Review & Promo Tour: Hitched Vol 3. by Kendall Ryan

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Hitched 3I’ve ruined everything.

I’ve broken the cardinal rule and fallen in love with my fake wife, and then I went and did the worst thing a husband can do.

Winning her back will be nearly impossible, but I’ve never backed down from a challenge before and I’m sure as hell not about to start now. Olivia will be mine, and I can’t wait to put a bun in her oven.

You won’t want to miss the final installment in Noah and Olivia’s love story, and especially the way this over-the-top alpha male wins over his bride once and for all.

This is the third and final volume in the story.

 

 

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 MY REVIEW

Hitched: Volume Three (Imperfect Love, #3)Hitched: Volume Three by Kendall Ryan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A 5 Star grand finale! In this final installment of Noah & Olivia’s love story, Kendall Ryan gave us MORE. More heat. More emotion. More surprises. I finished this seriously feeling immensely satisfied with the conclusion. The story took a bit of a detour from the route I anticipated it would take, but it was exactly what was needed to make the story believable. Kendall Ryan always knows how to do right by her characters and her readers. Just one of the many reasons I always one click her books.

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hitched 1Marry the girl I’ve had a crush on my whole life? Check.

Inherit a hundred-billion-dollar company? Check.

Produce an heir… Wait, what?

I have ninety days to knock up my brand-new fake wife. There’s only one problem—she hates my guts.

And in the fine print of the contract? The requirement that we produce an heir.

She can’t stand to be in the same room with me. Says she’ll never be in my bed.

But I’ve never backed down from a challenge and I’m not about to start now.

Mark my words—I’ll have her begging for me, and it won’t take ninety days.

On the heels of her smash hit and New York Times bestselling SCREWED series, Kendall Ryan brings you HITCHED, a romantic comedy that delivers heart and heat. A NYC playboy turned business mogul has ninety days to win over the woman he’s always desired in order to save his father’s company. One tiny problem: She hates his guts.

 

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 Hitched 2Arranged marriage? Check.

Cocky new husband? Check.

It’s a marriage of convenience—one I’m determined to keep strictly professional. I can’t be stupid enough to fall for this sexy playboy’s charm or advances. I have to be strong, even if he is my husband.

Except he has a huge cock with an even bigger ego, and his main goal in life seems to be getting me to stroke both. The arrogant bastard is like sweet, sugary candy for my libido. I know he’s bad for me.

But I want to devour every wicked inch of him.

With his sexual prowess and experience, I know he’ll be explosive in the bedroom. And since we’re stuck together for the foreseeable future—keeping up this marriage charade long enough to turn the company profitable again—I deserve something to look forward to at the end of a long workday, right?

What could one little taste hurt?

This is volume 2 in the Imperfect Love series.

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Kendall Ryan Headshot 1 picA New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of more than a dozen titles, Kendall Ryan has sold over 1.5 million books and her books have been translated into several languages in countries around the world. She’s a traditionally published author with Simon & Schuster and Harper Collins UK, as well as an independently published author. Since she first began self-publishing in 2012, she’s appeared at #1 on Barnes & Noble and iBooks charts around the world. Her books have also appeared on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists more than three dozen times. Ryan has been featured in such publications as USA Today, Newsweek, and InTouch Magazine.

Visit her at: www.kendallryanbooks.com for the latest book news, and fun extras

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Review & Excerpt Tour: Bad Judgement by Meghan March

 

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Bad JUD Cover FrontHe’s so arrogant.

She’s so self-righteous.

I can’t stand him.

I want her.

He’s a distraction I don’t need.

She’ll say yes eventually because I’m not giving up.

 

Justine Porter is stuck between a rock and a stripper pole. She lost her law school scholarship, which means she has two choices to keep her life on track: strip for her tuition or tutor the most distractingly sexy guy in her class—the one she’s been turning down for two years straight. It should be an easy choice, but tutoring Ryker Grant could derail her plans to graduate with honors faster than two-for-one night at the Déjà Vu. Then again, topless has never really been her color.

She could take the easy road, just this once . . . but the deal has enough loopholes to trip anyone up.

Who knew they taught bad judgment in law school?

 

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Bad JudgmentBad Judgment by Meghan March

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This story took me places I never expected to go and it was so much more than I thought it would be! Once I started, it didn’t want to put it down. It was full of smart & witty humor, yet in true Meghan March style it also stole a little piece of my heart and had me reaching for the kleenex to dry my tears. There was a couple of twists I never saw coming, and in the end every little detail is wrapped in neatly together for ending that filled my heart with pride and joy! While the characters make plenty of bad judgements, Meghan March certainly made none writing this story. I wasn’t exactly what I expected, yet it was absolutely perfect!

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“I’ve got some things I need to say to you, and you’re going to let me.”

Her brown eyes snap up to mine, surprise clear in them. “Why should I?”

“Because you’re nothing if not curious, and you want to know what I have to say.”

She steps backward, and I let my fingertips trail across her skin before they drop away. Justine adjusts the straps of her backpack on her shoulders and tucks Chewbacca into a side pocket.

“You know you want to hear the rare sound of me apologizing, don’t you?”

Justine purses her lips, and all I can think about is the dreams I had all weekend of her staring down at me from a stage while she danced and stripped. My own private show. I’m not going to admit how many times I jacked off to the mental picture. I need the real thing, and I won’t have another shot if she won’t even give me a chance to talk to her.

I don’t know what changes her mind, but she relaxes her posture and relents. “Fine. You’ve got five minutes. This better be good.”

It’s not much, but I’ll take it. I lead the way out of the classroom, slipping out the side door I used to make my unobtrusive entrance. Or at least, it was unobtrusive until I decided to share my strike-out history with the entire class at Professor Turner’s invitation.

Glancing behind me, I’m marginally surprised to see Justine actually following. I head for the third-floor doors to the library, where the private rooms are. This conversation isn’t for public consumption.

The first private room on the right is empty, so I push the door open. Justine trails me inside, and I shrug off my backpack and drop it on one of the four chairs.

She closes the door behind her and leans against it, her arms crossed over her chest. I’m guessing she wouldn’t stand that way if she realized how it draws attention to her chest. I force my eyes back to her face. I’m not about to fuck this up.

“Wow, you must really plan on groveling if you need privacy,” she says, an eyebrow raised in challenge.

“Maybe I just wanted to get you alone.”

She rolls her eyes. “And I’m already getting bored.”

“You love to bust my balls, don’t you?”

“I don’t really like to think about your balls, if you want to know the truth.”

I try on my charming smile, the one that has dropped panties for years. “I’m calling bullshit on that. You’ve thought about me at least once.”

She pushes off the door and turns halfway to reach for the handle. “And if that’s all you wanted to say, then I think we’re done here.”

“Wait.”

I’m shocked when she listens.

Justine rubs her hands over her face, her every move revealing her frustration. “You ask me out for two years, practically blackmail me into a kiss, then you blow me off completely, and now you’re all up in my business again. What the hell do you want from me?”

Her confusion punches me in the gut, making me wish I could tell her why I wasn’t there the morning I promised to help her move. It wasn’t for any reason she thinks.

I stride toward her, pressing one palm against the door beside her head. “I’m not blowing you off, and I haven’t stopped thinking about that night.”

“Then why—”

I can’t give her the explanation she wants, so I try something different.

Lowering my head, I catch the next words out of her mouth on my lips. They’re just as soft as I remember, and I drop my other hand to her hip, drawing her against me. Her fingers curl into the fabric of my T-shirt, almost reluctantly, but she’s not pushing me away.

I take her mouth, my tongue diving between her lips to taste her again—finally, but the pulsing of my dick against the zipper of my jeans forces me to back off. If I don’t, I’ll be laying her out on the table behind us, and that’s not what this is about. At least, not all of what this is about.

With her face flushed and her hair messy from my fingers, Justine shutters her expression. She’s rebuilding her walls brick by brick.

That’s not going to work for me.

“What’s it going to take, Justine?” I remember asking her the same question at the bar.

Her dark eyes fill with confusion. “What’s what going to take?” The words come out defensively.

“With you. To get a second chance. I fucked up once, but doesn’t everyone deserve another shot?”

 

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meghanmarchpicMeghan March has been known to wear camo face paint and tromp around in woods wearing mud-covered boots, all while sporting a perfect manicure. She’s also impulsive, easily entertained, and absolutely unapologetic about the fact that she loves to read and write smut. Her past lives include slinging auto parts, selling lingerie, making custom jewelry, and practicing corporate law. Writing books about dirty talking alpha males and the strong, sassy women who bring them to their knees is by far the most fabulous job she’s ever had. She loves hearing from her readers at meghanmarchbooks@gmail.com.

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Release Blitz: Shattered by Love by Dani René

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ONLY $0.99 until August 28! FREE ON KU

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Synopsis:

The boy from the wrong side of town.
The girl who stole his heart.
Jayce
For five years, I’ve lived with my choice.
Pain. Regret. Heartache.
A shattered soul.
She was my salvation. My love. My world.
Until I let her walk away.
Ivy
For five years, I’ve lived with my secret.
Hurt. Remorse. Sorrow.
A shattered soul.
He was my life. My love. My world.
Until he let me walk away.
Broken hearts, shattered by love.
Secrets. Deception. Lies.
Can shattered love be mended?
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Review: Furious Rush by S.C. Stephens

Synopsis

The first in an emotion-fueled, New Adult series from the #1 bestselling author of the Thoughtless novels.

Too fast, too furious-and way too hot to handle . . .

Mackenzie Cox has a lot to prove. Daughter of a racing legend, she is eager to show the world that she has inherited her father’s talent in the male-dominated sport of professional motorcycle racing. The last thing Kenzie needs is to be antagonized by her rival team’s newest rider, Hayden Hayes. Plucked from the world of illegal street racing, Hayden immediately gets under Kenzie’s skin. His insinuations that Kenzie is a spoiled princess who was handed her career fuels her desire to win, and much to her surprise, Kenzie soon learns she performs better when she’s racing against Hayden.

As Kenzie and Hayden push each other on the track, the electric energy between them off the track shifts into an intense–and strictly forbidden–attraction. The only rule between their two ultra-competitive teams is zero contact. Kenzie always does her best to play by the rules, but when her team slips into a financial crisis, she has no choice but to turn to Hayden for help. The tension simmers during their secret, late-night rendezvous, but Kenzie has too much to lose to give in to her desires. Especially when she begins to doubt that Hayden has completely left his street life behind…

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Kindle: bit.ly/FuriousRushKindle
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my review
Furious RushFurious Rush by S.C. Stephens

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Romeo & Juliet meets The Fast & The Furious, only with motorcycles instead of cars. This fast past story of forbidden love is packed with intense emotions, drama, chemistry with a little bit of scandal and mystery. The Benneti’s and the Cox’s are to Furious Rush as the Montagues and Capulets were to Romeo and Juliet. The two families have an intense and bitter rivalry and Kenzi and Hayden find themselves on opposite sides of the battle field. Despite the fact that they start out with sort of a love-hate relationship, soon enough they can’t deny their intense chemistry. On the race track they find a synergy and competitiveness that brings out the best in both of them. They soon find themselves risking not just their hearts, but their lives in a race to save what is most precious to each of them. This fast paced story had me on the edge of my seat in anticipation. Although this story doesn’t end in a cliffhanger, it was a slow burn with an explosive ending that left me wondering if we haven’t seen the last of Kenzi and Hayden. I hope not!

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Chapter 5

A few hours later, after a mandatory dinner with my father and the crew, I was finally back at the hotel. Collapsing onto the bed, I wondered if I had ever been this exhausted in all my life. Trailing my fingers along the pattern sewn into the quilt beneath me, I debated shutting off the light and trying to make a genuine attempt to sleep; if I wanted it bad enough, I could make it happen . . . right? The light switch was so far away, though, and there was no way I’d be able to stop replaying the video of my slide out that was running on constant repeat in my head. Whether it was light or dark in the room didn’t matter if my brain was wide awake. It didn’t even matter that my limbs were heavy with fatigue and all of my muscles were tired and aching. My brain wouldn’t stay silent, so there would be no real rest for me.
Letting out an annoyed groan, I managed to find the remote on the nightstand. Flicking on the TV, I prayed I might be able to find something that would partially entertain me, or at least distract me. Nothing did, though. All I could think about was the race. I wanted to be home, in my bed, surrounded by my things. Maybe if I were back to my regular routine, I could stop the never-ending replay of my body smacking the concrete, my bike hitting the wall.
We were leaving bright and early tomorrow morning to head back to Oceanside. I was ready to go home, yet reluctant too. I felt like my failure would be the talk of the track for a long time to come—both sides of the track—and I really didn’t want people talking about me, especially about my screwup. But I did want to get back to work; I wanted to begin preparations for the next race, in Wisconsin. God, I hoped that race was better than this one.
After flipping through every available channel at least six times, I turned the TV off. I needed something more engaging to keep my mind from drifting into dark, anxiety-ridden places. Forcing myself to get up, I grabbed my bag from where I’d flung it and dug around for my cell phone. Pulling up Nikki’s number, I texted: Can’t sleep. Are you up?
Her response was immediate. Yep! Just heading to the hot tub. Meet me in 20!
Frowning, I texted back: I didn’t pack a suit. She responded exactly how I thought she would. So? Go commando.
Laughing, I shook my head as I texted her that I’d see her soon. Her parting words were Bring wine!
Rolling my eyes, I looked over at the items available for purchase on top of the minibar. There was a bottle of wine among the chocolate, nuts, condoms, and toiletries. This hotel thought of everything. Shrugging, I grabbed the bottle of wine, a corkscrew, and a couple of glasses. I didn’t usually drink, but I might have a half glass tonight. Maybe a few sips would make me tired enough to go to sleep. Setting the wine on the bed, I debated what I could wear into the hot tub. Skinny-dipping wasn’t exactly my idea of relaxing. Grabbing a robe from the bathroom, I decided my bra and panties would suffice. They covered more than a lot of bikinis anyway.
We were staying at a hotel near the ocean. It was a pretty nice place, with beachside fire pits and saltwater pools, but my favorite thing about it was the ultra-private pool and hot tub on the roof. With the crashing waves of the surf nearby and the twinkling lights of Daytona in the distance, it was a spectacular display. Just what I needed to unwind. Hopefully the hot water didn’t aggravate my scrapes too badly. It would be worth it, though.
Clenching the wine bottle in one hand and the glasses and corkscrew in the other, I made my way up to the roof. When I got there, I looked around for Nikki, but she was nowhere to be seen. Not too surprising.
Figuring she’d get here when she got here, I headed for the hot tub. I could almost feel the stress releasing from my overtaxed muscles as I spotted the softly lit tub nestled in the corner of the rooftop oasis. As I approached the steaming water, I noticed a dark head just barely above the surface. Wow, guess Nikki had beaten me here after all.
“Hey, girlie,” I said, setting down the wine and shucking off my robe. “I brought some wine for you, as requested. And just so you know, if Dad chews my ass out for the room service bill, I’m totally throwing you under the bus.”
The wet head swiveled around to look up at me and my heart sank. It wasn’t Nikki. A slow smile spread across Hayden’s face as he sat up higher in the water, eyeing the lacy bra and underwear I was using as swimwear. Thankfully, they were black, and not a pale color that would show him way more than I ever wanted to. I quickly scanned the rooftop, but we were alone. Horribly and completely alone.
“Well, look who it is,” he mused. “Lucky number twenty-two. Are you here for that scratch, sweetheart? I’m a little worn out after today, but don’t you worry, I’m sure I can still give you what you so politely requested.” He added that damn aggravating wink on the end that made me want to dunk him under the water and hold him there a few minutes. Just until he passed out. I swear.
Flustered and caught off guard, all I could think to say was, “You’re not Nikki.” I felt my cheeks flame as his gaze lingered over my curves, but I stubbornly refused to cover myself up. I worked hard for my sport and it showed in my body. There was nothing on me that I had to be embarrassed about . . . plus, I’d shaved earlier today, so it was all good.
Hayden seemed amused by my response. “No, I’m not.” Bringing his arms up to the edge of the tub, he turned to face me. As he propped his chin on his arms, water droplets beaded and ran down his skin like little racetracks. There was something about steaming water and an attractive man that was exceedingly erotic, but Hayden was not what I wanted to be looking at right now. This was supposed to be relaxing girl time.
“So…” he said with a smile. “Do you and Nikki often meet up for lingerie hot-tubbing after a race? If so, I’m going to have to stay at your hotel more often.”
Familiar irritation pricked my skin, but I somehow managed to keep my expression even. “I didn’t realize you were staying at this hotel. I figured you’d be at some sleazy motel that charged by the hour, along with the rest of the Bennetis. Seems more your speed than a nice place like this.”
His jade eyes darkened, and I knew I’d struck a nerve. Good. I shouldn’t be the only one annoyed, and if he was going to make me sound like a spoiled princess, then I would make him sound like he was fresh from the gutter. And considering where I’d first met him, I probably wasn’t too far off the mark anyway.
Hayden opened his mouth to speak, but I didn’t wait for him to get even so much as a sound out. Making sure we were still alone and no one was here to witness me sharing a could-be-intimate moment with a Benneti, I gingerly placed a foot into the water opposite him. He wasn’t going to chase me away from here with vile words, no matter who he raced for—I needed this too badly after today.
If Hayden had been about to say something, he clearly changed his mind; he was silent as stone as he watched me sink into the water. The searing heat was heaven on my chilled muscles, and even though the raw places stung, a soft groan escaped me. Closing my eyes, I laid my head back on the tile surrounding the tub. Hayden cleared his throat, and I heard soft splashes in the water as he adjusted his position. Cracking an eye open, I saw that he was intensely studying me, and in the silence of our staredown, that crackling energy began to resurface. In a heartbeat, the water suddenly became an extension of him, and the gentle waves were like his fingers caressing me all over, all at once. It was heady and intoxicating, and it made my breath quicken and my body tingle in delicious anticipation. Damn.
I was a millisecond away from getting out of the water… but . . . the near-boiling temperature was so incredible, I didn’t want to give up the luxury yet, not for my cold, lonely hotel room, where the ghosts of my failure were ceaselessly haunting me. I needed this break. For the first time since the race had ended, I actually felt at peace. Almost. Hayden’s absorbing gaze was too intent for full relaxation; shivers that had nothing to do with my body’s adjustment to the blazing heat of the water were flashing across my skin.
“What?” I snapped, hoping to sever the connection, to diminish the pinpoints of excitement that were starting to work their way through me. Inch by inch. Ripple by ripple.
Hayden’s gaze shifted to the bubbling water before lifting to mine again. “Can I ask you a serious question?”
I was shocked. Our conversations had never gone much deeper than trading insults, and even though I was curious, instinct made me answer him with, “No.”
With a frown, he ignored my answer and asked me anyway. “Did you . . . did you feel it today . . . while we were racing?”
My heart started pounding in my chest. I knew exactly what he meant. That fire, that drive, that feeling that we were alone, even when we were surrounded by thousands of people. It had been the most intense race of my career because of that sensation, but I wasn’t about to admit that to him. I couldn’t. It would be like admitting weakness, and I couldn’t ever appear weak in front of this man; he’d pounce in an instant, ripping me to shreds. “I have no idea what you’re talking about, and I said you couldn’t ask me a question.”
He pursed his lips, annoyed, but then he leaned forward in the water. His sudden movement caused tiny waves to come my way, and I instinctually pulled back from them. The sensation that we were connected, even though we weren’t, was bad enough without him coming closer. “You didn’t feel that . . . I don’t know . . . that connection? Like it was just the two of us out there? You must have, since you made that crack about me ignoring everyone else and focusing only on you.”
He tilted his head and a water droplet rolled down his cheek and curved around his neck. Watching it made my toes curl. The intimate lighting out here was playing tricks on my senses, making him too appealing. But the mood-setting couldn’t alter his personality, so I focused all of my energy on remembering the fact that he was an asshole who could never seem to get my name right. Plus he raced for a despicable man who would do just about anything to see my father brought down.
“Like I said, I have no idea what you’re talking about.” I indicated the swirling water between us. “I think you’ve been in here too long. Your brain cells are beginning to boil.” I was beginning to boil. I should leave . . .
Hayden smirked, then began sliding through the water toward me. As he cut into the frantic bubbles between us, my heart began shifting into overdrive. I should definitely leave. But Hayden’s gaze was locked on mine, holding me in place. I couldn’t look away. A familiar surge of adrenaline was building inside me, telling me that something incredible was about to happen.
On your mark…
“I don’t believe you.” His voice was low, and his eyes were boring holes all the way through my soul. I unintentionally sucked my lip into my mouth, and his penetrating gaze dropped to study the movement. God, what would his smoldering skin feel like against mine?
His eyes slowly shifted back to mine. “You know exactly what I’m talking about, and you can’t deny that competing against each other, one on one like that, pushed us both.” He stopped right beside me, and our legs touched under the water. His were warm, hard, unyielding, and I had the sudden horrible image of having them wrapped around me. Owning me, claiming me.
Get set…
“I’ve never raced that well before, and I don’t think you have either. I’ve watched you practicing on the home track a few times, and I’ve noticed something. You worry when you ride, worry about all the people you might be letting down. I get that. But focusing on your fear will only hold you back.” Shock ran through me, temporarily icing the heat. How did he know I constantly stressed about the weight placed on me? And who did he worry about letting down?
Voice soft, he added, “But during the race, I could tell that you let all those expectations go. Because all you were focusing on was me. You raced better when I was out there with you, and I raced better when you were out there with me.” He shifted his position under the water, coming closer until his chest brushed against my arm, and it was like a bolt of electricity struck me. I was tingling all over, ready . . . wanting. How did he know these things? How could he see inside me so accurately?
Hayden’s gaze flicked over my face, alternating between my eyes and my mouth. He looked torn, like he didn’t know what he wanted to do, but then he gently placed his hand on my leg. While his eyes searched for approval or rejection, his fingers began sliding up my inner thigh, igniting me with passion, burning me with desire. My breath was suddenly coming fast and furious. Yes, touch me.
Hayden’s lips parted as he studied my every reaction, and I could see his chest rising and falling as his own breaths quickened. His palm was barely inching across my skin—I was going to explode soon if he didn’t move faster. The glorious anticipation of where his fingers might go was killing me. But then, with a pained look on his face, he stopped moving. Damn it, just do it. Feel me, touch me, take me . . . free me.
With obvious restraint, he slowly leaned forward and pressed his hot lips to my ear, making me shudder. “We’re magic together, Twenty-Two,” he breathed. “Just admit you need me . . . and we can take this up a notch.”
Need him? Take this up a notch? His audacity enraged me. “Get your hand off of me,” I seethed.
Hayden pulled back to study my face for a moment, then he lifted his hand from my thigh and retreated. Raising both hands from the water like he was surrendering, he told me, “Fine. Whatever you say, princess.” He swallowed a few times after he said it, as if he was trying to calm himself down.
Furious at him for going there, furious at myself for not stopping him sooner, I shot up out of the water. The steam lifting from my skin matched my mood, but that was nothing compared to the heat of Hayden’s eyes as he hungrily took in every inch of my dripping-wet body. Enjoy what you see, asshole, because this is the last time you’ll ever see it. Stepping from the tub, I grabbed my robe, tied it tight around my waist, and stormed off.
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S. C. Stephens is a bestselling author who enjoys spending every free moment she has creating stories that are packed with emotion and heavy on romance. She has been writing nonstop ever since the release of her debut novel, which received a great deal of praise from the literary world. In addition to writing, Stephens enjoys spending lazy afternoons in the sun reading fabulous novels, loading up her iPod with music to reduce writer s block, heading out to the movies, and spending quality time with her friends and family.
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Cover Reveal: Womanizer by Katy Evans

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Womanizer by Katy Evans

Series: Manwhore #5
Release Date: December 5th, 2016
Genre: Contemporary Romance

 

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Synopsis:

You’ve seen the headlines: Womanizing billionaire player! Watch out! Stay away!

We were just two strangers. Facing a forbidden attraction, a chemical connection. Neither of us expected or wanted it to amount to more.
But I had never been drawn to a guy the way I was drawn to this one: my brother’s best friend, and CEO of the company where I interned.

Even knowing I should stay away, I proved to be too human, after all.
The chemistry was amazing.
The laughs were incredible.
I opened up to him in more ways than I’d opened up to anyone before.
But sex was as far as I’d go.
Just sex because he was too irresistible.
Just sex because I wouldn’t be falling for him.
Just sex because I’d leave in three months, and I’d like for my brother not to kill me, and for nobody to find out he was my wicked little secret.
He wasn’t the One.
He was just a womanizer.
But for a time, he would be mine.

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Katy Evans grew up with books and book-boyfriends until she found a real sexy boyfriend to love. They married and are now hard at work on their own happily ever after. Katy loves her family and friends, and she also loves reading, walking, baking, and being consumed by her characters until she reaches “The End.” Which is, hopefully, only the beginning…

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Excerpt Reveal: Wide Open Spaces by Aurora Rose Reynolds

Excerpt

Chapter 1

Shelby

Shutting off my car, I stare at the two-story house I used to call home. It looks the same as it did when I left. The deep blue is still vibrant, even more so now against the backdrop of the gray sky behind it. The white porch is still welcoming, with flowers hanging from the banister.

My grandmother and I would spend hours planting flowers in those boxes during the summer. When she passed away during my sophomore year of high school, I made sure to keep up the tradition in her memory. It looks like, in my absence over these last fifteen years, someone else had taken over the job.

Looking at the bright blooms growing wild, hanging over the sides of the boxes, I wonder if Granddad hired someone to plant them for him when he left to live in Florida. He never mentioned that he cared about the flowers we planted. Honesty, I don’t remember him mentioning them. Growing up, I didn’t even think he noticed, but now, looking at the blooming buds that are artfully arranged, I know they meant something to him after all.

“Mom?” Turning my head, I look at my son Hunter and force a smile as aching pain and regret slice through my chest.

“Sorry, honey. I spaced out. Do you want to unpack tonight, or do you want to wait until tomorrow, kiddo?”

Looking over his shoulder, he eyes the boxes and suitcases piled in the back then looks at me. I hate the sadness I see in his eyes. I hate I’m the cause of his pain. I know he misses his father already, and I know that at ten years old, he doesn’t understand why we’re no longer together even if it’s been over two years since we separated and divorced.

“Tomorrow,” he grumbles, and I feel that ache in my chest expand. He hates me for moving him across the country. Away from his friends, away from everything he knew. And I hate myself a little bit, too, for failing miserably at keeping my family together. I just hope this move will be a new start for us.

“Tomorrow,” I agree softly, unhooking my belt and opening the door.

Rounding the hood of the van, Hunter has already made it to the porch and is waiting at the top of the stairs, with his eyes pointed over my shoulder. Stopping, I look behind me as rain soaks through my clothes. I can’t believe how much the town has changed and grown. When I’d left home, you could see the sound from the front porch of my grandparents’ home. Now, the view is blocked by houses that have been built up side-by-side across the road. The street looks more like a New York City block, rather than a street in small-town Alaska.

“Is it always raining?” Hunter’s voice breaks into my thoughts, and I turn back toward him and take the steps slowly, noticing they are rotting out in a few spots. Something I will have to fix soon.

“Not always, but this is a rainforest, so I guess the answer in some ways is yes,” I tell him, when I make it up to the covered porch.

His brows draw together over his blue eyes, making him look like his father, as he asks, “This is a rainforest?”

“It is.” I want so badly to reach out and run my finger down his cheek, but I keep my hand locked at my side. I don’t know exactly when it happened, but some time ago, he stopped wanting my affection. Stopped being my little boy.

“Really?” he asks curiously, with wide eyes. “It doesn’t look like a rainforest,” he states, and he’s right; it doesn’t look like what you might imagine a rainforest would look like.

“It doesn’t look like one, but it is all the same.” I smile, and his eyes move over my face then to the view, and his face loses the curiosity it held a moment ago.

He turns, muttering, “Whatever.”

Biting my lip, I take the key the lawyer mailed me out of the front pocket of my jeans, put it in the lock, and turn. The door opens with a loud creak and dust rises up from the floors. A loud alarm sounds, making us both jump. Running into the house, I look frantically for some kind of alarm system, finally finding the small white box off the door in the kitchen. Flipping the panel open, I stare at the numbers.

“What’s the code?” Hunter yells over the siren, covering his ears.

“I don’t know,” I yell back, pressing in every single number combination I can think of, but none of them work.

“Is it in the papers in the car?”

“Maybe,” I yell, then run for the door and down the stairs to the van. Swinging open the back door, I shove three boxes out of the way before finding the one I’m looking for. Ripping off the tape, I shuffle through the contents and scan the papers the lawyer sent, searching for the code, but stop and look over the hood of the van when the alarm goes quiet. “What was the code?” I ask Hunter, when he steps out onto the porch.

“I don’t know.” He shrugs, looking over his shoulder into the house, like he’s waiting for someone to come out, which makes me frown.

“Did it just stop?” I question, slamming the van door. His eyes come back to me and he shakes his head then starts to open his mouth to say something else, but is cut off by a deep voice.

“I turned it off.”

It takes one breath to realize who just stepped out of my grandparents’ house. One breath for every moment I spent with the man standing before me to flash through my head. Two seconds for me to feel my world come to a stop.

The boy I once knew is gone. There’s nothing boyish about Zach Watters anymore. His jaw is now sharp, the stubble on it giving him a rugged look while accentuating his full lips. His dark hair has silvered around the edges, drawing attention to his expressive hazel eyes that look like they hold a thousand stories. His red and black plaid shirt is stretched tight across broad shoulders, giving a glimpse of the muscles it’s covering. He’s still every bit as beautiful as he once was, only more so now that time has aged him, taking him from a handsome boy to a gorgeous man.

Swallowing, I look at my son then back again. “Thanks,” I whisper, and Zach’s eyebrows pull together as he sweeps his gaze over me. I have no doubt that I too have changed, but unlike him, time hasn’t been good to me. I’ve gained a few too many pound from eating my feelings over the last year. My skin has lost its youthful glow, and my hair has grown out at the roots without my bi-monthly maintenance appointments.

“Shelby?” he asks, but all I can do is confirm with a nod, since my mouth has dried up and I can’t find my voice. “Jesus.” His eyes widen as he looks down at Hunter then back toward me. “What are you doing here?”

“My… my son Hunter and I are moving in,” I stutter, caught off guard by his presence. I wasn’t stupid enough to believe I wouldn’t see him when I moved home, but I had convinced myself that seeing him would be on my terms, or sporadic at best.

“What?” he whispers, leaning back on his boots, crossing his arms over his chest.

Ignoring his question, I start to move back toward the stairs, asking, “Do you mind giving me the code for the alarm? I’m sure it’s somewhere in the papers the lawyer sent, but…” I stop and look to the left when Zach’s name is called. Standing on the porch of the house next door is a woman I know he got with a few months after I left. A woman he married soon after she gave birth to their twins. A woman I used to call my friend.

A woman I now hate.

I absently hear him say something to her, but the nausea turning my stomach and the sadness prickling my skin have me moving quickly up the steps, focusing on not falling over as I move past him. “Never mind about the code. I’m sure I’ll find it. Thanks for shutting off the alarm,” I mumble, as I walk through the door.

“Mom.”

“Come on, honey. Let’s have a look around, and then we need to get to the store.”

“Mom,” Hunter repeats, sounding confused. I plaster a fake smile on my face.

“The pizza place we drove past has the best pizza I’ve ever tasted. We could do that for dinner.”

“Mom.”

“Right here, honey.” I laugh, even though that laugh feels like glass edging down my windpipe.

Studying me for a long moment, he finally mutters, “Pizza sounds good. I’m gonna call Dad before we go, and tell him we’re here.”

“Sure,” I agree, watching him pull out his cell phone and walk toward the kitchen. I didn’t agree that he needed a cell phone at his age, but like all things with his dad, there was never any kind of conversation. He didn’t ask what I thought about it; he just did what he wanted to do.

I hear a familiar throat clear. “You’re back?” Zach asks from behind me, making my shoulders slump forward and my eyes slide closed briefly.

“Yeah.” I turn to face him and wrap my arms around my waist, feeling my stomach twist into knots. When I left town, we didn’t fight, didn’t yell at each other, didn’t say things we would end up regretting one day. I just knew there was too much pain between us to make what we had left work, and Zach, knowing the same, didn’t put up a fight when I told him my plans.

“You’re staying here?” he asks, and I nod. Running a hand over his head as his eyes move to the right, where Tina had been moments ago, before bringing his gaze back to mine. “The code for the alarm is one, two, three, four. I told Pat to change it, but you know Pat,” he mutters, and I nod, knowing exactly how stubborn Gramps was. Shoving his hands into the front pocket of his jeans, his voice drops. “I’m really sorry about Pat.”

“Thanks.” I hold myself a little tighter. His eyes drop to my arms around my waist and soften before moving up to meet mine once more.

“If you need anything, I’m next door.” He lifts his chin in that direction, and my world stops again.

“Pardon?” I breathe.

“I live next door.”

Okay, maybe I should have guessed that, since Tina was over there, but I didn’t, and this is not good… as in really not good. There is not one damn thing I can do about it, though, unless I want to load Hunter back into the van and live out of it for the next year or so, which I don’t think will win me any brownie points with my son.

“Cool,” I whisper pathetically, with nothing else to say. Something familiar-looking and soft slides through his features, making my stomachache twist again, but this time in a way I haven’t felt in a long time.

“Well…” I pause, needing this encounter to be over. “Thanks again for turning off the alarm. I wish we had time to catch up,” I lie. “But I need to get to the store before it closes, and then I need to get Hunter some food. Growing boys don’t do well without food,” I ramble, as I put my hand to the door, wanting so badly to shove it closed.

“Sure.” He nods then looks over my shoulder, into the house. “Nice meeting you, Hunter.”

“You too—” Hunter looks between Zach and me.

“Mr. Watters, honey,” I mutter, answering his unspoken question, as he comes to stand at my side with his cell phone in his hand.

“You too, Mr. Watters.”

Zach’s eyes come to me and his face softens once more. “See you around, Shelby.”

“Yeah, see you around,” I lie again, since I plan to pretend he doesn’t exist from this moment forward. I wait, even though I don’t want to, until he is walking away to close the door then stand there for a moment, trying to process what just happened.

“How do you know him, Mom?” Hunter asks.

“When I was younger,” I say, turning to face him, “we were friends.” I shrug, looking toward the stairs. “My room used to be in the attic—it’s the best room in the house—and if you make it there before me, I’ll let you have it.” I raise my brows before taking off in a sprint up the stairs, listening to my son, who I haven’t heard laugh in weeks, giggle as he runs up the stairs behind me.

“Wow, this is awesome.”

Looking over my shoulder at Hunter I smile as he walks into the room with wide eyes. “I told you it’s the coolest room in the house.” I used to love hanging out up here when I was a teenager. The vastness of the space, with its angled ceilings and four large skylights, was a cool place to spend time. Looking at my son now, I can see the excitement in his eyes as he wanders around the room.

“Do you think I could get a telescope?” he asks, looking up at the cloud-covered sky through one of the skylights.

“Definitely.” I bump my shoulder with his as I walk past him toward the couch in the corner that’s covered with a sheet and pull it off. “We may also want to find a cover for this thing while we’re at it,” I say, looking from the floral-covered couch to his scrunched up face.

“Yeah.” He nods, moving to the bed, where he rips off the sheet that is covering the mattress. “I can’t wait to tell Dad about this. He’s going to think it’s so cool,” he mutters, and I bite my tongue to keep from saying, No, your dad will definitely not think it’s cool.

Max, Hunter’s father, grew up wealthy. He never owned anything that had been used. Even when we got married, he insisted I sell the Victorian house I bought when I graduated college, wanting instead for us to buy a newly built house in a cliché subdivision, where all of his friends lived. Shortly thereafter, he insisted I sell all of my old furniture, things I had bought secondhand and refurbished over the years. At the time, I was blinded by hope and love, so I didn’t think anything about it. But over time, I slowly realized I was no longer the person I used to be. I had turned into a trophy wife who lived in a show home and neither of us had any real character.

“Mom,” Hunter calls, bringing me out of my thoughts, and I turn to look at him and notice he has a stack of photos in his hand. “Who’s this?”

“That’s my mom,” I say softly, while walking over to where he’s sitting on the bed, holding out a picture of my mom and me. In the photo, we’re sitting outside on the porch, with our arms wrapped around each other, smiling at the camera.

“You look like her,” he says thoughtfully. “You have her eyes and hair.”

“You think so?” I ask, looking at my mom, who had to have been about my age when the photo was taken. She was beautiful, with long dark blonde hair, big blue eyes, and a smile that lit up the world.

“Yeah.” He nods then looks at me, and asks quietly, “Do you miss her?”

“Every day.” I nod, taking the photo from his hands. “She gave the best hugs,” I say, fighting back the tears I feel creeping up my throat. My mom and dad both died in a plane crash when I was fifteen. My father was the owner and pilot of a local adventure company, and he had taken my mom with him to drop off supplies to some men who were bear hunting out at one of the islands. On their way back into town, the weather shifted, and their plane went down on one of the mountains. Neither of them survived. That’s when I moved to Cordova to live with my dad’s parents.

“Do you have any pictures of your dad?”

I pause, trying to recall if I’ve ever really spoken to Hunter about my parents, if Max ever asked about them, but I can’t think of a single time. “There are a few downstairs on the wall. I’ll point them out to you.” I lean into him a little then stop when his arm wraps around my shoulders, surprising me. “I love you, kid,” I whisper, not surprised when he doesn’t say it back, but happy that his arm tightens ever so slightly.

“I’m starving.” He chuckles releasing me when his stomach growls loudly, breaking the moment.

“We can’t have that.” I laugh, standing from the bed. “Let’s go to Joe’s. Hopefully, the pizza is still awesome. If not, you’re gonna have to suffer and eat it anyway, ‘cause the store is probably closed by now.

“Is there such a thing as bad pizza?”

“I guess we’ll find out,” I murmur, and then head out of the room and down the stairs, grabbing my purse as we leave.

When we make it to Joe’s, I find nothing has changed in the years I’ve been gone. The owner Joe, an older Korean gentleman, is still in the back making the pizzas, and his wife Kim is still working the counter, gossiping about everything and everyone. While we wait for our pizza, Kim talks my ear off, telling me about the people in town, including Zach, who she informs me is not only a cop, but also the sheriff. She also tells me that Zach is single. He and Tina supposedly got divorced nine years ago, and Zach has had full custody of both his kids since then. I tell myself I don’t care that Zach is no longer with Tina, but I still feel some relief knowing I won’t have to witness seeing them together.

“Can I sleep in my room tonight?” Hunter asks, as I finish off my third slice of pizza and wipe my mouth with a paper towel.

“I don’t mind, but everything in the house needs to be washed. So if you want to sleep up there, we have to get your stuff from the van.”

“I’ll get it, and then we can bring in everything else too.”

“You want to clean out the van?” I ask, not at all excited about lugging stuff up three flights of stairs.

“Yeah.” He nods again, taking his half of the pizza box lid that he used as a plate to the trash bin.

“If that’s what you want,” I agree, regretting those words an hour later as I head out for the last box. My arms and legs are tired from carting everything inside and up the stairs. I haven’t worked out in the last year, and I can feel it now as every muscle in my body protest.

Stopping when I hear a door close, I hold the box in my hands closer to my chest and look toward the house next door. I spot a handsome blond boy, who looks a lot like Zach, hopping down the steps, with Tina following close behind. Ducking down, I hide and watch them as they get into an old pickup truck, only coming out of hiding when they drive off.

Having over fifteen years to deal with the adoption of Samuel should make it easier to see Zach’s other children, but it doesn’t. I still feel bitter about the situation. I know it’s the fact that Zach’s children were born a little over a year after Samuel, meaning Tina got pregnant not long after I left town. So not only did Zach have a relationship with Tina, but he built a family with her and kept the kids they had together.

Heading back into the house with the final box, I wonder how I’m going to do what I’ve been doing for the last fifteen years. It was easy to block out thoughts of Zach when I was gone, but now that I’m back and living next door to him, I wonder if it will be as easy to ignore the feeling in my chest that coincides with thoughts of him.

 

~*~*~

Grabbing my quilt from the end the my bed, I carefully balance my Kindle and glass of wine in one hand as I open the sliding glass door in my room and step out onto the balcony. Tonight is one of the first nights it hasn’t rained since we moved in, and I have been looking forward to sitting outside under the stars with a good book all day long. Grabbing my glass, I take a sip then look to the left when the sound of rock music starts up and light flutters across the back deck next door, making me wonder if Zach’s room is off the balcony like mine.

Pushing that thought away, I turn on my Kindle then proceed to get lost in someone else’s happily ever after.

“Shelby.” Jumping, some of the contents from the glass in my hand sloshes out over the side and runs down my fingers as I swing my head to the left, where Zach is leaning on the banister, his eyes on me. A short glass full of dark liquid is in his hands, and the light casts a glow behind him.

“You scared the crap out of me,” I gripe, holding my free hand over my rapidly beating heart.

“I’ve been standing here awhile,” he mutters, then takes a swig of his drink. “I thought you would have noticed.” He rolls the glass between his hands while looking at me intently, making me fight the urge to squirm in my chair.

“When I’m lost in a good book, the world could crash down around me and I wouldn’t notice.” I shrug, taking a sip of wine, using the moment of reprieve as an excuse to look away from him, but realizing for the first time that I don’t know the man standing across from me. Yes, he looks a little like the guy I dated years ago, but he also seems more intense, like he has the weight of the world on his shoulders. He’s definitely not the easygoing kid I dated in high school.

“How are you guys settling in?”

Pulling my legs out from under me, I rest my Kindle on the edge of my lap and turn to face him fully while adjusting the blanket.

“It’s going to take a little bit to get everything cleaned up. I didn’t know Gramps was such a hoarder until now. I think I’ve thrown out about ten thousand issues of National Geographic, along with a hundred empty boxes and every single item you can possibly buy from an infomercial,” I reply, then smile when he laughs a deep rumbling laugh and leans a little farther over the railing between us, causing another plaid shirt—this one blues and yellows—to tighten across his wide chest.

“You didn’t keep them? You never know when you might need an automatic potato peeler.”

“I thought about it, but if I did, I wouldn’t have anywhere to put my shoes, since all of it was stacked up on the floor in his closet, everything unopened.” I smile, watching him grin for a moment before the smile slides away and his eyes move beyond me to the forest that sits behind the house.

“I’m gonna miss him. I know he’s been gone from town for years, but I’ll miss our talks,” he mutters, then looks up at the sky for a moment before meeting my gaze once more. “Why’d you come back? Last time I talked to Pat, he told me you were planning on following him down to Florida.”

His words catch me off guard, since Gramps never told me he kept in contact with Zach. But then again, I never asked. I shouldn’t be surprised they kept in touch, since they we’re close when I was home, and were obviously neighbors before Gramps moved to Florida. Plus, Zach is the sheriff in town. Yet, it still feels strange that he knows about me, while I know nothing about him.

“I was.” I let out a breath, adjusting the blanket around my shoulders. “But I had to wait until…” I trail off, not wanting to talk about my divorce to anyone, especially not him. “Then when Gramps passed away, there was nothing for me in Florida, so I decided to come back here instead.”

“You didn’t want to stay in Seattle?”

“No, I needed something different, so when I found out Gramps left me his house, I just knew I needed to come back here,” I whisper the truth. Ever since I read the will and found out this house was mine to do with as I please, I had a feeling in my gut that I couldn’t get rid of. Something telling me that I needed to come back here.

“This is a good town,” he murmurs, but the look in his eyes is saying something I can’t quite figure out.

“This is the last place I remember being really happy. I hope that I can make it that way for Hunter,” I say quietly, and his face softens.

“He looks like you.” His words and tone catch me by surprise and I sit up a little taller. Never in a million years would I have thought I’d be sitting on my granddad’s deck in the middle of the night talking to Zach about anything. Definitely not about my son.

“You wouldn’t say that if you saw his dad,” I return honestly. “When he was a baby, he looked like me, but not any more.”

“He has your eyes and your smile.” He pauses, taking a drink from his glass. “He seems like a good kid.”

“He’s the best kid.” I take a sip of wine, trying to keep whatever it is I’m feeling right now in check.

“I… I think I saw your son. Um, the other day. He looks like you,” I tell him, wanting to take the words back after I say them, because I don’t want him to think I was spying on him.

“He looks like his mom, but has my personality, which I can’t decide if it’s a good thing or not. My daughter, Aubrey, on the other hand, looks like me, but is sweet down to her core. Where she gets that sweetness, I have no fucking clue.”

“Oh.” I bite my lip, trying to figure out what to say to that. The Zach I knew was a good guy, sweet even. Tina, however, was mostly bitch, and I honestly don’t even know why we were friends. Then again, growing up here, there weren’t a hundred girls to choose from. My graduating class had five girls in it, and none of them liked Tina, which meant none of them really liked me either.

“I better go in,” he says abruptly, cutting into my thoughts, standing to his full height. “I need to be to the station early tomorrow.”

“Sure… uh… have a good night.” The urge to say something that will make him stay hits me hard, and it takes everything I have in me to keep my mouth shut.

“You too, Shelby. And be careful when you’re out here reading. Louie’s out and about around this time of night, searching for food.”

“Louie?” I question, scrunching up my nose. Cordova never had homeless people before, and I can’t imagine it would now.

“Louie’s a black bear. Normally, he sticks to the woods, but he’s been known to nap on the decks now and then.

“Oh, man.” I jump up, looking around for any sign of Louie, not sure how I could forget there are bears out here, since we are in Alaska. “What’s funny?” I frown, turning to face him when I hear his deep laughter.

“You’re in Alaska, babe. You lived here for years. You know there are bears out in those woods.” He nods to the trees.

Babe. Why, oh, why did that word make butterflies erupt in my stomach?

“I know that, but I forgot.” I shake my head and watch his face soften once again.

“Still sweet as pie,” I think I hear him say, but can’t be sure, because his voice dropped to a low rumble that I felt skid across my skin.

“Well, I’m gonna go in too,” I blurt, picking up my Kindle and wine glass. “Have a good night.” And with that, I duck my head and go back into my room. Closing the door I lock it behind me then hurry and get into bed where I try to forget once more about Zach Watters.

~~**~~

“Hello?” I answer the phone, still half asleep, then look at the clock and notice that even though it’s light out, it’s barely 6:00 a.m.

“Shelby, I’ve called three times,” Max, my ex-husband, says into my ear, and I pull my pillow over my head with thoughts of suffocating myself with it.

“It’s only six, Max. I haven’t gotten out of bed,” I grumble, tossing the covers back and sitting up. “What’s going on?”

“I want to fly out there this weekend,” he states, and I fight the urge to toss my phone across the room or scream at the top of my lungs.

“This weekend?” I verify, rubbing my face. “We haven’t even been here a week.”

“I have a few days off and would like to see Hunter.”

I sigh, considering him and his request. “Our stuff is going to be delivered in two days. Then I start my new job next week, and Hunter has swi—”

“You’re not keeping my boy from me,” he cuts me off, and I can tell by his tone that he’s mad and likely pulling at his ever-present tie in annoyance. Something I make him do often.

“I’m not saying you can’t see him, Max,” I clarify, wishing I had at least one cup of coffee before this conversation. “I’m just explaining to you that we’re trying to get settled in here. Can you wait a few weeks before you come out?”

“Such fucking bullshit. I can’t believe you moved to Alaska, of all goddamn places. A boy should have his dad in his life.” My heart stutters and I feel my pulse skyrocket. We didn’t have a custody battle, but I wouldn’t put it past Max to take me to court to gain custody of Hunter if I step out of line in his eyes.

“Max,” I soften my voice as I walk to the kitchen, “you know we talked about this. You can come see him anytime, and in a couple years, he can fly out to see you whenever he has a break,” I say, then drop my voice even lower. “We agreed on him living with me at least until he’s sixteen. After that, he can choose who he wants to live with.”

“I miss you both.” He sighs, making me roll my eyes. I know he doesn’t miss me. I know this, because he’s been dating woman after woman since I asked for a separation. For all I know, he was dating before that. Hell, the last year I spent under the same roof as him, he hardly spared me a glance. Hunter later suffered from his lack of attention, when we lived in the same town after our separation. With Max, it’s always about him getting his way.

“Max, please just wait a few more weeks, and then you can come and stay as long as you like,” I offer, the words leaving a horrid taste in my mouth. I will do whatever I have to in order to keep my son, though, including putting up with his dad in my childhood home for more than a few days.

“Fine, when?”

Closing my eyes, I whisper, “Next month. Whenever you like. Just let me know, so I can make sure I don’t make plans for Hunter. I know there are a few camps here he’s interested in.”

“Fine. Where is he now? I called his cell phone, but he didn’t pick up.”

“Sleeping. Like I said, it’s only six here, and he was up late talking to his friends back in Seattle on Skype.”

“You really shouldn’t let him stay up so late, Shelby,” he scolds, sounding disapproving, and again, that’s not a surprise.

“It’s summer, Max, and his ‘late’ is ten, not three in the morning,” I mutter, wondering how the hell I put up with him for so many years. “I’ll have him call you when he gets up.”

“Don’t tell him I’m coming out. I want to tell him that myself.”

“Will do,” I grumble, looking at the coffee pot and begging it to hurry up.

“Talk to you later.”

“Talk to you later,” I agree, setting the phone down on the counter. I make myself a cup of coffee and take it out to the back deck, drinking it while the morning sun beats down on me.

WIDE OPEN SPACES COMING SOON

New from Aurora Rose Reynolds!

Wide Open Spaces releases August 2016!

 Add to your TBR at: http://bit.ly/1PDVZsf

 

wide open spaces cover

Blurb

That moment your life changes.

That moment that changes your life.

That moment you love someone more than you love yourself.

That was the moment we gave our son up for adoption and the moment I was left bare. A wide-open space that would forever be empty.

There are moments that define you as a person, moments that prove just how strong you are, moments you push yourself to keep going forward when all you really want to do is give up. It was in one of those moments when I reached out and found him waiting for me.

 

When Shelby Calder left home fifteen years ago, she never planned on returning to the Alaskan town she left behind. But after the death of her grandfather and a bitter divorce, she hopes going home will be a fresh start for her and her ten-year-old son.

 

Zach Watters has made a lot of mistakes in his life. But when he sees Shelby Calder, looking more beautiful than ever, standing outside her childhood home, he promises himself that letting her go won’t be a mistake he ever makes again.

 

Some things never change and love is one of them.

 

About the Author:

aurora rose reynolds

Aurora Rose Reynolds is a navy brat who’s husband served in the United States Navy. She has lived all over the country but now resides in New York City with her Husband and pet fish. She’s married to an alpha male that loves her as much as the men in her books love their women. He gives her over the top inspiration everyday. In her free time she reads, writes and enjoys going to the movies with her husband and cookie. She also enjoys taking mini weekend vacations to nowhere, or spends time at home with friends and family. Last but not least she appreciates everyday and admires it’s beauty.

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Release Blitz: Savage Rebel by Kathleen Kelly

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Release Blitz

Title: Savage Rebel

Series: Savage Angels MC #6

Author: Kathleen Kelly

Release Date: August 24, 2016

SavageRebel

jompsynopsis

A Casino. A Rival MC. A Mob Family.

Dane, President of the Savage Angels MC Tourmaline Chapter sends Rebel to Las Vegas to negotiate their purchase of a casino. When the local Mob Family in Vegas feels threatened by their presence, a rival MC, The Dark Warriors step in to protect what they consider their territory.

The Warriors are a ruthless club who will stop at nothing in their pursuit of power.

An innocent woman catches Rebel’s attention which serves to give the Warriors a brand new target. Ruby is caught in the crossfire and with a rat in the mix, all bets are off. Will Rebel be able to save his woman and close the Casino deal or will he lose it all to the Dark Warriors?

**Previously published in the Riding Dirty Anthology no longer available**

Add to Goodreads

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*** Series Sale 24-26 August ***

Savage Stalker permanently #FREE

Savage Fire #99c

Savage Town #99c (1st time ever)

Savage Lover $1.99 (normally $2.99)

Savage Sacrifice $2.99 (normally $3.49)

Savage Rebel will be perma 99c

jompauthorbio

KathleenauthorpicKathleen Kelly was born in Penrith, NSW, Australia. When she was four her family moved to Brisbane, QLD, Australia. Although born in NSW she considers herself a QUEENSLANDER!!
She married her childhood sweetheart and they live in Toowoomba with their two furry kids. A British Short Hair named Grace and a Burmese named Jack.
Kathleen enjoys writing contemporary, romance novels with a little bit of erotica. She draws her inspiration from family, friends and the people around her. She can often be found in cafes writing and observing the locals.
If you have any questions about her novels or would like to ask Kathleen a question she can be contacted via e-mail: kathleenkellyauthor@gmail.com or she can be found on Facebook. She loves to be contacted by those that love her books.

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Excerpt Reveal: The Hard Way by Katie Ashley

Excerpt

Fuuuuuuuuuck! This seriously was not happening. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, apparently the universe didn’t just hate me. It fucking despised me. Not only was I stuck working forty hours a week at this shithole, but now I had the worst blast from my past standing before me. Avery Fucking Prescott.

In every “manwhore with seemingly no soul’s” world, there is one girl he regrets. One girl he thinks about from time to time. One girl he measures all the other ones against. One girl he even cries about when he’s shitfaced.

Mine was Avery Fucking Prescott.

I couldn’t help noticing that the Avery standing in front of me didn’t seem the same. Sure, she still had the same long, dark hair that she swept back in one of those ponytail things. Gone were the glasses, which made it a lot easier to see her green eyes that had flecks of gold in them. Of course, today there was pure and unadulterated hate burning in them directed at me where back in the day, there had been love.

But I had managed to kill that love by being a prick. Yeah, I’m sure you’re thinking that isn’t all too shocking based on the pure stupidity you’ve seen me exhibit so far. The thing is that Avery brought out the good that was buried deep down inside me. The good that you needed a fucking bulldozer to unearth.

While there were slight differences in her appearance, her entire personality seemed different, and no, I don’t mean just about how she hated me with a fiery passion. She wasn’t the wide-eyed, innocent farm girl who seemed so out of place at Harlington Prep. It was like she’d had a personality transplant. It reminded of me of what happened to my older sister, Catherine, the summer she turned fifteen, and my mother sent her off to some glamour school shit to detox the awkward out of her. When she came back a month later, it was like she had become a Stepford Kid. Catherine no longer took the time to play with me. She had “more important” things to do like contouring her brows or preparing for cotillions. Things were never the same between us after that.

My ego couldn’t help wondering if what had happened between us had caused the seismic shift in Avery. Like I’d broken the Old Avery with my actions, and this was what had been rebuilt in its place. But another voice rationalized that unlike me, Avery had probably gotten her shit together in the last three years. College had matured her.

After a few moments of a silent standoff, Avery said, “Hello again, Cade.” Her words might have been polite, but her voice was strained. I could tell it was taking everything within her not to go off on me.

“Oh, you two know each other?” Tammy or Theresa, or whatever the hell her name was, questioned.

Do we know each other? Oh yeah, we know each other. Like in the biblical sense. I can even tell you about the heart-shaped birthmark on the inside of her right thigh.

But I knew I would mortify the hell out of Avery if I said anything like that in front of her boss. So instead, I cocked my brows at Avery for her to take the lead on how she wanted us to respond to that question.

“A little. We went to high school together,” she replied diplomatically. The wounded look that momentarily flashed in her eyes told an entirely different story—the story where I played the villain.

But Tammy didn’t seem to pick up on it. “Well, isn’t it a small world?” she mused.

“Yeah,” Avery and I said in unison.

Tammy smiled at me. “I was just about to sing all of Avery’s praises to you, but since you know her, I don’t need to waste my breath, right?”

“Right,” I muttered.

“Well, then. I’ll leave you two alone to catch up, and for Avery to show you the ropes.”

“Thank you, Tamar,” Avery said politely.

Oh it was Tamar. Shit, I needed to remember that. “Yeah, thanks, Tamar.”

Tamar started out of the door and then stopped. She threw a grin over her shoulder. “Now, Avery, just because you know Cade, you can’t go easy on him. He has a debt to pay to Georgia Tech’s athletic department.”

Avery glared at me before flashing a fake smile at Tamar. “Oh, I promise to make him earn his keep.”

Apparently Tamar wasn’t picking up on the heavy tension between us. “Unfuckingbeliveable,” I muttered under my breath.

“Excuse me?” Avery demanded.

I held up my hands. “Nothing.”

Avery crossed her arms over her chest. “I never thought I’d have to see you again.” She shook her head at me, which caused her ponytail to swish back and forth like a whip. “Yet here you are standing before me. I guess, I must’ve done something epic to piss the universe off this much to put you back in my path.”

Whoa, that was sure as hell not what I was expecting. “I could say the same.”

Her green eyes narrowed to fury-filled slits. “Excuse me? You have some nerve to stand here in front of me and say that considering what you did.”

She was right. Only an epic tool would not immediately apologize for what I did to her. It should have been the first words out of my mouth. And not just to make things run smoothly here at The Ark, but because it was the right thing to do. After all, she had truly been an innocent in the whole fucked up situation of me being an emotionally crippled bastard. I’d let her be tortured by a psychotic chick who thought she belonged to me. I’d humiliated her with my deceptive words and cruel actions. But the greatest of my crimes was I had broken her heart.

But in this instance, I was being King Epic Tool because I couldn’t get those words to come out of my mouth. It wasn’t something I struggled with today. I’d had three years to stay those two words. Hell, I’d started off a hundred texts, but I’d never sent them. I’d even done a few stalkerish drives by her house to say how sorry I was in person, but being an emotional pansy ass, I had never gotten out of the car.

So instead of taking the emotional high road, I went slumming. “It’s been three years, Prescott. You really need to get over that.”
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 Sports + Bad Boy + Second Chance

The Hard Way by Katie Ashley Releases on August 31st!

 

Add to your TBR at:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29638484-the-hard-way?from_search=true

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Blurb

Cade Hall has always been the golden boy of the gridiron. Because of his talent at football, coupled with his father’s wealth, he’s always gotten his way. But when a night of drunken debauchery lands him in hot water with the college athletic board, neither his influential father nor his charming grin can save him. He finds it a total buzz kill when he is sentenced to community service with troubled youth at an inner-city shelter. But his nightmare is only beginning when his greatest high school regret is the very one in charge of the program, and she has him by the balls in more ways than one.

 

For Avery Prescott, senior year was a nightmare of epic proportions, and Cade Hall played the lead villain. After she fled her small town for college in the bright lights of Atlanta, she thought she had escaped the painful memories of her past. She never could have imagined Cade would waltz through the door of the outreach program she presided over. But Avery has news for Cade–she isn’t the same shy, doormat of a girl she was in high school. Since she holds Cade’s football future in her hands, she’s more than ready to make payback a real bitch.

 

Will the two stay in the defensive zone or discover that sometimes life’s greatest lessons are learned the hard way?

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About the Author

KATIE ASHLEY

Katie Ashley is a New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon Best-Selling author. She lives outside of Atlanta, Georgia with her daughter, Olivia, and her two very spoiled dogs. She has a slight obsession with Pinterest, The Golden Girls, Harry Potter, Shakespeare, Supernatural, Designing Women, and Scooby-Doo.

With a BA in English, a BS in Secondary English Education, and a Masters in Adolescent English Education, she spent 11 1/2 years educating the Youth of America aka teaching MS and HS English until she left to write full time in December 2012.

 

 Twitter  Facebook  Goodreads   Amazon Page | Pinterest

 

THANK YOU!

Double Cover Reveal from Lauren Blakely

From the NYT Bestselling author of BIG ROCK and MISTER O, comes two brand new, hot and hilarious standalone romantic comedies…

FULL PACKAGE and JOY STICK!

 

Readers will find witty dialogue, smoking hot sex scenes, and heartfelt moments in these side-splitting romantic comedies, mixed with the dirty-talking, gifted heroes we’ve come to love from Lauren Blakely! FULL PACKAGE is set to release on January 9, 2017, and JOY STICK is coming your way in May 2017! Check out these fantastic covers designed by Helen Williams with photography by Rob Lang.

 

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From the New York Times Bestselling author of MISTER O and BIG ROCK, comes a hot & hilarious new standalone romantic comedy…

I’ve been told I have quite a gift.

Hey, I don’t just mean in my pants. I’ve got a big brain too, and a huge heart of gold. And I like to use all my gifts to the fullest, the package included. Life is smooth sailing….

Until I find myself stuck between a rock and a sexy roommate, which makes for one very hard…place.

Because scoring an apartment in this city is harder than finding true love. So even if I have to shack up with my buddy’s smoking hot and incredibly amazing little sister, a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do.

I can resist Josie. I’m disciplined, I’m focused, and I keep my hands to myself, even in the mere five-hundred square feet we share. Until the one night she insists on sliding under the covers with me. It’ll help her sleep after what happened that day, she says.

Surprise—neither one of us sleeps.

And even though we agree to return to roomies-without-benefits, I quickly realize I want more than someone to split the utilities with. Now all I want is to spend every night—and every day—with my gorgeous roommate.

Did I mention she’s also one of my best friends? That she’s brilliant, beautiful and a total firecracker? Guess that makes her the full package too.

What’s a man stuck in a hard place to do?

 

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Pre-Order FULL PACKAGE (Releasing January 9, 2016)

iBooks http://tinyurl.com/FullPackageLB

Barnes and Noble http://bit.ly/2b7fWxj

Amazon Paperback http://amzn.to/2avft4u

Kobo http://bit.ly/2aA43gp

GooglePlay https://goo.gl/U5ND2B

Goodreads http://bit.ly/2alCbfM

 

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Let’s be honest, ladies. A good man is a lot like the perfect car. You want a hot body, an engine that purrs, and superior performance under the hood. You probably also crave a ride that can go all night long.

I’m at your service. Come and ride on my Joy Stick…

That’s what I like to say to the ladies. Or I would if I were total pig. It’s far too easy in this world to strut around like a peacock when you’ve got all these other features in your favor. But just like the custom cars I build with class and sophistication, that’s how I treat my women.

Don’t worry. I absolutely do my best work dirty…both in the shop, and between the sheets. Work and play — that’s what my life has been, and I f&*king love it. I’m completely, 100% driven. Until one woman comes along and throws a wrench in my plans. The one woman I should absolutely, positively never take for a joy ride.

Now that’s all I want to do with her…she’s so far off-limits, but that’s exactly where I want to go with her.

Get ready for a wild ride…

 

JOYSTICKbyLaurenBlakelyJacket

Pre-Order JOY STICK (Coming May 2017)

Exclusive iBooks Pre-Order http://tinyurl.com/JoyStickLB

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30640850-joy-stick

 

MENOFROMCOM

Don’t Miss All of Lauren’s Romantic Comedies written from the Male POV!

BIG ROCK (Now Available)

MISTER O (Now Available)

WELL HUNG (Releasing September 12, 2016)

 

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Lauren Blakely’s Romantic Comedy Celebration!

August 24-September 1, 2016*

Win a Kindle Fire loaded with Lauren Blakely’s complete collection* of currently released titles, as well as some of Lauren’s favorite romantic comedies!

*Does not include WELL HUNG, FULL PACKAGE or JOY STICK, Winner will be announced first week of September.

To enter to win, simply subscribe to Lauren’s newsletter here:

http://www.subscribepage.com/LaurenBlakely

 

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About Lauren Blakely:

Since self-publishing her debut romance novel CAUGHT UP IN US three years ago, Lauren Blakely has sold more than 1 million books. She is known for her sexy contemporary romance style that’s full of heat, heart and humor. A devout fan of cake and canines, Lauren has plotted entire novels while walking her four-legged friends. She lives in California with her family. With ten New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists more than fifty times. Her bestselling series include Sinful Nights, Seductive Nights, No Regrets, Caught Up in Love, and Fighting Fire as well as standalone romantic comedies like BIG ROCK and MISTER O, which were both instant New York Times Bestsellers. In the fall she’ll release WELL HUNG, another romantic comedy. To receive an email when Lauren releases a new book, sign up for her newsletter: laurenblakely.com/newsletter.

Links:

Website: http://www.laurenblakely.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LaurenBlakelyBooks

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LaurenBlakely3

Newsletter: http://laurenblakely.com/newsletter/

FULL PACKAGE Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30283662-full-package

JOY STICK Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30640850-joy-stick

Lauren Blakely Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6860216.Lauren_Blakely

 

InkSlinger Blogger Final

Spotlight: Ravenous by M.S. Force

A stand-alone Quantum story from New York Times bestselling author M.S. Force!

Synopsis

She wants a baby. He wants her. Simple enough, right?

Ellie Godfrey has kissed her share of frogs. So many, in fact, that she fears she won’t recognize her prince if and when he finally comes along. Tired of waiting for THE ONE, Ellie decides to have a baby on her own before it’s too late.

When Jasper Autry hears about Ellie’s plan, what else can he do but step in and offer to “contribute” to her project. Does that make him an opportunist? Whatever. He wants the perpetually out-of-reach Ellie Godfrey, and when he sees his chance, he takes it. That she’s the sister of his business partner and close friend Flynn gives him pause, but it doesn’t stop him from having what he wants.

As Jasper and Ellie embark upon their secret “project,” he makes it clear that for as long as they’re together, he’s in charge—in the bedroom anyway. After the hottest sex of her life, Ellie realizes she’s made a deal with the devil himself.

Warning: If you hate foul-mouthed heroes who like it a little rough and dirty, this might not be the book for you…Contains hot and sexy BDSM scenes among other things that might not appeal to the faint of heart. Enter at your own risk and enjoy!

Author Bio: M.S. Force is the erotic alter-ego of New York Times bestselling author Marie Force. All three books in her initial Quantum Trilogy were New York Times bestsellers in 2015, and the Quantum Trilogy became the Quantum Series with Rapturous and now Ravenous, with more to come!
With more than 5 million books sold, Marie Force is the New York TimesUSA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling, award-winning author more than 50 contemporary romances. Her New York Times bestselling self-published Gansett Island Series has sold 2.5 million e-books since Maid for Love was released in 2011. She is also the author of the New York Times bestselling Fatal Series from Harlequin’s HQN, as well as the New York Times bestselling Green Mountain Series, among other books and series, including the Quantum Series, written as M.S. Force.

Her goals in life are simple–to finish raising two happy, healthy, productive young adults, to keep writing books for as long as she possibly can and to never be on a flight that makes the news.

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Kindle: bit.ly/RavenousKindle
iBooks: bit.ly/RavenousiBooks
Nook: bit.ly/RavenousNook
GooglePlay: bit.ly/RavenousGooglePlay
Kobo: bit.ly/RavenousKobo

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Copy of 4in x 2in – Untitled Design

Chapter 1

Ellie

While everyone celebrates Hayden and Addie’s engagement, I slip out a side door, needing some air after watching the emotional reunion between Addie and her dad and his acceptance, finally, of Hayden. I’m so happy for both of them. I think they’re great together, and Hayden needs someone like Addie to keep him grounded and sane. Not to mention that after the shameful way he was raised, he deserves to be someone’s true love.
As I walk out to the far end of the pool deck at my brother’s gorgeous home in Mexico and look down on the sea below, I can’t help but wonder whether I deserve the same. Watching my brother, Flynn, fall madly in love with Natalie, and now Hayden and Addie, who’ve gone from an unexpected kiss at the Oscars a few weeks ago to engaged, I’ve begun to question whether I’m ever going to get my turn. Both my sisters have been married for years to great guys I would’ve hand-chosen for them. For the longest time, Flynn and I were the Godfrey family holdouts, and now he’s gone over to the dark side, too.
Though I suppose it’s not really the dark side if the perpetually happy, silly grin on his face is any indication of his true feelings about love and marriage. Natalie is the ideal woman for him, and I’m thrilled for them. I used to worry he would never find anyone real or genuine in the Hollywood fishbowl in which he lives. But Natalie is as real as it gets, and I adore her. My whole family does. Everyone is happy.
That leaves me as the only Godfrey still single. At Flynn’s wedding, I heard my mother tell someone she’s proud of me for focusing on my career. My sisters both have successful careers—Aimee owns a dance studio, and Annie is an attorney—andthey have beautiful families, too. They make it look easy, when I know it’s anything but.
Annie and Hugh have been together since high school, and Aimee met Trent in college. Flynn was married briefly in his early twenties to “Valerie the Hag,” as my sisters and I called her back when she nearly ruined our beloved “baby” brother’s life with her shenanigans.
Me? I’ve never come close to getting married. Truth be told, I’ve never come close to being in love.
Guys are a mystery to me. No matter how great one of them may seem, there’s always a downside. I’ve dated guys who were handsome and charming and said all the right things, only to find out they were saying all the right things to a lot of women—at the same time. Then you have Social Guy’s alter ego, who is no less frustrating. You know the type—you have to pull every thought out of his head because God forbid he should share anything voluntarily.
I’ve dated the bad boys, the ones who make a woman’s motor run on full steam, before their “badness” evolves into regular old poor behavior that’s an instant turnoff. Then you’ve got your run-of-the-mill commitment-phobes, the ones who tell you from the outset they aren’t looking to settle down—ever. Why should they when they can have a different woman every night?
Recently, I had the misfortune of getting mixed up with a whole new type right when I thought I’d seen it all. You know what that guy was after, other than the obvious? An introduction to my famous brother. Yeah, being used to get to my brother was a real blast, and frankly, he turned me off dating in general. I’d rather be by myself forever than be used to get to my famous family members.
Or so I tell myself… Then I’ll see my adorable nieces and nephews, my ovaries exploding from the craving for a child of my own, and I’m reminded that I’m not getting any younger. Soon I’ll be thirty-six, which isn’t ancient by anyone’s standards, but my eggs are definitely on a timer.
Now there’s a cheerful thought.
I’m thinking about having a baby on my own. Why not? It’s the twenty-first century, after all, and I have friends who’ve done it. One of my college friends had twins by herself and then met a single dad two years later. They’re married now and delighted with their combined family.
Not that I think having a baby would improve my luck on the dating front, but I’m sick of waiting for something that probably isn’t going to happen, and I don’t want to wake up someday, after that timer has gone off, and realize I missed my opportunity to be a mother.
I’ve gone so far as to look into what would be involved, and my doctor is willing to work with me to make it happen. I’m due to see her again when I get home from Mexico, and the thought of actually doing it makes my skin tingle with excitement and fear and a million other emotions. I haven’t told anyone, even my sisters, who usually know everything, but I suppose I’ll have to cue in my parents before I actually go through with it.
I giggle at the thought of showing up at my parents’ Beverly Hills home, thirty-six, single and pregnant.
“What’s so funny, darling?” a voice asks from behind me. And not just any voice, but the panty-melting voice with the British accent that makes me swoon every time I’m around him. I once talked him into reading The Night Before Christmas to my family just so I could listen to the way he said the familiar words. My only regret is that I didn’t think to record it.
I turn to face Jasper, my brother’s close friend and business partner, who has also become my good friend during my tenure as a production manager at Quantum. Jasper… tall, blond, muscular in a lanky sort of way, handsome as sin, talented as all get-out and a manwhore of the highest order. He’s the proverbial pot of honey when it comes to women, attracting them as effortlessly as he breathes. Speaking of a man who will never settle for just one when he can have them all, Jasper Autry fits that bill to a T.
“I was just thinking about something funny that happened at home,” I say in response to his question, because I can’t very well tell him I was thinking about egg timers and ovulation cycles.
“Care to share the joke?”
“It was one of those had-to-be-there things with the kids.”
“Ah, I see.” He hands me one of the two mimosas he brought outside with him.
“Thank you.”
“You’re welcome.” His golden-brown eyes are always full of mischief, as if he’s got a huge secret he’s dying to tell me, or at least that’s how it seems. Now is no different. Those amazing eyes are alight with glee. “How about our boy Hayden and our lovely Addie? Got to say I never thought I’d see him so… domesticated.”
“He’s happy,” I say more sharply than I intended. “Nothing wrong with that.”
Jasper’s brow lifts in response to my tone. He’s not used to women speaking sharply to him. He’s far more accustomed to them dropping their panties at his feet than talking back to him. “Nothing wrong indeed.”
“Sorry. I just mean it’s nice to see. That’s all.”
“Believe it or not, I agree, even if my mates are falling like dominoes these days.”
“You might not want to drink the water.”
“Drinking the water is never a good idea in Mexico.”
I crack up laughing, which doesn’t surprise me. He makes me laugh frequently. His endlessly witty take on life is one of many things I enjoy about him.
“I couldn’t help but notice you looked awfully pensive out here, staring at the deep blue sea all on your lonesome. What’s on your mind, darling?”
God, I want to tell him. I want to tell someone, and why not Jasper, my good friend who I trust to keep my confidences confidential? He’s not in my family. He’s not one of my girlfriends who would try to talk me out of it, certain that my Mr. Right is just around the next corner waiting to be found. In fact, he might be the perfect person to test this idea on.
“If I tell you, do you promise not to breathe a word of it to anyone, especially Flynn?”
“Of course I won’t tell anyone. Let’s not forget you could fairly ruin me with the secrets you’ve kept for me over the years.”
“That is very true.”
He takes me by the arm and leads me to one of the double lounge chairs on the pool deck. “Step into my office. My initial consultation is free of charge, but only for the best of friends.”
“You are far too charming for your own good.”
“My mother says the same thing. I say I’m just charming enough for my own good.”
Rolling my eyes at his outrageousness, I curl up on the lounge and take a greedy drink from the glass, seeking some much-needed liquid courage.
“Now tell me this deep dark secret before I expire from curiosity.”
With the moment of truth upon me, my nerves go bat-shit crazy. This’ll be the first time I’ve said it out loud to anyone who matters. “I’m thinking about… No, wait, that’s not true. I’m not thinking about it anymore. I’m actually going to do it.”
His brows lift, and I swear he stops breathing.
“I’m going to have a baby.”
“You…” His gaze falls to my flat abdomen. “Like… Are you already… Oh. Well. Okay, then.”
I can’t help but laugh at his stuttering commentary. “No, I’m not pregnant at the moment, but I hope to be. Soon.”
“Forgive me for asking the obvious, but I can’t help but notice you seem to be stubbornly single. So who’s the lucky guy who gets to father this child of yours?”
“Don’t know yet. That’s part of what has to be decided when I get back to LA. I’ve got thousands of men to choose from, and I have to decide whether I want looks over brains, or maybe I’ll get lucky and find both in one donor.”
He closes his eyes and sighs. “Ellie…” Opening his eyes, he looks directly at me and says, “For the love of God and all that’s holy, you do not need to resort to a sperm bank to find a father for your child.”
That makes me angry. “When you’re a single woman who wants to have a baby, you do need to ‘resort’ to a sperm bank.”
“You, my love, could have any man you want.”
“That’s not true. It’s different for women. We can’t run around the way you guys do without getting a nasty reputation, especially when our parents and brother are household names. It’s not as easy as you think.”
“I hadn’t really looked at it from that point of view. I can see how fame by osmosis might pose a bit of a challenge. And PS, we don’t ‘run around,’ as you say.”
“What would you call it?” I ask in the drollest tone I own.
A charming smile lights up his gorgeous face. “Having fun?”
“I’ve tried that route. Hasn’t been all that fun. I’m done waiting for lightning to strike. I want a baby, and I’m running out of time to make that happen. I’m doing this.” At some point during the getaway to Mexico, my plan moved from maybe todefinitely.
“And you’re sure you want to do it this way?”
“I’m sure this is the only way to do it in light of my perpetually single status.”
“It’s not the only way.”
I’m almost afraid to look at him, and when I do, the calculating look he gives me makes my skin heat with awareness of him. “What do you mean?”
“You could ask an old friend who is both handsome and smart, not to mention incredibly charming, to provide the start-up ‘capital’ you require to get your project off the ground.”
I’m flabbergasted by what he’s suggesting, but I can’t show him that. I can’t take the chance he might be joking. “If only I knew someone who fit that bill.”
His low chuckle is both sexy and exciting. “You do. You know just the guy.”
My heart is beating so hard and so fast, I fear I might hyperventilate. “And this guy would be willing to provide his ‘capital’ for such a project?”
“Under the right conditions.”
After a long pause, I say, “What conditions?”
“It happens the old-fashioned way. No laboratories, turkey basters or test tubes, just hot, sweaty, no-holds-barred capital infusion.”
My body ignites at the images that scorch my brain in the scope of five seconds. Holy shit. Have I gone blind, deaf and dumb, or is Jasper Autry telling me he wants to have sex with me—and make a baby with me? “Are you for real right now?”
“My darling Ellie, I have never been more ‘for real’ in my entire life than I’m being right now.” He leans in closer to me, so close I stop breathing. “Say yes.”
I swallow hard. “Are there other conditions?”
“Only a few.”
“I’m listening.”
“When you’re with me, you’re with only me.”
“Same goes.”
Nodding, he says, “Same goes. And we do this my way or not at all.”
“What does that mean?” I ask, my voice squeaking.
“I’m in charge in bed.”
I’m suddenly so turned on that I’m concerned there’ll be a wet spot on the lounge chair when I get up. “What if I’m not into that?”
“Then there’s no deal.”
I take a moment to process what he’s saying. He’s dominant in bed. Oh. My. God. Clearing my throat, I say, “What about custody of the output of your input?”
Smiling, he says, “All yours with occasional visitation for the capital contributor.”
“Would he or she know that you’re the contributor?”
“If that’s what you want.”
“And you’d be amenable to legally binding documents that spell out these things in advance?”
With his finger on my chin, he forces me to look directly into his eyes. “I’d be amenable to anything that gets the supremely sexy and endlessly untouchable Ellie Godfrey into my bed.”
Now imagine that sentence said in the sexiest fucking British accent you’ve ever heard. I know, right?! What the hell else can I say to that but “Okay.”
“Okay, what?”
“We have a deal.”
He gifts me with the sexy smile that made a cinematographer into a celebrity. “Suddenly, I can’t wait to go home.”
RavenousONSALE
Copy of Copy of 4in x 2in – Untitled Design
marie force
M.S. Force is the erotic alter-ego of New York Times bestselling author Marie Force. All three books in her initial Quantum Trilogy were New York Times bestsellers in 2015, and the Quantum Trilogy became the Quantum Series with Rapturous and now Ravenous, with more to come!
With more than 5 million books sold, Marie Force is the New York TimesUSA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling, award-winning author more than 50 contemporary romances. Her New York Times bestselling self-published Gansett Island Series has sold 2.5 million e-books since Maid for Love was released in 2011. She is also the author of the New York Times bestselling Fatal Series from Harlequin’s HQN, as well as the New York Times bestselling Green Mountain Series, among other books and series, including the Quantum Series, written as M.S. Force.

Her goals in life are simple–to finish raising two happy, healthy, productive young adults, to keep writing books for as long as she possibly can and to never be on a flight that makes the news.

Join Marie’s mailing list on her website at marieforce.com for news about new books and upcoming appearances in your area. Follow her on Facebook at Facebook.com/MarieForceAuthor, on Twitter @marieforce and on Instagram at instagram.com/marieforceauthor/. Contact Marie at marie@marieforce.com.
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Blog Tour: Filthy by HJ Bellus

Filthy Banner

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00023]

Title: Filthy

Series: The Reckless Series

Author: HJ Bellus

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: August 8

Goodreads

Synopsis

From the USA Today and AMAZON best seller, HJ Bellus, comes a sexy romance: FILTHY.

It was just a summer fling.

He taught me his bad boy ways.

And now I’m beyond being saved.

At first it was fun, but now it’s an addiction my skin craves.

All sense of reality disappears and there’s no boundaries holding me in.

My name is Darby and this is FILTHY.

Teaser

Excerpt

Chapter 2

Rhett

I can’t keep my eyes off of Darby in her short dress with her tanned legs peeking out. Her nightmares fucking destroy me and I’ve tried to stay sober since that night. I’d do anything to be the one to push fucking Oliver in front of that train. The headlines were blasted all over the town and county. It was labeled an accident with no witnesses, and not even a family member to step up and claim him.

Darby passes baby Charlie back to Zane then bounces in the house, and I’m sure she’s off to tend to her best friend, Ava.

“What’s up, Rhett?” Zane nods to me to have a seat next to him as he offers Charlie a bottle.

“Nothing, man.”

“I’m the one getting married today and you look like the weight of the world is on your shoulders.”

I just shrug, knowing that if I open up to my best friend that I’ll lose everything. Zane has put up with enough shit in his life and carried around everyone else’s worries, he doesn’t need to worry about this shit. Plus, he’d take the guilt on double knowing what had happened.

“You know me and weddings.” I sit next to him, and hold my finger out for Charlie to wrap her little hand around.

“You’re usually ready to roll at weddings and taking tally of how much pussy you’re going to nail.”

I keep my eyes locked on Charlie’s teeny-tiny hand. “Well, considering that you’re having a tiny ceremony and the only other woman here besides Darby will be my mom, then it seems my mood is fitting.”

“How are you and the other half?” he asks.

“I don’t have another half,” I say deadpan and look up to him.

Zane just quirks an eyebrow in my direction and waits for an answer.

“We have an open relationship.” I take Charlie from him, delicately putting her on my shoulder, and pat her back.

“Bullshit. There’s no such thing when two people are as tight as you. I see the way you look at her.”

“Just because you fell in love and get all the happily ever after bullshit doesn’t mean I do.”

“What’s holding you back, Rhett?”

“My cock that craves a wide variety of pussy.”

Zane stands and whacks me in the back of the head. “Watch your fucking mouth, man, you’re holding my daughter.”

I could go in so many different directions with this, but decide to taunt him later about Charlie growing up and the boys chasing. God knows I’ll be right by his side kicking their asses with him.

“I’m going to change, then I’ll come grab her and you can change.”

I nod to him. The rhythmic breathing from Charlie and the slow pats on her back calm me and in a strange way they ease all my worries.

“Don’t ever grow up, little girl.” I kiss her temple and continue to wait for her burp.

The music from the house is booming and Zane has disappeared off into the barn, leaving me alone for a bit. That hasn’t happened much lately since I helicopter over Darby’s every single move. My parents should be pulling up the lane any moment and this peace will soon dissipate.

“I’m scared, Charlie, I’m not going to lie.” She belches and it’s a juicy one. I’m almost afraid to look down on my shoulder. “Now if you tell your dad that I said that then we’re going to have problems little girl.”

I tuck her in my arms and am relieved when my shoulder is throw-up free. That shit stinks and lingers like no other.

“I’m afraid to fall in love. You see, a long time ago…” I place my finger on her chest and let her little hand wrap around it, “my heart was broke. Like, broke real bad. You know Uncle Rhett doesn’t show hurt, but this girl from my past wrecked me.”

Charlie’s sapphire blue eyes stare back at me like she’s absorbing in each word. Her dainty lips purse together as if she was going to answer back. I just shake my head and smile. Grandpa sure sent us the gift of a lifetime with this little one. The love I feel for Charlie reminds me that my closed off heart does still have the power to love.

I lean in close and whisper to her, sharing one of my deepest secrets that in actual honesty even scares the shit out of me. “I think I’m falling in love with Darby, but I’m too big of a pussy to admit it.”

“My turn,” Darby announces, jetting from the front door.

She came in her maid of honor dress, but pulled her hair up into a big messy pile on the top of her head, and added some make-up, highlighting her whiskey colored eyes. She doesn’t even ask as she scoops Charlie up from my arms. My legs spread automatically and my hands find her hips, gently settling her into my lap.

The crook of her neck aligns perfectly with my mouth. On instinct, I dip low, brushing my lips against her sweet skin and listen to her babble on to her goddaughter about beautiful her mother is. I get selfish and need more than my lips on her skin, and begin to lightly kiss her. My fucking cock is up and ready to go.

The taste of Darby’s skin is the most fucking addictive drug to ever enter my bloodstream, and it only adds to my fear of never being able to let her go.

Pretending it’s an open relationship is just a façade. It’s what I do best…lie to myself. It’s the reason I always fuck her hard and aggressive, soaking up every ounce of her. It’s a defense mechanism. If I ever laid her down and made love to her, I’d be a fucking goner.

“You looking fucking delicious,” I mumble into her neck.

She takes a minute to look over to me and wrinkles her nose. “You just want in my pants.”

“You mean up your dress?”

“Same difference.”

“I bet you won’t say no.”

Darby tilts her head, showcasing her take-no-bullshit attitude. “Try me.”

“You’re on.”

Footsteps thudding up the stairs interrupt our playful banter.

“Your turn man.” Zane points out to the barn. “Only place we’re allowed.”

Darby stands up and hands Zane his little girl. I’ve seen it a hundred times now, the way his blue eyes light up, the pride that covers his face, and the smile of life each time he looks at his little girl.

“Ava, okay?” he asks Darby.

She nods before taking back off inside the house. “Said she had to rub one out before the ceremony; something about nerves or some shit.”

“You’re lucky you’re a woman or I’d…”

“Kick my ass, blah, blah, blah,” she finishes for him.

Zane settles back with Charlie on his chest. “You’ve got a feisty one on your hands and I have a feeling she’s going to wreck you in a good way.”

He has no idea how close to the actual truth he is about Darby. I run my hands through my shaggy black hair. The shit’s so long I could almost put it in a ponytail or one of those fucking man buns that Darby has been begging me to do.

“It’s Gia, isn’t it?” His question throttles me, pulling me from fantasizing about how I’m going to take Darby.

“Uh?” I ask even though I heard his question is crystal clear.

“You’re afraid she’ll do to you what Gia did.”

“Dude, you’re so far off it’s not even real.”

“I’ll say it once and it’s because you’re like a brother to me. If you love her, want to love her, even think about fucking loving her, then don’t let the past or circumstances get in the way. I nearly lost Ava.”

“Going to get dressed.” I snag two beers in clenched knuckles from the red cooler under the table and head to the barn.

The Rhett who’s functioned in this world for years comes out to play. The asshole, cocky bastard, jokester, and horny motherfucker as I strut to the barn and down the beer. I let out a howl of joy when I see another cooler in the barn that’s stocked full of cold beer.

My clothes are hung up in pristine condition. Ava refused to let me take them home or be responsible for them, period. Told me I’d probably sell them to a whore. My cargo shorts fall to the floor and I peel off my tank top before downing another beer. I can’t believe I’m about to put on fucking dress pants with a button up white shirt. Goddamn, I’m going to look like King Kong of the pussies gang. Thank fuck Zane will be next to me looking like the gorgeous weed he is.

There’s a mint green tie strung around the shirt and that’s the only difference between what I’m wearing and Zane. His tie is black. Ava and Darby thoroughly instructed us on the look they wanted. Untucked shirt, rolled up sleeves, the first few buttons undone, and the tie loosely knotted. Oh, that night after we practiced putting the fancy shit on did we give those women a show stripping out of the clothes.

Zane had a lot of making up to do after he piped off with the comment that these made the perfect stage outfits. Pretty sure the man’s face was down in the place for a good week or so. But he was right, I intend on using this next weekend at the club paired with my Ray Ban sunglasses.

A fucking genius idea hits me as my third or fourth beer goes by.

Rhett: I need help with this fucking tie

Darby: Tell someone who cares

Oh, the little shit wants it bad.

Rhett: Fuck, I’d call Sheila but I think she’s with another guy tonight.

Darby: Pig!

Rhett: You want to suck it…gotta run babe, trying to put my hair up in one of those manly buns.

I watch out the window, drinking another beer, and like fucking clockwork Darby sprints out the door and down the steps towards the barn. My cock comes to life watching her perfect tits bounce and the smile streaming across her face. The girl thinks she plays hard to get.

“Rhett.” The door swings wide open.

I turn to her with a beer in one hand and my other hand down the front of my boxers, rubbing my raging hard on. My longer than average hair falls to one side as I stare her down.

Darby doesn’t speak another word while she stares at my hand covering my cock, and then finally shuts the barn door, locking it.

“Don’t lock it. I hope someone walks in and sees me fucking the prettiest girl here.”

She plucks a hair tie from around her wrist and slowly walks over to me. I don’t move and continue rubbing myself. Her hands thread through my hair and I fucking moan. Her touch is always electric and sends chills through me. We’ve fucked over a hundred times and it still feels brand new each time.

Her lips land on mine as her hands work through my hair, bundling it together until it’s all off my neck. She pulls back for a second and looks into my eyes. There always seems to be so much to say between the two of us, but it’s like we’re both too fucked up and scared to say a word.

We stay nose to nose as she wraps the elastic tie around my hair, then she finally steps back and takes the drink from my hand. She’s not shy about polishing it off for me. I watch her hand gently pull up her dress and then sink below her panties. The shit is taunting me with my actions. My cock aches to be inside her.

“You look so damn hot, Rhett.” Her voice hitches as her hand moves quicker.

It’s erotic as hell, but frustrating at the same time because I can only see the movement of her lace panties and not the parts I want to see. Pulling my cock from my boxers, I hope she’ll drop her panties and let me watch her sink into her sweet center until her knees tremble.

I wrap my hand around the base of my cock and give it a good squeeze, forcing back a moan and struggling to hold on to the last few bits of willpower I have. Darby’s tongue darts out and runs along the length of her lips, as I begin to stroke myself from base to tip.

Without warning, she sinks to her knees and takes my cock in her mouth. The overwhelming sensation and the buzz from the beer have me melting back onto the wall. Her fingers dig into the flesh on my ass as she sucks hard. The head hits the back of her throat several times until she pulls all the way back, lapping her tongue around my head.

I finally have to stand her up before I fucking explode in her mouth. She knows me too fucking well and lies back on a covered bale of straw, sinking her hand right back down into her panties. Every other woman I’ve been with is all about themselves and me fucking them hard. Not Darby, she loves to tease me and pull out everything inside of me.

“Don’t mess your hair up, baby,” I whisper, staring down at her.

She bucks her hips up in the air, sinking deeper into herself. Darby tosses her head to the side, showcasing her flushed cheeks.

“May I?” I ask, eyeing those sexy fucking panties.

She only nods, giving me permission to drag them down her legs. I fucking want to rip them off of her in one tear and sink balls deep in her, but I’ll let her put on this show. It will only make the fucking outcome that much more delicious. My knuckles graze down the sides of her legs as I pull off the only barrier left between us.

She has two fingers rubbing circles on her swollen clit.

“Watch me, Rhett,” she moans out. “You make me feel beautiful when you watch me.”

I don’t take my fucking eyes off of her as I sink down to my knees. My palm runs up her abdomen splayed out while my other hand spreads her legs further apart.

“Stroke your cock, Rhett.”

I shake my head side to side. “No, this is about you, baby.”

Slowly, she sinks one finger deep inside of her. Easily she finds a rhythm riding her hand. I place my hand on top of hers, applying pressure on her palm and making sure the perfect amount of friction is on her clit. She adds another finger into the pounding movement and begins to moan and roll her hips even faster, and right when she’s about to cum, I pull her fingers from her.

“Rhett.” She perches up on her elbows.

With both hands, I spread her legs wider and then lift them over my shoulder. “This is mine and I will please it.”

I take my time sinking lower to her until my nose is at her entrance, teasing her. Her sweet smell is too much of a temptation causing my tongue to dart out and lap her up. My teeth nip at her and then I finally circle her bud while pushing two fingers inside of her.

She doesn’t moan this time, but screams out my name as I work her over. The insides of her legs squeeze my head and her hands pull on my hair as she rides out her orgasm on my face. It’s never enough and even though I know she’s done, I take a few more drinks of her before standing up.

“Did you mess up my fucking man bun?” I ask with a smirk on my lips.

Darby giggles and nods her head.

“Well then, I better fuck you hard.”

She bites down on her bottom lip in anticipation.

I pull her up to my chest until I have her in my arms with her wet opening over my erection. Her hands lace into my hair and lips crash down on mine. I readjust the hold on her legs, steadying her. Her gorgeous brown eyes tell me the sweetest story as she stares back at me. Fuck, how long am I going to be able to lie to myself before she owns my soul?

I ease her down slowly on my cock, relishing how she feels. It’s a fucking drug and I’m addicted. She pulls back when we are fully connected.

“Did you say that my pussy is yours?”

Her typical playful smile and smartass tone are vacant. She’s fucking serious right now and I can only find the courage to nod. I want to say so much more like I’m fucking falling in love with her, but I don’t. I win her over with sex. It’s my specialty.

I start out slow and then pick up the pace, bouncing her up and down on my dick. Her tight pussy grips around me perfectly.

“Rhett. Rhett. Oh. My. God. Rhett!” she screams as her release hits her. I’m not long behind her sinking in balls deep.

“This is yours, too, Darby,” I grit out between my teeth, knowing it’s as close to the truth as I can say.

Her lips crash onto mine and I pick up the speed, pounding her down on my cock and spill into her.

Filthy Teaser

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The Series

Dirty

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About the Author

HJ Bellus

HJ Bellus is a small town girl who loves the art of storytelling. When not making readers laugh or cry, she’s a part-time livestock wrangler that can be found in the middle of Idaho, shot gunning a beer while listening to some Miranda Lambert on her Beats and rocking out in her boots.

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