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A (L)ittle (B)it about me...

I don't know about you but winter seems to be lasting forever in the Midwest. Subzero days. Snow days. Lots of gloom. Nothing warms me up better than a good book with a hot bookboyfriend. For me, it's been a month of WRITING, though, so I hope you enjoy the following:

1. Sneak peek of COLLIDE, the story of Ivy and Gage from Collision. You've had a good dose of them in After Care and more in Midlife Crisis, but their love story is coming March 20. Note: not a sexy silver fox.

2. ARC Sign-up: Sharing here first for loyal Love Note openers and readers. Reading After Care is a plus but not necessary. Reading and reviewing After Care will be bonus points. Collide releases March 20.

3. COVER REVEAL for the Legendary Rock Star Series. PHEW! My original rock stars have a face lift - or rather a body lift on these new covers.

4. More COWBOY. I've made a right mess of this book, Much Ado About a Cowboy, trying a few things here and there, but you're set to continue reading RIGHT HERE. Enjoy more Ben and Bea.

Other than this, I'm looking forward to some sunshine and warmer temperatures. Hope to see many of you soon in Boston (April 13). 

COLLIDE: a Collision novella

@2019 L.B. Dunbar unedited




I fell in love with Ivy Carrigan the moment I collided with her.

And she instantly hated me.

“Ow,” I huff as a waif of a girl knocks into me. 

“Excuse me,” she aggressively snaps as she slams into me.

The collision forces our bodies to twist away from each and then spin to face one another. It’s almost like a small motion dance. I expect her to instantly recognize me. I’m Gage Everly. Instead, she glares.

“Watch where you are going,” she glowers, rubbing her shoulder which knocked into my chest. She’s like a little steam engine, puffing as she rolls the sore shoulder.

“You’re the one in a rush, gorgeous. Pay attention.” The endearment sets her off even more, but it’s true—she’s gorgeous with a capital G. Blonde waves cascade around her elf-like face. Blue saucers for eyes and pinkish lips begging for a kiss or wanting to cuss me out.

“Don’t you gorgeous me, slick. Where’s Tommy?” Okay, chew me up it is. Of course, for just a second, I think she called me dick, and I imagine her gnawing at the particularly eager body part, wanting those lips wrapped around it. Then I register the name.

“Tommy?” Who the fuck is he and why does he get a chance with this girl? Then again, she looks hellbent on skewering him, too.

“Lawson Colt to you, I suppose. Uncle Tommy to me.” Her emphasis on the relationship label—uncle—has me straightening, ignoring both the strain in my jeans and the sting at my sternum where she ran into me.


“Yes, where is my uncle?” She speaks slower as if I’m an imbecile. As if I’m not understanding how this chestnut, clearly roasting on a fire, can be related to Lawson Colt, the legendary guitar man. The man who stands next to Kit Carrigan, whose smoky female voice arrests a crowd like no one I’ve ever heard. I stare down at her blue eyes, bright as sapphire but sparking like the flames of a Bunsen burner. She’s looking to torch me.

“Is that what the girls call him? Not daddy?” Some of these pretty young things have daddy issues, calling guys old enough to be their father by the moniker to fulfill their sexual fetishes. She can’t be more than twenty. Too bad she’s into old guys almost twice her age. I’d like to be into her. 

She flinches at my comment, her eyes narrowing to slits. “You’re disgusting.”

Whoa. I’ve been insulted plenty in my life. Have my own daddy issues from the very thing. More like mommy issues as my dad left, and Meredith raised me. But this girl, and the way she slings her insult—I’m wounded. My hand clenches at my chest.

“That hurts,” I pout, sticking out my lower lip which wants a nip at hers. I like a girl with a little sass. Without thinking, I step forward and she steps back. We stand in the hallway of the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles. My band is the opening act for tonight’s sold out performance of Kit Carrigan and her band, Chrome Teardrops.

“If I don’t find my uncle, you’ll have more to contend with than a chest wound.” Her eyes dip to said chest and stares. I’m wearing a threadbare t-shirt hanging loose on my lean body. I’ve been drinking too much lately, searching for my muse. I write songs, and my mental inspiration has escaped me. With the way this chick looks at me, I want to contend with her. I could use a little fight, a spar of some tongue, and then a jab into her sweet center. Her back hits the wall behind her and I raise my arm above her head. More equal playing field, I decide, towering over her a bit.

“Let’s talk about contending.” My voice dips as do my eyes. In this position, I can see straight down her open shirt to the swell of tanned breasts. Her chest heaves and her breath hitches. I think she’s going to give into me when her mouth opens.

“I’d rather discuss castrating.” With that comment, I’m pushed back by two small but forceful hands. She gives catches me off guard and I stumble back. My hands reach for her upper arms to steady myself. Then, I take it one step further and tug her against me. My mouth lands on hers. Hard.

She bites me.

I deserve it, I realize with shock, and pull back. “You b—” I don’t finish my thought as her mouth collides with mine, soothing the harsh snap of her teeth. Her lips soften but move over mine with a sense of urgency. She’s devouring me like she wants to swallow me whole, like she wants to bring me inside of her. 

“Slow down,” I mumble against lips refusing to release mine.

“Not slow.” She struggles to speak, her lips still pressed to mine. My back thumps against the wall behind me and her tight little body leans along the length of mine. I don’t know what she’s doing to me. I mean, I do. I’m not opposed to wall sex, backstage sex, even spur-of-the-moment sex, but this is crazy-out-in-the-open. With this girl’s mouth on mine, I’ve lost my mind. I’m not thinking straight as I spin her. I’m not conscious of us taking the three short steps to a door. I’m not coherent of falling through the door, then slamming her against it, and locking the knob. Her mouth hasn’t left mine.

Sweet God, this girl can kiss.

And the moment we are submerged in darkness, her hands roam. My shirt rises against my chest, exposing my skin to the heat of her palms.

“Quick,” she mutters, and I follow her lead. My fingers reach for her jeans and unbutton them. She kicks off her shoes as the tight denim slides to her ankles. I’d like to take some time with her. Smell the heady scent of her sweet pussy suddenly filling the air in this small space. My mouth wants more than her lips but a taste of that spicy core, which my fingers briefly discover drip for attention.

“No time for that,” she groans, giving into my momentary foreplay until she has my jeans at my hips. My mouth sucks at her neck as she gives my dick a sharp tug. My knees bend, and I’m at her entrance. She’s climbing up my body, securing her legs around my hips and I pin her to the door.

“Condom,” I grunt, feeling myself spinning out of control. What are we doing in here? I don’t even know her name.

“No time,” she repeats, choking on the words as she maneuvers herself to fit the tip of me against her slick folds. This is a bad idea. Such a bad idea. And I don’t know who moves first, but within seconds, I’m inside her with one determined thrust. We both groan at the sensation. She’s burning hot, and my dick pulses at the surrounding heat. I pull back but her ankles lock under my ass, pressing me forward.

“Fast,” she murmurs into my neck, taking small sips of my skin. My hands cup her ass, holding her against me as I increase the pace to match her need. We sprint to the finish line. Grunts and groans. Slick skin slapping. The thud of her body against the door. The desire to release a burning fire ripping through each of us.

“Harder,” she purrs, nipping at my skin like when she bit me earlier, but not as fierce, not as intent to break me.

“Gorgeous.” The endearment strains in my voice, letting her know I’ll give her whatever she needs.

“I want to feel it,” she whispers near my ear and I shiver at the plea. My hips have never moved so fast. My dick slicing in and out of her sweet cunt, setting a frenzied pace I’ve never achieved before. The friction is divine, the heat of her enticing, the clench of her channel, and then sweet relief. I jet off inside her like I know I shouldn’t. It isn’t supposed to be like this—unprotected, wild, near obscene—and fucking perfect. Literally. 

My heart races in my chest, ready to burst through my ribs. The pressure practically hurts as reality sets in. She’s still pinned against me.

“Did you come?” I ask, lifting my head and feeling like an ass for asking. I’d been so into how she made me feel, made me lose my mind, I hadn’t thought about satisfying her first.

“Get off me,” she says in a low voice so cold, so distant, so hurt. I pull back instantly, my dick leaving her body is a suction-sound mixed with our haggard breaths. 

“Did I hurt you?” Dear God, what just happened?

She doesn’t speak as my seed slips down her inner thigh. I reach for the release, hoping to clean it off her when her delicate fingers wrap around my wrist.

“Don't,” she says, her voice shaky. 

“What just happened here?” I ask, swiping a hand through my chin-length waves, feeling a bit shaky myself.

“I made you have sex with me,” she answers, pulling up her jeans and fastening them back in place. 

Sex? That was an out-of-body experience. That was beyond infinity. That was...

“Wait? Did you enjoy that?” Again, I sound like a wuss. Of course, she enjoyed it. I’m Gage Everly, rising rock star. Man on the edge. Most sought-after bachelor. Our band was breakout artist of the year. Still, I feel the need for her approval and to cuddle her.

She shrugs. What the fuck? I notice she still hasn’t answered if she came or not, and I feel like a schmuck for asking. I feel like I bigger ass wondering if she enjoyed it. Enjoyed me.

I hike up my jeans and tug my pride inside along with my dick still covered in her scent.

“What's your name?”

She doesn’t answer me, but spins for the door and opens it. Bright light from the hall assaults us and I recognize we are in some kind of closet. 

“Hey,” I snap, following her out of the dark space. I reach for her arm but don’t touch her as I see Lawson Colt at the opposite end of the hallway. He stands with his arms crossed over a broad chest. His feet set a foot apart. His expression reads curious until he sees me behind this small girl making her way toward him. She sends up a salute and I’m uncertain if she’s signaling farewell to me or greeting him.

“Hey,” I call out once again, slighter weaker, and she turns to face me. Her eyes take on a new look, one of sadness, emptiness, and shame. She walks backward as she stares at me. Two fingers come to her lips and then she drags them forward pointing at me. Did she blow me a kiss? Was that a kiss-off? She shakes her head, her lips pierced, and twists her body back toward Lawson.

“Uncle Tommy,” her voice calls out, turning to dripping honey. 

“Baby girl?” He questions, his arms remaining over his chest. His stance one of a man ready to pounce. I don’t hear any other exchange between them until she steps in front of him. He swipes a hand over her cheek, and she turns for the door at her left. In seconds, she disappears without a glance back. Without a name. Without a number.

Lawson Colt glares at me, and then he follows the girl into the room. The door closes.

What the fuck just happened?


PHEW - How hot was that?! Want to read more. Early. ARC SIGN-UP here.

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NEW COVERS for the Legendary Rock Star Series

#rockstars #KindleUnlimited #FirstinSeries - #99cents.

The LEGEND of Arturo King

Some love is meant to last centuries.

Read the incredible beginning to this modern twist of a classic tale.


The STORY of Lansing Lotte

The story continues...the day after.

Read the new history of an old tale, with love as the hero in this round.

The QUEST of Perkins Vale

The day after continues...

Read this virgin rock star who's been waiting for the woman of his dreams.

The TRUTH of Tristan Lyons

He had a reputation...

Read how all bets are off when this heartbreaking rock star meets the unexpected on his island escape.

The TRIALS of Guinevere DeGrance

Read the stunning conclusion to this rock star series.

Begin the shenanigans here: GOODREADS




I can’t believe he kissed me, I scream inside my head as my fists clench at my side. I stomp out of the barn, marching toward the field to calm my racing heart.

“The nerve,” I mutter as I stand under the black sky, stars filling it in a display of brilliance. They twinkle at me like they know a joke I don’t and I curse again. Dagnammit. My lips vibrate from the word, but then I realize they tremble with need. The pressure lingers from his mouth on mine, a mouth I thought I’d forgotten. His words I’ll never forget, but his lips… I willed them to disappear from my memory. Only with his return do memories flood my thoughts, and now, the taste of him invades my body.

“Dammit,” I swear, stomping a foot for emphasis. “Why does he always get to me?” I groan, letting my head fall back as I blink up at the darkness speckled with pinpricks of light. How many stars I wished upon that he was safe even when I hated him most? Now, those wishes bring me misery as he’s returned with all his charming wit.

“There you are.” The sinister voice startles me, and I spin to face John. He looks up at the heavens as his hands slip into his pockets.

“Beautiful night,” he mutters, addressing the sky before lowering his eyes to focus on me. “Beautiful woman.” I shiver at his compliment. John is one of those men you know to stay away from and yet you can’t help be near him. He defines wilderness bad boy, and while I once was attracted to the concept, I’m older and wiser now.

“What brings you outside?” I ask, my eyes drifting back to the open barn door, hoping someone sees us out here.

“Wondering the same thing about you,” he says, and I return my eyes to find his intensely on me.

“Just needing some fresh air.” I dismiss my action with a wave, adding a short chuckle to seem carefree. His nearness has me on edge, but I hold my unease at bay.

“I could use a breath of fresh air as well.” His eyes scan my body, and I’m undressed under their gaze. If it was any other time, possibly any other night, I might have taken him up on the unsaid proposal. I might have given in to the need to feel wanted in some way. But not tonight. My emotions are too raw from Ben’s kiss. John continues his perusal. “Feels good out here, but I know something that would feel better.”

I don’t wish to encourage him so I don’t ask what he means. He lingers on me a moment before turning to glare at the dark fields to my right.

“It’s always him, isn’t it? The beloved best friend of my brother.” His voice rakes with bitterness as his attention snaps back to me.

“Your brother has many friends,” I offer, knowing full well whom he references.

“Yes, his new favored one being Clay O’Leary. Champion soldier. Hero at war. Come home to make a new name for himself.”

“I don’t know what you mean,” I state, peering toward the barn again in hopes of an interruption to our conversation.

“You’ve never been so naive, Bea.” The statement startles me. What was he accusing me of? Flirting with him? Maybe. Crossing the line in the past? Possibly. The comment brings my head up, and we stare at one another a moment. “Surely you know of my brother’s proposal.”

A proposal?

“Your brother?” I question, allowing my ignorance to show. When I heard Toni and Leo speaking earlier, I assumed they meant Ben. I am such a fool. Then I think of my cousin. It was written on his face. It was written on his face. Princeton wants Hero as well?

John purses his lips, slowly shaking his head, pleased with knowing something I don’t.

“He seems rather enamored with Clay.” His hesitation proves this wasn’t what he planned to say and it’s written on his face he’s shifting gears. A quirky grin curves his lush lips.

“Your brother is pleased with you as well. You were honored for your service last week.” Home-sung heroes, the men returned from war were mentioned with pride during church services last Sunday. Princeton beamed with honor as he announced those who came home with him—John being among them.

“I’d rather be a canker in a hedge than a rose in his grace.”

“Shakespeare.” I beam.

“Ah, Bea, I knew you hadn’t lost your intelligence even if you remained in this Godforsaken place.”

Half pleased with his praise and half insulted, I nod, not willing to explain all the reasons I stay in Bard County.

“And I see you haven’t lost your pension for mischief.” Anything from letting loose our herd to running off with Prince’s prized stallion. Nothing he did disturbed his older brother. Unfortunately, John is blind to his brother’s acceptance. He doesn’t see the unconditional love Prince bears him. He takes advantage and presses the proverbial button of patience over and over and over again. In my opinion, he needs to be stopped, but Prince never reprimands him.

“You know me, Bea, always the bad boy.” He winks and I chuckle half-heartedly. Somehow, I sense war made him more than bad—evil almost—and I don’t like the feeling. I shiver again and he notices.


“Yes. I believe, I’ll step back to the barn. It’s a blessing to have you home,” I offer, extending my gratitude for his service to our country and his survival overseas.

“Is it, Bea?”

“Of course,” I say, taking an immediate step away from him, deciding it is time to return to the dance.

“We’ll see.” He chuckles behind me, the sound slithering over me, but I don’t turn at the taunt to question what he means.

+ + +

As I near the barn, I find Aunt Toni and Uncle Leo at the open door, standing on the edge between wild party and peaceful night.

“Was that John, Princeton’s brother, I just saw you speaking with, niece?”

“It was.” I risk a glance behind me to find John gone as he disappeared into the blackness of night.

“He’s such a fine-looking man,” Aunt Toni says with exaggeration, and I snicker at her salacious grin and wiggling brow.

“That he is.” I must agree, despite the hard edge to him. John’s black as night hair with eyes blue as the sea are a deadly combination. His skin is cappuccino, distinguishing him from his fairer-skinned brother, and making it obvious they have different mothers. Where Prince is soft, John is hard, and while that once might have appealed to me, it no longer does. “But I think he’s a little too fine for me.” His good looks and tattooed arms speak of someone unlike me, and while attractive to look at, quite possibly not a good match for my simpler tastes.

“He seems so moody,” Uncle Leo states, staring out to where John once stood.

“He’s brooding,” Aunt Toni adds, sighing in admiration and hinting at her overindulgence in romance novels.

“I believe he’s had a rough life,” I suggest, attempting to give sympathy to his plight, but John had it good enough. Maybe his father didn’t accept him, but his brother has and his opinion holds more weight in this community.

“He’s dreamy,” Toni interjects, turning our serious thoughts playful.

“Yes, well, the perfect man is somewhere between John Borgonne and Ben Dexton. The combination of muscle and tattoos, plus wit and words to match the brawn of such physique—that would be a dream to me.”

Leo laughs. “So Ben’s humor coming out of John’s mouth or John’s edge combined with Ben’s body?”

The comment restores my thoughts to Ben’s mouth on mine, but I don’t allow my mind to take me places it isn’t meant to go.

“Both,” I mock. “And a man with conviction. Stamina between his legs. And money, of course,” I taunt, my bawdiness springing free which my uncle and aunt are used to from me. Toni giggles at the reference to male anatomy, but Leo smirks at the mention of money.

“Aw, niece, you are a funny one.” He wiggles a finger at me. “But you will find love one day. Or it will find you.”

“Ha, now you are the comedian, Uncle Leo,” I tease.

“With that attitude, you are cursed, Bea,” Toni chides with another chuckle.

“I think I would be cursed, if I were to marry.” I laugh. “How unfortunate that would be for me,” I feign, pressing fingers to my chest in mockery. “In my prayers each night, I do thank God that I am not cursed with a husband and a husband is not cursed with me. See, I’m all about equality.”

Toni laughs harder and Leo scoffs. “What you need is a man’s man,” he states, a touch of seriousness in his tone.

“And what is a man’s man, Leo? Someone older than me? He’d be experienced while I want to learn new things. He would be too much for me. And if you suggest someone younger than me, than I would be too experienced for him, and I don’t have the patience to teach him all the things I need. I would be too much for him. No, Uncle Leo, what I need is to be me, sexually carefree.”

Leo scowls. I might have gone too far, but Toni interjects in sport. “You’re going to hell in a handbasket, my girl.” She nods, knowing I’m not as sexually out-there as my comment claims.

“I’m going to heaven, Toni, where St. Peter will welcome me, and all the bachelors at the pearly gates will call me over to hang with them. ‘Drink some whiskey,’ they’ll say, and we will live merrily-ever-after.” I can’t use the word happily. It doesn’t seem appropriate.

Toni wags her head and Leo speaks. “Your father just rolled in his grave.”

I guffaw, not knowing if my father would be happy for me or not. It’s partially because of him that I’m the cynical person I’ve become.

“Well, Uncle Leo, as my father isn’t here, I’m free to do as I please where poor Hero must do as you say. I do hope that while it might please you to marry her off, you allow her to be happy with the man who offers.” I wiggle my brows, enjoying the play of words.

“Ah, Bea. You are too smart for your own good, but yes, we hope our dear Hero will be happy to marry someday. We hope you find the same happiness as well.” Ah, yes, there is the reminder. Leo kisses the top of his wife’s head for emphasis of his marital bliss.

 “I’ll need God to make a man of stronger metal than dust for me,” I tease. “For dirt blows away in the wind.” My mind drifts to Ben again, the metaphor not lost to me. His eyes match loose soil, his scent similar to the delicate substance, and his disposition equally unstable. “But honestly, I’m quite pleased to consider the opposite sex as my equal and remain friends with any number of them.”

Leo stares at me like I’ve grown a second head. Toni winks and adds, “With benefits, right, dear, for the modern woman.”

I burst into laughter at her comment, and I twist to find we’ve had an audience to our conversation. Ben peers at me from the shadows, his shoulder pressed against the exterior wall of the barn. My amusement instantly falters.

How much did he hear?

With his glasses removed, the scowl on his face warns me he heard too much.






Any number of men as friends with benefits? Over my dead body. My fists clench at my sides as I stare at Bea from the shadows. She’s gone too far this time, and I’m ready to tell her such when she disappears inside the barn with her aunt and uncle. I take a final swig out of the Jim Beam I snatched and throw the bottle to the ground at my feet. Meandering after Bea, I follow the sway of her hips through the crowd like a hunter through meadows, until I notice Clay stricken-faced in a corner. My eyes follow his visual path to observe Princeton dancing with Hero. As I draw near him, I wish to pass him in hopes to continue hunting Bea when something stops me.

“Can you believe my brother has fallen in love?” John hush-whispers from behind Clay. Surely, John misspeaks. Clay’s eyes widen but he doesn’t turn around to face John and Boris behind him. He draws his cowboy hat lower, covering his eyes as his head twists a bit to better listen to these devious men.

Pausing in my tracks, I take one giant step back to shield my presence with some black-haired beauty. My hands come to her hips, holding her in front of me so I may better eavesdrop on the others. She giggles as I whisper at her ear to hush a second and hide me.

“He’s falling for that wisp of a girl Hero and proposing to her,” John chortles and a lewd grin forms on the mouth of Boris whose bald head glistens in the heat of the barn. Clay bristles, standing taller, as his ears perk to listen while he continues to keep his focus forward on Hero and Princeton.

“You say he’s asking the girl to marry him?” Boris chokes, his smirk aimed at the back of Clay’s head.

What the fuck?

“Says he thought of her often while we were overseas. He loves her and wants to know if she returns that love to him.” The emphasis on the final two words confirms who John means. Princeton is asking Hero for her hand for himself.

I don’t believe it. What is John playing at?

“What a lucky bastard he’ll be. He’ll add this land to his and continue to do as he pleases,” Boris adds. John knows this isn’t true. Prince doesn’t need Blue Star Manor nor does he desire Hero. John leans closer to Clay’s back, lowering his voice enough I can’t hear him speak.

Clay doesn’t move, his stature like a frightened bird about to be devoured by a predator. Finally, his fists curl, a hint he’s simmering within. His eyes never leave the embrace of Prince around Hero. Her laughter resonates back to Clay. This is my cue to step forward. Something isn’t right here. At my exaggerated footsteps, both John and Boris look in my direction, not a speck of remorse on either face as they recognize me. Like the rats they are, they scamper off as I approach. Sensing the distress of my young friend, I clap his shoulder.

“How goes the wooing?” I mock, the warmth of whiskey in me dulling the coldness of Bea’s rejection.

“How wrong I was?” he mutters, venom in his voice. His eyes stare forward but do not focus. Hermione giggles and Prince leans forward to whisper in her ear. The movement looks innocent enough, but Clay fumes beside me.

“What’s wrong?” My eyes flick from the laughing couple to my stewing friend.

“She falls for him instead of me,” he bites. I peer at Prince and Hero to see Hero smile in our direction. Her grin grows when her eyes find Clay. Her eyes hide behind her blue mask, but her attention is clear. She worships Clay. “What a fool I was to send someone so slick as Prince to do my bidding. I wouldn’t send another man to complete my missions overseas. Why did I send someone else to woo the woman I love for me?”

The answer is singular—he’s an idiot—but I’m hoping he’s being rhetorical here, so I keep my lips clamped.

“I should never have trusted Princeton to question her. I should have sought her myself, instead of trusting a thief who stole her for his own purposes.” Poison fills his voice.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa. Why would you say such a thing?”

“John. He heard Princeton telling Hero how he hopes to train her quick, press her hard, and mount her soon. Then ride her until she finishes strong. He also wishes to breed her and increase his worth with her.”

What the…?

This sounds nothing like something Princeton would say of a woman or to a woman. In fact, it sounds strangely like something he might say about one of his racehorses—training, pressing, riding—all in hopes to win on high stake races and heighten the prospect of breeding more horses. This is classic Prince lingo, if he were discussing a filly with someone. There must be some misunderstanding, something purposefully lost in translation from John. Fucking John!

“Are you sure he was—”

“How could he do this to me? Is love just a joke to both of you? He knows how I feel about her. Is this another game to be played? Capture the pussy like capture the flag? Whoever gets her first wins? I’ll be the loser amongst you two for centuries with your cavalier ways.” His tone harshens and my offense grows.

“I don’t think—”

“Do you really not believe the sensation of a woman pressed against you is a blessing instead of a curse? Can you for one moment stop dissing romance and learn to embrace it? What a fool I was to send someone in my place. I’ve lost her before I knew there was a race to win her.”

It isn’t that I can’t be romantic. I’ve certainly had my share of women embraced against me, as well, but it is more a matter of taste. I don’t wish to bear the straps of being tied down. I refuse to be sappy, simpering, and whimpering like Clay. I offered my heart once before and had it stomped on. Never again, I swore. The words haunt me.

“I guess…” My voice falters as Prince and Hero approach us.

“Clay, it is settled,” Prince offers, pressing Hero toward our young friend. Clay’s rough demeanor remains stoic as Hero stumbles and falls against him. He stiffens with the contact, and I wonder at the reaction.

“Yes, settled for you,” Clay snips and Prince stares back at the love-scorned man.

“Hero?” Prince directs his gaze toward the youthful brunette, questioning Clay’s attitude.

“Clay, what’s wrong?” she whispers, her eyes lowering demurely. Her smile fades.

“What’s wrong?” he snaps, addressing Prince. “What’s wrong? It’s as if I offered you a pretty filly to view and instead of admiring it, you bought her out from under me.”

“What?” Prince barks and Hero’s eyes widen.

“I sent my best friend to talk to you about me and you fall for him instead,” Clay accuses Hero while his shaky hand waves outward at Prince.

“What?” Prince snaps as Hero remains dumbfound.

“Don’t play games with me,” Clay bites, directing his gaze at Prince. “You know I wanted to ask her to marry me.”

Hero gasps. Her eyes widen while her fingers cover the barely-there grin.

“Clay,” Prince replies, blinking in confusion. “The only thing I did was tell Hero how you wished to speak with her. Privately.”

Clay’s head spins to Hero, his ignorant face blanching. “But John said…” His voice fades. “Is this true?”

A sweetness returns to Hero’s lips. “Yes.”

Clay’s shoulders fall, and his eyes lighten. “I shouldn’t have sent someone else to speak for me,” he admits, his hand coming to her lower back.

Ya think, I want to interject but hold my tongue.

“I thought it was sweet, but maybe next time you can come to me yourself.” Hero pauses. “Did you mean what you just said?” Her face pinkens, her eyes dipping a moment.

Oh no.

“I don’t think…” I begin while Prince holds up a hand to stop our friend, finally realizing this situation might be one step too fast. As Clay remains slow on the uptake, it takes him a moment to decode Hero’s meaning.

“Yes. I want to marry you.” The band stops. The dancers halt. The air temperature falls. This isn’t happening, I decide, but Hero wraps around Clay the next minute and cheers abrupt around us.

“What the—” The final word doesn’t leave my mouth as I jostle backward from the congratulations forming on the lips of those most immediately around us. Was there even a question asked? “What about her father?” I interject, wondering where my thoughts of such propriety come from.

“What about me?” Leo says, a smile filling his voice as he walks up to join the small gathering. Toni stands under his arm.

“Do you approve of this?” I ask, but Leo’s pride shows in his cheeks while Toni beams.

“Prince came to ask our permission on Clay’s behalf earlier today. I knew this was coming.” Leo steps forward to embrace his daughter, and I stand amongst the whirlwind of such a rash proposal as if I’m surrounded by casualty on a battlefield.

Who asks a girl to marry him in the heat of a disagreement?

Then I recall: Oh wait, I once did, and it backfired.


>> THIRD-THURSDAY of March be back for more, ya'here...

NOW LIVE - Second Chance

Another romance over 40 from L.B. Dunbar

Can one sexy silver fox face the woman he once left behind but never let go?

★  Second Chance:


Amazon UK 

Amazon CA

Amazon AU


Books. Kissing Included.

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L.B. Dunbar

Chicago, Illinois




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