Blog Tour: Tycoon by Katy Evans

TYCOON
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Katy Evans
Release Date: June 20, 2017

He wasn’t always this rich. This hot. This difficult.

Aaric Christos was a guy who protected me. Wanted me. Maybe even loved me.

That man is gone.

In his place is the most powerful real estate tycoon in the city.

He’s a cold, ruthless, aggressive businessman.

The only one who can save me and my startup from ruin.

It takes every ounce of courage to put my pride aside and ask for his help.

I didn’t expect him to offer it easily.

And he doesn’t.

Instead, he vets me harder than he’s vetted anyone.

Don’t invest in what you don’t know, he says.

He’s assessing every piece of me, to the point I’ve never felt so bare.

I yearn for the boy I once knew, whose touch once craved me.

Putting it all on the line will be worth it, I tell myself.

Until I realize—too late—that some risks are not worth taking.

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I hop off the train and walk several walks to his building.It’s a brownstone in Park Avenue, one of the most elite of the elite spaces in town.

My lungs feel a little bit overworked from awe as I head up the steps to the double doors, grateful that I came dressed to kill in a little black dress, a jacket, and pumps. Simple, but effective.

See, I may be feeling a little awkward, but at least I don’t look it.

I’m greeted by his maid. She’s dressed in black and white, her hair drawn back in a neat bun, her expression stoic and formal as she leads me down the hall to a gorgeous study.

I catch my breath when I notice all the books and shelves.

It’s like a reader’s paradise in here. There’s a sleek chrome bar, a modern mahogany glass-topped desk, and two huge whiskey-colored leather chairs that almost swallow me up when I’m instructed to wait in one.

I drum my fingers, inhaling the scent of leather and wine, remembering a guy I knew with his mechanic navy-blue uniform, black streaks on his jaw, his big nose always the first thing you’d see, which was a pity because he had beautiful eyes and a really sinful pair of lips.

He’s living in luxury now. Wow. Good for him.

I hear footsteps approaching and the little hair on my arms prick at attention. My head turns as a tall, dark figure steps into the room, and the most intimidating guy I’ve ever seen enters and crosses the room toward the desk. He walks like he’s the shit…his strides proud and composed, elegant and powerful.

Christos, I hear myself breathe in surprise.

He’s so tall now…six three, at least. Dirty-blonde hair, gold-green eyes, chiseled jaw, and a gorgeous profile.

All in black, he looks very much a New Yorker.

He’s wearing a black jacket, black pants, and a black turtleneck beneath the jacket…

I stare at him, my jaw hanging a little bit open. The man is….all man. Testosterone. Muscles. Height. Width. My chest hurts all of a sudden because I realize…

The boy you knew is gone.

I force myself to stand. “Thank you for seeing me.”

He heads to the bar to pour two drinks, then he prowls over, takes the whiskey leather chair across from mine and leans forward, pushing a glass of cognac with one finger across a small table, toward me.

And he waits.

In silence.

But my stomach dips as if he’d said something ultra-sexy and decadent.

“You might not remember me, I’m sorry to be reaching out like this,” I say, nervous.

“What do you want?”

There’s a pleasant shiver as he speaks. Recognition of his voice, even though it’s far deeper than I remember.

“I was told you sometimes invest in startups.”

“I’d say more than sometimes.” He raises his eyebrows as if I should’ve done my homework better.

Ugh, Bryn! Focus! Be SMART! Make yourself and your business irresistible! A silence settles as he eyes me, slowly setting his drink down as he leans forward and finally, unexpectedly, smiles. At me.

It’s just a smile.

But the world tilts under its impact.

“Hello, little bit.” Amusement touches his gaze as he tilts his head and watches me. “You know, I’d think you’d have grown up the ten-plus years since I last saw you. At least an inch.” He leans back in his seat, seemingly displeased. Wow, this guy is not the lanky kid I knew once. This guy oozes danger.

Every ounce of “boy” is gone. Oh God. For a moment I wish that we could go back in time and I could discuss my startup with the guy I knew before.

But time travel is not really my talent, and it seems like I have yet to see if I even have any special talents at all—depending on what this guy thinks.

“I grew two in width,” I shock myself saying.

He laughs then, his eyes drinking me in openly.

“Shame on you, you’re not trying to see if it’s true?” I ask him, frowning now.

He shrugs casually, his lips curved at the corners. “I can’t help it. Something has to have changed.”

“Why?”

“Because nothing good ever lasts. Even you, little bit.” A smile touches those unforgettable gold-green eyes.

A shiver runs through me. Because…

Christos recognized me.

“I can tell you’re as incorrigible as ever.” I shake my head, but I’m smiling, truly just relieved that he recognized me.

“I try to be,” he purrs dangerously.

I’m feeling warm all of a sudden. I can’t believe I’m staring at him so much, but it’s like I cannot take my eyes away. He looks achingly familiar, but at the same time, so different I cannot help but stare and track the differences in his features. The way his jaw squared out even more, the way his body filled out with hard, lean muscles that shift and ripple beneath his expensive designer clothes. I cannot believe that this is a guy I knew once.

He seems to silently be taking in my changes too, his keen stare allowing me to see that he seems to approve of it all. Even the dress I’m wearing. “You changed enough for the both of us,” I blurt.

“Really. How so?” he asks.

“You grew into your nose.”

“Really?” He chuckles as if despite himself.

“Width and height too. Quite a bit,” I add.

“Anything else,” he prods, one eyebrow rising.

“You learned how to dress.”

He looks down at his black suit. “This old thing?” He grins, then shifts forward, sobering up. “What can I do for you, Bryn? Considering I’m rather surprised to see you here, I’m eager for you to satiate my curiosity.” His stare becomes keen.

“So am I. I didn’t expect to be here,” I admit, and for a moment when I look into his eyes, all I see is someone I’ve seen before. Someone who belonged in my life long ago. “You know when you had that misplaced crush on me and told me one day I’d know what it felt like to throw pebbles at someone’s window wanting them to open? I’m sort of throwing rocks here.”

“Not to sing me a love song,” he says flatly, his eyes shuttering.

“No. Well, you know that was never….I mean…” Don’t bring up your rejection of him, Bryn! “It’s for something better. Business.”

“Go on.”

“I knew that’d get you.” I smile privately. “So it’s true your love is money now.”

“She gives back what I put in. Though her ass isn’t as juicy as I like,” he says nonchalantly.

“Wow. No matter how polished you look, your mouth is still as crude as ever.”

“Thank you,” he purrs, his eyes grinning at me.

I laugh. Then I sober up and realize he’s waiting for me to speak. “I’m looking for money for my startup,” I say.

“How much.”

“One hundred thousand.”

“I don’t invest less than a million.” He twirls his whiskey in his glass, eyeing the liquid.

“Well then, I’ll ask for a million.”

He raises his brows, setting his glass down. “It’s not how much you want to ask for, it’s how much the company’s worth.” Eyebrows up, he skewers me with a cold, intimidating look.

“It’ll be worth more than a million, trust me,” I bluff.

“Good for you. Except…” he leans back with a rustle of clothes, every athletic inch of his black-clad body flowing sinuously like a feline with the move, “considering that has yet to happen and I’ll need to trust you on that, my trust needs to be earned.”

This version of Christos is even more intimidating than the old one, unfortunately.

I try to hide it, keeping my voice as level as possible. “How does one earn your trust?”

“I’d tell you if I were interested, but I’m not exactly sure that I am.” He eyes me as if debating in silence.

This guy is the only guy in the world that unnerves me in this way, and I can’t seem to slow the fast pounding of my heart in my chest as I try to remember what I came here to say.

“I have a full presentation for you. I’m not taking no for an answer.” I reach into my briefcase.

“Darling. Are you ready?”

I start at the female voice and glance at a gorgeous woman striding into the study. Christos continues looking at me as he stands and reaches for the cell phone the woman extends out.

“We’re done here,” he answers her as he pockets the phone, his gaze remaining on me.

“I’ll wait for you in the car.” She leans up and kisses his jaw, her hands proprietary on his chest, then sends me a woman-to-woman claiming look, before she swishes away, all glittering jewels and lean body.

There’s a silence as he approaches, and for a second all I can hear is the sound of a toilet flushing, taking my only opportunity with a possible investor away.

“I’ll think about it,” he says.

“Christos.”

“I said I’ll think about it,” he says from the door.

“Please do,” I say as he exits the room. I cup the sides of my mouth, “I’ll be back tomorrow. Same time?” I say jokingly.

I’m surprised when I hear footsteps returning. He pauses when our eyes meet. “I’ll make contact,” he says, raising his eyebrows meaningfully, “If I’m interested in hearing more.” He nods. “Nice to see you, Bryn.”

“Nice to see you. Christos.”

Well, that went sort of awful.

Katy Evans is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. Her debut REAL shot to the top of the bestselling lists in 2013 and since then 9 of her titles have been New York Times bestsellers. Her books have been translated into nearly a dozen languages across the world.

Connect with the Author:

Email: katyevansauthor@gmail.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/authorKatyEvans

Twitter @authorkatyevans

New Release Spotlight, Excerpt & Dream Cast: Sworn To Protect by Diana Gardin

SWORN TO PROTECT
Series: Rescue Ops #1
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Author: Diana Gardin
Release Date: June 4, 2017

To keep her safe, he’ll have to uncover all her secrets…

Rayne Alexander. A face I never thought I’d see again, and one I never could forget. Nine years ago, she left town-and me–without a backward glance. But now she’s back, with a haunted look in her eyes and a feisty attitude that didn’t exist when we were teenagers. Seeing this grown-up–and sexy–Rayne is something I wasn’t prepared for… and it’s bringing up feelings I’d thought I’d buried years ago.

Although I want to demand answers from Rayne, working on black ops at Night Eagle Security has taught me that it’s sometimes better to keep my mouth shut. So when I catch her hiding a photo of a little boy, I’m curious. When I see her jump as her phone rings, I’m concerned. But the second I notice a car following her home, I know she’s hiding something. Something dangerous. And while I may not know why she left or why she’s back, if there’s someone out there Rayne is afraid of, I’ll make damn sure that threat is eliminated.

AMAZON | iBOOKS

The air between us suddenly crackles as the air around us pulls taut. It’s like Jeremy’s presence is sucking the air right out of the room.

He takes a step closer, crowding me. “You didn’t drag me into shit, Rayne. I’m where I want to be. And this is where I want you and Decker to be. You’re not leaving here tonight.”

I open my mouth to protest. “We can’t…I mean we’re not your responsibility—”

With another ferocious growl, he pulls me around the corner into a nook beside the entryway. Out of Decker’s sight, he presses me against the wall next to a locked cabinet. I don’t have time to think or react. Everything about Jeremy overpowers me, but it doesn’t elicit fear. Instead, my thighs clench together as my lips part with a rush of air. My breath comes in pants as his pupils widen.

Then he claims my lips.

And oh God, this isn’t the same boy I kissed so many times in high school.

This kiss is fierce; it’s relentless. One hand is braced against the wall, the other slides down my side and wraps tightly around me, pulling me against his hard, hard body. His mouth works against mine, insisting, his tongue darting out to lick the seam of my lips, coaxing me none-too-gently to open for him. With a needy moan, I do, because all of the blood in my body is leaving my head and rushing straight to my throbbing core. His tongue meets mine, tangling and dancing and twisting, and it’s so sensual, so erotic, that I can’t get enough.

My hands slide up his chest, under his shirt, and there’s a low rumble of sound deep in his throat that reverberates through my whole body. His muscles, so sinewy and strong, twitch beneath my fingers. It’s like my body is in tune with his, a perfect synchronization that promises utter and complete pleasure with our connection.

Tearing his lips away from mine only long enough to trail soft, fluttering kisses over my jaw, his voice is hungry. “Rayne.”

My name, from this man’s mouth? It’s soul shaking. And the way his lips are so reverent now against my skin…like he’s worshipping me. I shiver in his arms, at his complete mercy.

DREAM CAST

Diana Gardin shared her dream case for Sworn To Protect and I couldn’t agree with it more! I can’t picture anyone else for Rayne and Jeremy!

Jessica Szohr as Rayne Alexander

Chris Wood as Jeremy Teague

Owen Vaccaro as the adorable Decker Teague

New Release Spotlight: Small Change by Roan Parrish

SMALL CHANGE
Series: Small Change #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Roan Parrish
Release Date: June 1, 2017

Ginger Holtzman has fought for everything she’s ever had—the success of her tattoo shop, respect in the industry, her upcoming art show. Tough and independent, she has taking-no-crap down to an art form. Good thing too, since keeping her shop afloat, taking care of her friends, and scrambling to finish her paintings doesn’t leave time for anything else. Which … is for the best, because then she doesn’t notice how lonely she is. She’ll get through it all on her own, just like she always does.

Christopher Lucen opened a coffee and sandwich joint in South Philly because he wanted to be part of a community after years of running from place to place, searching for something he could never quite name. Now, he relishes the familiarity of knowing what his customers want, and giving it to them. But what he really wants now is love.

When they meet, Christopher is smitten, but Ginger … isn’t quite so sure. Christopher’s gorgeous, and kind, and their opposites-attract chemistry is off the charts. But hot sex is one thing—truly falling for someone? Terrifying. When her world starts to crumble around her, Ginger has to face the fact that this fight can only be won by being vulnerable—this fight, she can’t win on her own.

Small Change is the first book in a series that will include M/F and M/M romances.

AMAZON

He was tall, with the thick build of someone naturally powerful, rather than the kind of sculpted muscles of someone who worked out in a gym. His thick red hair was cut close on the sides and long on top, combed back from a square hairline. He had a strong jaw and a smirky mouth, and his stubble was nearly blond. It was his eyes that I couldn’t look away from though. They were almost the same color as his hair—a warm goldish-orange—and shot through with flecks of blue.

My first impression was that his face was arresting, interesting the way sometimes in a gallery there’s one painting that pulls you in and won’t let you walk past. Each line eases into the next, each color shades into the one beside it in just the way your eye desires. Once you start to see the details you can’t look away.

But the more I looked, the more interesting converted to handsome as hell.

“Dramatic start to the day,” he commented, eyes sliding to the spot where I’d been crouched when he came in.

“Not even my first encounter with a floor this morning, unfortunately.” I leaned an elbow on the counter, drawn toward him.

“One of those, huh?” He spoke with the ease of a food service professional accustomed to such exchanges, and the utter empathy of someone who actually meant it.

When he held the bag out to me over the counter it was accompanied by an easy smile that crinkled laugh lines at the corners of those extraordinary eyes and displayed charmingly sharp incisors that overhung his bottom lip a little, like a kid wearing dress-up fangs.

“Just in case the vagaries of your day find you needing another one,” he said.

And then he winked at me. Not the friendly wink of a barista. A filthy, promise-laden wink that shifted his grin from charming to sexy as hell. 

Roan Parrish lives in Philadelphia where she is gradually attempting to write love stories in every genre.

When not writing, she can usually be found cutting her friends’ hair, meandering through whatever city she’s in while listening to torch songs and melodic death metal, or cooking overly elaborate meals. She loves bonfires, winter beaches, minor chord harmonies, and self-tattooing. One time she may or may not have baked a six-layer chocolate cake and then thrown it out the window in a fit of pique.

She is represented by Courtney Miller-Callihan of Handspun Literary Agency.

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New Release & Review: Mature Content by @MeganErickson_ & @santinohassell

MATURE CONTENT
Series: Cyber Love #4
Genre: Contemporary, MM Romance
Authors: Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell
Release Date: June 2, 2017

My life plan is to be brutally honest all the way to the bank. Don’t believe me? I run a popular YouTube channel called TrashyZane, and my claim to fame is oversharing about every aspect of my personal life. Sometimes while tipsy. Not everyone loves my style, but I have a long history of icing out people who can’t handle me. I have no time for judgmental foolishness.

Except, apparently, when it comes to Beau Starr. His channel is the polar opposite of mine, and so is he. Wholesome, inspirational, and clean-cut. Everything about him should turn me off, but when we hook up following a confrontation at a convention, my world flips upside down.

Not only does Beau Starr turn me on, he uses the exact combination of dirty talk and roughness needed to turn me out.

But we still hate each other. I think.

AMAZON | B&N | KOBO | INDIGO | ANGUST & ROBERTSON BOOK WORLD | MANDORI STORE

“Look, if I go clean up are you going to run out the door?”“Would it bother you if I did?”

Beau frowned. “If I say yes, is it guaranteed you’ll do it just to bother me?” My mouth twitched. He rocked against me. “I’m serious.”

“Fine.” I sighed exaggeratedly, like he was really hassling me. “I’ll stay for a few.”

“Good.” Beau stood up, and I was suddenly eye level with his taut, sculpted stomach. “There’s another bathroom in my bedroom. And…you can grab some shorts from the chest if you don’t want to sit around naked.”

I almost asked him what the hell we were going to be sitting around doing, but kept my mouth shut. He went to the bathroom between the living room and kitchen, and I explored the rest of his apartment while slathered in jizz. It was almost as nice as mine, but nowhere near as artsy. My grandmother had helped me furnish it after shopping at thrift stores and refinishing furniture, but Beau’s apartment was kind of like a showroom. Eerily perfect.

Either way, his bathroom was on point with the lighting and shower, so I jumped in quickly after tying my hair in a knot. I rinsed off, wrapped myself in a super-plush towel, and then snagged a pair of cut off shorts and a T-shirt that had his fucking face on it, which was too funny to not wear.

I waltzed out in my new outfit and found him on the phone with…a menu in his hand. Freezing, I fucked up my entrance and gaped when he waved it in my face.

“Do you like Mediterranean food?”

“Uh. What?”

Beau looked at me like I was an idiot. “Zane. Tell me what you want to eat.”

“Oh. Um. I don’t know. I don’t not like any foods.”

He rolled his eyes and rattled off enough food to feed an entire family. When it was done, and he told them to charge his account, he pointed at the shirt I’d procured.

“Just so you know, I didn’t have that made.”

“Uh-huh. But before I mock you relentlessly, why are you ordering food? Like, just because you’re trying to make up for being a dick doesn’t mean—”

Beau grabbed the front of the shirt and a ripping sound filled the room. He didn’t even pause. Just jerked me against him and kissed me so hard I lost my train of thought. Fuck, I lost my sense of self. Fell headfirst into the intensity of his kiss and then wrapped my arms around his neck because… I really could not get enough.

His soft lips were perfect, his tongue lashing at mine with such finesse my dick started to swell again. Especially when he tangled his hand in my hair and tugged just hard enough to make my knees weaken.

“Fuck me before the food gets here,” I blurted.

Beau pressed our foreheads together, panting against my face. “We just washed up. And I want to talk to you.”

“We can talk later.” Fuck, was I whining? I was whining. “Please, Beau?”

He squeezed his eyes shut, muttered a very clear fuck it, and then backed me into his bedroom. We were on his bed, clothes discarded, so fast my head was spinning with delight. How Beau Starr was the best kisser I’d ever been with was a mystery, but, damn, the guy’s tongue was magic.

You’re right, Zane,” he whispered in my ear. “I’m not Beau Starr right now. But I am the guy who’s going to fucking torment you until you beg to be used. Beg to be my slut.”

Sweet.
Mother.
Of.
Ovaries.

Holy hell. I mean, holy hell!!! How am I only now discovering this series? What is wrong with me? Wait! Don’t answer that. That was a rhetorical question. God. But I digress as usual, so back to the topic at hand; this book. *fans ovaries*

Seriously. I’m still trying to calm my entire reproductive system down. Good grief.

If you know me or follow my reviews then you already know that enemies to lovers is my catnip. And this book? It was the crack laced catnip! Not that I’d know what that’s like, but I’m hypotheticaling you here. Just go with it, mkay? And yes I know hypotheticaling isn’t a word. Just go with that too. Sheesh.

Opposites (and I mean OPPOSITES) attract in this sizzling MM Romance of a guy that’s trying to run as far away from all things messy as he can and maintain his picture perfect image and a guy who makes messy his brand.

There was a part of me, a large part, that wanted him to fuck me until I sobbed. Trouble was… I absolutely despised him. And I’d hate myself after.

Beau Starr recently got out of a messy relationship that almost cost him everything. With over a million viewers on his YouTube channel, his image is everything. And with a LT deal pending that has a morality clause attached, that isn’t something that he takes lightly.

TrashyZane is the polar opposite of Beau. He gets off on splashing all of his dirty laundry on his channel; the bad, the good and the kinky. He doesn’t care and his subscribers love him for it. Beau and Zane have never gotten along, but when a poorly thought through barb from Beau lands him on Zane’s radar, it’s really on. What starts as thinly veiled insults and sharp barbs of witty banter, soon begins to unveil an undercurrent of so much sexual tension, it’s impossible to resist.

And when these two get together? WOWZA. Their kinky-ness was utterly delicious. Beau is a beast in the bedroom and when this man takes the reins, he SERIOUSLY takes the reins. As for Zane? Even when the guy submits, he still doesn’t take it easy on Beau. I loved the way he made him work for it. Man, but these two had some of the best chemistry I’ve read in a long while. And when their hate sex slowly begins to turn into something deeper? All of the swoons!

And in this car with Los Angeles spread out before us, I didn’t want to think about anything but the messy, long-haired boy who’d managed to loosen my tongue and just about every other part of me. “I kinda like you, Zane. A lot.”

I loved this book. I loved these characters. I’m obsessed with this series. I’ll be going back and reading every book before this. I don’t know how it flew under my radar but I plan on rectifying it immediately.

ABOUT SANTINO HASSELL

 

Santino Hassell was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, then a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into an unlikely romance author.

Santino writes queer romance that is heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.

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ABOUT MEGAN ERICKSON 

Megan Erickson is a USA Today bestselling author of romance that sizzles. Her books have a touch of nerd, a dash of humor, and always have a happily ever after. A former journalist, she switched to fiction when she decided she likes writing her own endings better.

She lives in Pennsylvania with her very own nerdy husband and two kids. Although rather fun-sized, she’s been told she has a full-sized personality. When Megan isn’t writing, she’s either lounging with her two cats named after John Hughes characters or… thinking about writing.
For more, visit meganerickson.org

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Review, Guest Post & Giveaway: By The Hour by @roniloren

BY THE HOUR
Series: Pleasure Principle #2
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance
Author: Roni Loren
Release Date: April 25, 2017

From the New York Times bestselling author of Off the Clock comes a story of love, hate, and the fire that ignites when the two collide…

Dr. Elle McCray has a plan. Work hard. Be the best. And do it alone. After her ex-husband’s betrayal, she’s learned being feared is a hell of a lot easier than being humiliated. So when trouble personified, Lane Cannon, dares to flirt with her, she shuts him down cold. Too gorgeous. Too cocky. And his job as The Grove’s sexual surrogate is to sleep with patients. No, thank you.

Former escort Lane Cannon has spent enough years with people looking down on him. Stupid. Trailer trash. Rent boy. He’s heard it all. He’s worked too hard to shed his past to let some haughty doctor cut him down. But something about Elle’s ice queen act has his dominant instincts perking up and his body taking notice. He can’t walk away.

After an evening of verbal sparring turns into a night of steamy hate sex, Lane’s ready for round two. But Elle proposes a business deal. How better to keep things strictly physical than to pay him for his services?

Lane wants her, not her money. But he’ll play along in exchange for one thing—all the control. It’s only supposed to be a dirty little fling between colleagues, but these two are about to learn a lesson in love…by the hour.

AMAZON | B&N | iBOOKS | KOBO 

Elle paced her floors and shook out her hands, trying to get rid of the nerves that had insisted on stalking her as soon as she walked into her house. She never got nervous about things like this. It was only sex. Since her divorce, she’d had her fair share of it with a number of men. Some better than others. This would just be another hookup. A one-night stand.So what if she’d have to see Lane again at The Grove? He didn’t work on the rehab wing, her domain. He was easily avoided. Plus, she was a grown woman who could separate business and pleasure. She’d compartmentalized the hell out of Donovan. Compartmentalizing was a long-practiced art of hers. This would be no different.

If she were really that worried, she would lock her door. Shut down the possibility for good. Because she knew Lane would hold true to his threat. If she locked it, he’d never look her way again. She put her hand on the lock briefly, but she couldn’t bring herself to turn it, not with her blood pumping this hard and the silky panties she’d changed into already clinging to her. She wanted this.

But after twenty minutes of pacing, her focus switched from worrying about the possibility that this would happen to worrying that Lane wouldn’t go through with it, that it had been a tease. A joke.

So when she heard the back door click open, she had to bite her lip to keep from making a sound of relief. He was here. This was happening.

She halted in the spot where she was in the living room, waiting in the hazy gray moonlight that filtered through the curtains. She wouldn’t go to him, wouldn’t reveal how eager she really felt.

Heavy footsteps sounded on the wooden floorboards, the one in the hallway creaking beneath his shoe, and then he stepped into the doorway of the living room. Somehow he looked even bigger here in her house. Over six feet of man filling up the unevenly framed antique doorway. The stained-glass pane above the door showered pale, colored light onto his shoulders and left his face half in shadow.

Her throat went tight, bone dry. “It took you long enough. Decided to stay for dessert?”

His mouth curved as he stepped forward, absorbing her sharp tone like she’d said something sweet. “No. I’m having you instead. Hope you’re worth skipping bread pudding.” He eyed her. “Frankly, I have my doubts.”

The jab made her pull up short. But instead of it pissing her off, a breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding released, the insult somehow softening the edge of her nerves. “Screw you, Cannon.”

Amusement crossed his face. He was close now, almost within arm’s reach, making her step back. “That’s the idea, sunshine.”

She licked her lips and her back pressed against the wall. “No one knows you came here?”

His hands planted against the wall on each side of her shoulders, caging her in and enveloping her with his scent, his…bigness. “No, don’t worry. No one knows you’re slumming it. That you’re horny and hot for the institute’s hooker. Your dirty secret’s safe.”

She winced. “I didn’t mean—”

“Yeah, you did,” he said. “But it’s all right. I wouldn’t want anyone to know I’m here either. I’ve got my own reputation to keep.”

She narrowed her eyes. “What? For only fucking people who pay you?”

He smiled, a wickedness to it. “Oh, people don’t pay me for this, sweetheart. This isn’t for sale.”

Before she could register what was happening, he spun her around, pinned her against the wall, and pressed his body along her back. His erection pushed hard and heavy against her and a hot shudder of need chased down her spine. She had to fight not to whimper.

“Give me a safe word, McCray,” he said, his voice low and serious against her ear. “Because I’m about to give you what I know you want, but I’m not gonna do it without one of those. Your attitude’s got me wanting to do bad things to you.”

She closed her eyes, heat flooding her sex and making every part of her prickle with awareness. She said the first word that came to her head. “Birthday.”

He pressed his nose to her hair, inhaling. “Good girl.”

“No.” She tensed, the endearment scraping across her psyche and making her stomach clench.

He stilled. “No, what?”

“Don’t call me that. Ever.”

He was quiet for a second, and then his hand coasted down her bare arm in a soothing touch, like he was trying to calm a skittish horse. “Got it. That’s all you have to say to me, all right? Anything that’s out of bounds for you, just tell me and I’ll respect it.”

She took a deep breath, hating that she’d reacted so strongly, that the demons floated so close to the surface. That her ex-husband’s old endearment would get to her. She was off her game tonight. He was putting her off her game. “I don’t need your therapy mode, Lane.”

“This isn’t therapy mode. This is me being a responsible dominant and human being.”

A dominant? Great. Of course he was. “I’m not submissive.”

“Yeah, I got that.”

“And if you ask me to call you sir, I will fucking punch you.”

He chuckled behind her, his breath tickling her neck. “I’d like to see you try.”

GUEST POST

DGR: What was your favorite scene to write in this book?

RL: Writing an enemies-to-lovers story is actually way too much fun. The scenes feel like they write themselves sometimes because it’s all this verbal sparring and banter, which is one of my favorite things to write. Both the hero and heroine are smart and sarcastic, so they can hold their own with each other. The opening scene in the book was so much fun because Lane, the hero, is trying to do a favor for a friend by talking to Elle, but Elle does everything she can to insult him and get him to go away. Lane is impervious to it. In fact, her attitude and insults amuse him greatly. So he just keeps prodding her more. It results in way more than either bargained for that night.

Excerpt:

She sat up straighter in her chair and crossed her arms, sending the go away signal with a bullhorn. That always worked. She had a Ph.D. in that signal.

Lane ignored it. He grabbed the chair next to her, slid into it, and then plunked the glass of wine he’d been carrying onto the table in front of her. When she didn’t reach for it or acknowledge him, he draped his arm over the back of her chair as if she’d invited him there. He didn’t touch her, but his body heat warmed her neck as he stared out at the group like she’d been doing.

“You know, I’ve heard you can’t really kill someone with a look. But good on you for continuing to test the theory.”

She didn’t look his way and tried to keep her expression smooth as he did the man-spread next to her—knees wide, big body taking up too much space. He smelled like laundry soap and dark, rich beer. And when the side of his knee bumped against hers, soft jeans brushing bare skin, an uninvited spark of awareness shot straight upward, announcing his presence to her renegade lady parts.

She cleared her throat. “Brave of you to be a test subject.”

His lips quirked in her periphery. “I saw you give the death ray to Donovan earlier. Figured if he survived, I was safe.”

She frowned, hating that any of her emotions about Donovan had slipped through, hating that she even had emotions about Donovan. “Don’t be too confident. If you’re coming over here to tell me to smile or join the party, I may dial the look up to eleven.”

“Ouch, Spinal Tap level.” He took a drag off his beer. “But no. You do your thing. I don’t need you to smile and fake it to make me comfortable. I’m good.”

“Because you’re comfortable anywhere,” she said, not hiding the wryness in her tone.

He shrugged. “Pretty much.”

She grabbed the wine and sipped, enjoying the smooth warmth of it and hoping it would settle the jumpy feeling Lane’s presence was causing. “Must be nice.”

DGR: What was the inspiration for this series?

RL: Before I was a full-time writer, I was a clinical social worker. I worked at a state mental health hospital and provided therapy to children and their families, so it wasn’t the same environment as The Grove by any means (which is exclusive and caters to celebrities and such.) But it was its own social world. Psychologists, social workers, doctors, nurses, and other staff all working together for long hours in high stress situations. Plus, all the patients have their own interesting stories. So, I thought it could be a good setting for a series. Like Grey’s Anatomy but with a lot less blood and more sex, lol.

She wanted a hate fuck? He was ready to deliver.

What can a previous escort turned sex surrogate and the brainy and standoffish doctor possibly have in common? A whole lot of chemistry!

I’ll be honest, I hated and I mean HATED Elle in the first book. She’s rude and cold and she certainly doesn’t mince words or make friends. She’s an ice queen in every way and there’s only two sides to her; the professional and the woman you don’t want to be on the wrong side of. I wasn’t sure I’d ever like her, but Roni Loren proved me wrong in just one chapter.

By The Hour gives the reader a whole different side of Elle; the side that tells you why she is the way she is and you can’t help but feel for her. Whether it’s sympathy or pity, you understand her and the depth of her hurt. This is a woman that suffered the worst sort of betrayal from someone who was supposed to love her and she never recovered for it. She lashes out before anyone gets close. She’s closed off and rude. She’s the one everyone avoids at a party…except for Lane Cannon.

You know, I’ve heard you can’t really kill someone with a look. But good on you for continuing to test the theory.”

Lane is a man who has his own demons from the past. A previous escort, he’s working hard towards his dream career. He’s damn good at what he does now, even if the snobbish doctor never ceases to remind him how little she thinks of his lowly sex surrogate ways. But one vulnerable moment leads to some sizzling hate sex and things are irreversibly changed between them forever.

The best part will be when I’m deep inside you and you’re riding your edge, begging for this guy you hate to give you exactly what you need, to drive you so out of your mind that you have no choice but to forget everything except the way I’m fucking you and how good it feels and how much you want it.

There’s quite a bit of back and forth that goes on between Elle and Lane. Elle struggles with letting her walls down and in her hard shell of self preservation, hurts Lane on more than one occasion. As much as I wanted to rage at her or judge her, it’s tough, knowing her history. This is a woman that has every reason to lose her faith in men and love, so she struggles deeply with accepting Lane’s affection.

This isn’t therapy mode. This is me being a reasonable dominant and a human being.”
“I’m not submissive.”
“Yeah, I got that.”
“And if you ask me to call you sir, I will fucking punch you.”

What I really appreciated about her is she was never simpering or whiny about it. She’s tough as nails and she certainly gives as good as she gets. She’s mouthy but she’s also funny and has a soft side to her that she hides beneath her hard layers.

I loved the chemistry between her and Lane. Their hate lust was entertaining….

Are you feeling tempted to beg? Because, boy, would that be a feather in my cap.”
“Fuck you.”
“Already doing that. Effectively, based on the look on your face.”

But what really sold me was watching the development of their relationship. It’s a slow build and they each have their own insecurities that they battle, but they also help balance each other out. I loved how understanding Lane was with Elle and I loved watching Elle’s fierce protectiveness and caring heart come out more and more when it comes to Lane.

What are you doing to me?”
“Bad things.”
“They don’t feel bad,” she said softly.

By The Hour was a fantastic addition to this sizzling series. It was packed with just as much feeling as steam, and it was a book that kept me glued to the pages from beginning to end.

Roni wrote her first romance novel at age fifteen when she discovered writing about boys was way easier than actually talking to them. Since then, her flirting skills haven’t improved, but she likes to think her storytelling ability has. If she’s not working on her latest sexy story, you can find her cooking, watching reality television, or picking up another hobby she doesn’t need–in other words, procrastinating like a boss. She is a RITA Award winner and a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author.

Places to find Roni Loren:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Review & Excerpt Tour: Arranged by Lexi Blake

ARRANGED
Series: Masters & Mercenaries #13.5
Genre: BDSM Romance
Author: Lexi Blake
Release Date: April 25, 2017

Kash Kamdar is the king of a peaceful but powerful island nation. As Loa Mali’s sovereign, he is always in control, the final authority. Until his mother uses an ancient law to force her son into marriage. His prospective queen is a buttoned-up intellectual, nothing like Kash’s usual party girl. Still, from the moment of their forced engagement, he can’t stop thinking about her.

Dayita Samar comes from one of Loa Mali’s most respected families. The Cambridge-educated scientist has dedicated her life to her country’s future. But under her staid and calm exterior, Day hides a few sexy secrets of her own. She is willing to marry her king, but also agrees that they can circumvent the law. Just because they’re married doesn’t mean they have to change their lives. It certainly doesn’t mean they have to fall in love.

After one wild weekend in Dallas, Kash discovers his bride-to-be is more than she seems. Engulfed in a changing world, Kash finds exciting new possibilities for himself. Could Day help him find respite from the crushing responsibility he’s carried all his life? This fairy tale could have a happy ending, if only they can escape Kash’s past…

AMAZON

“Did you enjoy the dessert? They had been planning on serving crème brûlée, but I remembered you like gelato. Strawberry.”

She turned and Kash was standing in the doorway, the tie to his tuxedo undone and the first few buttons of his shirt open, showing off golden skin.

Oh, how the girls must swoon over that man.

Unfortunately for him, she was a woman and not a girl. She curtseyed, recalling her etiquette classes and going down deep, to show her respect for the crown. “I thank you, Your Majesty.”

“Come now, Day. I asked you not to call me that long ago, and now it appears there’s even less reason. We were friends then. We’re going to be husband and wife in a week. Shocking how quickly that woman can move when she wants to.”

He looked so composed, but she couldn’t forget that he’d only found out his mother was dying this afternoon. That was when she’d seen the real man. She’d interrupted them with her silly dress and she’d seen the shock and pain on Kash’s face before he’d smoothed it out and gone back to being the polite royal he’d become.

“Are you all right?” She asked the question for two reasons. First, she wanted to know the answer and second, to see if they really were still friends.

His lips curved up slightly. “I’m faring quite well. We Kamdars are made of sterner stuff than this. Did you enjoy the dinner?”

So, not so friendly he would talk about private things with her. It was good to know where they stood. They needed to have a long conversation about how this was going to work. They might be marrying to protect the Kamdar line and to give his mother some peace, but they needed a plan of action about how best to achieve their goals.

Partners. That was how she’d decided to look at this. They were partners. And if she ended up governing the kingdom while he was out fucking around with supermodels, she wouldn’t get her heart broken.

Just humiliated.

Yes, they needed a talk and perhaps a contract.

“I enjoyed the meal very much. The company left something to be desired, but I suspect I’ll get used to dining with windbag politicians.” She turned back to the balcony, leaning against it. The view from here was spectacular. Beyond that, it was soothing in a way.

“Yes, Mother told me they’re giving you trouble.” He joined her, leaning beside her, their bodies so close but not touching. “I’ll talk to them, ensure you have your funding.”

“Don’t. It can wait a few weeks. I need to go back to them and introduce myself as their new queen.” She wasn’t about to let them think she sent her husband in. If he behaved as he so often did, he wouldn’t be around much and it would be up to her to keep everyone in line.

“Is that why you agreed to this arrangement? Because you wanted power?”

“I agreed because I care about this country. I’ve spent the last ten years of my life working here and trying to ensure that our children get what they need to make it out in the world. I agreed because your mother is excellent at putting one in a corner. I agreed because someone has to and I wasn’t sure who you would bring home if given the chance.” She shuddered at the idea of some brainless model attempting to be a role model for Loa Malian girls.

“Ah, you don’t think I have good taste in women.”

“I think you have an unquenchable appetite for them, Your Majesty, and that is something we should talk about.”

“Ah, the wifely lectures begin,” he said with a sigh. “Please proceed. I’m anxious to get this over with so I can be properly chastened.”

“I only ask that you attempt some discretion, Kashmir. I don’t expect you to be faithful in any way, but I do expect you to not humiliate me.”

He turned, frowning a bit as though she’d surprised him. “You don’t expect me to be faithful?”

It was time for some honesty. “I don’t think you can be. How long have you kept a single woman? A month? Three?”

“Six,” he replied. “I was with Tasha Reynolds for six months before we went our separate ways.”

“And were you faithful to her?” She already knew the answer to that question.

“We had an agreement.” He frowned as though the conversation wasn’t going at all as he’d expected. “She was on set much of the time. She knew I had a highly stressful job, so she was understanding. I gave her the same options.”

“Excellent, then let’s be fair with each other. As long as we’re both discreet, this marriage of ours doesn’t have to mean the end of our lives.”

 

His queen. The last fifteen years of his life had been about the world revolving around him, being the ultimate authority figure. But here and now, he realized she could be his sun.”

Ever since Kash was first loosely introduced back in Love and Let Die, I’ve been curious. He never had a solid presence in the M&M series, but when I saw that he’ll be getting his own book, I was intrigued. The playboy king in an arranged marriage? Sign me up for that!

I’m the first in a hundred years to be arranged by someone else. I suppose my mother thinks I’m incapable of selecting a proper bride.”

I couldn’t wait to see the woman that will bring this womanizer to his knees, and boy did she!

Day and Kash were once friends that could have been something much more, but life had other plans for them. They’re two very different people but life has brought them back together in much more interesting circumstance because Day is the woman Kash’s mother picked to be his bride and future queen of Loa Mali. While Day has dedicated her life’s work to serving the people of Loa Mali, she’s also as far from the traditional bride as a woman can get and not just because she refuses to sit back and be the little woman. She’s a woman with a core of strength and she’s not afraid to say what she wants or even demand it.

I cannot be that queen from long ago who allowed herself to be kidnapped and taken away. The choice will be mine. The choice to be queen. The choice to have you. I will make these choices not because I’m about to be royal, but because I am a woman and that is what I do. I will not play that game with you, love. I won’t give over and then protest that I had the choice taken from me. I will choose and accept the consequences. I wanted to show them who they are getting as their queen, not some gentle flower who will stand by her man and wave, but a woman who will fight for them as I fight for myself. As I would fight for you.”

I have to say, part of the reason I enjoyed this book so much was Day. I loved the way she put Kash in his place and I also loved the way she was his strength and support system. Kush hides a lot of depth behind his easy smile and playboy ways, and also a secret that’s so deep even he’s afraid to admit it to himself.

This book was very different from any of the others in the series or anything I’ve read from Lexi to date but it was also a refreshing change of pace. While this particular set up is not my usual go to, I certainly enjoyed it. Day and Kash were great together, even though Kash’s insecurities and the way he took them out on Day at times made me want to either throttle or kick him in the nether regions.

While this is #13.5 in the series, you can easily enjoy this as a standalone. However, you’ll appreciate all the cameos a lot more if you read the series in order.

NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Lexi Blake lives in North Texas with her husband, three kids, and the laziest rescue dog int eh world. She began writing at a young age, concentrating on plays and journalism. It wasn’t until she started writing romance and urban fantasy that she found the stories of her heart. She likes to find humor in the strangest places and believes in happy endings no matter how odd the couple, threesome, or foursome may seem.

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | WEBSITE | AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

Release Week Blitz, Author Q&A, Review & Giveaway: Beautiful Liar by @ZCoxBooks @ForeverRomance

BEAUTIFUL LIAR
Series:
Dark Desires, #1
Author: Zara Cox
On Sale: April 11, 2017
Publisher: Forever
Trade Paperback: $14.99 USD
eBook: $4.99 USD

**NOW AVAILABLE IN TRADE PAPERBACK**

People call me many things: CEO, billionaire, bastard. Q.

I love women. I love sex. I love money. I love hot, wild nights with no promise of a future, because a future is one thing I don’t have. I’m twenty-eight years old. I won’t live to see thirty, and I don’t care. Or I didn’t, until her.

Nobody plans for a life like this. Some of us just end up here.

They call me Lucky, though luck has never been on my side. Before I met Q, my life was a big, twisted mess. Never enough money, never anyone to trust. No way out. With Q, the shame and fear disappear. Instead I feel pure pleasure, and that’s something I’ve never had before. But if what I’ve just learned is true, we’d better enjoy every second together while we can…before our time runs out.

BEAUTIFUL LIAR was previously published as Porn Star

AMAZON | B&N | BOOKS-A-MILLION | GOOGLE PLAY | iBOOKS | INDIEBOUND | KOBO

“So it’s true? It’s not a con? This job really pays a million dollars? For…sex?” she rasps.“You think I’d admit it if it was a con? What did the ad say?”

Her delicate jaw flexes for a second.

“One million uninhibited reasons to take a leap.

One million chances to earn a keep

One million to give in to the carnal

Are you brave enough to surrender,

For a payday to remember?”

It speaks even more to her desperate state of mind that she remembers the ad verbatim.

I remain silent and wait for her to speak.

“So…assuming it’s not a con, how will this work, then?”

“If you pass the next few tests, and I decide you’re a good fit, you get the gig. You’ll receive one hundred thousand dollars with each performance.”

“So…ten performances…over how long a period?”

“Depending on how many takes are needed, anywhere between three weeks and a month. But I should warn you, it’s hard work, Lucky. If you think you’re just going to lie back and recite the Star Spangled Banner in your head, think again.”

Her fingers drum on the table, the first sign of nerves she’s exhibited. “I…I won’t be doing anything…skanky, will I?”

“Define skanky.”

“This is going to be straight up sex. No other…bodily stuff? Because that would a firm no for me.”

My mouth attempts another twitch. “No water works, waste matter or bestiality will be involved in the performances.”

Her fingers stop drumming. “Okay.” She waits a beat, stares straight into the camera. “So when will I know?”

I hear the barely disguised urgency and I rub my finger over my lip again. “Soon. I’ll be in touch within the week.” I’m not sure exactly why I want to toy with her. But I sense that having her on edge would add another layer of excitement I badly need.

When she opens her mouth, I interrupt. “Goodbye, Lucky.”

A passing thought about the origin of her name is crushed into oblivion. I press the remote to summon the bodyguard to escort her out, and I leave the room.

In my study a few minutes later, I bring up the screen on my desk and activate the encrypted service I need. I open the application and within minutes, the members of my exclusive gentlemen’s club are logging in.

My email is short and succinct.

The next Q Production is scheduled for release on 20 May 2015.

Limited to ten members.

Bidding starts in fifteen minutes.

I start the countdown and rise to pour myself a neat bourbon. I swallow the first mouthful with two prescribed tablets, which are meant to keep me from going over the edge, apparently, and stroll to the floor to ceiling window. I look down at Midtown’s bumper-to-bumper traffic. This mid-level penthouse is one of many I own in this building and around New York City.

Technically, I don’t live here. I only use it when volatile pressures demand that I put some distance between the Upper West Side family mansion and myself. I would never stray far for long. For one thing, I’ve accepted that my family would never leave me alone.

I know what I know. So they’ve made it their business to keep me on a short leash. But with over three hundred properties in my personal portfolio, and a few thousand more under the family firm’s control, there are many places to disappear to when the demons howl.

Today, the Midtown penthouse is my temporary haven.

I turn when the timer beeps a one-minute warning.

I return to my desk and adjust the voice distorter. When the clock reaches zero, I click the mouse. “Gentlemen, start your bids.”

My words barely trail off before the first five bids appear on the screen. Sixty seconds later, the total bid is at a quarter of a million dollars. I steeple my fingers and wish I were more excited. The money means nothing. It never has. It’s the end game that excites me.

My mind drifts back to Lucky. I turn the gem of her elusiveness this way and that and admit to myself she has potential.

I want to take a scalpel to all her secrets, bleed them and soil my hands with the viscera. I also want to fuck her until her body gives out. Right in this moment, I’m not sure what I want more.

So I concentrate on the numbers racing higher on the screen.

Half a million. One million. One point five.

My phone beeps twice. I pick it up and read the two appointment reminders on the screen.

7pm – Dr. Nathanson. My shrink.

9pm – Dinner with Maxwell.

I re-confirm the first and delete the second.

Cancelling dinner with Maxwell will bring a world of irritation to my doorstep. No one cancels dinner with Maxwell Blackwood. For a start he’s one of the most powerful men in the country.

He’s also my father.

Yeah, my name is Quinn Blackwood, heir to the Blackwood Estate, only child of Maxwell Blackwood and Adele Blackwood (deceased). My family owns a staggering amount of property across the eastern seaboard of the United States and a few in the west. According to the bean counters, I’m personally worth twenty-six billion dollars.

But tangling with my father in hell is what I live for. Have done since I was fifteen. So I ignore his summons and watch the stragglers fall away until I’m left with the top ten bidders. The bids wind down, and within the space of half an hour, I’m just under two million dollars richer.

I spot the familiar name of the top bidder and I sneer. Taking his money on top of everything else is darkly satisfying.

Once bidding ends, I close down the application and call up another list. Dozens of charity websites showing pictures of starving children flood my screen. Within minutes, fifty charities are the grateful recipients of two million dollars.

I may be Quinn Blackwood, occasional user of prescribed meds to keep the demons in check, who moonlights as Q, porn star to an exclusive few who pay millions for my work.

And I may be an unhinged asshole with serious daddy issues.

But no one said I wasn’t a giver.

AUTHOR Q & A

DGR: What was your favorite scene in Beautiful Liar?

ZC: It’s almost impossible to choose a favorite scene but one of my favorites has to be the first time Quinn & Elly meet “in real life”. He doesn’t look at or acknowledge her as she serves him his lunch, but she’s completely electrified by him. When he gets up to leave he sees this woman that he’s only seen through his camera lens and he’s in turn captivated, but only for a second because he can’t reveal who he is. Portraying their emotions during that scene was fantastic to write.

DGR: What was the most difficult scene to write in Beautiful Liar?

ZC: Hmm, maybe this should come with a spoiler alert, but it’s the heartbreaking moment when Quinn watches his mother take her own life. That was heartbreaking to write because he lost the only person who loved him, until Lucky came along.


The hate, the vengeance and sex are instruments that oil my existence and keep my compass true.

HOLY. SHIT.

I did NOT see this book coming. I’m so happy it got a title and cover change because the old one didn’t do it justice AT ALL. I’m serious. If you think this is yet another run of the mill smut filled romance read, think again. The writing. The story. It was hauntingly captivating. I’m absolutely blown away and got myself a new author to stalk.

I may be Quinn Blackwood, occasional user of prescribed meds to keep the demons in check, who moonlights as Q, porn star to an exclusive few who pay millions for my work. And I may be an unhinged asshole with serious daddy issues. But no one said I wasn’t a giver.

Q is a man of wealth and power. He’s a man skirting the fine edge of revenge and depravity and he makes no excuses or apologies. Every single move is calculated to achieve his end goal. His revenge. To right a wrong of years past, to punish those responsible, even if he doesn’t survive to bask in the glory of the fallout. It’s not time to make his most calculated move yet. Everything he’s been doing has been leading up to this…his grand plan. And the key to it is a woman with haunted eyes and a closet full of skeletons who may be hiding more baggage then even him. Lucky.

I want to take a scalpel to all her secrets, bleed them and soil my hands with the viscera. I also want to fuck her until her body gives out. Right in this moment, I’m not sure what I want more.

The writing in this story is absolute perfection. It’s haunting and lyrical. The characters are so well developed, they practically have an energy that you can feel through the pages. The sheer power of Q’s presence is enough to captivate even the most cynical reader.

Quinn Blackwood’s eyes are soulless pools. Staring into them is like staring into a bottomless abyss in the middle of a post-apocalyptic nightmare.

Every word has a purpose. Every description leading to a new revelation. It was dark and hypnotic. Erotic and captivating. I was glued to every single page, practically salivating for more.

While Q was an erotic enigma full of sex appeal and secrets, Lucky was an interesting blend of cracked glass about to shatter but with a hidden steel reinforcement. This is a woman that survived her own hell and will do anything to escape it…even sell her body and her dignity for a million dollars.

We’re caught in a cycle of wrath and cruelty and sex. He’s unleashed his darkness, and I’m the sex-hypnotized recipient of all of it. Even after he roars his climax, he keeps going, keeps flaying me.

A voice cleverly disguised by state of the art technology and a face hidden behind a steel mask is all she sees of Q. The rest is a veil of blindfolds, mind games, and sex so mind-blowing that she struggles to hold on to the fact that none of it is real…and it doesn’t take long for the lines to begin to blur… for both of them.

God, I want to fuck you till you break. I may not be the right person to put you back together, but I want to do it anyway.”

This story is so much more than a romance. It’s a story of survival and revenge. It’s a sizzling romance wrapped around a captivating mystery. It’s a splash of dark and suspense. And while the book is long, the pacing was perfect.

If you’re looking for a new author to check out and a read that’s totally different from the norm, this is the one book I can’t recommend enough. Zara Cox now has a forever fan in this girl. I will gleefully pick up anything this woman writes. No questions asked. She’s a talent that I wish I discovered sooner and am kicking myself for not reading this book when it first hit my radar. But better late then never, if you ask me.

Maybe my cracks aren’t so bad. Maybe the chasm isn’t as deep as I thought. Maybe she’ll take the leap with me. Maybe with her, I’ll survive the fall. Maybe she’ll even save me. Maybe. Maybe. Maybe…it’s too late.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to immediately dive into book 2!


THE DARK DESIRES SERIES

BEAUTIFUL LIAR, #1
BLACK SHEEP, #2
WICKED S.O.B, #2.5 (August 8, 2017)
ARROGANT BASTARD, #3 (September 12, 2017)


Zara Cox has been writing for almost twenty-five years but it wasn’t until nine years ago that she decided to share her love of writing sexy, gritty stories with anyone outside her close family (the over 18s anyway!).

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Blog Tour & Excerpt: The Deep End (Honey #1) by Kristen Ashley

THE DEEP END
Series: Honey Series #1
Genre: BDSM, Erotic Romance
Author: Kristen Ashley
Release Date: March 7, 2017

Enter a decadent sensual world where gorgeous alpha males are pleasure slaves committed to fulfilling a woman’s every desire.

At the elite Honey club, no boundary will be left untested, and one’s darkest desires will become a sensual reality.

Olivier isn’t sure what he’s gotten himself into when he joins the Honey Club, only that a dark part of him craves the lifestyle offered by this secret, exclusive club.

When Amèlie invites Olivier to surrender, she pushes him to explore his deepest desires as a submissive. As they grow closer and find themselves falling harder than either of them anticipated, the truth about Olivier’s past could threaten the budding relationship they both long for.

Gripping and seductive, The Deep End is the first book in a sensational new series from bestselling author Kristen Ashley.

 

✮✮✮ A delicious world of erotica, BDSM with alpha-subs and their Dommes, and a gripping love story… Welcome to The Bee’s Honey! The first book in New York Times bestselling author Kristen Ashley’s Honey Series, THE DEEP END is a seductive and rich love story. Order your copy today! ✮✮✮

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She slid out of the booth with murmurings of “good night” and “have fun,” taking her stiletto-heeled-sandal-shod feet with the will of steel her mother had begun the process of instilling in her and her training as a Domme had completed.She could not have her legs give out on her and she could not expose her nervous anticipation.

And she wouldn’t.

But, God, she had not felt like this in years. That sub she’d spied or she’d had who was so promising or such a transcendent experience to play with that she could barely control her own reactions to exploring that promise or again feeling the wholeness, togetherness, oneness with another.

She moved in his direction, no game playing. She didn’t even glance at Stellan in his booth.

Amélie didn’t participate in those games, not ever. There was no reason for her to be coy with a sub.

And she moved with the gait and bearing that it was solely her mother who’d ingrained in her in the sporadic times they’d had together, doing it with an unrelenting fervor that it would take the threat of death to force her to move any other way.

Chin up. Shoulders straight and slightly back. A sway of her hips so subtle, it was elusive. Long, confident strides.

Amélie could walk a catwalk.

She could also make a specimen she was approaching get so hard his cock was aching by the time she made it to him.

She hadn’t even gone halfway when he sensed her approach and she was gratified that his response was instantaneous.

He pushed from the wall.  He turned fully to face her.  And she felt his eyes drop not with the respect a sub owed a Domme, but to take her in from sandals to hair.

Then his gaze locked on hers and he didn’t look away.

He didn’t look away.

He watched her approach not like he was taking the risky liberty he was taking but like it was his God-given right.

Amélie felt her clit quiver.

She arrived at him, stopping several feet away, knowing that the minute her body language made it clear she was going in for the capture, most eyes in the room, if not all, were on her.

She did not care about this.  Not that she’d ever care about this (which she wouldn’t), but because, now close to him, she found to her enchanted surprise, he was not big.

He was colossal.

A mighty beast.

A magnificent beast.

Exquisite.

He was not six foot five.  He was six-six, more likely six-seven.  A mountain of compacted muscle encased in a very fine, very expensive suit.

Taking him in, in proximity, she wanted him more than she’d already wanted him.  She wanted no boundaries.  She wanted everything.  Her diverse skill set, experience, imagination, creativity, and if it came down to it, sheer determination and grit, she’d utilize it all to wring him dry in a way he’d contemplate murder in order to have the opportunity to come back for more.

She was on the verge of speaking when he did.

His direct gaze appreciative, and arrogant smile curving his full lips, he asked, “How you doin’ sweetheart?”

She froze.

Full eye contact. Speaking without being spoken to. Using an unconsented and unearned endearment.

The already damp gusset of her panties soaked to the point her wet crept up the silk of her front and back sides.

But her brows snapped together, her censure clear, and her lips ordered, “Follow me.”


Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA and nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorise and she hadn’t taken her first breath!). Her mother said they took Kristen away, put her Mom back in her room, her mother looked out the window, and Gary was on fire (Dr. King had been assassinated four days before). Kristen’s Mom remembered thinking it was the end of the world. Quite the dramatic beginning.

Nothing’s changed.

Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana and has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus, she’s blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her family was (is) loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write. They all lived together on a very small farm in a small farm town in the heartland. She grew up with Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched).

Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up.

And as she keeps growing, it keeps getting better.

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Release Blitz & Excerpt: For His Eyes Only by Lexi Blake

FOR HIS EYES ONLY
Series: Masters and Mercenaries #13
Genre: Romantic Suspense, BDSM, Erotic Romance
Author: Lexi Blake
Release Date: February 28, 2017

A night he can’t forget

Five years ago, Nick Markovic found himself consumed by his quest for vengeance. The one time he managed to find peace was in the arms of Hayley Dalton. Being with her was like bathing in sunlight, and he ached to feel that again, but he couldn’t. He gave his oath to Hayley’s cousin Desiree, his partner at McKay-Taggart and Knight, that he’d never let his darkness infect Hayley’s innocent world.

A spark she can’t put out

It was years before that Hayley offered everything she had to Nick. After that one amazing night, all she wanted was to be his forever. Unfortunately, Nick’s reaction was to walk away from her and never look back. The warm and caring man she’d discovered was gone, and after Des’s death, he’d only grown colder. But when Hayley finds herself in mortal danger, she’s forced to seek protection from the man who broke her heart.

A flame that threatens to consume them both

Haunted by the women he failed, Nick can’t allow himself to grow close to Hayley again. Running to stay ahead of the powerful forces that endanger their lives, they travel from the lush Garden in London to the glittering lights of Rio. As the threat against her becomes clearer, he realizes that to keep her safe he must confront the demons from his past, even if it costs him a future with the woman he loves.

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Nick went back to staring at the report. “Hayley’s not mine. She was Desiree’s cousin. Now she’s my client.”Who had been tired the night before and that was why she’d said the things she’d said. This morning she’d seemed much more sensible. After she’d had some sleep and a shower and had straightened herself up, she’d been quiet and seemingly reflective. She was very likely embarrassed by what had been said the night before.

I would get safety from murderers and I would get orgasms. I’m sorry, Nicky, you’re going to tell me how that’s a bad deal for me.

He was going to make sure she understood that his protection wasn’t based on whether or not she slept with him.

Because he wasn’t sleeping with her. He couldn’t hurt her that way again.

“So she was your old lover’s cousin,” Owen mused. “The lover you weren’t exclusive with and who wouldn’t marry you. The pretty girl who looks at you like you’re the sun in the sky is her cousin.”

“She looks at me like she would look at man who can save her.”

“I can save her.” Owen’s eyes lit up, his brows waggling. “Maybe she’ll look at me like that.”

Anger flared through his system. “Don’t you dare. I told you I would take care of her.”

His arms crossed over his big chest and Nick knew he’d been had. “Well, that answers the question with more honesty. You can pretend, but you like the girl. And if you honestly don’t then you need to know that the boys got a good look at her last night. If she’s going to be hanging about, she should be ready for some serious male attention.”

“What are you talking about?”

“The lads talked it over last night and decided there’s no dibs on this one. They all saw her at pretty much the same time. They looked over that dead body and saw her walking in the hall and that was when the fighting started. We all sat down and decided no dibs on her. She’ll get to pick. You should know that Sasha and Jax have decided if she picks either of them, they’re willing to share. I don’t play that way. That’s something I do know about meself. No need for you to be telling me that tale. If there’s going to be some sharing in the bedroom, it’s going to be the traditional kind between a man and a woman and her stacked best friend. That’s what I say.”

“You tell those boys to stay away from her or they will be dealing with me. They will not like to be dealing with me. I will put up with many things from them. They can poke all the corpses they like. They can punch each other. I do not care. They touch Hayley and I will be caring.”

“Wow, now you do sound Russian. A scary Russian. Still, I think if you don’t want the girl, shouldn’t she be allowed to choose? Think about it. It could be fun.”

“Are we talking about the lost boys and their battle for the new chick?” Kayla strode in, her hair in a high ponytail. It bounced as she walked, a testament to her seemingly ever-sunny personality. “I had babysitting duty last night and they kept talking about her even after lights out. Bad boys. I had a plan though. I think we make them compete in a beauty pageant. Hayley gets to judge.”

“I’m judging a beauty pageant?” Hayley followed behind Kay, and both women were followed by Charlotte Taggart and Penelope Knight. It looked like Hayley was rapidly being accepted by the women on his team.

That was not necessarily a good thing. The women on his team could create chaos like no others.

“That sounds like fun,” Charlotte said with a smile. “I think we should require Speedos for the bathing suit competition. No boring board shorts. If Hayley’s picking a lover, she needs to see some booty.”

Hayley stopped, her cheeks going the sweetest color of pink. “Wait. What?”

Penelope put a hand on her arm. “They’re teasing you, dear. Don’t worry about it. The lads will be very polite. Though you should expect some suitors while you’re here. Especially if you come down to the dungeon.”

Now he was the one flushing. “Excuse me?”

Hayley shook her head as she joined him at the table. “It’s nothing. I was just talking to the girls. Did you get the report? Penny said the Dallas office had found something.”

He was all too aware that they weren’t alone. Damon and Ian walked in with Brody Carter and Walter Bennett. The four men settled into chairs as the women joined them. Nick held out a chair for Hayley. He would have to remember that he couldn’t leave her alone for a minute or someone would be whispering in her ear, giving her ideas she shouldn’t have.

Like visiting The Garden on a play night.

It wasn’t happening.

NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Lexi Blake lives in North Texas with her husband, three kids, and the laziest rescue dog int eh world. She began writing at a young age, concentrating on plays and journalism. It wasn’t until she started writing romance and urban fantasy that she found the stories of her heart. She likes to find humor in the strangest places and believes in happy endings no matter how odd the couple, threesome, or foursome may seem.

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Blog Tour & Excerpt: Lost In Between by KL Kreig

LOST IN BETWEEN
Series: Finding Me
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: KL Kreig
Release Date: February 20, 2017

We all have one.

A price.

That magic number that will get us to agree to do anything, be anything.

Don’t sit on your gold-plated high horse and say you don’t because you do. Everyone does. Each of us has something we covet enough that we’d sell ourselves to have it.

What’s my tipping point, you ask? Apparently a cool quarter mil will do the trick.

What does one do for 250 large, you wonder? Anything the infamous, gorgeous playboy of Seattle wants. For the next four months I’ll be Shaw Mercer’s arm candy, his beck and call girl, his faux girlfriend. I’ll be his to command, mold, push and pull in any direction he sees fit.

I’ll fight falling into bed with him. I’ll fight falling in love with him even harder. I’ll fail at both. And when my past and present collide in the most unexpected of ways, I’ll learn that while one man’s love for me has never died, the only man’s love I really want will never be mine.

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As long as Noah and I have known one another and as close as we are, he’s far from an open book. He holds some of life’s secrets so close to the vest, he’ll likely take them to his grave. So how he knows Ms. Randi Deveraux of La Dolce Vita is still a mystery he won’t divulge.When he told me his plan and showed me the picture of the woman who’d play my love interest for the next several months, I was immediately drawn to the her, but it took me a few seconds to realize why.

It was her.

My spicy little Goldilocks.

The one I haven’t heard from.

The one I haven’t been able to get out of my fucking head for the past eight days.

The one my cock involuntarily gets hard for in the dark of night.

The glossy-colored print I stared at for long minutes was a complete contradiction to the fiery woman I’d met.

On paper her exterior was flawless. Not one sculpted eyebrow out of place. Striking blue eyes rimmed with the right amount of shadow, liner, and mascara that made them alluring but not slutty. Pouty lips painted a deep shade of maroon, lined impeccably so the stain didn’t seep, then glossed enough in the middle to draw your attention to their fullness. Hair curled into loose ribbons that fell over her shoulders and down her slim back.

But while the outside was practiced perfection, the inside screamed dead. Not damaged, not broken or bruised, but lifeless. This beautiful creature went through the motions. She moved through life without living. I don’t know how I saw it, or why, but I know it wasn’t a product of my overactive imagination. This woman’s pain was rooted deep but she put on an award-winning façade that told the outside world otherwise.

I saw the same thing when I stared into her fierce eyes under the cover of my sunglasses days ago, but I also saw something else. Smoking embers buried under piles of ash. God help me, but for some reason I want to be the man who stokes those smoldering cinders until they spark into a burning inferno, bringing her roaring back to life.

Standing before her now, I’ve no doubt I’m the igniter, the single match needed to wake her from the living dead.

“Summer, is it?” I close the door behind me and move to the couch, gesturing for her to sit.

She doesn’t. She just blinks rapidly like she’s seeing a ghost. That makes me smile for some reason.

I know the name she’s using is fake. I hate it. Not the name, per se, but the fact that I don’t know her real one. I told Ms. Deveraux my circumstances and my concern around using a fake name. The press will eventually find out and it’s best if we’re up front in the beginning rather than if they dig, thinking we’re hiding something. That would be disastrous. She agreed but told me the decision was up to Summer. If she agreed to my terms, I could plead my case. If not, then her anonymity was still protected.

“You don’t look like a Summer,” I say casually as I take a seat and cross my legs.

Although in a way she does. She’s hot and sultry and I’ve no doubt she’s nice and moist in the place I’m dying to drive my cock. Jesus, she is absolutely mouthwatering. And she has the sexiest fucking voice I have ever heard. It’s no wonder I can’t stop thinking about her.

She crosses her arms and cocks a hip in irritation. “Is that so? What do I look like then?”

Mine.

Why that disturbing word pops into my head, I haven’t a clue. She is yours temporarily, though. If she agrees.

“How is your neck by the way?”

That seems to catch her off guard because her cocky bravado falters. “Uh…fine. It’s fine.” She unconsciously reaches up to palm it. My fingers itch, wishing they were on her skin instead. I still remember the electricity that ran down my arm when I touched her before. It set my cock on fire and it hasn’t stopped burning since. “You’re lucky, you know. I could be wearing a neck brace right now and be lawyered up.”

“And you’d still be just as beautiful.” I ignore the lawyer comment. I know it’s just a dig. When she blushes and looks away, my grin gets wider and I allow myself a few seconds to absorb her, head to toe. I find myself zeroing in on that tiny diamond stud in her nose, now catching the light. I first noticed it when she pounded on the window of my Rover calling me names. I generally find them childish, yet on her, I find myself incredibly turned on by it.

“Why don’t you take a seat?” On my lap would be preferable.

Defiant eyes snap back to mine. “Hit and run anyone else lately?”

“Hit and run?” I chuckle. “I didn’t hit and run you. I took accountability.”

“Yeah. After I dumped car parts into your lap, it was pretty hard to deny it any longer.”

Hell. This woman is full of restrained passion. She just needs someone to help her unleash it in a very controlled manner.

“Why haven’t you called about your car? Change your mind on whose fault it was?” I’m goading her, but Hot. Damn. The sparks firing from her are overly addictive.

“Oh, it was your fault, all right,” she snaps. “And I’ve been…busy.”

“Yes, I can imagine you have a very full schedule.” I sound more sarcastic than I intend, but the thought of her with other men makes me feel exactly the way I felt when I thought of Noah with her.

Her lips thin. She’s madder than a hornet. I’m harder than a two by four.

“Why are you here, Drive By?”

Drive By? I laugh at her feisty spirit. God, I want to kiss her. Feel her tongue sparring eagerly with mine. See if she tastes of rage and raw energy.

“I was under the impression you were agreeable to meeting with me.”

When Noah set this up, I insisted on three things.

One: it take place in Ms. Deveraux’s private home with her alone. There’s no way in hell I will be caught on film coming and going from her “business.”

Two: I meet with Ms. Deveraux in advance and work through the contractual details to my satisfaction. Let’s just say I now feel comfortable we have a mutual interest in keeping this arrangement buried deep.

And three: I be allowed to personally meet with “Summer” before she signs the contract. Surprisingly, that was the toughest piece to negotiate. Seems Ms. Deveraux is very protective of her, or maybe she’s that way with all of her employees.

Everything I have done to secure her has deviated from Ms. Deveraux’s normal course of business, but this situation is far from normal. It’s reckless at worst. Precarious at best.

“How did you find me?”

Sheer, dumb luck.

“I’m very resourceful.”

Her forehead creases. “This is a mistake.”

She turns to leave and I panic. True blistering panic sears through me at the thought she’s about to walk through that door and I may never see her again. I don’t know her real name. I don’t know how to contact her and if this meeting goes south, I know I won’t get anything further about her from Randi Deveraux. If she walks out on me now, I highly doubt she’ll give me the time of day when she finally does call Dane about her car.

I don’t know why I care that I spend the next few months with her and only her so damn much. I just do.

“Wait,” I plead.

She stops but doesn’t turn. I have no idea what possesses me, but I close the distance between us until I’m a whisper away. Our body heat plays off each other, growing hotter by the second.

“You haven’t even listened to my proposal,” I say against her ear.

Her breath kicks up. Good. She’s not unaffected by me, and that will play into my hand nicely.

“You can get someone else,” she replies softly, without conviction.

Drawing her long hair off her shoulder, I let my finger feather across her bare flesh. It’s soft and silky. She shivers. I suppress a moan. Fuck, I want her so much. It makes no sense.

“I don’t want anyone else,” I tell her truthfully, keeping my voice low.

“Why?” she breathes.

I don’t know why. I have no idea what it is about her that draws me in. I wish I did. I need to stop it. I should end this right now—look at a dozen other pictures and pick a woman whose very presence doesn’t twist me into knots and make me have thoughts I’ve never had before. Thoughts that make me uncomfortable. It’s unnerving.

But, fuck me. I can’t. There is just something different about this woman and I won’t rest until I find out what it is.

“Have a seat. Just hear me out. Please,” I tack on sincerely.

She stands motionless and I wonder what her next move will be. My hands curl into fists as I restrain myself from throwing her over my shoulder and hauling her to my house. I think she could benefit greatly from a hard hand and a red ass. I have a feeling she might even enjoy it.

When she floats effortlessly to one of the velvet-covered chairs, I release a veiled breath. Picking up the contract from the edge of Ms. Deveraux’s desk, I make myself comfortable across from her and place the paperwork on the table separating us. Her eyes drop to it but she makes no move to pick it up.

“So what’s your proposal, Mr. Knowles?”

“Mr. Knowles?”

“That’s your name, right? Dane Knowles. Wildemer & Company?”

Amused, I rest my elbows on my knees and grin at her. “No. Dane is my assistant. I told you to call him and he’d take care of the damage to your death box.”

“Death box?” She sounds offended.

“Do you know what the safety rating is on that little tin can you drive?” When she opens her mouth to respond, I talk over her. “Five point seven out of ten. You’re basically driving around in your own steel coffin.”

I expect a hot retort or for her to leave in a huff. What I don’t expect is a genuine, breathtaking smile that lights up her face like summer and makes my cock knock uncomfortably on my zipper in a futile attempt to reach her. My God, she’s trying to kill me already.

“Are you a walking Kelly Blue Book of safety ratings, Mr.…?”

“I have a vast array of useless Trivial Pursuit knowledge up here,” I retort with a smirk, finger pointing to my temple. I’ll never admit that I looked it up after our little accident. She could be seriously hurt in that ridiculous miniature box on wheels that somehow passes for a fucking car. Hell, had I hit her any harder, she would be in the hospital. “And I’m Shaw. Shaw Mercer.”

“Shaw Mercer,” she repeats slowly like she’s tasting my name for the first time. Savoring every consonant and every vowel. Fuck. I sit back and cross one leg over the other to hide my rock-hard erection.

“Any relation to Preston Mercer?”

I nod, impressed that she tied me back to my father instead of referring to me as one of Seattle’s most eligible bachelors. She’s intelligent and up on politics. I like that. Immensely. If you ask three-fourths of the residents of Seattle, they wouldn’t be able to tell you how many branches of government there are, something that’s taught in middle school, let alone who the mayor of Seattle is.

“So why is the mayor’s son…here?”

Her eyes are locked on mine, waiting on an answer.

When she swallows I follow the delicate line of her neck down to the swell of her breasts that peek out from the light pink strapless flowing dress she’s wearing like a fucking Greek goddess. One flick of my finger and I could find out the color of her areolas and the size of her nipples before I draw one into my mouth for a sample. My mouth waters at the thought.

The conversation that Ms. Deveraux and I had earlier about expectations sits hard in the pit of my stomach. On one hand, I was relieved to get confirmation she doesn’t sell herself, only her “time,” but now that I’m sitting here in front of her, I won’t rest until she lets me explore every square inch of not only her perfect body, but her complex mind. I want to know her like no one else has.

When our gazes connect again I’m sure mine is full of unmistakable heat. Hers definitely is.

She clears her throat and straightens her back. “I think you have the wrong idea about what it is I do.”

“I don’t,” I state plainly.

“I don’t sleep with my clients, Mr. Mercer.”

Oh, but you will. We both know our ingredients are explosive.

“Women would pay to have sex with me, not the other way around.”

She huffs a laugh as a wry look crosses her face. “Then what is it you need if not a good fuck?”

I chuckle and when I lean forward she straightens her spine. I love that even the simplest of movements I make in her direction affect her, just like she does to me. “Is that what I’ll be missing with you? A good fuck?” I won’t be missing a damn thing. She will be mine in every conceivable way. I know it and so does she.

“Not just good. Life altering,” she banters smoothly.

Now it’s my turn to smile slowly. What I wouldn’t give to throw her up against the wall and show her just what a life-altering fuck really is. For what seems like forever we stare at each other in some sort of weird silent challenge where we’re waiting to see what move the other will make.

Shaking myself out of her spell, I pick up the papers and hand them to her.

“What’s this?”

“Your employment contract.”

“All the paperwork is handled through Randi.”

“I want a little extra insurance.”

She quickly flips through the five-page document before lifting her eyes. “Nondisclosure agreement? This is sounding very fifty shades-ish. And just so you know, if I find any mention of hard limits or safe words, that’s a deal breaker.”

I can’t help but laugh loudly.

“I’m not kidding,” she says, her voice stern.

“Trust me, Goldilocks, if I could have gotten that past your warrior she-devil, I would have.”

Her eyes narrow, but I see a little twitch at the corner of her mouth so I forge ahead, making a mental note to invest in handcuffs and a flogger. Or six.

“The duration is for approximately the next four months. Ten hours a week, maybe more, maybe less, depending on my schedule. You may be required to travel and you will be available at all times when I need you, day or night. You will attend social events, fundraisers, business dinners, and family functions. You will be photographed and it’s only fair to warn you, you will likely be hounded by the press but I’ll try to shield you as much as possible.”

She regards me quietly. I wish I could tell what’s spinning around in that pretty little head of hers. A corner of my mouth tips when she says, “Reelection is just around the corner.”

Not a question and I don’t answer, but score another point for her.

For not the first time I wonder if this little plan of Noah’s will backfire, taking us all down in a curl of hot flames. She figured out what I was doing within two minutes. Lianna would be a far safer, more believable choice. But there’s also an undeniable, powerfully charged connection between us that will be hard for people to refute.

“And what is my role, specifically?”

Deciding I don’t care if this entire thing blows up in my face because that means I won’t get what I want—which is her—I stand and step around the table, holding out my hand.

When she tentatively sets hers in mine, I help her up and wrap one arm around her waist.

Pulling her close, I relish in the hitch of her breath. Cupping her cheek, I savor the baby-fine skin under the pad of my thumb. I take a deep breath, drinking in her delicately floral scent. She’s intoxicating and my head is already spinning.

“What are you doing?” she whispers, her small hands going to my chest.

Dipping my head, I trail my nose along her jaw, stopping so my lips brush her ear. “Making sure we have chemistry.”

She mutters a curse under her breath I know I’m not meant to hear before stuttering, “Wh…why?”

Fuck, if she only knew the dirty things running through my head right now.

“Because, my wide-eyed little pretty, you’re going to play my new love interest. My girlfriend. My serious girlfriend.” I emphasize the word so she understands what she’s getting herself into. I won’t pay her to be in my bed but that doesn’t mean she won’t end up there anyway.

“I…I haven’t agreed to anything yet.” Her breathlessness is testing me and she’s only about half an inch away from finding out exactly how much.

Walking into this meeting, I had already agreed to what I thought was a generous offer with her boss, madam, keeper, whatever she’s called. But after the last fifteen minutes, I’ve decided I will pay whatever it takes to have her. To own her. I think I would give away my own soul.

Framing her face with both hands now, I lean in until my mouth is a hairsbreadth from hers. Her eyes fall to my lips. I feel her wariness, but I also feel her hunger. She parts her lips and I watch with a deep ache in my groin as her tongue darts out to moisten them in anticipation of my kiss.

I restrain from slamming my mouth to hers, taking what I want. What she wants me to take, regardless of how she’s trying to refute me.

“But you will. Everyone has a price, Summer. What’s yours?”


As a USA Today Bestselling author, I write stories that are deeply emotional with flawed characters, because humans ARE flawed and if we read about perfect characters living in their perfect world, first of all, snoozer, but secondly, we never experience the gratification of redemption.

Outside of writing, I’m just a regular ol’ Midwest girl who likes Game of Thrones and am obsessed with Modern Family and The Goldbergs. I run, I eat, I run, I eat. It’s a vicous cycle. I love carbs, but there’s love-hate relationship with my ass and thighs. Mostly hate. I like a good cocktail (oh hell…who am I kidding? I love any cocktail). I’m a huge creature of habit, but I’ll tell you I’m flexible. I read every single day and if I don’t get a chance…watch the hell out. My iPad and me: BFFs. I’m direct and I make no apologies for it. I swear too much. I love alternative music and in my next life I want to be a bad-ass female rocker. I hate, hate, hate spiders, telemarketers, liver, acne, winter and loose hairs that fall down my shirt (don’t ask, it’s a thing).

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