When You Need a Superhero and Mr. Hockey Shows Up

Well, it has been a minute since I’ve come on here and shared with you. I always have good intentions to do a blog posting but I am easily distracted. Obviously. The post prior to today was when I posted Ethan Blackstone’s Final March to pay my respects to the late Queen Elizabeth II upon her passing in early September exactly one year ago.

But alas, I have good news to share. Mr. Hockey published today and I think it’s my favorite in the VEGAS CRUSH eight-book series. The hero is brooding and awesome in a non-smiling way, kinda like another hero of mine who lives in London and wears purple ties.  Mr. Hockey is also what I like to call a #GentlemanAlpha…very much on brand with the way every one of my heroes ends up portrayed on the pages of the kind of books I write.

He’s also a hockey player on a team in Vegas with a bit of a superhero complex, and gratefully for the heroine in this story, ready and willing to step in and save her from some seriously bad dudes. It’s also about friendship and kindness, and finding someone who gets you just the way you are. It’s about fighting for your people and never giving up on them. It’s about falling in love hard and fast when you least expect it. It’s a beautiful story about finding your voice and the strength to keep going. Mr. Hockey is all of those things and that’s why it’s my favorite.

So, I hope you’ll give it a read and enjoy my hockey playing superhero, Mikhail, and his warrior princess-in-trouble, Reagan. Mr. Hockey is a complete standalone within the Vegas Crush series so you don’t have to read the other books to enjoy it. Books can be read in any order (with minor spoilers of course, like who gets married, engaged, etc. if that’s considered a spoiler for you).

Photograph: Graham Nation by Justin Forsyth. Design by Jena Brignola.

You’ll get these tropes below, plus a treasure trove of VGK Easter Eggs and even some from my other books sprinkled throughout the pages as I love to do. I can’t seem to help myself with my favorite hockey team and current NHL champions, the Vegas Golden Knights by putting in little mentions of the team in my Vegas Crush books to honor them because I love them so much. I’m already smiling because there’ll be preseason games to watch this month. Hockey Season is nearly here!!

➜ hockey player🏒🔥
➜ steamy sports romance 🏒🥅🖤
➜ friends with benefits 🔥💋
➜ he falls first 🧍💙
➜ only in Vegas 🎰⁉️
➜ he’s a superhero 🦸‍♂️
➜ brooding man 😠
➜ Gentleman Alpha 🤵

A hotheaded winger with a superhero complex trying to live up to his father’s great legacy rescues a desperate damsel-in-distress with ninety-nine problems and discovers he wants to be so much more than just her “friend” in this friends-with-benefits, he falls first, superhero hockey romance.

“When people say I have a superhero complex I take it as a compliment.”
—Mikhail Zelenka, VEGAS CRUSH

I met her on my way home from the gym one day.
It was really more like she accused me of stalking her and other things that made no sense to me at the time.
Reagan Marlowe was under the impression I was working for a Vegas crime boss about to give her the shakedown.
I was under the impression she was straight-up crazy.
Gorgeous AF, but crazy all the same.
So later, when I came upon her with said shakedown in progress, I knew she wasn’t crazy at all, just terrified and in trouble.
I didn’t hesitate to step in and rescue her from the real criminals in this story.
She told me I was her own personal superhero and I probably saved her life.
I told her I was just a hockey player who happened to be in the right place at the right time and we should probably be friends.
So, we did that…we became friends.
Our friendship even grew to include the occasional naked sleepover.
But it was when she gave me the cool superhero name that I knew I wanted to be a lot more than just a friend who makes her see stars on one of our naked sleepovers.
Yes, she’s got ninety-nine problems and a Vegas crime boss on her tail, but I can make it all go away.
If she would just let me help.
Did I mention she’s also stubborn AF along with gorgeous?
Mr. Hockey (that’s what she named me) has one more challenge before my mission is complete.
Convincing Reagan Marlowe I’ll be her superhero forever.

Until next time, my loves, and Happy Reading.


Ethan Blackstone’s Final March

Since the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, I’ve done so much reflecting on just how far her influence has intertwined with my life and into the furthest corners of it.  I’ve thought about the characters I’ve created in my books over the years and found that so many of them would be actively involved and directly working to facilitate the many aspects of mourning her death, and of course, paying respect as the world says farewell to a singular Queen in celebrating the truly remarkable life she lived.

Singular because, for me, when I hear the words “The Queen” there is only one person to whom they refer.  Elizabeth II.  I wanted to do something to pay my own tribute to her long life, share my admiration, and express my grief at her passing.  I couldn’t think of what I could do at first, but then I realized what it needed to be.  I could write something.  The following scene is my own personal offering in mourning my Queen.

Yes, I realize what I just said.  My Queen.  Even as a proud American, I think of her in this way and have always done since my first Majesty Magazine arrived in 1981.  I’ve been a royalist for over 40 years and so that’s just how I’ve always regarded Her Majesty.  Nobody who knows me would question who I was speaking about if the words “The Queen” crossed my lips.  In fact, I received several sweet messages of condolence from old friends I’ve not seen or interacted with in years telling me they thought of me when they heard the news of her death.  They knew very well how much I’ve always loved her.  She was quite simply… Queen of the World to me.

Please enjoy this short reflection of a certain British Army Captain as he says goodbye to his beloved Queen.


Westminster Abbey, London

I didn’t imagine I’d ever put this uniform on again.  I couldn’t think of a situation that might require me in my dress blues with full honors pinned on.  But yet, for the privilege and the great honor I’ve been tasked with, there is nothing else I could wear that’d be even remotely appropriate for the occasion except this uniform.

The last time I wore it before today was, ironically, for an audience with Her Majesty on the day she presented me with the Victoria Cross.  That day is not a sharp memory for me.  Still raw from my captivity, attempting (and failing) to process all the loss, my military service at an end, I wasn’t looking for any reminders of my time in the army.  My head was all wrong even though my heart was still beating.  Alive but not quite sure how to keep on living just yet.  I still had to figure that all out.  Brynne was years away from coming into my life, and the confidence I own today was very much absent.  The general day’s events might be fuzzy but my recollection of Her Majesty on that occasion is crystal clear.

Extraordinary in every way.

How she put me at ease with her genuine kindness and concern, making me feel as if I was her highest priority.  As if there was nowhere else she’d rather be in the world than right there presenting a medal upon a lowly army officer she’d never met before that day.  To her sincerity and compassion for my experience as a captive and in thanking me for my service to the crown on behalf of a grateful nation.  I truly felt all of that from her. How she easily made the whole experience feel as if it was her great privilege to know me.

I remember what she said to me accompanied by that famous smile she had.  “I don’t get to give this one this very often, Captain Blackstone, it is an honor.”

Again, another example of Her Majesty’s legacy as a monarch who was not here to be served but to serve.  The motto she lived in life:  I serve.

Which she most certainly did.

When I received the invitation to the funeral as a living recipient of the Victoria Cross, I couldn’t imagine any greater honor in paying my respects.  Blackstone Security had been very busy working today as we had been in various capacities over the past ten days, of course, but not as an invited guest to mourn personally.  But there was more to come.  I was then told the contingent of Victoria and George Cross recipients would march together behind the cortege after the funeral service from Westminster Abbey through ceremonial London to Wellington Arch for sending Her Majesty off to her final destination to Windsor for burial.  Blow me down.

So… I was going to march.

Neil was in charge of everything else while I was otherwise engaged in this final duty for my Queen. Ivan was here as a cabinet minister for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport in his governmental role.  But his office had been crazy busy for days with the organization of relaying information to the public with everything from the length of time for the queue at Westminster Hall where Her Majesty had been lying in state before today, to the details of road closures and general information regarding the state funeral service sequence of events.  These were uncharted waters for everyone.  We were all simply trying our best to send our Queen off to her final rest with all the dignity, honor, celebration, and love we had to give.

Brynne’s hands had been shaking ever so slightly when she pinned the medal on for me earlier.  I asked her if she was nervous and she gave me that side eye I’d grown to know and love. She said she wanted to get it pinned on perfect for her war hero husband.  I told her it was better her than me because I couldn’t pin the fuckin’ thing straight for the life of me.  Ever since I gave up the smokes I still have high-stress moments that bring on the shakes.  Thank God I have Brynne to soothe me now.  She looked so gorgeous today at the funeral in a black collared coat and a wide-brim hat coming through the entrance of Westminster Abbey.  The diamond and ruby butterfly brooch I gave her when Laurel was born pinned at her breast.  She always looks gorgeous though.  She can’t help that.

Having Brynne with me for this honor today meant so much.  I couldn’t imagine my life without her in it. The life I was living now so very different from the life I was living upon my first meeting with Her Majesty.

As we waited for the coffin to be brought out from the Abbey and while the procession members were getting organized and lining up in their places, Brynne kissed me on the cheek and said, “You look…smashing in your uniform, Captain Blackstone.”  Adding a little eyebrow wiggle for good measure.  “I’m so proud.  So very proud of you. Now go out there and march for your Queen.  I’ll be waiting for you when you’re finished, my love,” she told me before stepping away to join the exit queue with the others leaving the Abbey.

There were no other words I wanted to hear because knowing she would be waiting for me was… everything.  I love you, my beauty, I mouthed to her before she turned to go.

I know, she mouthed back at me, and then she was out of sight.

My attention then turned rightly toward my former sovereign surrounded by the splendor of her nation in a pageant of armed services gratefully performing a final duty for her.  When the orders were given and “MAAARCHH” was called out, like a well-oiled machine, the great procession rolled forward to begin its way down the Mall.  Seventy-five steps per minute with drum beats keeping the pace, royal pipers piping, and Big Ben tolling once every minute for the duration.  Nothing like this has ever been witnessed in modern Britain and I will never forget this experience.

In life, Her Majesty wanted to be there for all people, promoting community, keeping the promise she made on her 21st birthday: “I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.”

Never was a promise so well and truly kept.

Rest well, Ma’am, your duty is done.

God Save the King.




Ten Years of Ethan Blackstone

Original self-published cover. Design by Kim Killion, Hot Damn Designs. Image from Shutterstock.

Ten years ago on this day, I sent a very special character out into the world.  Ethan Blackstone hit the bookshelves and in a word, changed my life.  Things have never been quite the same since.  An off-the-chain, British Alpha with angel wings and a Shakespeare quote tattooed across his back.  A blue-eyed,  British Army veteran with severe PTSD who’d been through the bowels of hell and somehow returned to the land of the living.  A fiercely protective guy with a really filthy mouth who smoked Djarum Blacks and drove a black Range Rover around London for work.  Devastatingly handsome and beautifully damaged, this soul was about to fall in love with a girl he saw for the first time in a photograph.  Yeah, he was all of that and so much more.  After this day ten years ago, Ethan Blackstone took on the world all by himself, quite literally, and lucky me, got to come along for the ride of my life in his black Range Rover.  *winky wink*  He is among my best life accomplishments and I cherish each and every one of these last ten years with him.

August 25, 2012, was also the day I hit the “publish” button for my very first self-published book: Naked, The Blackstone Affair Part 1.  I had two historical romances with a small press publisher already out in the world, but this new book was different for many reasons.  Naked was not the first book I ever wrote.  It was actually the fourth book written, but the third book that I published.  The Muse was the first book I ever wrote, but it would remain in a box under my bed for a few more years before it was finally published.  Naked was my first contemporary romance though because I had only written historicals prior and assumed that historicals would be my genre forever and ever.  Boy was I wrong.

A little backstory to know where this story really starts…

In the final days of June 2012, Mr. Miller took the boys away to Boy Scout camp and I had the house all to myself for an entire week.  I had no responsibilities to anyone and so much blessed free time to write, enjoy the pool, sip drinks, watch movies, read books in the spa…you get the idea.  Well, I was truly in heaven.  Summer vacation was in full swing and I had just returned from a fun romance book conference in Denver called RomCon armed with lots of motivation to write my own contemporary romance since the buzz throughout that weekend had been Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James and how it blew the doors off the erotic romance genre.  I decided I wanted to take a stab at writing contemporary and had a great plot already outlined in my head to begin.  The book I was working on is what ended up becoming Priceless, The Rothvale Legacy Part 1.  An American art student, Gabrielle Hargreave, living in London, running from troubles at home in America, is tasked with evaluating a heretofore unknown art collection stashed away at the Northern Ireland estate of Lord Rothvale XIII.  This guy has quite the resume too: Cabinet Minister for the sitting government, member of the House of Lords, former Olympian in Archery, decadently handsome, wealthy Renaissance Man, and an all-around 10 (of course.)  LOL  He was going to be the modern-day Lord Rothvale descendant of my historical Lord Rothvale from my three other historical romance books in which he appears.  I had the historical Lord Rothvale created already in my books, so why not make a modern-day Lord Rothvale descendant story to complement a very loooooong story arc?  Well, that was my plan anyway…

I set to writing and had a good 20K written into my story when my “plan” got sidelined.  One night I was up scrolling stock photo sites for an image that could be my cover for Priceless.  This was going to be my first self-published book remember, so I would be able to choose the cover and make all decisions for my book.  I was into it and having so much fun searching for the perfect image when I stumbled across the picture that would become the cover of Naked.  A nude model in repose with her legs crossed in the vertical and a well-placed palm.  The picture was stunning to me.  I thought it was so beautiful and I bought it right then and there thinking I didn’t have a story for it but I was going to create one.

My mind spinning with ideas, I started typing at like 10:00 pm that night with what would become the first chapter of The Blackstone Affair.  I wrote it in 45 minutes.  To this day, those first lines are largely unchanged, they remain as they were originally written.  The heroine, art student, and part-time model, Brynne Bennett, shows up at the gallery showing of photographic art where a series of her nude photos are on display.  She talks to her photographer friend Benny about the tall, dark, and handsome checking her out from across the room.  She checks him out too and we get our first description of the beautiful man he is.  It’s no secret that I based the physical description of Ethan Blackstone on the one and only David Gandy.  Anyone reading that description of Ethan in the first chapter of Naked could put two and two together if they had any inkling of who David Gandy was in 2012.  I had been following him for a couple of years by that point so I had seen lots and lots of his photos to know what he looked like enough to describe him in detail.  He was an effortless muse for my Ethan.  Brynne feels unsettled as they stare at each other from across the room before abruptly leaving the gallery and heading out into the night towards the Tube.  Ethan follows her out and demands she allow him to give her a ride home.  LOL  Yep, that’s how it goes.  And I love him for it.  Zero apologies for his Alpha ways!!!

I was obsessed with this story only an hour into it.  I sent the first chapter to my friend Franzi in Germany and asked her to read it.  She encouraged me to keep writing it.  And that’s exactly what I did.  I abandoned poor Priceless and made Gabrielle the roommate of Brynne instead of the heroine.  I made the hero Ivan, Lord Rothvale, into Ethan’s maternal cousin and decided I would write Ivan and Gabrielle’s story later on but placed them firmly into the world I was creating so I would have to come back to them at a further point down the line.  I didn’t have the prologue yet, the impetus for Ethan to be there watching Brynne in the first place, or why he knew about her photo at all.  I still had yet to work all of those details out.

I did that over the next few days.  Figuring out his backstory and hers.  I got the idea for Blackstone Security International, Ltd. while watching the opening ceremonies for the Olympics which were happening right as I was starting to write the book in August 2012, in London of all places.  I saw all those famous people and royalty at the ceremonies performing and thought: someone has to organize security for all those celebrities at big events like these…that’s what Ethan Blackstone does!!!!  It was that simple. Done.  All I had to do was write the rest of the story.  I wrote the book in three weeks.  Then the edits and cover design and getting ready to press publish.  Forever thanks to Lacey Wetherford and Belinda Boring for their helping assistance with navigating the strange and unknown process of Amazon and Smashwords self-publishing in those early days.  I don’t know if I would have gotten through it without their help because I knew n-o-t-h-i-n-g.  But somehow I learned the ropes and managed to get to today…ten years ago.  It was scary but exciting.  I didn’t have huge expectations to fall far from because I was creating this story for the pure joy of doing it. Because once I started writing it I couldn’t do anything but keep going.  It was magic from start to finish.  The words had poured out of me while I was writing and now it was time to set them free out into the world.

It was one of the best things I’ve ever done.

Endless thanks to all of the people who have read and fallen in love with Ethan Blackstone and his beautiful American girl, Brynne.  You made this wonderful dream of mine a reality.  You made it possible for me to do this gig full-time.  You made it possible for me to be offered a major book deal from a (then Big Six) publisher.  You made me a #2 New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author.  Thank you for that and for reading my books.  I am ever humbly grateful.

xoxo Raine

Here are some extras for you courtesy of Becca Manuel from Becca the Bibliophile who interviewed Ethan as the very first guest on her blog when she started it a few months later.  We had a lot of fun doing this one.

Exclusive Interview with Ethan Blackstone

And also the first book trailer she ever made was for Naked.  It still gives me chills every time I watch it!!!

And a last final thought to leave you with.  You haven’t heard the last from Ethan Blackstone.  There is more to come and it will.  Time has been static for Ethan and Brynne in their world.  Ten years have not passed for them only about a year and a half by the time we meet up with them again in The Blessings of Ethan Blackstone.  Stay tuned, my friends.

xo R


About The Blackstone Affair

A Lovely Pink May Day

Lovely Pink

Cover design by Letitia Hasser. Image by Sara Eirew.

Since it’s my birthday I thought I’d do something a little different this year.  I give you Lovely Pink, a delightful little story very near and dear to my heart.  I wrote this originally as part of the limited release anthology Love In Transit where each of the stories focused on the heroine riding the subway in a wedding dress.  It was a blast to write it and I’ve wanted to bring it out in its own publication for a long time but it did not happen for whatever reason.  LOL  Story of my life!  Love In Transit published in the spring of 2017 and was only on sale for a short three months in total.  Lovely Pink was originally titled Capitol South in the anthology, but the story is the same.  I am thrilled to bring it to you now in its own ebook, paperback, and audiobook.

The past year and a half has been rough on everyone.  So, because it’s my birthday, and because it makes me happy being able to share my Lovely Pink with all of you, here’s your May Day love bomb.

*It should be noted that Lovely Pink is a “political” story, as both the hero and heroine are direct descendants of former Presidents of the United States.  Do not be alarmed, however.  It’s a nice and happy political storypromise. *giggle*

Here’s the blurb:

The politics of love are brutal.

Yes.  They.  Are.

But it doesn’t really matter either way because this plan was set in stone a long time ago by the ones who hold all the power.

Reese Pinkarver and Grayson T. Lash III will marry and merge the political dynasties of the honorable presidential legacies they were born into. A destiny so much bigger than the both of us. With all the rewards that come with it…to the tune of a billion-dollar trust fund.

And I am here for all of it. All in. I know who I want to spend my life with. Who I want to have babies with. Who I want beside me as I make my way carrying on the legacy of our names.

My Lovely Pink.

All I have to do is convince her it’s what she wants too.


*Lovely Pink is a STANDALONE novella.  You can check out the Pinterest board for Lovely Pink here.

*A version of this story was originally published as CAPITOL SOUTH in the limited release anthology collection, Love In Transit.

Get the ebook here:


Lord Rothvale is Here


Happy 2021, my dear friends.

There were many times I feared this book would never happen over the last six years.  So much fretting and anxiety endured by me during those six years.  See, the story was inside my head for all that timeit was never lostit was always there, patiently waiting for its turn to be told.  I’ve known Gaby and Ivan’s story for over ten years.  What will happen, and why, and how, and when.  It was first conceived in the springtime of 2008 when I was at home recovering from surgery with nothing to do while my kids and Mr. Miller were at school all day.  I started writing my first book.  That book was The Muse.  A historical romance telling the story of a different Lord Rothvale, the one from two hundred years ago, going about his way amassing a private collection of art.  Because he foresaw the art as his legacy, a gift to and for his country, to be displayed in public for everyone to admire and enjoy for generations to come.  In my book, Graham Everley, Lord Rothvale IX is one of the founding members of just such a place, The National Gallery in London.  You can walk right through its massive doors for free, move from room to room, and look at gorgeous paintings to your heart’s content.  What a beautiful gift, right?  Graham Everley is a fictional character, but to me, he is very real.  All of my characters feel real to me.

I also knew right from the beginning that I would write a contemporary romance about a different Lord Rothvale and the art conservationist who would find all the paintings, and how the contemporary characters’ love story would intertwine with the historical love story almost like déjà vu.  Nothing has changed since I formed my original idea all those years ago.

Yesterday his great, great, grandson, Ivan Everley, Lord Rothvale XIII, finally got his book in My Lord as it published.  After a six-year-long wait and so much struggle to get to this point, it finally happened.  Thank you to all who stuck with me, and this story for the last six-years—your inspiration and encouragement (and patience) helped me to find my way back to these very special characters more than you will ever know.  It was the hardest book I’ve ever had to write, but yet it was the most cathartic experience as well.  A lot of my emotional grid is tied up in this story because it was the book I was writing when I experienced the loss of both of my parents and other traumatic events that affect me still.  

The Rothvale Legacy is a serial series which means the books must be read in order and are not really standalone.   I suppose you could “figure out” what is going on, but it’s definitely not the way to enjoy the storyline or the character journey for the starring couple.  Similar to The Blackstone Affair, also a serial series about the same couple through several books.  Gaby and Ivan have a very big story to tell until they get to the end.  I envision at least two more books before that happens.  The good news is you will not have to wait six more years for the next book if that helps ease your anxiety.  Truly.  I’m already deep into writing it and so much wonderfulness is yet to come for my kinky Lord and his artsy Lady.

For anyone who has not read book 1 in this series, Priceless, then you must do that before opening My Lord and getting started.  Priceless is FREE for a limited time on all retailers though, so you can get the book if you aren’t one of those who’s been patiently waiting for the last six years.

For Audio lovers, I am pleased to announce that Priceless was recently re-recorded with the amazing and talented Shane East voicing Ivan, and it is sheer perfection listening to him.  If you have the audiobook of Priceless in your library now, you can re-download for free on either Audible or iTunes and receive the new edition with Shane East and Harper Jeanne Wilson voicing Ivan and Gabrielle.  The audiobook for My Lord will release in March with Shane and Harper narrating as well.

I’m having so much fun being back in this world with my writing.  All buy links for both of the books can be found by clicking on the title of the book below.

>–> Priceless <–<

>–> my Lord <–<


Signed paperbacks of My Lord are now available to order from my shop here >–> Signed Books <–< if you want to complete your collection. I also have a specially priced deal going for the bundle of Priceless & My Lord available as well for $20 + shipping/handling.

My best to you and your family for a wonderful 2021 and to your good health throughout the coming year.

xoxo Raine

My Lord…Finally!

Yes.  It’s true.  My Lord has a publish date and is available to pre-order on all platforms.  *huge smile*  There were times I thought this day would never come, but something good has happened in 2020 in this regard at least.  Ivan and Gaby will be getting the next part of their love story at last…and you can read it in January!  *cele-freaking-bration time*

-January 8, 2021-

Is the big day.  It’s a Friday so as to give you the weekend to read if you’re one who’s been patiently waiting six long years for this book.  If you’re at all interested in the whys and how comes it’s taken that long to bring this book out so you can finally read the full tale of Ivan and Gaby’s story… you can read my blog comments about it HERE.  So… while this is not a cover reveal, it is a reveal of sorts to announce that My Lord will be here on the 8th of January.  I can end this nightmare of Covid 2020 on a happy note by bringing this book out to you at least.  I take that as a remarkable blessing.  The Universal pre-order link is below. Paperback and Audio links will be added in the coming weeks.

Head on over to the My Lord page for some teasers to get you back in the mood with these two. I’ll be posting a lot more along with snippets on my social media in the coming days and weeks. Follow my Instagram to get all of them.

Image courtesy of Selma and Sejla Ibrahimpasic.



Smokeshow, A Hockey Love Story

I’m so happy with this book.  I don’t think I’ve enjoyed writing an epilogue as much as I did this one in many, many years.  Smokeshow, A Hockey Love Story is now LIVE and out in the world.  The hero is a guy who has appeared in the three books prior to this one in the VEGAS CRUSH series…and presented himself as someone who could never achieve hero status by any stretch of the imagination in any book ever penned by me.  He was pretty much everything my heroes aren’t; mouthy, over-confident, loud, lacking discretion, but mostly just a shameless, unrepentant manwhore on the hunt for his next one-night-score, and nothing more.

Well…that’s just what we saw, but it certainly wasn’t the whole picture.  In life, things change and challenges arise, as do characters who step up and take on responsibility, transforming themselves into an unforgettable hero you can’t help but fall in love with as the pages turn.

That would be my Tyler Lockhardt.


Here’s a little teaser for you…

Thank God she’s gone for a second. Seeing her like that, her hair loose around her shoulders, her lids heavy from sleep, in her tiny panties and tight T-shirt. Holy hell, Zoya has no idea what she looks like to me right now.

She has reallllly long legs and reallllly pretty skin and I’m not drunk, so I feel secure in saying that I am dead certain I have never seen a more beautiful woman than Zoya Kolochev.

When she comes back, she sits on her bed and pats the spot beside her. I sit, feeling oddly nervous and stiff.

“I’m glad you are here, Tyler.” Her voice is so soft and sweet. It’s like cotton candy.


“I wanted to tell you that I’m glad you trusted me enough to tell me your story earlier.”

“Oh.” I wave off the comment. “It’s no biggie.”

“I think it is, a biggie, as you say. I think you try to play tough guy, like you don’t care about anything, but it’s because of everything you have gone through. You had to fight to get out of the life handed to you. Maybe, I think, you need a friend to talk to sometimes.”

“I have friends,” I say, running a hand through my hair. I feel disgusting, all of a sudden, sweaty from dancing, alcohol still on my breath. And yes, Irina’s kisses on my lips. She wanted me. And fuck, I was tempted. Kissed her. But… but here I am. With a girl who saw me. Now talking ’bout my friends.

“But do you have people you can talk to? About important things?”

I start to say yes, but in the end, I have to admit I don’t have that in my life. I never really have. My “friendships” were surface level in college and with teammates over the years. Viktor is the first true friend I’ve had, and I don’t even tell him about my crazy mother. I shake my head no.

Zoya reaches over and takes my hand in hers. I stare at it, my big, clunky dude hand holding her petite, delicate one. “Well, I declare that we are now best friends, Tyler Lockhardt. I’m going to be that person for you.”

I stare at her, dumbfounded. She wants to be my BFF? I almost laugh, because it feels hysterical to want someone as badly as I want her, only to be told that we are now best friends and I am to share all of my innermost feelings with her. When all I really want is to kiss her until she goes blind with desire.

“What if…” I start, pursing my lips and letting a breath out through my nose. “What if I want more?”


“Than just friendship. With you.”

Zoya blushes, and not just on her cheeks. Her whole chest blooms peach. But she says those same words I’ve heard before. “I don’t want a hockey boy, remember? The fact I’m offering my friendship is a lot, because I don’t really want hockey in my life either. But I like you and I think you need a friend. And I want to be that friend.”

“But I—”

She shakes her head at me. “No, Tyler. I came here to study. I am too familiar with the truth of hockey life, and I therefore know it’s not something I want to be part of. I will not date a hockey player.”

“It’s just that I find you very attractive, Zoya. What is it you’re lookin’ for in a guy? If it’s not me, who is it?”

“I need a prince charming. Someone who will romance me. He will want to know everything about me. And buy me flowers. He will make me feel like love is a fairy tale made real.”

A derisive noise comes out of me. I don’t mean for it to, but it does, and she looks away, blushing again, embarrassed. I scramble to find words that will make it better. “You’re a romantic, I get it. Maybe I could try to be that for you?”

She squeezes my hand. “No. That is not you. You are not built for that love. And I will not settle. Being your friend is all I can offer. I really want that for us. Do you?”

I think about it for a moment. She’s not wrong. I’ve never been in love. Never even tried. Never wanted it. And yes, this woman is knocking my socks off in a way that women usually don’t, but it doesn’t mean I can suddenly morph into a Disney prince.

“Okay,” I say finally. “You’re right. I’d rather have you for a friend than nothing at all.”

She smiles and it sinks my stomach. Fuck. I want to growl or cry or something because she is just so stinkin’ amazing.

“Though I’ve never had a friend who’s a girl,” I add. “I might be a shitty friend. In fact, there’s a really good possibility of that.”

“But I believe in you, Tyler.” She stands, towing me up off the bed. Pushing up on her tiptoes, she kisses me on the cheek before wrapping her arms around my midsection for a hug. I put my hands around her too, wanting desperately to touch the silky-smooth skin showing at her hips. I rest my head on top of hers and we just hold each other for a moment.

It feels really fucking good.


𝘽𝙚 “𝙟𝙪𝙨𝙩 𝙛𝙧𝙞𝙚𝙣𝙙𝙨” 𝙬𝙞𝙩𝙝 𝙖 𝙨𝙢𝙤𝙠𝙚𝙨𝙝𝙤𝙬 𝙡𝙞𝙠𝙚 𝙝𝙚𝙧? 𝙏𝙝𝙖𝙩’𝙨 𝙥𝙧𝙚𝙩𝙩𝙮 𝙢𝙪𝙘𝙝 𝙖 𝙥#𝙘𝙠𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙞𝙢𝙥𝙤𝙨𝙨𝙞𝙗𝙡𝙚 𝙖𝙨𝙠.
—𝗧𝘆𝗹𝗲𝗿 𝗟𝗼𝗰𝗸𝗵𝗮𝗿𝗱𝘁, 𝗩𝗘𝗚𝗔𝗦 𝗖𝗥𝗨𝗦𝗛

𝑺𝑴𝑶𝑲𝑬𝑺𝑯𝑶𝑾, 𝗔 𝗛𝗼𝗰𝗸𝗲𝘆 𝗟𝗼𝘃𝗲 𝗦𝘁𝗼𝗿𝘆 𝐨𝐧 𝐚𝐦𝐚𝐳𝐨𝐧!
🇺🇸 https://amzn.to/2Yk0JB3
🇬🇧 https://amzn.to/34iUhhM
🇨🇦 https://amzn.to/3iYSulT
🇦🇺 https://bit.ly/smokeshowAU

🔥🎟𝑺𝑴𝑶𝑲𝑬𝑺𝑯𝑶𝑾👄 is a friends-to-lovers STANDALONE hockey romance about a cocky defenseman for the Vegas Crush about to be sidelined by one seriously hot smokeshow. Too bad she’s not interested in dating a hockey player and one hundred percent off-limits. 𝙐𝙝 𝙤𝙝. 𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙛𝙧𝙞𝙚𝙣𝙙-𝙯𝙤𝙣𝙚 𝙞𝙨 𝙝𝙚𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙪𝙥 𝙛𝙖𝙨𝙩. 𝙔𝙤𝙪 𝙘𝙤𝙪𝙡𝙙 𝙚𝙫𝙚𝙣 𝙨𝙖𝙮 𝙞𝙩’𝙨 𝙨-𝙨-𝙨𝙢𝙤𝙠𝙞𝙣’…


SMOKESHOW is book #5.  Check out the rest of the series here > VEGAS CRUSH

Hockey in the Desert?

This is partly a confessional post, and partly a welcome back to blogging after more than a year away from it.  Sorry about that.  It is my goal to do better in the future.

Confession:  I am a hockey addict.

And since the hockey season has just been paused in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic (feels freaky even writing that word) and I’m feeling bereft at the possibility of no playoffs or Stanley Cup Finals, a toilet paper shortage, and having to cook all the meals…yes, I’m a wee bit on edge.  If indeed this season is now OVER until September when the preseason begins?  *Gulp*  Because that’s a lot of months with no hockey to watch.

But there is a silver lining to all of this.  I do have my fictional team to tide me over until then.  Yes, my addiction to the sport has filtered over into writing books about it.  “Hockey Love Stories” to be exact.   I have a series about a fictional Las Vegas team named the CRUSH, written as my alter-ego, Brit DeMille.  I did that to help separate my sports romance from my other books because Brit DeMille’s books are lighter with more of a romantic comedy feel than what readers are used to getting from Raine.  *winky wink*  I am loving writing these books.

My Vegas Crush series is made of up STANDALONE books about different couples and there are now four books available for your reading pleasure.  The fourth book, Puck Money, just released a few days ago.  You can check out the whole series right here.

I hope you’re being cautious, washing hands, social distancing, and all the rest of the recommendations floating around out there. But most of all, may you find some fun things to do in lieu of our usual daily routines.  I know I have about fifty books on my TBR pile right now, but I’m also taking this quarantine time to reorganize and downsize possessions–something that isn’t so fun while I’m doing it, but sure feels fabulous once it’s done.

Be well and many blessings, my friends,


P.S.  Yes, I am a superfan of the Vegas Golden Knights.  GO KNIGHTS GO!



A Wish Granted

On this 24th of December I find myself continuing a tradition I started six years ago with a little Christmas story from my Blackstone Affair world with a single Brynne Bennett in London doing some Christmas shopping on a blustery, wintry day.  You never know what will happen, or who my characters might meet but you can be sure they will be somewhere along their journey together as a couple at the holidays.   This year I am happy to bring you back to celebrate with some very special newlyweds up in Scotland for their first Christmas as Mr. and Mrs. McManus.  If you don’t remember where we left off with Neil and Elaina you can catch up with a previous Christmas story from 2013 about them here:  A Scottish Christmas.  This year’s Christmas story continues where the previous one left off as if time has been standing still for five years.  I love to do that as a writer.  For me, my characters don’t age and time doesn’t pass for them until I want it to.

I get asked about the follow up to Cherry Girl all the time.  “When is the sequel coming out?”  “Are you going to give us more Neil and Elaina?”  “When is My Captain coming out?”

I’m working on finishing up the book right now.  Release date details and preorder links for My Captain will be coming shortly so look for that in an upcoming newsletter.  If you aren’t subscribed you can do that here:  Email Sign-up.

I hope you enjoy where the Captain and his Cherry Girl are headed.

Merry Christmas to each and every one of you and hope for a most blessed New Year in 2019.

xoxo Raine


A Wish Granted

24 December~

I kissed him long and hard.  Neil backed up a little, giving me a bit of side-eye for whatever I was up to.  He had such a keen sixth-sense.  He could tell whenever something was stirring around in my head.  He sensed it right now with zero effort.  Me trying to surprise him was going to be a constant challenge for the rest of my life.  But still, I was determined to pull this one off if it killed me.

“Careful now,” he scolded, “Or we won’t get to the rest of the presents and I’ll have to take you upstairs and ravish you again.”

“Of course you would imply that I—your devoted wife—cannot focus on anything other than the prospect of being ravished by you day and night, but I am determined to give it a hearty try.”  I made a fist and rocked my arm like I was march stepping.  Teasing him was my new favorite.  Probably because he loved it as much as I loved doing it.  His threat was pointless because he’d ravish me later either way.  Happy Christmas to me. 

“It’s okay, Cherry, I can wait until the presents are over before ravishing you again.”  He gave me a deceptively sweet kiss that started off gentle but clearly demonstrated his intentions for later on.  His lips…  They worked magic on me as always, holding me captive pressed against his hard chest.  I wasn’t complaining because being held and kissed by my man was exactly what I wanted to be doing as often as possible.  Whatever came later was just an added bonus.

“I was waiting for you to say that, because we both know you can’t keep your hands off me.”

“So true, Cherry,” his fingers dug into my ribs for a tickle, “and that is something which will never change.”

I shrieked.

The puppies protested our rude disruption, yawning widely and blinking up at us from our laps where they’d been sleeping.  “Sorry, little fellow.”  I gave the boy pup a few soft pets on his silvery fur before setting him down on the floor to stretch his legs.  “What are we going to name these two gorgeous beasts, Neil?”

“I was just thinking the same thing.  We need some good strong names because they’re going to become big strong dogs.”  He held the girl puppy up to his face and studied her thoughtfully for a minute.

My puppy had now strolled over to explore around the massive, twinkling Christmas tree and the wrapped gifts beneath it.  Since this was our first Christmas as a married couple, Neil had spared no expense, giving me way more presents than we’d agreed on and even insisting on ordering duck for our Christmas Day dinner.  He was feeling festive for sure.

“Definitely something noble,” Neil said as he set the now squirming girl puppy on the floor to join her brother.  “Great Danes are as noble-looking as they come.”

“Something classic would be fitting…”  I thought about the stories from Greek mythology I’d learned in school and it came to me in a flash: “I’ve got it!  The boy and girl twins of Zeus…Apollo and Artemis.  Those are their names.”

The puppies, now wide awake, had begun to play and chase each other around the tree and through the presents.  Freaking adorable.  I reached for my phone and got a video of Neil playing with them on the floor and being double-teamed with puppy kisses.

Neil grinned up at me and held out his hand.  “Apollo and Artemis it is then.  Cherry, come down here and save me from these excitable beasts, please.”

I put down my phone and joined my husband on the floor, bombarded with puppy kisses every time Neil kissed me.  They became the most excited whenever he tried to get close to me or kiss me.  It was hilarious.  Our two little cock blockers, Apollo and Artemis.

“Ready to open another one, Captain?”  I pointed to our small pile of artfully wrapped boxes and bags.

I zeroed in on the small, plain wrapped box I’d placed on the top of the pile.  The most important gift I could give him.  Ever since I done the test, I’d been waiting anxiously for this moment.  Hardly concerned with all the pomp and extravagance of Christmas, other than that getting to spend it with Neil, all that mattered to me was that I got to see his face when he unwrapped that little box.

“Which one?”

“The small brown paper one sitting on top.”   He picked out the little package, glancing up at me for confirmation.  I nodded, my breath catching in my throat.

This is it.

He tore through the bow and paper a bit roughly.  If he knew what was inside, he probably wouldn’t set about the task like a kid getting through a wrapper to find the sweet.

The very second his eyes laid on it, I knew.  His dark eyes drooped, then widened, then went to mine. “Is this right, Cherry?”

I only smiled.

“But—the doctor,” he protested, “said it’d probably take months, maybe even a year…”

I told both his hands, smiled even wider. “It’s true, Neil.  I’m finally pregnant.  All of your dedicated work paid off.”

The bellow that emerged out of my man was part disbelieving cry, part triumphant roar as he swept me up and swung me round.  “Cherry, we did it.  We did it, my beautiful girl.”

Apollo and Artemis started up with the chasing and barking again.

Holding my face in his big hands, he stared at me.  Those deep brown eyes of his that looked like melted chocolate grew a little glassy as he smiled widely.  “After our wedding, I thought I’d never have another day nearly as happy, but now…”  Another goofy grin.  “Boy was I wrong.”

His hands went to my belly as he stared.  His face darkened.  “Let’s not tell anyone.  I want to keep it just for us right now.”

As sudden as his change had been, I understood.  Nodding, I settled my hands over his. “You don’t want to jinx our good luck.”

Neil’s hands tensed beneath mine. “Almost seems too good to be true.”

I laid my head against the reassuring muscled valley of his chest. “Don’t say that.  We’re entitled to good luck just as much as the next person.  You’ll come with me to the first doctor’s appointment?”  I tilted my head in question and winked, needing to distract him from worrying thoughts.  I knew where his mind might go.  He’d had a lot of disappointments growing up and tragic losses along the way.  It was time for him to accept the good in life and enjoy it…with me.

“Like that’s even something you need to ask.  Nothing could keep me away.”  He laughed and shook his head.  “We’re going to have a baby, Elaina.  I can hardly believe it.”

“We are, Captain.  You’ll be adding ‘Daddy’ to your list of titles and you’re going to be the best daddy ever.”

He kissed me on the lips again, and then bent down to kiss my belly.  “I’m really happy.”

“I can see that, my love, but what are we going to do with all these presents still unwrapped?”

Neil transferred his gaze to the stack of presents and chuckled.

“I may have overdone it a bit this year.  Sorry, baby, I’ve already been blessed with the best gifts ever; you and now our baby.  I don’t need or want anything else.”

“I love you, Captain.”

“I love you, Cherry.”

Scanning them, I realized, with a bit of a guilty thrill, that three quarters of those were from Neil to me. “Thought we agreed to five gifts each.”

He frowned.  “Not my bloody fault.  Every damn time I went shopping for you, a bunch of other items called out to me.”

I gave him a sweet kiss on the cheek, which slid over to his ear.  “Know what present I’d like to unwrap most, more than all of these?” I whispered.

His hips were close enough that I felt his cock twitch into me.  “I think I’d like to find out,” he said with a wolfish grin.  “Wait a sec.”

He hurried over to the pile, returning with a small box of his own.  “We’ll be needing this later when I show my appreciation and love for the mother of my children.”

“Oh we will, will we?”

He gave my bum a squeeze and kissed me again.  “Mark my words, beautiful.”


Husband Material is LIVE

Cover Design by Jena Brignola.  Cover image by Scott Hoover.  Cover model:  Sonny Henty

This is my second new book in less than a month. That has to be a record for me. Husband Material was a super fun project though, and I loved every minute of writing this little story. It is a novella, but it almost doesn’t feel that way to me.

It’s the story of a guy who has really given up on the idea of love and has resigned himself to being alone. And of course, right then is when he meets Giselle…someone quite unlike any woman he’s ever known before. He cannot resist the way he is drawn to her, and they have an explosive night together. But she can’t be pinned down. Giselle is a free-spirit, dancing and laughing her way through life…and Gage will have to play by her rules.

But changing up your life can be a good thing sometimes.  Maybe the French beach fairy is exactly what Gage needs to change his feelings on love.   Oh, oui!

Readers familiar with my books will find a sprinkling of Easter Eggs throughout Husband Material…I hope you enjoy discovering them.  I know I certainly did putting them in there.  *wink*  Be sure to read the Author’s Note at the end. 


She left me the week before our wedding.

Said I wasn’t “husband material.”

Actually, I’d have to agree with my ex on that matter…because I’m just better off alone.  But everything changed for me the day I met a mysterious beauty sketching on the beach.


We had one magical night together…and then she was gone–a French beach fairy who flitted away with the dawn.

I searched until I found her again.

And now I can’t let her go…because maybe I am husband material after all. 


*Husband Material is a STANDALONE novella, and the third book in the LEFT AT THE ALTAR series: a collaboration of six New York Times Bestselling Authors: J. S. Scott, Ruth Cardello, Raine Miller, Sawyer Bennett, M. Malone, and Melody Anne, releasing separately.

STANDALONE books in the Left at the Altar series