#CoverReveal – Venom by @HarleyW_Writer #bikerromance #mcromance #romancebooks

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A brand new series is coming this February from Changeling Press! Dixie Reapers MC will kick off February 2nd with Venom (available February 9th at Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, and B&N). I’ve always had a thing for men in leather, so it’s no surprise I decided to write an MC romance series. Growing up, my grandfather had an old Indian motorcycle and both my uncle and my dad had Harleys. I could barely walk the first time my dad put me on his bike. I can’t wait to delve further into the awesome men in the Dixie Reapers and I hope you’ll join me.

Now for a few warnings…I write hot contemporary romance, usually with young women and older men. Because this is an MC series, there may be some violence, but I’ll try not to make things too graphic. Don’t want to gross everyone out. My heroes tend to be possessive and all alpha male, and my heroines are spunky in their own way. I never end with a cliffhanger and I guarantee a happily-ever-after for each couple.

If you want to check out my previous series, Bad Boy Romance, you can find them on my site: harleywylde.com

—Harley

☆☆☆COVER REVEAL☆☆☆

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Ridley –

I might live in a mansion in South Florida, but my daddy was a biker, and I was definitely daddy’s girl. When I found out my mom and stepdad had something horrible planned for me, I ran. Straight to the Dixie Reapers, the only place I’d ever thought of as home, but it wasn’t my daddy’s arms I ended up in. Venom is dark and seductive, the type of man who doesn’t take shit from anyone. Despite his hard exterior, being with him makes me feel safe, and his kisses make me ache for so much more. I’ve never been with a man before, but even as inexperienced as I am, I know that being with Venom will ruin me for anyone else, and I don’t care. I want him – all of him – and damn the consequences.

Venom –

I hadn’t risen to the rank of VP of the Dixie Reapers MC without getting my hands dirty. I’d been deep in blood and dirty money for over twenty years, could have any pussy I wanted whenever I wanted and how the fuck ever I wanted. But when an angel I hadn’t seen in fourteen years came back into my life, all it took was one look in her eyes and I was a goner. As a kid, Ridley had been this little blonde cherub that lit up the place. Now she’s older, has curves in all the right fucking places, and damn if I don’t want her. The fact she was the nineteen year old daughter of a patched member meant I needed to keep my hands to myself, and I might have, if she hadn’t begged me so sweetly. Now she’s mine and I’ll do anything to keep her safe, even if means starting a war.

 

Publisher: Changeling Press
Cover Artist: Bryan Keller

 

 

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Throwback Thursday – Against the Wall by Harley Wylde #TBT #romancebooks

Against the Wall (A Bad Boy Romance) by Harley  Wylde

Series: Bad Boy Romance
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genres: Contemporary Romance/New Adult

Grady:

Handyman and heartbreaker. I’m damn good at my job. While my hands have been occupied building a deck for the delectable Madlyn Sparks, what I’ve really wanted to do was trace every one of her curves with my tongue. I bet with just one touch she’d go up in flames. My dick’s been harder than a damn post since I took this job, but I learned the hard way not to fuck myself out of a paycheck. But once this job is done, all bets are off.

Madelyn:

Grady has done a fantastic job on the deck, but I didn’t really hire him for his carpentry skills. The man is fine as hell and I’ve wanted to take him for a ride ever since I saw him on my doorstep. Never in my wildest dreams did I think getting attacked would bring us closer together. He went from hunky handyman to overprotective bodyguard in an instant, and now that we’re living under the same roof, I just can’t keep my hands off him. Just one problem… now that I’ve had him, I never want to let him go.

Get it Today from:

Changeling Press / Amazon / iTunes / B&N / Kobo

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Short. Erotic. Sweet.

Harley’s other half would probably say those words describe her, but they also describe her books. When Harley is writing, her motto is the hotter the better. Off the charts sex, commanding men, and the women who can’t deny them. If you want men who talk dirty, are sexy as hell, and take what they want, then you’ve come to the right place.

When Harley isn’t writing, she’s thinking up naughty things to do to her husband, drinking copious amounts of Starbucks, and reading. She loves to read and devours a book a day, sometimes more.

You can find Harley online at harleywylde.com.

#CoverReveal – Valentina’s Miracle @AuthorPaigeW @changelingpress #RomanceBooks #SingleMomRomance

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Coming January 5th from Changeling Press

Available at Amazon, BN, iTunes, and Kobo January 12th

 

Rotten luck follows Valentina Cupid everywhere she goes, and to make matters worse, her most hated holiday is coming soon. Valentina has always despised her name and the stupid holiday that goes with it. Starting over in the small town of Blossom Creek, she’s hoping for a miracle. No more teasing, no more name calling, and the acceptance she’s always craved. Down to her last one hundred dollars, she has no choice but to sleep in the car with her two kids, hoping to blend in with the other cars parked at Gleason Auto. But one sexy mechanic definitely notices.

Jesse Jameson is no one’s idea of a knight in shining armor. With a checkered past and a trail of broken hearts, he’s not anyone’s ideal. But when he sees the single mom sleeping in her car, he knows he can’t just walk away. But Jesse underestimated the temptation that is Valentina Cupid, and one kiss ignites him with a passion that won’t be denied. He’s going to prove to her that he’s not like her loser exes, and he’s going to give her a Valentine’s Day to remember.

 

#NewRelease – Virgin Under the Mistletoe @AuthorPaigeW #Christmas #Romance #NewAdult

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Danika

Killian Reid. Even saying his name makes my panties damp. He has to be the sexiest man I’ve ever met, even if he is twenty-one years older than me. I’ve been crushing on him since I was fifteen. For six years, my Christmas wish has been for Killian to notice me. I never thought it was possible – until now.

Killian

Holy hell! It was supposed to be a quick peck on the lips under some mistletoe, but damn. Little Danika Parker isn’t all that little anymore, with curves in all the right places. I’m pretty sure I’ll be reliving that hot as fuck kiss for a while. This Christmas, the only present I want to unwrap is her.

Stand-alone novella, no cliffhanger, no cheating, dual POV

Amazon / B&N / iTunes / Kobo

Excerpt

Killian hung some mistletoe in the living room doorway and I smiled sadly. I wouldn’t be sharing kisses with anyone this year. The only people likely to stop by my house were either my friend, Bethany, or my parents. Kissing any of them, other than on the cheek, was out of the question.

Killian’s brow arched again and he pointed up at it. “You’re just going to leave me hanging here? It’s tradition.”

“I think the tradition is that if two people get caught under the mistletoe they have to share a kiss. You’re all alone over there.”

“You could rectify that.”

Smiling a little, I walked toward him and stopped under the mistletoe. Even on tiptoe I couldn’t reach him, but he bent down and met me halfway. I leaned up to kiss him on the cheek, but he turned his head at the last minute and our lips met. Fire sizzled through me at the contact and I clutched at his shirt to hold on. Killian’s lips moved against mine and his tongue flicked out, asking for entry. I parted my lips and welcomed him in.

My toes curled against the carpet as his kiss left me dizzy and wanting more. My thoughts spun in different directions as I tried to process what was happening. He’d never shown me any interest before, but I knew this was a moment I would remember for the rest of my life. Kissing Killian was better than anything I’d ever imagined.

Killian drew away, his arm still around my waist. His eyes were dark with passion as he smiled down at me. I felt like I should say something, but my brain was still catching up. He pressed another kiss to my lips then backed away, shoving his hands back into his pockets. My hand lifted and touched my lips as I watched him.

“Now you’ve had your first Christmas kiss of the year,” he said.

“It will likely be my only Christmas kiss this year.”

“Pity. You do it so well.”

My cheeks warmed again.

“Well, Miss Parker. Anything else you need help with around here?”

I could think of something he could help me with, but I didn’t think he was referring to my damp panties. I’d have been more than happy for him to take them off and make me scream his name the rest of the afternoon. I might have sworn off guys, but Killian was in a category all his own. If he wanted to rock my world, I would let him.

“The only thing I have left is the dining room,” I said. “It’s just a tablecloth and placemats though, so I can handle that.”

“Then I guess my work here is done. Call me if you need anything else.”

Anything like what exactly? Was that an open-ended invitation to call him, or only for Christmas related things?

Killian hesitated only a moment before giving me another smirk and walking out the door. I peered through the front window and watched him back down the driveway, heading out. When I couldn’t see his truck anymore, I faced my empty home. A house that felt far emptier now that he’d been in it and then left.

What would it take to make a guy like Killian stick around?

Against the Wall (Adult Excerpt 18+)

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Madelyn curled against me, with her head on my chest and her leg thrown across my thigh. I tucked the blanket around her again so she wouldn’t catch a chill, and I closed my eyes. Sleeping was impossible with such a delectable woman tucked against me. She made the cutest sounds in her sleep. I couldn’t remember the last time I fell asleep holding a woman, couldn’t remember having more than a one-night stand in my entire life.

My cock was so damn hard I worried it would break through my boxer briefs. It had been a few weeks since I’d been with a woman, and Madelyn was just too damn tempting. After what she’d been through, the last thing she needed was me lusting after her like some teen who couldn’t control himself.

Her soft hand drifted down my abdomen to the waistband of my briefs. My cock jerked in response. Her breath ghosted across my skin as she sighed. Madelyn shifted again, and her knee rose, sliding up my leg to rest just under my balls. If she was intent on killing me, she was doing a damn good job of it.

“I need a shower,” she mumbled against me.

The thought of her soaking wet with soap sliding down her long legs didn’t help my situation any. I shifted in an effort to get her a little further away from the danger zone. All she did was snuggle closer.

“I’ll keep watch out here if you want to get cleaned up,” I offered.

Her hand slid a little further down until her palm slid across my very erect cock. “Or you could join me.”

My brain short-circuited. That was the only explanation. Surely, she hadn’t just suggested that we shower together?

She looked up at me. “I’d feel so much safer with you in there with me.”

The mischievous look in her eyes told me that it had nothing to do with safety. Maybe the princess wanted me as much as I wanted her, but I still wondered if it wasn’t in response to what had happened to her. There wasn’t a textbook way to react to being attacked. Maybe she needed to feel closer to someone?

She tried to shove me off the bed and I stood up, not wanting her to hurt herself. Madelyn slid off the bed and grasped my hand, leading me into the bathroom. The room was about as big as my bedroom at home, with a shower that was definitely big enough for two. She started the water and turned to face me as she shimmied out of her shorts and tossed her tee on the floor. Her swimsuit was just as appealing as it had been out by the pool. When she reached for the strings holding it in place around her neck, my heart gave a kick.

“Are you sure about this, Madelyn?” I asked. “Maybe you should call one of your friends if you need to feel close to someone.”

She stopped and stared. “Is that what you think? That I want you to shower with me just because I need to feel close to someone?”

I shrugged.

“Grady, I want you to shower with me because you’re hot as fuck and all I’ve thought about since I opened my door to you that first day was getting into your pants. I want you, Grady. I need you. But it has nothing to do with what happened today.”

My gaze traced the curves of her body. “In that case, princess, strip.”

She gave me a saucy smile as she pulled the strings on her top until it fell to the floor at her feet. She shimmied out of the bottoms, and my mouth went dry at the absolute perfection of her. Madelyn came a little closer, reaching for me. Her fingers skimmed along my abdomen and my muscles tensed under her light touch.

I arched a brow as I stared down at her. “Well, what are you waiting for, princess? You going to unwrap that monster cock, or have you changed your mind?”

She peeled my boxer briefs down my legs, and I kicked them away, my cock springing free. I didn’t brag — often — but I had been more than a little blessed in that department. A good ten inches and too big around for her to hold me with one hand. Her eyes widened. “You want it?” I asked her.

She nodded.

“How much do you want it? You want it bad enough to wrap those pretty lips around it?”

Madelyn whimpered a little as she fell to her knees.

I touched her cheek. “If it’s too much at any time, stop. I only want this if it’s good for both of us.”

“I’ll make it so good for you, Grady.”

I had no doubt that she would. I bet my little angel could take me straight to heaven. Her tongue lapped at the head of my cock before she fitted those luscious lips around it. Her mouth was hot, wet, and so fucking good I never wanted to leave. She sucked and licked my dick like a damn pro. When she pulled back, her tongue flicked the underside of my cock before she swallowed me down again.

“Baby, I’m gonna blow. If you can’t take it, pull away now and wrap those dainty little hands around me.”

She sucked harder, and my balls drew up. There was a tingling at the base of my spine, and then I was coming. I watched her through heavy lidded eyes as she swallowed every drop. It seemed my angel was as talented as a porn star, and I couldn’t wait to find out what else she could do.

Madelyn climbed to her feet and gave me a hesitant look. “Was that okay?”

“Okay? You blew my mind, princess. What do you say we take that shower before the water gets cold?”

She stepped under the spray, and I followed her, then shut the glass door. The water soaked her honey gold hair and droplets fell from her hard nipples. I reached for her shower gel and lathered my hands before reaching for her. I pulled her out from under the water and massaged the soap into her skin, starting at her throat and working my way down to her cute little toes. Her bare pussy beckoned to me, and I wanted a taste more than anything, but I wasn’t going to rush. Who knew when I’d get my hands on a woman like Madelyn ever again?

Want to read more? You can purchase AGAINST THE WALL here!

 

Check out other Hump Day Humps blog postings!

#NewRelease – On the Run @Writer_Charity @evernightpub #suspense #newadult #romance

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With blood-stained hands and a guilty conscience, Raylyn Beechum sets off for parts unknown, on the run from a crime she had to commit in order to save herself. When her car breaks down in the parking lot of a fire station in a small town, her plan is simple: get the car fixed and hit the road as fast as possible. Then Mr. Tall-Dark-and-Yummy saunters over with his bare chest and uniform pants, water dripping off his pecs, and all Raylyn can think is hot damn!

Oliver Gonzalez has always had a hero complex, and a damsel in distress is right up his alley. All of his protective instincts come out when he sees the blood on Raylyn’s hands and the scared look in her eyes. He might not know her story, but he knows he wants to take care of her. Getting her to trust him is easier than he’d thought possible, but he wants more than trust for him to keep her safe. He wants her to trust him with her heart.

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The hands gripping the steering wheel didn’t look like mine. The skin on the knuckles was bruised and broken. Dried blood was embedded in my cuticles. I’d washed my hands, but apparently not well enough. I’d burned the clothes I’d been wearing, along with the knife I’d used. Some might say that made me guilty, and maybe it did, but I’d learned long ago that the police were of no help. Not where I came from. No matter how many times the scene replayed in my mind, I couldn’t stifle the sobs welling in my throat. I’d taken a life, killed a man. No, not a man. A monster.

My heart crashed against my ribs, and my fingers curled tighter around the steering wheel. For years I’d suffered, but I’d had no idea just how far the madness went. If I’d had a clue as to what the man was capable of, I’d have acted sooner. Maybe so many lives wouldn’t have been lost, if I’d found my courage before now. The world should thank me, but I was certain if anyone knew what I’d done, the police would arrest me, and I’d spend the rest of my life in jail. Life wasn’t fair sometimes.

I blew out a breath and tried to redirect my thoughts. Puppies. Bunnies. Fields of flowers. Anything pleasant that could wash away the bad memories. I was starting over, creating a new life. Thanks to Miguel back home, I had everything I needed. I’d planned my escape weeks ago, but it just hadn’t happened quite the way I’d pictured. My new life was going to be fantastic and full of all the things I never had before. I was going to get a job, have a nice place to live, and I was going to get a boyfriend. Not necessarily in that order. I’d covered my tracks pretty well and felt I was safe, as long as I didn’t use my real name.

My car was almost out of gas as I entered a small North Carolina town a little after six in the morning. I’d been on the road for a few hours, and my best bet would be to keep driving until I couldn’t stay awake anymore. I crept through the quiet streets of a town that reminded me of Mayberry, and as I neared a fire station on the corner, my car began to shimmy and sputter. I’d barely pulled into the parking lot before my car coasted to a stop, the engine completely silent. I banged my hands on the steering wheel and uttered a slew of curses. The gas gage mocked me as the needle rested on E.

My gaze lifted and my jaw dropped a little. The fire truck was pulled part of the way out of the bay, and shirtless, sexy hunks were washing it. That was one sure way to make me forget my problems for a little while. One of them stopped to stare, removing his sunglasses and propping them on top of his head. His dusky skin glistened with sweat in the summer heat and I felt my cheeks flush.

Mr. Sexy made his way over to me and my heart raced for a new reason. It wasn’t like I hadn’t been around hot guys before. Just not this hot. He tapped on my window and I rolled it down. He bent and placed his folded arms on the windowsill. His blue gaze was warm as it scanned me. It was several minutes before he said anything.

“Want to pop your hood?” he asked.

“I ran out of gas. If you can tell me where the closest gas station is, I can go fill up a can and I’ll get out of your way.”

His lips twitched with amusement. “Sweetheart, this car isn’t going anywhere, even if you put gas in it. That wasn’t just an ‘I’m out of gas’ rattle. It was a death rattle.”

“Death rattle?”

His gaze focused on my hands and I wanted to hide them. I swallowed hard, wondering what kind of questions he would ask, or if he’d only call the police. My hands tightened on the wheel again and I wished I could throw the car into reverse and get the hell out of town. I didn’t need trouble, and this guy could turn my world upside down, and not in a good way.

“Why don’t you come inside and we’ll get those hands cleaned up a bit?”

“I don’t want any trouble.” I couldn’t hide the tremor in my voice. Had I made my escape only to be turned in by a good Samaritan now?

He stood and opened the car door, reaching in to gently take my hand. I slid out of the car and tipped my head back to look up at him. He towered over me, making me feel small and helpless, which I hated. I was anything but helpless. He studied my hands before leading me into the fire station. One of the guys looked our way and Mr. Sexy motioned for him to follow us. Inside, I shivered at the air conditioning as he led me down a long hall to a large, open room with sofas and a kitchen area.

“Have a seat,” he said, pulling out a barstool.

I eased onto the stool, my feet dangling above the floor.

“My name’s Oliver Gonzalez, and this,” he said, motioning to the other guy, “is Jared Waylon. I’m a fireman and he’s a paramedic. Will you let him check out your hands?”

I nodded hesitantly.

Jared grasped my hands and studied them a moment before looking into my eyes. I could see the questions there, but I wasn’t saying a damn word. After a moment, he began cleaning my hands, which stung like a bitch. He even scrubbed around my nails until my hands were blood-free. He doctored my knuckles and bandaged the worst of it.

“I’m not going to ask how you got these, but if you’re in trouble, I wish you’d tell one of us.”

I trembled.

Mr. Sexy—no, Oliver—placed his hand on my shoulder. “Easy. No one here is going to hurt you. We want to help.”

“We’re going to call a tow for your car,” Jared said. “One of the firemen here has family who own a garage. They’ll give you a good deal. Then we can discuss your options for a place to stay.”

“I don’t have much money.” I hated admitting my lack of funds. “Maybe they’d let me do some work for the repairs and a place to stay?”

Oliver squeezed my shoulder. “Let’s get your car taken care of first. Anything you need out of it?”

“My purse and the bag in the backseat.”

“I’ll get them,” Jared offered. “I’ll have Kaycee call the garage and get a tow truck sent.”

“Kaycee?” I asked.

“Our admin,” Oliver said. “She’s also married to one of the guys on my team.”

“Why are you helping me?”

Kindness shone in Oliver’s eyes as he gazed into mine. “Because I think you need a friend right now. Maybe, when you feel like you can trust me, you’ll tell me about the blood on your hands and what the hell happened to you. Until then, just tell me one thing. Do we need to hide you from the police?”

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AMAZON / EVERNIGHT

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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.

Charity’s Website / Facebook / Twitter / Newsletter

#NewRelease – Against the Wall by @HarleyW_Writer @changelingpress #NewAdultRomance #Romancebooks

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Grady

Handyman and heartbreaker. I’m damn good at my job. While my hands have been occupied building a deck for the delectable Madlyn Sparks, what I’ve really wanted to do was trace every one of her curves with my tongue. I bet with just one touch she’d go up in flames. My dick’s been harder than a damn post since I took this job, but I learned the hard way not to fuck myself out of a paycheck. But once this job is done, all bets are off.

Madelyn

Grady has done a fantastic job on the deck, but I didn’t really hire him for his carpentry skills. The man is fine as hell and I’ve wanted to take him for a ride ever since I saw him on my doorstep. Never in my wildest dreams did I think getting attacked would bring us closer together. He went from hunky handyman to overprotective bodyguard in an instant, and now that we’re living under the same roof, I just can’t keep my hands off him. Just one problem… now that I’ve had him, I never want to let him go.

Available July 7th from Changeling Press

Pre-Order for July 14th from:

Amazon / iTunesB&N / Kobo

Keep reading for a sneak peek….

The sound of my drill was loud in the otherwise quiet backyard. I’d been working on this massive deck for two days for a pampered princess, but there were perks aside from a paycheck. I glanced toward the lounger by the pool and couldn’t help but admire the tanned perfection of Madelyn Sparks. She might be petite, but she was all legs and curves. Definitely a mouthwatering package.

The sun beat down on me and sweat rolled down my temples to drip off my chin onto the wooden deck below. I’d literally put my blood and sweat into the thing, but tears weren’t going to happen. Not unless the goddess decided to kick me in the nuts for staring too much. She did a pretty good job of ignoring me, even when I drooled. Couldn’t really blame her. A guy like me was too far beneath someone like her. The house she lived in had to cost at least half a million, if not more. My bungalow was a little too damn close to the questionable part of town and probably could have fit in her garage.

I put in one last screw and wiped my brow before standing. My back cracked as I stretched and put the tools away. As much as I would have loved to stare at perfection a little while longer, it was time to call it a day. I had an ice cold shower waiting for me at home, along with a beer and a bag of pretzels. The dinner of champions. Or rather, the dinner of a broke handyman. This job was going to pay really damn well, but I didn’t get the check until I finished the deck.

The scent of suntan oil reached my nose, and I turned to see Little Miss Perfect. She pushed her sunglasses on top of her honey blonde tresses and smiled at me.

“Finished for the day?” she asked.

“Yeah, I thought I’d pack it up and come back first thing tomorrow. Eight o’clock okay?”

Her nose wrinkled a little. “As long as you don’t mind me being crabby. I don’t finish my morning coffee until nine.”

I couldn’t help but smile at her. Something told me that even at her crabbiest she was damn cute. She couldn’t have been more than twenty-one or twenty-two. I felt ancient at close to thirty, even though there were only a handful of years between us. I put my tools by the back gate and waited to see if she would say or do anything else.

“Would you like some water or soda to take with you?” she asked. “I even have some of that flavored stuff you can add to a bottle of water.”

I must have made a face because she laughed and crooked a finger at me. Like a little lost puppy, I trailed after her and into the pristine house, my boots clunking along the hardwood floors. Her kitchen was huge, with spotless granite countertops and stainless steel appliances.

“Nice place,” I commented as I took in my surroundings. I’d never own a place like this. Not because I didn’t want one, but because I wasn’t going to earn enough ever to climb this high up the social ladder.

“It was my parents’ home. They died last year and left everything to me.”

Well, that explained why she was so rich at such a young age, but it had to suck to lose her family like that. My mom was still very much alive and living it up in Vegas as a retired showgirl. I’d never known my dad, and I wasn’t sure Mom had ever known who he was. Just some nameless man who had crossed paths with her at some point. Along with countless others. Mom hadn’t exactly been known for being a one-man woman back in the day. Or now, for that matter.

“I’m sorry for your loss,” I told her.

She gave me a small smile and opened the fridge. “Water or soda? I have a beer, but I doubt it’s one you’d like to drink. I’ve been told it’s a girly beer.”

I laughed and told her water was fine. It was the best way to stay hydrated in this horrible heat. I guzzled half the bottle before I even took a breath. Madelyn had her hip propped against the counter, and her gaze traveled over me. I couldn’t help but grow hard under her perusal. If she noticed, she was good at pretending otherwise. There was heat in her eyes as she looked up at me. Part of me hoped for the green light to kiss her the way I’d wanted to since the moment she opened her front door several days ago. The other part worried I’d screw myself out of a paycheck again and told me to keep it in my pants.

I finished my water and tossed the bottle into the trashcan. As much as I wanted to linger, I couldn’t think of a reason not to leave. My work for the day was done, and she wasn’t exactly saying much to keep me in her house. Then again, I was sweating all over her pristine floors. She probably couldn’t wait for me to leave.

“Thanks for the water,” I told her. “I’ll see you tomorrow at eight.”

“Let me walk you out.”

“That’s okay. I’ll just go out the back way. I left my tools by the back gate.”

She nodded, and if I wasn’t mistaken, there was a hint of sadness in her eyes as I turned to walk away. I wondered if maybe she was a little lonely, living in such a big place all by herself. For all I knew, she had a string of men waiting at her beck and call, but I hadn’t seen a single person any of the days I’d been here.

Her gaze drilled into my back as I made my way through her house to the back door. The humid air smacked me in the face as I stepped outside and made my way over to the gate. I picked up my tools and let myself out of the backyard. My truck was parked at the curb. I hadn’t wanted to take a chance on the damn thing leaking oil on her driveway. I shoved my stuff into the backseat and climbed in. As I was about to pull away, a flashy car pulled into her driveway, and a guy in a pink polo and khakis got out. Figured she’d go for a sissy boy like that one. His build was slight, and the softer angles of his face made him almost appear feminine. If he had any muscle on him, it definitely came from a gym. Guys like that didn’t get their hands dirty.

With a shake of my head, I pulled away and drove home to the other side of town. Living in a small town meant it didn’t take long to reach the house. My driveway was cracked and uneven and my porch drooped, but it was home sweet home. I killed the engine and got out, taking my tools with me. No way I would leave them in the truck in this neighborhood. Not unless I wanted them stolen. After I unlocked the door and pushed it open, I stepped inside and immediately frowned. It felt like it was a million degrees in the house.

The air conditioner in the front window still hummed, but when I stepped closer and held out my hand, only hot air came out of it. I’d just cleaned the thing the week before, so I knew that wasn’t it. It looked like the four-year-old unit had finally called it quits. As I walked through the house, I noticed the other even older units were not on or were sending out blasts of hot air as well. Just what I needed, the cost of four window units. Hell, even the cost of one was too much. There was only twenty bucks in my account until I got paid for my current job either tomorrow or day after, depending on how long it took me to wrap things up.

I went into the bedroom and turned on the ceiling fan before stripping out of my clothes. In the bathroom, I turned on the shower and didn’t even bother with the hot water. An icy stream hit me straight in the face as I stepped under the spray and it helped cool my heated skin. I stayed in the shower as long as I could, knowing I would just be miserable once I got out. After I dried off and pulled on a pair of boxer briefs, I contemplated what the hell I was going to do the rest of the night. In this neighborhood leaving a window open was just asking for trouble, so that was out.

As I tried to figure out what to do, my phone started ringing. I frowned when I saw the number on the display. What the hell was the princess calling me about? Had I left something at her place? I accepted the call and put the phone up to my ear. Before I could even say hello, I heard her sobbing on the other end.

“Madelyn? What’s wrong?”

She cried even harder. “I… need… you.”

“You need me? What happened?”

“Please come.”

I didn’t get a chance to say another word before she disconnected the call. A bad feeling came over me as I threw on a fresh pair of jeans and a tee. I doubted she was crying over her deck, so I passed up my work boots for a pair of tennis shoes. It only took me a moment to dig my wallet and keys out of my discarded clothes, and I ran for the door, stopping only long enough to lock the place up. Breaking every speed limit in town, I screeched to a halt at her curb about ten minutes later.

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