Layers is a complicated, smexy, roller-coaster ride. Don’t take it from me…
“This was my first exposure to T.L. Alexander, and shortly after beginning Layers, I hurriedly logged into Goodreads and added all her books to my TBR. Layers was a zippy read and good fun most of them through, with clever word-play, witty banter, steamy sensual scenes, and funny word salads.” DJ Empress Books & Binding—Rockin’ & Reviewing
“TL Alexander is new to me. I wasn’t sure what to expect so I just jumped into this series with both feet. Let me just say…. I love TL Alexander. Layers introduce us to Jaxson Ryan and Alexia Keith. Wow-what an introduction it was.” Brenda’s Book Beat Blog
“Wow, loved this book. This is the first book I’ve read from this author and I am a fan for life. I loved the story and the characters. This book has your drama, and romance with a twist of suspense. Great story and the ending wow!! I am just glad I have book 2.” Author Sandra Love Blog
“This story had it all, humor, hot sexy times, angst, and everything in between.” Kris and Vik Book Therapy Cafe Review of Layers Four Coffee Drinking Smut Beans
“If you like them complicated, suspenseful, and steamy, you should put these on your list or pick them up instead.”Crazy For Books Blog
Two Upon a Mattress
Three weeks later Jules and I are mattress shopping.
“I can’t believe you’ve had your loft cleaned, repaired and furnished in three weeks.”
“The power of the Internet, baby,” I declare proudly. “All I need is a mattress and I’ll be sleepin’ in my very own bed, in my very own room, tonight.”
“What about this one?” she asks, as her ass and then body mold into foam.
I lie down next to her and close my eyes. “Oh, yeah, this feels great. These memory foam mattresses kick ass.” I stretch out and close my eyes.
Jules clears her throat. “Did you replace all your clothes and shoes?”
I open my eyes, giving her a sideward glance. “You know I haven’t. I dropped three grand at the Nike store, and another grand on Chucks. I’m good.”
“What? It’s not like I need clothes for a job or anything.”
She huffs. “You might not be working, but what about when you go out?”
“I’ll wear my yoga pants and a T-shirt.”
“Yeah, if you’re going out for a Big Mac.”
“You know how much I hate to shop. If I need anything, I’ll order it online.”
“You can’t do that,” she gasps. “What if it doesn’t fit?”
“Then I’ll return it.”
“Have you ever thought about hiring a personal shopper?”
I close my eyes. “Hmm, that’s an idea.”
She taps my shoulder and I open one weary eye. “What?”
“You were saying…an idea?”
“Oh, sorry, it’s a great idea. You don’t happen to know any personal shoppers, do you?”
She grabs my hand, giving it a good squeeze. “You’re joking, right?”
I laugh. “Why didn’t you just ask?”
“I didn’t want to be presumptuous.”
“Call your partner in crime and I’ll hand over my Amex.”
“Only if you insist.”
“Oh, I do, I insist.”
“How did Marco and I get so lucky? I mean, really. How many girls do you know who have a best friend who’s loaded and fuckin’ hates to shop?”
“Not a one. You go and drop till you shop, girlfriend.”
“It’s shop till you drop.”
“Maybe for you.”
“This is the best thing that’s happened to me in months.”
“That’s just fucking sad.”
“Maybe for you.”
“I have some rules.”
“Two I can do.”
I hold up a finger. “One, buy yourselves something fabulous.”
She grins. “I like that rule.”
“I knew you would.” I hold up a second finger. “Two, if there is no way in hell I’ll ever wear it, don’t buy it. I must have had at least fifty outfits in my closet that still had the tags on them.”
“Don’t worry, we know your style. It’s…well; not the most stylish, but we’re professionals, darling. Don’t you worry; you’ll look fabulous. I’m so pumped,” she says, and squeals, like a teenager high on Mountain Dew Voltage. “I can’t friggin’ wait.”
She sits up, grabs her handbag and fishes out her iPhone. She scrolls her calendar. “Hot damn. I have no court this afternoon. I’ll text Marco and we’ll meet for lunch and map everything out.”
“You’re going to make a map?”
“Of course. Hello.”
“Hey, I’m not a fellow fashion ho. I don’t know these things.”
“That’s why you have us. We downloaded the professional shoppers app last night.”
And you didn’t want to be presumptuous—girlfriend. “There’s a shopping app?”
“Honey, there’s an app for everything.”
“I guess.” Who the hell needs an app to shop?
Jules chuckles and shakes her head.
“What’s so amusing?”
“I was just remembering the app that came with my cliterator.”
“What the fuck is a cliterator?”
Jules lies down and starts pointing at her girly part. “It’s a vibrator that you attach…”
I put my hand over hers, stopping her demonstration. “Never mind. I think I can figure it out.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes. Very. Carry on.”
“Okay, so I bought a new cliterator and then downloaded its app. The app was supposed to allow you or your partner discreet wireless vibrating control.”
“You said supposed. I’m guessing it didn’t work.”
“No, it definitely worked.”
“Okay. I think.”
“I’ll start at the beginning.”
“That a good place to start.”
“That’s me. Please continue.”
“I was hired to mediate a settlement for the Bensons, Mark and Carrie; a divorce attorney’s nightmare. They drove me fucking nuts. They argued and fought over everything. For example, they debated for two hours over the cost of damn dog care. They tried to calculate the cost of the care by the amount of time they each spent with their pug, George. It went on and on. He took out his calculator; she took out hers…yada, yada, yada…”
“Were they accountants?”
I laugh. “Okay. So what happened to poor George?”
“In the end, they flipped a coin. Carrie won the toss, she got George, and Mark got the Volvo.”
“Seems fair, I guess. So, what about the app and the cliterator?”
“After the dog argument, I could barely keep my eyes open. So, I insisted we take a time out. I needed a power-nap, three shots of tequila, or a Red Bull. I decided on the Bull, it being my only viable option. I was about to exit and hunt one down, when I remembered I’d put my new cliterator in my briefcase. I thought an orgasm or two would wake me up. I mean, you can’t sleep through an orgasm, right?”
“Why did you have it—?”
“Well, I’d left my old one—”
I hold up hand. “Never mind. I don’t want to know.”
“Are you sure?”
“Okay, so after ditching the Bull idea, I popped into the ladies room and put the cliterator on. Once strategically placed and secured, I downloaded the app to my iPhone, then promptly returned to the mediation. Everything was going smoothly until they started a major battle over a fucking toaster that had some kind of sentimental value because it toasted an image that resembled Bob Marley.”
“That’s what they said. Friggin’ Bob Marley. After listening to them fight over the friggin’ image-making toaster, I felt the need to discreetly increase the vibration speed. I reached for my iPhone and pressed the app as instructed and the damn thing froze on high.”
“Oh, my hell.”
“Yeah, after a few minutes on high. I went from clitoral bliss to clitoral hell. I couldn’t get the damn thing to shut off. I frantically kept on pressing the stop button. I’d gotten so involved and distracted I didn’t realize the Bensons had stopped arguing and were staring at me.”
“Oh, my God, Jules.”
“Yes, it was an OMG moment, and it got worse.”
“Worse? No way.”
“Yes, way. As I stood to make my retreat to fix the damn thing—it fucking blew.”
“Yes! Blew…as in blowout. It made this loud farterific sound, then puffs of smoke billowed from under my skirt.”
“Yes, total hell.”
Rolling to my side, curling in a ball, I hug my knees, and laugh until I’m crying.
“It’s not that funny,” she pouts.
“Yes, it is. When did this happen and why didn’t you tell me?”
“It happened about six months ago and I didn’t tell you because you always give me that look.”
“The look you just gave me. The one that says, what the fuck are you on and what planet are you from?’”
“Sorry, I didn’t realize I was giving you that look.”
She lies down next to me. “Anyway, it was embarrassing as all hell.”
“I bet. What did you do after it blew?”
“What could I have done? I plastered on a phony smile and said, ‘that damn broccoli, it gets to me every time.’ Then I made haste to the restroom, ripped off the fucked up cliterator and tossed it in the trash.” She looks over at me. “You’re giving me that look.”
“No, you’re not.”
“You’re right, I’m not. Jules, why are all your misadventures about sex, or some kind of bodily function or dysfunction?”
She contemplates for a minute. “I don’t know. Maybe because I love sex and think about it…a lot.”
“Who doesn’t—a lot?” I giggle.
Jules stretches out and rolls to her side. “Tell me what Jaxson said about this meeting tomorrow.”
“He said the partners met again and decided to postpone formal charges.”
“That’s great, but for how long?”
“Aren’t they generous? Shitwads. Just out of curiosity, have you met any of the partners?”
“No, but I did get this weird anonymous e-mail from one of them saying, ‘I’m sorry for your predicament.’”
“Pre-dic-a-ment. I like that word.”
“Of course you do. It has a dic in it.”
She grins. “Yes, it does.”
I shake my head because no appropriate words come to mind.
“Did he say anything else?”
“He said they finalized the contract.”
“Contract? What the hell is that about?”
“I don’t know. He didn’t get into it. He also advised me to reconsider consulting an attorney.”
“The very same advice I dished out, girlfriend.”
“I am consulting an attorney and I’m bringing one.”
“Yeah, a divorce attorney.”
“If I don’t like this…contract, or if they decide to file formal charges, then I’ll have no choice. I’ll have to seek help. I’m hoping we can solve this mess quickly and privately.”
“I hope so, too. What are you going to do about Jaxson? I mean, this pre-dic-a-ment has put a crimp in your plan to stay away from him.”
“Tell me about it. I don’t even have the excuse of being on his company payroll anymore. He’s been so supportive throughout this whole mess. If it wasn’t for his belief in my innocence, I’d be in London right now.”
“How are you going to keep this from Gram?”
“Lie my ass off. What else can I do?”
“Something you’re good at.”
“Ouch. That hurt.”
“The truth hurts, girlfriend.”
“Yes it does, girlfriend.”
“I don’t know how you do it.”
“Do what? Lie?”
“No. Stay away from Jaxson Ryan. That is one fine specimen of a man. I couldn’t resist him.”
“You mean if you liked him.”
“I don’t have to like the guy to what to do him.”
Okey-dokey, then. “It’s not easy for me to stay away. Especially after what happened in Dublin. But I can’t get involved with someone like him. I’m supposed to keep out of the spotlight, live under the radar. I don’t think that’s possible with someone like Jaxson Chase Ryan.”
“I agree. It’s a shame, really. I think that Jaxson Chase Ryan is the one.”
“Yeah. The once-in-a-lifetime connection. The one you would do anything for. Even marry.”
“We definitely have chemistry. But the one? I’m not so sure about that.”
“Well, I can tell you that Jaxson Chase Ryan thinks you’re his one. Fuck. The way he looks at you. If a man looked at me like that…”
“Like he can’t breathe without you.”
“I was going to say heavy. But yeah, it’s hot.”
“Speaking of hot, do you remember his pictures in GQ last year?”
“I don’t recall. I just read the article.”
“Yeah right, and I’m the Virgin Mary. That spread. Oh. My. God. I’ve literally licked the picture of him lifting himself out of the pool. I keep that issue in my special desk drawer. Let’s just say the pages are well worn.”
Jules spreads out on the mattress and closes her eyes. “I can picture it.” She raises her right hand. “Dear Lord, I can see it.”
I’m not sure what she can see. Can she see Jaxson or the second coming?
“The water,” she moans, “dripping from those long, dark, wavy locks.” She motions her hand as if she’s running her fingers through said long, dark, wavy locks.
Oh, my hell.
“Then trickling down to those lush, kissable, lickable lips.” She gives her lips a thorough licking.
I sit up on my elbows and look around the store.
“Oh, God, yes,” she pants. “Pooling into that lightly shadowed deep cleft.” Her fingers glide down her cheek, pausing mid-chin.
“And then oh, so slowly, slowly, funneling onto those rock-hard perfect pecs.” Her hand runs from mid-chin, down her long neck, to the swell of her right breast.
I look around the store, again.
She moans as the back of her hand skims over her right nipple. “Oh my…then channeling to those…I pray to God, not photoshopped, abs.” Her hand skims from right nipple to belly.
I hold my breath. I don’t know why. I just do.
“Dear Lord,” she groans. “To be those drops,” her hand trails from belly to hipbone, “Of water,” she pants, her hand traveling lower and lower.
I can’t seem to take my eyes off her traveling hand.
She releases a moan from the back of her throat as her hand glides over and down to her sex.
Releasing my breath, I come out of my trance and grab her traveling hand.
Her eyes pop open.
“For hell, Jules! You need to take that shit home.”
“Sorry… got a little carried away. Being on a mattress and all that.”
“Can we help you, ladies?”
Jules and I sit up.
Three young salesmen stand at the end of the mattress, lustfully staring at Jules as they lick their chops.
“You can join us,” Jules purrs, patting the space between us. “This is a king size.” She raises her brows a couple times. “There’s plenty of room for all of us.”
All three of them look as if they’re seriously considering her offer.
I cough and clear my throat. “She’s just kidding.”
“No, I’m not,” she whine-pouts.
“Yes, you are,” I scold, with my best Sister Mary Margret voice.
She rolls her eyes at me.
Looking at the three horny idiots, I address the one with the name Drew written just below an assistant manager tag. “Drew?”
He slightly turns his body but his eyes remain glued to Jules.
I clear my throat again. “Hello. Hello. Assistant Manager Drew.”
He turns his head, finally gracing me with eye contact.
“Drew,” I say, patting the mattress. “I think this is the mattress I want.”
“Okay,” he answers, his eyes floating back to Jules.
“Can you check stock and available delivery times for today?”
His gaping mouth warps into a frown. “Oh…yeah…okay…sure. I’ll check on that…be right back.” Sighing, he looks at his two companions with obvious envy before taking his leave.
I return my attention to the other two raging hormonal teenagers.
Jules winks, and then slowly leans back onto her elbows, giving them an exceptional view of her ta-tas. Gifting them with a sexy, suggestive smile, she asks, “Are you college boys?”
They grin like idiots. The lanky cute blond answers her. “No…we’re in high school—but seniors.”
As if that makes it any better, or even legal.
“Really?” she purrs, tilting her chin, giving them a twice-over. “You sure look like college boys.”
They blush like idiots.
I roll my eyes.
“What high school do you attend?”
“Jules,” I scold, shaking my head.
“Jeff, Rick. Get over here!” A man shouts.
They look up. “Crap,” the blond says. “Sorry, ladies, that’s the boss; we need to help other customers. But…could we get your number?” They dig out their phones.
I shake my head. “Sorry,” I say.
They give Jules a sad, pleading look.
She pouts. “Sorry, mom won’t let me.”
“Oh…okay. If you change your mind, you know where to find us.” He winks, and they leave.
“Jules,” I say, shaking my head. “You really need to get some. A legal some.”
Many years ago, I attended several Saturday writer's seminars at my local library. I can't recall many of the seminar titles or themes, but the jest was local published authors helping want-to-be local un-published writers. On the first Saturday, the author stood and...