Who Will It Be???
Passion and danger collide in the latest contemporary romance featuring the Lawless siblings—from New York Times bestselling author Lexi Blake.
When Drew Lawless discovers a fatal flaw in his plan to avenge his parents’ deaths, he turns to the one woman he promised he wouldn’t touch. He offers her a deal, one that will bring her into his investigation, his life, and his bed.
Investigative reporter Shelby Gates never dreamed how twisted the case would become—or how fascinated she would be with Drew. Every day they spend together binds them. And every night brings her closer to realizing he might be the man for her.
As Drew’s feelings for Shelby grow, so does the danger. From the streets of Dallas to Austin’s high-tech business world, Drew and Shelby play a game begun twenty years before—a game they will win, or die trying.
This is the third book in the Lawless series by Lexi Blake and it’s about the most difficult of the Lawless boys and that’s Drew. The ongoing storyline of who killed the Lawless kids parents comes to a conclusion, and it’s quite a whopper of an ending. No big surprise though, Lexi is fantastic at coming up with some mega-amazing plot bunnies. And no, I’m not going to disclose any here.
Drew has been dealing with pesky reporter Shelby Gates who has been trying to look into his parents deaths, but he’s been throwing road blocks at her, including lawyers. Now, he plans to use Shelby to solve the case once and for all, especially since he knows who the fourth culprit is and he plans on using Shelby to draw them out. He has her sign a contract, promising her the rights to the information so she can publish, but he has no intention on letting her keep that material. He also has her pretend to be his girlfriend. This would never backfire on him, would it?
As always, I just loved this book, though there were so many times in this book I wanted to drop kick Drew for his behavior and how he planned on treating Shelby. But, a happy ending was had by all. And just maybe we’ll get another book out of this series with Noah? Unless he crosses over into Ian’s world.
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Shelby brushed her lips against his, her whole body seeming to come to life. His lips were soft, his hands tight. He was enveloping her and she was completely defenseless against him.
She wrapped her arms around him as the kiss deepened, and suddenly she didn’t want to play it safe anymore. She’d been in her shell for so long and she wanted to come out of it, wanted to feel again. She dragged her tongue over his lower lip, and it seemed to awaken the beast in Drew.
He took over, the kiss going from sweet to carnal in an instant. His mouth opened, tongue sliding over hers and dominating with strength and a sensuality she’d never come across before. He kissed her long and hard, his hands molding to the curves of her body. Over and over again his tongue danced with hers. Never before had a kiss seemed so effortless. It was like they’d been kissing forever.
For a man who claimed he was socially awkward, he sure could kiss like a god.
It was getting out of hand, but she didn’t care. Nothing mattered except getting more of him. She could feel his cock under her, hardening, lengthening, getting ready for what it was meant to do. He could ease her back against the table, pull off her jeans and panties. It would be incendiary, like a rocket going off, an explosion she couldn’t contain. She could feel herself getting soft and wet and ready for him, as though her body had recognized its natural mate and wasn’t taking no for an answer.
“See, I told you we have chemistry.” His words rumbled along her lips.
She couldn’t argue with him. The world around them seemed hazy and unreal. There was nothing except his touch and scent and the sight of his eyes looking at her like he could eat her up. She knew she should stop him, knew it was getting out of control, but she couldn’t find the will. It had been so damn long since she wanted something she could actually have.
She wanted him.
Shelby let her fingers sink into his hair, drawing him back down. Breakfast could wait. She needed more of him.
NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Lexi Blake lives in North Texas with her husband, three kids, and the laziest rescue dog int eh world. She began writing at a young age, concentrating on plays and journalism. It wasn’t until she started writing romance and urban fantasy that she found the stories of her heart. She likes to find humor in the strangest places and believes in happy endings no matter how odd the couple, threesome, or foursome may seem.
I gave up everything for her, and she never even knew it. When I saved her from the mafia, I traded my freedom for hers. I’ve never regretted it. Never looked back. I cut her out of my life to keep her safe.
I did everything I could to protect her from the retribution of the Italian Mafia, but it wasn’t enough. They’re after her again, and all that’s standing between her and the darkest fate imaginable is me.
It’s scary the things you can close your eyes to. Even after I was rescued from men who wanted to do the worst things to me, I went on with my life. I forgot all about the threats of the mafia, about what they forced me to do, and even the man who saved me from them.
But now, my hero has returned, and just in a nick of time. Because the mafia is coming for me, and this time, I don’t know if we’re going to get out of this alive.
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The orange afternoon sun is on my back when I bring my car to a stop about a block away from the well-to-do little store on the corner of the street. When I turn my ignition off, I lean back and just stare at it, letting out a deep breath.
How long has it been?
The light playing off the glass window panes make it impossible to see inside the shop, but the sign outside is clear as ever: Bathing Beauty. I feel a smile on my face. As many mixed memories as it stirs up in me, there’s something comforting about knowing it’s still there, unchanged as ever. Maybe even a little nicer.
All thanks to her.
I catch a glimpse of myself in the car mirror. I’ve changed so much over the years. It feels like a lifetime ago that I was just a teenager, freshly landed in America. I kept my hair cut short back then, and my face was clean-shaven. I run a hand through the long locks that hang nearly to my shoulders now. It’s grown out thick and wavy. Even I have to admit it’s unkempt, and the short, coarse black beard on my face matches.
My voice sounds different, too. I think back to the thick accent I had in those years that I was still learning English, fresh from the old country. I’m so used to it now that English almost sounds as natural as my native Italian on my tongue. I might as well be a different person.
Better that way, I think. When I look into that mirror, I’m not sure I even see myself anymore. What I do see is the face of a man who’s done terrible things. A “made man,” they call us in this country. Mafioso.
What are you really doing here, Bruno?
My mind flashes back to her face, that gorgeous face that’s kept me going all this time. A bright candle in the darkness.
That face doesn’t need to know fear ever again. It doesn’t need to know me.
So why am I here, coming to risk dragging the past back? I don’t dare turn the ignition and drive off. I’ve made my decision, and I’m a man of my word.
After all, I tell myself, I’m not here just to see her, to remind myself that she’s alive and living happily, that what I did for her was all worth it. I’m here to make sure she’s safe.
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Alexis Abbott is a USA Today & Wall Street Journal bestselling author who writes about bad boys protecting their girls! Pick up her books today and find yourself transported with super steamy sex, gritty suspense, and lots of romance.
She also writes as Alex Abbott for her erotic thrillers and contemporary romance.
She lives in beautiful St. John’s, NL, Canada with her amazing husband.
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Tied, the anticipated follow-up to Torn, by Carian Cole releases on MONDAY, June 26th!
He’s the only one that has ever made me feel. And I want to make him feel, too.
He was the myth and the legend of our small town. But no one knew the truth… except me.
My childhood was stolen by a monster. I’ve forgotten what love feels like. What happiness feels like. What hope feels like. I am numb.
He’s possibly as damaged as I am. Maybe even more. Scarred just as much on the inside as the outside. Just like me. He doesn’t speak. He doesn’t smile. He hides in the woods like an animal. I should be scared of him. But I’m not. He’s the only one that has ever made me feel. And I want to make him feel, too. everything…
Read Torn, the first book in this series (all can be read standalone):
About the Author:
I have a passion for the bad boys, those covered in tattoos, sexy smirks, ripped jeans, fast cars, motorcycles and of course, the sweet girls that try to tame them and win their hearts.
My first novel in the best-selling Ashes & Embers series, Storm, published in September of 2014. I have many books and sequels slated for this series. My new spin-off series, Devils Wolves, launched in 2016 with the best-selling novel, Torn. There are several books planned for this series as well.
Born and raised a Jersey girl, I now reside in beautiful New Hampshire with my husband and our multitude of furry pets and spend most of my time writing, reading, and vacuuming.
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Web site: www.cariancole.com
Captive Vow by Alta Hensley is Available NOW!
#FREE with Kindle Unlimited
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“Wow, what a magnificent dark thriller!” – Romantic Angel Blog
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I take you.
To honor and obey.
Till death do us part.
This is my solemn vow.
I am caught in the madness of a deep obsession. Stolen away to become his perfect and dutiful wife.
Trapped in a twisted and dark courtship. Forced and trained in the wifely duties of an obedient bride.
I am his.
Captive ever after…
***Captive Vow is a dark romantic thriller. If you don’t like a sprinkle of shock, a dash of taboo, and a heavy dose of sex, then don’t take a sip of my cocktail.
This book was a bit on the dark side but totally delicious. I may never look the same at sweet, little old ladies again. Our heroine Demi is having a tough time, her mother is in prison for killing people when she blew up a building during a protest and she’s being put to death. But Demi has something much worse to worry about, especially when she ends up at the mercy of a woman with multiple personalities who wants her to marry her son.
You’ll be shocked at the things “momma” ends up putting Demi through, but Pope is her savior and they go by what momma says to keep Demi’s friend and her daughter safe. But they find their own moments together while trying to find their way around momma. Just a great book by Alta, one of her best!
About the Author:
Alta Hensley is a USA TODAY bestselling erotic romance author who has had #1 top-selling books in dark, contemporary, BDSM, erotic science fiction, humor, suspense and historical. She writes the hot, dark, and dirty romance.
Being a multi-published author in the romance genre, Alta is known for her dark, gritty alpha heroes, sometimes sweet love stories, hot eroticism, and engaging tales of the constant struggle between dominance and submission.
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Release Date: June 13, 2017
Designer: Rachel Connolly
Photographer: Sara Eirew
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I’m Griffin Reed—cutthroat entrepreneur and competitive bastard. Trust is a four-letter word and everyone is disposable…except Britta Stone. Three years ago, she was my everything before I stupidly threw her away. I thought I’d paid for my sin in misery—until I learned we have a son. Finding out she’s engaged to a bore who’s rushing her to the altar pisses me off even more. I intend to win her back and raise our boy. I’ll have to get ruthless, of course. Luckily, that’s one of my most singular talents.
Sixty days. That’s what I’m asking the gritty, independent single mother to give me—twenty-four/seven. Under my roof. And if I have my way, in my bed. Britta says she wants nothing to do with me. But her body language and passionate kisses make her a liar. Now all I have to do is coax her into surrendering to the old magic between us. Once I have her right where I want her, I’ll do whatever it takes to prove I more than need her.
This book is the second in the More Than Words series. The books are companions, not serials, meaning that backstory, secondary characters, and other elements will be easier to relate to if you read the installments in order, but the main romance of each book is a stand-alone.
This book contains lines that may make you laugh, events that may make you cry, and scenes that will probably have you squirming in your seat. Don’t worry about cliffhangers. HEA guaranteed! (Does not contain elements of BDSM or romantic suspense.)
More Than Want You, Book 1
More Than Love You (More Than Words, Book 3)
Available for Preorder – Arriving February 13, 2018
Shayla Black is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than fifty novels. For nearly twenty years, she’s written contemporary, erotic, paranormal, and historical romances via traditional, independent, foreign, and audio publishers. Her books have sold millions of copies and been published in a dozen languages.
Raised an only child, Shayla occupied herself with lots of daydreaming, much to the chagrin of her teachers. In college, she found her love for reading and realized that she could have a career publishing the stories spinning in her imagination. Though she graduated with a degree in Marketing/Advertising and embarked on a stint in corporate America to pay the bills, her heart has always been with her characters. She’s thrilled that she’s been living her dream as a full-time author for the past eight years.
Shayla currently lives in North Texas with her wonderfully supportive husband, her teenage daughter, and two spoiled tabbies. In her “free” time, she enjoys reality TV, reading, and listening to an eclectic blend of music.
A rising star in one of London’s top art investigation firms, Zara Leighton’s talent for seeing deep into paintings is in her blood. She’s chosen to help track down Icon, an enigmatic international art thief whose heists are methodical, daring, baffling. To Zara the case is maddening—bordering on an obsession.
She finds distraction in the chiseled form of top-shelf client Tobias Wilder, a magnetic American billionaire who demands her expertise, her discretion—and her secrecy. Wilder doesn’t ask questions. He gives orders. His gaze alone ignites her deepest fantasies. And his touch…
The sudden whirl of exclusive exhibitions and decadent parties that Wilder introduces her to is a potent aphrodisiac. But surrender soon becomes tinged with suspicion. Is Zara’s tryst with Wilder the real thing…or just a convincing forgery?
Zara, within the texture lies the truth, he’d told me as he nudged me closer to the canvas. Can you see?
As I’d taken in—or at least tried with the perception of a ten-year-old—the brilliance of that French artist on that century-aged painting, I’d sensed life would never be the same.
I’d known in the depths of my soul art would always be my one true love.
Tonight, I’d been so fazed about coming here that I’d forgotten to wear a coat that would have offset the chill of a London autumn and the cold temperature the gallery was kept at to preserve its treasures within.
Art galleries were quiet places with hushed whispers as respectful visitors paid homage to the genius of artists who’d left their indelible mark. Many of these painters had languished in poverty even after giving so much. As a child I’d always wanted to travel back in time to watch them work and tell them their talent had been worth all they’d sacrificed.
My stilettos clicked along the marble uncomfortably loudly as I neared Madame Rose Récamier. She’d hung in my bedroom and watched over me for years.
Stepping closer, my gaze roamed over her, marveling at those pristine strokes giving Rose a stunning realism.
I gave the softest sigh.
The year was 1803 when Jacques Momar had captured a moment in time with this Parisian socialite and, as I trailed my fingers through my auburn locks, I recalled how I’d wanted to be her. Chestnut irises, we had that in common, but her fiery gaze reflected a life of daring—one she’d chosen to live on her terms. Madame Rose Récamier had been known for her love of neoclassical fashion and her controversial interest in politics. She’d stunned Paris with her tenacity. Her reputation to enamor with her smart wit and intelligence had been expressed so beautifully as she reclined on that satin chaise lounge, her head thrown back and her gaze held firmly on the artist Monsieur Momar. In her expression there was love. As time went on I’d realized that look proved an affair had transpired between them. The kind of passion I’d only ever read about.
I saw something I’d never noticed before—uncertainty—the emotion starkly vivid and painfully real.
In his will my father had left Madame Récamier to me. And now I was leaving her here.
“She’s haunting,” Clara whispered, shaking me from my daydream. It was just like her to know I needed a few moments alone with Rose to say goodbye.
It felt comforting having my best friend here.
No matter how many months went by without seeing Clara, it felt like mere minutes had passed between us. She’d always come through for me, and I for her.
Her diamante-crystal, halter-neck dress made her look gorgeous, as always. She had a couple of inches on me and her thick blond curls were a contrast to my long auburn hair. Her high cheekbones were a reflection of the confidence that had helped her succeed as an advertising photographer. Her voluptuousness was a contrast to my smaller curvy figure. “Rubinesque,” she’d called herself, which matched her vibrant personality, and her bright eyes and warm smile were always welcome in my world that always seemed more complicated than hers.
As if sensing I needed it, she came over now to give me a hug. “She’s beautiful.” Clara squeezed me into her side.
“First time I saw her I was wearing my favorite floral dress.” I rested my head on Clara’s shoulder for a moment. “Red shoes. I loved those shoes.”
“Oh, Zara, this was a good decision.”
“Yes. She’s meant to be here.”
She paused for a moment and studied me as though careful with her words. “What about the others?”
The three other paintings we’d saved that night…
Flames rising from our house and licking the air with those monstrous oranges and reds; a hellish glow…
The stench of toxic smoke in my clothes. My hair. My skin. My doll lost to the flames.
Stubbornly, I shook my head not wanting to remember anything more about that night. “There was always this sense we were protecting Madame Rose by hiding her away.”
Now it was time to step away.
Let it all go. And move on.
“You okay?” came Clara’s reassurance.
I nodded to let her know I was.
It was behind me now, all that grief of dealing with the complex issues of my father’s estate and those endless meetings with softly spoken solicitors where coffee was my only friend. And those journalists who’d begged for a scoop on what plans I had to take the Leighton family legacy into the twenty-first century.
I had no real plans for anything, not really.
Other than settling into my new career. Moving on felt cathartic.
Clara tutted. “Dreadful thing.”
Shaken back into the room, I asked, “What is?”
“No one’s reckless enough to steal from a gallery. Not with all this.” She peered up at one of the discreet cameras.
She was referring to that theft in Chelsea, a portrait by Henry Raeburn had been stolen from a private estate.
“You’re right,” I agreed.
She patted my arm. “You’ll sleep better knowing she’s here.”
“You don’t think it’s connected to what happened in France, do you?”
Rumors had reached the community that some of the wealthiest families in Paris had suffered at the hands of an art thief and that news had set the city’s private dealers and their customers on edge.
“Let’s get some bubbly.” Clara led me back down the hallway. “You have some hobnobbing to do with these art-loving crazies.”
“Thank you for being here.”
“Wouldn’t miss it.”
I forced myself not to look back.
Making our way down the hallway we continued to admire the collection, pausing here and there until I sensed Clara’s restlessness.
“That’s a nice blouse,” she said. “Gold brings out your eyes.”
I tugged on my pencil skirt. “Marks and Spencer.”
“I thought you were going to say some posh designer. You’re getting close to that birthday.”
Which was Clara’s tactful way of saying my inheritance would kick in on the eve of my twenty-third birthday. Pride had turned my thoughts away from it but these rising costs of living in London had me rethinking that. The idea of having to decide what to do with fifteen million pounds made me nervous. That decision wouldn’t come until next year and I still had time to nudge that thought far away.
A wave of guilt settled in my gut that my inheritance came from my father’s will. I spun round to face Clara. “I got the job!”
“What? Why didn’t you call me?”
“I wanted to tell you in person.”
“Oh, darling, that’s wonderful!”
“I’m officially a forensic art specialist at Huntly Pierre.”
I’d landed my dream job at a high-end firm in the middle of The Strand, and I couldn’t wait to start.
“Zara, that’s wonderful.” She leaped forward and hugged me. “I’m so excited.”
Years of studying art and I was finally being let loose.
“They know about your dad’s penchant for collecting priceless art, then?”
“No, I got this on my own merit.” I lowered my brow, hoping my family name of Leighton wouldn’t follow me around forever. “Have a knack for detecting forgeries apparently.”
Within the texture lies the truth.
Everything Dad knew he’d taught me; an education like no other. It wasn’t only studying at the Courtauld that had given me the talent for knowing the difference between an Uccello and a Masaccio, but my education had begun when my father had instilled in me his rare insight into art before I could even walk, hoping I’d follow in his footsteps.
“It’s in my blood.”
She winked. “The commission you’ll make when you confirm a piece is real should be quite something. These things are worth a fortune.”
“You can’t place a value on pieces like this,” I said wistfully, admiring Constant Troyon’s oil on canvas A Clump of Trees, with its soothing layers of greens and yellows. “For the first time I feel like I’m putting my knowledge to good use.”
“You know what else needs to be in your blood? Booze. More specifically, champagne.” We laughed too loudly as we neared the lift.
Standing back a little, I watched Clara hit the down button and the silver doors slid open. Peering inside that gaping chasm of metal, I felt my haunting phobia of lifts returning, the light inside flickered to taunt me, and my feet refused to move forward as that familiar fear swept over me.
Terror spiked my veins. “Let’s take the stairs.”
She raised her left foot to show off her heels. “I’ll break my neck.”
“Zara.” She sounded baffled.
“Meet you down there.”
“This is why you have great legs,” her voice echoed after me. “You’re always taking the stairs.”
Her laughter followed me down the stairwell.
I peeled off each shoe and in stockinged feet burst through the fire escape door. I descended fast, round and round, counting the floors as I went.
Breathing in the chilled air, I rekindled the feeling that what I’d done tonight was one of my better decisions. Clara was right. The security was great and the responsibility of protecting all of Dad’s other pieces would soon be lifted as they made their way here.
It made me happy to think of other people getting to enjoy them too, and my feet flew down with a bounce in my step.
With a shove on the security rail I pushed open the heavy fire door and went on through into the dimly lit hallway.
Realizing I’d gone too far I turned to go back. The door was locked from this side.
As if right on cue my garter belt snapped off my thigh-high stocking and I hurried onward to find somewhere private to fix it.
My feet carried me away from the lift and along the hallway. At the end was a door stamped with a sign: Staff Only.
I went on in and saw the long mirror right in front of me. I neared it and gave myself a reassuring smile. I looked pretty tonight and was actually a little less geeky than usual, having switched out my cardigan and flat heels for my favorite gold silk blouse and black skirt and even my hair was miraculously behaving. After putting my shoes down, I eased up my hem and attempted to reattach my stocking top.
My fingers slipped so I hiked my skirt higher to better work the intricate reclipping. With that accomplished, I straightened my eggshell-blue high rise panties.
And then I spotted a movement across the room—
I yanked my skirt down, my mouth forming words of apology but failing to say them. I bent over to scoop up my shoes and rushed toward the door, my hand reaching round to neaten my skirt.
Oh no, my hem still exposed my bum.
Cheeks reddening further as I grappled with the unreasonable material and sucked up my embarrassment so I could throw a wave of apology to the stranger.
My gaze fixed on the living, breathing sculpture.
Making it to the door, I tried to force my stare away from the strikingly beautiful specimen of a man who was looking at me with a mixture of surprise and delight.
Finally exhaling, I was riveted by his sun-kissed torso with its finely chiseled abs, his black trousers low and revealing a hint of a V. An intricate tattoo on his left upper arm that vaguely reminded me of a Polynesian design, with its swirls in black ink and an image in the center.
My heartbeat quickened as I searched my memory for where I knew him from. I was awestruck by this breathtaking Adonis, who was reaching for a white shirt hanging on the back of a chair. He was tall and devastatingly handsome in a rugged kind of way. Thirty, maybe? Those short, dark golden locks framing a gorgeous face, his three-day stubble marking him with a tenacious edge and that thin wry smile exuding a fierce confidence. His green irises were a startling contrast to his lightly tanned complexion; his intense, steady glare stayed on mine as he calmly pulled his arm through a sleeve and covered that tattoo before I could make out more.
A gasp caught in my throat as it came to me that we’d never actually met, probably because this was Tobias William Wilder, a billionaire. He moved in the kind of refined circles one would expect from a business magnate and inventor who owned TechRule, one of the largest software companies in the world.
And I’d given this playboy mogul his very own peep show.
He’d popped up on my radar a year ago when I’d read an article on him in Cosmo, featuring his Los Angeles–based art gallery, The Wilder. It was an acclaimed museum that was one of the most prestigious in the world and it was also right up there on my wish list to visit.
Wilder was even more dazzling in person.
I’d imagined one day I might bump into him with the art world being relatively small, but never had I imagined a scenario as racy as this.
Why the hell hadn’t I worn my sexy panties?
“I’m looking for the stairs,” I managed.
“That way.” His refined American accent felt like another blow to my reason.
That alpha-maleness made him look like he’d just returned from a dangerous adventure in the Himalayas or even the jungles of Peru—
Where he’d spent his days hunting in the wilderness, or naked while fishing in a fast-running stream, and then making a campfire at night with those elegant hands, and then saving his friends from beasties that attacked our campsite.
His smile reached his eyes. A blush burned my cheeks.
He arched an eyebrow, amused.
Was he mocking me?
“I was looking for a signal.” I broke my gaze to hide my lie. “For my phone. You know, WiFi.”
“Try the foyer. It’s a security issue.”
“I know that.” Which made no damn sense.
It was impossible to think straight because someone had made the executive decision to suck out all the oxygen from the room, or so it felt.
With a tug of his shirt he hid that other tattoo to the right of his lower abdomen, a Latin inscription leading to his groin immortalized in italic black ink.
“Excuse the—” he gestured to his state of undress “—I’m running late.”
This kind of manly perfection obviously knew just how beautiful he was, the way he blinked at me casually, the way he firmly weaved that bow tie around his collar without using a mirror and making quick work of forming that silk into a neat knot, and all the while his eyes not leaving mine.
Until I dragged my gaze from his to look around the room. On a table close by to him rested a black motorcycle helmet with its tinted visor down. Leather gloves beside it.
He moved with a sophisticated elegance that had me doubting I’d caught his body inked so seductively. A waft of expensive musky cologne reached me with its sensuous allure and did something crazy to my body. Trembling slightly, I shifted my gait and leaned further back against the door, spellbound.
Nature might have bestowed this man with the ability to leave a trail of heartbreak in his sexy-arse wake but it had also provided me with the ability to detect danger.
“You might want to put some clothes on,” I said firmly.
“Well, now I’m dressed.”
Yes, he was, and this was a changing room, apparently, and I’d not exactly represented a pillar of virtue.
“Well that’s good.” I swallowed my pride. “Please keep it that way.”
His gaze lowered to my feet.
And I remembered my strappy stilettos were flirtatiously dangling from my left hand, those spiked heels hinting at a sexy side I wished I had.
Intrigue marred his face, and then his expression softened again as his jade gaze returned to hold mine and he broke into a heart-stopping smile.
The seductive dazzling kind that threatened to melt my panties. I left in a rush—
Shaken with just how this man had affected me merely with a smile, my heart racing, I reconsidered risking the lift to take me as far away from him as possible. Embarrassment scorched my cheeks and made me glad I’d not worn a coat.
Taking a second, I leaned against the wall and stared back.
That alluring inked-up vision had taken my mind off the reason I was here. I felt an inexplicable need to run back in and continue to bathe in the aura of the most enigmatic man I’d ever met.
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Vanessa Fewings is the USA Today bestselling author of the ENTHRALL SESSIONS.
THE CHASE is the first in her sizzling new romantic trilogy from HQN Books and will be released in June 2017, followed by THE GAME & THE PRIZE.
Vanessa is also the author of The Stone Masters Vampire Series. Prior to publishing, Vanessa worked as a registered nurse and midwife. She holds a Masters Degree in Psychology. She has traveled extensively throughout the world and has lived in Germany, Hong Kong, and Cyprus.
Born and raised in England, Vanessa now proudly calls herself an American and resides in California with her husband.
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Where I End is a standalone new adult romance.
Pretentious. Arrogant. Condescending. Cruel.
All words I’d used to label him. Exactly what I’d always believed he was. All that changed one spring morning when I realized I didn’t know the man behind the facade at all.
Angry. Desperate. Broken. Mine.
All words I’d use to define him after I interfered. Once our eyes locked, I was all in. There was no turning back. He tried to push me away, but I refused to let him go. I was determined to save him. What I didn’t expect was that he would save me, too.
I was so close to ending my misery. Mere seconds away. Then she stumbled upon our argument, and I changed my plans. She wasn’t supposed to be there. She knew too much. Even with my entire world burning down around me, she wouldn’t walk away.
I’ve always been on my own. No one had ever fought for me before. Why should anyone start now? But she did, no matter how much I tried to stop her. I knew I was nothing, unworthy of her, but she was persistent. Once she got under my skin, I couldn’t let her go, because where I end, she begins.
Michelle Dare is a romance author. Her stories range from sweet to sinful and from new adult to fantasy. There aren’t enough hours in the day for her to write all of the story ideas in her head. When not writing or reading, she’s a wife and mom living in eastern Pennsylvania. One day she hopes to be writing from a beach where she will never have to see snow or be cold again.
When I found an eviction notice taped on my apartment door, I had two options: find a comfortable cardboard box to call home, or move in with Tucker Jameson.
Seeing that cardboard makes me feel itchy, I chose the latter. Which shouldn’t be that big of a deal since Tucker is one of my good friends. And because he’s still pining after his ex-girlfriend and I’m trying to finish my nursing degree, there is nothing to worry about in the romance department, making my last semester an easy one to conquer.
Boy, was I wrong.
Rules are set, dinners are made, conversations are had, and a shirtless, swoony roommate walks around in nothing but a pair of black briefs, ruining me for every other man.
Before I know it, I turn into a panting, lust-filled woman begging for Tucker to kiss me, touch me, and show me exactly what is hiding under those briefs.
But with great orgasms, comes great consequences.
Tucker might be my friend and roommate but he’s also my best friend’s ex-boyfriend, making him completely off-limits. At least that’s what my brain is telling me, my heart is speaking an entirely different language.
“Morning,” Tucker’s deep voice rattles off the cabinets. It’s his morning voice, deeper, throatier—if that makes sense—and I hate to admit it, because he’s just my friend, but sexier.
Once my pupils adjust to the light, I take Tucker in. He’s standing in front of the stove, rubber spatula in hand, wearing a white long-sleeve Henley shirt, the top two buttons undone, a pair of worn jeans with a few paint stains on them, and tan work boots. Sweet Jesus, he makes construction look good. Strap a tool belt around his waist and stick him in front of a camera for the benefit of all womankind.
“Morning,” I say in reply, using the counter to help hold up my tired body. “You’re up early. What time do you have to go into work?”
“Around seven thirty. I like to get an early start before the boys come in.” He looks me up and down, a small smile at the corner of his lips. “You look good.” He motions around his head with his hand. “I really like what you did with your hair.”
I turn toward the window in the kitchen and check out my reflection. Sure enough, my long brown hair looks like a lion’s mane poofed out and framing my face with an abundance of volume. Beautiful.
There is no use in taming it, so I leave my hair as is and turn back toward Tucker. “Not many people can get this kind of height while sleeping.” I pretend to fluff my hair.
“Impressive.” He chuckles and then points to the coffee maker with the spatula. “Coffee is done, mugs are above in the cabinet. Grab me a cup, will ya? Eggs will be done shortly, bacon is warming in the oven.”
I do as directed, thinking it’s kind of cute how he’s including me in on his little morning breakfast. “I didn’t even know you had eggs. I was expecting to hit up Dunkin’ Donuts or Tim Horton’s this morning.”
He turns off the stove and reaches for two plates from the dish rack. “I went to Walmart this morning. Picked up a few things.”
“This morning?” I pour two cups of coffee and turn toward him. “What time did you wake up?”
“Four thirty,” he answers casually. “Got a quick run in, did some weights, took a shower and then went to Walmart.” He fills our plates with bacon and eggs and then nods toward the dining room, plates and silverware in hand. “I have a surprise.”
I follow him to the dining room where he flips on the light and reveals a card table fold-out dining set.
“You got a table.” I chuckle, loving that it’s a fold-out card table with matching chairs. Anything is better than the floor.
“And placemats,” he adds, as he lifts two plastic placemats from one of the chairs. “The options were bleak so I went with dinosaurs for me and Trolls for you. Given the look of your morning hair, Trolls was the right choice.” Clever bastard. He sets them on the table and then puts our plates on top of them.
God, it’s too freaking cute. Chuckling, I take a seat and hand him his coffee. “Look at you getting all domestic. I never thought you would be a placemat kind of man, I stand corrected.”
He rests a napkin on his legs, which are spread drastically, almost the length of the table and leans over to fork some eggs into his mouth. “Didn’t want our food to damage the plastic of this high-class table.” I love the humor in his voice, it reminds me of all the good times we had, before the end of his relationship with Sadie.
“Smart man, you want this table to last.”
“Of course, you don’t see fine furniture like this in houses anymore. Everything has to be so sturdy. What ever happened to rickety furniture and living through a meal with the threat of your food possibly kissing the floor at any point in time?”
“The horror,” I joke.
He looks up at me. Some of his hair is still wet from his shower. Pointing his fork at me he says, “Are you ready to be schooled?”
“Schooled on what?” I take a bite of bacon and my stomach jumps in excitement for finally rewarding it for waking up early. All right, I will admit it, getting out of bed was a smart idea.
“It’s Monday, babe. DJ Hot Cock has his song picked and ready to show you what real music is.”
“When was my music taste ever questioned? I like good music.”
“We’ll see.” He reaches into his pocket and pulls out his phone. I watch as he flips through it until he lands on the song he wants to introduce me to. He presses play and sets his phone on the table. The light pickings of a guitar fill the small dining room. I don’t recognize the song, but I like the sound of it so far.
Just as I’m settling in to the sweet pickings of a guitar, the distinct voice of Zac Brown chimes in. I’ve known Tucker for loving EMO growing up, so his choice in a country song is very surprising to me, but when I look up at him, pure hometown country boy sitting across from me, it makes perfect sense.
And then the lyrics hit me. My Old Man. Zac sings about his father, hoping he’s proud of the man he’s become. I’m transported back to a dreary day in Whitney Point, where we grew up, when Sadie called me one Saturday morning. I was getting ready for the day. We were in middle school. Tucker’s dad was killed by a head-on collision, the dad Tucker just reconnected with, the dad Tucker had plans on moving in with to get away from his neglectful mom. Those next few days—and weeks—were a whirlwind of sorrow. Attending his funeral, my first ever funeral, seeing the look of devastation on Tucker’s face, wondering what he might be feeling, trying to channel his hurt, it was so much to take on as a teenager.
Glancing up, I take in Tucker’s expression. He’s lost in the music, in the words, just like me. When the song ends, I lean over and place my hand on his, our eyes meet and there is an unspoken understanding between us. I don’t have to say anything about his dad, about the tragedy we went through so many years ago together as friends. It’s all said between this silent exchange.
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A BLONDE AT HEART
Born in New York and raised in Southern California, Meghan has grown into a sassy, peanut butter eating, blonde haired swearing, animal hoarding lady. She is known to bust out and dance if “It’s Raining Men” starts beating through the air and heaven forbid you get a margarita in her, protect your legs because they may be humped.
Once she started commuting for an hour and twenty minutes every day to work for three years, she began to have conversations play in her head, real life, deep male voices and dainty lady coos kind of conversations. Perturbed and confused, she decided to either see a therapist about the hot and steamy voices running through her head or start writing them down. She decided to go with the cheaper option and started writing… enter her first novel, Caught Looking.
Now you can find the spicy, most definitely on the border of lunacy, kind of crazy lady residing in Colorado with the love of her life and her five, furry four legged children, hiking a trail or hiding behind shelves at grocery stores, wondering what kind of lube the nervous stranger will bring home to his wife. Oh and she loves a good boob squeeze!
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A former Marine and Las Vegas vice cop, Nathan Fox has seen it all and then some. Heading up security for the Onyx Casino is tame compared to his dark past, but it’s not his only job. Working for the Reliance Group is his real passion project. His current case: a missing woman. His mission: to find her. Easy enough, until he finds himself tangled up with sexy Nicole Hutton, a stubborn—and stunning—journalist who’s nosed her way into his investigation . . . and into his dirty, erotic fantasies.
Resisting Nicole is impossible, and he soon discovers that in this dangerous high stakes game of chance, falling in love is the greatest risk of all.
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Erika Wilde (aka Janelle Denison) is the USA Today bestselling author of over 50 contemporary romances for multiple print publishers.
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