Category Archives: Romance
Oh hey there. Hi. Remember me? The lady who used to update her blog regularly. Miss me? Yeah, me too. The feeling is most definitely mutual. But good news! I’m back and I have a new book! Summer Heat is out Monday, April 10th! It is book 5 in The Storm Inside series and it brings us the second chance love story of June Daniels, Eve’s youngest sister. And since I abandoned you for so long, I’ve included the entire first chapter for you to check out! And check out this cover designed by Romanced by the Cover! Holy hotness! Happy reading!
Can baseball’s bitterest feud become its greatest love story?
A long time ago I fell in love with the wrong man. Wrong because there was no chance we could ever be together. Roman St. James was off limits. Forbidden. The enemy.
Except the Daniels-St. James feud isn’t my feud and it most certainly isn’t Roman’s. He’s nothing like his father. And while the rivalry between our families is one of the most famous in all of baseball, I couldn’t help myself. One smile turned into one date, and one date turned into so much more.
Of course it was a disaster. And now, five years later, I can still barely bring myself to think about what could have been.
Until one night in a locker room changes everything…
I pushed the heavy metal door open and stepped into the visiting team’s locker room at Tropicana Stadium.
“Hello? Did someone call for a trainer?” It was unusual, to say the least, to get a call asking for medical help for the opposing team, but then again, this wasn’t a game day and no one should be in either locker room. Visions of horror movies filled my head as I tentatively stepped further inside.
“In here,” a familiar voice called. A very familiar voice. Too familiar.
No . . . he couldn’t possibly—
I stopped short at the sight of Roman St. James standing beside his best friend Wes Allen. Wes was laid out on a bench with his foot propped up and he was very clearly in pain. I averted my eyes before Roman looked up because no. Just no. There was absolutely no way I could look that man in the eyes.
“What have we here?” I asked, dropping my bag on the ground and immediately looking over the hurt foot.
“I think I sprained it?” Wes’s voice rose an octave in question.
“I want to be sure it’s only a sprain before he moves,” Roman explained. “I know this isn’t exactly normal but I didn’t know who else to call on such short notice.”
Had Roman asked for me specifically? Was that why I’d been sent instead of someone else when the call came in?
“Of course,” I murmured, running my finger over the swollen flesh.
“That is, if it’s legal? I’m sure it’s not insurable and it is most definitely not kosher to look over someone from another team.”
I snorted at Roman’s logic. “I’m almost positive this isn’t illegal. We’re not at war, just on different teams.” Except Roman and I were very much at war, just not over this. Enemy combatants in a fight neither of us chose.
He rocked back on his heels and from the corner of my eye I could see that he was wearing a grey suit. He looked wonderful, actually, not that I noticed. Nope. I didn’t notice the way his shoulders filled out the jacket or how his stubble was perfectly trimmed to look sexy and rough at the same time. I definitely didn’t notice the way the air crackled between us.
Not one little bit.
Denial was the only way I was getting through this.
“Still, it’s very generous of the Rays to lend us your talents,” Roman murmured.
Wes gave him a funny look. “You’re acting weird.”
Roman shrugged. “Whatever. Is it broken?”
I shook my head. “Definitely not broken.”
They both sighed with relief.
Yes, it would most definitely be a problem to have the Jacksonville Waves star catcher out with a broken ankle. But why was the Waves catcher in the Tampa Bay Rays locker room?
My locker room.
“Thank God,” Wes mumbled, lying back on the bench. He was in uniform but not dirty. “I’m an idiot. You’re supposed to stop me from doing idiotic things, Roman.”
“What did you do?” I chuckled as I pulled out an emergency cold pack and a wrap.
Roman grinned and cocked his thumb over at Wes. “Knucklehead here is a romantic. He was making a video for his girlfriend when he tripped over second base.”
“Oh, the dirty jokes I could make about that one,” I giggled as I pressed the cold pack to his ankle.
Wes groaned. At six-foot-three he was a tall and truly talented catcher for the Waves. Catchers tended to be shorter but Wes made it work. I’d watched his transformation first hand in college, putting all the naysayers to shame. I was in no way surprised that he’d not only made it to the majors, but was quickly becoming the most famous catcher in the game.
“Please don’t, I feel dumb enough as it is . . . ”
“How long have you been together?” I’d almost stopped noticing exactly how close Roman was standing beside me.
“That’s the really ridiculous part,” Roman scoffed. “Two weeks.”
Wes covered his face. “Stop making fun of me! I love, love. What’s so wrong with that?”
My heart kicked up a little bit because there was nothing wrong with a massive dirty blond ballplayer who also happened to be terribly romantic.
Roman groaned. “The problem is that you fall in love with everyone, Wes. You might want to reserve grand gestures that get your ass on the disabled list for the one.”
“She’s out there,” he grumbled.
“How do you know it isn’t this one?” I asked. I’d moved on to wrapping the ankle and ignoring the heat my body suddenly seemed to be generating simply by being in the same room with a man I desperately wanted but could never, ever have.
“Because ‘Annie’s’ gonna dump his ass the minute she sees the ankle,” Roman said.
I frowned at Roman’s subtle reference to baseball groupies. “She’s a cleat chaser?”
They both nodded. I was not a fan of the baseball groupies, or “Annies”, as our fathers called them—women who bounced from player to player for fame and financial reasons—but it was a relationship that worked for the individuals involved. The players got beautiful arm candy that stroked their egos while the women got the favors of fame. I didn’t want to know what technically happened between the sheets, but I could imagine it was more mechanical and less romantic. I didn’t begrudge anyone who chose that life if that was what they wanted. But it wasn’t me. I wanted fireworks. I wanted devotion, loyalty, and passion the likes of which I’d only seen in a few very special couples. Anything less was unacceptable.
And I’d thought I’d had it once. For six glorious weeks Roman St. James had been my world. He was fire and excitement and he had eyes only for me . . . until reality set it.
I swallowed down the lump in my throat. “You’re tall and you have weak ankles Wes, you always have. You need to be more careful.”
The room went silent and when I looked up Wes was staring at me. “How do you know I have weak ankles?”
Shit. I froze, realizing my colossal mistake. “Uh . . . ”
“Do you not know who this is?” Roman stepped in. My heart took off in a panic. What was he going to say? He wasn’t going to tell Wes, was he? “This is June Daniels.”
I held his gaze and watched as Wes tried to place me. “Papa Joe Daniels daughter?”
I nodded, hoping that the knowledge I grew up in the game was enough to satisfy Wes’s curiosity. “And,” I added, “I know ballplayers.” My father had been a famous third baseman for the Twins. I was raised in the world of baseball, just as Roman was. It was, quite literally, in my blood and the reason I’d chosen a career as an athletic trainer. It perfectly blended my two favorite things: medicine and baseball.
Wes arched a skeptical eyebrow. “You’re telling me Roman St. James intentionally called the daughter of his father’s mortal enemy to fix me up? What the hell is going on here?”
I finished wrapping the ankle and stuffed my gear back into my bag like it was on fire. I needed out of there fast.
Roman shifted back and forth on his feet. “We all went to college together, Wes. She was one of our trainers at The University of Florida.”
I sighed heavily and for the first time, locked eyes with the man I had avoided for five long years. Roman was the most beautiful man I’d ever seen and nothing had changed in that department. His skin was permanently tan from years on the field and his eyes . . . oh his eyes. They were what did me in. He had these deep brown eyes that had a way of showing everything he was feeling. They could see inside me and strip me bare.
But that wasn’t why I’d fallen for him. I’d watched Roman for a long time before anything happened and yeah, his eyes were expressive, but the only time they ever looked like that was when he was looking at me. Believe me, I’d studied that look for months after we parted ways, hoping to see him turn that gaze on another woman so I could officially hate him with every fiber of my being. But he didn’t. Not once.
Not until now.
I felt the world fall away as he searched my eyes with the softest expression. I saw regret and hope mixed together in an older and far more mature version of the man I’d once loved.
He’d been a brilliant third baseman and had a body that went with it. Six-foot-one with a strong right arm that could throw bullets across the infield with laser precision. He would have been great. Maybe one of the greatest.
“I don’t remember you and I’m pretty sure I’d remember a Daniels,” Wes said, but I barely heard him. I was trapped in Roman’s gaze. Frozen where I stood. How was it possible to feel just as strongly all these years later? It was as if no time had passed. We were still twenty-one and spending the longest, sexiest weekend of our lives alone together in a hotel room. His look turned me on every single time. How could it not? When he looked at me I was the only woman who existed. I could see and feel his need for me in that gaze.
And when he touched me? Oh yes. When his hands grazed across my skin it was fire and electricity, but deeper than that. His touch always sank inside until all I could feel was him.
I cleared my throat, trying to find my voice. “I kept away from Roman and his friends. It was best for everyone,” I finally murmured. “I should go.”
Panic flared in Roman’s eyes.
I ignored it and reached for my bag. I caught Wes’s wide eyes as I stood up. He glanced back and forth between us, jaw slack, putting together pieces he really should leave apart.
“Oh. My. God,” he finally whispered. “It’s her! She’s the one.”
My heart stopped beating. The one. As much as I wanted it to be true, I’d never allowed myself to believe Roman felt as strongly toward me as I’d felt toward him. He couldn’t. Not if he’d let me walk away.
“I should go,” I repeated and bolted for the door. Behind me I heard Wes’s voice rise up to almost a shout.
“June Daniels was the secret woman that had you so fucked up? I can’t even wrap my brain around this.”
There was silence just before I heard a growl. And then as the locker room door swung shut, “Never speak about her that way ever again.”
The venom in his voice…it was intense. For me? Or for the secret we shared? If his father ever found out we’d had a relationship—
“June, wait!” Roman called out, his voice echoing off the white cinderblock walls.
I rushed forward hoping he wouldn’t see me as I rounded the corner. If I could just get back to my office I’d be safe. What could he possibly say in front of my coworkers?
But then a strong hand wrapped around my bicep and gently pulled me to a stop. “Please, June. Just let me explain.”
The warmth of his palm seared into my skin like a brand. It took my breath away. “Explain what?” I sneered, sounding much angrier than I intended. I didn’t want him to hear just how much he was affecting me, whether it was positive or negative.
I screwed my eyes shut and silently counted to ten. “Everything? Like, why you’re here at my place of work in a suit, or something a bit older, like why you never apologized after our last conversation?”
His dark eyes locked onto mine. “Everything,” he repeated again, this time as a whisper. Then he seemed to remember himself and cleared his throat. “I’m here right now because we’re in negotiations for a trade to the Rays. Wes cannot afford to get hurt.”
I studied Roman—this time with intention. The suit looked good on him, so did the way his jaw ticked with frustration. Why did he have to look so appealing even when I wanted to hate him?
And then it hit me. “You’re an agent now?”
He nodded. “I am. I’m Wes’s agent. When I called Marie looking for a suggestion on who to take Wes to she suggested you.” He shrugged. “How could I say no to that?”
My jaw fell open as more pieces fell together. “Wait . . . you work for Marie?” Marie Hamilton was a very close friend of the family and one of my oldest sister’s best friends. She was CEO of Bancroft Sports, her family’s company, and, apparently, Roman’s boss?
“Since when?” Did Eve know about this? Or had Marie kept it a secret from all of us? Why would she ever hire a St. James when her best friends were all Daniels? It didn’t make a lick of sense.
“Six months. Marie just brought me down, partially to work this deal for Wes.” He kept searching my face, looking for some clue as to my reaction, no doubt.
And at this point I was so shocked that I had no idea what kind of expression I had on my face or what he was able to read in my responses. What I did know was that I needed to escape. An overwhelming need to flee had taken over my entire body.
“If Wes takes it easy he should be good as new next week.” I turned to leave, but he stopped me again, and damn it all, I loved the feeling of his large hand on my arm. It was familiar and unleashed a longing deep inside my chest.
“Wait.” He yanked his hand away as if he’d been burned, then ran it through his dark hair. “Thank you for this.”
I nodded, not trusting myself to look into his eyes again. “Of course. This is what I do.”
“And I hear you do it very, very well.” There was deep admiration in his voice that made my pride swell in ways that it really shouldn’t.
“Marie is biased. She thinks of me as a sister.”
“That’s not where I heard about you.”
For some reason, that admission took my breath away. “Are you checking into me?”
He didn’t say anything. Instead he slid both his hands onto my arms and turned me to face him. And I let him, mostly because I seemed to have lost all feeling in my limbs or ability to string together thoughts that didn’t involve the way my pulse pounded in my veins or the way the air around us seemed to be alive.
I didn’t dare look up into his eyes again. I knew if I did I wouldn’t be able to look away, so instead I stared at his throat where his collar and tie pushed up against his Adam’s apple.
And that didn’t help at all, because all it did was remind me how much I loved the way his body moved—always so fluidly together—from his eyes to his jaw, all the way down his strong shoulders to his trim waist, and over his muscular thighs.
I sucked in a little breath and held it.
Did he feel this? Was his body humming with need and recognition like mine? Was his mind spinning faster than he could form thoughts?
“June,” he whispered, and I knew right then by the strangled way it came out that he was absolutely as affected as I was. “Please look at me.” His fingers tightened on my arms. “I’ve never stopped thinking about you.”
I looked up and the need in his eyes slammed into me like a wave. “Five years.” I tossed out the time it had been since we’d last spoken like a shield.
“I’m sorry. I’ve owed you those two words for so long.”
And I’d waited to hear them, but it wasn’t enough. It felt . . . incomplete. “You’re sorry?”
“Yes. I’m sorry. I’m sorry for the things I said but I’m even sorrier that I was so fucking stupid.”
“You weren’t stupid,” I bit out. An uncontrollable anger roared back to the surface. I’d fantasized a million different ways to make him hurt the way he’d hurt me. He’d gotten that satisfaction—seeing the pain in my eyes—right before I walked away. I hoped leaving him had hurt him but I didn’t know for sure and I certainly never got to see it. “You were weak.”
He flinched, and for a moment the satisfaction was everything I needed . . . until it wasn’t. He blinked several times and took a careful breath. “Well, that is something very different.”
I’d hurt him, just like I wanted, and instead of feeling relief or triumph or even closure, all I felt was wrong.
He cleared his throat and let his hands drop away from me. “I was stupid but you’re right, I was also weak.” He struggled to get that last word out. “I was stupid to waste the best thing that ever happened to me. I was even stupider for just standing there when you left. But you’re right, I was also weak.”
The two inches that separated us felt more like a mile of open black space that I was about to tip forward into and free fall to my own death. I knew Roman was a bad idea from the moment I felt the first pull of lust, but I’d ignored it. What was wrong with a little mental fantasizing about a hot ballplayer? But then we’d gotten stuck together in a dugout during a rainstorm. Alone. While he was on one of the most painful phone calls I’d ever had to listen to.
George St. James, Roman’s father, was an asshole. Girls have stage moms: the intense ladies who make their daughters act and enter beauty pageants to fulfill some sort of lost fantasy of their childhood, but boys had something similar: sports dads. And a sports dad who happened to be a Hall of Famer and had a superiority complex? George was the worst. He’d pushed Roman so hard and on that particular day I’d seen a young man defeated.
But then he’d put the phone away and steeled himself. And a minute later he’d asked me about my classes with genuine interest. No hate. No vendetta. Just genuine interest. He didn’t care about the feud any more than I did.
I started to fall for him right then and there. It wasn’t immediate. Ours was more of a long, slow, pleasurable slide into oblivion. But, as it turned out, the end wasn’t a soft landing. It was a painful kick in the ass.
“I should get back to work,” I murmured, reaching behind me for the wall.
“Can I buy you coffee?” He blurted it out so loud it echoed off the walls.
I let out a frustrated sigh. “Why? Why would I do that, Roman?”
“Because we’re more than a failed affair.”
That was putting it mildly. “Whatever we were doesn’t matter anymore.”
“Yes it does.”
I didn’t understand why he was being so stubborn. Now. In the bowels of Tropicana Stadium. He could have written me an email or found me anytime in the last five years to apologize, but he didn’t.
“Why, Roman? Why now after all this time?”
“Have coffee with me and I’ll explain.”
“Explain now and then we can talk about coffee.”
He groaned and ran his hand over his face. “This isn’t going the way I hoped.”
“And what way is that?” Had he expected me to be pliant? To fall into his arms and let him kiss me?
“Well for one I didn’t think I’d spend more time concentrating on keeping my distance than actually saying what I need to say.” He threw his hands onto his hips and glared at me.
“I don’t understand what that means. Keeping your distance?”
“It means,” he growled, “that you keep licking your lips and breathing heavy and looking at me with those big fucking blue eyes that you know make me forget everything, and all I want to do is kiss you so hard you forget the last six years. Forget everything that happened between us before so I could meet you right now, for the first time.”
Oh. Well then . . .
He stepped into me before I could form a reply and ran a hand along my cheek. I closed my eyes and leaned into his touch before I could stop myself—it was instinct when it came to Roman.
“June . . . ” he whispered. His words reached inside me to places I’d closed off long, long ago. I couldn’t breathe. How was this possible? I’d had many fantasies about Roman over the years, but never this. Not even close.
“What about the feud?” I whispered. Even if I was open to the idea of a relationship with the man who had completely broken my heart, it didn’t change the fact that our families hated each other.
“Fuck the feud. It’s not our fight.”
But it was. Family loyalty meant a lot to me. He knew that. “I can’t do that.”
Pain flickered in the dark brown of his eyes. “Then I’ll just have to prove it to you. The feud is in the past and you will fall back in love with me. There is no other woman on this earth for me and I know there is no other man for you.”
I hated that he was right almost as much as I loved hearing how he felt about me.
I took his hands and gingerly removed them from my body. Each movement hurt on a deep molecular level. I wanted Roman. I wanted him desperately. But I couldn’t have him. Not with the feud and not with what had happened between us. Attraction was wonderful and maybe there’d been a shot at love for us once upon a time, but those days were long gone. The reality was that we could never be together. Not in any healthy, sane way.
He looked absolutely tortured by the way I pushed him back, but I knew it was what I had to do. “Goodbye, Roman.” I turned and walked away, my footsteps echoing with each step I took like some sort of doomsday clock.
“You’ve got that wrong, June,” he called. When I looked back he was standing exactly where I’d left him, his head down and his hands thrust into his pockets. “This isn’t goodbye. This was hello.”
I shook my head. “What does that even mean?”
He looked up, a huge grin on his handsome face and a gorgeous light in his eyes. “It means this was the beginning of something brand new.”
Happy election day! Need a break from the stress? Pick up a copy of 6 Dirty Secrets and escape from it all!
A love story for the ages…
That’s what we all want, isn’t it? A love so deep and so strong it can conquer all and withstand even the darkest of nights?
For me this wasn’t just daydreaming about a fairytale romance. If I was ever going to love someone he needed to be a fighter. No one else could endure the secrets that surround my family or survive the sacrifices that would be required to escape them. An ordinary love and an ordinary man simply wouldn’t do.
Enter: Darcy Higgins. My brother’s best friend. We’ve spent our lives slamming into each other and breaking apart. We’re all bad decisions and terrible timing, but I’ve loved him from the moment we met and he’s fought for me over and over again. We have a love that defies reason. A love that will, I hope, survive the mountain of secrets and lies that stand in our way.
This isn’t any love story.
This is my love story. And it is most definitely one for the ages.
Writing this book was a labor of love and I hope you enjoy getting a chance to see what really happened between Nicki and Higgins from Tempt. I need a good stiff drink and few days off. My next book is going to be one dirty sexy romp of a good time. Stay tuned for details!
Hello lovely readers! I hope September is treating everyone well. It’s certainly been fantastic for Julia Kelly. Monday her new series from Pocket Star debuted on retailers everywhere! You all know Julia from First Draught and because she’s one of my favorite people. Get to know more about Julia in this short interview I did with her the other day. I ask her about her book, whether she’d prefer Thor or Loki, and her Facebook group: Really Old Frocks. If you love corsets, bustles, and fashion, you have to check it out on Facebook or Instagram! Then scroll down to enter the Rafflecopter (I have promised Julia whatever she wants from me, so be sure to enter!)
The Governess Was Wicked
Elizabeth Porter is quite happy with her position as the governess for two sneaky-yet- sweet girls when she notices that they have a penchant for falling ill and needing the doctor. As the visits from the dashing and handsome Doctor Edward Fellows become more frequent, Elizabeth quickly sees through the lovesick girls’ ruse. Yet even Elizabeth can’t help but notice Edward’s bewitching bedside manner even as she tries to convince herself that someone of her station would not make a suitable wife for a doctor. But one little kiss won’t hurt…
Julia Kelly is the award-winning author of sexy historical and contemporary romances about smart women and the men who love them. She picked up her first romance novel and the bad habit of reading well past her bedtime when she was thirteen. Years later, she decided to try writing books of her own and never looked back.
By day, Julia is an Emmy-nominated journalist in New York City where she chases breaking news and bosses reporters around. She never met a pair of stilettos she didn’t love and still stays up too late reading.
Want more Julia interview goodness? Check out this month’s episode of First Draught!
It’s time Storm Insiders! Never Let Go is here!
The final installment in Jake & Eve’s love story is now available to read on the ereader of your choice or in paperback!
Love isn’t easy. If there is one thing I’ve learned, that’s it. Love doesn’t last because it’s perfect or fate, it’s because two people decided to fight for it. They hold on tighter than anyone else when times get tough. And right now, times are really tough.
It’s a good thing I have a strong grip.
We’ve been sucked into a world filled with politics and appearances. It’s triggered silent demons that Jake thought he’d beaten long ago, and running from them isn’t an option this time. We’re in this together. We’ve already lost a decade, I’m not losing another minute.
I like to think we all have a healthy fear of failure, but I know some of us have a bigger fear than others. Mine is kind of huge and it prevented me from doing a lot of different things with my life. Over the last month I’ve had to force myself to look that fear in the face and do what I’ve been dreading…read The Storm Inside.
I haven’t read it since I wrote it. It was my first book. It was three years ago. And I haven’t cracked that baby open and looked at it with two since I hit publish. Excellent sales, wonderful reviews, and heartfelt fan letters could not convince me that the words I put down in that book were anything but embarrassing (and no, I’m not talking about the smokin’ hot sex scenes.)
I was paralyzed, so I ignored it. I didn’t market the book the way I should have and as a result I’ve stunted my potential as a working writer. Over the holidays I had to take a long hard look at who I wanted to be. You can either be a successful writer who is proud of your entire body of work, blemishes and all, or you can hide in the shadows of “one day.”
So I’ve done it. I’ve re-read the entire book (sometimes peeking through my fingers because WHAT THE HELL DID I WRITE? Someone start a cold shower, those sex scenes…Jake’s story…their love??? Holy hell, what a book!)
I’ve given the whole series new covers and blurbs, and stepped outside of my own fears of failure because no one finds joy in hiding. Meanwhile I’ve been reading a half-dozen “first novels” from authors I consider my contemporaries and I learned a few things.
- It’s enjoyable to watch the transformation of a writer through their books. I don’t look down on those wonderful stories of love and triumph because of the typos or head hopping (it was only once.) I smiled because in the next book and the next book the writer grew stronger and my love of the author grew right along with it. I know I have readers who feel the same way. I love you guys.
- Most people don’t notice the stray typo so I really, really, really need to stop acting like HRH Queen Gatekeeper of Novels is going to cast me out into the barrens of Never Writing Again and Laughed At in Infiniti. No really, every book has typos, even the #1 NYT Bestsellers. Some people read books and get their panties in a bunch over every little nuance, but most people just want a fucking good story. Write a good story. Hire good people. Do better when you know better. Keep moving forward.
- I don’t take my own advice. I give pretty good advice, but I let my fear stop me from putting it in motion for myself. It’s been a good lesson to see several of these authors take my advice and succeed. It was a good smack in the face to realize if I’d done the same thing I wouldn’t have been cast out into the Barrens and might actually be pretty darn happy.
- I’m good at what I do (and I don’t need anyone to tell me that.) I used to admire those people who could throw themselves onto the fire without thinking. How did they write a book, put it out there, tell everyone it was the best thing since sliced bread… and have people believe it? Sure, some of those books were awesome, but most of them? Average. Totally and completely average. But the author had brash confidence and took the audience along with her. It’s taken a bolt of lightning and seeing my writing critiqued for me to realize that no one needs to give me permission to say my stories are good. No one but me is in charge of being proud of my work. My success is entirely up to me. I’m write damn good stories.
- “Fear is the Enemy” is not just a saying people throw around. Fear is the wall that stands between failure and success. Which side do you want to stand on? Do you want to live in the shadow of fear, or do you want to put that behind you and stand in the sun? (I live in Florida, I can tell you the sun is very enjoyable.)
Putting The Storm Inside out all over again has already transformed my life. It has sat in the iBooks Top 5 in UK for the last week and Reflected and Lightning have jumped up the paid charts…reminding me that the only one holding my books back is me. It was terrifying to re-read my book, but it’s turned into a lovely experience to re-edit the books. The new paperback proof is on the way to my mailbox right now. I’ll be sure to share the pictures with you all when it gets here!
I think it’s time to spice things up. Burn is one of the hottest things I’ve ever written (which we all know is saying a lot.) Here’s a little peek (it’s a bit NSFW):
“I actually have a thing about restraint . . . ” he said. “No restraints. Ever. I prefer mind games.”
“Mind games?” This was either going to be awesome or a deal breaker.
“Roll over and put your hands above your head. Don’t move. Not one muscle. You can be as loud as you wish . . . but do not move.”
Oh . . . mind games. Instead of physically restraining me, Michael got off on mentally restraining me. I could definitely play these games.
Once I was settled exactly as Michael had requested: on my back, hands clasped above my head, legs spread, he settled over me and took my right nipple into his mouth. He sucked and licked. He worked me until I was damn near incoherent, then pulled back.
I was about to implode from holding still (I made sure to tell him exactly how hard it was to keep from moving since he’d specifically requested I be loud) when he reached over to the nightstand and opened another condom.
He took his time rolling in on, with his eyes locked onto mine. There was some sort of connection taking place. His mind games weren’t just tricks to help us get off on a sexual high. This was more. This was two very fucked up souls finding solace in each other.
“Who are you, Ava?”
I swallowed. I was naked to this man, literally and emotionally. There was desperation in his eyes. There was no way I could lie to him—no way I could ever hide and be able to live with myself.
“I’m not sure if I know the answer to that yet,” I whispered. “I haven’t had a chance to find out.”
It was the most honest answer I’d ever given anyone. It was terrifying to admit I was more reaction than anything else. Ava Hanson wasn’t really anyone specific. She didn’t stand for something or build anything. She was a result of circumstances, just fighting to get through each day.
It was soul crushing every single time I thought about it.
His eyes softened. “You’re a survivor.”
My heart skipped a beat. “And who are you, Michael?” As far as I could tell he was a psychic sex god, but I knew that was as much a mask as the one I wore.
“I’m a fighter,” he said with a nod. “I don’t know much, but I know that.” A look came over him—a focused, lust-filled, determination—as he prowled across the mattress.
BURN is out Feb 9th! Pre-Order it now for only 99 cents!
It’s Tuesday, which means you deserve a teaser. Oh, and it’s exactly one week until BURN hits shelves!
“I’ll win.” A flutter of hope filled my chest as the mood lightened. It was gone just as fast as it appeared. Michael leaned forward in a flash so that we were nose to nose and I had no choice but to stare into those devastating baby blues.
“No, babe. You won’t. I’m the best there ever was.”
“And the cockiest.” I loved a good challenge and Michael was bringing out my competitive side.
He smiled. “Oh, I’m cocky. I’m also good.” His eyes dropped to my lips for a split second. “You know that.”
I tried very hard to keep my breathing even, despite the fact that Michael was turning me on in every way possible. “And you know I’m so good you’ll forget your own name.”
He sucked in a breath and swallowed. I watched as his Adam’s apple moved up and down. Oh god. I wanted to watch him as he moved over me, all over again. Memories weren’t enough. Not with him right here.
BURN is out Feb 9th! Pre-Order it now for only 99 cents!
Hey gang! Guess what? My Shelf Monday (#MyShelfMonday) is back for the next few weeks! I’ve missed this segment of my blog and I’m so happy to have a bunch of great books to share with all of you! First up is Personal Geography by Tamsen Parker!
The first book in a three book series, Personal Geography is romantic, suspenseful, and pretty much everything I look for in a romance. I relate to the heroine, I want the hero to be real, and I desperately want their happily ever after.
Tamsen did a great job of leaving me wondering where things were going, all while weaving a very interesting tale. These characters are dynamic and different from your normal heroine/hero combos. Things I enjoyed about this book and series:
- Beta dominant hero! Yes, you read that correctly! Our hero, Cris, is a dominant, but he’s also a beta (which in the land of Alexis Anne is equivalent to finding gold.) For more on the breakdown of Alpha/Beta/Gamma characters check out Dear Author, Olivia Kelly, or my personal favorite by Suzanne Brockman.
- Dueling personalities = finding your person = finding yourself along the way. I have serious soft spots for people with dueling personalities. In this case we have Cris, the dominant beta, but we also have India, the strong independent woman who lets it all go in the playroom to be a submissive. She has to have both as she navigates her life or nothing makes sense. It’s in the course of navigating these personalities that Cris comes into her life, helping her see herself in a new way, and putting together puzzle pieces of her life that she has been unable to piece together before now. He doesn’t do it for her, but he is integral in helping her over the wall she’s put up in her life. This is my crack.
- Interesting characters. Nuff said.
- Sexy times that are well researched and demonstrate a careful and respectful attitude toward sex, power dynamics, and BDSM. Really, I can’t say enough about how well researched this book is. Yes, there as stuff that made me hide the book under the bed. Yes, these are flawed characters who make bad decisions from time to time, but Tamsen carefully walks us through the steps of psychology and action.
- Enough fantasy to let go and enjoy, mixed with enough reality to make me feel connected to the characters ands story.
- Cris’s house in Hawaii. WANT!
Now for the fun! I have this paperback copy Personal Geography up for grabs! To enter to win, simply comment with your favorite season (Fall, Winter, Summer or Spring) on this blog post, the Facebook post, Twitter, or Instagram. One random winner will be selected from the entrants on Tuesday, September 8th, 2015.
Tomorrow is the big day! Tempt: Volume 1 releases on all platforms! But today I have one last special sneak peek and this time it’s extra special because it is an alternative point of view. Tempt is told exclusively from Allison’s perspective, but every so often I write scenes from the other character’s side as a way of flushing things out. In this case it is how Theo meets Allison in the speakeasy. We get a little look at Theo and how he ended up catching Allison on the dance floor. It’s not polished and perfect, but it is a fun look! Enjoy!
I resisted the urge to scratch my neck as the host led me up the small set of stairs to the private party room overlooking the club. Well, not really a club. Not in the traditional sense anyway. This was a speakeasy.
“Theo! Bloody hell man! You’re actually here.” Higgins, a very old friend of mine, howled across the room.
I lost the battle. I scratched my fucking neck. Places like this made my skin crawl. Too many people, too desperate to escape their dreary lives. Too close to everything I wanted to forget.
I stopped where I was and waited for him to jog across the small room. “I can’t believe it. Theo Sutherland actually came to my party.” He shook his head, grinning like a fool and holding his hands out like he was going to hug me.
I stuck out my hand. “This is a nice place you’ve got here, Higs.”
He frowned at my hand and ignored it, just like I expected him to, and hugged me instead. “You can be cold to everyone else, but not me, my friend. Never to me.” He clapped me on the back and despite my better judgment, I clapped him back.
“How’ve you been?” I said.
He waved his hand around the room filled with fifty of his closest friends and (most likely) business partners. Higs never did anything alone. At least he’d finally stopped asking me. “Fucking good. The club is a huge hit. Apparently the more exclusive and secretive you make something, the more desperate people are to get inside and spend loads of money.” Then he hugged me again. “I can’t believe you’re here. It’s been too fucking long.”
“How are Bix and Diane?” Two more from my past that I couldn’t quite seem to escape.
“Good, good. They won’t be here tonight. You don’t have to worry about that. How’s Nicki?”
My shoulders instantly tensed at the name of my sister. “Same.”
Higgins made a face. “Sorry. How you holding up?”
“Business is good.” I’d gotten lucky with iON Innovations. It was the right company to start at the right time. Cutting edge technology was an increasingly crowded marketplace, but staying focused on bringing efficiency up was good business.
“I didn’t ask about work, Theo.”
I shrugged. “I am my work.”
“That’s the fucking saddest thing I’ve ever heard.” He waved at a roaming waiter and grabbed what appeared to be two shots of bourbon off the tray. “Just for an hour or two, forget the past. Forget Nicki. And for fucks sake, forget work. Be that smooth bastard that could charm the nickers off an old lady and ask someone to dance. When was the last time you danced?”
Forever. “It’s been a while.” I took the shot. It burned all the way down.
Higgins put another shot in my hand and pushed me toward the balcony. “There. Go watch some fine women dance and let the bourbon do its job.”
For some reason I did exactly that. Below was a stage filled with a live band playing a jazz number. The dance floor was sunk down from the booths and bars that surrounded it. Dancers of all types were spinning and hopping. Some very good, some very bad. My foot tapped to the beat.
I missed dancing. Spinning a beautiful woman across the floor. Feeling the curve of her hip beneath my hand. Having her trust in my ability. Dancing was sex—clothed—out in the open and on display for everyone to see.
I held in a groan. I really needed to get out more. I glanced from couple to couple. All having fun: smiling, laughing, red cheeked and full of life.
That was when I saw her. She had a spark I could see from here. She was alive in a way that I was not. She looked like she could take on the whole world and win. It was fucking sexy as hell.
“Ah, yeah man. She’s a looker. Fucking good dancer.” Higgins had returned with a mouthful of food and highball in one hand. I don’t know what surprised me more: that Higgins thought she was gorgeous too, or the way I reacted to that knowledge. Something I thought long dead inside me roared to life. “Keep your eyes to yourself.”
His eyebrows shot up. “Shut the fuck up. You have a thing for the blonde? If I’d only known it would be that easy…”
It wasn’t that easy. It was just her. She was different—I needed to know that woman. But she was dancing with someone and I wasn’t about to walk down and introduce myself if she was attached to someone else.
So I watched her dance. Lip between her teeth, a mischievous twinkle in her eye, feet flying. She didn’t dance like she was following steps—she danced like the music was inside her. She felt the music and her body reacted.
My body reacted.
My brain blew straight past the dance floor and was picturing her in my bed. Writhing under my touch, moaning into my kisses, coming apart because of me.
That light in her eyes… I wanted to get lost in it. Drunk on it.
She walked off the dance floor to a booth with another man and woman. They all laughed and drank, having fun. Was that what I was missing out on? Was that what fun could look like?
Or maybe it was just her. Maybe she lit up everyone and everything around her. I studied her a little closer. Her hair was curled in a 40’s style, long hair framing her face. Her lips were dark red, eyes lightly lined to highlight the blue of her irises. The dress was fucking fantastic. A deep blue with a full skirt that sparkled under the lights. I’d seen her carefully chosen bloomers when her last dance partner flipped her over his arm.
I wanted to see those again.
I held my breath hoping she returned to the floor with a different man. If she did then I knew I’d at least have a shot of getting a dance, even if she was dating someone. A dance wouldn’t be nearly enough, but it would be something.
I got my wish. A minute later the other guy in her group took her hand and led her out onto the floor. I was amazed by how quickly she changed her style to match his.
“You better get in there.” Higgins pointed to the pair. “Or you’re going to miss out.”
Why was I hesitating? “Maybe I don’t want to get in there.”
Higgins snorted. “Yeah you do.”
That’s when her dance partner spun her in close and held her there, practically whispering in her ear. Pure jealousy exploded inside me along with something that scared the piss out of me.
What the fuck was that?
All I knew was that I needed to get down there. To put myself between her and every other man. Before I knew what I was doing I was downstairs and pushing my way through the dance floor.
I’d just spotted her blonde head when I saw her lose her balance. I moved quickly, catching her just as she started to fall.
An electric charge shot up my arms as her skin made first contact with mine. She was soft and supple beneath my hands. Her hair danced along my skin as it fell forward. Her sweet citrusy scent drugged me. I wanted to feel all of this over and over.
I couldn’t stop that reaction. I kept happening. It was like I had no control over this impulse I couldn’t name.
I was so completely fucked.
I should never have let Higgins talk me into getting out for a night.
I’m so excited to finally get this story rolling! I have so much fun writing serials and I’m looking forward to several weeks of excitement as Theo and Allison’s story unfolds. Have a great Monday everyone!