When tough-as-they-come Joe Cariello appears on her doorstep claiming he used to know her grandfather, Cassie Sorrento is skeptical. To begin with, her grandfather was twice, if not three times, Joe’s age. Second, Joe appears to be a drifter, going where the wind blows him, and third, he’s too damn ruggedly good looking for her peace of mind.
Joe thinks he’s hit pay dirt when he first sees Cassie standing in the doorway of his old friend’s cabin. He has no idea his friend has been murdered and he’ll be viewed as the most likely suspect. He’s a drifter, not a killer. Now he’s determined to find out what happened to his old friend, and if it means he has to work alongside Cassie, he’ll welcome it. Now he’s wondering, are his drifting days over, and more importantly, can he convince Cassie that they are? Joe realizes he’ll give up drifting in a lickety-split if he can have Cassie just for one night.
“Don’t you think it’s time that you and I had a little chat?” he said, the huskiness of his voice making it sound more gravelly than normal.
“What’re you doing? Give me my hat,” was all she said as she looked up into the intense obsidian eyes that were staring into her face.
Time seemed to stand still as Joe focused on Cas’ eyes. Enormous, tilted like a cat’s, light steel gray with dark orbs, unusual and mesmerizing. He felt their impact like a kick in the gut. He had envisioned her eyes all different colors, but never once had he imagined the light steel gray that was currently looking up at him. He had to admit; they suited her. They were the most beautiful eyes he’d ever seen. They almost seemed to glow; it put him in mind of quicksilver. That was how bright and silvery gray they were. Joe felt as if he were drowning in her inquiring gaze. Abruptly his mouth covered hers. He could tell he had taken her by surprise because her lips were apart, and he took the opportunity to sweep in and taste her. God! The taste of her! It was as he’d imagined and more. He shuddered heavily and thrust his tongue deep into her mouth again and again. He wanted to devour her.
She is an eternal optimist and an insatiable reader/writer, especially of high heat romance. She writes in several genres; however, her favorite is contemporary romance. She loves reading historical romances, but doesn’t know if she’d write one. (Take that back, she’s since written two and this is her third one). She earned her last degree from NEU in Boston. She loves writing children’s books, for fun and relaxation. She finds it’s easy to slip back into her childhood, where she takes the time to play.
Young, but not so innocent, maybe she can teach an old professor some new tricks.
I’ve always looked out for her, but she didn’t know it.
She came back into my life and made me want what I shouldn’t have.
Once she learns the truth, it will show her so much, but will she forgive me.
When everyone else in my life let me down, he made sense to me.
I returned with a plan in mind, but one night with him and plans changed.
The professor can teach me because I’m ready to learn.
Davis and Julia can’t deny their attraction despite the secrets of their past. Will it bring them closer together or reveal how forbidden their love is and tear them further apart?
Educate Him is an unconventional second chance romance with BDSM elements by Sydney Aaliyah Michelle. If you enjoy a sassy, confident young woman, a smooth talking sexy professor, and a connection that reminds you why you love romance, you’ll love Sydney Aaliyah Michelle’s latest stand-alone HEA romance.
Pick up Educate Him and learn about Davis and Julia’s scorching romance today!
Her second made my dick hard, which made me feel like a dirty old man.
It wasn’t the message itself; it was the confidence she had to send it in the first place. The fiery personality at thirteen was cute and endearing. At nineteen, it was fucking sexy as hell.
Hold it together, Professor.
I thought about Julia over the years because the last time I saw her, it broke my fucking heart to pieces and pissed me off.
I felt guilty because I knew what a prick my best friend had been to his family. I saw it daily and never had the balls to call him on it. He led and I followed him into some seedy dark places. Places his family had no clue about, places that broke up my own marriage six years ago. I was betrayed in the worst way and had no desire to have a woman on my arm.
I required one in my bed on occasion.
But never a student.
“What are you doing here, Jules?”
“I wanted to see you. We haven’t talking in a few days, and I just wanted to check in.” I laid my hands flat against the books; they offered comfort.
“You should have called.” He stared off toward his desk.
“Are you excepting company?”
“No. It’s been a long week; I’m tired and I have a headache.”
I stepped toward him, stood a few inches away, but he didn’t drop his hands.
“You should let me rub your temples.” I reached up, and he grabbed my hand and stepped away.
“You don’t even want me to touch you?” I asked over the grapefruit size lump in my throat.
“Jules, please just go.”
“No. Why?” I asked. “I just want to be near you. Why is that so bad?”
“It’s not bad, but I just can’t.”
“Why? What is it?”
“You wouldn’t understand.”
“Then make me understand.”
His eyes flashed, and he stepped toward me. I welcomed the warmth. His demeanor softened for a split second. I saw it. I felt it, but then it was gone, and he slumped back on the bookshelves with his chin to his chest.
“I can’t,” he said.
The words crushed me yet his tone scared me. I stood in front of him. He shuddered but didn’t look at me. I bent down, so I could see his eyes.
“Why?” I asked. “What are you afraid of?”
He lifted his head. He reached up and ran the back of his hand down my tear-soaked face.
“I’m afraid if I tell you, if I show you what I am and what I’m truly like, then you’ll stop looking at me like that.” His hand dropped to his side. “I’d really miss that.”
“How do I look at you?” I asked. I knew the answer but wanted to hear how he saw it.
“Like I’m a king. You have the ultimate faith in me. I don’t deserve it.” His head dropped again.
“Then earn it,” I said, my tone stronger than I felt on the inside. Inside, I felt like I might crumble any minutes if he didn’t touch me.
“Oh, Julia … How?” He raised his head.
I spotted a glimmer of hope in his eyes.
“Keep it simple. What do you need me to do?”
His eyes grew dark as he approached me. I backed up into the bookshelf, and he placed his hands on either side of my head.
“Do as I say?”
I nodded. My heart raced, and I was sure he could hear it thumping like crazy. He placed his hand over my heart, and I drew in a sharp breath. His fingers tapped against my sternum.
“Look at me.”
I turned my head up and stared into his eyes. His hands rose and surround my throat. He didn’t squeeze, but panic set in.
“I’m not going to hurt you, Jules.” He pressed a little tighter. “I need you to trust me.”
“Do you trust me?”
“I trust—” Before I finished the sentence, his lips were on mine.
Sydney Aaliyah Michelle is a Contemporary Romance writer, a voracious reader, tattoo lover, and movie fanatic who hails from Texas.
After surviving 5 1/2 years living in China, she had the courage to finally pursue her passion and become a writer.
She identifies the sci-fi action flick “The Matrix” as the best representation of her life in the past. She is now blessed to be awake and doing what she loves.
She can recite the entire script from the 80’s teen comedy/drama “The Breakfast Club” and loves any and everything associated with the Avengers Movie, especially Tony Stark.
When it come to books, Sydney reads different genres, but some of her favorite writers are Stephen King, Alex J. Cavanaugh, J.A Huss, M. Never & Emily Bronte. Under the Dome, The Great Gatsby & Wuthering Heights are her favorite books.
The Alpha is the leader of the pack, a revered position, one that can’t be inherited, only earned. For ten years my father groomed me to take over in the event something happened to him. I guess I never expected it to happen so soon. I thought I’d have more time. I thought I’d at least graduate from college first. Instead, life threw the Phoenix Pack a curveball. My father was murdered, and my mother died with him. Suddenly, I’m responsible for my twin sisters, and everyone else. I’m forced to make some tough decisions. And if everyone in the pack has their way, one of those decisions will involve finding my mate. They should’ve given me an easier task, like brokering world peace or curing cancer. After all, what male would ever volunteer for this, having a mate who’s also his Alpha, leaving his pack to join hers, and giving up everything he has ever known?
Savannah Silver has met her mate. Her wolf has chosen, but the Alpha who can silence others with a look and command her pack with a word has been refused. While she waits for him to come to his senses, Savvy works to find her parents’ killers, rebuild the homestead and ensure Shelby’s future. Quinn Holderman has met his match. Being part wolf and part husky has always been a disadvantage. Becoming a rogue was his only hope for happiness. Then Quinn met Savvy. In his mind, his reasons for denying her made perfect sense. In reality, he has suffered every second they are apart. He needed more time. She needed her mate. Together, they’re cursing the moon.
Sometimes love isn’t enough. Sometimes love can’t conquer all. Sometimes healing a heart takes time.
Quinn doesn’t have time. Instead, what he has is a looming deadline. The mating must take place by the full moon or not at all. He thought he had made up his mind. He thought he could live with his decision. Then Savvy disappeared.
Savvy is an all or nothing kind of girl. She needs a strong mate, a decisive mate, a loving and supportive mate. Unfortunately, Quinn refused to be that mate. Losing him was breaking her heart. Staying busy was her only coping mechanism. Ignoring her needs and focusing on the pack helped her find everything she ever needed.
Sometimes the threat of losing everything can change minds and hearts. Sometimes the promise of a better future and a determined mate can heal a heart in record time.
How else was she going to parlay her two favorite past times into a career?
Emma is single and loving it. Like her first character, Alysin, Sin for short, she doesn’t believe in settling or in settling down. She loves to indulge in her passions whenever the mood strikes and enjoys keeping all of life’s cliche moments spicy.
Known for her sense of humor, Emma surrounds herself with friends whose antics often become the source of book fodder. Her ideal situation would be to explore the Caribbean while writing. She pursues that dream daily.
When two hearts bleed, Heaven doesn’t stand a chance.
Is it possible for a heart to break twice?
Lacy had known from finding out what Michael was that there would be complications, but she never expected they’d be torn apart in such a cruel way. Unable to stop herself feeling the things she did, she knew she would pay for falling in love with an angel, but this. . . If it hurt this much, then how could she go on without him?
He’d feared this would happen.
It was always only a question of when.
Michael’s nightmares had come true and he hadn’t even had chance to say goodbye. His heart ached like he never thought possible, but he was powerless to change what had happened. Now he was trapped in the heavens awaiting a trial that he already knew the outcome of. Through her journal he’d lived his mother’s pain after his father had been taken from her. He couldn’t allow that to happen to Lacy.
He had to get out.
He would get out.
Of all that had happened to him this would be his toughest fight yet, but it would end in one of two ways: Either Michael would convince the Thrones to let him live with the woman he had lost his heart and soul to, or he would die by her side.
Either way, he wasn’t prepared to exist without her.
— It is highly recommended that this series is read in order.
*This book contains some Adult situations and is recommended for age 17+*
L.J. Sealey was born and raised in a little Welsh town by the sea. It rains a lot, so she often has a great excuse to sit at her writing desk and while away the hours at her laptop.
She still lives in N.Wales and when she’s not travelling around the country working with her husband – who is a professional singer – or singing backup vocals herself, she likes to drive around the beautiful Welsh countryside. Some think it’s because she enjoys the scenery; others suspect she’s hunting dragons. L.J also likes to read and watch her favourite TV shows which normally includes plenty of CSI, The Vampire Diaries and endless amounts of sitcoms. Being addicted to reading about vampires, demons, shifters and angels, she has always had a thing for all things paranormal, and is a big sucker for impossible love stories. So it was inevitable that when she started writing herself she would mix the two together.
Prepare to sink your teeth into 23 Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy stories featuring vampires, shifters, witches, demons, chimeras, and more from today’s NEW YORK TIMES, USA TODAY, and internationally best-selling and award-winning authors!
With over one million words of fiction and over 100 hours of prime reading material, this exciting collection will treat you to brand new worlds and inventive re-imaginings of our beloved monsters-in-the-dark. You won’t want to miss out on these stories with bite. We’re certain you’re gonna love it…to death!
From the moment I met Grayson Cole, I knew he was someone I wanted to let in my panties and maybe, even in my heart. One night, one sexy-as-sin kiss, and several drinks later, our incredible evening turns into a disaster and I’m apologizing for the vomit spatter on his fancy, black shoes. I never thought I’d see him again after that, no matter how many nights I spent wishing I would. Until a month later, he waltzes into my office as—MY NEW, HOT BOSS. I’m so screwed.
She was meant to be a fun f*ck. That’s all I wanted. That’s all I needed. But Emma Williams could never be just that for me. The quirky, brunette vixen challenges me at every opportunity. My desire to have her has me working for her affections, like I’ve never done before. What is this woman doing to me? Not only am I her Boss, but I don’t do feelings. There’s only one way I see this ending. I’m f*cked for sure.
Betty Shreffler is a bestselling author of paranormal romantic suspense and contemporary romance. She writes sexy and suspenseful stories with hot alphas and kickass heroines with twists you don’t expect. She also writes beautiful and sexy romances with tough women and their journeys at finding love. Betty is a mix of country, nerdy, sassy, sweet and a whole lot of sense of humor. She’s a fan of photography, reading, watching movies, hiking, traveling, drinking wine, and all things romantic. She lives with her amazing hubs and five fur babies; two rescue pups and three cats. If she’s not writing or doing book events, then you can find her behind the lens of a camera, in the woods, or sipping wine behind a deliciously steamy book.
He’s the key to stopping the murders, but only if she can save him.
A terrifying darkness has risen and is sweeping Kutia Hollow, leaving dead bodies in its wake. Luna Vale, a fae militia lieutenant in post-apocalyptic Moscow, discovers evidence that a criminal holds the answer to stopping the murders. Except those in charge at the precinct are corrupt. She’s determined to protect everyone from extinction and breaks Axel out of prison.
Devastated to be on the run from her former friends and colleagues, she must now work together with Axel before the killers close in on them. But time is running out, and falling for Axel only heightens the dangers. To survive, Luna must find strength in her arcane powers and confront the cursed creatures whose malevolence knows no bounds. Failure isn’t an option. Not when it means losing her family, her job, and her life.
Fans of Ilona Andrews and Kelly Meding will devour this thrilling, fast-paced, conflict-ridden urban fantasy from T.F. Walsh.
I bolted for my life, handcuffed to a guy built like a mountain. Sure, he might be eye candy, but he’d throw me over a cliff if he got the chance. I mean, everyone in Kutia Hollow had secrets but most of them didn’t get people killed. I suspected Mountain Man’s could. Maybe cuffing myself to him wasn’t such a great idea.
Heaviness sank within me. Why were the attackers at the campsite so determined to murder the man next to me? Especially since it was considered a double homicide.
The last time my deception radar went off with such ferocity, I found a fae chained in a basement in the town of Podolsk. Turned out, a gang was selling fae blood to the highest bidders. Ingesting it in high doses worked as a drug—uppers that made the users float through euphoria, confidence, and energy. But after a binge, the hangover struck, and dependency owned them. Another reason faes kept within the confines of the Moscow wall.
Up ahead, the city shone. I hit the dusty ground with each step, but behind us the drumming footfalls grew closer.
I tried to pick up speed, but Mountain Man lagged.
When a siren wailed through the night, I focused on the blue and red light throbbing in the distance. The cavalry! About freaking time. Two patrol cars steered toward us through the dark flatlands. A sense of satisfaction brought a glimmer of optimism to me as I pictured them catching the attacking faes.
The guy on my cuffs pulled against his restraints.
I stood at the front of Peace Protection Division headquarters. A red building, flanked by jagged towers and white cornices, it reminded me of a crown dripping with blood. I turned to Axel, still handcuffed to me. His hooded gaze darkened. Whenever the police chief discovered we had a wanted criminal at the precinct, he would insist on injecting a detector into his neck. That would alert us the moment he left the city. He’d be forced to spend years within the walls, checking in with a PPD officer several times a week. Except, I’d promised Axel his freedom for information, and that meant he wouldn’t get tagged. Problem was my boss changed regulations as often as it snowed during summer in Moscow. Never!
“Axel, let’s make this quick. Answer all our questions, and don’t play hard to get.”
He cocked an eyebrow and half smirked. His gaze dipped to the name badge on my chest. “Listen, Luna Vale. I’ve already played your game, and you’ve given me nothing back. I don’t trust you or the PPD to keep your word.”
“I’ll convince my boss to overlook your records,” I continued, certain that if I explained we had a clue as to who was killing everyone, he’d have to pay attention.
Axel said nothing more, his stoic expression locked in place. Spotlights cast shadows beneath his eyes. If we were standing outside a local club instead of PPD headquarters, I’d consider letting him buy me a drink. His stubbled, square jawline added to the allure, along with his strong cheekbones. Axel’s rugged appearance spiked my pulse. Coupled with his dark hair blowing in the breeze, I could stare for hours. And for those few seconds, I lost myself.
“Don’t do me any favors.” Loathing coated his words, slicing through my fantasy and reminding me what had happened the last time I went there. The shit with my ex still tightened my gut. No one ought to walk in on their partner fucking his work colleague. We’d been together a full year. Prick. Whatever. My focus was now on protecting the community and stopping the killings.
“Well, either cooperate, or you’ll end up with a tracking device. Your choice.”
USA Today Bestselling Author, T.F. Walsh emigrated from Romania to Australia at the age of eight and now lives in a regional city south of Sydney with her husband. Growing up hearing dark fairytales, she’s always had a passion for reading and writing horror, paranormal romance, urban fantasy and young adult stories. She balances all the dark with light fluffy stuff like baking and traveling.
Lareina Elliot discovered her idea for making students loyal to the government is being implemented to further the war. It has become her life’s work to undermine that effort.
Agent Christian Deverell promised to protect Lareina, always. But that was before he flipped sides, before their history got dirty, before he commissioned her adopted brother to assassinate her.
Cpl. Silas McKade never misses. He has a death warrant for Lareina—the woman who means everything to him— and a soul full of hatred for Christian—- the man he wants to be. He’s either going to break Lareina’s heart or stop it altogether.
There was no mistaking the resolution in her tone. “If you want to shoot me, you’ll have to do it in the back.”
He leveled her a mean look.
“Mr. Deverell, sir.” An officer came into view. Two others followed him escorting Jericho Parks.
“That’s her!” Jericho pointed. “That’s her! She did it. She’s responsible. I want to press full charges! She was behind it all!”
His outburst made up Christian’s mind. He raised his weapon and unloaded three caps. Like dominoes, the DoP’s went down one after the other. Jericho screamed. He fell to his knees and covered his head. Christian studied Lareina. “Three days.”
He watched her eyes dart to the left in that telltale manner.
“I need at least a week.” Urgency caused her voice to rise.
“You’re only getting three days.” He was in no mood to bend. Three soldiers lay dead. He had compromised enough.
“Fine. I’ve got to go.”
One hand extended, gun still pointed toward Jericho, in the event he attempted to run, with his other, Christian grabbed Lareina’s arm, pulling her to him. He put every ounce of his frustration into his kiss. It was either that or break her neck. And he was strongly contemplating the latter.
Lareina allowed it. She wanted, craved his touch as much as he craved hers. Theirs was a dance with the devil; irresistible and impossible. The tangles had become knots and he only gave her three days. It wasn’t enough. She could hardly wait.
The kiss ended, but the intensity remained. He sighed, letting the heat recede.
She whispered, “I have a pretty long to-do list, Christian. Unfortunately, you’re not on it.”
He licked the corner of her mouth, matching her tone. “I am the list.”
She pressed her cheek against his lips. “Well, you’re not getting done tonight.”
“I don’t want you in jeopardy. Is that so hard for you to understand?”
“We’re in a war. I’m a criminal. Is that so hard for you to understand? We’re fresh out of those bubbles you like to put me in.”
“You don’t have to help them hurt you, Lareina. You don’t.”
“No. I can get to them first.”
“That’s what I’m for.”
There was nothing to say to that. They were silent.
Silas knocked once and let himself in. If he cared what they thought of his intrusion, it didn’t show. “I’m here to interrupt your little powwow.” He directed his conversation to Christian. “I know you’re a big man, all scary and shit. But that don’t mean a damned thing around here.” He slapped two pills down on Lareina’s nightstand. “Your antidote. You better take it within the hour.” He ignored her raised eyebrows, keeping his focus on Christian. “You’ll need one of those every night for at least a week. Here are your choices…You can be a part of the solution, or you can wake up and start chasing us again. But I have to say you really are shit at it. You ain’t that hard to elude. So give it a good think.” He turned to leave.
“Silas!” Lareina wanted to laugh. She sooo wanted to laugh. She put a restraining hand on Christian. “You drugged us?”
Silas glanced back, unrepentive. “My way is effective, decisive and keeps you out of the mix. You can’t think straight with him around, anyway. Maybe you need to be asleep.”
“Boy, I’m going to beat the snot out of you.” Her uncontrolled grin nixed the threat.
“When I’m in the market for a mosquito bite, I’ll let you know.” He let himself out.
Silas was Silas. Lareina knew that when she collected him. She created him. Damn, he was good.
Christian was another matter altogether. He hadn’t said a word. That was never a good thing. “Christian?”
It took a minute before he responded. When he did, it was devoid of emotion. He snapped his eyes at her, deeply sincere with his intent. “You might want to start getting unattached and resign yourself to knowing I’m going to kill him. I’m informing you now, so when it happens you will be able to recall I warned you.”
Lareina felt a chill.
Yukiyo surveyed the room. “Why would you get a room with one only bed?”
“Would you prefer to lose your virginity in the car?”
She failed at not smiling. “You’re an asshole. I’m not sleeping with you. And, for your information, I’m not a virgin.”
“The hell you ain’t.” He moved faster than she expected. Tackling her, he forced her to the bed and covered her body with his, using just enough of his weight to keep her pinned. “You’re smart, you’re sexy, you’re dangerous, and you impress the hell out of me.” He reached his hand between them to unbutton her pants.
“Get off.” She resisted by squirming once. “That’s not what you think.”
“You’re the liar in this relationship, not me.” He undid her zipper and slid his hand inside. “You chose me. You defended me. Don’t you think I owe you for that?” He slow stroked her, loving that even as her body went soft and she moved against his hand, she kept her eyes open, fixed on his.
Novelist, Reviewer, Content Editor, Blogger, T-shirt Wearer, and Professional Snacker; Tracy A. Ball is a native Baltimorean and a veteran West Virginian whose family is blended from three cultures. She has opened her home to foster children, drug addicts, AIDS victims and anyone who needed an assist. She has an equal number of conservative and liberal friends. She knows people who have committed murder and people who have dined with the Pope.
Which is why she writes sweet stories about tough love.
Fans of Lost in Scotland will love revisiting the heather-covered highlands as Sam and Hugh try to make their happily-ever-after a reality in this follow-up novel!
TYING THE KNOT!
Ladies, Hugh MacLeod is off the market! We caught up with the sexy hunk from Abarath and his fiancée, makeup artist Sam Farouk at an event in Edinburgh. The pair met last year while working together on season one. The Scottish actor looked handsome in a tailored dark grey suit, while the raven-haired beauty at his side turned heads in a golden lamé gown which channeled the iconic Marilyn Monroe dress of the same color. Ms. Farouk played coy when asked about the engagement, only revealing that the ring belonged to Hugh’s grandmother. With a dreamy look to her groom-to-be, Ms. Farouk confessed his proposal was “fairytale worthy.” MacLeod charmingly deflected each one of our questions about season two of Abarath, saying he would get in trouble if he told us anything. When we asked if a date had been set yet, the engaged couple looked at each other for a brief second. Soon, they replied in unison in a way that turned us into mush. Ms. Farouk added that it will all depend on Hugh’s schedule and his commitment with the show. We wish the very best to the groom and the bride-to-be and we hope to bring you more news about their upcoming nuptials!
“The World’s End,” she mumbled. “Why does it sound so familiar?”
“Probably because it’s one of Edinburgh’s oldest establishments. You might have heard someone else talk about it.”
“I don’t think so, I don’t recall any conversation…” She trailed off. I glanced her way as her frown turned into sudden realization. “Of course! How could I be so stupid?”
“What?” I asked.
“The World’s End!”
“What about it?”
“It’s where Jamie and Claire go after their reunion in Voyager!” I gave her a look of confusion and she sighed, exasperated. “Hugh, remember Jamie Fraser from Outlander? Best book boyfriend, fictional husband, no-one-can-hold-a-candle-to-him, all-around badass hero?”
I raised my eyebrows in response, only a wee bit offended Sam didn’t care for Abarath quite the same way.
“Don’t give me that. We talked about this—Abarath is no Jamie Fraser. Different ballpark, MacLeod. Claire and Jamie’s love story withstands time and space!” she tried to reason. “Maybe I will change my mind about him if he stops being such a damn flirt!” She wasn’t wrong there; unlike Jamie Fraser, Abarath had no qualms about not being monogamous.
“Fine. You’re right. Can we go now, lass? I’m ready for a pint.”
“Of course. Let’s go,” she said, taking my hand and leading the way. We walked for a few minutes, fingers laced together, and then she stopped in her tracks again.
“Um, Hugh…you should take the lead.”
“Why is that?”
“Because I have no bloody idea where The World’s End is.”
I pursed my lips together, noticing how cute she sounded when she said bloody.
“Dinna fash yourself. I ken my away around here, neach-gaoil.”
“Why is it called The World’s End, anyway?”
“Because, once upon a time, that was where the city of Edinburgh ended. The walls of the city were just a few steps away, the world’s end, ye ken. Everything outside those walls was foreign and dangerous—a bit like you, in a way,” I told her with a smug smile.
“Har har,” she replied, laughing and igniting a warm ache in the middle of my chest.
“You know what, though, Sam?”
“I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
“I just want you to know you are perfect to me, just the way you are. How dare Winston say you look fat?”
He gave me a shy smile followed by a nod.
“Well, he said I got soft in the middle.”
“Soft?” I asked in a horrified tone.
“That’s what he said.”
“I don’t like Winston Styles very much anymore. How could he? How could he tell you you’re going soft?”
“It’s not that big of a deal, Sam. I just have to do it. I don’t have much of a choice, after all.”
“No one can tell the difference, Hugh, believe me. I touch you all the time. You are anything but soft.”
“I did gain weight, Sam. Don’t say I didn’t. Look.” He took off his thermal Henley and stared at me with arms open to show me I was wrong. Well, maybe he was just slightly, slightly less taut around his waist, but I would call it slight bloating, not weight gain.
“This is insanity,” I muttered. “And if you’re soft, what does that make me?”
Granted, I wasn’t the one who often had to be shirtless in front of a camera. Still, I instinctively looked down at my belly and tightened the muscles of my abdomen, trying to make my little pouch disappear, and Hugh noticed.
“Don’t. Don’t do that, Sam. You’re beautiful. I love this spot right here,” he said, brushing the skin right below my belly button, “this slight curve here…that leads to the sweetest valley.” His accent was maddeningly sexy when he spoke in a low, gruff voice.
I loved the way he said valley. It drove me insane, just like his touch.
His fingers across my belly sent a shiver traveling across my skin, and a sweet ache bloomed between my thighs.
“And I love this,” he said, tracing the curve of my hip, going up to the hollow of my waist, tracing a finger around the curve of my breast.
I sighed and looked up to him. His eyes were the bluest of blue when he stared at me intently, with arousal, but then something flashed across them, as if he’d forgotten something, and the maddening intensity disappeared.
“Winston just wants to make sure I get back on track and keep up with the regimen I was following. He said it might be difficult with my fiancée spoiling me at home. I’ll have to be strong and resist your culinary talent, lass.”
I shook my head as I kept surveying the area. Soft. What an absurd notion.
“You’re so bad,” he whispered.
“Shush, you love it,” I replied as I locked the stall door behind us.
“I do.” His accent was deeper whenever he said that, and I couldn’t help but fantasize about the day he was going to say that in response to taking me as his wife.
For the time being, he was taking me elsewhere.
“Bad girl,” he whispered in my ear, his erection pressing against my back. I turned around and he was grinning, his eyes wild with desire. He pinned me against the wall, one of his hands grabbing a fistful of my hair.
His mouth captured mine and his tongue traced the shape of my lips before wrapping around my tongue in a fluid tempo. He broke the kiss too soon and my back arched, my hips looking for more friction. One of his hands slid under my shirt, pulling my bra down, teasing my heavy breast and my hard nipple.
“What if someone finds us here?”
“Unlikely,” I replied in a whisper as his mouth placed slow, deep, searing kisses on my neck.
“Why do you say that?”
“Because…I just sent several trays of food to the tables. No one is coming in here unless their bladder is ready to burst.”
“So clever,” he teased. “But what if they do? What if someone comes in here?”
“Well, in that case…I bet you can be very still…and very quiet, too. Can’t you?”
He hummed, but his eyebrows were pressed together.
“What is it? Don’t tell me you’ve never had bathroom sex before.”
A grin flashed across his face and he shrugged. “What if I haven’t?”
Hilaria Alexander was born and raised in the south of Italy, where her family still lives. She was bit by the travel bug early on and lived in Tokyo and Orlando for a while before settling down in Oklahoma City with her husband and kids.
She loves books—obviously—as well as movies and TV, and is addicted to award shows. She can’t play an instrument to save her life, but she loves music, which is one of her biggest inspirations when plotting new stories. If you have questions about her or her books, ask her on Facebook and Twitter, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. For excerpts, news and giveaways, join her readers group.
The wild ride continues in this highly addictive series.
Mandi Gault never met a man brave enough to openly date a mortician, so when a good-looking man with twelve-pack abs invites her to dinner, she’s not asking any questions. Too bad he’s trying to kill her.
Danny Gault died in a conspiracy threatening Team Fear–his defunct military team–so when Gault’s sister winds up in the hospital, former teammate Stills is forced to leave the safety of the team’s compound. He recognizes her attacker as a member of a rogue military unit with orders to eliminate Team Fear. Now they’re on the run while they unravel why Team Echo wants her dead.
As the danger escalates, they share a wild night of down and dirty fun that would put a blush on a corpse, but Stills made it clear it was one and done. Now he must decide if he’s brave enough to forget about vengeance and live.
Military trained, medically enhanced, designed to kill. The surviving members of Team Fear are out of the military and in a world of secrets, lies, and cover-ups in this fast-paced romantic suspense series by Cindy Skaggs.
From the first date to her last, she’d always chosen the wrong man. The charming doctor with the perfect smile did nothing for her. Not even the good-looking deputy. This man, however? Butterflies on steroids. Attraction to the deadly soldier was foolhardy. Stupid, even. He was a stone-cold killing machine, and the cracked lip that was starting to scab gave him that devil-may-care appearance that lit her hormones on fire.
For twenty-four hours he’d lost himself in the glow of her beautiful soul. He’d die remembering that day. One day when he’d almost had the American dream. He meant the kiss to be light, but the moment their lips collided, his plans went to hell. She sparked something in him and he went deep, not letting up until they were breathless and she was leaning on him for support.
They met in the middle. He lowered until his breath brushed her lips. She levered up and tilted to the right. One tiny move until their lips would touch. Day-old scruff teased the nerves in her right cheek. The arms he wrapped around her flexed like a bodybuilder’s. So damn sexy. The pulse in her neck ticked faster as delicious anticipation warmed her belly.
He groaned even as he trailed his lips along her soft skin. “You’re a sister. There are rules against this kind of thing.”
“My brother’s not here to object.”
“Then I have to object on his behalf.”
“Do you really think he’d rather I ended up with someone like that deputy than one of his teammates?”
“In a heartbeat, sugar.”
His lips captured hers. Toyed with her, kissing along the edges until breath panted from her lungs, yet he maintained iron control. Slow, the pace killing her and freeing her to simply experience. Nips at her bottom lip tugged an invisible string to her core. Dips and feints as he teased, giving her a taste here, a brush there, the barest whisper of his lips on hers before he slipped away to attack from another angle. The man kissed like he had a lifetime. Or maybe that he wanted one.
Cindy Skaggs grew up on stories of mob bosses, horse thieves, cold-blooded killers, and the last honest man. Those mostly true stories gave her a lifelong love of storytelling and heroes. Her search for story took her around the world with the Air Force before returning to Colorado where she’s turning her lifelong love of storytelling into fast-paced romantic suspense. She has an MFA in Creative Writing, three jobs, two kids, and more pets than she can possibly handle. She also plays the flute, makes crazy-good sculptures out of tortilla dough, and can wrangle the neurotic dog without getting mauled. Find her on Facebook as Cindy Skaggs, Writer, @CLSkaggs on Twitter, orwww.CSkaggs.com to sign up for her newsletter.