View Full Version : NEW Release - Bubbly, an erotic romance for New Years
December 4th, 2011, 12:01 PM
On December 3, the fifth and final installment of my holiday sensual/erotic contemporary romance series released from Rebel Ink Press - Bubbly!
Beth’s had the best of everything, and the worst of everything. From the outside, a poor little rich girl, hounded by the press, but, on the inside, bruised by dark memories. When she seeks escape from her suffocating world on New Years Eve, she accidentally gets a taste for how the other half lives. Rough-edged bartender Tig Riley offers her a whole new outlook on life in his arms and maybe even a brand new future, if only she can trust him. Can he really help her heal herself?
For more info, check out my holiday tales New Years page:
December 4th, 2011, 12:09 PM
Here's a little taste:
There was definitely a hand on Beth Alexander’s ass.
She once believed there would come a time when she’d be successful enough, rich enough in her own right, boss enough, that men would stop doing things like that. But now she accepted that she was wrong. The only “enough” that would stop men pawing whatever they liked on you was probably “elderly enough,” but even then who knew what kind of horseplay they were up to in the retirement homes?
Beth didn’t concern herself with subtlety as she moved her sequined rear end well away from Sheffield’s tentacles. She didn’t have to move very far, since Mrs. Sheffield was standing right beside him, the dirty old bastard.
Another lesson Beth had learned: men never get tired of snagging a little pussy on the side. What she wouldn’t give to know there was one decent man left in the world. But she knew for sure that such a man wouldn’t be found in this crowd.
Feeling filthy and more than a little depressed, she pasted on the pretend smile she learned so well as her father’s little princess in the public eye and moved away from the cluster. Jeanne clucked something about her looking pale, but she shrugged off the concern.
“Just a little headache.”
She wanted these people out of her house, immediately. They grated on her more than usual. But being a good hostess had been bred into her, first by her elegant Swiss mother and then after her death by her demanding and powerful father. Being the daughter of one of the most influential and wealthy theater moguls since the 1930’s was like being a First Lady. Beth had been playing hostess at expensive gatherings since she was fourteen; dressing (and drinking) the part of a much older woman.
Now approaching thirty, she was her own hostess, ordering about a domestic staff and imported catering cadre with the help of her personal assistant, Suze, and making sure everyone talked about her New Year’s Eve bash for the next month. Inside she longed to spend New Years with just one special person, even though she knew fate had other things in store for her.
When does one become rich and famous enough to stop the networking grind? If her father was any example, never. He ran himself dry living up to the image, despite his immense income. For people in the world of entertainment finance, like in her own world of designer clothing, image was everything. You were nothing if you weren’t wining and dining your friends, allies, customers and even your enemies.
At seventeen, the tall, lanky, wayward Beth made her most shaming error, right in front of a slavering press corps who loved gathering photo evidence of the downfall of America’s decadent and well-heeled. For a year, her elopement with fading pop star Neal Bishop was the talk of New York and the whole country. The snobby little bitch daughter of some filthy-rich pig had thrown away her fledgling modeling career and the potential she had as a young singer on too much coke and booze. To top it off, she ran away with a flavor of the month one-hit-wonder rock star on the skids.
Well, they were right about the booze, and about Neal being a flash in the pan, but they were wrong about the coke. Even as a wild teen she shied away from it, recalling how her own mother had been hospitalized with burned out sinus cavities. She faked it, in order to be polite and fit in. Yet the photos of her pretending to snort it all up off shiny gold mirrors would likely never go away from the public memory.
After her disastrous five year marriage, as her trust fund dwindled away, she dragged herself out of Neal’s pit and his shadow. Now, Beth was the one with an income, and he was here as her ex-husband groveling for contacts to strengthen his new recording company.
It was some sort of sickness, this hostess-gentility that forced her to invite him every year. She loathed the sight of him, drinking her champagne, with his arm around yet another pretty, thin, young thing that could’ve been her twelve years ago. He’d aged, but his dates hadn’t.
“Lady, if looks could kill,” Beth heard a male voice remark.
She whipped her head around to look at the man standing behind the bar. He seemed to be in his mid-thirties, tall, dark, handsome, but not pampered. She almost felt like dressing him down for talking to her like that, but there was something about him that rejected the social ranking. Perhaps it was the devilish glint of good humor in his steel-gray eyes, or the up-curled corner of his mouth that suggested he sympathized with her glaring derision of all the beautiful people surrounding them. Whatever it was, she merely turned her face downward and pressed her manicured fingers to her brow. The headache she faked earlier now manifested itself, and she was embarrassed at having been caught shooting daggers at her ex-so-called-husband.
“That bad, huh?” he asked, his voice a bit more gentle than before, as if he saw the tears around her edges before she did. He reached for a bottle of wine from the ice bucket, but she stopped him.
“None for me,” she said sharply, hating and loving the look of the chilled sparkling white. When he raised an eyebrow slightly, she clucked her tongue bitterly and snapped, “Don’t tell me you’re the only man left in the world who doesn’t know I’m a recovering lush?”
“We’re all recovering from something,” he said, unconcerned with her quiet yet venomous outburst, and poured a glass of ginger ale. “Here.” Magically, he also produced a bottle of ibuprofen.
“Bless you,” she sighed, taking the bottle of pills gratefully.
“Go easy on those,” he cautioned, watching her take three with her soda. “Nothing’s as bad as all that.”
“Oh, don’t tell me. You want to snag a role on TV as an understanding barkeep, so you got a job with a catering company so you can audition the role at producers’ parties?”
He chuckled and shook his head as if to say, “Like I care what any of these jerk-offs think of me.”
“You’re not an actor?” she asked incredulously. He wasn’t pretty, but he was very appealing and Beth could picture him doing well for the cameras.
“Nope,” he said. “I tend bar. The ‘understanding’ bit is just an added bonus. A trick of the trade, perhaps.”
Beth said nothing, and scanned the crowd. It wouldn’t do for any of the entourage clingers to snap a picture of her standing too long at the open bar with their phone. Pictures of celebrities falling off their various wagons always went for prime prices these days.
“No one’s watching,” he tempted her. “I think you could sneak off.”
“What?” Her eyes widened, and she realized how wonderful that sounded. “It’s my party.”
“It’s your party and you can hide if you want to?” he joked.
She didn’t respond right away. She watched the tiny columns of golden bubbles fight their way to the surface of her soft drink. He made it sound so easy. Was it that easy for people who weren’t raised to be elite in some old-fashioned, capitalist sense?
“I won’t tell,” he said with a smile and snagged his little white apron off. “Join me for a break outside?”
(Excerpt from the pre-finalized draft.)
January 1st, 2012, 11:23 AM
Bubbly: An erotic contemporary romance for New Years
By Anne Holly
Beth’s had the best of everything and the worst of everything. From the outside, a poor little rich girl, hounded by the press, but, on the inside, bruised by dark memories. When she seeks escape from her suffocating world on New Years Eve, she accidentally gets a taste for how the other half lives. Rough bartender Tig Riley offers her a whole new outlook on life in his arms and maybe even a brand new future, if only she can trust him. Can he really help her heal herself?
(Caution: sexuality, mature subject matter and adult language.)
“Oh crap,” he groaned suddenly, lifting his head from where it had been leaning against hers. She was seated in the tub between his legs and resting back against his chest and belly, lazily dozing as she watched their fingers entwine. “It must be past midnight by now!”
“Do you have to go, or something?” she asked, feeling her heart speed up uncomfortably in her chest.
“No, no,” he said. “It’s just that I didn’t kiss you and wish you a Happy New Year when the clock struck. I was kind of busy at the time, I guess.”
“You likely were kissing me,” she reminded him with a soft chuckle, relaxing against him again. “And you can still wish me a Happy New Year.”
“Happy New Year,” he said, pressing a kiss to her temple.
“Happy New Year,” she replied, feeling wistful. All of this felt like a dream, one that she hadn’t even let herself contemplate for so long. Could this be a man she could trust, a companion to pass sleepless nights with, and a passionate lover? So many things Beth had given up on, dreams that Neal had stolen, now were sitting right next to her. It seemed almost too good to be true.
“Are you chilly?” he asked, wrapping his arms around her tighter in response to the shiver that ran through her.
“Do you need to get some sleep?”
“I suppose we should,” Beth said, hesitating. Aside from the languid restfulness settling in her soul, she was quite awake from her nap earlier. She remembered how men liked to sleep after sex, so she didn’t want to keep him up.
“Should I go?” Tig asked, showing the first look of uncertainly since they retreated to her bedroom.
“I’d like it if you stayed,” she confessed.
“Good. Me, too,” he kissed her again, and then eased her up so he could exit the large, sunken whirlpool tub. He grabbed a fluffy bath sheet and swaddled her into it as she stood, and she gloried in the feeling of being taken care of. Beth couldn’t remember a time in her life when someone had treated her this sweetly.
“I wonder if they’re done downstairs,” he thought aloud.
“Probably not,” she said with a shrug. “They won’t leave until tomorrow, some of them. Suze will have to shepherd them through brunch before they find their heads enough to leave.”
“She’s a real handy girl to have around,” Tig remarked.
Beth agreed as she retied her hair.
“Your neck is so slender,” he said, kissing her at the nape and then watching her in the mirror. “You suppose Neal needs throwing out yet?” he asked, his face darkened uncharacteristically. His eyes bore into hers through the reflection, and he flexed his hands on her waist. “Sorry, I just...When I think about what that bastard likely did to you, I want to pulverize him.”
“Believe me,” she whispered, “I understand.” Tig’s reaction pleased a part of her, happy to have someone share her outrage. But another part of her regretted the fact that any man she was with would be confronted by her degradation against their will, just by looking at her. Neal had always been careful never to leave a permanent visible mark, but she wanted to cry over the stigma he left her with. It saddened her that even Tig, as happy and casual as he was, would likely never be able to set it aside and see her as just Beth. Beth and not ‘Neal’s victim’.
“I guess I could never fit into this crowd,” he said, bitterness edging his voice. “Too damned sophisticated for me, if they let rapists wander around their homes. I mean, doesn’t it bother you that we’re up here and he’s down there? That little shit!”
“Tig, just don’t think about it.”
“I know,” he said, raking a hand through his hair, as if it was some sort of substitute for going down there and beating the snot out of Neal. “You asked me not to cause a scene. I get it.”
“You just don’t realize how things are done here.”
“You know, maybe I understand better than you do. You don’t think I see a clearer picture of this glittery, screwed up social circle standing behind that bar six nights a week than you see from inside it?” He was growing frustrated, and the words were spilling out of him now. “I see wives come back from the bathroom after dessert, having clearly thrown up the hundred-dollar a-plate meal in order to stay skinny forever. I see their husbands off in the kids’ playroom dry humping the mistress of their boss. It’s like fucking Babylon at these things half the time, and everyone’s wearing great big diamonds on their hands, and great big fucking holes where their hearts should be.”
“Now, not everyone is like that,” Beth tried in vain to defend her lifestyle.
“No,” he agreed, his eyes flashing indignity. “There’s decent, kind, happy people in every world, but they aren’t the ones I see filling your house right now. For God’s sake, Beth, why do you let these people in?”
“You don’t know what it’s like,” she sobbed, hating his condemnation, and hating the way he saw everything. “All of my life, I had to live a certain way, be a certain way, live the way they all expected me to! You think I like it? I don’t. But that’s the way it is!”
“Not for everyone. The decent people don’t live like this,” Tig said, a bit more calmly.
“You just don’t understand,” she snapped, stiffening against the truth of it all. “People like you, no one expects anything from you.”
As soon as she said it, she wanted to take it back, but it was too late. She saw the flinch hit his face like a slap, and his eyes turn cold.
“People like me,” he muttered.
Turning on his heel, he left her, not stopping when she asked him to.
Released December 3, 2011 on Nook, Kindle, epub, Adobe and more!
For more information, check out my Seasonal Tales website.
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