Smith slides in beside me and drapes his arm around me, kissing the side of my head.
Ryan glances over his shoulder before backing up. “You guys are coming tonight, right?”
“Wouldn’t miss it,” Smith answers for both of us.
The drive to my house is less than five minutes. On the way Smith leans in and whispers in my ear, “Anyone going to be home?”
I shake my head then wonder if I should have lied. Smith’s been hinting more frequently that he wants to have sex. We’ve been dating for three months, but unlike Smith, I’m not ready. Call me old-fashioned, but I want my first time to be special. I like Smith, he’s cute, popular, and funny, but I’m not in love with him. Plus, I’m pretty sure you shouldn’t keep secrets from the person you share the most intimate part of yourself with, and I’m keeping a huge secret from Smith.
We pull up in front of my house, and Smith and I hop out, grabbing our stuff from the back.
“I’ll call you later,” Ronny yells as Ryan roars off.
I wave as they turn the corner and disappear, nerves twisting in my belly as Smith takes my hand. I glance at him, my gaze drawn to his crystal blue eyes beneath messy-wild blond hair. Smith moved here last summer and rapidly became one of the most popular guys in our class. He’s always tan and his body is cut, a result of time spent in the pool or surfing in his native Florida. Every single girl in our school, and possibly even a few with boyfriends, would be thrilled to have my problem. I need to figure this out soon before he decides he’s tired of waiting.
Smith guides me up the walkway toward the porch, and I wonder how far I can let him go this time before I put on the brakes.
Our front door opens and two men dressed in black suits, white button-ups, black ties, and sunglasses exit our house. The taller of the two seems to size me up behind his dark lenses before he nods and passes. I turn and watch them get into a black Escalade parked across the street.
My brother, Noah, cruises up and parks his vintage blue Mustang convertible in the driveway. He climbs out, his eyes glued to the SUV as it pulls away from the curb.
Smith snorts. “What are the Blues Brothers doing here?”
I don’t share his humor and instead turn toward my brother, eyebrows raised in silent question.
Noah shakes his head, and inside my own head, I hear, “I don’t know, they were blocking me.”
A chill runs through me starting in the pit of my stomach. It’s not unusual to get a visit from the Men in Black, but my parents should be at work, and Noah should still be at his school for another couple of hours. Something is wrong.
“Don’t panic, AR,” Noah says in my head.
I turn to Smith, “Um, I’ll call you later, okay? Pick me up at eight?”
He leans in and kisses my cheek. “Sure. Wear something sexy.” He smiles and waggles his eyebrows.
“Douchebag,” Noah says only to me before heading inside.
An Unbreakable Series
Romantic Suspense, Erotica
Date Published: May 2018
From The Award Winning Author of the Shattered Innocence Trilogy
Everyone has a story and for Xavier London, he preferred to keep his hidden. As ruthless as he was, he still had morals and those morals included betraying the one man who saved his life. He never thought that meeting one woman could change everything.
Tessa Sands never knew the truth about her life, nor did she ever question it. The only life she knew was the one she was taught, disciplined by the man who raised and groomed her to be only his. But, when another man entered her life, she slowly begins to discover that she had been deceived from the start.
Can she find true love or will his secrets get in the way?
Their love for each other will be tested. Only they can determine if love will win.
New town, same life. Even though leaving Manhattan was the hardest thing I had ever done, I knew it was best for me to leave and start over. So here I stand in my plush penthouse apartment, one year later. Taking a sip of my Scotch on the rocks, gazing out my floor-to-ceiling window, wondering what this magnificent town was going to bring me tomorrow. I always liked the nights in LA. It seemed to be the only time that the big city came to life. I loved the rush of a city at night. It was like escaping into a whole different world where every fantasy could be lived.
It was also the time when your worst nightmares could appear, and believe me, I had my share. As I downed my drink, I reflected that the night always brought back one nightmare in particular. I will never forget the look on my brother’s face when he realized I was dead. God, how I hated doing that to him, but it was the only way to break free.
Looking back at that day at Willow Crossing, it was amazing what one tiny pill could do. It could slow the heartbeat just enough to make it seem like you were dead. A little bit of animal blood as a prop could make it that much more real. With a little planning and a little money anything was possible. Luckily for me, I ran into the right man, and he needed a little help himself. The hardest part was finding a body. “Good old college academics and those donor lists,” I thought to myself with a chuckle. Who would have thought that a body being donated to science would be my savior? And with a little help from my needy coroner friend, I would soon be nonexistent. Free to start over.
Grabbing my suit jacket from the barstool, I casually put it on, making sure to catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror above the expensive accent table. There was always something about a man in a suit that women seemed to go crazy for, and with the money I’ve made, I always made sure my closet was brimming with the best designer suits money could buy. Picking up the keys to my Jag from the table, I smoothed back my brown hair and adjusted the collar of my freshly-pressed shirt. Tonight was my night off and I really wanted to have some fun.
As I rode the elevator down to the parking garage, the memory of what I left in Manhattan came aboard. Thinking back, the only downside to my plan was hurting the one person I loved most. I guess for every action there is a reaction, and the reaction was a new life for me. Besides, he’ll survive. With the only woman he ever loved at his side and the men he served with watching his back, he’ll do just fine. As for me, I am alive and well, living in California. I’m no longer Josh Hyatt, born of a convict and raised by a mom and dad who couldn’t be honest to the son who brought them so much joy. That man died a long time ago, and a new man was born.
While I smiled to myself in my new reality, the elevator door opened, and a gorgeous brunette got on. Checking out the curves on this beauty, I needed to get me some of that. Inhaling the scent of her perfume, I casually leaned over and asked in a sultry low voice, “That scent you’re wearing is breathtaking. What is it, if you don’t mind me asking?”
The minute she turned and our eyes met, I knew this was going to be easy. There was a hunger inside those emerald eyes that couldn’t be mistaken. At least there was one thing I didn’t regret. Watch out, LA, Xavier London is in town.
About the Author
Award winning Author of the Independent Press Award., NYC Big Book Award, and the 2018 National Indie Excellence Award.
My love for writing began several years ago after an early retirement from a demanding job that I loved, but also hated because it consumed so much of my time. Now, I am able to focus my time on what I love. Writing romance has been a life long dream and to actually say that I am a published author is beyond what I would have ever expected.
Even though some may say I have a little naughtiness in my books, I look at it as an added bonus for my readers. After all what is a romance book without a little spice.
When I am not writing, I enjoy spending time with friends either at home or out on the town. Mostly, I enjoy a relaxing night at home where I can enjoy a glass of wine in the company of a good book.
Margo & George Forever?
By Stephanie Queen
Genre: Romantic Comedy
There was no question in Margo's heart of hearts that she loved George. She really did want to marry him--scratch that--she really did want to be married to him.
There was a difference.
She hoped to heaven that the teeny-tiny distinction wouldn't be their undoing...
The stage is set for the wedding of the year in New York City featuring poor sweet beautiful Margo marrying the most eligible (read that: handsome and wealthy) bachelor, Regal Stores heir and CEO, George Regal, III. The Regal family has long presided over the social and fashion scene in Manhattan and they have embraced the marriage with enough enthusiasm to create a circus.
That could be why Margo feels like she's in the center ring and about to be swallowed by a lion.
But the best things about George, the strong powerful CEO, are the ones he's not known for, like his small thoughtful gifts, the crystal angel Christmas tree ornament he'd given her, the way he holds her hand at odd moments, the way he bear-hugs his grandma whenever he sees her and the way he speaks with misty eyes about his late mother.
Of course Margo wants to spend the rest of her life with him... if she could just get past the family’s ‘enthusiasm’ and THE WEDDING.
Warning: Once you open this book you'll get heart-warming romance, smiles, laughs & fun, but also an adult-sized portion of steamy love scenes. And of course, most important of all, a very satisfying Happily-Ever-After.
Stephanie Queen is the USA Today bestselling author of the romantic detective series, Beachcomber Investigations. She lives in the stunning state of New Hampshire with her family, her cat, Kitty and her fun-loving friends. Besides going to the gym sporadically, Stephanie cooks and crochets and loves chocolate covered potato chips (yes, she should go to the gym more often).
She used to be a 9 to fiver working in downtown Boston, but has thrown her stylish suits and fancy heels in a closet and now hangs out in UConn t-shirts, jeans and sneakers. “If I could come back in another life as anything I wanted, I’d be a regency era heroine.” (Not surprisingly) Regency romances are her favorite secret reads.
Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts and a giveaway!
Title: The Prize (The ICON Trilogy #3)
Author: Vanessa Fewings
Genre: Erotic Romance
Release Date: July 1, 2018
Hosted by: Buoni Amici Press, LLC.
A life she never imagined...and a love she can’t deny
Zara Leighton has risked everything to track down the elusive art thief known as Icon, only to discover him already in her arms: the billionaire tech genius—and her lover—Tobias Wilder. Zara wants to resist Tobias, to deny his fiercely sexy smile and their sizzling chemistry. But instead, she agrees to help him one more time.
Tobias will do anything to protect Zara, but he needs her for one last ultimate job: a job that will clear both their names and grant them a future together... if they can pull it off.
The danger is real. The stakes are unbelievably high. But when it comes to love, there’s only one prize that matters…
Vanessa Fewings is the USA TODAY bestselling author of the ENTHRALL SESSIONS. THE CHASE is the first in her sizzling new romantic trilogy from HQN Books and will be released in June 2017, followed by THE GAME & THE PRIZE. Vanessa is also the author of The Stone Masters Vampire Series. Prior to publishing, Vanessa worked as a registered nurse and midwife. She holds a Masters Degree in Psychology. She has traveled extensively throughout the world and has lived in Great Britain, Germany, Hong Kong, Cyprus and the USA. Born and raised in England, Vanessa now proudly calls herself an American and resides in California with her husband. The Bestselling Enthrall Sessions reading order can be found on VanessaFewings.com. Instagram: @vanessafewings The Bestselling Enthrall Sessions - reading order can be found on VanessaFewings.com. Rep'd by The Whalen Agency
Only 99¢ for a limited time!
Title: Better Haunts & Garden Gnomes ((Un)Lucky Valley, #1)
Author: Michelle M. Pillow
Genre: Cosy Mystery Paranormal Romance
Release Date: June 26th, 2018
Cover Designer: Alchemy Book Covers
Hosted by: Buoni Amici Press, LLC.
Welcome to Lucky Valley where nothing is quite what it seems.
Lily Goode wasn't aware she had an inheritance waiting for her in the form of a huge Victorian house in Lucky Valley, Colorado. Life might finally be coming together for her. That is if you don't count the endless home repairs, dealing with eccentric Aunt Polly who claims they're both witches, and Nolan Dawson the handsome home inspector who seems to have it out for her, then, sure, life is grand. Oh and not to mention the strange hallucinations and garden gnomes who are far more than lawn ornaments.
If mysterious accidents don't do her in, then the rebellious gnomes just might. With the help of Aunt Polly, it's up to Lily to discover who's sabotaging her new home and trying to drive the Goodes out of Lucky Valley once and for all.
From NY Times & USA TODAY Bestselling Author, Michelle M. Pillow, a Cozy Mystery Paranormal Romantic Comedy.
In the town of Lucky Valley, Colorado, nothing is quite what it seems. As Lily Goode is quickly finding out… Thump. Her hands trembled as she gripped the railing. Nolan briefly placed his hand over hers, as if to steady her. They crept toward the bedroom. Thump. Thump. Rattle. Thump. Lily and Nolan reached for the door at the same time and pushed it with the tips of their fingers. The wood creaked as it opened. Crreeaak. Thump. Bang. They tilted their heads to look in. “Dam, blasted. I…” The sound was faint, but Lily heard the muffled words as if they came from underwater. “Where’d ya go ya wee varmit…” “Who’s there?” Lily demanded. Lily leaned closer to Nolan and tried not to make a sound as she stared at the room. A bed was in the middle next to a small dresser with a white porcelain bowl. The dresser slid an inch to the right and the foot of the bed lifted off the floor before thumping down. Nolan again tried to push her behind him but she resisted and moved to see who was causing all the noise. The bed bounced in a steady rhythm. She slowly leaned to the side to peek along the hidden edge of the bed. The sound stopped. A gnome stood facing the corner like a punished child. Another gnome lay on the floor. “I think Dante is right. It’s the creepy gnomes.” Lily stared at the little statues, watching for movement. A chill worked its way up her spine. Nolan placed a hand on her arm. She jumped a little in surprise at the contact. He inhaled through his nose, and whispered, “Ghost.” The word came out on a white puff of breath. The bed lifted higher than before and crashed down. When Lily turned her attention back to the gnomes, they had not moved, but there was a pair of transparent legs sticking out from under the bed. The ghost’s stained pants were frayed at the bottom hem and his boots were caked in dirt—if that was even possible. “Uh, this house is not yours,” Lily said. “Go to the light. Begone spirit.” “What are you doing?” Nolan whispered. “Banishing him?” Lily shrugged. How the heck was she supposed to know what to do? “How do you know it’s a him?” She pointed at the floor. “I assumed from the pants and boots, but I guess it could be a girl.” “All I see is a couple of gnomes.” The ghost’s feet kicked, and the bed lifted up only to fall with a bang. “Stop that!” she ordered. The ghost cackled and wheezed and did it again. This time, he shimmied until his feet disappeared under the bed. All noises stopped. “Is he gone?” “Maybe?” She shrugged helplessly. “Do you see him?” Lily turned to Nolan and grabbed his upper arm. “Nolan, if I was really in a hospital with something in my brain making me hallucinate, you’d tell me, right? I mean, you’d tell me if I was insane or none of this was real, right?” “Uh, Lily—” “I’d be all right with that. Because, if you expect me to bend over to look under the bed to see if there are any big-bad scaries lurking beneath there, I’m telling you now that I don’t think I’m brave enough. I’ve seen how this horror movie ends. I’m not about to get sucked into a dark vortex by Cackles the Cowboy Clown.” “Dark vortex?” He arched a brow. “Every little kid knows about the dark vortex. It’s why we know not to go into closets or look under the bed.” “I don’t think that’s a real—” “It’s real.” “Lily, do you want me to look under the bed for you?” Nolan asked, his tone aggravatingly calm and reasonable. She nodded. “Yes.” Nolan suppressed a grin. He lowered onto his hands and knees, threw the draped covers out of his way, and leaned close to the floor to look under the bed. Lily felt a chill along her arm. She held her breath. Her eyes moved before her head turned. She came face to forehead with a ghost. He stood a couple inches from her face. When she glanced down, she saw his whiskers shift with a smile. “Boo!” She gasped, jumping away from him. The ghost crowed a high-pitched sound, holding his stomach and slapping his thigh as if it were the funniest thing in the world. “Oo-ee-ee-ee.” “I don’t see anything,” Nolan said, still looking under the bed.
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NY Times and USA TODAY bestselling author, Michelle M. Pillow, is a Romance and Cozy Mystery Author with over a million books sold. Romance Writers of America has recognized her for publishing over 100 titles.
As long as she can remember, Michelle has had a strange fascination with anything supernatural and sci-fi. After discovering historical romance novels, it was only natural that the supernatural and love/romance elements should someday meet in her wonderland of a brain. She's glad they did for their children have been pouring onto the computer screen ever since.
Michelle loves to travel and try new things, whether it's a paranormal investigation of an old Vaudeville Theatre or climbing Mayan temples in Belize. She's addicted to movies and used to drive her mother crazy while quoting random scenes with her brother. Though it has yet to happen, her dream is to be a zombie in a horror movie. (She came close as a refugee extra on SyFy's Z Nation, Fall 2016!)
For the most part she can be found wearing pajama pants while writing in her office, and enjoying a cup of coffee. Come say hello! She loves talking with readers on social media!
The rain stopped, and the wind outside had settled, leaving an uncomfortable silence in its wake. I didn’t have a problem with the quiet. I liked it, in fact. But this was something a little different. This was uncomfortable. The kind of stillness that came from forced proximity to someone or something that made your skin itch and your stomach roil. The kind of hush that usually set in right before a devastating storm or a natural disaster.
He did this sometimes. Just sat across from me and stared. He usually wouldn’t even say anything. I didn’t think he expected me to say anything, either. He just looked. Sometimes it lasted a few minutes, just long enough to send that chill skittering up and down my spine. Other times it would go on for hours. He’d blink and breathe and fidget, but his eyes…those remained locked on me, his unhealthy mix of sadness and lust and greed and anger crushing me to the point of breathlessness.
We were at it again, and I was just about out of patience. It was one thing to have been ripped away from my home, from my life, by that madwoman, Cora Anderson. It was another to have her poke and prod and use me as a science experiment. She’d altered my mind. Made me forget most of my life before the day I woke up a prisoner on the floor of her cold, dank cell. Those things were all bad, but having been “rescued” by this bastard and forced to stay by his side at all times? That was an entirely new level of torture.
“You’re thinking about him again, aren’t you?” His tone was acidic and his jaw tight. He had a temper, this guy. I’d seen it multiple times. He’d never done anything more than scream at me, but it was only a matter of time with people like this. I wasn’t sure how I knew that, but I felt it in my bones. Maybe I’d known someone like him at home. Maybe it was just intuition.
“Yes,” was all I replied. I found that simple, one-word responses went over the best. Or, more accurately, the worst. When I said too little, he grew agitated. He wanted me to talk to him, yet the things that came out of my mouth weren’t ever what he wanted to hear. I didn’t act like he’d hoped I would, didn’t say the things he longed to hear. Some days he was determined to change me. Others, he was rabid, blaming me for not behaving like myself and demanding that I wake up.
Forget that I had no idea who I was.
“While it’s not okay, I understand.” He offered me a smile—a small, tentative twitch of his lips and gentle shrug of his shoulders. He was making an effort to be kinder today, going out of his way to speak softer and move slower.
That made me even angrier.
“You understand? Then my life is complete. All I’ve ever wanted was the understanding of a serial killer.” Even if I hadn’t been thinking about…someone else, I would have lied. The fact that I wasn’t focused on him, and him alone, drove Dylan—my savior, my captor—crazy. But the truth was, I was thinking of him. That other him. How could I not? Even if I didn’t find myself missing him every moment of every day in an almost physical way, I wouldn’t be able to put him out of my mind because he was technically sitting here across from me.
Write Now Literary is pleased to be organizing a virtual book tour for Arise From The Ashes: Stories of Hope, Anthology. The tour will run June 26, 2018.
About The BookArise from the Ashes, are stories of hope from seven women from all walks of life. These women who have gone through the fire, walked in places that others dare not tread, but women who are not ashamed of their scars and willing to bare it all. They share their journey of going from trials to triumph and pain to purpose. Arise from the Ashes is filled with inspiration, wisdom and life’s lessons from women who have endured personal pain and have come through empowered, encouraged and victorious. Genre: Non-Fiction, Inspiration Meet Paulette Visionary and Co-Author Chapter Title: Losing To Win Behind her smile is a woman who has learned the real meaning of endurance, faith and tenacity. Bestselling, award winning author, speaker and marketing specialist, Paulette Harper has authored several books, including her award winning novel Secret Places Revealed, and her award winning inspirational book Completely Whole. Her literary works have been spotlighted in a growing number of publications, including CBN, The Sacramento Observer and Real Life, Real Faith Magazine. As an inspirational speaker, Paulette’s presentations are inspiring, enriching and encouraging. Her ability to share and connect with her audience comes from her own life’s journey and experiences. She lives her life based on her motto: Intentionally Living Life on Purpose. Website Meet Donna Chapter Title: Unexpected Life’s Transitions Donna Moses passion is to pen works that will impact the hearts of readers, leading them to Christ. An avid reader, she founded Sistahs in Conversation & Sistahs in Harmony Christian Book Club. She is a retired nurse, graduate from Sacramento Theological Seminary And Bible College, and a member of Progressive Community Church. A Links Incorporated member, Donna is also a recipient of the Susan B. Anthony Award for her community involvement. Donna lives in Northern California with her husband, Raymond. They have four adult children and nine gifted grandchildren. Facebook Meet Cassietta Chapter Title: Not Forgotten: After the Storm Cassietta Jefferson is a contemporary Christian author, book reviewer, and blogger. She is the founder of Virtuous Ink Publishing where she seeks to provide her readers with the best in contemporary Christian literature. She earned her Bachelors of Applied Science in Healthcare Administration from Wayland Baptist University. Cassietta currently resides in Las Vegas Nevada where she lives with her husband of twenty years, retired United States Air Force Master Sergeant Ben Jefferson Jr. Facebook Meet Angie Chapter Title: God Sees What We Cannot See Angie Jones is passionate about prayer and called to build prayer within the local church. Since the late 1980s, she has been involved with prayer ministries through intercessory prayer as a watchman on the wall, corporate prayer, prayer walks, prayer partners, and facilitating prayer meetings and conferences. She wrote a monthly publication “The Prayer Journal” which included articles on prayer, testimonies and prayer activities. As a co-leader of Community Prayer Conference Call connecting local churches in prayer, she leads a team of eighty-plus prayer team members and holds prayer trainings within the local church. An advocate for adoption, Angie lives in Fairfield, CA and is the mother of three adopted children. Facebook Meet Michele Chapter Title: Back Down Memory Lane Andrea Mills is a published author of several books writing under her pen name, Michele Mills. An inspirational speaker, visionary, and entrepreneur, she is the Founder and CEO of Love In Spite of Women’s Bible Fellowship, where Jesus Christ is Lord. Women’s ministry leader and Bible teacher, in 2014, Andrea launched the 1st Annual Prophetic Women’s Crusade, which was embraced by the mighty presence of the Holy Spirit, manifested through signs and wonders from God in Heaven. Andrea resides in Northern California. The mother of two children., Adrienne, her late daughter, and a son, Andrè. She also has three grandchildren: Charnell, Ronal III, and Chase Benjamin. Website
Chapter Title: Hope ExistsSydney Dela Torre is creative, passionate and funny. She has a heart for God that exudes in her writing. Her transparency and vulnerability are on display as she walks her audience through the fragments of her broken life so God may be glorified. Sydney has always been encouraged by others to “share her story.” From after school children’s programs to women and youth groups, her words open the window to her heart. Often witty, Sydney approaches some of life’s toughest challenges with candor, honesty and an understanding that no problem is too big for God. Personal discoveries, as well as spiritual growth, have proven to be a source of inspiration for her writings. Her works introduce real flawed characters who overcome obstacles through Jesus. Currently penning her first fiction novel, about God’s love and grace breaking down barriers and transforming hearts, she hopes to complete it soon. Sydney and her husband, William, reside in the breathtaking mountains of Arnold, California. Facebook Meet Yolando Chapter Title: Unfailing Love Yolando Cooksey is a published devotional author in The Upper Room magazine and was recently published in an anthology, The Short and Sweet of It: When the Right Word is a Short Word. She enjoys writing as an expression of sharing her faith and her journey of developing an intimate, personal love relationship with Jesus Christ. Although raised in a Christian home, Yolando did not discover intimacy with God until after suffering several traumatic events in her life. The experiences God allowed Yolando to go through have been her motivation and passion to mentor teen girls and women to find the true meaning of real, authentic, and unfailing love. Yolando's foundation in Christ has been the guiding light in her writing and making a decision to return to school after retiring in 2015. Yolando is pursuing a master's degree in Social Work with a goal to counsel at-risk youth and children in the foster system. Yolando is a mother, grandmother, friend, and most importantly, a daughter of the Most High God. It is her dream that women truly learn who and whose they are! Facebook