If you like what you read you can buy the full book from the publisher's website in a variety of e-book formats including PDF or from Amazon.
Alternatively you can buy the entire 'Friends' series on Amazon in paperback.
Here's a review from a reader: "Wonderful book. Hate to see the series end."
FRIEND OR FOE
Friends and Acquaintances 3
Copyright © 2012
David quietly moved behind Gayle as she stood at the table, her floury hands kneading the bread dough. His arms slid around her waist, and he snuggled tightly up to her back. As he rocked back and forth suggestively, she could not fail to feel his erection against her back.
She giggled and continued what she was doing.
“Sweetheart, come to bed. It’s late,” he pleaded, moving one of his hands up to her breast covered in an old shirt of his, squeezing it in time with her kneading. “And besides which, I need you.”
He felt her relax back against him, and he widened his stance to hold them both steady as she stopped what she was doing for the moment, relishing the soft curve of her buttocks against him.
“And anyway, why are you making bread or whatever it is?” He glanced over to the clock. “At 1:00 a.m. in the morning?”
“I needed time to think about whether to take the job offer, and you know I think best when I am baking.” She finished what she was saying with a moan as his hand reached inside the shirt which she hadn’t fully buttoned up. It was his turn to start doing some kneading as he fondled her heavy breast lovingly, rolling her nipple between his finger and thumb as it hardened.
“You know this could become the new erotic scene and take over from the clay scene in that Ghost film,” he declared laughingly.
Gayle giggled and lifted her hands out of the dough. David’s other arm left her waist and, reaching up, he entwined his fingers through hers…
“God, I’ve always thought that was one of the least erotic film scenes ever conceived. How can anyone get turned on by it? I know the implication was that they were fondling a clay penis, but personally I think it’s just yucky,” Gina said out loud to the dog sitting by her feet.
She leaned back from her computer and reread what she had just written. Musing for a moment, she then looked down at the black-and-white springer spaniel who, when he noticed he had her attention, put his head on her leg.
“You’d enjoy this one, though. Anything to do with food is your idea of eroticism, isn’t it, boy?” He had already managed to open the door of her freezer and chomped his way through a pound of frozen mince. She fondled the long, floppy ear of the dog she was looking after for her friend, Kat.
It seemed more and more often these days that she agreed to look after Merlin, as Kat was so involved with her boyfriend, and they went away frequently on Dom training events. Ben was a Dominant in the BDSM lifestyle, and he was much in demand as a trainer. The rest of their friends were similarly involved with the lives of their husbands and boyfriends and vice versa. There was only Ellie and herself without partners these days, and so Gina spent much of her spare time commiserating with Ellie or looking after Merlin.
“Well, caring for you and writing erotic stories,” she said to the dog.
She had nearly finished writing her novel. Well, it was actually a novella, as it was reasonably short in length and so fitted into the smaller category. This was the first story she was attempting to finish and submit to a publisher.
When her cousin, Matt, became a writer, it had inspired Gina, who’d had story ideas all her life, to get her creative juices going again, and she had attended a creative writing class. When her ex-housemate, Lissa, had started getting involved with Matt, helping him with his latest book, she was jealous. Not about Lissa being with him, as Gina had been instrumental in getting them together. She smiled to herself, pleased with her success in that regard, even if it had taken some time.
No, she was jealous because of their work together on Matt’s book.
Primed by their success, Gina began working on her own book. She was trying to actually finish one this time. That was why it was novella length—any longer and she’d get bored, as she knew from experience.
Another motive to finish this one was that she had decided to try writing an erotic romance this time. She found it less hard to write this than the thrillers she had attempted previously.
Sitting forward, she cupped her hands around her chin, her elbows resting on the desk. The reason she found it easier to write this one was that she had based her hero on someone she worked with at the day job in an events management company. Daniel Rayner was good-looking, and didn’t he know it! Nicely built, he took every opportunity to shuck his jacket to show off his pecs. However, she had to admit he was dishy, with no end of sex appeal oozing off him. He had charmed all the women in the company, and rumor had it that he was working his way sexually through all the women aged around twenty to forty.
All except her.
Oh, he had tried to charm her but had failed miserably. No way was she going to be a notch on his bedpost. Instead, they had a pact of neutrality. Each stayed away from the other usually, neither attempting to flirt. She flirted with everyone else, but not with Dan. In fact, her ex-housemate, Lissa, now living with Matt, had once said she was in awe of Gina’s flirting skills. But where Daniel was concerned, all that skill went out of the window, and if they had to talk to each other, they just rubbed each other the wrong way, and insults flew back and forth. It didn’t help when he got the promotion as manager of his current area that she had also applied for.
Merlin barked at her, startling her out of her musings. “If you were my dog for real, I’d rename you. Daniel would be an ideal name. You are as mischievous as him, and you both irritate me in equal measures.”
Some people had been foolish enough to suggest that their insults hid an attraction. She gave them short shrift. The problem was they were right. Dan pushed all her buttons. It was probably the reason she was alone. Every time she went out with someone else, she kept comparing them to him. She had imagined a scenario where he would get knocked on the head, lose his memory and forget all their past arguments, and then fall irrevocably in love with her.
She shook her head ruefully. That only worked in stories, really soppy ones. Instead, she was reduced to making him her hero in this story, and then she could have her heroine, aka herself, make mad passionate love to him whenever and however she wanted and, boy, had she imagined some sizzling scenes!
Closing her eyes, she conjured up one of the scenes, the one where Dan made love to her on a rug in front of a roaring log fire. She ignored the fact that one side of her would be burning hot. She would be on top, of course, but his hands would hold her hips tightly as she moved up and down on his rock-hard cock, which would be so thick and long it verged on the painful, only she would be so aroused by his hand rubbing her clit that it wouldn’t matter.
The dog suddenly barked to attract her attention. “Jesus, Merlin!” Gina cried, startled out of her reverie.
She stood and took the dog out of the room before returning and sitting down at her computer again.
Okay, back to the story. Dan and Gayle. Oops. Freudian slip. David and Gayle had fallen in love despite some adversity when he had been knocked down by a car and forgot who she was, and she helped him recover despite his lack of memory. All right, so she had just said that only happened in cheesy stories, but that was before she added in all the sex. Hopefully that would offset the soppiness.
Gina frowned and reached into a box file. She rummaged for a moment, pulling out a document headed “Submission criteria.” She’d printed this from the publisher’s website. She could have asked Matt about how to submit stories, but at this stage she wasn’t telling anyone else, as she didn’t really think it would get anywhere, and she didn’t want to make a fool of herself.
She was also worried about admitting to anyone that she had written an erotic romance. It was one thing for her group of friends, the Champagne Friday group of girlfriends, to have fun reading these romances, but quite another thing to admit to everyone, particularly her parents and workmates, that she had written a pornographic story. She winced and told herself it wasn’t porn, it was erotica. Actually, it wasn’t even that, as the criteria insisted that romance had to be the main part of the story. It was more Mills & Boon with sex. In other words, an erotic romance.
Looking at the criteria, she ran her eye down the checklist.
Hero and heroine must be over 18—check.
They must not commit adultery while married to each other—check. Not a problem, as she abhorred adultery ever since she had discovered one former boyfriend in bed with another woman. It was also one of the reasons she stayed clear of Dan since he seemed to go from woman to woman at the drop of a hat.
Neither must die—check, although it was touch and go for her hero for a while, but, she thought, that added to the tension of the story.
There must be a happily ever after—check. At least she had every intention of finishing the story with one. It wouldn’t be a romance if it didn’t.
It can’t have been published anywhere else—most decidedly checked.
The hero and heroine must be noble and honest people and represent everything romantic heroes must be—that did seem rather cheesy, but this was a romance above all. In fact, the criteria stated that seventy percent of the story must be romance. She’d no idea how the publishers, let alone herself, could assess this percentage, but she could definitely check the one about the positive character reference for her heroes.
Sexual partnering—well, that was easy. It was a straightforward male/female story. She didn’t know if she could ever write a ménage a trois. Despite thoroughly enjoying reading those stories, and foursomes and fivesomes and more, she couldn’t get her head around writing a scenario of that type herself. She just couldn’t relate to it. Her mind only envisaged her and one man. One very specific man, she admitted to herself. Maybe if she did future stories, she could work on it, but for the moment it was easy to check this box.
The manuscript must be finished and free of spelling and grammatical errors—to be checked again when completed. She had constantly corrected this as she wrote. In fact, she had had to do some serious reading up on the Internet on how to do punctuation when writing dialogue. All she could remember from school was that each person speaking had to start on a different line. Before this started, she couldn’t have told anyone if her life depended on it whether punctuation at the end of the dialogue went inside or outside the speech marks. Well, she knew now it went inside.
No incest or necrophilia—she shuddered. No problem checking that one. She had no intention of writing about either.
It must be at least 20,000 words—that was proving to be a problem. She seemed to be a somewhat succinct writer. She grinned wryly to herself. When she had finished her book, it turned out that it was too long for a short story but too short for a novella, and so she’d had to expand and expand, usually adding in description. She had no problem with dialogue and characterization but got bored writing description. She made a face at her predicament. She was getting there slowly, very slowly but surely.
Sex scenes must be red-hot, using explicit language and leaving little or nothing to the imagination—check, although she was thoroughly embarrassed writing such scenes despite loving reading them when other writers wrote them. She admired those authors so much. It was one thing to write sex scenes when it was just her reading them, but she wasn’t sure how she would feel about people she knew reading sexual scenarios she had written and wondering if she had experienced similar things herself. Well, some of them she had, but most of them were the subject of her imagination thinking up what she wanted Dan to do to her body in another reality.
At least two sex scenes must be consummated—check, well there would be two sex scenes when she finished this chapter.
Right, back to the story, how could she do the “clay” scene or an alternative version without it being gross? And what was it about that film that worked? Maybe if she thought about how that scene would work if it was her and Dan? Now, for him, she might consider getting all messy, but only in her dreams.