Charlotte McClain

Charlotte McClain
Published by Lyrical Press

Three Alarm Tenant: Arden FD #1

The death of her police officer fiancé left Katherine Pelham with a house she couldn’t afford. To avoid bankruptcy, she decides to rent out the first floor. The very moment she is hammering the For Rent sign into the front yard a truck drives past.

Then turns around and comes back. The man who climbs out asking to see the apartment makes Katherine jittery in ways she’d forgotten. Could this be a sign her luck is changing?

Jack Connelly needs a new place to stay. He’s rescued a dog and his lease says no pets. The apartment is great. The landlady, even better.

Can Katherine overcome her fear of losing the love of her life to his job again? Or will Jack have to quit the department to have the woman of his dreams?


The lights in her classroom flickered and buzzed when she switched them on. Jack paused in the doorway to let his eyes adjust.

Going directly to her desk, she opened a drawer. With one hand she sifted through it, while pulling out her hair clip with the other. Jack watched her hair uncoil over her shoulders. So strong and confident on steady ground. He wanted to be her steady ground and he didn’t want to wait for her to make up her mind, he wanted to convince her.

Jack didn’t remember moving forward, only realizing he had when she turned as he put his hand on her shoulder. He traced his thumb along her jaw delighting in the silky feel of her skin. Her pulse raced under his fingers.

“Remember where we are,” she whispered.

“I remember.” He leaned down and brushed his lips against hers. When he slipped his arm around her back, her body curved against him, warm and welcoming. Her eyes opened, deep and dark in the glare of the classroom fluorescent. She drew a quick shallow breath between her parted lips, her heartbeat matching his.

“I thought we were friends.”

“We are friends. We’re very good friends.” Jack curved his hand around the back of her neck, tangling his fingers in her long loose hair.

“Who do you think you are? Harrison Ford?”

He leaned down and kissed her again. Her warm mouth tasted like the punch she’d drunk at the dance. A deep rumble, almost a purr, started in her chest as he teased her lips open to drink more deeply. Caressing the deep curve of her back, he pulled her soft form tight against him. Every part of her molded to him the way he’d dreamed. Her light perfume surrounded them, reaching into his mind and clouding his thoughts. As he stroked his fingers through her silken hair, she shivered. Her arms wrapped around his shoulders tugging him closer, and lifting herself up to her toes. The heels of her shoes clacked against the tile as they slid off. Jack lifted his mouth from hers and kissed the corners of her lips. She had to understand now. They fit together. There was no need to fight this any longer. Didn’t she know she was the perfect answer to all his questions?

“Jack,” she whispered. She blinked, disoriented. Turning her head, she drew a deep breath and jumped backward out of his arms.

She slipped out of one shoe and landed badly on the other, twisting her foot. Jack grabbed her elbow as she seized on the chalk tray to balance herself. “Randy! What are you doing there?”

Spark of Desire: Arden FD #2

Spark of Desire Cover
Published by Lyrical Press

When she turns thirty, Jessica realizes time is running out if she wants to pursue her dream of being a firefighter and paramedic. Kevin offers her the opportunity to make her dream a reality, but both are unprepared for the flames of desire their meeting ignites.

But what’s with Kevin? He flirts with her, then pushes her away. Not that she needs the complication of starting a new job with a reputation anyway. Jessica decides she’ll just concentrate on her training instead of the dreamy guy who can’t make up his mind.

Friends complicate the matter even further,  wreaking havoc on Jessica’s plans to stay focused solely on her goal. As Jessica’s tests approach, she and Kevin must come to terms with their burgeoning love for each other. Will circumstances snuff their chances for happiness?

Unedited excerpt:

He stalked to the hall and walked through the door that had been closed when he first arrived before realizing it was her bedroom. In the far corner sat her bed, shoved against the wall. With its high head and footboards, it seemed to have walls of its own. Covered with an Indian-patterned purple satin spread, it made a passionate cocoon he wouldn’t be able to forget soon. She stood in front of a dresser with a cake on it. It didn’t say anything, but it must be his birthday cake.

“Did you want something or did you just want to admire your naked cake?” she asked. Her voice didn’t sound sarcastic, rather it was pleasantly teasing.

His hands started to sweat when she said naked. “We are not a couple,” he said.

“I noticed.” She picked up the cake. “Anything else?”

He stared at her. I noticed? What kind of a response was that? He hadn’t considered what kind of response he was hoping for, but bland acceptance wasn’t it. She could be a little more heartbroken. A little upset. Some kind of emotion. Unless she really didn’t care. Damn, was he the only one who felt some kind of connection here?

She shifted the cake in her arms. “Can you move so I can take this to the kitchen and write on it? For a guy who wants a short party, you don’t seem to be interested in expediting the process.”

He stepped back, and she walked past him, carrying the cake to the kitchen. He followed. Bobbie needed to explain herself. She’d made it sound like Jessica had been telling everyone they were involved, but Jessica didn’t act like she’d ever considered the notion. So what did Bobbie mean? And why did he feel so let down? “What do you mean, you noticed?” he asked.

“Kevin, you have made it abundantly clear that you wish you’d never offered to help me.” She put the cake on the tiny counter and turned to take a bag of frosting out of the refrigerator.

“Is Happy Birthday Kevin all right with you, or do you have a special request that isn’t more than
seven words long?”

“What makes you think I don’t want to train you?”

“That is ten words and won’t look good on the cake, so Happy Birthday Kevin it is.” She leaned over the cake, squeezing frosting through the plastic tip. Her hair fell across her cheek, hiding her expression from him.

“You didn’t answer the question.”

“I didn’t want to.” Her voice sounded tight, like she might be fighting tears.

The thought of her in tears alarmed him. He’d seen her push herself past where a lot of guys gave up and didn’t like to think what it took to make her cry. However, this was more the response he’d hoped for. Tears meant she wasn’t completely ignorant of him, so she must feel some kind of attraction too. “Then why did you put so much work into this party if you think I don’t want to train you?”

“Because I like to give parties and because you are training me. Even though you don’t want to.” She paused halfway through writing Birthday because she’d made an h that looked more like a b. “You want this?” She scraped the frosting off the knife and held out the crumpled h on the tip of her finger. For an instant he considered licking it off and shook his head before thought managed to translate to action.

“Your loss.” She licked the frosting off her finger, leaving a smear of green on her lips.

Kevin forced himself to look away. This whole conversation was taking too long, and there was a yard full of guys who would ride him mercilessly if they noticed. Still, he didn’t want to leave her right now. She still sounded upset and it had to be his fault. Plus, he hadn’t thanked her for the party yet. Getting a look at where she lived hadn’t cooled his desire at all. She had an apartment so
welcoming and comfortable he’d gladly move in tomorrow. Everyone said she was a great cook and none of those guys would lie to be nice. She planned a party tailored for him and she used that cake decorator like a professional. “You’re really good with that,” he commented.

She barked a laugh. “It’s all in the hands. You should see me dissect a frog. I’m a wonder.”

“It’s a really nice party. Thanks,” he said, trying again. “I guess it’s not all parties I hate, just the ones I get invited to.”

“I host a mean brunch, too.” She spelled out his name with sure, even strokes. “I even have my own melon baller.”

“I want you to know I appreciate it.”

She nodded and straightened. Reaching around, she put the frosting back in the refrigerator. As she licked frosting off her fingers she didn’t look teary or upset, but she had another green smudge on her cheek. “Just think, in six and a half weeks I’ll be out of your hair.” Her mouth quirked into a sarcastic smirk.

He stepped forward so quickly she jumped back a step, flattening herself against the wall. Her dark eyes went round, looking up at him in alarm. Grabbing her shoulders, he murmured, “You have no idea.” The frosting still on her lips sweetened the kiss. Her body curved against his as his hands slid down to her waist. Even after the workouts she wasn’t hard in all the wrong places. He
wrapped his arms around her waist, lifting her off the floor in his eagerness. Her hands grasped his shoulders, pulling him against her as her lips parted to his probing tongue. A soft moan escaped her, shivering through him. He tangled his fingers through her hair, luxuriating in its satin texture. His need for her was growing beyond his control. If he hadn’t wanted to be seen talking to her, he certainly couldn’t be caught having sex with her.

He stepped back as abruptly as he’d moved forward, leaving her leaning against the wall dazed and breathing through her open lips. Her cheeks were stained with a faint blush. “You can’t tell any of them about this,” he said trying to catch his own breath.

Struck by Lightening Charlotte McClain
Published by Lyrical Press
Sometimes a dream life is really a nightmare.
Rebecca has big plans. She’s going to be a famous artist, even if she has to sell her soul to do it. And so far, it’s working for her. She’s gaining notoriety in local art circles, but the “crap art” she’s selling makes her miserable. Ducking into the local fire station during a rainstorm, she finds the perfect way to distract herself–a hot firefighter with a big ego begging to be toyed with.
Dan would be the first to admit he has a big ego, but there’s something about Rebecca…
Hunting her down after that first kiss in the rain turns out to be the easy part. Making her happy might be impossible. But Dan is willing to do whatever it takes, including helping her buy back her soul.
Maybe it was the rain, maybe it was the uniform. Or maybe Rebecca and Dan were simply struck by lightning.
WARNING: Violent weather, workplace disasters, and life happening despite the best laid plans.
Dan climbed the stairs to Rebecca’s apartment two at a time. By the time he’d finished dealing with Daisy’s thirty-seven disasters du jour, dinnertime had come and gone. He’d called the gallery, but Bess said Rebecca had gone home. Her phone was busy, but old training took over and he bought flowers at a gas station. The door whipped open before he knocked. Rebecca looked wild-eyed.
“Good, you’re here.” She presented a cheek.
Over her shoulder, Dan saw an older couple standing beside the couch. The man had black hair, threaded with gray and blue eyes that pierced him from across the room. The woman had curly brown hair and mild brown eyes, but shared Rebecca’s features. “Your parents are here?” he whispered as he bent to kiss her.
“You have no idea how happy I am to see you, hero. Play along and you’ll get a treat,” she whispered back. “Look, Dan brought flowers.” She plucked the flowers out of Dan’s hand and turned back to her parents, brandishing them. Gas-station flowers. If he’d known her parents were here, he’d have at least stopped at the grocery store.
“They’re lovely,” Rebecca’s mother said.
“Dan, this is my mother Maria and my father Lee.” Rebecca laced her arm through his, pulling him into the room.
Dan forced his feet forward. They wanted to go in the opposite direction. He wouldn’t have minded adding some screaming to that run either. Lee’s forbidding expression didn’t help. He thrust out his hand. “Nice to meet you.”
“Rebecca didn’t tell us she was dating anyone,” Lee said. It sounded like an accusation.
“We just started going out,” Rebecca shot back. “Didn’t we?”
Dan clenched his teeth. Technically, they hadn’t been out at all. “Yes, just started going out. I didn’t know you were going to be here.” If he wasn’t positive she hadn’t tricked him into meeting her parents, he would wonder, but there was no way she’d engineered this and she looked just as nervous as he felt. She was trembling. Maybe her father scared the crap out of her too. Dan slid his arm around her shoulders. “If I’d known you were here, I would have gone home and changed my shirt. I was helping a friend today.”
“That’s all right. We wanted to surprise Rebecca.” Maria folded her hands, glancing from her husband to her daughter. “If we had known she had plans we wouldn’t have come today, but since you’re here we can take you both out to dinner and get to know you.”
Funny, he’d been hungry a few minutes ago. “I don’t want to interfere with your plans.”
Rebecca clamped down on his arm.
“Don’t worry about it.” Maria’s gaze bounced from father to daughter again like she was watching a tennis match. Funny, since they weren’t the ones talking. “It’ll be nice.”
“Come on. I’m hungry.” Lee started toward the door.
“We’ll be right behind you,” Rebecca sang. “I just have to get these flowers in some water.” She busied herself at the sink.
“What’s going on?” Dan asked when he judged her parents’ footsteps to be halfway down the stairs.
“My parents have come to try to talk me into moving back home and working in my uncle’s accounting firm. They think I’m living on ramen and cardboard. I’m sorry. I didn’t know they were coming. They were parked outside when I got home from the gallery.” She dropped the flowers into a glass and turned toward him. “Come on, hero. I really need your help.”

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