New Release & Giveaway: Rise of the Sea Witch by Stacey Rourke

Title: Rise of the Sea Witch
Series: Unfortunate Soul Chronicles #1
Author: Stacey Rourke
Genre:  YA fairy tale retelling 
Release Date: June 19, 2017
Details of the sea witch’s banishment have been exaggerated. The body count that preempted it was not. Once an illustrious princess, her hands and tentacles were stained with the blood of thousands. No one could comprehend how the hooks of madness dragged her down from her life of privilege. 

 

Born Princess Vanessa of Atlantica, the ambitious young royal was one of two children born to the great King Poseidon. She and her brother, Triton, were groomed from birth to rule. Yet only one would ascend that coveted throne. While carefree Triton flits through his training with a cavalier demeanor and beguiling charm, Vanessa’s hunger for her father’s acceptance drives her to push herself to the limits of magic, and combat to become a leader worthy of her people.
When war against the humans ravages their once regal kingdom, political sides are chosen. Factions from the seven seas challenge the existing leadership, pitting Vanessa against her brother in a vicious battle for the crown. Traitors are exposed, dark family secrets revealed, and a once strong sibling bond is strained to its breaking point.
Only when the ink black waters from the ultimate betrayal rescind, will the truth be known of how the villainous sea witch rose with one name on her vengeful lips–Triton.

 

RONE Award Winner for Best YA Paranormal Work of 2012 for Embrace, a Gryphon Series Novel
Young Adult and Teen Reader voted Author of the Year 2012
Turning Pages Magazine Winner for Best YA book of 2013 & Best Teen Book of 2013 
Readers’ Favorite Silver Medal Winner for Crane 2015

Stacey Rourke is the author of the award winning YA Gryphon Series, the chillingly Legends Saga, and the romantic comedy Reel Romance Series. She currently hard at work on the Unfortunate Soul Chronicles, and additional literary projects. She lives in Michigan with her husband, two beautiful daughters, and two giant dogs. She loves to travel, has an unhealthy shoe addiction, and considers herself blessed to make a career out of talking to the imaginary people that live in her head.

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New Release: Tease (Club Deep #1) by Penny Wylder


Title: Tease (Club Deep #1) 
Author Penny Wylder 
Genre: Romance
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Welcome to Club Deep— the hottest new X-rated club on the block. All your fantasies can happen here… but I had NO IDEA it was that kind of place when I applied to be a waitress.
I didn’t realize until my first night, and by then, it was too late to back out.
Especially when I met my boss.
Cole Andrews… how do I describe him? Sinfully tempting, a living sculpture you just want to run your hands down. He’s impossibly sexy and he can’t keep his eyes off of me.
When he pulls me into a private room and shows me what he can do with his wicked lips, I know I’m in trouble.
Club Deep is like no place I’ve ever been.
The longer I work here, the more I feel myself changing.
Can I change enough to keep Cole interested in me?
Or will this club ruin me first?

Tease is part of the Club Deep series– all standalone novellas, all set in the filthiest, most taboo place around. Feeling daring? Then come on in…
P.S. Like my other books, these contain NO cheating, tons of heart throbbing heat, and the best kind of happily ever afters around.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Penny Wylder writes just that– wild romances. Happily Ever Afters are always better when they’re a little dirty, so if you’re looking for a page turner that will make you feel naughty in all the right places, jump right in and leave your panties at the door!
 

 

 
 

 

 

New Release & Giveaway: Fallen Flame by JM Miller 

 

Title: Fallen Flame
Series: Fallen Flame #1
Author: J.M. Miller
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: June 19, 2017
Cover Photo and Design: Regina Wamba of Mae I Design
Cover Model: Jenessa Andrea


Nineteen years ago, on the island kingdom of Garlin, a girl was born. With charred skin as rough as rock, Vala was instantly feared. For how could one be scorched by magic when it had perished ages before?

Recognizing an asset, the royal family welcomed her on their Guard. Her detail: the prince.
To watch. To protect. She has grown with him, lives her life for him. 

When the high kingdom’s princess comes to assess the prince, assassins of rival courtiers come to claim his life. One nearly succeeds in his mission. But with shadowy movements and charred skin like her own, Vala knows he is not like the rest.

As threats to the prince continue and questions about Vala’s life begin to rise, she faces a fear worse than fire or water, worse even than losing him. 

She fears finding out who she truly is.



Reviewer – “I loved this unique magical story from beginning to end. The easy pace really made it hard for me to stop, I could have easily finished this book in a day. But the way it was written with the steady flow of information really kept me at the easy pace.”

 

Blog Review – “Fantastical, Mystical, Magical!!
Book One in the Fallen Flame series, and it is a great start. J. M. Miller has a wonderful imagination to create the wonderful world of Garlin.”

 


a Rafflecopter giveaway



While the tingles in my red-orange skin slowly ascended into pain, the air biting as everything started to reform, a hard clanking noise outside the back door drew my attention. I slid into my thin underclothes, grabbed hold of my sword, then rushed toward the door. Knowing that sound was out of the ordinary, I was prepared to scour the garth and small area of trees behind the house, even search the neighbors’ land to find the cause. I hadn’t expected to open the door and find Xavyn standing a mere foot away, hood drawn and arms crossed as if I’d kept him waiting too long at the narrow back doorstep.I pointed my sword toward his chest and glanced around him, scanning the darkness. “What are you doing here?”“Following up.” The words were slow. As his hand reached up and removed the hood, his human eyes traversed my face, swallowing the details of my reforming skin in an intense, almost penetrating way.I realized then that I had no cloak, no mask. And for some reason, I wondered if I should take the time of throwing them on … before ending his life. He’d seen me in this state on Prince’s Night, but that was an instant, a moment amid darkness and chaos. Not this closely. I growled at him, digging the tip of my blade into the black leather at his chest, my regrowth pain dissolving as my anger took control.“Are you going to let me in or would you rather call attention to your treason?” he asked, his voice still holding a softness that grated me.“Quit staring at me that way and you can come in.”








J.M. Miller currently consumes her coffee in Florida.


When she isn’t busy being distracted by social media sites, she writes Young Adult and New Adult romance novels that vary in genre from contemporary to paranormal.

Aside from spending time with her family, she loves to travel and will jump at the chance to go anywhere, whenever life allows.







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Cover Reveal: Railroaded: Part 1 by T.R. Bell

Title: Railroaded: Part 1
Author: T.R. Bell
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Release Date: July 19, 2017

 

Chicago, a sprawling and diverse city known for its rich history. It compels intrigue, mystery, and unthinkable possibilities.
Damon Bowers, a self-righteous bachelor, who has it all-money, power, friends, and good looks. After losing a bet between his buddies, they plan the ultimate debt for him.
Can he fulfill the obligation?
Nicki Matthews, an independent, young, attractive intern with a heart of gold who aspires to help others. Her friends take her for an early birthday dinner, when she’s abruptly thrown into this unimaginable act of Damon Bowers.
Two worlds collide on a single moment changing lives forever, but can they avoid the pitfalls of what lies ahead?
Living in the bustle of the Windy City, I have at my disposal the scenery for inspiration. Though born and raised in the very heart of this great country, Kansas City will always be my home. 

 

I’m on this great adventure to open your hidden desires. I’ve read many wonderful novels that continue to inspire me each and every day.

 

 


 

If you cannot find me typing diligently at my laptop, then you’ll see me roaming the streets of Chicago. Who knows, I may be the person strutting behind you.

 

 

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Cover Reveal: Wasted by MJ Fields

Title: Wasted
Series: Steel Country #3
Author: MJ Fields
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: July 9, 2017
Cover Designer: Jersey Girl & Co 

Haunted and hidden.
Mysterious and sexy, Grayson Falcon steers clear of commitment in all forms. He takes the road less traveled, avoiding the demons of his past and the nightmares they cause. He uses his good looks and country charm to attain pleasure, but it is always a short-lived reprieve.

Sweet and scarred.

Once believing that love can conquer all, Mandee Carlain’s life was then turned upside down and inside out. Her beauty queen good looks and sweet smile always caught the eye of the wrong kind of man. However, as a survivor, she still holds on to hope that one day she will come face to face with the man whose whispered words will give her strength to still believe.
What happens when the hopeless find hope …at the wrong time?
Love is…Wasted.


USA Today bestselling author MJ Fields write books that scorch pages and melt hearts.  
Her style is raw, gritty and authentic.
Love an alpha and a strong heroine? She does too.


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New Release: Above and Beyond by Kathryn Shay

Title: Above and Beyond
Series: To Serve and Protect #1
Author: Kathryn Shay 
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: June 13, 2017

A family of heroes, all in dangerous jobs, all irrevocably tied to those they love. Read about the Marino clan in this fast-paced, emotional new series, To Serve and Protect, by NYT bestselling author Kathryn Shay.

Nick Marino is the top guy on POTUS’s Secret Service detail. But he’s temporarily sent to upstate New York to guard the president’s sister, Isabelle Barton, who is being threatened in anonymous notes. There, Nick becomes involved with the widowed mom and twin boys, who quickly win over what he thought was his hardened heart. Amidst the heightened anxiety of tracking down the threats, the constant vigilance and an ever-growing sexual attraction between Isabelle and Nick, these two people must uncover not only the plot against her, but determine what to do about their impossible romance.

ABOVE AND BEYOND provides a deep dive into the life of a Secret Service agent and a close look at being related to the most powerful man in the world, along with the glamor of Washington, D.C. politics. The story will keep you interested and capture your heart.

Prologue  

“I need you to go to Catasaga, Nick. Indefinitely. Isabelle is getting threatening notes. She could be in grave danger.”

Special Agent in Charge Nick Marino stared over at the President of the United States, trying to hide his shock. The Oval Office felt hot all of a sudden, though the cool rain dribbled down outside the open window facing the Rose Garden. “Seriously?”

From behind the big oak desk, the President gave a small smile.

Nick’s reaction was inappropriate. He shook off the emotion. “Excuse me, sir, but I’m surprised. Of course, I’ll do this willingly.” 

Tall and built like a football player, James Monroe Manwaring snickered. “You’re probably furious as hell with me. But there are a couple of perks to the assignment. I’m sending Agent Dwyer in with you.”

“Ah.” He’d never worked with his cousin Whitney, who’d become a legend of her own in the service. Manwaring would know her presence in upstate New York sweetened the pot.

“And in a year, when your time on the presidential detail is up, I’ll see what I can do for you. I hear one of the deputies to the director might be leaving then.” 

Nick would move heaven and earth to get in line for the agency’s head job, and the President knew it. Since Nick had joined the Secret Service eighteen years ago, his sole aspiration was to fill the position. Every single career move he’d made had been calculated with that in mind.

“But there’s more to why I chose you.” The President frowned. “The agency has had too many screwups lately. I need someone I can trust up there.”

In recent years, several incidents had blighted the reputation of the service big-time. Agents had allowed the White House to be breached. They’d been drunk and disorderly on the grounds. And most reprehensible, they’d behaved abominably on advance travel visits. His own brother had been a victim of one of these events, though there were extenuating circumstances.

“I understand, Mr. President. And I apologize for my initial reaction.”

“I appreciate your cooperation, Nick.”

“Do we have any leads on who’s threatening her?”

“No, we don’t. My gut says that it’s me they’re after, through Isabelle. I’ve alienated people, even before I became President.”

He had. As attorney general, he’d busted up a ring of dirty cops, been responsible for a myriad of drug arrests and even taken on two corrupt senators and one judge. Because of all that, when he was elected POTUS, he’d been given the code name Pit Bull.  

Sighing, Nick tried to accept that he was going to be a babysitter for several weeks. The very thought of it frustrated him. Because there was nothing more that Nick Marino wanted than to be in the kill zone.

A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Kathryn Shay has been a lifelong writer and teacher.

She has written dozens of self-published original romance titles, including print books with the Berkley Publishing

Group and Harlequin Enterprises, and mainstream women’s fiction with Bold Strokes Books. She has won five

RT Book Reviews awards, four Golden Quills, four Holt Medallions, the Bookseller’s Best Award, Foreword

Magazine’s Book of the Year, and several “Starred Reviews.” Her novels have been serialized in Cosmopolitan

Magazine and featured in USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, and People magazine.

There are over five million copies of her books in print, along with hundreds of thousands

downloaded online. Reviewers have called her work “emotional and heart-wrenching.”


New Release: Different Sides by Marissa Dobson

Title: Different Sides
Series: Phantom Security Book 1
Author: Marissa Dobson
Genre: Romantic Suspense/Contemporary Romance
Release Date: June 13, 2017
Murder? One call is all it takes to shatter Elise Dalton’s heart. Her father’s been murdered and the accused is none other than the man she had given her heart to. Though he’d cut himself out of her life years earlier, being the daughter to the chief of police, she has heard enough gossip to let her know that the choices he’s made have lead him down a path of self-destruction. He isn’t the same man she’d fallen in love with but a part of her doesn’t want to believe he could kill her father in cold blood.
Gun carrying, motorcycle riding, bad boy Flash Arquette has done some terrible shit in his life. He’s even taken the fall for someone, and every time he’s done the time for his crimes. This time, though, he’s innocent and no one’s listening to him. He doesn’t care what anyone thinks of him except Elise. She had to know the truth. He’s hurt her enough in the past, but he would never have done this to her. The only problem is the convincing evidence against him and his inability to give them proof of his innocence without breaking the contract he signed.
Their lives have taken opposing paths, but as the steel bars close around Flash, Elise realizes she’s lost him for good. The small ray of hope that he could change dies and the grief doubles. When those around Flash come forth with information that he’s been set up, she’s not sure she believes them, but she has to find out the truth. Nothing will bring her father back but she might be able to save Flash from death row.

Chapter One:

Law and order had been drilled into Elise Dalton’s head since she was old enough to understand what it was. According to her father, being the daughter of the chief of police left her with a bigger responsibility. She was supposed to set an example. Live her life on the straight and narrow—and for the most part, she did. The only time she took the detour road was for the man she thought she’d spend her life with—Flash Arquette.
During the freshman year of high school, the Arquettes had moved down the block from her and shook up the once quiet, small town. Mr. Arquette was a drunk who thrived on trouble and violence. If he wasn’t causing a disturbance at the town’s only bar, he was at home beating his sons, Rocco and Flash. How many times had her father locked Mr. Arquette up? Each time, his sister, who lived a couple of towns over, would come and take care of the boys until he was released, only to have the cycle repeat itself within a few weeks.
Now, standing in the front yard of the house she grew up in, she glanced toward the old Arquette place. Twilight was quickly turning to dark, making it hard to see anything except the outline of the house. No one had lived there in years and in the day, the neglect was clear. Tall grass, weeds growing through the cement driveway and around the walkway, the broken window, and missing siding made it clear to anyone that it had been abandoned for years. Just glancing at it made her wonder why her father hadn’t done something all those years ago. Maybe if he could have locked Mr. Arquette up for longer than a few days, the boys would have had a fighting chance. Maybe their aunt would have taken them in and raised them right. If only her father had acted more on the situation, maybe he’d still be alive.
Silent tears rolled down her cheeks while inside, her temper raged. She wanted revenge but she could almost hear her father’s words in her ear. Let the justice system do what it’s intended to do. It takes time but it works. Did it really? If so, it would have saved the Arquette boys. It would have given Mrs. Arquette justice. And Flash…
“Ms. Dalton?”
Hearing her name spoken brought her out of the past. She glanced in the direction of the sound. A sleek black town car was parked at the end of the driveway but it was the man getting out who caught her attention. His sun-kissed skin and black wavy hair reminded her of someone she couldn’t place—though the perfectly tailored suit, and the fact he was being driven by a chauffeur, told her he didn’t belong there.
“Ms. Elise Dalton?”
“It’s a bad time. You’ll need to come back…” She wanted to say ‘never’ but she doubted that was an option. Whatever this man wanted, she didn’t have time for it. She had just come from the funeral home where she’d made plans for her father’s funeral. Right now, all she wanted was to be alone, not to deal with people. She took a step back toward the house, quickly finding her key.
“I only need a moment of your time.” His voice sounded closer, nearly right behind her, but she didn’t turn back to look.
“I don’t know who you are, but right now I don’t care. I’ve asked you to leave once and if you’re persistent I’ll have to call my fa…” Tears sprang to her eyes as she slid the key into the lock. Silently, she fought back the tears, refusing to cry in front of him.
“Elise—”
“I told you, now’s not a good time.” The door opened and she stepped into the doorframe, forcing herself to look at him. His brown gaze caught her attention and for a moment she thought she was looking into someone else’s eyes.
“Five minutes, that’s all I need.” Stepping closer, he placed his hand on the door, crowding her space.
“Fuck, man! Don’t you get it? I can’t do this now. I just…he’s…”
“I get it, but I have a message that can’t wait.”
The anger over this man’s persistence was quickly being replaced by fear. Something about a message made her want to reach into her bag for her gun. She wasn’t on duty so she hadn’t put her gun on her belt. Instead, she’d left it in her bag.
“Are you listening to me?”
She swallowed the lump in her throat. “I don’t want any trouble.” Her father was dead; why would anyone be after her? She had nothing to do with whatever he was investigating. They might have been in similar career fields but they didn’t discuss their work. They were both committed to their jobs, often bringing their work home with them, but it didn’t impact their time together. Hell, she hadn’t even been in town in over a week. I missed the last days of his life…
She watched the man’s lips move but her brain refused to focus until the last word. El. “What did you say? What did you call me?” Her knees went weak, forcing her to wobble and take a step back to regain her footing.
“You need to sit down. Let me help you inside.” He grabbed hold of her arm and she went stiff under his touch. “You don’t recognize me, do you? Shit, Elise, I thought you said you didn’t want any problems because you knew who I am.”
“Sir.” A bulky man in a dark suit came up the sidewalk toward the porch.
“Everything’s fine. Watch the house. I’m taking her inside.” Before she could argue, he swooped her into his arms and strolled into her house. He kicked the door shut behind him as he carried her toward the living room.
“Put me down,” she demanded, even though she wasn’t sure if she could stand. Her body felt as if it was liquid—nothing felt right.
He sat her down on the sofa and grabbed the patchwork quilt off the back, draping it around her shoulders. “I’m not surprised you still have this, but I am surprised you have it out. It must have driven your old man insane.”
“You know…” Her words faded as he leaned over and flicked the light on. For the first time, she was able to completely take in the man before her and her gaze fell on the jagged scar across his cheek. “No…it can’t be. Rocco?” Terrible thoughts crossed her mind as she realized Flash’s brother was in her house. She quickly wondered if he was there to kill her before she realized she hadn’t done anything wrong. She hadn’t been in town when her father was killed, so they couldn’t be concerned she’d been a witness to any of it.
“The one and only.” He squatted down in front of her. “Flash called me.”
“Flash…” She wasn’t sure if she wanted to cry or scream at the mention of him; either way she wanted to do it alone. “I think you should leave.”
I’m innocent, El, I swear. That’s the message I came here to deliver. That’s what I tried to tell you earlier but I don’t think you were listening to me. You just stared past me.” He placed his hand over hers. “Elise, I’m truly sorry. This is one of those situations that all the money in the world doesn’t fix. You have to know, I would if I could.”
“Really? Because if you’re in town, I’m betting you’ve hired a lawyer for him. A high-powered lawyer…someone who could get him off or at least procure a lighter sentence. You don’t care about me or my father. You’re only here to lighten the load on your conscience.” She pulled her hand out from under his.
“You’re damn right; I hired him a lawyer because—”
“I don’t need to hear your excuses. He murdered a police officer and could be looking at the death penalty.” Her chest tightened at the very thought but she forced herself to continue. “He’s your family. I understand you want to save him, but I don’t need to hear it.”
He rose to his feet, grabbing hold of her wrist and pulling her up with him. “Didn’t you hear me when I gave you his message? He didn’t do it.”
“Bullshit.” She tried to pull her wrist from his grasp but he held tighter.
“When have you ever known Flash to fight against the charges? Even the computer fraud charges, when we both know he didn’t do that. A newborn baby has more computer sense than my brother.”
“The evidence—”
“Is manufactured,” he supplied before she could finish. “Flash would give his life to protect you. He wouldn’t want to see you like this. Your old man could be an asshole, but he was your family. Flash respected that. Your father would have never approved of him and for that reason he took himself out of the equation so you wouldn’t be hurt.”
He broke my heart. Yet, she refused to admit that aloud. “It doesn’t change anything.”
“It changes everything.”
“The evidence they have could put him away for life, if not land him on death row.” She didn’t want to admit it but if Rocco was telling her the truth, then her father might never see justice for his murder. He believed in the system. Now, if she believed the man standing in front of her, the wrong person was going to get convicted and her father’s real killer would go free. She didn’t know what to think.
“Elise, I know you’re upset right now but before you allow this to erase the good times you’ve shared with Flash, give us time to prove his innocence.”
“That’s not how this works.” She dropped down onto the sofa, forcing him to let go of her wrist, because her energy was gone. “You’re not supposed to have to prove you’re innocent. They’re supposed to prove you’re guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.”
“Your father stood for the law and he taught you to believe in the system. Now that you’re older, you’ve had to realize it doesn’t always work that way. The police here have been gunning for Flash for years. They’ve picked him up for little things, never the bust they want. Flash is far from innocent in many things, but murdering your father…no.” He stepped back from the sofa.
“How can you be so sure?”
“Can’t you trust me on this for now? I’ll get you the proof. I just need some time.”
She sat there in silence for a moment debating what he said before finally shaking her head. “No, Rocco, I’m sorry. I can’t. My father was murdered; if not by him, then by someone else. If it really was someone else, he could be getting farther away as we speak. If you want me to believe you, then give me something—anything.”
With every word, she could feel the desperation getting heavier. She wanted to believe him, she wanted Flash to be innocent, but she couldn’t believe any of this on Rocco’s word. She didn’t know him well enough to know if he was lying. If Flash had been standing before her, she might believe it, maybe because she wanted him to be innocent—but more than that she’d know if he was lying to her. Years earlier, she realized he had a tell, allowing her to know whenever he was lying.
“Twenty minutes before the…” He paused, as if he didn’t know what he wanted to call the murder of her father. “He was with me. A confidential business meeting. Shit, Elise, that’s all I can give you. I’m in violation of my contract by telling you that much. I need a few hours and I’ll have the red tape cleared enough that he’ll be alibied.”
“Twenty minutes before? Are you serious? That’s not a strong enough alibi.”
“It is when the meeting happened in New York. There was no way Flash could have gotten back into town in twenty minutes.” He dragged his hand through his hair. “I pulled Flash into this because I needed his skills. It’s going to save his life; otherwise they’d send him up the river until they could shove a needle in his arm, ending his life. Trust me when I tell you he’s not just in this mess because of the life he’s chosen to live. I’ve made enemies in my business and they can’t come after me personally—I’m too well protected—so they go after the only one left to them.”
“What kind of meeting?” she pressed, needing more.
He slipped his hand into his jacket pocket and ignored her question. “I’ve got someone working on the traffic cameras. They’ll find further proof he wasn’t anywhere near Pinewood when this happened.”
“Roc—”
“Twelve hours.” From his pocket, he pulled out a business card. “I need you to trust me for twelve hours and I’ll have Flash out of jail. Once that’s taken care of, I’ll help you find the person responsible. My cell number’s on the back; call me if you need anything. I’m staying in town until this matter is resolved.” He started to walk away from her.
“You never answered my question.”
“I can’t.” He glanced back at her. “Elise, you mean a great deal to my brother, and if I could tell you I would, but I can’t. The information I’ve already told you puts us both at risk. Anything further would be disastrous. I can tell you this: the same organization that signs your check also signs the ones for me and Flash.”
Without another word, he was gone, leaving her more confused than she had been. Leaning back against the sofa, she let the first tears fall. Her gaze scanned the pictures displayed above the fireplace but her mind couldn’t focus on what she was seeing. She was too full of grief and unanswered questions to appreciate the memories called by the images before her. What the hell did Rocco mean? The same organization? That wasn’t possible. Was it?
More confused than before, she pulled the quilt into her lap and stared down at it. The worn quilt had been her favorite since that rainy afternoon she’d spent making it with her mother. Dad had always thought it was precious to her because of the time she’d spent with Mom. Little did he know it was because of the small cloth squares. Each one represented a memory she’d made with Flash. Their first date, first kiss…she even had pieces of the shirt she’d worn as they were moving in to the house down the street. It was so full of memories and on every visit home, she used it. She always figured she chose to leave it there because it was where she could use it the most. After all, she spent more time in Pinewood than at her own condo, but now, she realized, it was a small jab at her father. To have this as a centerpiece of the living room and their time together was a reminder she never stopped loving Flash. He had always been there with her, even once he took himself out of the picture. She ran her fingers over the soft material. How did things get so fucked up?
* * *
It wasn’t the first time Flash Arquette had found himself behind bars. Still, he flinched as the bars slammed shut behind him. With the life he lived, he’d expected to be back after his last stint in prison, but he never would have dreamed it would happen with a murder charge hanging over his head.
Most people in Pinewood considered him a good for nothing criminal but they didn’t know him. Every decision he made seemed to be the right one at the time. If a woman was getting the shit beat out of her by some asshole, he couldn’t stand around and do nothing. He’d seen it too many times when he was a child—when his father had beat his mother and he’d been too young to stop it. Now, he wasn’t. It had cost him a few years in prison for attempted murder, but those years proved worth it when he found out the woman had managed to get out of the situation and was now living her life in Florida. If only someone could have helped his mother like that, maybe she wouldn’t be dead.
“This place is a second home to you, isn’t it, Arquette?” The guard chuckled as he removed the cuffs. “Get used to it. You’re not going to slither away this time.”
Glaring at the guard, he refused to comment. Anything he could say would make the bastard think he was getting under his skin. Everyone at Pinewood Police Department was pretty happy with themselves for taking him down, but soon they’d be put in their place. He had to trust Rocco and his people to get this taken care of.
The guard retreated, leaving him alone in his cell to think on his sins. He rubbed the red marks from the handcuffs. The metal cuffs were tight enough to dig into his skin but he refused to give them the satisfaction. “Fucking bastards.”
The police force had fixed eyes on him for more than a year now, determined to lock him up before his crew had a chance to do any further damage to their peaceful town. Even the town residents had decided he was guilty, no matter the charges. Now they’d want his head. It seemed they weren’t satisfied with him behind bars; they wanted him dead.
Prison was no easy ride, but it was part of his life. Before this mess, he would do his time without a fight. Not this time. This time, he was innocent—and this wasn’t the kind of fake, meaningless claim half the people in prison made. No, this time he hadn’t even been in town when the crime happened.
This wasn’t just a small crime that maybe he’d do a few months or even years for. This was murder and they were already talking about the death penalty. Chief Dalton had been murdered in cold blood and they were pinning it on him.
“Fuck!” Anger overwhelming him, he slammed his fist into the cement wall. “El…” He sank down onto the small metallic frame with a worn-out mattress on top and allowed his thoughts to turn to Elise Dalton. His El, the only woman he’d ever loved.
Did she believe he was capable of the pending charges? They both knew he was capable of murder but did she believe he’d kill her father? No matter the cost to himself, he would have never done that to her. El meant more to him than his own life.
He wasn’t sure if he was angrier about the police department trying to pin the murder on him so they could get him out of the picture, or whether the system both her and her father stood for was failing her when she needed it the most. She believed in the system and fought for justice, but now it was robbing her by arresting the wrong person. With him in jail, they weren’t out there searching for the actual murderer. “I’m sorry, El.”
Her father had never liked him. Flash had never been good enough for his daughter. He knew he didn’t deserve El, but he loved her, and even though Chief Dalton had been determined to keep them apart, he couldn’t stop them. In the end, it was Flash’s own actions that caused him to lose her. She was his everything. The one soft spot he had. To this day—if she called him, he’d be there.
She needed him now more than ever, but where was he? Behind bars accused of killing her father. I’m coming, El. Don’t give up on me, sweetie.
Born and raised in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area, Marissa Dobson now resides about an hour from Washington, D.C. She’s a lady who likes to keep busy, and is always busy doing something. With two different college degrees, she believes you are never done learning.

Being the first daughter to an avid reader, this gave her the advantage of learning to read at a young age. Since learning to read she has always had her nose in a book. It wasn’t until she was a teenager that she started writing down the stories she came up with.

Marissa is blessed with a wonderful supportive husband, Thomas. He’s her other half and allows her to stay home and pursue her writing. He puts up with all her quirks and listens to her brainstorm in the middle of the night.

Her writing buddy Pup Cameron, a cocker spaniel, is always around to listen to her bounce ideas off him. He might not be able to answer, but he’s helpful in his own ways.

She loves to hear from readers so send her an email at marissa@marissadobson.com or visit her online at http://www.marissadobson.com.

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New Release & Giveaway: Hard Stick by L.P. Dover

Title: Hard Stick
Series: A Breakaway Novel
Author: L.P. Dover
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: June 13, 2017
Publisher: Random House/Loveswept
He carries a big stick. And he’s not afraid to use it.

On the ice, I’m Kellan Carter, powerhouse enforcer for the Charlotte Strikers. Off the ice, I’m just a regular guy. The last thing I want is to get mobbed by a bunch of groupies who are only after me for my fame and money. My ideal woman knows how to enjoy a little good, clean fun—and maybe some not-so-clean fun too. That’s the kind of girl I’d never let go.
When Kristen Robinson, the gorgeous, down-to-earth bartender I’ve been crushing on, agrees to let me take her out, I’m thrilled. We have an amazing night together, culminating in the most electrifying kiss of my life—and that’s it. Kristen tells me we can’t see each other again, but I know that kiss meant as much to her as it did to me. What I don’t know is that Kristen has a dangerous secret. . . .
I’ve proved to Kristen that she can trust me with her body and her heart. But when her past comes back to haunt her, I need to prove that she can trust me with her life. And I might have to get my hands dirty after all.
** Hard Stick is an action-packed romantic suspense. Just to warn you, the story line does NOT center around hockey. The main character plays but a lot of the book is set outside of the rink. **


“So what happened to Maddox? I couldn’t help but notice his face.”
Dallas and Braeden glanced at each other and chuckled. “Kellan fucked him up in practice,” Dallas replied.
I gasped. “Why?”
He finished off his beer, and I could tell he was feeling it by the lazy smile. “It’s what he does. Maddox was being a dick and Kellan put a stop to it. It’s why he’s our captain.”
“Wow, that’s craziness.”
I ran his card and held it out to him, but he grabbed on to my hand. “You haven’t agreed to go out with him, have you?”
“Who? Kellan?” I asked. The girls gawked at me and snorted.
He nodded. “Yeah.”
“No, why?”
“Just asking,” he said with a shrug. He put his arm around the blonde and they started for the door. “It’d be nice to get the five hundred dollars.” They stopped and he smiled at me over his shoulder.
“What are you talking about?” I demanded.
Braeden sighed and smacked Dallas on the back of the head. “Stop fucking with the girl.” Then he turned to me. “It was just a stupid bet.”
“Stupid?” Dallas laughed. “You put three hundred on it, so I don’t want hear that shit.” In a drunken haze, he smiled over at me. “Just do us a favor and don’t go out with him until after the weekend. We made a bet that he couldn’t get you by the end of the week.”
Braeden hit him again. “What the fuck? Shut the hell up.” He pushed Dallas out the door and they all followed him. So Kellan agreed to the bet? That was mighty bold of him.
I could hear steps on the hardwood floor behind me. “You all right?” Chris asked.
Turning on my heel, I smiled. “Yep.” If Kellan was trying to win the bet, he wasn’t trying very hard. But then again, maybe five hundred dollars was nothing compared to the money he earned. I used to make a good living, but at least I was able to retrieve the money I had in the bank before my supposed death. Having that money helped, especially since I didn’t make nearly as much working at the pub. Hopefully soon I’d be back to doing what I loved.
“Why don’t you go home? I can finish up here,” Chris offered.
“You sure? I don’t mind staying.”
He shook his head. “Go. You do enough here as it is.”
I hurried behind the bar and grabbed my purse. “Thanks, Chris. After all the training Aylee puts me through, I’m exhausted by nine o’clock.”
“I can imagine.” He laughed. “I know not to mess with you now.”
Aylee taught me many self-defense techniques and how to fight. Before, I had no clue what to do if someone attacked me. After everything that happened with Mitchell and Cole, I had to make sure I was ready for anything. At least now, I wouldn’t have to worry about it anymore.
I waved goodbye to Chris and then walked out the door. The night was cool and I breathed in the clean air; the smell of rain was near. We needed it after the long, dry summer we had. Looking over at my car, I didn’t realize there was a truck parked next to me with someone leaning against it. It wasn’t just anysomeone, either.
“Where were you tonight?” I asked, looking straight at Kellan’s smiling face. He had on a pair of jeans that hung low on his hips with a snug green T-shirt that showed off his perfectly sculpted arms. Why did he have to be so sexy? Not to mention, he had perfectly straight, white teeth, which I thought would be a rarity among hockey players.
“So you missed me, huh?”
His smile was infectious and I caught myself smiling back. “I wouldn’t say missed, but I was curious where you were. I saw what you did to Maddox.”
He shrugged. “It had to be done. Maddox has a large fucking head and needed to be brought down.”
I held up my hands. “You don’t have to explain. I, of all, people know what kind of head he has.” It was the size of the entire country.
Chuckling, he stepped forward, his gaze roaming over my body. “You seem different tonight. It’s not very often you smile.”
I hadn’t had a reason to, but I couldn’t tell him that. “Maybe it’s because I know something you don’t.”
“Oh yeah? What’s that?”
“Uh, I don’t know, perhaps something about a bet?”
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author L. P. Dover is a southern belle living in North Carolina with her husband and two beautiful girls. Before she began her literary journey she worked in periodontics, enjoying the wonderment of dental surgeries.

She loves to write, but she also loves to play tennis, go on mountain hikes and white water rafting, and has a passion for singing. Her two youngest fans expect a concert each and every night before bedtime, usually Christmas carols.

Dover has written countless novels, including her Forever Fae series, the Second Chances series, the Gloves Off series, the Armed & Dangerous series, the Royal Shifters series, the Society X series, the Circle of Justice series, and her standalone novel Love, Lies, and Deception. Her favorite genre to read and write is romantic suspense, but if she got to choose a setting in which to live, it would be with her faeries in the Land of the Fae.
L.P. Dover is represented by Marisa Corvisiero of Corvisiero Literary Agency and Italia Gandolfo of Gandolfo Helin & Fountain Literary Management for dramatic rights.

 

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Blog Tour – Bellevue Bullies Series by Toni Aleo

 

Jude Sinclair here, hockey player for the Bellevue Bullies and lover of all ladies. Hockey’s in my blood, and not to sound full of myself, but I’m good at it…really good. The draft is within my reach—it’s mine to take—but that’s not the only reason people know my name. They know me because of my way with women. They know the score, and I aim to please. I just tend to stay away from repeat performances. In other words, I don’t do relationships beyond my family and friends. I’m happy with life. However, I should warn you that my story and how I see it playing out is about to change due to a certain redhead on campus.
She’s beautiful. Stunning. Breathtaking.
She’s my game changer.
***
He’s trouble from the moment I see him. I don’t know what I’m thinking, but from the moment I meet his gaze, I’m his. It’s a scary feeling.
I’ve never trusted anyone outside my aunt and uncle—and even that took months. I didn’t have it easy growing up. My mom was usually strung out, and she didn’t give me a second thought. Drugs and the men who paid her were more important to her. It was horrible, but I’m stronger today. Because of my past, security is what I need most. Money assures me that I can take care of myself today, tomorrow, and next month. I don’t want to ever be hungry or go without again, so I work hard for every penny.
Oh, by the way, I’m Claire Anderson. I’m a hard-studying sophomore at the University of Bellevue, dancer for the school dance team, and a burlesque dancer at a club, but that’s my secret.
You may think you know how our story ends, but you have no clue. It’s not easy falling in love… or living happily ever after. At first it may seem so, but when is anything worth having ever won without a fight?
Especially when you’re boarded by love.

Amazon

Things are heating up for the Sinclair boys! With one already in the NHL, Jayden Sinclair is hoping to be next!

This has been the toughest year of my life. I watched my brother go into the draft without me, my mom got divorced, and the weight of my family’s issues is heavy on my shoulders. I feel like it’s my job to fix everything while working my butt off in school and trying to make my game better. I have to go into the draft. It will give my family the support they need, and it will prove that I’m good enough. But to get there, I have to show I can be the best captain for the Bellevue Bullies. The spot is mine—no one can take it. First though, Jude is making me go on a brother’s weekend. Innocent enough, I guess…until I see her. She’s the biggest competitor I’ve ever faced. Not only for my spot but also my heart. It’s hard to ignore someone like Baylor Moore.
***
I don’t lose. I can’t. My dad has bred me to be the best in anything I do. I am driven, I am smart, and I am going to be the first woman in the National Hockey League. No two ways about it. I’ve worked too hard. I’ve been through too much not to have what I want. I know I can do it. I will make my dad proud, and no one will stand in the way of that. That is, until I let him in. He scares me. He makes me feel. And he could very well be the one person who can make me want more than just to win.
We both have the same goal. Victory. But how do you compete against the person you want to win? It’s not easy. Love isn’t something you can control. It isn’t like a puck that can be handled by a stick. No, it has a mind of its own and does what it wants.
Neither of us saw it coming, and we really don’t know if there is a way to score, especially when you’re being Clipped by Love.
Things are out of control for the Sinclair boys! With two already in the NHL, Jace Sinclair is ready to follow in his brothers’ HUGE skates in the last Bellevue Bullies novel…
Jace Sinclair here, and I’m amazing. There is no other way to describe me. I am the leading scorer for the Bellevue Bullies, I’m the captain, and people love me: my family, my teammates, my coach, and the NHL. This is my last year in college–I already have one foot in the draft. Hockey keeps me warm even when it’s freezing. It’s always there when nothing else is. And it pushes me to be the best I can be. It’s my one and only love.
That is, until I see her against a tree with a guitar.
Avery.
The last thing I wanted was to meet anyone. My heart is on the bench because of what happened with my parents, and I don’t want that for myself. I don’t want to be hurt by anyone. I can’t give them that power.
But my heart is begging for ice time, and I can’t control it around her.
* * *
I’ve always been in the background. No one has ever had time for me and that’s fine; I’ve learned to cope. Coming from a family where hockey is life, the last thing I want is some big, burly hockey player charging at me. I don’t have time for it, but Jace Sinclair isn’t one to be deked around.
I didn’t want to meet anyone. I didn’t want to end up freezing the puck with him. It’s not what I want.
I have demons.
I have issues.
Living in the shadows, no one even knew until it was too late. But Jace wants to know.
He wants me.
And that scares me the living hell out of me.

We were so worried about what would happen if we fell, but we never thought what could happen in the process of falling. We never saw it coming. But it’s here, and the repercussions are not pretty. We should have known that there is no way out of the zone when you are being Hooked by Love.
Boarded by Love
The Bellevue Bullies Series

Claire

Something is off tonight.

I don’t know what it is, and I don’t know why I’m feeling like this tonight. But as I sit staring at myself in the mirror, I can’t help but want more than what I’m doing right now. I mean, I have a good life and I am happy now, but something, something is missing. It honestly makes no sense; I’m actually loved and happy, so I have no clue what is wrong with me. I have everything I need and could ask for. But instead of being thankful and grateful, I question myself – my life – when I shouldn’t because thankfully, I don’t have to live the way I did four years ago.

I no longer have to worry constantly if my mom will be coming home with food instead of drugs or booze, that she wouldn’t be alone. She was never alone. She always came home with some random sleazy guy that she would make me call “uncle,” if he was around for more than five minutes. And soon the food she hopefully brought with her, usually cold, greasy KFC or burgers, would be forgotten. Instead, shit would get weird in our hundred square foot trailer; my heart would race, and I would be hiding underneath my bed from my new “uncle.”

She had a tendency to pick the supershitty guys – it was like her superpower, one I hope she didn’t pass down to me. She especially managed to pick the ones who liked to touch little girls, but thankfully, I was pretty good at getting away. I was always a kicker, a biter, and a nut-puncher. But that all changed when I turned fourteen – my mom brought home a guy that did get to me.

Because that time I didn’t try to get away.

Wasn’t my greatest decision, and I regret it now, but at the time I wanted to feel something. I wanted to feel what my mom felt, because obviously she was feeling something great, judging by the noises she made, but I felt absolutely nothing. I really wanted to eat that day. I hadn’t eaten in four days, I was starving, and he worked at the grocery store, so I figured it was a good bet. I was empty in more ways than one, so I did it to get what I needed.

And because of that moment, for the next two years, I lived just like my mother. Drinking the Two-Buck Chuck she brought home, having sex with any guy who wanted me and promised me dinner. Disgusting, I know. I was basically what my mom was – a whore. And I was living the life I thought I was destined for, living the life I was dealt because no one gave a shit enough to tell me that there could have been anything else.

That all changed when my mom was brutally killed.  

It was surreal, and for a long time I didn’t believe it. I also blamed everyone, I think because I was so disgusted in myself that I wasn’t sad. I didn’t miss her. I was glad to be free of her, but I thought that made me a bad person. I was mostly mad at my real uncle for not saving me when he could. I’ll never forget the moment that my uncle Phillip came into my life. I was sixteen, and I was angry that my mom was gone because of her own stupidity. I was scared that I was going to end up like her. For the first time, survival was not the most important option, and I was messed up. My great-aunt had been hell, putting me in religious rehab, calling me a whore and telling me I was just like my mother, and trying to “SAVE ME WITH THE JESUS.” I just couldn’t go back to her version of rehab with the orderlies that had grabby hands. That was not an option, so I did the most logical thing. I tore her house apart and packed what little shit I had and was gone.

I was walking down the street, getting ready to walk right out of town if I had to. But I knew I needed to stop and think, so I went to my favorite place, the Sculpture Garden in Minneapolis where I grew up. As I thought about my next move and what to do, Phillip was there to get me. He was driving from my aunt’s house, trying to find me, and when he did, he wasn’t going anywhere without me. He convinced me to go get waffles at this diner across the street, and it was there that he told me that he wasn’t going to let me go the way he had let his sister go. Of course, I didn’t believe him. I was used to men making promises they didn’t keep just to use me. But now, three years later, I couldn’t be more grateful for him.

At the time, I didn’t understand how anyone thought a single, twenty-nine-year-old man would know how to take care of an angry sixteen-year-old, but obviously someone knew that he was what I needed. It wasn’t easy. The first six months of being with him were complete hell. I drove him crazy; I tried to sleep with a couple of the guys from the Assassins, the team he played pro hockey for. I tried to push every button I could on him, but he never broke. He kept strong, told me he loved me, and would always be there for me, no matter what I did.

I’d never had that.

My mom only told me she loved me when she was strung out, wearing ripped up fishnets with makeup smeared on her face while she leaned back on some guy, his eyes locked on my small, fragile body. Or when she needed me to go to the store for cigarettes, or condoms, or something. And as I got older, she stopped saying it because I was competition for the attention of the men she brought home. I wanted to vomit when she would say it because I knew it wasn’t true. If she really loved me, why was I living in a roach-infested house, hiding under my bed from the fourteenth “uncle” of the month? Why would I lock myself in the bathroom and cry because I was so hungry while she had lines of cocaine laid on every flat surface in the house, higher than a kite. Why wasn’t I important enough?

I was destined to end up like her, and I probably would have ended up like her – beaten, raped, and found in a ditch – if Phillip hadn’t come into my life.

It wasn’t just Phillip, though; it was Reese too, his now soon-to-be wife. Before, I never had goals; I only wanted to get through the next day, wanting to feel anything enough to sleep with the next guy who wanted me. I used to think that I wasn’t worth much, but Reese helped me to see that being a coked-out stripper like my mom wasn’t what I was meant to be. I wasn’t easy to talk to, but she found a way, and that was through dance. I’ve always loved to dance, not of the stripper variety like my mom, but more like the really awesome, choreographed stuff. I would spend hours watching music videos, when my mom would remember to pay the cable bill, and I would mimic the girls in the videos. I was amazing, and when Reese found me doing just that in her sister’s house, the next thing I knew she had me in her studio learning routines with her.

And soon my dream was born.

Even looking at myself now, that dream still wants to be a reality. I feel it in my heart. I want to be a world-famous choreographer, teaching people like Justin Timberlake amazing routines to perform all over the world, or in Vegas, choreographing shows. The only problem is I’m not sure if it will to keep me safe, stable, and steady. I need that. After years of not knowing when my next meal was coming, I can’t just throw caution to the wind and hope I make it. I need safety. I need stability. I’ve had that the last three years because of Phillip, but I can’t depend on him my whole life. I can’t depend on anyone. I have to work for me.

So while I would have loved to go to a dance school like Reese suggested, I decided to stay home near them and go for business. Maybe I’ll take over Reese’s dance studio, or maybe start my own. The possibilities are endless, and I think that maybe I’m working here just to have the option to go do something amazing later.

“Claire, you go on in thirty.”

I nod without looking as I know the voice belongs to Ms. Prissy, before reaching back to French braid my bright red hair. Tucking it up in the back since my hair is so long, I reach for my black wig and slide it on my head. Pinning down the wig real tight, I start to put on my makeup in a rush. I’m running a tad bit behind since I stayed at the studio later, working on a routine for a duet that will compete in a couple weeks. As I apply my eye shadow in a dark, dramatic way, my hand pauses as the only advice my mom ever gave me rushes through my mind: Never look back, baby. That’s a real good way to get hit, head-on.

Crap, why am I thinking of that? I can’t sit here and think of her right now. I don’t do it often, but when I do, I dwell, and right now is not the time to dwell. Ms. Prissy doesn’t like when you’re late, and I try never to be. I needed a job like this and got lucky when she wanted to hire me. I know that Phillip and Reese would give me the world if I asked, but I don’t like to ask for things. I want to stand on my own two feet, be able to afford my next meal, and working here, I’ve managed to bank more than I ever thought, and I don’t plan on stopping until I graduate. Then I’ll have a down payment for a business of my own or to redo Reese’s. I don’t know. We will see.

“Oh my God, Claire!”

I look back at one of my friends, Ellen, with a puzzled look on my face. “What? What happened?

She didn’t look like anything was wrong, but you never knew with her. Ellen reminds me a lot of my mom. She isn’t an addict or anything, but she sure does love the men, and they love her. With her luscious blond hair, big breasts, blue eyes, and big, plump lips, the guys eat her up. She’s sweet, but outside of work, we aren’t friends. I don’t need someone in my life who reminds me of my mom.

“That asshole I was sleeping with, he gave me crabs!”

I gasp, “What? One of your rockers?”

“Rockers” was what the girls who worked in the Rock Room called the guys who came in there. When the station beside me shakes, I look over to see my friend Tessi rushing to get ready. I shoot her a grin before turning back to Ellen.

“No! Heck no, but because I got the crabs, I can’t fucking dance in there till I get rid of them. That’s like a WEEK! I’m so fucking pissed.”

I nod. I’d be pissed too if I actually worked in that room, but I don’t, by choice. I don’t have to grind on some forty-five-year-old for extra money. The girls in the club pay me extra to choreograph their routines – management does too for the group numbers – so I am pretty secure without the extra dough, plus my tips are fantastic. Some of the girls say they bring home thousands, but still, I can’t do it. There is a difference between dancing onstage in only a bra and undies and dancing naked on some guy. I don’t mind being looked at, but I do have a problem being touched. Hence the reason I haven’t had sex in three years. I feel I did that enough in my younger teen years to suffice for the rest of my life.

“So who were you sleeping with?” I ask Ellen.

“Allen West, told ya he was a sleaze,” Tessi says from beside me. I glance over at her before looking back at Ellen and then looking back at Tessi. I’m confused.

“Allen? My Allen? Tall Allen?”

“Yeah, didn’t you go out with him a few times?” Ellen asks.

I blink a few times, confused. “I am still going out with him.”

Tessi scoffs beside me as Ellen exclaims, “What?! That douche told me you broke up!”

“I mean, we weren’t really together, but we were seeing each other. I never slept with him or anything,” I say, but I still can’t believe that not only has Ellen been sleeping with him, but he gave her crabs. Small miracles… Small freaking miracles.

“Damn girl, I’m so sorry,” Ellen says with a worried look on her face.

I shake my head, waving her off. “Don’t worry about it.”

With a curt smile, Ellen runs off as I sit with my brush still held up to my face. I can’t believe it. Allen West was a decent guy, solid, or at least I thought he was. I stayed clear of guys my freshman year and the beginning of this year, but somehow Allen talked me into a date and then another. The next thing I knew, we were walking across the quad holding hands. We had never officially put labels on each other, but he was fun to hang out with, and I thought that he would be a great guy to end my celibacy streak with, but I guess I was wrong.

“Wow. Just wow. Man, I can pick ’em, huh?” I say with a shake of my head.

“Yeah, I was gonna tell you about that today. Ellen called me last night, but I forgot to call you when I looked back down at my sociology work. I am going to fail that class,” Tessi says as she brings her brown hair up into a high ponytail. Tessi, my friend Skylar, and I are the only girls from UB who work in the club. It’s great money, easy hours, and they let you come and go as you please. Plus we have actual security so we won’t get jumped in the parking lot. Girls who waitress at TGI Fridays have more problems than we do. And make less in tips.

“It’s okay, and no, you won’t fail. I’ll help you,” I say as I watch her for a moment. Tessi gives me a bright smile as I continue to watch her get ready. I’m zoning out a lot tonight, which is unusual. Usually I’m on top of things, helping the other girls who are behind. Tessi never needs my help, though. She’s a lot like me, a go-getter, climbing out of her own issues. That’s probably why we’re such great friends. We both get it. We met at freshman orientation and became fast friends. I am the one who got her the job here. She is a great friend and one of the most beautiful girls I have ever seen.

She has beautiful, big brown eyes, with thick black lashes framing them, big breasts, and beautifully plump lips. She has dangerous curves and a really great attitude. Like me, she had lived a pretty rough life, and now is doing everything to make sure she never has to go back to the life she used to live. She’s going to school to be a social worker; she wants to help kids who had shitty lives. She always tells me that she wishes someone had been there for her and me, and I do too, but then I think that maybe it was for the best. We learned from that shit and pulled ourselves together, and going to live with Phillip was probably the best thing ever. I know that it wasn’t ideal for a kid to grow up like that, but I’ve accepted it. I figure it made me stronger. I learned from it and got my drive from it. I’m stronger than any of the silly girls I go to school with, and I like that. I wear my childhood like a badge of honor instead of being ashamed of it.

She turns to look at me and smiles. “You’re not torn up by this, are you? Allen was a dick. You can get someone way better, girl. Don’t sweat it.”

She was right, obviously he didn’t mean that much to me, because I’m not mad or even broken up about it. I don’t even feel like I lost anything. I feel nothing. Surprise maybe because he was harboring an STD but nothing else. I nod. “Nope, not torn up at all. I’m not mad that he slept with someone else while talking to me, but I am mad that he could have gotten my vagina sick.”

Tessi nods sagely as she moves some gloss along her bottom lip. “I would be too. Give him hell, girlfriend, but right now, you need to pop your contacts in and get onstage. Ms. Prissy hasn’t been laid in weeks, and she is in full bitch mode, I can promise you that.”

I laugh out loud as I turn to look back at myself. I still have a lot to do. I wish I could be like Tessi and not care if someone recognizes me in this place, but it always freaks me out that Phillip could come in here, or one of his friends. I’m not ashamed of what I do by any means, but I still don’t like to advertise it. Plus, I’m not a hundred percent sure how Phillip would feel about this. Reese knows, but I’ve never brought it up to Phillip, and neither has she. But really, the thought of some guy coming up to me outside of the club is enough, so I do everything I can to change my appearance.

Reaching for my contact case, I open it quickly, popping in my dark brown contacts to cover my bright blue eyes. Positioning some fake lashes to make my eyes look fuller, I finish my eye makeup before applying some bright red lipstick. Pursing my lips at myself, satisfied with the way I look, I smile at my reflection before standing up to get ready. Reaching for my outfit for the night, I hurry to get ready because, like Tessi said, Ms. Prissy could be a major bitch when she wasn’t getting laid regularly. After sliding the crystal-encrusted booty shorts up over my black fishnets, I slide my feet into a pair of black high heels as Tessi stands up to help me tie up the back of the crystal-studded corset.

“Claire! Let’s go,” Ms. Prissy yells.

Tessi laughs before swatting me on my butt. “Good luck.”

I flash her a grin as I grab my fans and make my way to the curtain. Tonight, I’m doing an old-fashioned burlesque fan dance. I’d seen it on TV one night and then spent the next two weeks researching and rehearsing my set before I showed Ms. Prissy and management at the club. That was a year ago, and now I was the most popular act on the busiest night. I also do pole and regular burlesque dancing, but the fans are my favorite. I send Ms. Prissy an apologetic smile as I run to my mark, but all I receive back is an eye roll before she gets on the radio to let the tech guys know I’m ready. When “Diamonds” by Rihanna starts, I slowly pull the curtains back, revealing myself to the crowd as it erupts with catcalls and men hollering my name.

Showtime.

Oh, by the way, my name is Claire Anderson and I’m a nineteen-year-old sophomore at the University of Bellevue here in Tennessee. By night though, onstage and in this club, my name is Diamond, and I’m the best burlesque dancer at Ms. Prissy’s Gentlemen’s Club.

Nice to meet you.  

My name is Toni Aleo and I’m a total dork.
I am a wife, mother of two and a bulldog, and also a hopeless romantic.
I am the biggest Shea Weber fan ever, and can be found during hockey season with my nose pressed against the Bridgestone Arena’s glass, watching my Nashville Predators play!
When my nose isn’t pressed against the glass, I enjoy going to my husband and son’s hockey games, my daughter’s dance competition, hanging with my best friends, taking pictures, scrapbooking, and reading the latest romance novel.
I have a slight Disney and Harry Potter obsession, I love things that sparkle, I love the color pink, I might have been a Disney Princess in a past life… probably Belle.
… and did I mention I love hockey?
Author Links

New Release & Giveaway: Dirty Talker by Piper Rayne

Title: Dirty Talker 
Series: Single Dads Club #2
Author: Piper Rayne
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Release Date: June 12, 2017
Cover Model: Zack Salaun
Photographer: Wander Aguiar Photography
Cover Designer: RBA Designs
Turn-ons…
Party girls.
Platinum blondes.
Zero expectations.
I used to think that if you could combine all three into one female, you’d have the perfect woman. The other guys in the Single Dads Club razz me for wearing the crown of the forever bachelor. The one who’ll be in his seventies chasing down young hotties in his wheelchair.
Then why the hell does Ava Pearson—an outdoorsy girl, a brunette, and a woman who screams stability and responsibility—seem to be the only woman on my mind lately?
Especially when I’ve got enough obligations without adding any complications to the mix—my son, my bar…well, that’s about it. But that’s enough for a guy like me.
It’s the cupcakes. It’s gotta be the cupcakes she bakes that keep me coming back for more. After all, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, right? Well, it’s apparently a direct target to his dick, too.
Did I forget to mention that she’s my buddy’s daughter…another member’s daughter?

Ava might say she can handle being friends-with-benefits, but I’m not sure she can. Unfortunately for her I’m too selfish of a prick to care—until I do.

“Ahh! I knew Dane would end up being my favorite of this series…and there is still another book to go! … I FLOVED this book!” ~Goodreads Review (Angela)


“What a sweet, sweet second installment of the Single Dads Series. Don’t deny your sweet tooth and take a bite out of this! Well done ladies, well done!” ~Goodreads Review (Chloe)

 


Piper Rayne, or Piper and Rayne, whichever you prefer because we’re not one author, we’re two. Yep, you get two established authors for the price of one. You might be wondering if you know us? Maybe you’ll read our books and figure it out. Maybe you won’t. Does it really matter?


We aren’t trying to stamp ourselves with a top-secret label. We wanted to write without apology. We wanted to not be pigeon holed into a specific outline. We wanted to give readers a story without them assuming how the story will flow. Everyone has their favorite authors, right? And when you pick up their books, you expect something from them. Whether it’s an alpha male, heavy angst, a happily ever after, there’s something you are absolutely certain the book will contain. Heck, we’re readers, too, we get it.

 

What can we tell you about ourselves? We both have kindle’s full of one-clickable books. We’re both married to husbands who drive us to drink. We’re both chauffeurs to our kids. Most of all, we love hot heroes and quirky heroines that make us laugh, and we hope you do, too.

 

 

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