Locked and Loaded (Bullet #6) by Jade C. Jamison
Zane made Ethan look like an angel…
Release date: February 1, 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Rock Star Romance, Erotic Romance
Audience: 18+ due to sexual situations, adult language, and drug use
Is it too much to believe that someone keeps returning to your life because it’s meant to be?
Zane Carson is an idealistic young man with one big skeleton in his closet when he first meets Jennifer Manders in college. They date only to break up soon after. The sexual attraction is like an electromagnet but they fight like alley cats. The relationship just isn’t worth it.
Zane’s band Fully Automatic breaks big about the same time Jennifer finishes college. One summer afternoon, they meet for coffee and sparks fly once more. It’s off again, on again, but they just can’t make it work and break it off for good, deciding it’s not worth the effort.
But Zane is drawn to her and, during a break in the music action, he tracks her down again, willing to change himself for her and needing to give her one last try. The attraction is as strong as ever, but now Jennifer is hiding something from Zane—something big, something that threatens to extinguish the spark for good. When Zane discovers her secret, will he be able to forgive her or will that be the end?
“Oh, Zane, this place is amazing. Why haven’t I ever heard of it before?”
“I can tell you exactly why. Three reasons.” She raised her eyebrows as he raised his index finger. “One, it’s almost downtown, and I know you avoid downtown like the plague. If I recall, you said something about rather losing a limb than walk the Sixteenth Street Mall again.”
“I said that?”
“Well…maybe that was a little drastic.”
“Yeah, probably.” He lifted the bottle of Dos Equis and then said, “Two, it’s a little hole in the wall. It doesn’t advertise like some of the bigger restaurants—no billboards, no newspaper ads, shit like that.”
Jennifer nodded. “Okay, yeah. And what’s number three?”
Zane leaned over the table and whispered. “It’s kind of a dive.” Jennifer couldn’t help but giggle. “But in a good way.”
She laughed out loud at that. “Yeah, definitely.” She picked up a chip and dipped it in the warm queso next to Zane’s bottle. “The food is amazing so far.”
The waiter came by with a pitcher. “More water, señorita?”
“Please.” After the waiter was back on his way, she said to Zane, “I love it. I love the people and I even love that stupid TV in the corner.”
Zane glanced over. “Yeah, well…”
“No, seriously. They don’t have the sound on, but it somehow makes it feel like home in here, you know? Lights and movement, but the sounds are coming from the kitchen and some weird soundtrack.”
Zane breathed through his nose, putting on a look of mock horror and said, “What if it’s our soundtrack?”
“What do you mean?”
“What if this is our movie? A movie about our lives…and that’s the soundtrack?”
Zane grinned. “What?”
“One…if this is our movie, it’s pretty damn boring. No car chases, no sex scenes, no snappy dialogue—”
“Says who? My dialogue’s plenty snappy.”
“Two, the soundtrack sucks.”
“Well, don’t be telling them that.”
“And…I don’t have a three. I guess just two.”
A smirk covered Zane’s face. “And we can take care of the sex scene later.”
“AND she’s back! Who might you ask? Well of course I am talking about the hard rocking Queen herself…Jade Jamison and her fascinating, complex Fully Automatic cast of characters and in particular Zane, the quietly messed up bass player who lives his life on the edge and crosses the line one too many times before he falls from the cliff….
A lot of twists and a few surprises (some more expected than others) make this sixth book in the Bullet series a wonderful comeback for Jamison…after all the zombies, girl rockers and girl reporters of her other projects, I was very happy she went back to the series I first fell in love with and did an amazing job. Highly recommend if you have read and loved all the boys in Fully Automatic.” ~ Sue Banner, top Amazon reviewer
“When I finished this book my heart was so sad. Sad not at the book but sad that this was it. This was the end of the line for the Bullet guys. This was the end of a series that I have grown to love and looked forward to reading for years…” ~ Angie J, Twinsie Talk Book Blog, www.twinsietalk.com
I received a copy of this book from the author for an honest review.
As I read this I wanted to soak up every piece of it because it’s the last of the Bullet Series and I will l miss these guys yes ever Ethan. They have all gotten their HEA well all but Zane and now could it be his turn. Will he get clean and stay sober for the one he has always loved or will his addictions win again?
Jennifer went through so much with Zane during college then with their on again off again relationship of dealing with their fighting and his infidelity and additions. It has been 2 years since Zane has contacted Jen and she has to make sure he has changed before she lets her walls down again. There is just too much at stake now.
Watching Zane trying to make the changes in his life he needs to prove to Jen he is changing warmed my heart. What he did for Hen at his house was amazing even if he did have a little help from the housekeeper. I enjoyed being able to see Brad , Val, Ethan, and Jenna all doing so well and their families were growing. I sure am going to miss this group thanks for the amazing journey.
Here is one of my favorites:
Maybe he was her soul mate if there was such a thing. Yes, if there was, Zane was it, because she’d felt a connection to him from their first date. They’d somehow clicked.
Series Info (additional purchase links below)
1 Bullet: An Epic Rock Star Novel
2 Rock Bottom
4 Fully Automatic
4.5 Christmas Stalkings: A Novella
5 Slash and Burn
6 Locked and Loaded
Locked and Loaded is the final book in the Bullet series.
Both box sets (containing books 1-5) will be on sale for $4.99 1/31/16 through 2/2/16 (links below).
Purchase Links for Series Books
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1m162dw
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1BPtWPo
Google Play: http://bit.ly/1PeDIn1
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1vc3j5D
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1rRWhQY
Google Play: http://bit.ly/1lkZrPz
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/16CTqHu
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/16CLQMM
Google Play: http://bit.ly/1ZtSU2D
18+ due to adult situations
A Stand-alone book 1 in the Beaumont Brothers duology.
What would you do if you had no place to go and no one you could trust?
“The lyrics are about you, Lena,” he confessed, and I watched his mouth as the tip of his tongue moistened his lips before he leaned his head down. Then those beautiful lips were on mine, soft, tender at first, then his tongue glided over my lips, breaking the seal. My pulse throbbed and quickened as his tongue swirled around mine. Taking and controlling, and… and I wanted this, needed his touch. I went limp in his embrace, and the heat rose under my skin, my body vibrated against his strong powerful one. Was this really happening?”
Jackson Beaumont prides himself on being a nature-loving, guitar-strumming, carefree sort of guy. When the mysterious Lena Benton walks into his bar looking scared and defeated, it’s not something he can ignore. He’s immediately consumed by concern for her and driven by his desire to help. She’s just so beautiful. So wounded.
After being shuffled from one foster home to another growing up, Lena Benton dreamt of finding her prince charming. When the captivating Troy Harington sweeps her off her feet shortly after high school graduation, she’s certain she’s found her happiness. Unfortunately, Troy’s true colors surface shortly after their marriage and things turn ugly. Lena only has one choice. She has to leave him. She has to run…
Lena’s escape has brought her to Jackson, and he clearly wants to be there for her, but can she trust anyone again after what she’s gone through? And will Jackson be able to help her heal without losing his heart?
18+ due to sexual content and mature subject matter.
First off I need to say that one of the main characters of this story does experience physical abuse. This book is an incredible story with one strong woman that finds that she can trust again. If you have a trigger please be wary but the journey that she goes on is intense and passionate.
Lena is a woman who is being abused by her husband. She puts a plan in place to leave him but her plans are cut short when she needs to leave sooner rather than later. She does a series of things to hide her tracks well but she needs to stop to regroup. While trying to find this place to grab a coffee and figure out what her next move will be, she meets Jackson Beaumont. When he sees her he has a connection with her that he cannot shake. He is drawn to her, to help her. She reluctantly decides to stick around and to try and help herself but what she doesn’t count on is the trusting, loving, kind natured Jackson. He wants nothing more than to help her help herself. He shows her she can be independent and still ask and accept help from others.
“What cloud did you say you were from?” He laughed. “See that one over there?” He pointed out the window. “No, not that one,” he said, as my gaze followed his, “the lighter one, over there. The one shaped like Pluto.”“The dog or the planet?”“The dog, of course.” At that I smiled, and found myself relaxing a bit.”
“I’d never forgive myself for not being there for her. Now I was beginning to annoy even myself. I cared too much. I was in too deep, and I didn’t know how to pull myself up and out of the box of emotions I’d created.”
“I didn’t want to hurt her or take what she didn’t want to give. I wanted to be careful with her, more careful than I’d ever been with a woman in my entire life . I’d never cared or thought about what I took before. A kiss had always been just a kiss, never meaning much. This time, I cared because Lena deserved it. She deserved to be kissed the way a woman should be kissed, with tenderness and respect, but I couldn’t keep the heat out.”
This is a beautifully written insta-love with a breath taking happily ever after. Lena and Jackson help each other find a better person in themselves. I am absolutely in love with the Beaumont Brothers series. Grab your tissues….you’re gonna need them.
My blog: http://swblog.susangriscom.com
Find me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SMGriscom
Susan Griscom writes paranormal and contemporary romance. She’s hooked on gritty romances and is a huge fan of superheroes and bad boys confronted with extraordinary forces of nature, powers, and abilities beyond the norm mixed with steamy romance, of course.
She loves those days when she gets to sit around in her sweat pants, doing nothing but writing emotionally charged stories about love and violence and drinking coffee.
She lives in Northern California with her romantic husband and together they have five great superhero kids and eight mini-superhero grand kids, so far.
I received this book from the author for an honest opinion.
Jace, Jace, Jace…..Tiff, Tiff, Tiff……These two caused me soo much stress in the beginning two books. I was so excited to finally get to read their story.
Jace is a broken guy and just wait until you read his story. Heartbreak, guilt, raw emotion about what happened to his family and why he is the Jace of today. Tiffany is a “fixer”. She sees this guy and has a good me with him but she wants more. She wants to FIX him. She wants more than just a night. Jace just cannot commit. He can’t give her the tomorrows she deserves. When things get real heavy between Jace and Tiff, he runs. He runs right into the bad guys who caused his heart to be destroyed as a young boy.
Now poor Tiff is DEVISTATED to say the least but she has Sam and Dev there to try and help her see that Jace will return and they can make it work. WELLLL that might have been ok except that while undercover Tiff SEES Jace with another …uhm…ok I will call her a “Lady”. Yeah that doesn’t end well!! I loved the dance scene and my eye was alllll over Mason…yup ladies Mason is a hottie!! Remember Mason the bouncer at the Rusty Nail?? HRMMM *Shakes head with remembrance*
The big show down happens with Tiff and Jace…I cannot confirm or deny but there may have been a tear or 500. When Tiff and Jace come to some understanding the undercover story really kicks in and the bag guys get badder. This stresses out Jace and his new, dare I call it, relationship with Tiff.
This story has suspense, hawt times…..come on you know what I mean, and tears. OMG I can’t begin to tell you about the tears…the cemetery……….ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh……Cemetery you ask? Yup CEMETERY!!
However what I am super excited about are the secrets that are revealed at the end of the book along with the lead in to Mason’s story…yup Mason needs a story. After that dance scene I cannot wait to…uhm….get to know him Biblically!!??
I received a copy of this book from the author for an honest review.
The Witness Series is one of my favorites and I have been waiting for Jase’s and Tiff story. I enjoyed Dev and Sam but there was something about Jase.
At a young age Jase tried to help out his older brother only to find himself in over his head. When he realized how deep he is in its too late the damage is done. He lives with the guilt of what happened, vows revenge and knows he can never let anyone get close to him. Jase would never fully let Tiff in and would never be there when she woke up in the morning.
Tiffany only wants Jase to love her like she loves him and promise her tomorrow. Instead he runs deciding revenge is what he needs to do. Does Tiff have enough love for the two of them or will she more on herself to find her tomorrow?
I so enjoyed the banter between Tiff and Jase you can see there is a spark between them but Jase holds back and does not want to admit it. One of my many favorite scenes was when Dev, Sam, Tiff and Mason went to The Stoplight. That didn’t go over well with Jase. I also loved the scenes where Jase would let his guard down around Tiff when they were together. It tugged at my heart when Dev knew Jase was having a bad day and where to find him. There were times my heart ached for what Jase and Tiff were going through and the situations Jase was putting them in.
This is not a cliff hanger like some of Heather’s books have been in the past. It can also be read as a standalone even though it is the third book in the series. I loved this ending and how it sets up the next book in the series. I’m so excited the next one is Mason’s book because he needs a HEA.
Amazon bestselling author of the Second Chances series and the Shattered Trilogy, Heather D’Agostino writes contemporary and new adult romance set in Boston, New York, and North Carolina. Heather has always enjoyed creative writing, but never pursued it as a career option. Born and raised in Harrisburg, NC she received a BA in Elementary Education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. After teaching for six years, she decided to leave the profession to be a stay-at-home mom. After finding the world of Fan Fiction, Heather decided to “get her feet wet” in the literary world. With much encouragement and inspiration from the Fan Fiction world, she made the decision to publish her work. Heather prides herself in the fact that her books have real life situations with believable characters. These characters could be your best friend or your next door neighbor. Her first book, Unbreak Me, has been welcomed with open arms into the self-published community giving her the encouragement needed to continue to pursue this dream. Heather currently lives in Syracuse, NY with her husband, two children, two dogs, and three cats. She enjoys spending time with her family, watching sports, and playing chauffeur for all her children’s activities. You can follow Heather at www.facebook.com/H.DAgostino.Author or follow her on twitter @hdagostino001. Wanna make sure you don’t miss any news? Sign up for H. D’Agostino’s newsletter at http://hdagostinobooks.weebly.com/
About the Author
My name is Amy Hale and I’m the mother of a 19 year old and a 17 year old. I’ve been blissfully married for almost 25 years. I’ve always loved writing and have been doing it professionally in one form or another for the last 12 years. In 2014 I moved from writing non-fiction to fiction and my first book was published in January of 2015. I’ve since released two more books and my schedule for 2016 will be a full one! I really enjoy a good love story, so I like to blend romance with suspense, paranormal, and humor elements in my writing.
When I’m not making up stories, I’m busy enjoying time with my family and friends. I also love music, reading, and photography.
When and Why did you start to write?
I have always loved to read. In school I wrote poetry and short stories. Once I had children, I wrote stories just for them. I’ve always felt drawn to writing and storytelling. I’ve probably spent most of my life with a story of some sort rattling through my brain. After some encouragement from friends, family, and fellow writers I decided to take the leap into writing fiction. While it’s certainly hard work, I love it. I hope to be able to do this for the rest of my life.
What authors do you always read or suggest to others?
I have a variety of tastes. As a teen I was really into Stephen King. Now that I’m grown I’m less into the gore, but still admire his talents. I love historical romance – I find it fascinating. Julia Quinn has been one of my favorite authors for years and I was thrilled to finally get to meet her last year. I also adore Jennifer McQuisten, Mary Balogh, Kat Martin, and some of Pamela Britton (when she was still writing historicals). As for contemporary – I will happily read anything by Jamie McGuire, Colleen Hoover, J.L. Berg, Denise Grover Swank, Eric Asher… too much talent for me to even list here.
What is the most surprising thing you have found out with the writing process?
I think the most surprising thing I’ve learned during the writing process is that the characters really do take over. I know it sounds cliche and exaggerated, but it’s not. When I’m working on my books, the characters take on a life of their own. Sometimes they gently guide me through their stories. Other times they slap me right over the head with it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve written something, then sat back in shock over what just happened. It’s the best form of madness.
What are you working on now?
I’m almost done with my second book in The Shadows Trilogy – Shadows of Deception. I’m looking forward to sharing this adventure with my readers who fell in love with Jane and Colt in the first book. I think they are really going to like, and be surprised by, the events in store for our lovely and gifted Jane. And who wouldn’t want more of hot biker boy Colt?
This book was supposed to release in November of 2015, but circumstances prevented that from happening. If all goes as planned, the timeline for release will be in March 2016.
When writing are you a pantser or plotter?
I’m actually a little of both. I usually know my beginning and my ending, but I pants my way through the first few chapters until I get a feel for the Character arcs, then I plot the rest to be sure I stay on track.
You can find my books in the following places:
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ulterior-motives-amy-hale/1121104695
She was, still is, and will never be anything but my everything.
Our love was all consuming, passionate, and forbidden. We took risks to be together, carrying on an affair for almost a year before her psychotic drug lord husband found the truth behind the lies. She barely escaped with her life … and that of my son.
My club president told me that our love was no longer worth the risk, gave me a choice, and loyalty to the club being what it is, I walked away from her. I left behind the only thing I’ve ever wanted more than life itself and remained the dutiful soldier to a corrupt leader.
Six years and a promotion to club president later, it’s time the lies stopped. She IS worth the risk, I’ve NEVER gone a day without thinking about her OR my son, and I know underneath it all she DOES still love me. She just won’t admit it … yet.
It’s time to run this club my way and make my family what it should have always been—complete. The road may have been long and lonely, but the journey is far from over.
Another day, another screwed up job completed for the club. I wrap my hand over the spreading crimson on my left shirtsleeve and do what I can to staunch the flow of blood from the gash in my forearm. In all honesty, I’m lucky a nick from a stray bullet is all I walked away with. Gunfire rained over us like mid-summer rain as we bolted to our bikes. A simple drop-off, a whispered message in the right ear—it all sounded so easy at our early morning briefing, but from the moment we walked into that abandoned warehouse my gut never fully settled. The job was due to head south from the get-go; that much was obvious. We weren’t supposed to walk out alive. Thing is, I’m not sure how it was the Blood Eagles MC knew we’d be there. The information had to have stemmed from inside our club walls.
A tinny bell rattles as my fellow prospect, Callum, shoves the door to the corner market open. He’s probably the closest thing to a best friend I’ve got, and after what went down just now, the only brother I trust.
The shopkeeper lifts a set of world-weary eyes from his paper and roves the length of the two of us. His grimace says it all: that he’d rather not deal with our type—tattooed, leather-clad, and marked as prospects for an MC—but we’re paying customers, and my guess is that he doesn’t see too many of those, given the dusty stock on the first shelf we pass.
The steady chink of the buckles on my boots echoes off the stocked aisles, mirrored by the heavy thud of Callum’s feet as he wanders ahead of me. The pain in my arm isn’t anything too severe, but the nick from the bullet caused enough damage to make the sting annoying all the same. I glance down and lift the side of my hand to check the injury out. A tear in the plaid of my work shirt is the only sign there was contact made . . . aside from the large red stain spreading across the white squares in the fabric, that is.
“This do?” Callum lifts a box of fabric Band-Aid patches from the shelf and holds it over his turned shoulder so I can see.
“Yeah. It’ll do.” I really only need something to stop the flow of blood long enough for it to go hard.
We’re on the outskirts of Kansas City, six hours from home, and three hours into our ride. We should have made the one hour trip back to our southern brothers at Fort Worth after the shit went down, but I managed to convince Callum we’d ride through, that my arm would stop bleeding after a while. One night with those southern boys is more than enough for me; I can’t be fucked with another night of next to no sleep thanks to their habit of partying until dawn. Call me old before my time, but I like how laid back our chapter is—I like my sleep at night. Stupid bull-headed me thought I’d be able to hold off any sort of first-aid until we arrived back at our own clubhouse, and push through.
The streaks of red down my fuel tank say otherwise.
Callum turns for the counter, hesitates, and then swivels at the waist to reach out and grab himself a bottle of Coca-Cola to go with our impromptu purchase. My eyes fall to the floor briefly, and I cringe at the drops of blood that drop with a heavy splat to the linoleum beside my boot. The blood has soaked my shirt to the point where it now runs in a rivulet down my arm, snaking over my thumb, before it dives from the point of my index finger. I ball my hand into a fist and try to redirect the stream long enough to stop the drip. My head swims, and I snag a packet of Milk Duds to give myself a needed sugar-boost.
The entire ride here from the drop-off my mind’s gone crazy trying to work out who would rat us out like that. Protocol says I take this to our sergeant at arms, Beefy, to handle. But what if he’s in on it? Do I go straight to Prez instead?
You get sat down with the charter when you sign up as a prospect and made to memorize it. I could recite to you every fucking point on that document, but fuck me, there wasn’t shit all in there about what to do when you suspect a snake in the grass.
The bell over the door sings out again, and placing my addition on the counter, I move my gaze from where Callum exchanges cash with the shop owner to the source of the noise. The minute I lock eyes with the raven-haired beauty, I know my day couldn’t have gone better. Everything happens for a reason, and apparently, being shot and needing to stop off for supplies happened so I’d cross paths with this woman.
She moves her gaze between Callum and myself; her slender fingers tighten over the handles of her canvas shopping bag, and purse, which she has slung in the crook of her elbow. Everything about her is elegant, although the fire in her eyes speaks of a woman who knows how to hold her own. She’s a classic beauty, her feminine curves showcased in a light summer dress that cinches tight at the waist, flaring in the skirt, and wrapping about her neck in a halter. It’s an old style done new, and she fucking rocks it.
“Eyes front, soldier,” Callum teases.
I glance away to find him beside me with the top off his Coke already. He takes a long pull, his eyes on the Hispanic woman in the summer dress as well. Lowering the bottle, he swallows the drink down and lets out a low whistle through his teeth. “Pretty.”
The woman’s moved on, busying herself with her shopping. Yet the way her hand moves aimlessly along the row before she finally plucks something for her bag, it tells me she’s not really focused on the task at hand.
Callum moves for the exit, ushering me along with a tip of his head. “Come on.”
I follow numbly, and steal a glance back at the woman as she rounds the end of the first aisle to face our way. Her eyes lift over the top shelf and meet mine as I come close to walking into the doorframe. I’m too focused on her and not on what I’m doing. Great first impression, King. At the sound of Callum’s laughter, I reluctantly look away and exit into the midday sunshine, shaking my head at my own idiocy.
The leather creaks as I make myself comfortable on the seat of my bobber to rip open the Band-Aid box and pull out a wide strip of gauze. I place it between my lips to free up my hands. Blood drips onto the leg of my jeans, blending in with the dirt and grease that stains the dark denim while I roll my shirtsleeve carefully back. My vision swims, the loss of blood on an empty stomach stealing my focus, and I squint a few times to work through it. The nick isn’t much more than a couple of inches long, but it’s deep. The angle it clipped me tore a decent line straight through the meaty part of my forearm. I twist my arm over to wipe it clear on my jeans before I awkwardly tear the backing off the Band-Aid and situate it over the worst of the injury. The tacky edge lifts with the blood that flows fresh, so I add another three strips and end up with some mashed up lump of sticky gauze covering the better part of my forearm.
The whole time, my thoughts are on her. The woman was nothing short of a stunner. Large eyes, high cheekbones, a pointed jaw, and the supplest flesh I’ve ever itched to feel under my rough fingers. To walk away without at least learning her name seems like a fucking crime.
“You hungry?” I ask Callum.
He stands beside his Fat Boy, looking my way as he takes another pull of his drink. His eyebrows bob as though to say ‘Do you need to ask?’ He drops the bottle from his mouth and frowns. “I thought I just bought you a candy bar or something.”
“Yeah, I need more,” I lie.
A bakery three doors to the right of the grocer is the closest place to eat. It’ll do. At this moment, a pet store could be the only thing in sight and I’d still make an excuse to head in. Wiping as much of the blood off my arm as I can, I dismount and head towards the bakery, looking in the windows while I pass the grocer. The dark-haired beauty holds a box of something before her, frowning at whatever it is she’s reading on the side. Movement in the reflection on the glass catches my eye and I refocus to find Callum behind me, grinning like a fucking idiot.
“You’re not hungry, are you?”
“Not for food,” I reply, fixing my attention back to her as she moves towards the counter.
“Jesus,” Callum mutters. “Don’t fuckin’ tease me like that. I thought you were goin’ to feed me.”
“You’ll keep until we get back.”
He stands in silence beside me as we both eye her unload the handful of items she’s collected onto the counter.
“You’ve got to fuckin’ man up, brother.” Callum jams both hands in his pockets and rocks back on his heels as he grins my way. “Just mill around until she leaves and ask her to hang out.”
I raise an eyebrow at the idiot. Ask her to hang out? “Do you even remember what we’re on our way home from?” I don’t know what he’s thinking, but I’m pretty sure Prez will be looking for details after that fucking ambush. “We ain’t got time to be ‘hangin’ out.’”
“Then tell her to come for a ride. She can waste time with the other women while we debrief, and then party’s on, buddy.”
Too fuckin’ right the ‘party’s on.’ Does he remember who we are? We’re prospects for the largest-growing MC chapter in Nebraska and its surrounding states. And what’s rule number one for a prospect when it comes to women? Don’t take her back to the club unless you’re happy to share her around. “I’ve got more respect for a woman than what ‘hangin’ out’ would mean, man.”
Just ask her to hang out. Pshh.
“Well fuck, whatever,” Callum says, throwing his hands in the air. “Don’t bring her back then. But I’m tellin’ you now, if she ain’t so hot on bein’ around the club property, then she ain’t going to be none to hot on hangin’ around with the likes of us at all.” He points toward the window behind me. “You better make up your mind; she’s on her way out.”
Fuck. When all hell broke loose back at the warehouse, I kept my cool. As the bullet tore through my flesh, I never flinched. Even when I realized how badly I was bleeding, I didn’t blanche. But five words from my closest friend, and I’m sweating buckets. What the fuck do I say?
I’m twenty-four years old, and I’ve had three girlfriends in my time. Only one of those stuck around long enough to have us classed as being in a proper ‘relationship’. I’m the shy guy when it comes to women, the one who blends into the background while his friends put their best moves forward. Relationships, interactions with people—they confuse me. I bury myself in work, apply myself religiously to a project, and I fucking excel.
The loner aspect to the outlaw lifestyle is what made me sign up to prospect for the Aces in the first place, because I’m exactly that—a loner. I’m an introvert. I like my own company—it doesn’t complain, confuse me, or expect things I can’t deliver. Don’t get me wrong, I like the feel of a woman, the softness only the feminine touch can offer, but fuck . . . they scare the living shit out of me most of the time.
Still, I’d be a fool to let her slip away because of some boyish fear of the unknown.
Suck it up, King.
Callum nods toward the entrance to the store, but there was no need to—the bell over the door does a fine job on its own of tolling my fate. He clears his throat as the soft patter of her shoes recedes behind me. “You going to go get that?”
My nostrils flare, and I fight back the bitter laugh that wants to escape. “I guess I should.”
He smirks. Fucker. “She turned right.”
I spin on the spot. Shit. She’s gone from sight, just as he said. A part of me wants to call it quits, to take the easy road out and walk away. As it is, I’m not short of options when we get back to the clubhouse; Apex keeps a good stock of girls on hand for the boys. I don’t need her. But I want her.
“Come on, sad sack. We should probably go and get you fuckin’ stitched anyway.” Callum makes a move to get on his bike and leave, but my protest stops him in his tracks.
“No. Give me five.” I hold up my hand to indicate he should wait where he is and spin around to go after her. Vibrations jolt through my body with each fall of my boots as I take off at a jog to catch up to the woman.
Reaching the intersection in the road, I hook right and come close to bowling her over in my haste. She yelps, moving back to avoid a collision, and catches her heel on an uneven patch of concrete at the base of the shop wall.
“I’m sorry.” I raise my hands with palms toward her as though she’s some spooked horse who needs placating. “I didn’t mean to—”
“I was in the way,” she cuts in. “Don’t apologize.”
Her voice is deep, throaty, and sexy as hell with that slight lilt of an accent. I take a step back and look her over, noticing now that her shopping bag and purse are between her feet, and she has a compact clasped in one hand, lipstick in the other.
“Are you waiting for someone?” I ask, glancing each way up the street. Be just my luck she has a boyfriend on his way to pick her up.
“No, I wasn’t,” she replies with a snap of the compact.
Uncertain of how to behave while she bags her makeup, I jam my hands in my armpits, being sure to cross my injured arm on top, and widen my stance. I should say something. Be handy if I had conversational skills, for a start.
“Were you on your way somewhere?” she asks as she straightens up. “You looked like you were in a hurry.” Her tone is clipped and terse.
Heat flames my neck and ears. Why did I think I could do this? “Uh, yeah. I . . .” Just say it. “I was trying to catch up to you.”
Her throat bobs. “Oh?”
Words. They’re just words. But they’re also some enigma that I can’t solve, a problem wedged in my throat. Seconds pass like hours. Her wide eyes prompt me to say something; a flush creeps into her cheeks. But my embarrassment triples with each imaginary tick of the clock. I’ve fucked it up. Why bother trying now?
“I thought you dropped something, but I’m just . . . I guess I was . . .”
Her face falls, softening the longer I take to try and spit it out. The lie is so damn transparent, the reasoning pathetic. Why do I find it so hard to talk to women, but I can ride a bike and handle a gun as second nature?
I make a hasty retreat back around the corner, dying from embarrassment, and come smack up against Callum. He shunts a heavy hand into my shoulder and demands under his breath, “Get back ’round there, you fuckin’ pussy.”
“I can’t,” I whisper, fighting my spinning head from the shunt. “I fucked up what I was going to say.”
“What the fuck is wrong with you?” He leans close, getting right in my face. “She’s just a girl.”
“Exactly.” I cast a cautious glance behind me and check she’s not there, listening. “I can’t talk to women. I choke.”
“Why?” He pulls his head back, confusion written across his face.
All I can do is shrug. Why indeed?
“Piece of advice, brother,” Callum whispers, looking behind me briefly. “She’s human too. Treat her like one, and ignore the fact she’s got the opposite bits to you. Makes things a lot fuckin’ simpler.” He gives me a shove to the chest and sends me stumbling back past the edge of the building.
Fighting the terror at what I’ll discover, I turn my head to the left and find her in exactly the same spot. She smiles. It fucking slays me.
“What happened to your arm?” She gestures at my reddish-tan Band-Aids.
“Is it okay?” She steps around her shopping and moves toward where I’m rooted to the sidewalk.
I lean back and check the other way to find Callum making himself scarce. “It should be good now.” Her warm brown eyes meet mine as she stops before me.
Long fingers rest lightly on my arm just above the wound. My flesh tingles at the contact. “I’m staying with somebody not far from here if you’d like me to clean it properly. I’d just . . . I’d have to sneak you around the back.”
I frown and check her hand for a wedding ring. Nope.
“It’s complicated,” she explains. “The person I’m staying with, they . . . well, he’d get annoyed if I brought anyone back, let alone somebody like you.”
Right. I glance down at my leathers, steel-toed riding boots, and general rough appearance. She has a point. “Thanks for the offer, but I’ll sort it out when we get home.”
Her hand drops away, and I fight the urge to reach out and take it in mine. “Of course you will.” Her gaze is scathing as it runs the length of me. “I don’t know why I offered. It’s not like I’m your type anyway.”
“I don’t really have a ‘type.'” I ran after her, for fuck’s sake. How much more obvious can I make it that I’m interested? “You shouldn’t make assumptions about people like that, anyway.”
“I didn’t think it was an assumption, more an observation.”
“Well you got it wrong.”
She stares at me a moment, jaw set hard and clearly lost for words. I consider walking away and leaving this train wreck of a conversation behind when she ducks her head, shaking it. “I’m sorry. I’ve had a rough morning.”
“You and me both, babe.”
Her face lifts, and she matches my smile with her own. “Probably you more than me, right?”
I shrug. “Probably.”
She chuckles quietly, the soft sound dying off to an awkward silence. We hold each other’s gaze for a beat; the rich flecks in her brown eyes appear to shine in the sunlight. With a short, humorless laugh, she turns away to collect her bags. I panic. She can’t leave yet. Not when I’ve put this much damn effort into approaching a woman, for a change.
“You seein’ anyone?” I spit the words out before they have time to stick in my throat.
“Right now? Only you.” The woman winks, rendering me useless. “I’m here for a little while. Perhaps we’ll be lucky enough to meet again when you’re not hurt and needing to go home?”
If only. “I’m not from around these parts.” Her face blanks, and I madly file through my thoughts to find something that’ll make her feel better. “But then again, neither are you, right?” She did say she was staying with someone.
She shakes her head, a section of hair falling into her face with the movement. “Not here specifically, but where I live is a short drive south, just outside the city limit.” Her long fingers sweep the lock behind her ear as her gaze drops to the pavement.
South. And I’m north—way north. We’ve got fuck all chance of meeting again; I have no idea when I’ll next have reason to stop in Kansas City. Life always has a way of fucking with me.
The tired look slides from her face, and her freshly painted lips curl up into a well-practiced smile as she sucks in a breath and squares her shoulders. She’s clearly a pro at hiding her real feelings, a top-level illusionist. “Until we meet again . . .”
She tips her head to the side and narrows her eyes, acknowledging my road name. “It was nice to meet you today, King.” She holds out her hand for me to shake. “Elena.”
“Elena,” I echo, and lift her fingers to my lips instead. Her eyes spark as I lay a gentle kiss on her knuckles, fire racing through me as I do, and let go. The simple reaction is enough to justify the incessant drumming of my heart.
She places a heel behind her, taking cautious steps backward and stoops to collect her bags. “Your club.” She gestures to my prospect patch with her chin. “What’s their name?”
I glance down at the side panel of my cut as I answer; the club name is small and hard to read on the stitched bar. All the more reason I can’t wait to prove I’m worthy of the center patch. “Fallen Aces.”
“I haven’t heard of them before.” She frowns. “Where are you based?”
I turn part-way around, thumbing over my shoulder at the bottom rocker without taking my eyes off her. “Lincoln.”
“Lincoln.” Her gaze falls to the large lettering. “I’ll be sure to look you up if I’m ever your way.” She smiles, but the regret is clear in her eyes.
She knows as well as I do that our chances of crossing paths again is next to none.
Still, there’s a slim chance.
And I’m fucking holding on to it with both hands.
Max is the author of dark, and highly emotional romance. Her Butcher Boys series is centred around a group of men who met living on the street, who have teamed up with an indebted motorcycle club to take down a notorious drug lord. Her writing has been described as ‘gripping’, and ‘addictive’, taking you on an ’emotional roller coaster ride’.
Originally born and bred in New Zealand, Max now resides with her family in beautiful and sunny Queensland, Australia. Life with two young children can be hectic at times, and although she may not write as often as she would like, Max wouldn’t change a thing. When she’s not engrossed in her dark and twisted fictional worlds, she can be found enjoying the outdoors while 4wd-ing with her family.
she played. Abby felt safe, secure and content on living this life, until him.
parents were killed in a car accident. With the help of his sister, they run a successful hotel which is the premiere spot for weddings. Cash knew that marriage was not in the cards so he had the mentality of “Those who can, do and
those who can’t, teach,” that was until he met the one girl who broke through his walls.
I said that last part laughing and Rob joined in with me.
your face walking into your classroom and I get here, the smile is faded and you had this look of panic on your face.”
continue. “I met this guy online in the gaming community. We have known each other for a year but more on a personal level the last few months. We have been emailing, Skyping, and text messaging each other a lot.”
on the phone when we are on breaks from work and at night. We just told one another that we like each other.”
celebration.” Rob clapped his hands in excitement. He knows the hell I went through with all of the boys that I have been with and knows the toll it took on me.
What if he doesn’t like what he sees? What if he wants to make me his dirty little secret? What if I like him a lot and he breaks my heart?” I had tears coming down my face.
same gaming community that you met Cash. I was terrified that he wouldn’t love me, break my heart, or even not feel the same way. I got over that in a hurry because we all need to take a leap of faith in the love department.” Aaron stood about 5’11 and wasn’t as muscular as Rob but he was well built. He had brown hair, hazel eyes, and a beard. I
wasn’t a fan of beards but my God he made it look sexy. He was a doctor, an OB GYN. He had funny stories about how his female patients would flirt with and ask him out on dates but when they saw Rob coming around and he told them that
he was in a relationship with him, they were heartbroken. They were not upset about his lifestyle but the fact that he wouldn’t date them. Rob was doing well for himself.
is always going to be someone’s dirty little secret.”
The people who love me most will always say what I want to hear not what is true. Do you think I like being this way? Do you think I like doubting every man who comes into my life? Do you think I don’t want the husband, children, and know the feeling of what true love is? Until you have been subjected to this way of thinking all your life, don’t get mad at me for feeling like this, Rob.”
so beautiful and sexy that any man,” I went to open my mouth to say something and he held up his hand, “who is deserving of you. I wish you could see it. When you meet the man who is worthy of you, he will show you and you will
believe it. I think you should keep getting to know Cash and see where things go. Keep an open mind. If all else fails, think “What would Rob say?” I am very wise, just so you know.
she can only imagine. When Jaime isn’t reading she can be found playing World of Warcraft with her friends or working on a school assignment. Jaime is working on getting a degree in English so she can become an editor for other Indie Authors. Jaime’s love for her family and their support has helped her achieve her dream of becoming an author.
Julie and Brad Evans are house flippers. They buy low, clean out the old occupants’ junk, and try to make a profit. Enter Hemmings House on Bedlam Street in scenic Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island. Too good a deal to pass up, but with an ominous secret. The old Victorian Mansion has dwellers that do not want to be dispossessed. As the house reveals it’s past, will the couple’s marriage survive The Flip?
Modern day parnormal haunting with a historical twist. An intense read! Haunted houses, spectral memories, ghosts, haunted hearts…..Brad and Julie are a married couple who are also partners when it comes to buying and flipping houses. They are trying to get ahead and have come across the Bedlam House that is for sale for a price too good to pass up. Or maybe there is a reason it is so cheap. While Brad is starting the cleaning process of the house things take a terrible turn for the worse. Moods are changing, weird things are happening in the house, and their marriage could be put on the line because of some ghosts that just won’t leave. Brad and Julie are very easy to relate to and but have stumbled across strange happenings that can only be described as hauntings.
“I pity you. I would rather experience the limits of hope and despair rather than a cold, clinical existence where you never feel the depths of passion.”
“Love. It’s the great equalizer. Isn’t being loved or cherished enough to bring anyone peace? Sometimes I find that there was no haunted house, but a haunted heart.”
The Flip is a modern day romance with just the right amount historical fiction that will make your heart pump. You get to experience the entire story from all points of view, the living and the dead. A quick, hauntingly fun, read! Go grab it!
Born and raised on Long Island, Michael has always had a fascination with horror writing and found footage films. He wanted to incorporate both with his debut novel, Brood X. Earning a degree in English and an MBA, he has worked various jobs before settling into being a full-time author. He currently resides on Long Island with his wife and children.
About the Author
I’m an author, a cover artist, a web designer and on occassion a formatter, which is a lot of hats to wear without even taking “wife” and “mother” into consideration. But I’ve been in love with books since I was three and I don’t see that changing any time soon. When I started writing seriously, I realized no one would buy a book that said Dull on the cover. Instead, I played on all the “opposite of Dull” jokes my friends made and became Elizabeth Sharp (The Elizabeth is for my grandmother).
When and Why did you start to write?
I was always telling stories, so no one in my family was surprised when I learned to write and immediately turned my new skill into a hobby. I dabbled for a couple decades, but once I got my first Kindle something changed. I learned about independent publishing, made a few new friends and launched on the road to publishing my first book. Nine books later I’m still going strong, and still proudly indie.
What authors do you always read or suggest to others?
I mostly read other authors I know these days. I do read some others, and this year I’m doing a special reading challenge to expand my library, but I prefer to support my indie friends. I would read anything with Robert Jordan’s name on it, though.
What is the most surprising thing you have found out with the writing process?
That I love mentoring the next wave. There’s always new writers waiting in the wings, and I love helping them to get their footing.
What are you working on now?
The shorter answer might be what I’m not working on. lol I have an adult paranormal about the four horsemen of the apocalypse, a spin of from my Forces of Nature series, a paranormal involving gypsy magic, and an anthology that will be published next month.
When writing are you a pantser or plotter?
I used to think I was a pantser, but now I know better. I was always a plotter, just a little more subtle. I write out of order, fleshing out the big moments then piecing them together. The distance between A and B is far less indefinite than A to Z.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ElizabethSharpBooks
YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/SomeSharpWords
Protector Agent Josh Slater has spent years working for the secret government-sponsored agency known as OPAQUE. All the while hoping to find the man who paid his father to bring down a plane killing the then head of OPAQUE. Now, Josh’s new assignment brings him back face-to-face with the one woman he ever deserted. His life would have been easier letting Mackenzie continue to hate him for leaving, but she’s been targeted as leverage and he’ll do anything to insure her survival. Even face her anguish over his family’s shame.
Mackenzie Baudin has been over Josh Slater for years, so the idea of her uncle sending him to be her protector meant only a slight hiccup in her steel resolve emotions. But her uncle’s promise that within the next twenty-four hours she would know the complete truth about her life hit her like the plane crash ten years ago. The day her mother and father were killed.
I received a copy for a honest review
This was a new series and a new author for me, but new is good!
Josh Slater is a top protector agent for the OPAQUE agency, which deals with protecting people
from a clandestine group called Coercion Ten.
This group controls you by blackmailing you by using the person or persons you love the most.
Mackenzie Baudin is the current director of OPAQUE’s niece, the ex-director and founder’s daughter and her name is at the top of Coercion Ten’s acquire list. They want to use her against the director.
Josh is sent to protect her, but they have a past. The were together the summer that Mackenzie’s parents died, he left because he thought she deserved better than the son of the man who killed her parents. There’s lots of dealing with the past once Mackenzie finds out the truth about her family. There’s also lots of action, with people getting beat up and blown up.
If your looking for a book with lots of sex scenes this is not the book for you, however I didn’t miss them. Josh and Mackenzie are good together, once they put everything behind them. It will be interesting to see who is the mastermind behind Coercion Ten and how OPAQUE deals with them.
Award winning author Claudia Shelton has proven herself to be a contender in the field of romantic suspense. Claudia creates a fast-paced world full of intrigue and mystery as she weaves stories of sexy alpha heroes, sassy women, and love. Her debut release, Risk of a Lifetime, was a finalist in the Daphne du Maurier (unpublished) Award for Excellence in mystery and suspense.
If you like small town settings, then try Risk of a Lifetime for some lakeside adventure. But if you like your books centered in a big city where life can be a little grittier, take a look at her newest release, Slater’s Leverage (The OPAQUE Task Force). Currently, Claudia is busy working on a new series with hot guys, cars and romance.