OUT IN PAPERBACK & NEW COVER: Three Wishes by Kristen Ashley

I adore this new cover! Three Wishes is now available in paperback for the first time! This heartwarming and epic love story from New York Times bestselling author, Kristen Ashley, returns with an amazing new cover! And that’s not all! It is also being re-released in eBook (for $2.99) form with beautiful, new formatting! So make a wish, grab your copy, and prepare to fall in love all over again!

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♦BLURB♦

When Lily Jacobs was born, she inherited Fazire – a genie. Her family had three wishes and they’d only ever used one so Fazire was stuck in the human world. This worked since he’d become a member of the family anyway.

Even with a genie, Lily’s young life wasn’t perfect. To escape the kids making her miserable at school, Lily buried herself in romance novels. One day, when the teasing was just too much, she used one of her wishes. She told Fazire she wanted to find a man like in her books and she made the most complicated wish Fazire had ever heard. Her wished-for man had to be impossibly handsome, virile, fierce, rugged and ruthless (amongst a dozen other things).

He also had to think she was beautiful and he had to love her more than anything in the world.

Nathaniel McAllister wasn’t born to a life where there were such things as genies granting wishes. His life was filled with drugs, crime and neglect. He was running errands for a gangster before he was in his teens and, even though life and hard work led him to wealth and respectability, he always knew, deep down, he was dirty. When Nate met Lily he knew he was no good for her but as virile, fierce, rugged and ruthless as he was, Nate was no match for the pull of sweet, innocent Lily.

Unfortunately, Lily’s wish included that she and her hero go through trials and tribulations to test their love. And Fazire wasn’t only a good genie, he loved Lily – so he gave her exactly what she wanted.

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♦EXCERPT♦

Nate didn’t know what he wanted but whatever it was, it certainly was not Georgia.

He was saved from answering Victor when he spied a youth wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt, the hood worn up even though it was a warm day. The boy was slouching down the pavement, head bowed, hands in the front pocket of the sweatshirt, his head swinging this way and that, looking for his mark.

Nate’s guard, already on alert—always on alert—went into overdrive.

Nate’s eyes narrowed as he watched the youth, and Victor started to get into the Rolls. Then, as expected, the boy darted toward his target and Nate heard a woman’s outraged cry.

“Hey!” she yelled.

He watched the boy snatch the woman’s purse, his body tensing for action.

And then his eyes moved to the woman and uncharacteristically, he froze.

“Hey! He stole my purse! Stop him! He stole my purse!” she shouted.

Nate vaguely registered she was an American tourist. Nate also absently noticed that no one moved to assist.

In that brief moment in time, Nate was too busy drinking in the vision that was her, he himself didn’t move a muscle.

She was tall, incredibly tall.

And curvy, delectably curvy.

She had the most unusual colored hair. Hair that he knew from vast experience living in a house with Laura and Danielle for years came through a supremely talented and expensive stylist’s hands.

And she had an exquisite face, flawless skin and a bearing that was extraordinary. She had been given a wide berth around her even on the crowded pavement. Not because she was screaming her head off but instead because she was majestic, radiant, elegant…

Untouchable.

In a stupor from simply looking at her, the boy with her purse charged right by Nate.

Not in a stupor, she realized no one was going to help her, gave up screaming and charged right after the boy.

At the noise, Victor turned away from the car and Nate shifted to watch in astonishment as she deftly and agilely dodged the crowd, her long legs a match for the short boy. Then Nate watched in stunned surprise as she jumped onto the thief’s back with a graceful leap.

Everyone stared in shock but no one lifted a finger except a few started to take photographs.

“Give me back my purse, you thug!” she shouted.

Wrapping her long legs around her prey, one arm around his neck, she slapped him around the head with the other hand.

The thief staggered back then he staggered with intent and slammed her against the side of the building. Her head snapped back and cracked against the stone so loudly Nate could hear it from where he stood twenty paces away.

At the sound Nate jerked out of his stupor and forged forward.

 

♦ABOUT THE AUTHOR♦

KristenAshley

I was born a middle class white child in Gary, Indiana, USA. One of the last of a dying breed. I nearly killed my mother and myself making it into the world, seeing as I had the umbilical cord wrapped around my neck (already attempting to accessorize and I hadn’t taken my first breath!). Mom says they took me away, put her back in her room, she looked out the window, and Gary was on fire (Dr. King had been assassinated four days before). She remembered thinking it was the end of the world. Quite the dramatic beginning.

Nothing’s changed.

All I’ve ever wanted to do was write (well, and be the Queen of the World, but you gotta start small) and I’ve published a gazillion books and counting (and a gazillion is a lot! shoo!).You can learn about my titles that have been released or that are soon to be released in the Titles section of the website.

Even though I jump genres, there is always a theme to my books…humor (hopefully), engaging characters (again, hopefully) and romance (definitely).

My loves are movies, music, food and fashion and I partake of all of them as often as I can (the middle two more than the others, the former, which takes time I don’t often have and the latter, which takes money I rarely have). In fact, I love food so much, I like to share my good fortune so I put my recipes on offer for you on this page (see top menu and don’t miss them, they’re awesome!).

I grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana and have lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus I’m blessed to have friends and family around the globe. My family was (is) loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write and growing up it was large and multi-generational. We all lived together on a very small farm in a small farm town in the heartland. I grew up with Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched). Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up.

And as I keep growing up, it keeps getting better.

So here I am, thank goodness.

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BLOG TOUR w/ REVIEW & EXCERPT: Shade’s Lady by Joanna Wylde

Reapers MC #6.5; Standalone novella

Purchase: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Paperback

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♦BLURB♦

New York Times bestselling author Joanna Wylde returns to the world of the Reapers Motorcycle Club…

Looking back, none of this would’ve happened if I hadn’t dropped my phone in the toilet. I mean, I could’ve walked away from him if I’d had it with me.
Or maybe not.
Maybe it was all over the first time he saw me, and he would’ve found another way. Probably—if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that Shade always gets what he wants, and apparently he wanted me.
Right from the first.

♦4-STAR REVIEW♦

I have a love/hate relationship with novellas because, a) they’re great for a quick read, but, b) they end too soon. Both are the case with Shade’s Lady because I wanted so much more than what we were given as I’m completely selfish and love being in Wylde’s Reapers world. This novel starts us at the top, with the National President of the Reapers MC and his love story.

Mandy, our heroine, had a palpable quality to her. Her hesitance and raw survivor strength gripped me and endeared me to her. Her unabashed realness and humorous inner dialogue were their own character within this novel and I loved her because of (and for) it. She made no qualms or excuses for who she was and what’s she’s done, but her moral compass was always pointed in the right direction. Shade’s raw attraction to her and the reciprocation she felt, along with the buildup of their sexual tension, created a sexy, but lust-filled novel.

Wylde managed to pack in quite a bit into this novella, giving us two fully rounded characters and their love story, in Shade’s Lady and it felt incredibly good to be back with an MC that I’ve come to know and love. But if I could be greedy, I would want more of these two. As it is, it’s the perfect introduction to the series if you haven’t yet taken the plunge and a great addition to the series if you’re a veteran. Wylde’s writing, as always, pulls you in and carries you through to the last page. I can’t wait for more from this MC.


♦EXCERPT♦

“Nope. That’s not how it works,” Shade said, sliding his hand up into my hair. “It was about a member of a support club lying to the national president of the Reapers. He tried to cheat me out of five hundred bucks by promising something he didn’t own. We can’t let guys like Rebel get away with that shit. Wouldn’t matter what it was about, the principle’s the same.”

“There are so many things wrong with that statement that I don’t even know where to start. I…I literally can’t figure out what I want to argue with you about because it’s all wrong. All of it.”

“It’s how our world works,” he said, rubbing up and down my lower back. He might’ve been trying to soothe me but my thoughts were spinning too fast. “There’s good and bad. Part of the good is that when you belong to someone in a club, it’s not just his job to protect you, it’s the whole club’s. I’d die for Dopey’s old lady and I don’t even like the bitch. He’s my brother, though, and she’s his property. It is what it is.”


♦TRAILER♦


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♦SERIES♦

(All books can be read as standalones)

Reaper's Property #1

Book One

Purchase:  Amazon

 

Reaper's Legacy #2

Book Two

Purchase:  Amazon

 

Devil's Game

Book Three

Purchase:  Amazon

 

Reaper's Stand #4

Book Four

Purchase:  Amazon

 

10 - Reaper's Fall

Book Five

Purchase:  Amazon

 

reaper's fire

Book Six

Purchase:  Amazon


♦ABOUT THE AUTHOR♦

Joanna Wylde started her writing career in journalism, working in two daily newspapers as both a reporter and editor. Her career has included many different jobs, from managing a homeless shelter to running her own freelance writing business, where she took on projects ranging from fundraising to ghostwriting for academics. During 2012 she got her first Kindle reader as a gift and discovered the indie writing revolution taking place online. Not long afterward she started cutting back her client list to work on Reaper’s Property, her breakout book. It was published in January 2013, marking the beginning of a new career writing fiction.

Joanna lives in the mountains of northern Idaho with her family.

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BLOG TOUR w/ EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY: The Coppersmith Farmhouse by Devney Perry

Jamison Valley Book One

Purchase: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

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♦BLURB♦

One old farmhouse brought them together. It could also tear them apart.

Gigi has just uprooted her whole world to start a new life. The unexpected gift of a farmhouse in small-town Montana is just what she and her daughter need to escape big-city loneliness. The last thing she needs is attitude from the town’s sheriff, the most perfectly attractive and ruggedly handsome man she’s ever laid eyes on—and a complete jerk.

Jess knows all about women like Gigi. Beautiful. Sexy. Scheming. She’s stolen his sanctuary, the farmhouse that should have been his. But along with a face full of freckles, she’s got a sharp wit and a backbone of steel—something he doesn’t discover until after making a complete fool of himself. If he can earn back her trust and win her heart, he might just find the home he’s always needed.

 

♦EXCERPT♦

“Jess, these are too much,” I said.

“Not too much at all.”

“These were not cheap. Plus everything you bought for Roe . . .” I trailed off, mentally tallying up the sum he had spent on us for Christmas.

“I’ve been waiting thirty-four years to find the right woman. Finally did. Now I get to spoil her, so just get used to it.”

“Why?” I whispered.

“Why, what?”

“Why me? Why’d you pick me as your girl? I mean, I’m just me and you’re . . . well . . . you. Perfect.”

He took in a deep breath and closed his eyes for a few moments. When he opened them, his eyes had changed. They were no longer soft and gentle. They were firm and determined.

“I’m not sure where you got it in that head of yours that I’m too good for you. Because the way I see it, it’s the other way around. And it stops today. No more.”

Jess’s hands framed my face, his thumbs stroking my jaw gently.

“Baby, you’ve got the biggest heart of any person I’ve ever met. I’ve never known a soul who would have taken on an old man just so he wouldn’t be alone. Someone needs help, the first thing you think about is how you can do it. Christ, you offered to move a stranger in with you so he’d have a place to live after his house burned down. And you’ve raised the most precious little girl on the planet. When you look at her, you see beauty, don’t you?”

“Well . . . of course. She’s my daughter.”

He shook his head a couple of times. “She’s you,” he said. “In every way, she’s you. When you look at her and get that feeling of pride in your chest? When you look at her face and into her eyes and it makes your heart hurt she’s so beautiful? Georgia, that’s how I feel when I look at you.”

His words, describing exactly how I felt about my daughter, moved me so deeply that I started crying again, completely unable to stop the emotion.

Swiping the tears as they fell, he whispered, “I love you. Everything. How you don’t back down during an argument. How you take care of Rowen. Take care of me. That you don’t mind including my mother. How you invite my sister over for Christmas minutes after she treats you badly. So let me buy you whatever the fuck I feel like for Christmas, birthdays or just whenever. Okay?”

I nodded and sniffled.

“Okay.”

Jess’s words penetrated deep into my heart.

We’d been together for months and I had always doubted us. But we made sense. I thought he was perfect. He was. But what his words finally made me realize was that he thought I was perfect too. We were perfect together.

Perfect sense.

I sniffled one last time and twisted my head out of his hands to get my necklace. After I put it on, I screwed on my earrings.

He lifted a finger to the jewel at my throat and muttered, “True beauty.”

 

♦ABOUT THE AUTHOR♦

Author Picture

Devney lives in Montana with her husband and two children. After working in the technology industry for nearly a decade, she abandoned conference calls and project schedules to enjoy a slower pace at home with her kids. She loves reading and, after consuming hundreds of books, decided to share her own stories.

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♦GIVEAWAY♦

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BLOG TOUR w/ REVIEW, EXCERPT, and GIVEAWAY: Home At Last by Lily Everett

Sanctuary Island Book Six; Interconnected standalone

Purchase: Kindle | Mass MarketB&N | Indiebound | iBooks | Kobo

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♦BLURB♦

Home is where the heart is…

Marcus Beckett left Sanctuary Island after his mother’s funeral, and he hasn’t been back since. Until now. Needing a change from the high-risk, high-stakes life of a bodyguard, Marcus makes a solitary life for himself running the neighborhood bar in his hometown. His only mistake? Seducing and then dumping the town’s sweetheart, Quinn Harper. Marcus knows he did the right thing—a good girl like Quinn has no business with a broken man like him. But now no one will come to his bar, and he’s watching his last chance at a peaceful life go up in smoke. So when Quinn proposes a fake four-week courtship, he can’t refuse…even though he knows it’s a bad idea.

It’s a romantic charade that will buy Quinn time to distract her mother and father from their own martial problems—and will help Marcus welcome back some paying customers besides. But what begins as an engagement of convenience slowly transforms into a deeper connection, one that heals both of their hearts…and ignites the simmering passion between them. Could it be that pretending to be together is just what Quinn and Marcus needed to give their real love a second chance?

 

♦3.5-STAR REVIEW♦

Home at Last is a second-chance romance that features a woman who grew up infatuated by the neighbor’s older son. The small town they live in has subsequently thrown backlash at him after their quick romance ended, leaving his bar hurting for business. So goes her plan…a business proposal that relies on their fake romantic reunion.

I love fake relationships and how they slowly bloom into something real, and I enjoyed seeing Marcus and Quinn’s relationship blossom with a nice, slow burn. I hadn’t read any of the prior books in this series, though I’ve heard their ‘relationship’ is featured a bit in the most recent book, but I can’t speak to how that would’ve helped their story; I didn’t really feel like I was missing anything, or enough of something to make it hard to connect. Marcus’ broody nature mixed well with Quinn’s sweet, helpfulness, and their constant butting of heads kept the pages turning.

I will say, however, that the side story featuring Quinn’s parents was featured too heavily in my opinion. It really detracted from the potency of Quinn and Marcus’ effect on the reader. I found myself skipping those POVs so that I could get back to the real story. I’m sort of impatient that way, so I’m sure not every reader will feel as I did.

Home at Last was a fun story with sexy characters and the right amount of angst-y romance. It was sweet and romantic, and had the kind of second-chance romance readers love to read about. Small towns and their gossiping ways brought back together a couple that were meant for one another, and I enjoyed experiencing it.

 

♦EXCERPT♦

Quinn had taken the floor for exactly the reasons she’d said, in addition to the knowledge that however little she liked to think it mattered, Marcus was ten years older than she was. And he was a secret stress case who carried all his tension in his back and shoul- ders. She should know, since she’d nearly sprained her thumbs trying to dig the knots out during a massage that had started out sexy and turned into a to-the-death battle between Quinn and the long muscles lining Marcus’s spine.

Marcus didn’t need to screw up his back by lying on the floor for eight hours, was her point. Not that she would ever say that to him. She didn’t have a death wish.

But as it turned out, the floor was more uncomfort- able than Quinn had anticipated. And as the hours wore down, so did her resistance to the temptation of the warm, soft bed mere inches from her stiff, aching body.

She stared at Marcus’s sleeping form and wondered if she dared.

Then she wondered what the hell was the matter with her. It was a bed. They were adults. Sleeping next to each other didn’t mean they were automatically going to cross some invisible, arbitrary line. She wasn’t going to roll over in her sleep and accidentally impale herself on his penis. They’d be fine.

This is fine, she told herself, getting up off her shaky knees and creeping around to the other side of the bed. The way her knees popped when she stood up was a deciding factor. Quinn carefully peeled back the cov- ers and slid into the bed beside Marcus.

Quinn held her breath, but he didn’t move. His broad chest rose and fell with his deep, even breaths. He threw off heat like a roaring bonfire; Quinn went from chilled to toasty in seconds.

Letting her body relax into the softness of the mat- tress, she drifted peacefully into sleep.

Quinn’s dreams were chaotic, flashes of memories mixed with totally random people from her past and present. She was aware they were dreams, in that vague way that happens sometimes, even when the dreamer is deeply asleep.

In the dream, she and Marcus were walking through the woods behind her parents’ house, holding hands. Even Dream Quinn couldn’t suspend disbelief quite enough for that. Marcus wasn’t a hand-holding kind of guy. So she knew it was a dream, even as he led her deeper into the pine copse, their footfalls muffled by layers and layers of dried pine needles that released their evergreen scent as they were crushed.

Come here, said Dream Marcus, giving Quinn the smile she’d only glimpsed once or twice—the small, private, completely unguarded smile that made Marcus look like the carefree boy Quinn had first fallen for.

She could never resist that particular smile. Not that she wanted to resist. This was only a dream. She could have whatever she wanted, with no consequences.

Emboldened by her freedom, Quinn followed Marcus down to lie on a bed of springy green moss. He lay back, arms crossed behind his head and more re- laxed than she’d ever seen him in real life. Sunlight dappled his handsome face, patterns of light and shadow that shivered over his cheekbones when wind fluttered through the branches overhead.

Her heart swelled with all the feelings she’d been stuffing down and denying since the day Marcus un- ceremoniously ended their relationship. It wasn’t smart to care about him. She knew that, and Quinn wanted to be smart, she really did.

The trouble was that she’d never learned how to stop caring about someone. Her poor, bruised heart was as optimistic and stubborn as her hungry body was when it came to Marcus Beckett.

Despair teased at Quinn’s mind, but she pushed it away. This is a dream, she said aloud to remind them both. Only a dream.

Beneath her, Marcus smiled again, the smile that promised things like love and forever and the kind of pleasure she could live on. Thighs tensing with need where she was suddenly straddling his hips, Quinn felt the low-down clench of her body around the emptiness only Marcus could fill.

A shudder racked her, sweeping up her frame in a rush that tightened the peaks of her breasts and forced her mouth open on a gasp.

Yes, like that, Marcus murmured, his eyes going hot and feral the way she remembered from their first nights of passion. The grip of his hands at her hips ex- cited Quinn. She squirmed a little, wanting to feel it, hoping it bruised so she could look in the mirror later and see the evidence of Marcus’s desire for her.

With a smooth twist of his massive torso, he flipped them so that Quinn’s back was arching off the cool moss and Marcus was covering her with his body. Her legs fell open, wanton and wanting, and she relished the stretch of her thighs as he fit himself into the cra- dle of her hips.

His hardness slotted against her softness with a series of rhythmic nudges that stoked the fire inside Quinn higher and higher. In the dream, her panties melted away like fog, and he was naked too, and they were pressed together so intimately and perfectly and yet, somehow, there was still something in the way, a barrier to Quinn getting what she really wanted. Frus- tration mounting, she reached down between their hot, straining bodies and felt . . . cotton?

Quinn blinked and suddenly, instead of staring up at the waving pine needles of the Lantern Point woods, she was looking at the familiar starburst pattern of the plaster ceiling in her girlhood bedroom.

Her immediate thought was a dismayed No, let me go back to the dream! But in the next instant, she realized Marcus was still on top of her, his hard chest and strong arms caging her in. Their legs were tangled hopelessly in the sheets and they were both still wear- ing what they’d gone to bed in, but other than that?

The dream was real.

Eyes still closed, Marcus twisted his hips, grinding wickedly against Quinn’s most sensitive spot and scat- tering her thoughts like dried pine needles before she could figure out what to do. She reacted mindlessly, her body taking over and bowing up hard, her arms going around Marcus’s neck.

Through her haze of heated lust, Quinn saw the exact moment Marcus woke up.

Copyright © 2017 by Lily Everett and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Press.

 

♦SERIES♦

 

♦ABOUT THE AUTHOR♦

LILY EVERETT is the author of the Sanctuary Island series for St. Martin’s Press. She grew up in a small town in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains and now resides in Austin, Texas, where she writes full-time.

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BLOG TOUR w/ REVIEW: What I Need by J. Daniels

Alabama Summer Book Five; Standalone

Purchase: Amazon US | Amazon UK | iBooks | Kobo

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♦BLURB♦

Riley Tennyson has made a huge mistake.

At least, that’s what she keeps telling herself.

Showing up to her brother’s wedding pissed off and newly single, Riley seeks comfort in solitude and an open bar, until the gorgeous and irresistibly charming CJ Tully makes her a better offer―a wild night with the master of smooth-talking where nothing is off limits.

Riley does what any single woman would do, and a connection is made. One neither one of them can ignore. But when she comes home to the boyfriend she no longer thought she had, Riley buries her secret and begs CJ to do the same.

Forget about each other. It was a mistake. That’s all it was… right?

Desires are hidden. Distance is kept. Until one night CJ makes the ultimate sacrifice, and Riley can no longer avoid the man she can’t stop thinking about.

Not with him sleeping down the hall…

image1 (2)

Read an EXCERPT

♦4-STAR REVIEW♦

What I Need is the fifth standalone in the Alabama Summer series. I originally fell in love with J. Daniels’ writing from her Dirty Deeds series and this is my first foray into this particular series. Her easy-going and fun writing style is present in the novel and make it easy to jump right into the flow of things, and she doesn’t waste any time at all throwing us right into the story with our two main characters.

I think the main draw for most, even if you haven’t read this series, is CJ Tully. He’s the kind of guy whose mere presence draws you in like a fly to honey. His looks, his charming nature, and his alluring words are all his weapons in drawing his prey in, and all of us are his willing victims. But he’s sweet, too. All of that and he’s sweet. That simple little thing made this entire book what it was. His draw made this book sexy and irresistible.

One thing that kept me from 5-starring this book was Riley, our heroine. Her naivete and lack of conviction, at times, really made falling into her head difficult. Certainly this is my feeling toward her and I don’t suspect everyone will have a hard time connecting with her. She’s young and been taught to accept what she’s handed out from her long-time boyfriend, but I couldn’t help but want more fight from her. I wanted CJ’s pull to be stronger than anything that had been forcefully fed into her mind. But sometimes the most inspiring heroines are the ones we want to shake quite a damn bit.

What I Need had one of my favorite tropes (friend’s little sister) and a fiery instant-romance between two characters who never thought they’d cross paths. Daniels’ writes an addictive hero and entices our hearts to fall for him. I loved him and everything he represented for Riley. It was easy to enjoy every secondary character, ones from prior books, and understand what the draw of the ‘Bama Boys is all about. I really enjoyed their story and I look forward to going to read the rest of the series. I know readers will absolutely love this intimately angst-y and sexy love story.

 

♦ABOUT THE AUTHOR♦

J. Daniels is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Sweet Addiction series and the Alabama Summer series. She loves curling up with a good book, drinking a ridiculous amount of coffee, and writing stories her children will never read. Daniels grew up in Baltimore and resides in Maryland with her family.

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NEW RELEASE w/ EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY: The Coppersmith Farmhouse by Devney Perry

New Release Image

Cover

Jamison Valley Book One

Purchase: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

Add to Goodreads

 

♦BLURB♦

One old farmhouse brought them together. It could also tear them apart.

Gigi has just uprooted her whole world to start a new life. The unexpected gift of a farmhouse in small-town Montana is just what she and her daughter need to escape big-city loneliness. The last thing she needs is attitude from the town’s sheriff, the most perfectly attractive and ruggedly handsome man she’s ever laid eyes on—and a complete jerk.

Jess knows all about women like Gigi. Beautiful. Sexy. Scheming. She’s stolen his sanctuary, the farmhouse that should have been his. But along with a face full of freckles, she’s got a sharp wit and a backbone of steel—something he doesn’t discover until after making a complete fool of himself. If he can earn back her trust and win her heart, he might just find the home he’s always needed.

♦EXCERPT♦

“You see him again, you head the other direction. He’s into some bad shit. I don’t want you around him.”

“Uh . . . okay.”

What in the hell had I just stumbled into?

Jess sensed my unease. “Don’t stress about it. Just want you to be careful, okay? Word gets around town that we’re dating, he’ll know folks will be looking out for you and he’ll back off. It’s not about you. He’s just trying to get to me.”

I was more than a little nervous that someone into “bad shit” was interested in using me to piss off Jess. But on top of that, I was now freaked that Jess thought we were dating. Even though we’d had a nice dinner, I hadn’t decided if I even liked him yet.

“Okay. I’ll avoid Wes. No problem. But one thing . . . I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t tell people we’re an item. It was nice of you to take me to dinner and I had a good time, but I don’t think we’ll be dating.”

“Do you find me attractive?”

“Uh . . .”

“I thought so,” he said. “Already told you tonight you were beautiful. So since we’ve got some major fucking chemistry and we get along, how about we cut the bullshit and see where this goes?”

I took a moment to collect my thoughts and formulate a response. “Physical attraction is not a great foundation for a relationship. Again, thank you for dinner. But with the exception of tonight, so far you have spent more time insulting me than treating me nicely. Surely you can understand why I don’t think we’d be a good pair. Let’s call it quits after you drop me off.”

“I apologized and I meant it. I was an asshole this week. Now fucking get over it.”

“Are you trying to piss me off, Sheriff?” I said. “I don’t like your tone. You don’t get to order me around and make the decision we’re dating without my agreement. That’s absurd. It doesn’t work like that.”

“It does. And we are. Exclusively, Georgia,” he said, glancing over at me as he stressed his last point.

“Wait a minute. Let me get this straight,” I said, the hold on my temper loosening. “Not only did you just ignore me but you also felt the need to emphasize that our nonexistent relationship is exclusive. Something that if you knew me at all, you would never have had to emphasize because in any relationship, I have never been nor will ever be a cheater.”

Jess pulled in a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Not saying you’re a cheater. Jesus, Georgia, relax. Just saying we’re exclusively together. Don’t want people around town thinking we’re just friends or we’re just fooling around. We’re gonna see where this goes.”

“We’ve had one kind-of date, Jess. And I wouldn’t call us friends.”

“Because we’re not just friends.”

“I’m not dating you. I don’t even like you. Find someone else to keep you company at the café.”

“You like me. Can see it in your eyes when you look at me.”

“Physically, yes. But personally, you’re a jackass.”

He yanked the truck to the side of the road.

“What are you—” I started but Jess reached across the cab, grabbed me at the back of the neck and slammed his mouth down on mine.

I wanted to protest, I really did. To push him away and assert myself so he knew that he couldn’t just dazzle me with his looks and muddle me with his kisses.

But he totally could.

 

♦ABOUT THE AUTHOR♦

Author Picture

Devney lives in Montana with her husband and two children. After working in the technology industry for nearly a decade, she abandoned conference calls and project schedules to enjoy a slower pace at home with her kids. She loves reading and, after consuming hundreds of books, decided to share her own stories.

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NEW RELEASE & REVIEW: The Deep End by Kristen Ashley

Honey Series Book One

Purchase: Kindle | Paperback | Audible | B&N | iBooks | Google | Kobo | Indiebound | BAM

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♦BLURB♦

Enter a decadent sensual world where gorgeous alpha males are committed to fulfilling a woman’s every desire…

Olivier isn’t sure what he’s gotten himself into when he joins the Honey Club, only that a dark part of him hungers for the lifestyle offered by this exclusive club. Here, no boundary will be left untested…and one’s deepest fantasies will become an exquisite reality.

When Amélie invites Olivier to surrender, she gives the alpha submissive what he craves. Soon they both find themselves falling harder than they ever anticipated—but as their connection deepens, the truth about Olivier’s past could destroy everything…

Gripping and seductive, The Deep End is the first book in a sensational new series from bestselling author Kristen Ashley.

The-Deep-End-Whim-4

♦5-STAR REVIEW♦

The Deep End promises to be something altogether different than what KA usually provides us with, but I assure you that it still retains the magical beauty of a KA book; it’s just a whole heck of a lot kinkier than anything she’s ever written. And that kink? It isn’t for kink’s sake, but rooted into each character because it is them, not just what they enjoy doing. Therein lies the specific allure of this book.

The erotic element in this novel is strong and wild, taking me to places I’ve never read nor expected to go. But KA carried me into it with finesse and care, never losing me in the process. Some may consider it too deeply rooted in the sexual aspect, but I see it as a powerful part to the character development because both Amelie and Olivier are led by their worries and insecurities. Anyone with any sort of kink feels different from the rest of the world, even surrounded by those who are similar. Both seek to find inner peace, and a home not only within oneself but with another who can assist in blocking out the outside world. The connection between these two are much deeper than sexual, and each sexual moment between the two gives them just a bit more into accepting who they are, what they require for mental and emotional sustenance. It’s powerful, really.

Olivier is the alpha we expect of a KA hero; him being an alpha-sub doesn’t diminish that. If possible, he’s even more alpha because he can submit. Amelie reminded me of Josephine from The Will. She’s cultured, poised, and searching for something her life hasn’t given her yet. Kristen Ashley wrote a woman who can be strong enough to handle the softness of a man letting go of his alpha qualities, even if just for awhile. And that, right there, is beautiful.

I know this novel won’t be for everyone and it can feel like a huge step outside of your comfort zone, but if you’re willing to open your mind, KA will take you on an amazing journey. The connection these two share underneath everything, the little nuances we’re shown here and there that are given without words, is truly inspiring to read. These two are sweet, romantic…and filled with love to give. The Deep End will challenge you and push your boundaries, but in the end, the journey is beyond worth it. I can’t imagine another author taking me there and I’m incredibly happy KA did because she created one hell of a love story.

♦EXCERPT♦

As he slowly closed the door behind him and moved his eyes to look through the room, taking it in, she watched them get wide.

They dropped to her and his amusement was clear. Not only radiating from his gaze but twitching his lips.

Another unusual—and unacceptable—reaction.

He thought this was funny.

She hoped like fuck she had the opportunity to prove him wrong.

She crossed her arms on her chest and slightly put out a foot, like she was about to start tapping her toe. In the wrap dress she wore, she knew this opened the overlap, not exposing anything, but the promise for him was impossible to resist.

His attention dropped to her legs.

“In the playrooms,” she began with a snap, and his gaze cut to hers, “I want eye contact. Unless otherwise instructed, you should not only feel free to look me directly in the eyes, if I’m in your line of sight or I’m not giving you something that your body’s natural reaction would make it difficult to meet my gaze, I require it.”

She stood there staring as he did nothing but dip his chin in acknowledgment.

Cheeky.

Exceptionally cheeky.

Fabulous.

“Unless I’ve asked for their silence or for them to ask for leave to speak, I also require my toys to respond when they’re spoken to. Even if it’s only a ‘yes, Mistress,’ or ‘no, Mistress.’”

His stance relaxed, like he was settling in at the beginning of a show he found vaguely intriguing, and his deep rumble of a voice bounced like boulders through the room. “Yes, Mistress.”

Christ, even his voice declared his challenge.

“Excellent,” she allowed. “Your name?”

“Olivier,” he answered.

French.

Also unusual, at least in this country. And interesting.

She liked it a great deal.

She studied him.

He let her, holding her eyes.

“I’m Mistress Amélie,” she eventually informed him.

“I know. You got a lotta fans out there…Mistress.”

The hesitation over him saying “Mistress” gave less of the impression he was testing her and more of the strange impression the word was unpracticed when, with any experienced sub, it would slip right off their tongue.

She made no comment to that.

“There are things we should go over,” she remarked.

“Right,” he stated, his big body adjusting again, now like he was settling in further, intent on giving her the same attention he would a flight attendant who gave the safety address.

That being no more than a courtesy.

She fought the shiver his actions created but allowed the irritation.

“Your safe word is kitten,” she stated.

“Yes, Mistress.”

“You’re open to any kind of play,” she went on.

“Yes, Mistress.”

“It’s important and now’s the time to share should there be anything you wish me to shy away from, Olivier. Especially as this is the first time I’ve played with you.”

Something in his eyes flashed. Blue eyes that were the color of nothing and everything. Not sky. Not sea. Not midnight. A pure blue that only existed in the unchartable depths of a rainbow.

She felt that flash snake up between her thighs, taking residence in her womb.

He wanted this conversation done so she would play with him. He wanted the preliminaries over so they’d get to the good stuff.

He wanted her.

She stared into those blue eyes and for a moment felt mesmerized.

For God’s sake, Leigh, she berated herself in an effort to pull it together. Rainbow?

“Olivier,” she prompted.

“I’m open to anything,” he confirmed.

 

 

♦TRAILER♦

Direct Link to Trailer

 

♦SERIES♦

The Farthest Edge

Honey Series Book Two

Release Date: June 6, 2017

PreOrder: Kindle | Paperback ($8.79; Normally $15.99)

♦ABOUT THE AUTHOR♦

kristen-ashley-headshot

Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA and nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorise and she hadn’t taken her first breath!). Her mother said they took Kristen away, put her Mom back in her room, her mother looked out the window, and Gary was on fire (Dr. King had been assassinated four days before). Kristen’s Mom remembered thinking it was the end of the world. Quite the dramatic beginning.
Nothing’s changed.

Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana and has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus, she’s blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her family was (is) loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write. They all lived together on a very small farm in a small farm town in the heartland. She grew up with Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched).

Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up.

And as she keeps growing, it keeps getting better.

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REVIEW: If You Were Mine by Melanie Harlow

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Standalone

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♦BLURB♦

Theo MacLeod wasn’t supposed to be the one.

Tall, dark and handsome suits me just fine, but the cocky grin, know-it-all attitude, and mammoth ego? No thanks. I only hired him so I wouldn’t have to sit at the singles table again. It was just pretend.

He wasn’t supposed to kiss me.

My heart wasn’t supposed to pound.

We weren’t supposed to spend the night together—the hottest night of my life.

One night turns into a snowed-in weekend away, and even the blizzard of the century can’t cool the fire between us. I can’t get enough—of his smile, of his body, of the way he makes me feel.

We’re nothing alike. He’s a daredevil, and I’m a nervous Nellie. He’s a drifter, and I want to put down roots. He’s an opportunist with a checkered past, and I’m a Girl Scout volunteer.

But none of it matters when I’m in his arms.

I know he’s made mistakes. I know his wounds are deep, and he doesn’t trust easily. I know he doesn’t believe he could ever be enough to make me happy, but he could.

All he has to do is stay.

 

♦4-STAR REVIEW♦

Some novels are just all around enjoyable in every way. If You Were Mine had the perfect mix of sexy and sweet with incredible depth into the characterization of both main characters. Harlow included humor in her typical fashion which made the story pop along with the always-present sizzle of the scorching sexual chemistry. All of which created a fast, inhale-able read.

Claire and Theo were polar opposites, but they came together beautifully; both had what the other lacked, most especially when it came to hope. For every downtrodden man comes a woman who can only see his potential–and she was that for him. Her light was inspirational and something he quickly became enamored by. Their playful banter and wild sexual attraction made this novel unputdownable.

It was fun. I love how Harlow makes her stories fun. But under the fun is the beauty of the emotional healing that is always so heartwarming to read. If You Were Mine is a standalone novel (featuring mild spoilers and character crossover for Man Candy and After We Fall) that will both excite and enthrall. Melanie’s writing is, again, something that will do nothing but keep you glued to the pages.

 

♦EXCERPT♦

A guy in a black leather jacket set a coffee cup down on the table and sat opposite me.

I looked over at him, feeling slightly awkward since I’d have to tell him he couldn’t sit there. He was handsome, with warm brown eyes and short dark hair, but he wasn’t Fred. “I’m sorry, I’m waiting for someone,” I said. “But I can move.”

To my surprise, he smiled confidently. “Claire, right? I’m Fred.”

I screwed up my face. “You can’t be. Fred has blond hair and blue eyes. I saw his picture.”

He laughed, almost condescendingly. “I don’t use my real picture, Claire. People are crazy.”

What? This made no sense. “I don’t understand. How can you advertise yourself with someone else’s photo? Don’t women get mad when you show up?”

He shrugged, his grin turning a little cocky. “Haven’t had any complaints so far.”

Actually, he was more attractive than the photo he’d used online—more rugged and masculine, with his scruffy jaw, big shoulders, and brawny chest. Meeting the real Fred was kind of like ordering the chicken piccata and being brought the Porterhouse, which hadn’t even been on the menu.

But that wasn’t the point.

(And I’d described someone completely different to Elyse.)

“So, what, you use a fake photo to lure potential clients and then you set up the coffee meeting to check them out first?” I asked indignantly.

“Wouldn’t you?” He shrugged out of his jacket. “It’s a scary world out there.”

I crossed my arms, sitting up tall. “No! That’s a scam. I don’t like scammers.”

“No, it isn’t. I don’t take any money from them. I don’t even talk to them, I just leave.”

Frowning, I said, “That doesn’t seem right to me. These people are willing to pay you to hang out with them and probably feel bad enough about themselves already, and you just walk out without even giving them a chance?”

He shrugged. “Look, if it makes you feel any better, I’ve only walked off a job once, and that was because I thought I recognized the woman. I prefer to keep my personal and professional identities separate. That’s fair, isn’t it?”

Professional identity? He was a rent-a-date! I shook my head in disbelief. “Is your name even Fred?”

“Does it matter?”

“Yes,” I snapped. “How am I supposed to know what to call you?”

He grinned as he leaned toward me and lowered his voice. “Call me anything you want. You’re the boss.”

Was he flirting with me or making fun of me? I cleared my throat and pressed my knees tighter together. “I’d like to call you by your actual name, please. Bad enough I have to pay someone to play my fake boyfriend. I’d like something to be real, at least.”

He held his eyes steady on mine for a moment. I felt like he was sizing me up, trying to decide if he could trust me, so I stared right back without blinking. If anyone at this table was trustworthy, it was me.

“Theo,” he said quietly, his eyes dropping to my lips for the merest fraction of a second. “My name is Theo.”

There. Was that so hard? I smiled at him before picking up my latte.“Well, it’s nice to meet you, Theo.”

“What, you’re just going to believe me? You’re much too trusting, Claire. I bet people take advantage of you.”

I set the cup back down on the saucer with an angry clank. “Is your name Theo or not?”

“Shhh, it is, it is,” he said, laughing. Then he glanced over his shoulder like he was in the fucking CIA. “But I don’t give that out to just anyone. You should feel special.”

 

♦ABOUT THE AUTHOR♦

Harlow Headshot Color

Melanie Harlow likes her martinis dry, her heels high, and her history with the naughty bits left in. When she’s not writing or reading, she gets her kicks from TV series like VEEP, Game of Thrones, House of Cards, and Homeland. She occasionally runs three miles, but only so she can have more gin and steak.

Melanie is the author of the HAPPY CRAZY LOVE series, the FRENCHED series, and the sexy historical SPEAK EASY duet, set in the 1920s. She lifts her glass to romance readers and writers from her home near Detroit, MI, where she lives with her husband, two daughters, and pet rabbit.

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BLOG TOUR w/ REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Blackbird by Molly McAdams

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28 - Blackbird

Dark Romantic Suspense

Redemption Book One

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♦BLURB♦

From New York Times bestselling author Molly McAdams comes a powerhouse romantic suspense that will have you questioning your morals and second guessing your view on love.

I live in a world few know exist. I’ve trained for this. I know what to say, what to do, and how to act. I’ve perfected the lethal calm required for this life.
Now it’s time to buy my first girl. But all it takes is one look at the brave girl who starts singing mid-auction for that calm to slip.
Briar Chapman is going to be the death of me, and I don’t care. I’ll take every day with her until that death comes, and I’ll welcome it when it does.

On the outside, Lucas Holt is what nightmares are made of. A man cloaked in darkness, with sin-filled eyes and an enticing grin. A devil so devastatingly beautiful and cruel that his very presence instills fear.
But beneath his terrifying, ever-calm exterior is an affectionate man haunted by a past that refuses to stay buried. And Lucas looks at me as though he’s finally found the only person who can make it all go away.
We’re a battle of the brightest day and the darkest night–and I want to lie in the wake of our war.

 

♦4-STAR REVIEW♦

Soooo…how do I even review this book? I’m honestly speechless and a bit…unsettled?…blown away? This is a completely dark romance that has elements that will cause you to hem and haw and oddly feel things for people (well, one in particular) that you really shouldn’t feel, things that you can’t help but feel. It’s reminiscent of the kind of situation or feelings that Tears of Tess or Captive in the Dark provoke, but it’s completely its own devil.

With a heroine sold into sex trafficking and a hero as her new master, things aren’t peaches and rainbows. Our little blackbird isn’t one to acquiesce to any man, certainly not him. His need for control and her unwillingness to relinquish control created a wild electricity between them both that continued to grow and grow to a fever pitch. I know this is a Molly McAdams we’re not used to seeing, but I love that she went for it. It was gripping and twisty and a bit crazy and, yeah, I can’t say much else without giving anything away. Blackbird was a wild, racy ride on the dark side and it was handled with the best of intentions for these characters. It’s one that will surprise you to the very end.

 

♦EXCERPT♦

She closed the distance between us, each step slow and calculated. Once she was close enough, I slid one hand around her waist and the other around the back of her neck, using her hair to tilt her head back so I could study those eyes that captivated me.

“I hate that you have so much money that you buy women. I hate that you bought me at all, but mostly that you bought me because I started singing. I hate the circumstances that brought me to you, but I love you and am thankful I’m here with you all the same.”

My chest ached and filled with warmth. I wanted to kiss her and thank her for trusting me with her past. I wanted to erase every bad memory and replace them with ones of us now, but she didn’t realize what she’d just said . . .

As much as I wanted what she was saying to be true, it wasn’t, and it never would be. It couldn’t.

“You don’t,” I said thickly, forcing the words out through the tightness in my throat.

Confusion covered her face and her brows drew together. “I don’t what?”

“You don’t love me.”

I felt the shock that went through her body, but she didn’t try to pull away from me. Instead, she gripped my shirt in her hands like she was pleading with me in her touch alone.

“Lucas . . .”

My eyes slid shut, and I released a slow, weighted breath. “You don’t, Briar.”

“I know you think you don’t know how to love someone, but you do, you have been. You know what love is, and I have never been more aware of how loved I am by someone than I am by you.”

I ground my jaw and finally looked at her again. Instead of disagreeing with her, I said, “You can’t love me, because you don’t know me.”

I hated the hurt in her eyes. I hated that I was putting it there. I hated everything I was, hated that I would never be enough for the girl I didn’t know how to let go of. Couldn’t let go of.

“Yes, I do,” she choked out. “I’ve seen it, I’ve felt it, I’ve experienced your darkness and your monsters, and I’m still here. Haven’t I proven myself yet? Haven’t I proven I am not going anywhere? That you can’t make me run?” Her gripping hands flattened and moved up to curve around my neck. “I knew to fall in love with you I had to fall in love with the devil, too. I am not as naïve as you think I am.”

“But you have no idea exactly how heartless your devil is,” I said darkly.

“Then let me see—”

“I won’t let you into that part of my world,” I said on a growl. Just the thought of her being in a situation to see me like that—to see that part of my world—chilled me in a way that made me feel sick. “All of thiswill change the minute you see it. Trust me when I say you’ll never be able to look at me the same, and I won’t be able to live with myself if that day ever comes.”

“You can’t know that,” she argued, her words still sounding like a plea.

“Think of your worst memories with me, Blackbird,” I ordered gently. “Think of what I told you about the shootout with my brothers. Think about what William did to you. Now try to grasp that all of that is nothing compared to what I have done, and what I do, without feeling a thing.”

I waited for it to sink in, and after a few moments, it did. And there was that look in her eyes I’d come to dread and hate—fear and uncertainty. But I could still see her love for me.

Unfailing and undeserving.

“Didn’t you hear me the first time?” she finally asked as tears filled her eyes. “The darkest part of your soul terrifies me, but, Lucas, I’m not going anywhere.”

♦PLAYLIST♦

♦ABOUT THE AUTHOR♦

MOLLY MCADAMS

Molly grew up in California but now lives in the oh-so-amazing state of Texas with her husband, daughter, and fur babies. When she’s not diving into the world of her characters, some of her hobbies include hiking, snowboarding, traveling, and long walks on the beach … which roughly translates to being a homebody with her hubby and dishing out movie quotes. She has a weakness for crude-humored movies and fried pickles, and loves curling up in a fluffy comforter during a thunderstorm … or under one in a bathtub if there are tornadoes. That way she can pretend they aren’t really happening.

Come be my friend!

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EXCERPT REVEAL: What I Need by J. Daniels

Excerpt Image

WIN

Alabama Summer Book Five; Standalone

Release Date: March 5, 2017

PreOrder: Amazon US | Amazon UK | iBooks | Kobo

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♦BLURB♦

Riley Tennyson has made a huge mistake.

At least, that’s what she keeps telling herself.

Showing up to her brother’s wedding pissed off and newly single, Riley seeks comfort in solitude and an open bar, until the gorgeous and irresistibly charming CJ Tully makes her a better offer―a wild night with the master of smooth-talking where nothing is off limits.

Riley does what any single woman would do, and a connection is made. One neither one of them can ignore. But when she comes home to the boyfriend she no longer thought she had, Riley buries her secret and begs CJ to do the same.

Forget about each other. It was a mistake. That’s all it was… right?

Desires are hidden. Distance is kept. Until one night CJ makes the ultimate sacrifice, and Riley can no longer avoid the man she can’t stop thinking about.

Not with him sleeping down the hall…

 

♦EXCERPT♦

“You Tully?”

I jerk my chin at the guy standing at the security booth after he speaks, then throw a look of appreciation at the bouncer who led me over here before he steps away.

“Name’s Mark. I’m running things tonight. It’s good to have you,” the guy says.

We shake hands.

“Yeah. Don’t mention it,” I reply.

He looks around the venue and gestures. “Packed joint tonight. Shouldn’t get too crazy with this band and the crowd it’s bringing out, but we never wanna risk it. It’s good having backup.”

“How many of us you got?” I ask him over the music when the band starts playing, leaning closer to hear his response.

“You and another guy who’s already here. He’s hanging out up by the stage. Plus a bunch of our guys.” He hooks his thumb at the floor to ceiling windows along the front of the building, adding, “I got some uniforms on the street keeping that shit under control in case people get tossed out.”

I nod, liking what I’m hearing.

The Red Door isn’t the biggest venue I’ve worked security on, but it’s big enough. Managing this shit alone can present a challenge. And by the looks of it, it’s a sold out show.

More eyes we got on the crowd, the better.

“You run into any problems yet?” I ask.

The guy shakes his head. “Nah. Just normal shit. People trying to sneak in their own booze,” he replies, glancing at the door where everyone is filing in. “Confiscated it. No issues. Everything else seems to be running smooth.”

“Good,” I say when I meet his eyes. “I’ll keep near the back since the other guy’s covering the front. I’ll come to you if I run into any problems.”

“Sounds good, man.”

We exchange another hand shake, then I step away and move through the crowd.

I stop near the center of the room and stay to the back like I said so I can have full view of the floor that’s packed with bodies, some keeping position and others moving away from me, pushing to get closer to the stage.

Bringing my arms across my chest, I stand tall and do a sweep of the place. I’ve been here before so I know the layout.

There’s a bar to the right of where I’m standing, stretching the length of the wall. Restrooms are behind me. Other than the hallway leading to the rooms behind the stage where bands hang out, there’s isn’t much that isn’t visible. Plus, it’s one level, standing room only, so I don’t gotta worry about another floor I need to cover.

Should be an easy gig.

I do shit like this on the side for the extra cash. Venues hosting concerts are always looking for cops who are willing to come out and beef up security. We stay in civilian clothes so we blend in, and unless I’m having to act on something, I typically get out without anyone knowing I’m a cop.

Easy money. Ain’t nothing wrong with that.

I look back to the dance floor.

The lights are dimmed. Red and blue strobe lights positioned on the ceiling illuminate the crowd, along with the bright, white lights shining from the stage. Visibility is good.

Another plus. I worked a few of these where it wasn’t and that only presented problems.

But here, I can see faces. Can see other shit going on too if someone’s dumb enough to try something too.

I anticipate it. Events like this always bring out some of the stupidest motherfuckers. Which is exactly why they like having us work these things.

Security can only do so much.

I’m three songs into the set when the beat picks up. The bass vibrates along the floor. I feel it pulsing in my feet.

The faster rhythm stirs the crowd and shifts them around. More bodies gather and move closer to the stage, jumping up with their fists in the air and belting out lyrics, drawing people away from the bar. Others stay toward the back where there’s room to dance.

That’s where I’m looking, and that’s where I see her.

Blonde.

I blink. My eyes refocus. Then I stare at waves the color of sand flowing down the back of a tiny thing swaying to the music.

Shirt tied off at the waist. Lower back showing. Hips shaking in some tight as shit black jeans. Ass looking fucking incredible.

Damn.

She reaches above her, bends her elbows and rakes her fingers through her hair, lifting it off her neck as her body keeps moving in ways I feel straight in my cock, then after letting her arms drop, she looks toward the bar with eyes searching, giving me full view of her profile.

My chest grows motherfucking tight.

I blink again, thinking I’m seeing things.

Riley Tennyson wets her lips.

Fuck.

I’m not seeing things.

Jesus Christ. This is just what I need.

Working this shit, needing to stay focused and eyes alert to all bodies in this room and now I know for damn sure that’s not gonna be happening, meaning this gig just went from easy to really fucking complicated.

There’s only one body I’m interested in keeping eyes on and it’s the one making my dick hard.

Motherfucker.

Riley Tennyson is gonna fucking kill me.

I pull in a deep breath, watching that sweet face get ripped out of view when Riley looks toward the stage again.

She keeps dancing. Keeps shaking that perfect ass and swaying those perfect hips, fingers curling in and lifting those long waves again, also perfect.

Every part of her. Every fucking inch.

Perfection.

And I’m not even considering what she’s got going on in the front. Shouldn’t even be considering it—we’re friends, she’s taken, and I’m not a fucking asshole—but that didn’t stop me all day when I couldn’t keep those spectacular tits off my mind, even going a step further into crazy when I shared that with her through a text.

I need to quit now. Stop this shit.

I can avoid it. I got options.

Switch with the guy hanging up by the stage, hoping Riley keeps her location. Or fuck it. Just pull out of this gig all together. Make up some excuse. I don’t need the cash.

I don’t need to be staring.

I sure as fuck don’t need to be getting hard right now.

I got options. Just need to pick one.

Simple.

Yeah…

Real fucking simple.

I breathe in deep again, letting it out slowly. And I do this staring at her.

Only at her.

And the more staring I do the more I start to notice, like how she seems to be out there dancing alone, not with another person or a group of friends she came with. People around her are keeping to themselves or appearing to be together, throwing their arms around each other or sharing looks. Acting friendly. Just not with her.

Riley isn’t meeting anyone’s eyes. She’s not trying to talk to anyone. She’s in her own little world.

She’s here alone.

He made her come to this shit alone.

Anger fills me. My jaw flexes while the muscles in my arms and shoulders start locking up.

My choice of options just grew by one.

Instead of charging through the crowd which, no lie, is exactly what I want to be doing right now, I reach into the back pocket of my jeans and pull out my phone. I shoot out a quick text.

Me: Tell me he’s here.

Lifting my eyes, I watch as Riley pauses mid ass-shake, slaps her back pocket, tugs out her phone and brings it in front of her. Her head tilts down, then a second later it’s lifting and she’s searching all around where she’s standing, peering around people and standing taller. She finds me when she finally twists around, head first and then body following.

Her lips part. Her blue eyes go round, flames burning me up like they always do.

Riley starts moving my way and my eyes lower, first to her mouth, watching the slow smile twist across it and take shape.

She looks happy to see me. I shouldn’t put stock into that but I do. It’s what I want.

Then my eyes keep dropping and I get full view of her tits. Her full, heavy, perfect fucking tits. Sitting high behind her tight white shirt and bouncing with her steps.

Jesus Christ.

My new friend has tits like that. And by the looks of it, she didn’t bother putting on a bra either.

What the fuck did I do in a previous life to deserve this kind of torture?

“Hey. I didn’t know you were coming to this,” Riley says all sweet sounding when she reaches me, stopping close and offering me a smile. Sweat gathers on her brow and in the hollow dip in her throat. She shoves her phone away and questions, “Why are you standing all the way back here? Don’t you wanna get closer so you can see the band?”

“Working,” I tell her, lifting my eyes before I punch a hole through my jeans. I tuck my phone into my back pocket, adding, “Trust me. I can see plenty from where I’m standing.”

Ain’t that the fucking truth.

Riley blinks, then looks to my chest. “You’re not wearing your uniform,” she observes.

I squint at her mouth.

I got what she said, but I can barely hear her over the music. I don’t like that.

I want to hear her.

“Come on.” Grabbing her elbow, I pull Riley with me to the back corner of the room, stopping beside the hallway that leads to the restrooms and crowding the wall.

It’s as far from the speakers as I can get her unless I take her outside, and I’m not sure I want to do that.

Only `cause I know I’ll want to leave with her. Meaning I absolutely want to do that.

Shoulder pressing to the wall, I release her elbow after tugging Riley close. I pull my arms across my chest. “Not typically something I wanna advertise when I’m staying undercover,” I say in response to her observation.

“Oh.” She looks up at me, smiling and lifting her shoulders with a jerk. “Cool,” she says.

I can see Riley better where we’re standing now. The hallway light is shining on her, making her skin glow.

I look her over.

She wearing more makeup than I’ve ever seen her in. Black lines her eyes and her lashes are darker. Thicker too.

I like that.

Her cheeks are flushed from the dancing she was doing. That combined with the whatever she’s got on her face is hiding her freckles from me.

I don’t like that. But I don’t tell Riley. I keep looking.

Red lips, full and shiny. Cock sucking lips. I know that from experience.

Shit. Don’t go there. I focus on her eyes again.

Blue and black, fading out to grey. Like a storm coming…

“You totally still look like a cop,” Riley shares, jarring my focus. The corner of her mouth twitches. “You’re not fooling anyone, CJ Tully.”

My brows raise. “Yeah?”

She nods, laughing. “You look scary and pissed off. Smile a little.”

I don’t smile. Not even when she amps hers up and gives it to me, pairing it with another soft giggle.

I get straight to the point with her because getting off point with Riley is gonna lead to this shit getting even more complicated, and fuck, I’ve looked enough tonight to run the risk of major fucking complications.

Plus, she’s laughing. Smiling. Looking like she’s thinking the same things I’m thinking.

Get to the fucking point, Tully.

“You gonna answer my question?” I ask.

Her brow furrows. “What question?”

“I asked you if he was here,” I remind her.

“Oh.” Nodding, Riley looks behind her in the direction of the bar, then meets my eyes again. “Yeah, he went to get a drink. He doesn’t really want to be here. I kinda dragged him out.”

“Why?”

“Why what?”

“Why’d you need to drag him out?”

Riley tilts her head. “Because… he doesn’t really want to be here?” she repeats slowly, looking puzzled. “I just told you. He doesn’t like The Killers.”

“So?”

So?”

“Yeah, babe. So.”

She straightens her head, but her eyes narrow as if she’s thinking hard. “You’ve lost me,” she shares.

“Forget it,” I mumble, looking away, knowing I got no business getting up in her shit the way I’m doing. I need to back off.

“No. What? Tell me.” Riley reaches out and places her hand on my forearm.

I look down and watch her black painted fingers wrap around and curl under. I feel them squeeze.

Our eyes lock.

“Tell me,” she pleads, looking close to begging for this.

My blood starts running hot. Scorching. Hot.

Fuck it.

I’m getting up in her shit.

“I’m here because I’m working for extra cash, not because I’m digging the music,” I share, staring into her eyes and seeing hers staring back, like what I’m revealing is something she needs to hear, not just something she’s curious about. “Don’t hate it. I listen to stuff like this on occasion but it ain’t something I’d pay money to see. That being said, my woman wants to come to a show like this, crowd this size, booze flowing, other shit possibly going on, she ain’t coming alone. No discussion needed. I could hate this music to the point it makes my fucking ears bleed and I’m still going with her.”

“Why?” Riley asks. “To protect her?”

“That.” I jerk my chin. “And `cause she’s mine and a real man can deal with shitty music for a few hours if it means putting in time with his woman.”

Riley drags her teeth along her bottom lip. Her chest starts working harder, moving stricter with her breaths.

I should stop now. The way she’s looking at me…

I should stop.

I don’t.

“Saw you dancing and thought you were here alone,” I add, smirking. “Already hate that motherfucker for what he gets to touch every night. I thought I was gonna have to kill him.”

Riley stares up at me. She doesn’t blink. Doesn’t breathe.

“Babe,” I probe.

“You shouldn’t say that,” she says, face serious.

Her hand squeezes tighter. She’s anxious now, maybe. Or pissed. I don’t know.

I decide to ease her mind if it’s nerves getting to her.

“I wouldn’t really kill him.” My smirk grows into a smile. “Mess him up though.”

“No. Not that.” She shakes her head. “The other thing. What he gets to touch. You shouldn’t say that.”

“It’s true.”

“Even so. We’re friends. You shouldn’t say it.”

I bend to get closer. “You might wanna take your hand off me if we’re friends, darlin’.”

 

♦SERIES♦

Each book stands on its own

Alabama Series

Where I Belong → Amazon US | Amazon UK | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

All I Want → Amazon US | Amazon UK | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

When I Fall → Amazon US | Amazon UK | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

Where We Belong → Amazon US | Amazon UK | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

 

♦ABOUT THE AUTHOR♦

J. Daniels is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Sweet Addiction series and the Alabama Summer series. She loves curling up with a good book, drinking a ridiculous amount of coffee, and writing stories her children will never read. Daniels grew up in Baltimore and resides in Maryland with her family.

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