Getting back into the swing of things!

Today has been a good day. For those of you “not in the know”, I have been on a pregnancy-and-depression-fueled hiatus for about this entire year (that would be 2017, for those of you in the future…or past).

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My little chef!

First I was pregnant with my second child (see below), and then I had this toddler following me around, who people tell me I’m responsible for. I gotta make sure he eats, sleeps, and doesn’t kill himself. That’s about it. Not difficult, you might say. Well, let’s just agree to disagree on that.


No, thanks sassy parental judgers

So, I have been CRAVING to write so bad for weeks now. It’s just itching at me. Here and there in between screaming babies and those rare moments of peace, I’ll quickly load my Pages app on my iPhone, open a blank page and write some of the scenes happening in my head. Or, when I have a good 45 minutes of time, I’m steadily building the characters for two of my upcoming stories. It may not be much, but…

It is only the beginning. 

The pages are churning around in my head like a propeller wheel. I’m ready to write my next book.


Some of you are shouting from behind your computer screens.

Well, you’re going to have to wait some more. Because, I’m not telling! I’m going to keep it one big secret (for now). Although, the two books won’t be much of a surprise to anyone! I also don’t want to disappoint anyone in case the story I’m working on isn’t the one you want right now. 

What I can reveal is that I have been churning on a vampire named Aiden from the Bellum Sisters and Jo MacKellen (whose stories is not as close to the surface for me; this one needs to simmer longer!) and, oh yeah, Kane and Tabitha have already begun their story (The Untouchables #5).


I am currently trying to see about hiring a babysitter to sit my two babies for me for a few days a week. This would free up some excellent time for me to get back to work and have a novel completed within six months! I am so excited about this and will post more if, in fact, I do end up getting a sitter. Then, it’s back to writing! WOOHOO!

2017-07-23 23.25.44And this little SQUISHY gift from above is my beautiful Ellie. She smiles so much and let’s me know all that hard work was worth it!

Thanks for listening. I’ll be back in the next few weeks with my next upcoming sale on THE BELLUM SISTERS BUNDLE! Please stay tuned.

On writing and parenthood and change

What is it about writing that seems to make it different from other arts. Or, maybe, it’s not so different. If a song writer goes even two weeks without putting words to the page, does the spirit or “muse” or whatever you would like to call it, begin to fade? That’s how it is with me and, judging from numerous interviews I’ve read with some very famous authors, that seems to be the case. You need to write every day to keep the words coming, or else they dry up and leave you and are difficult to find again.

I’ve found in my relatively few years writing novels that to go without writing, even for, say, two weeks, will put quite a crimp in my ability to then re-start the engine and get going again when  I finally do sit down to write.

It’s especially difficult to end a project, such as my recent work, Rogue Blood, and to begin a new one, Gio. Of course, I already have the opening and a few extra scenes for Gio written. This is actually worse! Now I have to re-read what I wrote, probably more than a month ago, and get back inside this book, this universe, these characters’ heads. Not such a simple task, I assure you.

Beginning a new book is always an exciting time. It means that you’ve completed a book, for one. It also means it’s time to start something new–very exciting! And yet, it’s always very slow going that entire first act. Always. I don’t know how to make the words start to fly away at my finger tips. I just don’t. Maybe I never will be able to. We shall see. Give me a few years, then I’ll have this post to look back on and compare.

And it’s not that my opening isn’t fast-paced and excellent. Open any of my books, namely Jace, The Loneliest Alpha, Rogue Blood, Take Me, The Fallen King, Ties That Bind, Tempting Gray, and so on, and you’ll find some amazing openers. After all, this is what makes a reader want to continue reading my book, so my beginnings are often explosive with emotion/humor/intrigue/violence, whatever it takes! And yet, still, writing the entire first act is this tentative runway walk on eggshells. Every single time.

I was supposed to get writing done Monday, but because of baby things and a job thing with my husband, I got zero out of my minimum daily requirement done. Tuesday was hardly any better. I wrote about 1,000 words. Yikes! I had to clean up and re-write the beginning of my book. It was like reading something almost alien to me, since I’d written those words at least a month ago. It’s like trying to fit back into a suit that you’re too fat for, trying to squeeze and push yourself in all the right places until you feel that certain “click”. The, ah-ha, moment of comfort comes, of relaxation.

“Now I know where I am.” I think I did finally find that point, but by then I’m starving and it’s dinner time, so I have to stop. I have a family to feed. Do I get to go back to writing after I eat? Nope. Not even close. Baby gets tired at 8. He needs me to put him to sleep and stay very close by. He’s very high-needs and demanding and colicky. That’s okay, no worries. We are dealing with it and things, generally, are better.

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So today I will (after writing this post) turn off my wi-fi (this is a great way to get writing done for all you new writers!), maximize Gio in my processor and get going. I always have a minimum daily word count. Thanks to Monday and Tuesday’s lackluster endeavors, I am now 5k in the hole that I need to make up. 8k if you include what I need to write today. This is both intimidating and motivating. Mostly scary.

When you’re in the groove and the words are flying and the ideas and pace surging by swiftly, I can write a thousand words per thirty minutes. On average, due to distractions, I think I usually do closer to 1k / hour. Still not bad, but that means I’d need to write for 8 hours to get my goal done today. Not awful either, in fact, you can get a lot of work done writing for that period of time. However…with the baby that seems like a distant possibility. Perhaps I am simply being too negative, though?

Next week my husband begins a new job. No longer will he be working from home. My rock, my support, my help with baby will be gone for a significant period of time. Now I will have this somewhat difficult baby to care for 8+ hours a day, five days a week on my own. Am I terrified? A wee bit. I want to be better.  Really, I want to be perfect. It’s my competitive nature and need to do things “right”. I want to never lose my patience or temper with my baby. I want to always know what my baby needs or wants at any moment. I often think to myself “there’s no way other mothers from other parts of the world are dealing with a baby who can’t fall asleep without motion!” I know they are out there, but it still feels very lonely and depressing. He’s my baby, I think, I should be able to handle him. But, what about the times when I can’t?

I will rely on my confidence, which is somewhere buried inside me, to take care of this baby and somehow find a way to work during the day. If I can at least complete my goal word count of 3k (not even much by writing standards!) during the daytime while baby plays or naps, then I should be OK. That doesn’t include taking care of business necessities: emails, social media, whatever. So long as I can make a way to write every day with that baby, then things will be OK.

Even as I write this, I finally, after much screaming (perhaps by both of us), got this baby to fall asleep. He literally has one eye half open. Right now. Never quite falling asleep. Never completely relaxed while napping. Lord have mercy, I don’t know why. Just go to sleep! I want to scream. It’s safe. It’s OK! I can tell him that until I’m blue in the face and still it won’t make a lick of difference. He’s going to do what he wants. Baby be as baby does. And he is so darned beautiful I just want to cry looking at him.

Motherhood. Parenthood. Rough and fulfilling and insane all at the same time.

Now I have to get back into this book and create some awesomeness.


by time I finished writing this blog, baby is now staring at me wide awake. Two hours of difficulty and so much crying and screaming for about thirty minutes of sleep. Oh my god. I’m going insane, aren’t I? I must be. I must be.


How I feel after a new book release

I don’t often write reflective posts. In fact, I don’t really blog at all, because site stats have proven long ago that no one is really listening. This is actually a good thing, because right now I want to discuss something (hold on as I pause here for a minute to try to find the right word)… troubling? No, troubling is not the right word. Maybe…unsatisfying.

There. That’s better. Unsatisfying.

Often times releasing a new book, something that I’ve worked months and months on, day after day, hour after hour, is a wholly unsatisfying experience. I can tell you what I hope to see happen after I release a book. Of course, this is what every author in the world wants to happen once they publish a book. They want to check their sales that first day and see a skyrocketed number. Anything over a thousand sales (for me) would be spectacular. But, you don’t see that. Maybe a few hundred over the course of the day from all retailers is more accurate. How disappointing.

You feel panic. You feel…sad. No celebrating, please. I am trying not to cry. 8 months of hard work. So many re-writes, including more than 35,00 in a week during content edits where I basically had to ignore my baby for 8 hours a day. And what is it for? Some paltry sales. I begin to think of my rent for this house I don’t own and how I can’t afford it like this. I think of the electric bill which was almost $300 this month. We’ve shut off the a/c and are thankful for cooler temperatures this past week.

Doubts creeps in. Well maybe the book isn’t that good. But, no, I think. It is really good. I know it. I can feel it. Just to prove my point, I’ve sent about a hundred copies of the book to readers (something I’ve only done once before, long ago) and while losing all of those potential sales, I did garner reviews. Reviews, I’ve heard, is a great way to sell a new release. When readers come to your new book release page and see that pretty green text with a glowing review on Amazon, readers will snatch up that book quickly; far more so than without that text or with poor reviews littering the page.

What if the sales aren’t coming in? What if reviews haven’t seemed to change a thing?

So, you think back to your advertising plan. After all, it’s not like you just hit “publish” and did nothing else whatsoever to promote your book. You made the first book in the series free and ran a week-long advertising plan using Facebook ads and numerous other advertising websites such as BargainBooksy (a great site!) to bring attention to this series. Well, I have had great success with this free book campaign. I’ve gotten nearly 7,000 free downloads of this book, which is remarkable considering I could not obtain a BookBub ad for this book. BookBub is considered the holy grail of book advertising, in case you don’t know. Interestingly enough, I’ve been able to give away more copies of Take Me without a BookBub ad than with one. Perhaps I won’t try to rely on BB so much in the future.

Now, you may think: 7,000 free books – that’s incredible! It is. And it’s not. You have to remember how us e-reader folks work. We see a book on sale (or free in this case), and we snatch that book up. However, then we go to work and have dinner and hang out with our family and life goes on and in the meantime we snatch up other free/discounted books having long forgotten about T. A. Grey’s title. That free book never gets read.

I do this all the time. I have all kinds of free/discounted books I downloaded on my e-reader that have never even been open. Maybe one day I will get to them. But I doubt it.

All an author can hope for is that a tiny percentage of those 7,000 free downloads will actually open and read the book, and that they will like it so much that they will purchase book 2. And many book 3. And maybe, finally, my new book. By that point, perhaps 1% of those 7,000 readers will go on to read book 4. I am not good at math, but that would be, what, 70 readers? 70 sales, potentially.  8 months of work. Even longer since my previous book, which released last Halloween. Income is dropping steadily; little money coming in, and I may, if I’m lucky be able to pay rent for 1 month off this profit.

So, what can you do to let romance readers know that “Hey, y’all! I wrote a new book and I’m pretty darn sure y’all will like it if you give it a try! Try reading the first chapter or two! You don’t even have to buy it. Just try it!”? Well… fact is, I don’t know. I’ve been self-publishing since 2011 when this whole she-bang started, and sometimes I feel savvy and in control and at other times I feel like I’m listlessly floating in a very large ocean.

That’s how I feel right now. Like I’m drowning.

There are no real answers. And all of my problems are the very same ones that thousands of authors, bestselling or not, have experienced and will continue to experience for years to come.

So, what I start to do next is ask questions: what’s wrong with the book, why can’t I gain attention to my brand, what can I do better, and so on and so forth. I am a fixer. A problem solver. A strategist. So, I think about it. I’ve come up with some answers, not that I know if they are “correct” at all. Let’s have a look at them:

  1. No one is really reading paranormal books any more (unless they are bear or dragon related). Rogue Blood is a paranormal, therefore a lack of interest.
  2. Billionaires, bad boys, & office-contemporary romances are all the rage right now. Although the Blackmoore family in this series are definitely billionaires (or at least disgustingly wealthy) and the setting is definitely contemporary, and maybe some of the heroes could be characterized as “bad boys” — few readers will touch this series or this book. Because it’s listed under the “paranormal” category.
  3. You could say: “Why, T. A., simply remove the book to a different category, to which I would say no. I will not lie or be deceitful. There are vampires and Were creatures in this book. And perhaps a touch of magic, too!” Paranormal is as paranormal does.
  4. Bosses. Erotic romances with an office setting are all the rage. But what if I don’t have any of these kinds of books in my backlist? What if I don’t even have an interest in writing these kinds of books? What if I don’t believe in fad writing? Which means, I don’t like to write what everyone else is writing. I don’t like to jump on bandwagons. I never have. Then, that means I have to stew in my pile of shit and deal with it, doesn’t it? And I really shouldn’t complain.

That means I have to stew in my pile of shit and deal with it, doesn’t it? And I really shouldn’t complain.

Strangely, every time I have finished a book and I’m preparing to “launch” it, I always get the same jitters. I’m nervous about how readers will feel about it. I’m nervous about being able to sell any copies. I’m nervous that my book will be hated. But now, more than ever, I’m just scared. I feel, at times, like it’s hopeless; that if I don’t write in one of these fads genres, which is so overly saturated, that I will never be able to pop my head above the water again. There is no lucky coin to flip that will make you sell XXX amount of copies in one day. So much of this business is luck or happenstance. I suppose I wish I had more of that mojo right now.

Of course, not everything is a complete downer. As I said before, I am a strategist. A planner. And I do have a plan to rectify my situation.

That plan is to finish writing my Bodyguards for Hire series. There is one book published in it right now: Jace. It’s a fun, sexy romp. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed as much as I did while writing that book. That on-going series is also shorter in length at around 50,000 words, a far cry from the 100k, plus-length novels of The Untouchables series that few people are reading. Since I have a baby now, which has upturned my previous writing schedule, shorter novels are the way to go, I think. I will be able to finish them sooner.

I can’t be writing one book a year. Even two a year is dismal.

So, what’s my plan? To pimp and write some more hilarious contemporary romances in the Bodyguards for Hire series. Gio (book 2) is set to release November 7th. If I can get it out earlier, I’ll do that. But I am trying to allow plenty of time for editing. Next up after that is Mac (book 3). I would love to have Mac out in December. Time will tell if I’m delusional about how much I can accomplish this year.

I am hoping to see an uptick in sales because of this series. Hopefully, more so than I’ve seen with Rogue Blood. I will very likely go on to write book 4 and book 5 of that series. I am thinking of some sexy twin Russian bodyguards who come to Miami for work. 😉 It will be great.

Will this solve my problems? I don’t know. All I can do is try.


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Each year lykaen princess Sarina Brunes goes through her breeding cycle—a powerful force that makes the desire to mate nearly inescapable. When Sarina is sent away by her father to endure the breeding cycle alone, she never expects a sexy Alpha to come to her doorstep.

When Alpha Vane Kategan stumbles upon Sarina in her breeding cycle, he is determined to help her, if only to ease her pain. However, she denies them both what they so desperately want. But Vane won’t give up on his seduction until they both find bliss. What neither of them count on is falling in love.

Right when they need each other the most, they are torn apart by her father’s cruelty. Now Sarina must fight to be with the one she loves and risk losing the only family she has left in the process. Can Sarina escape her father’s grasp for the arms of the man she loves?

Once a vibrant woman, Alison Bennson suffered a terrible trauma at the hands of her ex. When her ex crashes back into her life with terrifying consequences, Alison must turn to the Kategans for help. Rome Kategan has been a haunting thought in her mind ever since she met the grinning rogue. If only she was the woman she used to be she could relax and enjoy the sexy male, but instead she is haunted by the past and fearful for the future.

Her past has emerged though with vengeance and with one purpose in mind for Alison—death. Rome Kategan swears to protect Alison with a passionate determination that frightens Alison almost more than her past.

The sight of her happily mated brothers has Vera biting her nails in frustration. When the opportunity arises for her to get away from it all she takes it—with one catch—Jackson Marsh. Jackson Marsh has been a pain in her ass from the moment she laid eyes on him. And now to repair his broken trust with her brother Rome, Jackson has agreed to protect Vera as she goes into enemy territory to negotiate the treaty between the Kategan Pack and the vampires.

However the change of scenery doesn’t do anything to help Vera’s mood for there was one thing she didn’t think about when she came up with her brilliant plan—seeing her ex-vampire lover. Now with her ex vying for her affections again and Jackson sending her body and heart through a loop, Vera must decide with her heart, which has never fully healed itself from the past. In the midst of all the chaos, a vampire clan is threatening to take Kategan land. Together Vera and Jackson must fight to save Kategan land while trying to save each other from falling in love.
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Please share with your romance loving friends!

Happy wicked reading,

T. A. Grey

New Release: HUNTED (fantasy erotic romance) Only $2.99!

A brand new sizzling hot romance with a touch of fantasy and a flare for the paranormal, HUNTED is sure to keep your weekend erotic!

For years, Penelope Farris, has narrowly escaped the soul-searing gaze of General Ryon Amadeus Ward. No other in the village has the kind of reputation he had: for being a true dominant. When she learns that the overly-possessive Ryon plans to fight any male competitors on Penelope’s first Claiming Day—she is not happy. To win the Claiming is to win the female as a mate. Immediately following the male winning the female, he then consummates their partnership with a wild coupling filled with dominance and mind-numbing pleasure.

But Penelope doesn’t think she wants Ryon. He’s too big, too strong, too dominating, too everything for her. She wants someone a touch more submissive in her life. The days preceding her Claiming Day offers Penelope and Ryon the opportunity to test the bonds of their attraction to each other. Her greatest fear is of being caged by a man, but can Ryon let her run free even if it tears out his own heart to do it?

“T.A. Grey pulls the reader into a storyline of betrayal, jealousy, romance and love. HUNTED is a spirited, inventive and seductive storyline about two people who are meant to be together but time, history and a shapeshifting species will stand in their way until the very end.” – The Reading Cafe



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Happy reading,


T. A. Grey



Pre-Order “Hunted” and Read a Sneak Peek

A Claiming Novella

Coming June 26th, 2014!

It’s here! The exclusive sneak peek from Hunted, my upcoming fantasy/paranormal erotic romance. Read on…if you dare… Warning: things get hot!


From His Majesty the King

Fifth of Martz, the year of Lionel, 2463

Dear Compatriot of Tarlè Kingdom:
Join us this weekend for the celebration of the Claiming. 
This year’s pick, Penelope Farris, daughter of Jesha and Marvus Farris, will step forward to be claimed in lawful ceremony to all possible male candidates. 
Male matches take heed. The spirited dancer will require a gentle touch to capture.

His Majesty, 
Lionel Edward Richard Hargrowe
King of Tarlè

The font, elegant and crisp, thick and black, scrawled across the fine parchment paper in curving sweeps. Occupying the lower right-hand corner of the letter rested the royal seal stamped in viscous, ruby-red wax, like blood.

Ryon Amadeus Ward read the royal missive word for word before crumpling the letter in his fist.

“What is the meaning of this?”

The messenger who’d delivered the letter stepped back at the edge in his voice. Of course the messenger wasn’t to blame, but that didn’t keep anger from rising like a volcano about to erupt.
“W-well, you see, the king—“

Forget it, he thought, instantly regretting asking the boy. Even worse than this omen in written form was this boy’s bumbling. The General dismissed him with a wave and the boy escaped with a mumbled “thanks”.

The sun had yet to reach mid-day and already an ache blared at his temples in full force. This was shaping up to be a bad day.

He took a seat at his desk and pulled his silver-edged knife out from the bottom drawer, locking the drawer again afterward. Leather handled and sharpened weekly, the blade could cut through skin without added pressure.

Meanwhile, his mind churned, ticking by like a well-greased clock.

Penelope Farris would be available for claiming.

An uncomfortable pressure filled his chest, making him rub the spot. These emotions she’d always managed to suck out of him never ceased to surprise him. His feelings for her were too strong, he knew; fierce with possession and greed. He must have her. No other woman had ever given him such pause for thought.

will have her. 

She would be his. Completely his.

She must have known the king had selected her for claiming in advance. And she hadn’t come to him to tell him. Was this some sign? A challenge from her? But she knew where he stood, knew that he had no qualms about claiming her. It had been his intention all along. Even if he’d never voiced as much, he’d made his attentions well known through his actions. It was she who was hesitant with him. If only he could figure out how to surpass her defenses—something he’d been attempting for two years now. All this time he has waited for her to come around.

Certainly she must know he’d find out. What did she get by not telling him herself? Just what was she up to?

Surging to his feet, he nearly toppled the chair backward, but caught it. He shrugged into his worn, brown, suede overcoat before heading out into the chilly air. The door should have slammed behind him, but he had far more control than that. His hands nearly trembled with the focused, calm mindset he kept. He was the General. It was his duty to keep his composure at all times.
Wait until he got his hands on her…he’d like to wring her thin little neck.

Ha! He’d laugh if he could. As if he could ever lay a hand on her in anything other than care and passion.

Penelope Farris was the only woman he’d ever fancied for his own. She’d been as impenetrable as a fort to his advances. And that was on the best of days. Normally he might have moved on by now, but Penelope Farris had lodged a place in his heart two years ago and had never left. The elusive dancer proved difficult to trap for something as simple as a conversation. She seemed to forever be eluding him to slip back into the shadows and disappear. All the while her eyes flashed with open, sensual invitation at him like she wanted to climb atop him.

Frustrating barely began to cover how he felt about Pen.

She’d pushed his hand with this. These weren’t normal circumstances anymore. Not even close.

Now she was at risk for any male who wanted her. Anyone could stand up there during her Claiming Day and fight for a chance to have her as wife. The claiming ceremony, and the winner of it, won exclusive rights to the female. He had a time limit now. Until week’s end.

It was only the first of the week. Five days was not a long time, but he was General of King Hargrowe’s army and his ability to strategize better than anyone made him exceptional at his job.  He wouldn’t let anyone touch her, anyone but him. Even if his life depended on it.

Slipping his knife holster across his chest, Ryon untethered his horse from the post out front of his house and took off. His destination: Prima Donna’s. The dance club where Penelope worked as part of the last known ballet troupe.

The Avagarians had nearly eradicated their entire human culture through savage warfare. Ballet dancing was one of the last few traces of art the Tarlèans still had.  The ballet dancers were revered to the likes of celebrity gods by the people.

Evening blanketed the land in gloomy shadows. Pale glimpses of moonlight peeped through the trees in flashes of light.

The night seemed an apt representation of his mood, he thought bitterly.

A line was already formed out front of the dancing hall, not exactly typical for an early week night. But it looked like everyone had received their missive from the king and wanted a fresh look at the famous ballet dancer up for claiming.

Ryon stifled a curse as he tethered his horse. There were far too many men in line for his liking. Patting Dominic, his horses head, he lingered for a moment before slipping past the known security guard with a glance. Murmurs sounded around him.

The General,” buzzed the crowd like agitated bees.

Inside Prima Donna’s dance hall the swinging cabaret music resounded in full force: a mixture of jazzy saxophones, hooting trumpets, and deep baritones of a thumping upright bass. Above it all was a husky woman’s voice crooning about tulip fields and other nonsense. A troupe of women wearing colorful leotards, tights, and ballet slippers and kicked their legs high in the air to the jazzy tunes. Ballet had changed and shaped over the years. The music they danced to had changed and morphed just as they, as people, had. The plies, sautes, and glissades were all there but the dancing was quicker and more robust.

The woman he searched for was not on stage.

Ryon pushed himself through the crowd. The heavy digestion of people made walking a chore as they shuffled shoulder to shoulder into the club. The music grew louder as he came closer to his target. He surveyed the crowd, his gaze skimming across a figure in a dazzling sequined outfit and tutu that barely covered more than the necessary parts, before locking on.

She was the center of attention once more; a crowd having grown around her at the news of her claiming day.

Her beauty took his breath away. She was the kind of woman you wanted all to yourself. He wanted many things from her, and to give many things to her. He wanted her looking up at him with soft-eyed passion after a good kissing. He wanted to feel her arms wrapped tightly around him as they make love. Too many things to name.

He’d tasted her exquisiteness once.


Before it’d been ruined.

A scowl slashed his features and in the next moment he charged through the crowd with determined strides. People parted for him, instant recognition on their faces.

“The General,” someone whispered excitedly. Others piped in too. He grew tired of the whispers, but the people knew him as a hero and that was all he was to them. They didn’t know him personally, therefore they didn’t treat him the same. Such was life. He’d learned to deal with the attention, to ignore it as saying anything usually made the situation worse.

The news must have gotten to her across the room, for Penelope Farris, looking utterly womanly in her outfit, stood from her leaning position, and locked eyes with him. As always when he looked at her, his heart lurched in his chest like a spring-loaded weapon.

Down boy, she doesn’t feel that way about you. 


Her eyes widened, alarmed, as she turned to face him. The man she’d been leaning over appeared behind her and a noise much like a growl climbed from Ryon’s throat.

Duke Patrick Gaines, a wealthy, entitled yuppie of a scoundrel—he couldn’t say enough good things about the man—slumped against the wall near Penelope looking like a hungry cat waiting to be fed by hand.

Fierce jealousy surged as it always did when he saw men leering at Pen. She was his, even if he had yet to claim her.

Ryon didn’t stop to say a word, couldn’t have spoken even if he wanted to. His lips were pursed tighter than a wet seal, his biceps contracted with the urge to throw his fist into the duke’s pale, smug face until it turned purple and blue.

“General. What are you doing here?” He heard tension in Penelope’s voice. Her eyes skated down his torso then back up. Did she have any idea what her greedy copper eyes did to him? When she looked at him like he was a large, intimidating man and she liked it.

Lord, she drove him mad.

If only she’d stop running from him.

“Please, do tell. What’s your business here, General Ward?” the duke drawled. “I don’t believe it’s every day you find the General visiting a ballet hall.” Mocking words had never sounded so obvious.

Tall and slender, the aristocrat wore his black hair pulled into a long braided thong around his shoulder. His lips dipped into a twisted scowl, disdain dripping from every pour of his body. He wore expensive clothes made with fine etchings in gold and silver thread. The red velvet cape draped across his narrow frame must be worth more than Ryon’s current ensemble.

Ryon and Patrick had never been friends. They’d done some military combat training together during their education years. In that time, they’d managed to compete and learn to loathe each other. They both had one thing in common though—an interest in Penelope Farris.

Penelope, or Pen, as he preferred to call her, no matter how much it rankled her nerves, put her hands on her hips in a move he recognized all too well. Anger. “Yes, what is this interruption for, General?”

His fist twitched. He hated when she called him that. They both knew it. Thus why she did it. The little devil.

“We need to talk.”

That surprised her. “About what?” She fidgeted with the lace of her tutu, one thin slipper lifting to scratch her calf with the toe.

Ryon pulled the folded missive out of his pocket and flashed it at her.

“Oh…that,” she said vaguely, cheeks turning redder. They both knew why he was here. She was the only one pretending.
The duke wouldn’t have any of it.

“Listen here General, I’ve come with good money here so let the girl dance.” The duke leaned forward and wrapped an arm around Penelope’s small waist. His hand dipped even lower to grab a feel of something he had no right touching.

Ryon told himself that what he did next was because of that inappropriate grope and not because of his possessive feelings for Pen.

Murmuring a brief excuse for what he was about to do, Ryon whipped the duke’s hand away and ducked, pushing his shoulder into Penelope’s midriff in the next second. He lifted her up and over his shoulder so easily you’d think he did it often. In fact, a feeling of deja vu struck him.

They had done this once before under similar circumstances. And look where that had landed them.

There was no stopping him now. He had everyone’s attention trying to steal their most talented dancer. But no one dared to stop the General. Not even the duke dared to stop him with the hard look Ryon sent his way. Everyone by now had heard the tentative history between Ryon and Pen.

Tonight it was all coming to an end.

He could feel the tightness in her muscles as he waded through the crowd, could feel her nails scraping into his back where she hung on for dear life, possibly puncturing his skin—on purpose. Ryon made it through the dance hall and out the back door, one arm latching Penelope’s rear-end to him.

It wasn’t the closest he’d ever held her, but it was the most he’d touched her in a long time. He’d take it. Having her touch him felt far better than not.

Outside he hitched her higher on his shoulder, not even feeling her slight weight, and marched to the woods with only one place in mind.

Maybe in a way it was their place. It was the only time she’d ever opened up to him and admitted her feelings for him. He’d been stunned stupid by her honest, raw statement, and staggered by the passion of their kiss. After their first kiss, like a young fool, he’d been unable to speak for a long minute. And, typical to any naïve fool, he’d said something he still regretted to this day.

“Do you mind telling me what you’re doing, General?” Penelope’s anger jerked him swiftly back to reality and out of his reverie.

There it was again. The nickname, not his real name. She never used it, was too personal. If she gave him a chance maybe she’d see how much he knew about her, how much he cared.

For this he needed to be face to face, so he readjusted her in his arms so that he cradled her to his chest like a baby. She reluctantly wrapped an arm around his neck—and resumed glaring at him like she wished he’d drop dead.

“You shouldn’t frown like that,” he told her.

“Why not?” An instant, snapping response.

“Because it makes me want to kiss you.”

Her breath hitched. He’d surprised her. Who knew he was a man of surprises, aside from using his cleverness in military strategies. He’d never thought before that he could use those same skills towards wooing Pen. But the idea looked better and better the longer he thought about it.

Slender fingers toyed with the hair at the nape of his neck. He nearly stumbled a step when she pressed her cheek again his. Gentle breath teased his ear and his grip tightened around her reflexively. She always managed to catch him by surprise. Just one of the many things he appreciated about her.

The effect she had over him had been there from the moment he first saw her. Any move she made touched him like a bolt of energy, left him aroused and edgy. Even the simplest touch such as her wrapping her arms around his neck and pulling closer made his vision hazy.

From how they must look you’d think she’d asked to be carried out of the club and not forced. He didn’t have much further to go.

They were nearly there. Not much longer, then he could put her down—a bittersweet thought.

“Do you want to kiss me?” A teasing whisper blew across the shell of his ear with each word.

He didn’t hesitate. “You know I do.”

The quiet woods surrounded them in solitude. Only the light from the stars guided them on this fortuitous night.

She caressed his cheek with hers, rubbing like a cat, grazing the stubble on his jaw with her soft skin. Chills swept down his spine. As always her touch aroused him, hardening his cock.
Thank God.  They finally made it to his destination. Ryon set her down near the edge of the pond. Their pond. Pen looked around and laughed, her smile lighting up her face.

“The pond? I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised.” She kicked off her heels and stepped into the water before he could say a word. “Do you want to see me get wet, General?” A playful light graced her sparkling eyes.

He stifled a groan, or maybe a curse. “You are a tease, Pen. Always have been.” Here he came to talk privately about the royal missive he’d received and she was already taking control of the situation. She always managed to rip the power from him with careless ease.

Or maybe he allowed her to take control, he supposed.

Her face lit up with delight at his proclamation and not with a touch of shame. He loved that about her.

Tossing her head back, she laughed throatily. “You make it sound like a bad thing. Look at you all grumbling about because you heard about my Claiming. You know you’re my favorite. Surely you know that.” Her pretty, almond-shaped eyes softened.

“That’s as close to a confession as I’ve ever heard. I suppose I’ll take what I can get,” Ryon said.

Pen looked away avoiding his gaze. “You received the missive then?”

“You should have told me yourself.”

The statement hung out there like an accusation.

He wasn’t afraid to admit what she did bothered him. She should have come to him, should have told him. Everyone in the kingdom knew he’d been trailing after her scent for two years. He had thought that he simply needed more time to break down her defenses.

Not for his lack of trying. But he could only get so far while trying to tamper his aggression. His tightfisted nature shook her up and he’d yet to soften enough for her apparently.

She already thought he was too dominant for his own good. Or so she’s said. Didn’t she see how badly he wanted her? He needed her to end his torture and finally put him out of his misery.

“I suppose I was too nervous to tell you myself. I only learned that I’d been chosen last week.” She waded deeper into the water, raising her sequined dress higher to reveal shapely thighs. The water level rose to lap at her tantalizingly milky calves, shapely with muscle from years of dancing. He watched her move gracefully through the water on the tips of her toes, riveted.

“A cowardly move,” he chastised.

“Perhaps. But I’m not the only one here who’s a coward. Am I, General?” Her teasing banter was punctuated with a heated, low-lidded look. She looked at him from dazzling blue eyes that sparkled.
When she had fun it was contagious. That laughter threatened to weaken Ryon’s own defense; his mouth twitched to laugh. Something he couldn’t let happen.

“I’m here right now. I don’t think that makes me a coward.” He was daring her to be honest. But would she rise to the bait?

“Do you like my new dress?”

The question took him by surprise. But no more than what she did next.

With a laugh, she flicked one of her dress’s strap off her shoulder. The material slipped down to reveal a whole glimpse of overflowing mounds of supple flesh. This sight of her breasts barely being contained by her tight top had muscles tensing in his neck until they felt ready to snap.

He advanced towards her. “Stop this and come out of there. We need to talk about this.”

“My darling General, why don’t you join me instead?” She took one long look at him and that was it—she had him pinned. Nothing was worse than a beautiful woman getting the hold of you and Penelope had him lined up in her sights. Gentle, taunting laughter almost succeeded in coaxing a smile from him. Almost.

“No.” The answer did not coming easily.

“Now who’s the coward?” Her chin lifted in challenge. She squared her shoulders like a soldier, all the while fighting a smile.

“You shouldn’t taunt me with how I feel right now, Pen.” Like a string too tightly wound, that had been cranked and cranked beyond capacity. The pressure was full to overflowing. All it would take was the faintest crack for the pressure to burst. He’d explode.

A crash of water as she dropped down into the water then surged up to her full height. She looked like an exotic enchantress with water cascading down her body in the moonlight. Already her magic was weaving itself around his bones, beckoning him to do her will.

“Taunt you? Why, oh why, would I ever do that? General” she added the last part like she couldn’t help herself.

His muscles coiled like a loaded spring. “What did I tell you about calling me that ridiculous name?” He recognized that dangerous glint in her eye; it was the same look she wore before chaos ensued.

Ryon stepped into the water, moving to stop the impending destruction.

That didn’t stop her. “It’s what I want to call you, so I will. There’s no changing that. Why do you continue to fight a war with me that you can’t possibly win?”

He closed in on her, mere feet separating the distance between them. Warm supple female to hard aching warrior.

She slipped the second strap off her shoulder.

Bare skin, mounds of palpable flesh with hardened tips bobbing gently from her chest. Sleep ribcage flaring out to wide hips. Beckoning him like a magic spell. Exquisite. She bared her breasts to him like an ancient offering. The mouthwatering sight didn’t stun him as he might have expected, but empowered him instead.

Ryon charged forward, catching her startled intake of breath a moment before he snatched her by the shoulders and pulled her into his arms.

“Say my real name.” A demand.

He couldn’t catch his breath; neither could she. His control was a thin piece of thread tethered to an anvil, fragile strands softly snapping as the weight proved too great to hold. She knew what he wanted to hear, but refused to give it.

“General.” A breathless hitch hung in her answer.

Bare breasts pressed against his crisp shirt and he captured one with his rough palm, snatching it. It felt incredible. Better than he could have imagined—soft, warm skin and a mound that filled his hand. His fantasies couldn’t live up to the real thing, not even close. He palmed her with growing intensity, molding her and learning her shape, the texture of her skin, the firmness of her tit and nipple. His shaft throbbed with undisguised longing.

Indecision skewed across her face: the need to obey and disobey warring in her mind. He could see her thinking, struggling to choose the right path.

Her breast heaved in his hand, yet she kept herself tightly guarded against him. He could see it in her hesitant scrutiny. He’d need a battering ram to strike down those walls—and he had only a few days to do it. He had to make his mark now.

Ryon pinched her nipple between two fingers, applying pressure until her eyes snapped back to his. Then, as he held her attention, he gave her an order as he had to many a soldier.

“Say my name.”

About Hunted 

For years, Penelope Farris, has been narrowly escaped the soul-searing gaze of General Ryon Amadeus Ward. No other in the village has the kind of reputation he had: for being a true dominant. When she learns that the overly-possessive Ryon plans to fight any male competitors on Penelope’s first claiming day—she is not happy. To win the Claiming is to win the female as a mate. Immediately following the male winning the female, he then consummates their partnership with a wild coupling filled with dominance and mind-numbing pleasure.

But Penelope doesn’t think she wants Ryon. He’s too big, too strong, too dominating, too everything for her. She wants someone a touch more submissive in her life. The days preceding her claiming day offers Penelope and Ryon the opportunity to test the bonds of their attraction to each other. Her greatest fear is of being caged by a man, but can Ryon let her run free even if it tears out his own heart to do it?

Coming June 24th!!
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And, a preview look at the coming books in The Claiming series…

New Short Story: The Vampire’s Mate!

Do you enjoy spicy hot erotica? Paranormal erotica to be exact. If you’re looking for a short erotic story that packs a punch then check out my recent release of The Vampire’s Mate.

The Vampire's Mate by T. A. Grey



For the first time in one thousand years, vampire Salazar tastes freedom. His mate, the only being made specifically for him, is near.

Salazar tracks her down and can’t control the need to claim her for his own.

But can Salazar convince Melanie that she’s his true mate and to bond with him forever?

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