Series: Slater Brothers (#2.5)
Author: L.A. Casey
Releasing: February 1st
Keela Daley is stressed out with nightmares and memories from her past, they are haunting her. She has no time to dwell on them as she is moving out of her dog box sized apartment and into her first house with her fiancé. Moving house is a dreaded task, and Keela would love nothing more than for things to go quietly and smoothly, but when you’re engaged to a Slater brother, nothing goes quietly or smoothly. Nothing.
Alec Slater loves his woman. He also loves playing games and surprising her. Picking moving day to do both, turns out to be a failure of epic proportions. Alec wants to make it up to Keela for his mistakes, but as the day goes on, and things go from bad to worse, he doesn’t know if living with him is something she wants anymore.
What started out as a simple day of packing and moving house turns into the day from Hell. Unwanted house guests. Business propositions. Alcohol. Pregnancy tests. Panic attacks. Fighting. Arguing. Sex, and everything else that is crazy and represents the name Slater. Keela has a choice to make, and not one she will make lightly.
Keela adores Alec, and what Keela adores, Keela cherishes.
“Hey,” Alec murmured in my ear. “Is everything okay?”
No, not at all.
“Yeah... I'm just stressed with the move,” I replied, playing it off like it was nothing.
Alec placed his hands on my arms and gently rubbed up and down. “Are you sure that's all?”
I nodded my head.
“Keela,” Alec began. “Talk to me, what's wrong?”
“Nothin', I'm fine,” I assured him.
His silence spoke volumes, so I decided to give him a little piece of what I was thinking.
“I've just never moved into a house with another person before, especially not another person who is my fiancé. It's sinkin' in that we're for real. I was convinced for a long time that you wantin' me was some kind of fluke. I was expectin' you to realise that you could have anyone, so why settle for me? Then you'd up and walk out.”
Alec turned me to face him and leaned his head down so he could press his forehead against mine. “I don't know what else I can do to make you realise you're it for me. I don't see anyone but you. You're my life, Keela. I wish you knew just how much I love you and how lucky I am that you picked me. You don't know how beautiful you are, and I hope you never realise it because if you do, you'll realise you can do better than my sorry ass, then you'll up and leave me.”
“Stop it,” I mumbled and tried to pull back.
“No,” Alec stated firmly and held me still. “You are beautiful. You are perfect to me. You are my life. You are never going to convince me that I am worthy of you. Kitten, I love you so much it hurts. Please realise that.”
I was about to cry. Again.
I quickly lifted my hands to my face and covered it completely.
“I hate you!” I said then burst into tears.
I hated everything.
I had this unbelievably beautiful person both inside and out, and he wanted me by his side for life, yet here I was doubting whether or not we were moving too fast. I wanted to be with Alec for the rest of my life, I swear I did... so why the hell did everything we were doing feel like it was too fast?
Alec took my emotional state as a good sign and put his arms around me and cuddled me to him. He thought I was overwhelmed by his profession of love, and I was, but what he didn't realise was that I was close to breaking down and revealing what was really wrong with me.
“Cry baby,” he murmured to me.
I lightly chuckled and pulled back. “I'm fine, it's just the stress of movin' that has me so teary.”
Alec nodded his head and kissed my forehead. “Let's go get a start on boxing and speed this day up. What do you say?”
I forced a smile. “I say lead the way.”
L.A. Casey was born, raised and currently resides in Dublin, Ireland. She is a twenty-three year old stay at home mother to a two year old German Shepherd named Storm and of course, her five year old – going on thirty – beautiful little hellion/angel depending on the hour of the day. She is the author of the Amazon Bestselling book series, Slater Brothers. Facebook | Twitter | Website | Amazon | Goodreads
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Ten novellas featuring sexy blue collar men and the women who love them!
Add it to your TBR today!
The Blue Colla Make Ya Holla
Box Set will include a novella by:
Title: Hot, Summer Nights
Heat Level: Steamy
Blue Collar Hero: Dirt Track Racer
Heat Level: Steamy
Blue Collar Hero: Oil Rigger
Heat Level: Very Steamy
Blue Collar Hero: Motorcycle Fabricator & Airbrusher
Title: Nobody But You
Heat Level: Very Steamy
Blue Collar Hero: Tattoo Artist
Title: Never to Hope
Heat Level: Very Steamy
Blue Collar Hero: Road Crew Worker
Title: Rebound Biker
Heat Level: Steamy
Blue Collar Hero: Construction Worker
Title: Rescuing the Bridesmaid
Heat Level: Moderately Steamy
Blue Collar Hero: Tow Truck Driver
Heat Level: Steamy
Blue Collar Hero: Roofer
Title: Lawnmow My Heart
Heat Level: Steamy
Blue Collar Hero: Owner of a Landscaping Business
Title: Rough Patch
Heat Level: Steamy
Blue Collar Hero: Mechanic
Add it to your TBR today!
"Masters only did two seascapes before his hand was crushed."
David and Emma Thomas have reached the end of the road. Only one thing is preventing them from parting ways: a painting they bought on honeymoon. Priceless to both of them, the only solution seems to be to find the second of the elusive Masters' seascapes and each carry away a piece of the past.
Will an impromptu road trip set them free once and for all?
They had talked about David staying in the house - spare room, of course - until he could find something more permanent but in the end he couldn't bear it. The things you stopped noticing after fifteen years - sometimes, conversely, the very things that had helped you fall in love in the first place - were suddenly amplified. The way she always hummed when she made coffee in the morning, whatever her mood. The scent of her moisturiser. The way she chewed her pencil end, even though she admitted it was a habit that drove her crazy when others did it.
You don't know what you've got until it's gone…
Or almost gone. Being reminded every day of what he was about to lose would have been too much to bear. Not that he would call the current circumstances particularly bearable.
Instead, he had rented a small studio flat a ten minute walk away. He could easily have afforded something bigger and he certainly could have afforded something less sparsely furnished but he didn't want a new home right now. He just wanted somewhere to retreat and lick his wounds.
Privately he admitted to himself that the feeling of temporariness helped perpetuate the charade: perhaps it wasn't all quite over. He knew he was kidding himself. He was not the kind of man to give up without a fight and he believed he had fought hard for Emma. She just didn't want him any more.
As he reached the building and entered the lobby, he wondered if he should just let her go now. The painting? She could have it. Who needed a reminder of all the things they'd never have again? She had transformed his life over the last fifteen years. A canvas, however stunning, was a poor substitute.
In his 'kitchenette' - one counter, a sink and a toaster and kettle - he poured a glass of whisky, took a mouthful and then shook his head and emptied the rest of the glass down the sink. He was drinking too much. It wasn't habitual but it could easily become so. Whisky - even damn good whisky - was even less of a substitute for Emma than a Masters' seascape.
He would call her in the morning, he decided. She could have the painting. Forget the auction. Forget the road trip.
If you love someone set them free…
She wouldn't come back to him, he suddenly knew that. And perhaps it would indeed mean she never had been his, but oddly he was cheered by this thought. Nobody could own someone as free as Emma. She was born to soar. He had always believed they could soar together and the realisation that he had been wrong crushed his heart in a vice of pain. She had given him so much in the last fifteen years, made so many sacrifices. This would be his final opportunity to give Emma something she really wanted: her freedom. After everything he had put her through, it would be the very least he could offer.
Donna is a longtime book lover and sometime book reviewer and has devoured books from an early age. She writes short (or long) stories as and when inspiration hits and is married to fantasy author David M. Brown (Fezariu's Epiphany, A World Apart). She was also co-contributor to David's book, Man vs Cat, a humorous look at life with six rambunctious rescue cats.
Donna has lived in many different areas of the UK over the last 30-something years but has remained in Yorkshire for the past decade. She ardently disputes the misnomer that 'It's grim up north'. You can find Donna on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Goodreads, or visit her and her husband's shared blog: B-Lines and Felines.
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One simple decision can end a future.
One simple persuasion can sever a life.
The moment Annisyn Kane slips her rake pick into the lock of a stranger's door, the straight life she's led the last few years is scratched out. In the past, the goal was never theft. It was to escape. From life. From death. To quiet the dreams that replayed an affliction she longed to forget. This night, though, was different. She was out of options.
The isolated house was supposed to be an easy target. In and out. No problems. But the simple job takes a twisted turn when Annisyn comes face to face with the only real love she ever had.
Five years ago, she could have persuaded Damian Mead to stay. But she wasn't willing to be the end of his future, so she let him go. Before the emotions from their tangled past have a chance to spin between them, Annisyn discovers that their startling encounter is the least of the night's problems. There's someone else in the house who has issues with the past, and the only thing on his mind is revenge.
*recommended ages 17+ for mature content*
"You okay?" Damian shifted beside me, rubbing his arm against mine in the process. The binds at our elbows were now tied together and secured to the lowest wood railing of the stairs.
I wiggled my arms, but there was very little room to move. Looking down at the material connecting our ankles, I wondered if there was another way to get free. "Aside from the headache, yeah. You?"
Damian didn't look at me. His eyes remained forward, staring blankly off toward the kitchen. We were farther from the light, but I could still see each of his features: the eyes that would look at me like I was the only other person alive, the thin nose that would brush my skin whenever he kissed the back of my neck, the plump lower lip that he'd sometimes bite when I dug my fingernails into his back.
He nodded. "I'm fine. Now, are you gonna tell me what you're doing in my house?"
Great. There was no easy way to answer. It was probably best to just say it. "I broke in."
He exhaled a puff of air and shook his head. "Of course you did."
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It’s the romantic continuation you’ve been waiting for: Book three in the Alexa Reed series by Amazon bestselling author Hilary Wynne.
Alexa Reed finally has it all: a healthy new lease on life, a bright future with the man of her dreams, a great group of friends, and a job she loves. She’s finally seeing her happy ending.
That vision changes in an instant when an unexpected situation threatens the love she and Julian share. Suddenly Alexa is faced with the difficult choices of whether to STAY and HOLD ON, or run.
To escape the pain, she chose to run. She ran away from Julian and a life she could no longer be a part of.
Alexa’s life is anything but predictable, especially when it comes to love, and an unusual twist of fate leads Alexa and Julian back to each other.
It's more complex this time, because they aren’t the same people. Julian is struggling to trust Alexa, and he has every reason to. She has a damaging secret that threatens to ruin the fragile relationship they’re working to rebuild. Despite her fear, Alexa knows she needs to tell Julian the truth before they have any chance for a real future.
They say love conquers all, but can it conquer betrayal at the hands of the person who has promised to love you forever?
Praise for Hold On (Book 2 of the Alexa Reed series)
Sometimes you can be so damaged that nothing can heal the destruction that has been caused your soul. But then sometimes if you are really blessed you will be given a second chance and that is what this installment of Alexa’s life is all about. While reading this book your emotions will run rampant with what ifs and why nots! The feelings that you experience as you read this story make an unforgettable impression on your heart and will not be easily forgotten. – Twin Sisters Rockin’ Book Reviews
Hilary Wynne has completely blown me away yet again! This series has quickly become a favorite of mine. I became emotionally attached to these characters in book 1 "Stay". This book was no different. In this book I cried a lot, got so frustrated and then said WTF. Hilary hits you with a twist you don't see coming. – Eye Candy Bookstore
We’re walking to our table in the back when I feel a strong arm reach around my waist and pull me back a little. I know it’s Julian by the way he smells and the feel of his chest against my back. My pulse quickens. I try to turn around, but he holds me tightly against him and whispers in my ear.
“I’m not sure I approve of this dress in my restaurant. I just watched a few men choke on their food when you walked by. Not to mention you’ve made several ladies very unhappy. It doesn’t leave much to the imagination, mi amor. Es un poquito corto, no?”
I can feel the heat from his body against my back. I can also feel him harden. I grab his hand and spin around so I’m facing him. I put my lips to his ear and whisper back. “I guess it wouldn’t be a good idea to tell you I’m not wearing any panties, would it?”
In the Series:
Have you ever woken up one day and said, “Today’s the day I’m going to do (insert thing here)?” Well, I did, and the result is my first novel, Stay. I always thought of myself as a decent writer, and then a trip down memory lane through my ninth grade book of poetry confirmed it. I realize that I have always had a romantic side and a way with words. With support from my husband and kids (and an unspoken agreement to leave me alone for a few hours every night), I embarked on this incredible writing journey.
I’m originally from sunny Southern California and spent my summers in South Florida. I attended college at FSU and received my Masters in New Mexico. I finally settled in the Washington, DC area. My happy place has always been anywhere near the water.
When I’m not writing, I help run a business with my husband, watch an inordinate amount of sports (my kids play something 365 days a year), indulge my competitive spirit on the tennis court, and spend time with my awesome family and friends.
I am an avid reader, but find my characters feel neglected when I hang out with other author’s characters for too long. When I do read, historical fiction is my favorite genre. I love traveling and experiencing different cultures, places, and times.
I feel so blessed that my love of books inspired me to finally do something that I forgot I had always dreamed about doing.
My someday has arrived!
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Hilary-Wynne/e/B00GUNZDYO/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1422119356&sr=8-1
In the last six months, Ashley’s life has been one disappointment after another. She walked in on her boyfriend with another woman, leaving her needing a new place to live and a mountain of debt. As if that wasn’t enough, her ex convinces her that his infidelity is her fault for being unadventurous in bed.
Deep down Ashley has always had the desire to be wild but has been held back by her own insecurities. She’s desperate to break free, but she's fearful of how people will judge her if they know her inner desires. She wants nothing more than to lose herself in sex that pushes her to the limit, but she hasn’t found anyone she trusts enough to take her there until she meets Tanner.
Tanner doesn’t trust anyone outside of his inner circle easily. The infamous, media proclaimed playboy, quarterback is tired of people using him for money, connections and to get their fifteen minutes of fame. Determined to protect his image and himself, he makes sure to keep most people at arm’s length until Ashley is thrown into his life. He’s inexplicably drawn to her, and she needs his help in more than ways than one. But to help her, he’ll need to let her in.
There’s an immediate attraction and connection that neither can deny, but can both of them get past their inhibitions and find what they are looking for in each other or will everything backfire in their faces?
My bad luck first started six months ago, when I discovered my boyfriend, Jason, had been cheating on me. I suppose if you asked my mother though, she’d say my bad luck had started two and half years ago, when I started dating Jason. My parents never liked him.
"He just rubs me the wrong way, Ashley," my mother had always said. "He's not the guy for you." She’d claimed that it wasn't one thing in particular but that something about Jason as a whole just didn’t sit right with her. Either way, she was right. I guess mother's intuition really is accurate… But I’ve never told her the real reasons we broke up or how much debt he put me in before we did. Let’s just say I don’t want to see the look on her face if she found out the truth about Jason. She’d say that since she’d been right about my choice in him, maybe I should consider another career before it turned out she was right about that as well.
Jason and I had shared an apartment in Jersey City. That is until I’d found him having an afternoon romp in our sheets with someone who certainly wasn’t me one Thursday when he should have been working, and I kicked him out.
I’d come home early that day to grab a few outfit choices to bring with me to my best friend Quinn's. We were heading to the city that night so I could check out a hit club for the weekend edition of the paper. I’d known that something was off the minute I walked through the door. A pair of women's shoes lay on the living room floor. They were not mine. I didn’t own electric blue stilettoes.
Then I heard them.
Title: Losing Her (His #2) Author: Mariah Dietz Release Date: March 1 Find on Goodreads
“I loved her and she left. Maybe I wasn’t enough. Maybe I’ll never be enough.” I’ve been thinking these words since before we even got together.
Everything is new. The old no longer has a place here. Physical items are easy to replace. I'm constantly battling the ones that aren't.
Every thought and memory I have is stained.
You weren't even there for half of them.
How is she still present even though she left?
I can do this. I’m going to survive losing her.
*** This is the second book of the His Series, and it DOES end with a cliffhanger. The final book of the His Series, Finding Me, will release June 1, 2015***
“Dude, you’ve got to get up.” Jameson sighs as I pull the pillow back over my head. I don’t even know what day it is anymore. I don’t care.
What adds salt to my wounds is the fact that the world keeps turning. People continue waking up and going about their day. The sun rises and sets. I hear kids laugh and play, neighbors greet one another, and birds sing, and all the while I wonder how? How does the entire world appear to be surviving this nightmare of losing her?
Hank comes to visit in June. I still haven’t heard from Ace, and yet I’m still staying at my mom’s. I can’t leave. I can’t go back to that house. I’d moved rooms shortly after she left, and now reside in the guest room on the main floor. It’s better this way. There aren’t any pictures of her in here or random memories, like the one of her sitting on my bean bag chair when I was sick last summer. I also don’t have to face the window that looks out onto hers.
Hank knows that I know mom sent for him, hoping that he’d be able to “help” me. She of all people should know that having Hank around isn’t going to help me. He’s fucking married to the love of his life; he doesn’t have a fucking clue about the shit that I’m going through.
Of all things, Hank wants to go camping. I’m sure he thinks that getting away will help. He doesn’t understand that moving rooms has helped me realize I could go to Antarctica, and things wouldn’t change; the distance isn’t going to make the pain any less.
When we get camp set up, Hank opens a cooler and passes me a beer with a giant, shit-eating grin, like we’ve just overcome a huge hurdle. Deciding that I shouldn’t rain on his little douchebag tea party quite yet, I accept the beer with merely a grimace before taking a long swig. Before long, that single swig becomes a chug, and then a guzzle as I consume more alcohol than what three people probably should.
I sit by the fire and close my eyes. My mind automatically reaches back into that locked and forbidden drawer to pull out the image of Ace, striving to recall the sound of her laugh, the feel of her touch. It brings me back to our camping trip last September, when Jameson announced that was what he wanted to do for his birthday.
Mariah Dietz lives in Eastern Washington with her husband and two sons that are the axis of her crazy and wonderful world.
Mariah grew up in a tiny town outside of Portland, Oregon, where she spent the majority of her time immersed in the pages of books that she both read and created.
She has a love for all things that include her sons, good coffee, books, travel, and dark chocolate. She also has a deep passion for the stories she writes, and hopes readers enjoy the journeys she takes them on, as much as she loves creating them. Facebook | Twitter | Website | Goodreads
When I was ten, my father indoctrinated me into the family.
A brotherhood who would fight, protect, and give their lives for one another. A club whose ties ran thicker than blood, murkier than the dirt and grime that tainted my soul. Stronger than the bonds that connected me to my own family.
A band of brothers, where loyalty was kept and paid in a currency of blood.
When I was twenty-seven, I betrayed that brotherhood.
I’ve spent every day since running, avoiding paying back that debt.
My name is Daniel Johnson. I have betrayed everyone I ever loved.
And I’ll betray her too.
This is my story—if you’re screwed up enough to want to read it.
Warning: KICK contains graphic violence, profanity, drug use, and explicit sexual situations of a taboo nature. Intended for an 18+ audience only. Not intended for pussies.
~ Review by Ashlee~
I have not read the other MC books in this series, which I was hesitant about at first because I prefer to read all series in order. However, this is also a standalone so I thought I’d give it a shot. Author Jenner gives a series warning at the beginning of this book and rightly so. I’m a huge MC fan but this one really is more gruesome and aggressive than others I’ve read. I generally like a warning blurb from the author but sometimes they work a book up more than it should be, but not in this case. Also, it gave a good warning about Kick going back and forth in his life. We needed his back story to understand him more, but it came gradually and could get very complicated.
I loved that there was the usual MC drama, club whores, hot men on bikes, and a lot of sex. Those are all a must in an MC book. Kick gave us even more than all that though. He was a twisted man who had a lot hidden about him. Ever since he lost the one women he cared for, Lauren, women became toys to him that he threw away daily. He felt no connections, no emotions, just carnal sex and angst. Throw in some murders and drunken debauchery and this was Kick’s life. And he had no plans to change it.
Kick got involved with a missing girl that the club rescued. He was supposed to shot her but for some strange reason he couldn’t. He took her back to his shit hole of a room and tried to help her to recovery. However, the club had other plans, including drugging and raping her. Kick almost killed his club President as he watched this. Indie is what Kick came to call her. He took care of her the best he could while still trying to stay under the radar of his shit head President. In this time Kick and Indie hated each other but also came to rely on each other.
Many lives were lost, some good but mostly bad, while Kick and Indie changed their lives and those around them. They left each other for a moment but in the end they had to be together to get through this thing called life. This novel has so much passion, is a little confusing with all the past hardships, but the more you learn the more your enjoy this pair.
I take a deep shuddering breath, close my eyes and stretch my hand towards him. His touch is gentle this time, far more gentle than I’d ever thought someone with so much uncontained violence to him could be.
“Spread your fingers,” he commands. I do, and he lifts the roll of tape, presses the edge to my skin and begins winding it over my knuckles. I close my eyes. The strident sound of it stretching out from the roll makes me want to flee. It makes me want to run as far from his touch—from any man’s touch—as I can possibly get.
The feel of the tape against my flesh, binding, holding, is so much worse. I tug on my hand, but he won’t let go. My heartrate skyrockets, and sweat beads erupt over my brow and upper lip. I’m in that room again, struggling, screaming, trying to fight them off, and failing.
Biker knows it, too. His dark eyes challenge, they dare me to run, but they also implore me to stay. It’s ironic that the only thing keeping me here, keeping me grounded, is the man who abducted me.
He holds my gaze. I don’t know exactly what is hidden in his dark blue one, but it suffocates the panic within me, douses it like water flooding flames. He bends his head to my hand. Taking the paper tape in his mouth, he rips it with his teeth.
I still. I soften. His gaze doesn’t leave mine, not even once. Not even when he starts in on my wrist, gently biting through each piece of tape before pressing it down with his rough hands. I’m mesmerised by his mouth, the piercing, and the soft, full lips. The light catches a silver chain around his neck, something I’ve never noticed before—but then I try not to make a habit of staring too closely at him. Not now, though. Now I watch every twitch, every blink, every intake of breath, and every inch that is swallowed up by his mouth moving closer to my flesh.
About the Author:
Carmen Jenner is a thirty-something, USA TODAY
Best Selling Author, doctor, pilot and CIA agent. She's also a compulsive, flagrant prevaricator who gets to make things up for a living.
While Sugartown may not technically exist, Carmen grew up in a small Australian town just like it, and just like her characters, she always longed for something more. They didn't have an Elijah Cade, though.
If they did, you can be sure she would have never left. Website
Brody (The Bang Shift Series) Author:
Mandy Harbin Genre:
Romantic Suspense Sexual Level:
HOT Release Date:
November 4, 2014 Cover Design by
Sarah Hanson, Okay Creations Organized by
Literati Author Services Inc.
~ Synopsis ~
Brody “Brutus” Jackson isn’t your average small-town mechanic. The shop where he spends his days doubles as the headquarters for the mercenary group he works with. They jokingly call themselves the Bang Shift because the government contracts they take are the less savory ones, and they’re all just shady enough to do what’s necessary to get the jobs done. As far as Brody’s concerned, it’s the perfect arrangement for a man with no memory of his past, and no hope for the future.
Under FBI protection, Alexandria Collins and her son have been in hiding for ten years. When it’s time to move again, her piece of crap car breaks down and the man giving her a tow is the biggest, hottest guy she’s ever seen. She is determined to ignore the need her long-neglected body hungers for. After all, the last man she showed interest in put a gun to her head.
Brody thinks the skittish Xan is sexy as hell, but it’s not her hot body that has him rocked to his core. He knows her from somewhere, and in his line of work, that’s a dangerous thing. Following orders have never been this hard, but when he finds out she’s his next assignment, he will protect her at all costs … even if what she needs protection from most is him.
Read an Excerpt
They walked up to an opened fence and Xan silently thanked the heavens for small favors. The garage looked as if it was open. They walked through the gate and into the old building with several antique and late-model cars out front. Walking through the front door, she braced herself for the blast of cold air to hit her face, relishing the thrill of the artificial air she was about to gloriously encounter.
She was sorely disappointed. It was hotter in here than it was outside. How was that even possible? Her wet clothes clung to her sweaty body, leaving nothing to the imagination. Didn’t matter. She was past humility at this point. She’d have a teenage moment and flash her boobs, sweat and all if necessary, to get someone to help them out.
“May I help you?” a man with a gravelly voice asked as he walked into the makeshift lobby next to the bays, wiping his hands on a grease rag. He looked to be middle-aged, though she wasn’t sure since he was bald. No gray hair to help her out with that assessment.
She looked at his nametag sewn into his shirt. “Yes, Colonel, is it?” At his smile and nod, she said, “Our car broke down a couple miles down the road.”
A metal crash and very masculine curses mixed with raucous taunting and laughter startled her. Scott snickered at the colorful words coming from the bays. He’d heard them plenty of times, though Xan tried not to talk like that. Really, she did try to deny her sailor-mouth tendencies. She just wasn’t very good at restraining herself all the time.
“Sorry,” Colonel mumbled. “Those are my mechanics, trying to catch up on some work. I took over this garage after I realized being retired was boring, and we stay pretty busy. Seems like I’m constantly hiring more help, but we stay behind.”
The ruckus from the bays was finding its way into the lobby. Several guys walked into the room, and Xan felt a slight panic attack coming on. She not only lacked a love life, but she tended to avoid large groups of men. She didn’t have anything against the male population, but after marrying into the mafia at a young age, dodging copious amounts of testosterone seemed like a good self-preservation tactic to live by. So she did, and when she wasn’t prepared to interact with schools of men, her stomach took a nosedive when thrust into that very situation.
Taking a covert calming breath so she wouldn’t look like some skittish girl, she tried to pay closer attention to each of the men as they came near. If she identified them individually, she could pretend she wasn’t dealing with a mob of men.
A mob of seemingly beautiful, large, masculine men, looking to be around her age.
Oh shit. She so did not need this. Her nerves and sense of self-preservation took on a whole new meaning. She’d rather deal with certain fear than possible attraction.
As she surveyed the crowd, she noticed their looks were as various as the candy selection at the last gas station she’d stopped at. Male sweetness was not better than chocolate. She just had to remind herself of that as she stared at the variety before her. One guy had black hair, another blond, spiked all crazy. The two next to the hot version of Billy Idol had long dark-brown hair and curly light-brown hair. There was another bald guy bringing up the rear, but that one had a goatee with green eyes. Colonel had brown eyes and was definitely older than this group that’d just come in.
“Where’s Brutus?” Colonel asked the guys.
The dude with the spiky blond hair chuckled. “He’s cleaning up his mess.”
“It wasn’t his mess, asshole. You’re the one who knocked the tray over,” Mr. Black Hair said with a snarl. Xan instinctively took a step back.
“Easy, Roc,” Colonel said and looked at her. “This is Roc.” He pointed to the cranky man with black hair. “Blade,” he gestured toward the spiky blond guy. His name made sense. His hair looked sharp enough to hurt if he were to head-butt someone.
“I’m Hunter,” the man with long brown hair said, and then he pointed to the guy with curly brown hair. “That’s Gage. He’s not as mean as Roc, but don’t get too close to him.” He chuckled.
“Fuck off, Hunter,” Gage growled.
“See?” Hunter snickered. “And that guy over there—”
“I’m Bear, and Hunter’s a dick.” He ducked his head and glanced at Scott. “Oh sorry. He’s, er, I mean he’s a punk.”
Scott laughed. “Don’t worry. I’ve heard it all. You should hear my mom talk. She has the biggest potty mouth.”
Xan gasped. “I do not.”
“Wow, he’s your kid?” Blade asked. “Did you have him at twelve?” He laughed but with sincerity twinkling in his eyes.
“Just about,” she murmured.
After a few of the guys laughed, she immediately relaxed. Sure, they were all very handsome. None looked to be shorter than six feet, and each had a body to die for, though each had a unique look all his own. But she didn’t feel any sparks, so she felt relieved. Maybe her libido was broken. If so, she was fine by that. She didn’t need any man drama in her life.
Why did that make her feel a little depressed? She shook off that thought. She couldn’t get caught up with any man, so there really was no need dwelling on the things she couldn’t have, like love, companionship, trust and sex. God, she’d love to have sex again.
Maybe in another life.
Focusing her attention back on the problem at hand, she looked at the assembled group of men. “Look. We need our car towed and a ride to a car rental company. Can you help us?” Xan asked the guys in general so as not to single anyone out.
Blade’s eyebrows shot up. “I’d love to give you a ride, doll.” Even though his tone was clearly teasing, she stiffened. Flirting was definitely not her forte.
Hunter whistled while shaking his head in exasperation. “Back off, Blade.” He looked at Xan. “Sorry about Rico Suave over here. One of us would be glad to help you out. But you’d have to drive up to Conway or back to the Little Rock area for a rental. Best to call around first before making the drive.”
“I’ll call Bill and see if he can drive one out here,” Colonel said to Hunter, then looked at her. “He owns the rental company in Conway. If they have something he’ll bring it out here and save you a trip. You’ll be limited on your options, though.”
“Oh, whatever it is will be a step up from my old hatchback. I’m not choosy.”
Colonel nodded and looked at the guys expectantly. “Which one of you is available to help her out?”
“Bear and I aren’t finished with the tranny that’s supposed to be ready tomorrow,” Roc barked and turned to leave. He obviously wasn’t volunteering. Xan was okay with that. She didn’t like the vibe coming off him, anyway.
“Sorry.” Bear smiled to her as he followed Roc.
“Gage and I have to finish puttin’ tires on Ms. Carson’s minivan, then do Joe’s,” Blade told Colonel before turning to Xan. “I’d be happy to help you if you stick around, doll. It shouldn’t take us more than an hour.”
“Get to work,” Colonel snapped, and Blade winked at her as he and Gage headed back to the bays.
“I have one more oil change to do, so I can do it in fifteen,” Hunter said with a crooked smile, “but Brutus just finished up on Mr. Jackson’s ’56 Chevy. He’s been pickin’ up the tools that Blade knocked over after Blade called him a pussy.”
Oh, right. She’d forgotten there was another one around here. Brutus it seemed. What was with these names? Must be a man thing, not that she’d know. Or could even begin to understand the inner workings of the male brain, ego, or whatever it was that fueled their behavior. Oh, once upon a time, she knew one part of the male anatomy that tended to lead in the decision-making process, but she’d long ago fell out of practice with that too.
Hunter glanced at Scott, remembering there was an impressionable young man in his midst, looking contrite and shaking his head. “Sorry, man.”
“Go,” Colonel told him. “Brutus!”
Hunter left, but his departure barely registered. Just as he was walking toward the bay area, a man with long blonde hair and built like a freaking bodybuilder walked her way. With each step, his muscles rippled and his hair—what wasn’t sticking to his sweaty brow—flowed in waves behind him.
She should not find this man attractive. She didn’t care for bulky men, and she definitely preferred short hair on the opposite sex. Long hair belonged on women, like she used to have, but she wasn’t dredging that memory up now.
So why was her body doing things she hardly recognized. Hardly recognized, not didn’t recognize. She knew what that tingling sensation in her pussy meant. The tightening of her nipples? Yeah, she knew what that meant too. Images filled her mind of this behemoth of a man coming over her in bed and doing very naughty things to her. She stifled a moan. Yeah, she shouldn’t find him attractive because he didn’t fit any description of her ideal type. But there was no mistaking the fact that her body didn’t get that memo.
So much for not being attracted to any of the mechanics here.
As Mister Hold-Me-Down-and-Fuck-Me-Good walked up, his pupils dilated, turning his dark-blue eyes black as his nostrils flared, his gaze zeroing in on the tight buds of her nipples before locking with her own heated eyes. Good thing she was already wet from sweat because her panties just got wetter.
She shut her eyes to break the connection her body was trying to make with this man. She had to be smart and remember all the reasons men were not a part of her life. She could use him as masturbating material. Nothing more, dammit.
She wasn’t going to break her abstinence streak for anyone, especially not a man who could quite possibly fight off every one of the other mechanics singlehandedly. She didn’t know him from Adam, and the last—the only—relationship she’d ever had was abusive. Hell, Marco tried to kill her in the end. She had to find the strength to avoid any and all temptation this sex god presented.
And she would. She was just strong enough to resist a man built like he could break her face.
Because if she didn’t, she knew she was just weak enough to let him break her heart.
About the Author
Mandy Harbin is an award-winning, bestselling author of several books across multiple romance genres ranging from contemporary to paranormal erotic romance. She is also the number one bestselling author in teen romance under the pen name M.W. Muse with her popular Goddess Series. She is a Superstar Award recipient, Reader's Crown and RWA Passionate Plume finalist, and has received Night Owl Reviews Top Pick distinction many times. She studied writing at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, earned several degrees, and even pursued an MBA until she realized becoming an author did not have to remain an unfulfilled dream. Mandy is a PAN member of the RWA and lives in a small Arkansas town with her non-traditional family, and although she is a direct descendant of British royalty, they refuse to call her princess. When she's not penning her latest book, you can find her hanging out online where she loves to connect with fellow readers or stalking Mickey Mouse at Disney World. Connect with the Mandy Website
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My name is Arturo King, and I’m told I’m a legend in music. My band is called the Nights and we got our start at the underground Round Table in New York City. Raised by a foster father, I didn’t know the extent of my inheritance until I was twenty-one, and it was all more than I bargained for. I wanted to play the guitar and rule the world with song, but I learned I have a mother from old money, a dead father who was once a real estate mogul, and a record company that needed some rebuilding. Mure Linn, my friend and mentor, has been by my side through it all, teaching me to play, strengthening my lyrics, and guiding me in the music industry. There was one area he couldn’t guide me, though, and that was love. Guinevere DeGrance changed everything for me, I suppose, including the reason I’m here learning the legend of my life without remembering any of it.
The legendary rock star series begins...
Character Introduction: Arturo King
Paisley Belle reporting for Guitar Central. Today's interview is with Arturo King, leader of the rock band, The Nights. As images of Arturo splash social media in preparation for the band's new release, I was able to sit down with the notorious Mr. King. We sit inside the dimly lit Round Table, an exclusive underground bar, known to make or break musical careers. The table seats only two in this cylinder domain with its mirrored bar opposite the semi-circular stage. Speaking from experience attending concerts here, the few tables will be removed when the night life begins. The brickwork is something you'd find in a Medieval castle, and the empty style is known for its acoustics. Sitting behind Arturo, but nearby, are the other band members: Lansing Lotte, Perkins Vale, and Tristan Lyons.
Let's start with how you got your beginning in music...
A: It all happened by chance. It wasn't meant to be me, but my brother, Kaye, who had the spotlight. When I performed on that stage, it was only to prompt Kaye. Get him to sing. I never meant to steal the show. (He takes a deep breath, uncomfortable with this explanation). That day I met Mure Linn, my mentor and oldest friend, literally. (Laughs). He taught me everything I know. He's the father I never had.
And speaking of family. Tell me about yours. You come from a wealthy heritage.
A: Ingrid Tintagel is my mother; Locke Uther is my father. You can find that information on public record. I never met my father, and regardless of inheriting his real estate empire, it's music I intend to make. Camelot Records is you have an upcoming ca small company owned by Pendragon Empire, Inc. and that's where my focus will be. Growing Camelot.
So you have an upcoming concert? Tell us about it.
A: 2015 is going to be a legendary year for the band. We've developed a new album and it will feature songs written by our own guys. Lansing, Perk and Tristan each showcase their awesome talent and write their own story through song. It's epic.
A: Because I'm the leader, per se, and it's always my story people want. I'm the songwriter, the storyteller on guitar and lead vocals, but now they each get their turn. It's cool to share, Paisley. (He winks at me and I fight the blush that creeps up my cheeks).
Yes, well speaking of sharing, tell me a bit about those nicknames you earned?
Arturo smiles slowly at me and I can't report what his dark, dangerous eyes do to women. It's best reserved for a more promiscuous magazine. He laughs softly and replies.
A: I've been told I'm the Chivalrous Lover. I like to satisfy. (He winks again and I dare to recall). I don't have drama in my life after women because I take care in how I treat them. It's a code of honor for me. As for the other guys (he looks over his shoulder and smirks), you'd have to ask them how they "earned" their names.
This reporter knows that Lansing Lotte is labelled Lady Killer, Perkins Vale is considered the Hands-free Lover, and Tristan Lyons is just a Heartbreaker. His harem of women are reputed to be nicknamed 'flavors' but he never tastes twice. His green eyes and model good looks have paralyzed me for a moment from across the bar and I have to shake my head to clear the pleasurable sting.
It's been reported in the tabloids that there is only one woman for you now. (Arturo's lips slowly curl to smile again, although this time a bit sheepishly. I might dare saw he's blushing and his brown eyes sparkle).
P: Care to expand?
A: Caring is sharing? (I'd think he's flirting with me, but I know better. I've seen the photos of him with her).
A: Guinevere DeGrance has changed everything for me. She's my future. My Once. She's been my muse for our new album.
Ms. DeGrance is a musician in her own right as a cellist, and the daughter of Leo DeGrance, owner of Round Table.
Can you tell me which bands inspired you?
Snow Patrol first and foremost, but also One Republic, Cage the Elephant, Arctic Monkeys, Foo Fighters, Milky Chance, and GooGoo Dolls to name a few. They're all noble warriors in the world spreading music just like us. These bands have helped drive our success.
Is there anyone else you'd like to credit for your success?
A: Well, Mure Linn, of course, and Leo and Kaye. We have a behind the scenes manager, L.B. Dunbar, and she's our promoter, storyteller, supporter of all things Nights.
How can fans follow you or learn more about you?
A: I'd suggest Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23675986-the-legend-of-arturo-king) and join our new group page on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/groups/737318906359166/ ) for all things related to The Nights. We love are fans. We know we wouldn't be anywhere without them.
Any final words for those fans?
A: Just thanks for your support. We love you all and we look forward to sharing on January 27.
At this point, a beautiful young woman saunters up to our table and touches Arturo's shoulder. He leans over to kiss her hand before grabbing it and holding onto her as we say our goodbyes. The Nights are cordial, flirtatious, and respectful. I dare say Ms. DeGrance is one lucky lady, but so would be any damsel who snags the attention of the other fine men who are collectively rocking history in their love of music.
Paisley Belle, reporter for Guitar Central, 2014.
I’d like to say I was always a writer. I’d also like to say that I wrote every day of my life since a child. That I took the teaching advice I give my former students because writing every day improves your writing. I’d like to say I have my ten-thousand hours that makes me a proficient writer. But I can’t say any of those things. I did dream of writing the “Great American Novel” until one day a friend said: Why does it have to be great? Why can’t it just be good and tell a story?
As a teenager, I wrote your typical love-angst poetry that did occasionally win me an award and honor me with addressing my senior high school class at our Baccalaureate Mass. I didn’t keep a journal because I was too afraid my mom would find it in the mattress where I kept my copy of Judy Blume’s Forever that I wasn’t allowed to read as a twelve year old.
I can say that books have been my life. I’m a reader. I loved to read the day I discovered “The Three Bears” as a first grader, and ever since then, the written word has been my friend. Books were an escape for me. An adventure to the unknown. A love affair I’d never know. I could be lost for hours in a book.
So why writing now? I had a story to tell. It haunted me from the moment I decided if I just wrote it down it would go away. But it didn’t. Three years after writing the first draft, a sign (yes, I believe in them) told me to fix up that draft and work the process to have it published. That’s what I did. But one story let to another, and another, and another. Then a new idea came into my head and a new storyline was created.
I was accused (that’s the correct word) of having an overactive imagination as a child, as if that was a bad thing. I’ve also been accused of having the personality of a Jack Russell terrier, full of energy, unable to relax, and always one step ahead. What can I say other than I have stories to tell and I think you’ll like them. If you don’t, that’s okay. We all have our book boyfriends. We all have our favorites. Whatever you do, though, take time for yourself and read a book.
3 - Signed Paperback Copies of The Legend of Arturo King (INT),
3 - eCopies (Kindle only) The Legend of Arturo King (INT),
1 - Signed Paperback Copy of Sound Advice (US Only),
1 - Signed Paperback Copy of Taste Test (US Only),
1 - Signed Paperback Copy of Fragrance Free (US Only)