EXCLUSIVE CHARACTER INTERVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh

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The ever-popular Psy-Challenging series by Nalini Singh has a cult following and after thirteen instalments, the cover of the first book in the series–Slave to Sensation–just got re-vamped!!! To mark this occasion, I am so honoured to be able to share with you a very special character interview with the one and only Lucas Hunter, Alpha of the DarkRiver Leopard Pack, as well as a chance to win one of five prize packs including the first five books in the series and a Penguin tote bag, open internationally. ♥

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In a world that denies emotions, where the ruling Psy punish any sign of desire, Sascha Duncan must conceal the feelings that brand her as flawed. To reveal them would be to sentence herself to the horror of “rehabilitation”–the complete psychic erasure of everything she ever was…

Both human and animal, Lucas Hunter is a Changeling hungry for the very sensations the Psy disdain. After centuries of uneasy coexistence, these two races are now on the verge of war over the brutal murders of several Changeling women. Lucas is determined to find the Psy killer who butchered his packmate, and Sascha is his ticket into their closely guarded society. But he soon discovers that this ice-cold Psy is very capable of passion–and that the animal in him is fascinated by her. Caught between their conflicting worlds, Lucas and Sascha must remain bound to their identities–or sacrifice everything for a taste of darkest temptation…

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Interview with Lucas Hunter, Alpha of the DarkRiver Leopard Pack

1. What’s it like being alpha of a leopard pack?

It’s what I was born to do—to protect my sprawling family, because Pack is family. My leopards are strong, independent changelings. I give them room to grow and to stretch themselves, and in return, they give me their strength and their loyalty.

2. When did you know you’d be an alpha?

It’s always been a deep instinct within me, though as a young child, I didn’t have a name for it. It was as a teenager that my dominance became so powerful that instinct turned into knowledge.

3. What have been the most critical moments of your life?

The first time my life shifted on its axis, I was a boy and I was covered in blood.

The second time, I was a man and sitting across a negotiating table from a cardinal Psy with eyes like the night sky. A cardinal who fascinated my leopard, even though she was ice-cold and businesslike on the surface. Everything changed at that moment.

4. What do you really think of Hawke? (spoiler question)

He’s a damn wolf. What’s there to think about?

I heard your mate thinks you two are friends.

*growling sounds*

Um, right, let’s move on to the next question.

5. Have you managed to get rid of The Toy That Shall Not Be Named? (spoiler question)

I’ve come to peace with it.

Oh?

Yes—Naya’s clearly using the thing to practice biting and mauling wolves. That’s a good habit. I plan to encourage her to bite and claw hard, maybe tear off an ear to make the message clear.

6. Will you groom Kit to be your alpha replacement now that Kit is a full soldier? (spoiler question)

I—all of us—have been teaching Kit how to be a good alpha since the moment it first became clear he had the strength to be alpha. He didn’t know it then, though I’m sure he’s consciously aware of it now.

There is no rush, not for Kit. I became alpha at a very young age because it was right for me and necessary for DarkRiver, but Kit has no need to take up the responsibility so early. He can grow into his skin at his own pace.

When he’s ready to be alpha of a pack, he’ll know. At that point, he’ll have a choice. Stay with DarkRiver and become a sentinel, or create his own pack. Our ages are too close for him to be my successor and I’m too experienced for him to challenge (not that I believe Kit would ever choose the latter option – the bonds between us are too strong).

If I had to bet, I’d say Kit will form his own pack. The boy has the drive, the courage, and most of all, he has the heart of a true alpha, a heart that will draw others into his fledgling pack. But wherever he goes and whatever he chooses to do, he will always be a packmate, and DarkRiver will always have his back.

7. If the pupcubs turn out to be wolves, will they be DarkRiver or SnowDancer? (spoiler question)

This is new territory for all of us, but the healers say it’s likely they’ll make the choice soon after birth, driven by the primal instinct within. We’re predatory changelings. We need one alpha to whom to look. Neither Hawke nor I will get in the way of that choice, but regardless of what it is, the pupcubs will be born of two packs and will have entry into both packs in a way no others have ever had.

8. What does Naya think when you shift into a panther? Has she grabbed your tail and pulled on it while you’re in cat form? (spoiler question)

*laughter* Of course. She’s as curious as her mother. She’s also a changeling – she  knows I’m her papa, no matter what shape I take. She fell asleep on my back the other night while I was sitting on our aerie balcony in panther form. I could hear her tiny heartbeat, feel her soft warmth.

9. How’s the inter-pack dating situation going? Are you and Hawke bald yet? (spoiler question)

No comment. No, wait—I do have a comment: Go ask Hawke.

One more question. I have to return to pack business.

10. What are you planning to do tonight?

Have a meeting with my sentinels, cuddle Naya, kiss and play with my mate. Life’s good.

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To win one of five prize packs including the first five books in the Psy-Challenging series and a Penguin tote bag, enter below. This contest is administered by Penguin US and it is open internationally. 

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COVER REVEAL, EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY: Maldeamores (Lovesick) by Mara White

A Heightsbound prequel, comes a story of forbidden passion—feast your eyes on the cover of Maldeamores and read a never seen before excerpt… ♥

Expected release date: 23 June 2015

Belén: I’ve loved Luciano ever since I can remember, desired him before I even knew what it meant. He’s always been the only man in my life—my constant protector, and his rejection only intensifies my need.

Luciano: I’ve never known a love more fierce than the one I feel for Belén. But I force myself to deny her no matter how much it hurts.

Our love is a sickness and both of us are infected.

Because there’s no cure for being from the same family.

excerpt

Chapter 1

Prologue

Lucky

There ain’t too much that can shake me. I was born into the belly of the beast on a blazing hot day in July. A heat-wave scorcher that brought the caps off the fire hydrants and everyone out on the street. Old men pulled their wife-beaters up over their bellies to cool off and the girls wore even less clothing than normal, which ain’t much, in the Hunts Point section of the South Bronx. Air conditioning was a luxury afforded to the rich; the only place to cool down was either at the hospital or the car service on the way there. Just don’t bleed out from a bullet wound before they get you through the lobby.

My ma says her water broke while she was walking back up the stairs to take a piss. Being that I was her first, she thought for a second she’d peed her pants. She hobbled back out onto the street and yelled for somebody to get her a cab before she gave birth to her son on the makeshift corner domino table.

Ma likes to say that she carried so big with me that she could barely walk—that she knew I was macho from the very first kick in her gut, knew that she’d call me Luciano after the first light of the morning sun.

Like I said, ain’t too much that can flap me. South Bronx, Spanish Harlem, then to West Harlem and the Heights—I’d seen it all by age ten. Seen it all and then some. I ain’t no stranger to violence.

But war is different when it moves from rival blocks and gang-claimed school yards to open desert or caves and tunnels dug two miles deep into a mountainside. Out here you’re not fighting your own war. You’re part of a machine that is unimaginably bigger than you are. When you’re out on a mission, you pray with each footstep that the machine will take care of you.

One thing is for certain—whether you’re ready or not, the machine will make a fucking man of you.

Out here under the white-hot sun, I think about that scorching day in the South Bronx in ‘89 when my Ma brought me into this world. And who knows if she was ready, but she struggled alone, like a roach on its back, her whole life just to take care of me.

The sky is empty and an endless, deep blue. What I wouldn’t give right now for the propeller beats of an army chopper to break the monotony. My warm, sticky blood seeps through my fatigues and the sand soaks it up like it’s been waiting its whole goddamned life to get a drink of me. Alls it would take is a single sandstorm for me to get buried out here forever—no record, no closure, no body to recover and fly home for an honorable funeral service.

So I think about how she would describe to me the day I made an entrance: hot, sleazy summer. Beaches too polluted—no swimming, no air but the devil’s own to breathe in the city. She swears the bachata music stopped when she hit the street and screamed she was in labor.

That the old men upset their domino game as they all stood simultaneously in attention.

  That the sky momentarily lit up with a flash of heat lightning. She thought for a second, rain, but then realized the sensation was only her own water dripping down her legs.

That the temperature broke one hundred and five on that day. She said the heat made labor easy, that it helped to loosen all of her muscles. She said she knew I would be a boy and that the heat would make me just as stubborn as I was strong.

And she knew that I would take care of her—that we would take care of each other.

My ma told me the story whenever there was a heat wave passing through the city. Nothing could ever compare to my heat wave in her head. I couldn’t know that day better if I’d been there to see it. Luciano’s heatwave was worse, it was better, we were lucky we survived it. That the heat was a blessing disguised as a curse, that her boy would be hot-blooded and naturally drawn to the fight. But my wasn’t scared. She clenched down on her teeth instead of screaming in pain.

In Spanish, for giving birth, they say, giving light. My ma swears up and down that I was born to save her life. Luciano, she named me, the giver of light.

That night a five-alarm fire burnt down almost our whole block. Faulty wiring, they said. Six people died, all of them in our rundown building. Everything she owned became ash. The only reason weren’t too was on account of my spontaneous entrance.

We moved less than a mile away into a tiny apartment my Tía Betty shared with their uncle. A year later, Belén was born, and from that moment on, we slept in the same crib. It seems like my whole my cousin has always been right next to me. I would wake up when she’d cry and drift back to sleep as she did.

Now I lie on my back, wounded, probably mortally. Alone, unarmed, in prime enemy territory. What I wouldn’t give to be by side now.

Belén. My cousin. My own heat wave. The flame to my fire.

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The Heightsbound Series
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SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT & 8-BOOK GIVEAWAY by Christina Lauren

I am so honoured to be able to share with you some amazing news from the terrific writing duo that is Christina Lauren!!!! And a signed giveaway of all eight books in the Beautiful Bastard series to celebrate these news!!! ♥

“We are thrilled to announce that there is more for Will Sumner and Hanna Bergstrom! Our as-yet untitled Beautiful novella starring Player Will and his Plum is set to land in February 2016! Readers asked for it, and we agree—these two have more to say! It begins with… Yeah, you know we’re not telling! Look for more information soon about the new adventures of Will and Hanna!”

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Beautiful Bastard – Reading Order and Purchase Links
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Beautiful BastardAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Beautiful Bitch 
(novella): Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Beautiful Stranger
Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Beautiful Bombshell 
(novella): Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Beautiful Player
Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Beautiful Beginning 
(novella): Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Beautiful Beloved
Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA
Beautiful Secret
: My ReviewAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback

Connect with authors: Website | Facebook | Twitter (Christina) | Twitter (Lauren) | Goodreads

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To win a signed paperback set of ALL eight books in the Beautiful Bastard series, please enter below. By entering, you are accepting the following Giveaway Conditions. This contest is open internationally.

Enter giveaway here…

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Other books in the series or related posts:

EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT + GIVEAWAY: Under the Influence by L.B. Simmons

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Described by the author as, “the journey of two childhood friends that spans the course of five pivotal years in their lives; a story about their discovery of true friendship as it blossoms into first love, their experience of crucial sacrifice and ultimate betrayal, and their endurance of agonizing heartbreak on the way to finding lasting redemption,” L.B. Simmons’ upcoming standalone novel, Under the Influence, is coming on 11 May, and today, I have a super special excerpt for you and a signed giveaway!! Enjoy… ♥

Dalton,

I loved you once. A love I thought irrevocable. A love I mistakenly believed could transcend both time and circumstance. Under the influence of my dimwitted, naïve, traitorous heart, I became intoxicated with what I now know was simply a figment of my self-indulgent imagination. So drunk on the feeling, I couldn’t see what was right in front of my face. So foolishly enamored, I blindly followed my heart into the depths of an emotion that would ravage me.

Years later, I know now what I wish I knew then. I am stronger. Smarter. Tougher. I will not allow myself to be broken again.

I loved you.

I raged for you.

I wept for you.

And now, I’m letting you go.

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Spencer

Dalton’s voice is thick as he begins to speak. “I’m sorry, Spence. I know I hurt you—”

I shake my head dismissively. “You didn’t hurt me. I’m just tired.”

The corners of his mouth dip downward and he lifts his hand, placing his palm against my cheek and swiping the moisture with his thumb. My heart would typically melt at the tenderness of the gesture, but now I find it only aggravates me. I narrow my eyes and shove his hand away from my face.

“Don’t do that. Don’t do something you don’t mean.”

Channeling my sorrow, anger begins to churn as I step away and turn my back on him. My bare feet carry me to the wooden rail that lines my porch and I brace my good hand against it, leaning forward and inhaling deeply.

Dalton growls with frustration. “What the fuck? Of course I mean it. The last thing I want to do is hurt you, Spence. I’m trying to apologize here.”

I laugh humorlessly and turn to face him. “For what, exactly? For stalking me on my date tonight?”

His blue eyes now heat with a different emotion as they slice to mine. “The date in which you were being manhandled by some fucking loser who asked you out for no other reason than to get back at me?” He scoffs openly. “You should be thanking me.”

I cease the fight to hold back my tears, permitting them to flow freely as I respond. “I handled it, did I not? I don’t need you to protect me, Dalton. I can take care of myself.”

He chuckles, unsmiling, as he removes his cap and throws it to the ground, dragging his fingers through his hair in irritation. My glare hardens as I continue my rant.

“And yes, he asked me out to get back at you. Are you apologizing for that? Or are you apologizing for the fact that because of your stupid crusade against me dating anyone EVER, I was so excited to be asked out that I accepted a date with said fucking loser because I wanted to know what it would be like to actually be wanted for once?” Not entirely true, but true enough to make my point.

My breaths are heavy and my pulse is thrumming rapidly through my entire body. I angrily wipe away the tears as I inquire, “Why is that, Dalton? Why is it that you don’t want me, but no one else is allowed to have me?” I shake my head in frustration as I stumble on my words. “I just…I don’t understand.” My voice trembles and my chin quivers with the admission.

Dalton heavy boots sound as he stalks across the porch. I avert my gaze, but once he’s in front of me, he curls his fingers around my chin and pulls my face into his line of sight. His eyes burn into mine as they narrow in earnest. “You think I don’t want you? Goddamn it, Spencer,” he bites, “I want you so much I can’t fucking breathe when I’m not with you. Every single time I force myself to walk away from you, I feel nothing but agony as the anger that simmers here,” he breaks to pound his closed fist on his chest, “breaks free and chars my insides with each step I take.”

His eyes begin to glisten and his jaw tightens as he shakes his head. “I can’t fucking breathe without you, don’t you get it? I want you so much that being without you is absolute torture.”

He swallows deeply and moisture seeps from my eyes at the sight of his exposed emotion as he continues. “I want you, Spence, but I can’t have you. I won’t allow it. You’re too good, too pure, too innocent, and just as your presence soothes me, mine will eventually flaw you. It’s inevitable, and I care too much for you to let that happen.”

I watch a lone tear fall from the corner of his eye before he concludes, “But you’re right. Even thinking about you with someone else, with someone else’s arms around you as you look into their eyes the same way you’re looking into mine right now, I just…” He casts his stare downward and shakes his head. “I just can’t. So I guess I’m just a selfish, heartless prick, because where does that leave you?”

The tear finally falls free from his chin, and I watch it strike the wood beneath our feet before placing my hands on the side of his face and forcing his eyes to mine. My voice trembles as I speak. “I know you like to control things, Dalton. That’s how you’ve learned to cope and I understand that, but you dont control me. My feelings. My heart. And even though you feel you don’t deserve those things, that they’re not yours to have, you’re mistaken.”

I tighten my grip as he tries to look away and state with emphasis, “You ask where that leaves me? Well, it leaves me right in the same place, on this same porch, as I was six years ago when I met you. The day that all of those things you think you can’t have I willingly handed over without question.”

Releasing my hold, I turn away from him, knowing his refusal will absolutely destroy me as I state into the night air, “I have always belonged to you. I will always belong to you. Regardless of what you’ve done, what you do, or what you will do, I will forever be yours. And that’s my choice to make, whether you choose me or not.”

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To win a signed paperback copy of Under the Influence, please enter below. By entering, you are accepting the following Giveaway Conditions. This contest is open internationally.

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EXCLUSIVE ALTERNATE POV SCENE + GIVEAWAY: Consolation by Corinne Michaels

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A story that has been described as, “emotionally gripping and wondrously written”, “a story that makes you believe that love has the power to heal broken hearts”, and “a story that will steal your heart and never let it go”, Consolation is the first book in the Consolation duet, and today, I have a special alternate POV scene for you and a signed giveaway!!! Enjoy and don’t forget that Liam and Natalie’s story concludes in Conviction on 27 May 2015! ♥

Liam wasn’t supposed to be my happily ever after.

He wasn’t even on my radar.

He was my husband’s best friend—forbidden.

But my husband is dead and I’m alone. I ache for him and I reach for Liam.

One night with Liam changed everything. Now I have to decide if I truly love him or if he’s just the consolation prize.

excerpt

Lee heads up the stairs coughing and dragging ass. I hate that she’s so sick. I look down in my arms and realize I now have care of a child.

Well, I’m f*cked.

I debate calling my mom to ask what exactly I should do. She would probably laugh at me then hang up. There was no way I couldn’t help though. Natalie looked like death. Plus, this should score me some brownie points.

Kids like television…I think. I decide that should be our first thing. Aarabelle and I sit on the couch as I turn on the game.

“Alright, Aara. Let’s see if Rodgers is going to screw it up or we’re going to kick some ass,” she laughs. “Shit. I probably shouldn’t say ass. Or shit. I’ll shut up.”

Now I’m talking to a baby.

We spend the next hour or so taking every possible toy in the house out. She plays with this weird ball thing that spits them out the top. Whoever thought flying balls was a good idea should be shot.

Aara starts to really fuss as panic begins to rise. “What do you need? Food? Toys? Want to go outside?”

I pick her up, and the smell hits me straight in the face.

“What the hell does she feed you?” I ask aloud. I’ve been around guys after field meals that don’t smell as bad as this.

“Okay, diaper.” I say looking around the room. “Where are they?” I ask hoping she can at least point. Instead, she just cries louder.

My phone rings and I pray it’s someone who knows something about kids. I look down only to see Quinn’s number.

“Yo,” I answer and keep searching for the stash.

“Are you at Lee’s?”

He’s a real Einstein. “Yeah, she’s sick so I’m watching Aarabelle. What gave it away? The screaming baby in the background?”

Quinn laughs so loud I have to move the phone away. “Dude. She must be on her death bed to let that happen.”

“Fu—dge you. I’ve got this. She’s a baby not a bomb.”

“Right,” he laughs again. “Well, while you’re playing house I’m heading to get laid.”

I hate him. I really hope his dick falls off. “Good for you.”

“Hell yeah it is.”

“Do you know how to change a diaper?” I ask absently. Quinn has a younger brother so maybe there’s a chance.

“Yeah, do you?”

“You’re so damn helpful. Look,” I glance at Aarabelle lying in her crap on the floor. “She’s rancid. I need help.”

“Well, Dreamboat…good luck.” He hangs up and I swear I’m going to punch him in the balls next time I see him.

I see the bag that Lee carries around and rummage through. Ha! Diapers.

“Okay, Aarabelle. We got this.”

She just stares at me. Yeah, I’m pretty sure this is going to be a mess.

I unsnap her shirt thing and wait for some kind of divine intervention. Okay, this should be easy. I can take apart an M-16 with my eyes closed, jump out of a plane undetected—I got this.

“Maybe there’s a Youtube video?” Aara just stares at me. “Yeah, I know I’m an idiot but whatever.” I grab the diaper, and lay it flat. Once I pull down the dirty diaper, I immediately regret it. “How in the world did you do that?”

I contemplate going to wake Lee, but then I’ll have to listen to how I couldn’t handle it. Defeat is not in my vocabulary.

I get her cleaned up without any catastrophe and get ready for phase two.

The diaper is in place, but when I pull the tab, it rips off. What the hell? I try the other side and that one same thing.

I grab the spare diaper and try it more gently but this one the entire stretchy side comes off. “What the?”

Aara starts to cry. “It’s okay…shhh.” I try to calm her, but she cries louder.

I look around for something to close this thing since I have no idea where the rest of her diapers are. “Don’t move.” I say standing with my hands out hoping she’ll stay put.

There’s no tape anywhere, but I remember in my bag I have rope. I’ll just tie it on. I rush back over where she’s still crying, and I start to talk to her. Aarabelle doesn’t relax as her legs go flying all over the place. By some miracle, I manage to get one diaper on the front and one covering the back. That should do it. The tab on the one side sticks so I try to arrange the rope holding the other.

“See, I told you,” I smile holding her up. The diaper stays put, for now.

I grab the bottle that’s in the fridge, and rush back in the room. Seriously, it’s worse than an explosion. I shut the lights off so I don’t have to look at it. Once I get Aara on the couch she drinks her bottle as we both relax.

Crisis averted.

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Consolation Duet – Reading Order and Purchase Links
conviction2

ConsolationAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | iBooks | Paperback
Conviction
Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | iBooks

Connect with author: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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To win a signed paperback copy of Consolation, please enter below. By entering, you are accepting the following Giveaway Conditions. This contest is open internationally.

Enter giveaway here…

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EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT + GIVEAWAY: The Reckoning by S.L. Scott

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“This isn’t how our melody goes. This isn’t how we were supposed to play out.”

A bad boy rocker, a feisty heroine, witty dialogues, hot sex, and you’ve got yourself Jack and Holliday! Their story began in The Resistance, and now continues in The Reckoning. And today, I have an excerpt for you and a signed giveaway!!! Enjoy! ♥

Jack Dalton was charismatic.

Johnny Outlaw was irresistible.

Two sides of the same man, passionate about two things—music and Holliday Hughes. With her intoxicating mix of strength and vulnerability, confidence and sex appeal, he couldn’t get enough of her.

Together, love was a storm of chaos and calm. When fame became a force to be reckoned with, could their love hold them together or would their notoriety tear them apart?

excerpt

“Get off the counter and turn around.”

I continue to stare into his eyes for a few more seconds before moving quickly into place. His phone is set down on the counter next to me. “Pick a song.”

Sliding the phone in front of me, I start scrolling his playlists wanting a new soundtrack. I find the song quickly—“Stay” by Thirty Seconds to Mars.

His hands warm my backside as he presses his erection against me. Leaning forward, he takes the phone back just as the song begins to play. “I’m not gonna listen to f*cking Jared Leto when I’m f*cking you.” Turning to the side, I see him scrolling on the screen. The song begins and I smile, making sure to look down so he doesn’t see me laughing at him. The Resistance’s remake of the song starts playing. They were asked to perform it for an awards show, so it’s the live version and so hauntingly sexy.

Looking into the mirror, I wait for his eyes to reflect mine. When they do, I say, “For the record, I don’t fantasize about anyone but you, Dalton.”

The feel of him ignites my body, flames beginning to flick on the inside. I wiggle, unable to wait any longer. Kisses are placed on my shoulders, and he whispers, “Be patient, Baby.”

“I want you.”

“I want you too.”

My heart begins racing, a pressure poised at my entrance. His eyes stay on mine until he thrusts forward, inside me, causing me to drop my head and hold on tight. Our connection is intense and my mouth drops open as he moves even deeper—solid and steady, filling me and reminding my body who it belongs to.

My hands are flat and I look up, wanting to watch as he takes me, owns me, conquering me entirely. Uncontrolled thoughts escape into words. “I love being married to a rock star!”

Dalton stops moving and a laugh breaks free. The right side of his mouth slides up and I realize what I just said. But right when I gain the nerve to look up, he thrusts again. Flat palms anchor me while I wish I could dig my nails into the bed to hold on. His hands cover the tops of mine to ease the power of his body’s thrusting against me. My breath is shorted and I drop my head down, wanting to appreciate every sensation.

He stops and I catch my breath. “Open your eyes, Angel.” Pushing up when I open my eyes, I lock my elbows to hold myself steady. His hands slide slowly up my arms, traveling the length until he takes hold of my shoulders. “Are you ready?”

With my hazels still locked on his greens, I analyze his mood. He’s calculated and sexy and I want him to devour me whole. “I’m ready. Are you?”

With my hazels still locked on his greens, I analyze his mood. He’s calculated and sexy and I want him to devour me whole. “I’m ready. Are you?”

In one fast move, my head hits the mirror as he pounds into me.

Holding tight to my shoulders he f*cks me hard. “Dalton!” I cry out, needing all of it, all of him, taking it all and loving the feel of him more. My knees weaken and deep inside I begin to uncoil.

I watch him as I push myself closer to that edge where reality meets ecstasy. His jaw tightens, highlighting the rigid angles that wrap around his chin. There’s a vein that I only see in two settings—on stage singing and when we’re f*cking. He drives me to want more, so I move against him. His fingers dig into my hips, one hand directly over the tattoo he loves to trace when we’re sleepy.

One hand moves between us and two fingers find the spot he knows will send me over again and he rubs. My world bends, perpetuating the gratification. “Oh God! Dalton!” I collapse onto the counter, too tired to hold myself up. My hips are grabbed and he hits my soul in places I forget exist until he touches them, bringing me to life again.

He shudders, moaning my name as he comes. With his body molded to the back of mine, he licks a spot on my shoulder at the back of my neck. Desire getting the best of me again, through breathy whispers, I say, “I want you to mark me.”

“You’re too beautiful to damage.”

I open my eyes and lift up to find his on mine in the mirror again. “I’ll heal, but I want a piece of you while you’re gone.” He smiles, and I add, “Guess that makes me a groupie after all.”

“A groupie is a one-sided infatuation.” Bringing me upright with his arms around me, he lifts me up and carries me into the bedroom. He sets me down on the bed and lies down next to me. I maneuver over him, wanting to have him beneath me. I rest my head on his shoulder, my bare body on top of his. Rubbing my back, he says, “There’s nothing one-sided about us, Angel. We f*ck hard, but we love harder.” I hear the sincerity in his voice, feeding my soul. I close my eyes, enjoying this time together.

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Hard to Resist – Recommended Reading Order and Purchase Links
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The Resistance: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | iBooksr
The Reckoning
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The RedemptionAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | iBooks

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MULTI-BLOG EXCERPT REVEAL & GIVEAWAY: My Time in the Affair by Stylo Fantôme

“When you’re looking at your best friend, a person who is part of the fabric of your being, and you can literally see their heart start to break… it takes a lot of strength to smash that heart all the way.”

I have such a treat for you today!! Together with three other awesome Blogs, I am sharing with you an exclusive excerpt from Stylo Fantôme’s upcoming standalone erotic romance, releasing on 2 May—My Time in the Affair. Each Blog has a portion of the excerpt and you will want to read all four parts because it just gets hotter and hotter!! If you love very angsty, broken love stories, it is definitely time for you to meet Mischa and Tal. The reading order of the excerpt and links to each Blog are listed below. And there is a chance for you to enter to win a $50 Gift Card!! Enjoy! ♥

Part 1: Natasha is a Book Junkie
Part 2: The SubClub Books
Part 3: Angie and Jessica’s Dreamy Reads
Part 4: Schmexy Girl Book Blog

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~Mischa~

I made a conscious decision to cheat on my husband.

Now, before you judge me, hear my story. Hear how much I’m like you, how similar my thoughts are to your own. Yes, I’m a horrible person. Yes, I’ve done horrible things. Yes, I don’t deserve forgiveness. Yes, bad things happened because of my actions.

But I’m willing to bet I’ve done things that maybe, just maybe, you have thought of doing.

Maybe, just maybe, you’re not as innocent as you’d like to think.

Or maybe I’m not so guilty…

excerpt

“I thought you said this was over,” Tal breathed against her.

“I thought it was,” she replied, nibbling on his earlobe.

“It’s not.”

“No.”

He yanked her up against him and shuffled them down the hall. They burst into a room and she was put back up against a different wall. She gasped and moaned, yanking his shirt out of his pants. His own hands weren’t idle, they moved over her body, massaged her breasts, then went back to her panties.

Scusi!

Misch’s eyes flew open, and over Tal’s shoulder, she saw a man standing with his back to them. He was looking over his own shoulder, his face very red. Probably because he was peeing – he was standing in front of a urinal. They were in the men’s bathroom.

Slut.

She wanted to push Tal away, to tell him to stop, to ask to go somewhere else. But he had two fingers thrusting in and out of her, so thought was pretty much not an option. She pressed her lips together, pulled them between her teeth and bit down to keep herself quiet, and tapped him on the shoulder.

✦ Go to The SubClub Books for Part 2 ✦

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COVER REVEAL & GIVEAWAY: The Traveling Woman by Jane Harvey-Berrick

A young love turning into a second chance at happiness, this is a story of two people who fell for each other against all odds, even when they knew that loving one another would inevitably end in heartbreak. Against a brilliant backdrop of colourful characters and bewitching imageries, we get a front seat in this delightful coming-of-age tale that then transitions into an adult romance to make our toes curl and our hearts stutter…and now we are getting the conclusion to Aimee and and Kestrel’s beautiful love story!! Feast your eyes on the stunning cover of The Traveling Woman… ♥

Expected release date: 7 April 2015

TheTravelingWoman

How many times do you gamble on love? When love has knocked you down, should you give it another chance? When does optimism become stupidity?

And what happens when the man you’re in love with is never still, always moving, always traveling? Do you say goodbye, or do you leave behind everything that you’ve worked for, everything that you’ve ever known? Can a traveling carnival be my home?

Oh. You thought I had the answers. No, sorry. No answers, just a lot of questions—and a heart that wants to rule my head.

Can one person be my home?

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The Traveling Duet reading order and purchase links
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The Traveling ManMy review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
The Traveling WomanAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA

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To celebrate the upcoming release of The Traveling Woman, the author has very generously offered signed paperback copies of all my favourite books of hers, to one lucky winner!! The winner will receive The Traveling Man, The Traveling Woman, At Your Beck & Call, and Lifers. By entering, you are accepting the following Giveaway Conditions. This contest is open internationally.

Enter giveaway here…

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EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY: The Other Man by R.K. Lilley

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The 2015 Birthday Teasers Event continues, and today, I am sharing with you an excerpt from The Other Man by R.K. Lilley. A standalone novel that takes place in The Wild Side ‘universe’, this will be the only book devoted to Lourdes and Heath, and it is coming in March 2015! One lucky winner gets a signed copy of The Wild Side Trilogy and a $50 Amazon Gift Card! ♥

Lourdes

He was brazen as hell from the moment I laid eyes on him.  He was aggressive, and dominant, with Mack truck arms, and a bar brawler voice.

He was too good looking for his own good, with a hard jaw, and harder eyes.

I’d always led a fairly peaceful life, but even I could tell at a glance that this man was dangerous.  For so many reasons.

Not the least of which being that rough, dirty, sheet-clawing sex fairly radiated off him.

I’d thought I’d known how to handle every kind of man, but this one left me baffled.

To say he wasn’t my type was putting it lightly.

But you couldn’t tell that to my libido.

Not even when I found out the truth.

My lover had lied to me from the very start.

Nothing about our meeting was a coincidence.

excerpt

LOURDES

I thought he was going to kiss me.  I wanted him to.  I wanted that and more.  But he didn’t, not then.

Instead, he let me go, and stepped back, nodding his head at the coffee pot that had just finished brewing.  “I know better than to come between a woman and her morning caffeine.”

I smiled wryly, but as I prepared us both a cup, my hands were shaking so hard that I wondered if I should even drink it.  I was already wound up too tight to contain.

“How do you take it?” I asked, my back to him, my shaking hand on the creamer.

Before he even touched me, I felt him getting closer.  I shivered as he pressed his chest against my back, his taller form folding over me until his hands braced on either side of mine, gripping the counter’s edge.

“I’d rather show you than tell you,” his gravelly voice rasped into my ear.

I gasped, then silently cursed at myself.  This was not me.  Men did not make me nervous.  “I was referring to the coffee,” I said archly.  “Cream and sugar?”

“Just cream,” he responded.  “No sugar.  I’m sweet enough.”

That forced a hard laugh out of me, because we both knew that he was about as sweet as a pit-bull.

I finished mixing our coffees, him pressed to me all the while, his body dominating mine before he’d ever even kissed me.

He took his cup and moved away.  I was equal parts relieved and disappointed.  I was having a hard time knowing what I was feeling, what I wanted, where he was concerned.  I knew this was moving too fast, was certain of that, but at the same time, I wanted more, wanted it to move faster, to go forward with no brakes.

I took a few breaths, then turned to look at him, leaning back to brace my hip against the counter as we both took our first drink.

“How do you feel about restraints?” he asked casually.

I nearly choked on the hot liquid pouring down my throat.

Of course he’s into kink, I thought to myself, eyes narrowed on him.  Any man that young and good looking would have some quirks.

“Like handcuffs?” I asked when I’d finally recovered from the fit of coughing that he had caused.

His arched brow just arched higher, the corner of his lip lifting up in what I thought was amusement.

I shook my head.  “No.  Sorry, no.  I don’t know you that well.”  I set my coffee down, done with it.  I was already too wired.

He set his down, too, and in spite of everything, all I could concentrate on was how his muscles moved under his tight shirt with every movement.

He moved to me slowly, and I had to consciously make an effort not to hold my breath.

“Fair enough,” he told me.  “We’ll work on getting to know each other better.  But in the meantime,” his hands reached down, grabbing both of my wrists.

I watched those hands.  They were so big.  I never saw myself as particularly delicate or small.  I was slender, and fit, but not tiny.  But as he grabbed my wrists, circling them with his fingers, I became hyperaware of just how delicate I was, compared to him.  How fragile.

A strange thrill moved through me.  Strange because it wasn’t only desire I was feeling.  Mixed in there somewhere was a definite thread of fear.

Why did that only enhance the desire?  I almost didn’t even want to investigate it.  Yes, it was perverse.  But it was also exhilarating.  Exhilarating and so much more.

Exciting.

Compelling.

Intoxicating.

Electrifying.

So many things I hadn’t felt in too long to name, and I didn’t want to pass on any of them.

He squeezed my wrists.  Not to the point of pain, but with just enough pressure to let me know his strength, which was formidable.

“I won’t use restraints,” he said quietly.  “Not until you’re ready.  But I will hold you down.  Can you handle that?”

I found myself nodding jerkily, even as I wondered if I really could.

I didn’t know why I just agreed to that, just like I didn’t know why I was about to have sex with a perfect stranger in the middle of the morning on a Tuesday.

It felt dangerous, yet completely necessary.

It was a while before I could look away from my captive hands and up into his cold stare.

“Any other quirks of yours that you want to tell me about upfront?” I managed to ask him in a somewhat steady voice.

He smiled, and it was colder than ever.  “Not particularly.”

Well hell, that was far from reassuring.

He took a step back, still holding my wrists.  “I don’t even know where to start with you,” he said, voice low, eyes on my body.

That wasn’t reassuring either, but it was becoming clear to me that maybe I didn’t want to be reassured, going by my body’s reaction to every alarming thing that came out of his mouth.

He suddenly moved closer again, took one captive hand and pulled it, palm first, to cup him.  I moaned at the feel of him.  The hardness of him, the foreign largeness.  I rubbed at him over his sweats, my heavy-lidded eyes on his cold ones.

I suddenly found myself grabbing a handful of bare cock.

I glanced down.  He’d shifted his waistband down, exposing himself.

My jaw nearly dropped, eyes going wide.  He was fully aroused, and huge.

Holy shit,” I thought.  Oh no, I hadn’t thought that.  I’d said it aloud.

He seemed to get a kick out of that, which I didn’t think was good.  This guy did not need any more strokes to his ego.

“I take it your ex-husband didn’t measure up,” he said, arrogant bastard.

“I don’t think many men measure up to that,” just sort of slipped out of me.  But fuck it all, it was only the truth.

I ringed my fingers around his girth experimentally, licking my lips.  My fingers couldn’t touch.  I let him go, watching his heavy cock bob down heavily as I did it.

I’ve always considered myself to be a passionate, sensual woman.  I’ve enjoyed sex, not just the physical release but the intimacy of it, but this was something else entirely, like some new person was suddenly sharing space in my body.

Never in my life before that moment had I felt a need like this.  Never had I felt like a bitch in heat, but I did then.  I stared at that cock and I wanted it.  Wanted to drop to my knees and beg him for it, any way I could get it, anywhere.

“Your turn,” he said, his rough voice drawing my eyes back to his face.

I licked my lips, mind gone blank, no concept of what he was asking or why.  “E-excuse me?”

He smiled his cold smile, and pushed my hand back to his cock.  “I took something off.  Now it’s your turn.  You take something off.”

I glanced down at his sweatpants, hand feeling at him, memorizing his length with hungry fingers.  I tugged at my other arm, but he held it fast, still gripping my wrist.

“You didn’t take anything off,” I pointed out.  “You just pulled something out.”

He chuckled, and I glanced up at his face.  I wasn’t sure if I was disappointed, or more fascinated than ever, that even when he laughed it didn’t reach those eyes of his.

He pushed my hand away, dragging it behind my back, along with the other, gripping both of my wrists in one massive hand.  The other went to my braid, twisting again, wrapping it around his fist, tilting my head back.

My lips parted, eyes closing, as I realized that he was finally going to kiss me.

It wasn’t what I expected, that kiss.  After all of his blunt statements, I’d expected him to be rough, to ravage from the start.  He did not.  Instead, his lips were soft, coaxing, easing mine open for the shockingly tender onslaught of his tongue.

His body shifted, crowding mine against the counter, his hardness digging into my leg.

I moved against him, impatient for more contact.

He deepened the kiss until I was moaning as I tasted and sucked at his driving tongue as it plunged repeatedly to mate with mine.

He groaned, shoving his enormous erection hard, hard, harder into my thigh.  So hard I wondered if I’d have an oversized boner shaped bruise there tomorrow.

He ripped his mouth away from mine, gasping .  “Bedroom,” he said curtly, taking his hands off me, and pulling away.

I nodded, then began to move, on unsteady legs, toward my room.  I could feel him at my back, his breath on me neck, every drugging step of the way.

I paused in the doorway to my bedroom, but his hard body nudged me all of the way into the room.  That made me shoot him a glance over my shoulder.

Every line in his face read unapologetic, so I knew it had been deliberate.

“Raise your arms over your head,” he ordered me.

I raised a brow at him, but did it, holding them high, arching my back, my aching breasts thrust forward.

His nostrils flared, and he stepped close behind me, so close I could no longer crane to see his face.

His big hands settled on my hips, gripping into the fleshy part, testing it in a way that made me tremble.

My arms started to lower, but a rough, “No, keep them up,” in my ear stayed them.

His hands started skimming under my shirt, teasing at my belly.

Abruptly he pulled it up and over my head.

A muscle quivered in my stomach as the skin of my abdomen was bared.

My shoulders drew up tight as, with rather impressive speed, he unsnapped my bra and tore it off my arms, tossing it carelessly to the ground.

His hands skimmed from my shoulders to my wrists with a featherlight touch.  I could hear my own breath panting out of me as he folded them behind my head, wrists held together close to my nape.

He used that hold to nudge me, moving me closer to the bed.

“All this needs is a bag over my head, and we’d have a perp walk,” I said, my wry tone spoiled by the fact that I couldn’t seem to breathe properly.

He liked that, I could hear it in his voice as he responded, “If this is a perp walk, I need to do a better job of patting you down.”  As he spoke, he shifted my wrists to one hand.

I sucked in a breath as his free hand moved to my collarbone.  I glanced down to watch as he slid it over my skin until it held my breast, watched it move with the rapid rise and fall of my chest.  He ran a rough thumb over my nipple.

“You’re trembling,” he rasped into my ear, making me tremble all the more.  “Fear or excitement?”

I licked my lips and gave him the truth.  “Both.”

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The Wild Side – Reading Order and Purchase Links
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To win a $50 Amazon Gift Card and a signed paperback of the Wild Side Trilogy, please enter below. By entering, you are accepting the following Giveaway Conditions. This 72-hour contest is open internationally.

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Have you missed any exclusive excerpts posted so far during my 2015 Birthday Teasers Event? Just click on the book cover to reads that excerpt…

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EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY: Black Iris by Leah Raeder

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The 2015 Birthday Teasers Event continues, and today, I am so excited to be sharing with you the entire first chapter from a book I believe will blow our minds…and then some—Black Iris by Leah Raeder. A genius wordsmith, this author continually pushes the boundaries of what we envisage as ‘conventional’ romance novels, blurring the lines of our own preconceptions, and maybe even inspiring us to add a few more colours to the brush we paint our worlds with, and her upcoming book will undoubtedly do just that. This standalone novel is coming on 28 April 2015 and I also happen to have a signed galley to give away to one lucky winner! ♥

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It only took one moment of weakness for Laney Keating’s world to fall apart. One stupid gesture for a hopeless crush. Then the rumors began. Slut, they called her. Queer. Psycho. Mentally ill, messed up, so messed up even her own mother decided she wasn’t worth sticking around for.

If Laney could erase that whole year, she would. College is her chance to start with a clean slate.

She’s not looking for new friends, but they find her: charming, handsome Armin, the only guy patient enough to work through her thorny defenses—and fiery, filterless Blythe, the bad girl and partner in crime who has thorns of her own.

But Laney knows nothing good ever lasts. When a ghost from her past resurfaces—the bully who broke her down completely—she decides it’s time to live up to her own legend. And Armin and Blythe are going to help.

Which was the plan all along.

Because the rumors are true. Every single one. And Laney is going to show them just how true.

She’s going to show them all.

excerpt

April, Last Year

April is the cruelest month, T. S. Eliot said, and that’s because it kills. It’s the month with the highest suicide rate. You’d think December, or even January—the holidays and all that forced cheer and agonized smiling pushing fragile people to the edge—but actually it’s spring, when the world wakes from frost-bound sleep and something cruel and final stirs inside those of us who are broken. Like Eliot said: mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain. In the deepest throes of depression, when sunlight is anguish and the sky throbs like one big raw migraine and you just want to sleep until you or everything else dies, you’re less likely to commit suicide than someone coming out of a depressive episode. Drug companies know this. That’s why antidepressants have to be marked with the warning MAY CAUSE SUICIDAL THOUGHTS.

Because what brings you back to life also gives you the means to destroy yourself.

———

Flick, flick, flick. The lighter in my hand, the sound of my life grinding into sparks that would never catch, under a salmon-pink dawn in Nowhereville, Illinois. Gravel crunched beneath my shoes, polished like oyster shell from the rain. I stopped at the puddle outside our garage and peered into the oily mirrored water, watching the slow swirl of a gasoline rainbow, the tiny orange tongue of fire licking shadows from my face until they washed back over and over. An unlit cigarette hung from my lip and my mouth had a weird bleach taste I tried not to think about. I tried not to think about anything that had happened last night. I was eighteen and, according to Mom, “completely out of control,” which to anyone else would have meant “a normal teenager.” Mom’s favorite hobby: projecting her own psych issues onto me.

Very soon I’d be free of her.

From the alley I could see the backyard, the grass jeweled with dew. Mom’s garden lined the walk to the porch, hyacinths with their cones of curled blue stars, rosebuds crumpled like flakes of dried blood, everything glazed in clear lacquer and the air musky with the cologne of rain. At six fifteen she’d wake and find my bed empty. But that wasn’t the real problem. The real problem was that in about three minutes, something terrible was going to happen. The thing you’ll hate me for. The thing that will make me an Unsympathetic Protagonist.

Since the fourth wall is down, let’s get one thing straight:

I am not the heroine of this story.

And I’m not trying to be cute. It’s the truth. I’m diagnosed borderline and seriously f*cked-up. I hold grudges. I bottle my hate until it ferments into poison, and then I get high off the fumes. I’m completely dysfunctional and that’s the way I like it, so don’t expect a character arc where I finally find Redemption, Growth, and Change, or learn How to Forgive Myself and Others.

F*ck forgiveness.

Oh, and I’m a writer. Which is worse than all the rest put together.

Open sesame, I texted my brother.

I don’t know how I didn’t hear it. It was quiet, the crickets creaking like a rusty seesaw, but that other sound must have been there, scratching softly at my brain. I crept into the backyard through the maze of Mom’s thorns.

The house was dark, Donnie’s curtains closed. Wake up f*ckface, I texted, punctuating with a smiley. Six twelve a.m. Three minutes until Medusa’s alarm went off. Donnie always slept with his phone under his pillow, which was probably slowly giving him cancer. He should’ve been up by now. Mom’s gonna kill me, I wrote. Do you want to be an only child?

Six thirteen.

Dammit. I had to beat that alarm.

I bolted across the lawn, kicking pearls of dew loose from the grass. A thorn snagged my ankle but I wouldn’t notice the blood till much later, in the hospital. My socks instantly went damp. It wasn’t until I’d reached the porch that I saw the other tracks, paralleling mine.

A chill swept up my back. I touched the kitchen doorknob.

Unlocked.

I didn’t open it. That coldness wove around my spine, thickening, binding. Someone was awake. Someone had come downstairs, crossed the yard before me.

I turned.

She was in the garage, at the window. I knew my mother’s silhouette from long years of it slipping into doorways, catching us horsing around when we should’ve been asleep, catching me when I snuck in alone after midnight, my body weary and ancient with all that had been done to it. I knew the high set of those shoulders, that neck rigid with contempt. The closed mouth carved tight into her elegant Gorgon skull. She’d stand there without saying a word. Her silence was the kind that compelled you to fill it with all your wrongs. I could never see her eyes but I knew they burned ice-wraith blue, and now I felt them through the dusty window pane, felt the stare that could turn me to stone.

I removed the lighter slowly from my pocket. Flicked it once with exaggerated languor. Lit up. Took a long, luxuriously filthy drag, meeting her stare. The inside of my body felt carbon-coated, black and grimy. Not the soft pink vulnerable thing I really was.

Okay, bitch. Your move.

She just stood there.

Those moments counted. Those moments when I faced her, eating fire and breathing smoke, telling myself I was hard, that I could crush her and this whole world in my hands. Telling myself she couldn’t hurt me. No one could hurt me anymore.

Those moments could have saved us.

By the time I reached the end of the cigarette the sun had torn a red gash at the horizon, and I saw that Mom was unsteady on her feet, swaying. And finally I realized what that rhythmic sound was beneath the crickets. I knew it from climbing up into the garage rafters with my brother to smoke a J, the beams creaking with our weight. Wood, under strain.

I dropped my cigarette in the grass.

In some deep part of me, I already knew. I crossed the lawn, noticing the white square taped to the side door only when I touched the knob. A name scrawled across the paper in her bold, slashing handwriting.

Delaney.

How had she known it would be me?

I ignored the note. I was trying to turn the doorknob and failing. Locked.

“Mom,” I said, and rattled the door, then again, louder, “Mom.”

She swayed dreamily.

A light flipped on inside the house, a yellow frame falling over me. I braced both hands on the knob and kicked. Everything stretched away like the reflection in a car mirror. My mind floated above my head, looking down at my body: Laney Keating, her hair matted, a black wash of mascara running down her cheeks, her mouth still bitter from the blowjob, throttling the garage door and screaming her mother’s name. I watched her from a faraway place. She gave up kicking and punched straight through the window in a brilliant starburst of glass. I felt the heat shoot up my arm like a drug, saw the redness streaking over my skin, but didn’t quite connect it to me, to the girl crawling in over those jagged glass teeth, tumbling to the floor, scrambling up and screaming as she grabbed her mother’s legs and uselessly lifted the limp, hanging body. My mind was still outside, staring at my name on the suicide note. All I could think was, How did she know I’d find her? How did she know it would be me?

———

I don’t remember much else because I blacked out thirty seconds later. Dad had seen me from the house and dragged me onto the lawn, then Mom, laying us side by side. I was unconscious but somehow I can picture it. Grass curling over bone-white skin, tracing horsetails of dew, tiny clear beads that reflect an entire world full of stars and flowers and our pale bodies, everything she’d left behind. My blood mixed with the dew and turned pink. The glass would leave scars on my right hand like the ghost of a cobweb, which is what scars are: a haunting of the skin.

At the funeral Dad said he thought she’d killed us both. He’d been a heartbeat from getting his semiautomatic and joining us when he realized I had a pulse.

This might sound f*cked-up, but the part that really upset me wasn’t the suicide. That had been a long time coming. What disturbed me was that she knew I’d find her first.

I am my mother’s daughter.

I know what it feels like to plan something that will destroy you, to be so f*cking sure you want it that you arrange everything perfectly, prune the roses while you debate the merits of hanging yourself with nylon rope versus an appliance cord, serve your children baked ziti while your suicide note lies in a desk drawer like a cruel bird of prey waiting to unfold its wings until, one morning when the world is diamond-strung with rain and your daughter is coming home from another night of ruining herself (because you were never there for her, you were never there), you get up before everyone else and calmly step into the garage, and that noose, and eternity.

She’d planned it for years. Knew it was coming and kept tending that garden. Those roses she would never see bloom, the irises and peonies, the daughter and son, all of us left behind to flower, somehow, without her.

Well, I did. I bloomed into the dark thing she made me. I am a creature with a vast capacity for patience, and for violence. For watching. For waiting. For taking the moment only when it is perfect and sure. I’m a hunter like my mother, patient and watchful and still, my fangs full of black venom. There is a terrible thing tucked inside me raring to lunge forth into the light. And I’m just waiting for that perfect moment. Just waiting. Just waiting.

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EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY: Deep by Kylie Scott

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The 2015 Birthday Teasers Event continues, and today, I am sharing with you a never seen before excerpt from the fourth book in the Stage Dive series by an author whose every book I’ve truly loved—Kylie ScottDeep is Ben’s story, and we finally get to meet the bearded man-wonder, the bass player of Stage Dive, and his leading lady!!! The release date is 31 March 2015, and while this book could be read as a standalone novel, it is best to read this series in order as characters keep returning in subsequent books, their stories continually moving forward. I cannot recommend this book and series highly enough, each new instalment beating the previous one in depth and character development, making this series one of my all-time favourites and some of my most beloved re-reads. ♥

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Positive. With two little lines on a pregnancy test, everything in Lizzy Rollins’ ordinary life is about to change forever. And all because of one big mistake in Vegas with Ben Nicholson, the irresistibly sexy bass player for Stage Dive. So what if Ben’s the only man she’s ever met who can make her feel completely safe, cherished, and out of control with desire at the same time? Lizzy knows the gorgeous rock star isn’t looking for anything more permanent than a good time, no matter how much she wishes differently.

Ben knows Lizzy is off limits. Completely and utterly. She’s his best friend’s little sister now, and no matter how hot the chemistry is between them, no matter how sweet and sexy she is, he’s not going to go there. But when Ben is forced to keep the one girl he’s always had a weakness for out of trouble in Sin City, he quickly learns that what happens in Vegas, doesn’t always stay there.

Now he and Lizzie are connected in the deepest way possible…but will it lead to a connection of the heart?

excerpt

“Thank you for the lift home,” I said.

“Any time. I mean that.” He rested a hand on the steering wheel, shifting slightly to look my way.

Happy chemicals stirred inside of me. Lustful, crazy things telling me to jump him, to climb all over him and cover his gorgeous face in kisses. To rub my jaw against his beard and see if it felt soft or not. To let him see exactly how he affected me, how adored he could be.

“Kills me when you look at me like that,” he murmured.

I just smiled. My tongue was too tangled for any attempt at wit. Thing was, I couldn’t not look at him like that. It just wasn’t in me to be any other way, not with him.

He exhaled hard, staring out the windshield. “I go to that club a couple of times a week to pick up. Place like that? Easy as hell. Pretty much the only reason people go there is to get drunk and get laid.”

“I see.”

“I’m serious.”

“Okay, Ben. You’re not a virgin. Duly noted. Me neither, by the way.”

Dreamy dark eyes pinned me in place, owning me. He licked his lips. Every time he did that my hormones erupted into the song of joy, a full orchestra plus heavenly choir accompanying. The whole shebang. It was ridiculous.

“F*ck, you’re pretty,” he sighed. “Make me wish for all sorts of shit I shouldn’t.”

“Who says you shouldn’t?” I asked, leaning closer.

“Mal. Your sister.”

“This isn’t about them. It’s about you and me.”

“Sweetheart. Liz. . . .” The deep, dirty way he said my name, holy shit. His voice rumbled through me, lighting fires and causing chaos everywhere it went. I’d never be the same.

“Yeah?” I leaned closer, and then closer still, heart thundering and lips at the ready. Never in my life had kissing someone seemed so important. I needed his mouth on mine. His breath and his body, all of him.

Nothing else mattered.

I turned, propping a knee beneath me to help with the height difference. Hesitant but hopeful smile in place, I put my hand on his shoulder, getting closer. F*ck waiting on him to make the first move. Time to go after what I wanted.

“Liz.”

“Yeah?”

That’s when it registered. Ben’s body language was all wrong. The man wasn’t moving into me, wanting me back. I was alone in this.

“You don’t . . .” Words caught in my dry throat, sticking. I withdrew my hand.

“I can’t.”

“What?”

He stared straight ahead. “You should go in.”

Whatever face I had on, it wasn’t happy. “You want me to go?”

“It’s for the best.”

“It’s for the best,” I parroted, staring perplexed at the dogged shadows on his face.

“I can’t do this, Liz. I can’t do it to the band.”

“And you answer to the band for who you date?”

“We’re not dating.”

I cleared my throat. “No, we’re not dating. But god, we spent hours talking and texting to each other.”

The look he gave me was tortured. “I’m sorry. I can’t.”

“Right.” All of the emotion inside me felt huge, overwhelming. Still my mind worked, turning all of the evidence over, trying to figure out where I’d lost the track. How the f*ck I came to be flailing in the woods. “I think you were a little bored, a little lonely maybe, so you played with me.”

With a grimace he turned away.

“Tell me I’m wrong.”

Nothing.

At least now I knew where I stood. As if that was any real consolation. I pushed open the passenger’s side door, climbing down.

“Liz—”

I slammed the truck door shut, cold metal stinging the palms of my hands. Done with him. I was so damn done with him. The bitter night air slapped me in the face, waking me right the hell up. How f*cking embarrassing. I’d felt so much and been so sure. Went to show you how much I knew.

Nothing.

Not a single f*cking thing.

Time to put my heart and hopes back on ice.

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Stage Dive – Reading Order and Purchase Links
LICK_new play Lead Deep

LickMy Review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
PlayMy Review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
LeadMy Review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
DeepAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback

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EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY: Becoming Rain by K.A.Tucker

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The 2015 Birthday Teasers Event continues, and today, I am sharing with you a never seen before excerpt from K.A. Tucker‘s upcoming novel, Becoming Rain, expected on 3 March 2015. This is the sequel to Burying Water, a suspenseful and heart-wrenching love story I loved, but it can be read as a standalone novel. And if you scroll all the way down to the bottom of the post, you can enter to win a signed copy!! ♥

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Luke Boone doesn’t know exactly what his uncle Rust is involved in but he wants in on it—the cars, the money, the women. And it looks like he’s finally getting his wish. When Rust hands him the managerial keys to the garage, they come with a second set—one that opens up the door to tons of cash and opportunity. Though it’s not exactly legal, Luke’s never been one to worry about that sort of thing. Especially when it puts him behind the wheel of a Porsche 911 and onto the radar of gorgeous socialite named Rain.

Clara Bertelli is at the top of her game—at only twenty-six years old, she’s one of the most successful undercover officers in the Washington, DC, major crime unit, and she’s just been handed a case that could catapult her career and expose one of the West coast’s most notorious car theft rings. But, in order to do it, she’ll need to go deep undercover as Rain Martines. Her target? The twenty-four-year-old nephew of a key player who appears ready to follow in his uncle’s footsteps.

As Clara drifts deeper into the luxurious lifestyle of Rain, and further into the arms of her very attractive and charming target, the lines between right and wrong start to blur, making her wonder if she’ll be able to leave it all behind. Or if she’ll even want to. ​

excerpt

I hang up with Warner and head straight for my window, opening a section of the blinds. Just like I promised Luke I’d do. He wanted to walk me home but I made him stay, on the condition that I’d wave to him from my room so he’d know I was safe.

Sure enough, there he is, waiting. Lights on. Changed into a pair of track pants, I assume for his daily obsessive workout.

Shirtless.

My heart rate jumps. I simply stand there with my arms over my chest, admiring the view. Glad that there’s a street and two flights of stairs between me and that right now.

What? he mouths, corded arms stretched out to either side of him, a smirk curling his lips. Knowing exactly how attractive he is.

I can play this game.

It’s a dangerous game.

The adrenaline junkie in me—it’s in all undercovers—likes dangerous games.

My fingers move quickly as I unbutton my blouse and let it drop to my feet. A quick glance to the condo beside Luke—the only one that might have an awkwardly angled view into my bedroom to see what I’m doing right now—confirms that no one else is watching. Taking a deep breath, I reach one arm behind me to unclasp my bra while my other hand hits the button for the blinds. They revolve shut just as I let the lace fall.

I dare peek around the edge. And giggle. Luke’s head is bowed and pressed up against the glass. Track pants don’t hide much.

I switch off the lights and spend the next hour spying on Luke, as he attempts to get his usual crunches and push-ups in and ends up heading into the shower.

I probably shouldn’t have done that.

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Burying Water – Recommended Reading Order and Purchase Links
BuryingWater 322
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Burying WaterMy Review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Becoming RainAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback (3 Mar 2015)
Chasing RiverAmazon US | Amazon UKAmazon CA | Paperback (7 Jul 2015)

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EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT: The Design by R.S. Grey

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The 2015 Birthday Teasers Event continues, and today, I am featuring the sequel to R.S. Grey‘s delightful The Duet. An upbeat, utterly delightful read, The Duet was the perfect balance of light-hearted comedy and sizzling romance, one I thoroughly enjoyed cover to cover, and I have been anxiously awaiting the second book in the series ever since. So, it’s with a huge smile that I share with you a never seen before excerpt from The Design, to be released on 1 March 2015, and an awesome giveaway… ♥

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Five minutes until the interview begins. 

Fresh on the heels of her college graduation, Cameron Heart has landed an interview at a prestigious architecture firm.

Four minutes until the interview. 

She knows she’s only there because the owner, Grayson Cole, is her older sister’s friend.

Three minutes. 

For the last seven years, Grayson has been the most intimidating man Cammie has ever had the pleasure, or displeasure, of being around.

Two Minutes. 

But the job opportunity is too good to pass up. So, Cammie will have to ignore the fact that Grayson is handsome enough to have his own national holiday.

One.

After all, she shouldn’t feel that way about her new boss. And, he will be her new boss.

excerpt

“And Cameron,” he spoke, forcing me to pause as my hand hit the door knob. I turned my head to look back at him, hope brimming through every pore. “It’s not Grayson. It’s Mr. Cole. I’m not your friend while you’re here.”

I bristled at his reprimand. There he was. The formal prick. He wanted to put me in my place, but I knew his secret now. You can’t just turn attraction off like a light switch. I may have had torn tights and smudged make-up, but I was the same girl I’d been for the last twenty-two years. Which meant, deep down, Grayson was still attracted to me. A small smirk unfolded across my lips as I realized the power that knowledge gave me.

“And what about when I’m not here?” I asked, tilting my head to the side and staring into his blue eyes with more confidence than I’d felt all morning.

He studied me for a moment, unmoving, and then he pressed his finger back onto his phone’s intercom button. “Beatrice, please escort Ms. Heart out of my office and then get Mitch back on the line.”

I laughed at his obvious choice to ignore my question and then turned and saw myself out of his office. No need for the escort. Beatrice gave me a knowing glance as I passed by her desk, and I smiled.

As I rode the elevator down to the first floor, I thought of the deal I’d made with myself. I had a very clear outline: concentrate on work, save up, and then fly away to Paris forever. But, maybe, there was room for an amendment to the plan? The end goal would remain the same, but what did it matter if I had a little fun with Grayson before I left?

After all, I’d just landed my dream job, so it looked like I was onto the newest item my to-do list:

Grayson Cole.

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Heart series reading order and purchase links
(standalone novels with interconnected characters)
theduet
thedesign

The DuetMy review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA
The DesignAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA

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EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY: Losers Weepers by Nicole Williams

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♥ Happy Valentine’s Day, my book junkies!!! ♥

The 2015 Birthday Teasers Event continues, and today, I am sharing with you a never seen before excerpt from the upcoming fourth book in the Lost and Found series by the super-talented Nicole Williams, featuring one of my all-time favourite book boyfriends: Garth Black. The sequel to Finders Keepers and the continuation to Garth Black’s story, Losers Weepers is expected on 24 February 2015. And if you scroll all the way down to the bottom of the post, you can enter to win a signed set of both Finders Keepers and Losers Weepers!! ♥

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If we didn’t know darkness, we couldn’t fully appreciate the light.

Garth Black’s more familiar with this concept than most people are. He hadn’t just lived in the dark for the majority of his life—he thrived in it. With a mom who’d bailed on him and a dad whose understanding of coddling started and ended with a bottle of whiskey, Garth had never been expected to rise to any sort of occasion other than following down the same dead-end paths.

That changed when he fell in love with Josie Gibson. After years of pulling each other closer before shoving the other way, they finally stopped shoving. Josie’s love is like nothing Garth’s ever experienced. He holds it close. He holds it sacred. He would do anything to preserve it and keep it from pollution, even if that means removing himself from the picture.

Garth might have been allowed a temporary furlough to bask in the light, but that pass has been revoked, and he’s been swallowed again by the dark. Will he revert to his old ways of hurting those he cares for most? Will he go back to the same destructive patterns . . . or will it be worse this time?

We can’t know light without first knowing dark . . . and Garth Black’s about to get acquainted with the dark in a whole new way.

excerpt

It was getting close to being my turn to ride, but I liked to wait until the last possible moment to make my way to the chute and the bull. I liked taking my time and running the dirt through my fingers before I got sucked into the adrenaline vortex that resided within a fifty-foot radius of the chutes.

Crouching, I cupped a handful of dirt from the arena and felt the weight of it. This past year, I’d spent more time riding indoors than outdoors, which meant I’d “arrived” in the bull riding world. It seemed kind of backward to me that when a rider made it big, he started spending more of his time indoors than out, but that was the way it worked. The soil in the indoor arenas had taken some getting used to. Don’t get me wrong, it was still dirt, but it had a different feel. It was heavier, grittier almost. Like every grain of dirt was vying to get its own attention. It was darker too.

After spending long summers riding outdoors, where the dirt got dry and hard in August, or spending plenty of time in the red soil of eastern Montana, the dark, thick indoor soil had been as foreign as the bright lights and giant crowds. After a few months, I’d gotten used to it. The bright lights and giant crowds at least. The soil still felt wrong, but I couldn’t let rituals die just because the dirt felt strange.

I was sifting the last of it through my fingers when I heard someone come up behind me. I knew who it was without looking. Before I knew it, I was smiling . . . and I wasn’t supposed to be the goddamned smiling idiot.

“There’s a rumor going around that Garth Black is signing women’s bras at the end of the rider’s hallway.”

The last of the soil slipped through my fingers. “You know what a rumor is, right?”

“A half truth.”

I lifted myself up, fighting every instinct to whirl around and wrestle her into my arms. The other thing I didn’t know about “realizing” my dreams in the arena was that it meant spending plenty of nights in roadside hotels and waking up to a cold bed. Being away from Joze so much was the worst part of it, but a bull rider’s career only lasted a few years. My plan was to win as many competitions and cash as many checks as I could before I was either forced or broken enough to retire. Then I’d spend the rest of my life crawling into bed beside the woman I loved. If I made the same kind of money for the next couple years that I had this past year, we’d be all set to remodel the old farmhouse we’d purchased last summer and purchase the thousand acres around the house to raise cattle on. That was our goal. The guy who’d wanted nothing better than riding bulls and winning buckles wanted to retire as a cattle rancher. Go figure.

“Are you asking me or accusing me?” I tilted my head back just enough to see her silhouette behind me.

Josie’s hand flew to her hip, making my smile stretch. She was about as jealous a girlfriend as she was a prim and proper one, but she was up to something.

“Neither,” she answered, moving closer. “I came to get my own Garth Black autograph . . . right here.”

The coy act was over. Whipping around, I found Josie unbuttoning the top couple buttons of her shirt and pulling it down to reveal the top of her bra.

“Joze,” I warned, looking around and ready to prod any wandering, gaping, or otherwise inappropriate looking eyes.

“Come on. I want an autograph.” She fingered the top ridge of her bra, playing with it. My throat went dry. “With the way he’s been riding this past year, an official Garth Black autographed bra should fetch me at least a few hundred bucks on eBay.”

I feigned a look of insult. “A few hundred? Try a few thousand.”

She smiled, continuing to play with the cup of her bra. “That’s nice . . . but sign my bra already. Before I’m forced to get physical with you.” She wet her lips, slowly and deliberately, as she moved closer.

Shit. I was supposed to be focusing on my ride and doing the whole visualization thing, but the only thing I was visualizing was Josie’s bra and the rest of her clothing winding up in a pile at her feet.

“Now why would I give you your autograph with that threat on the table?” My boots couldn’t stay where they were any longer. I found myself moving toward her without making a conscious decision.

When my arms were about to ring around her waist, she pulled a pen from her pocket and lifted it in front of my face. “My autograph,” she said in a firm voice, tapping the lace of her bra with her finger. “Now.”

I took the pen and pulled the cap off with my teeth. “I can’t say no to my biggest fan, now can I?”

Josie’s eyes held mine as she raised an eyebrow. “Saying no isn’t exactly your strong suit when it comes to me.”

A crooked smile slid into place as I dropped the tip of the pen to her chest. “No, it isn’t.”

Signing a girl’s bra is harder than a guy might like to believe. The unevenness of the lace, matched with the knowledge of what that material is covering or, depending on the style, just barely covering, makes focusing on signing one’s name legibly and correctly next to impossible.

“Oops,” I said as I finished signing my last name on her skin. It may or may not have been done intentionally.

Josie gave me a look, knowing every bit how intentional it had been. “So? How did it compare?”

I capped the pen and handed it back to her, admiring my autograph . . . or admiring the spot where it was. My handwriting was sloppy as hell and looked more like a middle schooler’s graffiti than a grown man’s signature. “How did what compare?”

“Signing your girlfriend’s bra next to signing the rest of those”—Josie cleared her throat to substitute the word, or string of words, she’d been considering—“bras?”

My brows were nearly hidden beneath the brim of my hat, so she couldn’t see them pull together. “There is no comparison.”

She smiled at where I’d signed my name, tracing the letters of my last name with her finger. I realized just how perfect this moment was for pulling out the ring in my back pocket. I had planned on waiting until after the competition, when I’d had a shower and was in fresh clothes, and doing it over a fancy dinner with a fancy bottle of champagne, but this was the moment. I knew it. She was with me for the first time in three weeks, and she was smiling at my last name scribbled on her body—the same last name I was hoping with everything I had left to hope with that she’d want to make her own one day.

I might have had a plan for how I wanted to propose, but life was meant to be spontaneous. The same went for engagements.

“Have you been working on that ‘there is no comparison’ answer for a while, Black?” She finished tracing the K before lifting her eyes to mine. “Because it was a good one. I guess since I’ve hardly seen you for a solid twenty-four hours this past month, you’ve had plenty of time to work on it.”

I patted my back pocket for the hundredth time. It was still there. I didn’t know where I thought it would go—it wasn’t like an inanimate object could just hop out of my pocket and bounce out of the arena. “Joze, when I said there was no comparison, I meant that in both the literal and figurative way.”

She lifted an impressed brow. She liked it when I talked as though I used my brain for more than just a cushion when I landed headfirst after being thrown from the back of a two-thousand-pound animal.

“Your bra-slash-chest”—my eyes lowered to my name and everything around it—“correction, your perfect chest, is the first one I’ve ever autographed, so there is, literally, no comparison.” When her forehead started to crease, I continued. “But even if I had signed all of those bras you’ve heard from the rumors I have—even if I’d signed millions—there would be, figuratively, no comparison whatsoever. None.”

She was fighting to keep that stern expression, but it was close to slipping. Joze was a champ at giving me a hard time and making me walk a fine line, but she could never stay upset at me, for real or pretend, when I was layering on the good lines.

“Let’s get a bit more figurative with this whole thing then.” Her gaze dropped to her chest, her finger hooking under the clasp at the center of her bra.

My gaze followed hers.

“Let’s fast forward thirty years, or copious amounts of tanning without sunscreen and bouncing up and down stairs without a bra . . . can you still say there’d be no comparison?” I was opening my mouth to reply when she added, “And look me in the eye while you answer?”

I tipped my hat back just enough she could get a good look at my eyes. Since we were kids, Josie had been able to call out my lies just by taking one good look into my eyes—that was why I’d avoided letting them drift her way for a good portion of our lives—but I didn’t divert them anymore. Not even when she was asking a hard question, and with a history like mine, there was no shortage of difficult questions to ask and answer.

I had to work to keep my face straight before I let myself say one word. “That’s what lots of money and a skilled surgeon are for, so yeah, I can answer that even thirty years from now, with all of that sun . . . bouncing . . . stuff, there will still be no comparison.” I worked my tongue into my cheek when she crossed her arms. “Post operative, of course.”

Her arms crossed tighter. “You drew VooDoo, right? I’m going to go have a little chat with him and request that he drive one or both of his horns into your ass after you give the eight-second ride of your life.”

Josie started toward where the bulls were being sorted into the chutes before I grabbed her hand. I couldn’t let her go one more step without asking my question. I couldn’t let myself go one more step without knowing her answer.

Sure, we’d purchased the old farmhouse together and talked as though we would live and die together, but the actual topic of marriage hadn’t been discussed. I guessed she wasn’t against the concept, but my palms were still breaking out in a sweat and my heart was thudding so powerfully, I could practically feel it vibrating against my chest armor.

“Joze, wait.” I tugged on her hand to bring her back. “I’ve got to ask you something before you go ask VooDoo to pierce my backside.” I peaked a brow at her as I slipped my hand into my back pocket.

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Lost and Found – Reading Order and Purchase Links
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Lost and FoundMy Review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Near and FarMy Review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Finders KeepersMy Review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Losers WeepersMy Review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Heart and Soul: coming 16 Jun 2015…

Connect with author: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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To win a signed paperback set of Finders Keepers and Losers Weepers, please enter below. By entering, you are accepting the following Giveaway Conditions. This 48-hour contest is open internationally.

Enter giveaway here…

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Have you missed any exclusive excerpts posted so far during my 2015 Birthday Teasers Event? Just click on the book cover to reads that excerpt…

AStoneintheSea CONFESS LosersWeepers soaring
thedesign BecomingRain 644 whereseameetssky_CR Deep322
blackiris brokenjuliet2 TheOtherMan
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EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY: A Stone in the Sea by A.L. Jackson

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For the third year in a row, I am celebrating my birthday by sharing with my fellow book junkies the books I am most anxious to get my hands on in the next few months or so, and today, it only seems fitting to start this beloved Blog event with one of my favourite authors in the whole wide world…the one and only A.L. Jackson. With a keen penchant for writing books that never fail to leave me an emotional mess. Ms Jackson has gifted us with gems like The Regret series, When We Collide, the Closer to You series, and now her upcoming Bleeding Hearts series. I am so honoured to be able to share with you a never seen before excerpt from the first book in this new series, A Stone in the Sea, expected on 23 February 2015 (my actual birthday!), and an opportunity to win one of three signed copies of this book!

The second book, Drowning to Breathe, is expected in June 2015, and the third book, Through the Storm, in October 2015. ♥

Buy book: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CAiBooks

He wanted nothing at all…

Until he found she had everything to give…

Sunder lead singer and guitarist Sebastian Stone has everything—fans, fame, and fortune. He also has a heart full of bitterness and a reputation for a short-fused temper. But an outward reputation rarely reveals the true man inside. Facing assault charges after trying to protect his younger brother, Sebastian is sent to Savannah, Georgia to lie low until the dust settles in L.A.

Shea Bentley is beautiful, kind, and hiding from the very lifestyle Sebastian has always embraced.

When the mysterious, tattooed stranger begins hanging out at the bar where she works, Shea is quick to recognize he is nothing but trouble, but she’s helpless to the way her body lights up every time his intense gray eyes tangle with hers.

They both soon find themselves drowning in a sea of desire and passion that won’t let them up for air.

Sebastian knows firsthand secrets never die, and he’s not the only one who’s hiding them.

Loving someone always comes with a price. But will it be Shea’s past that costs them everything?

excerpt

Baz followed me into my shadowy room. The door to the bathroom rested partially ajar and the bright overhead lights bled a dim hue of light in a wedge across the floor. It was messy, clothes strewn across the floor, tossed onto the large chair sitting under the window, the bed unmade.

I stopped in the middle of it, trying to still the thunder pounding through my veins while I listened to the soft click of my bedroom door being closed.

Slowly I turned around. The air just leaving my lungs hitched when I took him in, the captivating force of this man magnified, grey eyes turned to pitch, the most brilliant kind of black.

Savage.

Feral.

I all-out shook beneath the severity of it all, knowing after tonight, I was never going to be the same.

He was going to mark me.

Scar me.

“You see me, Shea?” The gruff question threw me, and he lifted his chin in a challenge I wanted to meet. I knew what he was offering. One last chance to back out. A warning that came with all that fierce beauty because we both knew he had the power to lay me to waste.

But where there’s beauty there’s also pain.

And I wanted to share in his, because I felt it every time he looked at me. I wanted to immerse myself it, in him. To be set adrift in all he kept hidden, to slip under, to see and feel and experience what he shored up tight inside.

Slowly, I lifted my own chin. But not in challenge. In surrender. “Show me.”

He watched me closely as he pulled a strip of six condoms out of his front pocket.

Correction.

Five.

One was missing.

Jealousy curled through me like a sickness, and I attempted to swallow around it, knowing this wasn’t going to end well. My heart was never going to make it.

But in this moment, I didn’t care.

Because I was falling.

Falling.

Falling.

Falling.

He tossed them onto the center of my rumpled bed. “Glove box,” he said as if he felt the need to explain.

Awareness swelled, that perception that belonged only to us, lifting in an arc, barbs of energy prickling at my fevered skin.

Never releasing me from the grip of his gaze, he reached for the collar of his tee at his nape and tugged it over his head. Almost defiantly, he stood up straight and stared back at me.

All that insane, confusing attraction I’d somehow managed to keep under semi-control, hidden inside, burst, a slide that wasn’t so slow pushing heat through my veins. Gathering fast.

My mouth went dry and I shifted on unsteady feet.

He knelt down and unlaced his boots, rose and toed them off, ticked through the buttons on his fly. Shoving his jeans down his legs, he shrugged out of them, kicked the pile of clothing aside.

Oh. God.

He stood there in nothing but a pair of tight, tight short boxer briefs, his thick erection straining against the fabric, pushing at the elastic band in a play to break free.

Just like the first time he lifted his face to me, I was again confronted with more beauty than I could fathom. Again imperfect. And again I was sure that was part of the problem, because my heart lurched in a bid to meet with his, and my stomach clenched with the flood of desire that sailed straight through me.

In the dim light, my eyes soaked him in.

Dragging across wide, wide shoulders. Tracing collarbones and exploring all the coarse, rigid muscle that defined his chest. I sucked in a broken breath when I let them wander, down to take in how those wide shoulders and chest tapered into the flat planes of his abdomen. Hipbones jutted out from his narrow waist, a deep cut of muscles on his lower stomach that disappeared beneath the waistband of his underwear.

The strength of him was overbearing. Foreboding.

And I was sure I’d never seen a more brutally beautiful man.

But just like his face, scars were etched into his skin, lanced across his chest, one slashed in a long gash across his side. Some deep. Others shallow.

All significant.

Both of his arms were completely covered in ink, colors and swirls and more beauty that spoke of pain, bleeding crosses and indecipherable words and hidden innuendo, one arm covered in the depiction of a darkened sky, the night infinite. Eternal.

My attention was drawn to the mermaid on his opposite upper arm. Her face was fierce and evil and somehow angelic, sitting on a rock next to a raging sea swishing her tail. A pocket watch was held gingerly in the scoop of her hands. The watch appeared to be disintegrating, slipping through her fingers, like sands of an hourglass falling through the cracks.

But his torso was bare, all except for one tattoo than ran down his side. It was a monkey. A green monkey that clearly was supposed to be some sort of stuffed animal. The artwork was crafted to appear fluffy, the arms and legs long and lanky. The face was white with plain black dots for the eyes and nose, the smiling mouth a black seam.

But it was turned upside down, bent backward, the arms and legs flailing, as if it were tumbling in a free fall.

It left no illusion of a chance to be saved.

The childlike simplicity of it was gut-wrenching.

And I knew. And I knew. And I knew.

“You see me, Shea?” he asked again, hands in fists at his sides, his voice tight. There was no missing the sharp edge of vulnerability that bled into it.

“Yes,” I whispered, stepping closer, letting my fingertips trail across his collarbones, down the strength of his chest that jumped beneath my touch, the to the monkey falling at his side.

When there’s beauty, there’s also pain.

A big callused hand out came up to cup the side of my neck, to steal my breath, because it was sweet and completely unexpected. He tilted my chin back with his thumb, his fingernail scratching up and down the hollow of my neck as he stared at me, the brush of it stirring me up more.

Falling.

Falling.

Falling.

“Tried to stay away from you,” he murmured, the song of that velvety voice wrapping around me like a full body embrace. “Tried. But there wasn’t one goddamned thing I could do to get you out of my head.”

Remorse flashed through his eyes. “Don’t wanna hurt you.”

We both knew it was already too late.

My face was turned up to his, and he leaned in, slowly, his full, full lips parting just enough to catch my bottom lip between them, tugging soft, letting go.

“Shea,” he whispered.

The skin tingled, and a rash of chills skated down my spine. Keeping hold of my neck, Baz followed them with his opposite hand, his palm running flat as it pressed firm into the small of my back, all the way down to my ass where he gripped me tightly, pulled me up close against his cock where it urged against my belly.

A short gasp escaped me.

Like the sound was fuel, heavy hands found my hips, and he spun me fast and slammed me up against the wall next to my door. I hit it with a grunt, and I clung to his shoulders as my knees went weak.

He captured my mouth with a blinding assault of lips and tongue and teeth. His tongue was wet and warm. Demanding. Just as demanding as his fingers that kneaded into my hips, palms sliding down the back of my thighs, trailing back up. As he did, he dragged one of my legs up and then the other until I was tacked against the wall beneath his weight, my legs begging around his waist.

And God, I begged.

He smiled against my mouth as he threaded his fingers with mine and pinned my hands above my head. Rocking against me, he leveled me with darkened eyes. “Say it again.”

“Please,” I whispered madly, my back arching from the wall, all coherent thoughts slipping away and every kind of irrational, foolish idea rushing in to take their place—all supplied by the euphoric feel of his cock rubbing at the denim between my thighs.

It’d been too too long. Yet somehow just the right amount of time. This moment for him. This moment for me. For us.

Even though it would crush me, I knew it had to be.

A groan rumbled deep in his chest, and he lifted me from the wall, hiking me farther up his chest. He began to carry me across the room. One hand was tangled in the mass of my hair, bunching it up, the other an iron band around my waist.

He laid me in the center of my bed. My chest took a stuttered heave when he stepped back and looked down at me, my knees rocking with unsettled nerves, my booted feet propped flat on the bed.

Staring down over me, he just stood there, an impenetrable expression hardening his face. Unreadable, yet anything but blank. Like he were processing a million thoughts, while I didn’t know much of anything except how I was aching, how each second he wasn’t touching me he was driving me closer to going mad.

How it was only one more second I didn’t get to be with him. One second lost. One second closer to when he would leave.

He kissed the inside crease of my knee and fire rocketed straight to my core.

I exhaled toward the ceiling, hands twisting in my sheets, hips jerking in anticipation. “Please,” I said again, because I wasn’t sure how much more of this I could take.

He placed another midway at the inside of my thigh, letting a hand glide down the opposite leg, all the way down to brush his fingers along the seam of my shorts.

A little show of fireworks. The promise of more.

His movements were slow and sure when he pulled back to tug the boots from my feet, one by one, peeling off the cushy socks I wore with them. I stretched my toes and dug them into the bed, and he smiled all soft as if he liked it, just as he was pressing my knees apart and setting a single knee on the bed. He leaned in far enough to jerk at the button of my shorts, and a trembled breath escaped me when he angled back and dragged them down my legs.

“Goddamn.” Baz wet his lips, and he shot me an unfettered glance before looking back at me lying there in my panties and tee. “Got the best legs, baby.”

Hot hands splayed wide, riding up the outside of my thighs, scraping over my hips and sides, gathering up the material of my shirt as he went. He ripped it over my head and tossed it to the floor.

My hair fell around me and my heart beat so hard I could feel it in my ears.

His yanked me closer to him, close enough to the edge that he could snake his hands under my back and unclasp my bra. He slid it off, leaning back to take me in with all that hunger he’d been watching me with for weeks. Beneath his severe gaze, my breasts got all heavy and tingly. God, I couldn’t breathe. His voice dropped low as he reached up to cup them both. The brush of his thumbs were like flames as he swept them back and forth across my nipples. “Best tits.”

On my hell.

He was unraveling me.

He touched the tip of his index finger to the center of my chest.

A palpitation.

He traced it down my belly where he dipped it into my navel, before he inched it low low low to snag in the front of the band of my lacy boy-cut underwear. He pealed those off too, leaving me a naked, quivering mess atop my bed, waiting for him, wondering just how deep those scars he’d leave me with were going to go.

“Got the best everything.”

Then he seemed to snap and let loose of whatever thread of control he’d been holding onto.

He dragged the tips of his fingers through my wet center.

I jerked. Oh, that felt good.

He hissed a groaned, “F*ck.”

He climbed over me, nudging me farther up into the middle of the bed and twisting out of his underwear all at the same time.

Hit with an overload of sensation, I was suddenly drowning beneath the stunning bulk of this magnificent man.

Because all at once he was everywhere, kissing me on the mouth, the neck, delving down to my chest, soft sucks across the buds of my breasts, harsh lashes at my tongue. Fingers plunged deep inside of me, and I panted a strangled, “Yes,” because I hadn’t been touched in so so long, and never in a way that made me feel quite like this.

Fingers coated with all my wet went sliding back to swirl around the sensitive skin of my ass, and a shocked gasp shot from my mouth and I jumped, before he slipped his fingers back through my sex, dragging up to circle my clit.

Pleasure wound up fast, my head pressed back into the bed and my mouth gaped open, unable to process that he would touch me this way. Everywhere all at once. In places no one else ever had.

Terror nicked at my belly when I realized I was ready to submit every last one of those places to him.

Baz licked a path up under my jaw, before he edged up onto his knees. All his attention was focused on his fingers that were still sliding deep in my pussy while he grabbed the pack of condoms with the other hand. He ripped one free with his teeth.

My entire body was alive with energy. With this energy, with whatever it was that connected me to this man, whatever it was that made me feel tied to him in an essential way, like nothing in heaven or hell could have stopped this moment from coming to pass.

Staring up at him, he stared down at me. Those eyes brimmed dark and bold. Because maybe we’d been purposed this way.

That for tonight I got to touch on heaven before he left me in hell.

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Buy book: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | iBooks

Connect with author: NewsletterWebsite | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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To win one of three signed paperback copies of A Stone in the Sea, please enter below. By entering, you are accepting the following Giveaway Conditions. This 48-hour contest is open internationally.

Enter giveaway here…

✦ ✦ ✦

Have you missed any exclusive excerpts posted so far during my 2015 Birthday Teasers Event? Just click on the book cover to reads that excerpt…

AStoneintheSea CONFESS LosersWeepers soaring
thedesign BecomingRain 644 whereseameetssky_CR Deep322
blackiris brokenjuliet2 TheOtherMan
✦ ✦ ✦

✦ Don’t want to miss any more posts? Subscribe to this Blog by email… ✦

Other books in the series or related posts: