Mary commutes between her dream home near the Mark Twain national forest in Missouri, and her current residence in Iowa. She lives with a menagerie of animals including an opinionated horse and a cat who was a dog in past life. When not writing spicy tales of erotic romance, she enjoys writing science fiction and fantasy, spending time with her horse, and enjoying the outdoors. Lucky for her, her partner (hero) shares these same passions, and usually both of them can be found in their respective dens writing.
The picture below was taken 04/04 when Mary and Steve went to the Bahamas on a Sales & Service Stars conference hosted by her employer. They stayed at the Atlantis resort, which was just breathtaking. She chose the "dolphin experience" as her activity and was able to spend some time in the water with Alex, a playful dolphin. It was truly a memorable experience.
Getting the work done is crucial. But getting it done right is just as important.
It takes a couple of bleats from the phone to fully break my concentration. I finish adding the column I'm on before glancing over. The display reads extension 101, my partner Tony Mancuso's number. It bleats again but I don't pick up. Instead, I cross-check the number on my machine with what's written on the form. Right now, I just don't have time for nonsense.
The phone rings again, but this time it's the buzz of the intercom. I just sigh. “You in there, Lisa?" Tony asks.
“No," is all I say.
"I have a question for you."
"Do we have to go through this every year? The answer is yes, debits must equal credits, Tony," I say and reach to click him off.
"That's not the question."
"Debits are on the left. That's all I can tell you right now."
"It's not that. I want to come in and appraise your assets."
Translation: Mancuso is horny because it's tax day and watching everyone clock all these billable hours turns him on.
I sigh and ask, "Don't you ever get tired of that line?" I've still got plenty of work looming, so I just don't have the drive for anything other than completing the work. For a couple of months during tax season, all I do is work. I eat quick meals of crappy take out and don't go to the gym or to movies or even really watch television. I just work until I'm tired and then go to sleep and get up in the morning and start again. So when the last form is finally filed, I'm ravenous.
A good meal, some rich wine, beautiful music, and my libido soars. I guess that's how I unwind.
And even though we're not a couple anymore, and even though we started seeing other people a few years ago, it usually still works out that Tony and I are both single when tax day rolls around. So we fall back into the habit of each other to chew up all that pent-up tension.
But I thought he's been dating someone for a few months now.
"I'll be right there," he says, and before I have a chance to protest, he clicks off.
Did I lock the door? I think I did lock it. I'm not getting up to unlock it. I don't have time for this nonsense yet. I just want to get finished. I grab another form off the left-hand stack and start verifying the line items against the corresponding back-up documentation. Elbow-deep in piles of paperwork, as I finish each page and toss it to the right-hand stack of completed forms, it's not much a small trill of exhilaration so much as a feeling of relief, like a noose slipping a notch looser.
There's a light rapping outside the door and I can't help but grin as he says from outside, "Open up, babe." I stay seated and start adding another column.
But then the door handle jiggles. Looking up, I see it turn. Dammit! I didn't lock the door.
"Brought you some coffee," Tony says as he lets himself in.
"I don't have time for coffee," I snap, but then instantly regret it as I get a whiff. It's strong and fresh, he must've just brewed it.
He doesn't make me admit that I do want it. Instead he sets it on the corner of my desk, just past the completed pile. "It's there if you want it," he says.
He's bringing me hot, fresh-brewed coffee, but my twelve years of familiarity with Tony has taught me that what that really means is that he's looking to get fresh with me.
"Ok. Thanks." I nod. When I reach for it, he takes the opportunity to half-sit, half-lean against the now open spot on the corner of my desk.
"Still grinding it out, huh?"
I just wave my hand across the desk in answer.
"How much longer you gonna be?"
"Tony," I sigh and try to measure my words, and tone. "You do this every year. It's April 15th, and it's 12:30 in the afternoon. We're a little..."
"It's 1:45, Lisa."
"What?" I nearly shout it. Every muscle tenses as a bolt of panic zings to my stomach. I spill some of the coffee on my lap. Hot, very hot. I stand and brush at it before it leaks through my skirt and burns me.
"What the hell are you wearing?" Tony laughs as I rise.
Looking down, I feel foolish. I've got my favorite old Rutger's t-shirt on with my beloved Armani skirt that I've been wearing since yesterday, which is now stained with coffee, and my ratty old green frog slippers on my feet.
"That's even worse that usual for you!" he says.
"What's that supposed to mean?" I ask.
He keeps laughing. "And you got haughty with me about making casual Fridays a theme day?"
"Listen," I say as I take my seat again. "I've been here all night. Working. That doesn't exactly compare with you trying to make the office into the pimps-n-hos ball, ok?"
"Oh, stop it," he says, crossing his feet and arms. "It was seventies disco theme, that's all."
"Whatever." I swivel and look out the window behind me. We're on the 21st floor, but the view is blocked by another skyscraper across the street. Still, I can tell by the way the light is reflecting off the windows at a lower angle that it is later in the day than I thought. I tell him, "I really have to get back to work here. I've got a lot to do."
"The troops are getting restless, Lisa."
"Well, then they'd better hurry. We have to get all this crap postmarked by midnight, so I want it all done by eleven at the latest."
"They are all done," he says. "Jill's finishing up the last return right now, and you have all the others right here."
"This is it?" I ask, the noose loosening even more.
Tony pushes off the desk and moves around behind my chair, placing his hands on my neck. Part of me feels self-conscious. I've been so busy I haven't had time for even the most basic cosmetic tweaks for a few weeks, including coloring my hair. I'm only 30, but a couple years ago I got my first few scraggly gray hairs peeking through the reddish brown, and they grow right out of my natural part so they're quite obvious. I haven't dyed them in weeks, but at least I've taken the time to part my hair on the other side to try and conceal them. I have a feeling that Mancuso isn't interested in inspecting my scalp right now anyhow.
He massages lightly at the top of my shoulders, telling me, "You did it again, Gladiator. Another season in the books."
"Almost in the books," I warn him as I look to the bulky stack of forms still on the left-hand side of my desk. "And I see you've been hanging out with the stockbrokers on the 17th floor again."
"What makes you think that?"
"Because we're accountants, Tony. We don't use warrior terms like 'gladiator' to describe ourselves. Brokers love that Sun Tzu shit."
"How come they get to be gladiators and we have to be bean counters?"
"Because they have inflated egos, that's why. And half of them are meth freaks. Besides. I wouldn't be a gladiator anyhow. All of them out there," I say and wave to the offices and cubicles outside my door, "are the gladiators."
"Yeah? Then what would that make you, babe?"
"I would be a centurion."
He laughs approvingly. Says, "And I guess that'd make me Caesar."
He keeps lightly rubbing at my neck. For such a big guy, he's really got an amazingly light touch. I hadn't even noticed the stiffness and cricks, but now that the gentle warmth of his palms is melting over my skin, I can feel the tightness loosening. He moves back to my shoulders, kneading softly, then works back to my neck again, his thumbs making light circles along my vertebrae.
His hands wander to my shoulders, then down my arms, rubbing up and down as he leans down and speaks close to my ear. Saying, "You put in a lot of time this year."
"Mm hm," I answer. "You know what that means."
He whispers it, softly, hot and moist breath tickling my ear. "Billable hours, babe."
I shiver. He kisses my neck.
I try to pull it together. I stiffen my back and lean forward, pulling away from him. "Enough for now," I tell him. "I still have to finish this pile."
He kisses my neck again. "I'll help you with it," he says.
"Oh, come on now," he says.
"You come on, Mancuso. You hate the paperwork."
"I may not like it, but that doesn't mean I won't do it."
"When was the last time you did any of heavy paperwork? I bet Seinfeld# was still on TV!"
He laughs, because he knows it's true. But he doesn't back off. He leans down and places his mouth against my neck. Instead of kissing, he puts his lips and tongue against my neck and blows hard, gives me a big, wet, noisy raspberry. It tickles and makes me recoil and laugh harder.
"Ahh," he says as he straightens up. "It's good to hear you laugh. I haven't heard you laugh in weeks."
"Well, the thought of you doing actual paperwork always amuses me, Tony."
He moves around in front of me, devilish grin on his face. Raising his eyebrows, he says, "Know what else I haven't seen you do in weeks? Months even?"
"Never mind that," I tell him. "I just... I just want to finish up here."
"In a minute," he says. Positioning himself in front of my chair, leaning back against my desk, he folds his arms. He goes, "Where we going this year for vacation?"
I roll my eyes. "I thought you were dating that lawyer?"
"Broke it off three weeks ago. See how busy you've been? You didn't even give me any sympathy."
"Oh. Were you sad?"
"No," he grins.
"Well, then, I figured you'd have hooked up with Jill by now. You should be taking her off to Cancun or something to celebrate the end of tax season."
"Jill?" he asks, rubbing his own chin. "No, not Jill. Not my type."
"She's not," he protests.
It's a lie. She's exactly his type. Young, bright, with a curvy figure. But he says, "I'm not interested in dipping my wick in the company ink, Lisa."
I laugh again. Ask him, "Then what am I? A bottle of White Out that you just dunk into occasionally when you want to erase your romantic mistakes?"
He wags a finger at me and says, "You're my partner, that's different. And besides," he says, leaning closer, "since you're the workhorse partner, I just want to make sure you get the proper rewards for your efforts."
"You want to reward me? Let me draw a bigger salary, Tony."
He grins. "And we're back to the dirty talk again. For someone who's so anxious to finish her tax forms you sure are saucy."
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Bad Boys Ahoy EXCERPT
HER MAD GRACE, the third story in the BAD BOYS AHOY!“You’re in a fine mood,” Charlotte noted, smiling against the rim of her cup. Hugh La Coeur was also in fine form. Dressed in warm shades of brown, he made her mouth water, the handsomeness of his features lit by a boyish smile.“I am. Mores the pity for you.” He waggled his brows suggestively. She laughed. “A girl could become accustomed to having you around.”“I hope you do.” He pushed away his empty plate and stood, moving to her chair. “Shall we retire to my room and study your map?” Charlotte rose, a sharp tingle of awareness coursing through her veins. She glanced at Hugh over her shoulder and batted her lashes. “I thought studying the map came later?” Her eyes dropped to his trousers and she watched, fascinated, as his cock swelled before her eyes. “Stop that.” He grabbed her elbow and led her to the stairs. “Stop what?” she asked innocently, biting back a smile.“You know very well what,” he said, his voice a slow drawl that made her toes curl in her slippers. “Drooling while staring at my cock.”“I did no such thing!” she protested, choking back a giggle as they ascended the stairs.He shot her an arch glance. “You did too, insatiable minx. A man can hardly get any rest around here.”She choked. “Horrid man! You wouldn’t leave me alone. How many times did I roll over and attempt sleep?”“Several,” he said smoothly. “But it wasn’t long before you’d be reaching for me again.”Charlotte paused on the middle stair. “Only because your erection was poking me in the spine!”Hugh shrugged in exquisite nonchalance. “You were wiggling.”She stared at him, fighting back laughter, her entire body warming to the sensual amusement she found in his dark gaze. He was so devastatingly handsome, full of vigor and mischief. He was a man who lived life, while she’d spent the last few years in a daze. She was drawn to that energy, to that zest, wanting to absorb the thrill of it into the marrow of her bones.Unable to help herself, she stepped forward and offered him her mouth. With a deep groan, he obliged, gifting her with one of his sensual kisses. Charlotte melted against him, her hands drifting to clutch the powerful muscles of his shoulders.“See?” he murmured, licking her parted lips. “You are doing it again.”