The Masked Arcana #2
by Alana Delacroix
Genre: Paranormal Romance
A Perfect Disguise
As security chief of the supernaturals’ ruling council, Michaela Chui has seen more than her fair share of disaster. For centuries, she’s survived through caution and strategy. But when the only human councilor is viciously murdered, Michaela knows the coincidences that keep blocking her investigation are a sure sign of bad things to come. She needs answers fast. And her only ally is Cormac Redoak: wild, unpredictable, unreliable—and worse, distractingly attractive.
A Hidden Truth
An exile from the court of the Fairy Queen, Cormac has all the experience with careful strategy and veiled intentions he can stand. But he also has the fey talent for getting his way, and he’s sure his way lies with Michaela’s. No matter that she can change her lovely face at will; there’s a clarity to her being that he’d know anywhere. Working with her will be temptation and frustration bound together. Somehow, though, he must convince her to trust him—without revealing the secrets he dares never share . . .
Michaela locked the car door and was checking the handle when a soft, low growl came from behind her.
“Councilor. You’re here early.”
Not now. It was too early in the morning. She steeled herself to face Cormac Redoak, exiled fey, special ambassador to the Pharos Council, and world-class pain. “Ambassador,” she said briskly, heaving her bag over her shoulder.
“May I take that for you?” Even after centuries away from the fey homeland, he still had a bit of an accent, almost but not quite Irish.
“No.” She walked towards the door. Although they had known each other for decades, she’d had few conversations with him, and in fact tended to avoid him. Not because of the wild rumors that surrounded his exile from the fey court or because she’d been on the receiving end of more than one of his inquisitions when she’d objected to his schemes. He was too erratic for her. Wild. Unstable. Even his eyes refused to stay a single color. Right now they were a light jade but could easily change to gray or brown depending on his mood.
This criticism was grossly hypocritical coming from a masquerada and she knew it. Her eyes, like the rest of her, could be transformed in a breath to become part of any masque she chose. That was the point, though. While Cormac was at the mercy of his emotions, she needed to keep perfect control at all times. Failure—if her masque slipped and humans witnessed a shift—would result in a breach of the Law. Worse, she could lose her natural self in a sea of other personalities: the dreaded convergence. Cormac said what he wanted, did what he wanted, and damned the consequences. The ambassador was not a man who accepted limits to his desires and it made her wary.
“I want to speak about our discussion the other day,” he said. She didn’t bother to look at him. “By discussion you mean when you attempted, and failed, to humiliate me in front of half the Council?”
He made an airy details, details gesture. “I asked for a simple clarification.”
“About a subject you had no business with and at a meeting to which you were not invited.” She reached out to pull the door open but he moved in front of her with the fluid grace typical of the fey. For a moment she breathed in his unique pine scent—the one thing she enjoyed about him. Then she silently brushed by with a nod of thanks, mind already on the day’s agenda. She had about ten minutes before she was due to meet Madden, enough time for a few emails and to re-check her calendar.
“I assumed my invitation was lost. Luckily Hiro told me about it.”
She kept walking. “Which he also had no business doing. We have meeting procedures for a reason.”
“Procedures are for the masses.” He paused when they reached her office door. “Look, Michaela, my point remains valid.”
Michaela opened the door. “As I said before—” Her voice trailed off as she flicked on the light. “Good God.”
Cormac peered in, then tried to block the door. “You don’t want to see this.”
Did the man not remember she was the Pharos security chief? She shoved him aside. “That’s Hiro. In my office.”
Cormac stood beside her, his cool skin brushing her hand. “It was Hiro,” he corrected. “It’s not anymore.”
The Masked Arcana #1
A Man Who Can Wear Any Face
Caro Yeats doesn’t run from much. As a former investigative reporter now working PR for Toronto’s supernaturals, what she hasn’t seen mostly isn’t worth seeing. But the assignment to “rebrand” Eric Kelton’s out-of-control alter egos has her on edge from the start. Kelton is the heirarch of the Masquerada, beings able to change their face—their entire persona—on a whim. Eric’s charisma muddles her instincts. How can she trust a man who can become anybody?
A Woman Without A Past
Eric has never met anyone like Caro, with her lightning wit and uncanny insight. But desirable as she is, he’d be a fool to let her near. Struggling to hide the sudden loss of his powers, Eric can’t risk becoming entangled with a woman who scorns her supernatural side and claims not to play politics. The enemies on her trail are strong, clever, and vicious. And when they force Eric and Caro together, the fallout could shatter far more than two hearts . . .
Alana Delacroix lives in a little house filled with books in Toronto, Canada. She loves exploring the city, on the hunt for both the perfect coffeeshop as well as ideal locations to set her paranormal romances. A member of RWA, Alana worked as an archaeologist before forging a slightly more stable career in corporate communications.
A Match Made in Bed by Cathy Maxwell
Series The Spinster Heiresses Series
Genre Adult Historical Romance
Publisher Avon Books
Publication Date April 17, 2018
Once upon a time there were three young ladies who, despite their fortunes, had been on the marriage mart a bit too long. They were known as “the Spinster Heiresses” . . .
Miss Cassandra Holwell is too tall, too bookish, and too smart—but she does have money and a father who wants a grand title for her. Cassandra hasn’t felt a desire to marry until she meets the sinfully handsome Duke of Camberly, who captures her imagination . . . until Soren York, Earl of Dewsberry and her family’s sworn enemy, steps in the way.
The Holwells ruined Soren’s family, and he’s lived on the knife’s edge trying to resurrect their fortunes . . . until he considers marrying the Holwell Heiress. Not only would her dowry give him the funds he needs, he has secretly had an eye on the independent-minded bluestocking since they both first realized the differences between men and women.
She likes to read; he has no patience for books. She knows little of sex; he is a man of the world and willing to school her. Her family destroyed his; his offer of marriage may be her only salvation.
Now Cassandra and Soren must learn to love each other for who they are, not what they are—and the lessons are becoming an exercise in absolute pleasure.
He’s here. I know he is,” Cassandra whispered in the ear of her friend Willa, lest she be overheard by either Lady Bainhurst sitting on the settee with them or the very handsome, highly desirable Duke of Camberly. He stood by Lady Bainhurst but Cassandra felt he gave her and Willa most of his attention.
“Who? Dewsberry?” Willa managed around the smile spread across her face for the duke’s benefit. She was far more interested in him than Cassandra’s sudden premonition that Soren York was close at hand.
Willa was as petite as Cassandra was tall and perfectly formed in every way. Her hair was raven black, and the two were dear friends—well, except when it came to their competition to earn the attention of the Duke of Camberly.
They’d even made a flirting game of it, attaching points for different actions of courtship—a point for an introduction, three points for each dance, five points if he called upon them. When a woman had been on the Marriage Mart as long as they had, she needed a bit of competition to sharpen her skills . . . not that either of them required the edge of a game when it came to Camberly.
He was young and amazingly handsome. He had broad shoulders, a lean jaw, and dark hair that emphasized the jewel blue of his eyes. What woman wouldn’t want to become his duchess?
Cassandra was actually ahead in the game by one point. She’d been wondering how many points being invited to this weekend would earn her when Willa had made her appearance in the reception room. They had not known the other was coming.
And now here was Camberly, ignoring his other guests and spending his time focusing on both of them.
Everyone knew he needed to marry money. She and Willa were the only two marriageable women invited to the dowager’s house party as far as Cassandra could see. Did this mean the duke intended to decide between the two of them? Perhaps even this very week?
The thought made her giddy. She wanted Camberly. He was “the one.” The very embodiment of all her romantic dreams. No other could match him. And she was not going to let Soren York ruin this country party and her one chance for marital happiness with his presence.
Willa proved what a good friend she was by momentarily turning her attention from hanging on to the duke’s every word to murmur, “I don’t see Dewsberry.”
“He’s here,” Cassandra insisted. She sat up straighter so that she could unobtrusively gain a better look around the room.
There had been someone lurking in the hall leading to the dining room. That was when she’d first experienced the suspicion that things weren’t completely right. However, she’d been so distracted with Willa’s presence and what it meant to her chances with the duke, she’d not been interested in concentrating on her inner sense.
Then again, the duke had come from that direction, making an appearance that had surprised everyone in the room by his lack of fanfare. Still . . . Soren was here.
The tingling of the hairs at the nape of her neck had never failed her, especially since she’d been exercising it more than she wished for the past month. Soren seemed to be everywhere she went in spite of her best efforts to avoid him because she knew what he wanted—marriage.
Dewsberry might be an old and respected title but the earldom was done up. Ruined by generations of poor decisions and unwise gambling. Soren was hunting her because of the money she would inherit upon marriage and because her father’s lands abutted his. He was that obvious. However, she thought herself safe here. Why would Camberly, who also needed a rich wife, invite a competitor?
Unless the duke thought to hand off whichever heiress he didn’t want to Dewsberry?
The walls in the room seemed to close in around her.
She would not marry Dewsberry. She couldn’t. Her father would never allow it. The Yorks were his enemies. They looked down on the Holwells, and neither she nor her father would subject themselves to their high-handed treatment.
But also, Soren had betrayed her. She could recall perfectly the pain of what he’d done to her. It had been close to eleven years ago, and the hurt, the disappointment was still surprisingly raw.
From the other side of the room, her father caught her eye. He was of average height, with bushy eyebrows and hair that had gone gray at a young age. Helen stood at his side as she always did. She had a short nose and a determined chin. Her hair had once been red but had faded to a dull brown. Her father had noticed Cassandra
Tour Wide Giveaway
To celebrate the release of A MATCH MADE IN BED by Cathy Maxwell, we’re giving away for two paperback copies of IF EVER I SHOULD LOVE YOU!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open to US shipping addresses only. Two winners will each receive a paperback copy of If Ever I Should Love You by Cathy Maxwell. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance. Giveaway ends 4/27/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copies out to the winner directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address. Duplicates will be deleted. CLICK HERE TO ENTER!
About Cathy Maxwell
CATHY MAXWELL spends hours in front of her computer pondering the question, “Why do people fall in love?” It remains for her the great mystery of life and the secret to happiness. Fans can contact Cathy at www.cathymaxwell.com; Twitter: @maxwellcathy
Published April 16th 2018 by Entangled Publishing, LLC (Scorched)
Ten years ago I offered her everything, and she threw it back in my face. When she walked, I vowed no other woman would ever screw with my head the way she did. I moved on. Now I'm the V.P. of the Bastards, run my own nightclub, and nameless sex keeps me sane. No commitment or ties, just the way I like it.
Now she's back, for one week only, gorgeous, successful, and I can't keep away. She offers a long goodbye, a way to heal our fractured past. She burned me so bad––there's no way I should even want to be near her. But the more she gives, the more I need. Until I discover the real reason she left, and my whole damn world implodes...
He gives a predatory smile that doesn’t reach his eyes and backs me up against the wall. “You think one fuck’s gonna make everything right?”
My heart pounds, it’s hard to breathe, and I’ve haven’t felt so alive for more than ten long years. “That’s all you’re going to get, so make the most of it.”
Reckless. I don’t care, and it doesn’t matter. I can say anything to Ty, do anything, the way I haven’t been able to with anyone else since before I left L.A.
“Is that right.” His hands are flat on the wall beside my shoulders, imprisoning me between his arms. I glance at his inked biceps. God, how I used to love his tattoos. Now his left arm is sleeved, an intricate work of art that I could spend hours admiring…
Stop. This isn’t about recreating our past or building bridges. This is everything it never was before. Lust and sex, pure and simple, with no devastating emotions to rip my heart to shreds again.
I drag my attention back to his face. Not that it’s a hardship. If anything, the faint lines around his eyes and the groves in his cheeks just make him more gorgeous than before.
Somehow, I manage to find my voice. “Yes. Take it or leave it.”
Did I just say that?
“That’s what you do now, is it?” He doesn’t come any closer, but the heat from his body envelopes me, stealing my breath and what’s left of my sense. “Fuck them and leave them?”
What would he say if he knew the truth? That even now, after all this time, he’s the only one who meant anything?
“Why? Do you want more than a quick hookup with me?”
His brief grin is anything but amused. “One night should more than do it. What about you?”
I always wanted the impossible when it came to Ty, but I gave up on those dreams a long time ago. If this is the good-bye we never managed before, I’ll make it count. Maybe then I’ll be able to let go and move on.
“A whole night? I was thinking more of a quickie up against the wall.”
“When did your mouth get so smart?”
“You didn’t answer the question.”
This time his smile turns my legs to jelly, and I flatten my palms against the wall behind me before I do something stupid like wrap my arms around him and never let him go.
How is that stupider than offering him a quickie? Except I already know the answer. Mindless sex is one thing, but if I let him through the barriers I’ve built around my heart over the years, leaving him again will all but destroy me.
“I’ll take you up against the wall first, if that’s your best offer. But I haven’t come here for one quick screw. I’m going to have you every fucking way I want tonight, Jas. One night, that’s it, and then we’ll never see each other again. You understand?”
Wild West Weekend
Double D Ranch Tales Book 1
by C. R. Moss & R.M. Sotera
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Two people scared to love again. Two others hesitant about commitment. A weekend in Nevada will change all that.
Bristol Ashcombe is swearing off men and taking a vacation with her friend, Cassie. Damon Dougan is packed and ready to leave the ranch for a trip, that is, until a long-legged, sexy woman steps out of a vehicle and he decides to stay. Will one sex filled weekend be enough for either of them?
Cassie Harding travels to the Double D ranch, to meet Bristol and looks forward to seeing her old friend, Dakota. Dak’s excited when Cassie, his former sweetheart, returns. Cassie and Dakota, though they’re heating up ‘the sheets’ in and out of the bedroom, have fears about commitment after years of being single. Will they find it’s better to dance together than apart?
Wild West Weekend—Double D Ranch Tales (Book 1), a contemporary, chick-lit, erotic romance story set in Nevada.
And the trip sure came at the right time. She was in desperate need of a break and the Dougan’s spread was the best place to take it. The ranch had once been a source of pleasure in her life. A place where she felt safe and peaceful, loved even. She looked forward to relaxing, forgetting her troubles for a bit, catching up with her friend.
She sighed. She shouldn’t have lost contact with her childhood friends. Years of flitting from one state to the next trying to find the next best gig as a casino cocktail waitress in her twenties, then learning how to deal and working the pit in her thirties had taken its toll. Her nomadic way of life had consumed her, changed her, made her want to settle down somewhere. No longer was she the timid teen who’d visit the ranch every summer and once dismissed the feelings of the eldest Dougan brother.
Across the drive, a horse’s whinny followed by a loud metallic thud jerked her from her thoughts. In front of the stables, a silver, extend-cab pick-up idled. A man, topped with a black cowboy hat, tossed a large bulky bag into the truck’s bed.
She titled her sunglasses down her nose to get a better look at the cowboy. Tall, built but not burly, she’d place him around six feet tall. His tan hands were pronounced against the long white sleeves of his shirt. Relaxed fitting jeans encompassed long legs but didn’t form-fit around his butt. She wished the denim was tighter so it’d give a better idea of his muscle structure underneath. She’d hate to think the worker had a soft, saggy ass.
The man lifted the hat, wiped his forearm along his forehead. The sun’s afternoon glow highlighted golden streaks in his brown hair, but his arm created shadows on most of his face. She could only make out one prominent cheekbone and strong jaw. He replaced the hat, strolled over to the stable building, and faded into the dark shade of the building.
God, he looks like he has great lips for kissing, a five-o-clock stubbled chin that she could trail her tongue along and tease it with the prickles. She waited on the porch for another glimpse of him. He stepped out of the doorway, face still cast in shadows so she couldn’t get a good look, with a length of rope looped in his hand.
Desire coiled low in her stomach, bunched into a tight ball. She purred quietly to herself. Maybe she’d see about a weekend fling with the ranch hand. A bit of a scratch for my little itch. And wouldn’t it be nice if the ranch hand was actually Dakota? A soft snicker followed the purr.
Wild West Hauntings
Double D Ranch Tales Book 2
In life and the afterlife, on the Double D Ranch one belief holds true—the power of love changes lives.
With cowboys, ghosts, modern day women, hot dreams, pre-wedding relations and a bit of sexy time travel, life promises to be one wild time on the ranch again.
Rachel Star has met the man of her dreams … literally. Too bad he’s a ghost. When true love crosses boundaries from dreams to reality and across time, the Double D ranch is the place it happens. It takes the love of a man from the past, Dalton Dougan, to bring love full circle in the present for Rachel.
Bristol Ashcombe, soon to be Dougan, is ready to have her baby … and so is a poltergeist. Can the love of a woman for her man and child sustain her during the most horrible of terrors? Can the love between family and friends really dispel the evil haunting them?
Rachel snuggled deep within the confines of the down comforter, relaxed and content for the first time in months. Relieved to no longer have to cram for exams, write research papers or defend her thesis, she sighed, then closed her eyes. The travel time from Newark to Las Vegas, Nevada had been longer than expected due to storms, winding her nerves tighter than they already were. It was nice to finally settle down, stop moving and cease thinking. Within a few minutes, she drifted into a familiar dream world.
Subtle fragrances of leather and sandalwood filled the air. His memorable scent encompassed her. An eternity without him, or what seemed to be that long, ended as her dream lover drew near. A serene smile played at the corners of her lips. Dalton, it’s been awhile, she purred in her mind.
Behind her, the bed and covers shifted. He settled his body against her. Restless throbs of desire pulsed through her as she molded against him, wanting to be as close to him as possible. He nibbled on her earlobe and snaked his strong arms around her. Warm breath wisped over the side of her face.
“My star. My lovely wife. How good it is to have you in my arms.” Lips brushed her jaw just below her ear, sending tingles down her side and arm.
A quick burst of panic shot through her. This seems to be more than a lucid dream. Rachel reached behind her, with a cautious sweep of her arm and hand, hoping to find empty space.
Wild West Promise
Double D Ranch Tales Book 3
Times are wild on the Double D, and one ranch hand is in for the ride of a lifetime.
Maggie O’Hurley doesn’t know her life is about to change. When visiting the ranch to attend a friend’s bachelorette party, she meets a wrangler named Kent. Her immediate attraction to him revs up her libido, and she plans to do what’s needed to snag the sexy cowboy…including making a decision she never thought she would again.
Kent Samuels hasn’t been with a woman in ages. When a bewitching redhead steps into his path, his world tilts. She’s all he can think of. He doesn’t know if he’s able to give her forever, but he will give her what time he has. Once he does, he knows he can’t let her go.
Past experiences war with ideas for the future, but can the pair make promises they can keep?
The air tingled. Refusing to continue to entertain any thought of the weirdness that always plagued her when spirits appeared, she whispered, “Cut the shit. I refuse to believe you ghosts or spirits exist.” Not that her proclamation made it true, but if anything, her declaration made her feel superior.
She silently scoffed. What an ironic situation. Here she rejected any thoughts of apparitions, yet she ended up talking to the damned things anyway.
Maggie studied the cemetery. What looked to be new iron fencing and a matching gate surrounded the site. The designs of the metal-worked fence included Celtic symbols—ones that warded off evil. A cold brush of air graced her skin. Goosebumps broke out on her flesh. Were the special characters there to keep out the bad or keep it in?
Caught up in her musing about the dead, she barely noticed Kent’s arrival.
He dismounted from his horse, stood next to her and slid his hand against the small of her back. “I see the Dougan graveyard has entranced you.”
The chill from earlier intensified. “Is this only for Dougans?”
After she’d said the words, she realized how dumb she sounded and inched closer to him, seeking his warmth. “The big D in the design of the black, cast iron gates should have made it clear to me, don’t you think?”
Kent arched a brow and pushed up the rim of his black Stetson. “Yeah. It’s a bit of a dead give-away. No pun intended.”
A sense of something old and malevolent tugged at her. “How many generations are in this place?” She shivered, as if cool fingers tickled the length of her spine to say, ‘Yes, I’m here.’
“You cold?” He wrapped an arm around her. “Dang Mags, you’re shaking.”
It wasn’t the cold that had her trembling. No, it was the supernatural force attacking her senses, wanting her to recognize and acknowledge its dark presence.
Hi everyone, my name is Casey, and I write under the names C.R. Moss for erotic and mainstream romance and Casey Moss for mainstream dark fiction (horror, suspense, urban fantasy) and sometimes the stories have an erotic flare to them. My professional bio for C.R.: An eccentric and eclectic writer, C.R. Moss pens stories for the mainstream and erotic romance markets, giving readers a choice of sweet, savory or spicy reads, usually within a sub-genre or two — paranormal, sci-fi/fantasy, time travel, or western flare. The bio for my other persona: Casey Moss delves into the darker aspects of life in her writing, sometimes basing the stories on reality, sometimes on myth. No matter the path, her stories will take you on a journey from the light-hearted paranormal to dark things unspeakable. What waits around the corner? Come explore…
Coming Soon from C.R. Moss and other amazing authors… Get in, get down...and get filthy with these sexy, hardworking, blue-collar heroes who don't mind when things get a little dirty while at work or at play. This collection of 22 brand new stories from USA Today and International Best-Selling authors is full of scorching hot romance tales that will be sure to leave you breathless for more. These men work hard, and play even harder.
Pre-order your copy today!
A sheriff with a secret
And a second chance at love
When Sheriff West Garrett is called to the site of a grisly shooting, he finds the only woman he’s ever loved crying over the body and covered in blood. He never imagined this as their someday reunion!
But Tina Ellet is the target of a crazed stalker and West is her only protection. When her infant daughter is abducted, West risks everything to save the child and prove to Tina their love is worth fighting for.
A fierce and intense story with sharp twist and turns, that kept me on my toes, with deep emotions that had me sighing and even in tears once, with a hero who had me swooning all over tale, and a heroine who is willing to do anything to save her baby girl, and while at it, maybe restore that one relationship that once was everything to her.
The Garrett brothers won me over in the book one, no doubt about that. The unity, the teamwork, the passion for justice and to protect that they all share, as well as the family values and respect for their parents, the bond is a beautiful thing to witness.
Sheriff West Garrett is a solid man with a high sense of right and wrong. His honesty and dignity shine off from him, his charm wins most of the people over, and his dedication to his family, to his town, and to his job are admirable.
Tina Ellet has lived a rough life. Her childhood was filled with turbulence, abuse, and hunger for nurturing and nourishment. West was everything teenage Tina wanted, his family represented everything her young heart desired. But the need to escape her beginnings and to protect West from knowing the ugly truth of her family drove her away.
The chemistry between Tina and West was amazing. I love how even though they recognized the old feelings existing still deep in their hearts and minds, the first instinct they had was to handle the mess they were in the middle of, before dealing with the ardent emotions churning inside of them. There was something very natural in the tie between them. They were at ease with each other, they were honest with each other from the get-go, making the connection very real and realistic, while emotional, raw, and delightful.
The suspense is heightened throughout the story. The images the author draws were vivid and clear in my mind. The 'whodunit' is not as big of a deal as how to stop him, where to find him, and how to capture him without harming anyone else. I loved how the moment kept building up, how the tension kept growing, how the danger was possible behind every corner at moment. The strain from the past relationship, from the mistakes and actions by both Tina and West, brings its own stress to the tale, a different kind of uneasiness that heightens the anxiety and jitters even more.
A well-written story that flows smoothly off the pages captivating my mind. The emotions are high, the crimes are violent, the intensity is palpable, keeping the hold of my interest throughout the story, and making it impossible to put down until the sweetest, very satisfying ending that made me smile. 'A doozie of a tale in every way' was my first thought upon finishing it.
~ Five Spoons
Pretending He’s Mine by Mia Sosa
Series Love On Cue (Each book is a standalone.)
Genre Adult Contemporary Romance
Publisher Avon Impulse
Publication Date April 10, 2018
Mia Sosa returns with another fun, flirty romance in her critically-acclaimed Love on Cue series!
For Hollywood agent Julian Hart, representing his best friend—megastar Carter Williamson—means it’s nearly impossible to keep his personal life and career separate. To make matters worse, Carter’s younger sister has been starring in Julian’s wildest fantasies more often than he’d care to admit. He knows she’s off-limits, but when Ashley shows up on his doorstep, needing a place to crash… suddenly his greatest temptation is sleeping down the hall.
Free-spirited Ashley Williamson doesn’t do commitment. Jobs, apartments, men… why let herself be tied down? But she’s had a crush on her older brother’s best friend for years and she’s committed to making Julian want her, one towel-clad midnight encounter at a time. But just as things start heating up, their steamy flirtation is interrupted by Carter’s east coast wedding. Ashley has no desire to go home and face her reputation as the family disappointment. But living with—dare she say dating?—a successful, sexy film agent could give them something else to talk about.
Julian can’t believe he agreed to fake a relationship with the one woman he can never have. And it’s going to take more than a little willpower to remember it's all pretend. Or is it?
From Chapter Seven
The next morning, my doubts return, and I chuckle at my naïveté. Because why, oh why is the simple act of making breakfast together a challenge, too?
It’s not my fault, really. Several factors are conspiring against me.
The first? Biceps porn. Holy shit, it’s a thing. When he lifts the pan from the stove, his biceps flex like thick rubber bands. If he were to hold himself above me during sex, I’d see them at close range. Up, down, swivel, and repeat.
The second factor? That apron looks fucking glorious on him. The strings are tied snugly around his trim waist, which emphasizes the nearly perfect V formed by his broad chest and shoulders. Damn, it’s hot as hell in here. I fan myself, but it doesn’t help. So when I’m sure he’s not looking, I grab the mister off the counter and spritz my face.
He catches the sound, though, and draws back. “Jesus. Did you just spray yourself with that?”
“Yeah. Why?” I pull on the collar of my T-shirt to let in some air.
He snickers, his eyes gleaming with amusement. “Ashley, that’s olive oil. You need to wipe that off.”
Great. My cheeks are on fire, and now that there’s oil on them, I just might be the first human cooking surface in existence. Swallow me whole, Mother Earth.
Shaking his head at my gaffe, he preps the waffle mix while I use a paper towel to clean myself. I should use a cleanser or something, but I don’t want to miss the biceps porn—or the apron porn for that matter. Besides, olive oil must be good for the skin.
“No blueberries, right?” he asks.
“Yeah. And I remember you love strawberries, but I’m not putting them in my waffle maker. I’ll toss them on top.”
“Fine with me.”
I squeeze my fists at my sides when I discover there’s more porn. Whisk porn. He’s got a mixing bowl in one hand and a whisk in the other, and he’s beating that waffle mix like he’s its daddy.
He looks up and finds me staring at him. “Everything okay?”
I nod like a human bobblehead. “Mm-hmm.”
He transfers the mix to a measuring cup and pours the batter into the waffle maker. Then he flips it over. Oooh, it’s a double waffle maker. Fancy. Unaware that he’s the new host of my personal cooking show on the Julian Channel, he bends at the waist and wipes the metal plate with a kitchen towel, giving me a DVR-worthy view of his butt. His Nielsen ratings would go into the stratosphere every time he made that move.
“Can you wash the strawberries?” he asks.
Sure, no problem. That ass is going to get someone arrested one day.
Julian’s voice snatches me out of my happy place. “What?”
“The strawberries. Can you wash them?”
I shake my head and push out my lower lip. “Didn’t you hear me? I said, ‘Sure, no problem.’ ”
He laughs. “In your mind, maybe, but not out loud.”
“Sorry. Watching you cook requires my full attention. You’re so precise, and there are so many steps.” I retrieve the strawberries from the fridge and rinse them in the sink. How do I get these thoughts out of my head? What can I do to stop myself from wanting him? I should probably confiscate his apron. That would be a good place to start.
Beside me, Julian wipes down the counter. When he’s done, he bumps me with his hip and reaches for a clean strawberry, breaching my personal space to get to it. I try to bump him back, but he blocks me with his body, lifts the fruit over his head, and drops everything except the crown into his mouth.
The moment he bites into it, I sway on my feet. When he slides his tongue over his bottom lip to catch the juices, I swoon. Screw you, Julian. Screw you. But not really. What I really mean is, screw me, Julian. screw me.
From PRETENDING HE’S MINE. Used with permission of Avon Impulse. Copyright © 2018 by Mia Sosa.
About Mia Sosa
Mia Sosa was born and raised in New York City. She attended the University of Pennsylvania, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Communications and met her own romance hero (spoiler alert: she married him). Mia once dreamed of being a professional singer, but practical considerations (read: the need to generate income) led her to take the law school admissions test instead.
A graduate of Yale Law School, Mia practiced First Amendment and media law in the nation’s capital for ten years before returning to her creative roots. Now she spends most of her days writing contemporary romances about smart women and the complicated men who love them. Mia lives in Maryland with her husband and two daughters and will forever be on the hunt for the perfect karaoke bar.
Trick's Trap by Lucy Leroux
Series A Singular Obsession #5 (Each Story is Standalone)
Genre Adult Contemporary Romance
Publisher Candy Cap Publishing
Publication Date April 16, 2018
She’s a gamble he’s willing to take.
When world-class poker player Patrick Tyler meets his match, Tahlia, in an underground game, he’s immediately drawn to her swift talent and striking beauty. But it’s not long after their meeting that she mysteriously disappears. With nothing but a bloody crime scene as a clue to her whereabouts, she’s presumed dead.
Or so he thought…
A chance encounter changes everything.
Alone, afraid, and homeless, Tahlia needs Patrick now more than ever. Feeling compelled to help, he throws her a much-needed lifeline—a lady’s choice card game. When Tahlia’s family finds out Patrick’s plans, they will stop at nothing to get their hands on her. Will Tahlia be able to protect him from her family or will this game of high stakes end in the most devastating loss?
***Trick’s Trap is the fifth full-length novel in the Singular Obsession Series. No cliffhangers and no serials. HEA. Each novel stands alone. Not suitable for readers under 18.***
About Lucy Leroux
Lucy Leroux is another name for USA Today Bestselling Author L.B. Gilbert.
Seven years ago Lucy moved to France for a one-year research contract. Six months later she was living with a handsome Frenchman and is now happily married to him…and still in France.
When her last contract ended Lucy turned to writing. Frustrated by the lack of quality romance erotica she created her own.
Cursed is the first of many regency novels. Additionally, she writes a bestselling contemporary series. The ‘Singular Obsession’ books are a combination of steamy romance and suspense that feature intertwining characters in their own stand-alone stories. Follow her on twitter @lucythenovelist or http://www.facebook.com/lucythenovelist or visit http://www.authorlucyleroux.com.
*For fans of paranormal romance and adventure check out the author’s bestselling Elementals series. Fire: The Elementals Book One is now available on Kindle Unlimited.
Published April 9th 2018 by Entangled Publishing: Scandalous
For years, Daphne Wentworth, Countess Carrington has loved her powerful, enigmatic husband, despite the fact that they married under less than ideal circumstances. But no more. Finally at her breaking point, Daphne intends to create a scandal so big, her austere husband will have no choice but to divorce her. Except everything goes awry when he surprises her with the last thing she expected.
Sylvester Wentworth, Earl of Carrington, has returned to London for one reason—to seduce his wife. After a near-death experience, he is in need of an heir and means to make his marriage a real one. To his shock, though, his wicked, beautiful countess wants the exact opposite, and he must now do everything possible to entice his countess to stay forever.
Sylvester prowled over to her until she had to tilt her head back to meet his gaze. She blinked when he took the glass and set it on his desk and then returned to her. He cupped her cheek with one of his palms.
“My lord?” Daphne stared at him, alarm coursing through her veins. He’d never held her with such intimacy before.
She was unnerved by the rather intense look in his eyes. Anger warred with fascination, and she shot a glare at her glass on the desk. Was she already tipsy? That could be the only excuse to even be slightly captivated. What was happening?
He dragged her up against him, one hand curving to the swell of her hips. Her skin prickled with a depth of awareness that shocked her into rigidity. He smoothed a thumb along the curve of her lower lip. She let out a gasp when he pulled her hair pins out and the weight of her tresses tumbled to her shoulders.
“What are you doing?” she asked shakily.
He made no reply. Instead, the wretched man pressed his mouth to hers. They stilled, and her lips trembled against his. He had never kissed her before. They stood like that for what felt like forever, and she slowly became aware that his heart was pounding beneath the palm she had placed on his chest in denial. Her eyes that had instinctively closed flew open.
Oh! He was staring at her, and in the depth of his gaze, she spied surprise and desire so powerful her entire body quaked.
His lips moved, the stroke of his tongue against the closed seam of her lips tender, persuasive, arousing. Somewhere in the hazy back recesses of her mind, she hated her weakness for his touch. He coaxed her lips apart, and with a muffled gasp she submitted, her eyes fluttering closed. Sylvester grew more demanding, and she parted her lips farther, allowing him greater exploration. She made another incoherent sound. His tongue stroked against hers, and she jolted at the shocking and delightful intimacy. Daphne had not known a kiss could be like this, as if they were consuming the essence of each other.
Her husband was unyielding in his advances, and he kissed her over and over with devastating expertise. Something unknown was happening, and she felt panicked. An unbearable heat was twisting through her, and the sensations were too wonderful. She attempted gathering her senses, but his sensual assault did not abate, drowning away the protest before it fully formed.
A Montana Mountain Romance #2
by Dawn Luedecke
Genre: Historical Romance
One of the last outposts of the American West, the Montana Territory is filled with promise and adventure for those with brave souls—and open hearts . . .
Leader of the Timberbeasts, logger Simon Sanders’ biggest problem a year ago was deciding which willing woman to seduce. But since being mauled by a cougar he’s become a pariah in Missoula’s social circuit—and to himself. All he wants is to hide his scarred face and disappear into the bottom of a whiskey bottle. His plan is going well—until his sister’s best friend, Carrie Kerr, kidnaps him and forces him to deal with his demons. If he didn’t know better, Simon would swear the bossy beauty is a demon herself . . .
Carrie doesn’t like to use the word kidnap. Unknowingly transport, perhaps. In any case, she can no longer watch Simon destroy himself in self-pity. Not since she lost her heart to him as she nursed him back to health. Now, whatever happens between them, she’s determined to bring him back to the one place he swore he’d never return to, the place she’s sure will reignite his spirit. But if things go awry, will she
will she lose all hope for him to win back his life—much less share it with her? . . .
“Well written, well researched. Like the river, this plot runs faster and faster. Readers won’t be able to put it down.”
--New York Times bestselling author Jodi Thomas on White Water Passion
White Water Passion
A Montana Mountain Romance #1
The Montana Territory is one of the last outposts of the American West—where adventure as grand as the wide-open plains is around every corner, and passion as wild as the land itself beats in every heart . . .
Elizabeth Sanders isn’t afraid of anything, except what will happen to her beloved town if the Big Mountain Lumber Mill is destroyed. When she overhears a plot to do just that, she vows to put a stop to it, even if it means dressing as a young lumberjack to expose the saboteur. There’s only one problem with her plan—her brother’s handsome friend and fellow logger Garrett Jones, who arouses a desire within her soul as fierce as the river rapids.
When Garrett discovers that the odd new lad on the crew is in fact Beth, he’s shocked. A logging camp is no place for a young woman—especially the spirited beauty he’s admired for so long. Keeping her safe is easier said than done, however, as the attraction between them flares into true passion. As the danger mounts, Beth and Garrett must work together to survive the last log run down the wild rapids and claim any chance of saving the mill—and their chance at a future . . .
A country girl born and bred, Dawn Luedecke has spent most of her life surrounded by horses, country folk, and the wild terrain of Nevada, Idaho and Montana. She enjoys writing historical and contemporary romance and spends as much time as she can working on her current manuscript.
Follow the tour HERE for exclusive content and a giveaway!
Forbidden Chords Book 1
by Ja’Nese Dixon
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Millions of adoring fans dream of having one night with him, but only she has access to his heart.
Born with three commas in his bank account and melodies in his veins, Marques Carter is the rising prince of R&B. But not even his family name can guarantees success.
Brione Allen is a smart woman that made a dumb decision: trusting the wrong man. He blackmailed her family and now she’s bound by a debt they knew she couldn’t pay.
A chance meeting at his concert leads to an encrypted proposal: One week, one hundred thousand dollars, one incriminating secret. But when extortion and family ties expose them to the worst of the limelight, which secrets will they keep…and which will threaten their small light of hope?
If you like stories by Bella Andre and Layla Hagen, then this series is for you!
Brione couldn’t take her eyes off the stage. He shifted from left to right until he settled in a shoulder-width stance with one hand behind his back. Her eyes raked over his body from his black shoes to the loose black pants with a sequin detail up the sides of his legs. His muscles rippled under his snow-white shirt and Brione slowly gazed up to find Marques’ eyes and he winked.
Hidden in the haze of the dark room, she decided to give herself this moment. Tonight she wanted to be the version of herself that desired Marques. No one had to know.
Her heart beat louder than the drummer in her ears. Oh to have the skill to magically clear the room and have him all to herself.
Marques stepped to the microphone, “Tonight is a very special night and I plan to make it one you’ll never…ever…forget,” he said to the room but his eyes remained locked on hers.
Ja’Nese Dixon writes tales of romance laced with strong women and stronger men. My happily ever afters are meant to inspire. So, if you’re looking for a page turner that will leave you blushing, with your heart racing, and lying to yourself about reading “just one more chapter” then grab a book.
She is an avid reader and coffee drinker, who also loves to run, cook, and quilt (and not in that order). Her ultimate goal as a writer is to give you a little “staycation” with every story.
Ja’Nese calls Houston home with her husband, three kiddos, and a four-legged diva dog. Visit her website at http://www.janesedixon.com if you enjoy romance, suspense, and good sweet & spicy stories that inspire.
Enter the Author's giveaway HERE!
(ends March 25th)
Unmasked By The Marquess by Cat Sebastian
Series The Regency Impostors #1
Genre Adult Historical Romance
Publisher Avon Impulse
Publication Date April 17, 2018
The one you love…
Robert Selby is determined to see his sister make an advantageous match. But he has two problems: the Selbys have no connections or money and Robert is really a housemaid named Charity Church. She’s enjoyed every minute of her masquerade over the past six years, but she knows her pretense is nearing an end. Charity needs to see her beloved friend married well and then Robert Selby will disappear…forever.
May not be who you think…
Alistair, Marquess of Pembroke, has spent years repairing the estate ruined by his wastrel father, and nothing is more important than protecting his fortune and name. He shouldn’t be so beguiled by the charming young man who shows up on his doorstep asking for favors. And he certainly shouldn’t be thinking of all the disreputable things he’d like to do to the impertinent scamp.
But is who you need…
When Charity’s true nature is revealed, Alistair knows he can’t marry a scandalous woman in breeches, and Charity isn’t about to lace herself into a corset and play a respectable miss. Can these stubborn souls learn to sacrifice what they’ve always wanted for a love that is more than they could have imagined?
“Regardless,” Charity said, “it would be odd if I refused his invitation to join his club. I didn’t drink all that much, and I didn’t lose any money at the tables. I promise that there’s nothing for you to worry about.” At least, nothing more than the usual. “Besides, since when do you object to a gentleman having a bit of harmless fun?”
Louisa stared at her, mouth hanging open. “Charity, you are not a gentleman,” she whispered.
Charity felt herself blush. It wasn’t as if she could protest, but the fact of the matter was that she felt more like a gentleman than she did anything else. Cheeks hot, she said, “You know what I meant.”
They stood there for a moment, regarding one another—Louisa in her white dressing gown and hair in curling papers, Charity in rumpled evening clothes, cravat rakishly askew.
“What are you going to do after I marry, Charity?” Louisa asked, breaking the silence.
“I don’t know.” Charity glanced away from Louisa’s face, taking in the peeling paint on the door frame. “There’s the gamekeeper’s cottage at Fenshawe. I could stay there,” she said, knowing it for a lie.
Louisa wrapped her dressing gown tightly around her. “But we won’t own Fenshawe after Cousin Clifton inherits.”
The “we” was generous. Charity had never owned anything, least of all the estate of Fenshawe. Robbie had owned it. And since it had been entailed, it ought to have passed to his cousin. But when Robbie died, Charity had already been attending Cambridge under his name. Her thoughts muddled by grief and confusion, it didn’t seem so terrible to keep quiet about Robbie’s death and step into his shoes at home as well. The cousin, living in Dorset, could be kept in ignorance.
Sometimes when Charity was having a hard time falling asleep, she tried to think of exactly how many laws she had broken, how many ways she ought to have been hanged or transported. But Robbie had scarcely any property that wasn’t entailed. Louisa, not yet sixteen, would have been destitute and homeless. For the two years since Robbie’s death, they had stinted and scraped together enough money out of the estate’s income to fund this season in London and put together a modest dowry for Louisa. The plan was for Louisa to marry and then they would figure out a way to set things right, to let the cousin inherit and to allow Charity to go back to being herself.
Whoever that was.
“I could live with you, after your marriage,” Charity countered, already knowing that it could never happen.
“You know I'd love nothing more,” Louisa said, and Charity believed it. “But I just realized that whoever I marry will recognize you as my brother. You can’t very well put on a gown and hope nobody notices the resemblance.”
Charity had known that from the beginning. There could be no happy ending to this deception. Even when Robbie was alive and healthy and brash and persuasive, she had understood that if she went to Cambridge in his stead there would be no going back to being plain Charity.
Even if there were, she didn’t want any part of it. There would be no more gowns, no more floors to scrub.
Neither could she continue as Robert Selby one minute longer than strictly necessary. Charity didn’t have the stomach for it.
She would be alone, adrift, with no name and no friends. She would, in fact, be in much the same situation she had been in before arriving at Fenshawe over fifteen years ago. The only difference was that this time her aloneness would be the result of her own choice, a sacrifice she had made to protect the one person who was left to her. She looked fondly at Louisa.
“Charity, where will you go?” Louisa asked with her eyes wide. “What will we do?”
She leaned forward and kissed Louisa on the cheek. “Never mind that, my girl. I have it all in hand,” she lied.
Tour Wide Giveaway
To celebrate the release of UNMASKED BY THE MARQUESS, we’re giving away one paperback copy of THE RUIN OF A RAKE by Cat Sebastian!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open to US shipping addresses only. One winner will receive a paperback copy of The Ruin of a Rake by Cat Sebastian. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance. Giveaway ends 4/22/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copies out to the winner directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address. Duplicates will be deleted. CLICK HERE TO ENTER!
About Cat Sebastian
Cat Sebastian lives in a swampy part of the South with her husband, three kids, and two dogs. Before her kids were born, she practiced law and taught high school and college writing. When she isn’t reading or writing, she’s doing crossword puzzles, bird watching, and wondering where she put her coffee cup.
Kiss the Sky
by MK Schiller
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Love can move mountains . . .
Strong, athletic, and driven, Tristan Sinclair is determined to fulfill his late brother’s wish to climb Pakistan’s K2, the world’s second highest mountain. He never expects part of the challenge will be getting along with one of his fellow climbers—or that the greatest peril may lie beyond the summit . . .
A passionate, life-long climber, Pakistan born Farah Nawaz is skeptical of the hotshot from Arizona. But as she and Tristan help each other conquer obstacle after obstacle, they find they have more in common than they thought—including a simmering attraction. And when suspicious deaths put them in the sights of a ruthless killer, they’ll have to cover their tracks long enough to find out why—and stay alive for a future together . . .
If she wasn’t surrounded by earthly beauty, she might have noticed Tristan Sinclair more often. She might have studied the ways his muscles bulged against his shirt. She might even have chanced a few long looks of his backside and broad shoulders. Or observed how often he dragged his hand through his thick hair when he was frustrated or gritted his teeth when he was angry. Surely, she would have wondered a thousand times what the band of black with tiny roman numerals tattooed around his left forearm meant. It was a date, exactly one year ago from today.
Did that have anything to do with why he was acting so somber?
But everything else was too beautiful, and she was far too busy so she just didn’t notice. And if she kept telling herself that, she might just start to believe it.
She was doing the cooking tonight. She stirred a kettle of soup and studied the landscape. They were at Camp II. They would be upon the serac soon, a solid ridge of glacial ice. The days would be colder, leaving less time and energy for wayward thoughts. Their days were filled with hiking, setting up supplies, and acclimatizing. Each time the group reached higher ground, they had to settle in and get used to the thinning air for several days. Otherwise they would risk exposure, pulmonary edema, or possible aneurysm. The human body had to adjust to the physical changes.
Ahmed and Tristan discussed the routes they were taking over the next few days. In a big ice climb, there was usually a ratio of ten to one between planning and actual mountaineering. Tristan suggested they leave behind more supplies so they could reach higher elevation earlier. Ahmed was quick to agree.
Tristan had the kind of presence that turned heads. The few women she’d noticed at the Shalimar when they had dinner had paused in conversation to drink him in. Men seemed to affirm and favor whatever direction he gave.
His confidence never shifted toward arrogance, though. Tristan Sinclair was wisdom interlaced with wit. A methodical explorer whose crooked smile made the air at these high elevations even thinner.
She quickly looked away when he glanced at her. This was getting ridiculous. How could hormones live and thrive at six thousand meters? The way he gazed at her, sought her out during hikes, and sat next to her at meals left little doubt the feelings were mutual. That didn’t make them any less dangerous. He released both the calm and the chaos inside of her. If she gave into those feelings, it would result in a tragic storm.
Being the only woman in the expedition meant she had to remain professional and distant. There were strong expectations placed on her, and her failures would be judged more harshly. She had always listened to a tune that others didn’t hear. It had been a difficult road for her, especially when non-conformity was often confused with disrespect. But she had endured the struggles to carve out a life she loved. She wasn’t about to throw away all those years of hard work and a chance to summit for a stupid crush.
“So what does someone need to do to get a cup of coffee around here?”
Malcolm asked, jerking his head toward the fire.
“Make it,” she responded. “I could use a cup of tea myself. Thank you for offering.”
Malcolm laughed good-naturedly, a pretty rare occurrence for him. Except for Ahmed, she hadn’t known the others in the expedition very well when they started out. They’d had a few meet-and-greets via video chat set up by Ahmed. But the days of hiking and camping had caused an easy camaraderie among the team. Even Malcolm seemed less grouchy. Ahmed still narrowed his eyes whenever Tristan and she talked, but he never repeated his warning to her. Then again, she and Tristan had remained friendly, always edging that symbolic line in the sand, the one that had a huge sign posted no trespassing. They had both drawn the line out of necessity. Neither of them crossed it, like an unwritten pact.
MK Schiller is a hopeless romantic in a hopelessly pragmatic world. In the dark of night, she sits by the warm glow of her computer monitor, reading or writing, usually with some tasty Italian…the food that is! She started imagining stories in her head at a very young age. In fact, she got so good at it that friends asked her to create plots featuring them as the heroine and the object of their affection as the hero. She hopes you enjoy her stories and find The Happily Ever After in every endeavor. M.K. Schiller loves hearing from readers.
Be A Good Girl by Tess Diamond
Series n/a; standalone
Genre Adult Romantic Suspense
Publisher Avon Books
Publication Date March 27, 2018
In Tess Diamond’s third romantic thriller, an FBI agent teams up with the one woman who can offer the salvation he needs as they search for a serial killer.
As the head of an elite FBI unit, Special Agent Paul Harrison seems to have everything figured out, but beneath the surface, an internal war is raging. When he returns to his rural hometown for the first time in a few years, he’s faced with the memories that led to his losing the love of his life.
Fifteen years ago, Abigail Winthrop’s best friend, and Paul’s girlfriend, was murdered by the infamous serial killer, Doctor X. Now an investigative journalist, she’s determined to find the truth. But when Abigail discovers evidence that clears Doctor X, she realizes the real killer is still out there and is striking again when local young girls begin disappearing.
Turning to Paul for help, Abigail joins forces with him. As an undeniable attraction develops between them, they must heal deep wounds from their past—and find a relentless psychopath who could extinguish their hopes for a future together.
The images created in the mind of a reader are harsh, intense, and violent. The story takes the mind to the dangerous and deadly road of hunting for a serial killer where no one is safe, where the target is clear, yet the culprit manages to outsmart the law, the best in the field to find the killers and solve the fatal situations. The story is riveting, it is nearly spellbinding in a way it wrapped itself around my mind making it unputdownable until the end was there, in the early morning hours when the culprits were caught, and I could breathe again.
The suspense is savage and cruel. There are the Hannibal Lecter-moments that had me biting my nails, bringing the nightmarish atmosphere to the tale. There are those desperate moments when hunting for clues, the moments of knowing something to be true yet unable to prove it. I was mesmerized by the teamwork and the effort the characters put into the case, their dedication and determination were admirable.
For the perfect balance for the ghoulish serial killer hunt, bringing a different kind of intensity to the stage was the lifelong relationship between Special Agent Paul Harrison and Abigail Winthrop. The chemistry between Paul and Abigail was palpable, yet the tension of the past mistakes, the hurt, and the secrets revealed are like a wall between the childhood friends.
The budding romantic relationship has a solid foundation between the two who had most of their lives been the home, the safe place, to each other. Yet there were issues they needed to solve, to talk through, to heal from, forget and forgive. The attraction between them is as tangible as the connection they have. Being in each other's arms there is a fervent passion but also there are healing powers in the tender touch, in the hugs, and the kisses they share with each other in the middle of the mayhem and commotion.
Could the emotions between them and churning inside of them been taken to another level, deeper depth to bring more angst to the tale - sure, but in my mind, the crimes of the serial killer were such vicious, heinous acts, the new state of the relationship between Paul and Abigail was the counterbalance I needed, just as it was, to be able to truly enjoy the story without taking me completely into a dark abyss of the turmoil.
An alluring tale of two childhood friends who are in the middle of the turmoil with a serial killer on the loose and hunting for the next victim. The crimes are ghastly, violent, unimaginable, yet the tender, sweet, compelling attraction and deep emotion between the hero and the heroine bring the perfect balance to this intense, strong, and powerful romantic suspense story.
I loved it, could not put it down until the end, the smoothly flowing, well-written tale just pulled me in and kept the hold.
~ Five Spoons
Abby took a deep breath, her eyes settling on the words. This was it. In just minutes, she’d be face-to-face with him. Her heart was hammering in her chest at the thought.
She turned back to Stan, and was surprised at how troubled the older man looked.
“Are you sure about this?” he asked her.
“I’m a big girl, Stan,” she said. “You don’t have to worry about me.”
“Look . . .” He licked his lips, looking nervous.
“He’s tricky. Really tricky.”
“I’ve heard the rumors,” Abby said.
She didn’t need the rumors. She knew from real life exactly how sick the man she was about to meet was. She had spent the last two years learning everything there was to know about him. She’d talked to every teacher he’d ever had, every relative who was willing to speak to her and not slam the door in her face. She’d talked to every single person who’d even had a modicum of contact with Howard Wells, better known as Dr. X.
She knew him. And she was about to use that knowledge to get what she wanted from him.
“I just want you to be careful,” Stan said. “He knows exactly what to say to get to you.”
“I know he talked an inmate into killing himself,” Abby said.
“Not just one,” Stan said quietly, looking over his shoulder nervously before lowering his voice and adding, “And not just inmates.”
Abby’s eyes widened at the implication. She knew she should press Stan for more information, but she also knew she could ferret out the truth herself with a little research. She didn’t want to make him even more nervous, especially because he was authorized to cut her meeting short if he deemed the situation unsafe. “I appreciate your concern,” she told Stan.
“But I’ll only be asking him questions.”
“Okay,” Stan said. “Just don’t get too close.” He took her through the same rundown she’d gotten when she’d first entered the prison: no contact, no passing the prisoner anything, and no getting within even ten feet of the prisoner. Abby had a feeling that the last one was a specific rule for the man she was about to see.
The solitary wing was quiet as they walked through it to the very end, where a door led to another, even more isolated section.
“Inmate 3847, your visitor is here,” Stan called out. Abby’s skin prickled at the change in his voice. When talking with her, he had been kind, almost grandfatherly. But now, his voice was stern and authoritative, full of “don’t fuck with me” attitude.
“You sit here,” Stan said, pointing his baton at the bench set a good ten feet away from the thick, clear plastic wall that made up the front of Howard’s cell. “Inmate 3847, come forward.”
There was a pause, and Abby had to bite the inside of her cheek as he shuffled into view.
Howard Wells was fifteen years older than the last time she’d seen a picture of him, but he was no less terrifying. Goose bumps—the dreadful, horror-filled kind—spread across her skin as his eyes met hers.
His hair was gray now, slicked back, the comb tracks visible, like he’d carefully groomed it for this meeting. His orange jumpsuit was clean and tidy, his bright blue eyes shining in his craggy face.
His feet were shackled, but instead of his hands being cuffed, he was in a straitjacket, his arms lashed to his sides. Despite this, he held himself like he was the emperor of his own tiny kingdom. Like she was a serf who had the honor of experiencing his presence.
Abby showed no emotion as she sat down, placing her notebook and pen in her lap. Stan hovered in the corner, and Abby gave him a small nod.
“I’ll be right outside,” he said. “Panic button is right here.” He pointed meaningfully at the red button on the wall. “Don’t try any of your manipulative shit, Wells.”
A light tsking sound filled the air as Stan left them alone, and Abby stared at him. He came forward, so he was just inches behind the thick sheet of Plexiglas that kept him from going for her. “Abigail Winthrop,” he said.
“Hello, Howard,” she said. She refused to call him Mr. Wells. And she certainly wasn’t going to call him Doctor. There wasn’t going to be any deference here.
She wasn’t playing his game. She was here for answers—and she was going to get them…
Tour Wide Giveaway
To celebrate the release of BE A GOOD GIRL, we’re giving away a paperback copy of SUCH A PRETTY GIRL by Tess Diamond!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open to US shipping addresses only. One winner will receive a paperback copy of Such A Pretty Girl by Tess Diamond. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance. Giveaway ends 4/10/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copies out to the winner directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address. Duplicates will be deleted. CLICK HERE TO ENTER!
About Tess Diamond
Tess Diamond is a romantic suspense addict with a taste for danger – and chocolate cake. She lives in Colorado Springs with her law enforcement husband, two kids, and ferocious Jack Russell guard dog. She always dreamed of being an FBI agent, and now she almost is – if watching 24 reruns and plotting her next novel counts.
Published April 9th 2018 by Entangled: Lovestruck
Hannah Daniels reads steamy romance novels to forget her last trip on the love roller coaster shredded her heart and tossed it like confetti. Her instincts about men stink, but at work they’re on point. Only her busy schedule means she reads whenever she can make time. Like at the laundromat while sitting on top of a washing machine. Don’t judge.
Firefighter Mason McNally has searched his whole life for a woman who stirs his soul. When he finds her, she’s nose-deep in a racy paperback atop a vibrating washer. Herbeauty, boldness, and raw sensuality ignite his interest. But there’s a problem. He’s forgotten he’s wearing a wedding ring.
No amount of hasty explanations that it’s for his brother’s psychology experiment convinces her to give him a chance. But he’s rushed into fiery situations before, and this woman is totally worth the risk. He’ll just have to prove to her that first impressions can be wrong and their spark of attraction is oh so right.
Wide-eyed, Hannah looked up at him. He reached out as if in a dream, tucked his fingers underneath her chin, and angled her mouth up to accept his. He brushed his lips softly against hers, wondering if she’d resist him. Her eyelids drifted closed, and he let himself taste her. Gently, he kissed her, fighting the urge to push and plunder. She crept her hands up his body and flattened her palms against his chest, resting them there for a second before she firmly pushed him away.
As her heavily fringed lids fluttered open, she said, “I don’t know you. You have no right to kiss me.”
Cocking his head to the side, he wondered if she was more upset that he’d kissed her, or that he’d stopped. From the way her chest hitched with every breath, he’d bet his paycheck on the latter. Still, she denied the attraction.
“That was not a kiss.”
“Excuse me? I know when I’ve been kissed,” she said breathily.
“This is a kiss.” Mason reached for her and molded his hands on either side of her creamy oval face. Energy pulsed through him as he pressed his lips to hers. He had one chance to assault her senses the way she did to him with just her presence. A physical expression of just how she made him feel. No softness this time, no holding back.
He pressed his body against hers, his lips firm where hers were pliant. He swallowed her moan as she parted her lips, allowing him inside. His head rushed with the refreshing minty taste of her. He seduced her with the kiss. Caressing. Nipping. Inviting. Taking.
When she ran her fingers through his hair, he relaxed his grip. Reluctantly, he pulled away and gazed at her expression, eyes closed, lips still parted. He grinned down at her as her eyes flickered open, the dichotomy of a single blue and a single green eye studying him intently. Derek was an idiot with his ideas about symmetry. The play of the two colors against each other was amazingly sexy.
“That was a kiss,” she whispered, licking her lips.
Jenna Bayley-Burke is known for her fun, sexy romance novels, baking banana bread and over volunteering. She thinks she has the best jobs in the world: mother, wife, and author. When she’s not lost in her latest story, she can be found pursuing whatever hobby her characters are enamored with: photography, yoga, planning, traveling, crafts and cooking up a storm.
Keep up with Jenna online: Newsletter • Website • Facebook • Twitter • Pinterest • Blog •
Never Been Good by Christi Barth
Series Bad Boys Gone Good #2
Genre Adult Contemporary Romance
Publisher Avon Impulse
Publication Date April 3, 2018
Flynn Maguire isn’t really a bad guy. Sure, he worked for the mob, but he ran a legitimate business—on paper anyway—and it paid enough to keep his brother out of the lifestyle. Until they turned on him. Now he’s stuck in Witness Protection, tending bar in Nowheresville Oregon… and pissed the life he knew is gone.
The only bright spot? Fantasizing about his quiet, secretive, beautiful coworker.
Sierra Williams is a woman on the run. All she wants now is to settle into small town life… and ignore the brooding, sexy bartender who can’t seem to take his eyes off her. Flynn’s bad-boy vibe pushes all her buttons, but Sierra fell for the wrong man once already. She can’t afford to let her guard down again. Except Flynn’s tough exterior is slowly melting away to reveal the sweet man beneath and their attraction is too strong to resist.
Sierra and Flynn are falling fast, but they’re both keeping so many secrets. The truth could ruin everything… unless a girl who’s a little bad is perfect for a guy who’s never really been good.
Seven Months Earlier
Graceland Cemetery, Chicago
11:30 p.m., October 31
“This is nice.” Frank Mullaney’s brother nudged him, flashing a grin from behind the enormous fake white beard. “We haven’t celebrated a Halloween together in years.”
Yeah. His brother Ryan had lost his mind, no doubt about it. His brother, who happened to be currently dressed like Santa Claus. On freaking Halloween.
Not that it was any better than his own off-season costume. Frank had flat-out refused—at first—when Ryan laid the leprechaun costume across his bed. Until he pointed out the two best points of the costume. A big red beard and hat that would totally disguise Frank’s features, and a fake pot of gold. Aka something that wouldn’t look weird for him to be carrying, just like the bag good old Santa had draped over his shoulder.
Since it turned out that just under two million in cash couldn’t be stuffed in your pockets.
Especially not when traipsing through a cemetery. On Halloween. At almost midnight, surrounded by drunken, screaming people on ghost tours.
“That’s probably because we’re grown ass men. Trick or treating would be weird at our age.” The thought of candy made Frank remember that he’d skipped lunch. And dinner. Because Ryan showed up at his front door with costumes and this crazy plan. “Although I wouldn’t say no if you pulled a Snickers out of your pocket and tossed it my way.”
Ignoring him, Ryan continued, his voice a little softer. “We haven’t celebrated Halloween since Mom died.”
Way to bring the mood back to serious-as-fuck. Grim enough to match the gravestones they were skirting. “You mean since she was murdered.” Because Ryan had just shared that little bombshell with him. It was still rattling around in his head like a pinball. God knew it hadn’t sunk in yet.
Ryan stopped at the edge of a replica of a Greek temple. He dropped his sack onto the concrete foundation of the tomb. Fisted his hands on the red velvet and padding near his waist. “Can we not talk about that right now? One thing at a time. Let’s get through tonight. Through the next couple of weeks. Then, I promise, we’ll sit down and hash everything out.”
Classic Ryan. Solving problems. Staying focused on the long game. It was exactly what he did as the right hand man for the leader of the Chicago mob.
Did…past tense. Seeing as how today he and Frank had stolen all of the mob’s cash. And then tomorrow, they’d watch their colleagues and friends get arrested in a sting—and hopefully the missing money would be attributed to the Fed’s raid. After that, the Mullaney brothers would disappear forever, courtesy of the U.S. Marshals Service.
Frank shifted his weight from one foot to the other. The frost-bitten grass made a crunching sound. Probably similar to the one his bones would make if this whole plan failed and the mob ever caught up with them.
“Are you going to talk to Kieran, too?” Because their little brother was out of the loop on all of it. He had no idea that his big brothers were even in the mob, let alone close to the top. He was balls deep in law school.
Until they ripped that away from him.
Just to save Frank.
How was that fair? God. Frank swallowed so hard he swore he could hear his Adam’s apple scraping against his throat.
Ryan’s blue eyes shifted to the side. Easy enough to see his discomfort at being pinned down, with the whole place lit up with spotlights and luminarios along the paths and footlights edging the most famous tombs. “You and I will talk first. Then we’ll decide, together, how far in to dial Kieran.”
“You think he’ll hate us?”
Ryan’s mouth turned downward into a bitter smirk. “Since it was all my idea to put us into Witness Protection, yeah, I’m sure he’ll hate me. For a while. Pretty sure that you will, too. Once our new reality hits.”
“No way. Not possible.” The only way they’d survived the death of their mom was by banding together as tight as stucco on drywall. Their dad dying…ah, no. Being murdered by McGinty, per the other surprise truth Ryan laid on him today. Their dad’s death had made their bond more unshakeable. Strong enough to get them through their worst days. It made them strong enough to survive anything, as long as the three of them were together. He could never, would never hate Ryan.
“I’ll check back in with you in a month, when you’re jonesing for an MMA fight.”
How many more surprises were coming? Frank shook his head. “I can’t fight anymore?” The mixed martial arts training started as a way to prove that even though he sat behind a desk, he was just as tough as everyone else in McGinty’s organization. Appearances mattered. Respect had to be earned.
Kicking ass in the ring went a long way to making sure people stopped calling him a pencil pusher. But he liked it, too. Liked teaching the skills to kids so they could defend themselves. A good fight worked out all his stress. And yeah, he’d cop to getting a thrill from winning the competitions, too.
“Keeping our noses clean is a pretty big requirement in WITSEC. I think an underground fight club wouldn’t go over—” Ryan broke off. Grabbed Frank by the neck and pulled him down behind the marble tomb.
Ryan put his finger to his lips. Then he pointed at another tour group, coming at them from the edge of the lake. This one was full of shivering women in skimpy versions of superhero costumes, hanging on the arms of already drunk and stumbling men.
Tour Wide Giveaway
To celebrate the release of NEVER BEEN GOOD, we’re giving away two paperback copies of BAD FOR HER by Christi Barth!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open to US shipping addresses only. Two winners will each receive a paperback copy of Bad For Her by Christi Barth. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance. Giveaway ends 4/9/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copies out to the winner directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address. Duplicates will be deleted. CLICK HERE TO ENTER!
About Christi Barth
USA Today bestseller Christi Barth earned a Masters degree in vocal performance and embarked upon a career on the stage. A love of romance then drew her to wedding planning. Ultimately she succumbed to her lifelong love of books and now writes award-winning contemporary romance.
Christi can always be found either whipping up gourmet meals (for fun, honest!) or with her nose in a book. She lives in Maryland with the best husband in the world.