Daily Archives: 29/03/2017

CHAPTER REVEAL ~ Tortured by Nicole Williams

 

 

 

  

Coming April 9th
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When he left for a twelve-month deployment, she knew it would feel like forever before they saw each other again. She didn’t realize how right she was.

When Lance Corporal Brecken Connolly gets taken as a POW, Camryn hopes for the best but steels herself for the worst. In the end, steel was what she needed to survive when he didn’t. She moves on the only way she knows how—gilding herself in more steel.

Years go by.

She builds a new life.

She leaves the old one behind.

Until one day, she sees the face of a ghost on the news. Brecken seems to have risen from the dead, but she knows she can’t perform the same miracle for herself. While Brecken was held in a torture camp for the past five years, she’s been trapped in her own kind of prison. One she can’t be freed from.  

The man she mourned comes back to join the living, but the girl he wanted to spend his life with isn’t the same woman he comes back for. Brecken isn’t the same person either. The past five years have changed them both. While he’s determined to put the pieces back together, she’s resolved to let hers rot where they shattered.

 

Broken or not, Brecken wants her back. He’ll do anything to achieve that. Even if it means going against the warden of Camryn’s personal prison—her husband.



PROLOGUE


Whenever he had to leave, it was torture. You’d think I’d get used to it, but I didn’t—each time got harder. This one might have felt especially brutal because of how long he’d be gone. A year. We’d done weeks, we’d done months, but we’d never done the full year.
​Being with someone in the military, I knew I’d have to get used to it. The separation. The worry. The loneliness. The feeling that I was trying to catch my breath for however long he was gone.
​It was a way of life. And he was my life. So I’d just have to figure it out.
​“I’m never going to look at dog tags the same way again.” Brecken’s mouth turned up as his eyes roamed over me splayed across the backseat as he tucked in his T-shirt. He twisted his wrist, his gaze moving to his watch. A crease folded into his forehead. “But I’m going to need those back before I climb onto that bus. Something about military regulations. Not wandering around enemy territory without them. Those marines are sticklers for the rules.”
​He was trying to make me feel better—trying to get me to smile—but little could lift my spirits other than finding out he didn’t have to leave for the Middle East for twelve long months.
​“You don’t need them. Not really.”
​“Why’s that?”
​“Because you only need them if you’re planning on dying, and so help me god, I’m not taking these off my neck if you have plans for some kind of a hero’s death.” My hand curled almost defensively around the metal tags hanging against my bare skin as I focused on the way the cool metal warmed in my hand. The way it seemed to come to life in my hold.
​“I’m not planning on dying over there. I’m not going to die,” he corrected the moment my eyebrow started to lift. “But I do have plans of scoring some gnarly war wound so I have a story to tell our grandkids one day and can hang one of those Purple Hearts off my chest.”
​I flattened my face as best as I could, even though it was kind of impossible with the way he was grinning at me as he wrestled his jeans back into place. “Not funny.”
​“Come on. It’ll make me look tough.”
​“You already look tough. Too tough,” I added as I scanned him for the millionth time since he’d arrived back in Medford for a week-long vacation before shipping out. Whenever I looked at him, I didn’t just see the good-looking guy others did—I saw every good memory from my past. I saw every good memory that would be formed in the future. Brecken had been a part of my life since I was eight, and he was as much a part of me as I was.
​“Nah, I need one of those big, angry-looking scars running across my chest. Or one of those bullet hole scars on my thigh. Something real tough like that.”
​“And why do you need your dog tags for that?” My fingers tightened around the thin metal ovals, refusing to let them go as if I hoped in doing so, he couldn’t go either.
​“Blood transfusion. Medics are going to need to know my blood type when they’re trying to patch up my unconscious body.”
​“Unconscious body?”
​He nodded all solemn-like. “I can’t be one of those guys who earns his Purple Heart by getting a scratch on some barbed wire. I need to lose a quart or two of blood, maybe even code on the operating table. Something worthy of that medal.”
​The thought of Brecken marching through a hostile country with a rifle in his hands, with god only knew what aimed his way, made me feel weak with worry. The thought of him fighting for his life in some marine medical tent about took whatever was left of my sanity.
​I must not have been doing a good job hiding my emotions, because his face broke when he saw my eyes, his arms opening toward me. “It’s going to be okay, Camryn. I’m going to be okay. We’re going to be okay. The year will fly by, and before we know it, we’ll be getting married and buying a little house as close to the beach as we can afford. Okay?”
His arms wound around me, swallowing my body, and I let him tuck me close to him. I’d never known the feeling of being safe until Brecken Connolly’s arms had shown me the meaning.
​My hand planted in the middle of his chest, feeling his heartbeat vibrate against my palm. “Why can’t we just get married now? Why can’t I join the marines and go with you, wherever that is, so we can be together?”
​His laugh was muffled from his mouth being pressed against my temple. “Well, you can’t join the marines and my unit because the military’s under this impression that us marines of the male species become distracted and one-track minded when the women we love are marching beside us. They’re convinced the only things on our minds are protecting you, flirting with you, or screwing you.”
​Quietly, I counted off on my fingers, “Protecting, flirting, screwing . . .” Then I nodded. “Damn, they sure have you pegged.”
​Brecken’s fingers brushed up and down the bend of my waist. “And we can’t get married right now because you’ve got two more months of high school to finish before you earn that nifty diploma thing.” He kept going, undeterred by my grumble. “And I need to save some money to give you a proper ring and wedding. I’m not doing the courthouse thing with cheap silver bands. Not for you. You deserve the best.”
​My head tucked beneath his chin as I let him hold me in the backseat of his aunt’s old Corsica. The only good thing I could say about the car—which was a coin toss if it would start any given day—was that it had a decent-sized backseat that Brecken and I had made more than ample use of. Growing up in a strict household with my dad as Brecken grew up in the packed household a few houses down, privacy had been in short supply for both of us. Thankfully, his aunt was willing to lend Brecken her car whenever she could, like today, when I’d just made love to the only boy I’d ever loved for the last time for the next year.
My fingers curled into his chest as I willed time to freeze. “I have the best.”
Brecken grunted like he doubted that, his head lifting to check out the windshield. We were parked way back in the bus depot lot. His bus would be leaving for the long drive back to Camp Pendleton in a few short minutes.
“Besides, you already got me a ring.” I raised my left hand in front of him, rolling my fingers so he could see the adjustable birthstone ring on my finger.
He shook his head. “I won that for you at an arcade when we were ten.”
“It cost you twelve hundred tickets too. You saved up all summer to get that many tickets.”
His fingers touched the ring, twisting it around with a small smile on his face. “And it probably has the street value of a nickel. Not exactly the kind of wedding ring I want my wife to have.”
I found myself staring at the ring with him. The gold paint had started chipping off the thin band years ago, but the small pink birthstone still sparkled when the light hit it just right. “Well, it’s priceless to me. I don’t care what the street value is. Or how many tickets it cost.”
“Even so, I’m getting you a nice ring. With all of the hazard pay I’ll earn this year, you’d better start working that left ring finger out so it can bear the weight of the diamond I’ll be dropping on it.”
I was glad he couldn’t see my face, because he hated knowing how worried I was about him. He said hazard pay like a sales rep mentioned a bonus, but I heard it for what it really was—the government giving you a little more money for the likelihood of losing your life increasing.
“One more year. That’s it. Then we’ll be able to be together like we’ve always planned. Away from here.” Brecken’s arms loosened around me. We didn’t have much longer. “Away from these people.”
An uneven exhale came from him, the muscles in his arms twitching. I knew who he was talking about without him going into detail. Neither of our lives had been charmed or particularly easy, but mine had been worse. Being raised by a single dad who was so strict he made a monk’s life seem carefree, I’d had an unusual upbringing. Brecken only knew what I let him know about it, which was barely half of the reality.
“I don’t like leaving you alone with him,” he said, his voice a note lower. “If things get hard again, just leave. Move in with my insane family or a hotel or anywhere. Don’t let him hurt you. Words or fists. He does it again”—Brecken’s hands curled into balls as his back stiffened—“I’ll kill him. I swear I will.”
“He won’t,” I said instantly, in my most convincing voice. “He’s working on all that. Not drinking as much.” I made sure to hold his stare to sell as much conviction as I was capable.
My dad wasn’t just a strict man. He was a sad one, a lonely one. After my mom left, he’d turned into someone else, almost like she’d taken everything that had been good about him and stuffed it in that small suitcase too. Since I was the only one around and bore a striking resemblance to my mom, I’d taken the brunt of my dad’s grief. In the form of cutting words and, occasionally, outstretched palms.
Brecken had been walking down the sidewalk one day when he saw my dad strike me across the cheek for attempting to leave the house in a skirt he described as “fitting for a whore.” Brecken had only been thirteen, but he’d taken my dad down, managing to land a few punches before I could pull him off.
My dad stopped hitting me after that. At least where anyone passing by could see.
Not that I needed to tell Brecken that now. Though I guessed it would get him to stay a while longer . . . if only to be charged with murder and thrown into prison for the next twenty to thirty years.
Suddenly, that year didn’t seem so bad.
“He won’t,” I reiterated, when Brecken continued to give me that penetrating stare, like he was capable of finding a lie if I was hiding one.
Both of his brows lifted. “He better not.”
“If anything happens, I’ll crash at your family’s place, I swear.”
Sitting up, he pulled his wallet out of his back pocket. “With fourteen people sharing twelve hundred square feet of space, good luck finding a quiet spot to do your homework.” He pulled every bill out of his wallet. Even the last crumbled dollar. “Take this, hide it from your dad, and use it if you need to. That’s enough to get you a week or so at a hotel that isn’t a dump, and as soon as I get my next paycheck, I’ll send more.”
My head was shaking as I tried to stuff the money back into his wallet. He’d already closed it and was sliding it back into his pocket though. “I’ll be fine.”
Brecken’s gaze dropped to the money in my hand. “Yeah, I know.”
“Brecken.”
“Camryn,” he mimicked.
“I’m not taking the last dollar in your wallet.”
“Why not?” he asked, making a face. “I’d give you the shirt off my back, the air in my lungs, the last drop of blood in my veins. The last dollar’s a cakewalk compared to, you know, dying of suffocation or bleeding out.” He winked as he folded my fingers around the wad of money in my hand, then he leaned down to pull on his boots. He was moving quickly, glancing in the direction of the buses like he was making sure his wasn’t pulling away from the curb yet.
“Do you want to walk with me to the bus?” His focus stayed on cinching up his last boot as he waited for my answer.
He already knew it though. Good-byes weren’t my forte. Especially not the kind where I had to wave good-bye to the man I loved as he prepared to head into the middle of a war zone for the next year. Good-bye came with a whole different context when you said it to a marine.
“I know, Blue Bird. I know.” He sighed, his eyes narrowing at the weathered floorboards before he reached for the dog tags still hanging around my neck.
I didn’t make any move to lift my head or slide my hair aside to make it easier for him. As long as those tags were on my neck instead of his, he was safe. He was alive.
“I’m not going to die over there,” he whispered, pulling the tags over his head. They clinked together as they fell against his chest. “I’m coming back to you.”
My throat was burning from trying to keep myself from crying. “You can’t promise that.”
He reached for the blanket that had fallen on the floor and gently tucked it around my still-naked body. It was strange how I’d forgotten I was naked until he’d taken his tags off of me. Now though, I felt bare. Exposed. Vulnerable. My dress was somewhere around, even though I didn’t see it. We’d barely managed to make it to the parking lot before falling into the backseat together.
“Yes I can,” he said, his thumb tracing my collarbone before tucking the other corner around my shoulder. “Have I ever broken a promise to you?” He angled himself so he was in front of me, so I was forced to look him in the eyes.
“This is different. You can’t know for sure.”
“I’m going to enjoy watching you eat those words when I’m standing in front of that pretty face in twelve months, Blue Bird.”
I pulled the blanket tighter around me. “You know I don’t like it when you call me that when I’m mad at you.”
“You’re mad? At me?” He blinked. “Why?”
“You know why.” My eyes automatically moved toward the line of buses.
“To set the record straight, it’s the marine corps sending me to Iraq. Not me by personal choice.”
“No, but you made the personal choice to join the marine corps.”
“Yeah, because I didn’t want to spend the next twenty years pumping gas at the Qwik Mart.” His hand curled around the back of the front seat. “We’ve talked about this, Camryn. I’m not cut out for college, and I sure as shit am not going to spend my life working a minimum-wage part-time job and stuck in Medford. The marines is a chance at a real life. A career where I can be promoted and provide for a family and get a chance to kick a little ass every once in a while.” He leaned forward to kiss my forehead. Then my lips. “This is the ticket to that life we’ve been talking about for years. But it comes with a price.” His mouth covered mine again, this time a bit longer. “I’ll be okay. I’ll make it back.”
My eyes closed so I could focus on the taste of him left behind on my mouth. “You’re always the first to charge into anything. You don’t hang back. You don’t like the shadows. You like being the one who cast those shadows.”
When my eyes finally opened, I found his dark blue ones inches away from mine. His light hair, buzzed short so he was all ready for deployment, the few freckles scattered across the bridge of his nose, the way his jaw tightened when he stared at me, those were the things I’d remember when I’d lay awake at night, wondering where he was. If he was safe. If he was thinking about me. As long as I held on to a part of him, he could never really leave me.
“I’m coming home to you,” he said like a solemn vow. “It might be in more than one piece, but I’m coming home to you.”
I tucked his tags inside his shirt. They’d become cold again. “A thousand pieces, I don’t care. Just come home.”
His smile was almost as forced as mine as he leaned in, pulling me into his arms one last time. He held me for a minute, one hand secured around my neck, the other around my back, rocking me against him. Then he kissed me one last time. “Gotta go, Blue Bird. The Middle East isn’t going to settle itself down.”
As he threw open the back door to go around to the trunk to grab his bag, I leaned across the seat. He was leaving. For what felt like forever. “Yeah, don’t think you’re single-handedly responsible for tackling that agenda either.”
Throwing the bag over his shoulder, he crouched beside me. This smile wasn’t contrived. It was real. Perfect. “I’ll see you soon.”
“Soon?”
His hand formed around my cheek as his thumb traced the seam of my lips. “Sounds better than see you in a year, right?” Tucking his thumb into his mouth, tasting my lips on it, he gave me a wicked smirk before shoving to a stand and starting toward the buses. “I’m coming back for you, Camryn Blue Gardner, so you’d better be waiting for me, or I’ll just have to come find you and remind you why you fell crazy in love with me.”
Tucking the blanket around myself, I slid out of the car, leaning over the open door. “I’m not going anywhere. I’ll be waiting.”
He’d started to jog backward. “Waiting as in a few days until some other guy makes his play?”
My eyes rolled as I gave him a look. Brecken and I’d been together since I was fifteen and he was seventeen. Even before that, we’d been inseparable, no one able to come between us.
I cupped my hand around my mouth. “Waiting as in forever.”
“I won’t keep you waiting that long. Just long enough.” He was shouting now, the rumbling buses muffling his voice.
“Long enough for what?” I yelled back.
Even with this much distance between us, I didn’t miss it. The look in his eyes. The tip of his smile. “For you to agree to marry me the moment I get back.”
The breeze played with my hair, sending it away from him, like forces out of our control were already pulling us apart. “I will!”
He paused just below the bus steps, his eyes consuming me from a hundred yards away. “It’s, I do, Blue Bird. I do.” He grinned and handed his bag off to the person stuffing them into one of the outside compartments. Then his hands cupped around his mouth, and he dropped his head back. “I do, too!”
His voice echoed across the parking lot, earning the attention of more than just me.
That was it. He climbed the stairs, turned the corner, and disappeared inside the bus. I wouldn’t see him for a year. I might not see him ever . . .
My jaw tensed as I put a stop to that train of thought. Wedding vows and rings were the last things on my mind as his bus lurched away from the curb.
“Just come back to me,” I whispered to no one. “Just come back.”

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Nicole Williams is the New York Times and USATODAY bestselling author of contemporary and young adult romance, including the Crash and Lost & Found series. Her books have been published by HarperTeen and Simon & Schuster in both domestic and foreign markets, while she continues to self-publish additional titles. She is working on a new YA series with Crown Books (a division of Random House) as well. She loves romance, from the sweet to the steamy, and writes stories about characters in search of their happily even after. She grew up surrounded by books and plans on writing until the day she dies, even if it’s just for her own personal enjoyment. She still buys paperbacks because she’s all nostalgic like that, but her kindle never goes neglected for too long. When not writing, she spends her time with her husband and daughter, and whatever time’s left over she’s forced to fit too many hobbies into too little time.
 
Nicole is represented by Jane Dystel, of Dystel and Goderich Literary Agency.

 

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RELEASE BLITZ ~ Bossed by Sloane Howell

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He’s the boss. But she’s ready to take charge.


In this provocative and sexy* office romance, a cheeky new hire tempts a hotshot sports agent to mix business with pleasure.

Jenny: Job interviews are a bitch under the best of circumstances, but when your potential boss is the world’s biggest prick, that’s when you should simply walk away. It’s just that I need this job so badly—and I’m mesmerized by Ethan Mason’s piercing gaze. Men like him aren’t supposed to exist in real life. But under the tailored suits and GQ looks, Ethan simmers with barely restrained ambition. And no matter how hard I work to fight the attraction, I’m going to get burned.

Ethan: You don’t become a top agent without learning how to close deal. I always get what—or who—I want, by staying cool and in command. Then Jenny Jackson walks into my office with her lush curves and “screw you” attitude and blows away my intentions of keeping things professional. All I can think about is exploring the perfect body hidden beneath those conservative clothes or shutting her saucy mouth with one hot kiss. Jenny’s worth breaking the rules over—if I can convince her to break the rules for me.


*By sexy, we mean sexy. Like, 18+ sexy.



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Sloane Howell lives in the Midwest United States and writes dirty stories. When not reading or writing he enjoys hanging out with his family, watching sports, playing with the dogs, traveling, and engaging his readers on social media. You can almost always catch him on Twitter posting something goofy.
Visit his web page to sign up for his mailing list to get updates on new releases, promos, and giveaways. Thanks for reading.

 

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BLOG TOUR ~ His to Seduce by Stacey Lynn

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His to Seduce
by Stacey Lynn


Publication Date: March 21st, 2017

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Loveswept

Synopsis:

An honorable man who’s lost his way . . . A career woman who hides behind her button-up suits . . . Unexpected romance is the specialty at the Fireside Grill as Stacey Lynn’s captivating series comes full circle.

Becoming an ER doctor had been David McGregor’s mission ever since he could remember. But after tragedy strikes at his hospital in Chicago, David runs away from the guilt—all the way back to Latham Hills, Michigan, where he takes a job tending bar at his childhood friend’s restaurant. That’s how he meets Camden Reed, and the way Camden refuses to give him the time of day should be a turnoff. Instead, he’s drawn to her tough, tightly wound exterior, and soon David realizes that he has a new mission: to see her tightly wound beneath him.

Camden’s fighting tooth and nail to resist the desire she feels for David. Growing up dirt-poor, raised by a single mother, she worked twice as hard to get where she is today, and she doesn’t have any patience for the kind of guy who’d give up a decent paycheck to sling drinks. But when the sexual tension finally combusts between the sheets, Camden discovers that people aren’t always what they seem. As David pushes her past her limits, Camden begins to loosen up—and to trust that, when she falls, there will be someone waiting to catch her.


Excerpt:

“Please,” I whispered, and leaned into his palm now cupping my cheek. His hands were strong. Long, tanned fingers that had made me think of naughty things like this for months.

In the darkness, I saw a flash of his white teeth. “I like it when you beg. When you need me.”

Tonight’s need was selfish. A moment to forget the loneliness. A moment to take what I’d been too chicken to go after for months even though it was right in front of me.

He’d been right before my eyes, flirting relentlessly and trying to break me down. Tonight, I was tired of fighting the pull I’d felt for him despite how wrong I knew he was for me. This was one night. A moment of wildness I didn’t usually indulge in, but who didn’t enjoy getting laid at a friend’s wedding? It was almost a requirement.

His hands dropped to my knees, spreading them wide so he could step in between them.

His fingers teased my thighs, running up and down my bare flesh until I shivered from the softness of his touch.

My eyes were half-lidded when I forced myself to look at him. I saw only his lust for me, and my heart rioted against my rib cage.

Damn . . . he wanted me. It was as thrilling as it was terrifying.

One of his hands left my leg and cupped the back of my neck. He pulled me to him until our foreheads touched.

“I want this,” he said, his voice thick and gruff. “Tell me you want this.”

“I want it.”

“Tell me you want me.”

I couldn’t. A long time ago I swore to myself I’d never be vulnerable again. I certainly wasn’t about to make that admission when all I currently wanted was a night of pretending and forgetting.

“Camden, I want you to know that when I sink into you, when I push your panties to the side and run my fingers through your wetness, this isn’t a one-time thing for us. This is the beginning.”

I shivered again. From his words, his promise—something I so desperately craved but was too terrified to take hold of.

I shifted my hips, pulling him to me until his erection brushed against my center.

“Tonight.” I gasped as he rubbed against me in the perfect spot. “It’s all I can promise.”

He chuckled, moving his mouth against my cheek, down to my jaw and my throat. “We’ll see about that.”


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Check out the other books in the series:

His to Cherish, Book 3:

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2ebU5mL
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His to Protect, Book 2:

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2fb8n9i
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His to Love, Book 1:

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2e0wSse
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2eSK4Pi
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About the Author

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Stacey Lynn currently lives in Minnesota with her husband and four children. When she’s not conquering mountains of laundry and fighting a war against dust bunnies and cracker crumbs, you can find her playing with her children, curled up on the couch with a good book, or on the boat with her family enjoying Minnesota’s beautiful, yet too short, summer.

She lives off her daily pot of coffee, can only write with a bowlful of Skittles nearby, and has been in love with romance novels since before she could drive herself to the library.

If you would like to know more about Stacey Lynn, follow her here:

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RELEASE BLITZ ~ His Alone by Alexa Riley

 

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Ryan Justice may be her boss, but nothing will stop him from making her his. USA TODAY and #1 ebook bestselling author Alexa Riley entices with a brand-new, full-length novel.


She thinks I’m perfect. A good boss, a good man. She thinks that I play by the rules.

She has no idea who I truly am. Why I’m really here.

Paige Turner is trying to outrun her past, but there it is, tossed back in her face anytime she manages to get two steps ahead.

She has no idea what a man like me will do to get what he wants.

Her need for Ryan got in the way of revenge, took her off course. Redirected her focus. Before she knew it, he’d made his way into her life. Into her heart.

I’m dirtier than she knows. She thinks I’m good to the core, but she doesn’t know the things I’ve done. The things I would do for her.

True love doesn’t let secrets as big as these stay buried. And when the truth about Paige’s father is finally exposed, Ryan will do anything to fix everything. Paige has always been his and his alone.

 


PREFACE

 

RYAN

She thinks I’m perfect. She thinks I look like Captain America. That I play by the rules. But she has no idea who I truly am. Or why I’m really here.

She thinks Miles was obsessed.

She has no idea what obsession is. What a man like me will do to get what he wants.

I’m dirtier than she knows. She thinks I’m good to the core, but she doesn’t know the things I’ve done. The things I would do for her.

Only her.

 

CHAPTER ONE

 


Paige

I didn’t know you could actually feel someone’s eyes on you. I don’t mean that creeping feeling when you think someone is staring at you and all the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. No, this is different. I can feel his eyes on every part of my skin. They make my body warm, in places I didn’t even know existed. A part of me I’d buried long ago. Other girls probably feel this all the time, but not me. It’s like he has intimate knowledge of my body, and somehow it belongs to him. His eyes, roaming my body, fascinate me. I remember every detail about them, and it’s both a blessing and a curse.
When I look at him, I never know what eyes I’ll receive. Sometimes they’re bright green like a fresh shamrock. Other times, when the light hits just right, little blue specks shine through, making them appear almost cerulean. But my favorite is when they turn a dark green. They’re the color of a morning forest, soft and crisp, and I know he’s playing it cool. I often wonder if I’m the only one who can see the difference. He’s always so calm and cool, but his eyes probably show me more than he wants. Or maybe I’m the one doing a little too much staring. It makes me wonder if there’s more to this man who always seems so perfect. He’s too good and clean. If he knew everything about me, I probably wouldn’t get those eyes on me like I do now. The ones I secretly love.
At first I thought Ryan Justice didn’t like me, but over the years I’ve noticed it isn’t dislike, no matter how hard I try to annoy him. The annoyance I once read in his eyes has turned out to be hunger. The more I poke at him and push him away, the more that hunger grows. Or maybe that’s my own I’m feeling. I should stay as far away from him as possible, because he could break me. I’ve already had one man almost shatter me, and I don’t think I could survive another, no matter how bad I want it.
I turn my head and look across the crowded ballroom to find him leaning up against the wall with his eyes on me. Just like I knew they would be. Like they always are. He looks casual in his suit as he tries to appear non threatening, which is impossible when you’re built like him. His size is intimidating, and even more so when he’s got well over a foot and a half on you, like he does me. I know he hates the suits, because when we’re at work he always ditches the jacket and rolls up his sleeves, revealing the tattoos that coat his thick arms. It’s the one thing that always seemed off about him. The tattoos never matched the good ol’ boy attitude.
It’s as if everyone in the room knows not to block his line of sight on me, because even in this crowded room no one has stepped in his way. If I want out of his view, I’ll have to leave and find somewhere else to stand. That’s where the real inner battle begins. To move or not to move. As much as I hate the staring, I want it. I’ve been pushing for it, no matter how much I try to lie to myself that I haven’t. I’ve come to crave it.
This dress is exhibit A of that fact. I picked it out with him in mind. I asked myself what would Ryan—or Captain America, as Mallory and I call him—think of this dress. Would it piss him off like it does when I wear a sports bra and skintight shorts to our training exercises? At first I didn’t do it on purpose, but when I saw it bothered him, I did it more.
It’s a head game I’m playing. No matter how much I tell myself Captain isn’t for me, I can’t stop trying to get his attention. I guess it’s more like provoking him, because his attention is always on me. I like it when I get the rise, even though I push him away when he gets too close. God, what is wrong with me? I’ve become one of those girls who play games. That isn’t me, but I find I’m not always me when it comes to him. I’m different. Or maybe it’s not different, exactly. He draws out a part of me that I don’t want coming out.
I pull my eyes away from him and turn, giving him a side view. The black strapless dress reaches all the way to the floor, fitting snugly against me. It looks conservative…until I move. There’s a slit that runs up one side, all the way from the floor to the top of my hip. It bares my leg, my thigh, my hip, making it impossible to wear underwear. Top that off with the killer heels I have on and for once I feel tall. My legs seem longer with the tall heels and cut of the dress. I feel sexy, which is something I’m not used to. However, over the past few weeks I’ve found myself wanting to be more than just plain Paige.
I move through the room, cataloging everything, even though we aren’t officially on the clock tonight. We’re here only as light security, but the need to know my surroundings is always there. Tonight, as always, Captain and I are to protect my boss and half brother, Miles Osborne, and his girlfriend, Mallory. Mallory is my best friend, so I’ve always got her back, and tonight is no different. We’re meant to blend in, but if something catches our eye we’re to point it out to the security on call. The charity event is auctioning off millions of dollars in different pieces, so there’s plenty of staff to handle this. Miles just likes to take extra precautions. There are art pieces, jewelry, and God knows what else here that cost more than one person makes in a lifetime. So you can’t blame the heightened awareness that’s buzzing through the room.
Moving through the crowd, I try to see if I can lose Captain in the shuffle. I can feel him following me, and I want to shake him. Nothing is happening at the event and I’m getting bored as each second ticks by. The space is locked up tight, and no one looks out of place. I don’t foresee anything happening and I might as well have a little fun. I turn, trying to see how close he is, but I’ve lost him in the crowd. He’s normally easy to spot, towering over everyone in the room, but now he’s the one hiding.
It’s one thing I’ve learned about Captain over the past few weeks—he moves like a fucking cat. I didn’t know it was possible for someone as big as he is to be able to move without making a sound. It’s unnatural and sexy as hell. We both work security at Osborne Corporation, and technically he’s my boss, has been for years, but most of everything we’ve done together has been on calls or emails. Now I’m here working face-to-face with him every day. So all this is a very bad idea, yet I can’t help pushing for it. Just a little more every day. We work so close together, and it would be awkward if something happened, but that still isn’t enough to shake some sense into me, to stop this game I keep playing with us. Though I’m starting to question if I’m really leading the game at all.
Looking around the room, I still don’t see him, and I wonder with a pang in my heart if he’s left. He wouldn’t leave the event and go home without checking in, but I didn’t think he’d let me slip away from him so easily. Maybe all my pushing is working, and I get angry with myself.
Suddenly he’s on me. His big hands cup my biceps as he pulls me down a hallway. He presses me up against the wall, and his palms come down on either side of my face, caging me in, his giant body in front of me as he leans in and stares. His dark green eyes take the breath right out of my lungs.
“What are you doing?” I manage to whisper.
I look up at him. Even though I’m in these ridiculous heels, he still towers over me. His face is set and completely unreadable, but there isn’t a speck of blue in his eyes right now. Nothing but the dark green, and my stomach tightens as all his intensity is fixed on me. It’s intoxicating to have someone so focused on you. No one has ever cared to watch me like he does.
Except I know why he’s pissed. I might have poked a little too hard before we came here tonight. I let something, a lie, take hold, and didn’t try to stop it. We were both on Miles’s and Mallory’s details today, but I’d sneaked out and gotten Mallory a pregnancy test. Of course Captain caught me, because he catches everything. He never misses a beat and I wonder if he has a photographic memory like I do.
When he’d seen what I’d purchased, his whole body locked up. He assumed it was for me, and I didn’t correct him. I let him believe I was the one who needed the pregnancy test. I did it to piss him off. It was the one and only time I’d gotten a real reaction out of him—something that wasn’t a mannerly gesture. I’m sure his mom taught him to be polite when he was growing up, in a perfect house with his parents and three point two kids and a dog named Spike that stayed inside his white picket fence. I should have said something, but instead I let him believe that I was fucking someone and may or may not have gotten pregnant. Seeing the emotion all over his face should have been worth it, but a knot in the pit of my stomach told me maybe I’d taken it too far.
He pulls one of his hands from the wall, dropping it to my hip. I should push it away, but instead I stand there frozen, waiting to see what happens. His big palm rests on my hip, and he wraps his fingers around me. He’s touched me before, but not like this. At work when he touches me, it’s with a little too much ease. He started out only brushing past me, but then it progressed to tucking my hair behind my ear. No one touches me, except for Mallory from time to time. But the more time Ryan and I spend together, the more he does it. Like he’s been doing it forever. Like we’re lovers. As if it’s his right to do so.
Normally I push him away or brush off his touch, and I hate when I do it. This time, though, I can’t seem to find the will. I want his affection. I’m needy for it. I’ve been so starved for it lately. I need this moment. I need this one time, and then I’ll be okay. I’ll snatch it up and replay it over and over in my head when I need another taste of him. It has to be enough.
I’m going to blame it on my best friend falling in love with a man who looks at her as if she hangs the moon. Watching them together has been bittersweet. I love that she found it, but I know I’m losing her a little. Seeing her this happy makes me crave something I didn’t want to crave. Love isn’t in the cards for me. Even if deep down I know it’s the one thing I want most. I have other plans in life, and falling in love isn’t part of that. I’ve got a score to settle—avenging the one person who ever loved me. My mother. Well, loved me as much as she could.
Ryan moves his hand from my hip to my stomach and stops there. His eyes search my face, and I don’t know what he’s looking for. Maybe he’s waiting for me to push him away, but I can’t seem to breathe right as I wait for him to speak. I know he wants me, but I’ve been such a brat, and I tricked him into thinking I was pregnant to make him mad. It’s ridiculous because it’s physically impossible for me to be pregnant; unless by immaculate conception. Maybe I thought it would make him back off, and that all the things he makes me feel would go away. If he wasn’t watching me or touching me, then my feelings would stop. But now he’s more in my space than he’s ever been.
“You shouldn’t be on field work. It isn’t safe.” His deep voice rumbles from his chest and washes over me. I narrow my eyes on him, loving his concern but hating that he thinks he can tell me what to do. Before I can snap at him, he cuts me off. “I don’t know who he is.” Captain leans down a little more. His words are hard and filled with something I can’t make out, an edge I’ve never heard from him before. “But apparently he’s nobody important, because I haven’t seen a man sniffing around you.”
I want to tell him he has no idea what I do, but that would be a lie. I live in the same building as my brother, and it’s one Captain monitors the security on. Along with us working security in the same building together, he pretty much knows every one of my moves.
“This baby is mine now. I’ll take care of you.”
His words hit me hard, shocking me. He did not say what I think he did. He wants to be the father of my baby? A baby that isn’t his? He wants to step up and offer to care for me and my unborn child. Never mind that there is no baby, it’s the fact that he wants to do this in spite of my pushing. In spite of all that I’ve done to hurt him, trying to keep him at a distance, he still won’t give up. It’s a reminder of how perfect he is. Too perfect for me. He always wants to do the right thing. I seem to always want to do the wrong thing.
Suddenly our mouths are on each other. Our lips connect and there’s no softness to the kiss. It’s fueled by everything I’ve been bottling up for him since the moment we met. The need and want I’ve been hiding, and all the fear of what could happen, is released in this kiss. The desire I’ve been hiding bleeds out as I cling to him, wrapping myself around his giant body. He easily picks me up, and my back once again presses against the wall. I want to close all the space I’ve been putting between us.
His mouth moves against mine, his tongue pushing its way into my mouth. He takes over the kiss, dominating it, and I let go. I allow myself to enjoy the closeness of him and soak it all up. I want every last drop I can get out of this.
He growls into my mouth, and I find myself moaning in response. I move against him as my dress slips to the side and I’m bare against his suit. He’s moved one of his hands under me and he’s holding my bare ass, his fingers digging into my flesh in a possessive, unbreakable hold. Something about the way he has me pinned to him so tightly is making me come undone.
Then he’s gone.
I’m on my feet and he’s turned around, his back to me. I’m in a daze, and it takes me a moment to realize he’s talking to someone. Another man in a suit is telling him something, but I was too far gone to realize it. I’m lost in the moment we just had, stunned at how quickly all that perfection was ripped away. In the blink of an eye, everything can be gone. I’ve learned that lesson before, and it’s not a pain I want to relive. It’s not where my head should be, and I take a step to the side to steady myself. Captain turns and reaches for me, but I back up another step. Then another.
His eyes narrow on me as the guy continues to talk to him, and I hold up my hands in defense. I can tell he’s going to make a grab for me, whether the guy is talking to him or not. I’d probably melt against him if he touched me, and I can’t do that.
“Paige.” He says my name in warning, but I shake my head. His hand clenches into a fist, but I don’t give in. I need space, so I turn and I take off across the ballroom.



 

 


AP new -about the author.jpg
Alexa Riley is two sassy friends who got together and wrote some dirty books. They are both married moms of two who love football, donuts, and obsessed book heroes.
They specialize in insta-love, over-the-top, sweet, and cheesy love stories that don’t take all year to read. If you want something SAFE, short, and always with a happily ever after, then Alexa Riley is for you!

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RELEASE BLITZ ~ Ready For His Rule (W.I.L.D. Boys of Special Forces #10) by Angel Payne


Synopsis

Are you ready?
Angel Payne’s alpha military heroes, the WILD Boys of Special Forces, have swept away readers across the globe with their fierce passion and suspenseful adventures. The warriors of the First Special Forces Group come together in one final book, featuring the Dominant team leader everyone’s been waiting for…

Captain John Franzen.

Inside the lines…
It’s the definition of life for Tracy Rhodes, and she has no choice about that. Lines–lots of them–are what happens when one is sworn in as second-in-command of the free world.
But the lines are crushed beneath the boots of Captain John Franzen, assigned as a special advisor to her security team for a high-profile event in Vegas. The towering warrior with the haunted stare shatters her composure, invades her libido, and makes her yearn for things she shouldn’t. Sweaty, illicit things…with her body pinned beneath his…

Outside the boundaries…
John Franzen, six and a half feet of rigid composure on the outside, is a lost man on the inside. Why the hell is he even alive? A guy isn’t supposed to survive eleven years in Special Forces, especially after the crazy missions he’s been assigned. Accepting the security gig in Vegas is just a favor to a friend–a way to fill time that’s become too damn empty lately.
Until the cushy “babysitting job” becomes the most treacherous mission of his life–and the politician he’s protecting becomes the woman in his bed. The lover beneath his bonds…

The submissive he longs to claim forever.

Breaking all the rules…
She’s destined for marble halls and an oval office.
He’s wired for dirt and violence.
Will her passion be enough to tame his demons…to claim the ultimate wild boy as her own?

READING ORDER for the WILD Boys of Special Forces Series: suggested but not required.
Every story stands on its own.

1: SAVED BY HIS SUBMISSIVE (Garrett and Sage)
2: HANDCUFFED BY HER HERO (Zeke and Rayna)
3: SURRENDERING TO HER SERGEANT (Ethan and Ava)
4: A WILDER WONDERLAND (Winter special—4 mini stories plus set-up for book 5)
5: WET FOR HER WARRIORS (Kellan, Tait, and Lani)
6: HOT FOR HIS HOSTAGE (Shay and Zoe)
7: A WILDER KIND OF LOVE (Dan and Tess)
8: MASTERED BY THE MAVERICKS (Rhett, Rebel, and Brynn)
9: WILD CARD (Sam and Jenny)
10: READY FOR HIS RULE (John and Tracy)


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Teaser


AboutTheAuthor

USA Today bestselling romance author Angel Payne has been reading and writing her entire life, though her love for romances began in junior high, when writing with friends on “swap stories” they’d trade between classes. Needless to say, those stories involved lots of angst, groping, drama, and gooey kissing.

She began getting a paycheck for her writing in her twenties, writing record reviews for a Beverly Hills-based dance music magazine. Some years, various entertainment industry gigs, and a number of years in the hospitality industry later, Angel returned to the thing she loves the most: creating character-based romantic fiction. Along the way, she also graduated with two degrees from Chapman University in Southern California, taking departmental honors for English, before writing five historical romances for Kensington and Bantam/Doubleday/Dell.

Angel found a true home in writing contemporary-based romances that feature high heat and high concepts, focusing on memorable alpha men and the women who tame them. She has numerous book series to her credit, including the Kinky Truth series, the Secrets of Stone series (with Victoria Blue), the W.I.L.D. Boys of Special Forces series, and the acclaimed Cimarron series. Temptation Court, a new series being launched through the Dark Nights Discovery project, debuts in 2016.

Angel still lives in Southern California, where she is married to her soul mate and lives on a street that looks like Brigadoon, with their awesome daughter and Lady Claire, the dog with impeccable manners. When not writing, she enjoys reading, pop culture, alt rock, cute shoes, enjoying the outdoors, and being a gym rat.

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BLOG TOUR ~ Wedlocked by Ella Frank & Brooke Blaine

SBPR-WEDLOCKED-BT

Wedlocked
from Ella Frank & Brooke Blaine
is available now!!!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00007]

Wedlocked
by Ella Frank & Brooke Blaine

Cover Reveal: March 2nd, 2017
Photographer: Wander Aguiar
Cover Designer: Jay Aheer
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Because you have believed in them,

Celebrated with them,

Loved and encouraged them,

Ella Frank and Brooke Blaine invite you to join

Ace Samuel Locke

And

Dylan Prescott

Saturday the Twenty-Fourth of May

At Six-O’Clock in the Evening

The Grand Floridian Hotel

4406 Palm Way

Orlando, Florida

For Love, Laughter and Happily Ever After


Excerpt:

“SO YOU’RE GONNA want to keep your toes on the tail of the board and grip the rails under your chest like this,” Dylan said as he lay across the surfboard to show me the basics of his favorite pastime on the secluded stretch of beach. Not that I was paying much attention to the words coming out of his mouth. I was much more interested in the way his muscles flexed beneath the skintight Body Glove wetsuit he wore.

As he pushed himself up into a standing position, my gaze traveled down the broad expanse of his back and down to his ass.

“See how my dominant leg is in the back, and— Ace? Are you paying attention?”

“Mhmm,” I murmured as I bit down on my lower lip and continued my perusal.

Dylan turned to face me, and his hands went to his hips. “Oh yeah?” he said when I looked up. “What did I just say?”

Taking a step forward, I gave him a cocky grin and tugged him off the surfboard and onto the sand until he was flush against me. Then I let my hands roam down over the firm, round muscles of his ass. “Something about being a dominant in the back,” I said, nipping at his lobe. “So why don’t you turn around?”

A groan of frustration left Dylan then, but his head tilted to the side to let my lips trail down his neck. “You’re not gonna feel so cocky when you can’t get up on that board.”

“Oh, I can always get it up, don’t you worry.”

His hands covered my chest and he gently pushed me away. “How about you prove it, hotshot?” Then he pointed to the longboard I’d rented for the weekend. “Why don’t you show me how it’s done.”

“It’s more fun watching you.”

“Ace. Get your ass on that board.”

I squinted in the sun and grinned. “You gonna be this bossy all weekend?”

“If you’re lucky.”

I took a step back so I was by my board, and crossed my arms. I had my wetsuit on, but it was still undone and hanging around my hips while Dylan walked me through this process step by step, and my move had the desired effect. He rubbed a hand up the back of his neck and over his hair, leaving it tousled and oh so sexy.

“What?” I asked. “I’m back on my side of the board.”

“Don’t try and act innocent with me, Locke. I’m trying to teach you a new skill. One that will keep you from hurting yourself. And you’re standing there being all…” He waved his hand up and down, gesturing to my exposed upper body.

“Yes?”

“See. Stop it,” he said, and then pointed to the board. “And zip up that damn wetsuit so I can’t see all your muscles.”

I arched a brow as I moved to slip my arms through the stretchy synthetic material, and when I reached for the zipper and pulled it up to the base of my skull, Dylan groaned.

“Okay, that’s almost worse than no wetsuit.”

“I’m sorry. You’re not checking me out, are you? Because you’re supposed to be paying close attention to teaching me something that could save my life,” I said as I turned around and made a show of bending down to get on the board.

“You having fun right now?” Dylan asked.

“Maybe a little.”

“Yeah, well, let’s hope that holds true when the wave dumps you on your ass.”

I let out a sigh and gripped the board just as he’d told me, because the truth of the matter was, I had never surfed a day in my life. I grew up in Chicago, for God’s sake. But Dylan, with his sun-kissed hair, long, lean body, and eyes the color of the sea, looked right at home with the sun shining down on him as his feet sank into the sand by my head.

“Let’s try this a couple more times here on land, and then we’ll get you out in the water. We won’t have you trying to stand up just yet. But if you can get the hang of at least catching the wave into the shore, we might be able to progress.” He crouched down and said, “Remember, toes on the tail of the board and grip the rails, and then push up.”

As I did as he instructed, I paused in the push-up position and was rewarded when he leaned in and took my lips in a sweet kiss.

“Again,” he whispered, and I moved back down to repeat the move, and this time when I paused, I was rewarded with a deeper kiss. When he pulled away too soon, I grumbled and he laughed, straightening. “Any more of that and we won’t make it into the water. On your feet, Locke, it’s time to hit the waves.”


Wedlocked-AN

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(Free in Kindle Unlimited)

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About Ella Frank:

Ella Frank is the USA Today Bestselling author of the Temptation series, including Try, Take, and Trust. Her Exquisite series has been praised as “scorching hot!” and “enticingly sexy!”

A life-long fan of the romance genre, Ella writes contemporary and erotic fiction and lives with her husband in Portland, OR. You can reach her on the web at http://www.ellafrank.com and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ella.frank.author

Some of her favorite authors include Tiffany Reisz, Kresley Cole, Riley Hart, J.R. Ward, Erika Wilde, Gena Showalter, and Carly Philips.

Connect with Ella:

Newsletter – http://www.bit.ly/1hEYtgn
Bookbub – http://bit.ly/29d67dD
Website – http://www.ellafrank.com
Twitter – @EllaFrank2012
FB – http://www.facebook.com/ella.frank.31
FB Street Team – http://www.facebook.com/groups/TheBrellas/
Instagram – http://www.instagram.com/ellafrank1/
Email: admin@ellafrank.com

About Brooke Blaine:

You could say Brooke Blaine was a book-a-holic from the time she knew how to read; she used to tell her mother that curling up with one at 4 a.m. before elementary school was her ‘quiet time.’ Not much has changed except for the espresso I.V. pump she now carries around and the size of her onesie pajamas.

She is the author of Flash Point, a romantic suspense standalone, as well as the co-author of the erotic series, A Desperate Man, with Ella Frank. The latter has scarred her conservative southern family for life, bless their hearts. Licked, a romantic comedy, will be released November 11th, 2015 and is the first in the L.A. Liaisons series.

If you’d like to get in touch with her, she’s easy to find – just keep an ear out for the Rick Astley ringtone that’s dominated her cell phone for ten years.

Connect with Brooke:

Newsletter-http://eepurl.com/brxPkP

Website- http://www.brookeblaine.com/home

Twitter- @BrookeBlaine1

FB- https://www.facebook.com/BrookeBlaine.Writer/

FB Street Team- www.facebook.com/groups/TheBrellas/


 


RELEASE BLITZ ~ The Alpha’s Secret Family (A Howls Romance) by Jessie Lane

 
 

 

Title: The Alpha’s Secret Family
Series: A Howls Romance
Author: Jessie Lane

 

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Release Date: March 28, 2017

 
 

 

Dia has just moved to a new city to run her own hair salon. She doesn’t have time for the hot guy who won’t stop asking her out, yet she can’t seem to stop thinking about him.
 
Stone Blaylock is the Battletown Packs’ Alpha and his mate has just moved into town. Problem is, she’s human. Therefore, he has to win her over the old fashioned, human way—by dating her.
 
Things are looking up for Stone when he gets his mate to fall in love with and mate him. 
 
However, there’s someone out there who doesn’t like that the Alpha’s new mate is human. When their plan to kill her backfires and Dia survives, but she doesn’t remember anything, including Stone, or the circumstances that left her alone, hurt, and pregnant.

 

 
 
 
 
 

 
 
Excerpt 1 

As Dia sat at her table looking at the laminated dinner menu, her mind swirled with doubts and worries. So much so, that she wasn’t reading the menu at all, just lost in her thoughts. All of that changed when the chair across from her scraped across the floor as it was dragged backward and someone sat down.

Suddenly, every nerve ending and instinct in Dia’s body flared to life. Although she hadn’t looked up yet, she somehow knew two things. One, it was a man. The spicy scent of him wafted across the table and filled her senses until her head spun. And two, for some odd reason, her entire being knew that her life was about to change forever.

How weird was that?

Not only weird, but scary. Dia’s life had already changed so much in the last few days with her move to town and taking over the business. There was no way she was ready for it to change any more.

She tried to ignore the unknown man, hoping he might go away if she paid him no attention. Just minutes later, though, she found out that wasn’t going to work, as he leaned forward and braced his arms on the table.

“You going to ignore me all night, princess?”

The unknown man’s voice was so deliciously deep that it tingled certain parts of her body. She loved a deep bass like that. His voice wasn’t what made her head snap up, though. No, it was her irritation.

“I’m not a fucking princess,” she snapped back.

She hated when people made assumptions about her just because of the way she looked. Just because she liked to have her make-up and hair done at all times didn’t mean that she was a high-maintenance woman. Dia could swing a hammer just as good as any guy in here, and if the stranger didn’t watch it, she would swing that hammer at his head.

It didn’t take much to set off Dia’s fiery temper.

Of course, the urge to hit him abruptly died away when she got her first good look at the man she had studiously tried to avoid only seconds before. The word beautiful didn’t seem to do the man justice. No, he was absolutely and utterly beard-bodacious beautiful.

He had dark, shaggy hair she immediately wanted to run her fingers through, and gorgeous steel-grey eyes. His facial features were strong, like his jaw, and undoubtedly handsome. Rugged was how one might describe them. Not Dia, though. No, the word predatory was the word that came to mind as she looked at his intent eyes and the smirk on his lips. The man was staring at her like he was a starving wolf and she was the plump, little lamb he had set his sights on.

Would it be terribly wrong if she gave in to temptation and asked him to eat her? Because looking at the stranger made her hotter than any other man had before. He was just that damn devastating. The realization made Dia feel confused because she had never had this sort of reaction to a man before.

The stranger’s smirk spread into a huge grin as he watched her after she snapped the heated words at him.

She waited for his rebuttal; some condescension that she hadn’t needed to be so snippety. Instead, he leaned forward and whispered, “All right, sweetheart, I get it; you’re not a princess. I just couldn’t help myself because, here you sit, in this little restaurant, surrounded by farmers and working men, prettier than anything I’ve ever seen in my whole life. You haven’t noticed that every single man’s eyes are glued to you, and you haven’t seen their pitiful attempts to get your attention. So, I had to come over here and make sure you had no choice but to notice me.”

“Why is that?” she asked him curiously.

“Because you’re mine.”

Excerpt 2

 

“And what if I told you I was something straight out of a fairy tale, would you believe me?”

Thinking he was teasing, Dia teased back, “Is this where you tell me you really are Prince Charming?”
When Stone didn’t laugh at her joke, Dia took notice of the tension in the air around them and stiffened herself.
“Or, are you the frog under those clothes?”
He grabbed her tightly, almost as if he was afraid she would ask him to let her go. “I’m not Prince Charming, sweetheart.”
“Then what are you talking about?” Dia asked him, confused.
“I’m the big bad wolf, Dia.”
She started to laugh, thinking he was joking again, but his serious face stopped her.
Quickly getting confused and frustrated with his mood swings, she snapped, “Fine, if you’re such a big bad wolf, then how about you prove it to me, then? Do something … wolfy.”
One of his eyebrows cocked up. “Wolfy?”
Dia nodded, determined to straighten out this confusing mess. She had no idea what the hell Stone was trying to get at here, but she wasn’t one for bullshit. It was best just to cut right through the crap.
Crossing her arms over her chest, she reiterated her command, “Wolfy, mister.”
Shrugging his shoulders, Stone started to move, but not in any way she had expected him to. No, the crazy man started stripping his clothes off.
“What the hell are you doing, Stone?” Dia glanced around, worried someone might see him getting naked.
With a laugh in his voice, Stone answered her as he pushed his boots off his feet, “I’m getting wolfy, woman. Give me a minute, would ya?”
Tired of the man acting like a total lunatic, Dia put a hand over her eyes to block the sight of him and shouted, “You will put your clothes back on right this minute, Stone Blaylock, or I will never speak to you again!”
Stone didn’t answer her with words … There were grunts. Then a long groan. Followed by … a growl?
Past the point of confusion, and a whole lot worried, Dia peeked between two of her fingers to where Stone should have been standing. But he wasn’t there. That was when Dia removed her hand altogether and looked to find a massive wolf in his place.
Dia’s fear and adrenaline kicked in right away. She had good reason to be scared, too. The damn wolf was almost twice the size of any wolf she had seen at a zoo, and licking his chops like she was dinner.

 

Excerpt 3

 

“Wait!” Dia shouted, scared at not knowing what was going on. “Before you go, please tell me what happened!”

Dr. Bennett looked back down at Dia with a stoic expression. “Miss Connor, you were involved in an accident. There was a gas explosion, and you just barely missed the worst part of it. You are lucky to have survived the blast.”

Out of the corner of her eye, Dia could see the nurse injecting something into her IV line.

Totally dumbfounded at what she had just been told, she squinted at the bright light around her while asking the doctor, “How long have I been here?”

Dr. Bennett bent back over so she could block the light from her eyes again, “You’ve been in a medically-induced coma for two months, Miss Connor. Now I know you must have lots of questions for me, but I need you to lie back and try to get some more rest, okay? I’ll be back to check on you in a couple of hours.”

She watched as Dr. Bennett walked away then stood just outside of the room’s doorway, writing on what was presumably Dia’s chart. The nurse walked out with her and stopped right next to her, quietly bringing the door to a close. Thing was, she didn’t close it all the way. There was a small crack, and as fogginess started to impair her thoughts, she could still hear the nurse talking to the doctor.

“It’s so tragic what happened to her and her family. And it looks like she doesn’t remember a thing. When are you going to tell her that her parents were killed in the explosion?”

Dia’s heart clenched so hard in her chest that, for a moment, she wondered if she was having a heart attack. Even though she couldn’t place a face to the thought of having a mother and father, it still broke her heart to know that they were now gone. Dia might never remember them again.

Her heart monitor went crazy as her chest started to tighten even more, and the nurse rushed back in to check on Dia. “Miss Connor, are you okay?”

Tears ran silently down her face as she watched the nurse check the machines that had her heart monitor and blood pressure on it. The nurse turned back to her and said, “You’re safe here, Miss Connor. I need you to try to calm down. It’s not good for the baby for you to be this upset.”

The edges of her vision became black, and the haziness she had felt earlier was now stronger than ever. Dia’s heart was still pounding away in her chest, but it wasn’t enough to keep her awake. Nor was the shock from the nurse’s words.

In all honesty, through the frantic thoughts racing through her mind, Dia realized she was probably more lightheaded because she was about to pass out than from the meds they had given her. All because of one little word.

Baby.

And as the black in her vision spread, her chest gasping for air, Dia had one last thought before she passed out. What baby?
 


 
 
 

Jessie Lane is a best-selling author of Paranormal and Contemporary Romance, as well as, Upper YA Paranormal Romance/Fantasy.

She lives in Kentucky with her two little Rock Chicks in-the-making and her over protective alpha husband that she’s pretty sure is a latent grizzly bear shifter. She has a passionate love for reading and writing naughty romance, cliff hanging suspense, and out-of-this-world characters that demand your attention, or threaten to slap you around until you do pay attention to them.


She’s also a proud member of the Romance Writers of America (RWA).

 
 

 



 
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