** All books in the series can be read as standalones **
He left to travel the world for fame and glory, but only after spurning Gabby Ward and crushing her young heart. Now Hunter Markham has come back home to the sand and salty breeze of the North Carolina Outer Banks so he can open up Last Call, a beach bar nestled among the dunes of the Atlantic.
Gabby Ward is not happy that Hunter has returned. Bitter over his rebuff years before, she’s content to stay far away from him and his dangerously charming ways.
Gabby’s well-schemed plans to ignore Hunter go up in flames when he presents an offer to her that she simply can’t refuse, throwing them together in a common quest to each reach their goals. Working together day in and day out proves to be problematic for Gabby, who soon realizes that the feelings she had for him are still very much alive. Hunter struggles to reach through to Gabby’s cold heart, all while starting a new career away from his life as a top ranked, professional surfer.
What starts out as a mutual business arrangement soon turns into a passion that neither of them can continue to deny.
Hard choices lay ahead for both of them when Hunter is offered a once in a lifetime opportunity to return to the pro surfing tour.
Choices that could destroy what they have built or take them further than they ever had dared to hope.
Ivy Maisen thinks she knows exactly what type of guy Chase Hudson is — billionaire, extremely good looking, cocky as hell, and a guy that women salivate over…But looks can be deceiving…
Underneath the tuxedo, luxurious demeanour and smooth character is a bad boy covered in tattoos, piercings, the lead singer in a band, and he owns three of the clubs that Ivy frequents. Oh and he rides a Harley…
Will Ivy finally open her eyes and allow herself to see the real Chase or will she reject his alter-ego and refuse his advances again and again? When desire is tainted with deception and lies, does that person become less desirable?
Could love be the one thing powerful enough to push them past the deception and down to the real person underneath the facade?
I am the chaser of ultimate freedom. The lyrics, the rhythm, and the beat fuel me as I strum my electric guitar as if my life depends on it.
Music makes me come alive. It takes away my stress, drama and all the bullshit in my life.
Chaser – Rockstar
Born and raised in Sydney, Australia. I am in my thirties and happily married with three gorgeous boys.
My first love has always been reading, so the writing side is very natural to me. Favourite books include anything by Abbi Glines, but Fallen too Far is a favourite, Pulse & Collide by Gail McHugh and The Driven trilogy by K Bromberg.
Hobbies of mine are playing netball; shopping and I love listening to music. I add it into my writing frequently.
I am totally enjoying this rollercoaster of being an Indie author and hoping others enjoy my writing as much as I love writing it.
Prologue Kenzi one day old, Toren fifteen years old…“We want you to be her Godfather,” Asher says as he gently lays his newborn baby into my arms. I have to tear my gaze away from her incredible green eyes to look up at him from the chair I’m cradling the baby in.
“Me?” I glance quickly over at Ember in the hospital bed, who beams back at me with a tired, yet genuine smile.
“Yes, you,” they both say at the same time. “If it wasn’t for you, we probably never would have met,” Ember adds, grabbing Asher’s hand. “And we wouldn’t have this beautiful little baby. We know you’ll always protect her.”
“That’s right, man. You’re Uncle Tor now.”
I’m an uncle. And my two best friends are parents. And we’re all fuckin’ under sixteen.
But Kenzi Allyster Valentine would change us all forever. She needed us.
“Wow. I’m honored, guys. No doubt, I’ll always be here for her.”
I kick back the pang that hits my stomach. I didn’t get the girl…but I got something I never expected. A gift in the form of a little tiny hand wrapped tightly around my finger, huge eyes like jade gems staring up into mine like I was the most amazing person in the friggen’ world, and the first glimpse of a heart-stopping smile.
That was it.
She owned me.
The love of my life.
I have a passion for the bad boys, those covered in tattoos, sexy smirks, ripped jeans, fast cars, motorcycles and of course, the sweet girls that try to tame them and win their hearts. My debut series, Ashes & Embers, follows the lives of rock band members as they find, and sometimes lose, the loves of their lives.
Born and raised a Jersey girl, I now reside in beautiful New Hampshire with my husband and our multitude of furry pets and spend most of my time writing, reading, and vacuuming.
Smooth. Sexy. Irresistible. Those qualities equal only one thing.Big. Freaking. Trouble.
Brynne Calloway knows that anything that seems too good to be true usually is. Fenton Abbott and his cashmere voice, Adonis body, and a magnetism like no other clearly falls into that category. But what’s life without a little risk?
It was supposed to be a rebound, an uncomplicated escape from reality. But nothing ever goes as planned. Fenton turns out to be so much more … in ways Brynne never sees coming.
The blankets rip away and Presley jumps off the side. “You need to be more instinctive. Fenton is not going to give you swoon regret.”
“Swoon regret? Seriously?”
“It happens,” she sighs. “I swooned over this rocker guy once. Hot and sexy and a voice—not cashmere, but more like whiskey—and in the morning, I regretted my swoon. He wasn’t that cute in the daylight and he had a smoker’s cough, two things I didn’t see in the strobe lights of the bar.”
Laughing, I climb out of bed, too. “Want to watch a movie?”
“Let’s order Italian and watch Netflix.”
“I’m not really hungry. Just get me some breadsticks.”
“Is that some Freudian slip?” Presley laughs.
“Probably,” I say, shaking my head and realizing I might be a little more affected than I even realize.
USA Today Bestselling author Adriana Locke lives and breathes books. After years of slightly obsessive relationships with the flawed bad boys created by other authors, Adriana has created her own.
She resides in the Midwest with her husband, sons, and two dogs. She spends a large amount of time playing with her kids, drinking coffee, and cooking. You can find her outside if the weather’s nice and there’s always a piece of candy in her pocket.
Blade’s rebirth into the world became something we truly weren’t prepared for. And I felt guilty. Blaming myself for not getting to Lara in time.
She was gone. Nature’s Destiny was grieving.
In the midst of our woes the battle was brewing. Incubi kept coming. Hell beasts were slaying. And the demon master was another step closer to winning.
With an army of supernatural beings in my arsenal I was optimistic that we were enough. We had the prophecy and my fortitudo on our side.
Whatever happened there was one thing I knew for certain.
The end had come.
He yanked me by my chains, my wrists bled with the cold, silver metal cutting into my skin. My bare feet dragged along the stony ground, covered with scrapes from the uneven surface. He pulled me to follow like a dog on a leash, tugging my manacles harder than was necessary.
I kept quiet despite wanting to scream the dark, dank dungeon down. He always found pleasure in my pain, so I’d learnt to conceal it. My lips were incredibly tender from biting into them to stifle my groans.
“Why hasn’t she come yet?” The woman yelled the second I entered her presence. She never came further than that, didn’t want to dirty her precious clothes. I was always to be brought to her.
“She’s deciding,” I answered.
“No, she’s clearly made her choice. You screwed this up for us!” The woman’s hand lashed out, marking my face as her slap connected with my cheek.
“I didn’t! I did everything you asked of me.” I was desperate for her to loosen my binds, to let me out of the dreary cell for good. There was no chance I was going to risk exposing myself. My freedom was all I wanted, what I hoped for during the long hours of torture and loneliness.
“We won’t survive without them!” The woman paced, biting her perfectly manicured nails. “Take her back to her cell,” she ordered my torturer. “I’ll have to force the pretty wolf’s hand into helping us.”
“NO!” I yelled, using all my strength to fend off my chain-holder. “No, don’t do this to me!”
I’ve always lived a life based on my imagination, from hopeless dreams of romance to concocting alternate realities involving supernaturals. I’m completely fascinated with anything hero-related, and often speculate which superpower I’d possess. I haven’t settled on one yet.
I was born in England, and currently reside in Wales, UK. I love to write, and most days you’ll find me happily tapping away at the computer whilst in my pyjama-clad bubble. I also spend my time reading, and if that isn’t enough I’m often in the kitchen baking up a treat.
“EPIC… Medieval Romance!” ~ Claire Delacroix, NY Times and USA Today Bestselling author
1192 A.D. – David de Lohr, the younger brother of the great Christopher de Lohr (RISE OF THE DEFENDER), is a man who has lived his entire life in his prestigious older brother’s shadow. While his brother was nicknamed “The Lion’s Claw” as the right hand of Richard the Lionheart, David was nicknamed “The Lion Cub” because of his youth.
But David is a force to be reckoned with. Lightning-fast with a sword, he is a knight of the highest order and worthy of his own great legacy. And so, the story of David de Lohr, the knight with the heart of steel, begins.
Newly returned from the Holy Land where he fought with the Christian armies, David returns to find that England is perhaps more dangerous that the sands of The Levant. At a grand tournament given by Richard’s brother, John, David finds himself entrenched in the danger of the politics of England. Mercenaries hired by the prince are posing as legitimate knights, trying to kill those loyal to Richard.
News of Richard’s disappearance on his way home from the Holy Land only feeds John’s lust for the throne. As he brings a mercenary army to England’s shores, David and his brother must combat this tide of evil. Politics and mayhem follow David wherever he goes.
But what David didn’t count on was the introduction of a lovely young woman, the daughter of the Earl of Canterbury. Casually acquainted at first, David must save Emilie Hampton from the prince’s clutches not once but several times, throwing Emilie and David together again and again. Emilie makes her feelings for David known but David, the confirmed bachelor, is terrified of his feelings for her. As the fight for Richard’s throne gains in intensity, David finds himself increasingly distracted by the lovely lady who has stolen his heart.
It’s politics, mystery, passion, and chaos for David and Emilie as they try to find their way in a world that would see the two lovers torn apart.
Emilie had lived in castles her entire life, with military capabilities, but she’d never been this close to a knight who was dressing. It was very interesting to watch and very intimate. Somehow, she felt closer to David than even when she’d given him her favor. She was seeing the man on an entirely different level now, in his natural state, preparing for war. In this case, even though it was a competition, she knew that it would be a battle.
This day had shown her that there was a fine line between an enemy and an ally, and even men under the guise of pleasantries were not to be trusted. She’d learned that all too quickly. All was not as it seemed in the upper hierarchy of the royal court. As David and his squires worked, a soldier came into the tent to bring her hot wine, which she accepted gratefully.
“I am sorry I do not have much more to offer by way of comfort,” David said when he noticed the soldier hand her the hot wine. “I had to have my men hold that cup over the fire to warm the wine so it is likely to be quite hot.”
Emilie grinned as she held the pewter cup with the blanket. “I have quickly learned that,” she said. “I am very grateful for your hospitality, my lord.”
David gave her a half-smile, his gaze lingering on her blonde head as she sipped at the liquid. He hadn’t spoken to her much since he’d brought her back, mostly because he assumed she was too distraught to speak, but her state of mind seemed improved as she gingerly slurped the wine. He thought it might be a good time to find out what, exactly, had happened.
“It is my pleasure,” he said. He hesitated a moment before continuing. “Do you feel strong enough to tell me what happened with the sheriff? I should probably know since I am risking my life to protect you from him. Tell me of the wonderfully terrible thing you did to him that made him chase you into hiding.”
He was smiling as he said it and Emilie laughed softly; it wasn’t as if there was really much to laugh about but David’s attempt at humor made her feel better about it, as if it were not as serious and horrible as she thought it was. She knew the man would protect her until the death and that thought alone made her feel braver.
It also made her like him even that much more, a feeling that had, long ago, passed from something simple into something that was far more of a deep infatuation. Coming to her aid as he had and carrying her off to safety had somewhat marked the man for life as a hero in her eyes.
A hero she was coming to very much long for.
“It all happened rather fast,” she said, thinking back. “Nathalie and I went to the food vendors to find something to eat.”
“I see. Continue, please.”
She did. “As we were standing in front of a vendor who sold some kind of meat pie, a soldier addressed me,” she said. “When I turned around, there were several soldiers standing behind me and a man who introduced himself as the Sheriff of Nottingham. He told me that the prince wanted to meet with me privately and when I declined, he grabbed me and tried to force me to go with him. I panicked, hit him, and ran away. And that is really all there is to it.”
David’s features were grim by the time she was finished. He sighed heavily. “You are not the first young woman he has done that to,” he said. “But I would wager to say you are one of the very few that had the sense to fight back. I applaud you, my lady. You showed remarkable bravery.”
Emilie lifted her eyebrows. “I am not sure I see it that way,” she said. “All I know was that I was frightened and I remembered what you said about him. I could not let him take me, my lord. I could not make it that easy for him.”
David was looking at her until the big squire had him bend over so he could put the hauberk on his head and shoulders. David’s voice was muffled as the mail went over his face. “You did exactly what you were supposed to do,” he said. “Fitz Walter does not like to be denied. His only issue with you is a damaged ego and nothing more. But from this point on, you must remain with me or your father or another trusted man who can bear arms and protect you. I fear that the sheriff might see the capture of you as a game now, one he intends to win. The hunter does not usually let his prey go so easily.”
Emilie’s pale face tightened in alarm. “He views me as prey now?”
David stood up as the big squire straightened out his mail hood. “More than likely,” he said. “But have no fear; I will change his mind.”
She smiled at him, something of a besotted gesture. “Thank you, my lord,” she said. “Since you and I have met, you have gone out of your way to protect me. You will never know how grateful I am.”
Something warm was in the air, something that made David’s heart race. Emilie seemed to have that capability with him and he was both annoyed by it and thrilled by it. He didn’t like it that a woman should make him feel as giddy as Emilie had made him feel, but the more time he spent with her, the more he was coming to not particularly mind that special power she had over him. If he was honest with himself, he really didn’t mind it at all. All he knew was that something about the woman affected him and it was difficult to fight it. He wasn’t sure he should try.
He wasn’t sure he wanted to try.
KATHRYN LE VEQUE is a USA TODAY Bestselling author, an Amazon All-Star author, and a #1 bestselling, award-winning, multi-published author in Medieval Historical Romance and Historical
Fiction. She has been featured in the NEW YORK TIMES and on USA TODAY’s HEA blog. In March 2015, Kathryn was the featured cover story for the March issue of InD’Tale Magazine, the premier
Indie author magazine. She was also a quadruple nominee (a record!) for the prestigious RONE awards for 2015.
Kathryn’s Medieval Romance novels have been called ‘detailed’, ‘highly romantic’, and ‘character- rich’. She crafts great adventures of love, battles, passion, and romance in the High Middle Ages.
More than that, she writes for both women AND men – an unusual crossover for a romance author – and Kathryn has many male readers who enjoy her stories because of the male perspective, the
action, and the adventure.
On October 29, 2015, Amazon launched Kathryn’s Kindle Worlds Fan Fiction site WORLD OF DE WOLFE PACK. Please visit Kindle Worlds for Kathryn Le Veque’s World of de Wolfe Pack and find
many action-packed adventures written by some of the top authors in their genre using Kathryn’s characters from the de Wolfe Pack series. As Kindle World’s FIRST Historical Romance fan fiction
world, Kathryn Le Veque’s World of de Wolfe Pack will contain all of the great story-telling you have come to expect.
Kathryn loves to hear from her readers. Please find Kathryn on Facebook at Kathryn Le Veque, Author, or join her on Twitter @kathrynleveque, and don’t forget to visit her website at
Jackson Rochester’s stare pierces through Elyse Mendez’s soul, stirring her wildest fantasies. She can’t deny her body’s response to him, but she can control her mind – and her mind is telling her that if Jackson knew the secret she’s holding, that he would ruin her.
Jackson is intensely passionate and sinfully dirty. He’s a billionaire playboy who has an eye for Elyse, a youth center volunteer, blogger, and college student. Her avoidance of him only makes him more determined to break down her walls – but after he strips her bare, will the cost of the truth be too much for even Jackson to handle?
This is a standalone novel with a HEA. It features characters from The Manhattan Tales series, but can be read completely on its own.
Willa Thorne lives in Southern New England, just above New York City. She’s been writing steamy romance for many years. She enjoys all types of genres, but considers herself a romantic at heart. Coffee and chocolate are just a few of her favorite things. When she’s not writing steamy romance, she enjoys walks by the lake and hiking with her husband and rescued pup.
The only thing Molly has ever needed in life is to be wanted. She has made bad decision after bad decision when it comes to men but when the events of one fateful night changes her life forever will she find what she has always wanted with the one person she never expected?Ryan thought his life was all planned out with his perfect girl but when tragedy strikes it changes his life forever. When he finds his relationship changing with the person who has helped him through his darkest days will he be able to move on and allow himself to be happy again?
As the chemistry between them threatens to ignite them both it becomes clear that if they give into their desires that they could lose the closest people in their lives.
Will their families accept what is between them?Is what has developed between them worth the risk?
I hear a moan behind me and turn around. I almost can’t believe what I’m seeing. It’s Molly but, fucking hell, she looks like every man’s wet dream. She’s had her hair coloured back to her natural rich brown and cut so it rests just on top of her breasts. She is wearing a blouse that is unbuttoned enough so I get a cheeky peek of her cleavage and her legs and arse are shown off nicely in a pair of skin-tight dark jeans. And the shoes, fuck me, the shoes are so sexy. When I eventually meet her eyes her normal chocolate colour is almost black and the way she is looking at my half exposed body makes me think she wants to run her tongue over every line and muscle. I’m instantly hard.
“Molly,” My voice comes out as a groan as I make my way to stand in front of her. In her high heels the top of her head comes in line with my chin, not to the middle of my chest like normal. She is staring straight into my eyes and I can’t help but think that she wants this as much as I do. I watch as she slowly leans her head to the side and moves forward until her lips softly brush mine, I feel my dick twitch in response to her simple touch.
Then it’s as if our control snaps at the same time because all of sudden our mouths crash together and our tongues touch for the first time. Her hands thread through my hair as mine go to her arse to pull her body up against mine. I hear her moan as I run my hands up her sides and gently brush the underside of her breasts causing her to suck on my tongue. God, how I want her to do that to something else. My mouth leaves hers as I trail kisses across her jaw and down her neck.
“Ryan,” I hear her whisper. My hands go to unbutton her blouse as I suck on her earlobe, I’m dying to get a taste of her nipples.
“Ryan,” I hear her groan again as I slip her blouse off and my hands go to her back to release her bra. “Ryan,” she’s getting louder now and her chest his rising and falling in excitement.
“Oh, Molly.” I slide the straps over her shoulders preparing myself for what’s to come. I’m so turned on, I don’t want to cum in my pants like a teenager at just the sight of her perfect tits.
“Ryan.” My eyes travel from her eyes down to her exposed – “Ryan,” she shouts this time. I suddenly feel my head snap up and my eyes begrudgingly open.
Fuck, it was a dream.
I look towards my bedroom door and see Molly stood there smiling at me.
“Having a good dream were we?” she asks with a knowing smirk.
“Shit,” I say under my breath but from the raised eyebrow I get from her I guess she heard.
“Breakfast will be ready in fifteen, so get up,” she says as she turns to leave. Just before she disappears from my sight she looks back and says, “I’d have a cold shower if I was you!”
“Ugh,” I groan as I look at myself, I’m completely out from under the covers, my boxer briefs are barely containing my very obvious excitement and I’m covered in a sheen of sweat.
“Fuck,” I mutter as I drag my body out of bed to follow Molly’s advice. I wonder as I brush my teeth, do I need to buy a lock for my bedroom door or is it time I got myself laid? That must be it, I wouldn’t be thinking about my best friend like that if I were getting some.
Tracy Lorraine is fast approaching thirty and lives in a cute Cotswold village in England with her husband and slightly crazy dog. Having always been a bookaholic with her head stuck in her Kindle Tracy decided to try her hand at a story idea she had dreamt up. Molly has been in production for a while now but at last Tracy feels she is ready to be set free.
When you’ve been betrayed by your best friend, and a psychotic serial rapist is stalking your every move, nothing much should surprise Ronnie Harper. Determined to take back her life, she starts fresh, taking on a new business partner and for the first time in years, a man that cares for her. As Ronnie and Erik are throw into one unimaginable situation after another, her faith in herself is pushed to the limit. She doubts the people around her, her own judgment and even Erik’s growing feelings for her. He’s relentless and even when she pushes him away, he won’t give up, though he doesn’t realize it may be the only way to protect him from Jeff and his psychotic brother, Kincaid.When they are confronted with the worst imaginable situation, Kincaid puts their love to the test. Is their bond strong enough to survive the dark, twisted mind of a sadistic rapist? Or will Ronnie’s past eventually destroy them?
“Erik, I so sorry. For pushing you away, for…all of it. I need you. You make me feel whole and alive again. I’ve been fighting this because…”
Because I can’t bear to see him hurt. I don’t want to spend another day without him. All those years of longing to break free of my demons, of hiding in the shadows, broken and afraid to open myself up to another human being, are fading, like a bittersweet memory. Yet, I know that everything I’ve gone through, all the agony and utter despair I endured has led me here, right now. To him.
“You don’t have to explain baby. I know you’re afraid. This is a big step for you, but you don’t need to be scared of me. I’ll always keep you safe, because you’re the other half of my soul. And if it takes me fifty years to convince you that you’re beautiful and precious to me, that’s what I’ll do. Then I’ll spend the other fifty telling you that I love you, until you finally believe it.”
“Do it then. Make me believe.”
My feet dangle as he holds me, lips sealing over mine, his mouth consuming me in a frantic, needy kiss that sets every inch of my body on fire. Moving slowly across my cheek, he nuzzles my neck, nipping and sucking at the tender skin. The passion that has been building all along finally explodes between us and I can feel the heat of it on my skin, in my muscles, all the way down to my damn bones.
Erik pulls away, and the rasp of a whisper falls on my lips. “No more talking. We have fifteen rooms to cover.”
I’m set on my feet in the soft grass, and I watch as he pulls the tie free from his collar.
“Fifteen? What does that mean?” I ask, faking a smile. My heart pounds even faster as he eyes fix on me. Suddenly, there’s a wolf in the garden, waiting to pounce. A wolf in a bespoke suit, and I’m Red Riding Hood in a white dress.
Born and raised in New York, Catrina is a U.S. Veteran, wife, mommy, controller of chaos, domestic engineer and cook. She loves wine, good books, good food and especially anything slathered in Nutella.Always a storyteller, she enthralled her friend with tales of her wild daydreams involving the latest hot boy band (okay, they weren’t called boy bands back in the 80s. They were called Duran Duran), but she never wrote them down.
She eventually grew up and embarked on a not so exciting career in the military, followed by an exciting career working in IT for a few major U.S. corporations and traveled the world. And instead of meeting in their hometown, she met her husband in Cyberspace while he was in Korea.
Marriage and having a child afforded Catrina more time to read, one of her former passions, and eventually, to begin writing.
With the support of her family, she’s released her first novel, Ultimate Betrayal: Revelations and is working on the follow up – Exposed.
Spencer Cohen is the guy who gets answers to relationship questions. Playing the role of the new lover, his job is to make his client’s ex realise one of two things: he doesn’t want to break up or he really does. Either way, his client gets answers.
The ex would either apologize and beg, or turn and walk. But in the end, Spencer’s client won. If he wanted his ex back and got him, it was great. If the guy walked away, then as hard it was for the client, he knew it was over. Regardless of the outcome, Spencer’s work was done.
Andrew Landon’s ex left him without so much as an explanation. But his sister can’t stand to see him miserable, so, much to Andrew’s dismay, they hire Spencer to be Andrew’s new boyfriend to get the ex back.
For Spencer, it is never personal. Merely a business transaction. No emotions, no strings, no complications.
Even a blind man could see how this would end.
“This book was not long, per se, but it wasn’t a short novella either. But it simply flew! I felt like I read it in the course of an hour. A start to another winning series for Walker, for sure.” -5 Star Goodreads Review
“N.R. Walker will leave you begging for more of this series which has started out with a bang! I simply cannot wait for books 2&3 — excellent book!!!” -5 Star Review Alpha Book Club
“This book is definitely a re-reading material, a comfort food for my soul, and I’m kinda obsessed with Spencer and love him like I love Travis in RDH. Sigh. Highly recommended!” – 5 Star Review Reading Addict Mom’s Blog
“Come on,” Andrew said, standing up. “Let’s go.”
I slowly closed my laptop. “Uh, where exactly are we going?”
“You’re going to buy me my first Jeff Buckley album.”
I grinned at him. “Oh, am I?”
“Yes, you are. Unless you want to give me that one.” He pointed to my record player.
“Like hell. That’s my favourite.”
“That’s what I thought,” he said, walking to the door. He turned back to look at me—where I hadn’t moved from—and clapped his hands together. “Look alive, Spencer.”
“Alright,” I said, collecting my wallet and keys. I quickly grabbed two bottled waters out of my fridge and handed one to him as we walked out the door. “Are you always so pushy?”
He laughed, and those little lines crinkled the corners of his eyes, and the sun gave a warmth to his skin. He went down the stairs first and waited for me to get to the bottom. I guessed he was unsure of which direction to go. I pointed my thumb to the tattoo shop’s dead bolted door. “Can’t access the shop from the outside, so we’ll have to go around,” I nodded toward the end of the building, and we settled into a comfortable stride next to each other.
“I assume there’s a music store around here somewhere,” he said as we neared the street.
“There’s a few,” I told him. “Did you want CD or LP? I could have just downloaded it for you if that would have been easier.”
“I want LP.”
“Do you have a record player?”
“Well, no. But I think I’ll have to get one. I would imagine jazz and blues from vinyl would be incredible.”
I grinned at him. “I’ve created a monster!”
“You can’t just play classic vinyl albums to a music lover and not expect him to want it.”
I grinned. “True.”
We walked the two blocks, the banter between us never stopping. He talked with his hands when he explained things, which I found to be rather endearing, and I’m pretty sure I hadn’t stopped smiling since we left my place. I led him down a side alley off the boulevard and stood in front of the door to the music shop. “Before we go in, you must promise me something.”
He was suddenly serious. “What?”
“This place is special, and thus, must remain a secret.”
“It’s a word.”
“That no one has used in two hundred years.”
“Not true. I just used it now.”
He laughed. “Okay, so I’m not supposed to tell anyone I came here?”
“Nope. It’s like Vegas.”
“As in ‘What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas’? Really?”
“Yes, really.” I nodded. “It’s too awesome to be popular.”
“Isn’t that redundant to their business profitability?”
“Possibly. But it’s completely old-school indie. I think the owner was a pot-smoking surfer from the sixties and has principles against corporations, though I’ve never asked him. Anyway, if too many people know about it, then it becomes mainstream. And that would ruin it.”
He frowned at me. “Then it’s not like Vegas. It’s more like Fight Club.”
I laughed and bowed my head. “Ah, Grasshopper. You have passed the test. You may enter.” He beamed, and I opened the door with a laugh.
He stepped inside. “Okay, wow.”
Friday dragged. Like really dragged. I helped Emilio and Daniela in the shop for a while, made arrangements for when and where to see my next client on Monday afternoon. I cleaned my apartment, I read, I ate, I did all those things, and then I spent a good few hours getting ready and picking out clothes while the clock ticked down like its battery was dying. Because I was losing my mind.
But, like a good boy, at seven o’clock, holding a pizza as requested, I knocked on Andrew’s front door. I heard what sounded like him coming down the stairs, the rattle of the lock on the door, and then he swung the door inward and smiled.
And like some cosmic shift, time was good again. “Oh good,” he said. “I’m starving.”
“Hi, not bad. Yourself?” I joked at his complete lack of greeting. “Cab here was okay, but I don’t think the cabbie appreciated the smell of pizza in his car.”
Andrew laughed. “Sorry. Hi, how are you? That’s good. How was your cab ride here?”
I handed him the pizza box. “You’re welcome.”
He walked through the living room, slid the pizza onto the table, and went straight into the kitchen. “Beer or soda?”
“Yes it is,” he replied, came back out, and handed me one. He was wearing jeans and an old button-down shirt that looked well-worn and soft. Jesus. His feet were bare. I couldn’t remember ever telling him that I found jeans and bare feet hot, but damn.
“They don’t smell bad,” he said, wiggling his toes. “Promise.”
God help me. I totally got caught staring at his feet. When I glanced up at him, he took one look at my face and a slow smile spread across his lips. “Oh.”
He chuckled and clinked his beer bottle to mine. “So? Pizza? Or do you wanna stare at my feet a little longer?”
Ignoring him before I died of embarrassment, I rolled my eyes and sat at the table. I opened the box and took a slice. “So? Anyone at work giving you a hard time about the photo we posted on your Facebook?”
He almost bit into his first slice but stopped before it got to his mouth. He groaned. “It’s been painful,” he said. “All week.” He took a mouthful and hummed appreciatively. “Mmm, this is good.”
He devoured four slices to my two. “Didn’t you eat today?” I asked.
He shook his head and washed his food down with a mouthful of beer. “Nope. I’ve been avoiding the lunchroom because, well, because the latest game around the department seems to be ‘Let’s ask Andrew 101 questions about his new boyfriend.’”
“New boyfriend, huh?” I smiled. I liked that way more than I should have. “What’s he like? Bet he’s handsome.”
A rush of heat coloured his cheeks and crept down his neck. “Shut up. You know what I mean.”
I picked at the label on my beer bottle. “I’ve been called worse things.”
His smile faltered. “By jealous ex-boyfriends?”
“Actually, more by the client,” I admitted. “The guy who I’m trying to help. Clearly I’m not their type, and they find my boredom at city gala openings or nights at the opera a little uncouth.”
“Really? You had to go to gala openings and the opera?” He frowned. “And they belittled you for it?”
“You’d be surprised,” I said softly. “They’re paying me to do a job, I guess. They treat me the same way they treat the people who dry clean their clothes or wash their car.”
Andrew nodded slowly, and there was a brief look of hurt on his face before he replaced it with a tight smile. He cleared his throat. “You must think it’s terribly boring to have a Friday night of pizza and a movie then.” It wasn’t a question. More like a confirmation to himself. “I’m not much into going out.”
“Are you kidding me? This is perfect. Pizza and a movie is my kind of night. Sure, getting all frocked up in a suit is cool every now and then, but that shit gets old.”
He smiled somewhat more genuinely, but it was still a little forced. “Frocked up?”
“You know, dressed up?” I shrugged. “I swear, everyone I know should take a lesson in Australianisms so I don’t have to keep explaining these things.”
“Or I could just book myself in for an elective lobotomy…”
I gaped at him. Literally. My mouth fell open. He roared laughing and put his foot up on the table. “Here, look at my bare foot.”
That only made him laugh some more.
He waggled his eyebrows at me. “Yes. Yes I do.”
I groaned, in part because his pun was lame, and in part because now I was thinking about him sucking dick.
“Shut up and put the movie on.”
N.R. Walker is an Australian author, who loves her genre of gay romance.
She loves writing and spends far too much time doing it, but wouldn’t have it any other way.
She is many things: a mother, a wife, a sister, a writer. She has pretty, pretty boys who live in her head, who don’t let her sleep at night unless she gives them life with words.
She likes it when they do dirty, dirty things… but likes it even more when they fall in love.
She used to think having people in her head talking to her was weird, until one day she happened across other writers who told her it was normal.
She’s been writing ever since…
The Spencer Cohen Series, Book Two
Release Date: March 17, 2016 The Spencer Cohen Series, Book Three
Release Date: April 21, 2016