each told me you need a partner because you’re too busy. Why can’t an old lady give things a nudge in the right direction?”

“Mrs. Banks!” Leah exclaimed, amused and embarrassed in equal measure. “You mustn’t play Cupid just because your new fountain has a boy with a bow and arrow on top of it.”

“But you’d be perfect together. Your names are just right. ‘Walls and Banks’. Doesn’t that sound like a landscaping company? Cecily and I thought it was inspired.”

This time Leah couldn’t contain her laughter. “So we just need to round up a Mr Bloom and—er—Ms Ponds and that’d cover all aspects of the business?”

“Why don’t you take Leah out for a nice dinner and discuss things, Ric?”

“What things would those be, Gran?”

His grandmother flapped her hands. “I’m sure you’ll manage very well without suggestions from me.”

“I might have managed okay without you in the first place,” he said, sending Leah a hopeful glance. “You thinking of branching out?”

“No, that wasn’t what I was thinking at all.” She flashed him a mischievous invitation.

Ric’s brilliant blue eyes narrowed and his expression intensified. His excellent chest expanded as he took a deep breath and turned to Mrs. Banks.

“Riiiiiight,” he said. “I’ll add the dinner to your bill, Gran—serve you right for interfering.” He turned back to Leah. “Italian? Turkish? Seafood? Where are we going?”

She tipped her head on one side while she considered. “Cafe Magnolia on the hill above Waterfall Bay?” she suggested. “That seems kind of appropriate for Walls and Banks, don’t you think?”

 

Vi covered the batch of pikelets with a tea-cloth to keep the moisture in. The landscaping story might be worth writing, but once again there were no arousals—peeking around tree trunks or swelling in khaki shorts. She set the mixing bowl to soak. Oh well, she could try another story later, after the meeting. She always enjoyed the Romance Writers’ get-togethers. What should she wear? Her new mauve cardigan and the pink pin-tucked pink blouse?

 

Continued….

Click here to download the entire book: The Bonk Squad>>>

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The Bonk Squad

by Kris Pearson

4.8 stars – 9 Reviews
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:
A romantic comedy. Kiwi romance-writers plot hot juicy novels – and their real lives sizzle right along with their story-lines. They’re seeking publication and love with equal intensity. Some get luckier than they dreamed. Some…don’t.
The Bonk Squad is a quirky romp with three ‘real-life’ romances spanning the length of the book. There are also many shorter imaginary ones – all paying affectionate homage to the many faces of romance-writing.
You’ll meet hopeful Meg – librarian by day, writer by night – and her seventeen year old son Ben, who provides the inspiration for nubile Tigger’s self-published sexcapades. There’s shy garden center owner Ian, glamorous and bitchy divorcee Liz, handsome Al who wants a playmate, elderly Vi who certainly doesn’t, and Nurse Mandy who has the medical jargon but very little more. Actress Eloise tries to write historical novels like her published friend Romy, and vegetarian virgin Bobbie has heard there’s money in erotica… Step inside the characters’ fertile minds and you’ll spot the authors who are never going to sell. Come on – laugh yourself silly!
One Reviewer Notes
“Brilliant. I loved the characters not because they’re all likeable but because they gel as a group plus the added bonus of all those ‘created’ characters as well. Highly recommended as a light-hearted fun read with LOL moments eg the bathroom scene. Thoroughly enjoyed it from start to end.” – Amazon Reviewer, 5 Stars
About The Author

If it’s fine, Kris gardens. If it’s wet, she writes. And if the writing’s going well, the garden can look after itself…

Kris writes sizzling contemporary romances, and is the current membership secretary for Romance Writers of New Zealand. Her books are generally set at least partly in the capital city of Wellington so she can make use of the beautiful harbor in the plots.

Kris has written all her life – from her autobiography at twelve, to her own special wedding service, to short stories published in mass-circulation magazines and broadcast on National Radio in New Zealand. She has a background as an advertising copywriter and a decor specialist.

During the past eight years she’s produced a selection of racy romantic novels, and publishing them on Amazon.com has been the ideal answer to share them with the world.

Here’s what Romantic Times said about ‘The Wrong Sister’
Kris Pearson
4 stars HOT

Pearson’s latest sizzles with passion and misconceptions as two souls struggle past social conventions to the love on the other side. Readers will relish the characters and will be praying that love will in fact triumph over convention.
Summary: Fiona Delaporte has it all — a wonderful social life and an exciting job on a cruise ship — until her sister succumbs to cancer and her parents ask her to keep an eye on her niece and brother-in-law — the same brother-in-law she has secretly wanted for five years and has spent the same amount of time avoiding.
Christian Hartley is in hell, forced to spend time with the sister-in-law he is attracted to, while still mourning his wife. As Fiona and Christian struggle against it, their passion spills over, burning both of them in the process. However, it’s not the passion they will need but the love, as they fear trusting in the relationship they feel is a betrayal to the woman they both loved. (KrisPearson.com, dl $2.99)
Sabrina Cooper

Kris hopes you enjoy reading the titles so far available, and assures you there are more to follow.

Keep checking her author page, or her website – http://www.krispearson.com for up-coming stories.

(This is a sponsored post.)

Kindle Free Book Alert for January 14: 410 brand new Freebies in the last 24 hours added to Our 4,450+ Free Titles Listing! plus … Kris Pearson’s Seduction on the Cards (Today’s Sponsor – $2.99)

Powered by our magical Kindle free book tool, here are this morning’s latest additions to our 4,450+ Kindle Free Book listings. Occasionally a title will continue to appear on this list for a short time after it is no longer free on Kindle. ALWAYS check the price on Amazon before making a purchase, please! If a book is free, you should see the following: Kindle Price: $0.00
But first, a word from ... Today's Sponsor
Pearson does a great job spinning the charcters together to create an on the edge of your seat reading experience. The hot bodied,in love characters take on their journey of self discovery and weave you through their story together.
Seduction on the Cards
by Kris Pearson
5.0 stars - 6 reviews
Supports Us with Commissions Earned
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here's the set-up:
When journalist Kerri is assigned to interview a seriously rich anti-gambling crusader, she imagines a grandfatherly tycoon with a comb-over.

But hunky Alex Beaufort has plenty of hair - and enough of everything else to make her mouth water.

Irrepressible Kerri decides to find out exactly how much, and a sizzling game of strip-poker soon has them both peeling off their layers of self-protection.

Seduction is definitely on the cards - but who's seducing who? And what are the odds? Good enough to take a chance on?

Warning: Contains sexy Frenchman, tropical heat, and enthusiastic outdoor fun and games.
One Reviewer Notes:
I enjoyed this from first to last. It is entertaining, sexy and at times very funny. Kris Pearson has a wonderful way with words. An added pleasure is the immaculate presentation, spelling and formatting of the book. There is not one word in the whole book to jerk me out of my reading pleasure. I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to read something a little bit different. Kerri wowed me from the first page. She's sassy, fun and flirty. And it doesn't hurt any that the sexy Frenchman is a hero to die for.
Shirley Wine
About the Author
If it If it's fine, Kris gardens. If it's wet, she writes. And if the writing's going well, the garden can look after itself... Kris writes sizzling contemporary romances, and is the current membership secretary for Romance Writers of New Zealand. Her books are generally set at least partly in the capital city of Wellington so she can make use of the beautiful harbor in the plots. Kris has written all her life - from her autobiography at twelve, to her own special wedding service, to short stories published in mass-circulation magazines and broadcast on National Radio in New Zealand. She has a background as an advertising copywriter and a decor specialist. During the past eight years she's produced a selection of racy romantic novels, and publishing them on Amazon.com has been the ideal answer to share them with the world.
UK CUSTOMERS: Click on the title below to download
Seduction on the Cards
Each day’s list is sponsored by one paid title. We encourage you to support our sponsors and thank you for considering them.
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