Breathe With Me

Breathe With Me

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

MERRY CHRISTMAS! The first two pages of chapter one of FIGHT WITH ME...

Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope you have read UNDER THE MISTLETOE WITH ME and read the bonus chapter at the end that was the prologue of FIGHT WITH ME in its entirety. If you haven't, you can buy it on Amazon here .  As a special Christmas treat, here are the first two pages of FIGHT WITH ME! This book releases on January 4th. :-)

Chapter One
Late Spring
I love my job. I love my job.  God, sometimes, I hate my job.  I read the terse email from my boss, Nathan McKenna once again and swallow hard.
Friday, April 26, 2013 13:56
From: Nathan McKenna
To: Julianne Montgomery
Subject:  Working Late
I need you to work late with me tonight, possibly into the weekend.  Please gather all the files on the Radcliffe account and meet me in my office at 6:00 pm.
Damn it!  For eight long months I’ve managed to steer clear of my boss, and I know I’ve been incredibly lucky that I haven’t had to work alone with him after-hours, but we recently lost the other junior partner in our department, and that leaves just me and Nate.
Large, beastly butterflies have taken up residence in my stomach.
Since that one night last summer, Nate and I have maintained a level of professionalism that I’m very proud of, despite the fact that whenever I see him I feel a pull of electricity that makes my thighs clench.  I did invite him to double-date with Nat and I on the night of one of Nat’s husband, Luke’s movie premieres, but I managed to keep that night completely platonic.
It almost killed me.
Since then, it’s been for the greater good of keeping a job that I enjoy that I steer clear of Mr. Sex-on-legs. 
Not that he’s been clamoring to get me back into bed.  The morning after The Best Sex In The History of Mankind, after I snuck out of his bed, he had been pissed.  He’d called and texted, wanting to know what the hell happened, and I’d avoided him like the plague for a good two weeks, telecommuting from home and taking vacation time.
Then, he just stopped.  All personal communication halted, and when we are together during business hours, he is the epitome of cool professionalism.
There are days that it pisses me the hell off.
And now, because the moron who had been in our department couldn’t take the demanding schedule of our job quit, I have to work alone with Nate.
I sit back in my chair and look at the time.  Five thirty.  I pull my glasses off and toss them on my desk and hang my head in my hands.  So much for spending the weekend with a pint of ice cream and a good book.
I can do this.  Pull it together, Montgomery.  I’ve posed naked in magazines.  I’ve had dinner with gazillionares and hung out with movie stars.  I have four older brothers who tease me incessantly, and taught me how to kick ass.
I can handle the sexiest man I’ve ever seen in my life for a few hours without ripping my clothes off and having my wicked way with him.
I think.
I pull myself together, check that all my calls and emails are set to forward to my iPhone, and go to the bathroom to prepare myself for this evening.
I’m happy with what I see in the mirror.  My long light blonde hair is still holding the loose curls I rolled into it this morning.  My makeup is subtle and professional, setting off my blue eyes.  I smooth on a fresh coat of nude lip gloss, straighten my simple cranberry-colored dress and skim my eyes over my slender figure.  I was blessed with excellent genetics.  I’m not as sexily curved as Natalie, but I was blessed with decent boobs, a perky ass, and a figure that got me onto the pages of Playboy magazine.  Three times.  I work out hard to maintain my shape.
Content with my reflection, I walk briskly in my black Louboutins to my office, gather the files Nate requested along with my phone and walk down the corridor to his office.  His personal assistant, Mrs. Glover, is sitting at her desk.  She’s an older woman with grey hair and shrewd brown eyes.  Her smile is deceiving.  She scares the hell out of me with her sharp efficiency and her crazy ability to anticipate Nate’s every move.
“Hello, Ms. Montgomery, you can go on in.”
“Thank you.” I nod at her and smile and head for his office, knocking twice and then opening the door.
“Come in, Julianne.  Thanks for staying.”  Nate looks up from his computer and nods, his face completely blank.
“Sure.”  Nate’s office is vast, with large-scale, dark office furniture.  The chairs sitting in front of his desk are plush, black leather.  There are shelves from the floor to ceiling with hundreds of books and files, meticulously in order, no doubt by the efficient Mrs. Glover.  Behind his desk are large windows with a view of the Space Needle and the Sound.
It’s beautiful.
I’m not sure Nate even pays attention to it.
I perch at the edge of one of the black chairs and set the files on Nate’s desk, expecting him to get right to the point.
“How are you?” he asks, his voice soft.
“Um… fine, thank you.”  What the hell?
“I’m sorry about the short notice.”  He leans forward and braces his elbows on his desk, lacing his fingers, and keeps steady eye-contact.  God, those gray eyes are distracting.  Almost as distracting as his hands, and the delicious way he…
“It’s part of the job.”  I open a file and try to pretend that my cheeks aren’t flushed.  “So, what’s up with this account?”
“How are Natalie and Luke?”
“They’re fine.”  I sit back in the chair now and eye him speculatively.  Why are we having a personal conversation? “Natalie is due in just a few weeks.”
“That’s great, good for them.”  Nate grins, that elusive, sexy, melt my panties grin and I find myself returning it.  His hair is pulled back off his face, as usual.  His chiseled jaw is freshly shaved, and he’s wearing a black suit with a black shirt and blue tie.  He never takes his jacket off to roll up the sleeves, and I briefly wonder why, then remind myself to get back to the conversation at hand.
“Yeah, they’re excited.  I’m hosting the baby shower next weekend.”
“I promise not to make you work next weekend,” he winks at me and I about fall out of my chair.
Who is this man, and what has he done with my boss?
“So, about the account?” I ask as Mrs. Glover knocks on the door.
“Dinner’s here, sir.”
“Thank you, Jenny, bring it in.”  Nate rises and takes two large bags out of Mrs. Glover’s hands.  “That’s all for today.  I’ll see you on Monday.”
“Have a good weekend, sir.  Ms. Montgomery.”  She nods to both of us and then exits the office, closing the door behind her.
“I had Chinese delivered.  I got you your usual.”  He smiles and resumes sitting in his chair, unloading bags.  He seems very happy with himself this evening, much more approachable and friendly than he has been since last summer.
What’s his game?
“Thank you,” I reply, realizing that I’m starving.  I load a plate with rice, sweet and sour chicken and egg rolls and we dig in, eating in silence for a few minutes.  I feel Nate’s eyes on me, so I decide to put my big girl panties on and just take the initiative.
“So, what’s up with this account?” I ask again and take a bite of chicken.
“I don’t have any idea, I just wanted to have dinner with you, and this is the only way I can see you.”
Holy fucking shit.
I stop chewing, my eyes wide, and I just stare at his perfectly sincere face.  “Excuse me?”
“You heard me.”
I frown and set my plate carefully on his desk.  “So, we’re not working on this account?”
“I don’t understand.”
Nate lays his chopsticks down, wipes his mouth with a napkin and sits back in his chair, watching me carefully.
“I just wanted to share dinner with you, Julianne.”
“Why?” And why does he insist on calling me Julianne?
He frowns again.  “Do I have to spell it out?”
“I guess so.”
“I like you.  I enjoy your company.”  He shrugs, looking lost and a bit insecure.  I’m so not used to seeing emotions on his beautiful face.
“But you’re my boss.”
“So, we could both be fired.”
“It’s just dinner, Julianne.”
“You’re not looking at me like you just want dinner, Nate.”
He cocks his head to the side and a smile kisses his lips.  “How am I looking at you?”
“Like you’d like to fuck me on this desk.”  Holy. Fuck!  Did I just say that?
Nate’s smile disappears and his eyes narrow.  “Watch your mouth.”
I swallow hard and blink rapidly.
“There are many places that I’d enjoy fucking you, including this desk, but right now, I simply want to enjoy a meal with you.”
“Watch your mouth.” I whisper and his smile is back.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Interview with Mikalo from MIKALO'S GRACE by Syndra K. Shaw!

So… guess what? I’m super excited to be sitting down today with an incredibly sweet and oh-so-sexy man. I’m really doing it for you, the readers. I know… so giving of me. So kind.

So unselfish.

I met Mikalo about a month ago, and I fell in love with him from page one. He’s incredibly handsome, intelligent, kind. A little broken. And he’s head-over-heals for his Ronan.

What’s not to love, right?

So, I spoke with Ronan (and Syndra) about chatting with Mikalo, and they both gave me the all-clear to flirt shamelessly and get him naked.

Err… I mean, to flirt shamelessly and undress him with my eyes.

Okay, they gave me permission to play nice and be professional.

*sly grin*

It truly is an honor to sit down with Mikalo today and pick his handsome brain.
Here is what he looks like today:
Right? Holy moses, he's hot.
Kristen:  Hello, Mikalo… thank you for meeting with me today. I know how busy you all are with the release of MIKALO’S GRACE today!
Mikalo: Ah, yes, my hope is that there will be many who will open their hearts to my story and the love I feel with Ronan.  And perhaps they will find a part of it sexy, no?
Kristen:  chuckles and takes a sip of coffee Oh yes, I’m sure they’ll find it sexy. I’m just going to jump into a few questions. Are you ready?
Mikalo:  I am here for you and I am waiting.  Do what you will.  I am yours.
***Note: when he says it like that, I see this:
***But no, he still looks like this:
Kristen:  I like the sound of that, handsome. Okay, first of all, I have to say I so loved how you and Ronan met. What was it about her that first drew you to her?
Mikalo:  Ah, first sight. And how to answer for the heart? It is not just her beauty because there are many who are beautiful, yes? It was her heart speaking to my heart and saying Hello. Even though a stranger, I listened to my heart and he said that, yes, you must speak with this woman and see if her heart his open to you. I think it is.
Kristen:  Ronan is a lucky woman, my friend. Smiles and winks. What do you most miss about Greece?
Mikalo:  This is most difficult because there is no one Greece to miss, no? There are many. But I adore you, my new friend, and you make my heart happy, so I will try. I miss the laughter of my people in the small cafes. I miss the bright sun warm on my body. I miss the sand under the foot. I miss the smell of the herbs that grow along the road outside the city. I miss ... do you see? There is much.
Kristen: Smiling dreamily, chin propped in her hand, enjoying Mikalo’s sexy accent. I adore you too.  Ahem… next question. What is your favorite vacation destination?
Mikalo: Thinking, takes a sip of coffee. Ah, vacation. It is nice to take the breath, yes? For me, there are many. But my heart smiles when I go to Paris. Like a boy, I close my eyes, spin in the circle, open, and then walk, not sure where I am going, letting my feet get lost. You always find something beautiful in Paris no matter where the eye sees.
Kristen: Do you consider yourself to be a romantic?
Mikalo: Chuckling I am alive, I am taking the breath, I see you and you are very pretty and we have the talk, so, yes, I am romantic, I think. When I join my father and my mother in heaven, perhaps then no. But now? Yes. Oh yes, I think.
Kristen: Grinning widely with a slight blush Oh, yes, I have to agree… you are a romantic. That’s just one of the qualities that the women are going to love about you. So, speaking of romance, what kind of music do you prefer making love to?
Mikalo: Leans toward Kristen as if about to tell her a secret.  If the woman likes the music, then there is music. It is her choice and I do not mind. But I very much like the song of her sighs and her whispers. The sound of her body talking to my body, her heart talking to my heart. For me, there is no sweeter music than her saying my name as we lie with each other as that moment of passion comes very close. That is my favorite music.
Kristen: Clears throat and winks. Romantic indeed. Okay, a lot of the readers out there are dying to know if you have any tattoos?
Mikalo:  Laughs and takes another sip of coffee before answering. Ah, no. No tattoos. There is a needle and Mikalo, he is not so happy with the needle. Like a small baby, he would need a candy or something to suck on to please him after the needle. So, perhaps there will be a day when there is a small tattoo. But no, not now.
Kristen: I think it’s safe to say that if you ever decide to indulge in some body art, I’ll be happy to hold your hand.
Mikalo: No, like a babe, I would want something in my mouth.  A small candy perhaps?  Or ... ?
Kristen: Oh, I’m quite sure we can come up with something to distract you. Pats his musclular shoulder. Okay, here in the U.S. we have something we call the “speed round” in interviews where I ask you quick questions and you answer with what ever comes to you. Are you game?
Mikalo: Yes, I am, how you say in the States, born ready?  We can go now, my Kristen.  I wait.
Kristen:  Okay, here we go:  Wine: sweet or dry?
Mikalo:  I do not know. My tongue, he will tell me what he wants to taste. It changes.
Kristen: Soup or salad?
Mikalo:  You cannot have both? I want both.
Kristen: Somehow, I knew you were going to say that. Summer or winter?
Mikalo: Smiling that sexy smile I like to not wear the clothes too much. My body, he prefers the sun in summer, I think.
Kristen:  Then I prefer summer too. Wink Favorite sexual position?
Mikalo: Sits back and rubs his long fingers over his mouth, eyes narrowed, thinking. Must one have a favorite? Like the weather, it can always change. I let the woman's body speak to my body and they decide what it is they would like. And we follow, discover the new pleasure in this different way. But if we are close and I am, how you say, inside, then there are no complaints. I am happy and she, she is happy, and together we find what is working for us in that moment. And then maybe we change it, no?
Kristen: Stunned. Blinks. Licks lips. Will you marry me?
Mikalo:  Laughs delightedly Your beauty is not mine to have, my wonderful friend. I think perhaps there is another who is to hold you close and shower you with the kisses. But perhaps it is not me? My heart, I think, he is only happy with one. It is the truth.
Kristen:  Sighs happily Who can resist a guy so in love with his lady? Okay, I won’t keep you further. Please give my love to Ronan, and thank her for loaning you to me today. It was a pleasure.
Mikalo:  The pleasure, it was mine.  To speak with a lady of beauty and talent and intelligence, it is a wonderful way to spend one's day.  Please, we will do it again soon, yes?
Kristen: Oh yes, we’ll do it again soon.
See?  The man is amazingly sweet and is just so… *sigh*.  Ronan is a lucky girl for sure! If you haven’t already purchased your copy, here are the links to Amazon, Smashwords and Barnes & Noble.
BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE! Leave a comment below to be entered into a drawing to win a copy of MIKALO’S GRACE! I will announce the winner tomorrow.
And Smashwords:

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

FIGHT WITH ME Cover Reveal and SNIPPET!!

Hello, lovelies! I am so excited to share this cover with you. This was designed by the very talented Rachel Marks (aka Ava Black)... and I just love it. Be sure to page down, because I'm also sharing a snippet from the book!!

And now for a snippet from FIGHT WITH ME, book two in the With Me In Seattle Series, releasing January 4, 2013....

“Are you happy?” Nate asks as he wraps his arms around my middle from behind and kisses my neck.

“It’s so beautiful.  Natalie will love it.”

He smiles against my neck. “You’re beautiful.”

I turn and gaze up at him, running my fingers through his soft black hair.  He’s wearing a gray button down, fitted shirt and black slacks. His sleeves are rolled up, giving me glimpses of that sexy tattoo.

I want to lick him.

“You don’t clean up so bad yourself, you know.”  I smile and brush his lips with mine.  “They’ll be here soon.  Are you ready for this?”

His smile fades as he sees the apprehension in my eyes.  “Yes.”

“They’re going to like you.  After they beat the crap out of you.”

That brings the smile back and he laughs.  “Why are they going to try to beat me up?”

“Because you’re a man, you’ve had your hands on me, and they love me.  And I think it has something to do with owning a penis.  It makes men want to beat the shit out of each other.  I’m thinking about doing research on it.” I shrug, trying to look nonchalant, but I’m really nervous.

Really. Nervous.

“Have they always beat up your boyfriends?” he asks.

“I’ve never given them an opportunity.”  I shrug again.  “I don’t bring men home to meet them.”

“Why not?” he runs his knuckles down my cheek.

“No one’s ever deserved to meet my family before.”

His eyes flare and his hold on me tightens.  “Julianne, I…”

“There you are!”  My mom bursts through the back door of the house and into the tent, her arms open for me. 

Gail Montgomery is a petite blond woman with a big heart and loud laugh.  She’s happy, kind, and I want to be her when I grow up.

“Hi, Mom!”  I pull out of Nate’s embrace and wrap my mom in a big hug.

“Your father and I pulled up at the same time as Will and Matt.  They drove together.”  She swings her eyes to Nate and smiles wide.

“Mom, this is Nate.”  I smile reassuringly at Nate, but he’s already kissing my mom’s hand and laying on the charm.

Why am I surprised?  This man charms people out of millions of their dollars every day.  He’s going to be fine with my family.

“Mrs. Montgomery, what a pleasure.”  My mom melts, and gets a gooey look on her face, and I can’t help but smirk.

“Well, hello Nate.  Please, call me Gail.”

“Why is it so fucking pink in here?” Will pushes his way into the tent his hands on his hips, glaring at me.

“Because, douche bag, Natalie is having a girl.” I punch him in the arm before I kiss his cheek. “I owe you,” I whisper.

He looks down at me with a frown.  “Huh?”

“I’ll explain later.  I have someone I want you to meet, and I want you to be nice.” 

Will isn’t really the one I’m all that worried about anyway.

“Will, this is Nate McKenna.”  I step back and bite my lip.  My brother is taller than Nate by a good three inches, and is wide-shouldered, muscled, and strong.  He’s a freaking football player for the love of Moses.

And we have the same genes, so he’s hot in a he’s-my-brother-and-he’s-gross-to-me-but-all-of-America-wants-to-bang-him kind of way.

It runs in our family.

“I enjoyed last season,” Nate states as he holds out his hand for Will to shake.  Oh, he’s good. 

“Yeah?  Why’s that?” Will asks and shakes his hand.

“Well, we kicked Green Bay’s ass, you didn’t get injured, and you helped me win a bunch of money during the playoffs. Next season looks promising.” Nate replies.

“He can stay,” Will declares and goes back inside to find food.

One brother down, three to go.

And my dad.

I need a drink.

Nate winks at me and slides his arm around my waist.  “Stop worrying,” he whispers.

“I’m not worried.” I lie.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


“We’re sitting in the back,” Isaac murmurs in my ear as we enter the movie theater. It’s a weeknight, so there aren’t many other movie-goers in the plush seats.

“I’m so not making out with you in a movie theater,” I mumble and hear him chuckle.

“Yes you will.”

“I’m not sixteen.”

I climb the steps to the top and we claim seats directly in the middle. We are in a theater that offers reclining leather loveseats rather than the typical theater seats. It’s new, and I swear to God, I’m never going to another run-of-the-mill theater ever again. Isaac raises the armrest, effectively converting the space into a cozy leather loveseat. We settle in and wait for the movie to start.

“I can’t believe you agreed to watch a chick flick,” I shove a handful of popcorn in my mouth and take a sip of soda.

“I don’t plan on watching much of it.”

“I’m not making out with you during the movie. I’ve been waiting for this movie to come out for weeks.”

“I’ll buy it for you on Blu Ray.” He shrugs and bites his hotdog almost in half.

“Then why did we spend almost fifty dollars to come to the movies?” I ask.

He grins at me and swallows. “Movie Makeout Date.”

“Excuse me?” I ask with a laugh.

“We’re on a date.”


“At the movies.”

“Okay.” I frown up at him and then immediately return his lazy smile. God I love it when he looks at me like that. His eyes are all happy and cocky.

“Where it’s dark.” He pulls me closer to his side and wraps his arm around me, resting his hand on my hip and whispers in my ear, “and no one can see me touch you.”

Holy shit, he just turned me on in a movie theater.

“How long have you had this little daydream?” I ask him dryly.

“Since I was about thirteen.”

I laugh and rest my head on his shoulder while I munch on my popcorn. A few more patrons file in and find seats, well below our perch in the back row.

The lights dim as the movie starts. After fifteen minutes, I set my popcorn tub on the floor, having had my fill, and lean back into my warm husband. He shifts in the wide seat until his back is against the armrest and he pulls me between his legs, wraps his arms protectively around my shoulders, and kisses my hair.

With a big sigh, I relax into him. The actors in the movie are passionately arguing, and then are suddenly kissing, just as passionately. Isaac’s hand roams from my shoulder blade down to my ass, where he gently rubs small circles around my derriere.

He’s not going to give up on his quest to make out.

He tips my chin up and brushes his lips across mine, so lightly I can barely feel it. It’s just a whisper of a kiss. His lips tickle the sides of my mouth, my jaw line. He gently kisses my nose. His hand sinks into my hair and he claims my mouth again, still with absolute gentleness.

I sigh against him, and open my lips for him, inviting him to take the kiss deeper, and he answers my invitation eagerly, dipping his tongue inside to play and tease mine, then nibbling my lips again. He pulls back and brushes my hair rhythmically with his fingers.

“Watch the movie,” he whispers.

Oh right, the movie.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

FIGHT WITH ME teaser 12/4/12

***Disclaimer: this is not a final draft, and may be edited or deleted prior to publication.

“Ready?” Nate asks, smiling down at me. We just stepped onto the sidewalk outside his building, which happens to be just a few blocks up from the market and waterfront. We’re going to walk down today.

He’s delicious in faded blue-jeans, black sweater and black leather jacket. The weather is still cold, although we’ve been blessed with a dry day today.

“Ready,” I confirm and he twines our fingers as we stride toward downtown at a casual pace.

“You look beautiful today,” he murmurs and kisses my hand. I’m also in blue-jeans, tucked in knee-high black boots, a gray t-shirt under a heavy red sweater, cinched with a thick black belt around my torso, and a black scarf wrapped around my neck.

“Thank you. So do you.” I lean my head on his shoulder, then kiss it, as we wait at a crosswalk. “So, what are we shopping for today?” I ask.

“Greens and veggies for a salad and fresh lobster.” He pulls our linked hands around to the small of my back and leads me across the street, watching for crazy drivers. I love how he protects me, and watches out for me, while still making me feel like we’re partners.

“Sounds delicious.”

“Anything you want to grab while we’re here?” he asks.

“Tiny donuts and Starbucks.” Pike’s Market boasts the very first Starbucks cafĂ© ever built, just across the street from the vendors. There is also a booth that serves delicious, fresh tiny donuts that melt in your mouth. They are both must-haves when I visit.

“Let’s do that first.” Nate’s hand tightens around mine as we descend the steep hill leading down to the Market.

When we reach the cobblestone street below, I take a deep breath and look around. This is the heart of Seattle. Business men and blue collar guys, families and couples, and people of all shapes and sizes and colors. There are musicians on the sidewalk, singing and playing instruments for change, and they are incredible, drawing quite a crowd.

I love the sights, sounds and smells.

“I’m so glad you suggested this.” I smile up at my handsome man. “I haven’t been down here in ages, and I love it.”

“Me too.” Nate kisses my forehead and leads me into Starbucks. We order our drinks and wander through the market, starting at the end with my tiny donuts, so we can munch on the hot, soft goodness while we wander.

“SALMON!” Someone yells, and a large gray salmon goes sailing through the air in front of us. A man in orange pants held up with brown suspenders catches the fish and throws it back to the guy in the same outfit behind the fish counter.

Nate and I smile at each other, and watch the fish throwing show for a few minutes, sipping our coffee and eating our tiny donuts, soaking up Seattle.

More fish sail back and forth, the men yelling and putting on a fun show. Nate and I pick out two large lobsters, and they are packaged in a box with a handle for easy carrying.

With his hands full of lobster and coffee, I push a bite of donut in his mouth and we continue through the market, winding through a sea of people. It’s impossible to shop at Pike’s Market in a hurry. There are too many people, especially on a weekend, even in winter.

Nate and I choose our salad veggies and he buys me a gorgeous bouquet of fresh flowers.

“Thank you, babe. These are lovely.” I bury my face in them and breathe in their sweet fragrance and smile up at him.

“Like you.” He kisses my nose, tosses his empty coffee cup in a nearby garbage, and presses his hand on the small of my back, leading me out of the Market and onto the sidewalk.

I look up and freeze. Fuck.

“What’s wrong?” Nate asks and follows my stare. “Shit,” he whispers.