Spotlight: Best Worst Ever by @LDBlakeley #MMRomance #ContemporaryRomance

Thanks for having me on today to tell you about Best Worst Ever. This story was my very first to be published so it will always hold a special place in my heart. I recently had my rights reverted, and knew I didn’t want this novella to simply fade away. So I decided to give my boys a bit of a spruce-up. I redid the cover art, revised and edited the story and made it available once more. I hope you enjoy. 🙂

BEST WORST EVER - L.D. BLAKELEYBest Worst Ever By L.D. Blakeley
Erotic Romance, MM, Friends-to-Lovers
Available: April 13, 2017
Published: LDB Books
ASIN: B06ZYC7N99

Carey English spends his days planning extravagant parties and lavish weddings and generally making people’s lives brighter. He spends his nights wishing for a man he doesn’t have to share and who won’t try to drag him back into the closet. It doesn’t help that the man he wants most doesn’t need a closet to begin with — his straight best friend, Sky.

Skyler Wood has been dumped — again — just days before the holiday season, leaving him with an ex-fiancée, a nonrefundable New Year’s Eve getaway rental, and nothing to ring in the New Year but a broken heart. For Carey, rushing off to offer Sky a shoulder will either be the best decision he’s ever made—or it will lead to the worst heartbreak he’s ever experienced.

✽This is an edited & revised version of a previously published story. It has been expanded by approximately 1,400 words.✽

Where To Buy:

Amazon
Smashwords
iTunes
Kobo
Barnes & Noble

Coming Soon to:
✽ GooglePlay

Excerpt:

If there was one thing he knew about Sky, it was that he was as frugal as the day was long. And, judging by the other places he’d passed along the way, he was guessing the impressive exterior of this place matched a rather swanky, if not romantic, interior. Of course, idiot. Sky had rented the place thinking he’d be with his fiancée. Not his best friend.

He parked next to his friend’s SUV and stubbornly grabbed more than he could carry at once. Why make two trips when you can do it in one? Necessity might be the mother of invention, but laziness was definitely its big, bad daddy. Laden down with a suitcase and far too many bags of food and liquor, Carey used the toe of his boot to gently knock at the front door. “Sky? You in there? My hands are full, man, come open the door.” When there was no response, he tried again with the tip of his boot. “Mr. Darcy, are—”

His sentence was cut short as the door flew open. “Jesus! Hold your horses, Logan. I couldn’t hear you with the water running. I was just in the…”

Shower. He’d been in the shower. Carey knew this, not because he suddenly had the ability to read minds. Oh, no. He knew this because there, in front of him, stood all six foot four inches of Darcy Skyler Wood… dripping wet with nothing but a towel slung low around his hips. Shit.

Don’t stare. Don’t stare at that solitary drop of water as it slowly slides its way between the hard, flat planes of those perfect pecs. And for the love of all that’s holy, do not stare at anything even remotely near the edge of that towel! But Carey never was any good at taking orders.

BEST WORST EVER - L.D. BLAKELEY | Shower Quote

What People Are Saying:

✽ Joyfully Jay (“… hot enough to melt the snow…fun, witty banter…”)
✽ Hearts on Fire Reviews (“…sexy and lovely.”)
✽ MM Good Book Reviews (“a great friend to lovers story… a very sweet ending.”)
✽ My Fiction Nook (“…humorous, and snarky banter…”)
✽ Prism Book Alliance (“… warm and sensual chemistry together that is just yummy.”)
✽ Rainbow Book Reviews (“…excellent fantasy fodder… sassy!”)

About The Author:

L.D. Blakeley is a pragmatist with a romantic soul & a dirty mind. She loves horror movies, hot sex, and happily ever afters. She’s easily distracted by shiny things, and is a slightly neurotic, highly ambitious dreamer who enjoys dabbling in photography & pretending she can carry a tune.

In another life, L.D. was a newspaper reporter, an entertainment & music writer, travel writer, website content editor, and a marketing shill. Now she prefers to spend her time writing hot, steamy fiction (with a healthy dose of romance) about intriguing, sexy men. Although she dreams of living some place isolated with an endless supply of wine and an infinite number of titles on her eReader, she currently lives in downtown Toronto with her husband and their rock star cat.

Find L.D. online:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Spotlight: Gimme Shelter #LGBT #scifi

gimme shlter JPG_Med

Captive of a violent warrior race, deliberately injured and set adrift to die alone in space, Shanrem De Nebral is rescued by Zen Ahbramez and the crew of the starship Brizo.

For Shanrem, raised to be nothing more than property to be sold to the highest bidder, the freedom, friendship and love he finds aboard the Brizo is more than he ever dreamed of. But even the best of dreams end, and for Shanrem there’s nothing but trouble ahead.

With the near perfection bred into him in ruins, his own people would rather see him dead than returned and the Dukati warrior who owned him wants him back. To keep Shanrem safe and sheltered within his loving embrace, Zen’s strength and resolve will be tested to the limits.

Excerpt:

To wake was akin to a slow crawl on hands and knees through thick, cloying mud. As his mind neared a conscious state, memory presented him with remembered agony, terror and the specter of death that grasped him in its greedy clutches before merciful darkness liberated him.

The soft murmur of voices drew his nerves taut. Soul deep quivers shook him from head to toe. Sweat and chills fought for supremacy at the realization of having been sent back to that vicious, nightmarish reality. Overwhelming dread returned in a rush so fierce, it set his heart thundering at a pace that had him a hairs breadth away from blacking out. A harsh, despairing cry tore from his raw throat.

From the corner of his eye he could see someone approach and he fought to move, to flee, but his struggles were in vain. He was bound, his wrists and ankles secured to the flat, padded table on which he lay. He flinched as a shadowy figure squatted down, bringing them face to face.

“Shh, it’s okay. You don’t have to be afraid. You’re safe here,” the man softly comforted. “I’m sorry about the restraints. We didn’t know how you’d react on waking so we thought it would be better to do things this way rather than have you accidentally reopen your wounds. I’m Zen. Can you tell me your name?”

He stared wordlessly into eyes of warm tawny gold, so different from the wintry disregard of the Dukati. Realization of the absence of pain made his knotted muscles slowly relax. Whoever had taken him in, it seemed their intention was to help rather than hurt. His heartbeat slowed and he took a much needed breath.

Parting his lips, he tried to speak, but the word he managed to utter came out a barely there whisper. “Shanrem.” The effort to say it, carried on a shaky exhalation, drained what little was left of the strength he’d recovered. A blanket composed of pure exhaustion settled over him. Though he tried to keep his eyes open, his lids refused to cooperate.

“Shanrem,” the man repeated. His deep voice was soft, a soothing caress that calmed Shanrem’s frayed psyche. “I know how tired you must be. Go back to sleep. I promise you, no harm will come to you here.”

The last thing of which Shanrem was aware after hearing that solemn pledge, was the touch of gentle fingers sliding lightly over his hair.

* * *

One last time, Zen’s fingers glided through the dark silk of their wounded passenger’s hair. He eased back and sat on the edge of the treatment platform next to the one on which the young man rested.

“Shanrem,” he whispered.

Despite the bruise-like shadows under his eyes and the easing lines of anxiety that creased the space between his brows and pinched the corners of his mouth, their unexpected passenger was beautiful. When Shanrem had opened his eyes, Zen felt himself drawn into their silvery depths. Like many a star he’d seen, they held the barest hint of blue and Zen felt, given the opportunity, he would welcome the chance to stare into them while trying to unravel the secrets they held.

Under the circumstances it was an odd notion, but Zen had been taught never to dismiss his feelings out of hand. Even the strangest of musings could have merit if given enough time to fully reveal themselves.

His gaze moved from Shanrem’s face to the damage done to his back. Even after treatment and smothering in a semi-transparent layer of sluget gel, it was a sight that stirred a plethora of feelings — anguish, fear, helplessness. Zen’s hands fisted. He closed his eyes and leaned forward slightly as thoughts of the past stirred nausea in his belly and a red haze colored his thoughts.

Memories of destruction, of the bodies of friends and family left dead in the wake of a Dukati raid played across Zen’s battered consciousness. The images were debilitating, but he refused to relinquish himself to the weakness they stirred within. Instead, he called on the inner strength and calm that kept him moving forward, breathed deeply and opened his eyes to the sight of Shanrem lying so still, so brutalized, yet still alive and with the potential to put the tragedy of his captivity behind him.

Images of Zen’s missing sister and brother overlaid the young man before him and he could only pray that they had never been subjected to the cruelties Shanrem had suffered. The steps Zen had initiated in an attempt to discover their whereabouts had yet to bear fruit, but he was nowhere near ready to give up. Shanrem’s appearance, no matter how coincidental in the grand scheme of things, seemed to Zen as something of a sign. Perhaps the fragile hope to which he’d held so tightly the last two years would yet prove to be more than just a balm to assuage his own pain.

The urge to touch Shanrem once more pulled at Zen as though Shanrem had become a talisman against Zen’s deepest fears. Before he could give in to the impulse, the med bay door opened behind him, signaling Doc’s return.

“Anything happen while I was gone?” Doc asked.

“He woke for just a few seconds.” Once more Zen let his gaze rest on the young man’s face. The lines of tension had eased and peace had settled over his features. “His name is Shanrem.” So saying, Zen felt a tug, a stirring of something inevitable. He wondered if it might be fate.

Author Bio:

Calm, controlled and dependable, Kate Steele lives a quiet life surrounded by family and pets in a century-old farm house in rural Indiana. It’s a pretty normal existence… then comes the night. Filled with werewolf howls, vampire kisses and gorgeous aliens it’s enough to make even the most stoic of beings take note and Kate is no exception. Her imagination takes wing and her keyboard catches fire as she crafts erotic tales of romance, paranormal magics and everyday people. Visit Kate at http://www.katesteele.com or send a message to Kate at katesteele27@yahoo.com

#NewRelease – Shifter Woods: Howl @YesItsNicolaC #PNR #romance #shifters

Laurie wants a news story. Caleb just wants to be left alone. But when the coyote shifters’ paths cross in New Mexico’s Sandia Mountains, Fate steps in and gives them something they never expected—each other.

Reporter Laurie Rivera is on the trail of a white slavery ring when she’s forced to run for her life in the foothills near Sandia Crest. Widowed sheriff and Alpha coyote shifter Caleb Lynch comes across the exhausted reporter and discovers to his shock that Laurie’s also a coyote shifter—and his new heart’s mate.

But Caleb never expected to have another chance at love, and Laurie has a good reason to fear being claimed, especially by an Alpha. As a snowstorm traps them in the sheriff’s cabin, Caleb must find a way around the barriers surrounding Laurie’s heart, and Laurie has to confront her past—and the humans who want her dead—if she wants a chance at her very own “happily ever after.”

  • Paranormal, Erotic Romance, MF
  • Word Count: 23,000
  • Heat Level 4
  • Published By: Belaurient Press

Where to Buy

Amazon


Excerpt

Upstairs, Caleb stretched out in the big, comfortable bed, remembering how Paul Sleeping Turtle, Mike Ivanov and he had used some stout ropes and a lot of good-natured cursing to haul the mattress and box spring and over the loft railing. Anna had stood well out of the way downstairs, laughing at their language as they’d sweated and lugged the damn things upward. That night, however, she’d rewarded him in the newly installed bed, and Mike cheerfully baited him the next day about hearing the noise from a good mile away.

He’d never brought another woman to the cabin after Anna’s death, never even wanted to. But Laurie was different. He could smell her even up here, her essence rising with the heat from the fireplace and perfuming the loft with the smell of warm, sweet female in heat and in need of a good fucking.

He had no idea why Laurie had suddenly gone into heat while he was doing the dishes, but the change in her scent was unmistakable. Granted, sometimes an unmated Alpha could send a young, untried female into heat from simple proximity. But Laurie Rivera had to be in her early thirties, and if she was a virgin he’d eat his badge. The view he’d caught of her in the reflection of the kitchen window was of a female openly eyeing him and liking what she saw.

He grinned at the hand-hewn beams overhead. You know damn well what it means. She’s my mate, whether she likes it or not.

Which, ironically, was the problem. From what she’d told him, she was skittish as hell about the idea of being claimed. He couldn’t blame her, considering her experiences with her first Alpha. But it certainly messed up any chance he had with her, as well. And he didn’t have the luxury of taking his time and courting her, letting her get to know him over time. The moment the plows came through in the morning, Mike and this Gavin guy would be at the cabin to pick her up. After that, Laurie would be back in the city with her career and her life, never to return.

Albuquerque isn’t that far, though.

Oh, yeah? When was the last time you were there? The last time you had time to go there?

His subconscious—or his coyote, he wasn’t sure—had a point. He had to act tonight before he lost her. So, time to be sneaky.

He kicked off the blanket, bracing as the cool air hit his bare skin. He usually didn’t sleep naked during winter, but he wanted as much of his own aroma circulating as possible. He’d made a vow, yes, and he would keep it … unless Laurie gave him permission to break it. And the best way to make happen would be to tempt her upstairs with the scent of his desire and the promise of fulfilling her own.

Running a hand over his chest, he brushed the firm nub of a nipple and the crisp hair that led in a trail down to his groin. He followed it now, wrapping a hand around his soft cock and squeezing. It twitched at the stimulation; when he squeezed again, running his thumb over the upper ridge of the head, it began to thicken lazily.

He started a light, teasing stroke, not enough to get himself off but more than enough to get fully hard. Closing his eyes, he imagined Laurie climbing the stairs to the loft and his bed. The mattress would dip a bit as she climbed on it, moving on all fours to him. He knew she was the kind of female who, when her mind was made up, would stake her claim. There would be no fear, no anger, nothing but need and the deep knowledge that they belonged together.

He pictured her straddling his thighs, bending over to give him a deep, luscious kiss. Her breasts would swing forward and he could cup them, relishing the firm weight of them in each hand before he leaned up to take a nipple in his mouth. He already knew how the salt of her sweat and the sweet spice of her skin would taste, and how to rub the velvet flat of his tongue across the nub to make her gasp. He wanted to learn all the sounds she made in bed, the feminine moans and sighs that were music to a male’s ears.

His sweet female would be eager that first time, taking him in hand and guiding his straining cock between her legs. He groaned as he imagined the hot, wet squeeze of her sliding down around him, a perfect fit that would drive him out of his mind. She’d start riding him, her breasts jiggling with each rise and fall, and that perfect friction building between cock and cunt, all hot juices and slippery softness and his dick going deeper and deeper into her until he could feel the electricity rising, building at that sweet spot between balls and spine…

He pulled his hand away, half-enjoying the sparking, stuttering feeling of having his orgasm denied. Now he just had to wait.

Please, Laurie, I need you. Come to me.


About Nicola Cameron

Nicola Cameron is a married woman of a certain age who really likes writing about science fiction, fantasy, and sex. When not writing about those things, she likes to make Stuff™. And she may be rather fond of absinthe.

While possessing a healthy interest in sex since puberty, it wasn’t until 2012 that she decided to write about it. The skills picked up during her SF writing career transferred quite nicely to speculative romance. Her To Be Written work queue currently stands at around nineteen books, and her mojito-sodden Muse swans in from Bali every so often to add to the list, cackling to herself all the while.

Nicola plans to continue writing until she drops dead over her keyboard or makes enough money to buy a private island and hire Rory McCann as her personal trainer/masseur, whichever comes first.

Website | Blog | Facebook | Facebook Reader Group | Twitter | Goodreads

A wonderful woman…

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Today would have been my grandmother’s 77th birthday. She passed away a year ago March, and it’s still hard. There are still days I reach for the phone to call her, or can’t wait to share something with her, and then I remember she’s gone.

What most people don’t know is that I got a lot of great ideas when we would talk. She even helped with some of the titles for my Intergalactic Brides series. Of course, I don’t think she was being serious when she told me I should write an alien biker story, but I said “challenge accepted” and wrote Hazel and the Alien Biker.

She would call every week and ask how the books were doing, what I was writing at the moment, and just to talk in general. The rest of my family takes a mild interest in my work, but my grandmother was different, probably because she was a writer too. She wrote for the DeSoto Magazine in Hernando, Mississippi, and she was also working on a romance novel. I’m sad that her novel will never be finished, as she was very excited about it. She wanted to self-publish it and would devour every article she could find on the subject and then call me to talk about it.

My grandmother will be forever missed, not only by me but by the rest of the family and her friends as well. However, she will never be forgotten. She had this way of drawing people to her, putting everyone at ease, and then laughing with them like they’d been best friends for years. And she listened when you talked.

So, Meemaw, if you’re paying attention, I love you and miss you. Hope you have a happy birthday!

Spotlight: Crazy Little Spring Called Love

Crazy Little Spring Called Love

Crazy Little Spring Called Love: Eight Magical Stories of Fantasy Romance

This delightful fantasy romance anthology features eight magical stories inspired by the awakenings and renewal of springtime. If you like fairies, djinn, gods and goddesses, druids, mermaids, magic, and true love, then this is the anthology for you.

Pre-order on Amazon!


Featuring: L.J. Longo – “Seaweed and Silk”

Seaweed and SIlk
Svildna is not the type of mermaid who suns herself on the ice all day. She can kill a shark, scour a keel, and patch a sail as easy as they comb their hair. So she’s more than capable of escorting The Apple Jack and its crew to the warmer southern waters. When a storm blows the ship off course, she finds herself in dangerous waters, under suspicion, and falling in love with the last man she’d expect.

Excerpt from Seaweed and Silk

“Gonna be a bitch of a storm.” Gekko grumbles at the bow over my head.

I can’t see nothing but sunrise water from my station below the bowsprit of The Apple Jack. The sky, redder than shark’s blood, bathes the ice flows and barely penetrates the black ocean. The breaking water flares around my tail in icy splashes, and I lean out of the merrow shelf, holding the metal bar. High above Gekko stands shivering on deck, bundled to her long green nose in her over-sized quilt.

“Well, look who’s here! Morning, Ms. Wizard. I never saw you up so early. You gonna disappoint the wolves and take your share of breakfast for a change?”

I’m not entirely sure what a wolf is. When I asked they said they could turn into wolves, that it was a kind of animal. Something like a shark only on land and in packs. Four men in our little eight-person crew are wolves.

The wind-chill reddens the tip of Gekko’s nose and floppy long ears. A goblin from the tropics, even a wizard like her, has no business being this far north. “Can you feel that storm, Seaweed?”

“I’m a mermaid, ain’t I?” I’ve given up on getting the crew to say my name. Svilnda is apparently too hard for land-dwellers. “Told Captain about it last night. By the course he set, he means to barrel under it before it breaks.”

“Hope we’re fast enough.” Gekko clutches her blankets tighter.

Hoping it will sooth her fears, I make a show of my magic and move a chunk of ice noisily away from the bit of metal, canvas, steam that keeps her afloat. “Captain knows what he’s doing.”

“More than you do certainly.” The goblin plops down at the bow and looks out at the wild water.

The waves chop across the horizon. Little mountains of white foam with only occasional towers of ice to break the endless ripple of the sea. Below the waves, a blue whale keens for her calf; I hear it in my mind. They’re running from the storm.

“Did you talk to Tan about this storm?” Gekko calls down.

Instantly, thoughts of the storm disappear, as if the danger of tumultuous skies cannot coexist with Tan and his warm smile.

It’s a funny thing about how his smile changes his face. He’s fierce ugly when you don’t know him. The fellow ‘s enormously tall and made of stone. I don’t know what race that makes him. Not one I’ve ever heard of, though I suspect stone-people don’t make a habit of swimming in deep water. With the pebbles across his face and arms grating when he talks and a bare chest that’s just a wide swathe of sheets of sliding stones which he only covered with a weird half-dress thing called an apron, he looks strange and hard. Until he notices you and he smiles. Then you hardly notice the pebbles and certainly when he start chatting in his deep voice or whistling soft, sweet melodies it’s hard not to like him.

The name Seaweed is Tan’s fault, but I’d never hold it against him. He was only teasing because I wear woven kelp instead of seashells. Seashells are for the mindless rich maids who sun themselves on the ice all day and comb their hair and flirt shamelessly with sailors and other idle fools. I’m not pretty, or rich, or idle. I’m a merrow who can scour your keel, weave you a seaweed shirt, or patch your sail. I can tan a seal skin and kill a shark better than I can comb my hair.

And sailors like Tan and the wolves never give me a second glance. In a way, I’m proud to be above their leering—means I’m part of the crew, not some pretty thing to look at—but I’m sometimes a little ashamed too. Everyone likes to be beautiful now and then.

Though Tan, when he smiles, can make anyone feel special.

“Seaweed! Did you—”

“Why would I talk to the ship cook about the storm?” Of course, that’s no reason to sit and smile thinkin’ about him when there’s a goblin wizard waiting for your half of the conversation. “What’s he gonna do? Bake it away?”

Gekko snorts. “Don’t be nasty, mermaid. Tan’s got more experience with ships than you ever will. Captain only hired you because you bid cheaper than any other merrow in the job auction. It was a mistake and I’m not much interested in being aboard the ship that suffers from a water-witch’s learning curve.”

I stare hard at the sea until I’m sure I’ve swallowed my pride. No sense in annoying the wizard. Not when she’s right.


Find the anthology on social media and online:

STARS AND STONE BOOKS: http://starsandstonebooks.com/
GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34686292-crazy-little-spring-called-love
FACEBOOK RELEASE PARTY: https://www.facebook.com/events/2062183134008615/
TWITTER: https://twitter.com/starsstonebooks
ANTHOLOGY WEBSITE: http://starsandstonebooks.com/crazy-little-spring-called -love

#NewRelease – His Virgin Babysitter #newadult #kindleunlimited

HisVirginBabysitterSmallCover

$0.99 or Free with KindleUnlimited

Get It Here

Ashley

I’ve wanted Liam Doherty for as long as I can remember, even when he was married. Maybe it was the Irish accent, or maybe it was just his ripped abs. But now he’s a sexy single dad in need of a babysitter. Is it wrong that when I hold that precious baby I imagine that she’s mine and we’re a family?

But what would an Irish hunk want with a college dropout?

Liam

My tongue nearly hit the floor when I opened my front door to the goddess on my porch. And now she’s babysitting for me, and all I can think about is how spectacular she’d look spread across my bed. Watching her with my daughter doesn’t douse my desire even a little. If anything, it just makes me want her more. 

But there’s twenty years between us. Why would a sexy little thing like her want an old man like me?

Excerpt

Nearly two hours had passed by the time I had finished getting ready, so I rushed downstairs and out the door. I’d barely left my yard when I heard a baby crying. As I neared Mr. Doherty’s door, I heard his frantic shushing and cooing as he tried to calm his daughter. The doorbell chimed loudly, just making Caitlin even angrier and her screams increased. Mr. Doherty looked harried as he answered the door, his shirt was unbuttoned and he hadone sock on and one sock off. His hair stood in disarray, as if he’d been trying to pull it out.

And I’d never seen a sexier sight.

“Mr. Doherty, I’m Ashley Morgan, from next door. My mom said you needed a babysitter tonight.”

“Tonight. Tomorrow. Every day for the next eighteen years,” he muttered. “Come in.”

He stepped back and I followed him inside, trying to take everything in. I’d never been inside his home before and I was impressed. The baby doubled her efforts to be heard, her face turning bright red, and I reached for her. He hesitated only a moment before handing her over. Caitlin stared at me, her screams dying almost instantly as she hiccupped and tried to figure out who I was. Her hair was dark as pitch, just like her dad’s, and her eyes were a bright blue.

“Hi there, gorgeous girl.”

Caitlin cooed and waved a fist.

“You’re a miracle worker,” Mr. Doherty said. “Whatever you want, you can have it. I’ll sign over ever cent in my account if you can just keep her quiet. I think she’s cried nonstop for months. I’ve taken her to the doctor so often, convinced something is wrong with her, that they won’t even set an appointment until I’ve spoken with a nurse.”

“She’s probably just missing her mom.” My cheeks flushed as I glanced at him. “Sorry, I didn’t mean…my mom told me today that Mrs. Doherty wasn’t in the picture anymore. I didn’t mean to be insensitive.”

He snorted. “Good riddance to that harridan. Caitlin will be better off without that kind of influence in her life.”

Okay, so he was still bitter.

“Let me show you where everything is and then I’ll finish getting ready. I’ll try not to stay out too late. We have this banquet once a year and it can go for most of the night with drinking and dancing. I wouldn’t even attend, but I’m supposed to get some ridiculous award.” He shook his head. “Anyway, help yourself to anything you want. The kitchen is fully stocked if you’re hungry. I’m sure you’ve missed dinner at home.”

“I can stay as long you need me.” Forever sounded pretty good.

He nodded and gave me a tour of the house, pointing out Caitlin’s room and everything I would need for my babysitting duties. While he finished getting ready, I sank onto the padded rocker in her room. The back and forth motion helped keep her calm and she blinked up at me sleepily. She was probably the prettiest baby I’d ever seen. I wondered how heartless you had to be to leave something so precious behind.

When I was certain she was sleeping soundly, I laid her in her crib and tiptoed from the room, snagging the baby monitor on my way out. Mr. Doherty still hadn’t resurfaced, unless he’d snuck out while I was otherwise occupied. He’d said I could help myself to the kitchen so I headed that way. It was a chef’s dream come true with granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances, and a stove that I would have killed to have. I felt a little odd rummaging through his fridge and pantry. I found some chicken breasts, everything I would need for my favorite corn casserole, and a can of crescent rolls. I’d have preferred to make some rolls from scratch, but it would take too long.

As I chopped, seasoned, and prepped a dinner that would easily feed not only me, but give Mr. Doherty leftovers for a night or two, I started singing. It was something I always did when I cooked, no matter where I was. I’d always had a thing for country music, especially the songs that were popular when I was little, so the Dixie Chicks “You Were Mine” spilled from my lips. As I slid everything into the oven, I noticed Mr. Doherty leaning against the doorframe, watching me. There was something in his eyes that made me very aware that I was a woman alone in a house with a powerful man.

“I hope my singing didn’t bother you.”

He pushed off the doorframe and prowled closer. “You sing like an angel.”

My cheeks flushed. “I don’t know why, but I always sing when I cook.”

He was close enough that I felt the heat of his body pressing against me. There were fine lines on the corners of his eyes and a hint of silver at his temples, but it only made him look more distinguished. He leaned a little closer and then abruptly pulled away. My heart was pounding in my chest, and I wondered if he’d been about to kiss me. Or was that just wishful thinking on my part? Despite the fact I was a grown woman, I’d never been with a man before, and had kissed only a handful of boys at college. What would it be like to have a man like him lay claim to me?

“I’ll try not to be late,” he said as he backed away further. “If you need to reach me, my cell number is on the fridge, as is the number to Caitlin’s doctor.”

“We’ll be fine.”

He nodded and walked off, leaving me shaking and wondering what the hell had just happened. I could still smell the spicy scent of his cologne and my lips tingled from the almost kiss. I’d never wanted anyone so much in my life. In that moment, I knew I’d do whatever it took to make him mine, even if it was just for one night.

About Paige Warren

Paige Warren spends her days weaving tales about alpha male cowboys and the women who love them. There’s nothing hotter than a man in tight Wranglers and a pair of well-worn boots. You have to admit, there’s something sexy about a man who knows how to use a rope!

A cat lover, she has more than one furbaby running around, keeping her company in the wee hours of the morning as she tries to find just the right way to say “His skin gleamed, the early morning rays caressing his sun bronzed flesh, as he studied her from beneath the brim of his Stetson.” Or, you know, something similar.

When Paige isn’t doling out tons of affection on the furbabies, or slurping down a pot of coffee (Yes! A whole pot!) so she can get in her daily word count, she enjoys reading and watching movies – romances, usually.

You can find Paige on Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to sign-up for her newsletter to be notified of new releases!

#NewRelease – Rising from the Ashes by @Writer_Charity #suspense #newadult

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Genres: Contemporary, Suspense, New Adult, Mainstream Romance

Publisher: Evernight Publishing

Cover Artist: Jay Aheer

Heat Level: 2

Kaycee Witherspoon barely escaped her last relationship with her life. Now that she has a fresh start in a new town, she feels like she can finally breathe. But is she relaxing her guard too soon? When she finds her tires slashed and her apartment broken into, she has to wonder if her past isn’t quite so far behind her.

Zarek O’Donnell doesn’t know much about the new assistant at his fire station except that her mesmerizing curves and bewitching smile have him under her spell. Even though she laughs easily and seems to light up around him, he can tell that there’s something darker haunting her. His protective side rises to the surface whenever she’s near, and he knows he’ll stop at nothing to keep her safe.

When the lines of past and present begin to blur, there’s only one thing Kaycee knows. This time she might not escape. If she wants the new life she’s forged for herself, she’ll have to fight to keep it.

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Excerpt:

“You have to be exhausted after working until this morning and then dealing with my apartment this afternoon.” I nibbled my bottom lip. “What if I made dinner? I haven’t eaten yet, and I’m sure you haven’t either.”

“I have a better idea. Why don’t we order some pizzas and watch TV for a while? We can sit on the couch and just relax for the rest of the night. Put on PJs and kick back.”

I arched a brow. “You own pajamas?”

“Well, I own pajama pants. Does that count?”

Holy Jesus, was he seriously going to run around without a shirt? Because I wasn’t sure my hormones could handle it. The hint of muscle I could see through his t-shirts was enough to make me drool. I didn’t think I could handle bare skin. Although, it would be a nice distraction from my problems, as long as I could keep my hands to myself. I wasn’t going to make any promises, though. A shirtless Zarek might be too much temptation.

He smirked, and I realized I was staring like an idiot.

“You just pictured me shirtless, didn’t you?” he asked with laughter flashing in his eyes.

My cheeks flushed. “No. Of course not.”

His grin widened a little, and he shook his head, clearly not believing me.

“If you tell me what you want on your pizza, I’ll place the order while you get comfortable.”

“I knew you were anxious to get me out of my clothes.”

My whole face felt like it was on fire. Before I could embarrass myself further, I bolted from the room and went to get a drink from the kitchen. I’d made a fresh pitcher of sweet tea last night and hadn’t touched it yet. By the time I’d poured myself a glass and returned to the living room, I could hear the shower going. I set my glass down and went to change into a tank and sleep shorts. They were old and comfortable, but they showed enough skin to be considered sexy. Do I want Zarek to see me as sexy?

I’d thought we would be roommates, co-workers, and nothing more. But the more I got to know Zarek, the harder it was to resist him. I’d felt that instant spark when we’d met at work on Monday, and I had to wonder what that spark would feel like if our lips touched. Would I feel the zing all the way to my toes? Just being near him was enough to make me tingle with awareness. I thought about him in the shower and wondered if he was as sexy dripping wet as I imagined him to be. I gave myself a mental slap, changed into my pajamas, and then returned to the living room. I couldn’t order the pizza yet since Zarek hadn’t told me what he wanted on his. I hadn’t paid close attention at work when the crew had ordered enough pizza to feed a small army.

I heard the shower shut off, and a few minute later, he wandered into the room.

My tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth, and I nearly choked on my own spit as he sank onto the sofa next to me. Holy hell, he was hot as fuck! His broad chest was well-muscled and his abs … I nearly fanned myself. As I whipped around to face the TV, before I got caught staring, I absently wiped at my chin to make sure I hadn’t been drooling.

Buy Links:

Evernight Publishing (discounted for a limited time)

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Where to find Charity:

Charity’s Amazon Page

Charity’s Website

Find Charity on Facebook!

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Sign-up for Charity’s Newsletter

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Charity West is a young adult/new adult romance author who has always had her head in the clouds. She had her first crush when she was four, and it lasted for six years. Then she quickly fell head over heels for another boy, until she had to move away and leave him behind. Jumping from one boy to another, she finally found a keeper when she was twenty, and she’s been married to him ever since.

By the time Charity was twelve, she was sneaking her mother’s Harlequin romances and reading them in secret when she was supposed to be asleep. Teased throughout middle school and high school for the bodice ripper covers on the books she openly read in class, she knew that one day she wanted to write her own happily-ever-afters.

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