Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Tangled Up In You


Giveaway Alert!


"Chase just gets better and better."—Booklist

They'll change each other's fate...

One fateful night Bobby Hannigan sustains a gunshot wound that could end his career as a police officer. If that's taken from him, he doesn't know what he'll do. The only ray of hope is Teagan Shaughnessy—a kindhearted single mom who understands his struggles...

Teagan and her young son have just moved back to the Carolina coast to be near family. When she meets Bobby, the timing feels wrong, but everything else feels oh-so-right. Bobby and Teagan each had plans for their own futures. But they're finding that those plans are meaningless if they can't be together...

The Shaughnessy Brothers series:
Made for Us (Book 1)
Love Walks In (Book 2)
Always My Girl (Book 3)
This Is Our Song (Book 4)
A Sky Full of Stars (Book 5)
Holiday Spice (Book 6)

Praise for Samantha Chase:
"I dare you to stop reading until the end."—RACHEL VAN DYKEN, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author for One More Moment

Excerpt:
He was only five feet from the door when Teagan stepped in front of him. Bobby stopped short so he wouldn’t slam into her.
“Oh no. You are not doing this again.”
“Excuse me?”
With her arms crossed over her chest, she nodded. “This running away crap? I’m done with that.”
He still wasn’t sure he understood what she was getting at, and she must have figured that out.
“First time we met? You walked away after a plate almost slipped out of your hands.”
“Teagan…”
“Then you pretty much sprinted out of here last week after you hurt your shoulder.”
“I had ice cream first.”
She gave him a sour look. “And you didn’t come back like you said you would.” She stepped in close to him. “I prefer it when people honor their word.”
Now he was getting a little annoyed.
“I think if Anna hadn’t asked you to come today, I’d probably never have seen you again. I mean, sure, maybe at some Shaughnessy family event years from now, but other than that, you would have done whatever you could to avoid me. Except thanks to Anna, you did come back, and you’ve played with Lucas and by now he’s got some sort of hero-worship thing going on with you. So if you think I’m going to just let you pull another disappearing act, you’re crazy!”
She was doing her best to keep her voice down, but there was no mistaking how angry she was. Now what was he supposed to do? Or say?
Teagan must have taken his silence for something else because she let out a huff of annoyance and stepped aside, motioning toward the door. “Fine. Whatever. Just go.”
He heard her annoyance, but he saw her disappointment. And that got to him more than anything else.
Instead of walking out the door, he advanced on her. Her eyes went wide and she took a step back, even as he took another toward her.
“You’re wrong,” he said, his voice low and gruff. “I did want to see you again. Since the day we met, I’ve wanted to see you again. Even after I stormed off like a jackass, all I could think about was how good it would be to see you again.”
Teagan took two steps back and hit the wall. Bobby moved in until they were toe-to-toe. “I don’t like asking anyone for help or needing help, but the fact that I kept embarrassing myself in front of you? It was almost more than I could stand.”
“Bobby, you had nothing to be embarrassed about. I totally understand what you’re dealing with,” she argued.
But he shook his head. “You don’t. You can’t,” he countered. “I’m just a man, Teagan, and I can’t help but have a little pride. I don’t like looking weak. I don’t like being weak. If we had met at any other time—”
“But we didn’t,” she whispered.
Yeah, it was crazy to wish for something he couldn’t have. In a perfect world, he wouldn’t have gotten shot. In a perfect world, he would have been confident enough to ask her out. And in a perfect world, he’d have every right to close the distance between them and kiss her.
She swallowed hard, her big blue eyes never blinking, and watched him as if waiting for…something.
“What is it you want from me, Teagan? You want me to apologize for walking away? For not coming back? What? Tell me what it is you’d like me to do.”
He hoped and prayed she wanted the same thing he did.
“I want you to stop running. You have nothing to fear from me,” she said, brutal in her frankness. “I don’t care that you’re still recovering. I don’t care that you may need help from time to time. But I expect honesty from my friends, Bobby. Always.”
Friends.
The kiss of death.
Dammit.
So many retorts were on the tip of his tongue, yet he couldn’t speak. Friends? So the attraction he’d been feeling was all one-sided? For a man who never had to put much effort into getting a woman, this was like being hit in the face with the ball all over again.
“Friends,” he finally said.
She nodded. “It’s all I can offer you.” Apparently, he was that transparent. “My main priority is Lucas, and I’m not looking to get involved with anyone. Especially someone who…” She paused and looked down at the floor.
“Someone who what?” he prompted, feeling more than a little annoyed now.
After a moment, she looked back up at him. “Someone with a history of being a serial dater,” she said defiantly. “If I were single, no kids, it would be one thing, but I have my son to worry about. I don’t get involved in casual relationships. I can’t. As it is, I was scared even to let you come and watch him today, because other than my dad, Lucas hasn’t had any other male role models. Now that I see how quickly he bonded with you, I regret my selfishness.”
“How the hell were you selfish?”
“I was desperate to have a day to myself!” she cried. “To get my nails done and my hair cut and do all the things I haven’t had the time to do in forever. And now I’m going to be hearing all about you for who knows how long!”
Now he was thoroughly confused.
“So now I’m not good enough even to have around as a friend?” he asked incredulously.
“That’s not what I’m saying, Bobby. I’m saying…I don’t want to confuse Lucas. I don’t want him getting attached to someone who has no interest in sticking around.”
Again the questions about Lucas’s father came to mind, but he was too wrapped up in all the ways Teagan was insulting him right now to ask.
He leaned in close. “You don’t know anything about me.” He meant to sound menacing, and he felt like he pulled it off.
“I know enough. People talk,” she replied confidently.
“People? What people?”
“Quinn,” she said with a smug smile. “He told me all about you.”
If he thought he was angry before, it was nothing compared to how he felt right now. How dare his brother-in-law say anything derogatory about him! That crap was supposed to be all ancient history.
“You know my history with your cousin,” he countered. “Of course he was going to talk trash about me. And why would you even ask him? Why not just come to me if you wanted to know something?”
“Because you were usually walking away. When was I supposed to ask you anything?”
Okay. She had a point. But still…
This wasn’t getting them anywhere. He wasn’t doing himself any favors with the way he was acting right now, and thanks to Quinn, she already had a bad opinion of him, one that he would have to fight. Stepping away from her, he raked a hand through his hair and let out a weary sigh. Maybe it was time to just let this go. His life was total crap right now, and she wasn’t looking to get involved with anyone, so why was he fighting this?
When he faced her again, he had his answer.
Because she was beautiful.
Because she challenged him.
Because she had the potential to break his heart.
In a perfect world, all the obstacles would be removed. But this wasn’t a perfect world and he was an imperfect man. And because he had nothing left to lose, he leaned in and kissed her.

Purchase Links:
Indiebound: http://bit.ly/2Dhgj52

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Saturday, April 20, 2019

MATCH MADE IN MONACO

With: Shana Gray

Giveaway and FREE book alert!

Hi everyone!

I’m thrilled to be here and give you an excerpt and tell you a little bit about my newest release A MATCH MADE IN MONACO. It’s the final, in the 4 book series GIRLS WEEKEND AWAY. This time we’re jetting off to Monaco for a wedding. I won’t tell you who’s wedding, because that would be a spoiler. This is Fredi and Zayn’s story, but all the girls and their sexy men are back together to celebrate the big day.

Check out my contest info after the excerpt!

Fredi peered through the old glass panes when she heard the sound of tires crunching on the driveway and saw a sleek, very sporty car emerge from between the trees.

She left the greenhouse and shut the door behind her. The top was down on the sports car and Zayn looked very enticing behind the wheel. That damn earlier flutter in her belly came back with a vengeance. It was one thing to see him on the screen of a movie theater or her laptop, but in person? Whew. When he spotted her, the look of delight on his face gave Fredi a little thrill. She tried to hide it behind a poker face. Stones crunched and flew from beneath the wheels as he pulled to a stop in front of her. Fredi stared down at him and, for the briefest moment, liked the little flutter inside her.

But here he was, the man behind the phone, tablet and silver screen. He looked totally dashing in his car, like an old-style movie star, handsome, mysterious. His skin was deeply tanned, his dark hair windblown, and a pair of very stylish and obviously expensive pewter-colored sunglasses shielded his eyes. But it was his smile that made her almost melt into a puddle – which surprised the hell out of her – a smile she grudgingly accepted she’d been eager to see in real life.

She had just reached for the handle of the passenger side door when he hopped from the car and swept her into a bear hug, before pulling back and kissing her cheeks in greeting. She barely had time to register the feeling of his body, hard, warm and solid, against hers before he was opening the door for her.

“You look absolutely gorgeous, as to be expected. Hop into my chariot, ma chérie.”

Fredi felt slightly stunned as she gazed at this sexy man. He oozed a sensuality that was tangible and it draped over her in a wonderfully erotic wave. Fredi sucked in a steadying breath, taken aback at her heightened attraction to him. There was no doubt she was very in tune with him and it almost made her want to drag him back to her room in the château and get him naked. She slid on to the leather seat. He gently closed the door and, as he walked around the car, she took a moment to collect herself and watch him. Wowza – he moved with a stealthy grace that made her heart pound. If Ava was here, she’d be babbling about love. Tilting her head away, she shook it a little. More like lust, am I right? Good God, he was way hotter in person.

~~
Givewaway Alert:
To celebrate the finale of GIRLS WEEKEND AWAY series, I’m having a big contest. How would you like a chance to win a Kindle and a whole bunch of books by some of my author friends? Click on over to my blog for details and the entry form HERE My wish is that you enjoy Bonni, Celia, Ava, and Fredi’s adventures.

FREE Book Alert:
Oh! Right now, WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS is #free in US and Canada, so go and 1-click before you forget! https://amzn.to/2DzflT1

BIO
Shana Gray writes contemporary romance and women’s fiction that just might make you laugh. With 30 books behind her, some translated into multiple languages, she’s always eyeing the next story line. She lives in a small town in Ontario, Canada, is a mom of two grown sons, a brand new daughter-in-law, and is her black cat’s human. When she’s not writing or at her day job, she can be found daydreaming about life, usually with a glass of wine or cocktail in hand and making travel plans to far off lands to feed her wanderlust. Her newest series – Girl’s Weekend Away – is out now.




Friday, April 19, 2019

Promise Me


Hello and thanks for having us at Just Contemporary Romance! Robin Bielman and I are so excited to share an excerpt from our new release, Promise Me, with your readers. It’s a book of firsts! Our first time writing together, my first time writing new adult, Robin’s first time working with a crazy person, and it’s our heroine, Kendall’s, first time…um…well…let’s cover that in the excerpt, shall we?

***
As the waiter retreats, Vaughn turns to me. “So, you’re a virgin.”
I almost choke on a swallow of water. “’Fraid so,” I manage, and set the glass down.
“Virginity pledge?”
“No.” It’s so far off base I actually smile. “Is this your idea of interesting dinner conversation?”
He’s utterly complacent as he shrugs. “I’m interested. Very interested. Religious reasons?”
I shake my head. “No again.”

“Just haven’t met the right guy?”

My smile wilts. We’ve reached a conversational cliff. The next step is going to be a doozy. I tip my head to the side and look him in the eye. “You sure you want to know?”
He takes my hand. “I’m sure. You can tell me anything, Kendall. You can trust me.” Then his expression kind of freezes, and his fingers squeeze mine. “Shit. I’m a dumbass. Somebody hurt you.”
Once again, his concern makes me feel like a fraud, but this time I have to speak up instead of running away. “No. Nothing like that.” My chin trembles, and there’s a painful clog in my throat, so instead of elaborating, I pinch my lips together and wipe the corner of my eye with my free hand.
“Tell me,” he whispers.
I’m not sure if it’s a question or a request, but the patient words push us closer to the point of no return. Even though I’m terrified he won’t be there when I land, it’s a risk I’m ready to take. If I keep holding Vaughn at arm’s length he’ll definitely back off. There was a time I never shied away from people, and I miss that girl. If I tell him the truth he’ll either think I’m an awful person and this will be the last time I see him, or...
He’ll understand.

***
If you love Robin Bielman’s stories, or mine, or you’re a sucker for a virgin heroine with a complicated past and a playboy hero who’s going to have to up his game to gain her trust, we hope we’ve enticed you to try a first too, in the form of Promise Me! It’s available now at your favorite e-book retailers.

PROMISE ME

Instead of soaking up the SoCal sunshine while housesitting for my aunt, I’m dealing with a Pomeranian who thinks she’s a Pitbull, two half-sisters who would happily prune me off the family tree, and him. Vaughn Shaughnessy. Hot model about to go nuclear, dangerously sexy flirt whose perceptive green eyes promise he’s more than just a pretty face. He’s the kind of walking, talking temptation I should avoid, but that’s impossible because he also happens to be my extremely lickable—I mean likeable—neighbor.
He’s turning me into a hot mess.
Thing is, I can’t handle more messes in my life. I’m still trying to come to terms with the monumental ones in my past, and getting involved with Vaughn—even for temporary summer fun—is guaranteed to get messy. I don’t dare risk it, but I’m not sure I can resist…




Wednesday, April 17, 2019

TOMBSTONES


Giveaway of a $10 gift card!

Happy spring!! April showers, bring May flowers, and what’s better than spending a rainy spring day with a good book? I knew from the start that there would be three main parts to the Beekman Hills series, but never in my wildest dreams did I think that the characters in TOMBSTONES would run away with the story like they did!

TOMBSTONES is the final full-length stand alone in the Beekman Hills series, wrapping things up <snickers and snorts> with Jack and Kate. Sure, TOMBSTONES sounds like nothing but doom and gloom, but you will laugh and gasp, with tears rolling down your face… all before the tears really set in. If you’ve read the other Beekman Hills books, you’ve already met Kate way back in Troubles and her hot mess shows up all along the way. She and Jack have fantastic chemistry and couldn’t be more perfect for each other.

I absolutely loved writing this book, the characters burrowing their way into my soul! Grab a blanket, a cup of tea, and dive right into TOMBSTONES, where forever is found between tragedy and tombstones.


Book Info
Tombstones, the final standalone novel in the Beekman Hills series by KC Enders is ready to set your heart on fire. Fans of military and secret baby romance will love this angsty yet humorous read. It was supposed to be just a month of fun, but neither of them thought they’d find forever between tragedy and tombstones.

Find out more: Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo | EdenBooks

No strings. No mess. No complications.
It was supposed to be just a month of fun.
But two blue lines have them both considering a future that neither of them knew they wanted.

KATE BEARD


Kindergarten teacher.
Tequila connoisseur.
Expert in finding Mr. WRONG.
Ever since Kate discovered the man she thought she’d marry macking on his boyfriend, she has had nothing but bad luck in love.
What she needs is a fresh start.
When MURPHY and his damn LAW drop the perfect man right in front of her, it’s just her luck that he’s only there temporarily.

WYATT JACKSON


Captain, Special Forces.
Confirmed bachelor.
In the running for uncle of the year.
One month stateside to enjoy top-shelf tequila, lose himself in a gorgeous woman, an
to try and forget the desert.
What he needed was a reset. What he got, was a sassy southern woman hellbent on bringing him to his knees. 

Neither thought they’d find forever between tragedy and tombstones.

Giveaway:

KC is giving away a $10 Amazon gift card and a digital copy Troubles, Twist or Tunes...winner’s choice to one lucky person leaving a comment or email entry!

Author Info
Karin is a New York Girl living in a Midwest world. A connoisseur of great words, fine bourbon, and strong coffee, she’s married to the love of her life who is also her best friend. The mother of two grown men, she is proud to say that they can cook and clean up after themselves, and always open doors for the ladies (you’re welcome, world). Even though her boys no longer live at home, the big dogs she’s rescued have taken up their empty space.


Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST April 18th. Due to GDPR regulations you no longer need to submit your email address in the comments. If you have been selected as a winner your name will be posted at the top of the post. You may then contact maureen@JustContemporaryRomance.com to claim your prize. Your email address will be shared with the author/publicist providing the giveaway. 

Monday, April 15, 2019

Carolyn Brown's Real Life Inspiration for Writing THE PERFECT DRESS


Giveaway Alert!


Hello, everyone and thank you for inviting me to your site today! 

My granddaughter is getting married this fall, and she’s not one of those size six girls who can walk into wedding dress store, try on a dozen dresses and find the perfect dress—especially when she has her heart set on a black lace dress for her wedding. When we began to shop for her dress, I wished for a custom wedding shop that catered only to women who wore a size fourteen or larger. So I created one called The Perfect Dress and set it in the little town of Celeste, Texas. This summer I plan to bring my old Singer sewing machine out of retirement, and make my granddaughter’s black lace wedding dress—just the way she and I will design it!

The Perfect Dress is not a real place so don’t go to the local doughnut shop in Celeste and ask about it, but the town, the characters and the shop were all very real to me while I was writing about it.

Speaking of characters let me introduce you to Mitzi. She’s and her two plus sized friends, Paula and Jody, have dreamed of putting in their own plus-sized wedding dress shop for years. Now it’s a reality. They’ve bought an old two story house at the edge of Celeste and hung out their shingle. 

Jody is a thin vegetarian now, but when the girls were in high school, she was a big girl just like her friends. She’s living proof that a woman will do anything for love, but when love goes awry, she’s sure glad that she’s got Mitzi and Paula to support her.

Paula is carrying a big secret. The three women have shared everything since they were little children, but she can’t talk about her secret, not when both her friends are in the middle of drama themselves. She has to be the strong one to share Jody’s sorrow and Mitzi’s happiness.

Fanny Lou, Mitzi’s grandmother, is an eccentric old gal with lots of advice that she’s not one bit shy about spreading around. She’s the mother role for all of them, constantly popping into the shop with a box of doughnuts, or the local gossip.

Lately Mitzi has been feeling like maybe her ‘perfect family’ is missing someone... perhaps the perfect man. She hasn’t seen him since high school, but that doesn’t mean that Mitizi’s heart doesn’t go pitter-patter for this awesome single dad. Graham towers above Mitzi, who is almost six feet tall. He has twin girls, who are also plus sized. He feels the sparks, too, but questions whether Mitzi could ever love some big guy who already has teenage daughters.

There is definitely a gap between the teenager girls, who help out in the shop, and Fanny Lou, the granny, and the three best friends. But true friendship knows nothing about age—it’s love, support, and unflinching loyalty towards each other, no matter what the age.

Excerpt: The Perfect Dress by Carolyn Brown


Mitzi rushed back to the sewing room, where the hum of two sewing machines filled the air. “Graham Harrison just came in the shop to set up an appointment for his two daughters. He said they only live a few houses up the street from us. He looked like a bull in a china shop sitting on that pink sofa. And of course he didn’t even recognize me, but I sure knew him the minute I laid eyes on him.”

At the mention of that name from the past, work jolted to a halt.

“All the girls in high school swooned over him, including Mitzi, but she hasn’t told us if he’s still as sexy as he was back then.” Jody took a bowl of salad from the fridge along with a plate of vegetables that she stuck into the microwave to heat.

“He’s aged very, very well, and I’m having cookies,” Mitzi said.

“Smart girl,” Fanny Lou said. “Life is short. Eat dessert first. So you had a little crush on Graham?”

“Everyone did,” Mitzi answered.

“Not me. I was always in love with Lyle,” Jody said.

“Well, according to what I heard at the church bake sale today, Graham moved his daughters here to Celeste because they were being fat shamed down in Greenville. One of them knocked a girl on her butt, blacked both eyes, and bloodied her nose with one punch. It was the last day of school and they said they were going to suspend her for the first two weeks of next year for fighting,” Jody said.

“She should get a medal, not suspended,” Mitzi fumed.

Fanny Lou took a gallon jug of sweet tea from the fridge. “Who all wants a glass?”

Three hands went up.

She filled four glasses with ice and then tea and carried them to the table. “I remember when he went to work for his dad at the Cadillac dealership—right after he and Rita got married. His dad gave him a job on the lowest level, and he had to work his way up. Rita was furious because she thought they’d get a big house and a new Caddy every year. Stupid woman figured since his folks had money that he had an open bank account.”

Paula took the ham and cheese containers from the fridge while Mitzi pulled a loaf of bread from the cabinet. “You eating with us, Granny?”

“I’ll eat with you and Paula, but I don’t want any of that stuff Jody is having. I don’t eat fake meat. I’ll eat what I want and die when I’m supposed to. Slice some of them tomatoes I brought in here earlier. And I’d rather have bologna instead of ham and mustard instead of mayo,” Fanny Lou answered.

“Me, too,” Paula said. “I want one like hers.”

“I was thinking the same thing.” Mitzi set about making three sandwiches.

So Graham was divorced and raising girls on his own. Bless his heart for getting them away from a school that bullied them because of their size. Mitzi could relate to the girls. But then, so could Jody and Paula. She’d always figured that Jody adopted her own modern-day hippie style to combat those feelings of insecurity. Paula had retreated into superstition. Mitzi had just plowed her way through emotions and other kids, spending a lot of time in the principal’s office for fighting.

She pushed all that to the back of her mind, put the sandwiches on plates, and carried them to the table. “Y’all know that this job for Ellie Mae could turn into a big thing. I bet her older sister will be the maid of honor and her mother will want a fancy dress.”

“That’s what you’re in business for, isn’t it?” Fanny Lou said. “Man, this brings back memories. Friday night was bologna sandwich night when I was a kid.”

“Why?” Jody asked.

“Because Mama always cleaned house on Friday, and she didn’t have time to make a big meal,” Fanny Lou answered.

“Funny how an hour of beading takes forever and our noon hour goes so fast.” Jody pointed to the clock.

“Good Lord!” Fanny Lou finished off her sandwich and grabbed a cookie. “I’ve got an appointment with my CPA at one and it’s a fifteen-minute drive to Greenville. See you girls later. You have my permission to flirt with Graham, Mitzi.”

Mitzi’s cheeks began to burn. “I had a teenage crush on him. I’ve grown up since then.”

Fanny Lou winked as she headed for the door. “Paula, since you live with Mitzi, I’m putting you in charge of being sure she takes her birth control pills every morning.”

Mitzi felt even more heat in her cheeks. “Granny!”

“When you get old you get to say whatever the hell you want to.” Fanny Lou closed the door behind her.

THE PERFECT DRESS
Releases April 16 from Montlake Romance

In the small town of Celeste, Texas, Mitzi Taylor has never quite fit inside the lines. Nearly six feet tall, flame-haired, and with a plus-size spirit to match every curve, she’s found her niche: a custom wedding-dress boutique catering to big brides-to-be with big dreams. Taking the plunge alongside her two best friends, she’s proud they’ve turned The Perfect Dress into a perfect success.

Just when Mitzi has it all pulled together, Graham Harrison walks back into her life, looking for bridesmaid dresses for his twin daughters. A still-strapping jock whose every gorgeous, towering inch smells like aftershave, the star of all Mitzi’s high school dreams is causing quite a flush.

For Mitzi, all it takes is a touch to feel sparks flitting around her like fireflies. She can just imagine what a kiss could do. Graham’s feeling it, too. And he’s about to make that imagination of Mitzi’s run wild. Is it just a hot summer fling, or are Mitzi’s next designs for herself and seeing her own dreams come true?


Author Biography

Carolyn Brown is a New York TimesUSA TodayPublisher’s Weekly, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author and a RITA finalist with more than ninety published books. Her genres include romance, history, cowboys and country music, and contemporary mass-market paperbacks. She and her husband live in the small town of Davis, Oklahoma, where everyone knows everyone else, knows what they are doing and when . . . and reads the local newspaper every Wednesday to see who got caught. They have three grown children and enough grandchildren to keep them young. Visit Carolyn at www.carolynbrownbooks.com.

Social Media Links



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Sunday, April 14, 2019

Rough and Ready


Hi everyone! I’m Cathleen Ross, and I am delighted to be joining you on Just Contemporary Romance. For an ebook giveaway to one reader, read on:
I write hot erotic romance for Entangled's Scorched line. My latest release is ROUGH AND READY.
Here's a peek at what you'll be getting:

Before special ops soldier Hugo Boudreaux can move on, he has one last thing to do–fulfill a wartime debt to the friend who saved his life. He must infiltrate a vicious Louisiana MC club to stop their next illegal weapons shipment and send the president to jail. What he didn’t plan on was ending up an unwilling bodyguard to the man’s daughter–innocent and attractive nurse Alice Kaintuck.
Alice wants a normal life with a nice guy. But her rough-edged bodyguard is the sexiest man she's ever met. Suddenly she can’t stop thinking about just how hot he makes her. Before she knows it, she’s tumbling into his muscular arms…though she'll be damned if she'll fall in love with a man as dangerous as her father. Only Hugo doesn’t make love, he consumes her and turns her life upside down with his carnal, erotic sex. Dreams of nice guys vanish when her enemy becomes her obsession…


Excerpt

Alice adjusted the pillows so she could stare straight into Hugo's sea-green eyes, needing answers. Rough sex. What the hell was that? He was still befuddled by his orgasm, so she knew it was the time to drill down to the truth.

He frowned and looked away from her, but she put her hand on his cheek and steered his face to hers. "Talk to me. I need answers. I want to understand what you mean by rough sex."

He shifted onto his side, regarding her warily as if he was cautious of letting her in. "I'm an adrenaline junky. My teachers hated me. They did a psych evaluation on me because I couldn't concentrate. Turned out I was smart but a high-risk individual, attracted to danger."

"Why doesn't that surprise me? I swear you lit up in that bar like you wanted to fight. You goaded Beast. Even a knife to the throat didn't stop you. You're nuts."

He grinned. "I enjoy pitting myself against an enemy. I love the feel of flesh on flesh. Of punishing the opposition. Someone I can fight until he has nothing left, until I'm exhausted too, but I have to get up again."

"You don't seem to have any fear." Intrigued, she wanted to know: what kind of man was he?

"I'm not proud of it, but you're right. I get off on danger. I'm not a desk-job man. Normal everyday stuff bores me, but I have to find a way to fit back into society."

"So what are you telling me? You've had sex once, and now you're bored. Am I some sort of experiment to help you settle?"

He stroked her cheek with feather-light fingers. "No. That's not what I'm saying. This job, protecting you, is exactly what I like. He grinned. "Along with the special benefits. I'm fine with normal sex, too, but it doesn't give me a high. I like to play games. Edgy stuff. That's what gets me off."

"Edgy. What's edgy?"


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