They can be words and pictures like those my lovely hostess, Siobhan Muir, kindly offers each week during #ThursThreads (my favorite flash fiction challenge). Or, they can come to us during the most unexpected times and places. Take Marooned with the Millionaire as an example. The idea came to me while traveling on business in the deep south during the height of summer. After a horrendous flight due to bad weather, I picked up my tin can of a rental car and navigated my way to the hotel. Not an easy task as rain and hail battered the windshield during rush hour traffic while an electronic GPS voice directed me to turn left I was in the right lane (I’m always in the wrong lane!). Flipping the wipers on full blast, I squinted through the windshield at the road ahead and said a silent prayer to the Goddesses above that went something like this:
Please keep this tin can of a car on the road and not let me veer into a ditch and get eaten by alligators. If you let me live I won’t once complain about how this humidity is making my hair frizz.
I don’t know if there were actual alligators or ditches, but in my mind, they were very much real. However, the frizz was real (Southern girls: what’s your secret to smooth hair? Free eBook for tips).
I’m not sure how I found the hotel and my nerves were shot by the time I finally shifted into park. With umbrella in hand I hoisted my suitcase out of the trunk (my company doesn’t spring for hotels with bell and valet service *sigh*) and sloshed through puddles to the entrance. I don’t know if it was because I was wet, tired and feeling lucky to finally making it to my destination, but a calmness passed over me as soon as I walked through the doors. The dimly lit lobby and piano music wafting though the registration area from the hotel’s lounge instantly put me at ease. As I passed the lounge on my way to my room, the characters of Jason Royce and Stephanie Thomas came to mind and their story took hold and wouldn’t let go.
Jason and Stephanie are still my favorite characters because they were my first. It was Marooned with the Millionaire (originally Marooned in Miami) that started my writing career.
MAROONED WITH THE MILLIONAIRE
from Evernight Publishing
A fierce Miami storm bring sexy strangers together at The Hotel Del Santos for a night of desire.
Stephanie, still reeling from a failed marriage, needs a break from the past. Shying away from the convention center crowds while on a business trip, she finds solace tucked away in a secluded hotel on South Beach.
Jason, a wealthy Seattle builder, has the worst luck with love. He swears he will never allow another woman to get under his skin, until the clicking of a pair of sexy stilettos across the hotel lobby floor attracts his attention.
Cut off from the outside world, the lives of these two strangers collide and burn with desire when a storm strands them together. Neither wants anything more than a glorious one-night stand.
Their chemistry is undeniable and propels them to a second meeting in Sin City. However, Stephanie soon learns she has more reason to be wary of her mysterious lover than a broken heart.
“This is an interesting predicament we’re in,” she said softly as she strode to the sofa.
Jason couldn’t take his eyes off her. “How so?”
“Well, there’s no power or cell service, no way to contact the outside world, and there’s you and me. The way I see it, the night belongs to us and we can do with it whatever we want.” She stood directly in front of him now.
Jason rose and took her face into his hands; his mouth was so close to hers that she felt his sweet breath on her lips. “What do you want, Stef? You need to tell me.”
Stef. He spoke the shortened version of her name as though he’d known her forever. She tried clearing the fog in her head. This wasn’t harmless flirting anymore; it was the real thing. Here she was with a random hottie in her arms, not to mention the fact that she was cut off from the rest of the world. It was the perfect storm. It was an ideal opportunity to shed her insecurities and move on with her life. She lifted her eyes to meet his, licked her lips seductively and whispered, “Well, Jay. I want you.”
His eyes crinkled at the edges. “Jay? No one’s ever called me that. I like it coming from your lips.” Grasping her chin between his thumb and index finger, he tilted her face to his and kissed her slow and soft. Pulling away, Jason looked into her eyes. “I don’t want to hurt you. I can’t promise you anything, you know, after tonight. But I can tell that you’ve been neglected, and I get the feeling you’ve not been satisfied in a very long time. I can remedy that situation for you.” He pulled her close and whispered in her ear, “You will not be disappointed.”Find Marooned here!
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Sandra Bunino is a numbers crunching business professional by day who stays up past her bedtime thanks to her oh-so-sexy imagination. Who needs sleep, anyway? Sandra is constantly searching for different ways to achieve a heart-pumping, stomach-flipping, breath-catching reaction from her readers.
Her books include Marooned with the Millionaire and The SatinRose Experience series including Mia’s Submission, Brooke’s Wish and The Submission of a Mafia Princess.
These days, Sandra lives on a wooded mountaintop not far from New York City with her family. She always looks forward to hearing from her readers and she may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. As a social media junkie in need of a ten-step program, you can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter (@sandrabunino).Thanks for stopping by and happy reading! :)