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Rising from the Ashes

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RISING FROM THE ASHESBook Title: Rising from the Ashes
Author: Jessica Prince
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: February 25, 2014
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

Synopsis

People make mistakes when they’re young, but how they choose to come back from those mistakes is what matters in the end.

Savannah Morgan found true love at a very early age, but one rash decision — one that she would regret for the rest of her life — was all it took to end her relationship with the love of her life.

For seven years, Jeremy Matthews has accepted being “”just friends”” with the only woman he’s ever loved. Finally deciding that enough is enough, Jeremy relentlessly pursues Savannah until he forces her to see just how right they are for each other.

When Savannah’s past mistake is revealed, threatening the future she so desperately wants, the fate of their relationship lies in Jeremy’s hands. Will he be able to forgive Savannah, or is the relationship truly over?

When struggles and obstacles threaten the foundation of Savannah and Jeremy’s relationship, will they choose to let each other go, or rise from the ashes of the past to claim their happiness?

excerpt

I looked back out my window at Jeremy, taking in the broad chest, ripped abs, and muscular arms pushing the mower around my front lawn. Sweat was running down his sexy-as-sin torso, pulling my eyes to the worn out jeans that were resting low on his hips. The white T-shirt he’d shown up in earlier had been discarded and was hanging out the waistband of the back of his pants. He was a walking advertisement for sex, and even my neighbors couldn’t help but come outside to appreciate him.

I let out a sexually repressed sigh and went back to my conversation with Lizzy. “He’s bulked up a bit over the years, but yeah, for the most part, he’s always been pretty cut.”

She was silent for several seconds. “No offense, babe, but how in the ever-living hell did you give up having sex with that for the past seven years?”

I leaned my head against the glass and squeezed my eyes shut. “With an iron will.”

She started laughing on the other end of the phone. “How’s that working out for ya right now?”

“Well, considering I’m two seconds from knocking his ass out just so I can take advantage of him, I’d say not so good.”

Do you need more, or will these work, or do you need a few more?

Meet the Author
Jessica was born and raised in Texas—where she’ll stay because she claims the cost of living in Texas excuses the god-awful weather. She is first and foremost a wife and mother. Because of those two things, she’s also a self proclaimed wino and coffee addict.
She’s always been and avid lover of all types of books, but romances are her main favorites.
Jessica’s husband likes to say reading is her obsession, but she likes to call it her passion…there’s a difference.

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The Spirit By D. Nichole King

Coming April 2014…

 
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20529381-the-spirit
 
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SYNOPSIS

*
Book #1 in the Spirit Series *

 
While
seventeen year-old Carrie Reese’s parents were working out the details of their
divorce, she headed to Villisca, Iowa to stay with her grandparents.
 
Villisca was home to the infamous Axe
Murder House…
 
It’s known
to be haunted by the ghosts of the victims and their killer. Carrie doesn’t
believe in ghosts, but the moving curtains and red flashes of light in the
windows of Lot 310 were starting to give her reason to watch her back.
 
Then in walked Lucas…
 
Within
days, Carrie knew she was in love. But Lucas seemed strange: his hands were cool
and hollow, he barely touched his food, and there was sadness behind his
brilliant green eyes.
 
Lucas was falling for Carrie but knowing
that loving her puts her in grave danger, he reluctantly slips out of her
life….
 
He
struggles between staying away and telling Carrie his darkest secret. Unable to
stand being apart from her any longer, he decides she must know.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Born and
raised in Iowa, d. Nichole King writes her stories close to home.
There’s nothing like small-town Midwest scenery to create the perfect
backdrop for an amazing tale.

 
She
wrote her first book in junior high and loved every second of it.
However, she couldn’t bring herself to share her passion with anyone.
She packed it away until one day, with the encouragement of her husband,
she sat down at the computer and began to type.Now she can’t stop.
 
When not writing, d. is usually curled up with a book,
scrapbooking, or doing yet another load of laundry.
 
Along with her incredible husband, she lives in small-town
Iowa with her four adorable children and their dog, Peaches.
 
CONNECT WITH D. NICHOLE KING


GIVEAWAY
 

Logan’s Redemption By Cara Marsi

Doriana Callahan’s life is unraveling. Someone is stalking her and sabotaging her father’s company; her teenage son is rebelling; and Logan Tanner is back in town. For sixteen years she’s kept an explosive secret from Logan, a secret he soon discovers. Logan never belonged in Doriana’s world, but a long time ago he allowed himself to dream of a future with her, until the awful night he was forced to run. Now he’s back and he needs her forgiveness, but first he must forgive himself. Despite the fact that Doriana kept the existence of his son from him, Logan vows to protect her.

He races against time to stop the culprit threatening Doriana and works to forge a bond with his son. Can the love and passion that still burn between Doriana and Logan overcome old lies and new dangers? The clock is ticking on a second chance at love.

“Right away, author Cara Marsi sets the stage for an intriguing romantic suspense in Logan’s Redemption. With loveable characters, an engaging plot, and a few twists along the way, Marsi hit her mark with the first book in her Redemption series.” ~ Romance Reviews by Authors

“Logan’s Redemption has all the elements that keep the pages turning: passion, romance, thrills and suspense…” ~ Fallen Angel Reviews.

“Logan’s Redemption by Cara Marsi is a great read, plain and simple ~ My Romance Story Reviews

Alysha’s Thoughts: One horrible night Logan had to leave the only place he called home, and his true love, Dorianna. He never knew what the outcome of his behavior was but he knew he had to turn his life around, what he didn’t realize is just how much he really left behind. Dorianna, upper class teenage girl, was lost about how the rest of her life was going to go. Waiting for her secret love at their spot ready to tell him he was going to be a father, only he never showed. So she made the hard decision to let him go without finding him and telling him about his son. Sixteen years later Logan was offered a job undercover for Dorianna’s dad. He wanted to see how his only love was and see how she made her life. What he didn’t expect was the family he always wanted. Dorianna couldn’t believe Logan had returned, what did this mean for her and her son? Could be trust Logan to be a father or would he run away again? Cara Marsi writes a great story about secrets, but there is also a lot more to the story than just Logan and Dorianna, full of suspense. I literally was not able to put this book down, I had a great time reading. I hope to see more of Cara Marsi. 

Logan’s Redemption

Cara Marsi

Goodreads

Excerpt

“You’ve never changed your opinion of me, have you?” he asked in a hard voice.  “I’m still the boy from the bad neighborhood, not fit to be a father to your son.”  With a contemptuous glance, he turned away and strode to the fireplace.  He leaned on the mantel, his profile to her.  His chest rose and fell with his shallow breathing.

Doriana studied him.  His jaw set in a tight line.  His entire body looked coiled and ready to fight.  Or maybe flee.  Tears sprang to her eyes.  They’d come so far in the last weeks.  How had it all gone so terribly wrong?

“What do you want, Logan?”  She tangled her fingers through the long strand of pearls she wore, trying to rein in the anxiety that churned her stomach.

Logan’s hazel gaze impaled her.  “I want to be in Josh’s life.”

“What?”  She yanked on the pearl necklace.  The strand came apart in her hands.  She watched helplessly as beads rolled all over the floor.  My life is coming apart the same way.  She raised her gaze to find a stony-faced Logan staring at her with unyielding eyes.

“What’s your answer?”  He spit the words out.

“How long will you be in his life, Logan?  You’ll leave again and what will happen to Josh?  I will not see him hurt.”

Loganwas at her side in an instant.  He grasped her shoulders.  She winced at the anger in his eyes.  The twinkling lights of the tree reflected on the golden stubble of his beard, mocking the tension that arced between them like an electrical current.

“I’m Josh’s father,” he rasped.  “I’m not some stranger, here one day and gone the next.”

“Aren’t you?”  She bit down on her lip.  Hurt shattered the chiseled planes of Logan’s face.  She glimpsed the vulnerable young boy he’d once been, the boy she’d fallen in love with.  He released her as if he couldn’t bear to touch her.  Her throat thickened with tears.

“So that’s it.”  The quiet calmness of his voice damned her more than shouts.  “I’ve never been more than a temporary diversion to you.”

“That’s not true,” she whispered.  “I loved you.  I ….”   She stopped herself before she blurted that she loved him now.

“Do you really know what love is?”  His gaze raked her.  “You have no problem giving your body to me, but I’m not worth bothering with on any other level.”

Fury and pain pierced her like a carpenter’s awl.  “How dare you talk to me like that?”

He released a breath.  “I’m sorry.  I was out of line.”  Sadness creased his features.  “I just want to be in my son’s life.”

“How do I know you’ll be around for him?”

“Trust me.  Damn it, just trust me.”

Could she trust him?  Maybe she should ask him to stay.  What if he said no?  Could she take that chance?  Her insides shook.  “I can’t.”

“You can’t trust me?”  Steel hardened his voice.

She shook her head.  “No, that’s not it.”

“Then what is it, Dorie?”

Words dried in her throat.  He had to want her enough to never leave again.  She wouldn’t beg.

“Damn you,” he said in a thick whisper.

He pulled her to him and took her lips in a bruising kiss.  She held herself tight, resisting his pull.  His relentless lips demanded her surrender.  She could no more fight him than she could stop breathing.  And she loved him.  She twisted her arms around his neck and urged his lips apart with her tongue.

He let out a low groan.  His lips softened against hers and he opened his mouth for her.  He tasted like cinnamon coffee and mint.  She pressed closer.  He might leave and break her heart.  But he belonged to her now.

They slid to the floor together.  He leaned over her, his eyes dark and mysterious in the soft Christmas lights.  His unique scent of male and citrus mingled with the pine of the tree.  Those scents would forever remind her of Logan.

She wrapped her arms around him and pulled him down.  Molding her body to his, she kissed him with all the love and hope she couldn’t voice.  His taut frame covered her.  The urgency of his mouth and tongue excited her to a new wildness.  She would love him tonight with all she had to give.

His mouth plundered hers while his hands wandered down her body, massaging, stroking, driving her crazy with want.  Her soft cries filled the quiet room.

He leaned on his elbows and looked down at her.  Desire darkened his eyes, but something else stirred deep in the gold-flecked depths, something that reached out to the longings in her soul.  “Love me tonight, Logan,” she whispered.

“God help me, but I need you.” He undressed her and flung her clothes aside.  His own quickly followed.

She lay down again and held her arms out to him.  He lowered himself on top of her.  His flesh burned her heated skin.  The wool of the Oriental rug pressed into her bare back.  The slight pain intensified her passion for him.

“Now,” she whispered.  She wrapped her hand around his hard penis and guided him to her.  He entered her, taking her with a possessiveness that inflamed her.  Arching her hips against his, she molded her body to his.  She belonged to Logan.  Only this moment mattered.  She met his every hard thrust, urging him with her body to make her his forever.  She barely recognized the sound of her voice crying out his name.

He cupped her bottom, lifting her to meet him, driving deeper and deeper into her.

Her climax erupted, fast and furious, like a shower of dazzling stars, shooting her into the sky.  The lights from the tree overhead blurred and danced before her eyes.

Loganshuddered with his own climax.  She clung to him, running her hands over his muscled back, reveling in his heat and masculinity.

He collapsed on top of her.  The fragrance of pine joined with the musk of their lovemaking.

She wound her arms around Logan’s neck and closed her eyes.  She would sear this moment onto her brain.

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Excerpt #2

Doriana turned off the TV and dropped the remote on the bed. Thinking about Logan teased her with questions. Why was he at the fire site with her dad? That story about his having fire experience didn’t ring true. Logan and her father were hiding something.

Thankfully the workweek had been short with the two-day holiday. She needed time away from Logan and all the longings, confusion and guilt he stirred in her.

She trusted Anita to keep her secret. But she feared her own guilt would force the truth. Logan hadn’t cared enough to stay around the first time. Would knowing about Josh keep him here now? Doriana got up from the bed and ran impatient fingers through her hair. She was obsessing way too much about Logan.

She walked toward the bathroom, pulling her sweater over her head. Too bad she couldn’t peel away her problems as smoothly. The ring of the phone stopped her. Slipping her sweater back on, she hurried to answer it. Josh calling to say goodnight? She doubted it.

“Hello,” she said into the receiver.

Hello, sexy.” At the crude, unfamiliar voice, she tightened her grip on the phone. Chills chased up her spine.

“Who is this?”  Her voice shook.

“Oh, you don’t know me. Not yet. But I sure know you. You’re sexy as hell, especially in those tight black pants.”

Doriana slammed down the phone. Her insides shook and she ran trembling hands along the sides of her black pants. Had her caller guessed at what she wore, or was he watching? She gulped air.

The phone rang again and she let out a small cry. Balling her hands, she dug her nails into her palms. She would not pick up the phone. The answering machine clicked on.

“You can’t get away from me that easy.” The harsh voice, laced with menace, froze her. “I know you’re alone.” Almost seeing his leer, she shoved a shaking fist to her mouth.

“Let me in, bitch. I’ll show a hot number like you what a real man is. Not like that pretty boy you’ve been hanging around with.”

His loud cackle shot knife points of fear through her and she stifled a scream. The phone clicked off. The silence of the empty house closed around her. She glanced toward the windows. Could he see her through the sheer curtains?

Trembling, she sank onto the bed and clutched the chenille spread as if she could hide herself in its folds. She couldn’t stay here, but she dared not leave. He could be waiting outside. She hadn’t set the security alarm.

She reached for the phone. Her dad would know what to do.

With her hand on the receiver, she froze. Her dad had looked tired all day. He’d been under a lot of stress. Remembering his doctor’s advice to take it easy, she knew she couldn’t put more strain on him.

The cops? Would the police even get involved? And if they did, they’d come eventually and look around, then leave. And she’d still be alone.

Logan. He would help. She had his cell phone number somewhere. She ran to her purse where it lay on the floor and rummaged through it with nervous fingers until she found the slip of paper with Logan’s number.

Taking calming breaths she punched in the number. Please answer, Logan, please.

Her spirits sank with each unanswered ring. Was he with Candi? Or another woman? Hurt mingled with her fear.

“Tanner here.”

Relief spiked through her at the sound of his voice.

“Logan?” A sob escaped her.

“Doriana? What’s wrong?”

The concern in his voice made tears spill out. Despite the tension between them, Logan would protect her.

“Someone called,” she said, swiping at tears. “Outside. He knows where I live. He could hurt my son.” Anger, swift and hard, tightened her stomach. “The bastard will not touch my son.”

“No one will hurt you or your son, Doriana. Did you recognize his voice?”

“No, but he’s watching me. The son-of-a bitch. He said awful things. How dare he do this to me?”

“I’m coming right over. Give me your address.”

About the Author

Cara Marsi, an award-winning author and self-proclaimed TV junkie, is a former corporate drone and cubicle dweller. Freed of her fabric-covered cage, she can now indulge her love of all things romance. She craves books with happy endings and loves to write about independent heroines and the strong heroes who love them. And she loves to put her characters in dangerous situations or situations merely dangerous to their hearts and watch them fight for the happy endings they deserve.

An eclectic author, Cara is published in romantic suspense, paranormal romance, and contemporary romance. She’s also published numerous short romance stories in national women’s magazines and online. When not traveling or dreaming of traveling, Cara and her husband live on the East Coast in a house ruled by their fat black diva of a cat named Killer.

Contact Cara

Amazon | Facebook | Website | Twitter | Pinterest

Cara is also a member author of the Romance Books 4 Us group blog

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Beached by Ros Baxter

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Beached_Final

Book Title:Beached
Author:Ros Baxter
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date:April 1, 2014
Hosted by:Book Enthusiast Promotions

Synopsis
A beached mermaid; a sexy mercenary with too many secrets; and a mission impossible.

When the clerk at a burger joint is assaulted for trying sell a filet-o-fish to a mysterious blonde, it’s just the beginning of the clash between Land and Sea that’s either going to end in Armageddon or salvation.

The world is going mad – on the land and under the sea – and the mermaid princess Lecanora is an envoy on a special mission.

There are just a few problems.

For a start, she didn’t reckon on how hard it would be to leave her home behind and adjust to life on The Land, with its confusing obsession with wearing clothes and its penchant for pointless but highly desirable calories.

Nor did she realise the most evil magician the world has ever seen wanted to take her for his very own.

And who would have thought a gun-toting mercenary could rock the world of a Pacifist Princess from a place where passion is a four letter word?

As the forces of darkness gather, Lecanora must come to terms with exactly what she would do to save the home she has always known, and the Land she has come to love.

For fans of MaryJanice Davidson and Charlaine Harris, and everyone who ever dreamed of being a princess, a mermaid, or a kickass heroine.

Book 2 of the Aegira Chronicles (Book 1 is Fish Out of Water)

excerpt

Lecanora peered through the little glass window, standing slightly to the side and trying not to be seen. Larry was holding the man’s palm, looking at his watch. Rania was pacing up and down beside the bed. Larry kept shaking his head, repeating the gesture with the palm and the watch. As he turned to reach for his stethoscope out of his bag, Lecanora could see he was smiling, the biggest smile she’d seen on the man since she had met him.

As he turned to his bag, she finally got a full view of the man lying on the bed.

As she did, the floor seemed to slide giddily under her. She wondered if her blood sugar was low again, and unwrapped another of the food products Rania had pressed into her hand before she had gone into the hospital room. A Twinkie, Rania had called it. A lovely name, Lecanora decided. She stuffed the tiny cake into her mouth, zeroing in again for a look at the man on the bed. This time the giddy slide was less, but still there.

It was him, she decided. He was having this effect on her.

Strange.

She stood back carefully and took a mental inventory. He was shockingly dark. His face was hard and angular, and even from this distance and with his face rested in sleep she could see two scars on it, and a strange shape to his long nose that indicated a break in his youth. One scar was pale and white, the other fresher and darker. But as well as being hard and bleak, the face was also lush. Full lips were half open as he muttered something in his sleep, rolling slightly and showing off a long throat and a dark beard.

As though he sensed her watching, he turned in her direction in his sleep. Lecanora quickly ducked behind a tall trolley to her right, but she could still see him. Her superb eyesight allowed her a complete view of his face, which was a study of vulnerability in sleep. He was so open to her it momentarily robbed her of the capacity to Land-breathe, and she coughed quickly and commanded her brain to engage. A deep cleft in his chin lent him a childish air.

As she watched, a young woman approached her. She was quite beautiful by Land standards, and she seemed to favour bold colours. A dark red stained her nails, not unlike the blood-tattoos favoured by the rebel Leigons, and an even bolder crimson outlined her lips around the edges, although the inside part was lighter, like maybe the colour had worn off. Brilliant blue sparkly dust outlined her eyes. Lecanora was quite transfixed by the whole effect.

‘Can I help you?’ the young woman asked, and Lecanora shuddered. Her voice was high and screechy. Lecanora closed her eyes briefly to try to stop her face from reacting with surprise, and her fingers from snaking into her ears.

Lecanora took in the woman’s attire — all white, with a small badge and an official-looking pin adorning her breast. She appeared to be an employee of the hospital. ‘I am with the people in that room,’ she said.

The woman pressed her lips together, like that made sense. Then she sighed. ‘Well,’ she said. ‘Don’t you think you better go in then, honey?’

‘No,’ Lecanora said. ‘But thank you.’

The woman pressed her lips together again, and Lecanora could almost smell her determination. ‘Well, you can’t hang around out here I’m afraid.’

‘So I must enter that room?’

‘Please.’ The woman nodded. She inclined her head towards the man lying on the bed. ‘He’s made a remarkable recovery in the last few hours. He’ll be coming around soon.’

The woman looked at Lecanora carefully, and began to speak more slowly, like she thought maybe Lecanora had difficulties with comprehension. ‘Here,’ she said. ‘Let me help you in.’ She hooked her arm through Lecanora’s and guided her to the door.

Lecanora stood still in the doorway as the official left. Rania looked up from the discussion she had been having with Larry.

‘Babe,’ she said. ‘There you are. Come in. Doug’s almost all better. That shit of Rick’s is out of this freakin’ world. We’re just waiting for him to wake up. I want to make sure I’m here when he does. He’s going to be so freaked out.’

Lecanora could not find the right words to answer her sister coherently. She was still reeling from the impact the sleeping Land man had on her. She backed up against the bed, muttering something about needing to get a drink, but before she could escape, a strong hand grabbed her wrist and spun her towards the bed. She found herself face to face with eyes of the deepest brown, a colour she could not have imagined even existed at the bottom of the ocean. But it was more than their colour. They were so expressive. She wondered if it was because they had just woken from a coma. They were eyes in which she felt she could read all the pain and courage and fears of a life.

She cleared her throat to try to make the right sounds, in the correct order.

But nothing came.

Because the man of the deep brown eyes and scars, the Land man of the dimpled chin and vulnerable eyes, was looking right at her.

Like he was as surprised as she was by what he saw.

His warm, strong fingers rubbed gently at the underside of her wrist, shooting hot shivers into the coldest parts of her.

He looked well. Very well. Not the broken thing Rania and Larry had described.

‘Doug,’ Rania growled, poking him in the ribs. ‘Say hi, for fuck’s sake, you’ll scare her.’

‘Hi,’ the long brown man said, raising a hand feebly. ‘We’ve met,’ he said. ‘In my dreams.’ He looked over at Rania. ‘Sheriff — you’ve got some explaining to do.’

The man pulled himself up from the bed and pulled out a tube that had been attached to his arm. He yanked Lecanora towards him by her wrist. As strong as he was, Lecanora knew she was stronger than him. She could feel it. She could have resisted easily, without even breaking a sweat. Instead, she let herself be dragged in towards him like a shark to the slaughter. Closer, closer, until her chest was resting almost parallel to his.

She sat there, feeling his warm breath on her face and her cold blood turn red-hot.

‘Very pleased to meet you, Dream Girl,’ he said. ‘Very pleased indeed.’

Meet the Author

ros pictureRos has been writing stories since she was eight years old, but she likes her new stuff better than her old stuff. She writes fresh, funny, genre-busting fiction. She digs feisty heroines, quirky families, heroes to make you sigh and tingle. And a dash of fantasy from time to time.

In real life, Ros works in policy for the Australian Government and in her non-existent spare time she coordinates tomorrowgirl, a short story competition for remote Indigenous girls.

Ros lives in Brisbane’s North with her husband Blair, four small but very opinionated children, a neurotic dog and nine billion germs.

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Promo Post Indulging In Irelyn

Synopsis
 
Warning: Don’t read this book if you hate f**ked up alpha males, strong female leads, hot sex, and a kismet love story six years in the making. Oh yeah and a plot twist that will leave you reeling.NFL quarterback, Zolt Hamil was America’s heartthrob until a career ending injury changed his life. Years later, he’s picked up the pieces and carved out a new path for himself. But the mental and physical scars of that day have left him moody and reclusive, and his only relief is indulging in pleasure and pain with his many one night stands. Though many women have tried, Zolt refuses to care about any of them. Only one woman has his heart; a hallucination of a young, sable-eyed, blonde beauty whom he conjured that painful day on the football field.

On the first day at his new job at a law firm in Scottsdale, Arizona, Zolt comes face to face with his hallucination, Irelyn Wilkes. Their fateful connection, and explosive passion for each other pulls them together, and this time, Zolt refuses to let her slip from his life.

But Irelyn has her own demons to fight and her controlling boyfriend is one of them. He doesn’t take kindly to other people playing with his toys, and he’ll stop at nothing to keep her by his side.

Can Irelyn and Zolt defy the odds and find a way to be together? Or, will the events set in motion years ago keep them apart forever?

Chapter #1
 
I ran my hand along her naked arm as I
moved toward the bindings that had her securely fastened to my wrought iron,
four-poster bed. She’d been tethered there for over thirty minutes, and now
that the sex was over, I imagined her arms and legs were probably beginning to
ache as the adrenaline left her body.
Miss No-Name Brunette rubbed her arms and
legs after I released her. I didn’t need or want to know her name. I’d never
see her again so what was the point.
She watched me gather my clothes; her eyes
roaming appreciatively over my body.
“So, John, when can I see you again? You’re
amazing.” She licked her plump lips as her eyes traveled over my naked body,
stopping when she noticed the nasty scars on my left shin. Small gray eyes
darted to mine, and I saw the pity setting in. Pity was a deal breaker for me.
“We can’t,” I said and threw her clothes on
the bed.
“Why?” Her bottom lip jutted out in
disappointment. “Didn’t you enjoy yourself? You seemed to be having a great
time.”
“It was fine, uh—”
“Nancy. My name is Nancy.”
I shrugged. “Right. Nancy. I don’t do
repeat performances. Ever.”
“But—”
“Don’t take it personally. It’s just the
way things are.”
Her eyes narrowed, and she scowled at me.
Then, she climbed off the bed and pulled on her clothes. “I don’t understand.
Are you married or something?”
“Nope. Not married or anything else that
concerns you. I’m just not interested. Tonight was great. Really. I enjoyed the
shit out of myself. Fucking you was exactly what I needed. Thanks.”
“How am I supposed to get home? I left my
car at the club,” she whined.
“There’s a cab waiting to take you anywhere
you want. I’ve already paid the fare.” I shrugged again. This was the
bothersome part of operating this way. They always wanted to see me again, and
my answer was always no.
“I should have known when you wouldn’t kiss
me there was something wrong with you. I bet your name isn’t even John. Do you
even live here?” Whatever-her-name yanked on her shoes, and then stood with her
arms crossed over her chest.
“No, I don’t live here. And, darlin’, my
name is whatever you want it to be.”
“Asshole.”
“Come on, now. We both had fun.” I flashed
her my megawatt smile. “I’m pretty sure you came at least three times. It’s all
good, and now, it’s all over.”
I walked to her side and gently took her
arm, guiding her to the door.
“But I let you restrain me!” She stamped
her foot as I opened the front door.
“You did and wasn’t it fun? Maybe you can
find a man that will be as adventurous. Now, off you go, Sally. Bye, bye.”
“Nancy!” she shouted as I closed the door
on her. I could still hear grumbling as she walked away.
 “Ugh.” Leaning against the door, I let out a
long sigh. It would be a while before I could go back to that club. Too bad it
ended the same every time. But I understood why. Women saw me as a catch. I
knew I was attractive. It wasn’t conceit, either. It was a fact of life that
all men of the Hamil family were hot.
My first year in the NFL, I was on the
cover of Sports Illustrated as the Sexiest Man in Football. That cover, and the
other endorsements I had, made me a nice amount of cash, so I was totally good
with being an object of desire. Since they didn’t really know me, they didn’t
know that I was nowhere as attractive on the inside.
I went back to the bedroom, washed and put
the toys away, locking the drawer. Then, I stripped the bed, piling the sheets
on the floor for the maid service to take care of.
I left, not knowing when I’d come back.
Could be the following day. Could be two weeks from now. But tonight, I’d been
out of fucking control—chomping at the bit to blow off some steam. In fact, I
still hummed with energy.
Fuck!
My shadow-self pressed in on me for days.
When I got like this, only one thing helped: acting out. So, I’d gone to the
club in search of the first remotely available Nancy, Sally, or whoever, that
didn’t revolt me. Nancy had been an easy mark. I hadn’t been there ten minutes
before I’d bought her a drink, and we were out the door, heading to the
apartment I kept specifically for this purpose. I was always happy when I found
a woman willing to dabble in a little bondage. I wasn’t heavily into the BDSM
scene, but knew how to wield pain for the ultimate pleasure.
If I stopped and thought about it, I’d be
forced to acknowledged just how screwed up my life had become. So I didn’t. I
didn’t think about all the nameless women I had fucked in the last six years,
and how I hadn’t been in a relationship since the injury. These exchanges served
a purpose. Beyond that? Well, there was nothing beyond that.
But that didn’t mean I had become so jaded
I’d forgotten how to get a woman off. I enjoyed women. Loved the soft curves of
their body, and loved making them come. There was nothing hotter than watching
a woman writhe and squirm as I fucked her closer to orgasm. The sound of her
screaming what she thought was my name was music to my ears, but that was as
far as it went.
The reality was, I was a mess, and I didn’t
want that advertised.
Actually, I was far worse than just a mess;
I was fucking broken.
Sometimes, I wondered if I was even capable
of having a normal relationship. Truth was, I waited for someone that didn’t
exist. A woman my pain-wracked brain conjured that day on the football field. To
make matters worse, she wasn’t even of age. She was a young woman, maybe
fifteen or sixteen, with the most beautiful sable-brown eyes and blonde hair
I’d ever seen. Her face was sweet, kind, and compassion filled. I realized how
creepy this sounds. I wasn’t a sick fuck who preyed on young girls, and I had
no idea why my mind created her. But all I knew was, if I ever discovered she
was real, I’d do anything to have her.
I rubbed my aching leg, and then climbed
into my Viper. God, I loved this car. She was all power and beauty, and driving
her made me happy. I revved the engine and closed my eyes, loving the purr, and
sometimes roar of her V10.
Once on route 101, I opened her up, pushing
her past the century mark on the speedometer. It was crazy to be weaving in and
out of traffic on the main freeway. I was asking to be pulled over, but again,
I didn’t care. In fact, I pressed her harder and watched as the needle climbed
to 110. The concentration it took to control this machine exhilarated me. Still
wound up and looking to banish my shadow-self the only way I knew how, I pushed
her just a little more. Why fucking for over an hour didn’t do the trick, I had
no idea. But if I didn’t burn this energy off before I got home, sleep would be
out of reach. It wouldn’t do to start a new job at one of the country’s most
prestigious law firms red-eyed and tired. Once home, I intended to take a long,
hot shower, and then smoke a few bowls. Hopefully, I’d emerge tired enough to
sleep. For a while, maybe I’d find peace until the nightmare returned that
plunged me into my own personal hell.
A hell that I was used to. A hell that only
she brought me out of.
The morning announced itself in its usual
fashion. I jolted awake screaming, and drenched in sweat—the images as clear as
the day they happened.
“Fuck!” I yelled to the empty room.
Pushing myself back against the headboard,
I rubbed my leg, trying to make the pain go away. The image of her
lovely face and those amazing sable-brown eyes chased the nightmare away, but
my body still buzzed with the memories.
I looked over at the bong and lighter on my
bedside table and sighed. Just once, I wished I didn’t have to numb myself to
start the day.
Before giving in, I ran my hand over my
damp collar-length hair, removing the waves sticking to my moist neck. I used
to keep it short for this very reason, but I liked the way it looked longer.
As I always did, I picked up the bong and
lit the bowl with the lighter. The glow of the burning weed, and the sound of
the bong gurgling as I took a hit immediately calmed me. I inhaled deep and
held the smoke in my burning lungs.
My long exhale sent a plume of smoke into
the dawn-lit room. It floated for a second before dissipating, leaving behind
the tangy smell of burning weed.
With my eyes closed, I slowed my heart rate
and rapid breathing. The high kicked in, and I already felt the calm take over.
I hated being so weak, and hated that what happened almost six years ago
continued to affect and define my days. I used to be the epitome of discipline.
Not anymore.
If I could let go of the self-blame, then
maybe the dreams would abate. But night after night, I replayed the game and
its never changing end.
At twenty-two, I had been one of the
hottest quarterbacks in the NFL, playing for the Arizona Cardinals. The year
prior, we’d made it to the NFC Championships, losing by a field goal.
The next year, we were back in the same
position, with the golden ticket to the Super Bowl within our reach. The only
thing standing in our way was the Philadelphia Eagles. I snarled as I thought
about that team. I always snarled at the thought of them.
Two minutes remained on the clock, and we
were on the ten-yard line on third down. I dropped into the pocket, searching
the field for an open receiver. I danced this way and that as if my movements
might slow the clock. With no receiver available, I sucked in a breath and
decided to go for it. What I should have done was thrown it out of bounds and
stopped the clock. That would have been the smart move—the safe move. We had
one more chance. I had to make it happen. The year had to end in a run for the
Super Bowl.
Running like a man on fire with the ball
cradled against me as if I carried a newborn baby, I headed for the end zone.
But I wasn’t a running back, that wasn’t what I had been trained for. Stupidly,
I ran with my head down instead of up. As a result, I didn’t see the
three-hundred pound linebacker heading my way. I was the man with the ball, and
I had left the protection of my offensive line, which made me fair game.
The next thing I knew, I was laid out on
the ground in extreme pain. When I looked down at my left leg, I was
surprised—and not—to see it angled in an unnatural position. I knew then that I
was well and truly fucked.
I tried to scream, but my voice failed me.
Pain and the smell of the turf below me was all there was.
The hit was dirty, straight up. Later, I
found out a bounty of $5,000 had been issued for any player that took out one
of my knees. I hoped he got a bonus because he’d gone above and beyond his
mandate. Not only did I miss a season, my football career was over. Instead of
taking out my knee, his helmet, and the power behind it, he hit my shin and
shattered my tibia and fibula.
I remembered lying on the ground as the
trainers and medical staff attended me. Chaos had broken out around me. Players
fought, and coaches and referees argued.
I needed to find peace from the commotion;
needed to concentrate on something other than the excruciating pain coming from
my leg. I turned my head and found a pair of big, sable-brown eyes, surrounded
by golden-blonde hair, staring at me. She was beyond beautiful, and her eyes
were mesmerizing. I had conjured an angel.
In my hallucination, we shared an instant
connection. When all around I saw pity and remorse, in her eyes, I found solace
and compassion—a kindred soul to my loss. The need to help, and her inability
not to, showed in the tears falling down her face, and the trembling of her
full red lips. My heart still clenched whenever I thought about it.
As conjurings go, I had created a whopper.
When I thought back on it, I knew there was no way she could be real. The
average person wouldn’t have been allowed to get so close to an injured player
on the field. Hell, my girlfriend, who’d been sitting in the stands, wasn’t
allowed on the field. It still baffled the shit out of me that my mind had created
such a vivid image.
I could still see her brushing tears from
her eyes in my hallucination, and I remember her taking a small step forward. I
wanted her to come closer, to touch me. That was where the hallucination ended,
stopped by a new streak of pain that had traveled through my leg, sending me
into momentary blackness. When I opened my eyes, my blonde-haired beauty with
soul-filled eyes had disappeared. All I had left was the image of her that
pulled me from my terror every morning. I figured she’d probably be around
twenty or twenty-one by now if she were real. I’d admit, that even today, I
looked for those eyes in every blonde I encountered.
Pathetic. Yeah. Too fucking pathetic.
I sighed and took two more hits off the
bong. Maybe one too many, but at least now I felt more balanced, controlled,
and ready to start the day.
What the world saw now was a man who
graduated from Harvard Law School, summa cum laude, and worked for almost three
years at a top law firm in Boston. Some of the country’s top law firms had
courted me, and I had my pick of firms. But I decided to come back to Arizona,
the place where my life changed forever.
Gingerly, I climbed out of the bed and
headed for the pool. I didn’t bother putting on swim trunks; swimming naked was
awesome. After a few stretches, I dove into the pool and swam laps for an hour.
Swimming kept me in shape, though not the shape of an NFL football player.
Those days were gone.
Finishing my laps, I headed for the shower,
feeling excited, like something huge would happen today. The last time I had
this feeling, something huge happened all right. I looked at my leg and scowled
as sudsy water washed over my angry scars.
I dried off and walked into my closet,
surveying the suits I had to choose from. I was somewhat of a
clotheshorse—always had been. Today, I picked a black Hugo Boss suit, white
shirt, and black, silk tie. In the mirror before me, I watched a professional,
seemingly together man tie his tie. It was a lie of course, but one I was used
to.
Once dressed, I went to the kitchen and
packed up a brownie in a plastic bag to take with me. I’d gotten good at baking
brownies. But these weren’t just any chocolaty treats. These had a kick. Cliché
I know, but hey, whatever got me through the day. Whether I’d partake in it
depended on how the day went. Obviously, smoking at work wasn’t a good idea.
But every now and then, the pain became unbearable. If a handful of ibuprofen
didn’t do the trick, the brownie would. I refused to take pain meds. Those
things did a number on my brain.
I put the brownies away, and all the
paraphernalia of my coping mechanism, and locked them in a cabinet in the
pantry. I didn’t need Hannah, my housekeeper, finding them. She probably
wouldn’t care, but I did.
Thinking of Hannah made me laugh. I’d only
met her twice, but we had developed an odd, sometimes hilarious, texting
relationship. I really liked her. Her cooking was amazing, and she kept my home
perfect.
Her work was about to increase, and I was
thrilled. My brother was bringing my dog, Ben, home to me. He had been with
Brody in Colorado for the last two months while I got settled. I couldn’t wait
to see both of them. Thinking about it made me giddy. I knew Ben would love it
here. There was plenty of room for him to run. Bernese Mountain dogs needed
lots of exercise. I almost didn’t get him because of that. Now, I couldn’t
imagine my life without him. He got my ass outside and stopped me from being
such a hermit. If I thought about the fact that my best friend was a dog, I
would get bummed. But then again, fuck it! I loved my dog, and I had missed him
terribly.
I doled out my handful of vitamins and four
ibuprofen into my hand, and then popped them into my mouth. From the fridge, I
pulled out a bottle of OJ, taking large swigs from the bottle.
Let the day begin, I thought as I walked down the hall to
the door. The sound of my designer shoes on the travertine floors reminded me
of the sound of cleats on concrete. It made me smile, but the memory was
bittersweet, and I pushed it aside. Behind bittersweet was pure malice, an
emotion I couldn’t allow myself. Not today.
Grabbing the keys to my Viper, I headed out
the door.
Watch out Arizona, Zolt Hamil was back.
 
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Love In The Library (The Brides Of Bath #5) by Cheryl Bolen

20650228

BLurb: The Beauty and the Scholar…

Certain the “smart” Steffington twin is the person who can help her recover her late husband’s nearly priceless stolen Chaucer manuscript, Catherine Bexley tearfully persuades the scholar to assist her. A deal is struck. She’s particularly pleased that the Doctor of Letters is not interested in seducing her because she’s finished with men (owing to her late husband’s multitude of unfortunate alliances with… doxies). Regaining the manuscript and its subsequent sale will give her independence to ensure she never has to marry again.

Once he learns the poor, delicate widow is in danger of losing her heavily mortgaged home if they cannot find the valuable hologram, Dr. Melvin Steffington vows to do everything in his power to restore the rare Canterbury Tales to her. It’s obvious the pretty little thing needs a man to help her. Not normally the twin to take note of pretty little things, Melvin can’t help but to observe that Mrs. Bexley’s physical appearance is much like the beauties so admired by his twin brother.

He hadn’t counted on the fact he would have to pose as her husband as they race against the banker’s ticking clock. He hadn’t counted on the mysterious thief attempting to kill him. Most of all, he hadn’t counted on how close he would become to the lovely widow or how the kissing of said widow would become the most pleasant experience in his entire seven and twenty years…

Let me start by saying this was my bad, I did not see that this was the 5th in the series, so I was a little lost but it was a good book either way. Catherine is ok with being a widow her marriage was less then great. So she is ok with being on her own. Her funds are quickly running out so she and Melvin are on a mission to findher late husbands stolen goods. All Catherine believes she wants is to find this and now that she is fighting her attarction to her smart helper it is getting harder for her to keep her eye on the prize if you will. I think Cheryl does a good job of bringing her stories to life, I wish that I had read the first first four first. I will be trying to reas those soon! Either way this was a great love story with a good mix of mystery and fear into it.

Links:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20650228-love-in-the-library?from_search=true

http://www.amazon.com/gp/search?keywords=9781939602213&index=books&linkCode=qs&tag=httpwwwgoodco-20

Betrayal (Time Enough To Love #2) by Jenna Jaxon

20740927

Blurb: The worst betrayals come from within.

After a night of passion with her betrothed, Sir Geoffrey Longford, Lady Alyse de Courcy is eagerly looking forward to her wedding. But when Geoffrey is forced to marry another, a heartbroken and possibly pregnant Alyse finds herself in her own private hell. She must either gamble with her reputation or marry someone she does not love.

A reputed connoisseur of women, Thomas, Lord Braeton, has dallied with many ladies of King Edward’s court, although he has favored none. However, as Geoffrey’s best friend, Thomas has sworn to serve and protect Alyse, an oath now sorely tested when he agrees to marry her—in name only—to guard her reputation. Yet, as they grow closer, and Thomas discovers Alyse’s sweet but spirited nature, he comes to desire a marriage in truth. Can he overcome her memory of Geoffrey or is Thomas doomed to burn with passion for a woman he can never possess?

My Thoughts: Not gonna lie the first line of the blurb had me!!! THE WORST BETRAYALS COME FROM WITHIN. I think we all know this to be true. So this had me hooked. Jenna does a great job of bringing her story to life. I could not even think of what times back then used to be like. You love someone but you know that you can’t have them. NO matter how badly you want too, then the you could be having his baby and he is getting married to another. All becuase of the way the system works. Even though she is now promsied to another who is willing to take on her unborn baby as his own that does not ease any of her pain. I do not want to give anything away but I am not sure if I really like Thomas (the new guy) and Alyse together it is not ok with me. I know I am invested in Geoffrey and Alyse but still. I can’t wait to see where this will end up going.

links:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20740927-betrayal?ac=1

http://www.amazon.com/gp/search?keywords=9781310940507&index=books&linkCode=qs&tag=httpwwwgoodco-20