After a few tabloid headlines, they think they know me. They don’t know a damn thing. As CEO of a movie production company, I’ll show them who I really am when we hit it big at the box office. My ex thought her smear tactics would ruin me, but I’m unbreakable. Rising from the debris, I swore I’d never let a woman distract me like that again. But then, my leading actress walked on the set and changed everything.
Seductive, sexy, and unapologetic, Aria Rose could break me. I wanted to help her, protect her…love her. Instead, I destroyed her.
Aria Rose is baring it all….
I knew better. I knew not to trust another Hollywood heartthrob with a reputation like his. He was my boss and became my ruin. I should have stayed far away from him. Ben Lawson promised me the world. He even promised me his heart.
But he destroyed everything–my heart, my career, us.
About the Author
Sarah Robinson is a native of the Washington, DC area and has both her Bachelors and Masters Degrees in clinical and forensic psychology. She is married to a wonderful man who is just as much of an animal rescue enthusiast as she is. Together, they own a zoo of rescues, as well as volunteering and fostering for multiple animal shelters.
ABOUT THE BOOK Title: FURIOUS RUSH Author: S.C. Stephens On Sale: August 23, 2016 Publisher: Forever Format: Trade Paperback & eBook Price: $12.99 USD (TP) / $4.99 USD (eBook)
The first in an emotion-fueled, New Adult series from the #1 bestselling author of the Thoughtless novels!
Too fast, too furious—and way too hot to handle…
Mackenzie Cox has a lot to prove. Daughter of a racing legend, she is eager to show the world that she has inherited her father’s talent in the male-dominated sport of professional motorcycle racing. The last thing Kenzie needs is to be antagonized by her rival team’s newest rider, Hayden Hayes. Plucked from the world of illegal street racing, Hayden immediately gets under Kenzie’s skin. His insinuations that Kenzie is a spoiled princess who was handed her career fuels her desire to win, and much to her surprise, Kenzie soon learns she performs better when she’s racing against Hayden.
As Kenzie and Hayden push each other on the track, the electric energy between them off the track shifts into an intense—and strictly forbidden—attraction. The only rule between their two ultra-competitive teams is zero contact. Kenzie always does her best to play by the rules, but when her team slips into a financial crisis, she has no choice but to turn to Hayden for help. The tension simmers during their secret, late-night rendezvous, but Kenzie has too much to lose to give in to her desires. Especially when she begins to doubt that Hayden has completely left his street life behind…
Honda Boy was holding his helmet under an arm while he flirted with the girls surrounding him. He was blond, with a short, shaggy hairstyle that probably took a lot more effort to create than it looked like. I could tell from the way the girls around him were tittering like teenagers that he was charming; with seemingly little effort on his part, he had all of them eating out of his hand. When a break in the crowd gave me a clear view of his face, I realized another thing: He was smokin’, someone-hold-on-to-my-ovaries- before-they-explode hot.
There was a perfect symmetry to his rugged features that made it seem unreal that he was standing just a few feet away from me. He should be plastered on a billboard somewhere, half-naked, selling overpriced cologne to men who wanted just a fraction of his sex appeal. As if he could feel my eyes on him, he turned his gaze my way. Our eyes met and locked, and I was helpless to turn away. There was something carnal about him, primal and dangerous. Exotic. I was instantly captivated, and I hated that I was. This guy was neck-deep in a world that twisted my stomach, a world that spat in the face of my sport. My career.
As his light-colored eyes bored holes into mine, one edge of his lip curved up in a devilish crooked grin that was both playful and promising. He was practically shouting, with just that one deadly smile, that he would satisfy my every desire, satiate every craving I could possibly have. My heart started thudding in my chest as sensations that had been dormant for far too long swirled to life in- side me. Luckily for me, the big man taking the guy’s bets clapped him on the shoulder, breaking our stare down. Once I was free of his steamy gaze, I instantly turned around so my back was to him. Jesus, was I breathing harder? Ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous. I was twenty-two, not twelve.
“Damn,” I heard Nikki say. “You were right. I should have bet on him from the get-go. I didn’t really get a good look at him before, but he is freaking hot!”
Inhaling a deep breath, I attempted to force my body back in line with my brain. “This guy is undefeated?” I asked Nikki. “Really?” She nodded in answer and I had to close my eyes for a second. A face like that with racing skills to boot? Jesus.
Clearing my throat, I nonchalantly asked, “What did you say his name was again?” I could at least label the guy in the fantasy I was surely going to have later.
“Hayden… something. He’s been around for a while, from what I gathered.”
I risked a glance over my shoulder at… Hayden. He’d slipped his helmet on, thankfully, although his visor was popped up. The big guy taking bets had been joined by a skinny Hispanic guy who seemed to be giving Hayden instructions. Or maybe a pep talk. The little guy was acting out the race that was about to happen with his hands, complete with swerving and explosions. God, I hoped there weren’t going to be explosions. While he was going through his dramatic highlights, the big guy looped a camera over Hayden’s helmet.
When the two competitors were ready, they backed their motor- cycles onto the street. A cheer ripped up and down the sidewalk as the hopeful gamblers prepared for another round of racing. I didn’t want to feel anything but contempt for what I was witnessing, yet the energy of the spectators, the roar of the bikes—I couldn’t help the zing of excitement that raced up my spine. Against my will, my mouth twisted into a wide grin, and a yell of encouragement left my lips. Hayden’s helmet swiveled my way as he revved his engine. My pulse quickened as our eyes met. Then he winked at me and slammed his visor shut.
As the riders moved into position, Nikki grabbed my arm. “Come on. We can watch the action from the van.”
I had no idea what she was talking about. Before I could ask her, though, she yanked me toward a black van parked on the sidewalk. The back doors were open, and a giant monitor attached to a swinging metal arm was sticking out above the hovering crowd. The screen was split in two, each half showing the footage from one racer’s helmet cam. Hayden and his opponent were both looking straight ahead, and the dual feeds showed similar stretches of barren road. Looking down the street, I saw that the pair were stopped at a crosswalk, waiting for the light to change.
Returning my eyes to the monitor, I found myself holding my breath as I waited for the signal to change colors. When it turned green and the bikes surged forward, I stepped closer to the van, like that would somehow release my pent-up energy. In unison, the crowd around me started hooting and hollering. Swept up in the moment, I bounced on my toes and prayed for speed. But after watching the screen for just a few seconds, I was struck with the harsh reality of the situation I was watching. This was no closed-off track with well-defined paths. This was down and dirty, anything goes, just get to the finish line first racing.
The bikes blew through red lights like they meant absolutely nothing. The streets were fairly empty at this early hour, but they blurred past the few vehicles on the road like they were standing still; they had to be going 100 miles per hour, easy. They dodged obstacles by hopping onto the sidewalk, they fishtailed around slick corners, and they came close to colliding with oncoming traffic more than once.
I turned to Nikki with shock clear on my face. “This is insane! Someone’s going to get hurt. Maybe killed!”
Nikki’s face was pure elation as she watched the screens. Her expression changed as my words sunk in, then she looked at me like I had a foot sticking out of my head. I supposed it was odd to hear that type of statement coming from someone who routinely hovered around the 150 mark on the speedometer while riding, but that was a completely different kind of environment. Believe it or not, what I did was safe, relatively speaking. Millions of dollars were spent to make it that way. This was not safe. At all.
“They’re breaking every traffic law there is,” I added, feeling like a giant stick in the mud. Someone needed to be the voice of reason here, though, because everyone was clearly out of their ever loving minds.
Nikki smirked at my comment. “It’s a race, Kenzie. They can’t exactly drive cautiously. Why do you think this happens so late at night?”
“Because it’s illegal,” I deadpanned. I got a couple of odd looks from the crowd after saying that, including a particularly nasty glare from Hayden’s bet collector. Maybe this wasn’t the best place to be talking about the law. Shutting my mouth, I quickly refocused on the screen.
Just as I noticed a familiar section of street come into view on the monitor, one side of the screen started wobbling, then the camera showed asphalt, sparks, spinning scenery, and a rapidly approaching telephone pole. The crowd around me hushed as it became clear that Hayden’s competition wasn’t going to finish this race. I heard Hayden’s bike rounding the corner seconds later, then Nikki was once again pulling me along like a rag doll. She shoved us into a good position to see the finish line right as Hayden’s Honda whizzed past. He was alone. Cheers erupted mixed with a few groans from the people who’d bet on the other guy.
Just as I was wondering if anyone was going to go check on the Ninja rider, Nikki grabbed my shoulders and started shaking me with uncontainable joy. “We won, Kenzie! We frickin’ won!”
“Great,” I said, clenching my teeth so I wouldn’t bite my tongue.
Releasing me, Nikki let out a squeal of excitement. “I just made enough money to pay you back and cover my loss. See, aren’t you glad you came?”
I narrowed my eyes into poisonous daggers that would hopefully drill some sense into her. “I hate you,” I murmured. Nikki held a hand over her heart. “I know by hate you mean love, and I love you too, Kenzie. Now let’s collect my winnings and go home so you can rest up. Big year this year!”
I opened my mouth to scold her with some biting remark about how I’d wanted to leave ages ago, but she turned on her heel and left me there, gaping. Just as I was forcing the muscles in my jaw to relax enough to contract, Hayden pulled up next to where I was standing on the sidewalk. It felt like the world suddenly shifted into slow motion as I turned my head to look at him.
He was still hunched over his bike, hands on the grip and throttle; the only indication that he was looking at me was the direction of his dark helmet. Then, like some freaking Prince Charming in a fairy tale, he slowly removed his helmet and tucked it under his arm. I swear the air around me condensed as his tilted smile came into view. Jesus Christ, this guy was sex on a stick.
Reaching up, he roughly ran a hand through his sweaty dirty- blond hair. The short, sexy shag he’d had going on earlier was destroyed from the helmet, but somehow after just a few scruffs of his hand, the carefree style was back to utter perfection. I kind of wanted to mess it up again, run my hands through the strands, grab a handful and clench it tight while I outlined those incredibly kissable lips with my tongue.
Whoa. No. I didn’t want that.
His penetrating gaze studied my face for a moment. There was something there in his eyes that I couldn’t quite grasp. Interest, sure, but almost… sadness too. Then he smiled, and the look vanished so fast, I was sure I’d imagined it. “Haven’t seen you here before,” he said, his voice low and easy, like he hadn’t just risked his life. “I hope you bet on me. It would be a shame to see someone as beautiful as you… lose.”
His grin turned suggestive, and warning signs started flashing in front of my eyes. Danger! Do not proceed! Rocky road ahead! Turn back now! The warnings flared even brighter when he stood from his motorcycle and began approaching me.
When he was directly in front of me, so close that I could smell the subtle spicy aroma of his cologne, my heart was hammering so hard, I was positive he could hear it, positive he could see my T-shirt lifting and releasing like a frantic hummingbird was hiding under the fabric. What the hell was he doing to me? Was I nervous or excited? Because the sensation was so similar to both, I honestly couldn’t tell.
Extending a hand, he smoothly said, “Name’s Hayden. Hayden Hayes.” I was just about to lift my hand and touch him—my fingers even twitched in response—when he added, “And what should I call you, sweetheart?”
Sweetheart? With those two simple syllables he had just dumped a bucket of ice water over my head and killed any fantasy I might have had about him. I lived, worked, and breathed in a world where men looked at me like I was a second-class citizen. To prove my worth, I had to work harder, longer, and with everything I had inside me, all the fucking time. I felt like he’d just tried to take all of that hard work away from me with that one demeaning word.
S. C. Stephens is a #1 bestselling author who spends her every free moment creating stories that are packed with emotion and heavy on romance. In addition to writing, she enjoys spending lazy afternoons in the sun reading, listening to music, watching movies, and spending time with her friends and family. She and her two children reside in the Pacific Northwest.
The Billionaire Bachelor by Jessica Lemmon Series: Billionaire Bad Boys On Sale: June 28, 2016 Publisher: Forever Formats: Mass Market & eBook Price: $5.99 USD
Manwhore. That’s what the board of directors—and the tabloids—thinks of billionaire bachelor Reese Crane. Ordinarily he couldn’t care less, but his playboy past is preventing the board from naming him CEO of Crane Hotels. Nothing—and no one—will keep him from his life’s legacy. They want a settled man to lead the company? Then that’s exactly what he’ll give them.
Merina Van Heusen will do anything to get her parents’ funky boutique hotel back—even marry cold-as-ice-but-sexy-as-hell Reese Crane. It’s a simple business contract—six months of marriage, absolute secrecy, and the Van Heusen is all hers again. But when sparks fly between them, their passion quickly moves from the boardroom to the bedroom. And soon Merina is living her worst nightmare: falling in love with her husband…
A former job-hopper, Jessica Lemmon resides in Ohio with her husband and rescue dog. She holds a degree in graphic design currently gathering dust in an impressive frame. When she’s not writing super-sexy heroes, she can be found cooking, drawing, drinking coffee (okay, wine), and eating potato chips. She firmly believes God gifts us with talents for a purpose, and with His help, you can create the life you want.
The Van Heusen Hotel was the love of Merina Van Heusen’s life. The historical building dominated the corner of Rush and East Chicago Avenue, regal and beautiful, a living work of art. Her parents’ hotel had once been the Bell Terrace, home away from home to celebrities such as Audrey Hepburn, Sammy Davis Jr., and more recently, Lady Gaga and the late Robin Williams. The original structure perished in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, only to be resurrected bigger, better, and more beautiful. There was a life lesson in there. Latte in hand, Merina breathed in the air in the lobby, a mix of vanilla and cinnamon. Faint but reminiscent of the famed dessert invented in the hotel’s kitchen: the snicker- doodle. On her way past Arnold, who stood checking a guest into the hotel, she snagged one of the fresh-baked cookies off a plate and winked at him The dark-skinned older man slid her a smile and winked back. Having practically grown up here, the VH was a second home to her. Arnold had started out as a bellman and had worked here for as long she could remember. He was as good as family. She dumped her purse in her office and finished her cookie, holding on to the latte while she meandered down the hallways, checking to make sure there were no trays outside the doors that needed collecting. At the end of the corridor on the first floor, she saw a man outside one of the rooms, drill whirring away. “Excuse me,” she called. Then had to call again to be heard over the sound. When she came into view, he paused the drilling and looked up at her. He wore a tool belt and navy uniform, and the antique doorknob was sitting on the floor at his feet along with a small pile of sawdust. “What are you doing?” she asked, bending to pick up the heavy brass. Her parents had done away with “real keys” the moment they took over, installing the popular keycard entry hotels now used, but the antique doorknobs remained. “Installing the fingerprint entry.” From his pocket, the uniformed man pulled out a small silver pad with a black opening, then went back to drilling. “No, no, no.” She placed the doorknob back on the ground and dusted her hand on her skirt. “We’re not doing any fingerprint entry.” She offered a patient smile. “You need to double-check your work order.” He gave her a confused look. “Ma’am?” He was looking at Merina, but his voice was raised. Merina’s mother, Jolie, appeared from behind the hotel room door, her eyebrows raising into hair that used to be the same honeyed shade of blond as Merina’s but now was more blond to hide the gray. “Oh, Merina!” Her mother smiled, but her expression looked a little pained. “Can you give me a minute with my daughter, Gary?” Like she was Gary’s mother, Jolie fished a five-dollar bill from her pocket and pressed it into his palm. “Go to the restaurant and have Sharon make you a caramel macchiato. You won’t be sorry.” Gary frowned but took the cash. Merina shook her head as he walked away. “Sweetheart.” Jolie offered another smile. A tight- lipped one meaning there was bad news. Like when Merina’s cat, Sherwood, had been hit by a car and Jolie had to break it to her. “Come in. Sit.” She popped open the door and Merina entered the guest room. White duvets and molded woodwork, modern flat-screen televisions and artwork. Red, gold, and deep orange accents added to the richness of the palette and were meant to show that a fire may have taken down the original building but couldn’t keep it down. Jolie gestured to the chair by the desk. Merina refused to sit. “Mom. What’s going on?” On the end of a sigh that didn’t make Merina feel any better, her mother spoke. “Several changes have been ordered for the Van Heusen in order to modernize it. Fingerprint entry is just one of them. Also, the elevators will be replaced.” “Why?” Merina pictured the gold decorative doors with a Phoenix, the mythical bird that arose from the ashes of its predecessor, emblazoned on them. If there was a beating heart in the Van Heusen, it was that symbol. Her stomach turned. Instead of answering, Jolie continued. “Then there’s the carpeting. The tapestry design won’t fit in with the new scheme. And probably the molding and ceiling medallions will all be replaced.” She sighed again. “It’s a new era.” “When did you take to day-drinking?” Merina asked, only half kidding. Her mother laughed, but it was brief and faded almost instantly. She touched Merina’s arm gently. “Sweetheart. We were going to tell you, but we wanted to make sure there really was no going back. I didn’t expect the lock- smith to arrive today.” Her eyes strayed to the door. Merina’s patience fizzled. “Tell me what?” “Your father and I sold the Van Heusen to Alexander Crane six months ago. At the time, he had no plans on making any changes at all, but now that he’s retiring, the hotel has fallen to his oldest son. Evidently, Reese had different ideas.” At that pronouncement, Jolie’s normally sunny attitude clouded over. Merina knew the Cranes. The Crane Hotel was the biggest corporate hotel outfit in the city, the second biggest in the nation. Alexander (better known as “Big Crane”) and his sons ran it, local celebrities of sorts. She’d also read about Big Crane’s retirement and Reese’s likely ascension to CEO. But none of that mattered. There was only one newly learned fact bouncing around in her brain. “You sold the Van Heusen?” She needed that chair after all. She sank into it, mind blanking of everything except for one name: Reese Crane. “Why didn’t you tell me?” Merina stood up again. She couldn’t sit. She could not remain still while this was happening. Correction: This had happened. “Why didn’t you talk to me first?” “You know we’d never include you in our financial difficulties, Merina.” Jolie clucked her tongue. Financial difficulties? “Bankruptcy was not an option,” her mom said. “Plus, selling gave us the best of both worlds. No financial responsibility and we keep our jobs.” “With Reese Crane as your boss!” Her mind spun after she said it aloud. My God. They would be answering to that arrogant, idiotic . . . “No.” Merina shook her head as she strode past her mother. “This is a mistake.” And there had to be a way to undo it.
I had everything I ever wanted—a wife, a kid, with two more on the way. I was living the American dream.After the babies were born, we hit a rough patch. I did everything to prove my love, to show Suzy that nothing was more important than her. After some work and a lot of time, we found our groove again.Just when life had evened out, a familiar enemy came back to haunt us. It wasn’t my past that followed us, but my brother’s.When the danger gets too close, I’ll do anything to defend my family. There’s nothing more important than the people I love, and I’ll protect what’s mine—even if it costs me my life.
Suzy glared at me. “What’s this we shit? I’m the one with two aliens inside of me, trying to claw their way out of my body. I’m the only one pushing them out of my tiny vagina. Not you. Not her. Me!” She waved her hands frantically in the air. “I’m the one doing everything while you sit there calm, sexy, and without your body splitting in two. I’m going to be the one tearing wide open as I push two humans and their giant Gallo heads out of my body.” She collapsed, gasping for air, and closed her eyes.
I bit my lip. Pregnant Suzy was unpredictable, but in-labor Suzy was just downright scary. “I know, sugar. You’re doing all the hard work. I’m just here to cheer you on and support you.”
Her nostrils flared and her eyes grew wide when she glanced up. “Support me? If you want to support me, you’ll never knock me up again. You want to cheer me on?” She rolled her eyes and made a noise low in her throat. “Stop fucking talking.”
I braced myself, waiting for her head to do a 360. I brought my mouth right next to her ear. “My sweet little wife, you beg for my cock every day. It takes two to tango, sweetheart. I didn’t put you in that bed.” I lowered my voice further, whispering, “Your sweet little cunt did.”
She closed her eyes again and moaned. “You’re just too damn good. I can’t keep my hands to myself. It’s still your fault, my dear husband.”
I couldn’t hold it in any longer. I burst into laughter. “Now, I fuck you too good?”
“Yes!” she screeched, pounding her fist on the crappy, plastic hospital bed. “If you weren’t so good at it, I wouldn’t be lying here right now.”
Just as I was about to reply, the nurse walked in. “I hear someone is ready to push.” Her voice was so chipper, kind of like my wife’s used to sound like before pregnancy. “Are we excited?” she asked, moving a tray of instruments next to the foot of the bed.
“I just want this over. I’m so freaking uncomfortable.”
“That makes two of us,” I muttered and nodded at the nurse with a fake smile on my face before leaning over and kissing Suzy’s forehead. “Ready, sugar?”
*This was an ARC provided to me for free in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and comments are my own.*
First of all I have to reiterate this with every Men of Inked release…I adore the Gallos! I was over the moon when I heard there would be another installment to one of my most beloved series. City and Suzy might be my favorite couple of the series, though I love them all. Throttle Me is where it all began so they’ll always have a special place in my heart. It’s only fitting that we get a new installment continuing City and Suzy’s story. Honor Me, the sixth installment in the series is everything I hoped it would be and more. Chelle Bliss consistently touches on real life issues through her writing. She knows just how to deliver blows to the reader yet keep you enamored and hopeful. This story had a bit of everything — friendship, family, humor, suspense, action, drama, heartbreak/sadness, admiration/love. It’s one of the reasons I am always a fan of her books. It has a little something for everyone and everything about her books makes this family and their stories always feel so real. You connect with these characters because they feel familiar, like loved ones or long lost cousins, but the ones you actually like haha.
She definitely throws some curveballs this time around, but then again when doesn’t she? This time I think she shocked me more than any other Men of Inked book. In fact, I’m pretty certain I fully stopped reading for a good twenty minutes and just stared at the page because I was in utter disbelief, but I picked my jaw up and as I continued reading I realized the error of my ways. Chelle never makes anything easy for her readers and I should’ve expected these twists, but she did a great job shocking me. She likes to torture us just a tiny bit, but as always those moments are beyond worth it. She also always focuses on serious, but key issues that people can actually relate to. This book focused on a few very real issues centered around self, family, relationships and how it isn’t impossible to overcome any hurdles with the right support systems in place. Although the book focuses heavily on City and Suzy, we continue to get more than a glimpse of the entire Gallo clan.
This book makes clear how deep loyalty runs when it comes to the Gallos and how far they’ll go to protect one another. They are a resilient and lovable group whose stories continue to enrapture me. This story has it’s serious moments, but what would a Chelle Bliss book be without the “bliss.” Theres still the kinky, raunchy and downright dirty moments we all have come to know and love with this bunch. The only difference now is with a bunch of kids in the mix the stories are all the more hilarious. Absolutely adore this book and I can’t wait for more Gallos!
~ Happy Reading Lovelies ~
About the Author
Chelle Bliss, USA Today Bestselling author, currently lives in a small town near the Gulf of Mexico. She’s a full-time writer, time-waster extraordinaire, social media addict, and coffee fiend. Currently she’s written a dozen books in three different series. She loves spending her free time with her boyfriend, 2 cats, and hamster.
Before becoming a writer, Chelle taught high school history for over ten years. She holds a master’s degree in Instructional Technology and a bachelor’s in history. Although history is her first love, writing has become her dream job and she can’t imagine doing anything else.
Title: Too Hot To Handle Author: Tessa Bailey Series: Romancing the Clarksons, #1 On Sale: May 17, 2016 Format: eBook Price: $2.99 USD
When rescue looks like a whole lot of trouble…
The road trip was definitely a bad idea. Having already flambéed her culinary career beyond recognition, Rita Clarkson is now stranded in God-Knows-Where, New Mexico, with a busted-ass car and her three temperamental siblings, who she hasn’t seen in years. When rescue shows up—six-feet-plus of hot, charming sex on a motorcycle—Rita’s pretty certain she’s gone from the frying pan right into the fire…
Jasper Ellis has a bad boy reputation in this town, and he loathes it. The moment he sees Rita, though, Jasper knows he’s about to be sorely tempted. There’s something real between them. Something raw. And Jasper has only a few days to show Rita that he isn’t just for tonight—he’s forever.
Rita and Belmont were sitting silently on the sidewalk, staring at the decimated restaurant, when a sleek, white Mercedes with the license plate VOTE4AC pulled up along the curb, eliciting a sigh from them both. Rita shoved a hand through her dyed black hair and straightened her weary spine. Preparing. Bolstering. While Belmont’s modus operandi was to hang back, take a situation’s measure and then approach with caution, her younger brother Aaron liked to make a damn entrance, right down to the way he exited the driver’s side. Like a Broadway actor entering from stage left into a dramatic scene, aware that eyes would swing his direction. His gray suit boasted not a single wrinkle, black shoes polished to a shine. His golden boy smile had made him a media sensation, but for once, it was nowhere to be seen as he approached Rita and Belmont.
Aaron shoved his hands into his pants pockets. “Fuck. Right?”
“Yep,” Rita said, swallowing hard.
Her politician brother did a scan of the dire scene, brain working overtime behind golden brown eyes inherited by all the Clarksons. Except Belmont, whose eyes were a deep blue, on account of him having a different father. A fact that Rita forgot most of the time, since Belmont had been there—an unmovable presence—since the day she was born. Aaron had come later. The second coming.
“Are you all right?” Aaron asked her abruptly, a suspicious twinkle in his gaze. “You must have been in there a while with the smoke. The soot around your eyes—”
“Hilarious, dickhead.” Her heavy, black eye makeup and general fuck off appearance were a constant source of amusement for her clean-cut younger brother. “You have a funny way of showing concern.”
“Thank you. What do I need to handle?” Aaron adjusted the starched, white collar of his shirt. “Did you make a statement yet or anything?”
Rita allowed the steel to leach from her spine. “I’ve been kind of busy just sitting here.”
“Right.” Aaron feigned surprise at finding Belmont on the sidewalk with them. “Jesus. I thought you were a statue.”
“You smell like the ocean.”
“You smell like the blood of tax payers,” Belmont returned.
“Well.” Rita finally found enough presence of mind to yank the smoky apron over her head, chucking it into the street. “I think I just remembered why we haven’t hung out since Mom died.”
Truthfully, even before that rainy afternoon, the time they’d spent together as a family had felt mandatory. Organized by their mother and fled from in almost comical haste.
“Oh. My. God.”
At the sound of their youngest sibling, Peggy’s, voice, all three of them cursed beneath their breath. Let the family reunion officially begin. It wasn’t that they didn’t love their baby sister. And in many ways, Peggy, a personal shopper to San Diego’s elite, was still a baby at twenty-five. Her big coke-bottle curls and cheerleader appearance guaranteed she got away with just about everything. Including neglecting to pay her cab driver, if the irritated-looking man following her with a receipt clutched in his fist was any indication.
“How did this happen?” Peggy hiccupped, playing with the string of engagement rings dangling from her neck, as Belmont wordlessly paid the cab driver. “I just had dinner here two weeks ago. Everything seemed fine.”
Rita battled the compulsion to lay down on the sidewalk in the fetal position. Oh God. Her mother had bequeathed her an award-winning restaurant and she’d burned it down. On Rita’s first day back.
Aaron was busy scrolling through his phone, the screen’s glow illuminating his perfectly tousled dark blond hair. “Look at the bright side, Rita. Now you can pursue your dream of being a Hot Topic register girl.”
Rita barely had the strength to flip him the bird. “Jump up my ass.”
When Peggy approached, Rita couldn’t look her in the eye, so she focused on her younger sister’s toes, peeking out of strappy silver sandals. “Hey. I’m glad you’re okay.”
Rita’s throat went tight. “Thanks, Peggy.”
“I’m sorry about the restaurant, too. I know how much you loved it. How much Mom loved it.” Her youngest sibling nodded and cast a discreet glance over her shoulder, turning back with a charming half smile. A smile responsible for four marriage proposals over the past three years. “Mom probably would have wanted me to talk to those firefighters, though. Am I right?”
Rita groaned up at the sky.
Meet the fucking Clarksons.
Tessa Bailey is originally from Carlsbad, California. The day after high school graduation, she packed her yearbook, ripped jeans, and laptop, and drove cross-country to New York City in under four days. Her most valuable life experiences were learned thereafter while waitressing at K-Dees, a Manhattan pub owned by her uncle. Inside those four walls, she met her husband, best friend, and discovered the magic of classic rock, managing to put herself through Kingsborough Community College and the English program at Pace University at the same time. Several stunted attempts to enter the work force as a journalist followed, but romance writing continued to demand her attention.
She now lives in Long Island, New York with her husband and daughter. Although she is severely sleep-deprived, she is incredibly happy to be living her dream of writing about people falling in love.
What happens when the kink between the pages leads to heat between the sheets?
All Blake Crawford wants is to pass his creative writing course, get his university degree and take over his dad’s ailing family business. What Amanda Newland wants is to graduate at the top of her class, as well as finally finish her novel and prove to her family that writing is a respectful career.
What Blake and Amanda don’t want is to be paired up with each other for their final project but that’s exactly what they both get when they’re forced to collaborate on a writing piece. Since Amanda thinks Blake is a pushy asshole (with a panty-melting smirk and British accent) and Blake thinks Amanda has a stick up her ass (though it’s brilliant ass), they fight tooth and nail until they discover they write well together. They also might find each other really attractive, but that’s neither here nor there.
When their writing project turns out to be a success, the two of them decide to start up a secret partnership together using a pen name, infiltrating the self-publishing market in the lucrative genre of erotica. Naturally, with so much heat and passion between the pages, it’s not long before their dirty words become a dirty reality. Sure, they still fight a lot but at least there’s make-up sex now.
But even as they start to fall hard for each other, will their burgeoning relationship survive if their scandalous secret is exposed or are happily-ever-afters just a work of fiction?
She holds my gaze for a moment and something passes over her. Regret, maybe. Then she nods. “Sit down. Let’s work.” And so we do. And for the first time in a long time, it’s strained. I’m about to suggest maybe we need the Estonian vodka anyway when she lets out an exasperated sigh over something she’s reading. It happens to be something I wrote. “What?” I ask, wondering what I did wrong. She gives me the the ‘are you kidding me?’look. “Okay, I was ignoring it earlier but I think you need to get a grip on some of this shit. This simply does not happen.” “Explain, please.” “I just think it’s unrealistic for there to be so much talking, let alone the fact that the first time they do it it’s in a public place.” “Too much talking?” “Yeah.” she scans over the document. “You know, give me your cock, oh you feel so good, harder, harder, you’re so big, fuck me harder big boy.” “Have you even had good sex?” I ask incredulously. She flinches. “Of course I have. And it’s none of your business.” “We’re writing about sex. It’s completely my business. I’m not letting you interject your edits based on your personal experiences about sex because believe me, if the sex is good, you’re moaning my name.” She raises her chin. “Maybe all those girls were faking it.” Oh, brilliant. “Excuse me?” I say, hands pressed against the table, nearly getting out of my chair. “You have no idea. I pride myself in giving a girl as many bloody orgasms as she can handle.” “Bloody orgasms don’t sound like fun,” she jokes softly. “They can be if you’re into knife play,” I tell her, even though that’s not exactly what I meant. Still, she scrunches up her nose. “Don’t knock it until you try it, but that’s neither here nor there. When you were with Alan, he must have made you come at least a few times.” If he didn’t, I feel like finding the guy and showing him a thing or two for wasting four years of her life. “Yeah,” she says flatly. “And in the middle of that orgasm, didn’t you want to yell a few things?” “Sometimes.” “And why didn’t you?” She looks at her nails as if they’re suddenly fascinating. “It didn’t seem right. It was…too intimate. I would have felt dumb. He didn’t like any of that stuff.” The plot thickens. “Any of what stuff?” “Sex that didn’t involve the missionary position or the bed.” My mouth drops open. My brain and penis can’t compute this. “I feel so sorry for you.” We must remedy this. She glares at me. “It’s not like I didn’t want to do it. I did. And he did try it. Most of it. But it always went back to the same old.” I knew it. She’s a nerd on the streets and a freak in the sheets. “I don’t mean to brag,” I tell her in all seriousness. “But you do realize that I could give you an orgasm in thirty seconds.” Her eyes widen. I can’t tell if she’s horrified or intrigued. “I don’t believe you and I don’t want you to try.” She’s not getting it. I frown, trying to explain. “If you’re having good sex and it’s with someone you’re comfortable with, you won’t worry about holding back. You’ll cry out all the nonsense you want, you’ll make noises like a pig and scream like you’re on fire because you truly can’t have a good orgasm unless you’re letting go on all accounts.” I lean back in my chair and study her, running my fingers along my jaw. “I would venture that every time you came with your ex, you were only experiencing half of what you should have been. How is it with your vibrators?” I expect her to tell me to fuck off, that I’m getting too personal but to my surprise she gives me a small smile. “It’s better. But I do have a roommate with exceptionally good hearing.” She clears her throat. “Anyway, so I guess I’m wrong. The heroine can make all the noise she wants.” “And have first time sex in public.” “I don’t know…” “Believe me, when you finally get a chance to fuck, you don’t care where it is. That’s why I always have a condom in my pocket. And the more public the sex, the sneakier you have to be, the hotter it is.” “But in the book you would never get caught.” “You don’t always get caught in real life too.” I can see she wants to ask me where I’ve done it but she loses her nerve. “Okay.” She looks back to the document. “I accept defeat.” But I don’t want her to. I want to prove to her I’m right and not have her take my word. Is there a non-creepy way to show her just how amazing good sex can feel? I’m thinking not. Or…maybe there is.
Karina Halle is a former travel writer and music journalist and The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling author of The Pact, Racing the Sun, Sins & Needles and over 25 other wild and romantic reads. She lives on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her rescue pup, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails and devours a lot of books.
Halle is represented by the Waxman Leavell Agency and is both self-published and published by Simon & Schuster and Hachette in North America and in the UK.
I still cringe when I hear that line. A fairy tale that had girls pretending they were the fairest, the most beautiful, and the most entitled. A fairy tale most couldn’t grow out of turned my haunted childhood memories into a living nightmare. Girls who grew up believing that pile of garbage became the meanest of all ‘mean girls.’
And those mean girls were right – it was a line meant for all the beautiful people in the world – and I knew the answer would never be me.
The women with long legs, flat stomachs, and perfect chests.
The type of women Kane Masters gravitated toward.
Well, that’s definitely not Willow Tate.
No. That will never be me.
Because I’m completely imperfect.
And … I hate myself.
I have no idea what Kane could possibly see in someone like me when he could have them.
About the Author
Harper lives in small town Georgia just a short drive from her hometown of Peachtree City. She (and her 3 daughters) enjoy ruling the house they dubbed ‘Estrogen Ocean’, much to her husband’s chagrin. Harper has a borderline unhealthy obsession with books; you can almost ALWAYS find her with her eReader attached. She enjoys bad reality TV and cheesy romantic flicks. Her favorite kind of hero–the super alpha kind!
Harper started using writing as a way to unwind when the house went to sleep at night; and with a house full of crazy it was the perfect way to just relax. It didn’t take long before a head full of very demanding alphas would stop at nothing to have their story told.
No matter how hard I tried to push her away, fate thrust us together again.
Screw relationships. My motto: Hit it and quit it. Simple worked. Feelings weren’t on the line, hearts weren’t able to be broken,
and I could keep my life simple. My friends told me to move on and find the “one,” but I wasn’t ready to love again. Until I met her. A dirty-mouthed temptress with a killer body that had me questioning everything. I knew I could ruin her forever, but not without losing myself. I wouldn’t do it. But Georgia Phillips was innocent, pure, and total perfection. I wouldn’t be the one to strip her bare and break her heart. I swore I’d never call another woman mine, but that was before I almost lost her.
Warning: If you can’t handle a cocky bad boy or a badass chick with a dirty mouth,
this might not be the book for you.
*This was an ARC provided to me for free in exchange for an honest review.
All thoughts and comments are my own.*
Holy F&#%, Unlawful Desire is hands down my favorite Chelle Bliss book to date! Ok, I seriously love all her books, but this one lived up to every imaginable expectation and then some. I was impatiently awaiting the release for this one and I loooooooved it! I could not put it down. It was definitely a one sitting read. I sat in a café and lost hours not even realizing I had been there so long until it was nearly closing time (hangs head in shame). Sigh, I knew I would fall hard for Frisco and I 1000000% did. He is the epitome of the dream alpha male book boyfriend.
Frisco swore off relationship, but the day he meets Georgia he knows he’s in for trouble. He does everything in his power to fight his feelings, but Georgia isn’t like the rest. She’s smart, sassy and pretty freaking bada$$. There’s something about her that Frisco can’t escape and try as they may, fate keeps intervening pushing these two closer together. I loved the banter between Georgia and Frisco. They were playful and snarky in a way that only Chelle could perfect. I fell hard for Frisco and Georgia, unsure of their fate, I devoured every page and rooted for them along the way. I hoped these two would find a way to open up and trust one another. Georgia and Frisco’s lives intersect at a time when they both need to drown out past hurt. What they never imagined is that they’d find solace in one another. Will they take a leap together or will Frisco’s reservations and Georgia’s innocence be the thing that tears them apart?
As with all Chelle Bliss books this one felt familiar, as though they could be your own friends, it was witty, and I laughed a lot at certain points (when you get there you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about). Let’s just say that extended family and friends are always an important factor in Chelle’s books and they certainly make the stories interesting and utterly hilarious. As always, the steam factor was off the charts, but I do believe Unlawful Desire may have had some of the steamiest, blush worthy moments I’ve ever read. This book is everything! 5 stars hands down for Unlawful Desire. It is erotic and steamy, but the second chance romance aspect will sucker punch you at times leaving you breathless and longing for more. I am a huge fan of this book and the ALFA PI series. This is a must read for all Erotic (Adult) Romance/Second-Chance Romance/Contemporary Romance fans! You will not be disappointed.
Happy Reading Lovelies xo
Unlawful Desire Excerpt
She leaned back against the bar with her tits jutting out and her arms crossed underneath. “What’s your problem with me? Did I do something to you, Frisco?”
Caught off guard by her question, my body jerked backward. “N-no,” I stuttered.
She tapped her foot. “You ditched me, marched off when you heard my age, and tonight, you seem less than happy that I’m here. What the fuck gives?”
I cleared my throat, trying to find my voice and a reasonable explanation. “I don’t have anything against you.” I was in so much trouble.
“Let’s cut the shit, Frisco. I’m a big girl. What’s the problem? Would you rather I leave?” Her body oozed attitude.
I cringed. I never wanted to hurt anyone, but I knew that I had hurt her feelings. “No. Don’t go. I’m sorry. It’s just that Sunshine…” My chest tightened. “She’s trying to fix us up.”
Georgia filled her cheeks with air before slowly exhaling. “Is that so bad?” She narrowed her eyes. “If I’m not your type, it’s cool. But otherwise, what’s the issue? I thought we had a nice time up until you left the party. I’m a big girl. Just be honest with me. I’m not into playing games.”
I wanted to play games. Naked games that ended with us against a wall, tangled together like we’d played the sexiest game of Twister.
Chelle Bliss, USA Today Bestselling author, currently lives in a small town near the Gulf of Mexico in Florida. She’s a full-time writer, time-waster extraordinaire, social media addict, and coffee fiend. She’s written over thirteen books and has three series available. She loves spending her free time with her boyfriend, 2 cats, and her hamster.
Before becoming a writer, Chelle taught high school history for over ten years. She holds a master’s degree in Instructional Technology and a bachelor’s in history. Although history is her first love, writing has become her dream job and she can’t imagine doing anything else.
Samantha, Mason, and Logan are all together and united with one common enemy: Park Sebastian, the king of fraternity douchebags.
With professional football scouts eyeing his every move, Mason Kade has to walk the line for the first time in his life. Any move he makes against Sebastian has to be perfect and under the radar. One mistake, and his career is over.
Sebastian has other plans. Mason’s career isn’t his target—not even close. Wanting to destroy Mason completely, Sebastian knows he must hit him where it hurts the most: Samantha, who doesn’t give a rat’s ass that she’s the target.
Sam is bound and determined to protect Mason herself, no matter the cost, but what if the cost is beyond her imagination? What if this time, the villain wins?
She was confident. She moved with purpose.
It hit me how much she changed from when she’d moved in with Analise. She’d lost everything. She hadn’t cared about anything, and she had been a badass because of it—striking out, not giving a shit. Logan and I took her in, and then she had something to lose—me. She got scared. She was pushed around by the girls and bullied by her own mother, and through all that crap, she’d still fought. She’d clawed her way back up, protecting and loving Logan and me at the same time.
Good god. I wanted to pull her on top of me. I wanted to lose myself in her.
When I sat on the couch, Sam had a knowing grin, and she sat right where I wanted her, right where maybe she shouldn’t have. My hands held her hips as she straddled me. She looped her arms around my neck and rested her forehead to mine.
Her grin never dimmed, not even as she teased, “Why do I feel like we’re in high school, and I don’t want my mom to catch us making out in the basement?”
Shit, I love this woman.
A smooth and lazy low laugh flitted from her lips. I waited for her to find my mouth with hers, but she didn’t.
She held back and her eyes traced over my face. “What happened today?”
I wasn’t going to tell her. More time. I needed more time.
I didn’t begin writing until after undergraduate college. There’d been storylines and characters in my head all my life, but it came to a boiling point one day and I HAD to get them out of me. So the computer was booted up and I FINALLY felt it click. Writing is what I needed to do. After that, I had to teach myself how to write. I can’t blame my teachers for not teaching me all those years in school. It was my fault. I was one of the students that was wishing I was anywhere but at school! So after that day, it took me lots of work until I was able to put together something that resembled a novel. I’m hoping I got it right since someone must be reading this profile! And I hope you keep enjoying my future stories.
With a huff, I got out of bed and stood on my tiptoes to look out the peephole. Why were those things always so high on the door anyway? I was surprised to find no one standing on the other side. Maybe I’d imagined it.
I flicked on the lights. The sound wasn’t coming from the entrance door. It was coming from an interior door I hadn’t even noticed before.
I unfastened the top lock and cracked it open just enough so I could see what he wanted. And there he stood.
Wearing only dark gray boxer briefs that hugged him like a second skin.
It took a minute to understand what he was doing there, even though he was holding up a toothbrush in question.
“I thought we had established I wasn’t a serial killer already.”
I opened the door wider.
Oh lord. Stop that. Right now.
“I must have left my toothpaste in my saddlebag in the car.”
I swallowed hard. “Uh huh.”
He cocked his head to the side, and his brows dipped in. “Can I borrow yours?”
“Oh. Yeah, sure.”
He walked past me and let himself into my bathroom. I waited at the door.
“You got an awful lot of girly crap in here for one night,” he said with a jumbled mouth full of toothpaste from the bathroom. “Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia.”
He was reading my Estee Lauder perfume bottle.
I heard him rinse and spit. Then there was a gargling sound. He used my mouthwash, too. Sure, help yourself.
He walked out and flicked off the bathroom light. “Is tuberose a rose?”
I shook my head, still confused by the whole situation going on.
“That’s why,” he murmured.
“I couldn’t figure out what you smelled like all day. Not sure I ever smelled a Tuberose before.” He shrugged and walked back into his room but not before turning back. “Even those little black lacy underwear smell like tuberose.”
My eyes bulged. I’d taken off my bra and panties and left them on the bathroom counter.
“Relax. I’m teasing. Do I look like an underwear sniffer to you?”
“Night, Aubrey.” He graced me with a dimple and disappeared.
AH-BREE. Damn him.
I locked the door and checked it twice, unclear if it was for my safety or his. His voice saying my name was on audio replay inside my head, getting softer and softer like a soothing lullaby with each breath as I drifted off to dreamland.
Until the knock came again.
About the Authors:
Vi Keeland is a native New Yorker with three children that occupy most of her free time, which she complains about often, but wouldn’t change for the world. She is a bookworm and has been known to read her kindle at stop lights, while styling her hair, cleaning, walking, during sporting events, and frequently while pretending to work. She is a boring attorney by day, and an exciting smut author by night!
Penelope Ward is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author. She grew up in Boston with five older brothers and spent most of her twenties as a television news anchor, before switching to a more family-friendly career. She is the proud mother of a beautiful 10-year-old girl with autism and a 9-year-old boy. Penelope and her family reside in Rhode Island.
From the USA TODAY bestselling author of Sweet Thing and Nowhere But Here comes a love story about a Craigslist “missed connection” post that gives two people a second chance at love fifteen years after they were separated in New York City.
We met fifteen years ago, almost to the day, when I moved my stuff into the NYU dorm room next to yours at Senior House.
You called us fast friends. I like to think it was more.
We lived on nothing but the excitement of finding ourselves through music (you were obsessed with Jeff Buckley), photography (I couldn’t stop taking pictures of you), hanging out in Washington Square Park, and all the weird things we did to make money. I learned more about myself that year than any other.
Yet, somehow, it all fell apart. We lost touch the summer after graduation when I went to South America to work for National Geographic. When I came back, you were gone. A part of me still wonders if I pushed you too hard after the wedding…
I didn’t see you again until a month ago. It was a Wednesday. You were rocking back on your heels, balancing on that thick yellow line that runs along the subway platform, waiting for the F train. I didn’t know it was you until it was too late, and then you were gone. Again. You said my name; I saw it on your lips. I tried to will the train to stop, just so I could say hello.
After seeing you, all of the youthful feelings and memories came flooding back to me, and now I’ve spent the better part of a month wondering what your life is like. I might be totally out of my mind, but would you like to get a drink with me and catch up on the last decade and a half?
Renée Carlino is a screenwriter and bestselling author of romantic women’s novels. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons, and their sweet dog June. When she’s not at the beach with her boys or working on her next project, she likes to spend her time reading, going toconcerts, and eating dark chocolate.
THE MOMENT OF LETTING GO by J.A. Redmerski (August 11, 2015; Forever Trade Paperback)
You can follow the rules or you can follow your heart…
Sienna Murphy never does anything without a plan. And so far her plans have been working. Right after college, she got a prestigious job and gained the stability she’d always craved-until work takes her to the sun-drenched shores of Oahu and places her in the path of sexy surfer Luke Everett. For the first time, she lets her heart take control. Drawn to his carefree charm, she makes a spontaneous and very un-Sienna-like decision to drop everything and stay in Hawaii for two more weeks.
Luke lives fast and wild. When he meets Sienna, he’s convinced that some no-strings-attached fun is just what she needs. As their nights quickly turn from playful to passionate, Luke can’t deny the deep connection he feels. But there’s a reason Luke doesn’t do long-term. He can’t promise Sienna forever, when the enormity of his past has shown him just how fragile the future can be . . .
This was an ARC provided to me for free in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and comments are my own.
Poignant, insightful, and utterly beautiful. I fell deeply in love with this book as is usually the case when I read anything by J.A. Redmerski. This book strikes a chord as it opens the readers eyes to how sometimes we allow ourselves to live completing mundane task after mundane task only to look back and wonder have I actually lived? I love J.A. Redmerski’s writing style and somehow you always walk away with a lesson. This story is heart wrenching and inspiring. It makes you want to live a life filled with all the things that make you happy and free. Would you rather a happy and fulfilling somewhat minimalist lifestyle or would you rather have full pockets and things?
Sienna Murphy has lived without really understanding what it means to live. After securing a high paying job after college she is assigned work in Hawaii. She is only meant to spend a couple of days there, but when things go awry Sienna runs off with seemingly reckless abandon desperately seeking a place to clear her mind. As Sienna carefully considers her life and the direction it’s taken, her moment of solitude is interrupted by Luke Everett. Luke knows what it means to live life on the edge. He knows how fragile life is yet when he meets Sienna he can’t help but feel a glimmer of hope. He takes a chance and talks to her. When Sienna and Luke meet their connection is almost instantaneous and though their interaction is brief it leaves a lasting impression. Luke words resonate loudly causing her to consider meeting him again.
From the moment she meets Luke Everett she’s curious to see life the way he does. She wants nothing more than to get to know him, but she knows trusting him is a risk, one that she is afraid will leave her with a broken heart. Luke, equally afraid, takes a chance on her and she willing steps out of her comfort zone plunging headfirst into his world. Although she knows their time together is limited, Sienna takes a leap. She extends her vacation and decides spending a full two weeks exploring Hawaii as his guest and learning more about him is exactly what she needs. As much as Sienna and Luke would like to forget the world around them and just enjoy their time together they both know their realities and that the clock is ticking. Will they find a way or will they walk away simply learning some very valuable lessons from one another?
Written with passion and candor, The Moment of Letting Go displays vulnerability, love and life in an exquisite way. It will leave you absolutely spellbound. Highly recommended for New Adult and Contemporary Romance fans alike. This is the perfect summer read!
Then he gets up and grabs my hands from the tops of my bare knees, pulling me to my feet.
“We’re going swimming,” he says. “And we’ll talk more about this later…like on the day your vacation is over and you’re standing at the gate in the airport about to kiss me goodbye.”
“Wow, you really think highly of yourself, don’t you?” I can’t keep the laughter from my voice.
“Damn straight!” he says and pulls me along beside him. “Before these two weeks are over, I can guarantee you three things.” He holds up three fingers as we continue onward toward the water. “One”—he holds up one finger—“you’ll never want to go back to San Diego once Hawaii is done with you.” He holds up two fingers. “Two—that photography love of yours will start to take the place of everything else in your life. And three”—he wiggles three fingers and we stop on the beach where the water can pool around our feet—“you’ll kiss me at least once before you go home.”
I blush hard and it feels like my eyes are bugging out of my head. “I might peck you on the cheek or something, but—”
“No,” he says, smiling and quite serious, “it’ll be a full-on, tongue-dancing kind of kiss.”
I smack him playfully on the arm—something is fluttering around inside my belly.
Luke grabs my hand and pulls me out to the water with him, where we swim and hang out on the cliffs until late in the afternoon. People come and go throughout the hours, sometimes leaving us with Alicia, Braedon, and a few of their close friends to have the area to ourselves for a while before more people show up in intervals.
“Backflip!” someone says just before Luke jumps into the water for probably the twentieth time.
And every time he does it, it ties my stomach up in knots. But there’s something about him that I can’t quite figure out when I watch him leap off the edge of that cliff; it’s not overconfidence or showing off or recklessness, but something deeper, more profound. Maybe it’s a sense of freedom, or a natural high that consumes him while he’s in the air, as if he had been born with a pair of wings that only he can see. But the more time I spend with him, the more intrigued I become. Sure, he’s gorgeous and funny and polite and all the kinds of things—so far—that would make my mom love him to death. But what intrigues and excites me more is how he kind of makes me want to jump off that stupid cliff regardless of how scared I am of it.
About the author:
J.A. Redmerski, New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journalbestselling author, lives in North Little Rock, Arkansas with her three children, two cats and a Maltese. She is a lover of television and books that push boundaries.