Category Archives: Coming Soon

CHAPTER REVEAL ~ A Fighting Chance by Annie Stone

 

 
 
 
 
 
Coming June 5th
 
 
 
When Mackenzie meets Carter, it’s love at first sight. They have a blissful year together before trouble arrives. In the form of Carter’s two teenage sons.

When Hunter and Carey decide they want to live with their father in California, Mackenzie knows right away that she’s in for a tough time. And she couldn’t be more right.

The two boys show her on a daily basis that she’s not good enough for their dad. In fact, they make it quite clear their lives would be better without her. But could it be that Hunter has quite a different motive for hating her?
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
ONE

Mackenzie

I first met Carter on a Friday. I was standing talking to someone when he came in, and it was like every atom in the room was immediately drawn in his direction. The oxygen, the people, even the flowers turned their heads to look at him. His presence was so powerful I couldn’t help stepping a little closer. When his eyes met mine, an electric shock went through my body. I was literally glowing, and in that fraction of a second, I imagined what it would be like to be his woman. And then…
Nothing.
His eyes moved on to the next object, not even acknowledging my presence, leaving me absolutely crushed. I wasn’t worth a second look. Swallowing hard, I watched him walk over to Brittany, who had been in charge of interior design at his new company headquarters. I’d had nothing to do with the project—I was just here to support my best friend on what was going be a big evening for her.
And I had never felt as much contempt for anybody as I felt for her in that particular moment. Even though I loved her to pieces.
Carter Tilman, head of Tilman Finance Group, had occupied the number-one spot on our girls’ talk agendas the past few weeks. God, was he handsome, Brittany had told me so many times I’d started rolling my eyes at her. But now I saw him in the flesh. He was blond and blue-eyed, about six-foot-two and, from what I could see under his suit, well built. The perfect combination of sleek and edgy, he immediately made me imagine him being a somewhat less-than-perfect gentleman in private quarters.
But there he was, talking to Brittany! Not even giving me a second of his attention.
I kept watching him, inconspicuously following him around, trying to be near him. But not once did I manage to capture his attention. It made me feel small and insignificant. In his world, I didn’t even exist.
Just before midnight, Brittany signaled to me that she was done. With a slight sense of regret, I left. After all, there was no reason for me to stay. It would just make me sad.
Outside, I said goodbye to Brittany and her colleagues before walking over to my car. I was just about to open the door when somebody behind me said, “I was hoping to be introduced to you.”
Every molecule of my body strained toward him, but I didn’t want to make a complete fool of myself, so I made a point of turning around slowly. “Really?” I asked, feigning disinterest.
He came closer, nodding. “You’re stunning. I just have to kiss you.”
And kiss me, he did. Our first kiss, which led to many others. Our first encounter, which turned into hundreds. Two lives fused into one.

Which leads me to the here and now, almost one year later.
“Are you excited?” he asks.
I nod, kneading my fingers. “Oh boy, am I excited,” I say in a strangled voice.
He laughs, quietly stroking my cheek. “Just don’t show any fear. They’re like predators. They can sense it.”
“Please tell me you’re joking!”
“I’m sure they’ll like you.”
“They” are his sons. Hunter and Carey. Ages seventeen and fifteen. I haven’t met them before because they live with their mother in Miami. But they’re coming to spend the summer with their dad in San Diego. And here I am. I can’t escape the inevitable, even though it scares the living daylights out of me. Seriously, I’ve never been this nervous, not even during finals week in college.
“Relax, sweetheart,” Carter says, reaching for my hand. He runs his fingers across my knuckles soothingly.
I look at him, trying to smile. It isn’t usually difficult, but today I can’t bring myself to do it. I’m meeting his sons. His teenage sons. I’m not even that much older than them… I’m twenty-five, and Carter is forty-three. Our age difference has never been a problem before, and people say age is just a number, but, come on—this just seems like a recipe for disaster.
“Here they are,” he says, pointing. Two tall boys who look a lot like Carter—and totally different at the same time—are walking across the baggage claim toward us.
Carey, the younger one, must be nearly six feet tall. He’s blond and blue-eyed like his dad. But while his father has a distinctly manly look about him, Carey brims with the beauty and energy of youth. His skin is spotless, which I take as a personal affront, because I still get zits in my mid-twenties.
Hunter is already taller than his father. He has close-cropped brown hair and brown eyes. His cheeks and chin are speckled with stubble, and for such a young man, he has a very masculine aura. The girls must be all over him. It’s true what they say. The apple does not fall far from the tree.
They’re both trying to appear cool, but I can tell they’re happy to see their dad. They each give him an affectionate hug, and he hugs them back happily. Carter has always seemed like a sexy bachelor to me, but seeing him with his sons is kind of cute.
“Okay, boys,” he says, putting his arm around me. “This is Mackenzie. Sweetie, meet Hunter and Carey.”
The boys’ bright faces darken, letting me know I don’t stand a chance. I stretch out my hand, and they do shake it, but they squeeze so hard I have to put effort into not screaming. “Nice to meet you,” I say, trying to sound cheerful.
Carter seems satisfied, at least. “Let’s go home. Mackenzie and I thought it’d be fun to have a barbecue.”
Carey turns his cold blue eyes away from me, defrosting them for his father. “Actually, we’re meeting up with some friends tonight, Dad.”
“Oh, well, why don’t we have dinner, then you can go?” Carter suggests cheerfully.
The boys seem mollified as their dad takes Carey’s bag and puts an arm around his shoulders, Hunter on his other side. They’re the perfect trio.
“Are you coming, sweetie?” Carter calls over his shoulder.
I follow them out of the airport, the lowly fourth wheel.
Back at the car, Hunter gets in front like it’s the most natural thing in the world. Carter looks irritated for a second but doesn’t say anything. Instead, he holds the back door open for me, and I silently climb into his Mercedes SUV.
Once behind the wheel, Carter is all cheer again. “What are your plans for the summer?” he asks.
“Friends, beach, babes,” Carey says automatically.
Hunter laughs. “In that order?”
Carey shrugs. “It’s not exactly a secret you go through all three of them like candy. Especially that last one.”
Carter throws his oldest a look. If I didn’t know better, I would think it was respect, but that’s impossible, right? Could a father be proud of his seventeen-year-old son’s sexual exploits? No. There must be something else behind that look.
Hunter turns around to grin at his brother. “You don’t know what you’re talking about, virgin.”
“TMI, thank you very much,” Carter says, and he actually sounds amused.
Hunter slouches down in his seat. “I thought you’d put those condoms there on purpose so we couldn’t help but find them.”
“Don’t corrupt your brother,” Carter laughs. “There’s still hope for him.”
“Did you hear that?” Hunter says. “You’re the good, normal, boring brother.”
“No, I’m not!” Carey leans forward to punch Hunter’s shoulder.
Hunter dodges it, laughing.
For some reason, I feel like I shouldn’t be here. They’re acting like I’m not here, anyway.
“Hey, boys, no punching,” Carter throws in. “Words are your weapons! You know the rules.”
“Hunter’s too stupid to use language as a weapon,” Carey grumbles.
“Stupid?” Carter repeats. “Was that report card a fake then?”
Hunter grins. “No need for that, Dad. Unlike Carey, I’ve got brains and looks.”
“Yeah, and your looks are shit!” Carey teases.
His brother turns around, looks straight at me, and then says to his brother, “I guess you want to spend the evening with Dad then…”
There’s a meaningful silence.
Carey looks at me for a second as well and then makes a cut-throat gesture with his hand, as if to threaten me, “They’re my friends, too.”
Hunter grins like a predator. “Be a good boy then.”
Carey snorts but doesn’t say anything.
I’m relieved when we get to the house—our house. Even though I know the toughest part is still ahead. Because the boys don’t know I’ve moved in with their dad. What on earth are they going to say when we tell them? It’s clear by now that they don’t hold back. And I don’t want those word-weapons trained on me…
Walking up the driveway, I look at the house like I always do. It’s huge, built for a large, happy family, and once again, I feel like an intruder. This is where they all used to live as a family. And now Carter lives here with a new woman. Me.
As soon as the boys get inside, they quietly claim the space around them. The house seems smaller with three big men in it.
“I’ll go fire up the grill, sweetie,” Carter says when I enter the kitchen.
I nod, and he gives me a hug, kissing me on the top of my head. Carey gives me a look so hostile I have to close my eyes, fighting back tears. I don’t want to show them how much they affect me.
As soon as Carter leaves, Carey steps in front of me. “Are you after our money?”
I give him an irritated look. “Excuse me?”
“Dad’s got a lot of dough. Is that what you’re after? Why else would you be with a guy twice your age?”
I’m speechless. Hunter nonchalantly leans against the fridge, not saying anything, but there’s something terrifying about the way he’s standing there all calm, his arms crossed in front of his chest. My eyes move from one brother to the other, and my mouth goes dry.
“Sweetie, can you bring out the steaks?” Carter calls from outside.
I swallow and glance at Hunter blocking the fridge. When I take one step toward him, he doesn’t budge. “Would you mind…”
He puts on his predator’s smile. “Would I mind what?”
“Moving over.”
He smiles down at me. “Say please.”
I want to tell him to fuck off but remind myself that he’s seventeen—and testing me. I can’t say to him what I would say to a twenty-five-year-old asshole in this situation. Pulling myself together, I give him my best unflinching look. “Would you please move over?”
He steps aside. “There you go, doll.”
Doll?
Do not react, I tell myself. Just ignore it. “My name is Mackenzie. Or Mac.” I silently curse myself. Great job! Now he knows it bothers me, so he’s never going to stop calling me that.
Flustered, I get the steaks from the fridge and take them outside.
Carter smiles at me. “Hey.” He pulls me closer for a kiss. “Is everything okay?”
I nod. “Yup. Just weird.”
He gives me a loving smile. “I know you guys are all going to get along great. I love having my three favorite people here with me.”
I snuggle up to him until he frees himself to put the meat on the grill.
“Hunt?” he calls inside. “Can you set the table out here, please?”
As the boys come out onto the porch with plates and cutlery, I go back to the kitchen to grab the sides I made earlier.
“You haven’t answered my question,” someone says behind me, and I flinch so hard I drop the bowl in my hands. My potato salad lands on the floor, and glass shards from the bowl fly through the air. One of them hits my shin, and I stare at the red drop trickling down my leg.
“Are you okay, sweetie?” Carter calls, rushing inside, alerted by the almighty crash I just made.
“Yeah.” I nod a little too fast. “Just dropped a bowl. Sorry.”
“No problem,” he says. He comes over, picks me up, and sets me down on the kitchen island before diligently picking up the shards and throwing the rest of the bowl in the trash.
As he begins to wipe the floor up, my manners kick in. “Hey, let me do that,” I say, starting to slide off the counter.
“Don’t worry, I’ll do it.” He smiles at me, and a knot in my heart dissolves. Carter. He loves me. I love him. That’s what I need to remember.
When he’s finished, he gets out a Band-Aid and carefully places it over the little cut on my leg. “There you go. All set. I hope Hunter didn’t burn the meat.”
“I heard that,” a voice calls from outside. “Like I’d make a mistake doing something as manly as grilling meat.”
Carter laughs and kisses me before we take the remaining sides outside. Once we’re all sitting at the table, Carter looks at both boys. “Weren’t you two talking about going to football camp this summer?”
“It doesn’t start for three weeks,” Carey reminds him. “And we’ll only be gone a week.”
“What positions do you play?” I ask, just to be part of the conversation. Truth be told, I already know Hunter plays wide receiver and Carey’s a second-string quarterback, which they proceed to politely tell me. In fact, as long as their dad’s around, they’re polite and reasonably friendly. They’re not going out of their way to make me comfortable, but it’s at least possible to talk to them. However, when Carter takes a call and disappears into the house, things change quickly.
“Answer my goddamn question,” Carey snarls.
Hunter just grins and leans back, crossing his arms in front of his chest again. In a few years, he’ll be a real giant. He’s already tall, and even though his muscles are pretty impressive for a teenager, I’m sure he’ll bulk up some more.
Realizing I’m on my own, I look back at Carey. “You can stop asking. Because it’s none of your business.”
He pulls a face. “So you are a gold digger then.”
I gather up all my courage. It’s difficult to remember I’m a confident woman with Hunter staring at me like I’m some insect he’s about to crush. He somehow manages to appear both cocky and laid-back at the same time—a skill most men do not attain in this lifetime. “I-I don’t want to argue with you,” I say, trying to keep my voice from wavering. “I want to get to know you both, and get along. I’m not here to cause trouble. I love your dad.”
“News flash, doll,” Carey says. “Just because you spread your legs for our dad doesn’t mean you can wrap us around your finger. Dad’s brought home a lot of women over the past three years. They all had one thing in common. You want to know what it is?”
I shake my head, but I didn’t really think that was going to stop him.
“They’re not here anymore.”
Like I said, I didn’t want to know. “Please don’t talk to me like that.”
“Like what?” Carey asks innocently.
“Condescendingly.”
“Hmm,” he says, like he’s mulling it over. “To be honest, I think I’m being pleasant.” He looks at Hunter like he’s waiting for instructions, but Hunter obviously doesn’t care to interfere.
And I don’t know how to react. What am I supposed to say? “I’ll tell your father”? That’s a sure-fire way of ruining whatever chance I might still have at building a relationship with them. Or should I tell them—again—that I don’t want them talking to me like that? Only to have them ridicule me again… Maybe I should get up and leave. But then they’ll think they can do whatever they want with me.
Fortunately, Carter returns then, but he’s wearing a frown. “That was your mom,” he tells the boys. “She wanted to know where you are.”
Their expressions change immediately. Carey suddenly looks guilty, while Hunter’s face hardens.
“She said she had no idea where you were,” Carter says, his voice stern. “She was worried.”
Carey looks at the floor, but Hunter snorts disbelievingly.
“Hunter,” Carter says, frustrated, running a hand through his hair. “Is there something you want to tell me?”
Hunter looks him directly in the eye. “We want to move back to San Diego.”
Carter looks stunned. “Excuse me?” he finally grinds out.
“You want me to say it again?” Hunter says.
Carter snorts. “Why?”
Hunter rolls his eyes. “You know Mom.”
“Yeah, what about her?”
Hunter runs a hand through his short hair. “She’s a mean drunk. And she brings home all kinds of men. It’s like living in a goddamn brothel.”
I swallow. I’d thought they couldn’t stand me because they loved their mom so much. But that’s apparently not it. They may have been treating me like dirt just a few seconds ago, but I can feel their pain now. No child should have to worry about whether a parent actually cares about them. I know that best of all.
Carter runs a hand over his face. “Hunter…”
“Come on, Dad! I know what you’re going to say. But we can’t stay there with Mom.”
Carter nods slowly. “Actually, you don’t know what I’m going to say.” He looks over at me quickly. “Mackenzie moved in with me a few weeks ago. So, this is her home now, too. If you two want to move back in, you have to get along with her, too.”
Carey gives his dad an exasperated look. “She moved in with you?”
“You have a problem with that?” Carter asks, and for the first time, he sounds slightly snappy.
“No,” his youngest mumbles.
“Hunter?”
“Anything’s better than staying in Miami,” he says.
Carter nods. “Mac?”
I give him a surprised look. “Yeah?”
“It’s your home, too. Are you okay with them moving in?” he asks.
“They’re your sons,” I say, even though I have to swallow before I finish my thought. “They’ll always be welcome here.” Deep inside, I thought it would be tough to spend ten weeks with them. But having them move in with us? It’s a whole different story. While Hunter’s about to start his last year of high school—and then he’ll be off to college or somewhere else—Carey would be with us for at least another three years.
Can I do this? It very well could be three years of hell lying ahead of me.
But, at this point, I’ll just have to wait and see.
Carter puts a hand on my shoulder and looks over at Hunter again. “If I let you move in here, I expect you to behave better than you did in Miami.”
Hunter and Carey both nod. “Promise,” they say in unison.
Carter snorts. Obviously, he doesn’t believe it. “Okay, we’ll still have to see. I’ll call your mom and let her know about your decision.”
“Awesome.” Hunter gets up. “Now, we’re out of here.”
“Be back at midnight,” Carter says.
“Dad, seriously?” Carey asks in the tone of a complete brat.
“You’re fifteen,” Carter responds.
“Hunter isn’t.”
“So Hunter can bring you back here at midnight and stay out another hour.”
“That’s totally unfair!” Carey whines.
Carter gives him a firm look. “What did you just say about good behavior?”
Carey gives him a sly smile. “You said better, not good.”
I struggle to keep a neutral face, because inside, I’m secretly applauding Carey. Carter though isn’t so impressed.
“Midnight,” he says.
“Can we take the car?” Hunter asks.
Carter nods. “Keys are on the table.”
They’re gone within a second.
“Rascals,” Carter says, sitting back down with me. He puts a hand on my leg. “Thank you, sweetie.”
“It’s your house, and they’re your sons. Of course they can move in with us.”
“It’s our house,” he corrects me gently.
I shrug. “Still.”
He runs a hand through his hair. “It’ll be different.”
“Sure.”
He looks at me. “What’s wrong?”
I’m kneading my fingers, and he zooms in on them. He knows I do this when I’m nervous, so there’s no point lying to him now. “They don’t like me,” I admit.
Carter nods slowly. “Give them some time. They’ve never seen me with another woman. Only with their mom. But it’ll be okay.” I realize then that he has no idea his sons actually know about every woman he’s ever dated.
“So, I guess they don’t have a great relationship with their mom?” I say, trying not to sound like I’m prodding.
Carter shakes his head. “Not anymore. They always did before. But then she cheated on me, and I left. She started drinking, and… I guess sometimes they still hold me responsible for it.”
I take his hand. “But it’s not your fault.”
He smiles wistfully. “I know. I couldn’t stay with her. But I’m sorry my boys got hurt.”
“You’re a great dad. They love and respect you.”
He nods. “They’ve always been my number-one priority.”
“Why did they stay with their mom?”
“It’s what they wanted. Lauren was not in a good place after the divorce, and Hunter always feels like he has to take care of people. Save them. He didn’t want to leave her alone, and Carey always does what Hunter does. I’m just glad he’s somewhat of a good role model.”
A faint smile flits across my lips. “So what trouble did they get into in Miami?”
Carter smiles. “Oh, man, they messed up a few times. Nothing serious, though. Hunter got in a few fights with his coach and had plenty of detention. And they were at a few parties that were broken up by the police. Carey was caught drunk once. I’d say it’s all pretty normal for their age. Judging by what my friends say, it could be much worse. Some kids are really out there. Hunter might be a bit of a hothead, but he’s sensible enough to make sure Carey’s always safe.”
“What if they don’t accept me?” I ask.
He strokes my hand. “It’ll be fine, sweetie. Don’t give up.”
I nod, even though I know I’m in for a rough ride.
 

 

 
 
I’m a contemporary romance writer, who likes her men tattooed, her women independent and her coffee strong.

My stories are all about love, but some are of the romantic kind, some of the sad kind and others of the very steamy kind. So if you can stand drama, foul language and sex, you came to the right place.

Love, Annie
  
 
Author Links
 
 


CHAPTER REVEAL ~ Roommates with Benefits by Nicole Williams

 

Coming June 5th

Pre-order exclusively via iBooks HERE

 

goodreads-badge.png
AP new - synopsis.jpg
Soren Decker. He’s the epitome of the “bad boy, good man” persona. The best of both worlds. The worst of them too. He’s the type of guy most girls would not mind sharing a confined space with, except my new roommate isn’t all swagger and chiseled abs.

He’s bossy. Messy. Cocky. Infuriating. Doesn’t believe in personal space. Has no qualms about roaming the apartment with a loincloth-sized towel cinched around his waist. Seems under the delusion he’s my personal protector (refer back to infuriating). He plays college baseball and holds down a part-time job—I don’t know where he finds the time to get on my nerves.


We’re got nothing in common . . . except for one thing. Our attraction to one another. And in six hundred square feet of shared space, the tension only has so much room to grow before one of us gives in to temptation. But really, what chance do a couple of young kids chasing their dreams in the big city have of making it?

Since Soren claims I know squat about sports (he might have a semi-point), here’s a stat for him—one in a million. That’s our odds.





I felt like all of my dreams had, or were about to, come true.
​Waved farewell to Podunk hometown? Check.
​Arrived in posh metropolis with luggage in tow? Check.
​Signed to a top agency? Check.
​About to roll up to my swanky new pad? Check.
​The world wasn’t just at my fingertips—I felt like it was clutched in the palm of my hand. All the obstacles—everything I’d had to overcome to get here—and I’d done it. I’d paid the price. Now I was ready to reap the darn reward.
​“Oh, crap.” My heart soared into my throat when I glanced at the taximeter for the first time since leaving the airport. I’d been totally preoccupied with staring at the bright lights and sights of New York City. “Is that how much it will cost for the entire ride? Hopefully?” My eyes widened when the meter tacked on another fifty cents.
​The driver glanced at me through the rearview. He must have thought I was making a joke until he saw my face. “What? You serious, kid?” His meaty arm draped across the passenger seat. “That’s how much it costs to get to right here.” He speared his finger out the window, two bushy brows lifting. “There’s still another mile before we hit the address you gave me.”
​“Pull over. Please. Pull over.”
Digging inside my purse, I counted out what I owed the driver. Which left me with a whole two dollars and some cents to my name. Ever since I was a little girl declaring my plans to make it in the big city, everyone had been warning me that New York City was expensive. I guessed I hadn’t realized that translated to public transportation as well.
​Once the driver had pulled up to the curb, I handed him what I owed. He waited, blinking at me like I was missing something.
​“Oh, yeah.” I pulled out the last two dollars and handful of cents I had left for the tip. Even dropping the last penny to my name in his palm, it was a puny tip.
​Heaving a sigh, he crawled out his door to pull my suitcase from the trunk. The dark streets looked different now that I’d be walking them alone.
“Do you have a map or anything I might be able to have?” I asked as he rolled my suitcase around to me.
​The driver pointed his finger down the street we were on. “Keep going straight one mile. That will get you there.”
​I felt my palms clam up when I realized I was about to attempt to navigate on foot a city I’d never been to, with all of my personal belongings in tow, without a dollar to my name. The small-town girl I’d been wanted to cry and run to the first phone to call home. The big-city woman I was born to be had me clutching the handle of my luggage and lifting my chin. By the time, I took my first step toward my new life, the taxi was long gone.
​Even though it was almost eight at night, the streets were still bustling. Unlike Hastings, Nebraska, where a person could hear the whir of their neighbor’s washing machine by nine every night, New York looked like it was just getting warmed up. Cars whipping up and down the streets, horns blasting, people moving, bikes weaving in and out through it all; this was an entirely different life than the one I’d grown up knowing.
​I loved it.
​I felt like I passed more people on every block than had made up the whole population of Hastings, and the people here were dressed like they were off to a meeting with foreign dignitaries, instead of the 4-H meeting every Saturday morning at The Hastings Grange.
Fashion. God, I loved fashion. Designing it was my endgame, but first, I had to get my foot in the door however I could. Modeling would give me that opportunity.
​By the time I’d rolled myself and my luggage down what felt like a million city blocks, I figured I had another three or four to go. My feet were killing me, since I’d worn heels instead of the comfy flats my mom had suggested when dropping me off at the airport earlier. I’d argued that I didn’t want to arrive in NYC with faux leather loafers, but man, those discount store flats sounded pretty amazing right now.
​Sheer willpower got me through the last few blocks, and I arrived at what I guessed was my destination, afraid to look at my feet for fear of finding them swimming in pools of blood or swollen beyond recognition. Or on fire, based on the feeling coming from them.
​When I stopped in front of the address I’d written down, I had to triple-check that the numbers on my paper matched the ones on the outside of the building. They did, but this sure didn’t look like Big City Living at its Finest, as the classified had listed. It more looked like Big City Living at its Most Primitive.
​Then again, maybe it was one of those apartment buildings that looked like a dump on the outside but was a palace on the inside. You know, to keep the bourgeois away. That had to be it. There was probably a chandelier hanging in the elevator and the hallways were lined with gleaming white marble, but no one would guess that from the outside.
​Doing one final check to make sure I was at the right address, I lugged my suitcase up the stairs. Someone was leaving as I made it to the front door, but either they didn’t see me or didn’t care to hold the door open for the woman in three-inch heels wrestling a monster-sized bag into submission. The door practically slammed in my face, heavy enough it almost sent me sprawling backward. I managed to snag the handle to keep it open long enough to shove inside.
​Okay, so there were a lot of differences between Hastings and New York City.
​I still loved it. A lot.
​It would just take an adjustment period to get used to. Before I knew it, I’d be keeping up with the best of the city girls.
​Once I’d made it past the front door, I paused to catch my breath and take in the interior of the apartment building. So the halls weren’t exactly lined in marble. Or gleaming, whatever surface it was they were covered with. There was an elevator though, but as I took my first steps toward it, I noticed the sign taped to the doors. Out of Order.
​Why not?
​Shuffling toward the bottom of the staircase, I stared up them, thankful there were only six floors to the top. Kicking off my heels, I collected them in one hand and started heaving my suitcase up all six flights, one stair at a time.
The upside to arriving on the sixth floor in a panting, sweating mess? I’d just gotten my cardio in. For the whole week.
​My chest felt like it was about to explode as I rolled down the hall, checking the number on each door as I passed. There wasn’t any marble up here either. Or chandeliers. Or anything that held a semblance of shine, actually.
​There was a smell though—a mix of mildew and garbage and. . . some other scent I didn’t want to assign a name to. A couple of bulbs were burnt out on the ceiling, casting an eerie tone to the environment.
There were noises, too. Music, hammering, talking, screaming . . . other heavy breathing sounds. It was like the walls were made of plastic wrap and painted white’ish to give the illusion of privacy. I could hear every word of the heated conversation coming from the door behind me.
​Number sixty-nine. That was a number nine, right? I checked the piece of paper in my hand just to be sure. Yep. My eyes weren’t playing tricks on me. The door’s paint was chipping, the numbers cockeyed, and from the damage done to it where the locks were, it looked like there’d been multiple attempts to break into it. There was nothing welcoming about this door.
​This couldn’t be the right place. No way. I had to have written something down wrong, or misread the address outside, or something—anything—that would assure me this wasn’t the place where I was about to spend the next six months of my life.
​As I debated knocking on the door or fleeing from it, a door screeched open down the hall.
​“You finally made it.” A young guy emerged through the door, his focus on me. “Have you been waiting there long? When you were late, I decided to swing by Mrs. Lopez’s and give her a hand with a few things.” He was still talking to me as he slid his feet into a worn pair of Converse. His fly was down too, but that didn’t seem to be on his concern radar.
​It looked like he’d decided to give Mrs. Lopez more than just a hand.
​“Oh, god. You don’t speak English, do you?” He exhaled, making his way down the hall. “You’re one of those Eastern European chicks, right?”
​I stepped back as he moved closer.
In another situation, I wouldn’t have been trying to back away from the stranger approaching with a look that could make the most frigid of girls melt. He was easy to look at—a little too easy—walking that ever-so-fine line of cute meets hot. He was cute-hot. Hot-cute. Whatever. He was candy to the eyes, and had we run into each other at the Jolt Café back in Hastings, I wouldn’t have been creeping away from him as I was now.
“Do I know you?” I asked.
He finally realized his proximity was making me uncomfortable, and he stopped right outside of Number Sixty-Nine. “You do speak English. Good. Because I’m not sure I have the brain space to figure out how to say ‘The water bill’s due yesterday’ in Latvian.”
I guessed the look on my face echoed my prior question.
“Soren Decker.” He held out his hand then slid it into his jeans’ pocket when it caught nothing but airtime. “And you are . . . ?”
“Not at the right address. Clearly.”
He leaned into the dilapidated door. “What address are you looking for?”
I had to lift the piece of paper in my hand to remember. Once I read it off, he shrugged.
“You have arrived at your destination.”
That’s what I was afraid of. “I must have the wrong apartment number then.”
The way he was looking at me told me exactly what he was thinking—that I was mental. “What apartment are you looking for?”
Another review of the paper. Just to be sure. “Sixty-nine.”
When his brows bounced, I felt my cheeks heat. I balanced my temporary embarrassment by narrowing my eyes.
“Sixty-nine.” He rapped his knuckle below the crooked numbers on the door. “Home sweet home.”
That was when the obvious started to settle in. “You’re looking for a roommate? You posted the ad I responded to?” I swallowed. “You?”
He glanced down at himself like he was checking for a stain on his shirt. In the process, he noticed his fly was still open. “I really didn’t think this would be so confusing,” he said, pulling his zipper back into place. “Yes, this is the right address. Yes, this is lucky apartment number sixty-nine. And yes, I am the one looking for a roomie, who you replied to last week.”
My heart had lodged into the back of my throat from the feel of it. This was the person I’d be living with? This was who I’d be sharing the same space with for the next half year?
He looked part California surfer, part vintage Hollywood film star. Pretty much the type of guy anyone attracted to males and in possession of a functioning set of eyes would drip some degree of drool over. Light hair, blue eyes that projected trouble, matching his smirky smile, good—great—body; he was pretty much the result of creation’s best efforts.
Most girls probably would have been chanting jackpot in their heads, but I gaped at the perfection that was him, freaking out.
“You said you were looking for a girl,” I said.
“I am.” He motioned at me.
I motioned right back at him. “You’re a guy.”
“Wow. Okay. So much confusion.” He shifted from one foot to the other, tipping back the red ball cap on his head.
“Why would you prefer a girl roommate when you’re a guy?”
Again, the look that implied I wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer. If he kept it up, I was going to start throwing daggers at him. Provided I had any. Or even one. Which I didn’t, because airline regulations and all.
“For obvious reasons,” he said.
“For obvious reasons like what? A built-in bedmate?”
His expression flattened as he realized what I was getting at. “You think I’m looking for some kind of ‘roommates with benefits’ type of thing?” He rubbed his chin like he was considering it right that moment. “I hadn’t thought about that, but now that you mention it . . .” Whatever he saw when he glanced at me sparked an amused gleam in his eyes. “I’m not looking for that. I swear.”
“Then why insist on a female roommate?”
“Because the female species tends to be neater than the male, ape variety. Plus, you smell better, too.” His hand dropped to the doorknob. Before he opened the door, he tipped his chin at me. “And you’re nicer to look at.” When I didn’t move after he motioned inside the apartment, he leaned into the hall and crossed his arms. “Come on, give it to me. I can tell you’re dying to say whatever it is you’ve been biting your tongue over since I had the nerve to address you.”
The way he said it, I realized I was maybe leaning toward the bitchy end of the spectrum. “It’s just that I thought you were a girl. I didn’t realize the person I’d agreed to room with was a guy.”
“That’s not my fault.” As soon as my mouth opened to argue, he added, “You could have asked. But you didn’t. You assumed.”
My teeth chewed on the inside of my cheek, hating that he was right.
“If you’re uncomfortable moving in because I’m a guy, okay, no problem. I’m not going to force you to move in. Even though I took down the ‘roommate wanted’ ad when you placed dibs. Losing out on a whole week of finding someone.”
My fingers pinched the bridge of my nose as I struggled to form one rational thought. If this guy would shut it for one minute, I could think.
“You know, and what’s this whole thing about gender equality and erasing those lines that used to separate the sexes? You’re pretty much saying you’re okay with moving in with a total stranger, sight unseen, just so long as that stranger doesn’t come equipped with a scrotum.”
“What?” My hand dropped back at my side. “Gross. Just stop talking. Please. Give me a second to try to figure out what is happening right now . . .”
Squeezing his lips together, he tipped his head back against the wall, making a “carry on” motion in my direction.
Okay. Think.
Swanky new pad was more a nasty, biohazardous dump.
Hip New York roommate was more a crass, vile entity of dubious intentions. Who came equipped with a scrotum, as he’d so articulately put it.
I had an appointment in the morning with the agency, potential go-sees right after, and a whole zero dollars and zero cents to my name. A hotel was out. A really shady motel was out. I supposed I could sleep on a park bench, but instead of just one man, I’d have to be worried about the rest of the city sneaking up on me as I slept.
I didn’t have many options.
Actually, I wasn’t sure I had any at all.
Taking another good look at him, he didn’t seem so bad. He wasn’t tattooed from head to toe, didn’t have that predatory look parents taught their daughters to identify from twenty paces back, and he didn’t reek of alcohol or other substances of questionable repute.
He was no Boy Scout, that was for darn sure, but he didn’t have the look of an axe murderer either. Besides, I was a tough chick. If he tried anything, he wouldn’t walk away with that cute-hot face unscathed.
“I’m Hayden.” I rolled my shoulders back and crossed the distance. “Hayden Hayes.”
“Soren Decker. In case you missed it the first time.” He held out his hand as I approached. “By the way, I’m a dude. You know, to clear up any confusion you might have on the subject.”
“One of those creatures that comes with a scrotum?” My eyebrows lifted as I shook his hand.
He cracked a smile as he shoved off of the wall. He didn’t have a terrible smile. Not even a little bit.
“Wow. Dang.” He twisted his cap around so it was backward as he stood as tall as he could. “You are tall. Like, please don’t wear heels around me tall.”
I held up the pair of heels I was still clutching. “Just missed them.”
“Good. I can’t have a girl roommate who’s taller than me. It might emasculate me.”
“More than you already are?”
“A fellow smartass.” He made a face of approval as I moved inside the apartment. “We’re going to get along just fine.”
“So long as I don’t wear heels when you’re nearby?”
“See? You get me. Two and a half minutes into our relationship and you understand me. Why can’t the rest of the girls on the planet seem to get it?” He didn’t give me a chance to fire back my idea on that topic. “Seriously, though, how tall are you?”
“Five ten.” Once I rolled my suitcase inside, he closed the door behind us.
“Liar, liar. Designer jeans on fire.” He waved his finger at me as he moved into the apartment.
These were designer jeans. The one pair I owned and would be living in until I could afford a second pair. It had taken me three months of mucking out stalls to make enough to afford them.
“Fine. Five eleven.” When his brows disappeared into his ball cap, I sighed. “And a half.”
“My six one is suddenly not feeling so big and bad.”
The inside of the apartment was an improvement on the outside. Somewhat. Paint wasn’t chipping off the walls, and the funky odor wasn’t quite as strong in here. Although there was a different one—that sweat-and-dirty laundry man smell with the faintest hint of aftershave or cologne mixed in.
“So. Here it us. My humble abode.”
Emphasis on humble.
​There wasn’t much to see. A shoe-box-sized kitchen was right inside the door—at least there was a stove and a fridge—with a same sized bathroom across from it, and what must have been the main living space, which we were standing in now, was made up of a line of windows, a couch I would not sit on unless a sheet of plastic separated me from it, a couple of room dividers, and a rectangular metal table with four mismatched chairs.
​It was semi-clean and super small.
​“Where’s the rest?” I asked when he stopped beside me, nodding at the space like it was the definition of opulent.
​“What do you mean? This is it.” He indicated the room.
​My gaze circled the space again. A secret hallway. There had to be one of those hiding in here somewhere. “Where are the bedrooms?”
​He made a clucking sound with his tongue, leading me to one corner tucked behind a sad divider. “Here’s mine,” he said, letting me peek behind the divider.
My heart did that hiccupping thing again when I noticed a twin mattress lying on the floor, a whirl of blankets and pillows scattered on it. There was a big plastic bin too, which looked like it served as a dresser.
“And yours is over here.” Guiding me to the corner across from this one, he proudly waved at the empty space behind the second divider.
​There was nothing there. Unless you counted the dust bunnies.
​“You’re kidding, right?” I blinked, frowning when I found the exact same scene in front of me.
​“About what?” he asked, straight-faced.
​“This being a bedroom.” My arms flew toward the empty space. “This is a stall. Actually, I’ve mucked out stalls twice as big back home.”
​His brows pinched together. “Like a bathroom stall?”
​“No, like a stall inside a barn. A horse stall. A cow stall. Shoot, even the pigs get a better deal than this.” My voice was rising, as I realized he wasn’t messing with me. This was supposed to serve as my bedroom, and there were a few big things missing to make it my definition of a bedroom—for starters, a door.
​“Wait. So you’re one of those small-town girls?” He appraised me with new eyes, like everything was finally making sense.
​“Yes, I’m one of those small-town girls, but not small town enough to realize I’m getting the big city runaround.”
​“The runaround?” His arms crossed. “What do you mean the runaround? I didn’t say anything about there being a private bedroom straight out of the Four Seasons, girlie.”
​I tried to remember the “roommate wanted” ad I’d seen online last week. Specifically, the wording. “Yeah? And what about the penthouse views?” I crossed my arms just like he was. “This is the opposite of a penthouse, and the view sucks.” I glanced out the row of windows, where there was a view of the building across the street.
​Soren’s eyes lifted before he moved toward the windows. He waited for me before pointing his finger up. Way up. “Penthouses.” His finger was aimed at the tippy top of the buildings around us. “We have a view of penthouses.”
​My mouth opened. “That’s not how you meant it to be taken, nice try.”
​“How do you know how I meant for it to be taken? Penthouse views. That’s the truth.” He was still pointing out the window. “You make a lot of assumptions. Might want to work on that if you plan on surviving in the city.”
​Turning away from the window, I scanned the apartment. Had it shrunken in size when I’d turned my back? “You said it was a generous living space.”
​He indicated the same apartment I was looking at. “Are you kidding me? This is a generous living space.”
​“Compared to what? A cardboard box?”
​His mouth snapped open, but he closed it before whatever was about to come out, did. He rolled his head a few times, his neck cracking in a way that made me cringe. “Listen. You are obviously from a different world than I am. I grew up in Brooklyn. My definition of generous is clearly different than yours.”
​“I grew up in Hastings, Nebraska, raised by a single mom with a high school education after dear old dad bailed on her and his three daughters.” I paused, staring at him. “I was not raised in the lap of luxury, nor am I a spoiled brat, but this . . ..” My hand waved between his and my “bedrooms,” my stomach churning when I counted off maybe ten feet of separation between them. “This is not generous living space.”
​“Then fine. Don’t move in. It’s not like you’ve unpacked your things. You’re the one looking for an apartment, not me. Go find some other place to live in the heart of the city for less than eight hundred dollars a month. Good luck with that.”
When he started toward my suitcase, I intercepted him. I didn’t have anywhere else to go. No friends. No family. No money. My first rent check here wasn’t due for a couple of weeks. Accepting that should have made this place seem much more appealing, but instead I felt more like an inmate resigned to their cell.
​“It’s been a long day. There have been lots of surprises. I’m feeling overwhelmed.” I rolled my suitcase toward my barracks so he didn’t roll it out the front door.
​“You’re not in Nebraska anymore. You’re in New York City.” He indicated out the windows before storming toward the kitchen. “Buck up, buttercup.”
​I bit my tongue when I wanted to fire something right back. My life had not been easy, and I hated that he assumed it had been because I was shocked I’d be sharing a room with a strange boy. This wasn’t normal. This was five thousand percent not normal.
​“You want a sandwich?” he called from the kitchen as he started tossing things onto the counter.
​“A sandwich?” I repeated. Hadn’t we just been in a moderately heated conversation? And now he’d moved on to sandwich-making twelve seconds later?
​“You know, meat, cheese, condiments? Two slices of bread holding it all together?” He shot me a smirk as he twirled open the bag of bread.
​My stomach answered for me. “Actually, yeah. Thanks.” Leaving my suitcase behind the divider, I moved toward the kitchen.
​“What brought you to the biggest city in the country from Nebraska?” he asked, glancing at me.
​I stopped behind one of the plastic chairs around the table. It didn’t feel right to just make myself at home . . . even though this was my new home. “Modeling.”
​He made a sound like everything made sense now, then stalled with the knife in the mayo jar. “So when you say you want a sandwich, you mean two pieces of celery smashed together?”
​My eyes lifted. I’d been called a stick, a twig, a pole, a beanpole, accused of being anorexic, bulimic, a drug addict, you name it, because I was genetically predisposed to having a thin frame. Now that I was officially a model, it was only going to get worse, I guessed. “I hate celery.”
​Soren spread a thick layer of mustard on one piece of bread. “Too many carbs?”
​“You’re annoying.”
​“So I’ve been told.”
​Of course my roommate would be one of the few people on the planet who was capable of getting under my skin. Who better to share a six-hundred-square-foot space with than someone who couldn’t look at me without triggering mild irritation? The more he talked, the less cute-hot he became. Silver linings. I didn’t need to harbor some minor attraction to the guy I was sharing an apartment with.
​“Don’t you have any questions for me?” I asked after a minute.
​One shoulder rose as he layered on what looked like pastrami. “You don’t smoke?”
​“Nope.”
​“You don’t stay out late partying, getting your drink on, and come home smelling like the city barfed on you?”
​“Definitely not.” I wasn’t straitlaced, but I wasn’t a hot mess either.
He pulled a couple of plates from a cupboard, tossed the sandwiches onto them, and moved toward the table. “You aren’t prone to stealing other people’s property? Namely my Nutter Butters?”
It didn’t seem like a serious question. The look on his face told otherwise. “No,” I answered.
He held one plate toward me. “Then we’re good.”
When I took the plate, my stomach growled. The last thing I’d eaten was the pretzels on the plane.
“Thanks,” I said, feeling a stab of guilt for the way I’d acted since meeting him. He was the only person in New York who’d offered me a place to live, and he was giving me a free meal.
“You don’t look like you could afford to miss one more meal,” he said. I didn’t miss the way he inspected my arms as I took a seat. “So now that you’ve had the grand tour, do you have any questions for me? And by that, I mean actual questions, not accusations.”
When I shot him a look, he gave me a big smile right before stuffing his sandwich in his mouth. Let’s see. I knew his name, his gender, where he’d grown up, that he was a smartass, and that he was cute-hot when he wasn’t talking.
“What do you do?”
He lowered his sandwich. “I model,” he said, his expression flat. “Men’s underwear mainly. Sometimes women’s. If they pay me enough.”
I smiled at my sandwich as I lifted it. “I thought you looked familiar. I just didn’t recognize you without those big wings and the million-dollar diamond bra.”
He chuckled, tearing off another bite of his sandwich. “I play ball,” he said, still chewing.
“Like dodgeball?” I took a small bite of the sandwich he’d made me so it wouldn’t seem like I was starving.
He shot me a tight smile. “Like baseball.” He waved his sandwich toward his “bedroom,” where a big red duffel was, a mitt and bat hanging out of it. “I play at one of the junior colleges close by since none of the D1 schools wanted to take a risk with me.”
​“A risk?” I took another bite, this one bigger. I wasn’t usually a fan of pastrami or mustard, but dang, this was the best sandwich I’d ever had.
“Let’s just say I was a bit of a hothead in high school, and D1 schools would rather have the golden boy with some talent than the wild card with mad talent.”
“Hothead . . .?”
“I got into a few fights at some games.”
I circled my sandwich in the air. “Like pushing, name calling type fights?”
“Try fists flying, dust spinning type of fights.” He must have guessed where my mind was taking me. “Don’t worry. I never have or never would put my hands on a woman like that, and I’ve calmed my shit down a lot since then. Nothing like being forced to eat a slice of humble pie at junior college to get a player in line.”
Nibbling off a corner, I curled my legs up onto the chair. I’d been too busy freaking out over my new living arrangements to notice how chilly it was in here. I couldn’t see my breath or anything, but it felt only a few degrees away from that.
“What are you studying?” I asked.
He dropped the last piece of sandwich into his mouth before wiping his hands on his jeans. “I’m just banging general requirements out of the way right now. I don’t care about becoming an accountant or a project manager or whatever the hell else other guys go to college for. I want to play ball. I go to school because it’s a package deal.”
“So your plan is to transfer to a D1 school to play ball after you’re finished?” I asked, like I knew what I was talking about. Which I didn’t. Sports weren’t my thing. Watching or partaking in them.
“I want to get drafted by the best professional baseball team in the whole wide world. That’s my plan.” He shoved out of his chair, carrying his plate into the kitchen.
“You want to play professional baseball?”
“No. I’m going to play professional baseball. And the one good thing about playing at a junior college is that I can be drafted any time they want me. I don’t have to wait until I graduate like I would have if one of those D1 schools had recruited me.” He rinsed his plate in the sink before setting it on a drying rack. He hadn’t used soap, but I supposed it was better than licking it clean and sticking it back in the cupboard. “Want anything to drink? Another sandwich?”
I lifted what was left of my first sandwich. It was only halfway gone and I was already feeling full. It wasn’t because I was a small eater either—he made his sandwiches like he was entertaining a team of linebackers. “I’m good, thanks.”
He lifted a package of Nutter Butters, one hanging from his mouth, a half dozen clutched in his other hand.
“I just promised I wouldn’t steal your Nutter Butters.”
“But I’m offering you one. There’s a difference.”
“Thanks, but no thanks. Looks like you need them.” I eyed the stack in his hand as he stuffed the package back on the top shelf.
“I play ball two to four hours a day. I go to school four to six hours. Homework on top of that, and a part-time job in between. I have to take advantage when I have a minute to stuff my face.” He padded back to the table and set one cookie from the pile in his hand on my plate. “For dessert.”
I thanked him, even though I wasn’t a fan of Nutter Butters. I was more a chocolate person than a peanut butter one.
“You want a hand bringing up the rest of your stuff? I’ve got some time before I should hit the books. I have a biology test tomorrow morning.” His nose crinkled as he stuffed another cookie in his mouth.
For his apparent love affair with cookies, he sure didn’t have the body of a cookie enthusiast. Thanks to his light-colored tee, which hugged particularly nice parts of the male anatomy, he looked like the type who ate egg whites and kale in his sleep.
“Oh, I don’t have anything else. Just my big suitcase and me.” I set my sandwich down after taking one more bite.
“So you don’t have any more stuff to move in?” When I shrugged, he frowned. “No more stuff as in a futon or mattress or . . .?”
My head shook as I moved toward my suitcase. I needed to throw on a sweatshirt before I gave myself frostbite. “They don’t let you check mattresses or futons on the airplane. But I brought a pillow and a sleeping bag.” Setting down the suitcase, I unzipped it and pulled out those very items.
“Hardwood floors.” His foot tapped the floor.
“I’ve slept in barns, train depots, and the backseat of a ’77 Malibu.” Shaking the sleeping bag open, I shot him a smile. Whatever had happened or was about to, I was chasing my dreams. Life was pretty damn good. “Buck up, buttercup.”

 


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

 

ArdentProse_LogoMain.jpg

 

PRE-ORDER BLAST ~ FORBIDDEN PROMISES (The O’Malleys) by Katee Robert

Have you Pre-ordered Forbidden Promises by Katee Robert yet?

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Katee Robert delivers the next book in her sizzling O’Malleys family series, hailed as “The Godfather meets Romeo & Juliet.” FORBIDDEN PROMISES features Sloan O’Malley and her mysterious new next-door neighbor, Jude MacNamara.

 

Meet Jude and Sloan!

 

Link to trailer video

https://spark.adobe.com/video/gu1MJKHaO0Snz/embed


Pre-order FORBIDDEN PROMISES and add it to your TBR pile on Goodreads!
Then keep reading to get an EXCLUSIVE sneak peek at FORBIDDEN PROMISES
and to enter the giveaway for a $50 Amazon gift card!

 

Title: Forbidden Promises
Series: The O’Malleys
Author: Katee Robert

 

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: May 30, 2017

 

Synopsis:

Some lines should never be crossed . . . not even for love.

Sloan O’Malley just left her entire world behind-her family, her wealth, and even her real name. For the first time in her life, she’s free. She can live the “normal” life she’s always wanted. A life without fear. But there’s nothing safe about her intensely sexy next-door neighbor.

Jude MacNamara has no room for innocence in his life. Only revenge. Still, he’s never been able to walk away from the forbidden, and Sloan-who is every inch of pure, mouthwatering temptation-has forbidden written all over her. Only after it’s way too late does he discover the real danger: claiming Sloan as his puts a target on her back. To protect her, Jude is willing risk everything . . . and to hell with the consequences.

 

Pre-order at:  

Amazon → http://amzn.to/2oQ7Ikw

B&N → http://bit.ly/2nWvcFc

iBooks → http://apple.co/2mxsWi0

Kobo → http://bit.ly/2mxvcG9


Enter to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card from Katee Robert!

 

GIVEAWAY LINK


Forbidden Promises Excerpt

Copyright © 2017 Katee Robert

Up until this point, Sloan O’Malley has been kind of lost in a sea of the strong personalities in her family. She’s the quiet one. The wallflower. The obedient one. But now she’s out of Boston and out of that life behind, and she’s stepping out to stand on her own for the first time in her life. She wants her freedom, but more than that, she wants to live. What better way to do that than to give into the desire that sparks an inferno between her and the gorgeous guy next door?

All her hard-won calm disappeared when she saw Jude lounging in the corner booth. Lounging wasn’t the right word. He looked like a big cat who was as likely to tear out her throat as purr and rub against her.

Rub against…

She tried and failed to shut the thought down. From there, it was a slippery slope to thinking about what she’d done last night while picturing him.

It was almost enough to make her flee into the kitchen again. Or it would have been if not for the knowledge that Marge had given her a chance, and the woman wouldn’t take kindly to her hiding in the back when there were customers to be served.

Sloan took a careful breath and approached Jude. “What can I get you?”

“I feel like I’m perpetually apologizing to you, but I left abruptly last night and I’m sorry.” He didn’t wait for her to respond. “Come out with me after your shift.”

She blinked. Did he just…“I’m sorry, what?”

“I’m going to take you out. Tonight.” His intense dark eyes never wavered, though she was wondering how she ever labeled them cold. Right now, they were so hot, they were liable to turn her into a pillar of flame.

The only question was if she’d perish in the fire or emerge as something altogether different.

That thought should have scared her, but she’d been afraid for so long. Maybe it was time to do more than think about taking the first step into the future. Maybe she needed to actually put herself into motion. Sloan licked her lips, aware of the way he tracked the move. Everything about Jude was intense. He’d toned it down for her last night, but he wasn’t even trying right now. She shifted her stance, still torn. “I’m not exactly in a good place to date right now.”

He considered her, and she suddenly got the impression that he was choosing his words with care so as not to spook her. “What is it, exactly, that you think I’m asking?”

“I, ah…” She clutched her little notebook to her chest, painfully aware that the handful of diners in the place were blatantly eavesdropping. “I don’t know.”

He lowered his voice to the point where she had to inch closer to hear him clearly. “Let me show you.”

And, suddenly, she wanted to do exactly that. Sloan found herself nodding even though every instinct she had said that Jude was trouble in the worst way. But, whatever he was, he was vitally different from her brothers and father back home. He might seem brutal and dangerous and intense to a criminal degree, but this wasn’t Boston. This was Callaway Rock. No matter how dangerous he seemed, odds were that he wasn’t a man who had skeletons in his closet—literal or otherwise.

That made him safe in a way none of the men she’d ever known were.

Jude’s gaze sharpened. “That’s a yes.”

“That’s a yes.” Her voice was too breathy, too irregular to pass for anything other than nerves, but she didn’t care. If she fell flat on her face, at least she was living.


Praise for The O’Malleys Series

“It can be hard to make a ruthless assassin into a sympathetic character, but Robert handles the task with ease. She also deftly shows Sloan’s transformation from a pampered and protected naïf to a strong woman with a backbone of pure steel. A tension-filled plot full of deceit, betrayal, and sizzling love scenes will make it impossible for readers to set the book down.”— Publishers Weekly on FORBIDDEN PROMISES

“You will finish it in one sitting and die after you’re done because the next book isn’t out yet. This was one sexy ride!”— Reviewer Top Pick, Night Owl Reviews on FORBIDDEN PROMISES

“Two story lines end up converging into one explosive finale at the end.  A great read from the talented Robert!” RT Book Reviews

“Katee Robert’s has created a fictional underworld of such veracity, that one almost expects the characters to turn up on the front-page news. It never feels over the top or implausible; the author writes extremely well-crafted stories… The romance between Cillian and Olivia is very beautiful, tender and real.”— Fresh Fiction on AN INDECENT PROPOSAL

“Will keep you turning pages.”— RT Book Reviews on THE WEDDING PACT

“If you like angsty reads, this book is right up your wheelhouse.”— Heroes & Heartbreakers on THE WEDDING PACT

“Dark, dirty, and dead sexy.”— Tiffany Reisz, bestselling author of The Original Sinners series, on THE MARRIAGE CONTRACT
 


Other Books in The O’Malleys Series

 

THE MARRIAGE CONTRACT

THE WEDDING PACT

AN INDECENT PROPOSAL

UNDERCOVER ATTRACTION (Coming soon!)


About the Author

New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Katee Robert learned to tell her stories at her grandpa’s knee. Her 2015 title, The Marriage Contract, was a RITA finalist, and RT Book Reviews named it ‘a compulsively readable book with just the right amount of suspense and tension.”

When not writing sexy contemporary and romantic suspense, she spends her time playing imaginary games with her children, driving her husband batty with what-if questions, and planning for the inevitable zombie apocalypse. 

Connect with Katee at: Website | Facebook | Twitter| GoodReads | Instagram



 

CHAPTER REVEAL – At His Mercy by Shelly Bell

 

 

 

 

 

Angel in his arms . . . Devil at her heels

One last, no-strings night of indulgence. That’s all Tristan wants before he begins a much-needed new chapter in his life. Instead he finds an innocent angel in pink who brings him to his knees.

Isabella is done hiding from the world . . . and her haunting memories. Discovering courage in the arms of a perfect stranger, she finally lets go and sheds her inhibitions.

To Isabella’s shock, she soon learns that Tristan is more than her mystery man-he’s her professor. But Tristan isn’t the only person who’s found Isabella on campus. A dark figure from her past has come back for her. Now Tristan will risk anything to protect Isabella . . . even if it costs him his life.

 


Chapter One

If there ever was an unassuming location for a sex party, the quaint Tudor-style house in front of her definitely fit the bill. For Pete’s sake, there were children’s bicycles on the neighbor’s lawn.
Her cousin, Dreama, must have given her the wrong address.
Isabella Lawson rifled through her purse, cursing the starless night and wishing for the umpteenth time that someone would invent a purse that lit up when you opened it. After digging her way to the bottom, she finally located her cell.
A black screen.
Of course it was dead.
She leaned on her grandfather’s old Buick and growled in frustration. Would anything go right?
Tonight’s event was going to be her first sex party. And probably her last. But since Isabella couldn’t call Dreama for the right address, her plans to screw were screwed.
“What are you wearing?” asked her cousin.
Startled, Isabella spun around and pressed a palm to her chest as if trying to keep her racing heart from flying out. Her cousin had scared the stuffing out of her. She glanced down at her outfit. “What I’ve worn all summer.” Even she could admit that black stretch pants and a pink T-shirt with her family bakery’s logo probably wasn’t standard sex party wear.
Dreama blew a ring of smoke into the humid air, then took another puff of her cigarette. “That isn’t what I meant. I’m wondering why the hell you’re still wearing it.”
Fanning away the smoke, Isabella fake coughed. “I came straight from work. I didn’t have time to change. Not to mention, everything I own is in boxes.” About to leave for her freshman year of college, she’d packed up the majority of her clothes. “And I wasn’t about to ask Mom to borrow something of hers. She would’ve grilled me for information until I told her the truth.” Isabella plucked the cigarette from her cousin’s mouth, dropped it on the concrete, and ground it out with her shoe. “Would you have preferred if I’d told your aunt that you’re taking me to my first sex party?”
Dreama shook her head, a little laugh escaping her lips. “That’s all I need. Aunt Maria not only blaming me for corrupting her innocent daughter, but hauling my ass to church to confess my many sins.” She jumped up onto the hood of Isabella’s car and fished through her purse. “And I didn’t bring you to a sex party. It’s a play party.”
Isabella raised a brow in both confusion and at the fact that her cousin had just added another dent to the car’s collection. “There’s a difference?”
Dangling a cigarette between her fingers and rolling her thumb over her lighter, Dreama smiled. “Yes. Intercourse isn’t permitted at a play party.”
“You didn’t tell me that.”
“Sure I did,” Dreama said, bending to light her cigarette.
What was the point of being here then? She could’ve not had sex anywhere. The idea of coming to this thing was to experience BDSM in a relatively safe environment.
Isabella snatched the cigarette from her cousin and stomped on it. “No, I think I’d remember a detail like not getting laid at a sex party.” If the party wound her up, how would she get any relief? She’d already packed away her vibrator.
“Play party,” Dreama repeated, jumping off the hood of the car with a pop. “And don’t worry. There are other ways of getting off than intercourse.” Cracking up, she lewdly wiggled her fingers and stuck out her tongue.
Isabella’s cheeks heated. “Oh.”
Dreama placed a hand on her hip. “Maybe I shouldn’t have brought you here. You’re so innocent.”
She ran her fingertip along the pink scar on her left forearm. She’d always thought innocence referred to the status of your virginity. How wrong she’d been. Innocence was a state of mind, and she’d lost hers the hard way. Her scars would always remind her of that. “I’m not innocent,” she said quietly. “Not anymore.”
As her cousin was one of the few who knew the truth about what had happened to Isabella last year, her eyes clouded over with sympathy. “No, I suppose you’re not.” She curled her hands around Isabella’s shoulders, concern etched on her face. “Are you ready to go in and get a firsthand look, or would you rather go get a drink somewhere? I’m good either way.”
“Isn’t your Dom in there waiting for you?” Isabella asked.
Dreama’s lips tilted up in a smile. “Master Jamie is inside, but he’ll understand if I go get a drink with you. He knows you and I won’t get to see each other for a while.”
“I want to go inside,” she said. And she did, despite her racing heart and her sweaty palms. “I need to do it. You know I do.”
After surviving what she and her parents referred to as “the incident,” Isabella found that she’d lost her ability to trust anyone, especially herself. As a result, instead of having gone away to college as planned, she’d allowed her parents to convince her to stay at home and work in their bakery full-time. Her life in limbo, she’d spent her days at the bakery and her nights either in therapy or at home, hiding away in her bedroom.
But everything changed the night she’d hung out at Dreama’s and stumbled upon her huge collection of BDSM books.
After a long conversation with her cousin, Isabella realized she wanted to learn more about BDSM and borrowed a few of the books. Something about the lifestyle had resonated with her. Warmth permeated throughout her limbs at the idea of a man giving her structured rules to follow and at knowing there were established boundaries neither of them could cross. The sensation was so foreign, she almost didn’t recognize it.
Until she realized it was peace.
The unsettling feelings she’d harbored since puberty didn’t mean there was something wrong with her. Other people fantasized about being restrained and punished by a lover too. Of course, things like that weren’t spoken about in her large Italian-Irish Catholic family. No, she was expected to do her duty for her husband with her legs spread and her eyes shut tight without complaint. Husbands weren’t supposed to tie their wives to the bedpost and take them every way imaginable while she cried “no” and thrashed beneath him, all the while violently coming over and over.
She’d spent the following six months researching BDSM and discussing it with her therapist. At first, she hadn’t understood how she could want to be dominated or why she craved a little pain with her pleasure. Shouldn’t her past have turned her off to those yearnings?
For days, she’d walked around feeling both shame and guilt until she’d finally accepted that her sexual inclinations had little to do with what had happened to her. Yes, she was submissive. That didn’t mean she was weak or asking to be a victim.
Now, with eight weeks of her local BDSM group’s introductory class under her belt, she was ready to participate in her first real power exchange with an experienced Dominant. Dreama had assured her that she knew almost all of the Doms at the party, and with rules in place, Isabella would be perfectly safe.
In Isabella’s opinion, giving up her power to a Dom tonight would help her reclaim control over her life. Tonight, she’d take back what she’d lost and become whole again. And damn it, if it went as she suspected it would, and she got off on being dominated, then she’d accept that her sexuality was different. But it was hers, and she’d own it.
Dreama released her hold on her. “Yes, I know all the reasons you need to do this, but once you get a taste, you may develop a particular palate. Life will become a lot more complicated.”
Isabella shrugged. After tonight, her particular “palate” would have to wait four years for another taste. It wasn’t as if she would have time for a Dom/sub relationship in college, even if she did manage to find a compatible partner in the Michigan Upper Peninsula’s small college town of Edison. “I’m not worried, but thanks for the warning. I’ll be sure to take that into consideration.”
Scrutinizing her, Dreama pursed her lips. “Before we go in, we need to do something about your outfit.”
Spoken like a true fashion maven. Dreama was wearing one of her own creations, a black bustier with metallic blue ribbons and an attached lace skirt. No one would ever guess from her clothes tonight that during business hours she was a buttoned-up, by-the-book parole officer.
But even with her cousin’s skills, Isabella’s outfit was hopeless.
Isabella pulled her shirt taut, showing off the logo for her family’s bakery. “Unless you have something in your car, I think I’m stuck with what I’m wearing.”
Dreama scanned her up and down, smiling. “We’ll make it work. Slide your arms out of the sleeves.” When Isabella did what she was told, Dreama folded and tucked the sleeves into the opening at her neck. “Now take off your pants.”
She raised a brow. “When I thought about attending my first play party, somehow it wasn’t you I pictured ordering me to remove my clothes.” Giggling, she shimmied out of her black pants and twirled around wearing nothing but a shirt made into a dress and white cotton boy shorts. “What do you think?”
Her cousin whistled. “You look hot.”
She laughed as she picked up her pants and tossed them into the backseat of her car before locking it. “I look like a stripper.”
“You’ll fit right in.” Dreama winked and threw her arm around Isabella’s shoulders, leading her to the front door. “Ready to play?”
Play. An innocuous word for such decadence. Was she ready to become part of it?
Smiling, she turned to her cousin. “Hell, yeah.”
***
With his dungeon gear bag slung over his shoulder, Tristan Kelley sidestepped Yvette, the blonde sub headed his way, and made a beeline for the exit. There wasn’t a sub here worth staying for, and while his dick hadn’t seen much action lately, other than some lube and his palm, nothing had raised his interest tonight.
“Leaving already?” asked the amused voice from behind him.
Only a few feet from the door, he pivoted toward his best friend and business partner, Ryder. “I’ve got some stuff to do before the move upstate.”
Debating whether he was making the right decision, he’d put off packing until the very last minute, but now that he had finalized his contract, there was no changing his mind.
“I call bullshit, Tristan. What’s the real reason?”
He scrubbed a hand over the two-day-old stubble on his cheek. “I meet the same single women at every play party, and at one time or another, each has expressed an interest in becoming my permanent sub. Why can’t I find someone who just wants a night or two of kinky fucking without expecting more?”
At twenty-eight years old, he wasn’t looking for a long-term relationship, vanilla or otherwise. Every sub he’d played with this year had thought she’d be the one to tame him, but he’d done the whole commitment deal once with disastrous results. Because of his ex-wife, Morgan, he’d lost everything that had mattered to him. There was no way he would go down that road again with a woman.
“Don’t look at me. I’m with you.” Ryder grinned. “At least I don’t have to worry about that with Maggie. Gotta love open marriages. We single men reap all the benefits while the poor married saps have to deal with all the day-to-day bullshit that goes into a relationship. Speaking of which, I’d be happy to tag team her with you. I’m sure she wouldn’t mind.”
Ryder had an even bigger aversion to commitment than he did, never fucking the same woman twice. Someday, Ryder would meet someone who would knock him on his ass, and when that happened, Tristan was going to make sure he had a front row seat.
Tristan shook his head. “No thanks. Not in the mood.”
The ménage thing was sexy as hell, and he’d certainly participated in his fair share, but there wasn’t a woman here who could make his dick stir from its slumber tonight.
Besides, it didn’t matter to him that Maggie was in an open marriage. Maybe it was because of his past, but in his opinion, having sex with someone other than your spouse, even with their consent, was infidelity. But he didn’t judge others, just as he didn’t want someone else to judge him for his sexual preferences.
Ryder shrugged. “Suit yourself. She’s waiting for me in the master bedroom.”
“Thought you abided by the no-sex rules at your parties.”
“It’s my house. If I can’t fuck here, where am I supposed to do it?” Ryder asked, his gaze glued to Yvette, who’d yet to become a notch on his bedpost. Leave it to his best friend to line up his next conquest while having a naked woman waiting for him in bed. Compared to Ryder, Tristan was a prude. “If you change your mind and stay, the other bedroom is open and available. Just like all the subs.” He snagged a bottled water off the bar and winked at Yvette before returning his attention to Tristan.
“That’s the problem. I just want someone for one night. Someone I’m not going to see again.”
“You’ve certainly made that easier, considering you’re moving this week.”
“Not permanently. And I’ll occasionally come back to the city. Lord knows I’m not going to find anyone in the lifestyle up there.” Although with the women he’d met lately, he’d been thinking he might go vanilla for a year. It certainly couldn’t be any less fulfilling.
“Maybe you should’ve thought about that before you agreed to the job,” Ryder said, his brows knitted into a frown. “Hey, there are kinky people everywhere. And you did have your first real experience with BDSM there.”
“Somehow, I think the chances of finding another Olivia in that one-horse town is slim to none.” Olivia had been four years older than he was and the first to show him the ropes. Literally. “You sure you’ll be okay without me?”
Ryder folded his arms across his chest. “Don’t worry about leaving me to run everything. I’ve already got phone calls into my contacts about the expansion into the southwest.”
Shit. He and Ryder had discussed that they needed testimonials for the long-term success of their products before they’d expand into other territories. “Tell me you’re joking. We don’t have the capital—” At Ryder’s smirk, Tristan realized he’d been played. “You dick.”
“Give me a little credit. I wouldn’t make any major decisions without your consent.” Ryder pounded him on the back hard enough to make his teeth chatter. “Have fun and don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.”
Tristan punched him in the arm. “There isn’t anything you wouldn’t do.”
“True that. Speaking of which, I’d better go meet Maggie before she starts without me.” On a laugh, Ryder walked off with the swagger of a man who was about to get laid.
Meanwhile, Tristan had a date with his right hand.
As he inched his way through the crowd to the front door, Dreama, a sub he’d met but never played with, came in. She gave him a little smile, careful not to make eye contact, and forged a path toward the basement. She was a sweet girl, but there had never been any sparks between them, and she was now in a collared relationship.
Seeing the opportunity to sneak out before someone else stopped him, he stepped to the door.
And there she was.
Tristan’s breath caught in his chest as if he’d been kicked in the ribs. She was a vision in pink, her long red hair flowing down her shoulders and pale skin that was just begging for him to mark. He could practically see his pink handprint on her ass and the way the flogger would make it appear as though her entire body blushed.
Along with several of the Doms in the room, his eyes tracked her as she entered the house with her gaze lowered, her blatant innocence calling to him…to all of them. She was new blood, a little lamb who had stumbled into a den of hungry wolves. It was only a matter of time before they’d be circling her, eager to get a taste.
He hesitated to leave, his curiosity roused by this angel in pink. Had she come with Dreama? Who the hell was she?
He hungered to harness that innocence for himself. To have her kneel at his feet in submission and to feel her silky skin against his rough palms. He stood rooted to his spot as she passed by him, leaving the scent of vanilla behind.
His whole body thrummed with anticipation, as if it was prepared for something momentous. The cock that had been hibernating all night suddenly blazed to life and began throbbing mercilessly against the front of his pants. He couldn’t recall the last time he’d felt this way. If he’d ever felt this way. He’d been numb for so long, nothing exciting him beyond a momentary thrill from domination. Now it was as if every part of him was awake.
There was no reason to stay, and yet he couldn’t make himself walk out the door. Not until he learned more about this mysterious beauty, and why the hell she affected him this way.
For a few minutes, he leaned against the wall and observed her. It was clear from the way she moved tentatively into the house that this wasn’t her typical scene. She tugged at her hair, curling it around her finger, and repetitively pulled at the hem of her odd dress, seemingly uncomfortable in it. Hell, it was so short it barely covered her ass, but that wasn’t unusual at a play party. In fact, she was still wearing more than half the women here.
Dreama stopped to put her arm around the mystery woman, whispering in her ear. She steered her over to the far side of the room, where a man in black leather waited with obvious eagerness.
Tristan crossed his arms and frowned. He didn’t know the guy well, but he knew he was relatively new to the BDSM lifestyle. She should be with someone with more experienced, especially if his gut was correct and she was as innocent as she looked.
But it wasn’t his business.
His redheaded angel shifted her weight from foot to foot as Dreama appeared to introduce the two of them before sauntering off and leaving her on her own. I should go.
By all accounts, she’d already been claimed for the night. There was no point in watching her scene with another man. Voyeurism wasn’t his kink, especially when he craved to be the one doing the dominating.
His feet moved, only rather than taking him in the direction of the exit, he found himself standing just inches away from her, angling himself so that he appeared to be admiring the garish painting on the wall as he listened in on their conversation.
“I know Dreama meant well, but I have to be honest. I don’t think I’m ready yet to play with someone who doesn’t have any experience,” the guy said, surprising Tristan with his accurate assessment.
At least now he didn’t have to worry about her sceneing with someone who didn’t know what he was doing. There were plenty of qualified Doms here tonight who would just love to get their hands on her.
His body tightened with tension. Why didn’t that make him feel any better?
Time to go before he did something stupid…like volunteer.
“Oh. Sure. I understand,” she responded, her voice as dulcet as he’d imagined.
Intending to leave, he took a step backward and began a pivot toward the door, when she crashed into his right side. So much for making a clean getaway. Not wanting to be rude, he flipped around to apologize and came face-to-face with her.
She stared up at him with clear green eyes. “I’m so sorry.”
Her pale pink lips were swollen as if she’d just spent the last ten minutes with his cock between them. Jesus, were they naturally that plump? Her tongue darted out, moistening her bottom lip and leaving it glistening in an invitation to sample.
“No,” he said, his voice sounding a bit grittier than usual, “I’m sorry.” It was a lie. He couldn’t have planned it better. He coughed to clear his throat before offering his hand. “I’m Tristan.”
A cute little notch formed between her brows as she accepted, placing her palm against his. Her skin was just as soft as he’d imagined it would be.
“I’m…” She lowered her gaze and a beautiful blush crept down her cheeks, disappearing under her dress.
For a myriad of reasons, some people didn’t want to give their real names at these parties. He wasn’t sure why she was hesitant, but seeing that blush sent a jolt straight to his cock.
“Why don’t I just call you Angel?”
“Angel?” she asked breathlessly, peeking up at him through her lush lashes and smiling. “I like that.”
All thoughts of leaving the party fled. He couldn’t go before he got a taste. She was positively edible, and he couldn’t wait to sink his teeth into her.
He took a step closer to her, her hard nipples brushing against his chest. He dipped his head to her neck, inhaling. God, she made his mouth water. “You smell like vanilla.”
“I’m a baker,” she said, a tremor in her voice. Her hands went to his chest, fisting his shirt in her hands as if using him to keep herself upright. “I didn’t have time to shower. Or change.”
That explained why she was wearing only that surprisingly sexy makeshift dress. It was actually a shirt. “You smell delicious.” He sucked the lobe of her ear into his mouth and nibbled. She tasted as sweet as cake, and if her pussy tasted half as delicious, he’d likely go into a diabetic coma by the time the night was over.
At her quiet moan, he whispered, “And your clothes are irrelevant. In five minutes, the only thing you’ll be wearing is a smile. That is, if you consent.”
Her breathing quickened. “If I say yes, what will I be consenting to, exactly?”
Images of her naked and bound flashed through his mind. There were so many dirty things he wanted to do to her, each one ending with her climaxing harder than she ever had before. And he was just the man to make that happen.
He cupped her heart-shaped face in his hands. “Paradise.”

 

 

A sucker for a happy ending, Shelly Bell writes erotic suspense and action-filled erotic thrillers with high-emotional stakes for her alpha heroes and kick-ass heroines.

She began writing upon the insistence of her husband who dragged her to the store and bought her a laptop. When she’s not working her day job, taking care of her family, or writing, you’ll find her reading the latest smutty romance.

She is the author of the BENEDICTION and FORBIDDEN LOVERS series.

 



 

BLURB REVEAL ~ The Last Guy by Ilsa Madden-Mills & Tia Louise

TLG-SignUpPromo

The Last Guy, an all-new steamy standalone from
Ilsa Madden-Mills and Tia Louise is coming June 12th!

THE LAST GUY

By Ilsa Madden-Mills and Tia Louise

Publication Date: June 12th

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Romantic Comedy

The first rule of office romance is don’t do it—especially if your dream is to hold the anchor spot on the nightly news and your boss is trying to get you fired.

But one look at Cade Hill, the sexy new sports director, and uptight reporter Rebecca Fieldstone is daydreaming about other things.

Sex in his office…

Sex in the on-set kitchen…

Sex in the supply closet…

She can’t stop thinking about the former NFL quarterback and how perfect he’d look between her sheets—except he’s an arrogant jerk with a huge… Ego.

He’s the last guy she’d ever have a one-night stand with.

Cade Hill draws a thick professional line on office romance—until it comes to the hyper-focused Rebecca. He wants her, and he gets his wish when a chance encounter has them having the hottest sex of their lives.

It’s just a hook-up, she says.

When can we do it again? he says.

With Rebecca determined to keep Cade in the friend zone, it’s going to be an uphill battle for Cade to convince her that he’s the last guy for her…


TLG square

Get an email alert when THE LAST GUY goes LIVE on Amazon: 

OR

Get a Text Alert as soon as it’s live! Text “TiaLouise” to 64600 Now.*

*U.S. only

 

ADD it on Goodreads:

SEE the inspiration board on Pinterest:

LISTEN to the playlist on Spotify:


About Tia:TL_Logo_NOBCK

“Queen of Hot Romance”; Award-winning, International Bestselling author of the ONE TO HOLD series.

Her debut adult romance ONE TO HOLD was a 2014 “Lady Boner” award-winner, #1 in Military Romance, and a Top 20 Contemporary Romance novel for several months. ONE TO KEEP, #2 in the series of stand-alone novels, followed the same course, with the remaining performing equally well.

From being a “Readers’ Choice” nominee two years running, to picking up USA Today “Happily Ever After” nods, nothing makes her happier than communicating with fans and weaving new tales into the Alexander-Knight world of stories.

A former journalist, Louise lives in the center of the U.S.A. with her lovely family and one grumpy cat. There, she dreams up stories she hopes are engaging, hot, and sexy, and that cause readers rethink common public locations…

It’s possible she has a slight truffle addiction.

Connect with Tia:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorTiaLouise/

Twitter: @AuthorTLouise

Stay up to date with Tia Louise by signing up for her newsletter:

http://smarturl.it/TLMnews

https://authortialouise.com/dirtyplayers/

About Ilsa:IlsaMaddenMillsLogo

New York Times and USA Today best selling author Ilsa Madden-Mills writes about strong heroines and sexy alpha males that sometimes you just want to slap.

She’s addicted to dystopian books and all things fantasy, including unicorns and sword-wielding females. Other fascinations include frothy coffee beverages, dark chocolate, Instagram, Ian Somerhalder (seriously hot), astronomy (she’s a Gemini), and tattoos.

She has a degree in English and a Master’s in Education.

When she’s not pecking away on her computer, she shops for cool magnets and paints old furniture.

 

Connect with Ilsa:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorilsamaddenmills/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ilsamaddenmills
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2k6L96J
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2jjRzlD
Website: http://www.ilsamaddenmills.com/


 

COVER REVEAL ~ Ruckus (Sinners of Saint #2) by L.J. Shen

 

 

Title: Ruckus
Series: Sinners of Saint #2
Author: L.J. Shen

 

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: May 26, 2017
 
 
 
 
Rosie
 
They say that life is a beautiful lie and death a painful truth. They’re right.
No one has ever made me feel more alive than the guy who serves as a constant reminder that my clock is ticking.
He is my forbidden, shiny apple.
The striking fallacy to my blunt, raw, truth.
He is also my sister’s ex-boyfriend.
One thing you should know before you judge me;
I saw him first. I craved him first. I loved him first.
Eleven years later, he waltzed into my life, demanding a second chance.
Dean Cole wants to be my bronze horseman. My white knight has finally arrived. Hopefully, he isn’t too late.
 
Dean

They say the brightest stars burn out the fastest. They’re right.
She sets my mind on fire.
All smart mouth, snarky attitude and a huge heart.
In a world where everything is dull, she shines like fucking Sirius.
Eleven years ago, fate tore us apart.
This time, I fucking dare it to try.
Getting to her is a battlefield, but man, that’s why they call me Ruckus.
Rosie LeBlanc is about to find out how hard I can fight.
And conquering her will be the sweetest victory.
 
 

 


 

 
 
 

 


 
 

 

 


 

 
 
 
 
 

L.J. Shen resides in sunny California with her husband, son, chubby cat and wild, wild dreams.Her passion is to write badass stories, sushi, UFC and her awesome family and friends (not in this order, though. Obviously, sushi comes before writing. Oh, and also the family part.)

She spend the first half of her twenties traveling the world and is now paying all the fun with extra shifts in front of her MacBook. Feel free to contact her on her Facebook page. She loves to hear from her readers.

 
 
 
 

HOSTED BY:


COVER REVEAL ~ My Best Friend’s Ex by Meghan Quinn

SBPRBanner-MyBestFriendsEX-CR.jpg

My Best Friend’s Ex, an all new sexy, laugh out
loud romantic comedy is coming June 1st!

MyBestFriendsEx
My Best Friend’s Ex
by Meghan Quinn

Publication Date: June 1st, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Photographer: Neil Danvers

When I found an eviction notice taped on my apartment door, I had two options: find a comfortable cardboard box to call home, or move in with Tucker Jameson.

Seeing that cardboard makes me feel itchy, I chose the latter. Which shouldn’t be that big of a deal since Tucker is one of my good friends. And because he’s still pining after his ex-girlfriend and I’m trying to finish my nursing degree, there is nothing to worry about in the romance department, making my last semester an easy one to conquer.

Boy, was I wrong.

Rules are set, dinners are made, conversations are had, and a shirtless, swoony roommate walks around in nothing but a pair of black briefs, ruining me for every other man.

Before I know it, I turn into a panting, lust-filled woman begging for Tucker to kiss me, touch me, and show me exactly what is hiding under those briefs.

But with great orgasms, comes great consequences.

Tucker might be my friend and roommate but he’s also my best friend’s ex-boyfriend, making him completely off-limits. At least that’s what my brain is telling me, my heart is speaking an entirely different language.

Add to GoodReads:



About the Author:MeghanQuinnPhoto

A BLONDE AT HEART

Born in New York and raised in Southern California, Meghan has grown into a sassy, peanut butter eating, blonde haired swearing, animal hoarding lady. She is known to bust out and dance if “It’s Raining Men” starts beating through the air and heaven forbid you get a margarita in her, protect your legs because they may be humped.

Once she started commuting for an hour and twenty minutes every day to work for three years, she began to have conversations play in her head, real life, deep male voices and dainty lady coos kind of conversations. Perturbed and confused, she decided to either see a therapist about the hot and steamy voices running through her head or start writing them down. She decided to go with the cheaper option and started writing… enter her first novel, Caught Looking.

Now you can find the spicy, most definitely on the border of lunacy, kind of crazy lady residing in Colorado with the love of her life and her five, furry four legged children, hiking a trail or hiding behind shelves at grocery stores, wondering what kind of lube the nervous stranger will bring home to his wife. Oh and she loves a good boob squeeze!

 

Connect with Meghan:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/meghanquinnauthor
Instagram: authormeghanquinn
Website: http://www.authormeghanquinn.com/

Sign Up for Meghan’s Newsletter: http://bit.ly/MQWrapUp


WEEKEND SALE ~ Ultimate Domain – The Series by JL Moore

✨ Weekend Sale 
✨ This Weekend Only! 

🔥Ultimate Domain – The Series💋



⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Must Read📚

Solitary Domain (Book One) .99
Contemplating Domain (Book Two) .99
Completing Domain (Book Three) – Is Available to Pre-order for (2.99
by JL Moore

When Dominic Main, the thirty-two-year-old devastatingly handsome billionaire, planned the annual gala for his charity Save the Innocent, he never dreamed the paid escort he hired as his date, would call in sick. After the petite beautiful bombshell Iris Bloom becomes his last-minute stand in blind-date; Dominic’s no dating and no relationship rules, are about to be tested, and his solitary existence, altered. Come along for the ride, as Dominic and Iris share moments of utter carnal bliss, and emotional turmoil, while they both struggle to trust each other, and let go of the past.

These three books are a trilogy, and this steamy contemporary romance is the epic love story of Dominic Main and Iris Bloom.

Book one sale link below:
https://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Domain-Book-One-Solitary-ebook/dp/B01MQ0MTF2/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Book two sale link below:
https://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Domain-Book-One-Solitary-ebook/dp/B01MQ0MTF2/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8



Completing Domain 🔥 Coming June 9
PreOrder Sale Today~Links below
Hot❤️Sexy



Completing Domain, is the completion to the beautifully damaged love story of Dominic Main and Iris Bloom. In this last installment of their story, Dominic will come to realize Iris was not unfaithful, and the two will reunite and continue to navigate through their torrid passionate relationship. When Giovanni gets out of jail, his freedom poses a real threat to Iris’s safety. Can Dominic keep her safe? It won’t be easy, and you will soon find out why the stakes are higher now than ever before.

These two lovers deserve to find everlasting love, and this conclusion does not disappoint. Dominic will find all the love he never thought he wanted, and Iris, will find all the happiness she never dared to dream. You won’t want to miss their journey to epic love. This is a heartfelt story you are sure to remember, long after you turn the last page.
Completing Domain is the third book in the Ultimate Domain Series. This is a contemporary romance, with an erotically sensual flair. Watch for “Main Attraction,” book IV a sequel to the original trilogy, coming soon. This is the love story of Dominic’s best friend, Logan McAlister, and Dominic’s sister, Elizabeth “Lizzy” Main; two characters originally introduced in the first three books.

Book III Pre-Order ~Sale~
$2.99
Will be delivered June 9th, 2017
Book III Smashwords:
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/722895

Book III Amazon:
h
ttps://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Domain-Book-Three-Completing-ebook/dp/B072BLZDVF/ref

🔥
If you haven’t read books I and II🔥
Book I:
https://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Domain-Book-One-Solitary-ebook/dp/B01MQ0MTF2/ref

   

 
J. L. Moore started writing because her heart spoke to her with a story she felt she needed to write…..hence, Solitary Domain Book One in the Ultimate Domain Series. Since it’s release, J. L. has been astounded by the incredible response with regard to her work and is continuing the series with Contemplating Domain due to release in Dec 2016. J. L. has established her own writing style by creating beautiful deeply damaged characters in this compelling contemporary romance that weaves a complex epic love story. The Ultimate Domain Series is full of heat, with several twists and turns.

J. L. is a sweet n’ sassy Southern girl. if she isn’t writing, you might find her on a boat or a motorcycle.

She loves to connect with her readers so be sure to sign up for her newsletter through her website: jlmooreauthor.com along with following her on Twitter at: @jlmooreauthor or even Facebook: J. L. Moore Author
  
 

 

 

 

COVER REVEAL ~ Tank (Moonshine Task Force #2) by Laramie Briscoe

 

 

 

 
Title: Tank
Series: Moonshine Task Force #2
Author: Laramie Briscoe

 

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Cover Design: Kari Ayasha, Cover To Cover Designs
Release Date: June 2, 2017
 
Blurb

Life isn’t promised, love isn’t easy, and relationships aren’t always clean, but everyone has their soulmate who is willing to forgive when it would be better to forget.
 
Trevor “Tank” Trumbolt
 

I never thought in the blink of an eye my life could change, but it did. Cresting a hill driving to my favorite fishing spot, I was hit head-on by a teenager with no regard for anyone’s life but his own. The recovery process has been hard, painful, and damn near beating me down.

The bright spot? Blaze.
 
Surviving the wreck has given me a second chance to make a life with her. Not knowing if I’ll ever be able to rejoin the Moonshine Task Force again has brought my world into focus. It’s made me realize what’s important.
 
Blaze. Stella. My brothers. My sister.
 
The ego that ran Blaze away before isn’t here any longer. What’s left is a man who’s holding his heart in his hands and a burning hope that once I’m healed she’ll still be around.
 
Daphne “Blaze” Coleman
 
There’s only been one person in the world who’s accepted me for who I am – from the fiery red of my hair and vibrant tattoos covering parts of my body to the smartness of my mouth and my desire to be matched in the bedroom.
 
That man is Trevor Trumbolt. When he asked me to give up my job as an EMT because he saw the dangers I face one scary afternoon, it spelled the end for us.
 
Now that he’s been injured, he needs my help and my love. I’ll give it all freely, but in the end I’m gonna need him to understand one thing about relationships. The give and take, love and sadness, pleasure and pain is a two-way street. He’s either in this with me or he’s not, but at the end of the day, I won’t let him boss me around.
 
If there’s anything that can handle the steel of a tank – it’s the heat of a blaze.

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
Pre-order Links
 
AMAZON: US / UK / CA / AU
 

 


 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Also Available
 
 
 
 
AMAZON: US / UK / CA / AU
B&N / KOBO / iBOOKS
 

 

 
Author Bio
 

Laramie Briscoe is the best-selling author of the Heaven Hill Series & the Rockin’ Country Series.
Since self-publishing her first book in May of 2013, Laramie Briscoe has published over 10 books. She’s appeared on the Top 100 Bestselling E-books Lists on iBooks, Amazon Kindle, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble. She’s been called “a very young Maya Banks” (Amazon reviewer) and her books have been accused of being “sexy, family-oriented, romances with heart”.When she’s not writing alpha males who seriously love their women, she loves spending time with friends, reading, and marathoning shows on her DVR. Married to her high school sweetheart, Laramie lives in Bowling Green, KY with her husband (the Travel Coordinator) and a sometimes crazy cat named Beau.

 
 
Author Links
 

COVER REVEAL ~ Plight by K.M. Golland

Title: Plight

Author: K.M. Golland

Genre: Romantic Comedy
Cover Design: Hang Le
Release Date: May 29, 2017
 

 

Blurb
Plight
[plahyt]
Noun: a difficult, or otherwise unfortunate situation.
Verb: pledge or solemnly promise. Be engaged to be married.
 
 
I promised myself to a man. Well, technically, I promised myself to a boy. We were eight years old. Neighbours. He gave me a Cheezel, pushed it onto my finger, and asked me to marry him.
I ate the Cheezel.
I also said, “Yes” but that we’d have to wait until we were thirty.
It was my thirtieth birthday last week and now he’s calling in that promise.
Seriously, Elliot Parker is insane if he thinks that an out of the blue private Facebook message stipulating the binding law of an oral contractual agreement is going to seal our twenty-two-year bullshit engagement.
Insane.
I wonder if he really does look like his profile picture, though.
 
 
 


 
 
 


Pre-order Links
$2.99 special pre-order price

AMAZON: US / UK / CA / AU 
B&N / KOBO / iBOOKS
 
 


 
Author Bio
 

 “I’m an author. I am married. I am a mother of two adorable little people. I’m a bookworm, craftworm, movieworm, and sportsworm. I’m also a self confessed shoe-aholic, tea-aholic, car-aholic, and bridge-aholic.”

 
Born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, K.M. Golland is a best selling hybrid author, and a ranty, married mother of two with a very healthy high heel obsession.
 
 
Author Links
 

Giveaway

Rafflecopter giveaway


 

N.M. Catalano Writer/Author

Adult Content, 18+ Only

Lisa Everyday Life

Dim Sum of My Life.- Come share a small part of my life.

Exile on Peachtree Street

Hunter S. Jones. Author. Atlanta GA

Thoughts With a Dildo in Hand

My story about depression, marijuana, and the best orgasms I've ever had.

Get Weekly Erotic Tales

Erotica, Writing About Writing Sex, and Much More!

BE MY BOOK BOYFRIEND

Fictional characters non-fictional feelings

...Burns Through Her Bookshelf

Voracious reader, book lover, spastic blogger, audiologist. These things are some of me, but not the sum of me.

DPAPA

Living a flip flop life!

Pink Ink

Ten authors, four countries, one blog.

After Dark Book Lovers

END YOUR DAY WITH A GOOD BOOK

Book Loving Pixies

We live to read ~ we love to read!!!!

Love Words & Books Blog

Keep Reading, Keep Dreaming...

Rusty's Reading

A place to spotlight books and authors

Rumpled Sheets Blog

#Rumpled_Sheets

Storytime with John

Pull up and listen...I've got a funny one for ya...

jessielanebooks.wordpress.com/

Best-Selling Romance Author

So, I Read This Book Today

Editing, Proofreading, Reviewing and Other Stuff

theinnerwildkat

Passions For Books, Writing and Music-however it manifests itself

Mallery Malone

Romance with a little heat

Just Another Book Bitch

FREEBIES, DEALS, REVIEWS, & PROMTIONS

ALL THINGS ROMANCE

LYNN A REYNOLDS. This site is for those readers 18 years old +.

Living with Cats

Just another WordPress.com weblog

IRC 2014 - Indie Romance Convention

Serving Indie press, Small press and Hybrid press Romance Authors

%d bloggers like this: