Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Contest and Never Too Late excerpt

Those who know me know that I always have a contest with a release. This month is no exception.

The Prize: A box full of books and goodies I received from the Romantic Times Convention.

NOTE: This prize if only for United States residents. If the winner lives outside of the US, the prize will be replaced by an e-book of winner’s choice.

What do you have to do: Send me an email with the answer to the question below to marty@martyrayne.com (marty AT martyrayne DOT com) Make sure that “NTL Contest” is in the subject line.

Question: The main character for Never Too Late is Dakota Knight. Which book was he first introduced? (hint: Answer on the front page of my website)

Bonus question for an extra chance to win: In the book Dakota was introduced in, what dish did he cook for Nate and Kyle?

All participate's names will be placed in a hat on Wed, Aug 12th and a name will be drawn at random. So make sure you get your entries in by midnight (EST time) on Aug. 11th.

Excerpt:
Dakota watched Brice fidget in his seat, and felt the sudden tension sizzle the air. He found the young man intriguing as well as tantalizingly handsome. Brice’s relationship with Winter interested him, and he wondered why he’d never met or heard about the kid before today, especially since he and Winter appeared to be quite close.

“What do you do, Brice?”

“Do?” He appeared shocked at the question. “Oh, you mean my job?”

Dakota raised his brow and tried not to laugh at the young man’s obvious edginess.

“I’m a massage therapist.”

That got Dakota’s attention. Lowering his gaze to Brice’s hands, he noticed how soft-looking they were. No calluses or cuts were visible. No signs that he did manual labor.

“You any good?”

This question caused Brice to choke on his food. Dakota watched without expression, gauging the reaction.

“Let’s just say that I have no trouble filling in forty hours of work in a week.”

“Tell me about your business. Is it just you? Do you specialize in a particular modality? Do you make home visits?” He took a bite of food as he waited an answer.

Brice stared at him for a moment, making Dakota a bit uncomfortable at the scrutiny. Amazing how after all this time at this job, he still disliked being the center of attention.

“You know a lot about massage therapy?”

“I’ve picked up some skill here and there.” He shrugged nonchalantly. Brice didn’t have to know that with his rates, he dealt mostly with the filthy rich who could afford private massage therapists. He’d looked into it and socialized with therapists to learn effective techniques to use on his clients. It never hurt to learn new tricks when the opportunity presented itself.

Brice sipped his wine. “I have a business with two other LMTs, and I work in a building near the hospital. I offer a variety of modalities, but my favorite is therapeutic massage.” He picked at his food while he spoke, pushing a piece of shrimp around in the rice. “I do some home visits. Got a couple of clients who pay me well for my time in the evening.” He met Dakota’s gaze. “I don’t think I have to ask if you’re any good at your profession.”

Dakota chuckled before speaking. “I’m retiring very comfortably at thirty-five. Not many people can say that.”

Taking a bite and chewing slowly, Brice nodded with agreement. “Hmm. Maybe you can become a chef. You’ve got a few more good years left.”

“Only a few?” Dakota’s lips twitched with a smile.

Brice felt his cheeks heat. “I didn’t mean to say you’re old. Just that…”

“Yes?” Dakota asked when his words dropped off.

“Never mind.” He laid his fork on the table, gulped the last of his wine, and pushed away to stand. He started to walk toward the bathroom. From the sudden blush to his cheeks, it was apparent that Brice was embarrassed. Over what, Dakota wasn’t quite sure.

“Brice.” Hearing his name stopped Brice, but he didn’t turn around. Though Dakota could have easily taken offence to the reference to his age, it truly didn’t bother him. He was well aware of the age difference between them.

Dakota ogled Brice’s back. Youth still clung to his body’s slender build. A couple of years of weight lifting could fill Brice out. But why should he care? He’d leave tomorrow and move on with his life, no longer subject to the whims of any client.

He stood and held out his hand. “Come here.”

Brice turned around but hesitated to move, and Dakota couldn’t blame him. However, he was hired to do a job. That’s what he needed to keep his mind focused on, not thinking too much about Brice’s insecurities or unlikely future possibilities.

When Brice finally approached him, his eyes were downcast and his movements slow. Unsure.

With confidence, Dakota grabbed his hand and dragged him to the bed. When they both kneeled on the mattress, Dakota leaned over and searched the bedside table drawer for what he needed. Winter had more than stocked up. There were a variety of condoms, all shapes, sizes, and styles; lubes galore; and some small sex toys, like vibrating eggs and dildos. An old childhood circus tune ran through his mind, only his version had different lyrics: Condoms and vibrators and lubes, oh my! Imagine marketing that to the public.

Shaking away the insane nonsense gathering in his head, Dakota turned back to his weekend client. He placed the paraphernalia within reach before lying back on the bed.

“Let’s see if there’s really any magic in those hands.”

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