TAKING THE SCORE
Tall, Dark and Texan #2
Releasing February 15th, 2016
A sexy category romance from Entangled’s Brazen imprint…
His office temptation is now his full-blown fantasy…
Paying down her sister’s debts has left Emma Strickland with little more than the thrift store suit on her back. And as if the suckfest couldn’t get worse, she’s forced to moonlight as a waitress to support herself and her cat. At a strip club. Her uptight, sexy-as-hell boss Brody Kane can never find out.
Texas property tycoon Brody Kane hired Emma for her spreadsheet skills, but her prim and proper demeanor sealed the deal. There’s no room in his life for a sexy distraction … and yet, he can’t stop lusting after the delicious Ms. Strickland. And then he takes an important client to a Chicago strip club and gets the worst lap dance in adult entertainment history. From Emma.
Now that he knows his office good girl has a naughty streak, Brody makes it his mission to uncover her secrets, one steamy, illicit, over-the-desk encounter at a time. But Emma is hiding more than her side job, and her final secret could end up destroying them both.
Will be posted ASAP….
romance with alpha heroes and strong heroines who can match their men quip for
Don’t Miss the First in the Tall, Dark & Texan Series
EVEN THE SCORE
Mimi Jean Pamfiloff
(STANDALONE STORY – BASED ON THE USA TODAY BESTSELLING KING TRILOGY)
Darkness was the one thing in this world I didn’t care for—probably because I felt most comfortable with facts. Seeing objects equated seeing facts. There is the floor. There is the couch. Facts.
Guessing where things were—I think the leg of this table is around here somewhere—ouch!—was inefficient, useless. It was why nightlights were invented.
So when I entered John Doe’s dark room, the first thing I wanted was to bring in some light.
“Mr. Doe?” I said to the dark figure seated in the corner of the small room, staring at me like an eerie scarecrow waiting to frighten the shit out of anything that crossed its path. “My name is Dr. Valentine. I’m the new director. May I turn on the lights so we can discuss the reason you are here?”
“I asked not to be disturbed.” The man’s deep, masculine voice felt like a cold, chilling slap. Yet strangely, it was also…Well, I didn’t know really. Hypnotic, perhaps.
I squinted, my eyes straining to see his face but only able to make out his silhouette—broad shoulders, short hair, and fit-looking arms from the shadows of biceps I was able to spot.
“That’s exactly why we need to talk,” I said. “It’s come to my attention that you are not here to seek therapy—”
My mouth flapped for a moment. “I’m sorry, but did you—”
“I said leave,” he growled.
Sadly for him, intimidation didn’t work on me. Not that I was stupid and wouldn’t get out of harm’s way. The question was, did he intend to harm me?
“And if I don’t?” I asked, testing the waters. His response would tell me everything I needed to know. Reading people’s internal emotional state was another gift of mine.
I waited for a reply.
And then I waited some more.
He’s not going to answer me. Fine. This was silly and a completely unproductive use of my time. I would just have to see him with my own two eyes. My gift would do the rest.
“Okay. These lights are going—” I flipped the switch, and the moment my eyes met his, I was hit by a hard wave of…
“Holy fuck,” I gasped.
I flipped off the lights, turned, and left the room. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. What was that?
exchange student to Mexico City, she never imagined the journey would lead to writing Romance. But one MBA, one sexy husband, and two rowdy kids later, Mimi would trade in corporate life for vampires, deities, and snarky humor.
Releasing on February 8, 2016
Ryan’s more than a little turned on by this good girl who wants to be bad. But things aren’t what they seem, and the secrets they’re keeping from one another might just end this sexy little rendezvous before it ever begins….
Amazon | B & N | iTunes | Kobo
3.5* – overall a good read. I liked the twist but a few lines were just a bit too cheesy for me (and I wish Andi had stood up for herself a little more at points)
kids, or watching a big action flick with her husband.
What had she done? Lynne had actually fallen asleep on Jax Mercury. She awoke, blinking inside the stifling hood, just as he lifted her into the cool morning air and easily strode over uneven ground. A slight change of temperature hit her, and his steps leveled out.
Inside. They were inside somewhere. The smell of dust and burned tomato soup tickled her nose, but no sound provided a clue as to their whereabouts. All but blinded, she tried to tune in to her other senses. Jax’s boots clomped heavily across a hard surface, and his heart beat steadily against her shoulder.
His stride didn’t hitch as he climbed stairs, turned, walked in a too-quiet area, and opened a door. The world tilted, and he placed her, gently actually, on what felt like a fake leather sofa.
He yanked the hood off.
Light from halogen lamps assaulted her wide pupils, and she winced, her eyes tearing. “You’re an ass.”
Silver flashed, and he cut the zip ties. “So it has been said.”
Heat climbed into her face. The man had carried her easily and didn’t seem winded a bit. Even so, the legends whispered around campfires and refugee camps across the country had to be exaggerated. Nobody was that tough. “We need to talk,” she gritted out.
He yanked a kitchen chair toward her, turned it, and straddled it. Now, in the light, she was struck by how young he really was. Maybe mid-thirties, black hair, dark brown eyes, and rugged facial features. Handsome in a pissed-off kind of way. A scar cut under the left side of his jaw, white and deadly. “So, talk.”
She swallowed and tugged her backpack to her chest, glancing around what appeared to be a small apartment. A kitchenette took up one wall, an unmade bed the other, with dented furniture in between. Sofa, metal coffee table, woodlaminate kitchen table, paint peeling pink kids’ dresser, and mismatched kitchen chairs. Maps covered the table, spread out haphazardly. “Where am I?”
“You don’t get to know that.” He rested his arms on the top of the chair, muscles flexing.
She bit her lip. Men’s clothing littered the unmade bed, and the smell of musk and male filled the atmosphere. “Whose place am I in?”
“Mine.” He lifted a shoulder, his gaze unwavering. “And yours now, I guess.”
She pushed back into the torn pleather. “I’m not, I mean, I—”
One dark eyebrow rose. “You’re here because I’m keeping an eye on you and making sure you don’t infect anybody else.”
“I won’t infect anybody else,” she said slowly, her nails digging into the couch until the pads of her fingertips protested. “We don’t really know the truth about that statement, now do we? You’re the ultimate carrier of the most dangerous plague to ever attack mankind.” He lowered his chin, the movement somehow menacing. “You’re also here so I can make sure you’re not ready to check out.”
She rolled her eyes. “If I’d wanted to kill myself, I wouldn’t have traveled this far to do it.”
She glanced at the unmade bed. Too many women had become victims as the world had disintegrated; the strong overcame the weak. She wasn’t weak, and she was no man’s plaything. “I’m not here for your amusement.”
“I’m not amused.” He leaned toward her, and her breath caught in her throat. “Let me be perfectly clear. I don’t force myself on women, and neither do any of my men. Any people here, and anyone we come across, remain safe from personal attack. Rape is a crime dealt with by death, so you have no need to fear.”
She’d heard that in the rumors and tales, but she hadn’t known it to be true. “Women don’t earn their keep, earn their protection, with sex here?” Wherever here was.
“You were in an inner-city L.A. gang. Years ago.” She lifted an eyebrow. “Rape was against the rules?”
His face blanked. “No, but I’ve never forced a woman.” Those dark eyes narrowed. “My past is my own. You sure know a lot about me.”
Not really. He’d become a folk legend fighting in L.A. before the news had shut down. Since then she’d been trying to gather facts, but there were still blanks. “Why did you leave the gang? I’ve never heard why you entered the army.”
He rubbed his chin. “Judge gave me a choice. Prison or military. I guess he saw something in me.”
She let her shoulders relax. “I wondered.”
“Yeah.” Jax eyed her shirt just at her neck. “Can I see again?”
Well, she couldn’t really blame him. She set aside the pack holding her father’s precious journal. Her fingers remained steady this time as she unbuttoned the blouse and drew open the sides.
Jax’s nostrils flared, while a tension, one she barely remembered as sexual, overtook the atmosphere. “Does it hurt?”
“The blueness?” She glanced down, her lungs suddenly
too tight “No. I don’t feel anything.”
He reached out and gently took her wrist, shoving the sleeve up to reveal the track marks on her elbow. “This must hurt.”
His touch stirred awareness deep in her abdomen, and surprise paused her at the feeling. When was the last time she’d felt desire? Or even warmth from another’s touch? She glanced down at the scars caused by drawing so much blood. So many times, and outside of normal medical procedures after a while. “Yes. That hurts.”
“I knew a junkie once with an arm like this.” Jax shook his head and unrolled her sleeve. “The irrationality of a thing is not an argument against its existence, rather, a condition of it,” he murmured, securing the buttons at her wrist. She frowned as the familiar words rolled around her head. “Einstein?”
“Nietzsche.” Jax lifted an eyebrow. “Rumor has it you’re carrying an advanced form of Scorpius. True or false?” “False rumor to isolate me.” She tried to keep her tired eyes open.
Jax gestured toward her pack. “I get the food and water you have, but what’s in the journal?”
She sighed. “Sorry, but there’s nothing about Scorpius. My dad was a physicist and a philosopher. He wrote a lot down.”
Jax blinked. “That’s quite the combination.”
“Yes.” The words on paper were all she had left of her parents.
Jax studied her and then looked toward the gas lamp on the counter. “We have lanterns left, but not for long unless we get more fuel. So keep an eye on the lamp but extinguish it if you go to sleep.”
“I understand.” The guy was quoting Nietzsche? What kind of an ex-gang member turned army special ops turned leader of a vigilante group knew philosophy? She shook her head. Time to negotiate. “I’m here for a reason.” “I’m sure.” He eyed her blue heart again. “You can cover up.”
She fumbled in refastening her shirt. “I’ll teach you everything I know about the illness, and you provide temporary protection and one kill.” The mere idea she was contracting a murder banished the desire humming inside her and replaced the heat with a lump of cold rock.
A veil fell over Jax’s eyes. “What makes you think we don’t know everything you do about the illness?”
She shrugged, wondering if he knew what kind of information he might have stored away just from his ransacking labs. “The Internet went down fast, much faster than anyone would’ve thought, and the news and television thereafter. No way do you know what I know.”
He watched her patiently, as if waiting to strike. “The Internet went down because of a guy named Spiral.”
She blinked. Wow. So Jax Mercury had some seriously good intel. “True. He was infected with the illness and then reacted by creating a world-class computer virus. Figured if bodies died, so should technology, since it got us in this fix in the first place.” Her instincts hummed. Underestimating Mercury would be a colossal mistake. Suddenly, and for the first time in way too long, hope struggled to unfurl within her. “I still know more about the illness than you do.”
“Probably.” He studied her for a few moments longer before cocking his head to the side. “What else?”
She cleared her throat. “I assume you’ve scavenged the area you control?”
His chin lifted. “So?”
She swallowed, her body stilling. “Did you scavenge the emergency CDC outpost on the southeast side of L.A.?” Her blood pumped so fast she could feel a vein in her neck bulging.
“Yes. Why?” he asked softly.
The softness contained a deadly intent that rippled a shiver down her spine. Her fingers fidgeted. “They had the most recent research, and combined with mine, we might have hope.” They also had intel on where Myriad, the ultrasecret lab, might be located.
He studied her. “We raided the CDC outpost and took all medical supplies and paper records. Our limited medical personnel went through the files looking for cures, but I have to be honest, none of them are researchers with your background.”
Lynne leaned forward. “I’m happy to go through all the information and decipher it for you.” Oh God. Maybe the risk of heading into Mercury’s territory would actually pay off . . . if she could find Myriad. “Could I look through the data?”
He leaned back and studied her. “Sure. Are you telling me there may be a cure?”
USA Today Bestselling author Rebecca Zanetti has worked as an art curator, Senate aide, lawyer, college professor, and a hearing examiner – only to culminate it all in stories about Alpha males and the women who claim them. She writes contemporary romances, dark paranormal romances, and romantic suspense novels.
Alex sat back against his bar stool, his mood in the shitter despite the cold beer in his hand and the warm smile of the waitress who’d brought it. But the ten hours he’d spent hitting the bricks in Hope House’s kitchen today had done their level best to kill both his stamina and his patience.
The grunt work, however, couldn’t even hold a flamethrower to his new boss.
Alex tilted his bottle to his lips, swallowing a long, smooth sip of pale ale to cover his frown. Yeah, he’d cop to the fact that he hadn’t come out of the gate with a stellar first impression, but it wasn’t as if he’d meant to drift off to dreamland while he’d waited for Zoe in the dining room. With the circadian rhythms that went hand in hand with Alex’s job, five minutes in the dark meant one of two things—either he was falling asleep or getting laid. He had to admit, when he’d first seen Zoe standing there in Hope House’s dining room, with those blazing brown eyes and jeans that showcased more curves than a Grand Prix racetrack, the option behind door number two had seemed awfully freaking appealing.
Until he’d realized who she was. But how the hell was
he supposed to know his captain’s only daughter had ditched out on her fancy career as an up-and-coming chef
to direct a small-time soup kitchen in Fairview’s projects? Or that she seemed to have been living on a steady diet of no-risks, all-rules since he’d last seen her five years ago?
Or that despite the fact that she’d pulled a Judge Judy on his ass over the way he’d landed his community service sentence, then met his cold shoulder with an equally arctic counterpart as she’d worked him into the kitchen tiles, he still found her unbelievably and unequivocally hot as hell.
God, he was screwed. And not even in a way that would leave a smile on his face.
“What’s the matter, Donovan? One day of plates and pots enough to send you around the bend?”
Alex blinked himself back to his usual table in Bellyflop’s bar area just in time to catch the good-natured glint in the eyes of his former squad mate Nick Brennan. If anyone knew the twists and trials of working in a professional kitchen, it was definitely Brennan. After suffering a career-ending injury two and a half years ago, the guy had spent his time doing exactly that before coming back to Fairview last month to teach at the fire academy.
After all, once a firefighter . . .
“Laugh it up, fry boy,” Alex said, giving up half a grin before sliding off his padded leather bar stool to shake his buddy’s hand. “I take it you heard about my disagreement with McManus.”
“Who hasn’t? The story’s all over the department.” Brennan tipped his darkly stubbled chin at their passing waitress, pointing to Alex’s beer bottle with one hand while holding up two fingers with the other as he parked himself across the table. “Gotta hand it to you, dude. When it comes to going all-in, you are definitely committed.”
Alex shrugged. He’d had the same philosophy for the last twelve years, and while it might’ve gotten him into a bunch of scrapes, his all-in, all-the-time mind-set was definitely better than the alternative. “From where I sit, there’s really no other way to be. After all, Cap’s not running a knitting circle. We either take risks or people get hurt.”
“You’re preaching to the choir. Believe me, I remember what goes down on shift.” Brennan plucked a specials menu from between the salt and pepper shakers on the table to give it a nice, long look-see, and even though his expression didn’t vary from its terminally easygoing status, guilt poked holes in Alex’s chest all the same. Brennan had been injured the same night they’d lost Mason in that gut-twisting apartment fire. One minute, they’d all been clearing the building, business as usual. The next, part of the third floor had collapsed, Brennan’s career had been shattered along with a pair of his vertebrae, and Mason was gone.
And wasn’t that one more balls-out reminder that life was short.
“Yeah.” He finished the last of his beer, the empty bottle finding the polished wood table with a thunk, and Brennan leaned in, his voice notched low against the music spilling down from the overhead speakers.
“Listen, Teflon, I get where your head is, but do you think maybe—”
“Well, well, look who it is! I heard this guy’s gonna be the next Martha Stewart.” Tom O’Keefe, one of Station Eight’s paramedics, arrived at the table, clapping his palm over Alex’s with a wry laugh. Cole followed behind him, sending a thread of relief beneath Alex’s breastbone. While he’d never disrespect Mason’s memory, giving his emotions airtime—especially in the middle of a moderately populated sports bar—wasn’t part of Alex’s game plan. The past was past. What mattered was the moment you were in, and not a whole hell of a lot more.
After all, if you weren’t busy living, you were busy dying, and no way was he going out with a fizzle instead of a slam-fucking-bang.
“You’re hilarious, O’Keefe. Really. Asshole,” Alex tacked on, but his buddy just lifted his brows in an exaggerated waggle.
“Oh, now you’re just flirting with me.” O’Keefe shrugged out of his dark blue quilted FFD jacket as the waitress delivered Alex and Brennan’s beers, and he twirled his finger in a tight circle over the table as he put in an order to make the round complete. “So,” he said, commandeering the bar stool across from Brennan and next to Cole. “All kidding aside, the house is too quiet without your mouthy ass. What’s the word with this community service thing?”
Alex rolled his eyes, suddenly grateful for the fresh beer in his hand. “The word is, the next four weeks are going to be an exercise in futility.”
“You’re actually going to do the whole four weeks?” Brennan’s dark brows winged upward, and as much as it burned, Alex met his buddy’s shock with a resigned nod.
“Don’t get me wrong. I’m not planning on any circle-oflove transformations while I log my time. But as far as the community service goes, I don’t have a choice.” Christ, this whole thing was such a waste of time and resources. He should be out there fighting fires, not serving up dry sandwiches in some cafeteria line because that idiot McManus was suffering from a bruised ass and an ego to match. “I’ve got four weeks before I go in front of the fire chief for my review. Until then, it looks like the department has got me by the short and curlies. I either do this community service as penance, or I lose my job. And I’m not losing my job.”
“Yeah, but if you do the whole four weeks, you’re also not getting paid,” O’Keefe said. “That’s got to sting.”
“I’m good there,” Alex replied, the words firing out just a little too fast. Ah, damn it. This situation was sideways enough without having to dig into the truth behind his statement. There were only three people at Eight who were privy to all of his sticky particulars, and Alex wasn’t about to bump the number higher, not even by one.
He forced his shoulders into their loosest setting, dialing his expression up to damage control status. “I’ve got some scratch saved up from my part-time gig. It’ll last.”
“Right. I forgot about that.” O’Keefe propped both forearms on the table, tilting his head as he thankfully switched gears. “Still. You spent all day at this soup kitchen place. You haven’t tried to sweet-talk the director into giving you a shorter assignment, maybe moving the whole thing along so you can get back in-house? This is you, after all.”
An image of Zoe with her hands locked over her lush, denim-wrapped hips as she ran him in circles around Hope House’s kitchen ricocheted through Alex’s brain, and he barely managed to cough out a humorless laugh with his answer. “Uh, yeah, no. As much as I want to trim some time off my assignment, sweet-talking the director isn’t going to be a viable strategy.”
Cole’s brows slid together, his gaze darkening in confusion under the low light of the bar. “Talking your way out of things is always your strategy. What’s so special about this director that makes her a game changer?”
“Well, let’s see. For starters, her last name is Westin.”
The stunned silence at the table lasted for a breath, then another, before O’Keefe finally broke it with a low whistle. “Ho-ly shit, Teflon. Zoe Westin is the director of Hope House’s soup kitchen? That’s the hush-hush project she came back home to work on?”
Alex’s sip of beer went down way more sour than smooth, and he made a face to match. “Unfortunately, yes.”
Kimberly Kincaid writes contemporary romance that splits the difference between sexy and sweet. When she’s not sitting crosslegged in an ancient desk chair known as “The Pleather Bomber,” she can be found practicing obscene amounts of yoga, whipping up anything from enchiladas to éclairs in her kitchen, or curled up with her nose in a book. Kimberly is a 2011 RWA Golden Heart® finalist who lives (and writes!) by the mantra that food is love. She resides in northern Virginia with her wildly patient husband and their three daughters.
Razer’s Ride, Viper’s Run, Knox’s Stand & Shade’s Fall
Knox, a former Navy Seal, has been in several dangerous situations, but nothing compares to dealing with Diamond Richards. Framed for murder, he needs the passionless lawyer to prove his innocence. But when he no longer needs her help, he’s going to show her the passion she’s capable of and walk away a free man.Diamond plans on earning her huge fee to prove Knox is innocent, but she had no idea the muscled biker could bring out the passion she kept hidden behind her designer clothes. Trying to find a murderer is easier than dealing with The Last Riders and Knox’s sexcapades. He’s going to find out there is one woman worth standing and fighting for, despite his desire for freedom.
mother was one of the best cooks I have ever known, and she instilled in all her children the value of hard work, and education.
college. My daughter does my book covers, and my son just tries not to blush when someone asks him about my books.
that inspire me to give it my best.”
Releasing Dec 11th, 2015
What can I say? I’m not a nice person. When I walk by, people call me a slut, and I’m okay with that. I believe in calling a spade a spade. I am a slut.
With the holidays approaching, I miss belonging to The Last Riders. Drake’s keeping me warm, but he wants more than I can give. He wants me to trust him, to believe he can protect me. Doesn’t he know Santa put me on the Naughty List long ago?Nice
What can I say? I’m a nice guy and have always done the responsible thing.
Bliss is everything I shouldn’t want, but it’s hard to resist a woman who stopped believing in miracles. She wants to be back with The Last Riders, whom she considers her true family. Doesn’t she know it’s Christmas, and miracles do happen?
What happens when the glass slippers pinch Cinderella’s toes?
When Jaine Andersen proposes a new marketing role to the local amusement park, general manager Dylan Callahan charms her into filling Cinderella’s glass slippers for the summer. Her reign transforms Jaine’s ordinary life into chaos that would bewilder a fairy godmother. Secretly dating her bad boy boss, running wedding errands for her ungrateful sisters, and defending herself from the park’s resident villain means Jaine needs lots more than a comfy pair of shoes to restore order in her kingdom.
First in the Storybook Valley series, a blend of sweet romance, chick lit, and fairy tale fun.