“One dance.” Even as the words left my mouth, I knew it was probably a lie. From his scuffed boots to the way his shirt strained against the muscles of his shoulders, everything about him was my type. Carefree. Charming. Dangerous. A mixture of small-town boy and wild, roguish charm. There was just something that told me if he asked for a second dance, I’d say yes.
My heels pinched my toes, but it was a familiar feeling, so I stuffed the discomfort down and concentrated on the ruggedly handsome man in front of me. God was he beautiful. His dark hair was long around his ears, curling the tiniest amount at the ends. I couldn’t tell if the stubble on his cheeks was intentional or if he’d just not bothered with a shave, and I could see how easily the local girls must moon over him. His movements were slow. Languid. Even the casual way he moved across the room screamed, Big Dick Energy.
But it was his smile that did me in. It was all white teeth and earnest charm.
As the music pumped from the speakers, his solid arms pulled me around the dance floor. Despite not knowing the steps, he led with confidence, his hand at my lower back, pushing and pulling me into the correct position. From the outside, it may have even looked like we knew what we were doing.
I let myself smile at him. Not the polished, demure smile that had been drilled into me since I was young, but my real, too-wide smile that rarely appeared.
He didn’t have a clue.
When he’d made the comment about rolling out the red carpet, I thought maybe he knew, but the flash of recognition never came—that dawn of realization when someone discovers I am the Madison Colt. It wasn’t there.
Maybe Des was right about my hair after all. Dyeing my typically platinum-blonde hair back to my natural auburn was an act of defiance and a night of one-too-many glasses of red wine, but it did a damn fine job hiding the fact that a celebrity was drinking watered-down cocktails and dancing with the sexiest man in the bar.
For the briefest moment, I was free of her.
As the song died down, Josh kept his strong hands planted at my lower back, our hips pressed together. We’d laughed and stood, breathing in each other’s air, as the room continued to dance around us.
His hand stroked up my back as he leaned toward a table of people staring in our direction. “Come hang out for a minute.”
I wanted to. More than anything I wanted to be Effie Pierce, normal girl passing through town. A thousand reasons to stay flipped through my mind. I could enjoy a night out, free of the expectations and schedules and rigidity of my life. I could be a different version of me.
Until someone recognized me.
They always did.
I smiled up at him. “I should go.” I pulled away and took measured strides toward the door.
“Wait a second,” he called at my back. “Can I see you again? Get your number?”
I closed my eyes as the pang of what-ifs shot through me. But I knew how this ended. If I left now, I’d be saving myself from the uncomfortable conversation later. “Thank you for the dance.”
My name was liquid over gravel in his throat. I flushed with heat as he leaned over me.
Kiss me. Kiss me and I’ll stay.
We stayed locked.
Lena Hendrix is the author of steamy, contemporary romance novels. Her love of romance started with her grandmother’s Harlequin paperbacks and now Lena’s stories are full of heart, humor, and plenty of strong Alphas with marshmallow insides-she likes her coffee hot and her heroes hotter!
Lena lives in the midwest with her husband, three children, and two derpy Australian Cattle Dogs. When she’s not writing or devouring new novels, you can find her hiking, camping, fishing, and sipping a spicy margarita!
Title: Bear Series: The Bang Shift #8 Author: Mandy Harbin
Genre: Romantic Suspense Release Date: September 27, 2022
He might be the leader of a mercenary group, but he is not the boss of her. Nuh-uh. No way.
Theodore “Bear” Knight owns the Bang Shift Garage, but it’s his role as team leader of a secret mercenary group that forces him to keep one fiery redhead at arm’s length. With no other outlet for their magnetic attraction, innocent flirting turns into heated bickering. Although he’d rather her hate him than risk her life, that stance is put to the ultimate test when a hit on the garage thrusts her right into the path of a notorious mafia assassin. Nothing will stop Bear from protecting the woman he craves. Not even the little spitfire herself.
Roxie Willis has it bad for the bearded hottie she calls Teddy, but any hope of something real shattered one drunken, passionate night years ago. He either doesn’t remember their wild ride or pretends it never happened. Now, Teddy not only revs her engine but her attitude, and she dishes out a big ol’ helping of it when her life is suddenly in danger because of him. She refuses his ridiculous plan of protection, but she should’ve known the bossy leader of the Bang Shift mercenaries wouldn’t play fair.
Bear and Roxie continue to fight temptation and each other, but when they learn it might not have been a coincidence she was at the garage that fateful day, neither are prepared for the fallout.
Will Bear and Roxie finally get their happily-ever-after, or will painful secrets from the past ruin their chances of ever having a future together?
Find out in this explosive finale of the Bang Shift Series!
Mandy Harbin is a USA Today Bestselling author who writes unapologetically hot, unconventional romance. She is a Superstar Award recipient, Reader’s Crown and Passionate Plume finalist, and achieved Night Owl Reviews Top Pick distinction many times. With over a decade of publishing experience, she served several years on the board of her state’s romance writing chapter, including two terms as president. When she is not bringing bad boys to their knees on the page, she is living her best life with her husband and bossy dog.
Genre: Military Romantic Suspense Release Date: September 27, 2022
She doesn’t believe in heroes anymore. He’ll prove her wrong.
Mercenary Dax Freed would rather stride into the desert naked and covered in honey than pretend to be a reclusive romance novelist’s fake boyfriend, but nobody gave him the option.
Roberta Sharpe writes about heroes for a living, but she already knows they don’t exist in real life. She doesn’t need a former Army Ranger who looks like he could be on her covers camping out in her guest room to prove the theory, but nobody gave her a choice.
When someone breaks into her home and leaves a grisly calling card, her publisher insists she needs a bodyguard. Dax is everything she doesn’t want in her life again. Tall, dark, handsome, and certain of his appeal, it’s almost impossible to ignore the sizzling chemistry between them.
It might not matter, though. The danger lurking in the shadows threatens to ruin more than a chance at love. If Dax is going to save Robbie, he’ll have to unleash the beast within… and prove that heroes don’t just exist in the pages of a novel.
**Start reading the Black’s Bandits Series today and enjoy an action-packed, seriously romantic and steamy-good-fun military romantic suspense. Each book can be read as a standalone. No cliffhangers or cheating and a guaranteed happily-ever-after ending!
Lynn Raye Harris is a Southern girl, military wife, wannabe cat lady, and horse lover. She’s also the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the HOSTILE OPERATIONS TEAM Ⓡ SERIES of military romances, and 20 books about sexy billionaires for Harlequin.
A former finalist for the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Award and the National Readers Choice Award, Lynn lives in Alabama with her handsome former-military husband, one fluffy princess of a cat, and a very spoiled American Saddlebred horse who enjoys bucking at random in order to keep Lynn on her toes.
Lynn’s books have been called “exceptional and emotional,” “intense,” and “sizzling” – and have sold in excess of 4.5 million copies worldwide.
Erin Mallon‘s debut romantic comedy novel, Flirtasaurus, releases in July 2020. She is an award-winning narrator of over 450 books and an accomplished playwright and producer in New York City. She has written over 40 plays, which have been produced Off-Broadway and all over the country, including These Walls Can Talk, a raucous theatrical love letter to the romance audiobook community. She lives in a little yellow house on the outskirts of NYC with her husband and Three J’s.