I'm happy to announce that Finders Keepers has just gone LIVE!
Sometimes finding what you want is the easy part.
Caleb is a bionic soldier with little-to-no memory of his past. Aldo's an undercover cop who's searching for the man who got away. Then there's Sally, an ER physician who used to be married to Aldo's late partner, Davis. Sally's just looking for a reason to keep on getting up every day.
This holiday season, chance will bring them together and give them an opportunity to help one another find what they each want most. But every gift comes with a price. And keeping what they've found once they've found it? Yeah, that's gonna be the hard part.
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This is one of my favorite books--in part because I dreamed it up. Literally. It was an actual dream I had. Yes, while sleeping. How crazy is that?
I still remember waking up the morning after, running through the storyline in my head, and thinking, "Yeah. That could actually work!"
It's also one of my favorite covers (the original cover art was awesome, as well. AND it contains one of my favorite scenes, which I've copied below.
***** Spoiler Alert! *****
WARNING: The following scene might give away some very important plot points, so continue reading at your own risk.
Aldo poured himself another drink. He couldn’t believe how quickly things had fallen apart tonight, couldn’t accept the fact that, this time, he might have lost Sally too.
Guys? Hell yeah. He was used to losing them. And unless he figured out how to stop falling for every attractive and painfully unavailable man who crossed his path, he’d probably lose a dozen more. But he and Sally were friends, damn it. Friends for life. Best friends. She was supposed to trust him. She was supposed to love him. She was supposed to take his word when something like this happened—not the word of some asshole she’d only just met.
Just because they weren’t lovers didn’t mean Aldo didn’t still love her. Hell, he loved her more than he’d loved most of the men he’d gone to bed with over the years. Loved her, trusted her, needed her in ways he probably still hadn’t discovered…
He’d always figured the two of them were in it for the long haul. He figured he stood at least half a chance of not fucking up his relationship with her—and maybe part of that was because they weren’t lovers.
He tossed back his drink and was reaching for the bottle to pour another when the stealthy sound of footsteps climbing the stairs reached his ears. They were too quiet, too careful; he knew instantly who they belonged to. He put down his glass and turned. only slightly surprised to see that his visitor had already reached the top of the stairs. The sight still hit his overworked nerves like a fist. He jerked as though startled, his whole body on alert, a firestorm of lust igniting every nerve from head to toe, turning his cock to fucking stone.
Goddamn it. That made the second time today. Couldn’t the bastard have found some other clothes to go with those low-slung jeans?
“What are you doing here?” Turning away, Aldo picked up the bottle and willed his hand not to shake as he refilled his glass. Ha, fat chance of that! He was already too drunk to control his reflexes to any great extent, too drunk to even control his mouth. Liquor missed the glass and splashed over the desktop. Fucking perfect.
“I figured you’d want to talk.”
But all that made Aldo want to do was laugh. So he did. “I can’t imagine why you’d think something like that…” Shit. He didn’t even know what to call the guy anymore. Kyle? Caleb? Asshole? Hey, if the slur fit…
“C’mon, Al, don’t be a dick. Are you telling me you don’t have anything you want to say to me? Really? After all this time? Or after all the shit you put everybody through this week just to get my memory back?”
“Nope. Can’t say as I do.” Aldo waved his glass as he spoke, not really caring when the whiskey sloshed up the sides; plenty more where that came from. “What’s the point? You’ve made it real damn clear you’re into women now. Hell, maybe you always were. Maybe I was just deluding myself back then. Either way, I’m through fighting it. You can do whomever you please—just as long as it’s not me. And for the record, restoring your memory was not what this week was about. Not by a long shot. If that was even on my priority list, it was waaaay down at the bottom somewhere.”
“Truth. If I did it for anyone, I did it for Sally. I hope you and she are very happy together. Just remember what I told you when I first learned you were seeing her. Don’t hurt her like you did me, and I’ll let you live. I do want the chance to talk to her, though, and explain my side of the story—assuming you haven’t already turned her totally against me.”
Caleb shook his head. “You really think I’d do something like that?”
Caleb, not Kyle. That was good. That’s who he was now. That’s how Aldo would think of him. It was easier that way.
“You think I’d hurt her or turn her against you? You think that little of me now?”
Or maybe not. The bastard just had to keep driving home the fact that they had a past together, didn’t he? “I thought you were dead,” Aldo reminded him. “That’s what I thought, Kyle. So how the fuck do I know what you’d do now?”
“I was dead, asshole. Or close enough. Not that you cared.”
“Take that back.” Aldo slammed his glass on the nearest surface. His hands bunched into fists. “Goddamn it, you take it back right now, or I swear I’ll make you wish you were dead. I didn’t care? My husband gets blown up or shot down or who the fuck knows—no one would even tell me how he died—and you think I didn’t care? Losing you just about killed me.”
“Yeah? Why’s that? ’Cause you couldn’t be bothered to return any of my calls? Or respond to even a single one of all the messages I left for you? That sounds like guilt, Al. Guilt ain’t grief. It was still all about you.”
“I didn’t get any of your fucking messages—not until after, not until it was too fucking late. Don’t you think I’d have returned them if I had? And damn right I felt guilty! Is that why you sent them? Because you knew what they’d do to me? Because you knew the thought that you’d tried to reach me and I hadn’t been there would shred what was left of my heart? Well, mission accomplished, asshole, so fuck you.”
“What do you want from me?” Caleb closed the distance between them. The scowl on his face raised Aldo’s hackles. “You’re still a self-righteous prick, you know that? What d’you want to hear me say? That I’m sorry? For what? You left me, remember? You’re the one who called it quits, who walked away. Am I supposed to apologize for being broken up when my husband takes it into his head to do a fucking disappearing act? When he goes off and enlists in some stupid black-ops program and leaves me with no way to reach him?”
“Yeah, ’cause I did that for shits and giggles, right? ’Cause everything was so perfect between us? ’Cause you weren’t fucking everything in sight?”
“No. I wasn’t. Not the way you thought. Still, even if I had been, didn’t I at least deserve the chance to talk to you, to work things out?”
“How many chances was I supposed to give you? Besides, if I recall correctly, your idea of working things out was to fuck me until I forgot why I wanted to leave in the first place.”
“Well, it worked, didn’t it?”
“There’s a word for that kind of thing, you know, and it’s not called ‘working things out.’”
“Yeah. It’s called ‘satisfied.’”
“No, it’s dysfunctional.”
“Oh, lighten up.” Caleb sighed. He looked tired. His face was bleak and hopeless. So was his voice as he said, “I didn’t know what else to do, all right? I was fucking desperate back then, and bed always seemed like the one place I could always connect with you. After you left… Shit, I had no idea how to even find you. All I knew was that the program you’d entered had something to do with altering brain waves. And I got the stupid idea that if I enlisted in a parallel program, maybe our paths would cross.”
“Oh, that was a great plan.” Aldo rolled his eyes, anger churning in his gut. He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Kyle had let himself get carved up, worked over, rearranged, so changed his own husband hadn’t known him—and all for what? “Of all the stupid, shit-for-brains ideas. And people say I’m impulsive. You can’t seriously be blaming me for that screwup. That’s bullshit. I wasn’t going to be incommunicado forever, you know. Six months. Big deal. If you really cared, you’d have waited.”
“It felt like years.”
“No.” Aldo shook his head. “No, Kyle, it didn’t. You know what felt like years? Years—that’s what. Fifteen fucking years.”
“I still don’t know what you expect me to say about that. Sorry you broke my heart? Sorry I didn’t handle our breakup as well as you think I should have? What do you want from me, Al? Tell me.”
“You wanna know what I want?” Need flared inside him, a hungry, howling ache that threatened to wipe out whatever was left of his common sense. He shouldn’t give in to it. Should not do it. It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t right. “Well, fuck you. No! You can’t just come back after all these years—come back from the dead—and just waltz in here and expect me to tell you what I want.”
“Why the hell not?” A frown creased Caleb’s brow. “C’mon, you bastard, I came up here tonight to try and make things right with you. Why you gotta give me such a hard time? Why can’t we just—”
“Because.” Aldo clenched his fists tighter. He turned away and tried hard not to think of the many times he’d imagined this moment, all the fantasies over all the years. No. It was wrong. He shouldn’t do it. Shouldn’t do it. Shouldn’t do it. No. Fuck that.
As far as he knew, neither of them had ever filed for divorce. If Kyle wasn’t dead—that had to mean they were still married. That had to count for something, didn’t it? That had to put him somewhat in the right. He spun around and then grabbed Kyle by the shoulders. He shoved him until his back connected with one of the posts that held up the ceiling. “Because this is what I want, “Aldo said just before he kissed him. “The same thing I always wanted, Kyle. You.”
He kissed him quick, hard and demanding, before either of them could come to their senses and change their minds. And for the first several seconds, it was bliss. Kyle’s mouth was hot and wet, yielding under his. Aldo’s knees threatened to give way from the pleasure, from the pressure and the taste of him. Kyle moaned low in his throat as he wrapped his arms around Aldo’s waist and pulled him close. Aldo ground his erection against Kyle’s, and the friction made them both moan.
This was even better than that night in the parking lot. It was better than any dream, any fantasy, any memory, definitely any job. It was right and perfect, and it was Kyle. Kyle, who was not dead but right here in Aldo’s loft, looking better than he had any right to after all these years, and who was about to get a serious ass whipping if Aldo found any more changes hiding inside those jeans.
Desperate to find out, he slid his fingers into the waistband of Kyle’s jeans. He’d undone the top button when Kyle stopped him.
“No, wait,” he gasped as he tore his mouth away from Aldo’s. “Stop.”
“What’s wrong?” Aldo asked. He sucked in a breath as one horrifying possibility occurred to him. “Fuck. You’re not gonna tell me you’re sick now or something, are you?”
“No, of course not. It’s Sally.”
“What?” Aldo straightened in a hurry, heart stuttering in alarm. Is that why she’d seemed so pale lately, so quiet? “Sally’s sick? Since when?”
“No.” Laughing now, Kyle took hold of Aldo’s face and pulled him back in for another kiss, soft and sweet this time. “Jeez, lighten up. No one’s sick.” He ran his hands over Aldo’s shaved head, pressed their foreheads together for a moment, then pulled away again. “I think I love her, Al.” He sounded far too serious, and much as Aldo knew he should be happy about that, he just couldn’t do it.
He thrust the thought away. Maybe if he drank enough, he could forget he heard that. Write it off as just another of Kyle’s lies. After all, he used to say he loved Aldo too, in exactly the same kind of sincere-sounding way. And look how far that had taken them. He probably didn’t mean it now either, and in the morning…maybe Aldo could figure out what all of this meant then.
“Al? Did you hear what I said?”
“Yeah. Good for you. I love her too. That’s why I’m not going to hold it against her that she’s been sleeping with my husband. You, on the other hand, still have a lot to answer for.”