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.

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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.

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Release Blitz & Giveaway: Resuscitate Me by Leddy Harper

resuscitate-me-release-day-blitz-bannerResuscitate Me
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Leddy Harper
Release Date: November 16, 2016add-to-goodreads-button-2

resuscitateme_amazon

Suffocating

I never knew I couldn’t breathe,

Until he forced air into my lungs

Gave me reason

Showed me life.
Carter Hastings was only supposed to be a fling,

A summer of fun, excitement, pleasure

And, it was…

Everything.

It’s hard to walk away,

To leave the one man,

Who resuscitates me.

But I did.

He didn’t reciprocate my feelings.

He didn’t love me.

Not now.

Not ever.

Coming November 16, 2016

Buy LinksAMAZON
Available on Kindle Unlimited

resuscitate-me-jumpExcerpt

“Look at me,” he ordered again in that rough, no-nonsense tone.I blinked and focused on his eyes. His pupils had dilated so much they practically swallowed the green. “I can’t…” I whispered in what sounded to me like apologetic shame. “I can’t…”

He finally released the pressure against my chest, but I was unable to catch my breath. Instead of keeping me restrained between his hips and the mirror, he grabbed the back of my thigh and lowered me to the floor. Except, I wasn’t on the floor. I stood on an aerobic step that had to have been at least four inches considering the height advantage it provided me.

Again, he kept me immobilized and mute.

He wrapped one large, rough hand around my jaw. Four thick fingers extended along one side of it. A thumb dug into my cheek with my chin cupped in the web between them. He used his hold on me to tilt my head back until it fell against the mirror behind me.

My voice, my heartbeat, and my ability to breathe—gone.

Stolen.

Silenced by his hungry gaze.

About the Author

leddy-harperLeddy Harper had to use her imagination often as a child. She grew up the only girl in a house full of boys. At the age of fourteen, she decided to use that imagination and wrote her first book, and never stopped.

She often calls writing her therapy, using it as a way to deal with issues through the eyes of her characters.

She is now a mother of three girls, leaving her husband as the only man in a house full of females.

The decision to publish her first book was made as a way of showing her children to go after whatever it is they want to. Love what you do and do it well. Most importantly Leddy wanted to teach them what it means to overcome their fears.

 

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Giveaway

resuscitate-me-release-day-giveaway

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Blog Tour & Excerpt: Beneath These Shadows by Meghan March

shadows_fb_availableBENEATH THESE SHADOWS
Series: Beneath #6
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance, Suspense
Author: Meghan March
Release Date: October 25, 2016add-to-goodreads-button-2

btshadows-amazon-1

From USA Today bestselling author Meghan March comes another dangerously sexy alpha hero…

The only permanent thing in my life is the ink I put on my clients.

I drift form city to city, in and out of beds, from one tattoo shop to the next.

Every time I start to put down roots, I rip them up.

Until New Orleans.

Until her.

She’s everything I’m not.

Full of fire and life. An innocent where I’m a sinner.

I want to consume her. Protect her. Keep her.

But first, I have to escape from beneath these shadows.

Beneath These Shadows is a STANDALONE romance set in the world of the Beneath series. You DO NOT have to read any other books in the series to enjoy it.

Buy-Links10AMAZON | iBOOKS | KOBO | B&Nshadows2

Excerpt

“You ever broken the law before this, Eden?”I expected a quick and unequivocal no, but it didn’t come as fast as I thought it would.

“I don’t think so. I mean, I’m sure I have by accident sometime. I’ve jaywalked. But I’m not some kind of criminal.”

Well, that makes one of us, I thought.

My anger from earlier started to fade and be replaced by the heat of the knowledge that Eden’s naked tits were only inches from my chest, separated by water I could see right through. Last time I’d seen them under her pink bra, she’d been too fucked up for me to take advantage . . . but tonight she was completely sober.

I raised my gaze from her chest, expecting her cheeks to be red when she realized I was staring at her nipples, but she wasn’t watching my face. She was staring down at my body.

“Like what you see?”

That got her attention.

Eden jerked her head up to meet my eyes, and the blush colored her skin like I’d timed it.

“You’re . . . big.”

A booming laugh broke free from my throat at her unexpected response, and her cheeks flamed even brighter.

“No, that’s not what I meant. I mean . . . everywhere. Not just, in the . . .” She looked down, then jerked her gaze back to mine. “I’m going to shut up now.”

That kind of awkward and fumbling response couldn’t be faked, and protectiveness rose in me again. Eden was no con artist. She was a girl who couldn’t even say the word cock without turning red.

“Ain’t no shame in my game.”

She reached out a hand and covered my lips with her fingers. “Stop. You’re just making it worse. I wasn’t checking out your . . . package. I mean, I did before you got in the pool, but that’s only because I thought you’d have underwear on because who doesn’t wear underwear?” The babbling continued, and so did my laughter.

Hell, I hadn’t laughed this much since Delilah had given in to a customer’s request and tattooed a flexing veined eggplant cartoon on a client so he could send pictures of it instead of dick pics.

Eden pulled her hand back and covered her face. “I’m going to stop talking now. I seriously can’t be trusted to say anything that’s not completely humiliating when you’re standing this close to me naked.”

“I disagree, and since I’m not ready to get out and put my clothes on, you’re going to have to deal with it.”

She mumbled something under her breath.

“Come again?”

Eden pressed her lips together for a beat before saying, “I don’t know how to deal with it. This isn’t something I’ve ever dealt with before.”

A crazy thought popped into my brain. “Are you a virgin?”

If there was a red brighter than fire engine, that was the color of Eden’s cheeks. “No! Of course not. Really. I’ve touched a dick before. I mean, just the one, but it still counts. Well, I didn’t really touch it. Except, you know, inside me. Oh my God, I’m just going to shut up now.”

Realization dawned on me as her babbled protest silenced. “You’ve had sex with one guy? Once? How old are you?”

Eden turned to bolt, but instead smashed her tits into my arm. I stepped close enough so that only an inch of water separated us.

Her gaze went skyward. “This is so humiliating.”

That’s where she and I had differing opinions. “Why? Because you haven’t fucked every guy you’ve ever met? What’s wrong with that?”

Eden’s gaze snapped down to mine and her brows drew into slashes. “Hey, whoa now. You can toss that double-standard crap right in the trash. What if I had screwed every guy I ever met? Would that make me less of a person? I mean, it’s not like you probably haven’t been with dozens and dozens of women. I’m not judging you. Except for maybe that Kitty girl. I mean, really? You’ve got to have some standards.”

My laughter boomed out again across the courtyard. “Cupcake, just because I can get most any pussy I want, doesn’t mean I do it.”

“Still, double standards are—”

When she started on another tirade, I decided to silence her the best way I knew how.

I leaned down and covered her lips with mine.

shadows1

About the AuthormeghanmarchpicMeghan March has been known to wear came face paint and tromp around in woods wearing mud-covered books, all while sporting a perfect manicure. She’s also impulsive, easily entertained, and absolutely unapologetic about the fact that she loves to read and write smut. Her past lives include slinging auto parts, selling lingerie, making custom jewelry, and practicing corporate law. Writing books about dirty talking alpha males and the strong, sassy women who bring them to their knees is by far the most fabulous job she’s ever had. She loves hearing from her readers at meghanmarchbooks@gmail.com.

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Release Week Blitz & Excerpt: Rookie Move by Sarina Bowen

Release Blitz- Rookie Blitz
ROOKIE MOVE
Series: Brooklyn Bruisers #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Sarina Bowen
Release Date: September 6, 2016add-to-goodreads-button-2

rookie move

The first novel in a sexy new series featuring the hockey players of the Brooklyn Bruisers and the women who win their hearts—from the USA Today bestselling author of the Ivy Years series.

In high school they were the perfect couple—until the day Georgia left Leo in the cold… 

Hockey player Leo Trevi has spent the last six years trying to do two things: get over the girl who broke his heart, and succeed in the NHL. But on the first day he’s called up to the newly franchised Brooklyn Bruisers, Leo gets checked on both sides, first by the team’s coach—who has a long simmering grudge, and then by the Bruisers’ sexy, icy publicist—his former girlfriend Georgia Worthington.

Saying goodbye to Leo was one of the hardest things Georgia ever had to do—and saying hello again isn’t much easier. Georgia is determined to keep their relationship strictly professional, but when a press conference microphone catches Leo declaring his feelings for her, things get really personal, really fast….

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Rookie_Move_hockey_cardExcerpt

“Come right this way,” Georgia heard her coworker and roommate Becca say, the clomp of her Dr. Martens echoing through the grand old passageway. “Nate is excited to meet you.” Becca was the owner’s assistant, and Georgia lingered half a second to wave her down and offer her a donut, too.But Becca didn’t happen to look in Georgia’s direction as she led a tall man down the corridor. Something about his gait snagged Georgia’s subconscious. So she took a second look.

And that’s when her heart took off like a manic bunny rabbit. Because she knew that man. She knew the chiseled shape of his masculine jaw, and the length of his coal-black eyelashes.

Oh my God.

Omigod, omigod, omigod.

“How was your flight?” Becca asked him, oblivious to the fact that Georgia was spying.

“Not too bad. I got in late last night.”

The sound of his voice fluttered right inside Georgia’s chest. It was the same smoky sweet timbre that used to whisper into her ear while they made love. She hadn’t let herself remember that sound in a long time.

Now it was giving her goosebumps. The good kind.

“Welcome to Brooklyn,” Becca said while Georgia trembled. “Are you familiar with the area?”

“Grew up about thirty miles from here,” he answered while chills broke out across her back.

Holding her breath, Georgia eased her office door further closed, until only a couple of inches remained. She could not be caught like this—freaked-out and speechless, hiding behind a door.

The movement caught Becca’s eye, though. Georgia saw her turn her head in her direction and then pick her out in the crack where the door was still open. Becca raised one eyebrow—the one with the barbell piercing in it.

All Georgia could do was close her eyes and pray that Becca wouldn’t call out a greeting.

There was a pause before Georgia heard Becca say, “Right this way, please.”

Quietly, Georgia stepped into her office and shut the door. After flipping on the light, she let her briefcase and pocketbook slide right to the floor. Only the folder that Nate had given her was still in her shaking hands. She flipped it open, her eyes searching for the new player’s name on the page.

But she didn’t even need the paperwork to confirm what her racing heart had already figured out. The newest player for the Brooklyn Bruisers was none other than Leonardo “Leo” Trevi, a six-foot-two, left-handed forward. Also known as her high school boyfriend, the boy she’d loved with all her heart until the day that she’d dumped him. And now he was here?

“Thanks, universe,” she whispered into the stillness of her office.

 

BROOKLYN BRUISERS SERIES

ROOKIE MOVE (Brooklyn Bruisers #1)
GOODREADS | AMAZON

HARD HITTER (Brooklyn Bruisers #2) <– available January 3, 2017
GOODREADS | AMAZON

PIPE DREAMS (Brooklyn Bruisers #3) <– available May 2, 2017
GOODREADS | AMAZON

Release Blitz, Excerpt & Giveaway: Winner Takes All by Erin Kern

WINNER TAKES ALL BANNER Winner Takes All
Series: A Champion Valley Series
Author: Erin Kern
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: August 30, 2016
Publisher: Foreveradd-to-goodreads-button-2

Winner Takes All Cover Image

Money. Fame. Endorsements. Blake Carpenter had it all—before his professional football career spiraled out of control. Determined to rebuild his life, he takes on coaching the high school team in his Colorado hometown. Despite a few fumbles, Blake knows he can lead these boys to victory. As long as he can keep his eyes on the prize and off the team’s distractingly gorgeous physical therapist.

Annabelle Turner knows all about the scandal that cost Blake his NFL career, and she’ll be damned if she’s going to let his mistakes hurt her team. What she doesn’t count on is the intense attraction that turns every heated run-in they have into a wildly erotic competition. Point by point, play by play, kiss by kiss, they try to keep things professional for the good of the team. But when the score is this close—and the passion this fierce—it’s anybody’s game . . .

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Winner-Takes-All-Quote-Graphic-#2Excerpt

The parking lot was almost empty as Blake left the field-house after the team’s win. He strolled toward his truck, keys dangling from one hand and his gym bag in the other. As he approached, he noticed a figure leaning against the driver’s side door.A petite, luscious figure in a pair of tight jeans and a Blanco Valley High hooded-sweatshirt.

Just the sight of Annabelle turned his body on high alert. Over the past week, Blake hadn’t been able to get their kiss out of his mind. Not only the feel of her lips pressed to his, but how perfectly her body fit with his. Each one of her curves had molded seamlessly against his harder and bigger one, as though they were two pieces of the same puzzle.

And look at him with all the lame metaphors.

Blake approached the truck, twirling his keys around in his hand. Because if he didn’t keep them busy, he’d yank her away from the door and kiss her again.

“Hi,” she greeted when he stopped in front of her.

He tossed his bag in the bed of the truck. “Hey,” he replied. “You’re here awfully late.”

“I wanted to hang around and congratulate some of the kids. You guys played a good game tonight,” she told him.

“Thanks.” And why did her praise have to mean so much to him? The parents and the school district was what mattered. Not some hazel-eyed opinionated goddess.

Annabelle scraped the toe of her tennis shoe along the ground. And for some reason Blake found the movement endearing.

He was turning into such a pussy.

“Blake,” she said on a sigh. She pushed away from the truck and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. “I’m sorry,” she told him. “About before.”

“For what?” he wanted to know. “The kiss or the apology?”

She blinked at him and inhaled a deep breath. “For the way I acted afterward,” she clarified. “To be completely honest, I’m not sorry for kissing you. I thought that maybe…” Her words trailed off. “I thought I had taken you off guard and acted inappropriately. I didn’t want you to think I was being too forward. The sorry just kind of popped out before I could think.”

Blake pocketed his keys. “You did take me off guard. But that didn’t mean I didn’t like it as much as you did. I think we both know I did.” She’d been pressed up against him hard enough to feel the evidence between his thighs.

As though sensing his thoughts, Annabelle’s gaze dropped down, lingering long enough to elicit a reaction. “I think it’s safe to say we both liked it. A lot,” she added. “Probably too much, actually.”

“And how much is too much?” Because that was part of his confusion.

One of her shoulders moved. “To be honest, I’m not sure. I’m still trying to figure that one out.”

“Maybe we should try it again, just to see,” he suggested.

Winner-Takes-All-Quote-Graphic-#1About the AuthorAuthor Photo - Erin KernErin was born in Houston, TX. but spent the majority of her life in the Bay Area. She married her high school sweetheart and began her writing career while being a stay-at-home mom to her daughter.

Her first book, Looking for Trouble, was on the Amazon top 100 for four months, and on the indiereads.com top ten for four weeks. The second book in the Trouble series, Here Comes Trouble, was also a top seller on Amazon. Erin currently lives in North Texas with her husband and two children.

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Blog Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway: Hero of Mine by Codi Gary

Avon Impulse - Blog Tour - Hero Of Mine by Codi GaryHERO OF MINE
Series: Men In Uniform #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Codi Gary
Release Date: August 16, 2016add-to-goodreads-button-2 

hero of mine

The men of Alpha Dog, a second chance program for at-risk teens, work hard and play hard. And when it comes to protecting the women they love . . . nothing stands in their way.

Danielle Hill used to live on the wild side, until a surprise pregnancy forced her to get her act together. Now her whole life revolves around her young son, and she will do anything to keep Noah’s heart protected, even if it means avoiding the Marine who makes her want to be oh so bad . . .

Tyler Best loves his family, his friends, and his life, and he plans on living it to the fullest after nearly losing it. But Tyler didn’t bank on running into a beautiful blond with blazing green eyes and temper to match his. Tyler always thought he wasn’t ready to settle down, but Dani and Noah make him rethink his playboy ways . . .

Only just as these two start to build something, a shadow from Dani’s past comes back to haunt them. But Tyler will do anything to keep her and Noah safe . . . anything.

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Excerpt

Dani pointed to the far wall of cages, oblivious to his disgruntlement. “Those are all the dogs whose time here expires. Feel free to take them out into the holding room”—she indicated a white door that had a sign reading HOLDING ROOM— “and do whatever you gotta do.”
Turning her back on him, she squatted down in front of a large cage and opened it. Tyler bent down to see a massive gray dog with black spots and stripes. The dog lifted his head slightly, his floppy ears pricking as she cooed.
“Hey, Fugly, how you doing, bud?” Dani’s hand glided over the dog’s head and neck, and he relaxed back on his side with a whimper.
“What happened to him?” Tyler asked.
“Someone hit him with their car. A yard crew behind them stopped and picked him up, brought him here, but there’s only so much I can do. The X-rays show he needs leg surgery, but my regular doctor is off today, and the prick subbing for him won’t do a damn thing to help.”
Tyler came closer, squatting behind her. The dog lifted his head and met Tyler’s gaze with soft green-gray eyes. Rex’s eyes had been a dark brown, nearly black, but the expression in this dog’s eyes was still the same—filled with trust. This dog wasn’t afraid of humans; he expected them to help him, to ease his pain.
Tyler’s chest clenched. Although he’d trained several dogs since Rex, he hadn’t experienced this pull, this kinship. This big, gray dog was calling to him, and he couldn’t ignore it, no matter how crazy it seemed.
“Release him to me.”
Dani spun his way so fast, she nearly knocked him back. “What?”
“Release him to me, and I’ll run him down to my veterinarian. They’ll go over the extent of his injuries and let me know what he needs.”
Dani stared at him, her gaze wary. “Why would you do that? And what about the dogs you’re supposed to evaluate?”
What the hell was he doing? He wasn’t even sure the dog was trainable, let alone what his injuries were.
But he could still remember Rex’s body as it cooled and stiffened in his arms. There had been nothing he could do to help Rex, but he could help this dog.
“If you will run interference for me with that guy, I’ll drive . . .” Tyler hesitated to call the dog the bullshit name. “I’m sorry; he needs a better name than Fugly.”
Dani laughed, but her voice shook a bit as though she might cry. “The workers that brought him in were calling him that.”
“Not anymore. Whatever his name is, I’ll drive him up there, drop him off, and come back here. If his owners show up, you can give me a call.”
“I don’t have your number.” She closed the cage door and stood up.
“The front desk has it, but do you have your phone on you?” he asked.
“Yeah, I’ll go get it.” She left the room, and Tyler studied the dog. He was probably a good hundred and fifty pounds, which wouldn’t be a problem to carry, but if he had more injuries they couldn’t see, Tyler was concerned about jostling him around and doing more damage. He’d ask Dani if they had a stretcher when she got back.
She came back through the doors and handed him her phone. “Here.”
Tyler stood up, staring at the screen saver of a smiling toddler with his arms wrapped around Dani’s neck. Well, shit, that sent whatever attraction he’d had crashing to the ground. He had three rules for hooking up: Be honest from the get-go, no sleeping over, and definitely no repeats within the same week. And then there were the types of women he steered clear from.
No crazies. No attached or married women. And definitely no single moms.
No ifs, ands, or buts about it. He had watched his own mom get screwed over enough times to know that if you weren’t ready, just stay far away.
Clearing his throat, he swiped his thumb over to her contacts and put in his information. “Cute kid.”
“Thank you.”
“He yours?” he asked.
“Yes, he’s mine.”
Was it just him, or did she sound defensive?
“How old is he?” Tyler handed the phone back to her, disappointed that she was off limits.
“He’s almost two.” Dani slipped her phone into her pocket. Her curt responses told him she didn’t want to discuss her child with a complete stranger, and he couldn’t blame her.
Apparently, he was just a nosy, interfering bastard today.
“About Fugly. I was going to just carry him out, but I’m afraid of causing more damage.”
“He doesn’t have internal bleeding, at least not that showed up on the X-rays. Most of the impact from the car occurred on his back end. Plus, I gave him a dose of pain meds when he first came in, and it should last him a while.”
“Okay then, you get the door, and I’ll get the dog.”
Dani unlocked the cage again and unhooked the dog’s IV, wrapping the tubing over the mobile pole by the cage. As gently as he could, Tyler reached in and picked up the dog, who tried to thrash for half a second before Tyler spoke firmly. “Stay.”
The dog stilled, and Tyler stood up with him in his arms. “It’s gonna be okay, boy.”
Dani opened the doors as they went, but once they got to the lobby, Lab Coat Guy spotted them and spluttered, “What do you think you’re doing?”
Dani puffed up. “He’s taking the dog to his vet, since you won’t do anything to help him.”
Tyler had to admire the set of balls on Dani as every eye in the room swung on Lab Coat, pinning him with accusation.
“I didn’t say anything like that. I told you his prognosis wasn’t good and he was suffering.”
“And I wanted a second opinion, so we’re getting one.”
Tyler grinned, following Dani out the door. Pausing for half a second, Tyler gave Lab Coat a warning look. “I haven’t had a chance to evaluate the dogs yet. They’d better all be there when I get back.”
Lab Coat swallowed hard, and as she closed the door, Dani laughed. “I think he just pissed himself.”
Tyler liked her laugh, light and tinkling, like Christmas bells. “You’re pretty terrifying yourself.”
“I don’t let bullies push me around,” she said. “Where are your keys?”
“Right pocket.”
When the warmth of her hand pushed into his pocket and grabbed his keys, he couldn’t help his physical reaction. It was just too close to the groin, and the way she pressed with seeking fingers against him was enough to give him a semi. Despite it being October, it was still in the mideighties in Sacramento, and Tyler could feel beads of sweat dribbling down the sides of his face as she continued her search; he told himself it was just the heat getting to him.
Luckily, she hadn’t seemed to notice, and once she found the keys, she unlocked the doors and pulled open the back door of the Alpha Dog van.
“Hang on.” She ran back inside while Tyler waited, the dog’s weight making his arms burn.
Suddenly, she was back and climbing past him into the backseat of the van.
“What are you doing?” he asked.
“Isn’t it obvious? I’m coming with you. You’re going to need someone to hold onto him while you drive, and besides,” she said, her expression a soft mask of worry, “I don’t want him to be alone and scared.”
Tyler nodded, knowing exactly what she meant. He’d been rescuing dogs his whole life, much to his parents’ exasperation. He remembered the first dog he’d brought home at nine, a skinny black dog with matted fur and a rank odor. When his mom had told him he couldn’t bring the dog inside, he’d teared up and told her, “But, Mom, he’s so hungry and scared.” His mom had caved like a big old softy, and his dad left, coming back with food, bowls, and a collar and leash. He’d named the dog Barney, and he’d been the start of Tyler’s love of dogs.
The fact that Dani appeared to have the same passion made him like her more. Cute, funny, didn’t take shit from anyone? Plus, he’d bet his last dollar she was great in bed.
But the tiny, smiling little boy on her phone screen was like a big fat stop sign. He didn’t do single moms—at least, not when he knew about the kid.
Laying the dog gently into the back, he watched her settle his head in her lap and begin stroking his gray coat. Suddenly, she looked up at Tyler, those green eyes filled with gratitude and . . . Hell, he had no idea, but it was a first for him.
“Thank you.”
Tyler slammed the door to the van without responding, grabbing the keys out of the passenger door.
Tyler Best, bleeding-heart dog rescuer.
He climbed up into the driver’s seat, preparing to take off.
“Really, why are you doing this?” she asked from behind him.
Adjusting the mirror so he could see her, he gave the only answer that made sense. “Why not?”

About the Author

An obsessive bookworm, Codi Gary likes to write sexy contemporary romances with humor, grand gestures, and blush-worthy moments. When she’s not writing, she can be found reading her favorite authors, squealing over her must-watch shows, and playing with her children. She lives in Idaho with her family.

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Blog Tour & Giveaway: Blind Spot by Katana Collins

Blind Spot Tour BannerBlind Spot
Genres: Adult, Entangled: Embrace, New Adult, Romance
Author: Katana Collins
Release Date: August 8, 2016add-to-goodreads-button-2Blind Spot Cover

I’m used to going for the easy things in life.

The easy A in school.

The easy lay in bed. The easy life my trust fund affords me.

Until I met Shelby.

Never in my life have I found retro T-shirts and ChapStick so damn sexy.

She’s exactly what I never knew I wanted.

And she’s *anything* but easy.

But suddenly, easy is overrated.

Only one damn problem… For Shelby, *hating me* is easy.

For the first time in my life, I have to work for something. And though she may not be easy…she’ll be worth it.

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Blind Spot Teaser 2Excerpt

I lifted a section of her bangs that were caked in white our and something gooey. Was that…ew, was it egg?

She jerked away, smoothing her palm down her bangs, capturing a bit of the gunky mixture that gathered there. Crap, I forgot about not touching her hair. What had happened to her to cause such an extreme reaction? A biting pain twisted in my stomach at the thought that someone may have hurt her. I tried not to react, but tension pinched my expression through my forced smile. “You have egg or something in your hair.” This time, I slowly brought my hand to her, scooping the goo out of her bangs. “There, got it.”

Pushing her bottom lip out in an exaggerated pout, she looked up at me. Her brown eyes seemed even bigger somehow. “I was trying to make you croissants.”

“You baked for me? Oh, you so like me.”

She slapped my shoulder, and I caught her hand, pulling her flush against my body. God, I wanted to kiss her. That made it difficult to step away. Instead, I swept my thumb across her cheekbone, wiping off some flour there and holding my white-stained finger in front of her eyes. “I see the baking is going really well.”

She laughed at that, her head dropping into her hands. “Oh my God, look at me. I’m a freaking mess.”

“Maybe they’ll be delicious.”

“Maybe they’ll taste like charcoal.”

I swallowed, my throat feeling like something had lodged there. “Maybe I won’t care.”

“Maybe you have a death wish.”

“More like a Shelby wish.”

Blind Spot Teaser 1

About the Author

Katana CollinsKatana Collins bounced between a lot of different careers, including actor, photographer, television producer and finally after ten years of various jobs, she finally found her niche writing romance novels. With over ten books in a variety of romance genres, (paranormal, new adult, contemporary, and suspense to name a few), she’s been keeping very busy these last few years.
She lives in Portland, Maine with her husband and brood of rescue animals. Most days, she can be found hunched over her laptop in a cafe, guzzling gallons of coffee, and wearing fabulous (albeit sometimes impractical) shoes. www.katanacollins.com
Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @katanacollins.

Teaser Excerpt & Giveaway: Furious Rush by S.C. Stephens

Furious Rush Teaser BannerFURIOUS RUSH
Genre: New Adult Romance
Author: S.C. Stephens
On Sale: August 23, 2016
Publisher: Forever
Format: Trade Paperback & eBook
Price: $12.99 USD (TP) / $4.99 USD (eBook)add-to-goodreads-button-2

Stephens_FuriousRush_TR

The first in an emotion-fueled, New Adult series from the #1 bestselling author of the Thoughtless novels!

Too fast, too furious—and way too hot to handle…

Mackenzie Cox has a lot to prove. Daughter of a racing legend, she is eager to show the world that she has inherited her father’s talent in the male-dominated sport of professional motorcycle racing. The last thing Kenzie needs is to be antagonized by her rival team’s newest rider, Hayden Hayes. Plucked from the world of illegal street racing, Hayden immediately gets under Kenzie’s skin. His insinuations that Kenzie is a spoiled princess who was handed her career fuels her desire to win, and much to her surprise, Kenzie soon learns she performs better when she’s racing against Hayden.

As Kenzie and Hayden push each other on the track, the electric energy between them off the track shifts into an intense—and strictly forbidden—attraction. The only rule between their two ultra-competitive teams is zero contact. Kenzie always does her best to play by the rules, but when her team slips into a financial crisis, she has no choice but to turn to Hayden for help. The tension simmers during their secret, late-night rendezvous, but Kenzie has too much to lose to give in to her desires. Especially when she begins to doubt that Hayden has completely left his street life behind…

 

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Furious-Rush-Quote-Graphic-#-1-2

Excerpt

Honda Boy was holding his helmet under an arm while he flirted with the girls surrounding him. He was blond, with a short, shaggy hairstyle that probably took a lot more effort to create than it looked like. I could tell from the way the girls around him were tittering like teenagers that he was charming; with seemingly little effort on his part, he had all of them eating out of his hand. When a break in the crowd gave me a clear view of his face, I realized another thing: He was smokin’, someone-hold-on-to-my-ovaries- before-they-explode hot.There was a perfect symmetry to his rugged features that made it seem unreal that he was standing just a few feet away from me. He should be plastered on a billboard somewhere, half-naked, selling overpriced cologne to men who wanted just a fraction of his sex appeal. As if he could feel my eyes on him, he turned his gaze my way. Our eyes met and locked, and I was helpless to turn away. There was something carnal about him, primal and dangerous. Exotic. I was instantly captivated, and I hated that I was. This guy was neck-deep in a world that twisted my stomach, a world that spat in the face of my sport. My career.

As his light-colored eyes bored holes into mine, one edge of his lip curved up in a devilish crooked grin that was both playful and promising. He was practically shouting, with just that one deadly smile, that he would satisfy my every desire, satiate every craving I could possibly have. My heart started thudding in my chest as sensations that had been dormant for far too long swirled to life in- side me. Luckily for me, the big man taking the guy’s bets clapped him on the shoulder, breaking our stare down. Once I was free of his steamy gaze, I instantly turned around so my back was to him. Jesus, was I breathing harder? Ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous. I was twenty-two, not twelve.

“Damn,” I heard Nikki say. “You were right. I should have bet on him from the get-go. I didn’t really get a good look at him before, but he is freaking hot!”

Inhaling a deep breath, I attempted to force my body back in line with my brain. “This guy is undefeated?” I asked Nikki. “Really?” She nodded in answer and I had to close my eyes for a second. A face like that with racing skills to boot? Jesus.

Clearing my throat, I nonchalantly asked, “What did you say his name was again?” I could at least label the guy in the fantasy I was surely going to have later.

“Hayden… something. He’s been around for a while, from what I gathered.”

I risked a glance over my shoulder at… Hayden. He’d slipped his helmet on, thankfully, although his visor was popped up. The big guy taking bets had been joined by a skinny Hispanic guy who seemed to be giving Hayden instructions. Or maybe a pep talk. The little guy was acting out the race that was about to happen with his hands, complete with swerving and explosions. God, I hoped there weren’t going to be explosions. While he was going through his dramatic highlights, the big guy looped a camera over Hayden’s helmet.

When the two competitors were ready, they backed their motor- cycles onto the street. A cheer ripped up and down the sidewalk as the hopeful gamblers prepared for another round of racing. I didn’t want to feel anything but contempt for what I was witnessing, yet the energy of the spectators, the roar of the bikes—I couldn’t help the zing of excitement that raced up my spine. Against my will, my mouth twisted into a wide grin, and a yell of encouragement left my lips. Hayden’s helmet swiveled my way as he revved his engine. My pulse quickened as our eyes met. Then he winked at me and slammed his visor shut.

As the riders moved into position, Nikki grabbed my arm. “Come on. We can watch the action from the van.”

I had no idea what she was talking about. Before I could ask her, though, she yanked me toward a black van parked on the sidewalk. The back doors were open, and a giant monitor attached to a swinging metal arm was sticking out above the hovering crowd. The screen was split in two, each half showing the footage from one racer’s helmet cam. Hayden and his opponent were both looking straight ahead, and the dual feeds showed similar stretches of barren road. Looking down the street, I saw that the pair were stopped at a crosswalk, waiting for the light to change.

Returning my eyes to the monitor, I found myself holding my breath as I waited for the signal to change colors. When it turned green and the bikes surged forward, I stepped closer to the van, like that would somehow release my pent-up energy. In unison, the crowd around me started hooting and hollering. Swept up in the moment, I bounced on my toes and prayed for speed. But after watching the screen for just a few seconds, I was struck with the harsh reality of the situation I was watching. This was no closed-off track with well-defined paths. This was down and dirty, anything goes, just get to the finish line first racing.

The bikes blew through red lights like they meant absolutely nothing. The streets were fairly empty at this early hour, but they blurred past the few vehicles on the road like they were standing still; they had to be going 100 miles per hour, easy. They dodged obstacles by hopping onto the sidewalk, they fishtailed around slick corners, and they came close to colliding with oncoming traffic more than once.

I turned to Nikki with shock clear on my face. “This is insane! Someone’s going to get hurt. Maybe killed!”

Nikki’s face was pure elation as she watched the screens. Her expression changed as my words sunk in, then she looked at me like I had a foot sticking out of my head. I supposed it was odd to hear that type of statement coming from someone who routinely hovered around the 150 mark on the speedometer while riding, but that was a completely different kind of environment. Believe it or not, what I did was safe, relatively speaking. Millions of dollars were spent to make it that way. This was not safe. At all.

“They’re breaking every traffic law there is,” I added, feeling like a giant stick in the mud. Someone needed to be the voice of reason here, though, because everyone was clearly out of their ever loving minds.

Nikki smirked at my comment. “It’s a race, Kenzie. They can’t exactly drive cautiously. Why do you think this happens so late at night?”

“Because it’s illegal,” I deadpanned. I got a couple of odd looks from the crowd after saying that, including a particularly nasty glare from Hayden’s bet collector. Maybe this wasn’t the best place to be talking about the law. Shutting my mouth, I quickly refocused on the screen.

Just as I noticed a familiar section of street come into view on the monitor, one side of the screen started wobbling, then the camera showed asphalt, sparks, spinning scenery, and a rapidly approaching telephone pole. The crowd around me hushed as it became clear that Hayden’s competition wasn’t going to finish this race. I heard Hayden’s bike rounding the corner seconds later, then Nikki was once again pulling me along like a rag doll. She shoved us into a good position to see the finish line right as Hayden’s Honda whizzed past. He was alone. Cheers erupted mixed with a few groans from the people who’d bet on the other guy.

Just as I was wondering if anyone was going to go check on the Ninja rider, Nikki grabbed my shoulders and started shaking me with uncontainable joy. “We won, Kenzie! We frickin’ won!”

“Great,” I said, clenching my teeth so I wouldn’t bite my tongue.

Releasing me, Nikki let out a squeal of excitement. “I just made enough money to pay you back and cover my loss. See, aren’t you glad you came?”

I narrowed my eyes into poisonous daggers that would hopefully drill some sense into her. “I hate you,” I murmured. Nikki held a hand over her heart. “I know by hate you mean love, and I love you too, Kenzie. Now let’s collect my winnings and go home so you can rest up. Big year this year!”

I opened my mouth to scold her with some biting remark about how I’d wanted to leave ages ago, but she turned on her heel and left me there, gaping. Just as I was forcing the muscles in my jaw to relax enough to contract, Hayden pulled up next to where I was standing on the sidewalk. It felt like the world suddenly shifted into slow motion as I turned my head to look at him.

He was still hunched over his bike, hands on the grip and throttle; the only indication that he was looking at me was the direction of his dark helmet. Then, like some freaking Prince Charming in a fairy tale, he slowly removed his helmet and tucked it under his arm. I swear the air around me condensed as his tilted smile came into view. Jesus Christ, this guy was sex on a stick.

Reaching up, he roughly ran a hand through his sweaty dirty- blond hair. The short, sexy shag he’d had going on earlier was destroyed from the helmet, but somehow after just a few scruffs of his hand, the carefree style was back to utter perfection. I kind of wanted to mess it up again, run my hands through the strands, grab a handful and clench it tight while I outlined those incredibly kissable lips with my tongue.

Whoa. No. I didn’t want that.

His penetrating gaze studied my face for a moment. There was something there in his eyes that I couldn’t quite grasp. Interest, sure, but almost… sadness too. Then he smiled, and the look vanished so fast, I was sure I’d imagined it. “Haven’t seen you here before,” he said, his voice low and easy, like he hadn’t just risked his life. “I hope you bet on me. It would be a shame to see someone as beautiful as you… lose.”

His grin turned suggestive, and warning signs started flashing in front of my eyes. Danger! Do not proceed! Rocky road ahead! Turn back now! The warnings flared even brighter when he stood from his motorcycle and began approaching me.

When he was directly in front of me, so close that I could smell the subtle spicy aroma of his cologne, my heart was hammering so hard, I was positive he could hear it, positive he could see my T-shirt lifting and releasing like a frantic hummingbird was hiding under the fabric. What the hell was he doing to me? Was I nervous or excited? Because the sensation was so similar to both, I honestly couldn’t tell.

Extending a hand, he smoothly said, “Name’s Hayden. Hayden Hayes.” I was just about to lift my hand and touch him—my fingers even twitched in response—when he added, “And what should I call you, sweetheart?”

Sweetheart? With those two simple syllables he had just dumped a bucket of ice water over my head and killed any fantasy I might have had about him. I lived, worked, and breathed in a world where men looked at me like I was a second-class citizen. To prove my worth, I had to work harder, longer, and with everything I had inside me, all the fucking time. I felt like he’d just tried to take all of that hard work away from me with that one demeaning word.

“Leaving,” I said, walking away.

About the AuthorS.C. Stephens CREDIT Tara Ellis Photography

S.C. Stephens is a #1 bestselling author who spends her every free moment creating stories that are packed with emotion and heavy on romance. In addition to writing, she enjoys spending lazy afternoons in the sun reading, listening to music, watching movies, and spending time with her friends and family. She and her two children reside in the Pacific Northwest.

 

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The Devil’s Beauty by Airicka Phoenix

TDB_BannerTHE DEVIL’S BEAUTY
Series:
Crime Lord Interconnected Standalones #2
Genre:
Contemporary Dark Romance
Author:
Airicka Phoenix
Release Date:
July 19, 2016add-to-goodreads-button-2
The Devil's Beauty - Amazon copy

Dimitri Tasarov has never had a choice in what he was. From infancy, he had been raised with the knowledge that he was a monster, an unlovable creature without a soul, until a single act of kindness threw his entire world into a tailspin.

Ava Emerson had always led a reluctantly sheltered existence. Friendship was a luxury that came with questions she couldn’t afford to answer.

They were an unlikely pair. He lived behind his mask and his roses, and she lived behind her secrets, yet they shared a bond that could get them killed if anyone ever found out.

Times were changing. The city was in turmoil. The weak were unprotected and someone needed to make a stand. But Dimitri wasn’t the only one with eyes on the north, or Ava, and they will stop at nothing to claim them both.

Can Dimitri keep Ava safe, or will the devil fall?

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Excerpt

“She not here.” He faced the men hovering by the door. “Are you sure this is it?”

Carlos nodded. “These are the girls from this shipment.”

“She’s not here,” he repeated, desperation tangled with a building panic he couldn’t bottle back.

He could feel his heart thumping, could hear his blood roaring between his ears. He wanted to scream, to punch a hole in the wall, to do something, anything rather than stand there useless. But that was all he could do. This had been his final hope. The last place she could have been. All he could think was, maybe John Paul or Jarvis will get her. Simultaneously, he couldn’t stop the secondary voice prodding back with, what if they don’t?

“Where are the private sales?”

Hector shook his head. “There are none.”

“There has to be!” He was beginning to lose his temper. He could feel himself losing his grip on his sanity. “She was on that boat. She has to be here.”

“We have checked everywhere she would be,” Hector said with a gentleness Dimitri knew he wasn’t accustomed to.

“Take me to the booking house.” He straightened, filled with a new purpose. “I want to talk to the guy who selects the girls.”

About the Author

Airicka Phoenix is a romance junkie with an incurable addiction to chocolate. She is also a prolific author of several novels written for young adult and new adult romance addicts who love bad boys, hot kisses and a gritty plot. Airicka prides herself in producing quality material her readers can fall in love with again and again.

When she’s not hard at work bleeding words onto paper, Airicka can be found cuddling with her family, reading, watching TV shows, or just finding excuses not to do chores.

Be the first for giveaways, teasers and upcoming releases by joining Airicka’s newsletter on her website www.AirickaPhoenix.com

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