Bleeding Love by Harper Sloan

 

bleeding love it's live

 

 

 

Meet Liam & Megan in the newest stand alone

in the Hope Town Series by Harper Sloan!

NOW AVAILABLE

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1RiNskm

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1NPEUMz

Nook: http://bit.ly/1HKBNX7

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Blurb

 

I’ve loved once. I gave everything that I had to that love. Blindly believing that nothing could ever take that feeling away from me. Away from us. And when my little world of happiness was ripped from my fingers, I felt a loss that still haunts me to this day.

Now I use that lingering grief as a shield to keep my heart from loving again. It’s that fear that keeps me from letting anyone, except my daughter, get close enough to make it hurt. To make my heart bleed when I inevitably lose again.

Until the day I met Liam Beckett and everything I thought I had protected myself from was shoved back in my face.

He’s on a mission to prove to me that a love worth having is a love worth fighting for.

bleeding love teaser 3

Excerpt #1 

His mouth leaves mine and with his hand still on my leg, he demands, “Dig your heels in deep, baby.”

I give him what he wants, but not because he told me to.  I give him what he wants because when his hand leaves my leg and pushes into the mattress, bringing his body up he goes even deeper into my body and those heels push hard.

Just as he demanded earlier, my hands go to his shoulders on my own accord and as he takes my body hard, my nails dig in with my heels still pushing hard against the small of his back.  Our eyes never leave each other’s probing gaze.  Never once do I take my eyes away from his, so full of lust that I know there isn’t an ounce of control left in his body.

He drops his head and I lift up to meet him in a kiss so sweet it doesn’t match the powerful way that he’s taking my body.  A kiss that gives me more than words ever could at this moment.  His hips slow and as his tongue rolls against mine, his hips start to take me in slow, deep rolls.  He doesn’t pull back, just rocks his hips against mine.

I push up and cry out when he slips even deeper.

His lips come from mine and his hooded eyes open a sliver.  “Feels like heaven,” he says softly.  “Everything, darlin’.  Feels like everything.”

 

 

bleeding love teaser 2

Prologue

Prologue – Megan

 

 

Holy shit.

What am I doing?

“Oh, God!  Right there… I’m coming… Don’t stop!”

Is that me screaming like that?

Holy shit.

I didn’t even know that noises like that could come out of my mouth!

“You like that?” he asks with his lips pressed against my neck – the vibrations shooting straight to my core.

I focus, my now alcohol free vision, on the man thrusting above me.  His dark hair is blending in with the shadows that are dancing around the room.  His face is a mask of ecstasy as he thrusts into my waiting body.  It’s a look of pure desire that I will never forget.

What the hell am I doing?

“You feel so good.  Your body so greedy for my cock.  You want it harder, darlin’?”

I moan shamelessly and feel my body get even wetter with his huskily whispered words.

Screw it – this feels way too good to stop now.

I reach down, dig my fingers in the firm globes of his ass, tip my head back and beg.  Beg with incoherent cries for him to take me harder.  To take everything he can.

 

 

**Two Hours Earlier**

 

“You look beauuuutiful,” I sing as Dani Reid – No, Dani Cage – walks over to sit next to me at one of the tables scattered around the backyard wedding.

She looks at me, her stunning green eyes bright with love and happiness.

“And you sound a little drunk, my friend,” she laughs.

I just smile at her, running my fingers through the lace on her wedding gown.  “This is soft.”

She just laughs and leans back and looks across the yard to where her new husband, Cohen, is standing by the dock talking to some of his friends.  This is another one of those moments when I’m reminded that this group doesn’t have a single unattractive person in it.  I take a second to look at all the well-built, good-looking men standing around him.  When my eyes meet Liam Beckett’s, I look away quickly.  For months now Liam has made no secret that he would love nothing more than my undivided attention.

“They’re all so unfairly hot.  No men should be that attractive,” I whisper in awe, gaining me another chuckle from Dani.  I blush when I realize that my thoughts aren’t staying in my head, where they belong.  When I look back over to where the group of men are standing, my eyes hit the familiar pair of deep brown ones again, eyes that always seem to know each and every time I’m looking their way.  I quickly look away, feeling that blush get even brighter.  I’m not ready to deal with him right now.  At least not when I’m this tipsy.

Picking up my wine glass, I take another healthy swallow as I do a quick scan, taking in all that is the Reid Family property.  They’ve done a beautiful job transforming the backyard of Dani’s family home for Cohen and Dani’s wedding.  I still can’t believe that Dani managed to pull off a surprise wedding without Cohen even catching the smallest hint of her plans.

“Are you sure you’re okay with Molly spending the night with my parents, Megs?  I know it’s hard for you to leave her overnight, but they just love your daughter to pieces.  And I know Owen loves having her around.”  Dani reaches out and takes the hand I had resting against the table while she speaks.

“Yup,” I smack and nod my head.

“You’re drunk,” she says, repeating her earlier observation.

“I’m not drunk, I’m tipsy.  There’s a huge difference there.  If I was drunk I wouldn’t be able to walk.  Watch!”

I jump up from my chair with a little more power than I mean and quickly stumble when the narrow heel of my five-inch shoes sinks into the soft grass beneath me.

“Whoa, there darlin’.”

I feel it, those words, every single syllable deep down in my gut.  Each rumbled word vibrating through my body creating a slow burn until they end with a sharp pulse between my legs. His arms locked at my elbows and my back solidly against his front – where my graceless stumble caused me to end up. I jerk my body tight and feel his laughter reverberate through my body once again.

I attempt to pull my arms from his loose but strong hold, only to give up when it becomes clear that he isn’t going to let go.  Shifting until my face is turned, he lets one arm go and helps me spin until I’m facing him, and moves his hands from my elbows to my hips.

“Hey,” he says with a smile, the dimple in his cheek popping out.

“Liam,” I sigh and then curse myself for not being able to hide my reaction to him.

His smile turns knowing and his eyes darken before dropping to my lips.

I gulp.

“You should be more careful, Megs.”

“It’s Megan,” I snap.

“I know, babe, you don’t have to keep reminding me.”

“Then why can’t you seem to actually remember it?” I squeak and try to pull my body away from his grip – and fail, again.

“Someone doesn’t sound drunk anymore.” I hear Dani speak but I don’t take my gaze off Liam.  “She does look it though.” She muses on a laugh, which finally gets my eyes to snap to hers.

“I’m fine!  I just had a few glasses of wine and I haven’t eaten much.  But, I most definitely am not drunk.  I think I would know if I was drunk.”

Okay, so that’s a lie.  I might not be drunk, but I am definitely slightly past tipsy.  Dealing with Liam – or rather my attraction to Liam – is hard enough for me on a good day, when I’m completely sober.  But with this amount of wine flowing through my body, I just can’t trust myself.

It’s taken everything I have to keep him, and his obvious interest, at bay for the last couple months.  When he’s around he goes out of his way to get me alone and lay it out.  He wants me.

“You look stunning when those shadows aren’t rolling around your shoulders,” Liam whispers, his lips press close enough to my ear that I can feel his words one by one against my skin.

I shiver, his words hitting me close to home, but the tone causing me to forget I should be pushing him away.  Especially when he’s talking about things that he has no business speaking about.

“I’m fine,” I stammer.

“Yeah, darlin’, I know you are.”

His eyes keep their hypnotizing hold on my own.  I hear Dani excuse herself.  I don’t turn to watch her disappear in the lingering crowd of party-goers that are still left milling around.  The music is still floating in the air around us.  As I look into his eyes everything around me feels like it’s…alive.  It’s a feeling that I’ve been missing for the last few years.  A feeling that only comes to visit when I’m with my daughter, or until recently, when Liam Beckett is in the same room.  It’s a feeling that, even though I shouldn’t, I feel guilty for allowing myself to enjoy.

Whether it’s the wine, the fact that Molly left a few hours ago with Dani’s parents, or the man standing in front of me, all I know is if I don’t hold on to this feeling for as long as I can right now, I’ll regret it for years to come.

“Megs,” he says on a sigh, his fingertips digging in and his eyes swirling with a rich hopefulness that turns those golden flecks you can normally see swimming in his brown eyes into a burning fire lighting his gaze.

Hungry eyes.

I don’t think.  If I had given myself just a second to process my next move, I’m sure I would have backed out of his hold and run as fast as I could to my car.  But, I didn’t think, so my next move was pure, one-hundred-percent Megan.  But not the Megan I’ve been for the last couple years since my husband died.  No, this Megan feels like I’ve finally dug myself out of those ashes I’ve been living in since my life burned up around me.   The cloak of depression that normally lingers loosely around my shoulders, dropping to my feet with the feel of Liam pressed tight.  I know this feeling won’t last, but I suddenly want to hold on to every second I can of this experience, until it leaves me.

I reach out and curl my fingers around his forearms.  My eyes growing wide when his brow lifts.  With a quick push I rock up and close the distance that is left between our mouths.  When my lips touch his, that feeling of being alive burns so bright every nerve in my body feels it, each inch of skin boiling and cooling so quickly it’s as if I can’t make up my mind if I want to be hot or cold.  My hairs stand on end, my skin pebbles – going cold before rushing heat fills my veins, and the very thump of my heart seems to skip a beat the second our lips touch.

One thing I know for sure.  I want this.  I want this and Liam’s going to give it to me.

He doesn’t pause.  His groan vibrating against my chest only lights the feeling that is firing through my skin.  My hands move from his forearms and I run my hands up his chest until both hands curl around his neck and I use the hold to pull my body even closer to his.

His hands move from my hips and he curls them around my bottom, pulling me tightly against his body.  When I feel the very obvious sign of his attraction, I moan deeply, and shiver when he answers with one of his own.

I can’t tell you how long this kiss lasts.  When his tongue moves to swipe against my lips, I open without reservation.  We continue, our tongues dancing together while each of our moans are swallowed by the other, until I have to pull away to gulp a breath of air before I pass out – however, the way I feel right now, passing out might very well be a possibility.

“This is finally happening,” he snarls in a tone that should scare me, but all it does is act as kerosene to our already uncontrollable fire of lust.

“It is,” I agree without question.

“Now,” he says.

“Okay,” I agree on a sigh and sway toward his hard body.

With the encouragement he needs, his hands finally leave my body.  He turns me, wraps one thick arm around my shoulder, and turns to walk toward the front of the house.

“We’re leaving?” I question lamely.

“Darlin’ I didn’t stutter.  This is happening,” he says, pausing when he reaches the side of the house and the shadows that will give us the privacy we need.  His body turns, moving me to stand before him once again.  “I need to know you’re with me, Megan.  I’ve wanted this since the day I met you, but I knew you weren’t ready for me.  I’ve been trying to keep my distance, just waiting for those clouds to leave your eyes.  If you don’t want me to take you back to my house, strip you naked and fuck you until you can’t walk for weeks, then say so now, because the second I have you I won’t be letting go.”

“Oh, boy,” I whisper.

“I prefer oh God, but I’ll make that the first item on my to-do list.”

“You’ll make what?”

“My to-do list, Megs.  The list of things I’ve wanted to do to you for months now.  Making you scream oh God will be number one, followed by my name, of course.”

“Oh, God,” I repeat, my mind swilling with the promise his words inflict.

“Yeah, you’re getting it.”

His mouth crashes down on mine for a hard but quick kiss before pulling back and giving me another one of those knee-melting smirks.  “Last chance, Megan,” he whispers while his hands are framing my heated face.

Whatever he sees in my eyes is enough, he gives me a light kiss, takes his hands from my face and curls one around my left hand and pulls me toward his truck.

bleeding love teaser 1

Excerpt #3

“Last chance,” he tells me with a wicked grin.  “And this time I mean last one, darlin’.  We take this step and make no doubt about it, you will be mine.  You give me this and I fucking promise you that I will never make you regret taking that step.  You ready to jump from that chapter you’ve been skimming through and skip into mine?”

I give him a smile, one that is full of confidence and not the least bit unsure as the words that he had told me weeks before come back between us.

“I’m ready.”

“Fuck,” he groans.  “Buckle up, baby.”

My smile doesn’t slip for a second.  Not when I pull my belt across my chest.  Not when he slams the door and races to his own.  It grows wider when he slams the truck in drive and fishtails back onto the path that will take us back toward town.  It isn’t until his big hand reaches out and takes my leg in his strong hold that my smile slips slightly, but it only slips because my head falls back and I whimper and try to rub my legs together to ease the ache between them.  I lose the smile completely when my mouth drops open and that whimper turns into a loud whine as his long fingers dance up my legs until he slips beneath the hem on my shorts and pushes my panties to the side, pressing against my clit in sure movements that have me panting in seconds.

“Fucking drenched,” he grounds out through his tightly clamped teeth.

I roll my head against the headrest and look across the cab at his face.  His finger dips from my swollen clit and as he drops his hand lower, his wrist twists slightly so that when he gets there his finger slides deep inside me.

My legs spread instantly when his thick finger fills me and I hear his rumbled groan fill the space around us as he slides his finger as deep as his position allows before pulling it back, then repeating his movements until I can feel myself soaking his hand.  If he keeps this up, I won’t last.  He adds a second finger and my hand digs into the door and I reach out, wrapping my other around his forearm and choke on shattered breaths when he thrusts his fingers so deep, I feel like I’ve been electrocuted as he hits that spot that has me panting, whimpering and begging incoherently.

“Please, Lee, please,” I pant.  How I formed those words, I’ll never know.

“Fuck,” he snarls, the sound making my arousal spike even higher.  “You’ll call me that when I’m so deep inside you my balls will be soaked with this sweetness.”

His fingers curl and I pant, my hand cramping around the force of my grip.

“Please, oh God.  Not without you, please.”

I pray he understands my plea and when he curses, I know he gets me.  His hand leaves my pants and I cry out, causing him to spit out a string of curses that would make a sailor blush.  His leg slams down and I feel the truck pick up speed as I watch him take his fingers to his mouth and lick every drop of my wetness from his skin.

“Holy shit,” I exhale.

“You’re getting my mouth first, darlin’.  That wasn’t enough of a taste and fuck me, I’m starved.”

I say nothing, just continue to feel like my heart is about to slam from my chest as I continue to shift my legs back and forth in attempt to ease the burn he’s lit between my legs.

About the Author:

harper sloan

Harper lives in small town Georgia just a short drive from her hometown of Peachtree City. She (and her 3 daughters) enjoy ruling the house they dubbed ‘Estrogen Ocean’, much to her husband’s chagrin. Harper has a borderline unhealthy obsession with books; you can almost ALWAYS find her with her eReader attached. She enjoys bad reality TV and cheesy romantic flicks. Her favorite kind of hero–the super alpha kind!

 

 

Harper started using writing as a way to unwind when the house went to sleep at night; and with a house full of crazy it was the perfect way to just relax. It didn’t take long before a head full of very demanding alphas would stop at nothing to have their story told.

 

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preom

Fighting Shadows by Aly Martinez

figthing shadows book tour

Flint’s highly anticipated emotional story is FINALLY here!fighitng shadows live
NOW AVAILABLE
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1HE3kt8
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1faAHHy
B&N: http://bit.ly/1CaD9rN
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1LKEurE
itunes: http://apple.co/1TcpHIa
**Each book in the series can be read as a standalone**

fighting shadows cover
Blurb

I come from a family of fighters. I always thought I’d follow in their shadows, becoming unstoppable in the ring. That changed the day I saved the life of a woman I loved, but could never have.
My brother hailed me as a hero, and my reward was a wheelchair.
Paralyzed, my life became an inescapable nightmare.
Until I met her.
Ash Mabie had a heart-stopping smile and a laugh that numbed the rage and resentment brewing inside of me. She showed me that even the darkest night still had stars, and it didn’t matter one bit that you had to lie in the weeds to see them.
I was a jaded asshole who fell for a girl with a knack for running away. I couldn’t even walk but I would have spent a lifetime chasing her.
Now, I’m on the ropes during the toughest battles of my life.
Fighting the shadows of our past.
Fighting to reclaim my future.
Fighting for her.

fighting shadows teaser cover
Chapter One
Flint

I remembered it all.
I heard the gun.
I felt the bullet.
I saw her fall.
In less than a second, my life as I knew it was over.
But, unquestionably, I would do it all over again.
For her.

“Flint!” Eliza cried from underneath me.
It wasn’t the way I had dreamed of at least a million times over the years. Her voice hadn’t broken in ecstasy. She hadn’t called my name as I’d been claiming her as my own, nor was it followed by confessions of love and declarations of forever. Instead, there was a sharp ringing in my ears and a tsunami of tears welling in her deep-blue eyes.
My heart was already pounding, but the earth-shattering pain on her face spiked my pulse even higher. I knew I had been hit, but that wasn’t what scared me.
“Are you hurt?” I rushed out.
“I’m fine,” she choked around a sob. As much as I hated to see her cry, the weight of my world disappeared with only two words.
“Are you sure?” I studied her, but she was focused on something else completely.
Peering over my shoulder, she lifted her hand off my back. Blood dripped from her fingertips to the floor.
“Oh God!” she exploded, scrambling from under me.
“I’m okay,” I tried to reassure her, but as I attempted to push up off the floor, I knew my words were in vain. I was nowhere near fine. “I’m…” I started, but the thought was stolen from my tongue. Pain overtook me, causing me to collapse face first to the ground where Eliza had just been lying.
I desperately tried to keep myself from passing out, but it was a battle I was quickly losing.
“Flint. Stay with me. Just hang on, please,” she said calmly, kneeling beside me. But as soon as she sat up, her true emotions were revealed. “Help him!” she cried. “Please, God, someone help him!”
My mind was drifting, rendering me unable to focus, but even amongst the chaos of Eliza pleading for help and security rushing into the room, I somehow homed in on the announcer’s voice on the television blaring in the background.
“I really expected more from Till Page in the ring tonight,” he said.
It was then that I was reminded of a pain far worse than any bullet could inflict.
Till.
Her husband.
The father of her unborn child.
My brother.
He deserved her, but damn it, so did I.
My eyes never left hers as her screams drifted into silence.

***
I awoke to a searing pain in my back, and panic immediately flooded my thoughts.
“Eliza!” I screamed as loudly as I could, but it came out as nothing more than a gurgle.
“I’m right here.” She appeared at my side. “Oh God, Flint. Don’t do that again. You have to stay awake.” She began smoothing my hair down.
“Eliza,” I repeated when further coherent thoughts failed me. I was terrified—I knew that much. But my mind fought to catch up and answer the why. “Are…are you hurt?”
“No. I’m fine,” she assured me, leaning down and kissing my temple—a gesture I would have killed to be able to return.
Instead, I blindly reached out to the side, searching for her hand. “Stay with me.”
Firmly grasping my palm, she vowed, “I won’t leave you, Flint. I swear.”
If only she’d meant those words in the way I would have liked. However, right then, as I lay facedown, bleeding on the carpet of an upscale Vegas hotel floor with a bullet in my back, I would take it.
It wasn’t enough.
But it would have to be.
She isn’t mine.
She never was.
As she whispered soothing words into my ear, I went willingly into the darkness.

***
I slowly roused back to consciousness. I couldn’t quite figure out where I was or why my throat felt like I had swallowed a truckload full of burning embers. Even through my grogginess, I could feel an ache in my back. It wasn’t until I spoke that I realized how fucked I truly was.
“Ewliz.” What the hell? “Elyz.”
“Oh thank God!” Eliza cried, suddenly appearing at my side.
Breathing a sigh of relief, I tried to pry my eyes open, needing nothing more than a glimpse of her dark blues. They held no superpowers, but I still believed they could heal me with a single glance. Hell, just knowing she was there with me worked miracles.
I tried to fight, but I couldn’t seem to convince my eyelids that light wasn’t the source of all evil.
“Shh. It’s okay. Just relax,” she whispered, reading my struggle. “Are you hurting? Do you need more pain medicine?”
“Nup. Juz you,” I said drunkenly.
“What’s wrong with him? Why can’t he talk?” Quarry whimpered from somewhere nearby.
I’d never forget how he sounded in that moment. His voice shook like that of the frightened child he never got to be. He might have only been thirteen, but he hadn’t been a boy in a long time. Just like Till and me, he’d been forced to grow up too soon. Hearing the inflection of fear in his voice cleared my groggy mind.
“Em good, Q,” I slurred on a laugh, even though nothing was remotely humorous about the situation.
I was lying facedown on a hospital bed, drugged out of my fucking mind, and pining over my brother’s pregnant wife. The same woman who was the closest thing to a real mother I’d ever known. The levels of fucked-up could not even be described.
On second thought, maybe laughing really was the right response.
My brother, Till, was quite possibly the best man I had ever met. He was only six years older than I was, but as far as I was concerned, he had always been a father to me. Lord knows that the man’s DNA I carried was not. My mother was a work of art, but my father was in a category all of his own. Clay Page was the reason I was lying in that bed and recovering from a bullet in the back, the reason Till had almost lost his wife and unborn daughter, and the reason Quarry had almost been kidnapped.
All I had left in life were my brothers, and in turn, I had Eliza.
If I could have been half the man Till was, I would’ve been better than ninety-nine percent of the male population walking the planet. God, I wanted to be as selfless as he was. But I wasn’t even close. Instead, over the years, I’d become increasingly jealous of his life and the way Eliza loved him. Sure, they had their fair share of problems, but they always weathered the storm together, never wavering in their devotion to each other. Only a year earlier, my older brother had suddenly lost his hearing—something that would have easily sent a lesser woman running for the hills. But not Eliza. She gave him unconditional love, and it stung so fucking much to watch her give it to him.
The older I became, the more I found myself consumed by guilt and anger. Guilt because no two people had ever deserved each other more. And anger because, despite knowing that, I wanted to shove my brother out of the picture completely. I wanted to own Eliza Reynolds Page in every possible way, but especially in the way where she never left me and loved me forever.
I wanted the comfort and security only she could offer me.
“Eliza?” I called as I went back to battle against my eyelids and was finally victorious. I was greeted by the sight of Till holding her tight, his arms folded around her swollen stomach.
“Hey, bud,” he cooed, visible relief washing over his face.
But I didn’t have eyes for him. Eliza stood in his arms with tears flowing in a steady stream down her cheeks.
My lips twitched in the most unlikely of smiles.
She always cries.
“You ’kay?” I mumbled.
“I am. Thanks to you.” She took a step forward, joining our hands.
I laughed, using our linked knuckles to rub her belly. “How’s ma baby?”
“What’d he say?” Till asked.
Eliza removed her hands from mine long enough to translate for him through sign language.
I attempted to roll over so I could have the use of my hands to communicate with him, but I was stilled by the sudden shouts.
“No!” they yelled as I tried to push up on the bed.
“You can’t move… I, um, I mean you shouldn’t move.” Eliza squatted down in front of me.
I lifted a hand to wipe her tears away. Her eyes were red and puffy, but as she brushed my short hair off my forehead, she’d never looked more beautiful. Her fingertips trailed over my skin, soothing my aches from the outside in.
“Let’s get you some more pain medicine.” She grabbed a red button off the corner of my bed and pressed it repeatedly.
I wasn’t in any real pain, but within seconds, my entire body relaxed even further.
She remained squatting in front of me, and her tears began to dry while she whispered soothing words I couldn’t quite make out among the myriad of beeping monitors. It didn’t matter what she was saying though.
She was there.
With me.
For me.
My vision was blurry, but time stood still as I stared into her eyes and slurred the words I had absolutely no business saying.
I had been harboring them for years. But no matter how I tried, no amount of time made them right.
“I love you, Eliza. Soooooo. Fuuucking. Mush.”
Even drugged out of my mind, I knew that my admission was going to do more harm than good, but that didn’t slow the words—or the pain.
Maybe, if I just told her how I felt, I could let it go. Move on to a day when I wasn’t teased by the unattainable. It was a grand idea, but fruition was a different story.
She replied, “I love you too,” but I knew she didn’t understand.
In that second though, I needed her to understand. It wasn’t a choice.
For her.
Or me.
“No. I loooove you.” I exaggerated the word but not the truth.
“Shh,” she whispered, resting her hand on my cheek. “I love you too, Flint. We all do. Just go to sleep.”
We all do.
They wouldn’t after I was done. I was sober enough to realize that.
“No. Lizen to me. I…love you. Like Till loves you. Like…I-want-to-have-sex-with-you love you. Really. Gud. Sex.” I laughed.
“Oh fuck,” Quarry groaned.
“And marry you, and…” I stopped to lick my dry lips before spewing the ultimate slap to my brother’s deaf ears. “That should be my baby, not his.”
“Oh fuck,” Quarry repeated.
“Uhh…um…” Eliza stuttered, looking up at Till, who was standing only a few feet away.
“What? What’d he say?” Till asked, stepping forward.
“I said I’m in love with your wife!” I yelled for some unexplainable reason.
Well, maybe only unexplainable to them; I understood my frustrations completely.
Till needed the chance to hate me. He had given me everything in life and provided for me even when he’d had to sacrifice himself. I owed him the truth about the way I felt about his wife. Regardless that it proved what a dirt bag I truly was.
I lifted my one free hand in the air and began to sign out the letters, but Quarry stepped between Eliza and me and forced my hand against the bed.
“Yep. That’s enough. Go to sleep, asshole.”
“He needs ta know. Tell him fur me.”
Quarry lifted his hands and signed to Till without words. He said he loves us all, and then he got all weepy and called Eliza mommy. I’m just trying to keep him from embarrassing himself. That’s all.
“Dat’s bullshit,” I replied when he finished.
“We love you too, Flint. Get some rest,” Till said, folding his arms across his chest, not buying into Quarry’s explanation.
“No! I said, ‘I love her.’ Eliza.” I began to point in her direction, but Quarry once again slapped my hand down.
Turning his back on Till, he leaned into my face. “Shut your goddamn mouth. I’m trying to help you here.”
“I love her,” I repeated for the umpteenth time.
Eliza wedged her way back to my side. “No, you don’t. You’re just drugged up right now, Flint.”
“Bullshit,” I declared adamantly.
Drugs didn’t cause the way I felt any more than they could fix it. I’d have been a junkie long ago if there were something that could’ve quelled the burning in my chest every time I saw her with Till.
“This isn’t somethin’ new, Eliza. I think about you when—” I’d started to spill all of my embarrassing secrets when Quarry’s hand slammed over my mouth.
“I said, ‘Shut the fuck up,’” he seethed.
“Stop cussing,” I mumbled from behind his hand.
He looked to Eliza. “Can you press that button again? Maybe see if he’ll pass out.”
“What the hell is going on?” Till snapped from behind us, losing his cool with being in the dark.
Nothing. He’s acting like a bitch. Just doing my job as his little brother to protect his manhood… or something like that, Quarry signed then flashed Till a tight grin.
“No, I—” I started, and his hand once again landed over my mouth.
Quarry gave Eliza an impatient glare.
“He has a few more minutes before the pain pump will give him any more meds,” she answered, frazzled by my confession.
And just that small reaction to my admission hurt more than whatever the hell was happening on my back.
“Well, I’ll just keep my hand right here until it’s time,” Quarry hissed at Eliza.
“Um, I’m gonna step out and get some water,” she announced uncomfortably.
“Eliza, wait,” I tried to shout, but Quarry wasn’t lying about not removing his hand. “Get off me.” I weakly swatted it away.
Glancing back at Till, he lifted a finger in the air to signal one second. Then he turned back to me. “Shut up. Shut up. Shut. Up. You’re in love with her, fine. Now, shut up.”
“Not until he knows,” I replied.
“Go to sleep, Flint. If you still want to make this mistake when you wake up, I’ll sign it out to him myself.” He urged me with a hard stare.
I was tired. Sleep didn’t exactly sound like torture. I’d been sitting on my feelings for Eliza since I was twelve. What was one more night?
“I would take her from him,” I declared as my lids began to droop.
Quarry busted out laughing. “Then, when you wake up, I’ll sign out your warning. Oh, look! Time’s up.” He grabbed the red button and gave it a push.
I moaned as the glorious burn of the medication hit my vein.
“Thank God,” he breathed as I drifted off to sleep.
When I awoke some hours later, my determination to tell Till had fortunately disappeared.
Unfortunately, so had my desire for Eliza to know.
But the truth was out.
As the embarrassment set in, I tried to convince myself that maybe it was for the best that she knew how I felt.
It wasn’t.
It was a hell of a lot worse.

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Haven’t read this series yet? Meet Flint Quarry, Till & Eliza
in Fighting Silence

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1CF0YEq
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1Lhhn62
B&N: http://bit.ly/FightingSilenceBN
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1A2cSnr
iBooks: http://bit.ly/1zbJT0u
About the Author:
Aly Martinez

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Born and raised in Savannah, Georgia, Aly Martinez is a stay-at-home mom to four crazy kids under the age of five, including a set of twins. Currently living in South Carolina, she passes what little free time she has reading anything and everything she can get her hands on, preferably with a glass of wine at her side.
After some encouragement from her friends, Aly decided to add “Author” to her ever-growing list of job titles. Five books later, she shows no signs of slowing. So grab a glass of Chardonnay, or a bottle if you’re hanging out with Aly, and join her aboard the crazy train she calls life.

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GIVEAWAY
$50 Gift Card
Signed Set of Paperbacks (Fighting Silence & Shadows)

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Southern Gentleman Series

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The Southern Gentleman Series Blog Tour

Justified Love – Book 1 in The Southern Gentleman Series
Intertwined Love – Book 2 in The Southern Gentleman Series
by Nicole Hite
Genre – Contemporary Romance
Blog Tour June 18th – July 2nd

Justified Love
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Buy links
Synopsis
“Grabbing the beers and starting to turn towards the dance floor, I felt a slight tap on my shoulder. Turning around, I lost it and dropped the two bottles on the ground. I couldn’t hear the crashing of the glasses the way my heart was beating so loudly out of my chest. It’s him. Colton Wilson!”

For as long as she could remember small town girl, Carrington Mason had been smitten with Avery High School quarterback, Colton Wilson. The only obstacle standing between her and her destiny was an entitled blonde named Paisley Parker, along with 100 lbs of extra baggage.

Determined to change her fate, Carrington moves to New York City to attend Columbia University. Graduating at the top of her class, Carrington becomes a well-known, well-respected attorney. After receiving a heartbreaking phone call from her father pleading for her legal expertise, Carrington forced to return to the very place she loathed the most.

Returning to Avery, it seems nothing has changed since high school, especially her feelings for Colt. Exploring her new found body and attitude, Carrington is determined to change her and her family’s fate including catching the eye of her crush. With the help of her two best friends, Harley and Skye, Carrington sets out to capture the man of her dreams while saving her father’s farm. Will luck be in her corner when faced with unforeseen obstacles? Will Carrington be able to find justice or love?

Justified Love Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/G2DxV9lOFgI

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Intertwined Love
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Buy Links

Synopsis
To Skye Breeze, life was perfect. Her best friend Carrington had chosen to move back to Avery, Texas. Her relationship with her other bestie, Harley, appeared to be stronger than ever. And, her relationship with her best guy friend, Wyatt Reign, had the potential to be more than just friends. That’s until she arrived.

Having just found out that her mother had a “free-love” relationship with a man in her teens, Skye’s life comes crashing down with the discover of a sister. Not only a sister, but also a twin named Summer who is the spitting image of herself. When Summer decides to make a move on popular musician, Wyatt, Skye is caught between confessing her true feelings, or accepting his new found relationship with Summer.

After receiving an opportunity she couldn’t refuse, Skye is asked to showcase her artwork at a swanky art gallery in Dallas, TX. Little did she know the mystery man wanting to showcase her work was a tall, dark and handsome drink of water named Jesse Lace. Watching her relationship develop with Jesse, Wyatt is concerned he picked the wrong sister; the sister he was destined to be with. But, is Summer there to wreak havoc on their lives? And is Jesse just a distraction with ulterior motives?

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About Nicole Hite
Hi everyone! I’m Nicole Hite and I grew up in Virginia. I’m a wife to an amazing man that makes my life wonderful. We have two fur babies – Harley and Diesel. I love to read romance novels, fantasy, or anything that catches my attention (namely anything really). It wasn’t until talking to a fellow author that I started to considering writing myself. Thanks to a lot of support, I started on this crazy journey. When I’m not staying up to the wee hours writing, I’m reading, crafting, or spending time with my boys.

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Twitter: @NicoleHite29
Instagram: @AuthorNicoleHite

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Skin Deep

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Title: Skin Deep

Author: Pamela Sparkman

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: July 20, 2015

Cover Designer: Sarah Hansen with Okay Creations

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Synopsis

She hates me.

I’m in love with her.

Her life is a masquerade.

Mine is cloaked in secrets.

She thinks I can’t see her.

But she’s the only thing I can see.

he thinks we have nothing in common.

We have everything in common.

And I’m done being patient.

I’m determined.

She’s stubborn.

You think you know us.

You don’t.

The things you know about us are only Skin Deep.

About The Author

I grew up in Alabama and have always been an avid reader. I had a stack of those Little Golden Books and I can remember reading Three Little Kittens over and over and over again. It was my favorite.

Fast forward and the older I got the more in love with books I became. So, I’m admitting that I am a huge nerd. The only reading I don’t like are those math word problems. And I’m okay with that because no one has ever asked me in real life… “If I give you two bananas and take away six apples, how long will it take the southbound train to collide with the northbound train if Johnny left his house at midnight?” It just doesn’t happen.

So, yeah, books are my thing.

Oh and music. All kinds. Love.It.

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LOGOFINAL

I could not be more excited to feature this new release! Who hasn’t rocked out to the music of Smash Mouth?! Now you can go behind the music with a band that carried the spirit of a generation in Walkin’ on the Sun; The Official Smash Mouth Biography.

Blurb:
Hello. My name is Paul DeLisle. I’m the guy who wrote this book. You’ve probably never heard of me. That’s okay. Most people wouldn’t know me from Adam. But, unless you’ve been living in a cloistered monastery for the last fifteen years, you have heard of my band.



So begins the memoir of the creation, rise, and current state of the multi-platinum recording artist Smash Mouth as told by bassist Paul DeLisle. Well known for their hits “All Star,” “Walking on the Sun,” “Then the Morning Comes,” “Can’t Get Enough of You Baby,” and “I’m a Believer,” the band carried the spirit of a generation, but didn’t stop there. Enjoy this behind-the-scenes look from Paul’s unique, there from the start, insider’s view.
Excerpt:
There’s an episode of Cheers where washed-up ball player Sam Malone, frustrated with either Diane or Rebecca, proclaims, “Y’know, most people don’t know this … but I’m famous!”
I love that line. I can totally relate. You see, I am a founding and continued member of the band Smash Mouth. Yet I am, proudly and alas, the bass player. I’m not famous. My band is.
From the beginning, Smash Mouth was set up as a democracy between four musicians and a manager, each player having an equal voice on band matters. Yet we were all fully aware and accepting of the fact that, as lead singer/frontman, Steve Harwell would be getting a disproportionate amount of attention. Seeing as he is the face and mouthpiece of Smash Mouth, you may be a little disappointed he didn’t write this book.
But stay with me here. Because as you’ll see, I have a unique vantage point: as one of only four original constituents, I’ve been involved in every aspect of the band since day one. Only Steve and I have trod every step of this Smash Mouth journey. Also, while traditionally under-recognized, the bass player himself sees everything. Plus I went to college. Who better to write a book about Smash Mouth?
That said, keep in mind this book is solely from my point of view. Steve, Greg, Kevin, and Robert would obviously have different takes on certain events. However, this book is simply intended as a comprehensive account of our rise to fame and continued success.
So without further ado … here’s what happened:
EEP!!! How awesome is that! Pick up your copy of Walkin’ on the Sun today and get your own “backstage pass” to the world of Smash Mouth!
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A Life Worth Fighting For by Brenda Kennedy

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Cover Design by #CBB Productions : www.cbbproductions.com

TITLE : A Life Worth Fighting

AUTHOR : Brenda Kennedy

GENRE : Soft Romance

RELEASE DATE : June 19, 2015

 

synopsis

Leah and Robert Grether face many battles after losing their only child, three-year-old Jamie. Leah still grieves and battles depression while Robert fights his own inner demons of guilt.

As they try to move on, their attempts to conceive work.

Leah is making progress. Her business is thriving and her pregnancy is progressing. Robert is a pro boxer with a personal and professional goal of taking the championship title away from Abel Kennedy, to whom he has lost once already.

Leah realizes that Robert won’t stop his crusade to fight Kennedy until he gets a second chance to fight him, although Kennedy has already killed one opponent in the ring.

And then Leah and Robert receive devastating news that could tear their world apart, forever.

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Review

Warning: This is a great story but you must be prepared for the cliff hanger ending… I received a copy of the story in exchange for an honest review. Be prepared to shed a few tears! A beautiful story that will keep you waiting for more. Follow the story of Bobby and Leah that we were introduced to in the Freedom Trilogy. They truly have a love worth fighting for.

Teasers

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Brenda Kennedy

Amazon Best Selling Author

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First and foremost I am a wife, mother and grandmother.

I am also a nurse and a new author.

I moved to sunny Florida in 2006 and never looked back.

I love fresh squeezed lemonade, crushed ice, teacups, wineglasses, non-franchise restaurants, ice cream cones, boating, picnics, cookouts, throwing parties, lace, white wine, mojitos, strawberry margaritas, white linen tablecloths, fresh flowers and Pinterest. I also love to read and write and to spend time with my family. My books thus far, have been inspired by the things I love and the people who influence me, every single day to be a better person.

CONNECT WITH BRENDA

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | TSU | AMAZON | GOODREADS

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OTHER BOOKS BY BRENDA KENNEDY :

The Starting Over Trilogy :

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The Freedom Trilogy :

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The Fighting To Survive Trilogy :

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Tour proudly hosted by Christina at #CBB Productions

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Title: The Voyeur Next Door
Author: Airicka Phoenix    
Genre: NA Contemporary Erotic
*Warnings: Strong sexual content & language. (18+ Only)*
Release Date: April 27, 2015

Blurb:

He lived next door.

Alison Eckrich was an expert at being invisible. Having been raised by a mother who saw only flaws, she had learned long ago to watch and never participate. Until him. He was gorgeous from what little she could make out through his bathroom window and he awakened things inside her she had always been told was wrong. But she didn’t care.

She was addicted.

Gabriel Madoc was no stranger to the cold sting of betrayal. His broken heart had left him hard and bitter and that was how he liked it. Until her. She was a vision in the soft twilight. Everything about her called to him. It didn’t even matter he couldn’t see her face.

He wanted her.

The rules were simple: No names. No faces. No attachments. They both had what the other needed so long as they never broke the rules. But what will happen when the mystery is unveiled and they both come face to face with the truth and each other? Is what they shared in the cloak of darkness enough to keep them together, or will reality tear them apart?

FB Release Party: https://www.facebook.com/events/808116989263187/




Chapter One

Ali
“God, baby, I need you inside me so bad…” My husky moan fogged the glass, obscuring my view of the deep fried and smothered in chocolate goodness just one creepy glass lick away from being all mine. “But I can’t let you control my life anymore.”
The pimply faced adolescent on the other side of the counter fidgeted uncomfortably, clearly disturbed by my affections, and possibly the drool marks I was leaving on his pristine display case.
“Ma’am?”
Giving the pastry one final glance of longing, I turned to him. “Just tea. Decaf because I apparently hate myself.”
Still looking nervous—maybe he was afraid I would start making out with the register next—he punched in my order, muttered off my total and then scurried off to grab me a pretty white cup and fill it with hot water. I set my money down and waited, all the while casting furtive peeks at the Boston cream pastry eyeing me back with a seductive, chocolaty glaze that all but whispered all the ways it could make me feel muy mucho goodo because that was how all my dirty fantasies started—with my food sounding like Antonio Banderas.
My water and teabag were set on the counter and nudged towards me the way lions were fed at the zoo—with a long stick poking their meals in under a steel cage door. Only the stick was his finger and the counter was the only thing keeping him safe from my all out crazy. My money was swept into a sweaty palm and tossed carelessly into the register. The drawer was slammed shut. Then there was nothing left for me to do but leave. Yet my weakness took that moment to nearly win; I started to open my mouth to order the pastry anyway, to portray that fuck it attitude I only pretended I possessed. But who was I kidding? It would never be just the one and my ass could do without the extra pounds.
Dejected, I took my disgusting drink and shuffled off to find a table somewhere within the air conditioned heaven. No one wanted to sit outside when it was hot enough to fry bacon. But most of the tables in the small café were full by drone-eyed squatters slumped over their laptops and cappuccinos.
Bastards.
Moving quickly down the line leading all the way to the door, I bee-lined for the only available table out on the shaded patio. My scalding water sloshed in the cup, but stayed stubbornly within the confines of the ceramic.
The moment I shouldered open the doors, I knew I’d made a mistake getting tea; it was just too damn hot.
I glanced back over my shoulder at the line. Nope. No way was I standing in that death trap a second time, not even for a Frappuccino with whipped cream and chocolate syrup, which was what I had originally gone in to get, except the beautifully athletic woman ahead of me had ordered a soy, low fat, no foam, something-something-something latte and the guilt had been too much. When the boy had fixed me with those judgy little eyes, I had balked and let myself be swayed by peer pressure and shame.
Resigned, I went to the table and sat. I stuffed my purse into the seat next to me and wondered how to drink my tea without sweating to death. I started by dropping my teabag into the water and watching as dark tendrils escaped and tainted the clear liquid. I adjusted my glasses as they began to slide down my sweaty nose and squinted at all the blinding brightness around me.
The café sat in the middle of a semi busy street catering mostly to restaurants and coffee shops and the occasional art studio. I wasn’t normally a coffee drinker and art made no sense to me, but I liked people. More importantly, I liked watching them … secretly … from a very great distance so as not to have to interact. People fascinated me. The things they did half the time made me question just how much chemicals and hormones really went into our food. But the problem with the artsy part of town was that it was very shiny. Everything gleamed. There were lights everywhere and everyone was dressed in bold, flashy colors that hurt the brain.
Me, in my long black skirt and baggy blouse melded with the décor. I could never pull off bold and sexy. Hell, I couldn’t even pull off one of those. Most days, my face would be lucky to see makeup, just because it was time taken away from something less pointless. No guy that didn’t require coke bottle glasses would ever look in my direction twice. Everything about me was all the things most men never noticed in a woman, unless they were into lobotomizing their dates. I just didn’t have the right looks to get men excited. It was a fact I had come to accept. Me and my lowly little decaf cup of tea.
“Rats!”
The exclamation was followed by the ripping sound of paper and the thud of things striking pavement. I twisted around in my seat just as an elderly man dropped down next to his torn bag of groceries. Pedestrians flocked around him, parting like the Red Sea to avoid stepping on him, or his things. But no one stopped to give him a hand as he scrambled to scoop items off the ground.
Abandoning my untouched drink, I hurried from my seat and dropped down next to him. My hands closed around a bag of apples, a tray of fresh chicken breasts and several cans of corn. I hugged them to my chest as he dumped his armload into the torn paper bag.
“Here,” I said, pulling the bag to me and emptying my things inside as well.
There was a stalk of celery and a carton of eggs that had upended on the sidewalk. I managed to salvage the celery. But the eggs had already begun to sizzle against the concrete.
“I think your eggs are toast,” I told him, stuffing the celery into the bag. “Or fried eggs, I guess.”
The man sighed. “Figures. That’s what I get for getting them free range eggs for about ten dollars more.”
It was a struggle not to laugh at the disgruntled huff.
“I think I have a plastic bag in my purse,” I said instead. “We might be able to fit all of this into it.”
Taking the bag from him, I walked back to my table and dragged my purse over. I opened the first pocket and rummaged inside.
The man shuffled up beside me and whistled. “Now, I’ve seen some crazy purses women carry around, but that right there is a doozy.”
My purse really was unique. When I first found it, it had only had the one big pocket and the one tiny pocket sewn into the inside. By the time I finished with it, it had about twenty pockets in various shapes and sizes and they all carried something. I had everything from a tiny sewing kit, to a paperback novel nestled inside. There were packets of tissue, gum, a small set of screw drivers, several zip ties, different sizes of Ziploc bags. and even a flashlight. I had everything a person could possibly need for just about any occasion. Because of all that, the bag was actually kind of heavy, which came in handy if I ever had to hit someone, which hadn’t happened yet, but I was hopeful.
“I like being prepared,” I told him. “Here we go!” Shaking out the plastic bag, I slid the paper one into it and held it out to the man. “There you are.”
The man squinted at me with one brown eye. The other one was screwed shut against the sun and he had to cup a gnarled hand over his brows to see me properly.
He had to be in his late seventies with big, child-like eyes and a kind face that immediately made a person like him. What little hair he had was combed over the wide bald patch on his head and looked as fine as a baby’s. His frail body was tucked into a pair of beige trousers and a checkered top that was buttoned all the way to his throat.
“What’s your name?” he asked.
Still holding the bag, I smiled. “Alison Eckrich.” I held out my free hand. “Everyone calls me Ali.”
He took it in a surprisingly firm handshake. “Earl Madoc.” He let my hand go and squinted some more. “Listen, Ali, you wouldn’t mind helping an old man get his groceries home, would you? My arthritis is just killing me today.” He rubbed his contorted hand, working the stiff muscles with a grimace deepening his wrinkles. “I live about a block down that way. I would pay you for your troubles.”
I waved away the offer. I was done with the whole fresh air thing and would have probably gone home anyway. Walking him would have been no skin off my nose, especially since he was walking in the same general direction.
I grabbed my purse, threw the strap around my shoulders, and took up his bag of groceries once more.
“Lead the way, Earl.”
Offering me a kind smile, he started forward at a shuffle-limp, like his right leg had been injured at some point and hadn’t recovered properly. I wasn’t sure if that was the case, or if it was just age, but I wondered why he didn’t walk with a cane if it hurt him as much as it seemed to. I didn’t ask. I figured whatever the reason was, it was his business.
We walked in silence for several steps and stopped at the lights.
“So what do you do, Ali Eckrich?” Earl asked as the lights changed and we started across.
“I am currently between jobs,” I replied around a tight curl of my lips. “I just moved here, so actually I’m kind of still looking.”
“No kidding.” He scratched his jaw dusted with a fine layer of white bristle. The sound reminded me of sandpaper. “Where did you move from?”
“Portland, Oregon,” I answered.
Earl’s eyes went wide. “An American!”
I laughed. “No, I was only there for school. I’m originally from Alberta.”
“What did you study?”
I pulled in a breath that smelled of fried hotdogs from the cart we passed and asphalt from the construction crew working on the roads a street down.
“I have my bachelor’s degree in business administration.”
Earl whistled through his teeth. “That’s fancy.”
“Four years,” I confessed.
“And they didn’t teach that here at the schools in Canada?”
I laughed at that. It was the same comment I got from my sister when I initially got accepted to the University of Portland. But at least she had known the real reason behind my need to get as far away from home as possible. Earl didn’t need to and I didn’t need to tell him.
“It was a growing experience,” I said, using my fall back response to most things.
“So you’re good with the books and things of a business.”
I shrugged. “Yes, and marketing and finances.”
“Interesting.” He scratched his jaw again. “Do you know anything about filing?”
“Filing?”
“Organizing,” he corrected.
I had to shrug at that. “I guess. Depends on what it is.”
We turned a corner and started down Pine Street. For a split second, I almost stopped, thinking I was inadvertently leading the poor guy back to my house. But Earl kept shuffling onward and I hurried to keep up.
“I just moved to this street,” I said. “My apartment is further down.”
“Yeah? My grandson did, too,” Earl said.
I started to ask where, when Earl veered left, hobbling his way towards a large, badly painted building that was impregnating the whole street with a powerful stench of motor grease, metal, and sweat. The rusty sign bolted over the trio of wide garage doors spelled, Madoc Auto Body Repair. The bay doors were all open to the bright afternoon. Two were empty. The middle one had a car hoisted on a lift. A man in a blue jumpsuit stood in the trench underneath with a handheld work light.
“It’s all right,” Earl called out to me when he realized I wasn’t following him. “This here has been in the family for near four generations.”
Curiosity perked, I knuckled my glasses back up the bridge of my nose and shuffled after him. Up close, the smell did not improve.
The man beneath the Pontiac banged on the underside of the car with a wrench; the sound swallowed the hum of jazz spilling from the boom box perched on the red toolbox next to the car. I watched him even as I followed Earl up a set of stairs built into the side of the garage, leading into what appeared to be an office cut out of gray stone slabs. It was impossible to tell what was hidden beneath the towers of paper that were layered over every available flat surface. There was another set of doors straight across, painted a harsh yellow that led to what looked like stairs going up. Earl stopped at the bottom, gripping the railing bolted into the side and leaned against the wall, his face flushed.
“The kitchen is straight up,” he panted slightly. “I’d show you, but that heat just about did me in and I can’t trust myself on them stairs right now.”
Concerned by the sheen of sweat glistening across his brow, I tossed a frantic glance over the room. I caught sight of a swiveling chair poking out from beneath the papers and hurried over to it. The wheels grated against the concrete as I shoved it to where Earl half slumped against the wall.
“Here.” I guided him into it. “Why don’t you sit down and I’ll get you some water?”
Earl smiled at me. “You are such a sweet little thing.”
“Will you be okay if I run up?”
He waved me away as he leaned his head back and closed his eyes.
Not wanting to leave him alone for longer than I had to, I hurried up the stairs, grocery bag in tow. At the top, I paused as the loft-style space came into view. The layout was straightforward with a bedroom set in one corner beneath a grand, bay window. At the foot of it, was a sitting area equipped with a leather sofa, recliner and TV. Across from that was a kitchenette and a bathroom on my right. I moved towards the kitchen. I ran the tap and occupied myself by shoving the groceries into the fridge while I waited for the water to get cold.
“Who are you?”
The pack of chicken breasts slipped out of my hands with my undignified squeak of fright and hit the top of my sandaled foot. I whirled around to confront the sudden explosion of words from behind me. The booming voice was male, but it was the volume of it, the sheer weight behind the sound that prickled the skin along my spine. My hand trembled as I fidgeted with my glasses, shoving them back into place so the dark, blurry shadow looming mere feet away could come into focus.
I wasn’t blind. I could see most things without my glasses. They just weren’t very clear. Everything had a fuzzy hue around the edges. Kind of like a smudged pastel painting, exaggerating the shapes and size of people.
This guy was not exaggerated.
No less than seven feet with a frame that was clearly stolen from some lumberjack catalogue, he stood blocking my escape. I mean, I could have maybe done some crazy ninja lunge over the counter, but that probably wasn’t going to happen. Instead, I stood there, slack-jawed, staring at the mountain man glowering back at me with a suspicion one would normally reserve for diamond thieves and those bitches who steal all the bikes at the gym just to sit and talk to each other.
He wore flannel, which only made my lumberjack theory all the more plausible. It was undone over a white t-shirt and form fitting jeans that hugged his lean legs the way I kind of wanted to. The hems fell over battered and really ugly boots that needed an incinerator to put them out of their misery and were frayed around the cuffs. His chest strained beneath the thin material with every breath and my gaze was drawn to the hard squares cut of his breast plates and along the wide lengths of his shoulders. The sleeves on the flannel were rolled up his toned forearms and barely concealed the raw muscles underneath.
Definitely a lumberjack.
Shit the man was hot. Screw Boston cream pastries. I’ll take two of him.
“Hello?”
Blinking, my eyes shot up to the head attached to that delicious body and my steamy fantasy bubble popped.
Thick, black hair covered his jaw and mouth in a beard. His hair was the same shade of ebony and hung uncut around his ears and over the collar of his flannel. From amongst all that hair, I could just make out piercing, intense gray eyes.
“Really?” I blurted in clear disappointment, my brain and mouth having lost communication at some point.
It was his turn to blink in surprise. He leaned over and snapped the faucet off with a smack of his palm.
“What?”
There was no helping it. My whole day was officially ruined and it was his fault.
Okay, I had no problem with men with facial hair. Sometimes, it was even hot. But not when it looked like he was going for a yearlong expedition through the Himalayan Mountains, or planned to live with bears out in the wilderness. There was a reason trimmers and razors were invented. And … Goddamn it! The dude was too hot for that shit.
“Are you lost?” he demanded when I could only stand there and silently judge him.
“I don’t know! Maybe you could loan me a compass!” I shot back. “Or a hatchet.” So I was just being crazy and I almost couldn’t blame him for his confounded scowl. I took a deep breath. “I’m Ali,” I said calmly and rationally. “I—”
“Gabriel?” Earl limped up the stairs, clutching tight to the banister until he was at the top. He looked better, I noted. The flush was gone from his face and he wasn’t panting. “I didn’t know you were here.”
Gabriel turned to the other man.
“Really?” I was amazed at how much that single question sounded like mine, full of indignant disapproval. “She’s not even half your age.”
I had not seen that coming.
“Whoa! Wait. What?”
I was ignored.
“Why do they keep getting younger?” he demanded of Earl. “You’re going to break a damn hip … again, and I’m going to have to listen while you explain to the doctor how you broke the fucking thing … again! You’re eighty years old, Grandpa!” Gabriel then rounded on me. “He’s eighty years old!”
“Dude!” I began, putting both hands up to ward off the craziness he was spewing. “I am not tapping that.” I winced and shot Earl a sheepish smile. “No offense.” I went back to glowering at Lumberjack. “So his hip is perfectly safe with me.”
Gabriel looked me over. Actually looked me over with a disbelief that was astounding. Did I have old man hooker stamped to my forehead, or something? Like seriously? I was insulted … and then he added salt to my injuries.
“I guess,” he mumbled. “Did he forget to return a book, or something? I didn’t know the library did house calls.”
How. The. Fuck. Did I go from being a hooker, to a librarian in the span of two seconds?
“Ali was kind enough to help me with my groceries,” Earl piped in before I could kick his lovely grandson in the family jewels.
Swooping down, I hefted up the pack of chicken still lying at my feet and shoved it into his gut with all the force in me. His grunt of pain was only mildly satisfying.
“I accept apologizes in written form only,” I growled through my teeth. “I like to file them under Fuckhead.”
With that, I stomped around him and started for the stairs.
“Ali, wait.” Earl hurried after me, and I only stopped for him. Otherwise, I was ready to make my grand exit, stage left. “Don’t mind Gabriel. His mother drank while she was pregnant.”
“Grandpa!”
He ignored his grandson, which amused me. I was really beginning to like Earl. Enough to sleep with him? Uh, no. But definitely enough to want to give him a high five.
“I still owe you for helping me with my groceries.”
I shook my head. “Really it’s fine. I have to get home anyway and continue the job hunt. But it was wonderful to meet you.”
“Actually!” Earl grabbed my hand before I could leave. “That’s exactly what I want to do.”
I frowned. “You want to help me job hunt?”
“Yes and no,” he answered with a chuckle. “We need someone with your expertise here at the shop and you need a job. I think we can help each other out.”
“What are you doing, Grandpa?” Gabriel demanded.
“I’m getting this place an administrative assistant,” Earl retorted. “Someone who knows how to do the books and filing, because apparently you got my brains when it comes to paperwork.”
Gabriel scowled. The guy was a professional scowler. I could tell. He was very good at his job.
“We’re doing fine,” he grumbled.
“Have you seen the office, Gabriel?” Earl countered. “I found a form the other day dating back to when the shop was first opened. We need the help.”
Gabriel seemed to chew this bit of information over, possibly literally. His face-bush kept twitching. Either that, or some unsuspecting rodent had made a home beneath that jungle.
“Fine. I’ll call someone,” he replied. “There has to be an agency, or—”
“Why when Ali’s right here?” Earl said, waving a hand at me.
Those smolderingly gray eyes darted to me and narrowed even further if possible. “You met the girl two minutes ago. How do you know she’s any good? Besides, she barely looks old enough to be out of school.”
Yeah, this guy and I would never be friends. He made me want to stab him, repeatedly, with something pointy and rusty. That didn’t make for very good friendship.
“I graduated with my bachelors last year,” I informed him sharply. “And spent the last ten months interning at one of the biggest ad companies in Portland. Trust me, I am very good at what I do.”
“And I am a very good judge of character,” Earl added. “I like Ali and since this is still my shop, I’m hiring her.”
Gabriel stared hard at his grandfather. “That’s not how this works. You need references and—”
“I’m not an idiot, Gabriel!” Earl snapped. “I’ve been doing this since before you were born. But she’s the one I want.”
It didn’t even dawn on me that I had just accepted a job at a garage. At that moment, all I wanted was to rub it in Gabriel’s smug little face. Then it hit me.
“Wait, you’re giving me a job?”
Gabriel threw his hands up. “Observant.”
I opened my mouth to tell him I was ten different belts of crazy and not afraid to use all of them on him if he kept pushing me, but Earl touched my arm.
“If you want it,” he said kindly. “It might not be all fancy, but you can start tomorrow. Bring your papers and Gabriel will go over them.”
With that, and a pat on my shoulder, he shuffled back down the stairs, leaving me alone with Mountain Man.
“Are you sleeping with him?”
Unbelievable.
“I don’t sleep with men to get what I want, Jack,” I snapped. “I’m perfectly capable of getting through life without offering my taco to every man that walks my way.”
That seemed to silence him. He watched me like I was some endangered species that just made no sense. I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. I wasn’t there for his approval. I certainly didn’t want it.
But, at the same time, I did need a job. After three months of unemployment, my savings had begun to grow a happy family of dust bunnies and I didn’t know when I would get another offer like that. Besides, it would only be temporary. I could watch my mouth and temper for a few months.
Gabriel turned his full attention on me, which meant not just his eyes, or his head, but his entire body so we were facing off. I hated that he was taller than me. Pretending to be a bad ass took extra effort when you were stuck glowering at a beautiful man chest.
“My grandfather is eighty years old,” he told me again in a deep, quiet tone. “He’s trusting of pretty faces, but I’m not. I may not have any say in who he hires, but that sure as hell won’t stop me from booting you out of here if I smell even a hint of foul play.”
“What exactly do you think I’m after?” I wondered. “And what exactly does foul play smell like?”
His gaze roamed along my frame, taking in everything from the chipped, purple nail polish on my toes to the messy knot that was my hair bun. I wasn’t sure which of that irritated him more, because his frown never shifted. He seemed to disapprove of all of me.
“Look,” I said, struggling to keep my calm when all I wanted to do was throat punch the guy for making me feel about two inches tall with just a look. “I get it. You think a woman doesn’t belong in a garage.”
“You’re right,” he said evenly. “That’s exactly what I think.”
It took me a full second to peel my jaw off the floor.
“That is the most sexist thing I have ever—”
“Do you know what women are, Ali? A liability,” he went on, ignoring my irate sputtering. “They come into a place and destroy it with the two ton bag of drama they heave around. I don’t like drama. And I don’t like trouble, which is exactly what you are.”
Any other time, any other person and I would have taken that as a compliment. As it were, his condescending bullshit pissed me off.
“And how am I trouble?” I bite out with all the composure I could scrounge up. “Is it the glasses, because I can vouch for their character?” His eyes narrowed, but I didn’t give a shit. “You know, this is why women don’t feel comfortable bringing their cars in to get checked, because of assholes like you who treat them like they’re braindead and unworthy of a fair exchange. You think just because we’re women and may not know as much about vehicles as men that we’re somehow less superior to you. Well, you know what, Jack, you can keep your fucking job. I wouldn’t work for you, with you, near you if you paid me in gold bricks.”
Whirling on my heels, I left.
I walked out of the garage without running into Earl. I briefly wondered if I should find him and thank him for the generous offer that I needed to decline, but thought better of it. I needed to get away from that asshole before I did something I might not regret later.
My apartment was a two block walk from the garage, tucked behind a towering wall of spruce trees. It sat nestled on a slight incline surrounded by Victorian homes and other smaller apartments. Mine was one of the older structures. The red brick was faded and chipped in places and the windows were the enormous panes used in lofts, but the rent was cheap and I liked the view.
The building itself had originally been two separate structures with six stories each. At some point, someone had connected the pair by a wall on either end, leaving a narrow gap in between that opened into a courtyard that was never used because realistically, it was a squished alley someone spruced up with flowerboxes. I could easily leap from my balcony into the apartment across the way … if I was Cat Woman, or a burglar. As it were, I was neither and had no desire to leap into an empty apartment. But the thing I did like to do was occasionally stand by the terrace doors and watch the lives of the people in the other building. As a person who lived on the sixth floor, dead center, I had the perfect angle to see most of what was going on in the other suites. Call me crazy, or a pervert, but most people in my position would do the same, especially since there was nowhere else to look, except to maybe count the bricks on the building. My neighbors were much more interesting.
I have always liked watching. I like seeing how people interact and behave alone and in groups. I like wondering what they’re talking about and what they’re thinking. As a child, I was the lone kid on the playground, the one that said nothing, but stared at the others as they ran and played. I was okay with that. I never cared that I wasn’t picked for teams, or asked to play skip rope. While I wasn’t some creepy shut in that liked collecting strands of my classmate’s hairs to make dolls, I didn’t go out of my way to make friends either. I still don’t. Friends are great, except I never know what to do with them. I see other people and it all seems so natural. They laugh and talk and make plans to talk and laugh some more at a later date. I would probably throw a fry at them and hope they were distracted enough not to notice me running away.
So I stayed home. When I did have to interact, I did so cautiously and tried not to make any sudden movements. Occasionally, I could even have full on conversations with people without anyone getting hurt. But I liked my solitary life. I cherished it even.
My apartment was designed by someone with no concept of measurements. Everything was done in extremes. The living room was barely big enough for a sofa, while the only bedroom was enormous. The kitchen was small, but the single bathroom could fit an entire Russian circus. The closet in the hall could have doubled as a second bedroom if it hadn’t been so narrow, while the pantry in the kitchen could barely hold a stack of towels. I was only thankful no one ever came to visit me or it would have been hard to explain why my bedroom was in the living room and why my living room was in my bedroom, or why all my food was in the closet down the hall near the bathroom and my towels were in my kitchen. It all worked fine for me, but I knew it wasn’t normal.
Tossing my keys and purse onto the glass table I kept by the front door, I kicked off my sandals and made my way into the bedroom. It was a short walk down a minute hall that split off in three separate directions. Right to the kitchen. Left to the living room and bathroom, and straight for the bedroom. My toes curled in the plush carpet that extended from wall to wall. Underneath it was the scarred hardwood that came with the place. But after a week of waking up to use the bathroom and having to tiptoe on what felt like a sheet of ice, I said screw it and splurged on a carpet. Best investment ever.
My bedroom was my favorite spot in the whole place and it showed. It was designed for comfort and easy access to everything. My queen sized bed faced the TV I had mounted over a glass set of shelves holding my DVD player and surround sound. On one side of the bed was my mini fridge. The other held an end table with a lamp and the remotes to the TV. The terrace doors were on the other side of my bed, draped in sheer curtains. On the opposite side of the room, against the wall that separated the bedroom from the kitchen was my vanity. Everything was within reach.
I stripped. I rarely saw the point of being dressed at home. There was no one there to judge me for the way I looked, or what shape I was in. It was my place of sanctuary. Plus there was something liberating about eating a cup of pudding completely naked.
At a little after six, I drew on a robe, turned off the TV and wandered into the kitchen for a bowl of something. My pantry consisted mostly of things that could easily be warmed, cans of soup, microwavable dinners, the occasional canisters of squeeze cheese. I lived for one person. Me. If I wanted to cook a full meal, I had the luxury of running to the grocery store, grabbing the items and coming home. But those desires were rare. As it were, I grabbed a bowl of cereal and made my way to the terrace.
Seven o’clock was when my neighbors came home. It was when the dark windows lit up and life happened on the other side of the glass. I treated seven o’clock the way soap opera junkies treated their favorite sitcoms, with reverence and excitement.
The steel hoops embedded into the curtains hissed as I dragged the sheer drapes across the metal rod. I propped the glass doors open to the muggy evening and leaned a hip against the frame.
It was still fairly bright out. The sun was just making its final descent behind the buildings, but the narrow notch of space that I considered my little world had shadows slinking their way across the bricks. The lights from the other apartments were sharper, brighter, casting the figures inside into edgy silhouettes.
There were eighteen apartments. Each floor had three windows stamped into the side. I had given each one a name, which periodically changed as the occupants did. For example, in the three months I’d lived there, no one had ever rented the apartment adjacent to mine so that had come to be known as the Empty. Levels one, two, and three were impossible to see into from my sixth floor view. So that left me four, five and six. Four was iffy. I could only see about six feet into their apartments. But five and six were gold and that was where my favorite people lived.
Window one, top row: Old Man and Young Girl I had assumed for the first three weeks were father and daughter. So. Not. I learned that the hard way while eating spicy curry and nearly dying when he heaved the girl against the glass and started fucking her.
Window two, top row: Empty.
Window three, top row: Crazy Jungle Couple who fought like piranha’s over fresh meat and made love just as intensely. They were better to watch than WWE on pay per view. I always had popcorn ready for when they got home. It was impossible to tell how the night would end.
Window one, second row: an Asian Couple with Little Girl. Watching them made me nostalgic for my own family, but then the girl would cry and throw things and that feeling would go away.
Window two, second row: Slutty Blonde with copious number of lovers. That week, she was banging the occupant of window three, second row, Handsome Dark Haired Dude with a beer belly but a seriously massive cock.
Row three was full of families.
Window one, row three: Single Mother with Little Boy. I would occasionally see him sitting at the window with his hand held game, munching on carrot sticks.
Window two, row three: Man and Woman with Twin Ghost Daughters. I was convinced those two girls were from The Shining. Creepy little shits. Every so often, I would look down and they’d just be standing there … staring back. Not blinking. It made it even creepier that they were both extremely pale with dead eyes and long dark hair. I shuddered every time my gaze roamed over their window.
Window three, row three: Large, Hairy Man with a deeper love of microwavable food than me, who spent a large portion of his time in his recliner watching football. I had a feeling he was a gambler, simply from the fits he’d always have when his team lost. It was irrational. But then what did I know about men and sports? Maybe he just had rage issues. Yet that didn’t explain why he’d get on the phone immediately afterwards and shout at whoever was on the other end. But that also could be explained. Maybe he had a friend somewhere else equally pissed and the two were venting to each other.
The fun was always in the guessing.
That evening, only three of the windows lit up. Old Man and Hopefully Not His Daughter came home first. She sauntered into the living room, tossed her bright, pink purse down on the sofa and flopped down next to it. Old Man ambled his way into the kitchen and yanked open the fridge.
No fucking tonight, I thought, shifting my gaze to the other two windows.
The Ghost Girls were back in their lacy, purple dresses, white stockings and jet black hairs. They stood shoulder to shoulder with their backs to the window. Their dad was hanging up their matching red coats in the hallway closet. Mom wasn’t home yet. She was a secretary, or a lawyer. She didn’t get home until about eleven, stooped over like her briefcase was filled with bricks.
The third window gave me a start. The presence of the pale, golden glow took my brain a full minute to process and even it knew something wasn’t right.
Window two, top row: wasn’t empty. There was movement behind the curtains. There was light!
“Holy shit!”
Cereal bowl abandoned on the glass table next to the terrace doors, I stepped further onto the balcony. My fingers curled around the cool metal railing and I leaned in as far as I could without forgetting my not Cat woman notion and making the lunge over.
But as quickly as all the excitement had started, it sparked in surprise when the light flicked off and there was nothing. My gaze darted from the windows to the glass doors, waiting like an eager little puppy begging someone to throw the fucking ball already.
Nothing happened. The lights remained off. Stillness continued.
My gaze narrowed as I straightened. “All right,” I mumbled to the silence. “You win this round, but tomorrow…”
I let my promise linger into the night as I stepped back into my apartment.

Airicka Phoenix is a hopeless romantic with a dark imagination and an incurable addiction to chocolate. She is also the author of several novels written for young adult and new adult romance readers who like bad boys, hot kisses and a gritty plot. Airicka prides herself in producing quality material her readers can fall in love with again and again.

When she’s not hard at work bleeding words onto paper, Airicka can be found cuddling with her family, reading, watching TV shows, or just finding excuses to avoid doing chores.

To find out about upcoming books, teasers, giveaways and more, join her newsletter or check out her www.AirickaPhoenix.com!:

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1 TRUST pink 2

 

 

 

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18+ for mature content.

This is a serial, releasing in ebook format only. Lucy’s story will be released as three serials approx. 15k words each, releasing a month apart.
A paperback/box set will release after part three.

swirl

Trust: An experiment of marital proportions.

Lucy is sick of the dating scene and especially sick of what she can never have; The Kerrigan boys, specifically Will and Heath.

After a run-in with Heathcliff Kerrigan, that proves everything she already knew about him, she agrees to partake in a new dating experiment. More like a marriage experiment.

Her match will be handpicked specifically for her; her likes, desires, needs, and possibly, her worst nightmare. And the scariest part is that she won’t meet him or know his name until they meet at the altar.

Agreeing, she waits for the call that will change her life.

Will Lucy follow through and marry a total stranger?
Or does Heath have other plans in mind for her happily ever after?

Trust is a 15k word serial with a bit of humor, scorching steam, and surprises that await you at the altar.

 

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Trust ~ April 22, 2015

Honor ~ May 20, 2015

Love ~ June 24, 2015

Trust, Honor, Love ~ July 22, 2015 (pb)

2 Honor cover

3 LOVE cover

 

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me oct 2014 PS cropped

I’m a stay-at-home mom with four young children and one extremely supportive husband. We’ve been married for over ten years and reside in Metro Detroit, Michigan.

I’ve dreamed of writing romance novels since I was little. After having baby #4, who may or may not have been fathered by Christian Grey, I decided it was time to pursue my dreams.

When I’m not running to various appointments, enjoying time with my friends and my family, dating my husband, or avoiding cleaning my house, I’m writing!

I love music and believe that books and music can’t exist without the other. My goal is for you to read more than a good book, but for you to have an experience!

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www.jmwittbooks.com
www.facebook.com/jmwittbooks
“We’re all stories in the end; just make it a good one!”

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1 TRUST pink 2Author Groupies

18+ for mature content.

This is a serial, releasing in ebook format only. Lucy’s story will be released as three serials approx. 15k words each, releasing a month apart.
A paperback/box set will release after part three.

 

Trust ~ April 22, 2015
Honor ~ May 20, 20152 Honor cover
Love ~ June 24, 20153 LOVE cover
Trust, Honor, Love ~ July 22, 2015 (pb)

cover as one picTrust: An experiment of marital proportions.

Lucy is sick of the dating scene and especially sick of what she can never have; The Kerrigan boys, specifically Will and Heath.

After a run-in with Heathcliff Kerrigan, that proves everything she already knew about him, she agrees to partake in a new dating experiment. More like a marriage experiment.

Her match will be handpicked specifically for her; her likes, desires, needs, and possibly, her worst nightmare. And the scariest part is that she won’t meet him or know his name until they meet at the altar.

Agreeing, she waits for the call that will change her life.

Will Lucy follow through and marry a total stranger?
Or does Heath have other plans in mind for her happily ever after?

Trust is a 15k word serial with a bit of humor, scorching steam, and surprises that await you at the altar.

would youPreorder:
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US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VZ063WS
UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00VZ063WS?*Version*=1&*entries*=0
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heathcliff

a5dc0-abouttheauthorme oct 2014 PS croppedI’m a stay-at-home mom with four youngchildren and one extremely supportive husband. We’ve been married for over ten years and reside in Metro Detroit, Michigan.

I’ve dreamed of writing romance novels since I was little. After having baby #4, who may or may not have been fathered by Christian Grey, I decided it was time to pursue my dreams.

When I’m not running to various appointments, enjoying time with my friends and my family, dating my husband, or avoiding cleaning my house, I’m writing!

I love music and believe that books and music can’t exist without the other. My goal is for you to read more than a good book, but for you to have an experience!

6b165-yourgroupieonwww.jmwittbooks.com
www.facebook.com/jmwittbooks
“We’re all stories in the end; just make it a good one!”

Seeking Clarity by Christa Lynn

Seeking Clarity

Christa Lynn

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synopsis

Clarity Laughlin grew up with a silver spoon in her mouth and everything handed to her on a silver platter. But her silver life is tarnished from living in her father’s shadow and under his thumb. One night she realizes she’s had enough, and decides to make a change.

She leaves her glamorous life behind and starts over, alone and determined. When gorgeous auto mechanic Mason Kennedy helps the damsel in distress, Clarity’s life starts to have real meaning. A new love blooms and her dream starts to become reality, until tragedy strikes and her newfound gold starts to fade. But is the dream fading? Or just tainted with lies and deception? What happens when Pandora’s Box is opened and Mason’s skeletons come floating out?

Money, greed, jealousy and love can be a deadly combination.

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So, I decide to change the way I live. I’ve dreamed of finding Mr. Right, getting married and settling down. But guys run for the hills when they find out who I am, or they only want me for my money. I can’t deal with this anymore. I’ve had a great life though, again…..never wanting for anything. There has to be so much more to this world than having everything handed to you on the proverbial silver spoon.

As I mentally prepare for the changes upcoming in my life, Holland walks right into my room without knocking. “Clare? What are you doing in here? I’ve been looking everywhere for you.”

“I’ve been right here, thinking.”

“What about?” She asks as she sits down on the bed next to me.

“Life in general.”

She nods, staring at our faces in the mirror.

“Yeah, it’s great it?” She smiles as she lays back on the bed, her lavender skirt hiking up on her legs, exposing thigh high stockings. I stare for a brief moment, wondering why she’d have on thigh highs, but then I remember the Mabry twins and it all makes sense.

“No, actually it isn’t,” I say as I stand up and brush my hands down my skirt in a feeble attempt to straighten the now wrinkled chiffon.

Holland sits up and stares at me in confusion.

“Is this all there is?” I ask as I wave my hand like a model at a car show.

“What do you mean?” She asks, one eyebrow raised.

“This! All of this!” I say as I twirl like a ballerina. “There has to be more in life than this.”

“I’m sorry Clarity, but I’m not getting it.”

“I’ve had enough of this,” I say again as I glance around the room. “I want to be a normal person, Hol. I want to settle down, get married. Squeeze out a few rug rats, have a normal life. I wanna be like everyone else.”

“Okay, you’re freaking me out. What the fuck are you talking about?”

“You really don’t get it do you?” I say as I storm out of the room, but she catches the door and follows me out.

“Clare, stop! Explain it to me. What are you talking about?” She asks again.

I stop and slowly turn back to her. She’s standing there with her hands on her hips.

“These!” I scream, as I pull my designer shoes off and throw them down the hall. I walk into the hall bathroom and wet a wash cloth and proceed to wash my face. “This!” I scream once again as I frantically wash my make up off. Then I stomp back into my room and open the dresser, yanking out a pair of jeans and a tee shirt, silently thankful that I keep spare clothes here for these weekends. It’s bad enough that I have to ride here via limo, but having to go home the next day in the same dress is mortifying. I realize how that sounds as I turn my back towards Holland.

“Unzip me please.” I ask, quietly but demanding.

“What are you doing?” She asks again, this time fear in her eyes.

“I’m changing clothes, what does it look like I’m doing?” I snap at her. I know this isn’t her fault, but she should be seeing this the way I am. She’s wealthy too, though not as wealthy as I am. I cringe on the inside as I think those words.

“But there’s a party going on outside.” She says as she complies and lowers my zipper.

The dress slides down my body into a puddle on the floor. I yank on the tee shirt and jeans and find my loafers in the closet.

“I. Am. Done. Done with this life, done with being a selfish bitch and done with money. I’m getting out, Holland. O U T! I want to live a different life, one with meaning. One without rules, standards and etiquette. I wanna be a woman, not a pawn in daddy’s world. I want to make my own money, live my own life. And this,” I say as I once again wave my hand around my old bedroom, “Ends today.”

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about the author

61HuWjmXu+L._UX250_

I am married and have a teenage son. I live in the Atlanta, GA area and I enjoy reading and writing. My first published novel, Running from Destiny, released in October of 2013. The sequel, Accepting Destiny just released in January 2014. Reprisal, which is a Dark Erotic thriller released in May of 2014. A companion novel, Requital released in December of 2014 and Seeking Clarity is scheduled for April 10th release.