Category Archives: Excerpt

RELEASE BLITZ ~ An Act of Courage (Acts of Honor Series #4) by KC Lynn

 

Title: An Act of Courage
(Acts of Honor Series – Book 4)

Author: KC Lynn

Release Date: March 20, 2017
TBR Link: Goodreads
 
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Synopsis

 
She’s the light from his past.
He’s the one her heart has always longed for. 
 
Trained by the best, Christopher Walker has fought hard for his country and even harder to forget the only girl he’s ever loved. He spent countless nights submerged in death and destruction only to find himself clinging to the memories of her when the darkness crept in. 
 
When her life is threatened, Christopher will stop at nothing to protect her. Even if it means having to confront his past.
 
Alissa Malone never thought she would find herself face-to-face again with the only boy she’s ever loved. But she soon realizes Christopher is not the same man he once was. 
 
His touch is still electrifying—his voice still earth shattering. But there’s a darkness about him that wasn’t there before. A pain he harbors so deep that she can feel it all the way to her soul. 
 
One fateful moment destroyed his very existence, and only one person will be able to make him realize that what he considers an act of dishonor was truly an act of courage.
 
***
 
This is Book Four in the Acts Of Honor series, the spin-off series to Men Of Honor. It is not necessary to read all of the other books in the series. However, I do highly recommend that you at least read Resisting Temptation, the third book in the Men of Honor series, since this is where these Characters story began.

 
 

 

 


Excerpt

One minute I’m drumming to a beat I could never play on my own then the next I’m flipped around to face him, his fingers digging into my hips possessively. I gasp, my breath racing as I stare back at him.
 
Something passes between us.
 
A decision.
 
A choice.
 
No more fighting this.
 
“Fuck complicated.” His earlier words fall past his lips then our mouths become one.
 
The connection slams into me, sending my heart reeling. Our tongues duel in a beautiful battle, the sound of our passion filling the air as our past ignites.
 
A growl erupts from him, vibrating against my lips. “You taste as good as I remember.”
 
I want to tell him the same thing but can’t. All I can think about is his mouth never leaving mine, not even for a second, or it might kill me.
 
At this moment, I’m not even sure how I survived so long without it—without him.
 
He slides the stool closer to the drum set before his hand moves between us and presses on my chest. I seize the opportunity to suck in air and let him guide me to my back, my shoulders resting against the musical cylinders.
 
His hands move to mine and it’s then I realize I still have the drumsticks gripped tightly in my fists. With a sexy smirk, he pries them both from me, throwing one on the floor but keeps hold of the other.
 
His dark eyes never sever from mine as he unbuttons the shirt I’m wearing, exposing me to his stare. The cool air whispers over my heated flesh, my nipples straining for his touch.
 
                “So fucking pretty.” The wild lust in his eyes triggers an intense desire in me.
 
                 I bite my lip to keep from moaning but all silent caution is thrown out the window the moment he takes the stick and brushes the tip of it over one aching bud.
 
                Another gasp parts my lips, a fiery whimper purging from me at the cool, hard feel. My back arches, the small touch igniting an inferno in my body.
 
                “Remember the things I used to do to your body, Alissa? How wet you would get when you’d hear me sing?” he murmurs, dragging the smooth wood down my tummy. “You’d beg me to take your ache away. Remember?”
 
                “Yes. Do you?” I ask. I’m dying to know. Has he thought of me as much as I have him?
 
                “Yeah, baby. There isn’t a moment of our time together that I’ve ever forgotten.”
 
                His admission has my throat burning and heart aching. Aching at the loss of him, of what we could have had.
 
                What we did have.
 
                “The good,” he whispers. “The bad.” He slips the stick in my panties. “And the fucking beautiful.”
 
                “Oh, god, Christopher.” His name spills past my lips on a cry of pleasure as he glides the stick through my wet flesh, slowly working it against my swollen clit.
 
                He plays my body like he plays every instrument. With skilled perfection and grace. Keeping his momentum, he leans down just enough to suck a hard nipple into his mouth. His teeth graze it with a pressure that borders on a beautiful pain and it’s enough to send me over the edge.
 
                Blissful cries rip from my throat as I’m swept up into an intense storm of pleasure.
 
                “Good girl, scream for me, Alissa. Let me have your pleasure because next it’s going to be my cock working this hot little pussy.”

 


 
About the Author
 
K.C. Lynn is a small town girl living in Western Canada. She married her high school sweetheart and they have four amazing children: two lovely girls and a set of handsome twin boys. It was her love for romance books that gave K.C. the courage to sit down and write her own novel. When she is not in her writing cave, pounding out new characters and stories, she can be found living between the pages of a book, meeting new tattooed, hot alpha males with very big…Hearts.
 
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RELEASE TOUR ~ Spy Fall by Audrey Randall

Spy Fall

Author: Audrey Randall
Release Date: 3/20/2017

 

He’s the man with the golden… you get the picture. Delilah Faber is the geekiest woman she has ever met, and that’s saying a lot considering she is a programmer at one of the world’s most famous video game companies. She believes that fate is playing a cruel trick on her by making her best friend, Brandon Ryker, not only the sexiest man she has ever seen, but also one of the CIA’s top agents. If only she could tell him how she feels…


Brandon has been in love with Delilah for years, but feels less nervous at facing the business end of a gun barrel than sharing his passion for her. However, after one particularly difficult assignment, the world is not enough to stop him from making it his mission to make her see that they are meant to be. He will take her shaken and stirred. Will Brandon save her and will they live to love another day?

WARNING: This book is full of over-the-top Bond references. Corny to the hilt, but oh so fun! Let yourself enjoy this fun romp. For your eyes only!


 

Universal Amazon Link: 
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He’s the man with the golden… you get the picture.
 
The world is not enough for Brandon and Delilah. Will they be able to find love?
 
She’s for his eyes only. Will they find love or only trouble?
 


 

EXCERPT 1

“Well, frack, I just have to do this,” she sighed, seeming resigned to some mysterious fate.

Closing her eyes she leaned forward with a puckered mouth. At first Brandon wasn’t sure what she was doing, but then as her mouth awkwardly pressed against his chin, he realized she was trying to kiss him. His heart pumped up a few notches, and despite the thugs waiting to take him down, he looped his arm with the gun around her waist and pulled her close. With his other hand, he gently took hold of her chin and aimed her mouth to his. He heard her intake of breath as their lips met and melded. What he hadn’t been expecting was the feeling of electricity coursing through his body. It felt like someone had taken a paddle to his chest and shocked him with all the amps they had. He longed for more, but the scuffle of feet nearby reminded him that they would have an audience in just a moment.

Letting go, he looked at her, “I’ll be back.”

Delilah put a hand to her forehead and pretended to swoon, almost making Brandon laugh.

EXCERPT 2

However, one cold, rainy October day, as he had passed by her house on his way home, he saw that she was sleeping on her porch. She looked so peaceful that he couldn’t help himself but to sneak up to be just a little closer to the most captivating person he had ever seen. He hated to admit it, but she was like a magnet drawing him near. As he approached, he accidently stepped on a twig, waking her. Her deep blue eyes slowly opened and looked into his, he felt his mouth drop open. He was sunk. His heart stopped for a moment and he wondered if it would beat again. Moments later it began again, but with a different beat- Delilah.

EXCERPT 3

As Brandon looked into Delilah’s confused eyes, he felt like he’d had had the wrong purpose for most of his life. He had focused on making himself good enough to one day claim her, but he had missed out on so much. His missions took him all over the world, doing things that people only thought happened in the movies. It was exciting, but also lonely. Especially lonely as he found himself longing for a family of his own. Delilah had always been home to him. She was the one adopted family member that he could count on. Looking at her made his gut twist as he felt that he had missed too much time. Her reaction alone told him that he was losing her trust. He needed to find a way to prove to her that he was there for her. Always.




When the world is not enough, it’s time to enter in a giveaway to win a $30 Amazon Gift Card. What will you buy with yours? Of course, it may not be enough to get an Aston Martin, but it sure will buy you a copy of Audrey Randall’s upcoming release, Spy Fall. If you are a fan or erotic romance, sexy spies, and nerdy ladies, then be sure to check it out! (Universal Amazon Link:
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BLOG TOUR ~ Delayed Call by Toni Aleo

 

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Vaughn Johansson is the Nashville Assassins’ star player. He’s brash, cocky, and talented. And he isn’t afraid to let anyone know it. He lives his life on his own terms, never forming romantic attachments, and only allowing his very closest to see his true, caring self.

Brie Soledad has the weight of the world on her shoulders. As the staff reporter for the Assassins, she balances her high-profile job and its heavy travel schedule with being the sole provider for her adult brother with Down syndrome. Sure, she’d like to find love. But who has time for that when there are bills to pay?

Brie has been the match to Vaughn’s gasoline since the day she first held out her microphone to him. They strike sparks off each other, keeping their friends, the team, and the Assassins fans in stitches. Brie’s refusal to fawn over Vaughn sets his teeth on edge and his blood boiling. Especially in that body part…

Brie’s been let down by love before, but she knows she deserves nothing less than real, forever love. Vaughn’s past has left deep, hidden scars, and there are some secrets he cannot bear to reveal. As much as Brie wants him, Vaughn may be too big a risk for her wary heart to take. But he is at his best under pressure.
When the delayed call is in effect and he has no choice but to score, Vaughn  always delivers
.


When Tricksie started to bark more frantically as he put his hat on, he looked down at her. “Two seconds, baby.”
She continued to bark as he grabbed his keys before reaching for the door, which she took off out of. He went to tell her to calm down, but before he could, he heard a woman’s voice, “Oh, my goodness! Hello!”
Peeking his head out the door, he found Brie on the ground. On her back, her arms around Tricksie as she jumped and licked her to death. “Oh, my God! Hello. My name is Brie. You are the cutest little dog I’ve ever seen in my whole life. Yes, you are. What is your name? Tricksie? Oh, my goodness, I just love you, I do. Is that your name because you are a three-legged baby and your daddy thinks he’s awesome at scoring hat tricks? I bet so.”
“For your information, yes.”
Brie just grinned as she continued to kiss and love on Tricksie. Which Tricksie was eating up like mad. “Do you want a treat? Treat? Ah, come on.”
Then she yanked the leash out of Vaughn’s hand before picking Tricksie up and kissing her head. “Hey, that’s my dog.”
“I know,” was all she said before pushing her door open and taking his dog into her apartment.
“Can I have her back?” Peeking his head in her door, he watched as she went to the kitchen, grabbing a treat bag before putting Tricksie on the counter and feeding her.
“Don’t worry, they’re all-natural treats. The guys across the hall in my last building had four French Bulldogs, and I used to give them treats until they went into food comas.”
Tricksie was going crazy, obviously falling for the blond-haired beauty who stood before her. Like the day before when they had moved Rodney in, she was wearing jeans and a shirt that he assumed said something witty. He couldn’t see because she was still cuddling Tricksie as she fed her. “You shouldn’t give treats to other people’s dogs.”
She looked up from Tricksie, her lips still curved in the most beautiful grin he had ever seen on her face. “You’re right. I’m sorry. Is it okay if I continue to feed her?”
Why did he find her so lovely at that moment? Her hair was a mess, tucked into a knit cap, yet she looked like someone he could cuddle with. If he cuddled. Not that he cuddled. Unsure of his feelings, he shrugged. “She needs to pee.”
“Okay, one more,” she said sweetly before feeding Tricksie and then kissing her hard on the head. “You can come in.”
He didn’t like how she was making him feel. It was weird. Like he wanted to go behind her, bury his nose in her hair, and just hold her. She looked so damn gorgeous, snuggling his dog and making her feel like the princess she was. Vaughn’s hands itched to touch Brie, and he didn’t understand that. He never itched for anything. He fucked women and moved on, but watching Brie as she acted a fool with his dog, he wanted to…cuddle.
Why did he keep thinking that?
Grumbling at his stupidity, he entered, shutting the door but staying right by it. “She really does need to pee.”
“Oh, yeah, sorry,” she said, kissing Tricksie again. “I really love dogs. I never got to have one growing up. Rodney is allergic to them.”
He nodded. “Yeah, Jensen said he had to put her up when Rod came over the other day.”
“It sucks, but I love them so much. They’re so much fun, and bless her, she’s gorgeous. What happened to her leg?”
“Hit by a car. I adopted her like that. She came in hurt, and they fixed her up.”
Her eyes lit up. “That’s sweet you adopted her. She looks happy as all get-out.”
“She’s spoiled, that’s for sure.”

Watch the trailer HERE

 


 

 

 




 

My name is Toni Aleo and I’m a total dork.
I am a wife, mother of two and a bulldog, and also a hopeless romantic.
I am the biggest Shea Weber fan ever, and can be found during hockey season with my nose pressed against the Bridgestone Arena’s glass, watching my Nashville Predators play!
When my nose isn’t pressed against the glass, I enjoy going to my husband and son’s hockey games, my daughter’s dance competition, hanging with my best friends, taking pictures, scrapbooking, and reading the latest romance novel.
I have a slight Disney and Harry Potter obsession, I love things that sparkle, I love the color pink, I might have been a Disney Princess in a past life… probably Belle.
… and did I mention I love hockey?

 

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BLOG TOUR ~ Twice As Hard by Amber Bardan

 

 

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They caught me. Naked, shivering and dripping after a spontaneous swim in the forest. Two rugged men whose hard gazes captivated and scared me all at once.

They warned me. Told me I was on private property and I needed to obey the law…or I would be punished.

The idea of them both punishing me, pleasuring me, kept tormenting me. I couldn’t want them. I shouldn’t. But I did.

I didn’t mean to trespass again. I thought I could retreat without notice. But they’re coming for me.

To show me the pleasure in pain. To show me just how right forbidden can feel. And to love me twice as hard as I ever fantasized.

 




The waitress delivers my order, side-stepping Pippa sprawled by my feet.

I pick up the teapot. A rumble vibrates beside us. The teacup rattles on the saucer. A waft of exhausts hits me mid-inhalation. I choke, setting down the teapot to straighten the cup.
A giant blue pickup pulls in front of the tea house, blocking the quaint town view. Excellent. I wave in front of my face, clearing the last of the fumes, then fill the teacup.
What kind of asshole parks—
The door opens. I set the teapot down with a clunk. That kind. My pulse skips. Clarke emerges from the pickup.
Then the other one, Luke, climbs from the passenger side.
Luke, who saw me naked in the fucking forest.
My breath catches, this time nothing to do with fumes and everything to do with them.
Two hunters here among pastries and teacups and I’m still not sure, yet, if civilization takes me off the menu.
Clarke turns, his attention coming to land on me. He smiles, tight-lipped, and one-sided, and completely of the devil. My chest somersaults. Luke looks at me. He brushes his thumb under his bottom lip like he’s just eaten—or is about to.
A rumble fills my belly, making my hand fly to my stomach.
The table jerks to the side as Pippa lunges toward the men. Her bark snaps.
I grab on to the table top, holding it down. “Settle, Pippa.”
She strains her leash, her bark a series of high sharp shouts. The table slides another two inches. I hold on as best I can, given Pippa weighs not much less than me.
“Sit, Pip.”
The table tips.
“Sit.” The deep command rings out.
The table falls back into place with a rattle. Pippa drops, lying flat to the ground, face right between her paws, as low as she can get.
I pant, then look up at Clarke standing beside my table. His devilish expression spreads to his eyes. Why? I grip the edge of my seat, then look down in horror. I dropped down to sit just like Pip. Yes, I did. He could’ve just as well have barked the command at me, given how well I obeyed him.
“That’s a good girl,” he says, and bends.
Wait, what me? Nope, not hardly, but right now I almost want to be.
He reaches toward Pippa.
Alarm blasts through me. She’s my dog and I don’t want her confused as to what side she’s supposed to be on. “Wait—”
He scratches the top of her head, ignoring my protest.
She accepts his touch as though she’s been drugged into submission. Luke comes to crouch beside Clarke, and pats Pippa’s back. Great. Now they’re all best freaking buddies. She’ll probably follow them home and forget I exist. I glance between them. Luke whispers something to her under his breath. Hell, maybe I’m wrong about them.
I’ve found people who are nice to animals are generally nice to people, as well.
Pippa rolls over, wrapping herself in her lead. Little whore. Not that I blame her, with all that attention and their big hands all over her. I’m suddenly a little jealous of my dog.
Maybe they’re not that bad. Maybe they just take trespassing really seriously.
“Husband joining you?”
My mouth opens. That’s right, my husband. My tongue flicks out. He stares at me, and that look he has on him…he’s one-hundred percent evil, and oh so smug. Like he knows there’s no man here with me, coming for me, or joining me.
Attraction pulses thick, making my mouth water. Now who’s a whore? I want to feel guiltier than this, but I can’t.
“Why do you think that?” The question is better than the possible responses, such as, “Actually I’m all alone and you’ve seduced my only companion.”
“You have two pastries on your table.”
I glance at the scattered food. One of the pastries has departed the plate. Yes, there are. I ordered two Danishes right off the bat without even seeing if one would do. Disobeyed instructions. Was greedy.
I clear my throat. “I like having two of a good thing.”
Luke straightens to standing. There’s something too intense about him. He still hasn’t said a word, but the way his attention hones in so sharply on me now, is bolder than anything I’ve ever been told. It’s a knife through butter.
“Do you?” Clarke’s voice is huskier than before. I look back at him and reexamine what I just said.
I like having two of a good thing.
My blood goes combustible because now I’m picturing two of a good thing. I’m picturing being the soft apple center in their man-pastry.
I’m picturing things a decent woman would never dream of.
I clear my throat, and reach for the tea.
Clarke stands, and the two of them take a nearby table, taunting me with an image I can’t forget.
Two of a bad, bad thing.
 


 

 


 


After spending years imagining fictional adventures, Amber finally found a way to turn daydreaming into a productive habit. She now spends her time in a coffee-fuelled adrenaline haze, writing romance with a thriller edge.

She lives with her husband and children in semi-rural Australia, where if she peers outside at the right moment she might just see a kangaroo bounce by.

Amber is an award winning writer, Amazon Bestselling Author, and member of Romance Writers of Australia, Melbourne Romance Writers Guild, and Writers Victoria.

 

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BLOG TOUR ~ Between The Secrets by S. Ferguson

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Between the Secrets by S. Ferguson

Release Date: March 16th, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance

 

Between the Secrets, an all-new MM romance
by S. Ferguson is available now!!

 

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00007]


Sometimes the past won’t let you escape no matter how much your future wants you to.

Jake James lives in the shadows of his shame. The guilt for what he’s done, for what was done to him, has left him hollow and haunted.

Greg Bissen just wants Jake to let him in, having accepted who he is a long time ago, he is desperate to break through Jake’s defenses.

When danger and an agonizing loss threatens to tear them apart, will Jake let the burdens of his past crush him?

Or can love really conquer all, even if it’s hiding in between the secrets?


Excerpt:

I hear a clatter, pulling me out of my own head, as Jake tries to yank the dusty cloth off the stove. That’s enough of that shit. I don’t know if the stove is still connected to the gas and I don’t feel like dying in a giant fireball tonight.

Marching up to Jake, I grab his shoulders and try to steer him toward the back door, but he isn’t having it. Spinning around, he puts us chest to chest. I swallow the sudden lump in my throat. Does he know? Of course he doesn’t.

The tension between us has been rising to a boiling point. Our chemistry is so much deeper than just friendship. Jake’s walls come down when he drinks, but I have never dared to hope for a moment like this.

“There isn’t any food,”Jake pouts, his baby face making him look like an adorable child—a child I want to smack and kiss, in no particular order. I’m tired too and ready to go home. But I know Jake won’t drop his hunt for food. We’ve been down this road before.

I sigh in defeat. “I’ll take you to Waffle House,”I whisper. I’ll push aside my tiredness for Jake. I would do almost anything for him. This moment feels intimate, being in the dark alone with him in my arms. It’s pretty much every dream I’ve ever had come true.

“Greg…”Jake’s voice trails off. I can just barely see in the dim light, but it looks like his eyes are focused on my lips.

“Fuck, don’t look at me like that.”It’s only a half-hearted protest. More of me wants this than not. And that’s the problem.

Jake doesn’t speak. He just leans forward and then, after a brief hesitation, pushes his lips to mine.

My entire body stiffens, afraid to move. God I hope this isn’t some drunken mistake on his part. My hands lock into their position resting on his shoulders. I’m so nervous I’ll spook him. I know his history, probably better than most. I don’t know if he realizes what he’s doing. I know I’m a bastard for not pushing him away, and despite all these thoughts, about ninety percent of the blood in my body is rushing south.

Jake ignores the fact that I’ve frozen on my feet. Slanting his head, his tongue teases my bottom lip, asking me to open up.

And I do. Oh my God, I do.

He wraps his arms around the back of my neck, pulling us even closer. I can feel I’m not the only one aroused by this, his erection pushing against mine through our dress pants. He moans when he feels my hard-on pushing back, and that’s all I need to thaw. I move my left hand up to the back of his head and take control of the kiss. I don’t even think about it; I lower my right hand to rub him through his pants. Despite the material between us, I can feel how hard he is. I feel the heat coming off of him. He moans long and low into my mouth, thrusting himself into my hand.

I curse as I manage to undo his button and fly with one hand, mentally high-fiving myself for the coordination, and reach past the layers of fabric to grip him. He’s just as big as I thought he would be. Smooth skin over something hard enough to hammer nails. I run my hand from his base to tip. I had already known from plenty of times in the men’s room together that he was uncut, but feeling it like this makes me want to do so many dangerous things to him. I wonder how he would feel about me nibbling on…

A sudden crash scares the shit out of us. I rip my mouth from Jake’s and we both turn our heads to our left at the same time.

Ron is standing in the doorway. Despite the shitty lighting, I can see his heaving chest. His eyes are wide and he’s holding his gun.

This is not good. This is so not fucking good.


BTS-AN

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Ferguson is a military wife and mother of three. She loves to find beauty in the flawed and broken.

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BOOK TOUR ~ Hero Hair by Rachel Robinson

      


Want to meet a “Real Seal?”

Hero Hair is NOW LIVE & Free on Kindle Unlimited!

**99cents for a limited time**

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Blurb

Everyone knows there is no “I” in team, but to Macs Newstead–orgasm-gifting, muscle-filled Navy SEAL hero–there are more important words than team. Words like victory and vanity and selfishness. People say those words like they are a bad thing, but to Macs, they’re simply tools in his highly effective arsenal. When a man’s entire existence revolves around the necessity to end lives, silly, mundane things like second dates or monogamy seem worthy sacrifices.

Downward facing dog or doggy-style–it’s all the same to Teala Smart, a whip-smart yoga instructor. She owns her studio like she owns her life–with focus, positive energy, and pure devotion. That devotion, however, does not trickle into her love life (or more accurately, her lust life.) Relationships are a roadblock to her success. They get in the way and tangle up emotions more than the lotus pose tangles up limbs. Men are best kept just for a night and then released into the wild before feelings get too messy.

HERO HAIR, the second novel of International Bestselling Author Rachel Robinson’s THE REAL SEAL SERIES, is the account of an life-altering journey detailing the awakening of two hollow hearts, both set on taking their own pleasures without any emotional attachment. The ruthless SEAL finally meets an enemy he can’t defeat, and both Macs and Teala find, against their wishes, and despite atrocious circumstances, a chemistry so explosive it leaves nothing but deconstructing love in its wake.



Excerpt

“Still want to have our third date?” he asks, pulling his t-shirt up to expose his abs. He bites the dark, cotton fabric, like men in fashion magazines do. With his abs flexed he poses so casual, so fucking drool-worthy, so over-the-top, and he gets away with it. He tosses the shirt onto the counter, with his tongue caught between his teeth.

I blow out a breath. It’s as hot as a Channing Tatum movie. More so, because I can actually touch this body–can do whatever I want with this body. “How am I supposed to say anything but yes when you don’t play fair? You’re over there with your goddamn abs and dimples and precision stripping skills.” I motion to his body.

“Babe, you played dirty first. Your mouth is like a fucking dirty poker game. One you’ll win every single time.”

I wrinkle my forehead. “Thanks I guess. Third date?” I ask, tilting my head to the side.

“Let’s go to my bedroom,” he says.




About the Author

Rachel grew up in a small, quiet town full of loud talkers. Her words were always only loud on paper. She has been writing stories and creating characters for as long as she can remember. After living on the west coast for many years she recently moved to Virginia Beach, VA.

 

Stalk Rachel here:  Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads


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NEW RELEASE ~ Under Fire by Aria Cole

 


Blaise Michaels has never met a fire he couldn’t tame—or a woman who could cause a fire-alarm blaze in his heart. But the night he meets Brianna Foster is a night that will leave permanent marks on them both.

Brianna Foster wasn’t looking for love—in fact, all she was looking for was her grumpy old cat before the building dissolved into ash around them. But when tall, dark, and heroic bursts through her apartment door to save her—and her pussy—from the flames, she never dreams he would light a fire that could incinerate her heart.

Warning: Blaise is a big, growly, alpha male with a hero complex. Saving Brianna isn’t enough for him. He wants more than just in her bed. He wants her tied to him for life.

 


Brianna
 
   “Here, kitty, kitty, kitty,”
   I cooed, tossing another treat his way.  
   A low grumble vibrated from somewhere by the bed.
   “Don’t be a bad boy. Come to Mommy.” I tried my best to stay calm as fire alarms rang around my head. “Jinx…”
   I heard the bang of footsteps up the old stairwell.  
   “Jinx! For God’s sake, come to Mommy!” I inched closer, the fire alarms wearing on my last fucking nerve. “Jinx, come here, boy. Please come here.”     
   The old cat crouched farther under the bed.  
   I could hear more footsteps pounding down the hallway now, doors banging, people running.  
   There’d been a half a dozen false alarms in the last year I’d been living here, but this time, I’d heard the sirens outside. There were a lot of emergency vehicles currently parked in front of my small apartment complex, and something told me this wasn’t a false alarm.  
   “Jinx, goddammit, get your grouchy little ass over here.” I lunged under the bed, the edge of the cheap metal frame cutting into my upper thigh. “Fuck!”  
   I kept stretching, trying desperately to dig my fingers into his soft fur so I could haul him out of here with me.  
   No way could I leave my sweet kitty in a building that was going up in flames.     
   It was probably just Mrs. Avery on the third floor, blind as an old bat and cooking soup. The flames had crawled all the way up the wall and left a trail of soot the last time this had happened, and the super still hadn’t replaced her range hood. She complained about it to me every time I went upstairs for cookies and tea. I hated the tea, she put way more lemon in it than I liked, but I choked it down for her.  
   I hoped she was safe. I hoped everyone, as motley a crew as they may be, was already out on the lawn. I’d grown attached to everyone here, and in a way, we’d banded together over the complete lack of upkeep on the part of our landlord.  
   If it wasn’t peeling paint or heaved sidewalks, it was a leaking pipe or a burned-out air conditioner.  
   I hated this fucking building. Part of me hoped it would go up in flames, but I knew it was the cheapest rent I could find in this city. Rents were climbing higher and higher every year, and I was barely making it as is.
   If I didn’t have an apartment to live in, where the hell would I go?
  “Jinx…” I tossed him another treat, begging him to inch just a little closer. “Please, boy?”
    A half a dozen loud bangs rattled the door of my apartment. Jinx chose that moment to swipe at my hand, slicing my finger ruthlessly and causing blood to pool between my fingers.
   “Fuck!” I recoiled, not bothering to check the gash on my thigh that was now throbbing, and launched down the short hallway to my front door.
    Just as I reached the kitchen, the door burst open and a firefighter, complete with breathing mask, barged in.  
   A pair of intense dark eyes was all I could see of the stranger, his hand waving me to him rapidly.  
   I shook my head, stubborn tenacity and adrenaline charging through my veins as I turned back down the hallway. I didn’t even give a shit that I was seriously undressed. I had to get Jinx.  
   “Ma’am!” The firefighter pounded down the hall after me.  
   I slid beneath the bed again, stretching to reach Jinx.  
   “Ma’am, I’ve got to get you out of here.” His hand rested at my back. Gentler than I would have expected considering the layers of fireproof gear he wore.
   I shook my head, glancing over my shoulder to find he’d taken off his mask.  
   And then the air was sucked straight out of my lungs.  
   Warm, honeyed skin stretched across a dark, stubbled jaw. The angles of his face inviting, the dark slash of his eyebrows and empathy radiating from his eyes making me weak in the knees. His full lips parted with each breath, the reckless, unkempt dark hair…he was the walking embodiment of a firefighter’s calendar I’d seen a while back. Except this guy was better, features so chiseled I was pretty sure I would spontaneously combust if I stared at him for too long. Why did it feel like something was twisting down deep in my belly with just one look?
   Wait, what is going on again?
   Why is there a gorgeous, rugged fireman in my bedroom?
   Right.  
   Jinx.  “My cat,” I breathed, pointing under the bed, shaking the fireman-induced haze from my brain.
   “Your cat is under the bed?” His throaty voice curled my toes. I gulped.
   “I can’t leave him.” His eyes heated with understanding. “I’ll get him.”
    He stood, walking around the bed, his gait slow and confident. I would have killed to see what he was packing under that fireman’s getup, if the place wasn’t burning down around us, that is.
  “Wait—” I interjected. “He’s been a moody bastard. He might bite you.”
    A crooked smile that made my stomach turn somersaults cracked his lips. “I’ve encountered a lot of mean kitties. That’s why they give me the gloves.” He held up one gloved hand and winked.  
   He winked.  
   He fucking winked at me.
   I nodded, unable to form a syllable before tall, rugged, and dangerously sexy leaned beneath the bed and swiped up my ornery old cat in one hand. He cradled Jinx in the crook of his elbow, covering his eyes before coming around the bed for me.
   “Let’s go.” He held out a hand.  
   My lips slid open, the way his eyes held mine leaving me completely transfixed. His dominant presence ate up the energy between us and made me a slave to his scrutiny. I couldn’t think straight, could hardly take a breath without feeling his gaze prickle my skin. I felt completely immobile. As cheesy as it might sound, I was a deer in the headlights, those headlights being his intense eyes. I could swear my heart was beating a hundred miles an hour, and at that moment, I was thankful for the fire and the search for Jinx because it hid my embarrassing reaction to this stranger.
   “You gonna make me carry you?” He did that crooked grin thing again that I’m pretty sure had the ability to get me pregnant. I pondered asking him to carry me just because I wanted the feel of his hard, firm body pressed against mine, but my leg chose that moment to throb fiercely, reminding me of the wound I’d gotten earlier. I glanced down, seeing rivers of red streak down my leg. Well, if I pass out from his heat, at least I can pretend it’s from the gallons of blood I am losing from my leg.
   “Shit.”
   He bent over for a closer look. “Let’s get you safe.”
   He pulled me against him in one arm, sliding Jinx into my hands before swooping his other under me and carrying me out of my bedroom. My heart thundered in erratic beats as I felt every inch of him pressed to me, his hands cupping my body, cradling me tight in his rugged arms. My insides churned like butter, my palms prickling with newfound desire. It was not the appropriate moment to feel any of those things, but there was something about the way he handled me, something about the way his eyes had held mine from across the room that caused sensation to flutter through every nerve of my body. He left a lasting impression, like a tattoo on my flaming skin.  
   His eyes caught mine then as we walked through my kitchen.
   “Doin’ okay, sweetheart?”
   I felt a blush crawl up my chest and heat my neck.
   “I—” I paused, struggling to form words when he was looking at me like that—like he could see straight into my soul. “I’m just shocked there’s a real fire.”
   The excuse was lame even as it fell on my ears, but in all fairness, I did not expect to find myself in the arms of a fireman today either.
    “’Course there’s a real fire. Why do you think I’m saving you?” He glanced down to the cat in my arms. “And your kitty.”
   Heat flamed between my thighs. Did he have this power over all the women he carried out of burning buildings? I frowned, the idea that he’d made anyone other than me feel this way not sitting well in my stomach.
   We burst into the hall where we joined more firefighters rushing into the building, long hoses clutched in powerful hands.  
   They shouted orders, made hand gestures, then shot up the stairs to the third floor.  
   “Jesus.” My heart cracked open as I prayed everyone else was okay.
    As if reading my mind, he spoke. “You’re the last one, sweetheart. Guys said they pounded on your door once already, assumed no one was home.”
   I withered at his words. “But, Jinx…”
   “Right. The cat.” He took the stairs two at a time, cradling me in his firm embrace. An odd sense of relief washed over me for the first time in my life. I was so strong and resilient on my own, but giving up the reins and being taken care of felt surprisingly good, even if it was by a stranger for exactly two point five minutes while he whisked me away from a fire.
   “You’re lucky I saved your cute little ass.” He pushed through the creaky front doors of the apartment complex, the night air crisp on my bare skin. A shiver pulsed through me, one he must have felt. “We need to get you covered up. Have that gash looked at. You may need stitches.”
   I groaned, shuttering my eyes closed, thinking that was exactly the kind of luck I had.  
   Rescued by a hot firefighter, check. Scarred by an angry cat while trying to save the little bastard’s life? Check.  
   And then it dawned on me that I’d have no bed to sleep in tonight.  
  No money to rent a hotel room.  
  No family or friends to crash with. Maybe I could call one of the girls at the coffee shop where I worked, sleep on someone’s couch for a few days… And then what?
   I groaned again, louder.  
   “You don’t sound like a girl whose life was just saved from a blazing inferno.”
   I frowned. Was sarcasm a trait among firefighters? I glanced up at him, too weak and suddenly too exhausted for anything but honesty. “I don’t have anywhere to stay tonight.”  
   Or ever.
   His eyes narrowed as we reached the nearest ambulance. He shifted me out of his arms, sitting me on the edge. He took the cat from my hands while a paramedic wrapped me in a blanket. His eyes tore up and down my body, as if searching for more wounds that might need tending. I didn’t know if it was the heat of his gaze on my skin, or the black smoke clogging the parking lot, but something about the way he tended to me made something sweet and comforting unfurl deep inside me.
   I’d never been tended to in my life, but all of a sudden, the idea of being without his attention felt like more than I was willing to bear.
   “Check her leg. She’s got a deep cut.” His voice was authoritative and throaty, sending new waves of arousal spinning through me. He stood at my side, watching with a close eye as the paramedic inspected the gash, cleaned it with antiseptic, and then bandaged it tightly. I’d never felt more loved.    
  I was so consumed with the feelings waging a cage fight behind my ribs that I hardly felt her fingers on me.  
   A tall, broad, sinfully sexy firefighter dominated my thoughts.  
   The one holding my kitty.

 

 


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

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

Sign up to get a NEW RELEASE ALERT from me!

 



 

RELEASE BLAST ~ Dishonorable by Natasha Knight

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Dishonorable by Natasha Knight is NOW LIVE!

What did I just read, OH my GOD I devoured this book in one sitting. I could not put it down because I refused to let go of the characters and the story. Passion, intrigue, danger, love .. this book had it ALL. If you are a lover of dark, mafia romance then this has to be a one click must for you.– Books and Boys Blog

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Amazon Universal:
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Blurb:

Sofia
 
I knew little of Raphael Amado’s history with my family, but when he turned up on our doorstep demanding restitution, my grandfather quickly conceded. That restitution? Me.
 
Six months later, on my eighteenth birthday, Raphael came for me. He stole me from my home, taking me to his Tuscan estate, where from the crumbling chapel to the burnt-down vineyard, to the cellar that haunted him, the past stalked him like a shadow. It waited for him, hid behind corners for him and trapped him at every turn.
 
As much as Raphael’s cruelty terrified me, his darkness seduced me. But in the end, it was his tenderness that devastated me.
 
Raphael
 
Sofia came to me like an offering. Like a virgin to be sacrificed at the altar. But truth was, her grandfather betrayed her. I guess we had that in common. He’d screwed me too.
 
I knew hate. I’d vowed vengeance. This was never supposed to be about anything else. But in the end, her innocence broke me. The very thing I would destroy, destroyed me.

 


 
DisHonorable-Teaser4
 

 


EXCERPT:

 

After the evening in Civitella in Val di Chiana, I doubted Sofia would appreciate that we’d be married in the Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence, alongside the resting places of Michelangelo, Galileo and Machiavelli, before the eyes of God and a handful of witnesses and fucking throngs of tourists. Tourists were unavoidable this time of year. I could almost tolerate them.

It had taken an exorbitant contribution to book the basilica, but it only concretized my thinking. Money was what everything came down to and that included the church. But I had to admit, this was a magnificent display of devotion and art, even if it was wasted.

I stood at the altar, waiting for my bride. The rope did little to keep curious visitors at bay. Beside me stood Eric as witness and another man arranged by my attorney. I didn’t know who he was. In the front pew sat Sofia’s grandfather, the great Marcus Guardia, his expression unreadable. At his side sat Lina. Smaller than Sofia but not by much. As pretty as her. The old man had kept his end of the bargain after I’d signed the amended contract. Across the aisle sat Maria. I hadn’t invited anyone else to the wedding.

About two dozen strangers, worshippers who most likely were not expecting a wedding, dotted the other pews, giving the appearance of being guests. The priest cleared his throat and made a show of checking his watch.

It took another five minutes before the doors were opened, and someone stepped in to signal the music. The organist began to play the wedding march, and I took a moment to straighten my tie. I’d worn black on black. It was fitting.

Two men secured the large doors of the worshippers’ entrance. From the waning sunlight outside, I could make out the two forms, the white of the dress casting a sort of halo around Sofia. Beside her stood my brother. My fucking brother. Tall and proud in his suit, Sofia’s arm tucked into his. I could almost see him patting it, telling her it would be all right. Reassuring her when he had no business to.

I didn’t know when she’d asked him to walk her down the aisle. I understood she didn’t want her grandfather. That made perfect sense. But this? It pissed me off, actually.

The organist started the march again, and they took their first steps. Once they stepped fully into the church, I could make out their faces. My brother, for all his support of a few nights ago, now condemned me with his gaze. I wondered how much he knew. How much she’d told him.

Sofia gazed at the floor. Her veil shielded her from me until she was about a third of the way down the aisle. That was when she hesitated. Damon paused too, then whispered something to her. She seemed to take a full minute to compose herself, and before my very eyes, she straightened, standing taller, her spine straighter. She looked directly at me.

I met her gaze, felt the unnatural chill inside her eyes, accepted the accusations she threw like grenades. But she had never looked more beautiful to me than in that moment.

The dress fit as if it were made for her, hugging her delicate curves, the antique veil with yellowing edges not quite concealing her but adding an almost ethereal air to her, to her beauty. Her hair had been intricately braided, only a few soft strands falling around her face, over her shoulder, and her golden eyes shone as if covered over by a layer of ice crystals.

She never shifted her gaze. Never faltered again as Damon walked her toward me. As he faced her, the look they exchanged made me fist my hands at my sides. It wasn’t attraction or affection, not more than that of friendship, but it seemed as though a bond had been formed between them, and I knew in the way he looked at me, the way he looked at her, that he knew what had happened between us. What would happen still.

I hated him for it in that moment. I hated him for having something of her that I did not. That I never would.

My brother lifted her veil and gave her a gentle smile, a kiss on the cheek. A whispered word. I’d fucking kill him for it.

He then turned her to me.

Tears didn’t shine in her eyes. Her lip didn’t tremble. When she looked up at me, all I saw was hate. A hate that came from betrayal. From a budding trust destroyed.

And in spite of it, or perhaps because of it, she took my breath away.

I turned her toward the altar and stood quietly by her side, listening to her breathe, listening to the priest but not hearing his words. Hearing her quiet “I do.” Speaking my own. Catching the slight tremble of her hand as she handed her bouquet of blackest lilies—appropriate if not dramatic—to my brother, who remained by her side. She then faced me again, and I took her hand. From my pocket I retrieved her wedding band. A ring of thorns made of iron, black and rounded to slide onto her finger, jagged to remind her of her place.

She looked down at it once it was fully seated on her delicate finger, and I wondered what thoughts circled her mind.

The priest cleared his throat, and I wanted to slap him. To tell him to give her time. To let us be.

Sofia met my gaze. I handed her my ring. She took it, and I held out my left hand. As she slid the serrated ring onto my finger, she gasped, hesitating at the sudden sight of blood, faltering.

Her mouth fell open, her eyes wide when she met mine.

“Do it,” I said.

She shifted her gaze back to my hand and dragged the spiked band upward, her eyes now fixated on the lines of red that appeared along my finger. The first dark droplet fell, soiling the snow-white of her dress, and when she pulled her stained fingers away, she looked up at me again, the ice in her eyes different, less cold. Confused now. Lost.

Lost again.

I gripped the back of her neck and forced her attention back to the priest who had gone a little pale at the blood.

“Finish it,” I spat.

He met my gaze, swallowed, fumbled with his Bible—fucking idiot—and then pronounced us husband and wife.

I kissed my bride with a hunger that would devour her. A warning to her. A promise of what would come.


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About the Author:

USA Today Bestselling author Natasha Knight writes dark romance as well as spanking romance in a variety of genres including contemporary, paranormal, post-apocalyptic, science-fiction and fantasy. She is a #1 Amazon Bestseller in multiple categories forever searching in every story for that single most important element of love. All of her stories contain at least one kinky Alpha male, lots of dirty talk and a well deserved happily ever after.

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RELEASE BLITZ ~ Cherry Picked (Sex, Vows & Babies Kindle World) by Kristen Hope Mazzola

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We are IN LOVE with CHERRY PICKED from the Sex, Vows & Babies Kindle World by Kristen Hope Mazzola,
full of virginity, insta-love and over the top SWEETNESS!

“Immensely heartwarming and super sexy, Kristen Hope Mazzola scores with Cherry Picked!”
Amy Briggs, Best Selling Author

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BUY IT NOW!
Amazon US:
Amazon Universal: 

Check out all the books in the Sex, Vows & Babies kindle world: 

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Blurb:

One chance encounter – that’s all it took.

Nikki Jennings is dancing her way into the big time. She has gone from a shy, small town girl to a New York City Ballet star. She had everything to offer the world and she was taking it by storm.

Chase Harding is a cocky jock that has always gotten exactly what he’s wanted. Most recently, the rookie spot on his dream hockey team. He has everything he could ever want until he meets Nikki. She won’t give him the time of day. He won’t take no for an answer.

Will Chase be able to score the v-card of his latest prospect or is he going to shoot and miss for the first time in his life?


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EXCERPT

I saw her and my world stopped dead in an instant. Everything around me faded to black as I got lost in her from afar.

She was sitting alone in the corner of the coffee shop, biting her lower lip as she read from the yellowing pages of a book with a broken spine and a tattered cover. Her face was soft and full of anticipation as the pages flipped by, and I craved to know what part she was on as she read from my favorite book.

I was hooked.

I was mesmerized.

She was mine. Already. She just doesn’t know it yet.

And I didn’t even know her name.

A minor detail.

“Chase?” Hannah nudged my elbow from the opposite side of the table we occupied like we had every weekend for the last few weeks.

“Huh?” My eyes snapped to my sister as she stole me away from daydreaming about the gorgeous brunette I craved to know.

“Are you going to be able to go home for Thanksgiving?” she asked, frustration lacing her tone.

I shook my head. “Not with the schedule we have.” Our family was incredibly close and I knew it was going to break my mom’s and sister’s hearts that I wasn’t going to be able to make it home for the holidays this year, but that was part of the sacrifice I was going to have to make for my career.

My eyes continued to wander to the petite brunette. Her hair was long and it swept over her right shoulder. She was in black yoga pants and an oversized tank top cinched at her waist by a ridiculously adorable bright green fanny pack. I wondered if she had just gotten done at the gym or if she was just being comfortable on this lazy Sunday morning in the city.

My sister continued to steal my attention. “How has practice been?” Hannah was trying to keep the conversation moving and I was being a complete jerk, but I couldn’t pull away from the sheer beauty only paces away, which felt like a million miles.

I propped my head up with my hand so I could see my cute girl out of the corner of my eye while still kind of looking at Hannah. “We’ve only had a few practices but I am enjoying it and learning a lot.”

“That’s really exciting. I can’t believe my baby brother is a famous hockey star now.” She giggled a little as excitement perked the corners of her lips.

“I’m far from famous yet, sis. We’ll see what happens once the season actually starts.” I took the last sip of my black coffee, using the opportunity to catch my girl as she laughed to herself while she read. Her enjoyment was radiating sunshine as she devoured the novel.

“Whatever, you’re famous in my head. I brag about you all the time.” Hannah dramatically rolled her eyes at me before moving the conversation right along. “I had rounds with one of your teammates’ wives last night.”

I knew a lot about most of my teammates’ home lives, and none that I knew of had a wife that worked at Flushing. “Really? Who?” I asked, trying to sound more interested than I really was.

“This really sweet nurse named Karla. I obviously was bragging about you while we were in the breakroom grabbing coffee.”

I laughed. “That’s Brayden Cox’s girlfriend. They have a kid together, and they’re practically married.” I felt like a teenage girl gossiping about guys in Teen Bop, but if I could do it with anyone, it was Hannah.

Hannah shrugged. “So, yeah, his wifey. Wait, Cox? Isn’t that your all-time hero or something?”

My face got hot. “Yeah…yeah he really is. I used to wear his number in high school.”

“Well, isn’t that just the cutest thing ever.” Hannah’s pager started blaring and she shot up while checking the codes that were coming through. “Duty calls,” she huffed, throwing her purse over her shoulder.

I jumped up and pulled her in for a quick hug. “See you later, Hannah banana. Go save some lives.”

She squeezed my shoulder before turning to leave. “Bye Chase. Call me later so we can schedule another coffee date.”

My sister was great at making sure we spent time together when we could. I appreciated her wanting to hang out with me, but I was thankful in that moment to be able to focus on the adorable stranger—that was going to be rectified soon enough, soon she’d be so much more than a stranger.

Without overthinking it, I walked right over to the fading brown loveseat my girl was cuddled up on. “One of us in this very room is in fact the murderer,” I half-whispered, taking a seat in the armchair across from her. I damned the coffee table between us—just one more obstacle I was going to have to overcome to get to her.

Her round smoky eyes smoldered as they connected with mine. Without missing a beat, she retorted with, “Oh, yes. I’ve no doubt in my own mind that we have been invited here by a madman—probably a dangerous homicidal lunatic.”

The way she giggled as the words left her lips was intoxicating. It was like cupid’s arrow had struck my heart. “I’m Chase.” I reached out my hand and she took it, and the simple touch sent fire through my body.

“Nicolette, but everyone calls me Nikki. Nice to meet you, Chase.” Her smile ripped across her face and crashed into my heart. “You’re a Christie fan, I take it?”

I leaned back in the chair, trying to look relaxed even though I craved to scoop her up into my arms and never let her go ever again. “You are holding my favorite book.” I reached into the duffle bag I had packed, ready for practice later on that afternoon, and pulled out my very own copy, which was being held together with scotch tape.

Her eyes softened a bit. “Isn’t it nice when a book recommends a person?”


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About the Author:

I am just an average twenty-something following my dreams. I have a full time “day job” and by night I am an author. I guess you could say that writing is like my super power (I always wanted one of those). I am the lover of wine, sushi, football and the ocean; that is when I am not wrapped up in the literary world.

Please feel free to contact me to chat about my writing, books you think I’d like or just to shoot the, well you know.

A portion of all my royalties are donated to The Marcie Mazzola Foundation.

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SURPRISE BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT ~ Provocative (White Lies Book One) by Lisa Renee Jones

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Provocative
(White Lies Book One)
by Lisa Renee Jones

Release Date: April 18th
Genre: Contemporary Romance

A Note from the author:

Hi everyone!

I am BEYOND excited to introduce my WHITE LIES DUET! This is a sexy, intense, psychological thriller, that is provocative in every way, thus why I named book one: PROVOCATIVE. And since this series takes me back to my indie roots, the pricing is lower than my New York titles, and the release dates are close together.

Here are the details on the series:

  • PROVOCATIVE, book one, will be out on April 18, 2017 and priced at $2.99 – includes the free novella REBECCA’S FORGOTTEN JOURNALS for those readers who purchase during release week or pre-order where pre-order is available.
  • SHAMELESS, book two, will be out on July 11, 2017 and priced at $3.99
  • BOTH books will be full-length!
  • I’m also giving away prizes on my blog every day in April to celebrate! Entry is super easy. Just comment! The link to my blog is HERE so be sure to subscribe!

And now, without further ado, the covers for the duet, blurb for book one, and CHAPTER ONE of PROVOCATIVE! I can’t wait for you to meet the dirty talking alpha, Nick “Tiger” Rogers. I hope you enjoy him as much as I enjoyed writing him!

Provocative Final Border

ABOUT THE BOOK

Book one in the sexy and intense new White Lies duet by Lisa Renee Jones!

There are those moments in life that are provocative in their very existences, that embed in our minds forever, and sometimes our very souls. They change us, mold us, maybe even save save us. But some are darker, dangerous. If we allow them to, they control us. Seduce us. Quite possibly even destroy us.

The moment I walked into Sonoma’s Reid Winter Winery and Vineyard and made eye contact with Faith Winter for the first time was one of those moments. Provocative because I know at least one of her secrets, of which, I suspect she has many. Provocative because she believes I was a stranger to her when we met, but I am not. Provocative because I sought her out, with no intention of touching her. But now I have. Now I want her. Now I have to have her. But that changes nothing. It doesn’t change why I came for her.

Pre-Order PROVOCATIVE Today!

Special $2.99 pre-order price – will increase after release!

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Read Chapter One Now:

pro·voc·a·tive

adjective

  1. causing annoyance, anger, or another strong reaction, especially deliberately.
  2. arousing sexual desire or interest, especially deliberately.

Chapter One

There are those moments in life that are provocative in their very existences, that embed in our minds forever, and sometimes our very souls. They change us, mold us, maybe even save us. But some are darker, dangerous. If we allow them to, they control us. Seduce us. Quite possibly even destroy us.

The moment I stepped into the mansion that is the centerpiece of the Reid Winter Vineyards and Winery wasn’t one of those moments. Nor were any of the moments I spent weaving through a crowd of suits and dresses cluttering the circle that is the grand foyer of the 1800’s mansion, fancy tiles etched with vines beneath my feet. Nor the ones spent declining three different waiters offering me glasses of various wines from one of the most established vineyards in Sonoma, meant to entice me to buy their bottles and donate money to the charity hosting the gathering. Not even the instant that I spotted the stunning blonde in a snug black dress that hugged her many lush curves proved to be one of those moments, but I would call it a damn interesting one. The moment I decided the blonde silk of her long hair belonged in my hands and on my stomach was also a damn interesting one. And not because she’s fuckable. There are plenty of fuckable women in my life, a number of whom understand that I enjoy demands for pleasure, which I will definitely provide, and nothing more. This woman is too prim and proper to ever agree to such an arrangement, and yet, knowing this, as she and her heart-shaped backside disappear into the congestion of bodies, I find myself pursuing her, looking for more than an interesting moment. I want that provocative one.

I follow her path formed by huddles of two, three, or more people, left and right, to clear a portion of the crowd, scanning to find my beauty standing several feet away, her back to me, with two men in blue suits in front of her. And while they might appear to blend with the rest of the suits in the room, they hold themselves like the parasites I meet too often in the courtroom, those who most often call themselves my opposing counsel. My blonde beauty folds her arms in front of her chest, her spine stiff, and if I read her right–and I read most people right–I am certain that she’s found trouble. But lucky for her, trouble doesn’t like me near as much as I like it.

Closing the space between me and them, I near their little triangle just in time to hear her say, “Are we really doing this here and now?”

“Yes, Ms. Winter,” one of the men replies. “We are.”

“Actually,” I say, stepping to Ms. Winter’s side, her floral scent almost as sweet as the challenge of conquering her opponents that are now mine, “we are not doing this here or now.”

All attention shifts to me, Ms. Winter giving me a sharp stare that I feel rather than see, my focus remaining on the men I want to leave, not the woman I want to make come. “And you would be who?” the suit directly in front of me demands.

I size him up as barely out of his twenty-something diapers, without experience, the glint in his eye telling me he doesn’t realize that flaw, which makes him about as smooth as a six-dollar glass of wine everyone in this place would spit the fuck out. A point driven home by the fact that he’s wearing a three hundred-dollar Italian silk tie, and a hundred-dollar suit, no doubt hoping the tie makes the suit look expensive, and him important. He’s wrong.

“I said, who are you?” he repeats when I apparently haven’t replied quickly enough, his impatience becoming my virtue as my role as cat in this game of cat and mouse is too easily established.

Unwilling to waste words on a predictable, expected question that I’d never ask, I simply reach into the pocket of my three-thousand-dollar light gray suit, which I earned by beating opponents with ten times his experience and negotiation skills, and finger the unimportant prick my card.

He snaps it from my hand, gives it a look that confirms my name and the firm I started a decade ago now, after daring to leave behind a certain partnership in a high-powered firm. “Nick Rogers?” he asks. “Is there another name on the card?” I ask, because, I’m also a fearless smartass every chance I get.

He stares at me for several beats, seeming to calculate his words, before asking, “How many Mr. Rogers sweater jokes do you get?”

I arch a brow at the misguided joke that only serves to poke the Tiger. Suit Number Two, who I age closer to my thirty-six years, pales visibly, then snatches the card from the other man’s hand, giving it a quick inspection before his gaze then jerks to mine. “The Nick Rogers?”

“I don’t remember my mother putting the word ‘the’ in front of my name,” I reply dryly, but then again, I think, she didn’t ask my father, to change my last name either. She just hated him that much.

“Tiger,” he says, and it’s not a question, but rather a statement of “oh shit” fact.

“That’s right,” I say, enjoying the fruits of my labor that created the nickname, not one given to me by my friends.

“Who, or what, the fuck is Tiger all about?” Suit Number One asks.

“Shut up,” Suit Number Two grunts, refocusing on me to ask, “You’re representing Ms. Winter?”

“What I am,” I say, “is standing right here by her side, telling you that it’s in your best interests to leave.”

“Since when do you handle small-time foreclosures?” he demands, exposing the crux of Ms. Winter’s situation.

“I handle whatever the fuck I want to handle,” I say, my tone even, my lips curving as I add, “Including the process of having you both escorted off the property by security.”

“That,” Suit Number One dares to retort, “would garner Ms. Winter unwanted attention in the middle of a busy event. Not that Ms. Winter even has security to call.”

“Fortunately, I have a phone that dials 911 and the ability to call it without asking her.”

If she’s your client,” Suit Number One says, clearly inferring that she’s not, “you’re obligated to operate with her best interests in mind.”

“My decisions,” I reply, without missing a beat, and without claiming Ms. Winter as a client, “are always about winning. And I assure you that I can think of many ways to spin your story to the press that ensures I win, while also benefiting Ms. Winter.”

“This isn’t my story,” Suit Number One indicates.

“It will be when I’m finished with the press,” I assure him, amused at how easily I’ve led him down the path I want him to travel.

“This is a small community with little to talk about but her,” he says. “She doesn’t want her foreclosure to become the front page story.”

My lips quirk. “If you don’t know how easily I can get the wrong attention for you here, and the right attention for Ms. Winter, you’ll find out.”

“We’ll leave,” Suite Number Two interjects quickly, and just when I think that he’s smart enough to see the way trouble has turned from Ms. Winter to them, he looks at her and says, “We’ll be in touch,” with a not so subtle threat in his tone, before he elbows Suit Number One. “Let’s go.”

Suit Number One doesn’t move, visibly fuming, his face red, that white ring thickening around his lips. I arch a brow at Suit Number Two, who adds, “Now, Jordan.” Jordan, formerly known as Suit Number One, clenches his teeth and turns away, while Suit Two follows.

Ms. Winter faces me, and holy fuck, when her pale green eyes meet mine, any questions I have about this woman and the many I suspect she now has of me, are muted by an unexpected, potentially problematic, palpable electric charge between us. “Thank you,” she says, her voice soft, feminine, a rasp in its depths that hints at emotion not effortlessly contained. “Please enjoy anything you like tonight on the house,” she adds, the rasp gone now, her control returned. Until I take it, I think, but no sooner than I’ve had the thought, she is turning and walking away, the absence of further interaction coloring me both stunned and intrigued, two things that, for me, are ranked with about as much frequency as snow in Sonoma, which would be next to never.

Ms. Winter maneuvers into the crowd, out of my line of sight, and while I am not certain I’d label her a mouse at this point, or ever for that matter, considering what I know of her, I am most definitely on the prowl. I stride purposely forward, weaving through the crowd, seeking that next provocative moment, scanning for her left, right, in the clusters of mingling guests, until I clear the crowd.

Now standing in front of a wide, wooden stairwell, my gaze follows its path upward to a second level, but I still find no sign of Ms. Winter. A cool breeze whips through the air, and I turn to find the source is a high arched doorway, the recently opened glass doors to what I know to be the “Winter Gardens,” a focal point of the property, and a tourist draw for decades, settling back into place. Certain this represents her escape, I walk that direction, and press open the doors, stepping onto a patio that has a stone floor and concrete benches framed by rose bushes. No less than four winding paths greet me as destination choices, the hunt for this woman now a provocation of its own.

I’ve just decided to wait where I am for Ms. Winter’s return when the wind lifts, the floral scent of many varieties of flowers for which the garden is famous touching my nostrils, with one extra scent decidedly of the female variety.

Lips curving with the certainty that my prey will soon to be my prize, I follow the clue that guides my feet to the path on my right, a narrow, winding, lighted walkway, framed by neatly cut yellow flower bushes, which continues past a white wooden gazebo I have no intention of passing. Not when Ms. Winter stands inside it, her back to me, elbows resting on the wooden rail, her gaze casting across the silhouette of what would reveal itself to be a rolling mountainside in daybreak. The way I intend for her to reveal herself.

I close the distance between us, and the moment before I’m upon her, she faces me, hands on the railing behind her, her breasts thrust forward, every one of her lush curves tempting my eyes, my hands. My mouth. “Did those men know you?” she demands, clearly ready and waiting for this interaction. “Did you know them?”

“No and no.”

“And yet they knew the nickname Tiger.”

“My reputation precedes me.”

“I’ll take the bait,” she says. “What reputation?”

“They say I’ll rip my opponent’s throat out if given the chance.”

“Will you?” she asks, without so much as a blanch or blink.

“Yes,” I reply, a simple answer, for a simple question.

“Without any concern for who you hurt,” she states.

I arch a brow. “Is that a question?”

“Should it be?”

“Yes.”

“It’s not,” she says. “You didn’t get that nickname by being nice.”

“Nice guys don’t win.”

“Then I’m warned,” she says. “You aren’t a nice guy.”

“Is nice a quality you’re looking for in a man? Because as your evening counsel, Ms. Winter, I’ll advise you that nice is overrated.”

She stares at me for several beats before turning away to face the mountains again, elbows on the railing, in what I could see as a silent invitation to leave. I choose to see it as an invitation to join her. I claim the spot next to her, close, but not nearly as close as I will be soon. “You didn’t answer the question,” I point out.

“You wrongly assume I am looking for a man, which I’m not,” she says, glancing over at me. “But if I was, then no. Nice would be on my list but it would not top my list, however, nowhere on that list would be the ability, and willingness, to rip out someone’s throat.”

“I can assure you, Ms. Winter, that a man with a bite is as underrated as a nice guy is overrated. And I not only know how, and when, to use mine, but if I so choose to bite you, and I might, it’ll be all about pleasure, not pain.”

Her cheeks flush and she turns away. “My name is Faith.” She glances over at me again. “Should I call you Nick, Tiger, or just plain arrogant?”

“Anything but Mr. Rogers,” I say, enjoying our banter far more than I would have expected when I came here tonight looking for her.

She laughs now too, and it’s a delicate, sweet sound, but it’s awkward, as if it’s not only unexpected, but unwelcome, and an instant later she’s withdrawing, pushing off the railing, arms folding protectively in front of her body, before we’re rotating to face each other. “I need to go check on the visitors.” She attempts to move away.

I gently catch her arm, her gaze rocketing to mine, and in the process her hair flutters in a sudden breeze, a strand of blonde silk catching on the whiskers of my one-day stubble. She sucks in a breath, and when she would reach up to remedy the situation, I’m already there, catching the soft silk and stroking it behind her ear.

“Why are you touching me?” she asks, but she doesn’t pull away, that charge between us minutes ago now ten times more provocative with me touching her, thinking about all the places I might touch next.

“It’s considerably better than not touching you,” I say.

“My bad luck might bleed into you.”

“Bleed,” I repeat, that word reminding me once again of why I’m here, why I really want to fuck this woman. “That’s an extreme, and rather interesting choice of words.”

“Most bad luck is extreme, though not interesting to anyone but the Tigers of the world, creating it. You’re still touching me.”

“Everyone needs a Tiger in their corner. Maybe my good luck will bleed into you.”

“Does good luck bleed?” she asks.

“Many people will do anything for good luck, even bleed.”

“Yes,” she says, lowering her lashes, but not before I’ve seen the shadows in her eyes. “I suppose they would.”

“What would you do for good luck?”

Her lashes lift, her stare meeting mine again. “What have you done for good luck?”

“I came here tonight,” I say.

She narrows her eyes on me, as if some part of her senses, the far-reaching implications of my reply that she can’t possibly understand, and yet still, the inescapable heat between us radiates and burns. “You’re still touching me,” she points out, and this time there’s a hint of reprimand.

“Holding onto that luck,” I say.

“It feels like you’re holding onto mine.”

With that observation that hits too close to the truth, I have no interest in revealing just yet, I drag my hand slowly down hers, allowing my fingers to find hers before they fall away. Her lips, lush, tempting, impossibly perfect for someone I know to be imperfect, part with the loss of my touch, and yet there is a hint of relief in her eyes that tells me she both wants me and fears me.

A most provocative moment, indeed.

“Have a drink with me,” I say.

“No,” she replies, her tone absolute, and while I don’t like this decision, I appreciate a person who’s decisive.

“Why?”

“Good luck and bad luck don’t mix.”

“They might just create good luck.”

“Or bad,” she says. “I’m not in a place where I can take the risk for more bad luck.” She inclines her chin. “Enjoy the rest of your visit.” She pauses and adds, “Tiger.”

I don’t react, but for just a moment, I consider the way she used my nickname as an indicator that she knows who I am, and why I’m here. I quickly dismiss that idea. I’d have seen it in those pale green eyes, and I did not. But as she turns and walks away, and I watch her depart, tracking her steps as she disappears down the path, I wonder at her quick departure, and the fear I’d seen in her eyes. Was the root of that fear her guilt?

That idea should be enough to ice the fire in me that this woman has stirred, but it stokes it instead. Everything male in me wants to pursue her again, and not because I’m here for a reason that existed before I ever met her, when it should be that and nothing more. It is more. I’m aroused and I’m intrigued by this woman. She got to me when no one gets to me. Not a good place to be, considering I came here to prove she killed my father, and maybe even her own mother.


 

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About the Author:LRJAuthorPic

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT series. Suzanne Todd (producer of Alice in Wonderland) on the INSIDE OUT series: Lisa has created a beautiful, complicated, and sensual world that is filled with intrigue and suspense. Sara’s character is strong, flawed, complex, and sexy – a modern girl we all can identify with.

In addition to the success of Lisa’s INSIDE OUT series, Lisa has published many successful titles. The TALL, DARK AND DEADLY series and THE SECRET LIFE OF AMY BENSEN series, both spent several months on a combination of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling lists. Lisa is presently working on a dark, edgy new series, Dirty Money, for St. Martin’s Press.

Prior to publishing Lisa owned multi-state staffing agency that was recognized many times by The Austin Business Journal and also praised by the Dallas Women’s Magazine. In 1998 Lisa was listed as the #7 growing women owned business in Entrepreneur Magazine.

Lisa loves to hear from her readers. You can reach her at www.lisareneejones.com and she is active on Twitter and Facebook daily.

 

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