Hometown Girl Forever
Elliot followed Tara into the spa, steadying his coffee cup, carefully stepping around a short, thin man who was shoveling the flowerbed as if the devil himself were prodding him. The man’s eyes bulged and his glassed hung on the tip of his nose.
“That’s Bobby,” Tara said as they stepped into what would become the spa lobby, “and over there are Gloria and Marge.”
Unsure which of the gaggle of women she was referring to, he nodded and gripped his coffee cup tighter. The women all nodded as he passed. The room was just as cluttered as it had been the night before, but now, instead of boxes, the room was filled with piles of items pulled from the boxes, as well as women of all sizes, ages, and types. Flattening against the wall so the redhead could pass, he scanned the room. “Who is in charge here?” he croaked, afraid to ask.
Tara scanned the noisy room. “There she is, come on…” she said, dragging Elliot forward by the elbow.
Elliot shuffled through the piles of supplies as Tara called out to friends. Being a good-sized man, he had to twist and turn to fit through the narrow spaces Tara easily passed. Forced to hold his half-full coffee cup over his head, Elliot muttered apologies for stepping on feet and bumping into women. Finally they reached the other side of the large room.
Gaping behind him at the sea of supplies and bodies he’d traversed, Elliot was caught off guard when he turned to see the gypsy woman he’d met the day before standing in front of him with a clipboard.
Her eyes were bright, and her riot of black curls were held back from her face with a headband. She wore a cream-colored tunic unlike anything Elliot had ever seen. It was rumpled, loose, and long to her hips, and the top of the bodice was comprised of multiple layers of lace. Over the frock she wore a loose-weave grey jacket that hung open, with the sleeves rolled up to her elbows. Soft netting hung out the bottom of the frock at her hips, and around her neck she wore what he could only categorize as a necklace, but was actually a long chain with charms and feathers and scraps of lace shimmering all around it.
He stared at her in shock, not only because of her clothing, but because it was her. The strange bohemian woman had danced in and out of his scattered dreams all night. His eyes roamed over her all the way to the floor, taking in her grey leggings and laced boots, unable to miss her very shapely legs, before traveling back up to her face. This gypsy woman was going to run his spa?
Her perturbed expression clearly asked if he was finished gaping.
Feeling quite the clod, he hurried to extend his hand, forgetting momentarily that he held a coffee cup.
Lizzie jumped back, raising the clipboard in order to miss the torrent of black liquid as coffee sloshed over the rim of the cup.
Elliot jerked the cup back and staggered sideways into a pile of boxes, splashing coffee across his slacks and shoes.
“Let me help you,” Lizzie said, tossing her clipboard on a stack of boxes and grabbing a towel from a nearby pile of linens. Bending, she brushed at the coffee on his shins and shoes.
Embarrassed and numb with what he could only describe as uncharacteristically cloddish behavior, Elliot stood like a statue, his coffee cup held at arm’s length, still dripping onto the hardwood floor.
THE KISS LIST
by Sonya Weiss Publication Date: February 10, 2020 Genres: Adult, Entangled: Bliss, Sweet Romance, Contemporary, Romance
Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/3brrFng
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/39mebro
Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/2ScKeUY
All Haley Bowman has ever wanted was her One True Love. But now, with her cousin getting married and Haley back in her small town, the pressure is on. Good thing she’s got a foolproof Kiss List, full of potential OTLs. Her parents knew they were soul mates at their first kiss, so surely Haley will know the same. All she needs to do is…well, kiss each of these guys…
Enter Max Gallagher: bane of Haley’s existence, her nemesis since childhood, and, unfortunately, as a local, her way in with all the guys on the Kiss List. Max wants nothing to do with love and certainly nothing to do with Haley, but he can clear the way for her to get to know the guys on the list. Of course, he wants something in return: to be made a partner in Haley’s family’s business. One kiss for relinquishing her hold-out vote on Max.
But the more time Max and Haley spend together, the clearer it is that there’s a paper-thin line between love and hate. Max will have to decide between the job he’s always dreamed of or the girl of his dreams before his fate is sealed with someone else’s kiss.
ABOUT SONYA WEISS
Sonya Weiss is a freelance writer, ghostwriter and author. She’s addicted to great books, good movies, and Italian chocolates.
She’s passionate about causes that support abused animals and children. Her parents always supported her bringing stray animals home although the Great Dane rescue was a surprise.
ENTER THE GIVEAWAY
Hearts Eclipsedby L.C. Son Publication Date: November 30, 2019 Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Read for FREE in KindleUnlimited: AmazonOne Woman. Two Men. Three Hearts. A tale of two suitors. Hearts Eclipsed is a Beautiful Nightmare Companion Novel chronicling the downfall of Damina Nicaud’s love to one man and the rising of another. Narrated by both Jackson Nash and Dalcour Marchand, see the story unfold from their eyes As Jackson grapples with losing the love of his life, he must overcome a dark family history and fears far worse than death in an effort to reclaim his lost love and stake his claim as the Prime Alpha he is meant to become. Meanwhile, Dalcour races against a deadly deadline only to be caught off guard by a love that awakens the most dormant parts of his dark soul, bringing back a light he never thought he’d see. Betrayal and bloody contentions against vampire Scourges and Skull Wolves will ensue, but both men will soon discover their fight has only begun Authors Note:This book is a standalone companion novel of Beautiful Nightmare (Book One). . To ensure a pleasurable reading experience, be sure to read Beautiful Nightmare (Book One) FIRST. Hearts Eclipsed is a companion novel chronicling the events of Beautiful Nightmare from Jackson and Dalcour’s perspective. It is not a retelling of the first book in the series, but assumes the reader understands nomenclature from the first book.
Also in the Series
About L.C. SonL. C. Son has the life she’s always imagined and more. A wife to one and mom to three kids and a very regal Beagle, she would say she is living a life full of awesomeness! Growing up, she spent hours reading comic books she “borrowed” from her older brother which inspired her love for heroes and all things fantasy and paranormal. Much like the characters she adored, she lives a duplicitous life. By day she works tirelessly to champion the employment of persons with severe disabilities. By night she puts on her wife-mom cape, sharing with her husband at their church and juggling their kid’s very active schedules. Writing has always come second nature to her and a skill she uses in her professional career. Beautiful Nightmare is her first published work and she’s thrilled to finally bring to life the characters that have lived in the creative corners of her mind. Presently, she’s working on Book Two of the series and developing an anthology, Origins, in continuation of the Beautiful Nightmare series.
Etched in Stone
Only 99¢ for a limited time!
Page after page spat out from the printer. Vanessa waited for her documents to finish, tapping one foot. She bit back a curse as the machine jammed. This was the worst thing to happen. She had a one-hour deadline, and she wasn’t handy at fixing things.
“Don’t be afraid to be rough with it.” She gasped as Sebastian appeared beside her. He loosened the paper and banged the printer. Like magic, the pages hurtled out again
“That’s what she said.” Childish but the line was the first thing to pop into her head.
So much for an intelligent conversation starter.
To her relief, a small smile played on his lips. “Those jokes never get old.”
“I do make myself laugh a lot.”
“You had me smiling all day after we met.”
Eric had been trying so hard to walk the line. Head down, eyes forward, pocketing every spare penny to put toward his future. Then Demi Vaughan came into his line of vision, with her glossy brown curls and her hip-swaying walk, and whammo. His better judgment got coshed on the head, tied up and stuffed into the trunk of a car.
This was such a dumb move. On so many levels. He was the Prophet’s spawn, she was a rich girl, the town princess, the college grad. He was practically broke, she lived in the biggest house in Shaw’s Crossing. He was an orphan with a past best not talked about, and she was the granddaughter of the guy whose family gave the town its very name.
That was the girl he got a raging hard-on for. Because evidently he liked to punch up the challenge. Keep it interesting for himself. True to form.
He kept seeing the scene tomorrow, at the river, in his mind’s eye. Demi soaking wet. Clingy, scanty clothes. Her cloud of dark hair floating around her. Nipples tight from the cold.
He hit the accelerator. The sudden burst of speed knocked the wobbling window right off its track, and it fell down inside the car door with a loud, decisive thunk.
He could still hear his better judgment back there, trapped in the trunk. Howling, kicking out the taillights, trying to be heard. But he just couldn’t listen to it.
Stay down, you noisy dickwad. I got things to do.
Standing up straight and looking into the mirror, I see Sal standing behind me, wet from a shower. His chest is bare with the exception of a thin silver chain, a cross attached and dangling from his neck. The only thing he has on are gray track pants, hanging low on his waist, showing the perfect shape of his toned hips and slender build. The definition of muscle from his chest to his stomach as it makes its way down his body has my mouth watering. God, he’s perfect. He has a towel in his hand, the motion of drying his short hair halted at the sight of me in his bedroom. His dark eyes burn into mine. I can feel his stare all the way to my toes. Those familiar goose bumps are back and covering every inch of my skin. Without breaking eye contact, I explain my intrusion into his personal space, “I…I um, the door was open.” He looks over at the door then back at me. Heat rises up my neck and I feel it coloring my cheeks. I turn to face him, my face red with embarrassment. The tension is heavy that I came in without being asked and found him half naked. “You said you wanted to talk to me? Before I left.”
He doesn’t say a word, just walks towards me and puts the towel onto the chair next to his bed. As he passes me, he lays a hand on my waist. Sal pulls me closer to him as he turns. His arms wrap around my waist and I’m surprised at the intimate way he hugs me. Sal holds me tight, like he’s missed me. It’s strange but feels so good. His hand moves up my back and rests on the back of my head. I sink deeper into his arms. My hands come up to rest on his chest, my cheek pressing against him just below his neck. He holds me as if I’m cherished, as if I belong here in his embrace. Inhaling deep, I’m lost in the sweet scent of sandalwood, sawdust and fresh cut grass. He pulls away from me a little, just enough so that our bodies still touch. His forehead comes down to rest against mine. My eyes are closed, and I can feel his breath against my lips. I don’t move, I don’t breathe. Sal removes the band holding my braid at the base of my spine, releasing my unruly hair. I exhale the breath I’m holding as his hands separate my braid section by section. He slightly pulls on my hair as he climbs his fingers up toward my scalp. The curls surround me, the smell of lavender from my conditioner overtaking his scent. He rubs my scalp, keeping his forehead against mine. It’s the best feeling. The tenderness of my head from the heavy braid easing a little from his attention. His hands move around to my neck, his thumbs caressing my jaw. His voice is like gravel when he finally speaks. “You. Are. So. Beautiful.” Each word he says as a statement, with so much passion behind each word. “When I’m around you and I can’t hold you like this, I can’t breathe.” He lays a kiss on my forehead, then each of my cheeks. “I want to take you somewhere. Will you go somewhere with me, tomorrow?” His hand now rests on my cheek. The look in his eyes makes me feel needed. Wanted. I can’t believe that so quickly I would feel this safe and secure with Sal. Just knowing that no matter what he asks of me, I won’t deny him.
“Let’s get this one thing straight—I’m not breaking our betrothal contract.” He stalked back to me. “Not now. Not ever. If you want to break it, then we’ll discuss it. They’ve talked a lot about our contract on the news, so I’m sure you have it in your head that I’m planning on breaking it. But I’m not. I haven’t brought it up because you’ve been dealing with enough. I was giving you time, but I’d marry you tomorrow if I thought you’d agree.”
Tomorrow? I had zero clue before this moment that he was completely insane. He couldn’t marry me, especially not tomorrow. I couldn’t be queen.
“What if I want to break our betrothal?” I wasn’t sure I did, but I wasn’t sure I didn’t either.
He strode quickly to me, knelt in front of my chair. I hugged my legs tighter to my chest, but he grabbed my ankles. “Look at me.”
I looked everywhere but him.
“Look at me, please.” He squeezed my ankles and let go. “Please.”
I blew out a breath and rested my chin on my knees so that I could meet his gaze. It was hard to really look at him. Every time I did, I wanted him more and more, and I wasn’t sure how much more I could want him without becoming completely addicted. It took everything in me not to wrap my arms around his neck and pull him to me.
He let go of one ankle and cupped my cheek. “Do you want to marry me?” He was using his low voice, the one that set my skin on fire.
My skin was so bright and my stomach fluttered and flipped and I forced myself to choke down my first immediate response. The dumb one that wanted to slide past my lips effortlessly. I couldn’t answer his question because I didn’t trust myself to give him the right answer. The one that made sense.
All signs of anger melted away from him. His back straightened, he held his head high, his fao’ana stopped flashing, and his skin dimmed a little.
But it was his smile that told me he knew exactly what I’d been thinking.
“This is where being your shalshasa comes into play. I’m as sensitive to frequencies as you are, but even more attuned to yours. I can feel your frequencies as your moods shift. Your immediate answer was going to be yes before you got scared.” He rose just a little, cupping my face with both his hands, and all I could see were his aquamarine eyes.
The color I associated with calm and safety. The color I’d painted the walls in my room on Earth so that I could feel more at home. The color I wanted to get lost in forever.
He brushed a soft kiss on my lips. It was quick, too quick, and it left me wanting more.
“Until you can say no—honestly and without stress—I’m going to assume your answer is yes, and that you just need more time. I don’t want fear to be a part of your decision. Okay?”
He leaned in for another kiss, and I wanted. I wanted it more than anything. But I made myself lean back in the chair, pulling my face from his hands.
“I can’t do this.” The words were shaky, but I’d said them. I had to stop it before this went too far.
“Because…” There were too many reasons.
Because he needed a queen.
Because I didn’t want that much responsibility.
“Because you deserve someone not broken.” That wasn’t the one I meant to go with, but words slipping out of me seemed to be the theme for our little chat.
“You’re not broken. If anything, you’re confused. Which is totally understandable. You’ve been through a very rough thirteen years, and memories that would help you readjust to being home aren’t there. So, you need some time to heal. Which is what I’ve been giving you. I think you’d feel less fragile if you got a decent night’s sleep. If you ate more. If you took a moment to take care of yourself instead of spending twenty hours a day in the gym. Declan and his mission are going to kill you.”
ValorA First to Fight Novella by Nicole Blanchard Publication Date: February 10, 2020 Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Holiday
About Nicole BlanchardNicole Blanchard is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of gritty romantic suspense and heartwarming new adult romance. She and her family reside in the south along with their menagerie of animals. When she’s not writing, she loves hiking, biking, and enjoying the Florida sunshine. She has an unhealthy obsession with ER, Slim Jim’s, and daydreaming about nothing in particular. Her favorite authors include Lisa Kleypas, Dean Koontz, Christopher Pike, and J.K. Rowling.
“You’re quiet. What’s wrong?” Bree glances at me and back to the windshield as she stops with a jerk in our parking space.
“Just tired.” I pull the handle and push my shoulder against the door. Heaving my pack to my shoulders, I meet her in front of the car.
She hooks an arm in mine as we walk to the apartment building entrance. “I usually can’t shut you up. Talk to me. What’s going on?”
“I miss Adam. It’s been a month since we’ve seen each other. I don’t know if I can do this anymore.”
“What do you mean? Stay here or stay with him?”
“I love him, and we’re miserable apart. But we’ve got two more years of school.”
“Only two more weeks till summer break.” She skips ahead of me and presses the elevator button. “Let’s do a girls’ movie night. We’ll order pizza and eat popcorn.”
We evaluate movie and takeout options on the elevator ride. She complains that I always want to watch Titanic, and I veto her hamburger dive restaurant choice. Reaching our floor, we wind through the maze of halls. As I make the last turn, I stop short.
Sweeping his bangs from in front of his blue eyes, he stands.
“It’s about time!” Crossing to me, he picks me up and twirls me around.
I step out of his embrace. “What are you doing here?”
He slides a page from his back pocket and holds it out to me. “I just picked up this.”
I take the sheet and unfold it. Adam Stephen Hamilton Schedule for Fall Semester, the top reads.
“You’re going to school here?” My mouth hangs open.
“I hope that’s okay!”
“Of course. It’s amazing!”
“Well, in that case, I have something else.” He drops to one knee and slides a box from his pocket. “Chloe Hahn Pham, will you marry me?”
I look to Bree, who shrugs, and then back to him, barely able to process what is happening. My breath catches in my throat. “I—”
His eyebrows shoot up. “I’m sorry. You know I’m not great with stuff like this. Maybe I should have made a sign or had music, or something. If this is too soon—”
“No. I was going to say I love you. Yes. It’s perfect!”