Princess Scarlett Marion is broken. Drugs, sex, alcohol—she uses everything possible to numb the pain from her past, but it never seems to help. When Lord Carrick Trudeau pays her dowry, she finds herself in a position she never thought possible. He’s older, darker and seems to know exactly what to do to make her feel amazing, not like the broken little girl she actually is.
Things change quickly when she finds out Carrick isn’t just one of many in line for the throne, he’s going to be the next king. And soon. That means she’s going to be the next queen. When push comes to shove, how is Scarlett supposed to overcome her past and become the leader she’s supposed to be?
The rush of the high hit me quickly, making my blood sing in my veins. My body shook, not just from the drugs, but from the pounding bass and strobe lights filling the club around my group of friends. Juliet swayed to the music freely next to me, urging me to want to follow her lead. Hands brushed over my body, making my skin prickle from her touch. I couldn’t tell if I wanted it to stop, or if I wanted more. My guard stood by the doors, leaving me to self-destruct all by myself. This was how I wanted it and none of them would dare interrupt my fun.
The press had been aching to follow me into the club since I passed through the doors earlier this evening. Eventually, someone would make it through all the security, and inevitably there would be yet another story of my depraved behavior, which would sell papers. Of course there would be; I didn’t want to disappoint my fans. I giggled at the thought. My father hated me because of the messes I made, my mother didn’t know what to do with me, and my sister was disappointed in my horrible choices. It was just a normal day in my world.
A strong arm wrapped around my waist, pulling me back against a hard chest. At first I didn’t resist the feeling of this stranger against me. Random sex with someone in the bathroom sounded entertaining. Juliet would probably want to watch. The arm tightened against my ribs.
My eyes shot open, but none of my friends were there. They had all abandoned me, but who knew how long ago that had been.
“Let go of me!” I protested. “If you knew who I was, you wouldn’t be manhandling me without asking first, you asshole.”
The chuckle that followed surprised me. “I’ll do whatever I damn well please, little girl. And I know exactly who you are, Princess Scarlett.”
That dark, smoky voice sounded familiar. I looked over my shoulder and dark obsidian eyes met my ice blue ones, pinning me in place. Bright lights from the club flashed over our bodies as I studied him. I shivered again, but this time Lord Carrick was the cause of it; certainly not any illegal substances I may or may not have taken.
I smirked. “What are you doing here, Lord Carrick? I didn’t think this was your scene anymore.”
His jaw tightened. “It’s not, and it won’t be yours either.”
I turned to face him, placing my hands on my hips, and narrowed my eyes. “You don’t get to decide that, now do you?”
He leaned in and ran his nose over the shell of my ear as he spoke, making a shiver run up my spine. “Oh Princess, you have no idea what I get to decide now.” This encounter was getting odder by the second. Surely he didn’t mean that the way it sounded. “It’s time to go, and I would prefer you don’t make a scene.”
His voice was calm, but I heard the warning in it loud and clear.
“If you want me to sleep with you, all you have to do is ask. It doesn’t matter to me that you’re almost twice my age. You’re still incredibly sexy,” I said, running my hands up his chest. “I like silver foxes, and you definitely qualify as a silver fox.”
He gave me a wry smile. “Believe me, I’ll fuck you blind soon, but it won’t be in this club. Or any club, for that matter.” I gasped as he reached down and grabbed my ass, pinning me up against him. “Now let’s go, Scarlett. We have a long drive ahead of us and I want to get there before morning.”
I swallowed hard and attempted to glare up at him. “What the hell are you talking about? I’m not going anywhere with you.”
The knowing look on his face made my heart race. He started dragging me behind him without answering my question, completely ignoring me. My guard wasn’t coming to my rescue either. Were they really going to let this man kidnap me? What in the hell was going on? I took a step back and stumbled as I tried to yank out of his hold. His grasp on my wrist tightened, steadying me before I was able to fall to the ground. The last thing I saw before the blackness crept over my vision were his dark, enchanting eyes.
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Romance writer. Wife. Mother of two. Avid reader. Queen of multitasking.
Originally from the south, Alyson likes to incorporate what she knows into her books. She’s lived not only on the east coast, but the west coast and a few places between. Alyson loves sharing stories about her crazy family to anyone who will listen. Her guilty pleasures consist of coffee, country music, brunch, breaking the rules, and pedicures. And she will always be a daddy’s girl.
When Alyson isn’t chasing around her two kiddos, she’s normally writing. Or reading. Her Kindle library is out of control. Alyson writes mainly contemporary novels and novellas with a few new adult stories is the mix.
Just because they’re forced to depend on each other if they want to survive does not mean they have to like each other…
Clara Fletcher needs a doctor. Now.
But no one can know or else she can be sentenced to death. As such, she calls a transporter who won’t ask questions. He takes her from A to B, and he gets paid. No names. No story. No talking. That’s it.
Clara Fletcher passes out in the backseat of his car, despite herself, due to her blood loss.
The transporter is forced to physically take her to the hospital himself. They make him fill out paperwork. Except, he doesn’t know a thing about her. She seems familiar but he doesn’t even know her name.
He should leave. But he doesn’t.
When the hospital realizes who Clara is and why she’s there, they try to detain her.
The transporter should let them. But he doesn’t.
Instead, he helps her escape and now, they’re both on the run, being chased across the country. Their only hope is to make it to California – the only sanctuary across the countries – if they don’t kill each other first.
Isadora Brown loves all things dark, dangerous, and deadly. Things that go bump in the night and send shivers down backs are things she adores. She loves (and writes) sexy, forbidden romance, usually with some bite and a hint of magic. She is the author of The Somerset Series, The Dark Paradise Trilogy, The Stranger Trilogy, and The Neverland Trilogy. You can find her work on Amazon and keep up with her by signing up for her newsletter here:http://madmimi.com/signups/349869/join
Prue Lockhart has loved Leo Nolan for as long as she can remember. From the first moment she saw him, through the years he spent fighting overseas, until he returned home, broken and beautiful.
He was always meant to be hers.
He just hasn’t realized it yet.
For the past four years, Leo hasn’t cared enough to want anything from this world, except whiskey—or vodka, or bourbon, or beer. Until he meets her, and suddenly, she’s all he’s ever wanted. But after a murky night together, he wakes up to discover the woman in his bed isn’t merely a pretty girl he picked up at the bar.
She’s his best friend’s little sister.
And she’s in trouble.
But as the failed mission four years ago proves, Leo can’t be the one to help Prue. No matter how delicious the madness that keeps pulling him to her.
Prue stared at the man standing in her bedroom, wondering where the guy she’d brought home last night had gone.
Sober now, and alert, a hardness clung to him as a cold, inscrutable mask. No passion simmered in his green eyes.
“What’s your name?” He bit out the words.
She wanted to lie, though she didn’t know why. “You know my name.”
“I want to hear you say it.”
His shock gave way to something else, something darker. The hairs lifted on her arms.
“Leo, why are you—?”
“Your last name,” he snapped. “What. Is. It?”
A nasty curse shot from him.
Alarm drove her to her feet. “Leo, what is going on?”
The words died in her throat when his gaze raked boldly over her body, zeroing in on all the places her flimsy sleepshirt didn’t provide cover. Her heart performed a series of perilous flips.
“You’re Owen’s kid sister?”
She blinked at him. “You know I am.”
“What are you talking about? I have no idea who you are.”
“Of course, you do. We’ve met before. Several times.” She spoke around the sand filling her mouth.
“When you came home with Owen on your first leave, and at your graduation—”
“That was ten years ago.” He drove a hand through his hair and tugged at the ends.
“It was eight.”
“How in the hell am I supposed to remember something that happened eight years ago? Hell, I don’t even remember what happened last night.”
“I don’t want to hurt you,” he said thickly.
“You can’t.” A smile found its way to her lips. “But if it makes you feel better, we’ll use a safe word.”
His brows slammed together. “What now?”
“You know, like they do in the sex clubs. A safe word. Like banana or Oklahoma.”
His rusty laugh carried on the night air. “Holy shit, this is the most fucked-up conversation I’ve ever had sober.”
Her laughter mingled with his. “Have I managed to convince you yet?”
“I don’t know what’s happening. I just keep hearing the word sex and everything else is a drone.”
“Okay, then hear this: Leo, I want you. For sex, not marriage. Maybe friendship, but that’s probably a slippery slope. When this is over, we’ll go our separate ways, as if we never met. What do you think?”
He snagged the zipper of her sweatshirt and tugged her to him. “I think I’m in trouble.”
Amy Olle is a USA Today Bestselling Author of sexy contemporary romances filled with charmingly flawed characters and cozy settings. Her debut novel, Beautiful Ruin, is the first book in a series about five Irish-born brothers sent as children to live with family on a remote island in northern Michigan. She is delighted to put her Psychology degrees to good use writing romance.
Amy lives in Michigan with her long-suffering husband, brilliant son, and (female) turtle named George.
Dylan McBride never knew pain until he lost Heaven. As if her betrayal didn’t break his heart, his involvement in her death sends him spiraling into a web of darkness. Though his new abilities make him a threat to his father, they are also unpredictable. Killing his dad will be simple. Killing Layne won’t.
Layne Perry’s soul is shattered, along with his heart. After discovering the truth about the Affinity, he was ready to claim what was his—Heaven’s heart and soul. Witnessing her death destroyed him. It’s his duty to her daughter that keeps him alive, as does the promise he made to Heaven. He’ll risk his life to protect his Seeker’s child—from The Fallen, darkness, and even her father.
When Adalyn shows Layne a future he knows is impossible, he resumes his search for Heaven. Yet, chaos prevails. A traumatizing secret is revealed, complicating Layne’s life more than ever. He must form an alliance with other Psi and make amends with Dylan, the one person that hates him. The battle between them is far from over, bringing Layne to one conclusion. Those who fight hardest have nothing left to lose.
What the Heart Seeks is a paranormal romance full of suspense, soulmates, and supernatural twists. If you like vibrant worlds, mystical characters, and heart-pounding romance, you’ll enjoy this epic tale of love, light, and darkness.
A surge of heat shot through Dylan. Arcs of light sizzled between his fingers. He was ready to cast it on his father again. It was time to finish this.
Once his father relinquished his assault, Layne snuffed out the flame. The two of them paced the crater, glaring at the other. “This won’t end well for you, boy. You’ve exhausted a lot of energy in the last day. Or maybe this is intentional. Are you ready to meet your Seeker so soon? Is death that desirable?”
Layne’s steps stalled. His body went rigid, his hands clenched into fists. “If I die, so be it. I won’t be doing it alone, Nate. I promise you this much. You’ll combust into charred dust before I take my last breath.”
Layne gripped the door frame and stared at his Seeker’s father as he stood on the steps. He arched a brow in Layne’s direction, waiting for him to finish. “You said that Adalyn showed me the future, mine and Heaven’s future. What about Dylan?”
Nicholas glanced at his granddaughter once more then looked away. The grim thrum of his emotions hinted to his uncertainty, as much as it did his fear. “I don’t know, Layne. Adalyn didn’t show us her father’s future.”
Though Layne didn’t like it, Dylan’s life tied to theirs. Still, there was no sign of him in the scenes Adalyn revealed. Regardless of what happened between him and Heaven, he wouldn’t abandon his child.
The question would remain unanswered for now. They still had to find Heaven. Depending on her condition, she would need time to recuperate. Who knew how long it would take before they discussed everything else. But if the future Adalyn showed him held happiness for him and Heaven, it left Dylan with three options.
Cease to exist.
“Is your daughter a Keeper?” A surge of energy tingled his skin when Captain Laveaux nodded. “Is she my Keeper?”
“Yes, Dylan, which is why I’m going to be on you like flies on shit. I know what your bond entails. Don’t hurt my little girl.”
“Trust me, I don’t want anything to do with this. The only person I’ve ever loved broke my heart. There isn’t room for anyone else.”
“Precisely.” Captain Laveaux studied him with a narrow gaze. Then he turned to the window again. “Which is why I said what I did.”
Most days you’ll find Kelli McCracken knee deep in chocolate bars, coffee, and kooky characters. She is a connoisseur of chocolate, professional percolator, and a master in the art of procrastination.
“Writing a novel is like running a three-ring circus. It’s chaotic, characters don’t do what’s expected, and they leave you with a trail of sh*t to clean. I’m the ringmaster of insanity. Welcome to the show.”
When she isn’t chasing kids, working on crafts, or sneaking a Kit Kat (or two), Kelli spends her time writing. Of course, it can’t be all work and no play. Once procrastination strikes, you can find her hanging out on Facebook, Pinterest, or Spotify. Be sure to stop by and say hi. She loves chatting with readers.
5 Random Facts About the Author
She’s a huge Star Wars fan
Her favorite authors include: J.R.R. Tolkien, Johanna Lindsey, PC & Kristin Cast, and Stephen King
Music inspires her writing
She loves singing (even if it’s off key)
If she could meet anyone dead or alive, she would choose Steve Jobs
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I know we’re friends, but come on, when you see someone that gorgeous in barely any clothes, you’re going to think about how he is under the engine, if you know what I mean. He gets my engine started all the time.
So, it has been a VERY long time since my lady garden saw some action. You all know about Charlotte’s web, well I’ve got Kayleigh’s web!
I hated English at school! Really hated it! I gave up on English Literature in fourth year because I hated writing stories; couldn’t make them up to save my life. I hated writing precis and I was horrendous at grammar. Having lived in Norway when I was younger, English was my second language.
When I received my iPad six years ago I started reading on the kindle app and wrote to an author about how much I enjoyed her book. That opened up the whole facebook author world to me. I started reviewing books (ironic, right?) and then started beta reading (even more ironic) after pointing out some big mistakes in a book plot I was reviewing before release.
I realised I had a story in me, yeah I know everyone says that, but I really believed I did. Fourteen books later …. Welcome to the world of Krissy V!
Angelina Samuels has lost the only job she’s ever held. A last minute interview lands her a new teaching job just days before the school year is about to begin. It turns out to be the best thing that could have happened when she realizes that her best friend from college, Gabriella Alvarez, is also a member of the teaching staff.
Gabriella’s brother, Alejandro, relocates to his hometown after having lived away from family and friends since he left for college to become a renowned transplant surgeon. He’s settling into a new job, reacquainting himself with family and friends, and is learning to deal ever-so-slowly with the personal loss that forever changed his life.
When Angelina’s sister experiences a health crisis, Alejandro is there to support her and her family. And when Angelina herself experiences a personal tragedy, Alejandro is the only one to guide her through it. As love stares down at them, can Angelina help Alejandro take that second chance on love and marriage?
Book 2: Life’s Gateway to Happiness:
Kelly Samuels is dedicated to her career and has received several promotions in her short tenure at Lattice Works. Kelly’s family is shocked when she returns home unemployed and without an explanation.
Alec Alvarez, a pediatrician from a family full of doctors, is focused solely on his career. He’s declared his bachelor status for life and has no desire for love, marriage, or babies. When Alec finds Kelly stuck on the side of a snowy road, neither of them are prepared for the feelings they begin to have for one another.
As Kelly and Alec grow closer, he wants to know why the once happy-go-lucky Kelly is hesitant to his touch, while Kelly just wants to find purpose to her life again. After Kelly tells two conflicting stories as to why she lost her job, Alec steps in to discover what truly happened. Can Kelly come to terms with what happened to her and move on with her life? And can Alec love enough to give-up his bachelorhood status for good?
Book 3: Life’s Turned Upside Down:
Gabriella Alvarez is the youngest of the Alvarez family. She’s watched her best friend marry her brother and another brother find love. Deep down, she’s looking for love, but she can’t quite shake the college sweetheart that broke her heart.
Dr. Ashton Holder works for the famous Alvarez practice. He and Gabriella have always clashed—she continues to see him only has the rough-edged doctor with no bedside manner, but he’s really made strides to put this image behind him.
When Gabriella discovers a secret from Ashton’s past, though, she does her best to help him uncover something that will change his life forever, but a misunderstanding between them rocks him to the core. When he finally uncovers the secret, he must learn to put his past aside and try and move on with a future willed with hope and dreams.
“You are my life, Angelina. I will do everything and anything to make you happy. Always remember that…”
“…Your pain is my pain. Your happiness is my happiness. Your dreams are mine. Together we will make it through whatever obstacles are presented to us because I know our love can survive.”
From Life’s Gateway to Happiness:
“Right before she fell asleep, she remembered Ken’s sickening laugh and threats made concerning her job. She could feel his hot, foul breath on her face. She could feel him trapping her against the desk. And then, her world went dark.”
“She’s gotten under your skin, Alec. I think you’re falling for her…Yes, you are. You’re feeling the same sense of guilt and protectiveness I felt for Angelina. I hope that you can recognize it earlier than I did…I almost lost her, and I’ll always regret the time we lost before we found ourselves again.”
Life’s Turned Upside Down:
“I heard what you said earlier that you haven’t felt this with anyone ever and that you want to be with me…I miss you when you’re not around, too…You’re always on my mind but then there are days when I tell myself that I can’t feel this way. I can’t allow myself to throw all the cards down on you…”
“Gabby, you know I have very few childhood memories. This year for once, I was making ones that I knew would stay with me until the day I die. And you were behind it. I can still see your eyes when we drove up to your house, and you saw the outside lights for the first time. I clearly remember watching you as you wrapped each present, measuring incorrectly and throwing the paper aside…”
Anne Stone was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri but now lives in the cold state of Wisconsin with her faithful Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. She writes heartfelt sweet contemporary romance and is the author of The Show Me and Williams & Company series. She loves to tell a story and that’s what you’ll definitely get in an Anne Stone novel.
Anne’s degree is in education but she has worked in the corporate sector managing a large number of staff. Now, she works from home where part of her day is still spent in the corporate world and the other part is dreaming of her heroes and heroines.
Lilly’s life has been shattered by her ex. Few people know the truth about what happened that day. Lilly is trying to put the past behind her but everyone around her is moving on with their lives and it’s a constant reminder of what she’s lost. Lilly throws herself into university and her part time job as a distraction. What she doesn’t expect is for an unwanted promotion to once again send her world into a tailspin.
Will she be able to let her guard down, open her heart once again and fight for the happiness she deserves?
Lucas could never have imagined that his life would turn out like it has. Supportive parents, a powerful job and more money than he knows what to do with. On the surface he looks like the perfect businessman but Lucas is not only hiding his past but also who he really is. The only thing missing is something he swore he never wanted. When he finds a broken Lilly in his sanctuary will he be able to push his fears of love aside and be the man she needs?
Individually they have a lot of demons that have the potential to break them but will they be strong enough together to face them?
I wake with a start. Something’s not right. When I open my eyes, I know immediately what it is.
Lucas is propped up with his back against the headboard and he’s looking down at me with an amused expression. I blink a couple of times, thinking I’m seeing things, but then the memories of last night slam into me.
Oh holy cow, I slept with my boss and he’s still in my bed. Naked. Crap.
“Good morning, beautiful.”
“Oh my God,” I whisper before diving under the covers. I can’t believe I’ve done this. I should never be allowed to drink wine ever again. I’m naked, in bed, with my boss. I mean, could I screw this whole situation up any more? I was just meant to be cleaning his room, and now look. I was more than happy when I thought he was a smooth-talking businessman, but now I’ve seen that’s only one side of him. Last night, he was anything but. I’m in trouble. Serious trouble.
I’m just pouring the milk in when I hear the door click shut. I look around the corner to see Lucas walking in, looking a little like the morning after we first slept together. I swear my girly parts do a little dance at the sight of him.
He just unzips his hoodie before he looks up and spots me. His eyes shine with what I hope is excitement as they run down my body, which is covered in his perfect white shirt.
I do the exact same thing as I run my eyes over every inch of the sexy bad boy in front of me. He’s wearing a pair of low slung jogging bottoms with the waistband of his boxers showing. His black hoodie is undone, showing off the glistening sculpted perfection underneath. He has his hood up, making him look like the bad boy you should never talk to, let alone get close to.
I watch, amazed, as he reaches up and knocks the hood off his head. He runs his hands through his hair, making it stick out in all directions.
“Enjoying yourself?” he asks with a smirk.
“Guys in suits with perfect hair aren’t really my thing. This though,” I say as I start walking towards him. “This is spot on.” I run my hands up his chest and over his shoulders, giving his hoodie the push it needs to fall down his arms.
I squeal in surprise when I’m suddenly thrown over his shoulder.
“Lucas, what are you doing?” I shout as he walks us to the bathroom and straight to the walk-in shower. He doesn’t answer, just turns its on, and we are both blasted with ice cold water.
“Lucas,” I squeal again as I wriggle in his tight hold to try to get away. I have no hope though; he’s too strong.
“What? Didn’t you want a shower?” he asks with an amused glint in his eye.
This is the Lucas I like: the rough-looking, demanding, slightly arrogant bad boy. Who needs a guy in a suit when you can have one of these?
As I walk around to the driver’s side, I can’t help being unsure of whether I’m pleased or not that people fall for this act. But then, I guess I’ve played the part for so long now it’s almost normal. The suits, the money, the flashy cars. Lilly might have the impression I’m something impressive, but under all this, I’m far from the person she thinks I am. I know she’s thinking that she’s not good enough for all this, but if she only knew the truth: that she is the one that is way too good for me.
Tracy Lorraine is a M/F and M/M contemporary romance author. Tracy has recently turned thirty and lives in a cute Cotswold village in England with her husband, baby girl and lovable but slightly crazy dog. Having always been a bookaholic with her head stuck in her Kindle Tracy decided to try her hand at a story idea she dreamt up and hasn’t looked back since.
I’ve done some things I’m ashamed of. Been the subject of gossip they didn’t even bother trying to keep from my ears. But I’m here, thousands of miles away trying to atone for my sins. Funny thing is, some sins are so ingrained it’s impossible to scrub them from your DNA.
Chelsea’s hell bent on reigning in her free spirit and becoming the daughter her mama could be proud of. Lord knows she owes her that much. But when a stranger crosses her path, her wild heart flares to life. She figures a little bit of fun never hurt none. She isn’t prepared for the lesson fate serves with a slice of pie, and some sweet tea on the side.
Greyson is done with being neck deep in cow dung. He’s ready to hang up his cowboy hat and replace it with a toque blanche. Following his passion all the way to Boston, he gets the shock of his life when the smokin’ hot blonde from Alabama turns up in his uncle’s restaurant.
But her plans and his future are set for different destinations. And distance isn’t the only thing trying to tear them apart.
The kitchen is about to go volcanic as he fights to chase his dream, and hold on to his dream girl.
Chelsea will have to make a choice between her heart, or her home.
Which one will it be?
*Recommended for readers 18+ due to mature content. *
Like the rest of town, Lucy’s Diner was stuck in a time warp. They had the jukebox to prove it, complete with vinyl records. It had a nice homey feel to it, though—another thing she’d miss while she was gone.
The bell on the door jingled as it slapped shut behind her. An aromatic cocktail of grease and coffee hung on the air, assailing her senses, and triggering her hunger. Chelsea turned and waved to Angel as she drove off shaking her head. Her friend thought she was crazy, meeting a strange man who wasn’t hanging around for long. She’d learned to be more selective and trust her instincts when it came to men, despite her impulsive tendencies. Unwilling to repeat the fatal mistake from her past.
Maybe she was crazy, but there was something about him… She wasn’t completely irresponsible. The diner was her turf and it was safe. There’d be people here that would look out for her.
She had this under control.
Chelsea’s blue gaze roamed the cracked red vinyl booths, until they landed on the deliciousness that was Greyson Stranger. She didn’t know his last name, so Stranger it was, and that’s how she wanted it to stay. This was just a short detour to let off some steam before she had to get back to the serious business of paying for her sins.
Her smile stretched wide as she watched him take her in, the heat in his eyes blazing. His long, dark hair hung over one eye, brushing the tops of his wide shoulders. He leaned back in the chair and rested his arms across the table in front of him, with a hint of a smile in greeting.
Slowly walking towards him, she kept eye contact, half because she wanted to make an entrance, and half because she couldn’t look away.
“Is this seat taken?”
Greyson waved his hand across the booth as if to say, “Be my guest.”
Chelsea slid into the seat and rested her chin in her hands, still staring at him.
“Hi.” He smirked.
“Yeah. I’ve ordered a piece of pie and sweet tea. I didn’t know if you were gonna show up, so I figured I’d… fill up my body…” He wiggled his fingers to put air quotes around his use of her phrase. “… before gettin’ back on the road.”
At the mention of his body, Chelsea’s eyes dropped to his straining T-shirt again. It was hard not to look. The man was gorgeous. “Well, sugar, if I invite a man somewhere you can always guarantee I’ll show up. A piece of pie and some sweet tea sounds mighty fine right about now.”
The waitress appeared in time with Chelsea’s declaration. “Hi sweetie, good to see you again. You having what he’s having?” The older lady stood with pencil and pad poised, and a ready smile.
“Okay, hun.” She bustled back behind the counter.
Chelsea turned back to her companion. “So, tell me about your first kiss?”
Greyson’s mouth dropped open and he huffed out a laugh. “Excuse me?”
“First kiss. Come on. Spill.”
“Mindy Lawson, second grade, on the swings. How about you?”
“Decker Turner, two years old, in the playpen.” She grinned. “What did you think you’d grow up to be when you were a kid?”
“Superman… How ‘bout you?”
“Lois Lane.” The corner of her mouth kicked up as she batted her lashes playfully.
A deep laugh rumbled out of him, sending tingles down her neck.
“Do I get to ask a question?” He raised a dark brow.
“Only if it’s not personal.”
“Your first kiss isn’t personal?”
“No.” She shrugged.
“So, I can’t ask what your last name is?”
“Or your number?”
“Nooo.” She shook her head, dramatically.
He sat up straight and scratched the stubble on his chin, one side of his mouth quirked. “Arrabbiata or Carbonara?”
“Ooh, good one. It depends on my mood. Arrabbiata, most of the time.”
“Spicy… Nice.” He leaned towards her, his eyes dipping to her lips for a second, before seeking her gaze again.
She put her hands on the table, mirroring him as she leaned forward. “Red or white wine?”
“Whatever goes with the dish.”
“I like an adventurous man.” The smile broke out on her face again.
“I’m on the biggest adventure of my life.”
“Where ya headed?”
“Isn’t that a personal question?” He raised a brow and moved his hand closer so their fingers touched.
“Touché. Yes, it is.”
The clink of plates on the table broke the intensity between them.
Chelsea took in a desperate breath as they both leaned back. “Thanks, Doreen, you’re a darlin’.”
“You’re welcome, sweetie. Enjoy!”
They each took a forkful of pie, and chewed as their eyes roamed over each other. The taste on her tongue was amazing. The country song playing on the jukebox barely registered over the sound of Grey’s lips smacking together as he enjoyed his food. He made a low hum in his throat, and she let out a whimper. It was the most intense foreplay she’d ever experienced.
She couldn’t help feeling sad at the thought that this couldn’t go anywhere. It should have been a warning signal, when fleeting hook-ups were the only relationships she dared to entertain. The type she could control. Maybe it hadn’t been wise, starting something with this man. It echoed of her past. Of a stupid decision that cost a life. She feared she was setting herself up for a painful experience, rather than the fun she’d hoped for.
Picking up her glass, she gulped down some cool, sweet tea, looking away from him for a beat.
“Feelin’ a bit heated, sugar?” The amusement was obvious in his voice.
The glass thunked on the table as she put it down too forcefully. “I am. You wanna get out of here?”
“What’s the hurry? Are you tired of me already?”
“Nope. It’s just the opposite. I’m afraid I’ve bitten off more than I can chew, but like the greedy girl I am, I’d like to gorge myself some more.”
She had lost her everlovin’ mind.
His jaw tightened and he paused, his eyes flashing to her mouth. She watched that jaw loosen as he continued to chew and swallow slowly. His gaze drifted back to hers, and he picked up his drink, draining it in one long chug before pushing the glass away.
“You’re a wild one… Tempting.”
He sat so still with his eyes boring into hers, his face an intense mask. His eyebrows had dropped. He looked almost angry… or maybe frustrated. It did nothing to dispel the heat that gathered in her core. If anything, the hint of fire in his eyes set her desire for him at furnace level. She’d never experienced an attraction like this before, putting her at a distinct disadvantage. She needed to be the one in control, and she felt anything but.
“I need to get back on the road. If I don’t get out of here now, I’m never going to leave,” he muttered, before he stood. Reaching into his back pocket, he pulled out his wallet, and threw some green onto the table. His warm palm caressed her cheek, as his thumb drifted across her bottom lip. The touch set off all sorts of tingles, further awakening parts that had no business being excited in a 1950s diner.
Chelsea’s heart thundered in her chest as he leaned down to place a soft kiss on her lips. The barely-there touch seared more than the hottest chili.
“The first kiss is always personal,” he whispered in her ear, before walking out of her life.
She sat for the longest time, staring at where he’d been sitting, trying to calm the hell down. Wondering what the fuck had just happened, and why she suddenly felt so bereft. Like her carefully planned future now had a gaping hole she had no idea how to fill.
Belly full of beer and nachos, Chelsea found herself sitting in a dim candlelit room with about fifteen others, listening to a psychic pull random information from thin air. She didn’t think there was any threat of actual communication with the dead, but some vibe in the room made her twitchy. Perhaps it was because she was sandwiched between Ryan and Grey, who both sat with arms crossed and one ankle on the opposing knee. It seemed Hannah was in charge of the itinerary for the night, and nobody liked her choice of activities.
Strangely, Dakota chose a seat beside Grey, quietly absorbing the show. Or maybe it wasn’t strange, and Chelsea was letting her green side take over. Not the Oz kind of green, either. It was more the mammoth proportions of the big guy who split his pants every time he got mad.
Hannah appeared oblivious, hanging on every word coming out of the psychic’s mouth. Lord bless that free-spirited woman. She embraced everything she did, wholeheartedly. Chelsea could learn a thing or two from her. She unfolded her arms, placing her hands between her knees, and sat up.
“May I approach you?” The psychic had Chelsea in her sights.
“Don’t be scared. I have a message from your loved one.”
“Pfft. Oh, I’m not scared, honey.” She rubbed her palms together, shuffling her butt back in her chair.
You’re such a liar.
“Your loved one with a B sound. A female. You were close, but not related.”
Chelsea’s muscles tensed, the twitchy feeling intensifying under her skin.
“She said to let go of the blame. It was her choice. You were not responsible.”
Her vocabulary vanished as her body locked tight. What could she say? That information couldn’t be randomly plucked from the air. Unless this psychic somehow knew her from Texas, there was no way she could’ve known Chelsea had been carrying the burden of blame for her wild ways… and the irreversible consequences. She squeezed her palms between her knees as her mind reeled. Was that really Beth?
“She said to tell you she’s okay.”
Well, I’m not.
“I have a message for you, too.”
Chelsea’s focus turned to Greyson as the psychic addressed him.
“This spirit is very clearly your grandfather. A forceful personality. He refused to wait his turn. He said he’s sorry for being so stubborn, and that you must follow your heart, wherever it may lead you.”
Grey tipped his chin up in a dismissive gesture, choosing not to speak. Angling himself towards her, he pulled one of her hands onto his thigh and clasped their palms together, unspoken questions suspended in his eyes.
Are you okay?
Who is Beth?
“I got you.” The words rumbled out in a deep, calming whisper.
Oh, honey. You have me more than you know.
She fixed on their joined hands, her eyelids tapping out a frantic rhythm. He’d brushed aside his own revelation to take care of her, the security net still blanketing her. She half expected to see a cascade of rubble as another of her walls came crashing down. He’d offered her a safe place to forgive herself for all her failings. A chance at normal. She’d vehemently denied the small voice in her mind that said, ‘what if?’ What if she allowed herself to trust enough to find love? What if she found someone who would cherish her? Didn’t she deserve that? That’s all Beth had wanted.
As the psychic moved through the room, Chelsea struggled with herself to stay seated. She turned her thoughts back to Grey. The way he held her hand steady, as if he knew she needed an anchor because she was suddenly lighter than before. He gave their joined hands a shake to get her attention, and tilted his chin towards the door. She didn’t need to be told twice. She stood and followed him. Breaking free, she took a gulp of night air, letting his hand slip from hers.
He flexed his fingers. “You’ve got a good grip.”
“So I’ve been told.” She winced. She’d let her tongue loose again. Damn, it was hard holding back around him. “Sorry about that. Knee jerk reaction. I’m trying to be a better person and that means less inappropriate flirting.”
“It’s only inappropriate if it’s unwelcome.”
“Well, I just crushed your hand. I’m sure you weren’t thinking about my grip around anything else.”
“I haven’t stopped thinking about parts of you wrapped around parts of me ever since we met.”
Her lids dropped low as she took in the firm set of his jaw. His molten gaze warmed her up, making her body pliant and ready for his touch. Maybe she could let him in? For the time she had left, anyways. And finally give herself a taste of something she could hold deep inside for the rest of her days.
“That can be arranged.”
“Oh really? Forfeiting your bet so early in the game? Shame on you, Chelsea. I thought you were made of tougher stuff.”
“How do you—” Her eyes popped before narrowing. “Dane… Oh, he is going to get a wupping next time I see him.”
“He’s a good friend. You have a good group of people who love you.” He pushed some hair out of his face and glanced at the door they’d just exited. “And some questionable tag-alongs.”
“You don’t like Ryan, huh?”
“I wasn’t referring to Ryan. But, no. I don’t like him. He wants what I want.” Those eyes travelled over her features.
“He can’t have me. And, for the record, I don’t give a rat’s ass about the bet.”
“Good. I’m glad to hear it, because you and I are gonna happen.”
“Now?” She bounced on the balls of her feet.
He barked out a laugh, flashing his teeth. “No. I don’t sleep with witches.”
“Oh. That’s a shame, because I’m pretty sure witches sleep naked.”
His brow shot up. “Is that right?”
“It’s just a rumor I heard from someone in the know.”
“I’ll dream about that until the time comes.”
“When will it be time to come? Because I’m lookin’ forward to the coming part.”
The smile spread across his face in a slow seductive tide, as his lids grew heavy. “It’s going to be explosive.”
“When? When is it going to explode? I hope we have some towels on hand.”
Laughter burst from deep in his belly, the sound rivalling the revelry in the street. “Oh, you are a peach.” He reached out and pulled her into his frame.
Enveloped in his arms as he shook in amusement, she couldn’t contain her smile. He was all kinds of warm and hard, and big… and hard. Yeah, she might’ve burrowed in close enough to feel something against her stomach. A girl had to check these things. He had all the right gear to get the job done.
He also had so much more that she wasn’t prepared for. He had heart, and compassion. He’d known that she needed to get out of that room, and he’d made it happen without pressing her for a reason why. And then he’d made her laugh while getting her panties wet. He was a goddamn rock. A big, gorgeous, steady rock. Her arms crept around him as she turned her face into his chest and breathed him in. She listened to the beat in his chest, absorbed the rise and fall of air from his lungs, and felt her own match it.
She’d been so torn between belonging in two different places that she hadn’t imagined she could feel so content in a place like his arms.
Maybe home had nothing to do with geography.
But if you want to call someone home, you must both be in the same city.
And there was the problem.
Author Bio: Former nurse, reluctant romantic, and chocolate lover, J.M. Adele, is the author of paranormal and contemporary romance, and romantic suspense. After years of indulging in her addiction to reading, her own characters started to tell their stories. They were relentless, forcing her to put pen to paper and release them into the world. She also owns and runs The Flare Up book blog where she shares her reading obsession.
On most days you can find her running between the desk, and wrangling her three boisterous boys while carrying a book in one hand. When everyone else drifts off to dreamland she escapes into the worlds conjured by the characters in her head.
For fans of The Black Dagger Brotherhood, A Shade of a Vampire, and Rent-A-Dragon. It contains hot vampires, page-turning action, and steamy romance.
If sex had a smell, Armando Moreno had bottled it.
Brooklyn Ashbaugh doesn’t think much of the spring break trip her college roommates drag her on until she meets Armando Moreno. With his sexy Latin accent, muscular body, and soulful eyes, he should be interested in runway models, not a twenty-one-year-old college student in discount jeans. Still, when he invites her up to his place, her body takes over, shutting out her better judgment. She never has one night stands. She knows better. Yet, something about this amazingly attractive man makes her lose her head.
And her clothes.
Later when she awakes, she finds herself discarded and bitten, infected with a disease that makes her crave blood and violence. Now, only the man responsible for her infection can unlock the mystery surrounding it. But can she control her primal urges long enough to stop the spread of infection before it destroys her town and her life?
Brooklyn’s hands are shaking by the time she jerks the scooter to a stop in the driveway and jumps off the Vespa. If she can just get inside the house before the attack hits, everything will be fine.
She whips her helmet from her head as she hurries toward the house, letting it clunk into the gravel. She loves that goddamned helmet, a 1950 vintage Hermes Pudding Bucket motorcycle helmet her father gave her four years ago on her high school graduation. And now it’s probably scratched. But she can’t worry about that now.
Not while she feels like killing someone.
Well, maybe killing them was the wrong word. Biting them. Ripping their flesh with her teeth.
From the shadows, a figure emerges. The first thing she notices is his height—six foot three or four—and his broad, athletic shoulders. When he steps into the glow of the club’s entrance, she sees how handsome he is, like a GQ model. Each feature looks like it has been carved from stone—a strong jawline, chiseled cheeks, and arched eyebrows that convey both intrigue and interest. His lips are red and full, the bottom one slightly larger than the top. On his wrist is an expensive watch. Around his neck, a leather thong necklace with some kind of symbol is nestled into the v of his short-sleeve Henley T-shirt. His jeans fit his muscular thighs like they were tailored for him.
Hallelujah, he’s handsome. She feels herself gravitating toward him, the place between her legs warming for the first time since arriving in Mexico.
Snippet 3 :
“One never can feel sad in the presence of such beauty.” His eyes trail from the sea to her face, studying her. “Like you, hermosa. How can I feel sadness when I look into your face?”
And yet his eyes betray a deep sadness she doesn’t understand.
She opens her mouth to ask him, but then he is kissing her, and she loses herself in him, his smell, his touch, his lips trailing down her throat to the hollow at the base. She groans, grinding her hips into him trying to quell the want that pooling there.
He picks her up, carrying her across the kitchen to the open doorway on the other side.
Lynn is a seasoned writer with over a dozen books under her belt. She’s been writing for years under another name and is excited to try something new. With multiple awards and Amazon best sellers to her credit, she’s pleased lots of fans in many genres. She’s loved paranormal romance before Twilight. She’s also a wife, mother and avid Pinterest obsessionist.