Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Breaking Roman by Alexis James

Title: Breaking Roman
Author: Alexis James
Series: The Moran Family #3
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Release Date: June 27, 2017

Summary:
They call me Romeo.

I love romancing women, and I’m good at it.

Too bad it is all a ruse.

Roman, the youngest of the three Moran brothers, is the only one who has ever believed in true love. Too bad his one special person barely acknowledges his existence.

Sabrina Morris spends her days running the HR Department of The Moran Group, and her nights corralling her teenage daughter. She doesn’t have time for love. She’s heard the stories, but Roman is not at all what she expects him to be. His gentle nature catches her completely off-guard. She doesn’t expect to be attracted to him, and she certainly doesn’t expect him to be equally drawn to her. But can she see past his Romeo façade and allow the warm, loving man into her life?

What is the biggest influence/interest that brought you to this genre?
My reading/genre influence was/is my mom. All through my childhood she used to read Harlequin Romances. When I was old enough (11 or 12), she began to share those books with me. That was back in the day when the characters wouldn’t even kiss until the last few pages. I had always been a big reader as well, but it wasn’t until I read those beautifully crafted romances that I developed a deep love and appreciation for romance. Over the years, I branched out from reading romance, but have always been pulled back in. It felt only natural to want to craft my own romance stories.

When writing a book, what is your favorite part of the creative process(outline, plot, character names, editing, etc)?
My favorite part of the writing process is everything before the actual writing itself. I love seeing my characters come to life; giving them backgrounds and personalities and flaws. It’s so much fun making them into a “real” person; with a home, a car, friends. I do outline the story idea, and brief directions where I see the story going, but I won’t outline each chapter ahead of time. I like to let that develop as I write.

When reading a book, what genre do you find most interesting/intriguing?
I’m intrigued by anything romance. Right now, I’m rather obsessed with Male/Male romance novels. The love seems deeper in these novels…like the characters have had to work twice as hard to make it happen (which I suppose they have).

If you could co-author with any author, past or present, who would you choose?
Tough question. I think Colleen Hoover would be hoot to write with. She’s so brilliant it’s scary, and crafts such beautiful words. I’d probably be too overwhelmed to contribute to anything we’d be working on together. I’d probably just sit back and watch her create magic.

Have you always wanted to write or did it come to you "later in life"?
I always liked the idea of writing, but I didn’t write seriously until I hit my early 30’s. I published my first book in my 40’s, so I’m a bit a late bloomer.



Author Bio:
Alexis James lives on the beautiful Central California coast. When she’s not spending time with her hubby of almost 30 years or her amazing kids, you can find her tapping away on the computer. She loves reading, spending time with family, reading, camping, reading….and writing too! She enjoys a good date night, an inexpensive glass of wine, and any story that can make her smile and/or cry.

Alexis’s first novel, “Losing Faith”, was released in September 2014. Her second novel, “Loving Emma”, is a standalone, though it does feature some characters from “Losing Faith”.

She invites you to visit her author pages on Facebook and Goodreads, and her website. You can also follow her on Twitter or you can email her.


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EMAIL: alexisjamesauthor@gmail.com



Breaking Roman #3

Series




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Pre-Order Blast: Eighty-One Days by Zoë Mullins

Title: Eighty-One Days
Author: Zoë Mullins
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance, M/F, M/F/M, M/M
Release Date: Early Download - July 25, 2017
Expected General Release - September 5, 2017
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Summary:
Eric didn’t know Luke would be heartbroken when he left town to join a hotshot forest fire crew in Western Canada. They’d been best friends since kindergarten, had gone to school together, had bought their first car and a home together, and had shared their lovers. At some point, friendship had turned to love.

Luke didn’t expect that when he’d brought his crazy cat in for stitches that his heart that would be mended by the sassy new veterinarian. Jenna may have been new in town but she’d heard the rumors and she liked the carnal fantasies he spun for her in bed of he and his best friend sharing her.

Of course, that was before Eric’s job brought him home and back into their lives.

Jenna isn’t sure she can be what they need, but she’s not going give up without a fight.

Even if that means inviting the sexy firefighter to share their bed. Surely there is enough love to go around.


Don’t be a stranger? Had that been Eric’s way, he wondered, of saying I miss you too? The situation had been totally fucked up, but it had worked. At least, right up until the moment he had met Jenna. He couldn’t do that to Jenna.

Instead he had told Eric about how Winchester had fallen asleep in her arms. How Jenna knew how to make homemade pasta but hated tomatoes. He had begun detailing all the little things that she did or said that were making him fall in love with her and that he knew could make Eric fall in love with her too.

He knew it wasn’t fair to any of them, but after seeing how well they had gotten on all summer, he couldn’t help but hope for something more. He wanted the fantasy.

“Hey. You totally just zoned out there.” Jenna squeezed his hand and he looked up. “We don’t have to stay for the movie.”

“No. I want to.” It had become a monthly ritual, to head to his parents’ for dinner and a movie. “I promised Mom we’d watch The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel with her.”

“I know you’re really doing that for me.” Jenna snuggled into his side and kissed his cheek.

“You’re right. I’ll probably sneak away with Dad to watch baseball.”

“Totally acceptable, so long as you bring me a Nespresso from your Mom’s ‘off-limits’ coffee maker.”

“It’s only off limits to my dad. She totally loves that you enjoy the Nespresso. We can get one for home, you know?” Luke knew she found the coffee he made too weak. She liked her coffee like sludge. It made him shudder.

She shook her head, smiling. “Nope. This way it’s special.”

He had just brought her a cup of Nespresso and was going to join his father in the rec room to watch the baseball game he’d recorded that afternoon when he heard the crunch of tires on the driveway.

“I got it,” he called to his mom so they didn’t have to stop their movie. He pulled open the front door to see Eric ascending the steps.

Luke stared.

Eric looked just as startled. After a moment he stumbled over his words, “Your mom. That is, I mean, she invited me for dessert.”

“Eric, come on in. I saved you a piece of apple pie.” Luke’s mother, Maggie, called from inside.

Author Bio:
A prolific writer, even in elementary school, she was jotting down poems and stories whenever she had the chance - usually during math class.

After many years of working in corporate communications, Zoë decided in 2015 it was time to focus her energy on the kind of writing she loved – hot romances with strong, alpha heroes and quirky, independent heroines.

Zoë’s husband of nearly 20 years threw his full support behind that dream and loves to tell people his wife is a romance author. They live in Atlantic Canada with their two crazy collies. When not at her computer, you will find Zoë chasing after her muddy dogs, working in the garden or helping to renovate their money-pit of a house.


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Release Day Blitz: An Impossible World by SP Cervantes

Title: An Impossible World
Author: SP Cervantes
Genre: Adult Romance, Dystopia
Release Date: July 25, 2017
Publisher: Amber Leaf Publishing
Summary:
What would happen if terrorism spread and hate took over? What would the world become?

Isabella (Belle) Grey trained her entire adult life to protect those around her––training that would prove invaluable in her quest to make a new life. Forced to live in an impossible world, terror was not only outside the walls of her protected community but also raged behind the walls of her very own home.

No longer willing to put up with her husband’s drunken abuse, Belle made the desperate decision to run away from the safety of her community and escaped alone into the broken world beyond.

Chased by death as bombs exploded in the distance, her next decision could not only save her life but could potentially bring light back into her darkened soul.

When faced with the impossible, Belle found strength in an unsuspecting stranger who set her path in a new direction––one she never considered.

Fear. Love. Revenge. Strength … all come together in this epic tale of fate and survival.



Author Bio:
S.P. Cervantes is the author of the acclaimed contemporary romance A BROKEN FAIRY TALE series. The series allows you to connect with a group of friends and their triumphs over tragedy. "Dust to Dust" is a suspenseful stand-alone romance that introduces readers to this close knit group of loyal friends. "Wished Away" is an emotional romance that should be read before the Bad-Boy romance, "His Jar of Hearts".

S.P. highly acclaimed romance called "The Wife" is now available.

S.P. is also the author of the highly rated Young Adult Romantic Fantasy trilogy Secrets of Shadow Hill. "Always and Forever", "The Prophecy", and "War of Wizards" that has been described as "Twilight Meets Harry Potter". It's not your typical romantic fantasy.

S.P Cervantes lives in Orange County, California with her husband and three children, where she is a teacher. She enjoys spending time with her family, writing, reading, and running, but is always thinking of an idea for her next novel.


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Just the Thing by Marie Harte

Title: Just the Thing
Author: Marie Harte
Series: The Donnigans #2
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Release Date: July 4, 2017
Summary:
"The sultry sex and seduction scenes are just the icing on this incredibly rich and satisfying cake. Readers will sit down, read this book from cover to cover in one sitting, and then pick it up to read it all over again."―RT Book Reviews, 5 Gold Stars

A FLING MIGHT BE JUST THE THING...
Gavin Donnigan left the Marine Corps a shell of a man, hounded by guilt for deaths he couldn't prevent. But teaching a self-defense class at the local gym brings some stability to his life―along with a gorgeous woman who won't give him the time of day.

Zoe York lost her twin sister to a freak car accident a few months ago. She's been struggling to bury her grief, but it isn't until she signs up for a self-defense class with its distractingly hot instructor that she begins to come out of her shell again. With the memory of her sister telling her to live a little, Zoe decides a fling with buns-of-steel Gavin Donnigan might be just the thing.

Soon they're sparring both in and out of the gym. And for the first time in a long time, each is looking forward to tomorrow.


“Wasn’t sure if you liked coffee or tea, but thought I couldn’t go wrong with cocoa.”

The moment seemed like a freeze frame from the most romantic scene ever. She still tasted chocolate. The moon overhead lit everything with a preternatural glow. The scents of earth and lavender and Gavin filled her head, until she could focus on nothing but him.

“Gavin?” She didn’t know what she was asking him for, but the promise of safety in his eyes drew her closer.

“I’m gonna kiss you now,” he said, his voice low, warm.

She nodded.

He leaned closer at the same time she did.

Their coming together felt amazing. Perfect. Right. The kiss shook her. Deep, sensual, yet not as close as she wanted. His tongue swept her mouth, caressing while he took charge of the embrace. But not once did he overwhelm her. Instead, she followed him, sip for sip, and let the rush of her heartbeat pull her into a tide of longing she couldn’t suppress. Not now, surrounded by all her favorite things.

“Gavin,” she murmured when he kissed his way from her mouth down her cheek to her throat.

He pulled her to him, but their clothes kept them too far apart. Gentle bites down her throat ended in a soft kiss that caused a full-body shiver.

“Cold?” he whispered as he straightened.

She shook her head, unable to speak, and blinked into his shuttered gaze. Then he made everything worse. He tucked her head under his chin and hugged her with affection. No way she could chalk this up as a gambit to get her to bed, not when he had the gall to make her feel.

With a sigh, he ended the embrace and pulled back. “Now show me which ones I can pull and which ones I can’t.” He nodded at the third flower bed they hadn’t gotten to yet, not winded or affected by their kiss, apparently. Hell. Zoe couldn’t feel his heartbeat through their clothes, but hers raced like a thoroughbred intent on taking the Triple Crown.

The bastard had the nerve to wipe a clean thumb over her lower lip, causing that thoroughbred to run past the finish line with no signs of stopping.

“I have the urge to flip you again, right here,” she rasped. For starting something he wouldn’t finish. And for making her want to finish it, regardless of their newness.

He smirked, as if reading her mind. “I know. I can’t stop thinking about us in the gym either.”

“That’s not what I meant.”

He wiggled his brows. “I think it is. Next time I’m flat on my back, I’ll be thinking only of you, mistress.”

“You’re such a pain.”

“I know. It’s a gift.”

She wanted to smack him, so she did. When his laughter ended, she pulled him close and planted a kiss on him that had him panting and grabbing for her—but this time she had the presence of mind to disentangle herself. “Now,” she said, her voice hoarse, “grab that trowel and let’s get back to work.”

He kept staring at her mouth. “Trowel?”

She groaned, because she wanted to get back to that kiss as well. “Why me?”

What Others Are Saying:
✯✯✯✯ ...the power to break your heart and heal it.
Over the years, I have become a fan of Ms. Harte's contemporary romances. Sure her stories have a tendency to get steamy but behind all the foreplay lie some deeply meaningful messages. In the case of Gavin and Zoe, theirs is a quest for hope. Gavin lost his fighting for a world that he feels like a stranger in. Nightmares and guilt are his constant companions in a world filled with loneliness and despair. For Zoe, her anguish lies in losing a piece of soul. The death of her twin has left her searching for who she is and what comes next in her life. The loneliness is overpowering and the pain cuts deep for both, but the oddest thing happens. Out of the darkness, they find strength in each other. Just The Thing has the power to break your heart, but between the author and her awesome lead characters it also has the will to heal it. by Isha C. on July 04, 2017 via Kobo

✯✯✯✯ This is a very nice, fast paced romantic comedy that actually deals with the side effects of grief as well as PTSD and survivor’s guilt. I enjoyed both Gavin and Zoe although Gavin’s behavior was a little juvenile at times for a thirty-two year old man. His family’s prank war was hilarious and entertaining but I felt like there were moments that it overtook the story. However, my heart hurt for Gavin when he had to face his past and make a decision on how to deal with it. Zoe’s character remained strong and dedicated. She was willing to do whatever Gavin needed to find healing.

This was a fun read with some serious moments, plenty of humor, and some extra spicy bedroom play. No real epilogue and the ending sets us up for Gavin’s sister Hope. by carvanz on July 3, 2017 via Barnes and Noble
✯✯✯✯✯ Love Gavin & Zoe’s Story!!! 
Just the Thing is the 2nd storyline in the Donnigan Family following Gavin Donnigan and Zoe York. It is a contemporary journey between two grief-stricken wounded souls that find each other, connect and fall in love. Their journey to each other is not easy; their emotional experiences, thoughts, dialogue and chemistry is very real. You experience a wide range of emotions while reading Just the Thing. It has it all and MORE! It is a very substantial story; you are witness to the power of love, laughter, familial bonding & pranks and satisfying sex. I laughed out loud at the humor Marie Harte so cleverly weaves within moments of pain, love, grief, passion and very scorching sex between Gavin & Zoe. Gavin & Zoe are two people that are relatable to men & women in this day and age. Marie Harte eloquently deals with real world issues of Survivor’s Guilt and PTSD within Just the Thing. Marie Harte weaves magic in creating the Donnigan Family – you want all of them to be your own Family!! Like, her first Donnigan Story - A Sure Thing, I did not want Just the Thing to end...ever. Marie teases us at the end of the Just the Thing with a peak into sister Hope Donnigan’s story that will be coming out next. *I received an e-version ARC of Just the Thing and I LOVE the Donnigan’s so much, I bought A Sure Thing & Just the Thing in paper format also!! by Anya Z.on July 9, 2017 via Amazon

✯✯✯✯✯ In JUST THE THING by Marie Harte, Zoe York has always played by the rules. 
She never takes risks and has always played it safe. However, when her twin sister suddenly dies, it throws her life into turmoil. Her sister was the kind of person who always had fun and always encouraged Zoe to live a little. Now alone, Zoe is looking at her life and trying to decide how to honor her sister’s memory by moving forward in a manner that takes her out of her comfort zone so she can try new experiences.

Gavin Donnigan is teaching a self-defense class Zoe is taking at the local gym. He loves women and in particular thinks Zoe is banging hot. The only problem–she won’t give him the time of day. He tries his best lines on her, but she does not seem interested. Other women seem to enjoy his company, but the woman who really intrigues him barely glances his way. This is so frustrating.

JUST THE THING is book 2 in The Donnigans Series and is about two people who have each hit a crisis in their lives. Zoe is reeling from her sister’s death and trying to figure out what to do next. Gavin is a former Marine who is recovering from being wounded both physically and mentally while serving his country. He’s trying to get his life together and fears it will not happen. Keeping his past relationships light and flirty has helped him get through some really tough times, but he realizes that won’t work with Zoe. The more he gets to know her, the more he dreams of having a normal life. He needs to address the post traumatic stress disorder he suffers from before he can even begin to think of having the kind of life he really wants. 

I really enjoyed this book by Marie Harte. My heart went out to both main characters who suffered such horrendous losses. However, even when things got hard, they kept putting one foot in front of the other, facing their demons until finally, they both realize just how much stronger they are when they are together. This is a great book to start off your summer by reading. by BPoston via Romance Junkies Book Reviews

A Sure Thing #1
Summary:
Meet the Donnigans
With the eldest Donnigan brothers adjusting to civilian life, their younger sister constantly in trouble, and their little brother clueless about life in general, falling in love is the last thing on anyone's mind...

Can this Bossy Badass Marine...
The Marine Corps was everything Landon Donnigan ever wanted in life...until a bullet sent him home with a medical discharge. Teaching a self-defense class at the gym is old-hat for a marine, but when he meets sexy Ava Rosenthal, his combat skills are useless for protecting his heart.

Be her Mr. Right?
Ava can take care of herself and likes quiet, bookish men-not muscular warriors who think women need to be coddled. But Landon is more than he seems, and when they come together, the results are explosive.

The Only Thing #3(TBD 2018)
Summary:
On the cusp of turning thirty, Hope Donnigan is getting her life together. She’s working in a job she likes, has good friends, and has finally stopped dating Mr. Wrong. Entirely. So she should have no problem ignoring J.T. Webster. He’s big, bad, and totally what she should be steering clear of.

J.T. fell for the hot blonde months ago at his sister’s wedding. Having seen what love did to his father, he’s never felt close to a permanent relationship with a woman. But Hope gets to him. When he agrees to be her pretend boyfriend to annoy her mother, he never expects their fake relationship will be better than anything real he’s ever had. Before he knows it, he’s falling in love and not sure what to do about it.

But someone else wants Hope all to himself, and that someone isn’t happy about J.T. being in the picture. Soon, J.T. and Hope will have to deal with a secret admirer, her protective family, his annoyed sister, and their feelings for each other, which aren’t so pretend. But sometimes, there’s only one thing to do when you’re falling in love. And that’s let yourself go.

Author Bio:
Caffeine addict, boy referee, and romance aficionado, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Marie Harte has over 100 books published with more constantly on the way. 

She’s a confessed bibliophile and devotee of action movies. Whether hiking in Central Oregon, biking around town, or hanging at the local tea shop, she’s constantly plotting to give everyone a happily ever after. 


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Just the Thing #2
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A Sure Thing #1
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Monday, July 24, 2017

Monday Montage Mantlepiece: Wild Angels


Summary:
Burning Rubber by Lily Harlem
When trouble rides into town, what girl can resist the ultimate bad boy?

Handling men isn’t an issue for me. I’m not a girly girl and my best friends are the machines I spend my days fixing, tweaking and servicing. So when the Wild Angels roll onto my forecourt and need my help, I’m happy to be of assistance.

But I’ve always been a magnet for trouble and when the leader of the pack, Gid, questions my ability, I can’t help the sassy backchat. Seems it doesn’t bother him too much and before I know it I’m climbing onto his beast and hanging on for the ride.

Bad ass guys like him don’t come without baggage, though, and it seems he wants to get rid of mine. Who am I to complain when it means revenge is hot, his body is hotter and we leave a trail of burning rubber as we head into the sunset? Biker girl, me? I guess it’s in the blood.

Reader Advisory: This book contains a scene involving mild breath play.

Witness by Rosalie Stanton
She’s the only thing good about his former life, and he’s been asked to end hers.

Serenity Jones never expected her homecoming to be heralded with a double-murder, or that she’d be the lone witness. Yet when she points the finger at the president of the Lucifer’s Legion Motorcycle Club, she finds herself the target of more than just an investigation—she’s a liability, one Lucifer’s Legion is determined to erase.

Dash Denyar owes everything to Lucifer’s Legion. A decade prior, he set himself on a path of self-destruction, and would have crashed and burned were it not for the motorcycle club. His loyalty was bought and paid for—he just never expected the price of loyalty to include ending the life of Serenity Jones, the only woman he ever loved.

Serenity has dreamed of her reunion with Dash ever since she left her hometown behind. Never did she imagine it would be on the other side of a blindfold, or with her life in the balance. As she tries to work out what happened to her childhood friend, she finds herself battling more than just survivor’s instinct. Ten years of unspoken feelings, regrets, and what-ifs threaten to break her, if Dash doesn’t do it first.

Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of kidnap, murder, references to drug use and suicide.

Grounds for Divorce by Helena Maeve
Overworked and jaded, Kayla is convinced she’s had her fill of bad boys when her boyfriend’s debts catapult her into a stranger’s arms.

A woman with a reputation, Kayla has long given up on true love. She’s thirty-three going on ninety-four, mother of one with a boyfriend who makes no secret of settling for her. When she’s not doing the books at the local strip club, she’s warming up the stage. Holding off the loan sharks is par for the course, until the night outlaw biker, Booker O’Connor, rolls into town.

Suddenly the bills come due and, in an act of desperation, Kayla’s boyfriend offers her up as payment for his debts to the motorcycle club. But their new leader has a reputation of his own.

Booker’s the real deal, from prison ink to bullet scars. No matter how sexy he may be or how much she’s growing to hate her boyfriend, Kayla has been with enough bad boys to know that she should fear callused hands and dangerous smiles. Striking out on her own seems like Kayla’s best option, but the Hell Hounds aren’t known for backing down quietly. She doesn’t expect Booker to give chase, much less discover that she doesn’t mind being caught by a man who can finally give her what she wants.

Reader Advisory: This book contains references to prostitution and sexual coercion.


Burning Rubber by Lily Harlem
Johnny Cash’s throaty voice filled the mechanic shop, filtering beneath the pick-up I was working on. The engine had blown a gasket, an easy enough fix, but I’d needed to wait for the part to be delivered before I’d been able to get on with the job.

Son of a bitch owner was hassling me—kept coming in and staring at my tits and demanding to know when it could be collected. Not my fault he’d bought a fancy car and we lived out in the sticks. This neck of South Dakota wasn’t exactly top priority for deliveries, and the part had taken three days to arrive.

I wiped the back of my hand over my cheek and the slick coolness of a smear of oil chilled my skin. Winter was approaching. Soon I’d have to shut the huge doors facing the quiet road that brought us passing business. But that was okay. I didn’t mind winter here—it meant my boss, Bruce, closed the door of his office and stayed in there all day drinking bourbon and watching porn. It meant he was out of my hair.

I reached for a spanner. Idiot shouldn’t have hired a female mechanic if all he was going to do was moan about my gender forevermore. Didn’t seem to matter to him that I was the best damn engineer for miles around.

The song ended and the DJ started to rattle on about some festival in Denver, miles away and not something that interested me. I wasn’t a typical girl. I liked machines, shiny big bikes and cars that purred. Make-up and cocktails and dancing at parties wasn’t my thing. Give me speed and danger and horsepower—that’s what fuelled my desires.

Suddenly the radio flicked off.

“Jesus, Sandra, what the fuck are you doing?” Bruce shouted.

A hard pain hit my ankle. He’d kicked the only bit of me sticking out from beneath the car. Bastard. But luckily I wore steel-toe capped boots that went well over the base of my leg.

“Asshole,” I muttered, scooting out on my support trolley.

He stood above me with his hands on hips and jowls wobbling. “Why haven’t you finished this fucking gasket yet?”

“Because I’m out here on my own,” I said. “I had two services to do this morning, for locals, and a guy stopped in with a slow puncture that I fixed.” I glanced at the big black-and-white clock on the wall above a shelving unit of spare parts. “And I should be heading home but I’m staying to get this done, out of the goodness of my heart.”

“Good fucking job.” He wiped his mouth on the back of his hand.

I could smell the alcohol from here.

“Well, it’s not like you’ve got anything to go home for, is it,” he added.

I ignored him. Misogynistic bastard wasn’t worth the emotional effort. Damn, I’d really have to find another job. I’d had enough. And it wasn’t like I was tied here anymore, not now Nan had passed two months back. I’d looked after her for three years and that’s what had kept me working for Bruce and putting up with his abusive shit. Now her finances were sorted, all I needed to do was sell her small house and the world would be my oyster.

Bruce hiccupped and wandered off, apparently forgetting that I was lying on the floor.

I shook my head and rolled back beneath the car. It wouldn’t take long then I could go home and make a meal for one. It still hurt that Nan was gone. She’d been as much of a support to me as I’d been to her, but she’d lived to a grand old age and I had a million happy memories.


Witness by Rosalie Stanton
She’d been here before.

The vein-chilling, hard-pounding, sweat-inducing edge to which only pure panic could drive a person—oh yes, Serenity Jones knew this place well. She’d visited numerous times over her short and rather unremarkable life, most often for reasons or problems fabricated by an overactive imagination. The first true anxiety attack had come at age nine, when she’d been certain her father was right, and she would spend an eternity in Hell. The most recent had been nearly seven years earlier, when she’d come face-to-face with the reality that she didn’t believe in Hell, or God, for that matter, and the world wasn’t as terrible as she’d been told.

Sessions with her therapist had taught her that panic—the sort that was produced in the mind—was the brain’s way of reacting to disorder-induced fears as though she were in actual danger. Serenity had always assumed finding herself in an actually dangerous situation would bring about a different sort of biological reaction. She’d been wrong.

Her arms hurt, stretched above her head, joined by a cuff at the wrists. At least, she assumed it was a cuff. The blindfold prevented her from doing much outside of guessing.

Blindfolded. Cuffed. Holy fuck, what happened?

There was the panic again—pulsing through her body like an old friend. She kicked her legs out, the flaps of her dress—or skirt, she couldn’t remember—sliding across her skin. Her feet, bare, rubbed against what felt like a concrete floor, catching on jagged particles. Pebbles? Whispers of dirt met with her skin. A thick, pungent but familiar smell tickled her nostrils. Motor oil?

Tears burned her eyes, and something else burned too. Her shoulder. Her right shoulder was torturing her. God, what had she done to her shoulder?

Serenity whipped her head, trying to dislodge the blindfold. No use. It didn’t budge.

Slowly—oh so slowly—the panic began to ebb. Not due to lack of reason or fear, but rather because it had nowhere to go but down. Her hammering heart sought a more reasonable tempo, her body—cold, clammy and drenched with sweat—began to rein in the tremors. Wisps of clarity penetrated the hard fog surrounding her brain, and she forced herself to think.

All right, Serenity. Focus. What’s the last thing you remember?

Serenity panted for air, shoving back the urge to vomit. Her last memory was Ellison. Ellison seeing her to car, favoring her with one of his swarmy lawyer smiles, and vanishing in her rear-view mirror.

Then—nothing.

No, not nothing. Squealing brakes. Stomach falling. The twisted scream of metal. A flare of pain. The car caving in.

Okay, so she’d been in an accident.

Her heart began racing once more as her panic cycle shoved her into another round. Serenity bit her lip and kicked her legs out again. Again, her skin took the brunt of dirt and scattered bits of debris. Again, she inhaled in the increasingly familiar scent of oil and exhaust fumes.

A car accident didn’t explain why she was blindfolded and cuffed.

Then it hit her. The missing pieces. Ellison had smiled his swarmy lawyer smile because they’d just concluded dinner—the same dinner he’d talked her into taking with him after the last meeting to rehash her testimony.

The testimony she was supposed to give tomorrow. Or today, more likely.

The testimony that would put Gunner Pierce permanently behind bars.


Grounds for Divorce by Helena Maeve
Kayla had long given up trying to make out the melody that brayed from speakers duct-taped to the ceiling. She gripped the pole with one hand and swung in a lazy arc, parting her knees suggestively on the descent. Beads dangled from her thong, caressing her thighs and catching on the hollows of her hips. Anything to draw the eye.

She dug her fingernails into the steel in an effort to resist smoothing out the tassels.

The fantasy she was weaving wouldn’t sell if her clients knew how much her outfits itched or what blisters she got from the stilettos she wore on stage.

She tipped forward, kneeling to roll her hips. The friction of thin air did nothing for her, but she moaned anyway. That, too, was part of the fantasy.

The lights were low in the club, but still she noticed the smattering of patrons watching her. None rushed to slide money into her thong. It was still early and Kayla’s routine wasn’t elaborate enough to merit the tips. She was the starter—there to whet appetites before Heidi or Lou were ready to take to the stage.

At the far end of the club, a door swung open, letting in the dizzying glare of a late afternoon sun. The light was blinding. Kayla distinguished a couple of broad-shouldered figures before her vision fogged.

Probably transients, in for a drink and a show before they got on the road again. Not the kind of patrons willing to waste their cash.

Chair legs scraped the tile floor down the stage, the loud screech curbing the swell of bitterness before it could snag hold.

Kayla glanced over. A thickset guy sporting an unfortunate buzz-cut waved a four-fingered hand. His buddy—younger, lankier, his chin like the point of a triangle—leered. Their faces were unfamiliar to Kayla, but their leather kuttes raised a few flags.

Shit. Zach had promised he’d steer clear of the Hounds.

She was relieved when the music finally wound to a close and she was free to lever to her feet, job done. Zach couldn’t say she wasn’t pulling her weight, though he might have a few pointers to improve her routine.

“What? That’s it?” one of the new arrivals heckled.

The heavier of the pair snorted under his breath.

“First course comin’ up,” Kayla replied sweetly. Her six inch heels and two-foot tall stage gave her a sense of altitude, not superiority. She was still naked but for her skimpiest bra and thong, rhinestones swishing against her thighs.

All in a day’s work.

She breathed a sigh of relief as she stepped off stage. At least in the back office, she had only one fragile ego to coddle. First stop was the dressing room, to change out of her costume.

“Zach wants you,” said Lou, smacking her shiny lips in the mirror. “What do you think of the color? Too trampy?”

Kayla tugged a hand through her hair. She craved a shower to wash away the stick of too many stares. “What’s the routine?”

“Arabian nights.”

“Again?”

Lou met her eyes in the glass. The improbably steep slant of her cheekbones seemed even sharper thanks to the judicious use of blush and bronzer. “Did I mention your boyfriend wants to see you? He’s the one who changed up my set. If you’ve got a problem—”

“No problem,” Kayla interjected, shrugging into a silk peignoir and cinching it tight at the waist. “Arabian nights sounds great.” For the third time this week.

Zach only ever changed the set list when he had a personal affinity for the routine.

Kayla locked down the thought. She couldn’t afford jealousy.


Lily Harlem
Lily Harlem is a best-selling, award-winning author of erotic romance. She lives in the UK and writes for several publishing houses including HarperCollins, Totally Bound, Pride Publishing, Evernight, ARe and Sweetmeats Press. She also features in numerous UK and US anthologies, some of which all proceeds go to charity.

Her books are a mixture of full length novels and short stories, some are one offs, some are sequels or part of a series (all can be enjoyed as stand-alone reads). What they all have in common are colourful characters travelling on everyone’s favourite journey — falling in love. If the story isn’t deliciously romantic and down and dirty sexy, it won’t be written, at least not by this author. So with the bedroom door left well and truly open you are warned to hang on for a steamy, sensual ride - or rides as the case might be!

Rosalie Stanton
Rosalie Stanton is an award winning erotic romance author, with emphasis in paranormal and contemporary. A lifelong enthusiast of larger than life characters, Rosalie enjoys building worlds filled with strong heroes and heroines of all backgrounds.

Rosalie lives in Missouri with her husband. At an early age, she discovered a talent for creating worlds, which evolved into a love of words and storytelling. Rosalie graduated with a degree in English. As the granddaughter of an evangelical minister, Rosalie applied herself equally in school in the creative writing and religious studies departments, which had an interesting impact on her writing. When her attention is not engaged by writing or editing, she enjoys spending time with close friends and family.

Helena Maeve
Helena Maeve has always been a globe trotter with a fondness for adventure, but only recently has she started putting to paper the many stories she's collected in her excursions. When she isn't writing erotic romance novels, she can usually be found in an airport or on a plane, furiously penning in her trusty little notebook.


Lily Harlem
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Rosalie Stanton
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Helena Maeve
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EMAIL: helena@helenamaeve.com



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