Category Archives: Reveal

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
  
 
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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

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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…


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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.

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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.

 

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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
 
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Also Available
 
 
 
 
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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.

 
 
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EXCERPT REVEAL ~ Preppy Part Three: The Life and Death of Samuel Clearwater by T.M. Frazier

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Preppy, Part Three: The Life and Death of Samuel Clearwater
by T.M. Frazier is coming April 26th!!!

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Preppy, Part Three: The Life & Death of Samuel Clearwater
by T.M. Frazier

Release Date: April 26th, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance


The bowtie is BACK!

Dre was just a beautiful stranger when Preppy saved her the first time around. Now, he has to save her again, but she’s no longer some stranger, she’s family, and he has no idea who or what he’s up against.

What he does know is that putting his family back together is the only acceptable outcome.

Preppy’s to-do list?

SAVE FAMILY. SEEK REVENGE.

He’s alive…and he’s out for BLOOD.

Preppy Part Three is the third book and conclusion of Preppy and Dre’s story.
It’s also the 7th book in the King Series, which should be read in order starting with KING & TYRANT.


Excerpt:

Preppy placed his other hand behind my neck, pulling me closer. “Dre, when I look at you, when I touch you. I love you so much it fucking HURTS,” he said against my neck, the vibration of his words had my nipples standing at firm attention all over again.

“I don’t want you to hurt,” I said, although I knew exactly what he meant because I felt the same. I had so much love for him it made my chest swell to the point where I thought I might break inside. Preppy looked down between us to where his swollen cock bobbed with his every move. The head thick and purple, throbbing and glistening at the tip, dripping with his own need. “No, Doc, it hurts, but it’s the best kind of pain.” Preppy’s eyes were half-lidded. A devilish smirk played on his lips. “Look, it hurts so bad even my cock is crying.”

I returned his smile, looking up at him through my lashes. I licked my lips. Preppy groaned, placing his hands on both sides of my head, running his fingers through my hair. I pushed him to his back and crawled down his body, giving a quick lick to the tip of his cock, which pulsed in response. I watched his expression darken as he watched me kiss and lick my way around his thick shaft. “Fuck,” he cursed. “What are you doing to me, woman?”

“If your cock’s crying, then I’m licking the tears away,” I said, taking the head into my mouth and swirling my tongue around to taste his salty pre-cum. I moaned, the sound shot straight between my legs.

Preppy dug his hands into my hair deeper, pulling, holding me with more force. His abs flexed as I took more and more of him into my mouth, lightly sucking as I circled my lips around the soft skin of his extremely hard shaft.

I pulled back and softly blew on his wet cock. All the muscles in his arms tensed. His hips bucked into the air. His mouth fell open as he gazed down at me with a lust filled expression I know mirrored my own. “Any better?” I asked, wrapping my hand around the base of his shaft.

Preppy shook his head. “No, not better. I think it’s fucking worse,” he ground out, looking as if he were in pain.

“How so?” I asked, stroking him from root to tip with a slight twist at the top.

Preppy hissed. “Because I want to fuck you again, but now I also don’t ever want my cock to be anywhere besides that beautiful mouth ever again. Those fucking red lips. Jesus fucking Christ, Doc. I thought I’d already died, but you’re the one killing me.”

“You mean like this?” I asked, taking him into my mouth again. Further this time. Preppy had a monster cock and although I used to think he was joking when he said that it was the honest truth. There was no way I’d be able to take all of him but I did the best I could, taking him until the tip of his cock hit the back of my throat. Giving him all I could because I wanted to make him feel as good as he made me feel.

“Holy fucking, shit,” Preppy groaned, holding onto the ground for support with one hand, the other still fisted in my hair. The next few sentences that came out of his mouth were incoherent because I began to slide him out and then back again, using my hand on the part of his shaft that my mouth couldn’t reach. Over and over again I stroked and sucked him with my tongue, squeezing him with my lips and hollowing out my cheeks so my mouth was wrapped as tightly around him as possible.

I used my other hand to reach around him and squeeze his ass cheek, pulling him in closer, holding him to me. I released him and pulled him back again, letting him know it was okay to move. He nodded, and bit his bottom lip, watching as he began to thrust his hips upward into my mouth then slowly pulling back out, groaning as he repeated the motion.

Over and over again he thrust forward and pulled back. I braced myself with my other hand on his ass and again he held my head with both hands as he fucked my mouth. Harder and harder until tears were flowing down my cheeks. I watched as the cords in his neck strained with his every movement. I felt his ass muscles tense and watched as his entire body tightened and his cock hardened in my mouth before spurts of warmth shot from him, deep into my throat. Preppy threw his head back and in the sexiest most animalistic roar he came and came and came until I thought I couldn’t swallow one more drop of his salty release.

He pulled out of me and collapsed onto the floor without pulling his pants back up. He pulled me down with him and wrapped his arms around my back. “I think I just broke a promise to you,” he panted, trying to catch his breath. Our chests heaving together in unison.

“What promise?” I asked, confused.

He tucked me in closer, laying a palm over my breast. “The one where I said I wouldn’t die again,” he chuckled. “‘Cause, Doc, I’m pretty sure you just fucking killed me.”


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Start the Series Today!

Preppy Part One

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2pEk4cu

Amazon UK: https://goo.gl/Wzj54r

iBooks: https://goo.gl/QBmUP9

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Preppy Part Two

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2ozkOjU

Amazon UK: https://goo.gl/pYCkcH

iBooks: https://goo.gl/TKTaC1

Nook: https://goo.gl/52vo0I

Kobo: https://goo.gl/BOvVP8


About the Author:T.M.FrazierAuthorPhoto

T.M.Frazier is a USA TODAY bestselling author. She resides in sunny Southwest Florida with her husband and her young daughter.

When she’s not writing she loves talking to her readers, country music, reading and traveling. Her debut novel, The Dark Light of Day was published in September of 2013 and when she started writing it she intended for it to be a light beachy romance.

Well…it has a beach in it!

Her latest works include her USA TODAY BESTSELLING KING SERIES and All the Rage.

Connect with the Author:

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

Twitter: @TM_Frazier

Stay up to date with T.M. by signing up for her newsletter today:

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http://www.tmfrazierbooks.com


TRAILER REVEAL ~ PROVOCATIVE (White Lies Book One) by Lisa Renee Jones

Provocative
(White Lies Book One)
by Lisa Renee Jones

Release Date: April 18th
Genre: Contemporary Romance

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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.


Check out the Trailer:



READ CHAPTER ONE

 

Pre-Order PROVOCATIVE Today!

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

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Book two: SHAMELESS will be out on July 11th!

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Teaser 1


About the Author:Lisa Renee Jones Author Pic

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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NEW COVER REVEAL ~ Escape With the Wolfies by Vivian Arend

Escape With the Wolfies

You deserve to get away from it all for a little while. Come escape with the Wolfies!
Vivian Arend is the New York Times Bestselling author of the Granite Lake Wolf Series, and is so excited to announce that she is
re-releasing these ebooks with new covers, and additional content! We’re re-releasing all six books on a Friday in the hopes that somewhere over the weekend you can steal away a little time to yourself and enjoy a bit of sexy, lighthearted refreshment.

If you haven’t read the Granite Lake Wolves series yet, now is your chance to read along, get exclusive content, and enter a few giveaways!

The first book in the series, WOLF SIGNS, will be available on April 21st. Each subsequent book in the series will be available every other Friday after that. The following amazing blogs and I will be hosting exclusive excerpts to new content on the days below. Be sure to head over to each blog to win even more great stuff.

4/21 – Wolf Signs @ The Book Binge

5/5 – Wolf Flight @ Book Loving Pixies

5/19 – Wolf Games @ Red Hot + Blue Reads

6/2 – Wolf Tracks @ Smexy Books

6/16 – Wolf Line @ TBQ’s Book Palace

6/30 – Wolf Nip @ Feeling Fictional

 

If you already purchased the Granite Lake Wolves books and would like access to the exclusive content, please sign up for a special newsletter here!

As a special treat for you today, we have the new cover of WOLF FLIGHT to share with you today. The series covers were redesigned by Sophie at Hart & Bailey Designs! To see the brand new covers of ALL the books in the series, be sure to check out the other bloggers listed above!

 


Series Pre-order Links 

Wolf Signs
 
Wolf Flight
 
Wolf Games
 
Wolf Tracks
 
Wolf Line
 
Wolf Nip

 

EXCERPT REVEAL ~ Damnable Grace (A Hades Hangmen novel) by Tillie Cole

 

 

Coming April 18th

 

 


EVEN THE BROKEN, THROUGH LOVE, CAN FIND GRACE…


Secrets never stay hidden.

The burden of guilt never lifts from the heart.

Born and raised in The Order of David, Sister Phebe knows nothing but cult life. Head of the Sacred Sisters of New Zion, Phebe was groomed from childhood for one purpose: to seduce. Prized as a harlot, as a New Zion whore, Phebe is taken from the doomed cult by Meister, the notorious leader of the Aryan Brotherhood. Taken as his possession. Taken to be the woman who will obey his every sexual demand. Under his heavy hand, Phebe finds herself in a place much worse than she could ever have imagined… with absolutely no one to help. And no glimpse of hope.

Xavier ‘AK’ Deyes is content with his life as Sergeant-At-Arms of the Hades Hangmen. Leader of the infamous ‘Psycho Trio’ and ex-special ops sniper, AK knows how to fight. Experienced in warfare and schooled in military operations, AK is vital to the Hangmen. When his Vice President needs help retrieving his missing sister-in-law, Phebe, from a Klan-funded trafficking ring, AK volunteers to go in. AK remembers the redhead from New Zion. Remembers everything about her from the single time they met—her red hair, blue eyes and freckled face. But when he finds her, heavily drugged and under Meister’s control, her sorry condition causes him to remember more than the beautiful woman he once tied to a tree. Saving Phebe forces hidden demons from his past to return. A past he can never move on from, no matter how hard he tries.

As AK fights to help Phebe, and in turn she strives to help him, they realize their secret sins will never leave them alone. Kindred broken souls, they realize the only way they can be rid of their ghosts is to face them together and try to find peace.

Despair soon turns to hope, and damaged hearts soon start to heal. But when their deep, painful scars resurface, becoming too much to bear, the time comes when they must make a heavy choice: stay forever damned; or together, find grace.

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




“Well?” Ky asked.
Tanner ran his hand over his head. The brother hadn’t attended one of our cookouts or slutfests in weeks. Not that he ever entertained himself with sluts—still too hard for his piece of pussy down in Mexico. He’d been busy trying to track down Meister. Unlike most of the white-power shit Tanner and Tank grew up with, this Meister was untraceable and off the grid. As much of a computer whizz kid as Tanner was, Meister was proving to be one slippery fucking snake to pin down.
“Gotta be honest, I didn’t think I was anywhere close to finding anything on this prick.” Tanner nodded toward Tank. “We knew of him, of course. I knew he had dealings with my father and uncle, just never met him myself. He’s Aryan Brotherhood, but works closely with the Klan. And there’s nothing on him. No email traces, no invoices, no texts. Nothing.”
I gritted my teeth and glanced at Styx, who was listening closely. Ky wasn’t originally gonna tell the prez about the plan to get Phebe, because of his fucking wedding, but that didn’t last long. Styx knew something was up with his VP. He read him like I read Flame and Vike. So Ky fessed up, and Styx was all for the plan. He’d had to push his wedding back by a month anyhow to get the pastor Mae wanted to conduct the ceremony, so he had time to kill.
“But you found something?” Ky translated as Styx signed.
Tanner sighed, the black circles around his eyes showing how hard the brother had been working. “I got something.” He shook his head, and my blood ran cold. I knew whatever he had found wasn’t good.
Tanner opened the file in front of him and threw a photograph toward the prez. Styx looked at it, then gave it to Ky. “Some middle-of-nowhere ghost town?”
Ky passed the picture around. Vike handed it to me, and I studied it. It was an aerial shot, and the picture was grainy, but from what I could make out, it was just a huge piece of land scattered with decrepit old buildings.
I passed the picture along. “Fucker owns this?”
Tanner faced me. “Yeah, or at least his father did. He’s dead now, but the deeds are still in his father’s name. Been in the family for decades. Took me a while to trace it.” He shook his head. “Meister is notorious among the Klan. Right, Tank?”
“Yeah,” Tank agreed. “Never met him either, but we’d all heard of him. Prick has been mobilizing for years for the race war they think is coming. Real serious, Oklahoma-City-bomb shit. From what we’ve heard, the guy has a one-track mind when it comes to advancing the white race. You think Hitler was fucked up? Well, imagine if he had a kid who was one built motherfucker, with a fucking carbon copy of his psycho mind; and you’ve got Meister. Fucker ain’t even German. Just wishes he was, spouting German phrases around like he’s born and bred Berlin. Delusional asshole.”
“This ain’t gonna be easy,” Tanner finished, looking at me, Vike, Flame, Hush and Cowboy. It was the five of us who had agreed to go looking for Phebe. Hush and Cowboy nodded at me to let me know they were still in.
“So he’s in this ghost town?” Ky asked, translating Styx’s sign language again. “If so, we’ll all just go in and get him, make the fucker talk and tell us where he’s got Phebe.”
Tanner sat forward. “He ain’t just living in the ghost town or hiding out. That’s where he has his enterprise.”
“Enterprise?” Ky echoed. It was his own question this time.
Tanner nodded. “From what I can tell, it’s a fucking brothel. Members of the Aryan Brotherhood, Klan, or Klan sympathizers, can go there for a night or a few days at a time.” Tank shifted uncomfortably next to him. “Ain’t sure, but I’m thinking it ain’t just getting your dick sucked and fucked. It’ll be real fucked-up shit. If Meister’s reputation is anything to go by, we would be walking into an organized, armed hellhole.” Tanner’s eyes darkened. “I get the Klan has a reputation for being full of backward rednecks. I ain’t gonna lie—growing up, most of my father’s cronies were that way. Thick as fuck and couldn’t do shit without screwing it up. Skinheads, lower-ranked soldiers, you know?”
“But there were some members that weren’t,” Tank continued. He cast an embarrassed glance at Tanner. “We weren’t, for starters.”
Tanner nodded. “It’s not the norm, but some of us were good. Smart, strong fighters, or just outright fucking psychos. The skinheads and rednecks are the foot soldiers. The likes of us, the likes of Meister, are the fucking SS. The planners, leaders, the generals—the ones who believe in the cause so much that they’re fucking lethal with what they’ll do, what they’re capable of. Meister is true Aryan Brotherhood; he’s preparing for war. He’s the real fucking deal.”
“And now he’s in our neck of the woods to stir up shit?” I asked.
Tanner nodded. “Comes from northern Texas. Never moved our way before. But the Klan are building day by day, joining forces with other white supremacist gangs—like the Brotherhood—and with the shit that’s on the news twenty-four-seven, blacks and whites at each others throats, he’s moved to the headquarters.” The brother’s jaw clenched. “To my father and uncle, who’ll be protecting him from being found out by the feds.” He sighed and ran his hand down his face. “From what I can figure out, this ghost-town brothel of his has only existed in the last year or so. He’s looking to fund something.”
“They ain’t dealing guns?” Cowboy drawled. “I thought that’s what Rider said the contract with the cult was for?”
“Rider was sure it was guns. At least it was when he was dealing with the Klan—it was all about arms. The Klan was selling them on and taking a cut.”
“His fucking twin,” Hush spat. “He changed the arrangement, didn’t he? When Rider was locked up in cult prison?”
“Think so,” Tanner said after a few seconds of silence.
“Then what the fuck are they dealing? What was Judah giving them if not Israeli guns?”
“Women.”

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

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

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

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

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

Author Links



 

COVER REVEAL ~ The Beard Made Me Do It (The Dixie Wardens Rejects MC Series #5) by Lani Lynn Vale

 
 

Title: The Beard Made Me Do It
Series: The Dixie Wardens Rejects MC Series #5
Author: Lani Lynn Vale

 

Genre: MC Romance

Release Date: June 28, 2017
Cover Mode: Jacob Wilson
Photographer: Furious Fotog
 
 
 
 
 
He’s only a friend. 
 

Those words had haunted him from the moment Jessie James had heard them muttered from the one girl, above all others, that he thought had his back. 

Sixteen years later, he still feels those words like a brand on his soul. 

Lucky for him he has a son to take care of, a full-time job that demands every single second of the day, and not a single moment to spare for the likes of a woman that won’t stand up for him when he needs her the most. 

He’s only a friend. 

The words had slipped out of Ellen’s mouth, and before she could recall them or better yet, explain, Jesse is gone from her life for good, taking her heart with him. 

She tries to find her way out of the pit of despair, but not one single person, no matter how much she tries, can fill the void that he left in his wake. Time heals all wounds. Or at least that is how the saying goes. It’s a crock of crap, though.

Sixteen years pass when Jessie and Ellen see each other again without the influence of the town and bad memories surrounding them, and it’s as if not a single day has passed. 

Ellen knows the instant that her eyes see her old love that she’s still just as much in love with him today as she was all those years ago.

The problem is that Jesse wants nothing to do with her. Or at least that’s what he keeps telling himself.

 

 

 
 

 
 

 


“Why the hell are you out here and not in your fucking room doing that?”  I asked my sixteen-year-old son, Linc.
Linc looked up from his homework, and shrugged.
The problem with Linc doing his homework out here meant that he had the TV blaring, his phone on some stupid Vine video, and his pencil tapping a million miles an hour while he hummed to some random song that only he could hear.
He was also nearly naked.  Had been for the majority of his life.
He ignored me as if I hadn’t said a word.
“Seriously,” I said to him. “What makes you think it’s okay to sit here in your underwear with the fuckin’ front window wide ass open?  There are people in this neighborhood that I’d rather not egg our shit. Not to mention you don’t pay the fuckin’ electric bill and it’s cold as fuck out.”
Linc snorted.
“They’d have to be able to walk close to our cars, and since most of them are old geezers, I don’t see that happening.” He countered. “What’s got up your ass?”
I grunted, walking to the kitchen to grab a beer.  It’d been a long fucking day, and I had to go back to work and do it all over again tomorrow.
I was a welder for a pipeline, and my job was exhaustingly hard work that I fucking loved.  I made a whack, and payed for my bills, but to do that I had to work long hours.  Nearly eighty hours a week.
“Someone called for you today. A woman.”
“What was her name?”  I asked, scanning the contents of the refrigerator for something to eat. “Did you eat all the leftover pizza?”
Linc and I had pizza a lot.  Anything that was fast, and came out of a box, was our go-to menu item seeing as neither one of us really knew how to cook. Lunchables. Macaroni. Hamburger Helper when we were feeling adventurous.
“Ellen?”  Linc guessed.  “I wrote it down on the pad next to the phone.
The name ‘Ellen’ wasn’t common, but it was still impossible for a girl from my past—almost fourteen years ago to be exact—to come back and haunt me some two thousand odd miles away from where I first met her.
“What did she want?”  I asked. “And you never answered me on the pizza.”
“That was gone last night about three in the morning.”  Linc chuckled unrepentantly.  “And I wrote it all down on the note.”
I closed the fridge and moved across the small space to the counter next to the landline that I wasn’t sure why we still had, and stared at the pad of paper with two words on it.
Club party.
“Can I go?”
I looked up to find Linc, the boy that was spitting image of me.
Six feet one, and likely to grow even more since the pediatrician said he’d likely reach my height if not more.  Jet black hair with a slight wave to it, exactly like mine.
Hell, he even had a beard, exactly like me.  Though, his was much more trimmed and kempt due to the school he was attending informing him if it wasn’t done just so, he’d have to shave it or leave the school.
We’d had to fight for the beard, so if he wanted to keep it, he’d damn well follow their rules or I’d make him shave it off myself.
His body mass was the only thing he didn’t have yet that resembled me. He was much skinnier, and definitely on the verge of getting some bulk, just like I had been at seventeen. But he didn’t have it yet. He was still in that in between stage that showed the promise of what he might one day be.
Me, I was six foot four, two hundred and fifty pounds of solid muscle, and had a six pack that was derived from days and days of hard work and sweat on the pipeline. I had a beard that was on the verge of being too bushy, but I’d literally lost all desire to impress anyone a long fucking time ago.
I was me.  I wasn’t going to change, even though some would like me to.
“I’ll have to ask if it’s kid friendly…” I laughed when my son gave me a face that clearly said what he thought about me saying ‘kid friendly.’
My kid wasn’t a kid. He couldn’t be when he was raised by me.
I’d done my best, but I’d been more like a brother than a parent. We were seventeen years apart in age, and there wasn’t a day that went by that I did the whole parenting thing correctly.
He had to grow up faster than most. By the age of ten, I was leaving him at home for extended periods of time because I’d been switched to a different shift that equaled me not getting home from work until a little after nine o’clock.
By the age of twelve, he was spending almost the entire night alone every other day because my shifts were switched again.
By fifteen, we didn’t even pass each other for the entire day at times.
Now, at sixteen, I had a better paying position. One that equaled me working days, though they were long and just as tiring—if not more tiring—as my previous job.  Being peoples’ boss was the pits.  Dealing with peoples’ bullshit was even worse.
“You took me to the last one.”
I grinned.  “That’s right. I did.”
“I can’t believe you’re prospecting. I’m so fuckin’ excited.”
I just shook my head.
My kid rolled his eyes at me and got up, walking toward me with a paper in his hand.  “Read this and make sure it looks good.”
I grabbed the paper and read it, my heart tightening slightly when I read the words on the paper.
“You think I’m a superhero?” I asked quietly, my eyes flicking up to my son’s where he was leaning against the wall.
Linc looked at me, really looked at me, and nodded.
“Yeah, dad. I think you’re a fucking superhero.” He grated out. “Otherwise I wouldn’t be here right now, now would I? My paper was on someone who inspires me to be a better person. That’s you, bitch.”
I grabbed my man-child into a headlock and brought him in close to me, then pressed a kiss to the top of his head before taking him down to the ground and tickling him like I used to do when he was six.
“Get out of here, kid. Let me read. You get your shit picked up outside or it’ll get stolen.”
My kid left, luckily putting pants on before he walked outside to pick up his football gear, leaving me to read a paper that was enough to bring a grown man to tears.
 

 


 
 
 

 


 
 

I’m a married mother of three. My kids are all under 5, so I can assure you that they are a handful. I’ve been with my paramedic husband now for ten years, and we’ve produced three offspring that are nothing like us. I live in the greatest state in the world, Texas.


 
 
 

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

SBPRBanner-PROVOCATIVE-BA

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!

Amazon alert: 

B&N: 

iBooks: 

Kobo: 

Goodreads: 



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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