Trouble Walks In * Release Day * Sara Humphreys

 

Trouble Walks In (The McGuire Brothers, #2)
Trouble Walks In by Sara Humphreys
McGuire Brothers Series; Book 2
Published August 2, 2016
Published by: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Blurb:
Big city K-9 cop Ronan McGuire loves women, loves his dog, loves his job – but when old flame Maddy Morgan moves into his jurisdiction, he can’t think about anyone else.
Ronan knows she’s way out of his league, but he’s determined to help Maddy live life to the fullest.

 

Maddy has immersed herself in work and swiftly made a name for herself in the hot New York City real estate market. She’s looking for safety, not love, but Ronan McGuire is as persistent as he is sexy, and his crooked smile is hard to resist. But all other concerns are wiped away when Maddy goes missing and Ronan and his bloodhound K-9 partner are tasked with finding her and bringing her home.
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Excerpt:

 

Ronan McGuire loved women and until recently, he’d enjoyed a variety of them. All of that had changed when Maddy Morgan came roaring back into his life. The moment he’d laid eyes on her at his parent’s anniversary party last summer, it had been like a kick in the gut. She was as gorgeous as she’d been back in high school, and just as unattainable. As far as she’d been concerned, he had merely been the pesky brother of her best friend’s boyfriend.
Ronan would see her around town when he went home to visit over the years, but nothing had changed and she was still out of his reach. Maddy and Rick had been practically joined at the hip for years. Ronan was many things but home wrecker wasn’t one of them. Rick had been a good guy and he seemed to make Maddy happy, so that had been good enough for Ronan. He had never considered himself the jealous type but every time he saw the two of them together, the green-eyed monster would rear its ugly head.
When had he first fallen for her? If he had to nail it down, it was when she punched out Billy Hollibrand in the school parking lot. The woman was feisty—a take-no-shit kind of girl—and if you asked Ronan’s mother, that was exactly the type of woman he needed. Hollibrand had been the town bully and when Maddy moved there in ninth grade, Billy made the mistake of trying to push her around. The jerkoff made fun of her curly hair and grabbed her ass. Two seconds later the boy was on the ground nursing a bloody nose.
A smile curved Ronan’s lips at the memory.
“Yo, McGuire.” His Captain’s voice pulled him from his daydreaming. “You awake over there?”
Bowser was lying in his bed next to Ronan’s desk but lifted his head and turned his brown eyes toward Ronan when the Captain approached. If Ronan didn’t know better, he’d swear the dog was laughing at him.
“Wide awake, Cap.” Ronan adjusted his chair as Bowser settled his snout on his front paws again. “Can’t say the same for my partner.”
Bowser whined and made a snuffling sound before closing his eyes. Ronan couldn’t really blame the dog—he was pretty beat himself. They had gotten back-to-back calls from two of the precincts upstate. Not all of the counties in the state had K9’s, so he and Bowser helped out when necessary, lending a hand, or a paw, as needed.
Both cases had been high-stress with even higher stakes.
Luckily the little girl who had wandered away from her family’s campsite was found safely and so was the teenager who got separated from her friends on a hike.She must have been the only girl in the tri-state area who didn’t have a damn cell phone attached to her. Needless to say it had been long days and longer nights but luckily both searches ended with happy parents.
Captain Jenkins strolled over, hoisting his uniform pants over his belly. The guy might have been out of shape and only a couple years from retirement, but he was one of the best cops Ronan had worked with. Jenkins and his partner, Saratoga, a sweet bloodhound with wide caramel colored eyes, were in-house most of the time these days. Saratoga was retired, but like all K9s she would live out the rest of her days with her partner and his family—in Jenkins’ case, that was only him.
“Why are you and Bowser here?” Jenkins settled his hands on his hips and pointed at Bowser just as Saratoga sidled over and lay down next to her friend. “You two have been goin’ non-stop for the past three days. You should have taken today off, and you know it.”
“No can do, Cap.” Ronan hit a few buttons on the keyboard and printed out his report from the last search. “My brother is getting married in a few weeks and I’ll be out for a while. I’ll be using up the rest of my time for the year and I can’t risk not being able to go because I didn’t do my paperwork. I’m the best man, after all.”
“That you are, McGuire,” Jenkins said through a snort of laughter. “But all work and no play and you’re gonna end up like me and Sara, here. All we got is each other and this damn job. No wife, no kids. Just me and her.” He smiled at the aging bloodhound who currently had her head nestled on top of Bowser’s. “Ain’t that right, sweetie?”
The old girl whined in response but didn’t move.
“Seriously, McGuire,” Jenkins said, sitting in the chair in front of Ronan’s desk. “You coulda taken today, y’know. You sure as hell have enough time leftover.”
“Really, Cap.” Ronan shook his head and held up one hand. “I’m fine.”
“Right. You always are.” Jenkins’ mouth set in a thin line. “How’s your friend? Didn’t you say that your girlfriend, that realtor lady, knew the Bowman woman they found by the river?”
“She’s not my girlfriend. Maddy’s just an old friend from back home.” Ronan went to the printer and grabbed the reports. “But, yes, she knew Lucille Bowman, at least casually. Maddy’s a broker and they ran in some of the same professional circles.”
“Well, tell your friend to watch her ass.”
Ronan stilled, and carefully placed the reports on his desk. A knot of dread curled in his gut and the serious expression the Captain’s face didn’t do anything to ease it.
“They think the murder was somehow connected to Lucille’s job?” Ronan let out a slow breath. “Shit.”
“Don’t know yet.” Jenkins folded his hands on top of his round belly. “All they know right now is she was supposed to show an apartment on the West Side. — an open house or something, and she never made it. Hell, those real estate people have now, all their contact info online. It’s easy to find someone and track ‘em down if you want to.”
“What are they thinking?.” Ronan’s gut clenched.
“Husband ain’t good for it,” Jenkins said. “His alibi is air tight. No affairs, financials are in order. Whoever did this knew her, though—or at least knew where she was going. Hell, she obviously didn’t get dragged through the streets of the city kicking and screaming, so odds are that she knew the perp in some way. They’re still waiting on toxicology. You know that shit takes forever.”
“Damn it.” Ronan ran one hand over his face and sat in his chair. “Maddy is always doing those Open House things. Not to mention the running around she does for individual appointments. She works her ass off — you’d think that her life depended on it.” He let out a slow sigh. “Hell, she lives and breathes it.”
“You’d know somethin’ about that. Wouldn’t ya?”
“It’s not the same thing, Cap. Those rich fancy clients of hers freakin’ love her because she drops everything to get them what they need. The woman is nothing, if she’s not tenacious.”
“I guess that includes resisting your charms too, eh McGuire?” Jenkins laughed and wagged a finger at Ronan. “You like this broad, so don’t even try to deny it. “
“Of course I do. We’re friends.”
“Yeah but you wanna be more than friends.” Jenkins raised his salt and pepper eyebrows. “You know how I can tell?”
“No.” Ronan stapled the reports and busied himself, trying not to let Jenkins know how right he was. “Enlighten me.”
“Ever since she came to town, you haven’t been out on a single date.” Jenkins hoisted his rotund form out of the chair with a groan. “And for a guy who seemed to have a different date almost every Saturday night for the past several years, that seems a bit odd. Don’t ya think?”
“Careful, Cap.” Ronan winked and extended the two finished reports to his superior. “You sound jealous.”
“Some detective you are.” Jenkins made a snort of derision and snagged the papers from Ronan. “Not jealous, more like impressed. I can’t remember the last time I went out on a date and believe me; it ain’t for lack of effort. A good lookin’ guy like you could be out with any woman he wanted. And here you are, pining away for the one broad in this city who turned you down.”
“See?” Ronan leaned back in his chair and laced his fingers behind his head. “You’re working under the assumption that I’ve asked her out, for an actual date, that is. I’m still in the game.”
“Sounds like you’re on the bench.” Jenkins narrowed his pale brown eyes. “You haven’t actually asked her out? You been joggin’ with this woman all the freakin’ time. What’s the hold up?”
“I told you, man, we’re just friends.” Ronan shrugged. “Period. End of story.”
“Bullshit,” Jenkins snorted. “I may be old-fashioned but men and women can’t only be friends. Not really.”
“Whatever, man,” Ronan sighed and dropped his hands the arms of his chair. He would never win that argument with his Captain. “It’s complicated, okay?”
“You mean because of the dead boyfriend?”
“Real sensitive, Cap.” Ronan gave him a sarcastic thumbs-up. “His name was Rick and he was a firefighter back in our home town. He bought it on the job. I knew him, okay? He was a good guy.”
“Right, that sucks,” Jenkins, said slowly. “But with all due respect, she can’t date a dead guy, and his memory ain’t gonna keep her warm at night.”
“Come on, Cap,” Ronan persisted. “They were practically married and were together for years, like almost a decade. It seems shady to be hitting on her so soon after something like that. I’m being her friend, which is exactly what she needs.”
“Maybe, but it sounds like an excuse to me.” Jenkins snapped his fingers at his dog. “Come on, Saratoga. Let’s go, girl. It’s time to head home.”
“Why would I need an excuse?” Ronan shouted after him.
“Easy,” Jenkins barked over his shoulder. “If you don’t ask, then she can’t turn you down.”
Ronan had no response to that. The son of a bitch was absolutely right. He hadn’t come right out and asked Maddy on a date because he was pretty sure she’d say no. Plus, why would he want to make it weird between them, especially before the wedding? That wouldn’t be fair to his brother and Jordan. The last complication they needed was awkwardness between the best man and the maid of honor.
He went to close his computer down, the Bowman case came to mind. A knot formed in his gut. Like the investigating officers, he too suspected that Lucille knew her killer—at least enough to go off with him without raising an alarm. But on the other hand, the New York City real estate market was massive, The odds were probably slim that Maddy knew this guy too, whoever he was.
Slim or not, he was going to have to have a chat with her about safety precautions. Bowser yawned loudly before stretching and rising to his feet.
“What do you think, buddy?” The bloodhound came over and laid his head in Ronan’s lap, as though asking to get the hell out of there. “Think Maddy will take advice from me and take the proper precautions?”
Bowser snuffled loudly and sat on his haunches.
“Yeah,” Ronan laughed softly. “Me neither. But that won’t stop me from trying.”

 

***

 

Maddy discreetly checked the time on her phone before turning her attention back to the young couple whispering with each other in the kitchen. Mrs. Bartholomew loved the place and Mr. Bartholomew wasn’t entirely sold but if she had to bet—the wife was going to win.
The Friday evening Open House, while at an unorthodox time, was turning out to be one of her busiest in the past month. Brenda was supposed to assist Maddy tonight to get a little more experience under her belt, but she’d never showed. The girl was new and eager to please, but flaking out on this Open House was not cool. Maddy loathed reprimanding people but a lecture was coming Brenda’s way. The beautiful blonde was barely out of college—would she have blown off work for a better offer and a hot date? The company had taken a chance bringing someone so young and green into the office.
It looked like they had made a mistake but Maddy hoped like hell the girl had a good reason for flaking out. A smile curved her lips. Terrence, her boss and the owner of Cosmpolitan Realty, would surely tell her to give Brenda another chance. His compassion and strong ethical code were the two main reasons she signed on with his company. His business was about people not only making the sale, which was unusual in the cutthroat real estate world.
Maddy came to this city to live without emotional attachments but time and again she found herself getting suckered in. She couldn’t help it. The city might be cold and unemotional but no matter how hard Maddy tried, she couldn’t be.
Letting out a sigh, she checked her phone again. There was no answer to the text she’d sent Brenda, and no missed calls.
Perfect. Managing staff and juggling personalities was Maddy’s least favorite part of business. She used to tell Rick she was fine not having kids, because she knew plenty of adults who acted like children. Maybe she was being too hard on the girl and too quick to judge.
She pictured herself scolding the girl but Maddy knew the fantasy would have to suffice. She’d never do it real life. One look into the sweet wide-eyed apologetic face of Brenda and Maddy would be telling the girl not to worry about it.
I’m a sucker.
Handling this Open House on her own wasn’t difficult, per se. She could handle events like this with her eyes closed. But it had been busy. The spacious Upper West side penthouse had only been on the market for a week and the owners were eager to sell. That typically happened with a divorce. Since they were so eager, Maddy set up a Friday night Open House to go with the one on Sunday but based on the interest tonight, the place could be sold by then.
God bless the Internet.
She’d done damn well back in the Old Brookfield beachfront market and many of those wealthy clients who bought summer property lived and worked in the city. Transitioning to the New York City market had been surprisingly easy.
Besides, her favorite part of being a realtor was helping people find the place they would call home. The one space where they could kick off their shoes, snuggle up on the couch, and find shelter from the world and their worries. It was the most satisfying part of her job.
Maddy gave the wealthy young twosome the space she knew they wanted, and loitered by the front door while they chatted quietly. Twelve other realtors had been through the massive apartment with their clients at last count, in addition to seven walk-ins. It had been a long and emotionally draining week., and there were about ten minutes left before she could go home and collapse.
Just as that thought rushed through her weary brain the private elevator to the penthouse dinged. The doors slid open and a man stepped out. He was older, probably late fifties, good looking and distinguished in a Gordon Gecko kind of way. He had Wall Street sleaze ball written all over him and reeked of over compensation. She’d be willing to bet he drove either a Porsche or Corvette—probably bright yellow.
It was something about the way men like him carried themselves: shoulders back, head up, expensive suit—but the fear of discovery lingered behind their eyes. It was like at any moment someone might reveal them for the fraud that, deep down, they believed themselves to be.
Sucker or jaded bitch? Maddy forced a smile and extended her hand. This city has already done a number on me.
          “Hello, I’m Maddy Morgan.” She shook his hand briefly as he moved into the large foyer. His gleaming polished shoes clicked on the tumbled marble floor. “You made it to our Open House just in time.”
“Thank you.” He didn’t look at her but scanned the foyer as he continued toward the open living room. “Peter Gregory.”
“Did you have an opportunity to sign in at the front desk? The building’s board insists upon it.” Maddy strode up next to him. “The security here is top notch, which is, of course, one of the selling points.”
“Of course.” He gave her a tight smile and nodded toward the window bank on the opposite wall. “May I have a look around? I’ve just begun the process of finding a new home and this one seemed perfect on paper.”
“Absolutely.” Maddy folded her hands in front of her and glanced at the yuppies. Still whispering. “Then you know that this lovely home has four bedrooms and three and a half baths. The kitchen is state of the art and you have a private garden terrace off the master bedroom.”
“Yes. As I said, I’ve seen the listing.” He tilted his head and strolled across the room with an air of arrogance around him. “Thank you, Ms. Morgan. I’ll just take a quick walk through. I realize the showing time is almost over and I wouldn’t want to throw anyone off schedule. My wife will be joining me in a few weeks and if I don’t have something decent to show her, she’ll be quite perturbed with me.”
A wife? That was surprising. Maddy thought for sure this man was a bachelor.
“I see,” Maddy said as she scolded herself for jumping to conclusions. “Is there something in particular she’s looking for?”
“I’ll know it when I see it,” he said quietly. He held his hands behind his back and surveyed the space. “Finding a new home, knowing when it’s the right one, is more of a feeling. It’s not something one can put on paper. Wouldn’t you agree?”
“Yes, absolutely.” Her lips lifted. She had definitely misread this man. “In fact, I couldn’t agree more.”
“Well, then. I’ll be just a moment.”
“Take your time, Mr. Gregory.” Maddy meant it, too. She may have been tired but time was money. Besides, if he and his wife weren’t already working with another realtor, she’d be more than happy to help them. “I’ll be right here if you have any questions.”
“Excuse me, Ms. Morgan?” The young Mr. Bartholomew strode out of the kitchen with his wife’s hand clasped tightly in his. Based on the excited twinkle in the pretty blonde woman’s eyes, she’d won the whisper war. “We’ll be putting in an offer. We didn’t officially sign the contract with you and Cosmopolitan Realty yet but I’d like to rectify that immediately.”
“Absolutely. I know you had to rush out to another appointment after our last meeting.” Maddy smiled warmly. She pulled her card from her pocket and handed it to him. “This is my listing and I’m happy to help you.”
“Thank you,” the young woman squealed with excitement. “I know you’re not supposed to show how much you love a place but I can’t help it.”
“Believe me, I understand.” Maddy nodded. “I knew my apartment would be mine from the second I stepped through the front door. It just felt …”
“Like home?” She asked hopefully.
Referring to Maddy’s apartment as home would be a major stretch. Nowhere in this huge heartless city ever would ever be her home. Not really. Honestly, she’d begun to wonder if she’d ever feel at home anywhere ever again.
“You could say that,” Maddy smiled. “It felt safe.”
Yeah, safe for you to hide from your life and the rest of the world. Coward.
          “Honey,” her husband said warningly. “We still have to go over a few items. I’m sure if Ms. Morgan gets any offers between now and nine o’clock tomorrow morning she’ll let us know, so we can jump into the bidding. Right?”
“Definitely.”
Maddy showed the Bartholomews to the elevator and let out the weary laugh the instant the door slid closed with a dull thump. Their enthusiasm was refreshing if not, naïve. They were first time buyers and from a big money family. Private schools and country clubs had been their playgrounds, and dropping several million on this apartment didn’t seem like it would faze them in the least.
Really, though, what did Maddy know? They could have won the freaking lottery, or maybe the guy hit it big with some start-up company. At the end of the day, where they got their money didn’t matter. It was none of her business, but that aside, she did like to speculate. It kept the process interesting and forced her to pay attention to details. Usually, it was the smallest detail that gave the largest amount of information.
Like Ronan McGuire and the coffee, for example.
A smile curved her lips when she recalled the way he effortlessly ordered her coffee exactly the way she liked it. It might have seemed silly to some, but that small bit of knowledge showed his attentiveness. Her smile faltered and she fished her phone out of the pocket of her suit jacket. In all the years she’d been with Rick, the man never had remembered how she liked her coffee. He got it wrong so often it had even become a running joke between them. Then again, he’d always had a rotten memory and had even forgotten her birthday a couple times.
Details hadn’t been Rick’s strength.
“Ms. Morgan?” The voice pulled her from her memories and Maddy spun around quickly, feeling foolish for drifting off like that. “Are you feeling alright?”
Mr. Gregory stood behind her and was peering at her as though he was worried she was going to faint or something.
“Yes,” Maddy said, quickly.
“You’re certain? Because my wife has been ill and…well…she sometimes gets a faraway look on her face, like the one you just had. It makes me worry.”
“I’m so sorry, Mr. Gregory.” Maddy’s voice softened. “I hope she’s on the mend.”
“As much as one can be after a few rounds of chemotherapy.” He dropped his gaze from hers and cleared his throat before turning his back to her. “I don’t think she would like this penthouse and given the circumstances, it must be exactly right.”
“Of course.” The broken tone of his voice tugged at her heartstrings. “If you decide work with me, I promise you we’ll find the perfect home for you and Mrs. Gregory.”
“Thank you.”
“Do you have any questions?”
“Yes and no.” He turned to face her again, his cool demeanor once again in place. “I saw what I needed to see. As I am just starting my search, I’d like to go look at some other spaces. Do you have time on your schedule this weekend?”
“Of course.” She squared her shoulders and grabbed a copy of the listing off the table before handing it to him. “I apologize, I should have given you this when you came in. I will tell you that the couple that just left have said that they’ll have a bid in by morning. No pressure, but I want you to have all the information you might need to make an informed choice.”
“I see.” He folded the paper lengthwise and slipped it inside his jacket pocket, and all the while his cool gaze remained pinned to hers. “While I like this particular apartment, I want to see others. While I am not a man who normally makes decisions quickly, time is of the essence. For obvious reasons.”
“Understandable.” Maddy gathered the extra listing sheets into a folder. “If you’re not already working with a realtor, then I’d be happy to help you.”
“I was but…it didn’t work out.” He lifted one shoulder and waved his hand dismissively. “She wasn’t a good fit. The woman seemed more concerned with her commission than finding me what I needed.”
“I’m sorry to hear that you had an unpleasant experience.”
“It’s business,” he said flatly. “I want the best and based on everything I’ve heard lately, that would be you. You came highly recommended.”
Maddy tightened her grip on the folder and held it against her chest.
“Really?”
“Yes.” He nodded curtly. “I’m new to the city. Until recently, I operated out of our company’s Chicago offices. After my unpleasant experience with the other realtor, I was told by our CEO, Bill Weinstein, that you are the best in the business on every level.”
“I’ll have to thank him for the kind recommendation.” Maddy’s chest puffed a bit with pride. The Weinsteins were one of her best clients, and had rented houses in Old Brookfield from her every summer for the past several years. They had been persnickety about their new home in the city but she’d stuck with them and found them a fabulous duplex that met every one of their needs. No small task, to be sure.
“If you know Bill,” he said, a hint of a smile played at his lips, “then you know he’s not one to pass out compliments easily. My wife, Helen, told me if I didn’t take his advice I was a horse’s ass.”
Maddy’s brows lifted and her reaction elicited a small smile from Mr. Gregory.
“Thirty five years of marriage and one learns to listen to one’s wife. Especially when she refers to one as an animal’s backside.”
“Then I’ll be sure I take the time to find out exactly what you’re looking for.” Madd’s lips lifted . “Perhaps we could meet at my offices tomorrow, or Sunday. Just let me know what’s best for you. I like to meet with my clients first to find out exactly what they are looking for.”
Maddy handed him her card, which he promptly slipped into his pocket without even looking at it.
“Sunday.” He strode past her to the elevator and hit the button. “Your office at noon.”
“Wonderful.” Maddy smiled. . “I’ll see you then.”
The door slid closed and Maddy was left alone in the enormous apartment. She hoped that his former realtor wasn’t anyone that she knew.That could get awkward fast. This business was nothing if not cutthroat but Maddy wasn’t. Stealing clients was plain old wrong and there was no way she would knowingly poach from another realtor’s list.
Gregory was uptight and bossy but none of that mattered. Maddy had a new bee in her bonnet and it was finding a home for him and his ailing wife. Thirty-five years? Holy shit. That was a long damn time to be with one person.
She made quick work of shutting off all the lights and making sure everything was exactly as the owners had left it.
Her phone buzzed in her pocket as she stepped out of the elevator into the ornate lobby. She expected to see a voicemail or text from Brenda, explaining where she’d been.
Maddy glanced at the screen and a slow smile curved her lips. Her heartbeat picked up along with a giddy fluttery feeling in her belly, making her feel like a swarm of butterflies had been let loose. Definitely not Brenda.
It was a text from Ronan.

 

Meet you in the park for our Saturday morning run tomorrow? By the Alice in Wonderland statue. 9am. Be there or be square.
         
Maddy bit her lower lip and started to type back but her thumb paused above the screen. It hovered there like an indecisive squirrel in the middle of the street, choosing whether or not to get run over by the oncoming car. If she continued meeting up with Ronan, eventually, their platonic relationship would likely take a hefty turn toward lusty.
Would that be so bad?
Before she could talk herself out of it, she typed back.

 

Yes. See you then and this time coffee is on me.
          She went to put it in her pocket but Ronan, the speed texter, texted back immediately.

 

Good. You do know how I like it don’t you?
          A wicked grin cracked Maddy’s face because the message was brimming with sexual innuendo. Before she could come up with a witty response, he texted again.
My coffee…I was talking about my coffee…really 😉

 

A delicious shiver flickered and got her blood moving. How silly was it a flirty text exchange could give her such a thrill? Maybe pathetic was a better word but she didn’t care. She was having too much fun and it had been far too long since she’d had any of that. Maddy puffed a curly strand of hair away from her eyes and texted back.

 

Sure, McGuire. See you tmrw.
      
    Smiling and filled with an almost schoolgirl giddiness, Maddy tried to maintain her professional exterior. She collected the sign in sheet from the front desk bell captain and slipped it into her folder. She placed everything on the quilted bench by the desk and pulled on her wool coat, bracing herself for the dark chilly night air. Her last message to Ronan was still on her screen and without even thinking about it, she scooped up the phone and sent one more text.

 

And for the record, I bet I know exactly how you like it.
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~Meet Sara Humphreys~

 

Sara Humphreys is the award-winning author of the Amoveo Legend series. The third book in the series, UNTAMED, won two PRISM awards–Dark Paranormal and Best of the Best. The first two novels from her Dead in the City series have been nominated for the National Readers Choice Award. Sara was also a professional actress. Some of her television credits include, A&E Biography, Guiding Light, Another World, As the World Turns and Rescue Me.

 

She loves writing hot heroes and heroines with moxie but above all, Sara adores a satisfying happily-ever-after. She lives in New York with Mr. H., their four amazing sons, and two adorable pups. When she’s not writing or hanging out with the men in her life, she can be found working out with Shaun T in her living room or chatting with readers on Facebook. 

 

For a full list of Sara’s books and reading order, please visit her website.  www.sarahumphreys.com
~ Connect with Sara ~
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~ BLOG TOUR~ *Tainted by Crazy * BY Abby McCarthy!

 

 

What do you do when your boyfriend of five years is sleeping with your best friend and you’re in a dead-end job, breaking your back for mere pennies? I’ll tell you what I did. I did the one thing I’ve been dreading for the last thirteen years, I finally went home. I needed to get back on my feet and I needed my Grams. As much as I wanted to pretend life was working for me, it wasn’t.

 

The problem with home though is that everywhere I turn, her ghosts were haunting me. 

Crazy, crazy, crazy, just like her, just like my momma. 

I wanted to pretend that crazy didn’t exist, but it was all around me, trying to do its best to pull me under. 

 

There’s one problem with that, Keenan Rhys. He’s determined not to let it. And I’m determined to keep him away.

 

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Excerpt

One major thing stood out for me in

his speech. Besides the fact that Alex was still a dog, Rys said, ‘when I claim

you.’ Was he talking in the general sense, or was he saying he was going to

claim me? I was silenced by his words. I didn’t have a rebuttal. The ride to my

place was quiet. Rys opened his mouth again as he turned on to Grams’ street.

“What’s the story with him that you needed to apologize as soon as you saw

him?”

I had a feeling this was coming. I

mean, how could he not ask?

“Senior year, Alex was my on

again/off again boyfriend. I was wild. I had lots of boyfriends and partied

like no tomorrow. One night, Alex and I went to a party. We both got drunk and

smoked a bunch of pot. And then, when it came time to go home, we flipped a coin

to decide who would drive. I lost the coin toss, then lost control of the car.

I broke my leg and shattered his wrist.”

“And then, you healed and got out

of here?” he asked finishing my story from what he must have surmised from my

conversation with Alex.

“Pretty much,” I agreed nodding my

head, “I was young and stupid. I can’t believe how easy Alex let that go. I

thought he’d hate me. I’ve held on to the guilt for so long, and it didn’t seem

like he was really bothered by it.”

“Is that one of the things that

have kept you away from home?” he asked pulling into the driveway.

“One of many,” I sighed and put my

hand on the door handle about to open the door when I heard Rys say in a stern

voice, “Maple.”

I waited in the cab for him to come

around and help me down. I was not testing him anymore tonight. “You,” I

pointed at Rys, “wait here one second.” I hurriedly ran into the house and

grabbed a jar of apple butter. I felt like I needed to do something for him. I

ran back out and found Rys leaning against his truck with a smirk on his face.

“Here, as a thank you for dinner,” I said handing him the jar. I was slightly

embarrassed and my cheeks tinged pink.

He looked at the jar curiously and

I said, “Keep it refrigerated. It’s fantastic on toast, muffins, pastry, pretty

much everything. It will keep for about a week.”

He smiled at me. Those two dimples

made me want to melt. He leaned forward and hugged me, “Thanks, friend,” he

said, then turned and opened his truck door. Before getting in, he added, “If

this is half as good as your pie, I think I can die a happy man.”

He liked my pie. Why did that thought make me

smile?

 

 

 

Other Books by 

Abby McCarthy

AMAZON US / UK

 

B&N iBOOKS / KOBO

 

 

AMAZON US / UK

 

 

Abby

McCarthy is reader and a lover of words. She is a blogger turned author and

released her first novel in May 2014. She is a mother of three, a wife and a

dog person. She has always written, sometimes poetry, sometimes just to vent

about failed relationships, however in parenthood she has found her voice to

help keep her sanity. Words have flowed from her, to review and with the

support of amazing friends in the Indie community she has decided to pursue her

dream of writing! She loves to write and read romance, because isn’t that

something we all yearn for? Whether it be flowers and hand holding or just the

right tug on your hair. Isn’t that what life is about? The human connection?

Follow Abby McCarthy

FACEBOOK / TWITTER / WEBSITE

 

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~~ Release Blast ~~ PURSUIT by Fiona Davenport!

Pursuit

Mafia Ties

#4

Fiona Davenport

Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance

*This is part 4 in a series, but

these books standalone from books 1-3*

 

     

Available on Kindle Unlimited

PURCHASE LINKS:

BLURB:

Brandon DeLuca’s relentless

pursuit of Carly O’Reilly after she flees New York isn’t really due to the

orders of his mafia boss cousin. The feisty redhead is his, and he’s done trying

to pretend otherwise. Now that he’s admitted the truth to himself, he just

needs to convince her to put her life in his hands—and her body in his bed.

Please note: Brandon &

Carly’s romance is a three-part story, but there are no relationship cliffhangers.

    

REVIEW

(Review here, if reviewing)

EXCERPT

I sat in my car and stared at the quiet, unassuming house

across the little residential street. It was dark, the inhabitants out for the

night or already in bed. I happened to know it was the latter. After a couple

of months of searching, I’d finally caught up to my target and I wasn’t about

to let her get away again.

Still, I continued to sit there and watch, taking no action.

I told myself I was simply being cautious; I didn’t need any more trouble. But,

Nic had asked me to keep her safe. I was obligated. It was my job. It was

complete and utter bullshit, that’s what it was.

The phone I was holding up to my ear began ringing, and I

waited until the recipient picked up.

“Brandon?” Nic answered, his question implied.

“I found her.”

“Great. I’ll send—”

“No!” I snapped, cutting him off and shocking the fuck out

of myself. “She’s mine.”

 

OTHER BOOKS BY FIONA DAVENPORT

**All books available on Kindle Unlimited**

Fiona’s Steamy Starts (only 99 CENTS for a limited time!)

Penalty Clause, Baby, You’re Mine, &

Deception

Amazon US → http://amzn.to/29alet8

Amazon UK → http://amzn.to/2912sQi

Risqué Contracts Series Box Set

Penalty Clause, Contingency Plan & Fraternization Rule

 

Yeah, Baby Series Box Set

Baby, You’re Mine, Baby Steps & Baby, Don’t Go

Until

Death Do We Part

A

Sex & Vows Novel

Amazon

US → http://amzn.to/29amiNY

Amazon

UK → http://amzn.to/1TNGUZe

Mafia

Ties Books 1-3

Deception

Amazon

US → http://amzn.to/296dAOw

Amazon

UK → http://amzn.to/ 1TewiFY

Danger

Amazon

US → http://amzn.to/296dFBL

Amazon

UK → http://amzn.to/1TewoND

Devotion

Amazon

US → http://amzn.to/291yhMH

Amazon

UK → http://amzn.to/1U2yDRe

 

ABOUT FIONA DAVENPORT

    

Hello! My name is Fiona

Davenport and I’m a smutoholic. I’ve been reading raunchy romance novels

since… well, forever and a day ago it seems. And now I get to write sexy

stories and share them with others who are like me and enjoy their books on the

steamier side. Fiona Davenport is my super-secret alias, which is kind of

awesome since I’ve always wanted one.

 

AUTHOR LINKS:

     

 

~~ RELEASE BLITZ – YOUNG LOVE by JANELLE STALDER ~~

 

 

 

Honor Jacobs has a dream, and she won’t stop until she achieves it.

Dancing is her life, which means she has no time for men. Especially not tattoo artists with hard eyes, and a mouth that has her thinking things she shouldn’t be. Staying as far away from Grey Anderson as possible is the solution to all her problems. Except that’s easier said than done. And no matter how much space she puts between them, it’s never enough. He might think she’s too young, and she might think he’s not the one for her, but their hearts think differently. It’ll all come down to will and determination…she just needs to decide which path she’s destined to take.

 

 

 

Buy Now on Amazon 

US / UK

 

 

 

Janelle Stalder was born and raised in Brampton, Ontario. At an early age she developed a love for literature. Her debut novel, Eden, was the first book in a series of four, released in September of 2011. Since then she has released an Adult Dystopian Romance series, the New World Series, hitting the best sellers list on Amazon. She has also released a Mature YA/NA novel, Brush Strokes, that stayed on the best sellers list for contemporary romance for sixteen straight weeks. She is a strong supporter of other independent authors, and loves to interact with her readers. When she’s not writing, Janelle is at home with her husband, three children, Aiden, Elora and Violet, and her two furry children, Alice and Lily. She now resides in a small town in Ontario in her old, possibly haunted, century home.

Website / Twitter / Facebook

** COVER REVEAL – Balance by Lucia Franco **

Cover Design by:

Romantic Book Affairs

 

Blurb

 

Adrianna Rossi is no stranger to the rigorous demands required of her body. Years of pain and determination make her one of the best. Olympic glory is the ultimate goal, and she’ll do anything to achieve it. Even if that means leaving home to attend World Cup Academy of Gymnastics, a training center that serves one purpose—producing champions. 

 

Perfection, precision, and dedication are required of his athletes. When two time Olympian Konstantin Kournakova is persuaded into training the young hopeful, he immediately regrets it. She doesn’t come close to his high standards. As the relentless pursuit of her dream keeps her striving, a passion is ignited within him.

 

Kova’s power and domination, coupled with Adrianna’s fierce tenacity, reveal there is more for her body to learn. Every interaction can be misconstrued, but there’s no mistaking the darkening of his gaze, the lingering of his touch, or the illicit image of his bare skin pressed against hers. Integrity is on the line. One toe off the beam and their forbidden desires could ruin everything they’ve worked for, throwing it all off balance. 

 

 

WARNING: This novel contains explicit content.

 

 

Expected Release: 

 

To Be Announced

 

 

 

Special iBooks Pre-Order 

About Lucia Franco

 

A competitive athlete for over ten years, Lucia Franco currently resides in sunny South Florida with her husband and two boys. Paranormal romance was her first love, but she has a soft spot in her heart for small-town and reunion romance stories.

 

When Lucia is not hard at work on her next novel, you can find her relaxing with her toes in the sand at a nearby beach.

 

Find out more about Lucia at authorluciafranco.com. Make sure to join her newsletter to receive exclusive updates and more!

 

Instagram: lucia_franco_

 

Twitter: @lucia_franco_

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amazon page:  http://amzn.to/28YmMWy

 

 

.`•.¸.•´ ★ SPOTLIGHT ★ .`•.¸.•´ Presenting… KANE CALDWELL!

.`•.¸.•´ ★ SALE BLITZ!! .`•.¸.•´ ★

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Title: Dark Edges
Author: Kane Caldwell
Series: The Edge Series, Book #1
Publisher: Kane Caldwell
Release Date: Out Now!  .99 Sale!
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance

Dark-Edges-ecover (1)

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I’m not your good ole boy or boy-next-door type of guy.

If that’s what you’re looking for, I suggest you move on. I curse a lot, work too fucking much, and keep to myself. My edges are hard, rough, and even dark at times.

I never thought I would wind up in the business I’m in. I may not always play by the rules, but I go where the money is, keep my nose clean, and my affairs organized.

Who knew one fucking e-mail would change everything in my controlled life. I swore I’d never touch a case like hers again, but there was something intriguing behind every word I read.

 She had my attention, she would have my services, but I never thought she’d steal my heart.

My name is Chase Black, owner of Dark Edges PI.

I’m your good girl and I once had everything.

A big beautiful house with a view of gorgeous mountains, an expensive car, stress-free job, a wardrobe any woman would die for, but one thing was missing… the ever-absent husband.

I never expected to be in the position I’m in, but I needed answers.

I sent one e-mail thinking I would figure it all out. It wasn’t the route I intended to take. The life I’d been living was a lie and he gave me the answers I needed. What happened next I wasn’t prepared for.

He had my information, he took the case, but I never thought he’d capture my heart.

My name is Naomi McAllister, owner of a broken heart.

This is our story…

845aa-amazon  ee575-amazon2buk  7be63-amazon2bau

e959d-goodreads

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99cent Teaser DE

99cent Teaser DE-1

99cent Teaser DE-2

99cent Teaser DE-3

99cent Teaser DE-4

5a68c-meet2bthe2bauthor_black

13260124_290060964670440_2777238351198319822_n[1]

I’m Kane Caldwell, a contemporary/erotica Author. Writing had started years ago as a hobby but quickly turned into a passion. I am the epitome of a country boy with my jeans, t-shirt, hat, scruffy face, and work boots on, driving my truck. I’m in my mid-forties, but my mind tells me different. I live in the south where the weather is warm but most times sweltering hot.  I have two teenage boys that I’m very proud to call my sons. When I have down time, I love to be surrounded by family, friends, great food or engrossed in a good book. I’m a simple guy with a few jagged edges and enjoy the simple pleasures in life.

b8968-sociallinks

Facebook Author page- https://www.facebook.com/Kane-Caldwell-Author-1494498107536469/

Amazon Author Page- http://www.amazon.com/Kane-Caldwell/e/B01G5TR20U/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Fan group- https://www.facebook.com/groups/1701590470079614/

Twitter- http://bit.ly/1M0nzjK

Instagram- https://www.instagram.com/kanecaldwellauthor/

Goodreads Author page- http://bit.ly/1XiQmFe

 Website- https://kanecaldwell.com/

happy reading

graphics-thank-you-299155[1]

**Release Blitz – Lex’s Melody: Belfast Bound #1 – Leigh Stone**

 

 

 

Release Day – Lex’s Melody: Belfast Bound #1 – Leigh Stone¨

Book – Lex’s Melody

Author – Leigh Stone

Release Day Blitz – 28th June

Hosted by Hooked on books & Cherry0Blossoms Promotions

 

 

 

 

Lex’s Melody – Belfast Bound #1

 

 

 

By day Alex Matthews as an architect. He gives life to

bricks and mortar and his meticulous attention to detail is legendary. By

night, Alex demands submission and control. He dominates and in doing so gives

life to women willing to submit.

Melody Anderson is uninspired with everything in her life, that is until she

meets Alex.

Alex and Melody find themselves in a bond of submission and dominance so tight

it will either make them or break them. Alex needs control, Melody threatens

that whilst promising so much more.

Can Alex breathe life into Melody? Or will it be her who breathes life into

him?

Submission never tasted this sweet.

Melodic Minor new synopsis

They say the course of true love never runs smooth. Alex and

Mel know that first hand. Fear drove them away from each other. Tragedy almost

tore them apart forever.

What does fortune now hold for the lovers? Can they settle down and have the

future together that they both deserve, or will old fears be renewed and

threaten to shatter their fragile happiness?

A twist of fate can change everything.

Pulled Apart new synopsis

Broken. Abused. Pulled apart.

For twenty five years Juliet Monroe has experienced just how cruel life can

be.

Abandoned as a child. Abused as a teen. She’s seen more than her fair share of

demons.

Can she ever recover? Can she find the strength to make it back?

Sometimes friendship can be a lifeline.

 

 

Contains graphic sexual scenes including those with BDSM overtones. Also

contains graphic language, and therefore is not suitable for under 18’s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Titanic Signing Belfast, 2018 – March 24th.

Held in the iconic Titanic Belfast museum – Saturday March 24th 2018, this international book signing will be an event that will not be forgotten! Afterwards we head on to the Europa Hotel for ‘A Night to Remember’ with a Gala Dinner and partying on into the wee hours.

Hooked on book’s & Cherry0Blossoms Promotions

 

 

 

 

 

 

WEB

 

I’m Leigh Stone, I live in Northern Ireland, just outside the capital city of Belfast, in a house I share with my teenage daughter, and our personal zoo (1 Labrador mix, 3 cats, and 2 rabbits!).

 

I’m first and foremost a reader, and a fast reader at that, often devouring books in a single sitting over a period of hours. I have always had aspirations to write and become a published author, but as a teenager I was encouraged to look for a different profession, as being an author “wouldn’t pay the bills.”

 

It was that reading that lead a friend of mine to suggest that I had read so many of those books that I could probably write my own! It seemed like a good idea, and I thought that I would give it a try 🙂 a few months later Lex’s Melody was well underway, and the rest as they say is history!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

** Release Day Blitz – Sweet Alibi by Adriane Leigh **

 

Sweet Alibi release.png

 

 

AP new - buy the book.jpg

 

 

Amazon US  Amazon UK  Amazon CA

 iBooks  iBooks UK  iBooks AU  Nook  

 

 

goodreads-badge.png

 

 

Sweet Alibi Adriane Leigh Ecover.jpg

 

 

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From USA Today Bestselling author Adriane Leigh comes a passionate contemporary romance about giving in to desire so sharp and sweet it threatens to consume…

 

Georgia Montgomery is desperate for an escape from the life she’s been leading. The perfect job, the perfect apartment, the perfect boyfriend—all are on the cusp of driving her over the edge. On a whim, she buys a beach house on the North Carolina coast, eager to spend a summer with her college friends. She thinks she’s found the perfect balance, until one pleasure-seeking playboy turns her world on its axis. Georgia tries to ignore the tornado of emotion that sweeps through her system whenever Tristan Howell is near, but just like an addiction, one look, one taste, one touch is never enough.

 

The chemistry is scorching and it isn’t long before the slow burn ignites into a full-blown wildfire that threatens to consume anything in its path. But Georgia and Tristan can’t shelter their love from the outside world, and the moments of exquisite passion they share aren’t enough to sustain the relationship. When scars from the past resurface–will their hearts meld together as one? Or will outside forces tear them apart, leaving an empty shell where love and passion once thrived?

 

*Note: The characters in Sweet Alibi are real and flawed–they make bad decisions and learn hard lessons. It contains a love triangle, a sweet alpha-male with a broken heart, and a leading lady that doesn’t always know what she wants. If you love a character-driven romance with a hard-fought happily-ever-after, Sweet Alibi is for you. (Formerly published as The Morning After and Light in Morning duet, now with more than 10,000 words of never-before-published BONUS content!

 

 

AP new - excerpt.jpg

 

 

Gavin tossed my heavy duffel bag and I caught it just before it slammed into my chest.

    “Shithead,” I grumbled as he led the way up the beach house stairs. He hustled, taking the steps two at a time. I knew he was anxious to see Drew. A few days was the longest they’d been apart in their short relationship and from the way he talked you’d think his dick was about to fall off from lack of use. I only hoped their room was out of earshot of mine.

    Gavin knocked on the door and then stepped in. I heard footsteps pounding on wooden floors and then was blindsided when the petite form of Drew launched into Gavin. An oomph escaped his lungs before their lips connected and I heard wet tongues and small moans.

    “Seriously?” I said with a grunt. Gavin’s hands were already firmly gripping her ass and Drew’s were tugging and twisting in his hair.

    Please, dear God let their room be across the house from mine. If I had to listen to them all summer I would be spending a lot of time on my boat.

    I watched them all but hump each other in front of me before I sensed someone else enter the room. My eyes dragged across the open kitchen to land on a pair of deep brown ones watching the couple in front of me. My mind registered someone standing next to her but I couldn’t be bothered to look. All I saw was long, brown hair thrown back in a messy ponytail, stray tendrils dusting her cheekbones and curling around her neck. Her full lips were curved in a frown as she watched the couple making out in the middle of the room.

    I grinned because I knew already this summer was going to be interesting to say the least.

    Not only would I have to contend with the Gavin-Drew fuck fest that was sure to commence as of today, but I’d be living under the same roof as this beautiful creature all summer. Somehow it had escaped me that the girl who owned the beach house was a knockout. No wonder Gavin had given me the rundown on steering clear of her before we arrived. No man in his fucking mind could stay away from this girl.

    Fuck him.

    Fuck me.

    Why had he said she was hands off this summer?

    I could see right now this girl was anything but average. I knew with one glance she wasn’t the type that wore her dresses a few inches too short and fuck-me heels that begged to be wrapped around my neck.

     There was something about her. Something that said she was…more. More everything. She had more depth. More sensuality. An unassuming beauty. She was stunning and she didn’t even know it.

“I’m Georgia,” she introduced herself with a handshake.

     The grin grew wide on my face. I offered her my name and then addressed the couple dry humping beside me. We exchanged a few words and then she laughed, the tone low, an amused smile lifting her lips. The beautiful lips that I wanted to run the pad of my thumb along right before I pressed mine to hers. Fuck she was beautiful and I was getting hard just thinking of all the things we could do together without our clothes on.

 

 

AP new -about the author.jpg

 

 

Adriane Leigh was born and raised in a snowbank in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and now lives among the sand dunes of the Lake Michigan lakeshore.

She graduated with a Literature degree but never particularly enjoyed reading Shakespeare or Chaucer.

She is married to a tall, dark, and handsome guy, and plays mama to two sweet baby girls. She is a voracious reader and wishes she had more time to knit scarves to keep her warm during the arctic Michigan winters.

Author Links

Twitter  Facebook  Web  Goodreads  Amazon author page Instagram

 

 

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Release Day Blitz – The Billionaire and His Castaway (Alexa Riley Promises #3)

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AP new - buy the book.jpg

 

Amazon US  Amazon UK  Amazon CA  Amazon AU

 

goodreads-badge.png

 

 

Welcome to Alexa Riley Promises. This series is dedicated to old romances. It’s tropes galore, with all of our usual over-the-top alphas and sweet cheesy goodness.

 

These short books will focus on traditional and classic tropes while sticking to the Alexa Riley code: no cheating and always with an HEA. That’s our Promise to you.

 

The Billionaire and His Castaway

 

Kenton Monroe has wanted her for far too long. But Madeline Caldwell isn’t giving him the time of day.

 

Madeline is looking to break out of her innocent shell, but Kenton definitely isn’t the guy to experiment with. She needs a nice guy, not one who makes her lady business glitter like diamonds.

 

Kenton has been patient for months, but she won’t bend. Getting her alone on a deserted island is the only way. Keeping her stranded and all to himself will make her see reason. Right?

 

Warning: If you like pina coladas and getting caught in the rain…then maybe this dirty summer read is just for you. If you like making love at midnight, put this book down and wake your partner up!

 

AP new - excerpt.jpg

 

1

Madeline

 

“Is it always this dead around here?” I ask the bartender, glancing at the empty restaurant as I take another sip of my bubbly strawberry drink. Maybe I should’ve gone to the Italian place instead, but this one is supposed to be the best restaurant at the resort. Looking around at all the empty chairs, it makes me think maybe the website lied.

“Just a slow week,” he says, drawing my eyes back to him. Just like everyone else around here he has an incredible tan, making his bright blue eyes seem even brighter in the dimly lit restaurant.

I guess working on an island would give anyone a tan. I had lain by the pool half the day and just turned red, but luckily it faded fast and I wasn’t burnt. I never tan. I go from pale white to cherry red and then back to pale again.

“I noticed the pool was empty, too,” I tell him. In fact, everything has been kind of dead. I’d only got in this morning, but there doesn’t really seem to be anyone around except for people who work here. Maybe that’s why they’re giving out free trips to anyone who would participate in a free survey that had taken me twenty minutes to fill out. It had the silliest and most ridiculous questions, but I wasn’t going to look a gift horse in the mouth. The resort might be deserted, but it’s beautiful.

“No one to keep you company?” he teases, leaning over the bar and shooting me a crooked smile.

A little pink hits my cheeks when I realize he’s flirting with me.

“Unless you count my book or the poolside server, then no.” I smile back.

I’m not used to being flirted with. I’d gone to an all-girls liberal arts college in New York, graduating only three months ago. Afterwards, my brothers forced me back home. The four of them own a private security firm together, and men aren’t allowed within ten feet of me. Normally it’s not a problem because my brothers look kind of scary unless you know them. All of them have been in some form of service at one time or another. They’re probably losing their shit right now after finding out I’m not tucked away at home. I can’t help but giggle internally as I think about how I gave them the slip. Finally a point for the little sister.

“Well I’m off tomorrow so if you”

“She’s busy,” I hear an all-too-familiar voice say from behind me, making my heart skip a beat. Turning my head slowly, I see the man who stars in my dreams every night. He’s been there for the last three months, since I first met his arrogant handsome self at a fundraiser. It was a charity event one of my brothers had taken me to. They had an extra ticket since their firm was covering the security.

The event’s honorary guest was none other than Kenton Monroe, one of the richest men in New York. No, scratch that, one of the richest men in the world. I’d only known that because of my brothers. I don’t pay much attention to people of wealth or the society pages in New York. It isn’t my scene, but in all fairness, I don’t really have a scene. And now that I’ve graduated, I feel even more adrift.

It didn’t take much to realize how powerful he was.

Everyone in the room seemed to notice him. Then his eyes had trained on me with a look of distaste and his jaw had hardened. His eyes narrowed exactly like the look he’s giving me right now. Only this time, his eyes are on the bartender.

“Mr. Monroe. I’m sorry, sir, I didn’t know she was one of yours.”

One of his? How many does the man have? Probably a lot with how many women fell all over him the night of the fundraiser. Those women looked nothing like me. They actually looked like they belonged there and hadn’t pulled a discount dress out of the back of their closet. Worse, they didn’t get the look that I’d gotten.

“I’m not his,” I finally protest, catching my bearings. I’m so far from his. I would never be his, no matter what my body wants, regardless of that fact that my brain keeps pulling him to the surface every time I close my eyes.

“Keep telling yourself that, sweets,” Kenton says smoothly as he finally pulls his dark blue eyes to mine. I freeze as he leans in and kisses my bare shoulder. I move away slightly, pretending I don’t like it, even though my body wants to lean into the soft touch.

“Stop calling me that,” I grit out as he slides onto the bar stool next to mine, casually throwing one of his arms along the back of my seat. His other arm rests on the bar in front of me. It’s as if he’s trying to cage me in. If anyone walked into this area of the restaurant, I don’t think they’d even be able to see me. His size and his position block me from view.

“I’ll eat whatever she’s having, and I’ll take my normal drink,” he tells the bartender, ignoring what I just said.

I hate that stupid name. It makes me feel young, and that’s not why I came here. I came to have a little adventure and to maybe finally lose my virginity. I don’t want to be sweet. I want to be sexy. Maybe even sinful. Or any other “S” word that makes me feel more like a woman. Not just the Caldwell brothers’ sweet little sister.

“What are you doing here? Did my brothers send you? What did they say?” I fire off the questions in agitation. They can’t make me leave. “I can’t believe them. I’m 22-years old, for God’s sake. Oh, just wait until I get back. I’m getting my own place. See how much they like that,” I huff out.

A slow smile starts to spread across Kenton’s face, making him look even more stupidly handsome. A man should not get to look that good, and look good he does. From his short black hair, dark blue eyes, and his large, muscular frame, he looks like Adonis come to life. Isn’t he supposed to be, like, sitting behind a desk, not lifting weights or whatever men do to look like that? Oh God, I bet he doesn’t even have to try. He’s just built like that.

“I actually own the place,” he says with a little laugh, as if he finds my little tantrum funny.

I roll my eyes at that. Or course he owns the place. I would be surprised, but he’s so rich, it’s easy to believe he owns just about everything he touches. He leans in a little more, and I try to pretend I don’t notice his closeness. I pick up my drink and take a few big gulps. The bubbles burn the back of my throat.

“Of course you do.” I try to look anywhere but at him as I put my glass back down on the bar with a hard click.

“I knew that wouldn’t impress you. Not even in the least.” His words are lazy, and I can tell he’s saying them with a smile, but I keep my eyes on the bartender as he makes his way back over with Kenton’s drink. He sets it down and tells us our food will be out shortly.

“Stop looking at him,” he growls next to my ear, making me jump. I finally pull my eyes to his, and I can’t read his expression.

“Do they know?” I ask, wanting to know if my brothers sent him here to check on me because he’s close to them. I wonder if they want to make sure, once again, that a man isn’t within ten feet of me. But Kenton is. He’s so close I can feel the heat of his body. Smell the sun on his skin.

“I’m sure it’s only a matter of time, but no, I didn’t tell them, if that’s what you’re are asking.”

I relax a little at that. I’d left them a note telling them I was going away for a few days and not to worry. But nothing I could’ve done would make them not worry. I’m their little sister by a good ten years, a whoops my parents had late in life.

Their overprotectiveness was cute when I was younger, but it took on a whole new form when our parents died. I was fifteen and had been left in their care. It would be a lie if I said I didn’t sometimes like it. It’s sweet, and I know they’re only trying to protect me, but it has been starting to wear me down since I left school.

“Is there something you need? Or can I eat in peace?” I cock my head towards him.

I still can’t get a feel for him. The first few times I’d met him, he made me feel out of place, like he didn’t want me around. Then he’d started trying to talk to me. I just gave him the same icy coldness he’d given me, and I actually think that might have blown up in my face. Now he acts like he wants a piece of me. Boys want what they can’t have, and the saying rang loud in my head. It’s ringing now, and for some reason, I want to hold on to it, because Kenton is cocky. He looked at me like I didn’t belong, but I wouldn’t give him the time of day, and now he’s interested. This feels like a small piece of revenge, and I’m probably enjoying it a little too much.

“Can’t I enjoy the company of a beautiful woman?” He gives me that half smirk again.

“I’m sure there are plenty of beautiful women to keep you company, Mr. Monroe, but I’m not among them.” I run my eyes over him. “And you’re not my type,” I lie, and I feel his body stiffen around me.

I don’t even know what my type is, regardless of what my late-night dreams tell me.

The bartender comes back, placing our plates in front of us. “Can I get a to-go box, please?” I ask him. He nods and heads towards the back once again. I’m not up for a verbal sparring match with a man like Kenton.

“Don’t go.” His tone is different now. It’s soft and sweet and almost sounds like a plea.

I push my stool back and stand, and he makes no move to get up himself. His arm is still on the bar in front of me, but the other’s fallen off the back of my chair.

“I don’t know what’s going on here. One minute you’re kind of a jerk and dismiss me, then the next you’re doing this weird flirt-with-me thing,” I say, shaking my head. At least, I think it’s flirting. My experience with men is almost zero, after all. “Either way, it doesn’t matter. It’s not happening. This,” I motion between us, “would never work. I mean, think about the first night we met. You could barely stand the sight of me.”

“That’s not true. I”

I hold my hand up, cutting him off.

“Let me just be frank so we can stop this. My brothers work for you, and we keep running into each other. I don’t want it to be weird, and I don’t want them to lose your business, but you and I can’t happen. You’d break my heart.” I grip the edge of the bar, my nails digging into the wood. “When I fall in love, it’s going to be with a sweet man who doesn’t scare the bejesus out of me.”

I stress love instead of sex, because for some reason I don’t want him to know I’m a virgin. I want to lose my virginity to someone who isn’t going to break my heart in the process. Thankfully, the bartender comes back at the end of my little speech and starts packing up my food. Kenton just stares at me while I just watch the bartender box up the food and grab the bag.

“I got it,” Kenton says, grabbing the check from the bar top.

“Thank you.” I give him a tight smile, like a part of me isn’t aching from shutting down what could’ve been. That I hadn’t thought for a minute that maybe, just maybe, I could spend a few sexy nights with this man in paradise. But the aftermath would be too painful. I’m just like he said, sweet. I have no idea how to begin to be sexy.

I’d have to see him again in New York. And what would it be like if, after all that, I’d have to see him with another woman? Heck, I’d been jealous that night at the charity event and we’d said maybe two words to each other.

“It’s always a pleasure,” he says, standing and moving his own chair out a little so I can easily get by.

“Goodnight, Mr. Monroe.”

 

 

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Alexa Riley is two sassy friends who got together and wrote some dirty books. They are both married moms of two who love football, donuts, and obsessed book heroes.

They specialize in insta-love, over-the-top, sweet, and cheesy love stories that don’t take all year to read. If you want something SAFE, short, and always with a happily ever after, then Alexa Riley is for you!

Author Links

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☆:*´¨`* BLITZ! ☆:*´¨`* SCARS by Author Jaimie Roberts!

:*´¨`* RELEASE DAY BLITZ*´¨`*:

SCARS

By Bestselling Author Jaimie Roberts

 

I had the perfect school, the perfect friends—the perfect life …

At least, that’s what I thought.

But you changed all that.

You are always there … Always watching … Always waiting in the shadows. You send me flowers and messages. You stalk me, trace my every movement… 
Until that one day, in a silly game of Seven Minutes in Heaven, when I finally get to feel you—have a taste of you …

It left me wanting more.

One catastrophic day, my wish is granted.

Just past my eighteenth birthday, tragedy strikes and I watch my family die before my eyes. 

You are there. You rescue me. You choose my life over my older sister’s, and I hate you for that. I hate you for taking me and imprisoning me. You say it’s for my sake, but I know it’s for your own. You make me see that my life could be much worse without you in it… 

You make me see true darkness.

It is in that darkness you make me desperate for your presence, your touch, your caress. You make me need you… You make it impossible for me to live without you… And then, eventually…

You make me fall in love with you.

Secrets will always wound the ones twisted within their web of lies… But the ones I’m tangled in … are deadly.

WARNING: Although this book (overall) is not a dark read, one chapter is an exception, and contains the following triggers: childhood sexual/emotional abuse with some intensity in one particular scene.

AMAZON US

AMAZON UK

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He pulls his head back leaving the lingering smell of spice invading my nostrils. It makes them flare violently, trying to take in as much of him as possible. Once he does pull back, he lingers for a moment and my heart beats rapidly against my chest. Can he feel it? Can he hear the boom, boom, boom sound thumping against my ribcage? It’s almost deafening me.

“Trust me,” he says, leaning in to touch my lips with his. At first he moves in slow, coaxing my mouth open a little. I suck in his breath, taking every morsel of his minty fragrance. I’m not sure why my body is reacting to his every move, but it’s almost as if it’s seeking out something, and that something is this mysterious patterned stranger standing in front of me coaxing my mouth open to meet his.

 

Jaimie Roberts was born in London, but moved to Gibraltar in 2001. She is married with two sons, and in her spare time, she writes.
In June 2013, Jaimie published her first book, Take a Breath, with the second released in November 2013. With the reviews, Jaimie took time out to read and learn how to become a better writer. She gets tremendous enjoyment out of writing, and even more so from the feedback she receives.
If you would like to send Jaimie a message, please do so by visiting her at:

More by Jaimie Roberts:
Until I Met You: getBook.at/UntilIMetYou
DEVIANT: getBook.at/DEVIANTBook1
REDEMPTION: getBook.at/RedemptionDEVIANT2
CHAINED: getBook.at/CHAINED
A STEP TWO CLOSE: getBook.at/AStepTwoClose
LUCA: You Will Be Mine: getBook.at/LUCAYouWillBeMine
LUCA: Because You’re Mine: getBook.at/LucaBook2

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