Thursday, September 13, 2012

Sweet, Sexy, Scorching Giveaway Hop - Juniper Bell

Hi, I’m Juniper Bell. Here’s a little about me: I live in a cabin in Alaska, eleven miles from the nearest town. My sweetie and I are building a home here, which we hope will someday have running water. For now, the spectacular views of glaciers, the peace, the pure air, and the occasional visiting moose will have to do. I’ve been writing erotic romances ever since I left my high-stress life as a TV writer in Los Angeles. Quite a transformation …
… and that’s what I like to write about. Transformation. Those turning-points in life that bring out the deep secrets we hold inside.  Finding bliss by transcending the limits we’ve placed on ourselves. Freeing our true selves to be wilder, braver, more joyful. Everyone has a journey, and I write about those moments when the path takes an unexpected turn into sensual discovery. I believe magic happens when you open your soul and let sensuality transform you.
When my sweetie and I need a break from the frozen North, we go to the Big Island of Hawaii, where we’re building a cabin that we hope will someday have electricity. For now, the beautiful views of papaya fields, the peace, the sweet tropical breezes, and the occasional visiting mosquito will have to do.
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For Annie Swenson, only one cure works better than psychotherapy…

Annie’s afraid of heights, she’s afraid of crowds, and she’s not too crazy about flying. When her therapist orders her to take a vacation, she picks a remote island in the Bahamas where she can hide away. Mortified to find she’s the only single woman at the resort, she pretends the handsome stranger behind her in the buffet line is her boyfriend. He goes along with the charade…for a price!


Chapter One
“What is this, an ultimatum?” Annie Swenson felt the familiar giant’s fist of panic close around her throat. Her therapist, her rock, her savior for the past ten years was, more or less, threatening her.
“I suppose you could think of it that way. Or you could see it as doctor’s orders. It won’t kill you, trust me.” Dr. Stein rubbed his forehead wearily. Annie guessed she wasn’t his easiest patient. Still ... a vacation? Didn’t he understand the stress involved in a vacation?
“I’m afraid of crowds, I’m afraid of heights, I’m afraid of snow, and I’m not too crazy about flying. Where am I supposed to go?” She clutched the seat of her chair.
“You’ve been making progress with your fear of water. You went swimming the other day. I suggest the beach.”
“The beach?” She squawked. “Where other people might see me?”
“A secluded beach.”
“Where am I going to find a secluded beach in the greater New York metropolitan area?” Annie pulled at one of her thick, dark curls, one of her many nervous gestures. Left alone, it would fly in a million crazy directions, much like her thoughts. De-frizzing products worked on her hair, and therapy was supposed to work on her nutty brain. Right now, she was experiencing a few doubts.
“I suggest you look farther afield. I’ve heard nice things about the Bahamas. Now Annie, our time is almost up. I’ll see you again in a month, and I sincerely hope to hear a good report from you about your relaxing, rejuvenating vacation. Don’t forget: no cell phone, no computer. No work.”
Was it okay to hate her therapist? Annie brooded as she hailed a cab on 57th Street. A vacation--easy for him to say with his devoted, sweater-knitting, jam-making wife. He didn’t know how hard it was for a bundle of neuroses like her just to get through an ordinary day. She’d made progress with her various phobias, although subways, malls and mountains were still out of the question. Nevertheless, she still hadn’t made a dent in the worst problem of all: her crippling self-consciousness. When anyone looked at her, it felt like spiders on her skin. Even when no one was looking at her, she secretly believed someone was. She lived in New York and wore black so no one would look at her twice.
So why, she wondered, did she keep having those dreams? She wanted to talk to Dr. Stein about them, but they were too ... embarrassing. How could you tell your gray-haired, professor-like therapist that your recurring dreams involved standing naked in a golden basin while turban-wearing slaves rubbed your body with fragrant oil?
The dreams took place in some kind of Arabian harem: intricately tiled walls, orange trees in pots, and the tinkling sound of a fountain. A tray with several crystal finger bowls filled with oil rested on a nearby bench. The two slaves, bronze-skinned and muscular, mute and expressionless, smoothed oil onto every inch of her nude body. They worked in tandem, one on her right, the other on her left. Kneading and smoothing, they worked their way down her thighs, front and back. In a rough, businesslike manner, they caressed her knees and traveled down her calves until they reached her feet.
They rubbed oil into her toes and the soles of her feet, making her shiver. Her reaction made them stop and give her displeased looks. She stilled herself, and they moved to her hips. With deep, probing strokes, they massaged the oil into her lower belly, the curve of her hips, and her navel. When she couldn’t suppress another shiver, one of the slaves gave a guttural growl and moved behind her. He took both her arms and held them tightly behind her back so her spine arched. This made her breasts stand out against her lithe torso. Looking down, she saw her nipples already erect from excitement.
The second slave dipped his hands into a different finger bowl, came to her front and took her nipples into his hands. Surrounding them with his fingers, he rubbed thick liquid deep into the sensitive skin, pulling and squeezing, twisting and pressing with his thumbs. Her nipples responded immediately and grew ripe and thick. She could feel a thrilling tug deep within her body, and her hips moved against empty air. The man behind her tightened his grip, which made her breasts protrude even further.
As the oil soaked in, the most extraordinary tingling began. Her poor, aroused nipples were burning; they were bursting out of her skin. Something was in that oil, something she’d never felt before, something that was taking her into a feverish state of excitement. Despite the man’s almost painful grip on her arms, she couldn’t stop her body from writhing in need. Please, she tried to say, but realized her mouth was covered with a silky cloth, and no one could hear her. Please, she begged anyway, the words coming as frantic moans. Please touch me! Anyone, everyone, touch me, touch my nipples, suck them until they burst with pleasure. Touch me down there, where I’m spreading my legs for anyone who cares. Please...
Then the man working in front left her nipples, which were throbbing and swollen to twice the size of black cherries. Thank you, she nearly wept, thank you, as he spread her legs open with one massive hand, and dipped his other hand into the bowl. He carefully anointed her swollen, begging clitoris with the oil, and she threw her head back against the man behind her, waiting for the rocket of release. The burning began, and her hips bucked against the man’s hand, she could feel the sweet joy just beyond, and then...
The rough hand was gone. There was nothing for her aching clitoris to rub against, and when she tried to bring her thighs together, strong hands held them apart.
No, she cried silently, no! She bucked and twisted in the men’s arms, shamelessly craving a hand, a thigh, a hard cock, anything. The shocking sound of applause made her eyes fly open. The Sultan and his court were watching her avidly. Mindless with excitement, she didn’t care who saw her. She just wanted release from the delicious agony. With the slow, masterful grace of a dancer, she undulated her body, offering herself, her swollen breasts and her dripping sex, to the Sultan. Eyes burning, he got to his feet and strode toward her.
At that point, she would wake up, hot and unsatisfied, red-faced with shame. In real life, such a scenario would be her worst nightmare. So why were the dreams so arousing? And, how could she tell Dr Stein about them? Impossible. Even going on a vacation would be easier than revealing that particular secret.

* * * *

Luck was with her. The taxicab was relatively clean, the lobby of her building was empty, and she was the only person in the elevator. Safely inside her orderly studio apartment, she breathed a deep sigh of relief, hung her coat on its padded hanger, and placed her shoes back in their shoebox. All her shoes were black, like her clothes. Maybe she could find a secluded beach where everyone wore black. She’d have to buy a swimming suit, and a hat for the sun, and... She shuddered as the demands of a potential vacation piled up.
Why couldn’t she just vacation in the seclusion of her own home? Her apartment was decorated more or less like a spa, in soothing shades of green. Green was her favorite color, the only color that made her relax. She had a jade green couch, and a heather green armchair, and most importantly, dull green window shades that blocked out any prying eyes. Green was the color of her own eyes, if silvery gray with little chips like spring grass could be considered green. Annie approved of her eyes, even though black didn’t exactly flatter them. In another life, she would wear makeup that brought out her eyes, and maybe the men would notice. In this life, she preferred that men keep a safe distance.
She adjusted the throw over the back of her couch, and double-checked her TiVo settings. Would Dr. Stein consider a week off to catch up on Grey’s Anatomy a vacation? Of course he wouldn’t. He’d made himself perfectly clear: vacation, or else. She would have to come up with something.
In her kitchen, with its sage green walls and stark white appliances, she made herself a salad. She remembered she’d turned her cell phone off during her session. Her boss hated not being able to reach her, and she wasn’t surprised to find an angry message. “Annie, did you sample this case of mineral water for the green room? It has a metallic taste, and Miss Prima Donna’s gonna freak when she tastes it. Fix, please!” Annie worked for an event planner. Their current project was a premiere party for the newest action blockbuster, starring ‘Miss Prima Donna,’ who had a million ridiculous demands. The job required her to be obsessively detail-oriented, freakishly responsible, and willing to let other people’s egos trample all over her. No wonder she was so good at it, thought Annie. Fix, please! The familiar phrase made her shudder.
Right after the premiere, Annie had a lull in her schedule. It could be a good time for a vacation. God, was she really considering this? She carefully set her salad down on the coffee table and pulled her laptop from her briefcase. When she Googled “beaches Bahamas,” so many choices popped up that she slammed the laptop shut again. Silly, she lectured herself, people go to the Bahamas every day. So many people. Hordes of people. People in bikinis, in sarongs, in couples, in groups, with their families... She felt like she was choking.
Breathe in, breathe out, in, out, the way Dr. Stein taught her. When the panic subsided, Annie opened the laptop again. This time she typed “secluded beaches Bahamas.” For good luck, she added the word “green.”

* * * *

Two weeks later, stuffed with Xanax, Annie stepped off a tiny plane onto the tarmac on Cat Island, home of the Greentree Resort. Cat Island, she’d learned, was one of the “out” islands, remote and barely developed. The airport was little more than a shack with a tin roof and a broken ceiling fan.
“First time in de Bahamas?” asked the customs lady with a lilting accent.
“First time anywhere. Can you direct me to the rental car agency?”
The woman stamped her virgin passport. “Dey wait outside.”
Annie found her bag and wheeled it outside to what was apparently the parking lot, a gravel expanse with no pavement or white lines. The bright sunshine made her wince. She felt so exposed, with no tall buildings to filter the sun. Very few buildings of any kind were in sight, and half of those seemed to be in shambles or abandoned in mid-construction. She fumbled for her big black sunglasses. Where was her sun block? She’d need SPF 100 to protect her from that vicious sun. What kind of place was this, with the dusty roads and fallen-down buildings?
She didn’t see anything that looked like a car rental agency. Under the shade of some coconut palms, a hefty woman in a purple shirt stood guard over an ancient Toyota. Clearly, the woman was unaware that falling coconuts killed more people every year than sharks did. Annie wheeled her suitcase across the dusty gravel. She stopped a good distance away.
“I’m looking for the car rental agency,” she called.
“Okay.” The purple-shirted woman opened the back door of the Toyota.
“Okay what?”
“I rent dis car to you. We drive to my brother’s, you drop me off. My name is Sheila. You take de car, how long?”
“But, but...” That was it? What about the insurance? What about the inspection to make sure she didn’t get blamed for old scratches and dents? Sheila folded her arms. “Okay,” said Annie weakly. At least she’d have a car.
Sheila got behind the wheel, and Annie sat in the back, her bag at her feet. They left the parking lot just as a pickup truck drove in. As the two vehicles closed in on each other, Annie screeched and dove for the door handle. She flung herself out of the Toyota, which stopped abruptly.
“You crazy, lady?” yelled Sheila.
“You nearly got us killed! You were driving on the wrong side!” Annie sat up and brushed dirt off her black Capri pants.
“Here, is right side. Get in, lady. I got to get to my brother’s. This time you drive. You got to learn.”
The pickup had also stopped, and a man leaned out the window. Annie couldn’t see his face, just his arm resting on the door. It was strong and tan, with little blond hairs glinting in the sun, “Sheila girl, you all right?” He spoke with a slight accent, Australian or something.
“I’m all right. The lady, she crazy.”
“I’m not crazy,” protested Annie, getting to her feet. Now she saw the man’s head: thick blond hair, an easy smile, sunglasses tilted up, amusement in his deep gray eyes. He gave her a slow, thorough, up-and-down scan, and his smile broadened.
“That’s okay. Crazy suits you.”
He dropped the sunglasses back onto his nose. Mouth agape, she stared after the truck. He’d checked her out. Blatantly, obviously. And, it hadn’t bothered her at all. No spiders had crawled on her skin. Meekly, she got back into the Toyota.

* * * *

After five minutes and two near-death experiences--one involving a panicked chicken and the other, some kids playing basketball in the road--Annie and Sheila agreed that renting the car was not the way to go. Who knew it would be so hard to drive on the other side of the street? Sheila drove her to the Greentree Resort, which was at the end of a long, unpaved road lined with scrubby cedar trees and coconut palms. “You call if you need a taxi, okay? Greta, she know de number.”
“Okay,” said Annie humbly. Dr. Stein, she said silently, if I survive this trip, I’m going to kill you. No bellhop waited to unload her bags, so she trundled them into the lobby herself. A stick-thin, leathery-tan woman with bleached hair and electric blue eyes greeted her at the desk.
“Annie Swenson? You haf a gut flight? I am Greta. Velcome to Greentree,” she chirped with a strong German accent.
“Thanks,” said Annie, dazedly. Greta must be about seventy, but she was wearing a skimpy tank top and no bra. Wasn’t the woman embarrassed? She averted her eyes.
Greta beamed at her. “You haf vonderful time, I guarantee. Ve eat dinner at seven. You rest until then.”
“I think I vill ... I mean, will,” said Annie.
Greta took her by the hand. “I show you now your home in paradise!” Annie felt like a child being led around by her grandmother, who just happened to be half-naked. She followed Greta through the pretty courtyard, which was filled with red hibiscus shrubs. Giant conch shells lined the gravel paths. Side-by-side bungalows surrounded the courtyard.
“Ist beautiful, no?” murmured Greta, as she flung open the door to one of the bungalows.
Beyond the rickety, bamboo bed, out the smudged back door, was a shimmering blue mirage. Annie blinked, expecting it to disappear. When she opened her eyes again, it was still there. No more than fifty yards away, the Caribbean glimmered and danced behind the coconut palms. Panic flooded her.
“The ocean is right outside! Is that safe? What about floods?”
“Hurricane season ist later.” Greta strode through the tiny bungalow and opened the door, which led onto a small concrete patio. “I leaf open for now, so you enjoy fresh air. At dark, you close, keep out mosquitoes.”
Mesmerized by the view of the ocean, Annie barely heard. Those sparkling blue waves seemed to call to her. Annie, Annie, come out and play... Annie shook off the absurd fantasy. She pulled out her cell phone. No matter what Dr. Stein said, she needed to check her messages.
Greta gave a chirping laugh. “No cell phone towers on Cat Island.”
“We haf satellite phone, sometimes ist gut, depending on weather.”
She’d just have to check her email then. “What about wi-fi?”
“We haf internet, also from satellite. Depends on weather. See you at seven! Tonight, we serve bratwurst!”
“But I don’t eat...” Greta’s tan legs disappeared out the door. “Processed meat products...” Annie finished lamely. It didn’t matter. She’d brought a supply of Power Bars for just such a crisis.
She eyed the bed, with its worn bedspread. Luckily, she’d brought her own sheets and pillowcases with her. She unpacked them and made up the bed. When she got in, the familiar smell of her own cotton sheets nearly made her cry. She was at the end of the world, in a strange land where everything looked and sounded completely different. With no sirens and no loud voices in the streets, how was she supposed to sleep?
Outside, a gust of wind made the palm fronds clatter. The sound was like crabs skittering across a tile floor. Earplugs, she remembered and dug them out of her bag. No way was she going out there. No way was she eating bratwurst. She’d stay right here in her room, wrapped in her own sheets, ears plugged, nibbling a Power Bar and Dr. Stein couldn’t do anything about it.

Annie's choice is simple: reveal her sham, or take part in her mysterious new "boyfriend's" sexy, boundary-pushing games. Life will never be the same after her sizzling encounter with "The Extremist.”

Juniper is offering up to one lucky winner the choice of two books from her backlist.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. What an intriguing backlist this is!


  2. Annie is in for such a luscious treat.

    caity_mack at yahoo dot com

  3. Wouuuw!!! thanks for the excerpt
    its definitelly sexy as hell
    thanks ^^


  4. Thanks for the awesome hop and giveaways! This is so much fun! Thank you!

  5. this is awesome giveaway and thank for the except,,,cant wait to read..

    icha09 at gmail dot com