Category Archives: Sunday Shoutout
Today’s Sunday Shoutout goes to my delightful sister in crime L.D. Blakeley, who just released her revised and expanded contemporary M/M romance Best Worst Ever with a fantastic new cover. Take it away, L.D.!
Thanks for having me on today to tell you about Best Worst Ever. This story was my very first to be published so it will always hold a special place in my heart. I recently had my rights reverted, and knew I didn’t want this novella to simply fade away. So I decided to give my boys a bit of a spruce-up. I redid the cover art, revised and edited the story and made it available once more. I hope you enjoy. 🙂
Carey English spends his days planning extravagant parties and lavish weddings and generally making people’s lives brighter. He spends his nights wishing for a man he doesn’t have to share and who won’t try to drag him back into the closet. It doesn’t help that the man he wants most doesn’t need a closet to begin with — his straight best friend, Sky.
Skyler Wood has been dumped — again — just days before the holiday season, leaving him with an ex-fiancée, a nonrefundable New Year’s Eve getaway rental, and nothing to ring in the New Year but a broken heart. For Carey, rushing off to offer Sky a shoulder will either be the best decision he’s ever made—or it will lead to the worst heartbreak he’s ever experienced.
✽ This is an edited & revised version of a previously published story. It has been expanded by approximately 1,400 words. ✽
If there was one thing he knew about Sky, it was that he was as frugal as the day was long. And, judging by the other places he’d passed along the way, he was guessing the impressive exterior of this place matched a rather swanky, if not romantic, interior. Of course, idiot. Sky had rented the place thinking he’d be with his fiancée. Not his best friend.
He parked next to his friend’s SUV and stubbornly grabbed more than he could carry at once. Why make two trips when you can do it in one? Necessity might be the mother of invention, but laziness was definitely its big, bad daddy. Laden down with a suitcase and far too many bags of food and liquor, Carey used the toe of his boot to gently knock at the front door. “Sky? You in there? My hands are full, man, come open the door.” When there was no response, he tried again with the tip of his boot. “Mr. Darcy, are—”
His sentence was cut short as the door flew open. “Jesus! Hold your horses, Logan. I couldn’t hear you with the water running. I was just in the…”
Shower. He’d been in the shower. Carey knew this, not because he suddenly had the ability to read minds. Oh, no. He knew this because there, in front of him, stood all six foot four inches of Darcy Skyler Wood… dripping wet with nothing but a towel slung low around his hips. Shit.
Don’t stare. Don’t stare at that solitary drop of water as it slowly slides its way between the hard, flat planes of those perfect pecs. And for the love of all that’s holy, do not stare at anything even remotely near the edge of that towel! But Carey never was any good at taking orders.
“… hot enough to melt the snow…fun, witty banter…” – Joyfully Jay
“…sexy and lovely.” – Hearts On Fire Reviews
“a great friend to lovers story… a very sweet ending.” – MM Good Book Reviews
“…humorous, and snarky banter…” – My Fiction Nook
“… warm and sensual chemistry together that is just yummy.” – Prism Book Alliance
“…excellent fantasy fodder… sassy!” – Rainbow Book Reviews
Where To Buy
About the Author
A pragmatist with a romantic soul & a dirty mind, L.D. is a fan of horror movies, hot sex, and Happily Ever Afters. Easily distracted by shiny things, she’s a slightly neurotic, highly ambitious dreamer who enjoys dabbling in photography & pretending she can carry a tune.
In another life, L.D. was a newspaper reporter, an entertainment & music writer, travel writer, website content editor, and a marketing shill. Now she prefers to spend her time writing hot, steamy fiction (with a healthy dose of romance) about intriguing, sexy men. Of course, whether these pretty boys end up between the sheets with other gorgeous lads or up against a wall with a spicy and spirited heroine, all depends on which direction her imagination takes her on any given day.
Although she dreams of living some place isolated with an endless supply of wine and an infinite number of titles on her eReader, she currently lives in down-town Toronto with her husband and their rock star cat.
Today’s Sunday Shoutout goes to the lovely and talented Matt Burlingame, whose wonderful new M/M romance Catch a Falling Star is now available from Amazon and other purveyors of romance. And now, here’s Matt!
A therapist once told Martin Stevens that being gay was the only thing that saved him from being the most boring man alive. He spends his daytime working a dead-end job and his nights still pining after the ex-fiance who left him five years ago. When his older brother Daniel takes him to see a touring musical, a mishap sends superstar performer Alec Jameson flying off the stage right into Martin’s lap. It’s love at first sight.
But can that love withstand the scrutiny of the press, a shock-jock radio personality bent on causing trouble, and the return of Martin’s overbearing ex-fiance?
Everything about Martin Stevens was average. He lived in an average town in an average house and worked an average job. He was an average height, average weight and wore average clothes. The only thing about him that wasn’t average was that he was gay, which his former psychiatrist once told him saved him from being the most boring man on the planet.
On the day Martin turned 33 years old, his coworkers—none of whom really knew him—gave him a card with his name misspelled. His mother left her annual voice message complaining about his “lifestyle choice” before handing the phone to his dad who told him what a disappointment he had turned out to be.
The only glimmer of hope to bring a smile to Martin’s usually complacent face was his older brother Daniel who was taking him out that night.
When his brother arrived, he gave Martin a card with a nude man on the front making a joke about blowing out his birthday candle, and a bottle of aged whiskey. Since they were taking a cab to get around, Daniel demanded they have a few shots before heading out—a destination he was still keeping a secret.
The two brothers had always been close. Daniel was the first person Martin had come out to, and had always supported and protected him—even from their own father who had once threatened to “beat the gay outta him if need be.”
“So you get anything fun for your birthday?”
Martin shrugged and held up Daniel’s card and the one from his work.
Martin pointed to himself and gave a fake smile, then dropped the card into the trash bin.
“That’s it? What about your friends?”
“I don’t have any friends.”
Daniel swallowed his second shot and shook his head. “There’s gotta be someone you hang out with.”
Martin scoffed. “Just Jack and Karen.”
Daniel chuckled. “Ah, little bro … what happened to you? You used to have a lot of friends. What about that girl you were friends with in school? Tracy?”
“Stacey. Haven’t seen her in years.”
“And all the people who came to those parties you and Derrick had when you were together?”
“But you always had people from school coming over.”
Martin took a shot, held it while giving his brother a sideways look, then swallowed hard. “That was the yearbook committee and they only came over because they had crushes on you. Once you graduated, I was kicked off. You were voted most popular. I was the one voted most likely to die alone and be eaten by his cats.”
Daniel couldn’t stop himself from laughing. “You were not!”
“I was! That’s why I have fish. Face it, my life has not exactly been a success story.”
“But you have a steady job, a nice house… fish. You should find a good guy and—”
Martin interrupted, “Adopt some kids, get a divorce, go to a support group.” He rolled his eyes.
“Okay, okay.” Daniel poured them a third shot. “One more before we go.” He raised his shot glass. “Here’s to my little bro on his birthday. May he meet the man of his dreams and have a long and happy life together.”
“Cold day in hell, Dan,” Martin said as their glasses clinked together.
Daniel’s phone beeped. “Ride’s here.”
“You never said where we were going.”
“Didn’t I? Huh.” Daniel headed toward the door.
Where To Buy
About the Author
Matt Burlingame is an award-winning journalist and playwright, living in Northern California. After 20 years of working for for various LGBT newspapers, websites, and even cohosting a late-night radio show, he has retired from his aspirations of being the gay Murphy Brown to pursue his love of fiction writing. His first book, the self-published dark comedy Sorry Charley, was released in 2012.
He has written and cowritten over ten critically acclaimed plays including Recovery Mode, Poughkeepsie Porn Co., Countess Dracula, and the controversial Paperclip Messiah. His plays have been produced nationally, most notably in New York, and St. Louis.
He has been a well known LGBT podcaster for over 10 years and produced and cohosted shows focusing on comedy writing, world events, comedy, theater, gay sex education and positive body image. With the support and encouragement of his gay cat, and lifelong friend Nephi, he has now immersed himself into the wonderful world of M/M romance.
Today’s Sunday Shoutout goes to the darling (and muy prolific) Doris O’Connor, whose sizzling new shifter romance Claiming His Human (The Projects 6) is now available from Evernight Publishing and other purveyors of fine erotic romance. And now, here’s Doris!
Thank you so much for hosting my new release on your blog today. Claiming his Human is book 6 in The Projects series, and readers will meet many a familiar face from the previous books.
Don’t worry, though, you do not have to read the previous books in the series, unless you’d like to, of course.
Darius knows Holly is his from the first whiff of her scent in the air. Holly needs some convincing… especially when she finds out that the man she’s been lusting after turns into a huge grizzly bear.
Bear shifter Darius Longton never expected to find his mate in his favorite coffee shop, but one sniff of her scent in the air is all it takes for his bear to know the truth. This delicious, sinfully curvy redhead is his.
Too bad she’s human and far too fragile for his volatile bear.
Holly Trent cannot understand the instant attraction she feels for this man. One look from his heavy-lidded eyes is all it takes to set her knickers aflame with lust. However, she will not be another notch on his bedpost, no matter how much his voice alone makes her want to sink to her knees.
But when a customer gets heavy with her, everything changes. Darius’s defense of her places them both in terrible danger. Thrown headfirst into shifter council politics, it falls to Holly to save her mate.
Darius’s eyes flashed from golden to brown and back again, and she lost herself in the intensity of his gaze.
“Holly, what are you doing?” he asked. The gravelly timbre of his voice shot straight to every one of her erogenous zones, not least because his scent increased and wrapped her into a cocoon of his earthy, spicy presence.
“I don’t know. I just want … please … I need.”
A hiss escaped him when she lowered herself back down on his lap and ground her by now sodden crotch over his cock.
Another one of those earth-shattering deep rumbles came from the man she was dry humping like some sort of wanton hussy, and in the next instant, his large fingers dug into her hips with enough force to leave bruises. Shivers of apprehension, or excitement, she wasn’t sure which raced down her spine.
Darius lowered his head so that their foreheads touched. Their breaths mingled, and the world stood still, as she waited for him to move, to do something, anything.
She couldn’t get her voice to work past the huge lump of emotion which clogged up her throat, so she simply breached the distance between them and pressed her lips against his. His groan rumbled through her, and then he took charge of the kiss. Just like before, their surroundings faded into the background, as he deepened the kiss, and she gave herself up to the myriad of sensations that immediately assaulted her. With his hands firmly clamped around her hips, she couldn’t move, couldn’t do anything but tug at the strands of his hair which had come loose from his ponytail. The action seemed to incite his bear, because he broke the kiss, and ran his nose along her neck, inhaling deeply.
“Fuck, Holly, you better be sure, because all I want to do is push those panties away and bury myself deep inside your sweet cunt until you have no doubt who you belong to.”
He yanked her up slightly while he traced one hand along her hip until he could cup her pussy.
“So fucking wet for me, little one.”
Incapable of uttering anything but incoherent moans, Holly rubbed herself against that hand.
“Oh, yeah, I can smell your need. Tell me this pussy is mine. Ask me for my cock. I need to hear you say the words, my sweet.”
His voice, full of heated promise, didn’t sound like him at all, more animal than human, and she responded to the almost desperate tones in kind.
“Just fuck me already, will you?”
A sharp tug on her hair brought tears to her eyes, and she whined her disappointment when he pulled back to study her. Try as she might she couldn’t close the distance between them.
“Ask me nicely, girl, or I’ll stop this instant.”
Holly’s flippant reply stuck in her throat when she properly looked at him because the determination edged in his hungry features told their own story. He meant what he’d said, and despite the massive erection tenting his suit trousers, which must cost him dearly, he would get up and leave her wanting. His thighs flexed under hers, and Holly swallowed hard when he released his grip on her hair and grasped her wrists instead. She was no match for his superior strength, even if she had tried to resist him, as he slowly pulled her hands away from him, and pinned them behind her back. The action thrust her breasts out at him, and her breathing sped up when his gaze slowly dipped lower until it rested on her straining cleavage. Her nipples pushed against the fabric of her lacy bra, hard little beacons of lust pointing straight at Darius, positively begging for his attention. Darius transferred both her wrists into one of his large hands and then slowly brought his free hand into view. His knuckles skimmed across the hypersensitive tips of her nipples, and Holly whimpered her need.
A wicked grin flashed across his features, and he repeated the action several times until Holly was pretty sure she would self-combust if he didn’t do something else. Incomprehensible sounds spilled from her lips, and she couldn’t tear her gaze away from the sight of his large, tanned hand against her pale flesh.
“Hmm, so beautifully responsive, my sweet. I bet you could come from this alone.”
Holly gasped in fascination as one of his fingernails formed into a wicked-looking claw, and he used that lethally sharp appendage to run ever tightening circles around first one nipple and then the other until Holly thought she would scream. When he added another claw to lightly score her skin the pleasure pain acted like a livewire of electricity connected her clit to her boobs.
Her hips took on a life of their own, and her pussy muscles clenched and released desperate for his cock to fill her.
“Please, I need to … please, Sir, I want your cock.”
The words were out of her mouth before her brain had even cottoned on to what she was saying. Darius stilled, his eyes flashed fire at her, and for the first time since she’d initiated this, a trickle of fear snaked up her spine. Not enough for her to put a stop to this, whatever this insanity which seemed to hold her in its grip would amount to, but enough to make her already far too fast heartbeat turn into a sledgehammer inside her chest.
Her vision dimmed, and all reasoning fled her brain in a puff of smoke because Darius looked more animal than human. He looked as though he wanted to eat her alive, and before she could even fathom his intention, her hands were free. The audible rip of her knickers giving way, as he tore them off her sounded far too loud in the quiet room, and then his fingers slipped inside her pussy and she groaned in need. Her head fell forward on his shoulders, even as she instinctively spread her thighs wider apart to give his questing digits better access.
“You’re so fucking wet, my sweet. Come for me, baby.”
Where To Buy
About the Author
Doris is a writer of sensual, sassy, and sexy tales involving alpha heroes to die for, and heroines who give as good as they get. From contemporary to paranormal, Sci-fi, BDSM, F/F, M/M, and Ménage, haunting love stories are guaranteed.
Happily married for the last twenty-five years, she lives with her husband and their brood of nine in a far too small house filled with love, laughter, and chaos.
Today’s Sunday Shoutout goes to Naomi Clark and her smouldering new shifter book In Cold Blood. Take it away, Naomi!
Hi there! Thanks for having me today and letting me share a bit about my new release, IN COLD BLOOD. This is a spin-off from my Urban Wolf series, set in the same world but featuring new characters. My goal with every entry in the Urban Wolf series is to open the world up a little bit more. SILVER KISS gives us a good, solid starting point with werewolves. BLOOD HUNT introduces vampires. PHANTOM FEARS teases the idea of ghosts, and COLD NIGHT MOON gives us fae creatures (or one, at any rate). With IN COLD BLOOD, my idea was that, well, someone had to be noticing all these weird and wonderful creepy beasties. And someone would be keeping notes…This will tie directly into the plot of the next Urban Wolf book, which will take us back to Ayla and Shannon. The circle of life, etc.
IN COLD BLOOD is the first of a planned trilogy about Phoebe, Aisling, and the Luporum. I already have book 2 mostly planned out (in my head, anyway), but my aim is write that Ayla and Shannon book first. So if you enjoy IN COLD BLOOD, rest assured that there’ll be more from my socially awkward werewolves in love – and the Urban Wolf series in general! – in the future 🙂 Happy reading!
You can find the complete Urban Wolf series, in reading order, at my blog here – http://naomiclarkwrites.blogspot.co.uk/p/urban-fantasy.html
Phoebe Fairley wanted to be a librarian. Somehow, she’s become a vampire hunter. Women are dying across the country and the police are baffled. Phoebe’s just supposed to be gathering information on the deaths, but as the body count mounts, she can’t help but break the rules and get involved. She knows what the killer is—and catching and containing it is vital. If she can persuade the police to believe her, and keep her secretive bosses happy, she stands a chance of capturing a very real, very deadly vampire. Not bad for a werewolf who can’t shapeshift.
Aisling is happy living as a feral wolf. She’s got no time for human affairs, until a mysterious creature attacks her and leaves her in human hands. Now, if she wants her life back, she’ll have to join Phoebe’s hunt. There are just a couple of snags. One, she hates humans. And two, she’s falling hard for Phoebe. With a monster to catch and her own past to protect, will Aisling trust her head or her heart?
The scene inside the barn was surreal. Two big floodlights overhead lit the barn in glaring white. Half the huge space was taken up with sheep, penned off from the drama but still hysterically bleating and milling together. A grizzled man in a tattered dressing gown and Wellington boots – surely the farmer – leaned into the pen, talking non-stop to the frightened animals. Bales of hay were piled high around the rest of the barn, looking to Phoebe like they might come toppling down any second. They formed a rough arena for the main drama. Two more men held down a naked woman. She thrashed in their grip, tossing her matted red hair and snarling with a viciousness that made Phoebe’s wolf cower. This was their victim, this mad, wild thing?
Spalding hurried over to the farmer and Gibbs ran to the paramedics. They had to be wolves, from the strength they were displaying, but the woman was making them work to keep her still. Phoebe hesitated before following Gibbs – at a distance. Observe, Spalding had said. That was fine. Observing was all she was meant to do. The question was, what exactly was she seeing? The victim of a vampire attack or a feral wolf gone mad? She couldn’t help but lean towards the latter. Perhaps the woman thought the sheep would be easy pickings, but something had gone wrong. Maybe she’d been startled by the farmer or a guard dog. Phoebe had noticed a kennel outside the barn, although there was no sign of a dog now.
As she got closer, she saw the woman’s hands and feet were caked in mud, and there were thin red scratches all over her pale skin. Dried blood on her chest, too, although her endless thrashing made it hard to see where the original wound was. She stopped a few feet away, watching as Gibbs crouched down before the woman and – daringly, Phoebe thought – gripped her chin firmly. She was surprised he didn’t get his fingers bitten off.
The woman growled but couldn’t pull free of Gibbs’ hold. He growled right back, with a force and venom that made Phoebe quake. Did they teach that in training?
For a minute, the pair seemed locked in battle, the woman struggling against all three men in vain while she snarled at Gibbs. He didn’t flinch or loosen his grip, and kept his own domineering growl rumbling on, rising in pitch. The sheep grew more frantic and both the farmer and Spalding yelled at them with a mixture of anger and desperation. Phoebe felt battered, all the noise and tumultuous emotion like an assault. She wanted to run. She forced herself to stay, watching as Gibbs tried to inflict his will on the woman.
As much as pop culture got muddled with myth, some things were always true, just as much for wolves as humans. Some people were simply more dominant than others. Gibbs’ laid-back, clownish persona was all gone now as he pinned the woman down with both his body and his eyes. Phoebe would have caved already, if she’d even had it in her to resist. The woman, whatever her mental state might be, was not so easily dominated. But after what felt like an age, she slumped, stopped fighting, and went still.
Where To Buy
About Naomi Clark
Naomi likes writing, perfume, fancy tea, and unfathomable monsters from the dark spaces between the stars, not necessarily in that order. She has been writing stories ever since she learned how to write, but is still trying to master the art of biography writing. When she’s not dealing with werewolves, demons, or sea monsters, she’s hanging out with her cat and probably watching a documentary about Bigfoot. If the cat isn’t available, she’s with her fiancé watching cookery shows and silently plotting her next book.
Today’s Sunday Shoutout goes to Kacey Hammell and her smouldering new book Guarding His Anchor (Canadian Muscle 2), is now available from Evernight Publishing and other purveyors of fine erotic romance. Take it away, Kacey!
Thank you so much for sharing my latest release, Guarding His Anchor, with your readers! Frank and Charlie haven’t had an easy road, but their journey is romantic and adventurous.
Charlotte Weber is no stranger to heartbreak. FBI agent Frank Shaw has swept in and out of her life as though she’s a revolving door, stomping on her heart in the process. Now that she’s finally had enough, he’s back again and seems determined to spin her life out of control.
Frank knows Charlie is the anchor for his lost soul, even though he can’t risk settling down. The demons of his past are too great, and he won’t run the risk of hurting her. This time, his only objective should be locating Charlie’s brother, Sean. But Charlie’s a complication, and not just because she refuses to believe Sean is guilty.
As Frank and Charlie fight for what they believe in, they also try to resist their powerful connection. The future is unclear, but when danger surrounds them, they are each other’s only anchor.
Frank watched Charlie intently.
That name was for a young girl, not for a woman like her.
To him, she was all Charlotte. Confident, virile, elegant, intoxicating. A vixen who turned a man on with one sultry glance and then brought him to his knees with one heady taste of her. He hated calling her by such the tomboy-ish name everyone else called her.
Others didn’t see what he did. Which was a good thing, too; he didn’t want her sharing that part of herself with anyone else. Especially not with this Numbnuts Neal that Jonas had told him about last night. Another guy was sniffing around his lady, and he didn’t like it. Not one fucking little sliver.
“So.” Charlotte interrupted his thoughts. He’d deal with Numbnuts later. “Tell me”—she shoved the file aside—“in your own words, everything my brother has allegedly done. And sugarcoat nothing on my behalf. I’ll read the report later.”
There was the woman he cared for. The brook-no-argument heat in her eyes. Her deep, sea-blue gaze sliced deep and offered no mercy.
“Your brother actually went undercover five years ago. You knew he was changing jobs and would be out of the country for a long time. You told me that yourself, remember?” Charlotte nodded but said nothing. “Through my contacts and the agent in charge of the case, it’s been almost eighteen months since his handler’s spoken to him.”
Her eyes widened and she shifted, but remained silent.
“I tracked him down in the most desolate area of Tel Aviv and to a branch in a drug cartel he’d started investigating years ago. The minute details are in the file, but to make a long story short, I got too close. Breached a compound to look for evidence of your brother being there and anything else I could use in the case.” He ran a hand down his face, the skin itchy from not having shaved in days. “Only sparse personnel were to be on the grounds, less eyes watching, but the Intel I got had been wrong. Before I knew what was happening, I was getting shot at from every direction.”
“So Sean might not be the one who shot you.” Her eyes were eager, hopeful. Of course she’d latch on to the fact multiple bullets were aimed at him.
He shook his head, wishing he could answer her pleas. “I managed through the worst of it and found my way to an empty garage where I ran into your brother. And before you ask, yes, I am certain it was him. He appeared confused at first, then said, ‘Charlie’s Frank?’ So he knew who I was. Then voices and more gunfire rang out and coming toward us. Before I could react to anything, he suddenly raised his gun and shot me.” Frank rubbed his wound, still surprised he’d survived. The doctors had said a couple inches left or right, depending on travel of the bullet and bone fragment concerns, and surgery wouldn’t have been an option either.
“How’d you get out of there?” He hoped the concern in her eyes was true and for him, not just her brother.
“One of the other agents with me pulled up in a jeep. I ran out as fast as possible, and he hauled our asses out of there.”
Charlotte scoffed. “Okay Rambo-slash-John McClane, you still watch too many action films. Unless I hear it from Sean, I won’t believe he’d shoot you for no reason.”
She’d always been pigheaded, but Frank couldn’t believe she’d question it. “What reason would I have to lie to you? Hell, Charlo—ie, I latched on to the case to prove his innocence.”
“Why? Why did you want to get involved? You left Vikki and high-tailed it on the first plane out with barely any notice. You didn’t tell me much before you left. And you were on your way to partnering up with Gavin and Marc with the security stuff. But you dropped everything and left. Why was Sean’s case that important to you?”
“For you!” he bellowed, confused why she didn’t see that. “He is your brother, Gavin’s best friend, and I’d have access to the whole case to help him.”
“Don’t pretend that you were doing me any favors. I never asked you to get involved, Frank.”
“Well, of course not,” he growled low. “You’d never have found out any of it if I had my way. I was hoping to get Sean out of trouble and bring him home to you. But you overheard Gavin and I talking before I left. And as far as leaving Vikki, she and I discussed it. She needed space and was only too eager to see me go. She didn’t need my hovering at that point and wanted to stand on her own, or try to. Gavin watched over her for me.” He smiled. “You all did, and I appreciate it very much.”
“We’ve become great friends.” He loved the way Charlotte’s eyes softened as she talked about his cousin. “It is an honest friendship. And it has nothing to do with you.”
Months had turned her hard, distant. He only had himself to blame. They hadn’t left things on a positive note, but he’d hoped she’d understand one day.
Hell, he’d foolishly hoped that she would come to appreciate having him on Sean’s case rather than a stranger. Their personal relationship aside, he assumed she’d trust the agent he was, and how long and hard he’d continued searching for Vikki. What other proof did she need to trust him?
How wrong he’d been.
“I don’t want to think about Sean doing this.” The worry on her face tore at his heart. “Was he undercover too long? Is that a reason people believe he’s capable of such violence?”
“There are many cops and agents that have gone so far undercover they get caught up in the lifestyle and it’s impossible to find their way back.” Sadness crept across her face. “Sorry, Charlie, that’s as honest as it gets.”
“None of this makes sense.” She stood and piled paperwork on the file cabinet. “It goes against who Sean is, and not who Norris raised. I can’t wrap my head around it. My brother isn’t a monster.”
Her voice broke, breaking his heart in the process. Frank stood and crossed the room, then rested his hands on her shoulders. “I’m sorry, hon. I know you’re scared, and I’m sorry you have to go through this.”
Charlotte turned, surprising him, and burrowed her face in his chest. Sobs tore from her, shaking her strong yet delicate frame. He wrapped her in his arms, resting his cheek on her head, and let her cry.
It had been so long—too long—since he’d inhaled her sweet scent of fruity shampoo and the coconut butter body wash she used every day. He’d barely made it through any meal that served any of the combinations, the memories of her too fervent to let him eat in peace. Soft, warm, and the tranquility that came to him whenever he held her close were all potently his Charlotte.
Home. Being this close to her again was like coming home. But he wasn’t a man looking for one place to settle down. And it puzzled him why he returned time and time again.
You know exactly why. You have an addiction, buddy. And she’s in your arms right now.
Yes, he supposed his conscience was trying to tell him something, but it was wrong. He kept returning here because of his friends, the security business. But Charlotte pulled him back in like a reel catching a fish every single time.
“No. Fuck no.” Her high-pitched squeal surprised him. He fell back on his feet, shocked at her strength to shove him so hard.
“Shut up. No. Damn it.” She glared at him, fists tight. “Get out. Don’t coddle me. Don’t console me. You won’t use me. Get. Out.”
“Use you? Coddle you?” He huffed. “You turned to me,” he yelled, frustration gnawing at him.
“Guess I’m an idiot, but I won’t fall for it. I won’t let you close enough to betray my brother. If I even hear from him again.” Her chest heaved and sweat dotted her forehead and cheeks. Frank had never seen her so out of control, seething and yet so stunning. How ferocious she was in battle.
Frank’s head whipped around to the intruding voice in the doorway.
“Charlie, are you all right?”
“We’re having a private conversation. Get lost, buddy.”
“Shut up, Frank. Come on in, Neal. He and I are finished.”
So this was Numbnuts Neal. Dark hair, squinty eyes, tanned skin. Dressed to the nines in a suit and tie, with a cute little handkerchief in his breast pocket, and a pair of round glasses in his right hand. Jesus, what a nerd. Frank wanted to pick him up and chuck him back out into the hallway.
“I, um, just came to see if you wanted to catch up. Maybe dinner?” Numbnuts eyed Frank with caution. Good. Frank wanted the guy scared shitless of him.
But the little prick stepped forward and extended his hand to shake.
Frank eyed the small limb with the urge to break it but wanting to be an adult.
“Oh, for cripes sake,” Charlotte groused. “Neal Simmons, Frank Shaw. And vice versa. Whatever.” She pushed a pile of folders into a shoulder bag then her phone and grabbed another smaller bag she slid under her arm. “I’ll call you later, Neal. I need a time out.”
“Hey, wait a second,” Frank called out, following her into the hall.
“No, I’m done here. I can’t do this right now.” She turned and rushed away.
Frank watched, jaw clenched. Anger and frustration filled him as Charlotte and Numbnuts disappeared. He strode back into her office for his cell phone he’d set on her desk earlier. Frank eyed the landline phone sitting there.
After extracting a small case from the front pocket of his pants, he opened it and pulled out the tiny device and lifted the dial-phone. He placed the electronic bug underneath it and set it back down.
If Sean contacted his sister, this would be one number he might call. As much as Frank disliked going behind her back like this, he had a job to do. No matter how much he cared about her, he’d do whatever it took to bring bad guys in. He wasn’t bred any other way.
Where To Buy
About Kacey Hammell
Avid Reader. Romance Author. Redhead…
Canadian-born author Kacey Hammell is definitely a book-a-holic. A romance reader from a young age, she fell in love with happily ever afters. These days, as a multi- published erotic romance author, she enjoys adding a lot of heat, sass, and emotion to the many genres she writes.
Mom of three, Kacey lives her own happily ever after with her perfect hero in Ontario, Canada.
Today’s Sunday Shoutout goes to N.J. Young and her new entry in her Love With a Price series Explosive Desire, now available online from Evernight Publishing and other purveyors of fine erotic romance. Take it away, N.J.!
Thank you so much for having me on your blog. I’m very excited to share Explosive Desire with your readers. Although it is book four in my Love With a Price series, all of my books are written so they can be enjoyed as stand-alone novels, so even if you haven’t read the previous books, don’t let that deter you. Luke Price is my hottest hero yet, and this is the first book in my Love With a Price series that is a suspense!
Finding love is the last thing on Luke Price’s mind as he leads his construction crew to complete the new wing of Oakville Hospital. But he can’t deny his feelings when Dr. Harper Love walks into his life. Lacking the sociability of his younger siblings, Luke doesn’t think a woman like Harper would ever want an introvert like him. But he puts his skepticism on hold when he discovers that Harper has become the victim of a stalker. Above all else, Luke vows to protect the woman he cares about.
When Dr. Harper Love moves to Oakville, she doesn’t expect to find a network of new friends, a man who captures her heart, and certainly not a stalker who watches her every move. When she begins receiving menacing notes at the hospital where she works, it soon becomes clear that the threats are no prank. Harper finds herself turning to Luke Price, and his protective instincts go on high alert. Will his heart be able to stand losing Harper? Or can he figure out who the stalker is and keep the woman he loves safe?
“Look at me.” When she didn’t respond, he deepened his voice. “Harper, look at me. Now.”
She turned her head to look at him with weary blue eyes. Fuck, he hated that she looked so broken. He wanted to fix her. Or at least make her forget all the pain and potential danger right outside the door.
He opened his mouth to speak, but she stopped him with a shake of her head. “Please don’t. Don’t say it’s going to be okay. Don’t tell me there’s nothing to worry about, and they’re going to catch this guy.” She took a shaky breath. “I know everyone at your mom’s was just trying to help, trying to make me feel better.” Her fingers absently played along his. “I just don’t want you to lie to me.” She looked down at their hands.
Her words nearly broke him. He raised a hand to her cheek and brushed aside her blonde curls to cup her face and tilt it up to him. “I’ll never lie to you, Harper. Not ever. I can’t even imagine how violated you must be feeling right now. What this psycho is doing to you makes me sick to my stomach. But I can make you one promise. I will not let anything happen to you, do you understand me? I’ll die before I ever let anyone hurt you.”
Her eyes filled, and she tried to look away, but he held her face steady. “No. Look at me.” She raised her eyes again, and a tear spilled over. Luke gently wiped it away with his thumb then leaned in to press his lips against her forehead. He pulled back to look into her face. “You don’t have to be afraid, Pretty, not of me.” He brushed away another tear and stroked the back of his knuckles along her jaw. “I’m the man you can trust. I’m the man you can depend on. And I’m not going anywhere.”
“Luke…” She said his name on a whisper as the pad of his thumb stroked gently over her bottom lip. Tentatively, her tongue snaked out to lick his thumb. He stilled as her soft wetness played over the tip of his thumb. Harper searched his face as if she were waiting to see if he would pull away. When he didn’t, she sucked his thumb into her mouth.
Heat flared through Luke, and his arousal ratcheted up to eleven.
Get it together, Price. She’s vulnerable. You can’t take advantage of her.
“Harper…” He should tell her this wasn’t a good idea. When he made love to her, he wanted it to be because she needed him as much as he needed her, not because she was using him as a distraction. But when she raised her face to his and leaned in, he couldn’t deny her, couldn’t deny himself.
The second their lips met, all semblance of reasoning slipped away. The only thing in his head was her.
Where To Buy
About N.J. Young
I’m a Midwestern girl and a lover of coffee, live music, and horror movies, not necessarily in that order.
I’ve been writing all my life, and I honestly can’t remember a time when I wanted to do anything but write. After many years spent suffering the trials of corporate America and writing about everything from financial risk management to software user manuals to website copy about radiators (sadly, I’m not kidding), I decided take the plunge and start writing books.
I love a good love story with super hot alpha males, strong heroines, a little humor, and a lot of suspense. Sprinkle in some sexual fantasies and a few BDSM aspects, and Boom! These are only a few of the themes you’ll find in my books.
When I’m not writing, I’m probably at Starbucks, or fighting evil with the help of my husband, two children, and our houseful of animals.
Today’s Sunday Shoutout goes to co-authors Lucy Felthouse and Victoria Blisse and their deliciously hot new erotic romance The Billionaire And The Wild Man, now available online from purveyors of fine erotic romance. Take it away, ladies!
Their lives could hardly be more different—she owns a successful luxury hotel chain, and he’s a penniless nomad who’s off the grid—yet neither can deny the attraction that burns between them. As Caroline reluctantly starts to open up to him, Flynn finds himself divulging some secrets of his own, secrets he thought he’d take to his grave.
But can a billionaire and a wild man ever make a relationship work, or will their secrets keep them apart?
I’m busy minding my own business, clearing up litter in a field on the outskirts of Hartington when what can only be described as a crazy woman appears, seemingly from nowhere. She’s all wild-eyed, and her blonde hair looks damp. Her outfit is unremarkable, except for the fact she’s got nothing on her feet. Bright red toenails seem massively out of place in this rural village. She seems out of place. I’m not sure why I think this, but somehow, she just doesn’t appear to belong. So what the hell is she doing here?
Normally, I steer clear of other folk unless it’s absolutely necessary, but this woman looks like she needs help. Serious help. If she’s crossed the road with her feet like that, then they’re going to be scratched to buggery, maybe even cut.
Taking a deep breath, I chuck the empty crisp packet I’ve been holding into my rubbish bag. Then I place it next to the tree I’m standing beside and step out into the woman’s path. I’m used to people not seeing me—or behaving like they haven’t seen me, anyway—so I’m not surprised when she lets out a shriek that could wake the dead and freezes in front of me.
“Hey, hey,” I say gently, holding my hands up placatingly. “It’s okay. I’m not going to hurt you. I just wanted to come and see if you were all right. I can’t help but notice you’re not wearing any shoes. You’re not hurt, are you?” The concern in my voice confuses me, but then my brain catches up. If this chick is so desperate to get away that she’s gone without shoes, then something’s wrong. Seriously wrong.
I look around, half-expecting to see an angry husband chasing after her, or maybe even a shopkeeper. She could be a thief. Glancing at her again, I realize that can’t possibly be the case, unless she’s stolen something invisible. All she has are the clothes on her back.
She still hasn’t spoken, so I try again, attempting to make myself appear friendly, welcoming. Not an easy thing when you’re over six feet tall and pretty wide, too. Also, the fact I haven’t had a change of clothes, shave, or a haircut for a while won’t help. I wouldn’t blame her if she ran away, to be honest. I must look a fright, but I haven’t peered into a mirror—or even a window—for a good few days, so I can’t be sure.
“Sweetheart, please answer me. Are you hurt? Is there someone after you?”
She looks around, then back at me. Shakes her head. I’m confused—if there’s no one after her, why did she look behind her?
I crouch down. “Are your feet okay? Cut?”
Finally, I get a verbal reply. “N-no. I mean, yes. They’re okay. Not cut. At least … I don’t think so.”
She lifts each foot in turn, checking the soles. They’re fine. Now she’s answered another of my questions, too. Her accent doesn’t sound local. More like southern England. London, perhaps.
I suppress an involuntary shudder. The thought of London, the big, dirty, smoky city, does not impress me. Horrible bloody place. But at least it explains why the blonde doesn’t appear to fit in. She’s not from around here.
Where To Buy
About the Authors
Lucy Felthouse is the award-winning author of erotic romance novels Stately Pleasures (named in the top 5 of Cliterati.co.uk’s 100 Modern Erotic Classics That You’ve Never Heard Of, and an Amazon bestseller), Eyes Wide Open (winner of the Love Romances Café’s Best Ménage Book 2015 award, and an Amazon bestseller) and The Persecution of the Wolves. Including novels, short stories and novellas, she has over 150 publications to her name. She owns Erotica For All, and is one eighth of The Brit Babes. Find out more about her writing at http://lucyfelthouse.co.uk, or on Twitter or Facebook. Sign up for automatic updates on Amazon or BookBub. You can also subscribe to her monthly newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/gMQb9.
Victoria Blisse is a Mother, Wife, Christian, Manchester United Fan and Award Winning Erotica Author and all round Cheeky Wench. She is also the editor of several Bigger Briefs collections, and the co-editor of the fabulous Smut Alfresco, Smut by the Sea (Vol.1), Smut by the Sea (Vol.2), Smut by the Sea (Vol.3), and Smut in the City Anthologies.
She is the mistress of Smut UK putting on Smut Events, Days & Evenings dedicated to erotica, socializing, fun and prizes. Check out Smut Nights, Smut by the Sea: Scarborough, and Smut Manchester for more info.
Born near Manchester, England, her northern English quirkiness shows through in all of her stories along with her own particular brand of humour and romance that bring laughs and warm fuzzies in equal measure.
Passion, love and laughter fill her works, just as they fill her busy life.
Release blitz hosted by Writer Marketing Services.
Today’s Sunday Shoutout goes to the prolific Doris O’Connor, whose sultry new BDSM erotic romance, On Her Terms (Premiere Companions, Book 2), is now available from Evernight Publishing and other purveyors of fine erotic romance. Take it away, Doris!
Thanks so much for having me on your blog today with my new release On Her Terms. Like the first book in this series, The Job, On Her Terms started as a tease on my blog. This one, to be precise.
I didn’t get to write the story straightaway because other projects intervened, but when Jamie and Nicole decided it was their turn… Well, my fingers flew.
I loved writing their story which brought with it many twists and turns that I certainly didn’t see coming. Let’s just say all is not as it seems, but then it never is with the Premiere Companions. I hope readers will enjoy these two. Hold on for the ride, because sparks fly and yeah… The story might be a tad hot.
What’s that you say? I write a hot story? Shocking I know.
I blame my muse. I’m sweet and innocent really… Stop laughing in that corner!
To celebrate the release of On Her Terms, The Job (Premiere Companions, book 1) is just 99 cents for a limited time at Evernight and Amazon. Perfect time to grab your copy and see how this series started.
Faced with the prospect of marriage, to a man she’s never even met, Nicoletta Cabrizi’s temper gets the better of her. How dare her father use her virginity as a bargaining chip to seal a business deal?
A girl’s first time should be special, and who better to give her an unforgettable night than an experienced Dom provided by Premiere Companions.
A perfect solution…
The reality, however, takes her breath away. The enigmatic Jamie pulls Nicole into a maelstrom of sensation and pleasure, which steals her heart, and soul, and leaves her doubting her previous decisions.
Jamie is beyond furious at this whole, farcical arrangement, especially when Nicoletta turns out be far from the spoiled princess he was expecting to meet. Her open vulnerability and deep need to submit brings out his protective instincts. Come what may, Nicoletta will be his.
Jamie always enjoyed this process of getting to know what made a woman tick in bed, never more so than when that woman tapped into her submissive streak for the first time. Most needed far more encouragement than his girl had needed. Whether that was simply due to the unusual circumstances they found themselves in or whether she, too, felt the force of their connection, who could say.
From the minute he’d seen her shred the paper napkins, her nervousness pouring off her in waves, she’d thrown his preconceived notions about her out of the window. It wasn’t just the fact that she was ten times more beautiful in person either. Jamie was used to beautiful women, appreciated women in all their forms and guises, but there was something about Nicoletta Cabrizi that had him utterly hooked. Now with her writhing underneath him, her sweet musk in his nostrils and coating his tongue as he licked up the juices spilling past the elastic of the sodden piece of lace barely covering her modesty … now, he stopped analyzing and simply gave himself over to the moment. He knew the moment she was about to explode, because her thighs tightened involuntary around his head, and her hips bucked as she ground her pussy against his face, coming all over it in the process.
The incomprehensible sounds spilling from her mouth made him grin around his mouthful of hugely engorged virgin clit, and Jamie kept up the suckling of that little bundle of nerves, until the last of her aftershocks abated and her thighs went slack. Only then did he sit back and allowed himself to slowly peel her ruined thong away from her moist flesh.
Jamie sucked in a sharp breath as her sweet cunt came into view. Beautifully bare of any hair, it begged to be claimed, and his cock jerked at the thought as her puffed up pussy lips came into view. She jumped when he parted her outer labia with his fingers, and ran his fingertips through her inner lips.
“Easy there, my sweet. You’re so fucking wet for me. I can’t wait to claim your virgin hole. All of them for that matter. Will you let me do that, bellissima?”
A groan came from his girl at his words, and her pussy hole quivered and clenched, expelling more of her essence, in which he coated his fingers and brought them right up to her other hole, while he pushed a thumb into her pussy.
A gasp and a tightening of her internal muscles was his answer this time, and when he looked up her body it was beyond satisfying to see the all-over body flush decorating her fair skin. Her unfettered breasts, reddened by his stubble, carried the marks of his teeth, and her nipples stood proudly to attention. Such a glorious, fucking canvas for him to work with.
He swore to himself there and then that he would mark every inch of her skin, so that when she left here in the morning to resume her life as Don Cabrizi’s daughter, she would remember who her Sir was.
Foolish thoughts, perhaps, he had no right to be possessive, after all, but there it was. He wasn’t going to overanalyze this now, just go with his gut and let the chips fall where they may. He’d always known that any dealings with this woman would be dangerous to him, so the urgent need to make her his didn’t really come as a huge surprise to him.
“I asked you a question, my love, I would appreciate an answer.”
Inwardly he grimaced at the endearment he didn’t seem capable of not making. Love had nothing to do with this. It was or should have been a mere business transaction, dammit.
“What? Yes, please … whatever. I’m yours, Sir.”
Her halting, panted reply stopped him from pursuing that thought, and he gently thrust his thumb in and out of her pussy, making her groan while he pushed the index finger of his other hand through the tight ring of muscle guarding her ass.
Those muscles flexed around the digit, and when he bent his head to lick across her clit, Nicoletta groaned deep in her throat.
“There, you are, come for me again, my sweet.”
He kept up the gentle licks around and over her clit while he thrust his digits in and out of both her holes. The heavy odor of sex surrounded them. His balls drew tight, and his cock leaked copious amounts of pre-cum, while the wet sounds his fingers made added an auditory stimuli all of their own.
“I can’t … too much … oh God…”
Her words drifted off into incomprehensible moans and sighs, which were music to his ears.
“Oh yes, you can and you will. Come for your Sir, bellissima.”
Where To Buy
About Doris O’Connor
Doris is a writer of sensual, sassy, and sexy tales involving alpha heroes to die for, and heroines who give as good as they get. From contemporary to paranormal, Sci-fi, BDSM, F/F, M/M, and Ménage, haunting love stories are guaranteed.
Happily married for the last twenty-five years, she lives with her husband and their brood of nine in a far too small house filled with love, laughter, and chaos.
Today’s Sunday Shoutout goes to S.J. Maylee and her new entry in her Assassins and Sweethearts series Unexpected Destiny, now available online from purveyors of fine erotic romance. Take it away, S.J.!
Thank you for having me today. I’m thrilled that Unexpected Destiny has released!
These assassins have really gotten a hold on me. I can’t wait till they all have their happily ever after. How did I get here, giving happy endings to assassins?
Initially I was looking to find love for a bad boy. Assassins aren’t usually the hero. They’re the villain. But I wanted to change all that. These four men came to me almost instantly. In no time, I had bits of each of their stories. I knew I had to write it all, the good, the bad, and the ugly on these men who want to save the lives of those who can’t get the help they so desperately need, whose lives are in immediate danger.
Now that I’ve pulled that string, I see a whole mess of stories. Once I tell the stories of these four men, more will come. Great things are in store. I can’t wait to experience it all.
Elizabeth Martin thought she had her happily ever after, until her husband mysteriously disappeared. Aidan Clery is a skilled assassin-for-hire who wants nothing more than to find the love of his life. Fate throws Liz in his path and everything is perfect, except Aidan just won the contract on her life.
The truth surrounding Liz’s estranged husband takes the pair on a dangerous journey. Nothing in their lives will ever be the same. Destiny may be unexpected but it will be up to Aidan and Liz to discover the truth and claim their real happily ever after.
Aidan turned off the faucet and caught the reflection of those gorgeous brown eyes in the mirror.
“Oops. Wrong door,” said his girl as she turned around.
“I can share.” He could handle the surveillance later. This woman deserved his attention.
She stopped and turned around. “Okay then.” She took a step toward him. “You know what? I should have asked for confirmation earlier.” Her gaze was full of mischief.
“You’re right. You should have asked.” He took a hold of her hand and pulled her close. “I sure would like to see that tiny scrap of lace.” And just like that his night got infinitely better.
She stopped her forward movement when their chests were a mere inch apart. A nice rosy blush heated her cheeks. He kept hold of her hand while her other played with the lapel of his dark leather jacket. “I can’t believe I’m doing this.”
“You need to get back to your friends?”
“Yes, but…” She licked her bottom lip. “Maybe I could stay here for a few minutes.”
“At least a few.” He tapped the bottom of her chin. “How about you start by telling me your name?”
“Liz.” Her gaze met his and he wanted time to stop. Something about the lonely look in her eyes called to him to not let her get away. She shifted closer. “Who are you?”
He pushed his finger over her waistband, rubbing her hipbone. “I’m Aidan.” He squeezed the hand he still held. Her soft body relaxed against his.
“I should probably go. I need to get my friends home.”
“I don’t think you should go anywhere.” He brushed his nose against hers.
A delicious moan slipped from her lips. “I don’t want to leave but I need to make sure they get home safely.”
“It’s nice of you to look out for them.” Damn, she smelled good. It was lilacs or roses or something.
“I’d rather stay here with you.” She leaned in and their lips almost met. “My friends are always right. I should have gone out with them months ago.”
“Stay a few more minutes.” He caressed over her hips to her round ass. Hot tension filled his thoughts. Forget a few more minutes, he’d take all night and then some to explore this beautiful woman.
“More.” She scraped her teeth over her bottom lip.
A second later, the door opened. “Lizzy, we got to go. Emily isn’t feeling well.”
She dropped her head to his shoulder and he wrapped his arms around her.
“Oh, I’m so sorry, Lizzy.” The woman held the door open. “You’re right. He is cute. Bring him with you. Emily won’t mind.”
“She’ll be right out,” he said. Once the friend left the bathroom, he brushed her hair behind her shoulders and stroked her back.
“I feel like I’m cursed.”
“You and me both, sweetheart.” He didn’t let her go.
“Well.” She looked up at him from under her long, dark lashes. “It’s not what I had in mind but would you help me with my friends?” The soft tone of her voice had him imagining how she’d purr if he made her come. “I think I might be the only one sober and they can be a bit much to wrangle into a cab. They live north in Edgewater and then we could do something, maybe go back to my place.” She worried her poor bottom lip once more.
“I’d like that.” He squeezed her ass. “Sure. I’ll help, Lizzy.” He tugged on her hair. Then he’d help himself to more of her.
Where To Buy
Praise for the first book in the Assassins and Sweethearts Series
5 stars from Cocktails and Books: “Their love for each other was very fierce, and when they began to have sex, it goes completely off the charts. Their love scenes were intense and oh, so hot! They had feeling of a kind of desperation to them. They’ve found what they were looking for in each other, and they’re clinging to it with everything they had.”
4 Hearts from Sizzling Hot Reads: “It had the hot steamy sex scenes but also the mystery behind the group Ethan belonged too. I look forward to more from the Assassins and Sweethearts series.”
4 stars from Redz World Reviews: “over all this is a great start to what promises to be a good series
Praise for the second book in the Assassins and Sweethearts Series
5 stars from Liz’s Reading Life: Desire Protected is a quick, sensual, heart pounding read that will have you desiring more.
5 stars from a reader, Tracy W: Another well done story from an author I come back to again and again.
5 stars from a reader, Doris O: Suspense, heat, and above all love. Read it, you won’t be disappointed.
About S.J. Maylee
S.J. Maylee fell in love with storytelling at a young age and with it came a deep-seated desire for everyone to find their happily ever after. She’s finding the happy endings for her characters one steamy story at a time.
When she’s not reading or writing, you can find her caring for her garden, laughing with her two young sons, or dancing to her husband’s music. She’s a PMP (Project Management Professional), Nia instructor, and coffee addict.
As a writer she has a tendency to break hearts, but she always glues them back together.
Today’s guest post goes to Alyse Raines and her amazing new NA erotic romance The Fundamental Theory of Us, now available online from Evernight Publishing and other purveyors of fine erotic romance. Here are ten fun facts about Alyse!
- Six is my fav number. I don’t know why, it just is!
- I cried when I met Carrie Ann Ryan. Like, hands shaking, ugly tears, panda eyes crying. And she hugged me. #allthelove
- I have a Fender Strat and a ukulele and can’t play either of them because of a neurological disorder (Chiari I) that makes my hands weak and shaky. Doesn’t stop me from trying, though!
- When I told a fellow author friend I’m bisexual, her response was texting me nude pics of her in the bath. Yeah, I made that WTF?!?! face too.
- Most of my hair fell out (all over my crown and two big patches on the right side of my head) thanks to my condition, so I shaved my weird-shaped head. Sometimes I wear a wig.
- The crown Prince of Norway (Haakon the HAWT) heard me say he was sexy. And he said thanks. And blushed. And I died.
- I think redheads are sexy. Men AND women.
- But I also have a thing for tall, dark, and inked dudes.
- Don’t make me choose between Starbucks coffee and my own iced mint-and-green tea.
- My family is my life, and I am blessed to have them.
Andrew Warren’s future was with the Marines, until an IED took his leg and derailed his career. Now he’s flunking Fundamentals, and he enlists the help of his fellow App State freshman and off-campus neighbor, Sawyer Layne. It’s not just the beautiful blonde’s looks that intrigue him, but the hurt in her eyes.
Sawyer spends her days surrounded by numbers and nights with a bottle of vodka to numb the darkness of her past. Guys like sexy, tattooed Andrew are exactly what Sawyer needs to avoid. Look but don’t touch—that’s the rule. If only his eyes weren’t so blue, and his abs not so chiseled….
When Sawyer resists his brand of charm, Andrew uses every devious tactic he knows to pull her from her shell. Falling in love was never part of the plan.
Sawyer reached her floor and wondered if she should head into town and find an internet café to do some searching and get ahead on some of her schoolwork. Her gaze went to Andrew’s door. Stupid. She shouldn’t get involved. Everything Sawyer touched turned to shit—her entire life served as proof.
She had just put her key in the lock when his door opened, and Rosie bounded into the hall, followed by Andrew. He filled the doorway, his face half-hidden in shadows. His eyes shone, two impossibly blue beacons in the night.
While Rosie licked Sawyer’s fingers, Andrew sucked in a breath and she felt his gaze moving down her body. He never lingered too long, but everywhere he looked, her skin tingled. He looked up at her and she heard him swallow.
“Rosie,” he said, his voice rough and deep. It vibrated through her. The dog gave Sawyer’s hand one last lick and bounded back across the hall, her tail whacking the wall. “Sorry about that.”
“It’s fine.” Sawyer wished he hadn’t seen her in this. “Um, sorry about skipping out like I did. Rachel needed my help.”
Her mouth went dry as Andrew stepped out into the hall, wearing a pair of track pants and nothing else. The man was magnificent. The kind of model sculptors dreamed of carving into marble. Perfectly imperfect with all his scars, tattoos, and muscle. Powerful, but beautiful, too. Oh boy, those abs. If she could move at all, Sawyer would fan herself. Yep, Global Warming was all his fault.
“No worries.” Andrew’s fingers idly moved behind Rosie’s ear. “You left your pizza here, though.”
Sawyer shook her head. “No, it’s yours.”
She thought he’d press the issue, but Andrew only shrugged. “Big night?” He nodded at her outfit.
Sawyer laughed. “Like I said, Rachel asked me to do her a favor.”
One dark brow rose. “And that involved…?” He looked her leather Tinkerbell outfit over once more.
A prickly blush broke out every inch of her bare skin. “Not my idea. I don’t—dress like this. Ever.”
“Well, you look good.” He cleared his throat and glanced at the floor. The muscles in his chest tightened. “I’m just diving into this Fundamentals stuff. Well, drowning, more like it.” He smiled, reaching one arm behind him to scratch his neck.
Go inside. Lock the door. Hide. Sawyer squeezed her eyes tight, filled and emptied her lungs. When she opened her eyes, she saw Andrew watching her, a curious yet guarded shadow in his gaze.
“Do you need some help?”
He let his arm fall back to his side. The muscles flexed and relaxed, making his tattoos dance. “Only if you’re not busy.”
They had an agreement—and Sawyer always kept her word, when she could. “Give me a couple minutes?” She motioned to the leather, and regretted it when Andrew’s eyes darkened.
“Sure. I’ll be here.” He jerked his head toward his apartment.
Sawyer nodded, turned on her heels, opened her door, and slipped inside. For a few seconds, she leaned on the back of the door, giving her pulse a chance to calm down. The wood felt cool against her legs. She stripped out of the jacket, pulled the zipper on the dress, and let it pool around her feet, then stood in her bra and panties and heels, absorbing the chill. Five minutes with Andrew and her core temperature went way past critical.
After a minute, she straightened and gathered the expensive leather, and carried it to her closet, which was mostly empty. Everything she wore could be folded. What was the point of buying nice things when she didn’t want to be noticed? No one paid attention to the girl in oversized thrift-store clothes. No one except Andrew. And now he’d seen her like this. Sawyer caught her reflection in the closet door mirror. Through her white cotton bra, she saw the four long pink marks on her chest.
Sawyer turned away from the mirror. She hung the dress and jacket up, removed her heels and placed them on the closet floor. In her dresser, she pulled out a baggy sweater and a pair of jeans. She removed the makeup Rachel had painstakingly applied and she ran a brush through her hair, remembering that Andrew’s place didn’t have too much light. Besides, they’d be in school mode. Unlike most people she knew, studying to Sawyer was serious business, not an excuse to … do what other people seemed to do.
She left her apartment and knocked on Andrew’s door, keeping her gaze glued to the floor. She didn’t want to see the disappointment in his eyes when he saw her this time—now that he knew what she could look like when she made an effort. Because no amount of hell was worth taking that risk.
Where To Buy
About Alyse Raines
Alyse Raines was born in Canada, and now lives in Los Angeles. She writes romance, and her obsessions include books, tea, sandals, turquoise jewelry, nail polish, and online shopping. Her debut NA contemporary romance The Fundamental Theory of Us is out now from Evernight.