<![CDATA[Tanya Kelly - Author - NEWS]]>Mon, 21 Aug 2017 03:24:56 -0500Weebly<![CDATA[Read 1st Chapter of Revenge & More]]>Mon, 01 Jun 2015 18:55:32 GMThttp://tanyakelly.com/5/post/2015/06/read-1st-chapter-of-revenge-more.htmlPicture
REVENGE & MORE

 

TANYA KELLY

Copyright © 2015

Prologue

“As I said to you on the phone, your uncle had no wife or children so he named you as beneficiary. But this will was done before he lost everything.”

Damon Black nodded, still trying to come to terms with the fact that he was back in Willow Lake where he’d just buried his Uncle Tom. It had been a small service filled mostly with folk from town he didn’t know. After all, he’d only spend one summer here with Tom two years ago.

He’d scrutinized the crowd at the service, looking for her. Dread yet also hope filled him at the thought of seeing her again. But she never came.

“So I’m sorry to say, all he’s left you with is the possessions in his crap apartment and a funeral bill,” Gary Simpson continued, reviewing papers on his desk.

Damon forced his thoughts away from her and back to the present. While he’d never expected a windfall from his uncle’s passing, he was surprised to learn Tom had lost the home that had been in the family for years. Damon’s mother had grown up in that house with her brother, but had moved out at the young age of sixteen. Pregnant and unmarried was a sin the old man refused to forgive.

Damon grew up an only child, very close to his mother who’d worked her ass off raising a child without a high school education. He’d been devastated when he lost his mom in a car accident at the age of twenty. Bitter at the world, Damon had gotten into trouble with the law and his uncle bailed him out of jail and brought him to Willow Lake, putting him to work for his small home renovation business.

It had been a great summer working with his uncle. They’d grown close. He’d been like the father Damon never had. Even though he hadn’t seen him since leaving, they’d stayed in touch. Damon hadn’t been ready to come back to Willow Lake yet but his uncle’s death forced the issue.

“I can get you keys to his apartment. I’m assuming you won’t be staying and want to get back quick.”

Damon nodded. He wanted out of this town as soon as possible.

“I don’t understand. What happened that he lost the house?” he asked, drawing in his brows. “I know business wasn’t booming but he seemed to be getting by when I was here.” His uncle had lived a very frugal and simple life after he’d lost the wife to cancer.

“Tom took out a mortgage on the house a couple years ago. When he couldn’t make the payments, the bank foreclosed.”

“Why? Was he having financial problems?” Damon leaned forward, gripping the arms of the chair. Could this be the reason he’d had a heart attack so young. Too much stress? Damn, why hadn’t he called him if he was in trouble? Damon had accumulated some savings and could have helped.

The lawyer shuffled papers and didn’t meet Damon’s eyes. His uncle and Gary had been close friends. His gut tightened with a sense of foreboding.

“I’m not sure I should say anything…” He trailed off, finally looking up. “Your uncle never wanted you to know but I always disagreed.” The lawyer’s eyes which previously had been blank and lifeless now held contempt as he regarded Damon.

“He should have told you years ago and made you take responsibility. But Tom was always selfless and giving. In fact, a little too generous in my opinion,” Gary spat, not hiding his dislike.

Damon narrowed his eyes and placed his hands on the desk. “If you’ve got something to say, spit it out.”

“Your uncle put himself in debt a couple years ago to keep you out of jail,” he replied. “He used his life savings and took out a mortgage to pay for the crap you stole. He even hawked his dead wife’s wedding band to help you.”

The lawyer eyed him like he was dung on the bottom of his shoe while Damon’s head reeled. “What the fuck are you talking about?” he demanded.

“Don’t play dumb. I’m talking about the very expensive jewelry you lifted from the Morrison’s. Conveniently missing right at the same time you left town. Except you left your fingerprints all over their bedroom. The cops were ready to track you down and have you arrested, only your damn naive uncle offered to pay for it all if they’d keep the cops out of it.”

Damon said nothing as Gary continued his tirade. The blood ran cold in his veins.

“Either he didn’t believe you did it, which the rest of us knew was bullshit. Especially with your past. Or he was giving you another chance to do the right thing. But you never did the right thing, did you?”

Damon rose abruptly from the chair, his fury mounting by the second. The lawyer shrank back as Damon towered over him. “Are we done?” he asked coldly. Gary nodded, his lips pressed into a thin line.

“Yes. My secretary can handle the rest of the details.”

Without another word, Damon strode from the office and out to his car. He tried to put the keys in the ignition but his body shook with anger and he dropped them on the floor.

“Fuck!” he swore, slamming his fists on the steering wheel. But it wasn’t enough. He needed to hit something harder.

He fought the urge to drive over to the Morrison house and smash his fist into his face. The man who’d always hated him and ruined everything.

Damon scooped up the keys and started the car, roaring out of the parking lot. He sped through town and drove like a mad man away from Willow Lake.

Rage trembled through him as he passed car after car on the highway, not seeing anything but a red haze. As he passed one car, frantic honking shook him from his daze and he looked up to see a big rig bearing down on him. He stomped on the brakes and veered back into his lane, eventually skidding to a halt on the side gravel. The frightened faces of the family he’d been passing ingrained in his brain.

Damon lowered his head on the steering wheel, trying to regain his composure and calm down before he killed someone.

As his anger dissipated, it was replaced with a cold, unrelenting hatred. They would pay—the three of them. He would make sure of it.


Chapter One

He recognized her immediately as he stared from the tinted windows of his car parked across the street from her shop. His eyes drawn to her slender figure as she stretched to reach the top of the window display. The knee length dress hugging her body rode up, giving him a delicious view of her legs.

Fuck! Twenty years since he’d last seen her but his body reacted the same as before. His cock hardened against the zipper of his pants as he imagined lifting her skirt higher.

Damn. She was still beautiful. Why couldn’t she have aged worse?

Damon Black took a deep breath, pissed at his body’s reaction to the woman who toyed with him long ago. He sat in the sleek, dark charcoal luxury vehicle staring at her, his expression masked behind his sunglasses. The one and only woman he’d let near his heart. Not that she’d treated it kindly.

His phone rang, jarring his thoughts.

“Yes,” he barked into the hands free.

“It’s all set up,” replied Mark Dasilva, his Vice President of Acquisitions, undisturbed by his boss’s angry tone.

“Good. Anything I need to know?” Damon continued to study her as he talked.

“No, it was a short conversation but the meeting is in the books. He didn’t ask many questions. Probably shell shocked to get a call from someone offering to buy his company.”

“I don’t want my name mentioned or any connection made until the deal is finalized. Then I will personally meet with Mr. Morrison.”

“Of course,” Mark answered, always the professional. Even though he was likely burning with curiosity in Damon’s interested in this small company in an even smaller town.

Damon disconnected the call and reached for the file on the passenger seat. Opening it, he glanced at the photo his private investigator had taken last week. It was her… The one who’d been haunting his dreams for years. In the picture, she was outside her home watering flowers. Her long blond hair was tied in a ponytail and she didn’t seem to be wearing any makeup. She wore pink shorts and a white tank top. When he’d seen the picture, it was like someone had punched him in the gut—hard. She looked almost exactly the same as she did that summer.

Damon reviewed the file the investigator had given him. Apparently she’d never married even though she was once engaged. It was the news of her engagement that had destroyed any remaining hopes he’d had. He’d been a stupid, naive young man who believed they were in love and soul mates.

What a fucking fool he’d been.

Her family had scorned him and hated him dating their daughter. The boy from the wrong side of the tracks and the town darling. It was the shit you saw in movies but was exactly the situation Damon had found himself in. His hands tightened on the steering wheel remembering what her parents were capable of. He could still hear their haughty voices and see their smug expressions when they told him he’d never make their daughter happy and that she deserved better than a high school dropout with no future.

They’d gone to amazing lengths to make sure Damon was out of the picture. Years of hate coursed through his veins. But it was time for them to pay. He wasn’t the young hoodlum anymore. He now owned a multi-million dollar corporation that made her family’s money look pathetic.

Damon glanced at his watch. Soon she would be closing the store. He made damn sure she would be attending the charity auction tonight being held at the resort he owned. Tonight, he would set things in motion. Revenge was a dish better served cold and he’d waited long enough.

* * * *

Kim Morrison stepped out of the cab gracefully, holding the jeweled studded clutch next to the shimmering satin of her dress. She walked with smooth strides despite her long legs and strappy, five inch stiletto heels. A flash of tanned leg poked out the deep slit at the side. She smiled as she saw her best friend waiting for her.

“Lace,” she called and waved.

Lacey Fulton turned to the sound of her name and her eyes widened as Kim walked up to her.

“Wow, you look amazing. That dress is beautiful.”

“Thanks. You’re pretty hot yourself,” Kim replied, her gaze on Lacey’s elegant black dress with the sequined waist that hugged her friend’s curves.

“Where’s Reilly?” she asked of Lacey’s fiancé.

“He has to finish an order for a customer so he’s working late.”

Reilly made custom furniture and his work was a hot commodity in Beechfield. Kim didn’t miss the sadness in Lacey’s eyes. Those two were inseparable. She was happy her friend had found an amazing man she loved and would be getting married soon. They were a great couple and they almost made Kim jealous.

Almost…if she believed in forever after or soul mates and all that bullshit Lacey spouted. Which she most certainly did not.

Spare me the happily ever after crap.

But since Lacey and Reilly had found each other and were disgustingly in love, a small part of her had a niggling feeling she was missing out on something.

But then the next hot guy would come into her life and distract her. Speaking of which, she needed to find her next distraction.

“What are you smiling at?” Lacey asked. “You have a very mischievous look in your eye.”

“I’m wondering which lucky man is gonna break my dry spell tonight,” Kim replied, openly eyeing one handsome man not far away. He was older than the guys she was usually attracted to, judging from the gray hair at his temples. But it was a full, thick head of hair. The man stared back boldly, a small smile on his lips. Kim returned the smile, making her invitation clear.

Lacey draw in a sharp breath and Kim laughed. She loved shocking her friend.

“I’m sorry I asked,” Lacey said sternly but couldn’t hide the grin on her face.

“What? I’ve been such a good girl for months now. Even my Light Saber actually died last night and muttered something about me getting a man in his last breath.”

“Light Saber?”

“What? You don’t name your vibrators?” Kim asked. “I always do. Probably why I get so attached to them. This one lit up so I called him Light Saber.”

Lacey threw back her head and laughed and Kim chuckled with her. But she wasn’t exaggerating. The damn thing had died and she really did need a man. Preferably one with a large, hard cock.

Oh yeah, she’d wrap her legs around him pulling him in deeper…harder…

“Stop it,” Lacey broke through her thoughts and Kim frowned. “You’re practically raping that poor guy with your eyes.”

Kim let out a sigh and turned away from the hot man. Lacey smiled mischievously and shook her head.

“You know I’m going to have to find him again. I think he’d be perfect for my fifty card,” Kim said, referring to the fact that she hadn’t yet slept with a man fifty or older. “You know I don’t have that one yet.”

“Oh my God,” Lacey huffed. “You are the worst.”

Kim laughed, getting a kick out of shocking her friend, which was becoming much more difficult to do since she’d met Reilly. She was pretty sure shy, conservative Lacey was now involved in some sexual activity that might even astound her.

Yeah, right. That was unlikely. Nothing she wouldn’t at least try…sexually.

Kim had led a pretty adventurous life since leaving the shackles of her hometown, refusing to let her parents dictate her life anymore. Yes, she’d been very tame when first leaving the nest and then gone to the wild side. But she was always upfront about her expectations and no one got hurt. She dated lots of men, but never anything serious. Words like relationship, commitment, and forever gave her hives.

That hadn’t always been the case. She remembered a time when she’d been young and she’d stupidly let her naive heart get trampled. Thankfully she wasn’t one to repeat past mistakes.

“Come on, let’s go check this out.” Lacey said, taking hold of her arm. “We haven’t been out together in so long.”

“That’s not my fault,” Kim replied, walking next to Lacey. “You’re so busy with your man, you never have time for me.”

“I know and I’m sorry. I promise, I’ll be a better friend.”

“I liked it better when you were my wife,” Kim muttered and Lacey burst out laughing again. It had always been a joke between them when they were both single that Kim would call her wife because they knew one another so well, they sometimes acted like an old married couple.

They walked into the front door and followed the signs to the ballroom for the charity dinner, dance, and silent auction. Kim had somehow gotten the tickets from a friend of a friend. She wasn’t actually entirely sure how she ended up with them but it looked like it would be fun and they’d get to dress up. Plus it was all for charity. Normally, she wouldn’t have attended because of the extremely high cost of the tickets but since they were given to her, why not check it out. See how the rich lived these days.

These were the type of events Kim once frequented but she’d given up that lifestyle and the expectations that came with it. They walked into the ballroom and Lacey came to an abrupt halt, her mouth open in awe. They had been in this banquet room before but never seen it like this. It was transformed into a luxurious, opulent room with stark white linens, chair covers, and amazing floral arrangements. The chandeliers sparkled and bathed the room in a soft glow.

“Wow, it’s beautiful,” Lacey whispered. Her gaze travelled over the people in the room. “I’m not sure I fit in with this crowd.”

“Nonsense,” Kim replied and lifted her chin before ushering Lacey further into the room. “These people are no different than us. Just thicker wallets. Besides, you’re the most beautiful woman in the room. Now come on, let’s get a drink.”

“You’re a good liar but I love you for it.” Lacey smiled and they walked toward the bar. They both ordered a glass of wine before quickly running into some regular customers. Kim and Lacey were partners in a small lingerie and swimwear boutique downtown. They had only opened six months ago but their business was already thriving.

As they conversed with the ladies, a tall, dark figure caught Kim’s eye, causing her heartbeat to accelerate. The man who’d captured her gaze had turned away from her so all she saw was his back. Jet black hair curled slightly over his collar. Wide shoulders filled the charcoal suit which narrowed at the waist. Even from across the room, he seemed to radiate power. He stood talking to a group of people and from the looks of respect and nervousness on their faces, he was somebody important.

Kim shook her head. From the quick glimpse she’d gotten before he turned away, she swore she knew him. But that was unlikely. She’d met just about everyone in Beechfield and she didn’t think she’d forget a man who filled out a suit so well. But she stared at his back, unable to shake the familiar feeling. She willed him to turn around so she could see his face and her breath hitched in her throat as she realized it was Damon this man reminded her of.

Ridiculous! Damon in an expensive, tailored suit at a charity auction in which tickets were the price of a used car? The scenario almost made her laugh.

Kim looked away and tried to focus on the conversation around her but her mind wandered again. She was nineteen when she’d met Damon Black. He’d pulled into town on his motorcycle with long black hair and his I-don’t-give-a-shit attitude.

He was two years older than her and came to work for his uncle who owned a renovation company. Kim was smitten right away. Tall, broad, and gorgeous with an aura of danger around him that she couldn’t resist. He oozed sexiness but was exactly the type of boy your parents didn’t want to see you date.

“Earth to Kim.” Lacey’s voice finally penetrated her walk down memory lane. Kim’s gaze immediately went to the man she’d glimpsed, but he was gone.

“Sorry, what was that?”

“Shall we find our table?” Lacey asked, concern etched in her face.

“Sure.”

As they walked to their table, Lacey leaned over and whispered, “Are you okay?”

“Fine. Just thinking and kinda zoned out. Sorry.”

“You’ll have to fill me in on what you were thinking about. You looked a million miles away.”

Kim smiled as they reached their table, feeling off and not her usual cool, put-together self. It had been years since she’d thought of Damon. While she had no control over the fact that he still entered her dreams at night, she had hoped to at least erase him from her mind while conscious.

The tables had been pre-assigned and Kim and Lacey took their seats. Most of the chairs were already occupied and they introduced themselves. There were two couples that Kim knew. One was a lawyer she thankfully never had to deal with, because she didn’t care for his shifty eyes or the way he spoke to her boobs. She said a polite, but cool hello to him and his wife and introduced Lacey. Kim’s smile was genuine as she turned her gaze to the other couple.

“Lace, this is Tyler and his wife, Mary. Tyler is the golf pro at Beechside and he is amazing. He really improved my game and you know how frustrated I get golfing.”

They all laughed as Lacey shook hands with the couple.

“Do you golf?” Tyler asked.

“Not really. Kim keeps trying to get me out but it’s hard to find the time,” Lacey replied.

“You should come out. I could give you a few pointers that might help. Or we can get out sometime all four of us.” Tyler smiled lovingly at his wife.

“I think he purposefully holds back all his advice because the man is still unbeatable. It pisses me off,” Kim said with a smile.

“I’ve beaten him, once, but I think he let me win,” a deep, rich voice said from just behind her. The hair rose on the back of her neck and Kim reluctantly turned around.

Holding on to the chair for support, she stared into the steel gray eyes that invaded her dreams at night. Her stomach twisted sickeningly. He regarded her back, his expression unreadable.

Damon Black. She swallowed past the lump in her throat, dying to wipe away the thin layer of perspiration on her upper lip.

While he looked the same, there was something significantly different about him. When she’d last seen him, his hair was long, past his shoulders with a scruffy beard. It was the badass biker image that had caught her attention in the first place. Standoffish and brooding. But as she’d gotten closer over the summer, she realized it was all a facade meant to keep people at bay. Once she thought she’d broken through, but was sadly mistaken.

The man in front of her had shorter hair, although still a tad longer than most men wore it and his face was clean shaven, which only made him ten times better-looking now that she could see the angular lines of his jaw and full lips.

But the big difference was his demeanor. He radiated power and danger and it didn’t appear to be a facade anymore. Damon looked like a man accustomed to getting what he wanted and God help anyone who stood in his way.

“Mr. Black. I had no idea you would be joining us tonight. What a pleasure. Please let me introduce my wife.” Tyler’s voice registered in her brain and Kim breathed out a sign of relief as Damon finally moved his intense gaze from her to Mary.

She watched as Tyler introduced his wife. The normally smooth, flirty golf pro was a bundle of nerves.

“Please, Tyler, I told you. Call me Damon.”

“Yes, Mr. Bla—I mean, sorry, D–Damon,” Tyler stammered.

Damon proceeded to introduce himself to the sleazy lawyer and his wife. The lawyer’s eyes gleamed as he shook Damon’s hands and Kim stood in a daze. What the hell was Damon Black doing here in Beechfield and why did everyone seem to idolize him? Tyler referred to him as Mr. Black and the lawyer looked like he’d just landed a huge settlement. The women, Lacey included, all stared at him with barely leashed hunger.

Then his gaze returned to her and she held her breath, still unable to find her voice. Damon’s lips quirked into a cocky smile, as if enjoying her discomfort.

“Hello, Kim. It’s been a while. Are you going to introduce me to your friend?”

She felt all eyes on them, burning with curiosity now that Damon had revealed he knew her. She lifted her chin and met his burning stare with a haughtiness she didn’t quite feel, but was doing her best to portray. She wasn’t a silly girl anymore.

“Hello, Damon. Nice to see you. This is Lacey Fulton, my friend and business partner.”

Lacey shook hands with Damon, her smile polite, but Kim saw the puzzlement in her eyes. While they were best friends and talked about everything, Kim had never discussed Damon with her…or anyone.

“It’s nice to meet you, Lacey,” Damon said and Kim saw her friend’s face redden as she smiled. Kim sympathized. It was hard not to be reduced to a schoolgirl when Damon spoke in his deep, gravelly voice and turned his piercing gaze on you.

“You as well,” Lacey murmured and withdrew her hand.

Silence fell awkwardly over the table as everyone stared expectantly at Kim and Damon whose eyes were locked on each other. The waiter arrived to offer wine and she was saved from Damon’s scrutiny as they took their seats. Lacey bumped her elbow and raised her eyebrows. Kim gave her a tight smile and a small nod.

“Damon, there you are.” A beautiful dark-haired woman with a French accent came over and Damon stood. She hugged him and kissed him on each cheek. “Terribly sorry, I was delayed by a customer.”

Kim’s back stiffened as the woman’s hand lingered on Damon’s arm and he regarded her with a warm expression. She looked familiar but Kim couldn’t place her. Damon placed his hand on the woman’s lower back, bringing her forward.

“May I introduce Chantal Lamontagne. She is the General Manager of this lovely resort.” Kim realized she must have seen her around town which is why she looked familiar. Hard to forget a woman who looked like that. Damon made the introductions and when he reached Kim, she quickly wiped the sour expression from her face and pasted on a polite smile.

Except from the way Damon smirked at her, it hadn’t been soon enough.

“Lacey, nice to see you again,” Chantal said before Damon introduced them. “I’ve met Lacey from her store,” she explained to Damon. “She has a beautiful lingerie boutique here in town. I must come do some more shopping soon,” she finished with a wink at Lacey.

Kim noticed all the men openly staring at Chantal, obviously picturing her scantily clad in lingerie.

“Thank you for the compliment, Chantal. This is Kim Morrison, my business partner,” Lacey replied.

“Nice to meet you,” Kim said, shaking the woman’s hand. She sensed Damon’s eyes on her which made her jittery and nervous.

After all the introductions had been made, everyone resumed their seats. Damon pulled out the chair next to the lawyer for Chantal and then sat down, right next to Kim. Way too close for comfort. Her entire body was on high alert at their proximity. She sat stiff in her chair, arms close to her side and legs crossed together so as not to touch him. Damon turned toward her, his gaze taking in her posture, his lips pressed into a thin line.

Kim was never one to back down from a challenge or let fear rule her. She straightened her spine and lifted her head higher under his scrutiny before giving him a cool glance back.

“How have you been, Kim? It’s been a long time.”

As she looked into his eyes, flecked with blue and gray, she was transported into the past. His voice, when he said her name, brought back so many memories. Her gaze involuntarily travelled to his lips as she recalled the feel of them covering hers. Her pulse raced and she struggled to keep her cool.

“I’m great. And you?”

“I read about your engagement in the paper shortly after I left town. Hubby at home tonight?”

Kim’s eyes widened in shock. Wow, he was going there, was he?

“Yes, actually he is,” she lied. It was none of his damn business and she was reluctant to admit she’d never married Robert or anyone for that matter. She had her pride. Damon had left, breaking her heart and betraying her, just like her parents warned her.

“Liar,” Damon whispered and smiled knowingly and Kim’s hand itched to wipe that smug smile from his face. “You never married.”

“If you know this, why are you asking?”

“Thought maybe you’d be truthful for once, but I guess it’s not in your nature.”

Kim stared back in shock and was about to blow a gasket when Chantal turned toward them, intent on joining in the conversation.

“A trait you’re familiar with, I’m sure,” she replied with a forced smile. “But at least I’m not a thief,” she retaliated softly so that only he heard.

Damon’s eyes narrowed but before he could add anything, she fixed her gaze on Chantal. “So, managing this place must keep you busy?”

Chantal laughed. “That’s an understatement.” Kim did her best to pay attention as Chantal went on about how much was involved in managing such a large and busy resort. She tried pretending Damon wasn’t sitting next to her and that he was just a stranger, but it was useless. Every nerve and cell in her body was aware of him. His gaze never left her face as the two women talked and the tension mounted within her creating a stress headache.

“Have you been in Beechfield long?” she asked when Chantal took a breath. The woman was certainly a talker. But she’d prefer to keep conversing with her than Damon.

“Only a few months actually. Damon moves me around a lot to different resorts so I never really get settled in one town.”

Kim’s eyes strayed to Damon in confusion, wondering why he would be moving Chantal around. Was he her boss? She knew the resort was owned by some large corporation and it surprised her that Damon got a corporate job. She had a hard time picturing the man she’d known in suits doing the daily corporate grind. He’d been incredibly sexy in jeans with faded T-shirts and his leather coat riding his motorcycle. But there was no denying his sex appeal in a suit either. Perhaps even more so because while he’d always had an air of defiance and cockiness, it was now replaced with a sense of power and dominance.

Damon regarded her with an amused expression and before she could ask anything more, the lawyer spoke up, his eyes gleaming.

“Are you staying in Beechfield long, Damon?”

Damon ignored him for a couple seconds, his attention still on Kim. His gaze seared her body as it travelled from her face down the line of her throat to her breasts. Her skin turned pink all over from the heated look in his eyes. Much to her relief, he finally switched his attentions to the lawyer.

“I’m not sure exactly how long. Depends on how my business here goes.” He glanced back at Kim as if she was the business he needed to deal with.

“Perhaps we can get out on the golf course. I have some business I’d love to discuss with you.”

“I’m sorry, but my schedule is jam packed,” Damon responded coolly and the lawyer’s smile faltered.

Conversation lulled as wait staff began serving the first course and pouring more wine. Kim said very little through dinner but was constantly aware of Damon’s presence. His arm brushed hers as he adjusted his napkin over his lap and electric currents ran up her spine. In all the years that had passed, no one had ever flustered her like Damon and time hadn’t lessened the effect he had on her.

Kim picked at her food as she sat in a muddled state. Conversation swarmed around her but she barely registered the sounds. Just about everyone at the table seemed to be competing for Damon’s attention, hanging on to his every word.

“Is there something wrong with the food?” Damon’s voice broke through her thoughts. She glanced up at him as she unconsciously pushed food around her plate.

Everyone seemed to stop eating, focusing on her as Damon frowned.

“The food is fine. I’m just not very hungry.”

She put her fork down. There was no use trying to keep the appearance of eating since Damon had centered everyone’s attention to her.

“I can have the kitchen bring you a new plate,” Chantal said, backing up her chair and looking concerned. She glanced from Kim’s barely touched food to Damon’s scowling face.

“No, that’s really not necessary. The food is delicious. Unfortunately I fear I have a migraine coming on.” She smiled at Chantal, ignoring Damon’s scowl. “Please, everyone, enjoy your meal and just excuse me a minute.”

Kim stood on shaky legs and made her way to the washrooms in the hallway. Once safely inside, she leaned on the counter and took a couple deep breaths. She heard the door open behind her and saw Lacey enter, her eyes round and her lips pinched with worry.

“Honey, are you okay? What can I get you?”

“I’m fine, Lace. I don’t want to ruin your night. It’s just a stupid headache. No reason you shouldn’t enjoy the evening. I think I’ll grab a cab home, if you don’t mind.”

Lacey took a step closer and placed a hand on her shoulder. “You’re not ruining anything. I’ll come with you, make sure you get home okay.”

Kim shook her head, which caused her temples to pound. “You don’t have to do that. I can manage on my own. At least one of us should show off these gorgeous dresses for more than an hour.” She forced a smile to put her friend at ease.

But Lacey wasn’t buying it. She searched Kim’s face. “I didn’t know you got migraines. Is there something you’re not telling me? About that Damon guy?”

Kim swallowed and turned away from her friend’s eagle eye. “I haven’t had them for years but I can feel the start of one and I think it’s best to go and lie down before it gets worse.” She hated lying to her best friend but it wasn’t a conversation she wanted to have tonight. She wasn’t entirely lying anyhow. She did have a headache. “Damon is someone I knew from Willow Lake but he has nothing to do with my headache. I must have got too much sun and not enough hydration in the gardens earlier today. It’s nothing, really.”

“Okay,” Lacey replied, still not looking convinced. “Let me at least see you into a cab.”

“Thanks. Please give my apologies to everyone at the table.” Kim squeezed her friend’s hand and they made their way to the door. As soon as the exited the ladies room, she frowned when she saw Damon waiting for them.

If she didn’t know better, she could have sworn he looked concerned before he blinked, his expression once again shuttered.

He came toward them in long strides. “Are you okay?” he asked, blocking her path to the exit.

“Just a migraine. I’ll be fine. Excuse me.” Kim moved to walk past him but he placed a hand on her arm, his touch sending sparks of heat through her.

“Are you leaving?”

“Yes, before it gets worse.” She looked down at his hand and tried to control the erratic beat of her heart. “It was nice seeing you, now if you’ll excuse me,” she said coldly.

“I’ll take you home.” Damon kept hold of her arm, ignoring Lacey’s open mouth expression and began to steer Kim toward the exit.

“Damon, that’s not necessary. I’ll just grab a cab,” she protested and came to an abrupt stop in the lobby. Lacey still hovered, looking bewildered. Exactly how Kim felt. Damon had that effect.

“Don’t be ridiculous.” He kept a firm grip on her arm, as if expecting her to bolt off like a deer. Which was precisely what she wanted to do. “You’re not well and I have a car right outside. I will have you home in no time.”

He glanced back at Lacey as if just becoming aware of her presence. “This is Beechfield,” he said to both of them. “Cabs are not exactly lined up outside in a small town and it might take a while to get one. I’ll make sure Kim gets home right away safely.” He spoke directly to Lacey, completely ignoring Kim and she had to fight the urge not to scream at his bossiness.

Taking her silence for consent, Damon placed a large hand at her lower back and once again steered her toward the exit. Her skin was on fire but she didn’t want to alarm her friend any more than she appeared to be.

She smiled at Lacey reassuringly, even though she felt nothing of the sort. “I’ll call you tomorrow. Have fun.”

“Okay, feel better.” Lacey returned the smile, while her eyes still held concern.

Once they exited the resort, Kim stopped again and took large gulps of the cool night air before facing Damon. “I’m sure it will only take a few minutes to get a cab so you can stop playing knight in shining armor. It doesn’t suit you, and I’m fine.”

Damon’s nostrils flared, his mouth pressed into a tight, angry line. He leaned closer, their faces inches apart, and Kim inhaled the rich scents of warm spices from his cologne. His eyes narrowed, making the scar above his eyebrow more prominent. Her hand itched to trace it, like she’d done so many times that summer.

“I think we both know I’m no knight in shining armor.” Her heartbeat accelerated at the dangerous look in his eyes. “Just as I don’t think it’s a headache that has you running for the hills like a scared kitten.”

Kim’s mouth gaped open, a million scathing replies would normally be pouring forth, but for some reason, so close to him, nothing came to mind.

“So why don’t you sheath your claws until I get you home.” He placed his hand firmly at the small of her back and steered her toward the parking lot. Kim fumed quietly beside him as they walked the short distance.

Damon hit a button on his key fob and she heard a beep and the lights flashed on a nearby red car. Only it wasn’t just any car. Kim’s mouth dropped open as Damon helped her into the passenger seat of the sleek Ferrari. He closed the door and her eyes took in the surroundings of the luxurious sports car. Soft leather cushioned her back and legs. She had an idea of the price tag of such a luxury vehicle and let out a small breath, afraid to touch anything.

Damon slid his tall frame into the driver’s seat with ease and turned the ignition on. Kim’s whole body tensed since the car didn’t allow her as much space between them as she would have preferred. The engine roared to life as he left the parking lot and headed onto the road.

There was a time she couldn’t get close enough to him. She still remembered—vividly—how it felt to be snug against him when she rode on the back of his motorcycle. She would wrap her arms around his muscled body, her thighs gripping him and her breasts pressed flat against him. She’d loved riding with him. Their rides always somehow ended with them practically ripping each other’s clothes off once back at his place.

Her nipples tightened painfully at the memory and tingling sensations pooled between her legs. Kim’s breath caught in her throat as Damon rounded a corner at high speeds. She slid against the soft leather, baring more of her leg in the slit of the dress. Damon’s eyes left the road for a second and travelled the length of her bare leg, which came dangerously close to the top of her thigh.

Their eyes met and desire flared between them before Damon’s gaze went back to the road. With her heart pounding, Kim tried to adjust her dress and heard Damon’s soft chuckle.

“You never much worried about modesty when you straddled me on my bike.”

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<![CDATA[Give new life to older furniture]]>Tue, 03 Mar 2015 14:54:49 GMThttp://tanyakelly.com/5/post/2015/03/give-new-life-to-older-furniture.htmlWhenever I need a break from writing or I'm blocked, I go to my second favourite thing to do...reviving old furniture. There is something so rewarding about taking an old piece and giving it a new look. Not to mention it's usually less expensive to update things in your home or from great finds at garage sales and thrift stores than running out and purchasing new furniture. I wanted to share one of my favourite pieces which I updated that everyone keeps asking where I bought it!  Picture
Here is a piece I found at my local thrift store and I immediately fell in love with the detail. I'd been looking for something for my main level to give me more storage. I paid $25 for it and then scratched my head, wondering how the heck I was going to get it home! But thankfully it just fit in my little SUV with the seats down. My husband on the other hand, was not as happy with my find when I got it home. 

"It's ugly," he said.

He just doesn't have any imagination and didn't see the possibility like I did. I'll show him!

I'm sorry I didn't take pictures along the way of my work but I'll give you some details on how I transformed it.
  • Started with a good cleaning and then removed all the hardware, drawers, doors, etc.
  • I dry brushed one coat of chalk paint on it and once dry, followed up with a second light coat. I dry brushed because I wanted the paint light and for the brown wood to show through in some places.
  • Once dry, I distressed it by sanding lightly at the edges or in places that would wear naturally.
  • I tinted a bit of glaze a dark brown and then glazed it, again for a distressed, older appearance.
  • I used a gold rub on the handles and the edges of the details to make it stand out.
  • Protected it with a couple coats of top coat.

Voila! I was done and I loved it. Even my hubby was like, wow, I did not expect that. Here's a picture of the after! If you have any questions about the steps, feel free to drop me an email.
Here's a couple more close up pictures of the detail and handles with the gold rub. You can also see the glaze good in these pictures. This project by the way, took me about 3 days. It wasn't a lot of work but I had to let things dry in between stages. I'm currently redoing my writing desk and will update pictures when done. 
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<![CDATA[The long road to publication]]>Sun, 08 Feb 2015 00:44:22 GMThttp://tanyakelly.com/5/post/2015/02/the-road-to-publication.htmlPicture
Welcome to my website and to my very first blog (big breath followed my nervous laughter). 

Wow...it’s been an exciting few months for me. I worked my butt off last year writing Lace & More and finished 2014 off with a bang by landing a publishing contract with Siren-Bookstrand. Hence I wanted to share with you my trials and tribulations...and of course, successes of achieving my dreams of becoming a published writer.

First of all, it wasn’t just one year of hard work. I’ve been writing since a very young age and have always been an avid reader, especially romance novels. In my senior year of high school, I did a co-op placement at the local newspaper in our small town. While I was always hooked on the written word in fictional format, I became hooked on journalism. I also loved to travel, so BINGO went my sixteen year old brain. I would be the next world famous investigate reporter who globe trotted around the world.

Oh yeah, this would be awesome! Or maybe it was radical that I said back then. I digress... 

Needless to say, after college and several reality checks later, I my dream was become a bit blurry. I got married, had my first son and found myself working for a large corporation that paid more. Hey, don’t judge, I had a family to worry about and priorities changing. But when my second son was born, almost fifteen years ago, I was feeling wistful. I dusted off some old short stories and poems. Like I didn’t have enough on my plate, taking care of a baby and a toddler, I began to carve out precious time to take a creative writing class. 

The bug was back and this time, I was sure I was going to be successful. I kept on it even after my maternity leave was over and juggled two kids, working a management job fifty to sixty hours a week and writing part-time. But eventually, after a couple rejections and on the verge of becoming a zombie, I knew something had to give. I never actively stopped writing, it just kind of fizzled out when I let my negativity creep in.

But the dream never went away. I just had to one, find the time and two, persevere. Time flew by. I woke up one day and asked myself what was stopping me. My boys were suddenly teenagers and didn’t quite need me as much anymore...much to my sadness. I had quit the corporate world a couple years earlier and my husband and I ran our own small business which gave me some freedom. I had no excuses anymore.

It was time to get down to business.

My first love had always been romance and since the explosion of erotic romance as a genre, I couldn’t read enough of it. I had some stories floating around my head and it was time to put them down to paper...or computer so to speak. Lace & More was born. I had the first draft written in a very short time and darn, was I proud. I had just finished my first novel.

I printed and began the tedious revision process. By the end of chapter one, there was so much red on the page, I couldn’t even see my original story anymore. After more weeks of editing, I started to feel the old negativity creep up. I wasn’t good enough. My writing sucked. Who would ever publish this and if someone did, who would read it? I left the project alone for a month and immersed myself in my other creative pursuit, reviving old furniture. I’ll save that for a future blog.

It was exactly what I needed. I came back to my novel with fresh eyes and eventually completed all my revisions. Off it went to Siren-Bookstrand and the rest you know.

Lace & More is my first published erotic romance novel. First of many I hope. I have already completed the first draft to my second novel and taking a small break before I begin my edits. Remember, a fresh eye makes a world of difference. 

Well, that’s a quick version of my path to publication. I have so much to learn in this craft and industry. I’m still such a newbie at this and hoping you enjoyed my first blog post and learning about me a little bit more. If you did, subscribe to my newsletter and follow along with my journey.

Talk soon - Tanya

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