The Flight Release Day!

Are you ready for another Close Proximity story?

**✈️**NEW RELEASE**✈️**

Meet Ethan & Sebastian: one flight attendant + one rock star = sexy times!

(And for those of you who’ve read Mr. Rockstar, there’s a fun little tidbit about Vin in this story.)

Buy Links: EvernightAmazonBookStrandSmashwordsKoboBarnes & NobleiBookstore

Gay Romance, Erotic Romance, May/Dec, Contemporary
Word Count: 17,825
Heat Level: 3

Flirting at thirty thousand feet with a charming rock star is a terrible idea, especially since Sebastian can’t afford to lose his job as a flight attendant. Ethan Clementine may be hot and oh-so-talented, but Sebastian has no desire to join the mile high club, or so he tells himself. The truth is that he misses playing music, and he would love to fall in love with the right guy, but everyone knows Ethan is into women.

Ethan is tired of traveling, tired of fame, and he’s especially tired of pretending he’s straight. He’s been in the closet for so long, it seems pointless to come out as bi, especially with his career in the balance. So what does he do when he meets sexy flight attendant Sebastian? He sings the man into the sack, because one hookup doesn’t mean he’s going to fall in love, right?

Story Excerpt:

The moment Ethan’s fingers touched his shoulder, Sebastian wrapped his fingers around the musician’s wrist and drew him closer. He had no idea if the man was into guys, but he didn’t particularly care at this point. He’d given the rock star an out, and Ethan hadn’t pulled away. “I know we’ve just met—” he murmured, but Ethan slid his hand up and put a finger on his lips. Sebastian shuddered. He’d been in a constantly shifting state of embarrassment, nervousness, and arousal from the moment Ethan had stepped onto the plane, and this sure as hell wasn’t helping restore his equanimity.

“I told myself I wasn’t going to do this anymore,” Ethan said cryptically, and then he leaned in.

“Do what?” Sebastian tried to ask, but Ethan’s mouth met his and all hell broke loose in his body. He groaned, arms going for Ethan’s hair, but the musician knocked his hands away and climbed up onto his lap. Sebastian froze, then swallowed hard when his cock pressed up into the juncture of Ethan’s legs.

“Fuck, you’re gorgeous,” Ethan muttered, and then he kissed Sebastian again.

Sebastian gripped Ethan’s ass through the soft jeans, mind whirling. Ethan tasted like insanity and heat, and he couldn’t get enough. When Ethan finally lifted his head, Sebastian gasped, barely able to catch his breath. His cock was so fucking hard he was afraid he would go off in his pants. His lips stung. “You’re into guys?” he asked, and then he bit his lower lip in frustration. What a stupid question. The man was on his lap, for God’s sake. Ethan Duke Clementine just kissed me, he thought inanely, and then he wondered if he was dreaming, but the weight of the man on his legs felt all too real.

Ethan laughed. “Yeah. I’m into guys. I’m bi, not that I advertise it. I don’t need the hassle.” He rolled his hips, pushing his erection into Sebastian’s abdomen. “I’m assuming you’re into guys, too, or you would’ve dumped me on my ass, right?”

“Uh,” Sebastian said, not really able to think clearly. Dump the hottest man I’ve ever seen onto the floor? Yeah, no. Ethan rolled his hips again. “Oh my God,” Sebastian said, gritting his teeth. He would not come in his pants like a damned teenager. “Fuck.” He banged his head against the soft cushions of the seat even as his hands kneaded Ethan’s ass. He wanted to suck Ethan off. He wanted to fuck him. He wanted all sorts of things he hadn’t thought about wanting in far too long.

“Relax, Sebastian,” Ethan said, cupping his face. “I’m not going anywhere.”

Sebastian laughed, then moaned when Ethan leaned in closer. “I feel like I’m dreaming,” Sebastian said.

“Don’t think so hard,” Ethan replied, kissing him again and again, until Sebastian stopped trying to figure out why Duke Clementine chose him, of all people, to do this with. There had been literally no hint of Ethan being bisexual anywhere in the media, so for him to do this now, and with Sebastian,shocked the hell out of him.

“You know I won’t tell anyone,” Sebastian gasped out.

Ethan stilled. “I know,” he said, and then he started to unbutton his shirt.

Sebastian stared as the man’s lean torso slowly came into view. Ethan had a collection of tattoos scattered across his body, and though nothing Sebastian saw was new to him—the musician had done a number of interviews with photos of his body spread in glossy high definition across numerous platforms—there was something entirely shocking about being able to touch instead of just look. “Seeing you in a magazine is nothing like being here in real life,” he murmured, reaching up to trace a finger across warm skin.

“This is real life, Sebastian,” Ethan said, voice warm and husky. He sucked in a breath when Sebastian’s fingers trailed down the middle of his chest to the waistband of his jeans and back up again.

“I want to suck you off,” Sebastian said, trying to make himself move, but his fingers were too busy learning every last inch of ink on Ethan’s skin.

“What a good idea,” Ethan said, standing up, but instead of undoing his jeans, he went to his knees.

“What are you doing?” Sebastian asked, sitting up. He tried to drag Ethan back to his feet, but the rock star put his hands on Sebastian’s pants and undid the zipper. He slid his fingers inside. Sebastian gasped when those fingers brushed against his cock.

“This is the ugliest uniform I’ve ever seen,” Ethan said, fingers drawing down Sebastian’s underwear. He licked his lips as Sebastian’s erection sprang out.

Sebastian’s hips bucked. “Oh, God.” Ethan’s electric blue eyes stared up at him. “You’re killing me, Ethan.”

“No, I can’t do this while you’re wearing that hideous sweater,” Ethan said unexpectedly, reaching for Sebastian’s top. He tugged on it. “Take it off.”

Sebastian nearly tore it in his hurry to get it off his body. “This is crazy.”

Ethan undid the buttons of Sebastian’s shirt, and then he reached down and gripped his cock in a firm, warm hand. “Yeah, it’s crazy, but I’m not sure I care.” He leaned in and sucked Sebastian’s erection into his mouth.

Sebastian jammed the heel of his hand against his mouth, hips jerking. He didn’t want to thrust. He didn’t want to do anything that would hurt Ethan. Shit, maybe this isn’t a good idea. What if I push into his throat? He needs to be able to sing. He said he’s paranoid about his vocal cords. He reached down and pulled Ethan up.

“What?” Ethan licked down the side of Sebastian’s erection.

“I don’t want to hurt you. You need to sing tomorrow,” Sebastian said, barely able to put the words together.

Ethan laughed. “You’re worried about my voice?”

Sebastian flushed.

“Giving head is not going to wreck my vocal cords,” Ethan said, sounding amused. “But there are other things we can do, if you prefer.” He stood up.

Sebastian stared as Ethan stripped off the rest of his clothes. He looked strong and sure of himself, and Sebastian’s mind flashed on one of the interviews he remembered reading. They’d been talking to some of the fans at one of Ethan’s concerts, and a girl they’d interviewed had said that Duke Clementine was pure sex when he was on stage. If Ethan is pure sex on stage, off stage he’s lethal, Sebastian thought, digging his fingers into the cushions. He couldn’t believe he was actually doing this. “You realize this is insane.”

Ethan leaned over and carefully moved his guitar to the seat behind him, brushing his fingers over the strings as he let go. The sound of a chord lingered in the air, quietly tantalizing. “Maybe it is,” he murmured, and then he straightened up. His blue eyes had darkened with arousal. Sebastian couldn’t look away. Ethan’s cock was thick and hard, and Sebastian wanted it inside him in the worst way. He swallowed thickly as Ethan went to his knees. His hands went to Sebastian’s pants and wrestled them off. “Take off your shirt,” he said.

Sebastian obeyed, half crazed with lust. “I’m going to get fired for this.”

Ethan shook his head. “No one will know.” He climbed back onto the sofa, legs going on either side of Sebastian’s hips. “No one ever has to know.”

Readers love shifters and rock stars and I don’t blame them.

Sometimes all the elements that I love most align in my brain, and I write a story that flows onto the page with no frustration. SOMETHING SHIFTY has a secret identity, a teacher/student relationship, a rock star, shifters, and a fated mate trope. Even now, years after I wrote it, I still get a bit tingly thinking about it, LOL.

What are people saying about Something Shifty?

Rainbow Book Reviews

“The passion between these two men is palpable, but so is the acceptance and friendship, their ability to share and support each other. If you like shifter stories with a difference, if you enjoy reading about two men who discover as much about themselves as they do about the man they’re falling in love with, and if you’re looking for a hot read with a bit of tension and lots of secrets, you will probably like this short book.”

The To Be Read Pile – 4 stars! A Recommended Read. Heat -5 Handcuffs – Orgasmic!

“I really enjoyed this unique twist to the usual shifter plot. It’s fast paced, entertaining, and beyond sexy. It might be a bit much for some people but I like to think it’s just the right amount of sizzle…”

 The Romance Reviews (TRR) – 4 stars!

“SOMETHING SHIFTY is an above-average MM shifter romance with two good leads, a strong romance, and world building I’d like to read more of.”

Night Owl Reviews – 4.5 stars! A Night Owl Reviews Top Pick!

“Something Shifty is an artfully created love story that whittles its way into a reader’s heart and soul.”

Two Lips Reviews – 5 stars!

“I highly recommend this one if you like shifters, man love and story that is beautifully written.”

MM Good Book Reviews – 5 stars!

“I would recommend reading it, especially if you love sexy men, shifters, and lots of hot passionate sex, tender glances, feisty sisters, strong mates, excitement, surprise, suspense, and so much more.”

Open Skye Book Reviews – 4.5 stars!

“I’m a sucker for Rocker romances and this combines so many elements with that: professor, hidden identity, shifting, slow burn… it was great!”

 

  amazon-bestseller-icon  Night Owl Reviews Top Pick
Shifters, Paranormal, Erotic Romance, MM
Word Count: 40,680
Heat Level 4
Published By: Evernight Publishing

Evernight – Bookstrand – Amazon – Smashwords – Kobo – Barnes & Noble

Professor Seth Dustin thinks he’s alone in the world, but when he meets another shifter, he’s forced to reevaluate his whole life. Dex Connor is gorgeous, talented, and male—everything Seth had no idea he wanted.

However, when Seth discovers Dex is keeping dangerous secrets from him, he must decide if he can forgive the man who has become his closest friend, the man who stole his heart. Seth never expected to find himself in the midst of a territorial fight with a rival clan. He doesn’t know how to deal with the jealous hostility of a woman who wants Dex for herself. Love is unexpectedly complicated, but is being alone better?

Rocker, shifter, mate: Dex is all of these, and more. Professor, shifter, loner: Seth wants more. When two shifters meet, instinct takes over.

 

Story Excerpt:

“Shape shifters have one true mate. A lot of us don’t find that person. Some of us do and lose him, like my sister lost hers. They were so young they never even bonded.” He lifted a shoulder. “I knew almost from the moment I met you.”

Seth swallowed thickly. “I think you’re insane.” He meant it nicely, but still, Dex couldn’t imagine he would take this seriously, could he?

Dex laughed and shoved his chair away from the table. “I promise I’m not.”

Seth leaned his elbows against the solid wood and tried to figure out what the hell there was to say to that. His erection hadn’t flagged, either, oh no. In fact, his cock was harder than ever and had been since Dex said the word “mate.”

“Dex—” he began, then stopped, shocked at how rough he sounded. He pushed away from the table, edgy and aroused and not sure what to do with himself. He glanced at Dex whose eyes had gone dark.

“I’m going to kiss you now,” Dex said, standing up in one graceful movement. The muscles in his arms flexed beautifully.

For a shifter who can’t shift, he certainly is in great shape, Seth thought vaguely, then Dex’s lips were on his and he stopped thinking at all. Dex hauled him up against his body and Seth shuddered. This kiss was even more incendiary than the last one, maybe because he wasn’t angry anymore, maybe because he wasn’t as shocked as the first time. He wasn’t sure he cared why. He ran his hands through Dex’s hair and hung on, crazily aroused by the feel of another man’s stubble against his mouth.

“Jesus, Dex,” he panted when Dex nibbled down his jaw. “What are we doing?”

Dex growled. All the hair on Seth’s body stood up and he pushed against Dex, trying to get closer. The table dug into his hip and he realized that Dex was pushing back at him, shoving him into the wood. Seth snapped. He groaned and grabbed Dex by the shoulders, swinging him around and walking him backwards until they hit the kitchen sink with a thump.

“Seth, fuck,” Dex said, kissing him again. Seth moaned and jammed his hands down Dex’s jeans.

“Off, take these off,” he said, hips jerking uncontrollably as Dex bucked against him.

“Seth, wait,” he said, but Seth wasn’t listening anymore. He didn’t want to know what new piece of annoying information Dex thought he absolutely must know. He wanted to rut against Dex’s hard, smooth, gorgeous body until he came, and he wanted to do it right the fuck now.

“Shut up.” Seth grunted, slipping a hand in between them to fumble at Dex’s jeans. “You talk too much and I’m done listening.”

“God, what are you—” Dex began, but Seth had the button open now. He eased the zipper down, breathing harshly against Dex’s throat.

“Be quiet,” Seth said, licking under his ear. Dex’s flavor burst over his tongue and he sucked in a breath as the taste of wild and hot and mine exploded in his body. “God, Dex, you taste incredible. Why do you taste so good?”

“Seth, if we do this, there’s no going back,” Dex muttered, his hands busy ripping Seth’s hoodie to shreds.

“I don’t see you stopping,” Seth taunted, biting him again. Dex shuddered against his mouth and he licked the spot where his teeth had just been. He loved the way Dex moved under his touch. Then Dex pushed him away and literally tore his hoodie off his body. “Holy shit.”

Dex smiled, fierce and possessive. “You were taking too long.”

Dex had a point. Seth blinked, suddenly right on the fucking edge of climax. He jammed his fist against his balls, trying to stave it off. “If you keep ripping my clothes off me, I won’t be responsible for my actions.”

Dex dropped the pieces of Seth’s top and reached for his sweatpants. Seth danced away. “Fuck. Let me do it so you don’t break anything. Take your shirt off, for Christ’s sake.”

Dex snarled, but did as Seth asked, throwing it across the kitchen. His hair came out messy, but it made him look even hotter. Seth stared at Dex’s body, dazed at the sight of a huge tattoo covering most of his left hip and disappearing into his open pants. “Jesus, that must have hurt.”

Dex ran a finger up the design. “When I lost the ability to shift, I had the clan artist ink my lost animals onto me.”

Seth looked at the intertwined wolf and eagle and several other creatures cavorting across Dex’s skin. He wanted to taste them, run his fingers over them until he knew them as intimately as he knew his own. “It suits you,” he said gruffly. He eased his sweats over his erection carefully. When he straightened back up, he found Dex staring at him, eyes hot.

Book Extra:

I’d love to introduce you to my hero Seth Dustin from Something Shifty. Here is an interview with the sexy professor:

Seth Dustin finally speaks OUT about coming OUT with rocker Connor Dex!
by Erin M. Leaf, RockstarZEST! Entertainment
April 15, 2013 – 9:00 AM EDT

NEW YORK (RZ!E) — We’re pleased to welcome Seth Dustin, college professor, mild-mannered pianist, and hottie extraordinaire to our studio. In case you don’t know who he is, Mr. Dustin is the lucky fellow who has single-handedly removed Connor Dex (our favorite rockstar) from the dating pool and turned him into an almost-married man. The two of them took the world by storm when they performed an acoustic love song together at one of Connor’s concerts, finally proving once and for all that Connor is not only the coolest man on the planet, but also a romantic at heart.

Erin: Welcome to our studio, Seth!

Seth: Thank you for having me, Erin.

Erin: So, Seth, you and Connor performed that incredible love song at Madison Square Garden last summer. It was your first time playing before an audience that large. Were you nervous?

Seth: No, not at all.

Erin: Oh, come on now, not even the littlest bit? You have to admit, coming out in front of the whole world had to have been scary.

Seth: (chuckles) I knew that Dex was a little nervous, but for me it was easy. I’d already done the hard part.

Erin: And what was that?

Seth: Well, I didn’t know I was gay, so, that was a bit of a shock. The first time I met Dex, I didn’t understand why I liked him so much. I kept telling myself he’s just a guy, but every time I saw him again, I felt this strange attraction. We didn’t really date, you know. We became friends.

Erin: So Connor was your first boyfriend?

Seth: (laughs) You make that sound so high-school. Yes. Dex was my first. I guess technically I’m bisexual.

Erin: So you still like girls?

Seth: Women are beautiful, but it’s a moot point for me. I’m with Dex now. This is a forever kind of thing.

Erin: Aww. That’s so romantic. I heard somewhere that you had no idea Connor was a rock star? How is that possible?

Seth: Apparently I was living under a rock. (a loud ‘hmpf’ sounds from the other room, Seth rolls his eyes.)

Erin: Oh, do tell…

Seth: I listened to the radio once in a while, but mostly I only listened to classical music. When I first met Dex, he was just a guy who’d come into the library with his sister, Del. I’d met her in the woods a few days earlier. We’re both runners, so…

Erin: If you like women, why didn’t you ask her out?

Seth: I wasn’t looking for anyone. I didn’t date. I found dating exhausting. I just wanted to be left alone.

Erin: Sounds lonely.

Seth: (shrugs)

Erin: When did you find out Connor was a rockstar?

Seth: (flushes slightly) Um, well, that happened after we’d been dating for a while.

Erin: He didn’t tell you?

Seth: He didn’t. He led me on. (‘Hey!’ someone calls from the other room.) And he is still paying for that, believe me. (Seth yells this last bit.)

Erin: Weren’t you angry?

Seth: (grins) It was way too late for that. I loved him too much by then. Even being a famous rockstar wasn’t a deal-breaker. (looks thoughtful) I don’t think anything short of cheating on me could be a deal-breaker, and Dex would never do that. (raises voice again) Because I would kill him.

Connor: (entering room) Okay, that’s enough. You can’t badmouth me to the press, Seth. You’ll destroy my career. (laughs)

Seth: (slings an arm around Connor’s waist) I believe you’ve met Dex before?

Erin: I have. Nice to see you again, Connor. By the way, why does he call you Dex? I thought that was your last name?

(the two exchange looks)

Connor: It’s just his way of driving me insane.

Seth: I do what I can to keep him humble.

(they exchange a kiss, it grows heated)

Erin: I guess that’s it for this interview, folks!

Coffee Time Romance gave Alpha Shaman 5 cups!

ctr5cups

I’m so happy that Coffee Time Romance liked Alpha Shaman!

“All I can say is WOW! Absolutely adored this sequel to Rock Star Baby! Ms. Leaf has done it again and I cannot wait for Book 3. The romance between Josh and Gerulf is hot enough to singe eyebrows, and the love scenes are emotional and sexy. The world building just keeps getting better and better, and it was so cool getting to see characters from the first book and how they are evolving along with the story line in this book. The suspense is off the charts as well, as Josh and Gerulf and their pack try to find and defeat their enemy. The hints we get about Ryan and Josh’s cousins in this book are enough to make this reader salivate for the next installment of Bad Oak Boys. Quite simply, if you loved the first book, then you are going to be screaming for the next one by the time you finish Alpha Shaman. I for one cannot wait, just stellar writing all the way around. This one is a keeper for sure!”

ReviewedAtCTR

 

buy links: Evernight – Amazon – ARe – BookStrand – Smashwords – iBooks – Barnes & Noble

  amazon-bestseller-icon  ARebestseller

Gay Romance, Shifters, Paranormal, Erotic Romance
Word Count: 56,260
Heat Level: 4
Published By: Evernight Publishing

Click here for an excerpt.

The world isn’t ready for a rock star werewolf, but Josh Oakley can’t stop biology. When his brother sends sexy wolf shaman Gerwulf to help him, instinct is too mild a word for how he feels. Gerwulf calls to his animal in a way that defies logic.

Gerwulf knows Josh is his mate the moment they meet, but he doesn’t like guys and he doesn’t intend to bond with anyone. He’ll help the musician control his wolf, but getting too close isn’t his intention. Besides, he wouldn’t know what to do with a man in his bed.

Of course, shifters can’t dodge fate—a crisis forces Josh and Gerwulf to accept their connection just in time to save Forst Pack from an old enemy. When biology ties them together beyond even a mating bond, will they be able to move past their fear and into a future that holds more than they ever expected?

***MPREG***

 

Yes, I have another new series…

…that I started writing because I am insane. I have way too many ideas stuffed in my head and I intend on writing as many of them into books as I possibly can before I drop dead at age 103.

So there.

Rock Star Baby was accepted by Evernight! It will be out soon. The name of the series is Bad Oak Boys.

I just can’t resist the whole rock star, musician, band, fame trope. 😀

 

IMG_2610

Bad Oak isn’t just a rock band, it’s a family.

Bad Oak — Ryan Oakley, his brother Josh, and their cousins Silas and Shane River:

Ryan Oakley: lead singer, bass player, heartthrob extraordinaire, band founder. He has no idea that he’s a shifter and that he’s about to meet his mate, Bardulf Forst, Alpha-Heir of Forst Pack. Stats: 25 years old, dark brown hair, light brown eyes, tattoo of winter tree on his chest.

Josh Oakley: lead guitar, bisexual, loves to annoy his big brother Ryan. Stats: 23 years old, short, dark brown hair, grey eyes, emotionally attached to his Martin guitar.

Silas River: drummer, band mediator, the dude who came up with the name Bad Oak. Stats: 25 years old, honey blonde hair, shoulder length, hazel eyes, addicted to catchy beats. Never caught bare handed: always a drumstick nearby.

Shane River: keyboards/sound effects geek, loves video games, his piano, and earworms. Stats: 21 years old, short golden blonde hair, scruffy beard, dark brown eyes.

Evernight Coming Soon

Rock Star Baby – coming soon from Evernight Publishing!

Ryan Oakley, lead singer of Bad Oak and heartthrob extraordinaire, isn’t looking for a girlfriend. He’s definitely not looking for a boyfriend, but after the explosive encounter he has with a guy he meets backstage, he realizes he’s more flexisexual than he’d thought. Of course, suddenly being able to shift into a wolf is an unexpected side effect he didn’t expect and can barely control.

Bardulf Forst is Alpha-Heir to his pack, but he can’t resist his little sister when she begs him to meet Ryan Oakley. When he realizes the sexy singer is his mate, he can’t deny instinct. He claims the famous rock star even though he knows his father won’t approve: heirs are supposed to have children and two males can’t reproduce.

Little do they know that they’re about to experience an ancient shifter biological imperative: when two male Alphas mate, unexpected miracles sometimes happen.

 

Just Erotic Romance Reviews loved Appassionato – Chapter One excerpt

Just Erotic Romance Reviews loved Appassionato, the first novel in my Dream Marked series! In celebration, I’m posting a first chapter excerpt! From the review:

Emma’s erotic dream set the tone for the explosive sex and undeniable chemistry the trio experienced throughout the story line.

Appassionato released!

I hope you enjoy meeting Emma and her rockstar mates: Duncan and Jake!

When Emma dreams about super-famous rockstar Duncan and his friend Jake, it never occurs to her they might be dreaming too. About her. Everyone knows dreams aren’t real, but what will happen when the trio’s shared visions develop into a passion that can’t be denied?

When reports of a new “bonding” phenomenon surface, Duncan and Jake finally realize why they feel so connected to the sweet high-school librarian they’ve never met. The headaches and dreams suddenly make sense, but it isn’t until they meet Emma face-to-face that instinct takes over, and passion binds their minds and bodies into a link that can’t be broken.

Then, just as the happy ending Emma always hoped for seems possible, a hostage crisis and a series of kidnappings threatens everything. Can the trio unravel the conspiracy in time to protect the future of their bond?

________________

Where to Buy: 

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Chapter One

In her dream a man pressed against her, sleek muscles hot against her bare skin. Emma didn’t recognize the bed or the room, though candles lit the darkness, a hundred joyful flames dancing in unison. So pretty, she thought, smiling, and the man replied with long, delicious kisses that made her forget she didn’t know his name. When she moaned, he licked down the length of her jaw, behind her ear, stopping to bite until she gasped at the sting, the pain sweet as candy. He glanced at her through his lashes, gorgeous brown eyes sparkling, and she touched his face, wanting him to give up his secrets, but instead he kissed her palm and pushed his cock along her hip, hot and desperate, an offering of sorts. She gasped, wanting more, and then another strong body spooned up behind her. A male voice whispered against her nape, but Emma couldn’t understand his intention until he slotted his hardness up against her backside, rocking into her so that she went limp with delight.

There are two men in bed with me, she thought, confused. I must be dreaming. She’d never in her life had sex like this. Then the man behind her cupped his hands around her breasts, and she forgot everything in order to focus on the warmth of his palms. The first man moved lower and pressed his face against her nipples, scratching his stubble against her until they peaked. She shivered as she watched him kiss the other man’s fingers where they held her breasts. Then he nibbled at her until she thrashed her head. She tried to turn, she wanted to see the new man, but he tightened his hands in warning.

I must be dreaming, she thought again but didn’t wake up. The first man slid down between her legs, and Emma squeezed her eyes shut. He nudged his shoulders against her inner thighs until she squirmed at the tickle of his hair. He leaned in to lick a stripe down the curve of her hip, and she heard herself beg, Please, don’t stop, please, so he moved in, stroking her with his thumbs right before he placed his lips against her nub. Emma panted, so close, and tried to grab onto something, the sheets, the headboard, anything, but the second man held her hands above her head. She struggled but couldn’t break free and, even though it was a dream, Emma knew she didn’t really want to get away. The second man shifted until he lay on his side, holding her while he teased her nipples. It was all she could do to look into his clear, green eyes. He wore silver earrings in both ears, and his wavy brown hair looked so soft she wanted to grab on and never let go. She wanted to kiss him. She wanted to do a thousand dirty things to him, but she couldn’t move or think. All she could do was shudder and clutch at his fingers while he smiled. He never let go, not even when the first man stopped licking and began sucking, the strong pulses of heat making her throw back her head and push her hips closer. He didn’t let go when she wrapped her legs around the first man’s shoulders. He didn’t let go when he leaned in for a kiss, sucking on her lips the same way the other man sucked on her clit, both of them flicking their tongues until she shattered, the pleasure so ridiculous she couldn’t see anything but sparkles of light, like fireworks. She tried to open her eyes, hug the men to her, wanting to give them the same joy, but everything suddenly faded, her hands falling apart with nothing to hang onto. She woke up, gasping. It was her twenty-fifth birthday. She’d never dreamed like that before in her life.

Happy birthday to me, Emma thought, perplexed and flushed. Her body still tingled. She remembered how the men felt, how they smelled. For a moment, she wished she could have a dream like that every night, then her alarm blared and she flinched. Just a dream, she thought, sighing as she flicked off the buzzer and tiredly slid out of bed. Time to get moving.

In celebration of her birthday, she ate chocolate cake for breakfast then spilled coffee on her white blouse as soon as she got to work. Unfortunately, her first class began before she could clean up and the sweater she tossed over the mess on her shirt didn’t do as good a job camouflaging the damage as she’d hoped. This is payback for eating cake at breakfast, she thought darkly as she tried again to wipe the stain away with a tissue. Serves me right. She looked down at her stomach, trying not to hate the curves that filled out her clothes.

“Do you need a napkin, Ms. Bell?” Samantha asked from her seat at the table in front of the circulation desk.

Emma sighed, frowning at the tiny specks of tissue her haphazard attempts at cleanup left all over her top. “Thanks, Samantha, but I think the damage is already done.” She hoped the girl would be satisfied with that explanation.

“I think the tissues are making it worse,” Samantha said, not unkindly.

Emma looked up, smiling wryly at the girl. She shifted her sweater, buttoning it closed and trying not to grimace at the unpleasant sensation of web fabric against her skin. Better that than for the students to have an unobstructed view of her floral-print bra.

“I think you’re right, Samantha. Oh well, it’s not like spilled coffee is going to kill me,” Emma said. Never in a million years did she anticipate that her job as a high school librarian would involve embarrassing situations like this, but after five years she knew better. This wasn’t the first time she’d spilled something on herself, and it wouldn’t be the last. At least most of the kids in this school are nice, she thought, eyeing the class that had just arrived for help with their science project. She smiled at them and ignored the itch from the wet blouse.

“I’ve collected most of the books we have about mitochondria and a few that touch on microbiology on a more general level, but if you need help finding anything else, just let me know.” Emma spoke loud enough for the students to hear over the low murmur of gossip. Most quieted down and Emma smiled, grateful she liked her job. She tried to shake off the lingering sleepiness from her restless night as the students perused the books she’d collected for them. She kept half an ear trained on their low conversation in case any needed help while the rest of her brain worried over the strange dreams she’d had.

Forty minutes later, the class filed out of the library and she heaved a sigh of relief, waving to her two aides that she was going to take a break. Portia, the older aide, nodded back at Emma. The younger aide, Emma’s friend Julie, moved behind the circulation desk. The three of them tried to keep someone available at all times to check books in and out for the students who visited between classes and during study hall, but unless there was a class in the library, only one person was really needed to run the computer. Emma picked at her blouse, grimacing at the half-dry stain as she lifted it away from her skin. Maybe if I take it off and rinse it, I can dry it under the hand blower in the bathroom, she thought absently as she headed to the small, private bathroom at the back of the library office. I can just wear my sweater if that doesn’t work. She closed the door behind her and unbuttoned her blouse. The small room was quiet and she breathed a sigh of relief as she ran water over her blouse. She hated feeling this tired. The dream she’d had this morning was lovely, but she’d slept fitfully most of the rest of the night. She remembered dreams where she was on a stage singing and then in the next moment she was on a plane, looking over a complicated spreadsheet. Then she was outside on the street, laughing, but her voice was wrong. And she felt taller, like her body was not her own. Except for the last dream, they were all very unsettling. Emma leaned against the sink, letting the cold water wash over the fabric, trying to calm her brain. She’d just managed to relax when the hallucination hit her between the eyes and she staggered. Water splashed over her hands and she slammed her hip against the sink counter, fighting to stay on her feet. She couldn’t breathe properly. Her heart pounded as she closed her eyes, trying to convince herself that the stage she was seeing so very clearly was just a remnant of one of her dreams. Yeah right.

In front of her a sea of people clapped wildly as they screamed and waved their arms. All those faced turned up towards her made Emma swallow hard. She felt as though she were in two places at once. For a second she thought she was having some sort of weird memory flashback because some of the dreams she’d had the night before were strangely similar to this one—standing on stage, microphone near her mouth, except nothing she’d dreamed was precisely like this. She had an excellent memory, a freakish memory, her friend Julie claimed sometimes, and this was not the same crowd, not the same stage she’d been on before in her dream. She swallowed again. She’d never been on stage in her life, at least not with a guitar in her hands. All of her stages involved talking to students about the Dewey Decimal system. Suddenly, a wave of confusion flowed through her. She closed her eyes and rested her fingers on the strings of her guitar, wondering what the fuck was happening. When she opened her eyes, she stood at the edge of the stage, frowning down at the clipboard she held. Thick bracelets sat over her wrists, the chased silver riveted into the cuffs looking bright against the soft leather. The name at the top of the clipboard read “Duncan Green,” and she licked her lips as the face associated with that name flashed across her thoughts—dark hair, brown eyes, gorgeous smile. Then she blinked and she was back to hanging on the bathroom sink, trembling. Shit. What just happened?

She slid down, sitting on the toilet lid, trying to pull herself together. She never cursed like that, not even in her own head. The most obscene expletive she ever used was damn, and it was telling that her brain supplied her with the word “fuck” right in the middle of her nervous breakdown. She wasn’t sure what it meant, just that it was downright strange. She struggled to breathe properly, willing herself to calm down. She was always calm. She didn’t freak out, and she didn’t have hysterics, and this ability to remain laid-back was one of her strengths as a teacher. She repeated this to herself, snorting under her breath when she flinched at a knock on the door. Not so calm, huh?

“You okay in there, Emma? I thought I heard something,” Julie called.

Emma swallowed and stood up, forcibly pushing thoughts of Duncan Green, rock star, out of her head. “I’m okay, Julie, just feeling tired today.” She lifted her blouse from the bottom of the sink and held the stained part under the faucet again. “I’m trying to rinse out the stain now.”

“Okay, Emma, just wanted to check.”

Emma sighed in relief as Julie stepped away from the door. Her thoughts wandered back to the hallucination, and she grimaced as she tried to puzzle out what had just happened, trying to think over the ache in her skull. She liked music but didn’t go out of her way to buy a lot of it. She didn’t know much about rock, but even she knew who Duncan Green was. Even if she didn’t know his face, his gorgeous face, her brain supplied, she’d still know who he was because Julie’s obsession with everything Duncan was well known to everyone who worked in the library. Usually Emma found it amusing, but right now she just wished the weirdness would stop. Emma couldn’t figure out why she was dreaming about him. Or hallucinating him. Whatever. And what about the other man, the one with the leather bracelets? Julie never mentioned him, but Emma knew, somehow, that he was associated with Duncan. She didn’t know how or why she knew that, but she remembered him from her dreams last night, how his curly hair made her want to sink her hands in it. He was the second man in her dream from this morning, she realized. She wished she knew his name. And that meant that the first man in her last dream must have been Duncan Green. She shivered, remembering how good his body felt against hers. She took a deep breath, trying to figure out why she was seeing these two men so vividly now, while awake. The dreams and hallucinations were connected, somehow. She shook her head and shut off the water. She looked at herself in the mirror, noting the dark circles under her hazel eyes, her messy brown hair. Shit.

She wrung out her blouse and hung it up with a spare hanger on the back of the door. There was no way it would dry in time to wear again today, so she slipped on her pink sweater and buttoned it up, relieved that it looked okay with her gray pleated skirt. She squared her shoulders, smoothed down her long hair, and opened the door. For a moment she felt a surge of something, not fear precisely, but not relief either, and she scanned the office, thankful that both Julie and Portia were off in the stacks, probably helping students. Walking through the clutter, she stopped at Julie’s desk and watched her screen saver for a few seconds. Various photos of Duncan Green in all his rock star glory faded in and out of view on the monitor. He was lovely, she mused, looking at his long, wavy hair and brown eyes, usually lined with some smoky makeup, every woman’s dream bad boy right there. In a few of the shots, the more casual photographs, she noticed another man standing behind him, holding what looked like papers in his leather-cuffed wrists. His hair was shorter, and his green eyes practically leapt from the picture, making Emma’s heart pound before the screen saver blinked another photo of Duncan into view. Emma had no idea who he was, but she knew he was the other man in her dream. She bumped the desk and the screen saver winked off. If only she could turn off her brain as easily.

Emma had more flashbacks throughout the rest of the day. Random bursts of vision and sound, none lasting long enough to pin down, but long enough to make her head start to pound instead of ache. She saw crowds and Duncan’s hands signing photos and pieces of paper. It was as if she was in his head, but just when she’d figure out that the point of view was Duncan’s, the hallucination would snap away and she’d be looking at him. She could hardly wait until school was done for the day so she could go home and crawl under the covers of her bed. She’d taken ibuprofen, but it didn’t do a thing to relieve the pain behind her eyes. At lunchtime, she hid in the library office, eating her sandwich alone while the visions flew past her closed eyes. She wondered if she was going crazy. She thought at first that maybe she just hadn’t slept well, but she’d never hallucinated before. By four o’clock, she was almost crying from the stress. She’d spent the afternoon dodging questions from Julie and Portia. She didn’t feel like trying to explain what was wrong when she didn’t understand herself what was happening.

After the last bell, she was finally able to escape, for once not lugging anything home with her to work on in the evening. She worried about driving, hoping none of the episodes would happen on the way home, but luckily the drive home was uneventful. She pulled into her short driveway, waved to her neighbor, and went into her small house, grateful to be home. She prepared a quick dinner, ate it standing up at the kitchen counter, then stripped and fell into bed, desperate for sleep. She dropped off right away, slipping into a heavy sleep despite the early hour.

The next thing she knew, it was dark and she was sitting up in bed, heart pounding. She flicked on the small bedside light and tried to calm herself, blindly looking around at her soothing cream walls and pale yellow curtains. The streetlight outside filtered through the soft fabric, twinkling in the darkness of her room. She didn’t feel rested at all.

When she closed her eyes, she remembered every dream as though it were real—Duncan growing up, having a hard time with his weight as a child until high school, teaching himself how to play guitar, losing the weight and realizing he could sing. She knew the exact moment he figured out he was bisexual and his very quiet experimentation during the one year he attended college until he dropped out to pursue his music career. She followed every step of his life from childhood to adulthood—his first record contract, the wild success of his first album, the two Grammys he won, and subsequent critical acclaim for his second album. She could sing every song on the new album, the one he was touring for now with his best friend and assistant, Jake Mackenzie. The memories weren’t sharp, not like her own. She knew the broad outlines of his life, but not the details that made them real. They felt like the memories learned in conversation with a friend.

She grasped the blanket closer to her chest, trying not to hyperventilate as she suddenly realized that she knew Jake, too. She knew the two men grew up together, and she knew that Jake was straight and had his heart broken by his high school girlfriend his second year of college. That was why he’d dropped out and finally taken the job Duncan had offered—manager, assistant, co-writer. She knew that he had an incredible laugh. He could play piano, and he’d helped create every single one of Duncan’s songs, though he refused to play onstage. She knew that they’d both grown up in New Jersey but that they lived in Brooklyn now, sharing a townhouse. Emma realized that she was crying because she felt like she knew the two men in her dreams as if they were her best friends, and that was so wrong. That was crazy and twisted, and she was obviously losing her mind, crying into her sheets in the middle of the night over two guys that she’d never even met. She sniffed and rubbed her nose, willing herself to stop it. She looked at her hands, vaguely surprised to find them so small and feminine after feeling guitar strings and piano keys under her fingertips for the past few hours. She couldn’t play an instrument if you paid her a million dollars. What was happening to her?

Emma threw back the covers and groped for her robe, suddenly realizing that she was nude. In her rush to get to bed, she’d just pulled off her clothes and crawled under the covers. She blushed, mildly embarrassed. She never slept naked. But Jake did, she thought then blushed again. Duncan wore boxers to bed, a result of growing up with two sisters. Jake was an only child. And with that thought, Emma nearly started crying again, because really, she must be insane. There was no way she could know these things. Her brain was making this shit up. She padded to the bathroom and rinsed her face then made her way to the living room. She flicked on the TV and sank into her couch, not surprised to find a rerun of her favorite late show on, even though it was two in the morning. What did surprise her was how familiar the stage and audience looked as the camera panned across the stage. Her heart began knocking against her ribcage. That was the same stage she’d dreamed about! When the camera zoomed in on the host, he held up a CD, Duncan’s new one. Emma laughed shortly and dropped her face in her hands. When she looked up again, she wasn’t at all startled to see Duncan playing the guitar. She knew every note of that song by heart. The strange thing was that she knew exactly when he would change up the melody for this particular performance, holding certain notes longer and others shorter than the version on the CD. She sighed and settled onto the couch, willing herself to relax. If she couldn’t stop the dreams, she may as well enjoy the music.

* * * *

“Man, I hate it when our flight lands in the middle of the night,” Duncan complained, running his hands through his hair. He and Jake were in the car Jake had arranged to take them home to Brooklyn from the JFK airport after taping a late show in LA earlier that day. Jake slumped down on the seat across from Duncan, trying not to fall asleep. His friend looked exhausted, and Duncan worried about him.

“Yeah,” Jake grunted, not opening his eyes. “And this damn headache is driving me crazy.”

“My head still hurts, too,” Duncan said, rubbing his temples. “And even though I slept a little on the plane, I had the weirdest dreams.”

“You too? I dreamed about this woman, I think she was a high school librarian. I haven’t thought about high school in years, and here I am dreaming about a teacher. She seemed so lonely.” Jake laughed. “Reminds me of that old Adam Ant video.” He grinned at his friend, but Duncan couldn’t bring himself to smile back.

“Wait, what? I dreamed about a teacher, too. I even know her name, Emma Bell.” Duncan frowned as Jake looked at him in disbelief. “What?”

“That’s the name of the woman I dreamed about.” Jake scratched his head. “Did we ever meet someone named Emma?”

Duncan shrugged. “No, not that I can remember, but you know how many fans I’ve met the past eight years? There’s no way I could remember all of them.”

“Well, even if you could remember someone named Emma, why would we both dream about her at the same time?”

Duncan shook his head, feeling his headache intensify. “What did she look like?” Jake smirked, and Duncan rolled his eyes. “Yeah, I know what she looked like to me. I want to know what she looked like in your dream.”

“She had long, wavy brown hair. And the most gorgeous hazel eyes I’ve ever seen. And she was curvy.” Jake rubbed his face. “She was really pretty. I dreamed about when she was a kid. Saw how she went to college after—” Jake broke off, seeing Duncan nodding.

“Yeah, that’s what she looked like in my dream, too. And her brother died. That’s when she went to school.” Duncan yawned and blinked his eyes, trying to focus. “What the hell is going on? Dreaming about the same woman? That’s just weird.”

“Yeah.” Jake closed his eyes again and slumped down. “I’m going to nap until we get home. Then I’m going to crash for two days, and then we’re going to do the concert at the Garden, and we’re gonna laugh about this. Because it can’t possibly be real.” He smiled as he folded his hands over his abdomen. “We are obviously still asleep and I’m dreaming up this entire scenario because of the profound lack of sex in my life this past year.”

Duncan laughed and very carefully did not look at the way Jake’s tight jeans displayed his slim hips. He also refused to notice Jake’s taut stomach and graceful hands. He had a lot of practice ignoring his attraction to Jake, and he wasn’t going to screw up now. “Okay, I’m game. If you think you’re dreaming, then we’ll see if either of us remember this tomorrow,” Duncan said fondly, eyes lingering on Jake’s relaxed smile as the car took them closer to home.