Category Archives: Chapter preview

RELEASE DAY BLITZ ~ Under Siege by Aria Cole

 

 

 

 

 

 
What happens when ten-foot-tall and bulletproof asks you to spend thirty days alone with him?

Tinsley Abernathy never thought she’d have to ask herself that question. And Ash Ford isn’t just any run-of-the-mill, drop-dead-gorgeous stranger, he’s the soldier she’s been exchanging letters with every week for the last three years. And now he’s back in town. And he’s ready to meet her.
After all, Ash has a proposition Tinsley would be crazy to refuse….

Warning: Ash is one sticky, sweet, military muscle-man in camo cargos. He’s set his sights on one woman only, and he won’t stop until her heart is Under Siege.




ONE

Tinsley

“Welcome home, dickhead!” A group of guys erupted into a round of cheers at the bar. My eyes slid across the polished wood table to land on my best friend’s.  
  “I think it’s time we hit the road.”  
   Lily huffed, sucking another strawful of her margarita. “Nonsense.” She swiped a hand as if to bat away the silly thought. “We just got here, and you have been talking to this guy for the last three years. I mean, you’ve ditched me for him on Saturday nights, writing those long love letters.”
   “I told you, they weren’t love letters. We’re just friends.” The last letter I’d written him rattled through my mind–the one where everything in me had wanted to confess I was falling for him. Only I’d been a coward and scribbled the whole thing out. Now I was thinking my foresight was pretty keen–this group of guys looked like a bunch of wild college guys, certainly not a group my thoughtful, affectionate Ash would be friends with, right? The frown deepened on my face.
   Lily huffed, taking another drink. “You should go talk to him, introduce yourself.”
   “Yeah…” I glanced over at the crew at the bar. A dozen guys at least. Ash and I had never exchanged a photo while he was away, and we’d had a little vow that we wouldn’t look each other up on social media. I’d kept it, but I wasn’t sure if he had.  
   I frowned, watching a shorter guy get a round of shots for everyone. “I don’t really care which one he is, to be honest. I don’t think any of them are my type.”
   “Well, he was your type for three years when you were writing back and forth every week.”
   “Was…” I gnawed down on my bottom lip, thinking I’d made a giant mistake even coming here tonight. Ash and I should have left well enough alone, pen pals while he was deployed with  the navy overseas and nothing more. “I vote we head home and start the next season of Pretty Little Liars.”
   “Well…” Lily arched one perfectly manicured brow at me. “I vote you swallow down the rest of that drink while I get us another round.”
   I was still shaking my head when she rose from the table, finishing her drink with a wink and then scurrying off to the bar.  
   I rolled my eyes inwardly, sucking on the end of my straw and wishing Lily and I were curled up on the couch right now with pints of Ben & Jerry’s in hand. I had a feeling Lily wasn’t going to let me off the hook that easily, though. We’d been living together for more than two years now; she’d seen the letters from overseas coming fast and furious. I think she was as nervous and excited about this night as I was.  
   I groaned, sucking down the last of my drink before standing to make my way to the bathroom. A hard mass of muscle brushed by just as I stepped off the elevated platform. I stumbled, losing my footing and heading for a face-plant on the floor.  
   “Shit, sorry ’bout that.” A heavy palm wrapped around my elbow and caught me in a graceful spin. Hauled against the chest of one very tall, broad monster of a man, I steadied myself on slabs of pectoral. Lightning sparked through my veins, racing to my toes as I inhaled a quick scent of woodsy cologne. The smell was so hypnotizing that my head began to spin with pure intoxication.      
   “You okay, Freckles?” Ice-blue eyes caught mine, the hint of a cocky grin playing at the side of his mouth.  
   “I’m fine. Thanks for catching me.” I pulled away. His palm didn’t leave my elbow, though, like he was following me, insisting on invading my space. “It looked dire for a second there. Thank you,” I whispered, both embarrassed and shy about the situation.
   “Pleasure’s all mine.” Those ocean eyes trailed across my face, down my neck, and hovered at the vee of my cleavage. My body prickled with desire under this stranger’s gaze. Sparks burned through my fingertips and hardened my nipples, a slow ache beating like a drum on my nerves. “You here for the party?” His deep yet soft voice reverberated through my body, somehow making me feel that this was the voice I was meant to hear for the rest of my life.
   I sucked on my bottom lip, wishing instantly I could disappear. Melt into the floor at his feet. Something about the way he held himself, the look in his eyes as he watched me, made it impossible for my body to ignore. My thighs shifted, and I swallowed the bundle of nerves choking my throat. “I was supposed to meet someone.”
   I averted my eyes, not really wanting to explain my circumstances for being there at that moment. “Well, I’m someone.” He thrust out his hand, cocky smile deepening. “Name’s Ash.”
   My heart thundered to a halt.  
   Just like that, the world spun on its axis, and I was left heaving for oxygen and desperate for words.  
   “Got a name, Freckles?” Ash clasped my hand in his, yanking me against him.  
   This was it.  
   This was the part where I confessed my name. That I was Tinsley, the Tinsley he’d been writing for the last three years. I owed it to him to be open.  
   My lips parted, the words on my tongue, before something else slipped out altogether. “Freckles has a nice ring to it.”
   His gaze jumped from my eyes to my lips. I sucked in a slow breath, his hand tightening at my elbow and hauling me infinitely closer.  
   “I think so too.” His warm breath washed across my neck, sending chills racing through me.  
   I had to contain the moan from slipping past my lips.  
   This man had that thing about him. That thing that drew women to him like honey, and I’d been a fool to think that just because we had three years of letters behind us, we could be anything in real life. Ash was out of my league. I should have picked up on that when he talked about fun-filled vacations with friends and wild parties, but I hadn’t given it much thought because it didn’t matter then.  
   It mattered now, though.
    A dead weight settled on my shoulders then. He and I were worlds apart, probably never even would have crossed each other’s paths if it weren’t for me reaching out to the military pen pals charity a few years ago.  
   He was in a desperate time. We were both looking for friendship…
   “Hey, Tins! I told him to make yours a double.” Lily chose that moment to burst the small bubble we’d created.
   “Tins?” Ash arched an eyebrow with interest. “That short for anything?”  
   He knew.
   Shit, he totally knew.  
   “Uh…” Lily pushed my new drink at me. “I’m Lily, and you are?”  
   “Ash Ford.” He thrust a hand out and shook Lily’s hand, those icy-blue orbs glued to mine the entire time.  
   Lily’s eyes grew to the size of saucers. “So, you’re the man of the hour?”
   Ash’s eyebrows rose. “’Spose so.”
   “And which one of those fine gentlemen behind you might be willing to buy a girl a drink?” Lily cooed. The realization set in that she was leaving me alone, with Ash, now that she knew who he was.  
   “Go introduce yourself. Sure you won’t be short on offers,” Ash said.
    “Don’t mind if I do.” Lily’s eyes gleamed as she cast me a glance, leaning in to mouth the words, “He’s gorgeous. I’d climb him like a tree if I were you.” I nearly spat out my drink. “Wish me luck!” she called as she sauntered away.  
   “So,” Ash breathed. “Tins or Freckles, what should I call you?”
    I narrowed my gaze at him. The way his eyes did that gleaming thing, making my panties wet and my knees weak, was irritating as hell.  
   “Nothing to you.” I steeled my spine, setting my drink on the table and making to dash around him and get the hell out of here.
   I was in over my head. Dating wasn’t my thing, ever, and this guy was all sorts of intimidating.  I could hardly get a word in; my brain swam with so many thoughts of feeling his body pressed to mine again.  
   And to think this beautiful, cocky bastard was Ash Ford.  
   The man I’d unloaded all of my past, dreams, and hopes onto.
   “Excuse me.” I barely managed the whisper, defeat lacing my tone as I turned away.  
   But Ash Ford wasn’t about to make walking away easy.



Aria Cole is a thirty-something housewife who once felt bad for reading dirty books late at night, until she decided to write her own. Possessive alpha men and the sassy heroines who love them are common, along with a healthy dose of irresistible insta-love and happily ever afters so sweet your teeth may ache.

For a safe, off-the-charts HOT, and always HEA story that doesn’t take a lifetime to read, get lost in an Aria Cole book!
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NEW RELEASE ~ Love Me By Christmas by Jaci Burton

Love Me By Christmas

Love Me By Christmas
by Jaci Burton

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Buy Links:

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A sexy, standalone novel from the New York Times & USA TODAYbestselling author of the Play-by-Play series and Hope series.

Ellie Washington lost her husband in a tragedy five years ago at Christmas. She wouldn’t have made it through her grief if not for her husband’s brother, Nick, who helped her pick up the pieces of her shattered life. And with every year, her feelings for Nick have grown. Now she realizes she might be in love with him, but that’s not fair, because Nick deserves a life that isn’t about his brother’s widow and son.

Sharing his life with Ellie and her son has been the balm that soothed Nick’s soul after losing his brother. Now that friendship has turned into something deeper. Nick doesn’t want to upset the status quo, but someone has to make the first move, and it’s time they figure out if their feelings are real. Nick believes in what they have. He also believes in Christmas miracles, and he thinks they’re both long overdue for one.



Image may contain: 3 people, text


Excerpt:

Chapter One

“Do you want me to bring the Christmas decorations down from the attic?”

Ellie Washington tensed. She hated this time of year. And even though it would be five years this holiday season, she still missed her husband, John.

She turned to John’s older brother, Nick, and forced a smile. “I guess. Sure.”

Nick leaned against the kitchen counter. In many ways he resembled John. Tall, lean, dark good looks. But John had been her sweet, button-down shirt and khaki pants nerd—a financial planner by trade who’d worn the same look at home.

Nick was a grease monkey, an auto mechanic who owned a shop a few miles from his house. He wore jeans and T-shirts that were often smudged and dirty. His black hair was always a bit too long, and his eyes were a sea blue, whereas John had had green eyes.

She missed John’s eyes, that way they used to crinkle at the corners when he laughed.

Still stuck in the past, Ellie. Five years later, you’re still thinking about John.

Time to move on.

She knew it, and yet she still felt…stuck. As if she couldn’t quite find that joy that used to be hers.

Especially at the holidays, which was always tough.

But this year was going to be different.

“Hey, Ellie. You listening?”

She blinked, lost in the memories. “Sorry. What?”

“I said I thought maybe we’d take Henry and get a tree this weekend.”

Her stomach knotted. John had died at Christmastime five years ago. Henry had been growing in her belly and they’d stood in front of the tree, John rubbing her belly bump and the two of them dreaming about the following year, when there would be a new baby in their house.

And then her husband had died and her life had gone to hell. It had taken her a long time to get over that, to be able to function again as a living, breathing human.

She thought she was doing pretty damn well at the functioning part. The living part? Maybe not so much.

Nick came over and pulled her against him. “You’re thinking about John.”

He always seemed to know her so well, knew her moods and even her reflective moments. That came from spending so much time together over the past five years.

She looked up at him. “Yes.”

He rubbed her back. “We can put off the tree and the decorations if you want.”

She pulled away. “Nope. We can’t. Henry loves Christmas. You love Christmas, probably even more than Henry does. I’ll get into it once all the decorations are up just like I always do.”

He tipped her chin back with his fingers. “Like you always do?”

She let her lips lift, just a little. “Okay, buddy. Maybe I’m not all that jolly this time of year, but I’m working on it.

And if she wasn’t all gung ho about Christmas, okay, so maybe she was still a work in progress there. Her husband had died in a fire on Christmas Eve when she’d been at work. John, exhausted and overworked, had fallen asleep. Faulty wiring had sparked a fire in their old house and he’d died from smoke inhalation.

“So…what do you think this year?” Nick asked. “A noble fir?”

She shook herself out of the bad memories. Bad memories were for the past, and she refused to live in the past anymore. “That sounds great.”

Nick picked up his phone. “We could go today. There’s still plenty of time before it gets dark.”

“Or we could wait until tomorrow.”

Nick cracked a smile. “Yeah, because why do something today we could do tomorrow instead? Especially something you don’t really want to do, right?”

He gave her that look that told her he knew her all too well. And of course he did.

“Maybe we could wait a few days?” She cast him a hopeful look.

He responded with his signature smile. “Sure.”

She wouldn’t let him see the relief that swept through her. Instead, she offered up a smile. “Thanks, Nick.”

“Hey, no big deal.”

“It is a big deal. You have no idea how much everything you’ve done for me, and for Henry, has meant to me.”

“Whoa. Where did that come from? And no thanks is necessary, Ellie. You’re family.”

Family. Yeah, that’s what they were to each other. But they were also so much more. At least now. Back then when John died, they’d been each other’s saviors.

She’d moved into his house five years ago. She’d had nowhere else to go. She didn’t have family. When she’d married John, his family had become her family. And after the fire, it had been Nick who’d taken her in and become her lifeline.

She hadn’t meant to stay at Nick’s house this long. But she’d been five months pregnant with Henry when John had died, and finding a new place to live had been impossible at that time. Then she’d given birth and Henry had been an infant and Nick had told her he had three bedrooms and there was no hurry.

His place was perfect, a one-story brick house near the hospital in St. Louis where she worked as a labor and delivery nurse. She’d settled in with Henry and had felt safe and comfortable.

Then safe and comfortable had become routine for all of them.

Now Henry was four and he loved his uncle Nick. He had his own room and Nick had wired model airplanes to soar on the ceiling. They’d painted the room a bright blue, and he had a four-drawer dresser and oversized wooden box that Nick had made for all of Henry’s toys, plus a nice twin bed next to the window that looked out over the huge backyard.

Her room was nice, too. It was spacious with a queen bed and a beautiful quilt plus a lovely sitting area where she could read. It had a connecting bathroom that she shared with Henry, which was perfect in case Henry wasn’t feeling well or she needed to check on him. It also gave her privacy and a separation from Nick, which Nick thought was important.

In the beginning she hadn’t been thinking much of anything other than basic survival. But after a while she’d seen its merits. Plus the room had a walk-in closet, which worked perfect for her. Not that she had a lot of clothes. She had her scrubs, her jeans, and basic tops. It wasn’t like she went out on dates or anything.

Ugh. Dates. Just the thought of it, of going out with anyone who wasn’t Nick…

Not that she was going to go out on a date with Nick. Because he’d never asked her. Not that she hadn’t thought about it once or twice or a hundred times in the past year or two.

The change had been subtle. First, he’d been her brother-in-law and nothing more. And then, there were these chemical signals, like running into him in the hall while he wasn’t wearing a shirt, and she found her gaze lingering. At the time, she’d thought she should probably look away. Only she hadn’t looked away.

It was at that point she’d realized she needed to start living again. She’d noticed Nick as a man. A hot, living, breathing man. It was time.

“Let’s go out tonight.”

She blinked, feeling like she’d been caught fantasizing about Nick. Had she been staring at him? She wasn’t sure. She looked over at him. “What?”

“Henry mentioned pizza before I dropped him off at Oscar’s for his playdate. What do you think?”

“About?”

Nick cocked his head to the side and smirked. “Pizza, Ellie.”

Shake it off, Ellie.

She cocked her head to the side and gave Nick the once-over. Despite the hotness factor, of which he had an ample amount, the dude was looking a little shaggy.

“You need a haircut.”

He dragged his fingers through the unruly thickness of his dark hair. “No, I don’t.”

“Yes, you do. If it gets any longer, I’ll be able to put it up with one of my ponytail holders.”

“Bullshit. It’s not that long.”

“It is, too. At least a trim.”

“We have to go pick up Henry.”

She lifted her phone out of her pocket to check the time. “Not for another half hour, which gives me plenty of time to trim your hair.”

“I hate haircuts.”

“I know. But you can let me trim it, then we’ll go get pizza. Now sit.”

He sighed. “Is this a torture/reward kind of thing?”

She shrugged. “If you want to look at it like that, fine. But you’re getting a haircut, and then we’ll get pizza.”

“Fine. But not too short.”

She smiled as she went to one of the drawers in the kitchen to pull out her hair-cutting scissors. “Of course not. I wouldn’t want to ruin your rock star good looks.”

He’d taken a seat at the kitchen table, so he tilted his head back until she could see the twinkle in his eyes. “So…you think I look like a rock star, huh?”

She grabbed a kitchen towel and draped it over his shoulders. “Yes. Shaggy and unkempt.”

She dragged her fingers through the thick softness of his hair, and for a moment she wanted to linger. The thought of it gave her pause.

She’d cut Nick’s hair countless times and not once had she ever thought about how it felt in her hands. The softness of it, or how her fingers tingled as she sifted the strands through them.

Softness? Tingles?

She paused. What was that all about?

“Don’t cut too much. Seriously. I hate short haircuts.”

Her lips curved. “You know, for a guy who never complains about anything, you sure are picky about your hair.”

“My hair is magic, Ellie.”

She rolled her eyes. “Right. And I have unicorn eyelashes.”

He tilted his head back and looked at her face. “I knew there was something special about those long lashes of yours. Bet your hair is made from pixie dust, too, isn’t it?”

He picked up a strand of her hair and sifted it through his fingers, and maybe he lingered just a little longer than was usual when he teased her.

She felt that zing of attraction.

This flirting was killing her. Or was she reading something into it that wasn’t there?

Yeah, she definitely had to shake it off.

“And here I thought maybe it was your hair that was made of pixie dust, the way you fuss over it.”

He laughed and the deep, gravelly sound of it shot right through all the feminine parts of her that had lain dormant for the past five years.

“No way. My hair is made from ancient Thor and Hulk follicles.”

She paused and stepped around to stare at him. “Yeah? And where do you find those?”

“eBay.”

She snorted out a laugh, then went back to focusing on the task at hand.

“I like you better with your hair a little longer,” she said.

He tilted his head back and gave her that signature smile of his, the one where one side of his mouth lifted. “Aha. See? You do think I look like a rock star.”

Now it was her turn to laugh. “I didn’t say that.”

“You didn’t have to.”

She shook her head and finished the trim, then grabbed the comb, though it wouldn’t do any good. Nick’s hair just fell naturally into place whichever way it wanted to. And typically whatever way it wanted to fall was still pretty darned hot.

“Done.”

He got up and shook his head. “Thanks. And you’re right. It does feel better having a little of that length cut away.”

“Plus you look much better.” She swept some of the hair away from his face, her body once again tingling in response to touching him.

What. The. Hell. Is. Going. On. With. You. Ellie?

She had no idea, but she quickly snatched her hand away. “Yup. Looks fine.”

“Good. I’m gonna go shower and wash away the motor oil smell from work today. Then we’ll head out.”

She wouldn’t tell him she liked that motor oil smell on him. He’d think it was weird. Or kinky. Or something.

Oh, my God what is wrong with you? Now you’re turned on by his motor oil scent?

She was most definitely not turned on. His scent was just familiar to her, which made Nick comfortable to her.

Not hot or sexy or anything.

Stop thinking about Nick like that.

When he left, she exhaled, exhausted by her body’s responses and her utterly bizarre thoughts. She grabbed the broom to sweep up the hair on the floor. After she finished, she went into her bathroom to check herself in the mirror.

Her face was flushed, and since it was early December, it wasn’t because of the heat. She washed her face, then brushed her hair. On impulse, she applied makeup and lip gloss, realizing as soon as she’d done it that it was ridiculous because she never thought about those things when she was hanging out with her son and with Nick.

So why are you doing it now?

She had no answer for that, but since she’d already done it, there was no undoing it.

It was just pizza night with Nick and Henry and nothing more. As for her reactions to Nick, well, she had no answers for what had happened.

Maybe it was time to start thinking about herself as a woman again. And maybe her body was pushing her in that direction.

But not with Nick. Nick was John’s brother. And her friend. Her lifesaver.

And something—anything—with Nick could never happen.


BLP REVIEW ~ Tracy

Man, what a really great read. Love Me By Christmas was a fab addition to my holiday reading list. I have to admit that when I thought about the number of books Jaci Burton has written I was surprised that I’ve never ready anything by her before, that’s something I’ll remedy in the future!

I loved the connection between Ellie and Nick, the main characters in the story.
Brother and sister in law who, along with Ellie’s son Henry, have lived in the same house for five years following the tragic and heartbreaking death of Ellie’s husband, John. Through this time they have formed their own little family without even really thinking about it. 
As they both begin to realise that they’re thinking about each other in ways more than that of in-laws, Ellie panics and tries to set Nick up with someone to get him to live again himself, feeling that she shouldn’t want to be with him or have feelings for him…. those interactions between Nick and the ‘dates/hookups’ had me laughing and I was glad he stood up against what Ellie was trying to do. Nick knows what he wants and he’s determined to get Ellie to face what’s happening between them and admit she feels the same way he does. 

My biggest issue with Ellie is her to’ing and fro’ing when it came to Nick and a relationship… It’s been five years since she lost John and it’s time she started living again and who better than the guy she trusts and cares deeply about that right there? 
Nick was a sweetheart. His devotion to Ellie and love for Henry – who he’s been pretty much a father to since he was born – was obvious in everything he did for them. 

I loved Fran, Ellie’s friend, her bluntness and honesty when it came to how she thought Ellie should deal with things was one of my favourite parts of the book. Everyone needs that kinda friend who won’t just tell you what you want to hear, but gives you her honest advice with your best interests at heart!!

A heartwarming, fun, engaging holiday read that I’d definitely recommend. 

4 well deserved stars.


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About the Author:Jaci Burton

Jaci Burton is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling, award-winning author of over 70 books. She lives in Oklahoma and when she isn’t on deadline (which is often), she can usually be found wrestling with her uncooperative garden, wrangling her dogs, watching an unhealthy amount of television, or completely losing track of time reading a great book. She’s a total romantic and longs for the happily ever after in every story, which you’ll find in all her books.. Visit her website for excerpts, book information and contests.

Links:

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RELEASE BLITZ ~ Craving Sugar by Elena M. Reyes

 

 

 

 
Title: Craving Sugar
Author: Elena M. Reyes

 

Genre: Contemporary/Erotic Romance

Release Date: October 27, 2017

 

Blurb

Earn extra cash by becoming a high-class companion. 
Travel, eat, and have your every expense taken care of.
 
The catch: I’ll be someone’s sugar baby for a year. Paid to be a private escort.
 
Beau Carter is young and beautiful with a bright future ahead of her. Her dreams of becoming the first woman in her family to graduate from college are just within her grasp, when the financial aid runs out. Up to her eyeballs in debt, she
works night and day to make ends meet, but even that can only last for so long.
 
Hendrix Parker lost it all four years ago. Angry at the world, he’s become an asshole—a bitter shell of the man his family once loved. A recluse, he is now forced to leave his sanctuary in the Florida Keys and become an active member of the real estate developer community he now dominates.
Problem is—he’s all alone and needs a buffer. Someone to draw attention away from him.
 
“I bought you to be my whore.”

 

 
Purchase Links
 
AMAZON: US / UK / CA / AU

 

Free in Kindle Unlimited

 

Excerpt

ONE

Hendrix 

“I’m not hiring a whore,” I all but snarled, pissed at the idiot in front of me. I was tired and stressed; lacked the basic urge to be an understanding individual, much less give the asshole in front of me the benefit of doubt.

Jax, my closest friend since college, had caught me off guard—something that never happened these days. Nothing surprised me anymore, not since that night four years ago. The night my entire world stopped. Fuck. Focus on the here and now.
“Why?” he asked, bringing me away from that dark path filled with memories—moments frozen in time that never failed to haunt me.
“Answer me.”
The jerk sounded amused—a pit bull with a bone. He wasn’t going to let it go.
Rubbing a hand down my face, I bit back a tired groan. “No.”
Of all the moronic crap he could have spewed, I had not been expecting this; for me to hire someone to play the role of my girlfriend for the next few months.
“Think about it, Hendrix. It’s legal, safe…” he ticked each reason off with his fingers “…and, she must sign an NDA to
enter into this kind of an agreement. No one will know.”
Slamming back the shot of whiskey in my glass, I leveled him with a glare. “Get the fuck out.”
“Speak up, man. Your staff went home.” Holding his now-empty tumbler out in front of him, he twirled the glass atop my desk.
“There’s no one here to judge you. That prim and proper act you put on can be turned off.”
“Is all this a joke to you?” I hissed out from between clenched teeth. “Am I your amusement for the evening?”
Come off it, Parker. I came here to see the asshole I know, my friend, not this…” he waved his hand absentmindedly in my direction. “To be honest, I don’t even know who you are anymore.”
“Then leave.”
“No. Enough with the hiding. Emptiness—”
I slammed my hand down; the cup of pens close to me tipped over from the impact. “Don’t go there, Jax. Just get up and walk out. Quit pushing.”
“Jesus, man, what the hell is holding you back? A memory? Ghost?”
“Enough.”
“Dammit, Hendrix.” He pushed his chair back and stood to pace the length of my office. Ran a hand roughly through his blonde hair in agitation. “This…” he pointed a finger between us “… is an intervention. You’re young, successful, rich—own the real estate game in South Florida. Known as an asshole, a shark in the business arena, and that’s gained
you quite a desired reputation.” Stopping by the window on the far right, Jax turned and glared. “You have that whole tall, dark, and handsome shit going on with your over six-foot-two stature and brooding charm. People respect you, but
fuck, man, that’s not enough when you’ve forgotten what it’s like to live.”
“I’m content enough.”
Jax scoffed at my response, his hands placed on the window ledge in front of him. “Content is the equivalent of blah. My friend, you need to rediscover the feel of a woman beneath you. The passion. The heat between her legs.”
Ignoring his spiel, I shut my laptop off and stored it. “Still a no on hiring someone just to appease you.”
No matter how desperate I was to pull the pressure off my persona.
No matter how long it’d been since I dipped my dick into something tight…wet.
Smirk firmly in place, he walked back over and grabbed the bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue Label on my desk. “Prude much, Parker?” He poured himself another fifth and then sipped slowly, all the while studying me with a cocked brow. “And I never once mentioned hiring a whore.”
Pushing my glass toward him, I sat back. “What’s the difference? Both are paid to keep you company.”
“Sugar babies are where it’s at, my friend. A mutual exchange of benefits.”
“Answer me this…” Jax nodded “…is money exchanged?”
“It can be if—”
Holding a hand up, I halted his pathetic excuse. “And you don’t call that prostitution?”
“Would you say my girlfriend Crystal is a prostitute?” What would the young woman I met on his boat a few weeks back have to do with anything? “That she’s easy and out to make a quick buck?”
The hell?
“She’s…?” I asked, because Jesus. Was this man really sitting here in my office telling me he had a live-in play toy? That he bought her? “What kind of barbaric shit is this? How could you do that? What if word gets out, you idiot.”
“And if it did, so what? I’m not ashamed of her or us.” His jaw was set tight, and his blue eyes dared me to say anything negative about her. Jax, my easygoing friend, was pissed. Fuming, if the way his hands were clenched was anything to go by.
“I meant no offense to her, but couldn’t you meet someone through a more traditional route? Someone who cares about more than just the zeros that decorate your bank balance?” This entire conversation was giving me a headache, and I rubbed my temples. I was too tired to continue trying to make sense of this confession.
“And I’ll counter that question with one of my own.” My mouth opened to protest, but he shook his head before taking another sip of whiskey. His eyes were on mine, unwavering. Looking for something.
“Wouldn’t you rather meet someone and know their intentions up front? No games or playing pretend. A mutual and even exchange.”
Headache now pounding, I pushed back my seat as if I were standing to leave. “Still not interested—”
Not taking the bait, Jax leaned over the table, a mischievous look in his eye. “Then let me paint a better picture for you, Parker.” He was about to drop some knowledge on me, and I knew it. Should’ve seen it coming for miles. “You have two months to find a date for the few events honoring your pompous ass this fall. And before you say that you’ll decline and hide away on your boat in the Keys, it’s not going to happen. The mayor will not take no for an answer…he and his wife live for these events. To mingle with the rich and arrogant.”
“Would you stop worrying about my life? I’ll be fine.” Absentmindedly, I ran my fingers across my short beard. My mind still reeled from his admission.
I’d spoken to Crystal that day and was impressed. In school, and working toward her master’s in psychology, she seemed to have a good head on her shoulders.
Didn’t hurt one bit that the body attached to the head was downright sexy.
His laughter pulled my attention away from the memory of the tiny auburn-haired beauty in a bikini. “Admit it, Hendrix, you’re curious.” Tone smug, he had a gloating gleam in his eye.
“Not in the least.”
“So, if I informed you that the account was already made and you have some hits, you wouldn’t care? I should just shut everything down?”
My fists clenched in anger. “Are you serious? Do you have any idea what that could do to my reputation—”
“Let me stop you right there.” Holding out a hand toward me, Jax dug into his laptop bag on the chair beside him. From inside he pulled out a plain manila folder and pushed it across toward me. “This is all the information you’ll need: contract, company NDA that I signed for you, health screening information, and what you’ll need to submit. Read it. Sleep on it. Check out the website and the girls’ files available for possible match.”
“I don’t have time for this.”
“Too late. It’s already done.” 

Author Bio

Elena M. Reyes was born and raised in Miami Florida. She is the epitome of a Floridian and if she could live in her beloved flip-flops, she would.

As a small child, she was always intrigued with all forms of art—whether it was dancing to island rhythms, or painting with any medium she could get her hands on. Her first taste of writing came to her during her fifth grade year when her class was prompted to participate in the D. A. R. E. Program and write an essay on what they’d learned. Her passion for reading over the years has amassed her with hours of pleasure. It wasn’t until she stumbled upon fanfiction that her thirst to write overtook her world. She now resides in Central Florida with her husband and son, spending all her down time letting her creativity flow and letting her characters grow. 

Author Links
 

RELEASE BLITZ ~ Sugar Lips by Aria Cole

 

 

 

 
When Nolan Redford finds a masked beauty in his arms at the office Halloween party, he’s instantly taken. Her seductive curves are at odds with her innocent smile—she’s sexy, uninhibited, and just the woman he needs to calm the animal inside. Tangled in a web of unbridled passion, their chemistry is combustible before masks are removed and true identities finally revealed.

Reese Hamilton is the last woman Nolan should want in his bed, but little does she know, he’s already addicted to her sweet taste. He’s taking steps to make her his—to make sure she never gets away.

Warning: Sugar Lips is over-the-top alpha male goodness, sweet enough to induce a toothache, and so sizzling Halloween will never be the same. Make a chocolate martini and spice up your night with Nolan and his sweet treat, Reese—love stories this scorching should be illegal!

 


ONE

 

   Nolan “Redford!” Clive, one of the junior partners, smacked me on the back as he walked up to my side in the men’s bathroom, whipping out his junk and pissing in the urinal next to me. The murky haze in his eyes and the sway in his gait told me he’d had one too many Jack and Cokes. I groaned inwardly, tucking my cock back in my pants and zipping up. “Whaddya say we hit some balls tomorrow?”
   Nice fucking pun, asshole. “Working tomorrow.”
   “Mmkay…maybe Hamilton will be up for a game.” He referred to my partner at Hamilton & Redford.  
   Maybe I should start hitting the Jack at these fucking horrid office parties. Small talk made me want to gouge my eyes out.
   I’d been at this Halloween party for nearly two hours. Surely, I’d done my duty and could get the fuck out of this place.
   I already spent sixty-plus hours a week slaving for the firm. Hell if I wanted to spend my after-hours here too.  I glanced in the mirror, catching sight of the black mask that camouflaged most of my face. I was ready to toss this cheap thing in the garbage and get home.  
   “Doin’ the shuffle next, Redford!” Clive swayed his hips pathetically. “Better see you out there,” he called, the bathroom door slamming behind me the only reply I had for him.  
   I don’t know why I let John Hamilton talk me into promoting that guy. He did his job well enough, but something about him just grated on my last nerve. I hit the sleek, marble-tiled hallway. And instead of heading right to the rest of the party, low thumps of Bruno Mars pushing through my head, I took a quick left down the back hall that led to my oversized office.
     I sauntered at an easy pace, thoughts of the mini bottles of Grey Goose tucked in my office fridge calling my name. I’d check my messages, compulsive workaholic that I was, and have a glass on the rocks to unwind before calling the company car to drive me home. Bruno Mars bled into Taylor Swift, and just as I was thinking about finding a new DJ for the next office party, I bumped into a warm body, soft curves and a seductive scent filling my space.  
   “Oh gosh,” a tinkling voice uttered.  
   “Sorry ’bout that.” I reached out, catching her elbow to stabilize her on those spikes she called shoes. My eyes traveled down the creamy legs, thighs peeking out beneath the hem of a jet-black cocktail dress. Short. That dress was really fucking short.  
   Thank God for dresses like that.  I sucked in a breath, staggering for a second when her palm rested on my chest, one of those spiky high heels in the air as she twisted at the little strap that held it in place. “These things are killing me.”
   I huffed, clutching my fingers around her wrist to hold her steady. “Take them off. I always question the sanity of any woman I see wearing those death traps.”
   “So…” She cocked her head, smirk tilting to one side. “You’re calling me insane? Is that what you say when you’re charming all the ladies?”
   I couldn’t help the grin that shot across my lips. Been a goddamned long time since anyone had made me smile. “Forgive me. I’m known as the office asshole.”
   “That so?” She slipped off the shoe, letting it dangle on one finger. Hell, I wasn’t sure what was wrong with me, but I wanted to wrap my lips around that finger and suck. Instead, I dropped to one knee, unclasping the dainty little strap on her other ankle and easing the death heel off her foot.
   My fingertips danced across the soft skin, smooth as the finest silk. I traced a fingertip up the gentle dip of her calf, glancing over the back of her knee when a shiver rippled through her body. One hand tightened on my shoulder, her entire body swaying for a moment before she caught herself.
    “Thanks,” she said when I stood, my eyes holding hers.  Long beats passed, my heart thundering in my ears as we watched each other.  
   “Why didn’t you dress up?” she finally breathed, our gazes still locked.  
  I swallowed past the bundle of razors in my throat, licking my lips before answering, “I’m the boss. What I say goes.” I stepped closer, drawn to her as though we were connected by an invisible force field. “And I don’t do dress-up.” My fingers landed at her temple, eyes moving down to study the lush lips visible behind the white feathered mask she wore. “Not at work parties. I believe in maintaining a healthy distance in the office. Professionalism.”
   She turned, and I missed the gaze behind the mask. It did a hell of a job disguising her face, but her eyes, the brightest shade of azure blue, mesmerized me. “What brought you to the party tonight?”
   She pressed her lips together, the heartbeat at her throat fluttering like a hummingbird, steady, delicate.  
   Everything about her looked so graceful and perfect.  
   My fingers craved the feeling of her hips. I wondered if it’d be too damn forward to kiss her right now.  
   Did I even give a shit if it was too forward? No woman in my entire thirty-nine years had ever had this impact on me.  
   She finally cleared her throat, eyes fluttering closed. “I came with a friend.”
  I nodded, suddenly jealous of the fucker who’d brought her here. The thought of her going home with anyone but me made my vision bleed red.
   “Share a drink in my office with me?” I threaded my fingers with hers, backstepping across the hallway and pulling us both into my office. It was lit with only a dim lamp, and wall-to-wall windows showcased the city around us. She looked achingly beautiful in any light, but the way the shadows played with the tender lines of her face was out of this world entirely. “You won’t be missed, will you?”
   Her eyes met mine, a small shake of her head indicating she wouldn’t.  
   Christ, I couldn’t help the feeling that radiated through my balls, had me dying to find out what she’d feel like underneath me. My mouth watered at the thought of the taste of her on my tongue. “Grey Goose okay?”
   Our fingers still connected, we walked across the polished wood floor, getting closer to the windows that overlooked my world. In here, I was the master. What I said was all that mattered, always. So inviting her in here felt…intimate. Like inviting her into my life to take a look around like a voyeur.
   “I don’t really drink,” she finally answered, one palm hovering at the window as if she wanted to touch the pane, peer down the face of the thirty-story building. “Actually, I’m not really sure what I’m doing here.”
   Her profile was lit by slivers of moonlight, drawing me in, begging for my touch. “Does there need to be a reason?” I dragged one fingertip down the curve of her arm, following the soft line and watching as goose bumps formed in my wake. “So turned on,” I hummed, inching closer to her lips. “I think we both know what you’re doing here.”  
   She sucked in her thick bottom lip, and the urge to bite it nearly overwhelmed me.  
   A low growl ripped from my chest before my hands were pushing into her soft waves and my tongue was tracing the moist seam of her pink lips. One of her arms wound around my neck as my palm dug into the creamy flesh of her thigh and wrapped her leg around my waist. Moving her seamlessly against the glass, I planted one hand behind her head, cupping her gently while my mouth melded with hers.   
   Quiet moans slipped past her lips, the nails of one hand biting at the muscle of my shoulder as our tongues twisted. “Taste sweeter than candy.”
   I spun her in my arms, striding the few feet to my desk and laying her across it. My hands raced up her body, delving into her creamy curves and wishing I never had to come up for air.  
   She arched, her hips moving beneath me. My cock pressed against the edge of my desk, grinding with just enough pressure to release the pain and prevent myself from sinking into her for God and everybody to hear. Then again, guess that’d announce to all those bastards out at the party who she belonged to. My balls tugged with something primal at the thought.  
   Claiming her.  
   Planting my seed in that sweet cunt and tying her to me for life.  
  With one palm sliding up her calf, I kissed my way along the path to the promised land, taking my time and savoring every inch like a man starved. I moved over her knees, enjoying the way she squirmed and arched when I hit all her sensitive spots. The scent of her juicy pussy pushed me on, the hemline of that short little dress rising higher and higher by the second until a pair of bubblegum-pink satin panties came into view.  
   A strip of bubblegum fucking pink stood between me and the only thing I wanted.  
   “Jesus, look at you wrapped up all pretty like a piece of candy for me.” I dusted a fingertip across the damp satin, a serrated sigh burning off her lips when I did. “Can’t wait to taste your sweet come on my tongue.”
   A bowl of Halloween candy corn caught my eye, my secretary having left it on my desk earlier to “add a little cheer.”
   A grin parted my lips as I grabbed a handful, taking my time tracing a line of candy across the waistband of those little panties, down to the apex of her thighs and landing on the silky covered pussy that was about to be all mine.  
   Her chest rose up and down as she watched me with aroused eyes, small shakes wracking her body whenever my knuckle dusted a sensitive spot. I beamed when I’d finished my job, making a candy-corn bikini overtop of all that bubblegum. “I really love candy, sweetheart.”
   She stopped breathing when our eyes met and held.  
   I winked once before pushing my tongue out and licking a piece of the candy off her waist. I followed the line, working my way around her gorgeous cunt until the damp spot at the center of her crotch had grown bigger, until the scent of her pretty pussy in the air was too much for me to bear.
   I needed inside her. I couldn’t think straight. I didn’t know what the repercussions might be tomorrow, but I would deal with them then. She was so sweet and soft, lying beneath me like this, looking up at me with those mesmerizing ocean eyes, a mountain of white feathers hiding the contours of her face.
   I flicked the tip of my tongue along the crease of her thigh, teasing as I moved my way along, gobbling up her candy-covered cunt, wishing to hell those panties were edible so I never had to stop. I moved to the small X of candy I’d made atop the tiny bud of her clit. I sucked in the sugary confection, nearly groaning when the scent of her cunt met my taste buds.  
  I’d pound my dick into the wooden desk in the next two minutes if I wasn’t inside her before then.  
   But I couldn’t. She was special. I wanted to please her first. I wanted her desperate for me.
   I nibbled the last of the candy off her clit then locked my lips over the outline of the bud, warming it with my breath, then pulling on the sensitive flesh with my teeth. Her hands pushed into my hair, pulling softly as a slow wave of pleasure rolled through her body.  
   “Oh God, oh my God,” she whimpered, making me want to slide a finger inside those bubblegum panties and tear them from her body. Soft moans turned to ragged gasps as I slid one thumb against the mound of her clit. Like I’d pushed a button, she shot off in a thousand shudders around me. She sounded like a goddamn angel when she came. I didn’t know that was a thing, but hell if it wasn’t true.  “Watching you come makes me want to take you home and tie you to my bed and do this on repeat all weekend long.”
   A lazy smile spread over her lips. “That sounds amazing.”
   “Mm, well, I don’t like to make a habit of inviting strangers to stay in my home, but an exception could be made…” I slid my hands up her body, cupping her full tits as I did, licking at the flesh that pushed out of the V-neck. Sucking between her succulent cleavage then over her collarbone, I tasted the hollow of her neck, making a point of leaving a small hickey. My mark on her, just like it should be.  
   Our lips connected, soft and slow, my cock nestled against her hot pussy and grinding as my head and my heart warred. I wanted to dive into her. I had a feeling if I did, I’d get lost and forget to come up for air, but I didn’t want to overstep.  
   “If I’m gonna make you come all weekend, I should at least know your name. What do I call you, beautiful?”
   Her eyes widened before averting to the ceiling. “Reese.” Then those coastal blue eyes connected with mine and held, one hand pulling the feather mask off her face. “Reese Hamilton.”
    And just like that, a fucking mortar burst inside my chest.  
   She was gorgeous. She didn’t look anything like I remembered. Hell, my head was hazy with any memories of her beyond a passing nod when she walked through the office.  
   But dammit, she was so beautiful. How the fuck had I gotten myself here?
   I groaned, suddenly feeling like her touch burned, launching off her body as though my life depended on it. Hell, it did. I’d been about to fuck my partner’s daughter. The one I’d watched grow up—from pigtails to high heels, preschool to college, I’d been there for just about all of it.
  “Fuck me.”

Aria Cole is a thirty-something housewife who once felt bad for reading dirty books late at night, until she decided to write her own. Possessive alpha men and the sassy heroines who love them are common, along with a healthy dose of irresistible insta-love and happily ever afters so sweet your teeth may ache.

For a safe, off-the-charts HOT, and always HEA story that doesn’t take a lifetime to read, get lost in an Aria Cole book!
Follow Aria on Amazon for new release updates, or stalk her on Facebook and Twitter to see which daring book boyfriend she’s writing next!

Sign up to get a NEW RELEASE ALERT from me!
http://eepurl.com/ccGnRX

 


 

BLOG TOUR ~ FROM THIS MOMENT by Melanie Harlow

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From This Moment, an all-new sexy and emotional standalone from
USA Today Bestselling author Melanie Harlow is available NOW!

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From This Moment
by Melanie Harlow


Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publishing Date: October 10th, 2017


It was like seeing a ghost.

When my late husband’s twin brother moves back to our small town, I want to avoid him. Everything about Wes reminds me of the man I lost and the life we’d planned together, and after eighteen long months struggling just to get out of bed, I’m finally doing okay. I have a new job, an amazing support group, and a beautiful five-year-old daughter to parent. I don’t want to go backward.

But I’m drawn to him, too. He understands my grief and anger and guilt like no one else—and I understand his. Before long, that understanding becomes desire, and that desire becomes uncontrollable.

He says he doesn’t care what people think, and love can never be wrong. But life has taught me its cruelest lesson–love doesn’t always win.

If only my heart would believe it.



Excerpt:

“Want to go out in the canoe?” he asked.

“Okay.” I ditched my flip-flops on the small, beach-level deck, and we set our wine glasses and the bottle on the deck’s little round table. Wes was already barefoot. Together we dragged the forest green canoe from the tall beach grasses on the side of the deck down to the water’s edge and tipped it over.

“Let me rinse it out a little,” Wes said, frowning at the dirt and spider webs inside. “Want to grab the paddles? They should be in the shed.”

“On it.” I went to the small shed on the embankment, opened it up and grabbed the oars, which stood in one corner. On the shelves were life jackets and sand toys and deflated rafts that probably had holes in them, and scratched into the wooden door among other graffiti was WP + CB. Huh. I’d never noticed that before. Who was CB? I glanced over my shoulder at Wes, who’d taken off his T-shirt and tossed it onto the sand.

My stomach full-out flipped.

Quickly, I shut the door to the shed and brought the oars down to the canoe.

Wes stood up straight and stuck his hands on his hips. He wore different sunglasses than Drew had worn, more of an aviator than a wayfarer. The body was similar, though Wes’s arms seemed more muscular, especially through the shoulder. Other things were the same and caused a rippling low in my body—the soft maroon color of his nipples, the trim waist, the trail of hair leading from his belly button to beneath the low-sling waistband of his red swim trunks. In my head I heard Tess’s voice. Arms. Chest. Shoulders. Skin. Stubble. Muscle. The smell of a man. The solidity of him.

“What’s the law on drinking and canoeing?” he asked.

What’s the law on staring at your brother-in-law’s nipples? I wondered, swallowing hard. What was wrong with me?

“I think we’re okay,” I said, handing the oars to him. Our hands touched in the exchange. “Let me grab our glasses.”

“Perfect. If you hold them, I’ll take us out.”

I retrieved the wine glasses from the table and walked carefully across the sand to the lake’s edge, taking deep, slow breaths. A sweat had broken out across my back. I was wearing a swimsuit beneath my cover up, a modest tankini, but I didn’t want to remove it. Wading ankle deep, I attempted to step into the canoe, but it wobbled beneath my foot.

“Whoa.” Wes took me by the elbow and didn’t let go until I was seated at one end, facing the other. “Okay?”

I nodded. Despite the heat, my arms had broken out in goose flesh.

“All right, here we go.” As he rowed us away from shore, the breeze picked up, cooling my face and chest and back.

“Drew and I used to have canoe-tipping contests.”

I snapped my chin down and skewered Wes with a look over the top of my sunglasses. “Don’t even think about it.”

He just grinned, the muscles in his arms and chest and stomach flexing with every stroke of the oars through the water. Momentarily mesmerized, I allowed myself the pleasure of watching him. It was okay if we were both thinking about Drew, wasn’t it?

In fact, it was only natural that I was intrigued by the sight of Wes’s body. He was my husband’s identical twin, for heaven’s sake, and I missed his physical presence in my life. I missed looking at him naked. I missed feeling the weight of him above me. I missed the feeling of being aroused by him, of my body’s responses to his touch, his kiss, his cock.

Deep in my body, the rusty mechanism of arousal creaked to life. My nipples peaked, my stomach hollowed, and something fluttered between my legs.

Oh, Jesus.

I sat up straighter, pressed my knees together, and closed my mouth, which I realized had fallen open. Hopefully I hadn’t moaned or anything. After another sip of wine, I turned my head and studied a freighter off in the distance. My heart was beating way too fast.

It’s only natural. It’s only natural.

Wes stopped paddling and set the oars in the bottom of the canoe, their handles resting against the seat in the middle. “We’ll have to bring Abby out here.”

“Definitely.” Did my voice sound normal? “She’ll love it. Here, want this?” I held his wine glass toward him and he reached out to take it. His fingers brushed mine, and I pulled my hand back as if the touch had burned me.

“Thanks.” He tipped the glass up then looked along the shore. “I’d like to find a place on the lake. Maybe not along this stretch of beach, though.”

I caught his meaning and smiled. “A little too close to home?”

“Yeah. But I don’t want to be too far away. I’d like to get a boat too.”

“What kind of boat? Drew always talked about it, but we never quite settled on one.”

“Not sure. Maybe just a little fishing boat, something to ski behind.”

“That sounds fun. Drew loved to ski.”

“We’ll have to teach Abby.”

I laughed. “You, not we. I managed to get up and stay up a few times, but I am not the expert.”

“You can teach her to cook, I’ll teach her to water ski.”

“Deal.” Separate activities seemed like a good idea.

“Breakfast was incredible.”

“Thanks.” I tucked a strand of hair that had escaped my ponytail behind my ear, but the wind blew it right back into my face. “I really like working there. I’m so glad Georgia suggested it to me.”

“How long have you been there?”

“Since spring, when they got busy. I’m not sure what I’ll do this winter when it slows down. I’m dreading it, actually. Abby will be in school full time, and it will just be me at home alone.” This was something else I hadn’t talked about with anyone, how worried I was that the gray skies and cold weather and silent hours would set me spiraling into depression. “I always thought I’d have another baby to take care of, but life saw things differently.”

“You’re still young, Hannah.”

I shook my head. “I’m really not. And I feel even older than I am.” Please don’t go Grief Police on me and tell me I’m being ridiculous, I begged him silently. This isn’t the life I chose. It was handed to me and I’m doing the best I can.

But he didn’t say anything more, just sipped his wine and looked out at the horizon. I was grateful.

“What about you?” I asked. “Think maybe you’ll get married now that you’re back? Have a family? Abby won’t have any siblings so she needs some cousins.”

“That seems to be a popular topic of discussion around here,” Wes said, shaking his head, “but I really have no idea.”

“Small town. We like to know everyone’s business.” I smiled. “Hey, what about CB? I saw your initials carved with hers on the door of the shed. Maybe she’s still around.”

He groaned. “Is that still there? Jesus. That had to be twenty years ago.”

Hugging my knees, I leaned forward. “First love?”

“Not even.” He hesitated, as if he were trying to decide whether to confess something.

“Come on,” I cajoled, carefully reaching out of the canoe, and splashing water toward him. “Tell me. I’ve been spilling my guts for an hour.”

“First kiss.”

I squealed. “And?”

He cringed. “It’s too embarrassing.”

“Wes, I had a completely humiliating breakdown in front of you last night. I got snot on my arm.”

“This is worse.”

“Get it out. You’ll feel better.”

“Let’s just say it was a very awkward, very fast experience.”

I gasped. “You lost your virginity to her?”

“No. Just my dignity.”

Laughing, I tilted my head back and felt the sun on my face, the wind in my hair, and something like joy in my heart.

It had been a long time.


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BLP REVEIW ~ Tracy

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READ THE FIRST CHAPTER TODAY!

http://www.melanieharlow.com/from-this-moment-chapter-1/



About the Author:Harlow Headshot BW_preview

Melanie Harlow likes her martinis dry, her heels high, and her history with the naughty bits left in. When she’s not writing or reading, she gets her kicks from TV series like VEEP, Game of Thrones, House of Cards, and Homeland.

She occasionally runs three miles, but only so she can have more gin and steak. Melanie is the author of the HAPPY CRAZY LOVE series, the FRENCHED series, and the sexy historical SPEAK EASY duet, set in the 1920s.

She lifts her glass to romance readers and writers from her home near Detroit, MI, where she lives with her husband, two daughters, and pet rabbit.

 

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CHAPTER REVEAL & GIVEAWAY ~ Sick Fux by Tillie Cole.

 

 

When Ellis Earnshaw and Heathan James met as children, they couldn’t have been more different. Ellis was loud and beautiful – all blond hair, bright laughs and smiles. Heathan was dark and brooding, and obsessed with watching things die.
The pair forged an unlikely friendship, unique and strange. Until they were ripped apart by the sick cruelty of others, separated for years, both locked in a perpetual hell.
Eleven years later, Heathan is back for his girl. Back from a place from which he thought there was no return. Back to seek revenge on those who wronged them.
Time has made Heathan’s soul darker, polluted with hatred and the thirst for blood.
Time has made Ellis a shell of her former self, a little girl lost in the vastness of her pain.
As Heathan pulls Ellis out of her mental prison, reviving the essence of who she once was, down the rabbit hole they will go.
With malice in their hearts and vengeance in their veins, they will seek out the ones who hurt and destroyed them.
One at a time.
Each one more deadly than the last.
Tick Tock.

Dark Contemporary Romance. Contains explicit sexual situations, violence, disturbingly sensitive and taboo subjects, offensive language and very mature topics. Recommended for ages 18 and over.

 


Prologue

The first time I met Heathan James he was picking the wings off a butterfly. When I asked him why, he turned his light gray eyes my way and said, “Because I want to watch it die.”
I watched as his gaze rolled back to the squirming wingless insect in his hand. Watched his lips part as the sad creature withered and died in his palm. A long, soft breath escaped his parted lips, and a victorious smile tugged on his mouth.
I once heard of the theory that the simple flutter of a butterfly’s wings, a tiny perturbation, that merest whisper of movement in the air, could start the process of building something much bigger; a tornado, devastating thousands. A tsunami crushing iron-heavy waves onto sandy shores, obliterating everything in its path.
As I looked back on the moment we met, this introduction to Heathan James, the man who became my entire world, the pulsing marrow in my bones, I wondered if his deadly act of ripping the wings from the bright blue-and-black butterfly started such a perturbation in our lives. Not a tsunami or a tornado caused by a simple flutter, but something much darker and more sinister, caused by stripping a beautiful creature of its ability to fly, to thrive. A path of destruction no one saw coming; the sweetest, most violent deaths carried out with the gentlest of smiles on our faces and the utmost hell in our hearts.
Heathan James was never the light in my life, but instead a heavy eclipse, blotting out the sun and anything bright, bringing with him endless, eternal night and murderous tar-black blood pumping through my veins.
Heathan James was the genesis of my soul’s reawakening . . . a soul not meant for peace, but one handcrafted for death and murder and blood and bones . . .
Soulmates forged in fire, under the watchful gaze of Satan’s mocking eyes.
Heathan.
Ellis.
Just a couple of sick fux . . .

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Tillie Cole hails from a small town in the North-East of England. She grew up on a farm with her English mother, Scottish father and older sister and a multitude of rescue animals. As soon as she could, Tillie left her rural roots for the bright lights of the big city.

After graduating from Newcastle University with a BA Hons in Religious Studies, Tillie followed her Professional Rugby player husband around the world for a decade, becoming a teacher in between and thoroughly enjoyed teaching High School students Social Studies before putting pen to paper, and finishing her first novel.

Tillie has now settled in Austin, Texas, where she is finally able to sit down and write, throwing herself into fantasy worlds and the fabulous minds of her characters.

Tillie is both an independent and traditionally published author, and writes many genres including: Contemporary Romance, Dark Romance, Young Adult and New Adult novels.

When she is not writing, Tillie enjoys nothing more than curling up on her couch watching movies, drinking far too much coffee, while convincing herself that she really doesn’t need that extra square of chocolate.

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CHAPTER REVEAL & GIVEAWAY ~ Jeremiah (Drake Brothers book 2) by Casey Peeler.

 

 

 

 


Jeremiah Drake is good with his hands, and has taken on the responsibility of Mayes’ Body Shop. However, when a badass beauty named Landry is put in charge of the shop, Jeremiah is caught off guard by her beauty, but more importantly how she is under the hood.



Chapter 1
Jeremiah
With the sound of the small metal bell clanging against the glass door, I glance up from underneath the Chevy Impala I’m changing the oil in. Looking to it, I do a double-take as a blonde with long, flowing hair like an ocean walks in and smiles my direction. Her jeans are painted on, with a tight-fitting black tank top and curves that would make every man’s dick hard. She doesn’t say a word; instead, she walks toward Mr. Mayes’ office and closes the door. What the fuck is going on? Who the hell does she think she is and why is she in that office?
As soon as the last few drops have escaped, I place the oil plug back in place and change out the filter before lowering it from the lift. Once its four wheels hit the concrete, I take off the cap and fill it with the golden liquid. Taking the dip stick, I check it once more and turn the engine to make sure all the lights are off. Killing the engine, I glance over my shoulder to Davis.
“I’m gonna go see who the fuck that was walkin’ in Mr. Mayes’ office,” I say to him as I wipe my hands on the rag and toss it on the work table. Standing outside his office door, I see the same blonde sitting behind his dusty desk with a look of disgust on her face. Quickly, I knock on the door. She pauses and looks up. Without waiting for a reply, I turn the knob and walk in.
“Ma’am, is there something I can help ya with?” I question, trying my best to be polite.
She looks at me, rolls her eyes, and basically tells me to fuck off without opening her mouth, and all that has me wanting to do is turn her over my damn knee and spank her nice little ass.
“Excuse me?” she says with an abundance of attitude.
“I said can I help you? Mr. Mayes isn’t here, so maybe I can help you with what you need.”
She begins to laugh and it pisses me off.
“No fuckin’ shit, Sherlock! He’s in the hospital and I’m here to take care of things until he’s able to return.” What the hell did she say? I’ve been here since I was sixteen years old and he’s been priming me to take over the day he calls it quits. He’s left me in charge and I’ll be damned if a little girl comes in here acting all high and mighty wanting to take over.
“Ma’am,” I say cautiously once more, knowing I really want to cuss this bitch out. “I’m in charge while he’s out. What can I help you with?”
“Like hell you are, Jeremiah.” The way she says my name makes me pause. How the hell does she know my name?
“Why’s this the first I’ve heard of it? I just saw him yesterday.”
“Hell if I know, but whatever. Look, I’m here to handle the books, but I don’t mind helping out on the floor.”
“On the floor? What the hell does a pretty girl like you know about that?”
The look on her face goes blank as she slides back out of the worn green leather chair. She places her hands on the desk and looks me directly in the eyes as my legs press up against the old worn couch.
“I know plenty. Now, question my ass again about what I do and don’t know about this shop and I’ll show you who’s fuckin’ boss. Got that?”
Standing there, I look at her, speechless. I’ve heard of feisty women. I vaguely remember a woman with a mouth that got her slapped around as a kid, but I also remember a mom who took us in, didn’t take shit from anyone, but had the kindest heart. Something about her makes me want to climb over that desk and kiss the hell out of her until she screams my damn name, then it hits me.
“Landry?” I question.
“Damn right, it’s me.”
Landry
The moment that office door opens, I try my best to refrain from letting my mouth drop to the floor as I look at the hottest thing I’ve seen since sliced bread. It’s Jeremiah Drake, the youngest Drake brother. He’s tall, dark, handsome, and a grease monkey. It’s like music to my ears.
Growing up, I learned how to do anything and everything in this shop. I remember Jeremiah as I kid, but he never noticed me. I was a girl that was a few years younger, off limits, and a tomboy. Who am I kidding? No guy around here paid any attention to me so I focused on what I loved most—Paw and cars. My summers were spent in this shop, his old barn and out at the creek.
“You going back to work or you gonna gawk all fuckin’ day?” I ask.
The way he cuts his eyes toward me makes my damn panties want to drop. “I’m goin’ back to work. Look, I’m not sure what the deal is, but I was told I was in charge. I don’t mind you hanging around and looking pretty, but this place is no place for a girl.”
Without thinking twice, I begin to laugh at his comment. He might think that I can’t handle myself on the floor, but I learned from the best and I refuse to let the best down.


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Casey Peeler grew up in North Carolina and still lives there with her husband and daughter.


Growing up Casey wasn’t an avid reader or writer, but after reading Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neal Hurston during her senior year of high school, and multiple Nicholas Sparks’ novels, she found a hidden love and appreciation for reading.  That love ignited the passion for writing several years later, and her writing style combines real life scenarios with morals and values teenagers need in their daily lives.

When Casey isn’t writing, you can find her near a body of water listening to country music with a cold beverage and a great book.

Connect with Casey

 



 

CHAPTER REVEAL ~ Exp1re by Erin Noelle

 

 

Exp1re

 

Coming October 26th

Numbers.
They haunt me.
I can’t look into a person’s eyes without seeing the six-digit date of their death.
I’m helpless to change it, no matter how hard I try.
I’ve trained myself to look down. Away. Anywhere but at their eyes.
My camera is my escape. My salvation. Through its lens, I see only beauty and life—not death and despair.
Disconnected from all those around me, I’m content being alone, simply existing.
Until I meet him.
Tavian.
The man beyond the numbers.
How can I stay away, when everything about him draws me in?
But how can I fall in love, knowing exactly when it will expire?

 

 


 

PROLOGUE
Lyra


10.18.02
The intercom crackles loudly throughout the classroom, interrupting Ms. Sherman’s rather uninspiring Friday afternoon lesson on the life cycle of a star. Even though most of the students around me are furiously jotting down notes about nebulas, red giants, and supernovas, I’m half listening while I doodle caricatures of me and my friends in the margin of my notebook. It’s not that I’m not interested in the material she’s talking about. No, that’s not the case at all. It’s quite the opposite actually; science is my favorite subject, especially anything that deals with astronomy and the unknowns in our universe.
But with a dad who is a super-smart astronomer at Johnson Space Center—or NASA, as most people here in Houston call it—I learned about this stuff she’s teaching before I ever started kindergarten. Heck, just this past summer before fifth grade, Mama and I went to visit him at a planetarium in Hawaii, where he was part of a team that discovered eleven new moons orbiting Jupiter! If I don’t ace this test next week, I better not even go home. I definitely wouldn’t be able to be an astronaut then.  
“Ms. Sherman, can you please have Lyra Jennings gather her things and come down to the office? She’s leaving for the day,” the office lady who reminds me of Paula Deen—Mama’s favorite chef—announces through the ancient intercom system.
At the sound of my name, my chin jerks upward from my pencil sketches to the standard black-and-white classroom clock mounted above the projection screen. The hands read 12:45 p.m., nearly three hours before the end of the school day, when my parents are supposed to pick me up as we head out to Dallas for the weekend to celebrate my eleventh birthday. Ooh, maybe getting out of school early was my surprise they mentioned!
I’ve been looking forward to this day since we came home from this same trip last year, and I know my parents planned something special for this year. Every birthday, instead of having one of those silly kids’ parties with pointy hats and piñatas, they take me to the Texas State Fair. There, we spend the weekend riding as many rides as possible, stuffing our mouths with sausage-on-a-stick and fried Twinkies, playing games until we win the biggest of the stuffed animals, and laughing until our faces hurt and happy tears stream down our cheeks. Hands down, it’s my favorite three days of the year, even better than Christmas. And I really, really like Christmas.
Excitement jets through me as I stand up from my desk and hurriedly cram my spiral notebook and textbook into my purple paisley backpack. If we make it there early, I’ll be able to go swimming at the fancy hotel’s indoor pool before dinner.
“Sure thing,” my teacher calls out in response. “She’ll be right down.”
Hoisting the strap of the bag up on my shoulder, I turn to leave the room and my gaze meets Ms. Sherman’s. Her warmth shines in her bright amber-colored eyes, highlighting the numbers 051123 that I see imprinted in her pupils. The same six white numbers I see every time we make eye contact. The numbers I’m not allowed to talk about. The ones everyone thinks are all a part of my healthy imagination.
But they’re wrong. They’re all wrong.
The numbers are real, and they never change or go away. I only wish I knew what they meant. Mama and Daddy—who, by the way, are the only two people I know that have the same numbers—call it my special superpower, but I know they just pretend to believe me. I see the looks they share when they think I’m not watching. They don’t want me to think about all those things the doctors say about me. I may only be ten years old, but I’m 100% sure I’m not crazy, nor do I lie for attention. I’m an only child, for Pete’s sake; my parents are overly interested in my life. Though I do appreciate their support, even if they don’t understand.
“Have a nice weekend, Lyra. Don’t forget we have a test over CHAPTERs six through eight on Monday. Make sure you’ve read all the material,” she reminds me.
“Yes, ma’am. I’ll be ready,” I reply modestly, not sharing with her or the rest of the class I’ve already read through CHAPTER thirteen in the text, including answering the study guide questions at the end of each section. I may be an overachiever, but I’m not a brown-noser.
Luckily, school just comes easy for me, and my parents get over-Jupiter’s-moons proud when I bring home straight A’s on my report card. It reassures them that I’m normal and well adjusted. At least that’s what I heard Mama whispering to Daddy on the phone one night when she thought I wasn’t listening.
I mouth a quick goodbye to my best friend, Beth, who I pass by as I scuttle toward the exit. With her last name being Blackmon and mine being Jennings, we rarely get to sit near each other, as most of our teachers put us in alphabetical order. Beth’s numbers are 022754, and like Ms. Sherman’s, they light up vibrantly when she looks up at me and mouths the words Have fun before I slip out the door.
I never want to break the rules or get in trouble, so I somehow fight the urge to sprint down the deserted hallway and force myself to walk as fast as my long, skinny legs will let me. The swishing sound from my denim shorts rubbing together fills my ears, creating a soundtrack for my excitement. My cheeks ache from smiling so big while I drop off my folders and books in my locker then make a beeline to the front of the school, where my parents are waiting for me. This is going to be the best of the best weekends ever, one that none of us will ever forget. I just know it.
Only, when I swing open the glass door to the main office, expecting to see my favorite two people in the world, I’m surprised to find my Aunt Kathy standing there, her face puffy and pink, the corners of her mouth pointing due south. Our eyes meet, and I can barely see her numbers—123148—because of how swollen the lids are around them.
The fluffy white cloud of elation I floated in on disappears instantly as a dark fog of dread takes its place. Engulfing me. Swallowing me whole. She doesn’t have to say a word—I already know. Not how or when or where it happened, but deep in my bones, I know.
I was right. This will definitely be a weekend I’ll never forget, only it will be for reasons I’ll never want to remember.
“I’m so sorry, Lyra baby girl,” she cries. “I’m so sorry. They’re… they’re gone.”
gone.
        Gone.
                   GONE.
The word bounces around between my ears, getting louder each time it echoes. The first time, it freezes my movements. The second steals all the air from my lungs. By the third time, I’m pretty sure I have no pulse. I want to go, too.
Go.
       Going.
                     GONE.
With my feet stuck to the floor and my body stiff as a statue, Aunt Kathy rushes over to me and wraps her arms around my shoulders. Pulling me up against her chest as uncontainable sobs shake her body, she breaks down in front of the receptionist and attendance clerk, neither of who bother to hide their open staring. Numb, I stand completely still while she wails for several minutes, and I never once make a single sound or try to break free from the death grip she has on me. My thoughts race so fast they’re standing still.
I’m just… here. And my parents just… aren’t. And they won’t ever be again.
They’re… gone.
Climbing into the passenger seat of Aunt Kathy’s fancy sports car—a car I usually beg to ride in because there’s no backseat—I fasten my safety belt and then close my eyes as I lean my head back on the black leather, warm from the hot southern Texas sun. Even though it’s mid-October, I’m still wearing shorts and sandals, and just last weekend I went swimming at Beth’s house. But as I sit here and wait for my aunt to start the car, my teeth chatter loudly and my entire body trembles uncontrollably. My heart is frozen solid, but I’ve yet to shed a tear.
The phone rings and I jump, automatically looking at the caller ID on the screen, thinking… hoping… praying it’s someone calling to let us know this has all been a big mistake, that my parents are really okay.
“Hey, Mom,” Aunt Kathy answers after just one ring. We still haven’t pulled out of the parking space. “Yeah, I have her now. She’s safe and sound.”
My heart plummets even lower into my stomach than it was before as she pauses to listen to Granny Gina on the other end. Granny Gina is my dad and Kathy’s mom who lives in New Orleans, where she moved about five years ago after my grandpa passed away from lung cancer. Since my mom’s parents both died before I was born, she’s the only living grandparent I have, and luckily for me, she’s a pretty awesome one. But today, nothing is awesome. Not even close.
“I don’t know. She hasn’t said a word. I’m sure she’s in shock.” My aunt talks about me like I’m not sitting right here, as I finally feel the car jerk back in reverse.
Another pause. The car lurches forward into drive then we bounce hard as Aunt Kathy flies over a speed bump. I think I’m going to throw up.
“Okay, I’ll take her home so she can pack a suitcase of whatever she wants to bring, and then we’ll go to my place until you get here. You should be in about 5:00?”
Pack a suitcase of what I want to bring where? Where am I going? Why is this happening to me? I’m a good kid. I make good grades and I’m nice to people, even those people who everyone else makes fun of, and I listen to my parents and my teachers. What did I do to deserve this? Why me?
“Yeah, Mom, I know,” Aunt Kathy hiccups. She’s crying hard again. “I’ll take good care of her, and we’ll see you later. I love you.”
I keep my eyes screwed shut as she disconnects the call, scared she’ll want to talk if I open them. I don’t want to talk to her or Granny Gina or anyone but my parents. I want my mom and dad!
Thankfully, Aunt Kathy doesn’t try to talk to me as we drive, but when I feel the car come to a stop and hear the engine turn off, she gently taps my arm. “Lyra, sweetheart, we’re at your house. We’re going to go inside, and I need you to pack up a suitcase or two of the clothes and things you want to take to New Orleans. Whatever you need.”
“New Orleans?” My lids snap open and I whip my chin in her direction. I don’t even recognize my harsh, scratchy voice. “I’m going to New Orleans?”
“Yeah”—she nods sadly as she swipes at the black mascara streaks on her face with her thumbs—“with Granny Gina. After we take care of, uh, of everything here, you’ll go live with her there.”
Scowling, I cross my arms over my chest and grunt. “I don’t want to leave Houston, or my friends, or my school. Why can’t I stay here with you?”
“You know I travel with my job, Lyra. Sometimes I’m gone a week or two at a time, and there won’t be anybody here to stay with you. Granny Gina’s house has an extra bedroom, and since she doesn’t work, she’ll be able to better give you everything you need.”
What I need and will be better for me is my mom and dad. And my perfect birthday weekend at the fair.
She reaches out to attempt to soothe me with her touch, but I wrench away, banging my elbow on the car door in the process. The whack is loud, and the place I hit immediately turns red, but my brain doesn’t register the pain. I feel nothing. I’m broken.
I glance over at my aunt, and the tears spilling down her cheeks make me feel bad for acting the way I just did to her. What happened to my parents isn’t her fault, but I’m angry and this is all moving too fast. How am I supposed to pack up what I need in a couple of bags? I want to stay in my room, in my house, living with my parents.
“I know this is all unfair, baby,” she says through her sniffles, “and I can’t even to begin to understand what you’re thinking or feeling. I mean, I’m freaking the hell out and I’m a grownup who’s supposed to know how to handle these kinds of situations. All we can do is cling to each other as family and try to get through this together. Between me and Granny, we’ll do the best we can for you, and right now, we think the best thing is if you get your things and go stay with her.”
“How did they die?” I blurt out, completely off topic from what she’s talking about. My mind can’t stay focused on any one thing, but this is the question that keeps popping up. “I need to know how it happened.”
Swallowing hard, Aunt Kathy inhales a shaky breath through her nose and blows it out through her mouth, visibly trying to collect herself before she answers me. “It was a car accident,” she whispers after forever, barely loud enough for me to hear. “I don’t know why they were together in your mom’s car this morning or where they were going, but an eighteen-wheeler lost control and hit them. They were already gone by the time the first responders arrived.”
I nod, still unable to cry. I hear the words she’s saying, but they aren’t really registering. They make sense, but I don’t understand. It’s as if I’ve been swallowed up by one of the black holes Daddy taught me about and the darkness is sucking away my ability to think, to feel. All I hear is the word “gone” still replaying over and over and over.
“Okay. I’ll get my stuff,” I say flatly, finally opening the door and stepping out of the car.
My movements are robotic, and I can barely even feel the key in my hand as I unlock the front door to my house. Stepping inside, I’m overwhelmed by a combination of the sweet smell of my mom’s favorite vanilla cookie candle and the sight of my dad’s fuzzy slippers waiting by the coatrack—the slippers he puts on the minute he walks in the door from work every night. When I realize he’ll never wear those slippers again, nor will my mom ever be able to forget if she blew out the candle when we’re about to pull out of the driveway, an acute pain shoots through my chest and I stumble over to the staircase, grabbing the banister to keep my balance.
“I’m right here, Lyra,” Aunt Kathy murmurs from behind me as she slips her arm around my waist. “Let’s just get your things and head over to my place. Later, once we’ve had some time to deal with everything, we can come back to go through the house and all the stuff… if you want.”
Another nod and I let her guide me up the stairs to my room. I want to scream at her that there will never be enough time to deal with losing my parents, that I’ll never be able to go through their things, but I keep my lips pressed together and do as I’m told.
“Where do you guys keep your suitcases?” she asks, glancing around my room as if she’s doing an inventory of what I have. “I’ll go grab a couple while you start pulling out what you want to take. If you forget something, it’s no big deal, because you and Granny are going to be staying at my place for the next few days. I can just bring you back to get it, or I can even ship it to Louisiana if you remember once you’re there.”
“They’re in the storage cabinets in the garage,” I answer while walking over to my desk, my eyes locked in on a framed photo of me and my parents that sits next to my laptop.
“Okay, I’ll be right back.”
The thud of her heels on the hardwood floor grows quiet as she makes her way back down to the first floor, and just as I grab the picture and plop down on the chair, I hear her open the door to the garage. A few much-needed minutes by myself.
I gaze down at the photograph of the three of us from a day at the beach, me sandwiched between their cheerful, carefree expressions, and the first tear finally escapes. Once the dam breaks, I can’t stop the flow, and as I trace my finger over the outline of each of my parents’ faces, I cry for everything I’ll never have again. A supernova of tears.
Faces I’ll never see smile again.
Voices I’ll never hear say my name again.
Arms I’ll never be hugged by again.
A never-ending galaxy of love that I’ll never feel again.
It’s all just… gone.
After several minutes of vision-blurring bawling, I set the picture frame back upright on my desk. A hot pink heart drawn on my calendar with the words Birthday Weekend Begins written over today’s box catches my attention. I then notice the printed numbers next to my bubbly handwriting that read 10-18-02.
Snatching the picture up again, I stare directly into first my dad’s eyes, and then my mom’s. The numbers I see when I look people directly in the eyes only happens when I’m face-to-face with someone, never in photographs or through a screen or mirror. But even though I can’t actually see the numbers right now in the picture of my parents’ pupils, their numbers are forever etched in my brain from looking at them every day of my life. I used to think the reason they had the same numbers meant they were true soul mates, like God made them to match perfectly together, but now….
My gaze flicks over to today’s date of 10-18-02, then back to my parents’ faces, where I envision their numbers—101802.
My plummeting heart collides with my lurching stomach in an explosion of realization.
It’s my Big Bang Moment.

 



About Erin Noelle USA Today Bestselling Author

 

Erin Noelle is a Texas native, where she lives with her husband and two
young daughters. While earning her degree in History, she rediscovered her love for reading  that was first instilled by her grandmother when she was a young child. A lover of happily-ever-afters, both historical and current,Erin is an avid reader of all romance novels.

Most nights you can find her cuddled up in bed with her husband, her Kindle in hand and a sporting event of some sorts on television.


 

RELEASE BLITZ ~ FROM THIS MOMENT by Melanie Harlow

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From This Moment, an all-new sexy and emotional standalone from
USA Today Bestselling author Melanie Harlow is LIVE!

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From This Moment
by Melanie Harlow


Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publishing Date: October 10th, 2017

It was like seeing a ghost.

When my late husband’s twin brother moves back to our small town, I want to avoid him. Everything about Wes reminds me of the man I lost and the life we’d planned together, and after eighteen long months struggling just to get out of bed, I’m finally doing okay. I have a new job, an amazing support group, and a beautiful five-year-old daughter to parent. I don’t want to go backward.

But I’m drawn to him, too. He understands my grief and anger and guilt like no one else—and I understand his. Before long, that understanding becomes desire, and that desire becomes uncontrollable.

He says he doesn’t care what people think, and love can never be wrong. But life has taught me its cruelest lesson–love doesn’t always win.

If only my heart would believe it.


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Read Today!

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READ THE FIRST CHAPTER TODAY!

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Melanie Harlow likes her martinis dry, her heels high, and her history with the naughty bits left in. When she’s not writing or reading, she gets her kicks from TV series like VEEP, Game of Thrones, House of Cards, and Homeland.

She occasionally runs three miles, but only so she can have more gin and steak. Melanie is the author of the HAPPY CRAZY LOVE series, the FRENCHED series, and the sexy historical SPEAK EASY duet, set in the 1920s.
She lifts her glass to romance readers and writers from her home near Detroit, MI, where she lives with her husband, two daughters, and pet rabbit.

 

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EXCERPT REVEAL ~ From The Moment by Melanie Harlow

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From This Moment, an all-new sexy and emotional standalone from
USA Today Bestselling author Melanie Harlow is coming October 10th!

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From This Moment
by Melanie Harlow

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publishing Date: October 10th, 2017


It was like seeing a ghost.

When my late husband’s twin brother moves back to our small town, I want to avoid him. Everything about Wes reminds me of the man I lost and the life we’d planned together, and after eighteen long months struggling just to get out of bed, I’m finally doing okay. I have a new job, an amazing support group, and a beautiful five-year-old daughter to parent. I don’t want to go backward.

But I’m drawn to him, too. He understands my grief and anger and loneliness like no one else—and I understand his. Before long, that understanding becomes desire, and that desire becomes uncontrollable.

We make excuses. We blame our sorrow. We promise each other it will never happen again.

But it does.

And when our secret threatens to destroy his family and my reputation, we’ll have to decide what’s more important—loyalty or love?


Excerpt:

“Want to go out in the canoe?” he asked.

“Okay.” I ditched my flip-flops on the small, beach-level deck, and we set our wine glasses and the bottle on the deck’s little round table. Wes was already barefoot. Together we dragged the forest green canoe from the tall beach grasses on the side of the deck down to the water’s edge and tipped it over.

“Let me rinse it out a little,” Wes said, frowning at the dirt and spider webs inside. “Want to grab the paddles? They should be in the shed.”

“On it.” I went to the small shed on the embankment, opened it up and grabbed the oars, which stood in one corner. On the shelves were life jackets and sand toys and deflated rafts that probably had holes in them, and scratched into the wooden door among other graffiti was WP + CB. Huh. I’d never noticed that before. Who was CB? I glanced over my shoulder at Wes, who’d taken off his T-shirt and tossed it onto the sand.

My stomach full-out flipped.

Quickly, I shut the door to the shed and brought the oars down to the canoe.

Wes stood up straight and stuck his hands on his hips. He wore different sunglasses than Drew had worn, more of an aviator than a wayfarer. The body was similar, though Wes’s arms seemed more muscular, especially through the shoulder. Other things were the same and caused a rippling low in my body—the soft maroon color of his nipples, the trim waist, the trail of hair leading from his belly button to beneath the low-sling waistband of his red swim trunks. In my head I heard Tess’s voice. Arms. Chest. Shoulders. Skin. Stubble. Muscle. The smell of a man. The solidity of him.

“What’s the law on drinking and canoeing?” he asked.

What’s the law on staring at your brother-in-law’s nipples? I wondered, swallowing hard. What was wrong with me?

“I think we’re okay,” I said, handing the oars to him. Our hands touched in the exchange. “Let me grab our glasses.”

“Perfect. If you hold them, I’ll take us out.”

I retrieved the wine glasses from the table and walked carefully across the sand to the lake’s edge, taking deep, slow breaths. A sweat had broken out across my back. I was wearing a swimsuit beneath my cover up, a modest tankini, but I didn’t want to remove it. Wading ankle deep, I attempted to step into the canoe, but it wobbled beneath my foot.

“Whoa.” Wes took me by the elbow and didn’t let go until I was seated at one end, facing the other. “Okay?”

I nodded. Despite the heat, my arms had broken out in goose flesh.

“All right, here we go.” As he rowed us away from shore, the breeze picked up, cooling my face and chest and back.

“Drew and I used to have canoe-tipping contests.”

I snapped my chin down and skewered Wes with a look over the top of my sunglasses. “Don’t even think about it.”

He just grinned, the muscles in his arms and chest and stomach flexing with every stroke of the oars through the water. Momentarily mesmerized, I allowed myself the pleasure of watching him. It was okay if we were both thinking about Drew, wasn’t it?

In fact, it was only natural that I was intrigued by the sight of Wes’s body. He was my husband’s identical twin, for heaven’s sake, and I missed his physical presence in my life. I missed looking at him naked. I missed feeling the weight of him above me. I missed the feeling of being aroused by him, of my body’s responses to his touch, his kiss, his cock.

Deep in my body, the rusty mechanism of arousal creaked to life. My nipples peaked, my stomach hollowed, and something fluttered between my legs.

Oh, Jesus.

I sat up straighter, pressed my knees together, and closed my mouth, which I realized had fallen open. Hopefully I hadn’t moaned or anything. After another sip of wine, I turned my head and studied a freighter off in the distance. My heart was beating way too fast.

It’s only natural. It’s only natural.

Wes stopped paddling and set the oars in the bottom of the canoe, their handles resting against the seat in the middle. “We’ll have to bring Abby out here.”

“Definitely.” Did my voice sound normal? “She’ll love it. Here, want this?” I held his wine glass toward him and he reached out to take it. His fingers brushed mine, and I pulled my hand back as if the touch had burned me.

“Thanks.” He tipped the glass up then looked along the shore. “I’d like to find a place on the lake. Maybe not along this stretch of beach, though.”

I caught his meaning and smiled. “A little too close to home?”

“Yeah. But I don’t want to be too far away. I’d like to get a boat too.”

“What kind of boat? Drew always talked about it, but we never quite settled on one.”

“Not sure. Maybe just a little fishing boat, something to ski behind.”

“That sounds fun. Drew loved to ski.”

“We’ll have to teach Abby.”

I laughed. “You, not we. I managed to get up and stay up a few times, but I am not the expert.”

“You can teach her to cook, I’ll teach her to water ski.”

“Deal.” Separate activities seemed like a good idea.

“Breakfast was incredible.”

“Thanks.” I tucked a strand of hair that had escaped my ponytail behind my ear, but the wind blew it right back into my face. “I really like working there. I’m so glad Georgia suggested it to me.”

“How long have you been there?”

“Since spring, when they got busy. I’m not sure what I’ll do this winter when it slows down. I’m dreading it, actually. Abby will be in school full time, and it will just be me at home alone.” This was something else I hadn’t talked about with anyone, how worried I was that the gray skies and cold weather and silent hours would set me spiraling into depression. “I always thought I’d have another baby to take care of, but life saw things differently.”

“You’re still young, Hannah.”

I shook my head. “I’m really not. And I feel even older than I am.” Please don’t go Grief Police on me and tell me I’m being ridiculous, I begged him silently. This isn’t the life I chose. It was handed to me and I’m doing the best I can.

But he didn’t say anything more, just sipped his wine and looked out at the horizon. I was grateful.

“What about you?” I asked. “Think maybe you’ll get married now that you’re back? Have a family? Abby won’t have any siblings so she needs some cousins.”

“That seems to be a popular topic of discussion around here,” Wes said, shaking his head, “but I really have no idea.”

“Small town. We like to know everyone’s business.” I smiled. “Hey, what about CB? I saw your initials carved with hers on the door of the shed. Maybe she’s still around.”

He groaned. “Is that still there? Jesus. That had to be twenty years ago.”

Hugging my knees, I leaned forward. “First love?”

“Not even.” He hesitated, as if he were trying to decide whether to confess something.

“Come on,” I cajoled, carefully reaching out of the canoe, and splashing water toward him. “Tell me. I’ve been spilling my guts for an hour.”

“First kiss.”

I squealed. “And?”

He cringed. “It’s too embarrassing.”

“Wes, I had a completely humiliating breakdown in front of you last night. I got snot on my arm.”

“This is worse.”

“Get it out. You’ll feel better.”

“Let’s just say it was a very awkward, very fast experience.”

I gasped. “You lost your virginity to her?”

“No. Just my dignity.”

Laughing, I tilted my head back and felt the sun on my face, the wind in my hair, and something like joy in my heart.

It had been a long time.


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About the Author:Harlow Headshot BW


Melanie Harlow
likes her martinis dry, her heels high, and her history with the naughty bits left in. When she’s not writing or reading, she gets her kicks from TV series like VEEP, Game of Thrones, House of Cards, and Homeland. She occasionally runs three miles, but only so she can have more gin and steak. Melanie is the author of the HAPPY CRAZY LOVE series, the FRENCHED series, and the sexy historical SPEAK EASY duet, set in the 1920s.

She lifts her glass to romance readers and writers from her home near Detroit, MI, where she lives with her husband, two daughters, and pet rabbit.

 

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