Despair. Hunger. Pain. Need.
It started the moment she bumped into me.
Ecstasy. Danger. Seduction. Terror.
She was off-limits, but it didn’t stop me from wanting her.
My life was empty. My thoughts were dark. My heart was stone.
Feeling unwanted for most of my life, I didn’t know where I belonged or what my purpose was. He was all I had until she came along and brought out emotions I never knew were possible. She was innocent. Pure. Untouched. She was the daughter of a rival club member, but that didn’t stop us. It only heightened the desire, the passion we felt. We were happy…until someone she trusted made a move that no one saw coming…
She’s all alone in the darkness.
He’s lighting up the stage.
But not even the brightest spotlight can reach the shadows of a broken soul.
Every wanna-be rocker dreams of the day when crazed fans will pack their shows. But the more people worship me as some kind of musical god, the more I realize why singers are called “performers.” I’m just a pretender. A fake.
I need something real. Something to break through the revolting glamour that’s bled into every part of my life. And for one perfect night, I found that in Sara.
Then she ran.
No sane woman would’ve ever walked away from Declan Hollis after only one night. But walking away from him was the safest move for both of us.
I’ve spent so much time burying my old self in the past, trying to erase the vulnerable person I used to be. I’m smarter now—men are dangerous, and relationships are doubly so.
But the more time I spend away from him, the more I want to go back.
I may end up shattered all over again. Or maybe, just maybe, he’ll be the one to help me pick up the pieces.
***Immaterial Defense is a standalone contemporary romance***
A rockstar twist on The Emperor’s New Clothes, and this is how Declan and Sara’s fairytale begins…
Once upon a time there was a woman whose life had been blessed from the moment of her birth. She wore beautiful gowns and went to fancy balls and danced with handsome princes and hated every second of it. For though none but the woman knew it, these things were not real but imagined. And the reason she understood this was because she wasn’t real either, having been unmade in a single moment in time…by an enemy she hadn’t foreseen…in a way that left her body wounded and her soul scarred.
At that moment she finally learned the truth of the world—that nothing mattered because no one was safe and no one cared. Regardless of what she did, she couldn’t find anyone who believed her, so the woman felt alone beyond imagining. Even sadder than that was the day she stopped being lonely, when she gave up trying to make people hear her, when she gave up on people altogether. And even sadder still was the day she gave up on herself.
The woman began a new life, apart from all others, even while surrounded by admirers, for she knew they were admiring someone who wasn’t real, whose truth couldn’t be seen by their eyes. Though outwardly people still believed her to be beautiful and blessed, inwardly she knew it wasn’t true. And though her appearance and wealth continued to bring compliments and accolades, she saw what none other could—that for the rest of her non-existence, she would be invisible to all.
I received this book from the author for an honest review.
Another great one from my friend Lauren. I can’t say enough how I love the snark her characters have plus I like that she brings different qualitied to them that you might not find in other books.
Declan is a Rockstar in a band he totally loves. He, however, isn’t a fan of the rock star life of love ‘em and leave ‘em. He wants to find a girl who has zero clue who he is and what he is. When he meets Sara there is an instant zing of chemistry. He is considering MAYBE getting to know her when she runs out of his room in the middle of the night. LOL Declan just can’t get her out of his head. He needs to see her again but he has zero clue her name or anting about her except for her intimate parts *Snickers*
Sara has some issues with men. She WILL NOT fall in love or be an idiot over a man again. She is just gonna love ‘em and leave ‘em. She made a stupid decision once and now her career is a hot mess because of it. When he runs into Declan again after THAT night, she decides to give him another quick roll not realizing he will not let her escape again!
Now Declan wonders if she will be able to handle who HE IS? Will she wanna be with the Rockstar or just Declan???
I loved Declan. He was the best thing about this book. He is so sweet ad emotional and I just wanted to snuggle him. His agent is a douche wanting him to choose a single career or staying with the band. His band mates were a scream and cracked me up a lot in the book. Sara…..she was a tough nut for me at times. I liked her and then wanted to smack her on the head in for being so freaked out.
As always, I love me some Lauren and I hope you give her series a try because sarcasm is something she does VERY WELL!
Lauren Stewart lives in Northern California with a teenager, an almost-teenager, a mellow cat, and a very high maintenance, very large puppy. On the nights Lauren doesn’t pass out from exhaustion, she reads almost every genre so, naturally, her writing reflects that. With every book, every story, you’ll find elements of other genres–fantasy, mystery, romance, paranormal, suspense, YA, women’s literature, all with a touch of humor.
Because what doesn’t kill us should make us laugh.
One fateful night changed my life forever and brought secrets to light I never could have imagined, leaving me parentless, penniless, and caring for an ailing sister. My father was not the man I thought I knew, and his greed and sickness have left me with virtually nothing to use to care for my sister and get her the treatments she needs to maybe one day walk again. And now, we might lose our house, as well.
Luckily, an ad in the paper helps me regain some hope. I have something to barter with that not many courtesans have, after all, and it just might be enough to earn what’s needed to secure my future as a successful Blood Courtesan. My first client turns out to be the man of my dreams, the sexy-as-sin vampire rock star I’ve lusted after since I was a teen, but he wants nothing to do with me or what I have to offer.
My father’s misdeeds continue to haunt me and I’m left with only one option: I need to make the talented and headstrong Lyric Rivers desire me, or lose everything. Maybe even my life.
The Blood Courtesans Series, where vampires are real, rich, powerful–and hungry.
Blood is bought and sold like fine wine, and the best blood goes to the highest bidder.
It’s not supposed to be about love … until it is.
Originally published in the Blood Courtesans Boxed Set: Awakenings.
Vampires! Yes! It’s so hard to take a vampire story and make it unique. I often find that there is a lot of monotony with them. But this is hardly the case for the Blood Courtesans. In this world vampires are real and out in the open. They are normal people like you and me but they drink blood…maybe they are not what you consider completely normal, lol! Neriza is our female lead in Refrain. She lost her parents in a horrible car accident and this accident has left her sister paralyzed. Neriza is the sole provider for herself and her sister along with taking care of her parent’s debt. She decides to apply to be a Blood Courtesan. She tries to do this quietly as her uncle doesn’t agree with vampires paying for blood. Basically she gets rented for sex and blood. She has a unique quality about her that makes her a bit more valuable and she is accepted right away. She is essentially “rented” by Lyric (through his assistant) so that she can go on tour with the band and keep him sustained. Lyric happens to be the lead singer of the band Crimson Rivers, also her childhood crush, also a total hottie with an accent! He wants her gone and gone ASAP! She can’t figure out why so she puts all of her effort into getting him to keep her so that she is not in trouble with the Madame at the agency. As these two are learning to work together she gets some terrible news and finds that her dad was in the middle of some shady dealings, and here is where the real fun begins. Neriza and Lyric do form a friendship and confide in each other about their pasts. As things heat up both of their pasts come to the present and we find that the world may not be as large as we all thought. I can’t give you ANY more of the story without giving away tons of spoilers. The intensity between Lyric and Neriza with the witty banter is enough to make you want to read the book. But all the crazy twists in between are what makes this story amazing!
usan Griscom is a Bestselling and Award winning author. She writes paranormal and contemporary romance – steamy and sexy are the way they usually turn out. She’s a huge fan of superheroes and bad boys confronted with extraordinary forces of nature, powers, and abilities beyond the norm mixed with hot, blow-your-socks-off romance.
She lives in Northern California with a gorgeous view of Folsom Lake from her office where she spends a lot of time daydreaming when she’s not writing. She loves to drink wine and fortunately there are several local wineries close by and she visits them as often as possible. Together, she and her romantic husband have five great superhero kids and nine mini-superhero grandkids, so far.
When she’s not writing, she enjoys hanging out with friends and family drinking wine and dancing.
Sign up for Susan Griscom’s newsletter: http://www.susangriscom.com/newsletter.html
Genre: Surprise Marriage Romance (Older Man/Younger Woman)
Release Date: September 24, 2018
When Ivy goes to Las Vegas with her parents she never expects to wake up married to Deacon, one of her dad’s best friends and her teenage crush. Especially considering the last time she saw him she’d kissed him and he totally blew her off. She thought he wasn’t interested, but the ring on her finger says otherwise…now if she could only remember actually getting married.
Deacon has spent the last few years biding his time, giving Ivy a chance to grow up before he claimed her as his. One night was all it took to get his ring on her finger, and he’ll be damned if he lets anyone keep them apart now. Something easier said than done when Ivy’s parents find out he made their darling daughter his wife.
With over fifty published books, Ann is Queen of the Castle to her wonderful husband and three sons in the mountains of West Virginia. In her past lives she’s been an Import Broker, a Communications Specialist, a US Navy Civilian Contractor, a Bartender/Waitress, and an actor at the Michigan Renaissance Festival. She also spent a summer touring with the Grateful Dead-though she will deny to her children that it ever happened.
From a young age Ann has been fascinated by myths and fairytales, and the romance that was often the center of the story. As Ann grew older and her hormones kicked in, she discovered trashy romance novels. Great at first, but she soon grew tired of the endless stories with a big wonderful emotional buildup to really short and crappy sex. Never a big fan of purple prose, throbbing spears of fleshy pleasure and wet honey pots make her giggle, she sought out books that gave the sex scenes in the story just as much detail and plot as everything else-without using cringe worthy euphemisms. This led her to the wonderful world of Erotic Romance, and she’s never looked back.
Now Ann spends her days trying to tune out cartoons playing in the background to get into her ‘sexy space’ and has accepted that her Muse has a severe case of ADD.
Ann loves to talk with her fans, as long as they realize she’s weird and that sarcasm doesn’t translate well via text.
The struggle between good and evil. Isabella Life’s constantly throwing me curveballs. It’s what I do with them that determines my destiny. Everyone has dreams of the perfect life. Depending on what your vision of happiness is, you try your hardest to achieve it. I thought I had found that special someone, until the bottom fell out and I woke from my dream; realizing I’d actually been living a nightmare all along. Nothing seems real anymore as I walk through the haze of what has become my life. When I sank to the bottom where the darkness eclipsed the light, I began to struggle against the quicksand of sorrow, hoping I could make it back to the top.
Dominic In the blink of an eye, my life turned out for the worse. I was drowning in the chaos of what had become my life. What do you do when you’ve lost everything you once held close to your heart? After turning to alcohol, sex, and cheap women to soothe the ache, I decided I needed to find the man I once was before there was no coming back. My soul bled for the other half of my heart. She entered my life like a tiny hurricane in need of direction. Could this be what I’ve been searching for? Could she be my salvation?
“I want a new tattoo of a Lotus flower. I’ve been reading up on the meaning, and after all that’s happened, I think it’s perfect. They grow in the mud, blossoming into new beginnings. My past represents the mud that I was slowly sinking in, and my present with you is my new beginning.”
“I think it’s a beautiful idea, Sparrow. I have an idea, too. You wanna make a stop before heading back to my place? I have a friend who I trust with my work, and he will do your vision justice. Trust me?” He looks at me with adoration in his eyes.
“I’d follow you to the ends of the earth, Dominic. I trust you with my life, so lead the way, sexy.”
Driving up to a tiny shop on the corner of a rundown shopping center, I feel like we’ve entered some abandoned ghetto in a gruesome horror flick. The neon sign on the front of the building simply reads Tattoo, and is missing an O. Perfectly creepy.
“Remember when I said I trusted you? I may be eating those words now.” Giving him a side glance, I can see the smirk on his face.
“The fancy new mall a few miles out of town has run off a lot of customers, but the loyal ones have stuck it out. Believe me, I wouldn’t take you somewhere I didn’t think was safe. I have precious cargo with me now.”
Jesus, how can I not trust him?
“Ok, but if I see any zombies dragging their feet my way, you best believe that I will throw you to the beasts. I love you, but survival comes first.” Dominic laughs while clutching his heart.
K.A. Graham grew up in a small town in Oregon. Through the years, her love for writing and poetry, turned into something she had only dreamt of. Writing her own book. She’s faced many obstacles in her life, but the love and devotion of her parents, have always kept her grounded. She is an avid reader, blogger and does PA work for a few authors, which keeps her quite busy. Hard rock music lover and horror movie buff, with a love and appreciation for tattoos. Her addictions include copious amounts of caffeine, Chinese food and Haribos candy. #EmbraceTheLove #ForgetTheHate
There have been countless theories about how to survive a zombie outbreak. All of them based on impossibilities and conjecture turned into fantasies and science fiction. No one truly needed to prepare themselves, because no one believed it could ever really happen…
But now, Dave and Pam Richter are trapped in the impossible.
Forced to race against the spread of a rabid plague from a source no one suspected, and those ordered to contain and destroy it.
If you are tired of the same old zombie apoc story then this is the book for you! Soooooo much better! R.K. Gleason is a newer author for me but I am hooked. He has a way with dropping the F Bomb a lot, using a bunch of hilarious banter in a story, adding a ton of gore…AND IT WORKS!!!! And when I seen this book….well I dove in head first! What do you do when you get in an UPPERCASE situation? Well the world as we know it is going to hell in a handbasket. By chapter two I was laughing so hard at the banter between Dave and Pam. These are the two main characters and we get to know them pretty well at the beginning. They are a freaking riot! There is an outbreak and everyone is trying to get a grasp on what is going on. Dave decides they need to get the hell out of dodge and he and Pam start gathering their adult kids so that they can get out of the state before the military comes in and closes them off. We know how we all are these days with technology and how easily we can get swayed from the bigger picture. But the way Dave and Pam get everyone together just works. We get to follow them on their trek and the craziness that gets in their way. This does end in a cliffhanger but rest assured….there will be more!!!! I am anxiously awaiting the next in this series. UPPERCASE is a fast read that you will not put down. YOU NEED TO READ THIS NOW!!!!
I was born high in the Andes and raised by a band of wandering gypsies. At the ripe old age of 7, I struck out on my own, dabbling in the arts of alchemy and personal financing. Neither of the trades paid off. At 13 I became the personal juggler for Stephen King, but alas, that didn’t last long either. Since then, I’ve wandered aimlessly through life and this planet, stopping along the way to help people and smite the wicked.
A little while ago I decided to try my hand at writing. I published The True Death series independently for The True Death and The Vengeful Death but was recently picked up and published by Love N Books.
When an IED hit my unit, it set off a chain of events that transformed me. Gone is the easygoing and charming man whom everyone flocked to. I’m no longer the whole man I used to be, and I’ve accepted this darker side.
In my twelve years as a physical therapist, I’ve never been tempted to cross the line with a patient. That is, not until Viktor Prinz answers the door in his nearly-naked state. Seeing past the grief, I find the first man to make me want more.
Can Viktor find the strength to accept the cards he’s been dealt? Or will he run this beauty who stands up to him out of his life, never to return again?
Tough and sweet. Soft and firm. Heaven and hell. Beautiful modern day retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Viktor is his own worst enemy and drowning in self loathing after he has been dealt a really crappy hand at life. Isabelle is brought into his life as a physical therapist to help him be strong enough to take on a prosthetic leg. Right from jump he is incredibly mean to her but you immediately feel where he is coming from. It pulls at your heartstrings. Belle comes in strong as can be and does not show him any pity, and this is right where you will fall in love with her. They are both attracted to each other at the very beginning and the angst continually builds throughout this story. I worry about short stories because sometimes I feel there isn’t enough of the actual story but this author took this story and packed everything into it beautifully! The characters are relatable. The situation is heart wrenching. The feelings are strong and full of intensity. And in the end with the HEA….it is all summed up with the symbolic rose from the original story. This is the first book that I have read from AJ Renee but won’t be the last. Beautiful!
AJ Renee is the author behind the St. Fleur series, Beauty Unmasked, Winter’s Surprise, Surviving Paris, and Finding Love at the Falls…. She’s a military wife and mother to three young girls. She graduated from the University of Central Florida with her Master of Science in Criminal Justice and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology while working at the library.
She loves to write steamy romance with suspense and a happily ever after. When she isn’t writing or interacting with her readers, you can find her spending time with her family or reading. AJ enjoys traveling, researching family history, and all things New Orleans.
From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kylie Scott comes a new story in her Stage Dive series…
When the girl of your dreams is kind of a nightmare.
As head of security to Stage Dive, one of the biggest rock bands in the world, Sam Knowles has plenty of experience dealing with trouble. But spoilt brat Martha Nicholson just might be the worst thing he’s ever encountered. The beautiful troublemaker claims to have reformed, but Sam knows better than to think with what’s in his pants. Unfortunately, it’s not so easy to make his heart fall into line.
Martha’s had her sights on the seriously built bodyguard for years. Quiet and conservative, he’s not even remotely her type. So why the hell can’t she get him out of her mind? There’s more to her than the Louboutin wearing party-girl of previous years, however. Maybe it’s time to let him in on that fact and deal with this thing between them.
**Every 1001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you’ll enjoy each one as much as we do.**
“I don’t believe this,” I bitched. “My Valentino boots are actually sticking to the floor. That’s how gross this place is.”
Lizzy just smiled. “Told you to dress casual.”
The smile widened.
“Jeans and a tee is casual.”
“A tee? It’s velvet, Martha.” She held a bottle of beer up to her lips, taking a sip. “I said we were going to a dive bar. You have only yourself to blame for the fashion faux pas.”
“But velvet is in!”
“Would you two quit talking? I’m trying to listen,” said my brother, Ben. The big hairy idiot was slouched back in his chair, bopping his head in time to the music.
Lizzy shuffled closer all conspiratorial-like. “I know why you’re all dressed up.”
I said nothing. There was nothing to be said.
Next her gaze went to the man standing at the end of the bar across from us. No, no, I would not turn my head. I would not fall prey to her bullshit. After all, I’d managed to successfully avoid him for the forty-eight or so hours since my not so triumphant surprise return to the West Coast. Even with us both being in the same house. A very big sprawling house, but still.
On the other hand, it should probably be mentioned that he looked awfully good tonight in jeans and a white T-shirt with a leather jacket. Samuel Rhodes, otherwise known as Sam. Not a pretty man with his harsh features and bull-like neck, but something about him appealed to me. As always, his head was shaved and his body was built and my idiot fingers itched to explore.
Okay. So I guess at some point I must have turned my head. And shit, he caught me looking.
The corner of his lips rose just a little, just enough to mess with me, before he returned to doing his job by casually surveying the packed room. My heart did not speed up due to anything done by him. Clearly, I hadn’t totally caught my breath from when we’d walked in half an hour ago or something. That was all. Interesting to note, he did none of the checking me out typical of a heterosexual male who might have been into me. In fact, he didn’t really give me any signals at all. Ever.
Kylie is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author. She was voted Australian Romance Writer of the year, 2013 & 2014, by the Australian Romance Writer’s Association and her books have been translated into eleven different languages. She is a long time fan of romance, rock music, and B-grade horror films. Based in Queensland, Australia with her two children and husband, she reads, writes and never dithers around on the internet. You can learn more about Kylie from http://www.kylie-scott.com/
The day Maya Owens walked into his tattoo shop, everything Talan knew changed.
After officially starting a relationship, he is now having trouble managing Maya—a woman who consumes every part of his being and owns his heart. His need to control her and everything around her drives Maya insane, but he has good reason. After all, Janice is still lurking around and she has a vendetta against his Bitty.
In no time Talan wants more, and it’s faster than Maya can handle; things begin to get complicated.
Months of frustration and want take them for a ride neither wanted, but now yearn for. Will they make it through the turbulence? And if so, at what cost?
“Zero to sixty never felt this good.” Oh holy hotness! These two just don’t stop. Totally intense with each other, their feelings toward each other, and the feelings that others have for them. They are totally consumed with each other but in a beautifully chaotic way. Talan and Maya have made things official but Talan wants so much more and now….and Maya is still a little hesitant with school and her potential career. Janice is lurking and a “friend” of Maya’s wants more of her too. In this installment we still get tons of witty banter and even more angst than before. The two of them are sooooooo “frustrated” *winks* . Talan is totally alpha but Maya is independent. They butt heads a time or two but they are the perfect push and pull for each other. The other characters keep the story going as they are all a misfit of a family, smh and laughing! The only thing that I didn’t particularly care for is that the story seemed to stretch forever… When I say this I mean that Marking Her was all fast and furious and super intense. Marking Him is less fast but all the furious and intensity from the previous story. Incredible story nonetheless and still a page turner!
“The moment I laid eyes on you,” I whispered. She gasped while I shoved back the torn fabric off her shoulders. “I became yours. You took without warning.” I kissed my way down her throat while speaking, taking small bites between each kiss. “It’s my turn.”
I’m ready for the crazy that is Janice in Scars 2.5!
Elena M. Reyes was born and raised in Miami Florida. She is the epitome of a Floridian and if she could live in her beloved flip-flops, she would.
As a small child, she was always intrigued by all forms of art–whether it was dancing to island rhythms, or painting with any medium she could get her hands on. Her first taste of writing came to her during her fifth-grade year when her class was prompted to participate in the D. A. R. E. Program and write an essay on what they’d learned.
Her passion for reading over the years has amassed her with hours of pleasure. It wasn’t until she stumbled upon fanfiction that her thirst to write overtook her world. She now resides in Central Florida with her husband and son, spending all her down time letting her creativity flow and characters grow.
I’m Evan Cook—billionaire tech entrepreneur and widower. Professionally, I’ve got it all. But since my wife died, my personal life has fallen apart. Remarrying seems like the obvious answer, so I place an ad. I’m not asking for much. The ideal woman only needs to be smart, organized, pretty, and helpful—both in and out of bed—without expecting romance. I never thought to look right in front of me…but it turns out that Nia Wright, my sexy, sassy assistant, just might be the perfect candidate.
After an unexpectedly hot night together, I’m ready to stop interviewing strangers and simply marry her. On paper, she ticks every box on my list. Best of all, she’s far too sensible to fall for me. I didn’t see the flaw in my logic until it was far too late. I never thought I’d lose my heart for the first time. And I definitely never imagined that she could consume me until I more than crave her. But she’s harboring a secret that could tear us apart—just as I’m finally putting myself together.
I charge down the hall toward what might be the stupidest mistake of my life.
I move through the sea of bodies, shrugging past the Latina dancer, a few of the French maids, then bump into my assistant’s handsy dance partner. I stare him down. He looks at me blankly. One thing I realize instantly? My gaydar is absolutely silent. He’s every bit as straight as I am.
As he hovers protectively around Nia’s dressing room, I snarl and shoulder my way past him.
He grabs my arm. “Where do you think you’re going?”
“To see Nia. Let go.”
His eyes narrow. “Is she expecting you?”
No. In fact, I’m about to shock the hell out of her. I don’t know if I’ll be unwelcome, but I’m going to test Bas’s theory that she wants me. If he’s right…this could get messy really fast.
I shake him off, barrel inside the room, and shut the door. Behind me, I immediately hear the asshole jimmying the knob. I throw my weight against the portal to keep him out and lock it behind me.
Nia whirls to the sound of my intrusion, dressed in an inch of stage makeup, a silky white robe—and nothing else.
The moment she recognizes me, her mouth drops open. Shock spreads across her face. “E-Evan?”
“Nia.” I can’t find more words. I can’t do anything except stare and put one foot in front of the other. I certainly can’t defuse the anger and possessiveness I know I have no right to feel.
“What are you doing here?”
“That’s my question for you,” I growl. “Why the fuck are you taking your clothes off for strangers?”
She rears back and blinks at me. I don’t think she’s ever heard me curse. I keep the office professional, totally aboveboard. But I can’t manage decorum now when she’s breathing hard and her nipples are poking her thin robe.
She raises her chin and glares at me. Everything about her demeanor is like waving a red cape in front of a bull.
“It’s burlesque, not stripping,” she snaps. “I don’t do this for money. I do it because I enjoy dancing.”
“Yeah? You enjoy that asshole’s hands all over you, too?” Even though the logical side of my brain tells me I’m way out of line, I point at the door behind me and stalk closer to her. “You enjoy sex standing up with him?”
Her nostrils flare. Her mouth presses into a firm line. “Last time I checked, boss, I don’t have to justify my personal life to you.”
The fact she’s right only pisses me off more. “You do when your behavior reflects badly on Stratus Solutions.”
She shoots me a quelling glare. “You’ll have to do better than that. No one in the audience knows who I am. I never take off my mask and I never use my real name. Nothing I do on stage can taint your reputation.” Arms crossed over her chest, she saunters closer. “Why don’t you be honest and tell me what’s really bothering you? I know you’re not this mad simply because I was dressed a little risqué and gyrated on stage with Kyle?”
I debate the wisdom of blurting the truth. The rational part of my brain tells me to shut up, leave, and act on Monday like nothing happened tonight. Every other part of me knows that ship has sailed. My cock is especially eager to lay my cards on the table, grab Nia in my arms…and not worry about what happens next.
“You’re right. I’m mad because I think you’ve fucked him.”
She jerks as if I’ve slapped her. “Not that it’s any of your business, but we haven’t been together in almost two years. Thanks for letting me know you think I’m a whore.”
Hearing I was right royally pisses me off. Having her put words in my mouth kills what’s left of my patience, stripping away anything resembling professional civility.
I try not to squeeze her arms as I drag her close. “I never said that. Or thought it. I’m telling you that I can’t stand knowing he’s touched you. I don’t like the fact you still have anything to do with him. I don’t even understand why I’m here yelling and angry. I’m just…”
How the hell do I put the storm raging inside me into words? No clue, but I need to get it all out somehow or I’m going to explode.
“Jealous?” Soft surprise crosses her face.
Something about her confusion rips the confession from me. “Yes.”
“Because you…want me?”
I grit my teeth and try again to think through the wisdom of spilling all this to her. But I can’t keep it in. The softness of warm silk and hot woman under my palms almost undoes me. “Yes. I know I shouldn’t. I’ve spent forty-eight hours telling myself what I’m feeling is ridiculous and I can’t allow this—whatever it is—into our perfectly comfortable, efficient working relationship. But I can’t turn it off. I can’t fight it. I can’t pretend it doesn’t exist.”
“Is that what you’d rather do? Bury your head in the sand and not feel it?” She looks hurt.
Her expression makes me feel like an asshole. Nia always asks insightful questions. Why should now be different?
I shake my head. “For the first time in months—maybe years—I feel alive.”
Nia stares at me in silence, her gaze fused to mine. I swear I see a hundred thoughts whip through her head. For once, I can’t read a single one.
“Say something.” If she doesn’t soon, I don’t know what I’ll do. I don’t even know if I can be responsible for what happens next.
“Have you been drinking?”
“Not enough to drown out how much I want you.”
“In spite of your opinion about my sexual past? And what about our working relationship?”
She’s not wrong, but they’re barbed questions. I have to maneuver around them carefully. “Nothing matters to me except touching you right now.”
Before Nia can chew on my answer and remember all the reasons she should say no, I pull her against me. She gasps. The instant her soft body makes contact with my hard, aching cock, I groan and hold her tighter, cupping her face and lowering my mouth to her parted lips.
Shayla Black is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than sixty novels. For nearly twenty years, she’s written contemporary, erotic, paranormal, and historical romances via traditional, independent, foreign, and audio publishers. Her books have sold millions of copies and been published in a dozen languages.
Raised an only child, Shayla occupied herself with lots of daydreaming, much to the chagrin of her teachers. In college, she found her love for reading and realized that she could have a career publishing the stories spinning in her imagination. Though she graduated with a degree in Marketing/Advertising and embarked on a stint in corporate America to pay the bills, her heart has always been with her characters. She’s thrilled that she’s been living her dream as a full-time author for the past eight years.
Shayla currently lives in North Texas with her wonderfully supportive husband, her teenage daughter, and two spoiled tabbies. In her “free” time, she enjoys reality TV, reading, and listening to an eclectic blend of music.