Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Meet Dirv--my michevious Russian leshy

Leshy. Plural is leshiyre. Russian. 

One of the characters in my upcoming release, It's In the Mix (Wit & Wizardry), is a leshy. His name is Dirv and he runs a little pub in the fictional town of Bearstown, Massachusetts, called The Irish Russian. He's a man of indeterminate age, all long limbs and long face. Now I'm very cautious about images I put up here, so instead of slipping in a photo for you to neatly see, I'll direct you to this link where I've pinned a couple of pictures of a leshy: https://www.pinterest.com/aylaruse/its-in-the-mix-wit-wizardry/.

In Russian mythology, the leshiyre are the fairy rulers and protectors of the forests. They were considered to be curious and mischievous. Sometimes even devious to mortals. And more often than not, heard rather than seen. 

Even though my story is set in "contemporary" times, it is a paranormal. So how did a leshy find himself in charge of an Irish pub? Not only that, the pub is actually owned by a trio of leprechauns. Boggles the mind, doesn't it? 

In my world, paranormals stick together. No, they all don't like and love one another, but they all know of each other. A fairy knows trolls exist. A leshy knows dwarves exist. But all humans do not know the truth about the paranormal. 

Here's Dirv's story: Some years ago, the forest in a little province in Russia that Dirv protected was destroyed. He tried to move on, but with various forests being wiped out, the leshys were becoming very territorial. Dirv found himself wandering until he ended up in Ireland where he eventually met the Dunn brothers. The Dunn brothers own and run the Wit & Wizardry Brewery out of an old castle in Ireland. The brothers also quietly own several pubs and restaurants around the world. The four of them met and made a deal. 

Dirv was tired of moving around. He wanted a forest to oversee once more. The brothers wanted to open a new pub in New England. If Dirv would agree to run the pub for the bothers, they would let him remain there indefinitely. It so happens that the town is nestled right in the middle of a vast woodland, and nearby the public land is a national forest. Dirv wasn't too thrilled about moving so far away from his homeland, but he was running out of choices and agreed. 

These days, he enjoys running the pub and he's even learned to move around with and to get along with humans. Most of them like the forests almost as much as he does. Yes, it has its ups and downs and he does get bored here and there, but he always comes up with a way to liven things up. 

Take the situation in my story. Aisling (a fairy) and Daniel (a human), had sparks flying between them from the moment they met. Dirv knew Aisling was going to head back to Ireland, but wouldn't it be thrilling to watch the pair get tangled up together? So he slips them each a recalled Wit & Wizardry brew. It's on recall because it contains a powerful love potion. Then he sits back, hopefully to see the sparks light up the pub. So what he's messing in the lives of others? He's bored right now. A lot can happen when a leshy gets bored. 

If you want to see what happens yourself, pick up your copy of It's In the Mix this Friday, August 18, on sale at Changeling Press (and on pre-order everywhere else!). 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

#Excerpt Day Sharing a bit from Fever Hitch

Hello and Happy Wednesday! 

I'm visiting Connie Bretes today, sharing an excerpt from one of my favorite books, Fever Hitch. With summer time conventions still going strong, this book fits right in. Check it out! 



Friday, August 4, 2017

Coming Soon and a #CoverReveal

I'm excited to announce that I have a *new* story coming out! This month in fact. Bookmark the link at the end of this post so you'll have it all ready when the tale comes your way.

The story is titled It's In the Mix and it's the third book in a multi-author series entitled Wit & Wizardry. (Each book tells its own separate tale). 

Release date on the publisher's site is August 18, 2017. At that time, you can also pre-order from any third party site you like. On August 25, it will be available for direct purchase at most online bookstores. 

It's In the Mix is a novella length, paranormal romance set in fictional Bearstown, Massachusetts. Read on for more...

It's In the Mix
(Wit & Wizardry #3)
by Ayla Ruse

Mix 1 part narrow-minded fairy with 1 part human bachelor to get 2 parts everlasting love

Aisling is not happy to be tending bar in a human pub. Her fairy aunt predicted she'd find love by the next full moon, and that means she should be back in Ireland -- not in the middle of Massachusetts.

Despite the happy married lives of his friends, Daniel is content to remain a bachelor. After all, the pretty new bartender may want to come home with him. Why spoil that with a relationship?

Something might have happened on its own, but a mischievous pub owner slips each of them a Wit & Wizardry brew known to contain a powerful love potion. Before either can say a word, Aisling and Daniel find themselves tumbling headlong into love.

Unfortunately, all is not happily ever after. Aisling does not want to love a human, and Daniel believes he's unfairly pressured her into being with him. When the pair settle down to breathe, can they discover something deeper to bind them, or will daylight make the heady effects of a potioned brew fade away?

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Talking the naughty bits about Serena's Prince

Hello and Happy Saturday!

Today, please visit me over at Clare's Blog 2: The Haven, where I'm sharing a little bit about the BDSM side of my retold fairy tale, Serena's Prince: Forever Wicked 2nd Ed. There's even a teasing excerpt from a spanking scene. 😉

Here's the link: 

Have a great one, and I'll see you there!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Another visit today with Serena's Prince

Today I'm excited to be visiting Jessica Coulter Smith at her blog, Books + Coffee = Happiness. A sentiment I can surely get behind. 

Stop by as I share what inspired me to retell the classic fairy tale, The Frog Prince. 


I'd love to hear your thoughts about retold fairy tales. 

~ Ayla

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy 4th!

Happy 4th of July! 

Enjoy the day 
and the food 
and friends 
and the 

Image (C) fotolia.com

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Re-release of a Fairy Tale: Serena's Prince (Forever Wicked)

Oh Happy Day! 

Changeling Press has re-released one of my favorites--Serena's Prince from the multi author series, Forever Wicked. You can pick it up today at an amazing sale price directly from Changeling Press, or you can order the tale from amazon, barnes and noble, kobo and iTunes! Read on for more...

Forever Wicked
 2nd Edition 

Buy Now from

BDSM, Paranormal, Erotic Novella

A *new* take on the fairy tale of The Frog Prince

Crystal from Romancing the Book gives Serena's Prince a Lovely Rose (4 star) review and says, "The author has woven such an erotic fairy tale. As I read this adult fairy tale, I felt myself experiencing the joy... I truly loved every second of this story."

BookAddict from The Romance Room gives Serena's Prince 4 stars and says, "Ms. Ruse does an excellent job... Her twist of each scene to become a smexy hot erotic D/s piece is what makes this story so good. She writes a tightly woven tale with increasing sexual tension and lovely bondage scenes. She is an author to watch."

A frog, a curse and a broken promise. Sometimes punishment can be its own reward...

Serena never thought asking for help from a frog would result in her being naked and tied to her bed. She should be afraid. She should call for the guards. She definitely should not be…begging for more.

Prince Rennick needs to get his hands on Serena’s necklace – the one item sure to break the curse that turned him into a frog. When an accident makes him temporarily human, he cannot help but use his dominant nature to bend Serena to his will. 

What should have broken the curse turns into a desperate attempt to save Rennick’s life. As they try to find the key, Rennick demands much from Serena, but is she willing to surrender her whole self to this frog-turned-prince?


Serena had no idea how long she lay there sobbing into her arms, but when she lifted her head, she started when she came face to face with the biggest frog she'd ever seen.
"Agghh!" she screamed, pushing back in a hurry. That thing was staring at her, like it'd been studying her.
"Go away. Shoo. Go... go sit on a lily pad or something," she admonished the horrid thing. Gathering her composure, as if how she appeared mattered to the frog, Serena returned to the garden bench and smoothed out her hopelessly torn and wrinkled dress.
"Why do you cry so hard?" the frog asked.
She froze. Had that frog just talked to her? "Excuse me?" she asked, her brow raised high and her nose tipped up. She barely looked at the thing hopping toward her.
"I was in the pond. I heard a noise and wondered who disturbed my peace. Now I want to know why."
"This is my garden, frog. Go find another if you want peace. Stop stealing my own."
She wanted to push at the creature with her foot, but thought better of it. Her slippers were brand new, and she didn't want frog slime to ruin them.
"You must be an enchanted frog," she commented when the frog simply stared at her. "I didn't know frogs could be enchanted." When the animal remained quiet as though it waited on her, she deflated. "Fine. It's not like you're the next man trying to break me," she huffed.
"Break you?"
"Never mind. You want to know what's wrong? My stepfather's trying to marry me off to over-blown barbarians. I've been manhandled more than any woman should be. And if that weren't bad enough, tonight's idiot broke my necklace. Now it's at the bottom of this pond."
"Hmm. Sounds rough."
She wiped at her eyes, refusing to cry anymore. "Well, you asked. It's not like you have any stress in your life."
"You have no idea."
She rolled her eyes. "Like you could have a hard life. You sit all day in my garden, eating bugs, swimming at your leisure... Wait. You're a frog."
"Do I even need to respond?"
"No. I mean, you can swim to the bottom and get my necklace, can't you?"
"I could, but why?"
She laughed, happy that she might get her necklace back. "Because you can. Because that necklace means the world to me, and because I'll... I'll let you stay in my garden."
"You'll let me?"
"Yes. Otherwise I'll have Henri, the gardener, chase you out."
The frog appeared to shake its head. "Not possible," he seemed to mumble. 

He hopped over to the pond, stared down for a long time, then turned back to her. "If I retrieve your necklace, you must make me a promise. Otherwise, it'll remain at the bottom of the pond."
Serena didn't even blink. What could a frog want? An endless supply of flies? Whatever it came up with, the price would be negligible. She shrugged. "Sure."

Friday, March 3, 2017

No, please don't use that word! #MFRW

Hi All! Wow! Can you believe it's Week 9 of MFRW 52 Week Blog Challenge!? Me either.

This week's theme is "Words that make me go Ick!" I have a few, and I'm going to throw them out there (this week is hectic, so a longer post on my blog with be forthcoming in a few days).

The word "just." It's funny as I am guilty of using this way too often, but when I do, I cringe. And I take it out. And take it out. And take it out.

Unique words that become repetitive. Any writer can become guilty of this offense. Even me. When writing a lot of steamy scenes, sometimes you get caught up in putting the words down that something is used way too often. I use the word "pleasure" too often when I write. In my rough draft, I use it to keep my pace going. In my edits, I wince and change, change, change.I remember reading a book once where the author used the word "skate/skated" to describe how the hero touched the heroine. I *loved* that use. But by the time the book ended, the word lost it's pop to me because of how often it was used.

Speaking of steamy (Warning, strong language ahead), because I read and write a lot of romance, there are the necessary personal body parts that are written. I like euphemisms for body parts (within reason). Dated terminology like "honey pot" and "love stick" only make me laugh. But what really makes me go "ick" are when the technical terms are used. A lot. If I'm in the middle of a love scene and the author constantly uses the words "vagina" and "penis," it throws me away from the scene and makes me frown. I guess it's not truly an "ick" factor, but in that it turns me away, it works. If the words are mentioned occasionally, I can see that, but when everytime an erection is mentioned, "penis" is used, it throws me.

*Disclaimer: Please, authors out there, I mean no offense if you use these words. Good authors use these sparingly, as they should, so again, no offense meant.

I'm in a rush today or I'd fill your head with more ick words. For now, hop on over to these other great authors to see what their ick words are!

Have a great weekend!

Friday, February 24, 2017


Welcome to another awesome week of MFRW 52 week writing challenge! This week's theme is "How I Choose a Book Title." For me, it's quite easy (or hard, depending). I brainstorm. 

I only have a couple dozen books out and, like other authors, another pile I've written or want to write, but not a one of them have I ever conceived the book title first. 

Titles do not "come" to me. (And those that have remain unwritten. Weird). I wish I were brilliant that way. I have a friend who comes up with great titles--before she even begins writing. I wish! 

No, I've learned that my method is to put up "Untitled" then whatever specific theme/genre I'm writing. Like, "Untitled Paranormal." If something comes to me as I'm writing, I'll add it under the Untitled label. I keep a notebook next to the computer that is used specifically to jot down title ideas while I'm writing the story. Now, there have been those gems that come out while I'm actually writing (my favorite to date is Fever Hitch), but most often, I'll finish the story and it'll still be Untitled. At this point, I'll pull out my brainstorm pages and scour them with pen and pencil until I can come up with a title I like. 

Brainstorming ideas often include a lot of one or two word ideas. Maybe places where the story takes place, maybe colors that may be consistent through the book, it may be general ideas of what I'm trying to convey with the story. If I find myself really stuck or indecisive, I'll bounce ideas around with my husband. He can be an excellent sounding board.

To the left you'll see an example of one of my brainstorming pages. (I'm sorry it's sideways, I'm lost as to how to fix it 'cause it was fine in it's own file. Oh well, I've openly admitted I'm not a techie person). The point is, it's not pretty, and some of the titles I jotted down truly suck, but like any good brainstorming, you have to put the ugly with the not so ugly. The actual title of this particular book? I'm still not 100 percent. I've narrowed it down to two titles, none of which are on the page amusingly enough, but both title ideas have come from this process. 

Here's to happy writing and even happier titles! Don't forget to cruise around to see  how other authors come up with their titles. Thanks for stopping by ~ Ayla 


Friday, February 17, 2017

Music...or Silence? #MFRW

Welcome to another wonderful episode of the 52 week blog hop challenge by MFRW! This week's theme is Music to Write By.

For me, I write by nothing. The quieter, the better. I've tried writing by music. And television. And kids. And crowds. I just cannot do it. In fact, I've recently been going "away" to write. Most of the time I'll "check out" a little conference room at one the libraries nearby and write to my heart's content. Sure, there are windows and if I'm stuck I can see people walk by, but there is little to no sound to invade my space. Another place I've recently plopped down to write is Waffle House. Yes, believe it or not, the good ol' WH. There are probably a dozen I can easily get to, and it took a little bit of hunt-and-find, but there's a couple that, come 2 or 3 in the afternoon, hit a dead zone. Just 1 waitress and the cook. I settle in a corner booth, order something simple, and spend a couple or few hours typing away in relative quiet. 

So while other authors may thrive with their personal playlist going on in the background (and awesome for them!), I sway the opposite direction. Give me silence, and I'll turn out an awesome tale for you! 

Thanks for dropping by, and don't forget to hop over to these great blogs below to see what other authors write by. 

Friday, February 10, 2017

Hobbies I have (or wish I had) #MFRW

Oh man, when it rains, it pours! I'm slipping this post in last minute like as I returned home from the ER just a little bit ago. Stupid gall bladder had me worried, and I almost thought they were going to take it out tonight. Instead, they filled me with pain med that has made me feel sick beyond belief, and scheduled me for a follow up with a surgeon. So,  both good and bad.

But enough of that.

What do I like to do when I'm not writing? Welcome to MFRW week 6 of the 52 week blog hop. In thinking of this question this week, I've had to ponder a bit in order to give you the best possible answer. First, I love to read. Give me warmth and a book and that's my heaven. But that's not really a hobby, is it?

I'd like to say I'm crafty, but I'm more of a crafty wanna be. I'll periodically do something crafty (usually for an event or holiday), and think, "Gee, that was a lot of fun. I need to do that more often." In truth, I don't.

I love to hang out with my family. But I guess that's not much of a hobby either.

That leaves walking. But I don't mean just up and down the street. I don't mean for exercise. I like to...hike, I suppose you could say. I like to walk on trails, in the mountains, on the beaches. Those kinds of walks. I like to see nature and all her wonderful surroundings. It may be a pretty flower, an odd shaped tree, or even a darting lizard. There something about being in nature this way that brings me a peace and calm that's hard to get anywhere else. It may not be much of a hobby, or one I can indulge in often, but if given the chance, I'll take this anytime!

photo from fotolia

Sorry for the abrupt end, but please be sure to check out the other posts in this hop to see what other authors like to do when they're not writing.

And as always, thank you for stopping by!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Writing Status (and Sickness) Update

Sickness is in the house. I mention this because it is very rare for our household to be sick--the stomach bug and flu type of sick at any rate. Yesterday morning my 10yo started complaining of a hurt belly. Yeah, yeah...I really thought he was trying to get out of doing school work. No temp. Seemed okay. His lack of appetite should have clued me in, but I'm busy, so it didn't click. When he started tossing his cookies around 10 am though, I knew. Fever, chills, multiple trips to the bathroom later, the boy's sick as a dog. I've been through the house with Lysol every time the poor boy moves! He's feeling better at this moment (over 24 hours later), but he's not yet on the road to recovery.

What does this mean for me? Bleary eyes, no sleep and my own gall bladder issue has decided to rear it's ugly head again. Which also means I have completed: nothing. BUT, I was able to make progress on Monday. If you want to know more, check out my Journal Page (look to the right under Blog Pages). I may not update this home blog page too often, but I've been keeping regular updates on my Journal Page. The latest post is always at the top, and there is where I make note of how my writing is progressing (or not).

Check there often to see what new is happening in my writing world.

In the meantime, I'm crawling back to bed. Since it seems the little one will sleep soundly this night (I pray he does at any rate), and I've had my vinegar, I'm going to get my own rest until tomorrow.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Best friends are for life #MFRW

Best Friends ARE for life. My definition of a best friend is one that exceeds all expectations of what a friend should be: loyal, a confidant, and above all, a person (or persons) with whom you can totally be yourself. There is never any (negative) judgement, never any false promises and never any let-downs. At least, none intentional. 

I have two "best friends": my husband and an amazing woman who currently lives on the other side of the country from me. 

My husband because hey, we're in it for life. I can be myself and then some around him. He's known me since before kids, and I love that he remembers that me, and still loves the woman I am now. He may not necessarily "get" everything about me, but he knows and accepts it all. 

SJ, is my other best friend. She is a writer and we hooked up when both of us were only trying to get published (she's ridiculously more prolific and successful than I at this point, and I love her for this). In my "real" life, I am involved with many different groups of people, and behave accordingly. She is the only person (outside of family) who understands this about me. And knows all my secrets. And knows how I behave within all these groups. Beyond this, we have common interests--books, guys, kids, food--to name a few. I will admit, especially since she's hours away instead of just down the street, I may not be as on-point with staying in touch. But despite this, I know that as soon as we talk, it'll be like no time separated us at all. 

I do have a bevy of friends in general, but not many at all who knows all parts of me. That's okay. I like to say I'm an extrovert, but I'm a closet introvert really. I'd much rather only a couple people know who I truly am, rather than the whole world.  

If you want to see who other authors consider their best friend, check out the hop below. Have a great weekend while you're at it! 

Friday, January 27, 2017

He Said She Said Do...What-Do-You-Mean?!? #MFRW

Sorry Editor, My Common Writing Mistakes 
(MFRW 52 Week Blog Challenge: Week 4!!)

First off, THANK GOD for editors! The written word would be in a sad state if not for those diligent written-word police to make sure our stories look and sound terrific. 

Hmm...from me, I know my editors see plenty of mistakes. My more common ones revolve around two main issues: misplaced modifiers and awkward wording. 

I start writing and get caught up in the moment and before I know it, I'm writing half statements like, "silky to the touch, she put on the gown...." My editors quickly come back with, "what exactly is silky to the touch?"  

My awkward wording reminds me of someone trying to speak with a mouth full of chewing gum. Or cotton. I write off the hip, so to speak, and I often can picture exactly what I want. I write down all the different ways I see it in the rough draft, but by the time I'm working it though and it gets into my editors hands, I may have muddled the scene even more. I can clean up phrases and wording, but I usually have to have it pointed out to me. Then I can stew over one line for hours (!) until I'm able to change and bend the words to make them make sense. 

I could go on (possessives are another of my weak points), but hey, we all make mistakes. Right? 

So what are some of your writing boo-boo's? Want to see what other authors trip over in their writing? Check out the blog hop below to find out. And thanks for stopping by~have an amazing last-Friday-of-January! 

Friday, January 20, 2017

TV? Oh, you mean that box my kids control #MFRW

photo from fotolia.com
Hi and welcome to Week 3 of MFRW 52 Week Blog Hop. This week's topic is about TV and what I like to binge watch. 

Well...I don't, really. My time to watch television is next to nill and my desire to watch anything for the most part ranks about the same. My kids and DH are the television watchers in our house. That's not to say I haven't binged here and there, just not often at all.

Before this past Christmas, when my reading went down and my writing was still stagnant, I swiped through Netflix and binged on all the romance movies I could find (that seemed decent, but no dramas). I think they were mostly Hallmark kind of movies: you know, the really feel-good ones. After that, I binged on the Arrow and Flash. Truly, I hadn't seen either of those before. In fact, now that I'm thinking about it, I never quite finished. I think I'm in season 2 of Flash and Season 3 (or 4?) of Arrow. Eventually I'll get back to it. I hope. I enjoyed them.

Finally, I don't know if you'd call this a binge because I only watch it when it comes on the actual television, but I am fanatic about Dancing with the Stars. I only started watching a couple years ago and now I can't wait until a new season begins (the next one begins March 20). I always tape them (because Monday nights are Scout nights and I'm never home), then DH and I will sit down later that night and watch. I wish there were a way to access past seasons!

Binge watching certain shows. Heh. It's strange (in a way) we can do that kind of thing now. Cool, but strange.
If you want to see what other authors binge watch, check them out below.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

It's My 6 Year #Anniversary of Publication!

Today is the Anniversary of my being a published writer! For some years past, the date has slipped by me, but this year I've remembered and want to celebrate. I "took last year off," (a euphemism for 'I didn't even pick up a pen'), and am only now trying to climb back onto the writing wagon, so this book and date mean something extra special to me. 

Below you'll find a little information about this timeless story that involves three people who find love together. As a bonus, I've included the entire first chapter for you to read. 

Thanks for stopping by, and enjoy! ~Ayla

The Deciding Factor
by Ayla Ruse

First Published January 17, 2011 by Totally Bound Publishing
Word Count: 37K
Genre: Contemporary erotic romance, menage m/f/m; short novel

Being with two men suddenly became a lot more complicated …

Reuniting with both a first love and a first lover within a matter of days is enough to make any girl’s head spin. Alycia Delaney is no exception. About to turn 30, Aly decides to take charge of her lacklustre life and to live with a try-anything-new attitude. Too bad her attitude didn’t account for fate throwing two of the most important men from Aly’s past straight into her arms.

Sawyer Test and Luke Coldwell are best friends and each man wants Aly for himself. Leaving the choice to her, Aly opens door number three and decides they should embark in a summer-long ménage.

When talk turns into action, each participant is forced to question their impulsiveness, and Aly is left caught between the safety of a painful decision and the perils of following her heart.

5 Stars from JERR
"...The Deciding Factor is a charming yet scorching, sexy summer read that will have you thinking of your own 'firsts.''

4.5 Blue Ribbons from Romance Junkies"
"THE DECIDING FACTOR is a fun, thought provoking story that brings to mind the question ‘what would you do?’"

Chapter 1

“Are you ready for this, Aly?”   
Alycia Delaney gazed up into Sawyer Test’s sky blue eyes. “Of course I’m ready. Don’t worry about me. I’m fine.”
“You’re right about that,” Sawyer teased in a low voice. He stepped close, raising his hands to cradle her face, and met her lips with his own. Aly opened for the kiss with a smile, loving the languorous way his mouth moved over hers.
She wound her arms around his neck and threaded her fingers through his thick, blond hair, moaning as his tongue tangled lazily with hers.   
“Have I told you how lucky I am you answered my ad?” Sawyer murmured, raining sweet, open-mouthed kisses down the column of her neck.
“Almost every day,” Aly answered and tilted her head in encouragement. “Have I told you how glad I am I answered?”
“Not nearly enough.” He hummed low against the hollow of her throat. “Oh, you taste so good.”
Aly shivered at the deep timbre of his voice and inwardly revelled at how truly alive she felt for the first time in ages. It still amazed her how a change of attitude had transformed her life in only a couple of weeks.
Sawyer’s teeth nipped gently up her throat and teased at her earlobe. She could remain in his arms forever. Tall, strong, and skilful, this was a man in whom she could lose herself. She ran her hands across his wide shoulders and gave an appreciative sigh when his fingers plucked at the buttons of her blouse, teasing her. Playing with her. Would he flick them open this time or not?
They’d kissed a few times already in the past couple of days, and every time he’d kiss her a little longer, touch her a little more, stir her long-forgotten desires just enough to make her whimper. To make her hold him tighter. To make it harder and harder to stay away. She was a mouse to his cat, but she thrilled to the game.
Aly opened her eyes, intending to pull back, wanting to see his smiling face and to give him more opportunity to slip that first button from its hole, but the sights around her snapped her back to reality.
They weren’t in any bedroom. They weren’t even behind closed doors. They stood in the parlour-turned-classroom where students would arrive at any minute. She stiffened and pulled away from his questing hands. 
“Where are you going?” he asked, snaking an arm around her waist.
Aly started to answer, but Sawyer stopped her with a dare-me look and sealed his lips to hers once again.
What the hell, why not? Just one more kiss.
Sawyer became more aggressive, and a moan escaped when he pulled her tight against his body. His erection pressed into her belly and she quivered, shamelessly grinding her hips forward.
As soon as she responded to him, his aggression left. His body relaxed its hold from hers without breaking the kiss, and she wanted to yank his hips back. This back-and-forth bit was fun, but it was getting old really fast. They’d been lovers a long time ago and surprisingly, she couldn’t wait to renew some of their old relationship, but he seemed to like dragging it out.
Again, Sawyer left her mouth to kiss her neck and she pushed at his head, trying to encourage him to dip his kisses lower when voices in the hallway let her know their time was at a temporary end.    
With regret, Aly pulled back a second time, a playful scowl on her face to his soft laughter. “I’m enjoying this more than you know, Sawyer—”
“I think I know how much—”
She intentionally ignored his smug interruption and continued. “But you keep stringing me along and there are other things to do here.”
“Stringing you along?” Sawyer asked with a chuckle. Again, Aly ignored him.
“You did, after all, hire me to teach this class that’s starting in less than ten minutes. As much as I’d love to keep kissing you, I am a professional and we’re not in the lesson plans for tonight.”
Since he wanted to play, she’d show him she could give as good as she got. She forced herself to step around the small podium serving as her desk, planting it between the two of them. She had to get herself ready to teach. There’d be time for Sawyer later.
“There you go,” he murmured in what sounded like approval. “Have a good class tonight.” He smiled and headed towards the door. “I’ll see you later.”
“That you will,” Aly answered quietly to his retreating back, itching to feel the hard warmth of his muscles against her bare hands. Before last week, it’d been somewhere around eight years since she’d seen him, not since they’d dated in college. Not since she left him because she thought her heart had still longed for another…
Nope. Not going there right now.
She shook her head and glanced over her notes. A tiny slip of yellow paper caught her eye.

I’ll meet you after class.
Remember, dinner at my place.
Game’s over tonight.

Ever since her interview with him a week ago, sparks that had never quite died out had heated back to life between them. Seeing his note made her smile. When she’d entered the room earlier, Sawyer had already been there and it made sense to her now how he quickly intercepted her before she walked behind the podium. The kisses were a great distraction, she’d hand that to him.
Now, thinking about the evening ahead and the implications of his note, her belly tingled. A sleep-over seemed imminent. All his stringing her along would surely lead up to a climax to end all others. She smiled, remembering this is exactly how he’d seduced her virginity from her, only it’d taken a lot longer than a week. Sex with Sawyer had always been fantastic and given the years that’d passed, she imagined earth-shattering moments for tonight’s interlude.
Two students wandered in and were engrossed in their own conversation, so Aly simply nodded her head and smiled, looking around the classroom that looked more like an old-fashioned parlour with its settees and single upholstered chairs set next to dark, folding tables. She absorbed her surroundings and let her own thoughts ramble.
If Mr. Desque could see me now, she thought with wry humour, thinking of her stuffy job-by-day boss, the headmaster at Reno Prep High School. He’d actually done a double take when she turned down his usual offer to teach a summer school class. She’d never turned down the extra job before. If mister straight-laced knew she was teaching a class that delved into graphic sex he’d probably fire her on the spot. 
 She still found it hard to believe that barely two weeks ago, she’d been a staid, high school English teacher. She’d turned in her final grades for the year and realised she had nothing to look forward to for her summer except thumb-twiddling time off and a big, uneventful 3-0 birthday looming in the fall.
It’d been the reality of soon turning thirty that had caused her to take stock of her life—finding herself severely lacking. She was a boring person. She did nothing, had no friends to speak of, no life to brag about, and most discouraging of all, no sex in God knows how long. Wanting to shake herself out of her monotony, Aly made the decision to do everything she’d shied away from since college.
Since her little epiphany, her life had indeed turned a new page. She hadn’t watched a single television show in over a week, her library books were actually overdue and her bulging bank account dwindled happily with the new clothes and pampering she’d given herself. Within the first week of summer vacation, she’d cut off her waist-length hair, received a professional manicure topped with fire engine red nails, purchased a pair of sturdy hiking boots for the mountain trails she intended to blaze in the Tahoes, and…
Then, her life turned upside down. She had run across a curious ad for an evening instructor at a private school.
Remarkably, it turned out Sawyer owned this private school, The Centre of Erotic Arts and Learning, CEAL for short. Aly still wasn’t sure if he’d hired her because of her teaching experience or because of their brief history, but it didn’t matter. Teaching an erotica class hadn’t been on her original break-out to-do list, but she wouldn’t pass up the chance to do something completely new.
Not only that, Sawyer was apparently eager to pick up a new, no-strings attached, for-old-times-sake…something, with her. She wouldn’t call it a relationship, but a summer fling had a nice ring.

* * * *

Sawyer set his paperwork aside. Aly was absorbing too much of his mind to focus on work tonight. A glance at the wall clock reminded him he’d be meeting with her in about an hour and a half.
Knowing better than to force himself to work, he locked his office before heading towards the back stairs that would lead up the two flights to his apartment. It never ceased to amaze him that despite having both his school and his residence in a single refurbished mansion, he didn’t lack for room or privacy.
“Hey, Sawyer!”
Sawyer turned with a grin as his best friend, Luke Coldwell, caught up with him.
“Good to see you, Luke. Are you running late or just switching around classes?”
“I’m late. I got hung up at the hotel or I would have been here sooner. I don’t know which class I’ll audit for you yet, maybe a couple of them?”
“We just started a new semester this week so there’s plenty to choose from.”
“Don’t worry, just be glad I’m here at all,” Luke added with a chuckle.
“Trust me, I am. I appreciate your input, you know I do. Your observations have really helped the classes, and the teachers. I still wish you’d let me hire you on. You know more about eroticism than anyone else I know.”
“Except you,” said Luke.
“Well, that’s a given,” Sawyer answered with a grin.
“Thanks man, but you know I’m not teacher material. I like running my hotel too much.”
“Why, I’ll never know. Okay then, have a good night. I’ll see you around.”
Sawyer turned to go but Luke stopped him once again.
“Will you be upstairs later? We haven’t hung out in awhile. Maybe we could grab a beer and I’ll tell you my thoughts about whatever class I attend.”
“We’ll have to do that another time. I’ve got a date when I close up tonight, so hanging with you is the last thing on my mind.”
“Ah, gotcha. Sorry for holding you up. Is it Melissa you’re going to see?”
“Actually, no. Do you remember me telling you about that really hot girl I dated early on in college?”
“Which one?”
Sawyer rolled his eyes. Luke had a point. By the time they’d met in their senior year in college their previous girlfriend lists could rival Santa Clause’s naughty or nice list. At least the naughty ones, they’d liked to stress. 
“Yeah, she and I were over as an item long before you came to campus. I ran into her recently and we’ve gone out a couple of times. I’m counting on tonight being an all-nighter.”
“Say no more. I’ll call you later in the week. See you.”
With Luke finally taking his leave, Sawyer jogged up the stairs to his apartment to make sure all would be ready. He had a dinner to prepare and he’d picked up flowers earlier in the day he wanted to place around the apartment. He remembered Aly had always loved flowers and he hoped she’d appreciate the effort on his part. 
He didn’t want to admit to Luke just now how much Aly had meant to him when they’d dated years ago. He hadn’t said how much seeing her recently had affected him. In the past nearly ten years, Sawyer had tucked her memory away—a fond one, but hazy, like a distant thought that she had been his one missed chance for love. Then last week, she’d shown up in his office looking for a summer job. The sight of her had brought everything tumbling back and his breath had caught. Maybe this was a second opportunity, one he didn’t know if he wanted to take, but he wasn’t about to let her slip through his fingers either. He’d dropped Melissa the same day he’d talked to Aly, knowing there was still something between them. Luke, being the proverbial ladies’ man, wouldn’t understand. One woman was the same as the next for that guy.
But do I want to get serious with Aly?
He shrugged, undecided. For now, he’d take her any way he could get her. There was something there. He couldn’t pinpoint it, but there was something about her that made his mind implode and his cock want to explode. Dating and fondling had been okay, but enough was enough. He knew she was ready, too. Tonight would be a night to remember. He’d make sure of it.   

* * * *

Two minutes into class time, Aly wanted to leave. Her palms actually sweated. Teaching distracted teenagers Shakespeare was one thing. Teaching the small group of interested adults about erotica, another. Still, she’d pull this off, no matter how much she’d have to fake her “knowledge” of erotic art, literature and film. Especially the film part, which—lucky me—featured in tonight’s class. 
It took a little effort, but soon she found herself smiling and chatting with the students. She reminded herself these people were strangers and were probably more nervous than her. It should be uncomfortable talking to them about anything sexual, but in no time, Aly was guiding the students into a discussion on what made an erotic film different from run-of-the-mill pornography. Silently, she found herself curious and listened attentively to their talk.   
The bluntness of the students’ debate enlightened her, though it did make her blush. Sex had always been a private thing between Aly and her few lovers. Open and frank discussions about having multiple partners and strange positions were things she might have thought about but never actually talked about.
She tried to focus, without gawking, on a conversation about the merits of close-up shots when movement at the doorway caught her eye.
She froze and stared in shocked disbelief. Her heart tripped.
Her startled eyes met a ghost from her past. A ghost in the very physical form of Luke Coldwell. Her first love from high school and the one that got away, as the saying went. She hadn’t seen him since graduation. He’d been handsome as a teenager. As the man coming into her class now, his looks were devastatingly stunning.
His eyes caught hers. Recognition flashed in their dark depths and his lips curved into a wicked smile.
“Sorry I’m late,” he offered as an apology.
Luke sauntered into the room, his stride purposeful but easy. He didn’t just walk, he moved. The very air around him seemed to part. His hair, thicker and blacker than hers, complimented his permanent, deep tan—which was courtesy, he’d once told her, of Shoshone blood from somewhere in his ancestry.
He slid, gracefully for his large, well muscled size, into a chair next to Ms. Arbuckle, who had earlier introduced herself with pride as a young sixty-year old, one of the oldest students in the class. To Aly’s astonishment, Ms. Arbuckle tried to pinch Luke on the thigh. He must have expected the move because he easily avoided her and sent the older woman a devilish grin.
“That’s Alycia Delaney.” Aly watched mutely as Ms. Arbuckle filled him in. “She’s new here.”
Luke turned his hooded gaze to Aly. “Hi.”
She didn’t know what to say.  
“Alycia?” a student asked, drawing Aly’s attention.
“Um, yes, Derrick?” As Aly tried to concentrate on his question, she couldn’t get Luke out of her mind. Or her eyesight. He sat right in front of her, decked out in designer slacks and a deep blue silk shirt, the top two buttons undone, sleeves rolled up. She bit her tongue to keep from licking her lips. She wanted to taste that exposed part of his neck so badly she hurt. This man radiated sin like it was free for the taking.  
This is not right. I should not be feeling like this.
Then again, Luke had always been sexually devastating. Why she never slept with him when they’d dated in high school, she couldn’t fathom.
Yes, she could. Stupidity on her part. Only sixteen, she’d been stupid in love and had wanted forever with him. Yet even as a teen she’d known that he didn’t love her in the same endless way she did him.
Luke caught her eye and winked. Her heart jumped. Nah, she couldn’t still feel that love for him, could she?
Oh, please let the class end soon.
Aly did her best to ignore Luke, even though his stare made her feel like she taught naked. He never said a word, but simply sat in his chair, making various notes in his notebook and giving her dark, intense looks that made her constantly lose her train of thought.
When his long, thick fingers idly stroked the pen in his hand, she had to fight the imagery of him caressing her skin. When she caught him giving her a slow bodily once-over, finishing with an open smile of promise, her throat dried up and the words she’d been speaking died on her tongue, embarrassing her when one of the students asked if she was okay.
No, I’m not okay, she’d wanted to shout. My skin is burning and my insides are melting and if Luke doesn’t leave this classroom right now I’m going to straddle his lap and lay to rest all the curiosities I’ve always had about having his body inside mine!
Instead, Aly straightened her shoulders, cleared her throat and turned away from Luke’s knowing gaze and bedevilling smirk.
I’m a professional educator. I can resist that man. I did it once before, I can do it again.
And she could keep lying to herself, too, but still, she made it through the discussion part of the class without any more incidents. During the brief break before the film, she kept herself occupied in a conversation with two other students.
I am not avoiding Luke. I’m simply being a teacher.    
Walking as tall as her five-foot five-inch frame—with heels—would allow, she dimmed the lights, grabbed the remote and started the movie. One of the students pointed towards an empty seat for her to use. Graciously, Aly thanked the lady. As she sat down, however, she wished she’d opted to stand at the furthest back corner of the room instead.
Luke sat barely more than an arm’s length from her. Yes, she was somewhat kiddie-corner to his back, but she couldn’t watch the movie without seeing him.
He shifted in his chair, leaned back, turned his head and flashed a smile so full of heat her thighs clamped together. She forcefully returned a pleasant smile, as if his presence didn’t matter one way or the other to her.
Yeah, right. All you want to do is crawl over to him, strip him down and have your way with him. Oh God, somebody help me.
Surprisingly, the movie did help by pulling her attention to the wide screen at the front of the room. To her astonishment, the abundance of sex worked in well with the story line. It fit naturally. Plus, the movie had actual dialogue, clothed characters from time to time, and a plotline to follow.
On the other hand, the longer the film progressed, the more Aly squirmed in her seat. There might have been a story to follow, but there was also a whole lot of graphic sex. She desperately wanted to reach down between her legs and rub her clit just to stifle the building ache.
Luke stretched, and Aly’s gaze swung to the thick arms raised high over his head. She wondered what they would feel like around her. Would his embrace feel crushing or tender? Would she feel trapped or exhilarated?
She squeezed her eyes shut, berating herself for these images about Luke when she would no doubt be sleeping with Sawyer in a few hours. Fate could not be this cruel to her. She shook her head, trying to sort her scattered thoughts.
Surely some of her mixed up feelings could be excused because it wasn’t every day a woman saw both her first lover and her first love within a one-week time span.  And as for Luke, of course she’d think about sex with him. He was the one man she’d always wanted and never had. There should be no guilt with those thoughts, she decided. It was only in her mind after all.
The guttural moan of a man’s pleasure snapped Aly’s attention back to the movie. A female character crouched on her knees, busy giving the male character a blow job.
Aly couldn’t help but wonder what it’d be like to do that to Luke.
Like right now. His arms had come down, crossing over his chest. His legs were splayed out before him. She let her thoughts go…
She’d have to move the little prop table from in front of him, then she could sink down to her knees between his hard thighs. She could almost hear the scraping sound of the zipper as she opened his slacks. His cock would spring out, eager for her touch. She’d wrap her hands around the bulging shaft. She could just imagine how it would look, dark and thick and completely ready for her wet mouth…
Aly started.
“Sorry.” A muffled apology sounded from behind her. Someone must have hit their table, but the distraction worked to rip her out of her fantasy.
Glancing randomly around the room in an attempt to clear her lust-filled head, she pondered again her run-ins with both Sawyer and Luke recently. Why now, instead of months or years apart? Why here, at this private school? A sudden thought sent a shiver up her spine. 
What if Luke and Sawyer know each other? She balked. No, it’s coincidence, that’s all. Happens to people all the time.
Besides, Luke no doubt had a girlfriend or maybe even a wife, and she was about to embark on an affair with Sawyer. Her answer should be simple. She had to tamp down her libido for Luke.
After all, what kind of woman lusted after two men? What kind of self-respecting woman, who was planning to have sex with one guy, still wanted to have sex with another? She told herself to be daring this summer, true, but there would be no way to have two separate affairs. Would there?
She shook her head sharply. Get your head out of the movie, girl. You should not be having such diverse fantasies.    
She should be having fantasies about Sawyer, not Luke.
Hot…sexy…erotic Luke.
The same man who even now turned his head to look her way, watching her with a hunger that seemed to want to eat her up. Literally.
She quickly turned her head before he saw the heat in her own eyes.
Aly suffered through the rest of the film, trying desperately to ignore Luke while she constantly imagined them doing all the delicious things playing out before her eyes.


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