bad boy

Dark Romance Books: Beauty & The Biker | Alpha Male MC Romance

alpha male bad boy bwwm romance novelY'all aren't ready. The BWWM romance novel I'll be publishing at the end of March is sizzling hot interracial romance deliciousness that you won't want to miss.

If you enjoy reading dark romance books with desirable alpha males, bad boys who make you swoon and strong black female heroes, you'll enjoy reading one of our top romance novels anticipated for the year.

Read the description below and then the first chapter FREE. 

Description:

Savage fighter. Ruthless leader. Icy blue eyes. 

My now ex-boyfriend lost me in a bet.

The winner? The ruthless leader of his rival motorcycle gang — Heath.

Heath is a cold-blooded killer, or so I’ve heard.

He expects total submission…

I don’t let anyone tell me what to do.

On the open road, I don’t have a choice.

I’m his. He won me fair and square.

And he won’t give me up without a fight.

Romance Novel Excerpt: Beauty & The Biker | Motorcycle Club Romance

Heath took me prisoner two days ago. Since then, I’d scoped out every opportunity to run. Clinging to him on the back of his Gold Wing, I scrutinized the landscape as we rushed past. Thick forests hung over the highway, shading us from the blazing heat of the sun beginning its descent in the sky. When all the bikes stopped and the men started their tune ups, I hung close to Heath’s bike. 

 

As he stooped down to check his tires, I checked on my cash.

 

I reached into my jeans and pulled out my wad of bills, mostly fives and ones. This was all the money I had but it would have to do. 

 

I counted it for the second time and prepared to run.

 

“Kaja, get over here,” he called and I rounded his shiny metal beast, my eyes darting furtively along the highway.

 

“Yes?” I folded my arms. 

 

My time approached.

 

“Hold this. I need to screw on the bolts,” he growled.

 

I stuck out my palm with a scowl on my face and he stuck the spanner in it with a bemused raised eyebrow.

 

“You don’t have to be so sour.”

 

“Whatever. I want to get out of here.”

 

He chuckled. 

 

“Bossy huh? We’ll see what you say when we get to Chicago and I off-load you onto the first toothless bastard I find.”

 

“Buzz off.”

 

He chuckled again and bent down to adjust his tires. 

 

“Spanner.”

 

I handed him the spanner. 

 

“Good.” 

 

He opened up the toolbox on the back of the bike and shoved it back in.

 

“Why the long face sunshine?”

 

“Don’t mock me,” I spat back, “I don’t have to put up with your bullshit.” 

 

“Suit yourself.”

 

“Ready to go you bastard?” Rhys approached and smacked Heath on the back, causing the two of them to erupt in guffaws. Heath’s laugh was a low chuckle while Rhys’ pierced the air with the same pitch as his Southern accent. Rhys ran his hands through his blond hair and stuck it in a loose ponytail.

 

“Damn straight,” Heath said, “Where’s Jacob and his girl?”

 

Don approached then zipping up his leather jacket and twirling his helmet in his hands.

 

“Those two love birds snuck off for a bit of nookie in the woods.”

 

Heath chuckled, “Joining ‘em this time?” 

 

Rhys snorted, “That slut? No thanks. She’s been passed around by every guy with a bike on the Eastern seaboard.”

 

Don chuckled and retorted, “Yeah right, you’re just pissed off she chose Jacob instead of you.”

 

“Fuck off,” Rhys snorted, putting his helmet on.

 

“Reckon I should go scare him out?” He touched the gun on his holster.

 

Heath shook his head, “Nah. They’ll be here soon.”

 

Don smirked, “Knowing Jacob, it should be about… 90 seconds.”

 

The men erupted into laughter again and I just stood there, glaring with my arms folded. I’d tried to go unnoticed but Rhys noticed my scowl and approached me pressing his fingers to my lips and flicking them.

 

“Why the long face? You ain’t find us funny?”

 

“No,” I spat back.

 

“Hey watch your mouth,” Rhys spat, “You’re nothing but a piece of meat and if you catch an attitude I’ve got no problem ditching your sorry ass on the side of the road.”

 

“Hey!” Heath interrupted, “Leave her alone.”

 

Rhys snickered.

 

“Whatever man, don’t defend her.”

 

Don grunted, “Don’t be a pussy Heath, he’s only joking. No one’s going to harm princess over here.”

 

The men laughed again, like I was some big joke. I kept my gaze steady, trying not to care. I wouldn’t be stuck with them much longer. Five minutes later, Angie and Jacob emerged from the woods holding hands and laughing.

 

“Not much stamina, Jacob?”

 

“Shut the fuck up,” Angie spat, “Watch your mouth Don or I’ll cut your tongue out?”

 

“Why so you can shove it up you —”

 

“Watch the way you talk to my lady buddy,” Jacob interrupted, stepping in front Angie.

 

“Geez, it’s just a joke.”

 

“Yeah well fuck off leprechaun.”

 

“Me ma’s Irish, that’s why I’ve got this red hair,” Don replied, doing his best imitation of an Irish accent and breaking the groups tension, sending everyone into fits of laughter.

 

“Let’s get out of here,” Angie said, “Princess looks like she’s going to shit bricks.”

 

She jutted her chin towards me, drawing even more attention than I wanted.

 

“I’m fine,” I spat.

 

Angie winked, her brilliant blue eyes twinkling with excitement. Her daisy dukes barely covered her thin, pale legs with blue veins trailing through them. Her long chocolate hair hung to the middle of her back and she fixed it into a ponytail before donning her helmet and hopping on her bike.

 

“Time to ride…”

 

I had no choice. I hopped on the back of Heath’s bike, clutching his torso as he revved the engine up.

 

“Don’t let go sweetheart,” he both commanded and taunted me.

 

I wouldn’t let go. With only twenty miles to the next fuel station, all I had to do was wait. Once we got there, I’d go to the gas station restroom and make my break for it. I knew these backroads well enough and this would be my last chance to escape before these hooligans dragged me God-knows-where.

 

We drove down the highway, wind whipping my dreads into the breeze and my breath fogging up the helmet. I clutched Heath tightly because I had no choice. I had no choice but to hold onto his body or go flying down the highway. 

 

The road stretched out for miles before it curved, deserted since rush hour had passed. We were deep in the New England boonies and wouldn’t hit traffic until New York. The Steel Dragons spoke about going around the city when they thought I wasn’t listening. I’d been preparing to take my last stand. 

 

However they managed city traffic wouldn’t be my problem. I needed patience. Heath’s gaze fixated on me whenever we’d stopped. I’d have trouble getting out of his sight at the gas station but he couldn’t follow me everywhere. I hadn’t said much, hoping they’d underestimate me. He kicked the stand up and I squeezed my arm around him tighter.

 

The bikes roared and they kicked up dust as they accelerated down the highway. Jacob and Angie rode side by side in the front, Rhys and Heath rode together behind them.

 

Holding down the flank were Don, and Clay. Don would be the hardest one to get something past. He was too sharp and he didn’t trust that I’d stay with the Dragons in the first place. He’d begged Heath not to bring me along but Don didn’t make the rules around here — Heath did. 

 

I breathed a sigh of relief when we pulled into the gas station as they’d planned. My heart skittered in my chest. I was too accustomed to fear to allow it to paralyze me. I got off the bike and took my helmet off.

 

“You stay here,” Heath growled as he walked to the pump.

 

“I-I need to go to the restroom.”

 

Heath looked me up and down.

 

“Fine. Be quick.”

 

He gestured for me to hand him the helmet so I did, relieved that I was now unencumbered. 

 

The gang stared at me as I entered the gas station. I could feel their eyes on my back and of course, Rhys dog whistled which earned him a warning punch from Heath. A tinny bell rang as I thrust the door open and as the door closed behind me. 

 

I stood alone with the attendant, tempted to ask him to call the police. If the police found me, they’d find out quick that I knew Trey Holt. They’d want me to talk and if I dared say one word my life would be on the line. No cops. I didn’t need them. The attendant at the desk eyed me and then eyed the gang, clad head to toe in black leather in stark contrast to my jeans and white tank top.

 

“You with them?”

 

“Y-yes,” I replied.

 

I was too scared to say much to anyone. The man snorted.

 

“You don’t look like the type.”

 

“C-can I use the bathroom?”

 

“You sure you okay ma’am?”

 

“Yes,” I replied, “I’m sure.”

 

“Okay, it’s back there behind the hot dogs.”

 

“Thanks,” I mumbled.

 

I’d been here before with Trey. A girl had been working that time but the gas station had no reason to change. I walked into the bathroom and closed the door, turning the lock and exhaling.

 

“Pull it together Kaja,” I muttered, wiping my sweaty palms on my jeans and looking up at the window, perched a few feet above me just as I remembered it.

 

I stood on the toilet, grunting as I shoved the small window open. I was small enough to fit and I’d considered running away the last time I’d come with Trey so I’d thought the plan through before. I grunted again as I thrust the entire window open. I reached up to the sill and grunted as I pulled myself up, shuffling my body through the window.

 

There was an eight foot drop from the window that landed on a patch of grass. Lucky freaking me. I tucked and rolled as I dropped. I stood to my feet and without looking back, I turned tail and ran.

 

The gas station was just outside of a small town with plenty of New England charm and an absence of any people. My feet pounded the pavement as I hurried towards the trees. My heart thumped in my chest and my stomach tightened. If I didn’t get away this time, Heath would be pissed and the rest of them would be pissed. I’d be stuck riding to California with a bunch of crazy assholes — who hated me.

 

I burst through the clearing and stopped to catch my breath, bending over my pressing my palms into my knees.

 

“THERE SHE IS!”

 

Shit. Angie ratted me out. So much for girl power…

 

I picked up the pace, adrenaline bursting through my chest and forcing my legs to carry me. At the other end of the clearing I’d have to cross the highway and then I could get to the strip mall. Once I got to the strip mall… Well someone in there had to have a phone. I could call Julie and she’d come get me. Wouldn’t she? I knew she was Trey’s sister but come on, Trey got me into this mess. It’s not like I wanted to be here in the first place.

 

I ran towards the light, through the trees, hopping over felled tree branches and avoiding deep murky puddles with rotting leaves. 

 

“Don’t you dare shoot her!” A voice called — this time Heath.

 

Yeah, I’m sure he wanted Don, Rhys or whoever had pulled the gun to keep their hands off his precious cargo.

 

“She’s heading to the mall, guys we have to split up!”

 

My chest tightened. They knew where I was going and they planned to stop me. I couldn’t stop running. I was less than 1/4 mile away from the entrance to the highway and if I was lucky, I could find someone passing by who would stop and pick me up. 

 

I heard the sound of motorcycles revving in the distance but I didn’t stop running until I exited the deep woods and stood at the edge of the highway on the other side of the guard rails. Traffic was far from heavy, but the roads weren’t deserted with a few family cars heading up to the Berkshires for the weekend. 

 

I climbed over the guard rail, listening for the choking and heaving of the motorcycle mufflers  and waiting for the right time to dash across the road. I stuck my thumb out as I waited, hoping for one of the two options to work out for me. 

 

My heart raced faster, my eyes snapped wider taking in every detail of the landscape from the tall evergreen trees to the leafy green maples to the dust kicked up by the Volvo rushing past. I stuck my arm out and waved but nobody stopped.

 

When I got a break in the road I started to sprint.

 

“Gotcha,” the voice came first them I felt the arms around me.

 

“AHHHHH!”

 

Heath. He’d caught up with me.

 

“Stop squirming and this will over soon.”

 

“LET. ME. GO.”

 

I shrieked.

 

I kicked back and struggled against him. Having height, weight and size as an advantaged meant I was powerless against him. It’s not like I couldn’t throw a punch mind you. With Trey, we’d had to defend ourselves a few times as we rode across the country from bar fights to fending off muggers. 

 

Heath stood a full foot taller than my 5’6” and he kept his body in immaculate physical condition. I screamed and kicked again but he pulled me deeper into the woods, back towards the gas station.

 

“Pull shit like that again and I’ll strip you down and leave you on the side of the road,” he growled.

 

“PUT ME DOWN! PUT ME DOWN! HEEELLLLPPPP!” I screamed.

 

“Shut up!” He growled.

 

“I’ll shut up when you put me down!”

 

“You tried to run. You lost the right to stand on your own two feet when you did that.”

 

Gasping for breath and desperate to stop his thick muscular arms from crushing me, I whimpered, “If you put me down I won’t run. I’ll go with you.”

 

He dropped me and I fell to the ground, screaming as my back hit.

 

“Get up,” he growled.

 

“OW!”

 

I sat up and glared at him as I got to my feet and dusted my hands off.

 

“That hurt.”

 

“Listen up missy.”

 

“What?”

 

“I won you fair and square… You aren’t going anywhere unless I tell you to.”

 

“It’s illegal to hold people captive you know.”

 

He chuckled, “Yeah, ‘cause I’m a real good guy right? Like Trey?”

 

“Don’t bring up Trey.”

 

Heath chuckled again, “I’ll bring up Trey if I want to princess. You’re mine.”

 

He snarled the word mine with such vitriol I flinched. 

 

“Y’know the way back is much faster running than walking.”

 

Heath chuckled, “Nice try. Make a run for it again and you’ll regret it.”

 

“Won’t be my only regrets,” I mumbled.

 

“Hush. Too much talking.”

 

The rest of the way back to the gas station we walked in silence. Heath walked behind me with his quiet long stride. When I burst through the trees fear gripped my chest again. 

 

“Keep moving. Say nothing.”

 

I nodded and kept going. Angie and Jacob straddled their bikes, visors turned up as they watched me.

 

“How far’d she get?” Angie asked with a wicked smile.

 

“Not very I bet,” Clay added.

 

The entire bunch of them laughed again and clinked their soda cans against each other before chugging them down and dropping the cans on the ground.

 

“Ready to ride outta here?” Don asked.

 

Heath grunted, “Yeah.”

 

“Get her on the back of your bike and make sure she doesn’t try anything else,” Rhys drawled with his thick Texas accent, “I’m sick of this. When you made that bet—” 

 

“Quiet,” Heath growled, “I don’t want a lecture.”

 

Angie nodded and gestured Rhys away from us.

 

“C’mon, leave him alone before he hits you again.”

 

Heath smirked at that. Angie got on her bike and led the charge, speeding out of the gas station with Jacob behind her.

 

“She gives too many orders for a woman,” Clay grumbled.

 

He and Don bumped fists and laughed, flicking down their visors and revving their engines into action. Heath turned around to face me before getting on.

 

“No more funny business.”

 

“Yeah. Whatever.”

 

“Listen,” he growled, “If your stupid boyfriend hadn’t bet you like a fuckin’ poker chip, you wouldn’t be here. So blame him.”

 

“He’s NOT my boyfriend!”

 

“Do I look like I give a rat’s ass? Boyfriend, ex-boyfriend, fuckin’ preacher, whoever the fuck he is, he owes me ten thousand dollars.”

 

“What if I could give you ten thousand dollars?”

 

He grunted and laughed.

 

“You don’t have ten grand. Put the helmet on and hold tight missy.”

 

He slammed his helmet on and flipped the visor down after handing me mine. I put it on. He was right. This was Trey’s fault. Trey had lost the right to call me his boyfriend the moment he’d traded me over to the leader of his rival gang. He’d apologized — of course, he always apologized — but that time I’d had enough of him..

 

Tensions had been flaring between me and Trey for a while. I’d been waiting for the chance and as I kicked and screamed slung over Heath Danger’s shoulder, there seemed to be no better time.

 

I straddled the bike, wrapping my arms around him. He adjusted my grasp and revved the bike up. The sound was like a drug to me. I squeezed tight as he started down the highway getting faster and faster until he caught up with the rest of the gang.

 

I grabbed onto his coat, my fingers cold without gloves. The scent of leather and dirt wafted in through the helmet. My faux leather jacket barely protected me from the elements. 60 mph. 70 mph. We were all headed west over 80, each of the dragons as fearless and furious as the wind.

 

Sunset approached and they’d have to stop again soon — this time for sleep. I hadn’t planned to be with them so long. My escape attempt failed and I feared what they’d do to me if I tried again. But if we stopped for the night, I’d have another chance. I clung to Heath until we stopped just after sunset.

 

“Let’s get some grub then we’ll head to the house,” Jacob said once the bikes had been parked.

 

“Did any of you stupid fucks tell Hannah about her?” Angie asked, jutting her chin towards me.

 

“I’ll deal with Hannah. Jake, keep your girl in line,” Heath growled.

 

“What the fuck did you say to me?” Angie asked, folding her arms. 

 

Jacob stepped between them.

 

“Hey, hey can you two cool it for a sec?”

 

Don grunted, “Keep her quiet. We’ll eat. Heath will deal with Han.”

 

Clay nodded, “Sounds good.”

 

We walked inside the Ponderosa and Heath chose our seats, ignoring the chipper hostesses direction.

 

They all ordered and as directed, I stayed quiet. I didn’t think they’d feed me but Heath got me my own steak dinner. I’d barely eaten all day so I didn’t mind staying silent while I wolfed down the entire steak, the mediocre mashed potatoes and the horrible coleslaw. 

 

Who knows when I’d get my next meal, especially if I managed to break away in the middle of the night. So far Heath hadn’t been cruel but I was still his prisoner.

 

Once I was done, Angie slammed down a little over a hundred on the table and tipped the waitress a fifty. The money they’d made for their last deal covered the gang as they traveled across the country to California to make another deal with Angie’s step-brother in L.A. 

 

I got back on the bike and we entered the small blue house with the white door one after the other after the men parked their bikes. Hannah wore nothing but a thin camisole with her nipples poking through and yoga pants. Her hair was a mess, she reeked of menthols and she kept itching her wrists as she told us which rooms we’d have.

 

“What’s her story?” Hannah asked about me.

 

“Mine,” was all Heath said. He didn’t answer any questions about me after that. I knew better than to open my mouth and speak when I hadn’t been spoken to.

 

He marched me upstairs and pointed towards an air mattress on the radiator.

 

“This is our room.”

 

“Our?!”

 

“Listen cupcake this ain’t the fucking Ritz Carlton.”

 

He prodded me until I entered the room. 

 

“Get on the mattress.”

 

“What?” 

 

I turned to face him, fists clenched, ready to fight him off if I had to.

 

“Get. On. The. Mattress.”

 

My chest heaved with my anxious breathing and I stood my ground.

 

“No.”

 

He grabbed me by the wrist and sat me down on the mattress. I squealed as my back sank into the rubber. He pulled a pair of handcuffs out of his jacket and handcuffed me to the radiator.

 

“That’s so you don’t try to make a run for it while we talk business.”

 

I shook my arm and rattled the handcuffs against the radiator. Heath smiled.

 

“No making a fool out of me tonight,” he growled, “Stay nice and quiet and we won’t have any trouble.” 

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Romance Novel Excerpts: Wild Winter Lust by Jamila Jasper

bwwm romance novel new release kimonoWild Winter Lust is available now at a discounted price!

Below, you can read a 3000-word sample of the story weeks before it's released! If you love romantic stories, enjoy interracial romance novels and you're looking for a gripping new read this winter, check out the sample below after the description of the novel.

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Description: 

I never expected my Swiss Holiday to end up like this…

In his arms…

In his bed…

A killer on the loose, and a suspect in my bed will make this holiday more interesting than I bargained for.

I trust him.

I love him.

It can’t be him… can it?

Dream’s Swiss holiday takes a turn for the worse when her new lover Axel is accused of a murder she knows he didn’t commit. 

Take a peek inside this ultra-steamy BWWM romance for the intriguing, page turning, panty-dropping romantic suspense you’ll need to stay warm this winter.

Excerpt | Wild Winter Lust:

VOSS SKI RESORT:

“The avalanche means we will be here another two weeks,” Camille sneered, “This will be at no additional cost to you Meess Weelleeyums.”

 

“Except the cost of my time,” I snapped.

 

The Swiss indifference conflicted with my American sensibilities about punctuality and efficiency.

 

A man peered out from the back office. 

 

“Problem Camille?”

 

“No Axel,” she huffed. 

 

“Will I at least get to eat for free or do I have to buy two more weeks of these overpriced prison meals?”

 

“Non mamzelle, you eat for free,” Camille muttered.

 

She glanced up from the register with cold, swampy green eyes. She tucked a few strands of blond hair out of her face. Tiny pink lips pouted in my direction.

 

“Would that be all ma’am?” Axel asked in her stead. Camille’s eyes cut daggers and neither of us wanted to talk to the other for much longer. The prospect of another two weeks in Switzerland sent worry shooting through my chest.

 

“There’s an awful noise in my radiator, can I get that fixed?”

 

Axel rounded the counter, “I can come and help you now, mademoiselle.”

 

He stretched out the French word long and slow, then he smiled at me. My face still scrunched in rage, I could only muster a grimace.

 

“Show me to your room. Camille will get you sorted.”

 

Axel’s commitment to appease me caused me to look upon him with greater favor than Camille. I hated her brusque attitude and constant pout. I sound harsh, bear with me. I’d seen the way she looked at me, one of two black guests at the resort. She didn’t think I belonged. The other guests hadn’t had to go through half the trouble I did after the storm passed. I’d had to revisit the front desk three times to stop the excess charges. I’d started to think she inconvenienced me on purpose… 

 

Her co-worker, the ski instructor Axel Olson, was far more agreeable. After two tumbles with him down the bunny slopes, I’d decided skiing wasn’t for me. I needed to stick to what I was good at — writing. Axel didn’t agree with me and each day he pestered me about taking another ski lesson with him. If the lessons he gave had less to do with skiing, I would have accepted his offer gladly.

 

“Third floor?” he asked as we stepped into the elevator.

 

“Oui,” I replied. 

 

I hadn’t learned much French besides the basics. German and Italian lay beyond my scope too. A few phrases were all I could muster to converse with Axel in his native tongue.

 

He pushed the button and the doors shut. Being alone in an elevator with Axel made my palms sweaty. He was far too good looking to be tucked away in the Swiss Alps. In my younger, more reckless days, I would have spent every minute flirting with him. Now I admired from afar — an appropriate distance.

 

“You speak English well,” I complimented him as the elevator pulled to a stop.

 

“Around here, we get a lot of Americans and English.”

 

He pronounced the words Ameri-canes and Een-gleesh. My stomach flipped as I heard his husky voice enunciate the vowels with that gorgeous Swiss French accent.

 

“I’m the last room on the left,” I muttered.

 

He followed me down the hallway, then he muttered something to himself in French.

 

“Huh?”

 

“I’ve been meaning to talk to you,” Axel spoke.

 

“Uh…okay.”

 

I slipped my card key into the lock and pushed my door open. Axel brushed past me as he entered. As he brushed past me, a strange tingling erupted in my chest. The scent of his cologne, the culprit for my emotional spike, was a fresh pine and dry cedar scent with leather base notes. The wintery outdoors mixed with his cologne to create… heaven. 

 

“Mmm,” I blurted out unwillingly.

 

I slapped my hand over my mouth the moment the sound came out.

 

“What was that?” Axel asked, grinning at me from ear to ear.

 

I scowled and didn’t respond, rushing over to the radiator on the back wall of my room against the window.

 

“It makes this awful banging sound all the —“

 

On cue, the radiator began its clattering noise. BONGBANGBINGBINGBONGBONG.

 

“Ah, this is easy to fix,” Axel assured me.

 

I nodded, “Great. Then fix it.”

 

I fluttered away from him, keeping my eyes on him as he got to his knees and pulled a couple tools out of his belt.

 

“This room has this problem a lot,” he told me.

 

“Oh?” I feigned aloofness.

 

“Can you help me grasp this pipe?”

 

Our eyes met as he asked me. Color rushed to my tawny cheeks.

 

“Uh… what?”

 

“Right here,” Axel gestured to the pipe he held in place with one hand, while wrenching with the other hand.

 

“Sure.” 

 

I crouched next to him, so close I could smell all the notes in his cologne. The pine sap smell was from his hands. As I grazed his hands to hold the pipe, a few sticky bits of sap pressed into my fingers. I gripped the pipe and he continued to screw it shut.

 

“Are you enjoying Switzerland?”

 

“I was only supposed to be here a week.”

 

“So no?”

 

I shrugged, “I’ve got trouble back home, that’s all I can say.”

 

“What kind of trouble?” 

 

He let go of the pipe and stood up.

 

“Are you finished?”

 

“Yes.”

 

He folded his arms, still staring at me.

 

“What kind of trouble?”

 

“What’s it to you?” I narrowed my eyes, wondering why he cared.

 

Axel shrugged, “I am curious. America is another world. I imagine you have city girl troubles — troubles that are lightyears away from me.”

 

I smiled — I couldn’t help it. His arctic eyes gleamed as he fantasized about life across the Atlantic.

 

“Book trouble, that’s what I’ve got.”

 

“Hm?”

 

“I’m here ‘cause I’m a writer. My second book didn’t get picked up by my publisher and I need to figure out how to fix it.”

 

“So you’re a real writer?”

 

“Mhmm.”

 

I glanced at my door, not wanting to converse too closely with a hotel employee in my room. It seemed gauche. I walked towards the door and opened it. Axel held the door and ushered me out of the room.

 

“I want to hear more about this writing.”

 

“Why?” 

 

“Because… you’re interesting.”

 

He stared at me as he said interesting. I saw a flash of desire in his eyes (or perhaps imagined it). He brushed his chestnut brown hair out of his face.

 

“Tonight, come down to the lobby. You will tell me about it.”

 

I shrugged, “There’s nothing else to do here.”

 

“Ciao.” 

 

He took my hand and kissed it. As he released my hand, I wondered if he was flirting, or if this was European politeness. 

 

He turned and walked down the hall towards the elevator. I didn’t follow him, but I watched as he walked away. Axel’s tall body was formidable and bulky from his hours on the slope. I’d never noticed how much of a giant he was until he disappeared down the resort’s hallway, ducking to avoid the light fixtures as he approached the elevator.

 

I re-entered my room and sank into the chair at my desk, appreciating the silence — welcome relief from the cacophonous radiator.

 

I shot off an email to my editor. Paul recommended I go on this pricey retreat in the first place. I wondered how he’d react when he found out I’d be forced to stay here another two weeks. The storm served as both a pain in my ass and a blessing in disguise.

 

After I sent out the email, I sniffed and took in the lingering scent of pine from Axel standing in my room. Mm. Now that was a good smell — much better than the Axe body sprays my exes used to douse themselves in. 

 

I shook the thoughts of Axel’s alluring Swiss frame out of my mind. My stomach grumbled and I left my room in search of a meal. I pushed my door open, sliding the keycard into my pants pocket and securing my denim jacket around my curvaceous frame. The jacket, snug at first, had loosened since the storm.

 

As I neared the staircase, I saw one of the other guest. A small bunch of us had been stranded together and I felt it best to make myself familiar with the names and faces. It was too cold outside for me not to be warm. Her face pouted miserably and tears stained her cheeks. Her blonde hair whipped around her shoulders like a ferocious mane.

 

“Good afternoon!” I greeted her with a cheerful smile.

 

Bunny Wharton sniffed and glared at me, curling her upper lip in disgust.

 

“Yes,” she replied, “I suppose it was.”

 

She stormed past me, leaving the distinct scent of her Chanel No. 5 perfume in her wake. I turned to watch as she stormed past.

 

What a rude person. I thought to myself.

 

She continued clomping down the hall as I made my way to the stairs. Since I was trapped for two more weeks in this wintery castle, I figured I should keep my heart rate up and exercise. Lord knows my trainer back on the mainland would be happy that I did something while I was away.

 

I  pushed open the door to the stairs and started to walk down the flights of stairs. The distance between each floor was immense. I didn’t get one floor down when I ran into Charlene Frost — the only other black woman at the resort.

 

“Hey Charlene,” I greeted her.

 

Charlene smiled and widened her eyes, looking nervously from left to right before replying.

 

“H-h-hi,” she said.

 

“You alright?”

 

She swallowed and nodded.

 

“Mm, yes. Quite creepy isn’t it? The whole avalanche… being trapped… I won’t get in these elevators either. Nuh-uh not me. My aunty from Queens got into one of those and she was stuck between floors for two days. Can you believe it? Two days. No one thought to look for her. I take the stairs whenever I can.”

 

“Uh… Okay.”

 

“How are you? Did they sort out your room?”

 

“Yes, finally. That front desk chick has a bit of an attitude.”

 

Charlene glanced over her shoulder, then returned her fickle attention back to me.

 

“Uh huh. She don’t like black folks much. I can tell. Something ‘bout the look in her eye. Reminds me of this black woman my cousin told me about down in Georgia. She had a white maid from Slovenia — one of those countries. The woman got so jealous that she killed her.” 

 

Charlene let out a loud and awkward laugh. Haw-hee-ha-ha! 

 

“Can you believe it?” she finished, “Racism can push people so far.”

 

“I guess so.”

 

“See you around, Dream.”

 

“See you Charlene. Take care.”

 

“You too. This place is spooky.”

 

She stepped up past me and then pattered off down the hall to her room. I worried for that woman. Charlene, despite her dark eyes and her beautiful, cocoa colored skin struck me as an unwell woman. It wasn’t just the sallow deep bags under her eyes, but the way conversing with her reminded me of being on a merry-go-round.

 

I continued my descent. One floor above the lobby, I heard hushed voices. I slowed my movements so that my feet barely made a sound. 

 

“If I don’t have this abortion, it’s over!” The voice hissed.

 

“Can you calm down?”

 

“No, I cannot calm down! Pregnancy was never part of the agreement.”

 

I stopped. This I had to hear. Call me nosy, but I’m a writer. The resort had no new entertainment since the blizzard and being stir-crazy meant I’d do anything for something new and different. The search for my next story turned me into an amateur sleuth, like the leading lady, Annette, in my novel.

 

The voices hushed.

 

“You’re crazy!” The woman huffed again.

 

 

She shouted, “Stay away from me. Stay away from me or I swear you’ll regret it!” 

 

Footsteps away. Then I heard heels coming in my direction. I had no time to hightail it back the way I came. I proceeded down the stairs, trying to keep my expression aloof. Four steps down and I ran into the female voice.

 

“What the hell are you doing here,” Nari Long sneered at me.

 

The woman’s appearance was stunning, in stark contrast to her attitude, which was worse than Bunny’s.

 

“Headed downstairs,” I replied, “Is that okay with you?”

 

She sneered.

 

“Were you listening in on a private conversation?” 

 

Her black eyes were shiny buttons in her deep sockets. Her cheeks flushed scarlet.

 

My face blanked.

 

“What conversation?”

 

“Good,” she hissed, “If you’re lying to me, and you did hear any of it, remember that I’m not the kind of woman you want to mess with.”

 

Her raven-black hair cut into a blunt bob framed her face and highlighted the sharp angles of the Korean woman’s cheekbones. Her deep tanned skin glowed in the dim light of the staircase.

 

“I told you,” I replied coldly, “I didn’t hear anything.”

 

“Good. Then we have no trouble here. I can’t believe they let just anyone stay at a place like this,” she sniffed, before storming up the stairs past me.

 

The true colors of the guests started to emerge since the storm. I knew some of them tossed snide glances my way, not appreciating that “their” luxury resort was occupied by someone they didn’t think belonged there. I kept the success of my first novel a secret from all who I spoke too and no one connected the dots between me and Dream Williams, the successful author.

 

Good. I liked when people kept their dirty, rotten personalities right near the surface where I could see it. When hatred lies covert, that’s when you really get hurt. Bigotry on the surface had always been a part of my life. I couldn’t let it bother me — not while I was supposed to be coming up with the next award-winning idea.

 

After Nari stormed off, I hurried down the stairs to the lobby. There was no sign of who she might have been talking to — I assumed it was her husband. The couple appeared mismatched from the first time I saw them. Mortimer Long was around thirty years older than her with a raspy, shaky voice. It was clear their arrangement was financial. Poor Mortimer hadn’t wised up to that fact. Charlene had mentioned speaking to the man and how desperately in love he was with the cold woman I’d just spoken to.

 

I couldn’t imagine why.

 

In the dining room, I ordered a veggie burger with a healthy serving of French fries. I knew my trainer would kill me if he could see this. But I was in Switzerland. On vacation. I couldn’t deny myself every bit of pleasure now, could I?

 

I ate alone this time. Across the dining room, Axel sat in an engaging conversation (in French) with the two married detectives who were guests on the second floor. I couldn’t help glancing over at him. Axel’s French, although incomprehensible to me, sounded so… spectacular. After Switzerland, I’d be eager to learn the language — if I made it out of here alive.

 

Satiated, I returned to my room for an evening writing session. I sat at my computer like a prince about to slay a dragon. A mystery novelist must meet certain expectations that her readers have. My first book had done that spectacularly. The publisher hated my second book. They wanted a series. I wanted to leave my main character, Annette, right where she was.

 

I toyed with ideas for finishing up the series for an hour. Nothing stuck out to me. My riveting African American female detective was just as stuck as I was — balanced precariously in the world of fiction. I closed my laptop. As if on cue, as the laptop shut I heard a blood curdling scream.

 

“AIEEEEEEEEEEEEE.”

 

My heart stopped.

 

“AIEEEEEEEE!”

 

The scream reminded me of a pig sent to slaughter. I leapt out of my chair and rushed to the door, sticking my head into the hallway to discover the source of the screams.

 

“YOU ASSHOLE!”

 

THUMP.THUMP.THUMP.THUMP.THUMP.

 

No stuck pigs or damsels in distress. Teenagers. An American doctor, Vanessa Sullivan, brought her twin boys Jay and Kyle to the resort. As the youngest guests, they were often the most annoying. Two more weeks of their antics could push me to the bank of insanity.

 

Seeing my head peering into the hallway, they slowed their gallop to a trot.

 

“Hi Miss Williams,” they muttered politely.

 

“Good night. Quiet evening?” I asked.

 

Kyle brushed his brown hair out of his face, “Uh… Yeah. This place sucks now.”

 

“Yeah it’s lame,” Jay grumbled, brushing his wheat colored hair from his face.

 

“Right,” I replied, “Mind keeping it down a bit? I kind of like boring.”

 

“Yes Miss Williams, sorry,” they grumbled in unison.

 

“No worries,” I continued, “You boys are reminding me I need to get some air. But don’t let your mama hear you.”

 

I walked out of my room and past the boys whose heads lowered sheepishly. Their mother Vanessa was friendly enough, but she ruled her sons with an iron fist. They took any minute away from her to rebel — loudly. 

 

I left my room to head downstairs. The dining room lay in silence. A fire crackled and the dark wood enveloped the room in a comforting mahogany scent. I’d been hoping for a night owl to spend some time with. I sat alone, pulling my notebook out of my denim jacket in an attempt to brainstorm my way out of writer’s block. Dream became lost in a daydream. 

 

A voice whispered into my ear, “Can’t sleep?”, yanking me from my day dream.

 

I whipped my head around, ready to yell at whoever had disturbed my peace. Then I saw Axel.

 

I sighed.

 

“You scared me.”

 

“Sorry,” he replied.

 

“Not with that grin on your face you’re not.”

 

“Accompany me outside?”

 

“Outside? It’s cold.

 

“Take my parka.”

 

He took his parka off and stood before me in a grey henley shirt that hugged all his muscles. (Muscles that I hadn’t realized existed).

 

“Okay, sure,” I replied, desperate to get a break from my failed brainstorming.

 

“Perfect. We can go to the balcony off the lobby.”

 

“Sure.”

 

I slipped into his parka. I gasped as the coat hugged my curves. I did a poor job of avoiding time alone with Axel. As long as I didn’t act on my urges, my attraction to him couldn’t hurt.

 

“It’s warm.

 

“Best parkas for the slopes.”

 

I agreed and followed him outside. He pushed the door, letting me slide past him. I caught a whiff of his pine and leathery scent again. Mm.

 

We stood on the balcony. I shoved my hands into the pockets of his coat and looked out at the Alps. Switzerland had given me mixed feelings, but I had to admit, the beauty was unlike anything I’d experienced in the United States. The crisp air was manageable. 

 

The mountains stood potent and erect, surrounding the resort with protective strength. In the distant village at the base of the mountain, warm orange lights flickered. Cold wind whipped around us, forcing me to sink into the fluffy parka. Axel stood stoic and unbothered by the cold. This was his element. 

 

I turned to Axel and asked him, “What do you want to know about me?”

 

“Everything.”

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