New Release and Giveaway! HER SCOTTISH MISTAKE by Michele de Winton

Her Scottish Mistake
by Michele de Winton
Publication Date: April 10, 2017
Genres: Adult, Entangled: Lovestruck, Contemporary, Romance

SYNOPSIS:

Aspiring blogger Janie Milan is finally on her dream trip to Thailand. But when an unfortunate piña colada incident lands her in the path of a hot Scotsman, Janie finds herself dying to find out what’s under his kilt. Only the frustratingly sexy man isn’t who he’s pretending to be…

After cutting a deal to keep his brother safe, Scottish heartthrob Blaine Galloway is hiding from the press. But his secret identity starts to slip the second he meets small-town blogger, Janie. Now the press is hot on their heels and Blaine’s life is tumbling into a tabloid-sponsored hell. Coincidence? He’s not so sure.

Excerpt:

 

Janie looked the guy dead in the eyes again and boom, her ovaries practically melted. The way those blue eyes looked at her? Lethal. The light shifted, and through the lust fug clouding her vision like fog, she changed her mind. They weren’t blue eyes. They were some sort of crazy, ocean full of sequins with blue curaçao punch mixed together eyes. And were they sparkling? Hells yes they were. It took everything she had not to melt into a blubbering mess, but she’d promised herself she wasn’t going to do that ever again, so she straightened. She could talk to men. She would talk to men. That was part of what she came here for.

“Boston, cute name. Not very Texan, but cute. What sort of dog is he?”

Gawd, that accent. What was it, Scottish? Did someone forget to tell McDashing that this was Thailand and not the set of Outlander? “A stupid one,” she said keeping her voice as steady as she could as she waited for the lust fog to lift. “Likes to chase mice down holes down at the tractor sheds and gets stuck with his ass waving in the air all the time.”

He chuckled, and those eyes were sparkling and they were looking at her like she was supposed to say something more. Like she should do something. Hell, those eyes almost wrapped her up and took her to bed. Girlfriend, you need to sit down a second. Guy could be a serial killer and you’re lust-whoring after his eyes and insisting he come to your room? Since when do you do that? Janie gave herself a little shake. She’d clearly only just gotten out of Little Acre in time before she lost all sense of reason. Putting a hand to her stomach, she tried to still what felt like a giant herd of Thai elephants rather than butterflies trampling through her intestines. What the heck was that? There were no feels to be felt here. She blinked hard to try and focus, and the lust fog finally lifted.

“Boston is a mongrel. Floppy thing, a bit like Ryan Gosling’s mutt. Not that you care about Ryan Gosling enough to know what his dog looks like. Or even know who Ryan Gosling is. Still, Boston’s mine and despite his stupidity I love him to bits. Saved him from getting himself shot.” Janie made herself shut up. Oversharing much? “Anyway. I’m Janie. My room is over there, I’m as normal as a steering wheel on a tractor, and you’re still dripping.” She pointed to his shirt.

He looked down and sighed. “So I am.” Unbuttoning the first couple of buttons, he pulled the shirt over his head to reveal an intricate tattoo that took up most of his left chest and shoulder. And also… Holy six-pack of heaven. Her fingers itched to touch it, to smooth the dampness away. The elephants in her stomach trumpeted their agreement.

Then he put his hand in his shorts pocket. “Och, damn and bollocks.”

“What?” Janie managed to get the words out past the saliva. Heck, at least she wasn’t openly drooling.

“My cell. It’s got your cocktail on it.”

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ABOUT MICHELE DE WINTON:

It’s no wonder that Michele’s first romance has a little sparkle of the stage tucked into its pages as she was a performer long before she got adicted to the page. Being a writer was not what she was supposed to be when she ‘grew up’ but then neither was a dancer. Her poor parents. They thought that when she toddled off to law school they’d bred a responsible, useful adult and instead they got a performer and word junkie.
She now writes full time in a studio surrounded by the whisper of wind in the trees and only intermittent interruptions from her young son, husband and hunger pangs. She’s based in New Zealand (land of beaches and hobbits) loves chocolate, yoga, sunshine, her boys and happy endings.

You can get in touch through facebook or twitter or through her website and blog www.micheledewinton.com

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New Release Excerpt! LEI’D WITH CUPCAKES by Bethany Lopez

LEI’D WITH CUPCAKES by Bethany Lopez is now LIVE!

Blurb:

Everybody dreams of a Hawaiian Vacation…

They sell you on the drinks with little umbrella’s, dolphin watching, and long walks on the beach. Which probably happens, if you’re that lucky schmuck living out your dream with your destination wedding, but if you’re a fish out of water PI like me, there’s no time for relaxing because trouble is never far behind.

Instead of cocktails, I ended up dealing with the seedy underbelly of The Big Island.
And, I didn’t see one damn dolphin while undercover on a boat which was spilling over with drug dealers, Kingpins, and Pedophiles.

Elin and Elena think Cade’s family are the coolest people outside of Snapchat, but it’s hard to meet the parents when your boyfriend is in his late thirties and has never had a serious relationship.

I’d never missed my girls so much in my life, but Amy May, Bea, and Carmen are all dealing with issues of their own, and can’t come to my rescue.

The only thing that may help me with this “vacation” is if I could get Lei’d with Cupcakes.

WARNING: THIS BOOK CONTAINS FOUL LANGUAGE, SEX, SOME VIOLENCE, AND SHENANIGANS. IF NONE OF THAT BOTHERS YOU, GRAB A CUPCAKE AND READ ON!

Excerpt:

“This is your room?” I asked, even though it was pretty obvious.

“Yeah.”

“I’m in here with you?” I asked, my eyes darting back out into the hall.

“Yeah.”

I dropped my bag by the bed and walked up to Cade, lowering my voice to say, “I can’t sleep with you in your parents’ house.”

“What the hell are you talking about?” Cade asked as he took out his rubber band and pulled his hair back to secure it again.

“We can’t have sex in your parents’ house.”

Cade turned his face toward me, eyebrows raised.

“Lila, I’m thirty-eight years old, I’m pretty sure they know I fuck.”

My eyes widened and my face went red.

“Don’t talk like that, My God… Just because they assume, doesn’t mean it should happen in their house. It’s rude.”

Cade chuckled and replied, “All right, Darlin’, I’ll keep my hands to myself, in the house, and we’ll see if you can do the same.”

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Special Release Week Price – $2.99

AUTHOR INFORMATION:

Sign up for my Newsletter for more information about my writing: http://eepurl.com/Rcmrn

Award-Winning Author Bethany Lopez began self-publishing in June 2011. She’s a lover of all things romance: books, movies, music, and life, and she incorporates that into the books she writes. When she isn’t reading or writing, she loves spending time with her husband and children, traveling whenever possible. Some of her favorite things are: Kristen Ashley Books, coffee in the morning, and In N Out burgers.

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New Release! A STAR TO STEER HER BY by Beth Anne Miller

A STAR TO STEER HER BY
by Beth Anne Miller
release date: March 20, 2017
Entangled Publishing, Embrace

 

About the book:

I’m scarred. Broken. I’ll never be the same.

But I will take this journey.

Ever since my last dive ended in bloodshed, I’ve been terrified to go back into the water. But the opportunity to spend a semester at sea is too good to pass up. I need to get my life back.

I never expected to love it this much. And I never expected Tristan MacDougall.

Rugged, strong, and with demons of his own, Tristan helps me find the courage I thought I had lost and heals me with every stolen moment we share. But the rules of the ship mean we can’t be together.

When a dive excursion goes terribly wrong, our only hope for survival is each other.

 

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Excerpt:

He held my hand as we glided slowly around the reef. The euphoria I felt at actually getting under the water faded as I squinted into the distant blue haze, on constant lookout for…anything that might be lurking out there. It was utterly silent, except for the Darth Vader-like sound of our breathing. That was one of the things I’d always loved best about scuba diving, the silence of it. For a short time, I could leave behind the noise of the world above and get lost in the alien world beneath the sea. I’d missed it so much.

My fear began to slip away. The reef was a huge mass of life and motion. Tiny yellow fish nibbled on purple sponges, vividly colored parrotfish pecked at coral with their sharp beaks, blue-and-yellow angelfish swam lazily between sea fans. None of them seemed disturbed by our presence. They just went about their business.

I’d almost forgotten Tristan was there until he tapped my arm and pointed to a big hole in the coral, where a slimy green head emerged on a sinuous neck. It was a moray eel. It stared at us, its mouth opening and closing to reveal glimpses of curved, needle-thin teeth. Novice divers tended to be afraid of them because their teeth looked wicked sharp. But I’d been around them enough to know that they opened and closed their mouths to breathe, not to be aggressive (usually), and I watched it for a moment, unafraid.

We continued exploring, my eyes remembering how to see beyond the camouflage to find the animal. A crusty “rock” sitting on the bottom was a scorpionfish. A mound of sand turned out to be a flounder. I still searched the blue waters around us, but less frequently than before. I even let go of Tristan’s hand.

Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a flash of silver. My heart started to pound. Take it easy, it’s probably a barracuda.

No, it wasn’t. Barracuda usually just hovered motionless in the water, seemingly menacing with their protruding teeth, but generally harmless to humans. This was moving quickly. And it was big. Where’d it go? I spun around.

There it was again, lurking just at the edge of my vision. Oh God, not again! Hiss-whoosh, hiss-whoosh. My breath came faster and faster.

I needed to get out of there.

 

About the author:

Beth Anne Miller’s first book, written in elementary school, was bound in pink fabric and was about—what else?—a girl and her horse. She soon began cheating on horses with the sea, becoming an open water scuba diver at age 14. That love of the sea led her to a college semester aboard a schooner. She returned with fond memories of the exhilaration of being on a ship under full sail, less fond memories of hurling over the leeward rail on a daily basis, and a sailing bug she couldn’t quite shake.

In addition to horses and the sea, she has a fascination for all things Scottish (including, but not limited to, men in kilts), which she explored with her first novel, INTO THE SCOTTISH MIST (The Wild Rose Press, 2011), and carried into her new novel, A STAR TO STEER HER BY (Entangled Embrace, March 2017). A native New Yorker, Beth Anne works in the publishing industry and is always looking ahead to her next voyage, whether a short one on a dive boat or whale watch, or, with luck, a longer one on a tall ship.

Connect with Beth Anne Miller:

Website | Newsletter| Facebook| Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

New Release! HOMETOWN COWBOY by Sara Richardson (Rocky Mountain Riders #1)

Today we are part of the blog tour for HOMETOWN COWBOY by Sara Richardson. This is the first book in her brand new series, Rocky Mountain Riders. You can buy it now and pre-order the next book in the series, Comeback Cowboy!

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About HOMETOWN COWBOY:

NEVER FALL IN LOVE WITH A COWBOY
Jessa Mae Love is done with relationships. No matter how tempting he might be, she cannot–will not–fall for a man like Lance Cortez. The outrageously handsome cowboy is practically a living legend in Colorado, as famous for riding bulls as he is for breaking hearts. What would a big-time rodeo star like him see in a small-town veterinarian who wears glasses, rescues animals, and cries when watching rom-coms? Turns out, plenty.
Raising bulls, riding the circuit, and looking after his ailing father–Lance never stands still for long. Yet Jessa catches his attention, and the more she tries to resist him, the more he wants her. When she agrees to move to the ranch to keep an eye on Lance’s dad, Jessa tells him they have to keep it professional: no flirting, no sweet talk, and definitely no kissing. But with Jessa now living under his roof, that’s easier said than done . . .

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Excerpt:

“Actually, we need to talk first.”

Something changed on her face. Her smile fell away, and the bright, wide eyes that kept demanding his attention narrowed. “Okay. So talk.” She folded her arms and leaned against the counter, glaring as though she already knew what he was going to say.

Damn it. How had he planned to start this again? “Well…” He cleared his throat. The noise level over at the table rose as Gracie giggled about something his dad had said. Jessa didn’t seem to notice. Her glare was relentless.

He blew out a breath. If anyone wondered why he didn’t do relationships, this would be a good example. He sucked at having honest, hard conversations. Since there was no easy way to put it, he’d best just get it out there. “I shouldn’t have kissed you,” he said, quietly enough that the others wouldn’t hear.

Jessa’s unreadable expression didn’t change but her jaw twitched. “And why is that?”

Why was that again? Staring at her made it hard to remember. He glanced down at his plain, uncomplicated boots. “I’m pretty sure we want different things.”

When silence thrummed into his ears, he looked up at her.

Her facial expression hadn’t budged an inch. “What is it you want, Lance?” The words came out solid and hard. She didn’t seem to care much if anyone else heard.

He shoved his hands into his pockets so he wouldn’t flip off Naomi from across the room. What the hell did she know? Talking had been a bad idea. “I want simplicity.”

Jessa shocked him with a smirk. Where had all this attitude and sass come from? He’d always heard she was a softie. He must’ve heard wrong.

“And what is it you think I want?” Her tone came within an inch of mocking him.

“Uh.” Was this a trap? He’d learned early in his dating career never to answer a question that could have potentially catastrophic consequences. Truth was, he didn’t know what she wanted. Not exactly. He knew what Naomi thought Jessa wanted. But Jessa was waiting.

He blew out the frustration in a hefty sigh. “Look. This isn’t about you. I don’t do relationships. I’m not interested in that.” Life was so much easier without those ties. “I shouldn’t have taken those shots last night.” Not that he could blame his body’s reaction to her on the whiskey. “You’re great, but—”

“Did I do something that led you to believe I wanted a relationship with you?” she interrupted in that same bold, screw you tone.

“No.” Wow. This was the last time he’d follow Naomi’s advice on anything. Talk about a crash and burn. “But Naomi seemed to think—”

“Did it ever occur to you that maybe I wanted a fling?” Jessa marched closer. “That maybe I’m sick of relationships and just want to have fun with no strings attached for once in my life?”

“No.” Somehow he managed to get the word out even with his jaw hanging open. That had definitely never occurred to him.

“Would it be so hard to believe that I’m not out searching for a husband?” she demanded, hands positioned on the rounded curve of her sexy hips.

“Well…” What could he say to that without risking her foot in his balls? She’d built quite the reputation for herself. Wasn’t his fault word got around. “Isn’t that what you want?”

She laughed. The woman laughed at him. “You kissed me.” Her pointer finger slashed the air between them. “You said you were attracted to me.”

“I am.” Damn was he attracted her. Her shoulders were straight and tight, her perky breasts begging for some attention. And her face had flushed with the same passion he’d seen last night.

“Then what the hell is your problem, Lance, huh?” she demanded.

When she put it that way…he glanced over at the table again. Gracie and his father were still chatting while they ate, but Naomi was glaring at him. Oh, right. That kicked his memory into gear. He was supposed to be putting boundaries between them to save Jessa some heartache.

“I don’t want you to get hurt.” He felt like he was reading a damn script. What he really wanted to tell her was that he’d never been more turned on than he was right now and would she like a tour of his bedroom?

“Maybe I’m the one who’ll hurt you.” Her head tilted in a flippant gesture. “Did you ever think about that?”

“Noooo,” he admitted. But he could be down with some pain…

“Screw you, Lance. I don’t need your pity or your protection.” She marched over to him, and he felt his heart lift at the prospect of her body being against his again.

“You know what I do want?” she asked, her voice lowered into an alluring growl.

He could only shake his head. Shock and intrigue surged through him in a way he’d never felt.

“I want some fucking coffee.” She bumped past him to the coffeepot. Without a glance back, she filled herself a mug and sashayed over to the table, leaving him staring after her.

Add HOMETOWN COWBOY to Goodreads

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Purchase HOMETOWN COWBOY:

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What reviewers are saying about Sara Richardson’s novels…

“Charming, witty, and fun. There’s no better read. I enjoyed every word!”―Debbie Macomber, #1 New York Times bestselling author on No Better Man

“Richardson’s debut packs a powerful emotional punch. [Her] deft characterization creates a hero and heroine who will elicit laughs in some places and tears in others.”―Publishers Weekly on No Better Man

“4 stars! Hot! Richardson brings us a modern read set in beautiful Aspen. Her brisk storytelling and the charming, endearing characters set within a solid, engaging plot make this sweet romance shine. A strong and vulnerable Bryce, coupled with a determined, lighthearted Avery, will appeal to readers, especially with their sizzling chemistry. This is a truly delightful read.”―RT Book Reviews on No Better Man

“Fresh, fun, well-written, a dazzling debut.”―Lori Wilde, New York Times bestselling author on No Better Man

“The perfect balance of humor, heart and heat. I couldn’t put it down! Sara Richardson will sweep you away.”―Christie Craig, New York Times bestselling author on No Better Man

“An enjoyable read. Richardson’s spunky, baseball-lovin’ heroine is delightful!”―Katie Lane, USA Today bestselling author on No Better Man

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PRE-ORDER THE NEXT BOOK IN THIS SERIES
Comeback Cowboy – Coming June 27th, 2017!
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AUTHOR INFORMATION:
Headshot_Sara Richardson
Sara Richardson grew up chasing adventure in Colorado’s rugged mountains. She’s climbed to the top of a 14,000-foot peak at midnight, swam through Class IV rapids, completed her wilderness first-aid certification, and spent seven days at a time tromping through the wilderness with a thirty-pound backpack strapped to her shoulders.

Eventually, Sara did the responsible thing and got an education in writing and journalism. After five years in the corporate writing world, she stopped ignoring the voices in her head and started writing fiction. Now, she uses her experience as a mountain adventure guide to write stories that incorporate adventure with romance. Still indulging her adventurous spirit, Sara lives and plays in Colorado with her saint of a husband and two young sons. Her first contemporary romance, No Better Man, was released by Grand Central forever 2015.

AUTHOR LINKS:

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New Release! COME CLOSER by Brenda Rothert

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Come Closer
by Brenda Rothert

An adult standalone, contemporary romance

 

Book Blurb:

Sometimes appearances deceive. Take me, for instance. I look like a respectable doctor with his shit together, but the rural Montana mental hospital I work at is actually a sanctuary from my demons. At just thirty-five years old, I’ve already failed on an epic scale. Treating patients at Hawthorne Hill is part of my atonement.


I’ve found peace when a new patient turns me inside out. Allison Cole is a beautiful, haunted survivor who fell into silence after witnessing a murder. But even without words, I’m drawn to her. The closer we get, the more I’m tempted to cross my professional boundaries and give in to my desire.


Soon I find myself in a desperate race to put the pieces of Allison’s silence together. Her life becomes inextricably entwined with mine as I fight to save the second chance I never thought I’d have. I’ll break whatever rules I have to in order to protect this woman who’s been to hell and back. For her, I’ll do harm.

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Excerpt:

“How are you today, Allison?” Dr. Heaton asks, her familiar tone making it seem like we’re old friends.

I stare out the window of her office, wondering if the weather outside is as nice as it looks. The sun is shining bright in a clear blue sky again, but it’s April. In my hometown of Chicago, April can be a bitch. It’s cold, rainy, and dreary.

And I’m even farther north now. I bet it’s chilly outside, the sun’s rays just giving the illusion of warmth.

“You can talk to me,” Heaton says for at least the twentieth time since I’ve been here. “Everything said in this room is confidential. I’m here to help you work through the grief I know you’re feeling.”

I glance around her office. There are framed diplomas on the wood-plank walls and bookshelves with books and picture frames arranged just so. The photos show smiling people posing for the camera, all of them smiling so perfectly they could be the paper photos that come in picture frames when you first buy them.

A fountain in the shape of a bunch of bamboo gurgles in a corner, and neatly trimmed bonsai trees line the ledge of the large window behind Heaton’s desk.

Even the box of tissues on the coffee table in front of me has been methodically placed, one corner of the square in front of me so it makes a diamond shape. The top tissue is pulled up, its sides still tucked neatly inside. It looks like a tissue fountain, beautifully shaped into a parallel pattern.

That’s not the tissue box of a doctor whose patients feel comfortable crying. If the box were half-empty, with little white specks of tissue dust dotting the coffee table, I’d at least feel like it was okay to use one.

A smile quirks at my lips as I imagine whipping out a tissue or two. I’m picturing Heaton descending on the box right after me to tidy up the tissue fountain and brush away the tissue flecks.

 

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PURCHASE IT NOW!
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AUTHOR INFORMATION:BRheadshot

Brenda Rothert is an Illinois native who was a print journalist for nine years. She made the jump from fact to fiction in 2013 and never looked back. From new adult to steamy contemporary romance, Brenda creates fresh characters in every story she tells. She’s a lover of Diet Coke, chocolate, lazy weekends and happily ever afters.

AUTHOR LINKS:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | | Wattpad | Amazon

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New Release and Giveaway! RUTHLESS by Gina L. Maxwell

Today we have the blog tour for Ruthless by Gina L. Maxwell! Check out this fantastic sexy romance and grab your copy now!

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About Ruthless:

People call me Ruthless for a reason.

Whether I’m in the court room or in the bedroom, my reputation is well-earned. I’m either working hard, working out, or working my way into some woman’s panties. But none of them share my particular kink, and I walk away feeling unsatisfied.

Until I met her.

She’s a friend of a friend, which makes her off-limits in my book. But then temptation had me by the balls and I had her up against a wall. She literally fucked my world off its axis, but it can’t happen again.

My plan was avoidance, but that got blown to shit when my firm hired her as a new junior attorney. Now I’m her boss, and I’m supposed to act like I don’t want to bend her over my desk every five minutes.

But I’ve never held myself back with anything before, so consequences be damned. It’s time to take what I want and show her how damn good it feels…to be ruthless.

Excerpt:

“Show me what it means to be not normal, Roman.”

He catches my wrists, but doesn’t pull me away from him. “It’s more than you’re bargaining for, Addie, believe me.”

“You know, you have a terrible habit of making decisions for me, and it’s really starting to piss me off. Why don’t you stop being so damn vague, man up, and tell me what it is you think I’ll have such a strong aversion to, so I can prove you wrong.”

He spins us in a quarter turn to place the table behind me, then releases my wrists to cage me in with his hands on either side of my hips. Leaning into me, he speaks directly in my ear, his voice deep and deliberate. “I like control, Addison. I like controlling my lover’s pleasure. Her every desire is fulfilled by me or at my command.”

Shivers race over me as I imagine Roman fulfilling my every desire. “Your command. You want to watch me touch myself?”

“No,” he says, pulling back just enough to meet my gaze, his lips now a breath away from mine. “I want to watch another man touch you.”

The air in my lungs gets trapped. “Another man,” I manage to rasp out.

“That’s right. I get off on watching another man touch what’s mine, on telling him exactly how to touch her, how to make her come until she’s trembling.”

“Why not just do it yourself?”

“I am doing it myself,” he says as he runs a hand up the outside of my thigh. “Because I’m the one in control, his body is merely an extension of mine. It’s my will that’s being done. It might be his hands, his mouth, even his cock…” He dips his head, and I tilt mine to the side to give him better access to my neck. A sigh shudders between my lips as his nose grazes the sensitive skin beneath my ear. “But it’s my touch, because they’re my words.”

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Get Your Copy Today:

Amazon US: http://bit.ly/AznRuthless
Amazon UK: http://bit.ly/RuthlessUK
Amazon CA: http://bit.ly/RuthlessCA
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About Gina L. Maxwell:

Gina L. Maxwell is a full-time writer, wife, and mother living in the upper Midwest, despite her scathing hatred of snow and cold weather. An avid romance novel addict, she began writing as an alternate way of enjoying the romance stories she loves to read. Her debut novel, Seducing Cinderella, hit both the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists in less than four weeks, and she’s been living her newfound dream ever since.

When she’s not reading or writing steamy romance novels, she spends her time losing at Scrabble (and every other game) to her high school sweetheart, doing her best to hang out with their teenagers before they fly the coop, and dreaming about her move to sunny Florida once they do.

Connect with Gina:
Author Website: www.ginalmaxwell.com
Author Twitter: @Gina_L_Maxwell
Author Facebook: www.facebook.com/ginalmaxwell
Author Street Team/Facebook Group: www.facebook.com/groups/themaxwellmob
Author Instagram: www.instagram.com/ginalmaxwell
Author Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/ginalmaxwell
Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6446604.Gina_L_Maxwell
Newsletter: http://bit.ly/GLMnewsletter

 

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New Release Excerpt! GIRL BREAKER by Harper Kincaid

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GIRL BREAKER
by Harper Kincaid

BOOK SUMMARY:

Sometimes the best thing a good girl can do is make a bad decision.

Jessica has always been the girl with her head in the clouds and her nose in a book, only dating the “nice guys”. But when rough-around-the-edges Viking-biker-god, Mad Max, and his precocious little girl move onto her street, Jessica falls hard and fast for both of them.

Max is no stranger to women wanting to share his bed—and he’s always been more than happy to oblige them all. He’s lived wild all his life—that is, until a daughter shows up on his doorstep and he meets a redheaded angel down the block.

There’s nothing more he wants than to claim Jessica as his, to bring the gorgeous spitfire to his bed. But a man like him doesn’t get a happy ending with a woman like her. He’s got a whole other life, one he’s kept secret for good reason.

If Jessica found out what he really is, there’s no way she could love him. He should keep his hands to himself. But he’s Mad Max—he’s never done the right thing, and he’s not going to start now.

Warning: Contains a dominating alpha male who’s a lot more than he seems, and a good girl with a swirl of flavors under her vanilla.

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You can purchase it here
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | GooglePlay

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Excerpt:

He barreled through his house, to his bedroom. Then he tossed me on the bed, where I bounced a couple of times before he took it upon himself to settle right on top. He took my keys out of my hands, throwing them across the room, and then laced his fingers through mine, pinning them over my head before I even had a chance to register what was happening. When I did, I knew I was in trouble. Not because he’d hurt me. I knew that if I really wanted him gone, he’d be off. But that was the problem. He felt good; his weight, the pressure, it quieted my nervous energy.

“Max,” I said, barely above a whisper. “I am sorry I let my sister get between us, but I’m still upset with you.”

The minute the words left my mouth, the sparkle in his eyes died, along with his shit-eating grin.

“Baby, I came home as soon as I got your message.”

“What? Where did you two go?”

“I had to deliver a bike out of town. Piper’s been staying at my folks’ place. They’ve been taking her to school.”

I blinked a couple of times, taking in what he said.

“Although I’ll admit,” he continued, “I stayed gone a couple days longer than necessary, ’cause I needed the time away. That changed as soon as I heard what you said.”

My brows knitted together. “But you ignored me this morning.”

A ghost of a smirk came up. “You were with your girl. I gave you a nod. Thought you understood that meant we’d talk later.”

“How was I supposed to know that!” I got all flustered, which only made him bust out laughing on top of me. “Don’t laugh! I was really upset!”

“Yeah, you were all broken up, going out with another guy.”

“I was trying to get over you.”

He cocked an eyebrow. “How’s that working out for you?”

“Terrible.” I pouted. “You’re not an easy man to forget.”

“I’m not an easy man, period—” he gave both my hands above my head a squeeze, “—and you’ve got a sweetness to you…it’s not being naïve, like your sister said.” He rested his forehead against mine and closed his eyes. It seemed he was struggling to find the right words. He lifted his head to meet my gaze. “I did absolutely nothing to deserve a woman like you, but I promise, from this moment on, I’m going to be the man to protect every fuckin’ perfect thing you are.”

He thrust his hands deep into my hair and I laid my hands on his chest, watching as it rose and fell like he was out of breath. And his eyes…I have never seen a gaze so intense, with a fierceness bordering on madness. It both thrilled and scared me.

“You have no idea the demons I’ve been wrestling with since the day I met you.” His voice was rough, on edge, and I knew he was barely holding on. “Not because I think I’m going to hurt you, but because it makes me physically sick to think the work I do with the Order could make you a target. So I tried to stay away. I tried losing myself in any woman who even hinted at something that reminded me of you, hoping I could get lost in her for a night to dull the pain.”

I closed my eyes because the idea of him with anyone but me was hard to take. “Did it work?” I asked.

“Open your eyes for me, baby,” he gently ordered. I caught a slight glint of humor in his gaze. “Not even a little bit.”

I let out a breath I didn’t even know I was holding onto. And he gifted me with a smile that warmed me all over.

“No one is you, Jessica. No one even comes close.”

“Really?”

“Definitely.”

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9870959AUTHOR INFORMATION:

A woman with the heart of a revolutionary,
The mind of a pragmatist,
And the inappropriate humor of your tipsy BFF…

Born in California and raised in South Florida, I’ve moved around like a gypsy with a bounty on my head ever since. Along the way, I’ve worked as a community organizer, a professional matchmaker, an art teacher, a popular blogger, and a crisis counselor (to name a few). All the while, longing to have the guts and follow-through to do what I really wanted: to write and become a published author. That wish has finally come true and I am tickled pink with glitter over this good piece of fortune.

What else? Hmm…I love indie, lo-fi, complaint rock played on vinyl, wearing black because it’s slimming, the theater, well-informed optimism, happy endings (both kinds),and making those close to me laugh ’til they snort. I’m a self-admitted change junkie, loving new experiences and places, but have now happily settled in the cutest lil’ town, Vienna, Virginia. I totally love hearing from readers so stalk me via social media or email me at HarperKincaid26@gmail.com!

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New Release and Giveaway! THE RULE MAKER by Jennifer Blackwood (The Rule Breakers #2)

The Rule Maker
by Jennifer Blackwood
The Rule Breakers #2
Publication Date: January 16, 2017
Genres: Adult, Entangled: Embrace, Contemporary Romance

 

Synopsis: Ten Steps to Surviving a New Job:

1. Don’t sleep with the client. It’ll get you fired. (Sounds easy enough.)

2. Don’t blink when new client turns out to be former one-night stand.

3. Don’t call same client a jerk for never texting you back.

4. Don’t believe client when he says he really, really wanted to call.

5. Remember, the client is always right—so you can’t junk punch him when he demands new design after new design.

6. Ignore accelerated heartbeat every time sexy client walks into room.

7. Definitely ignore client’s large hands. They just mean he wears big gloves.

8. Don’t let client’s charm wear you down. Be strong.

9. Whatever you do, don’t fall for the client. You’ll lose more than your job—maybe even your heart.

10. If all else fails, see rule number one again.


BUY:

Excerpt:

Snow gusting against the window was the only sound in the room as he searched for a show for us to watch.

So quiet. Way too quiet. I fidgeted with my necklace, moving the small diamond back and forth on the chain. The last time I was in bed with Ryder…I didn’t even want to finish that thought, because it’d do nothing but make this situation worse. I chanced a peek in his direction.

He chewed the inside of his cheek, swiping through our options. “This is awkward, huh?” he said.

“We’ve achieved Urkel status.”

He chuckled and scrolled through the show queue. “Would you rather watch Law and Order: SVU or Criminal Minds?”

“That is quite possibly the worst Would You Rather question ever asked.”

His eyes cut to mine. “I didn’t know I was playing a game.”

“You’ve never played it?” He shook his head. Lainey and I played this game all the time in college, and when we’d take road trips together. She always came up with the grossest ones. “It’s simple. All you have to do is ask the person which horrible thing they’d rather do. The harder the question, the better. Like would you rather lay in a pit of snakes, or eat questionably dead roadkill?” I pointed to his phone. “Oh, John Tucker Must Die. I like that one.

“Negative, ghost rider.” He scrolled past my suggestion. “And what the hell does questionably dead mean? Is it still twitching, or are we talking suspicious cause of death?”

I shrugged. “The interpretation’s up to you.”

“You’re absolutely no help.” He swiped his thumb across his beard and contemplated. “I guess I’d go with the snakes.”

“Okay, now it’s your turn,” I said.

“Do I really have to play? I thought we were picking a show.”

I shot him a look.

“Fine. Would you rather have me or Chewbacca as your valentine?”

“Too easy. The spider.”

He put his hand to his heart. “You wound me.”

“Stop being such a baby.” I swatted at his chest and immediately pulled my hand back. Nope. Would not go there. “Okay, would you rather not be able to see or talk for a month?”

He answered instantly. “See.”

“Right. You’d probably go nuts if you couldn’t open that big mouth of yours.”

His lips twitched. “You’re one to talk.”

“Excuse me?” Okay, I did have a tough time keeping my thoughts on lockdown outside the office, but that was my own cross to bear.

“Don’t even try to play it off like you’re innocent.” I’d dated a lot of losers in the past, most who hadn’t even bothered to get to know me, but even after only hanging out a few times, Ryder had me pegged. He was perceptive. I saw the look in his eyes whenever I dealt with Jason. His attention focused solely on me was unnerving. “Jerk,” I sputtered.

“Now I know you’re holding back. You can do way better than that.” He scrolled through his phone again. “How about Die Hard?”

“Are all your show selections about death? I’m starting to worry I’d made a mistake coming over here.” My lips pulled into a smile and I quickly extinguished it. God, I wanted to hate him.

“Fine.” He continued looking at the Netflix queue. “Would you rather eat sushi from a taco stand, or lick an airplane armrest?”

“Good one. Sushi.” I pointed to his screen. “How about 10 Things I Hate About You?”

He shook his head and chuckled. “Are all of your suggestions going to not-so-subtly tell me you hate me?”

I smiled sweetly. “Maybe.”

“Just think, most people would find this to be a romantic escape. Two people, stuck in the mountains on Valentine’s Day,” he said.

“We’re Hallmark movie material, all right,” I deadpanned.

“Okay, fine. How about The Walking Dead?”

“Your show picking powers have been officially revoked.” I grabbed the phone from his hand.

“Hey!” He grabbed for the phone and I held it out of reach. “You’re going to regret that.” Within seconds, he was on top of me, playfully pinning me to the bed, his strong hands circling my wrists. Air evaporated from my lungs as our gazes connected. I was immediately transported back to that night. Tell me what you want, Zoey. Tell me what you need from me.

I swallowed hard. That was months ago, and those words still haunted me from time to time. Because he did exactly that, gave me what I wanted and needed. Repeatedly.

DON’T MISS THE FIRST BOOK IN THE SIZZLING RULE BREAKERS SERIES!

The Rule Book
by Jennifer Blackwood
The Rule Breakers #1
Publication Date: May 9, 2016
Genres: Adult, Entangled: Embrace, Contemporary Romance

Synopsis: Starr Media Second-Assistant Survival Guide
1. Don’t call your hot boss the antichrist to his face.
2. Don’t stare at hot boss’s, um, package or his full sleeve of tattoos. (No. Really. Stop!)
3. Don’t get on the malicious first assistant’s bad side.
4. Don’t forget to memorize the 300-page employee manual.
5. If you value your cashmere, steer clear of boss’s dog.
6. Boss’s dimples are lust-inducing. Do. Not. Give. In.
7. “The elevator ate your clothes” is not a valid excuse for showing up to important meetings half dressed.
8. Don’t break seven of the rules within the first week of employment if you, ya know, are in dire need of money to support your sick mom.
9. Whatever you do, don’t fall for the boss. See rule eight about sick mom.
10. Never forget the rules.

ABOUT JENNIFER BLACKWOOD:

Jennifer Blackwood is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance. She lives in Oregon with her husband, son, and poorly behaved black lab puppy. When not chasing after her toddler, you can find her binging on episodes of Gilmore Girls and Supernatural, and locking herself in her office to write.

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A Letter to Readers by Jane Ashford, Author of LORD SEBASTIAN’S SECRET (The Duke’s Sons #3–with a giveaway!)

Dear readers of The Duke’s Sons series,

We’ve reached volume three, Lord Sebastian’s Secret, out on January 3. The military Gresham brother’s story turned out to be quite a romp. On a visit to his betrothed’s family, Cavalry major Sebastian faces a plethora of impertinent pugs, ubiquitous younger sisters, and a prospective father-in-law dedicated to ancient Saxons and arcane philosophy. Very much not Sebastian’s forte, for several reasons. Fortunately, there’s the lovely Georgina, who makes any amount of adaptation and effort worthwhile. Sebastian would do anything for her, and he very nearly does!

I really like the Gresham family. I’m feeling sad right now as I finish the fifth and final volume about them. I kind of hate to let them go. Should I consider revisiting the clan in future? Hmm. Is there anyone from the stories you’d really like to see again? Get in touch and let me know.

And thanks so much for reading!

Jane Ashford

 

JANE ASHFORD, a beloved author of historical romances, has been published in Sweden, Italy, England,
Denmark, France, Russia, Latvia, and Spain, as well as the United States. Jane has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award by RT Book Reviews.

 

Social Networking Links
Website: www.janeashford.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JaneAshfordWriter
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/842700.Jane_Ashford

 

Title: Lord Sebastian’s Secret
Author: Jane Ashford
Series: The Duke’s Sons, #3
ISBN: 9781492621621
Pubdate: January 3, 2017
Genre: Historical Romance

 

He’s hidden this shameful secret all his life…

Lord Sebastian Gresham is a battle tested soldier and brilliant strategist.  Yet all his life he’s had to hide his complete failure to decipher letters. In his own mind, he’s just stupid. What a miracle it is that he’s found the perfect bride. Lady Georgina Stane is beautiful, witty, and brilliantly intelligent. Sebastian is head over heels in love, proud as a peacock, and terrified. But if she finds out his secret, he’ll lose her love forever.

 

Excerpt:

Sebastian closed his eyes and gritted his teeth. He could all too easily picture the astonishing news that he had eloped running through his family—the letters flying back and forth, the disbelief and consternation. The surreptitious brotherly smirking. An image of his mother’s astonished face made him wince.

“Some people think I don’t care about convention,” muttered the marquess. “Not true. And this was too much. An elopement!”

“Except that it wasn’t, Papa,” Georgina pointed out. “It was an unfortunate accident. I think you might have had more faith in my character.”

Frowning at the floor, the older man said something too softly to be heard. Sebastian thought it might have been, “It wasn’t you I was worried about.”

“The duchess is sending your brother,” said Georgina’s mother. She tried to speak blandly, but Sebastian got a clear sense of a woman getting the better of an argument at last.

The marquess glared at the group with a mixture of defiance and contrition.

“Which brother?” Sebastian asked.

“Randolph,” supplied his hostess.

Sebastian groaned softly. If anything could have killed his appetite at this point, the news that a brother had been dispatched to sort him out would have done it. He supposed this was his mother’s idea of just retribution for what she probably characterized as “antics.” She would have known that he would never elope.

If she’d had to send a brother, she could’ve drafted Robert. He’d have made a joke of the whole matter and charmed everyone so thoroughly that they saw it the same way. Alan or James might have refused to be embroiled in such a tangle at all. Nathaniel was still on his honeymoon. Mama couldn’t order him and Violet about quite so easily, anyway.

Randolph, though. Sebastian nearly groaned again. Randolph was usually glad for an excuse to take a few days’ leave from his far-northern parish. And he positively delighted in helping. Sebastian supposed that was why he’d become a parson. Part of the reason. He’d also been asking “why” since he could speak. According to family legend, that had been the first word Randolph learned. Sebastian certainly remembered being followed about by a relentlessly inquisitive toddler.

Nathaniel, a responsible six-year-old, had become so tired of saying he didn’t know that he’d taken to making things up. Sebastian still sometimes had to remind himself that discarded snakeskins were products of reptilian growth rather than intense surprise. Sebastian smiled. Randolph had spent several months trying to startle snakes out of their skin after that tale.

Then Sebastian’s smile died, and he put down his last sandwich. Randolph would revel in Mr. Mitra and the marquess’s lectures on reincarnation. There would be no end to his questions, or to the incomprehensible discussions after the ladies had left the dinner table. Sebastian only just resisted putting his head in his hands.

Georgina was looking at him, though, her expression anxious. He tried a reassuring smile. From her response, he judged that it was only marginally effective. He bolstered it, vowing to deal with Randolph. He would face anything to save her distress.

Georgina stood, holding her still half-full plate to her chest. “I believe I’ll go to my room now,” she said. “I’m quite tired.”

Her father looked guilty, her mother approving. Sebastian wondered at the determination on her face. It seemed excessive for a walk up a few steps. Was her leg hurting? One look at her father told him he would not be allowed to assist her to a bed.

Night had deepened by the time Georgina managed to hunt down Hilda and corner her in a little-used reception room, where she’d apparently been holed up for a good while, judging from the cake crumbs. Georgina stationed herself between her youngest sister and the door and confronted her with hands on hips. “Have you lost your mind?” she demanded.

For a moment, it seemed that Hilda might deny everything, but then she slumped back on the sofa and let out a long sigh. “I only meant to leave you overnight, but everything went wrong from the very first. Whitefoot didn’t like being led. He jerked the rein right out of my hand and ran away. I had to take your Sylph to the Evans farm before I could chase after him. It took hours before I got him there as well.” She paused and looked indignant. “Emma abandoned me! She turned tail and rode home. And she’s been practically hiding in her bedchamber ever since.”

“Perhaps she feels a sense of remorse for having done something absolutely outrageous,” Georgina suggested.

Hilda wrinkled her nose. “Well, we came back first thing the next morning to get you.”

“That does not excuse…”

“And you were gone!” Hilda actually dared to look reproachful. “As if you’d vanished into thin air.”

“Thick mud, more like,” said Georgina.

“If you had just waited, or only walked a little way along the trail, we would have found you. And there wouldn’t have been such a very great fuss. Why didn’t you? How could you be so clumsy as to fall into a gully?” Hilda cocked her head. “I never even knew it was there.”

“Don’t even dream of blaming this on me!” Georgina gazed at her sister. They were alike in coloring and frame, but apparently their minds ran on entirely different paths.

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New Release Excerpt! COMPLETE ME by Geneva Lee (Royals Saga)

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Complete Me
by Geneva Lee

The final book in the Royals Saga

About the Book:

Be swept away in Complete Me, the seventh book in the Royals Saga with over 1 million copies sold worldwide.
I met Clara Bishop when I least expected. Loving her was nothing I could ever have imagined. We’ve weathered dangerous storms together, but our love has always been a tempest. I’m not a perfect man, but I will fight to protect her and I’ll do everything in my power to keep her. But first I have to prove that she completes me.

Return to the world of the Royals and their intersecting lives, loves, and secrets. When Alexander discovers a shocking mystery in his father’s past, it threatens to divide him and Clara forever. As Belle builds her company, she ignores the pain of last year’s events. Can Smith help her move forward once and for all? Edward shocked everyone when he embraced his love for David, but a wedding seems further away than ever before. Will the couple finally make the leap? It’s going to be a scandalous, steamy holiday season for each of them.

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Excerpt:

CHAPTER ONE

Washington, D.C.
Alexander

THE QUEEN’S BEDROOM, considered well-suited to visiting monarchy by the White House staff, felt as stodgy and antiquated as the name suggested. It had certainly received the title when my grandmother wore the crown, because my own wife was anything save boring. Despite the overtly Victorian femininity of the wall-coverings and lacy bedspread, Clara’s presence breathed a vitality into the space. She stirred in her sleep and my breath caught even as I felt a familiar restlessness awakening in me.

Her rich, brown hair fanned over the pillowcase as a serenity passed over her fair features. Her lips began to move silently in her dreams. Propping myself up on my elbow I studied her and wondered who she was talking to. While it might be pointless to be jealous of the time she spent asleep, I couldn’t help it. I couldn’t possess her in her dreams. For my irrational side—which too often overrode my sense—it was unbearable.

Maybe that’s why I felt the need to wake her so often for nocturnal activities.

The anatomical center of my irrationality twitched in agreement at the thought, and my hand went to it. I stroked myself absently. How early was too early to wake her for morning sex? It was difficult to determine given how cocked up our sleep schedule had been since arriving in Seattle a little over a week ago. Since then we’d visited three more U.S. cities on our goodwill tour. At least the capital was our last stop. Between traveling and our daughter’s teething-induced crankiness, Clara was perpetually knackered.

Still, she never said no.

“Are you warming up for something?” she murmured. Her lashes fluttered as she eyed me drowsily.

“I didn’t want to wake you.” I didn’t add that I would have woken her anyway. Although I prided myself on my self-control, I was glaringly deficient in that avenue where it came to my wife. When I had her alone I needed to be touching her.

Clara’s laughter lifted some of the never ceasing weight from my chest. Perhaps my obsession stemmed from the miraculous balm of her presence. She’d always been able to alleviate the burdens I carried with me, even though the pressures in my life had increased exponentially since she came into it. She bound me as she released me. It was the great paradox of our love that we saved each other by chaining ourselves to lives of duty.

“You would have woken me anyway,” she accused, stretching her slender arms over her head.

The movement caught my attention and I seized my chance. Rolling on top of her, I snatched her hands and held them. “Is that a complaint, poppet?”

Her body responded with a comforting awareness of my dominance. Clara’s legs fell open, softening in welcome and her breathing shifted to shallow, eager panting as she purred the only words I needed to hear. “Yes, please.”

I accepted her invitation, releasing my grip on her only long enough to pluck free the sash that held the bed curtains to the post. She didn’t protest as I gently tied her wrist to the bed. Moving my knee against her bare cunt as a gage, I decided she was more than content with the idea of a morning play session.

“I’m not certain Americans approve of bondage so early in the morning.” But she stretched her free arm toward the other post even as she spoke.

I couldn’t hold back my arrogance as I smirked down at her. “I don’t play by their rules.”

I cinched her wrists tighter to prove my point and was rewarded with a warm surge of arousal.

“Should the Queen be tied up in her own bedroom?” She loved to rile me up, knowing that it would pay dividends in how rough I’d get. The more saucy she got, the more I needed to dominate her. Like most couples our sex life ran the gamut of slow and sensual to clawing and primal. Unlike most couples, it ran that gamut daily.

“If she’s in the King’s bed, she should be.” Sinking back on my heels, I appreciated the sight of my wife tied up and helpless. Thankfully the house was large and Elizabeth was with the nanny down the hall, because I felt inspired to make her scream. Clara’s breasts spilled from her silky nightgown and I snapped the fragile straps to release them entirely. Moving down her body, I sucked the soft mound, drawing her nipple into my mouth. While I might be impatient to get her beneath me, I never minded taking my time once I had her there. Quiet moans escaped from her and I increased my suction until I was practically biting the soft flesh. Clara arched toward me, her hips beginning to wiggle as she searched for relief. I loved watching my wife come but guiding her toward the edge was arguably even better. Turning this beautiful, intelligent woman into a mass of incoherent desire was only fair since she reduced me to that primal state every time she walked into a room.

“Don’t you have appointments today?” She pressed her body desperately to mine.

“Not for hours,” I said with a mouthful of her creamy breast. I hadn’t bothered to tell her how early I’d decided to start my day. I had no doubt the time would pass too quickly for both of our likings.

“X!” she demanded through gritted teeth.

I withdrew and raised an eyebrow. Questioning my authority in the bedroom would only earn her more time on her back. I suspected she knew that. “You’re being impatient.”

“And you’re being infuriating!” Her hands curled over her restraints as if she was testing them.

“Don’t think you’re getting out of those so easily,” I informed her even as I settled between her thighs. Stroking the head of my cock down her swollen seam, I grinned at the amusement she couldn’t quite hide from her answering glare. Hoisting her legs around my hips, I held her there, stretching her long body between the bed posts and my groin, and waited.

“Please.” She licked her lips, her eyes going glassy as she asked again. “Please. Please.”

I groaned, unable to resist it when she began to beg, and thrust inside her. Her muscles immediately contracted around my shaft as I drove her toward release. She cried out, splitting apart. I’d taken her over the edge, but once again she’d brought me to my knees.

 

 

THE OVAL OFFICE looked far more ceremonial than official with the camera crew shooting in front of the President’s desk. The room itself was decorated in shades of ivory and yellow, but the color palette did little to warm the cool atmosphere. It wasn’t unreasonable for the White House to film my visit, but it didn’t lend itself to natural conversation. Having never met the new commander-in-chief of the United States, I had to be on my best behavior. I only hoped he would be as well.

“Alexander, welcome.” President Williamson tipped his head in a small greeting as he rose from his chair. It was acknowledgment of our shared power, but not a bow. For that I was grateful. If there was one thing I loved about America, it was that no one routinely felt the need to prostrate themselves in my presence.

Williamson was about the age of my father, but the two had never met. He’d taken office shortly after the assassination that claimed my father’s life. But age is where the similarities ended. Albert had been quintessentially British in his looks and demeanor. At least, in public. Williamson was every bit the American head of state right down to the red power tie. Despite his years, the lines on his face only gave him an air of wisdom that matched his salt and pepper hair, and, like most Americans foisted into the spotlight, he looked more like a movie star than a bedraggled politician. He was the on camera commander, whose power was limited by the large congress of lawmakers also elected by the people. That was one position we were both in.

“Congratulations on your wedding. I had hoped to share your joy, but circumstances…” He trailed away, allowing my memory to recall the events of my wedding day.

“Of course.” I allowed a tight smile. It was polite to offer his solicitations naturally, but no matter how much time had passed I had never put that day behind me. Williamson had been in attendance for the ceremony. Considering the circumstances, he, along with several other powerful dignitaries, had sent their regrets when invited to my coronation. I couldn’t blame them. If I could have skipped the ritual I would have as well. “We’ve been negligent as well. Clara and I planned to visit much earlier. Life and politics got in the way.”

“Don’t they always.” He gestured to a chair next to his, and I took it. “What is your lovely wife up to?”

“Motherhood,” I said stiffly. Clara would not always be able to avoid the camera, but for the time being I was content to enable her. I still hadn’t warmed to the idea of sharing her with the world.

“I was certain our special relationship would be even more special now that you’re married to an American,” the president said light-heartedly as he adjusted his suit coat before taking his seat.

Annoyance surged through me, and I did my best to hide it. This man and this country had no claim to my wife. I couldn’t exactly tell him that though, especially not during a televised interview. “I think you’ll find that Clara is as American as I am.”

We laughed, but neither of us were amused. Williamson’s predecessor had been known for his ease in awkward situations. It hadn’t been a strong enough quality to get him reelected. Now the atmosphere in the Oval Office had the same wary tension of an impending cock fight. This was what happened when you put two alpha males into a room. There was no punchline, only a quiet struggle for power.

“I heard she prefers coffee,” the Secretary of State joined in, her tone effusive. At least, Williamson had appointed someone adept at dismantling tension to his cabinet. It was a particularly keen appointment since she handled most of the administration’s foreign policy.

“I’m working on that,” I admitted. The good-natured ribbing had the intended effect and the conversation shifted into an easygoing conversation between the heads of two sovereign nations. About an hour later, during a rousing debate between the merits of American football versus European football, the camera crews began to dismantle their equipment.

“This way please,” an aide showed the crews out of the office, and the atmosphere changed again.

Williamson slumped in his seat, switching off his on-camera persona and becoming another man. “Scotch?”

“Please.”

A moment later, an aide dutifully delivered the drinks to us as a young, nervous man joined us.

“Alexander, allow me to introduce my press secretary Richard May. He’s here to keep us on track for the press conference.”

I rose and shook the man’s hand as he declined the offering of a Scotch. “I do apologize for sticking you back in front of a camera so soon.”

“I was born in front of a camera,” I said flatly. It wasn’t technically true but it may as well have been. I’d never known what it was like to be in public without someone filming me. My only real sanctuary from that fact had been during my time on the war front.

“Of course,” May said absently as he shuffled through some questions. “I imagine that most of their questions will be fairly soft. They’ll ask about Clara and your daughter.”

I forced myself to nod. Despite my desire to keep my wife and child out of the spotlight, it was futile. I did my best to keep a firm line when it came to the press though, especially given how vicious the media had been during our courtship. As much as possible, I wanted Elizabeth to have a normal life. However unlikely the possibility was.

“Then there’s the Edward issue.”

“I hope you’re speaking about an upcoming magazine article.” This time I didn’t bother to hide my annoyance. I’d been warned by my own people that this might be brought up abroad.

“We’ve briefed the corps on the topics that they’re allowed to broach,” the president assured me, “but freedom of the press means we can’t tell them what they can ask.”

I didn’t miss the none-too-subtle dig. “Britain has it as well.”

“Then you know the trouble it can cause.” Williamson spread his hands apologetically, and I nodded.

There had been some negative attention regarding my brother’s engagement in the tabloids. But Edward’s decision to come out of the closet had been largely met with enthusiasm. For most it signaled that the monarchy was no longer an archaic relic, but there were always dissenters.

“I’m prepared to take the fifth,” I joked, doing my best to sound as if the subject didn’t irk me.

“I think he’ll do just fine.” Williamson winked at May. “Are we ready then?”

May trembled a little as he nodded his head. There wasn’t enough anti-anxiety medicine in the world to counter the stress of his job. It was remarkable that the man was allowed in front of the camera. As we headed toward the briefing room, Williamson lagged behind. I took the signal and followed suit.

“I am sorry that we weren’t at your coronation.” It was a surprisingly sincere apology for a man who had fought to command the room when we first met. “Our security teams felt the risk outweighed the duty, and, speaking man to man, my first concern is always for my wife.”

“It’s understandable.” I could appreciate a man putting his wife first. Where my own safety was concerned, I rarely cared, but I’d surround Clara with an army if she’d allow me. “If it were up to me, Clara wouldn’t have come either.”

Williamson tugged at his necktie, and I realized he was holding something back. After a few seconds, he continued. “Our reports suggest that there might have been a larger plot in the works.”

“Ours as well.” So it wasn’t just the British Secret Service concerned over the assassination. We’d caught the attention of the CIA as well.

“I’m happy to pass along the intelligence we have. I’m sorry to say that most of the information hasn’t panned out.”

“Please,” I said tersely. It wasn’t just their trails that had gone cold, but ours as well. It was tempting to believe that the threat to my family had ended with the murder of Jack Hammond. The problem with accepting that was that someone had seen fit to murder the man, who by all accounts was responsible for my father’s death. If Smith Price, my personal source of information within Hammond’s network, hadn’t been the one to take Hammond’s life, as he claimed, then someone else had been.

“Unless you already have him…” Williamson left the thought hanging in the air. It seemed whatever information he had was unlikely to provide new insight.

“That’s the thing about monsters,” I told him as we stopped outside the briefing gallery. “You cut off one head, only to discover there’s another one.”

“That I understand.”

Both our countries had faced dark times of late. I could imagine the threats to his family were as significant and omnipresent as my own. Without thinking, I clapped a hand on his shoulder in a show of solidarity—and, perhaps, comfort. Williamson’s face showed he understood.

“They’re ready for you, sir,” an aide advised.

I couldn’t quite prevent the grimace that flashed over my face but I replaced it with a smile as I stepped in front of the rows of reporters. May stayed by my side to direct the chaos as they began to call out to me.

“Miss Bernstein,” May said and a woman shot up from her chair. She didn’t bother adjusting her skirt or flipping her hair, instead her eyes zeroed in on me.

This is going to sting.

“Your Highness, will the crown sanction the marriage of your brother?”

It was no surprise that they were going after Edward. I couldn’t expect one of the most ruthless free presses in the world to ask what type of biscuit I preferred. My father would have took the woman’s head off, but I’d already decided to take a different approach. I’d kill them with charm. Ignoring the rage coursing through me, I smiled. “I already have.”

This incited a barrage of follow-ups from the crowd, but I held up a hand before May could step in. “I’d like to limit topics to policy and my country.”

Not my family.

They were off-limits—all of them. I’d lost too many of the people close to me to share the ones I had left. If I had to give every part of me away to protect my family, I would. There was a moment of squirming silence while the journalists regrouped.

“There’s a vocal minority in Parliament that’s growing in strength, who would like to see the monarchy abolished. How will you respond if support for the initiative gains momentum?” an intrepid man called out.

“God save the King,” I replied, earning a wave of laughter. The dry response shifted the line of questioning to topics sure to produce amusing sound bites. I did my best to stay clever, and steer things away from the people in my life. When I finally took my leave, Williamson met me at the door.

“All charm and no concrete answers—you were born for politics.”

I supposed it was meant as a compliment. “I was born into politics.”

“I guess you never have had much of a choice,” he mused as we made our way to the residential rooms. “Your destiny was decided for you.”

I thought of Clara and my life before I met her. Every moment of my life propelled me to her, and yet I’d tried to push her away. In the end, we’d decided to fight for one another. That had been a choice—as had my decision to take the throne. It had been a personal decision. Becoming king allowed me to search for those responsible for the attacks on my wife. In the end, there had always been choices—hard ones. “I’ve chosen my destiny.”

“As have I.” Williamson paused to say goodbye before returning to his office. He still had a day of work ahead of him, and I had my whole world ahead of me. I entered the small living suite our hosts had offered us quietly, afraid to wake a sleeping toddler. Instead, a babbling ball of joy toppled toward me as Elizabeth misstepped. In one swift move I scooped my daughter into my arms.

“I’m sorry, Your Majesty!” Penny, the ever-fussing nursemaid we’d brought along rushed over to save me, but I held my little girl. The poor woman couldn’t fathom that a man would want to care for his child. If it killed me, I would show her that I wasn’t simply any man.

Clara looked up from her book and rolled her eyes at the scene developing before her, but she didn’t step in. Later I’d be more than happy to spank her for being mischievous. Her lips curled into a knowing smirk as if she could read my mind.

“Penny, why don’t you take a few minutes for yourself,” I advised her.

“Sir?” She stared at me as if this was a test.

“I’d like to be alone with my family,” I clarified.

She continued to look distraught, but she curtsied and took her leave.

“Is it so hard to believe that I want to hold my daughter?” I grumbled when we were alone.

“I suppose most kings are interested in furthering their bloodline not building blocks.” Clara’s eyes lingered on the two of us as I settled onto the carpet with Elizabeth, who immediately pulled herself up and began practicing her latest trick: walking.

“Clever girl,” I praised her. “Already walking.”

“She’s nearly fifteen months old,” Clara pointed out, even as she dropped onto the floor beside me. Soon she was as captivated by Elizabeth’s antics as I was. My hand found hers on the carpet. We stayed like that until a familiar form appeared in the doorway. Norris looked as proud as any grandfather as he surveyed my family, but when I lifted my gaze to his, I immediately knew something was wrong.

“I’ll just be a few minutes,” I murmured to Clara, brushing a kiss over her forehead even as it wrinkled in concern. Norris had given us a fair amount of space during our limited family time. We both knew that his sudden appearance meant news out of England. Getting to my feet, I crossed the room to him, Elizabeth taking dozens of tiny steps to try to catch up with me.

“There’s been a development,” Norris said under his breath. We both glanced toward Clara who was watching us with wary eyes. She didn’t like to be kept out of the loop, a fact which had been a sore point since the day we married. Her contention that we should keep no secrets from each other was valid, but I couldn’t bear to burden her with the knowledge I carried.

I stepped into the hallway and Norris followed.

“Is it about Hammond?” Nearly a year after his murder and we were no closer to the answers that might lead me to our common enemy. Whoever had murdered him hadn’t done so as a favor to me. That was becoming clearer with each stone we turned over.

“No. I’m not even certain what it means.”

“You’re going to have to give me more to go on,” I informed him. It wasn’t like Norris to be mysterious, which meant that whatever news he had to deliver wasn’t good.

“The team combing through your father’s personal effects uncovered something.”

“That would seem to be good news.” When I’d asked for a discreet team to dig further into my father’s personal life, I’d hoped to find links to the people responsible for his death. Whatever secrets he’d kept could be the key to discovering the truth about what happened that day.

“I’m afraid it only raises more questions.” Norris looked torn and my pulse ratcheted up as adrenaline surged through my blood.

“What did they find?” I forced the question past gritted teeth.

“Not what,” Norris corrected gently. “Who.”

“Who?” I repeated. “They found a person?”

“They found your brother.”

“Edward?” I asked even as sensation of vertigo gripped me.

“No.” Norris paused to allow what he was saying to sink in.

“I have another brother?” My words were so strangled I barely recognized my own voice.

Norris drew a deep breath as if steeling both of us for what came out next. “It seems you do indeed.”
 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:geneva3bw

Geneva Lee is the New York Times, USA Today, and Internationally bestselling author of the Royals Saga. She likes writing steamy scenes almost as much as imagining crazy ways to torture her characters. Geneva travels frequently, never says no to champagne, and spends more time with fictional people than living, breathing ones. She lives her husband and two children.

 

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