Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Excerpt - Rumor Has It by Jessica Lemmon

Today I get to share an excerpt from Jessica Lemmon's new release, Rumor Has It!


“Your cohort will be writing from his own POV on what it’s like to be the bad boy who’s committed to dating. It’s a dash of fiction, a dash of romance, and a dash of what you’re best at writing: relationships.”

“Who is it?” Nanci asks, excitement rounding her blue eyes. I’m not there yet. I’m still in shock.

“Me,” a rough voice announces from the doorway behind me.

I turn my head to look over my shoulder, stunned further into silence by the sheer attractiveness of the man standing there. He’s so good-looking it’s criminal. But then, he is—

“Barrett Fox!” Nanci says and then bursts into a series of nervous giggles.

“In the flesh.” He bends at the waist to place a kiss on Mia’s temple. “Sorry I’m late.”

“I’d expect no less,” Mia says with a smile that—yeah, is a little gooey. She bats her un-mascaraed lashes while she’s at it.

Who knew my boss had a sexual bone in her body? I thought she was made of steel beams and asbestos.

Everyone at the conference room table, save me, stands as one and moves to Barrett Fox like he has his own orbit. Mia shushes the chatter around us.

“Okay, all right. Now that you all have your assignments, let’s leave Barrett and Catarina to theirs.” She makes a shooing motion and everyone shuffles reluctantly out the door.

I slide a derisive glance to my new “co-worker” and wonder what I did to Mia to make her stick me with this assignment. Except I know exactly why she did it. Mia’s work ethic can be described in two words: bottom line. She knows a prime opportunity to bring money to this paper when she sees it.

She flips to another sheet in her yellow pad and tears it out, laying it in front of me.

“I’ll let you hash out the details.” Before she shuts the door, she adds, “Barrett. You know where to find me.”

“Sure do, doll.” He winks then takes her chair at the head of the table, leaning back and kicking up his feet.

I recoil from the blatant rudeness of that move, but I shouldn’t be surprised. Barrett Fox is known for his rude antics, and this one is tame by comparison. Unlike the photos of him I’ve seen online: sweaty, streaked in dirt, or even dressed in a suit making lewd gestures at the camera.

There’s no way to escape the popularity of the local OSU football player who went pro, especially in Columbus. This paper was built on a foundation of footballs.

He wears a crisp, white shirt tucked into dark pants, black leather shoes, and because he kicked his feet up and crossed them at the ankles, I also notice a pair of red socks with white polka dots.

“What’s your name, gorgeous?”

I reroute my gaze to his face. Sharp, angular, a deep dent in his chin. His eyelids are narrowed in assessment, but I know under those red-brown eyelashes his irises are so blue they border on turquoise.

Nanci had a calendar of him last year. I’ve seen this guy in every pose from decked out in full gear to shirtless, to the one where he’s lying on a beach, his shorts pulled past his ass crack.

He’s long and lean, and I might have had a passing appreciation for how attractive he is if I didn’t know so much about him.

“What if I called you Ginger? Would that upset you?” I ask tartly, referring to the perfectly coiffed reddish hair on top of his head. He’s good with gel, or has his own stylist. Or maybe he’s sleeping with a stylist.

He grins at my question—straight white teeth he didn’t lose any of playing ball for eight years—and props his hands behind his head.

His shirtsleeves are uncuffed and rolled to the elbows, the scruff on his face two days past clean-shaven.

“Apologies, beautiful, but you know my name. I don’t know yours.”

“You mean Mia didn’t tell you my name when she threw me to the wolves?” I snap. I have a momentary fantasy where I talk Mia into reassigning this puff piece to Nanci, but she wont. Nanci mostly helps out with articles. She hasn’t honed her journalistic skills well enough to be entrusted with a column.

When ad dollars are involved, Mia’s focus is ensuring a climb in readership. Not to brag, but that’s the reason I’m in charge of the relationships section. I’m good. Not because of some magic fairy dust but because I work my ass off.

Still, it would have been nice to write a commentary about how to date a real man instead of this one. A man who knows how to properly wear a button-down shirt, for example. Like North.

“Ouch. I’m guessing you’re not a fan?”

“Of you? I barely know who you are, Mr. Fox.”

“You seem to know plenty. I can read it in the pleat between those two perfect eyebrows.” He runs those blue eyes over my face, down my blouse and lingers at my breasts.

I lift the paper Mia left behind in front of my chest to avoid further scrutiny.

“Catarina Everhart,” I say as I read over the sheet of paper in my hand. Mia’s shorthand is atrocious but after five years of practice, I can read her hieroglyphics without any problem.

“Do you go by Cat?”

“No. I don’t. Do you go by Bare?”

“Sometimes.” He shrugs, lowers his feet to the floor, and leans over the table. He flicks the back of the paper I’m using as a shield.

“Is this what ‘dating you’ is going to be like?” I sneer.

“Close.” His lips twitch at the corner. “Add in a few slow, long, wet kisses that’ll curl your toes and a little under the shirt/over the bra action, and you’re there.”

Rumor Has It is available TODAY!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Release Day Excerpt - The Hookup by Erin McCarthy

Today I get to share with a you an excerpt from Erin McCarthy's new release, The Hookup!


I’ll take a beer.” Sophie sank down onto my couch, which was a very non-descript beige overstuffed monstrosity. She practically disappeared in the cushions.
            I went into the galley kitchen and opened the refrigerator. The shelves were pretty sparse but there was a six pack of light beer, which I knew Sophie liked. I snagged one and twisted off the top. Then I drew the whiskey across the countertop to me. I debated a glass, decided it was classier since I had company. I got a tumbler down and put two fingers in.
            I carried both of them to the living room and handed the beer to Sophie.
            “Thanks,” she said. She took a small sip. She had taken her shoes off and pulled her feet, covered in pink socks, under her legs.
            Her panties were showing. That black dress was stretched taut across her thighs, and with her ankles crossed it created a perfect tunnel to her inner thighs. She was wearing black lace panties and I wanted to bend over and dive under that dress and taste her sweetness. My mouth went dry and I sat on the coffee table in front of her, sipping my whiskey.
            “I can see up your dress,” I said. “Which might be an accident and it might embarrass you but I figure you should know. Or it might be on purpose, in which case, thank you. It’s an excellent view.”
            Her cheeks turned pink. “It wasn’t on purpose. I didn’t realize you’d be able to see up my dress.”
            Yet she didn’t make a move to cover herself up. Damn. This girl. My cock grew hard. “But now you want me to look?”
            She nodded. “Yes.”
            Fuck. She was going to kill me. I wondered how many guys had seen this view. If any. Maybe I was the first. I didn’t deserve this kind of privilege but I sure in the hell wasn’t going to turn it down. I studied her, head to toe, but spending a little extra time taking in what was under her dress. She didn’t flinch.
            I reached behind my head and pulled my T-shirt off over my head. “It’s hot in here.” The house was too old and too Maine to have air conditioning. I had a window unit in my bedroom but the living room was just left to swelter if it got hot outside. I wasn’t sure how warm the air really was or if it was just me, watching Sophie. 
            She seemed to think my words and action were meant to be returned by her. She peeled her socks off and carefully folded them and set them on the table next to me. If I had to see her remove an article of clothing those little socks were the ones I cared the least about. But it amused me. Sophie amused me on the regular. It was a strange break in my usual life. I wondered if she knew what she was offering me, besides her virginity.
             Her body was an offer I couldn’t refuse but she was giving me even more than that. A night that would shatter my boredom, my pattern of drinking to oblivion. She was going to be a much-needed distraction from my hatred, my self-destruction, my persistent defiance, and stubborn determination to be miserable.
            Sophie took another sip of her beer and stared at me, waiting.
            It was clear she wanted me to take the lead and I welcomed that. I wanted to take her innocence, coax it to something new. That awakening she had mentioned. I wanted her aware of me, sure, but mostly I wanted her aware of herself. Of her own body.
            “Come here.” I crooked my finger at her.
            “What do you mean?” she asked, and she looked vulnerable in a way that touched my bitter and black heart. She licked her lips, uncertain. Her feet fell to the floor.
            “Climb on my lap facing me,” I instructed. “One knee on either side of me. I want to kiss you.”
            Her mouth opened and I knew she was about to ask some insane question about physics or my motivation. I shook my head. “Shh. Don’t worry. Tell me if you don’t like something. And tell me if you do like something. Otherwise don’t think, Sophie. Just feel.” I held my hand out to her.
            She took my hand and let me pull her off the couch. But she said, “I don’t know how to do that.”
            “I’m here to help.” I did exactly nothing of value on a daily basis. Sure, I did my job correctly and efficiently, but I couldn’t claim to be a person who was walking around paying it forward. I was a sour-faced dick most of the time and everyone knew it. I knew it. But if I was going to be selfish and enjoy Sophie’s naked company, the least I could do was make this right for her.
            My little protégé could go forth and fuck after I was done with her. Such a nice guy. The thought made me smile as she climbed onto my lap, her dress rolling up her thighs so that her warm flesh pressed against the denim of my jeans.
            Holding her by the back of her hips I bent over and sucked the swell of her breast in between my lips. Soft, luscious tits.
            Yeah. Such a nice fucking guy.

Don't forget to grab your copy of The Hookup today!

Friday, May 4, 2018

Excerpt - A Duke Like No Other by Valerie Bowman

Today I get to share with you an excerpt from Valerie Bowman's new historical romance, A Duke Like No Other



Mark quirked his mouth into a half smile. Nicole had always been direct. It was one of the things that had first drawn him to her. She wasn’t about to let him get away with arriving unannounced without admitting that he wanted something. Good, because he liked to be direct too. “You’re right. I do want something from you.”

“Say it.” She crossed one leg over the other and for the life of him he couldn’t stop staring at how those breeches hugged her long legs. Outside, he’d been slightly obsessed with how they hugged another part of her anatomy. And that shirt . . . the one that was exposing her chest in a way that made the back of his neck sweat. Leave it to Nicole to have her hair down and to be wearing breeches while riding around a French château on a horse named Atalanta. She’d been besting the comte in the race they’d been engaged in. That was also like her. She adored competition and hated to lose at anything. If he had any hope of her saying yes to his proposal, he needed to make certain he didn’t become her adversary . . . again.

He glanced around the drawing room. Outfitted in rose and cream silks with the occasional hint of green, the room was tastefully decorated. The château itself was large and well appointed without being ostentatious. She had access to his money but had never spent a shilling of it. No, this was all a result of her own money or her family’s.

He spread his arms wide along the back of the settee. “No reminiscing? No catching up? No discussing the good times?”

Her dark red eyebrow inched even higher. “Were there good times? I seem to recall those being few and far between.”

“There were a few.” In bed. He tugged at his collar.

She poked at the chignon on the back of her head. Only she could make a quickly put-together hair arrangement look effortlessly gorgeous. Several tendrils of the long red locks fell to frame her face, which wore a decidedly disgruntled look. “Out with it. I’m quite busy. I’m attending a dinner party this evening and I must dress.”

Mark bit the inside of his cheek but ultimately he couldn’t keep the comment that had sprung to his lips to himself. “A cleaner pair of breeches?” Damn, she looked good in those breeches. She looked good altogether. Better than good. The years had been kind to her. The fresh-faced plumpness of her cheeks had given way to a slenderness that made her cheekbones prominent. Her lips were still full and pink and inviting. Her hair luxurious, soft and smooth. Her eyes looked more world-weary, to be sure, but their sea-foam-green depths were still astute and intelligent. Her body was still trim and fit. Her thighs looked even fitter, probably from riding astride. Ahem. What he wouldn’t give to see those thighs once more, to have them wrapped tightly around his—

“Despite my present appearance, I do own a gown or two.” Her words snapped him out of his indecent line of thought. She gave him another tight smile.

He stood, crossed to the nearby sideboard, and poured himself a brandy. “Going to meet the comte again?”

“Careful,” came her throaty voice from the settee. “It’s nearly sounding as if you’re jealous.”
Still facing the sideboard, he cocked his head to the side. “Jealous? Whatever does that word mean?”
“The comte is a friend, nothing more.” Her voice sounded dismissive. He didn’t believe her, however.
Mark splashed more brandy into his glass. “I’m certain you’d tell me if he weren’t.”
“I’m certain you’d care.”

Mark turned back toward her and took a healthy swig of his drink. “A man doesn’t like to think of his wife in the bed of another.”

She actually rolled her eyes at that comment. “Oh, you’ve been celibate all these years then?” she countered, her voice dripping with skepticism.

He had been, but he’d die a slow death back in the French prison camp before he told her that. However, he wasn’t so unrealistic as to think Nicole would have remained untouched. They had agreed to part ways, hadn’t seen each other in ten years. She was a beautiful woman in the prime of her life. Still, the notion of punching the comte dead in the face held a great deal of appeal at the moment. “I’ve never been one to kiss and tell, love.”

She gave him a tight smile, which clearly indicated she didn’t believe him, either. “You’re a general now?” she asked abruptly, clearly ready to change the subject.

“I am.” He moved to the window and looked out across the lavender fields, one arm held behind his ramrod-straight back as if he were surveying a battlefield. The stance was still comfortable for him even after all these years of working for the Home Office.

“I suppose congratulations are in order.” The tea arrived and Nicole poured a cup for herself and splashed in a liberal amount of cream. He remembered that about her. She took her tea with no sugar, just cream.

“No congratulations needed,” he intoned, taking another swig of brandy.

The silver spoon she used to stir her tea clinked against the delicate china teacup. “I must admit, I’ve often wondered when I’d get a missive that you’d been killed.”

His chuckle was humorless. He turned to face her. “Such little faith in me? Or wishful thinking?”

“Neither,” she replied, lifting the cup to her pink lips. “Just a profound knowledge of how reckless you are.”

He inclined his head. “Used to be.”

“Really?” She raised a brow. “Is that why you’ve come? To tell me you’ve changed?”

He chuckled. “I haven’t changed that much.”

“I’m not surprised.” She set down her teacup and crossed her arms over her chest. “Tell me, Mark, why have you come?”

He saluted her with his glass, the amber-colored liquid shining in the afternoon sunlight. “You were right. I need a favor from you.”

She didn’t so much as bat an eyelash. “Of course you do. What’s the favor?” She picked up her cup once more and took a sip.

He downed the final splash of brandy and met her gaze. “I need you to return to England with me for a few months and pretend to be my loving wife.”

Copyright © 2018 by Valerie Bowman in A Duke Like No Other and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Paperbacks.

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