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After the death of her husband, Ally secluded herself in her cabin in the woods.
When a virus infects humanity, the community enters lockdown. She wakes to the scent of bacon. Armed with a gun, she discovers her husband’s long-lost best friend, in her kitchen.
Jordan’s unexpected return ignites the smoldering embers of desire that burn beneath their calm exteriors, but it’s the secrets they keep that could singe them.
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CHAPTER ONE - Taken from Still Waters Burn Deep
by Pebbles Lacasse
I jolt from sleep, wide awake and terrified. Why do I smell food cooking? I live alone.
As quietly as I can, I slip out of bed, avoiding the creaks in the floor that will alert my intruder. Ever so slowly, I open my closet door and reach up, and feel for the cold hard steel I keep loaded, just in case.
The gap between the door and its frame make for a great peephole but I see nothing.
I hear the drag sound of a plate being taken from the cupboard and then being placed on the counter.
My heart pounds in my ears and my hands shake as I remove the safety on my 9mm. I close my eyes and take a deep, calming breath before I leap out from behind the door, gun pointed toward the kitchen.
The gun suddenly feels heavy, weighing down my arms until it is no longer a threat to my intruder, or should I say, my husband’s oldest friend.
He wears a pair of old, faded blue jeans with slightly shredded hems. His army green shirt is a snug fit, accentuating his well-toned physique. Although his dark hair is slightly receding and much shorter than I remember it to be, he’s still just as sexy as ever.
“Jordan, what the fuck are you doing here? I could’ve shot you!”
He takes his time turning around, places two eggs on a plate, then looks at me as he sets it on the table.
“Are you going to join me or shall I eat alone?”
Jordan is a sexy man. I’ve always found him desirable, even though I married his best friend fourteen years ago.
When I was twenty, I met Jordan at Lulu’s Diner where I worked as a waitress. He said his name was Jerry. The way his eyes followed me as I cared for other patrons had my pussy slick and ready. I wanted him more than I’d ever wanted any man.
I shake my head to escape the memory.
“How did you get in here?” I said in a sharp and angry tone.
His eyes scan my body before he turns to load another plate and set it on the table. He points to the one, suggesting it’s for me.
He sits and holds up a key dangling from a keychain sporting a beer bottle charm. “David gave me a key for emergencies.”
“How does breakfast count as an emergency?” I ask.
I walk back to my room to put the gun away, checking twice to ensure the safety has been activated.
“We are in a state of emergency.” He sips from his mug. “Have you not watched the news? The world is in quarantine.”
I stand against the wall, keeping a fair distance from him. “Yeah, I’ve heard, but what the fuck are you doing here?” I pause. “Social Distancing, have you heard of it? You shouldn’t be here. What if you’re infected?”
He points to the plate he made for me. “Please, sit. I’ve been in quarantine for two weeks already. I’ve seen nobody and didn’t stop anywhere while I was making the trip here. It’s unlikely I have the virus.”
His gruff voice makes me recall our fling as if it happened last week, even though it was sixteen years ago.
After I’d gotten off work, he took me to his apartment and we spent the next three hours having the hottest, naughtiest sex I’d ever had the pleasure of experiencing. When I left, I didn’t ask for his number nor did I offer him mine. I knew it was a one-time thing, but it will always be one of the most dangerous, irresponsible things I’d ever done. He was my one and only one-night stand.
Six months later, I saw him standing across the street. We stared at each other for a long time. He was with a man, but I don’t recall looking directly at him. His eyes held my attention until I gained the courage to walk away. I looked back and saw him trying to find a break in traffic so he could pursue me. I rushed down the street and slipped into a restaurant where I hid in the bathroom for half an hour until I was sure he’d given up and left the area.
Not talking to him that day became one of my biggest regrets.
Two years later, I met my husband, David, and two years after that we were to be married. The day before the wedding, the best man, someone he had only ever glowered about, showed up on our doorstep. Low and behold, it was my one-night stand.
I nearly fell over. For whatever reason, I didn’t tell my husband I knew him. My fling said nothing either.
With my hands on my hips, I scoff, “How do you know I’m safe?”
He chuckles. “You rarely leave the house anymore.”
He’s right. I’ve been a homebody ever since David died, last year. He couldn’t have children, so it’s just me living here in isolation. I like it this way but it can be lonely, at times. Sometimes, I swear I can feel David standing beside me and it leaves me feeling empty. I want the impossible; I want him back.
“You don’t know me.” I pull out the chair and sit across from him. “You haven’t been here in ten years.” I sip the black coffee he poured for me. My anger burns under the surface of my cool exterior. “He died last year. Did you know?”
He looks up at me with seductive dark brown eyes. “Yes, I knew.”
“Where the fuck were you… when I needed someone?” I glare into his sultry eyes. I drop my gaze when the faded image of him looking down at me while he fucked me fills my thoughts.
“I was overseas.” He sips his coffee and leans back in his chair. “I didn’t know until I called my sister. By the time my tour was up too much time had passed.”
I pick up my fork and fiddle with it, trying to make it feel right in my hand. The tines dip into the egg yolk and it seeps onto a strip of bacon.
“I didn’t know you were overseas.” My eyes meet his. “Thank you for your service.”
He grumbles in his humble manner.
“I was only halfway through my tour when he passed.”
He inhales deeply, releasing slowly. His head hangs and I can’t see his face. He snuffs before wiping his eyes.
Is he crying?
“Are you okay?” I ask with a soothing voice. I’m sure he misses David, maybe as much as I do.
“I miss him,” Jordan whispers. “It doesn’t help that he died before we could resolve our issues.”
He looks up at me and trails of tears grace his dark chocolate cheeks. He quickly wipes them away and snuffs again before picking up his fork and aggressively stabbing at his food, shoving bite after bite into his mouth.
“Well, you ran off before you two could talk it out. And why didn’t you tell him you were leaving to go fight in a war?” I stand and toss my full plate on the counter, spilling eggs over its edge. “Unresolved issues…” I pause. “No kidding! How do you think he would have felt if you had died and not him?”
He replies with a raised voice. “Probably the same way I feel about the fact that he died and left me with unresolved issues.”
I jump to my feet and make my way towards the bathroom. “He wasn’t driving the car. It wasn’t his fault. He didn’t die on purpose!” I slam the door.
He yells, “I’m sorry, but I couldn’t face him.” I hear his chair slide on the hardwood floor. “He would have wanted to know everything and you know it.”
He’s right. Telling David the whole story would have crushed him. There are secrets I took to his grave.
Below is taken from my book in the anthology Quarantined: A Boxed Set of Pandemic Proportions
Warning: This excerpt contains situations of an erotic nature containing dominance and aggressive sexual acts that may be a trigger to a more sensitive reader.
“Quarantined: A Boxed Set of Pandemic Proportions"
"Still Waters Burn Deep”
By Pebbles Lacasse