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True Abandon by Jeannine Colette

 

 


 

True Abandon by Jeannine Colette


RELEASING NOVEMBER 13, 2017
 

BLURB

CAN THE SINS OF THE PAST BE FORGIVEN WITH THE ACTIONS OF TODAY?
 
Trish Hogan’s life was destroyed when she gave her trust to her high school boyfriend, Jackson, and he ripped it away, changing the course of her life.
A decade later she’s living in Manhattan — she has a roommate, a steady boyfriend and a career. When a hurricane puts the city on lock down, Trish gets a message she never thought she’d receive: Jackson is dying and alone.
 
In a city of millions, she is the only person who can sit by his side.   
Jackson Davis was once the golden child of a senator who went against his father’s plans and became a musician. Tatted up and broken, he wakes up in a hospital only to see Trish — the one person he needs to atone his sins to — standing before him. He will recover from his injuries, but not from the pain he caused in the past.
Trapped by the storm, they embark on a night of reckoning that has one running away to Hawaii and the other following in her steps. As the victim becomes the villain, the two are forced to face the past, live in the present and find a way to navigate into the future.
True Abandon is a second chance romance and the fifth installment in the Abandon Collection – a series of STAND ALONE novels about dynamic heroines who abandon their reality in order to discover themselves . . . and love along the way. Each book contains a new couple, exciting new city and rose of a different color.

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EXCERPT
 

 

“I want you to get to know me now, as a man.”
I hold a finger up to him. “No.”
“Yes.”
Shaking my head, I state, “You can’t force me to spend time with you.”
“Yes, I can,” he retorts with a wink. He flicks a gaze around the room—the fourteen-hundred-square-foot Pele suite with two king-size master bedrooms, a living room, lanai looking out to the Pacific Ocean, and—
Realization strikes.
“Oh, no.” I put both hands up in the air and start to back away. “No, no, no, no, no.”
He smiles. 
“You’re sick,” I state. 
He strides toward me, each step more purposeful than the last. “Eight days and seven nights of personal concierge service.”
I continue to back up. “You’re insane.”
Sit back and relax at our five-star luxury resort while your every need is met,” he recites the words from the hotel’s website.
My heels continue to retreat backward. “I don’t know what you think this service includes, but it’s not—” My back hits the wall. 
“Not what?” His palms are pressed flat against the wall by my head, his body pinning me in.
I gasp at the proximity. 
The buttons of his shirt are level with my eyes. The fire of the dragon peeks over the top of his collar. His strong legs encase me. The well-defined upper half of a man who clearly treats his body like a piece of art paired with the intoxicating smell of warm honey radiating off his skin trap me. I’m consumed by the power of this man, yet not one single part of his body is touching me. Not one tiny inch.
I look up and am a breath away from lips whose kisses are still ones I dream about. I dare myself not to, but I find myself glancing further up, and my heart stops at the look he’s giving me—the heated one of a man who is fixated on the one thing he wants. The determined yet yearning gaze of someone who has been deprived for years. The look of someone who is staring at what he needs
My body ignites. 
From the tips of my fingers to the swell of my chest and right down to the simmering of my core, I’m reacting to having this hard, powerful body so close. It’s so intense, so direly missed—and so very, very dangerous.
I tilt my head to the side, causing Jax to lean in and whisper into my ear, his breath hot against my skin, “There once was a time when you looked at me like I was your savior. Now, your eyes scream in disgust. Where you once melted, now, you flinch. I did that to you, and it kills me.” 
He pushes off the wall and stalks back to the middle of the room with his chest heaving. I was so concerned about my physical reaction, I didn’t even notice he had one of his own.
“I’m not the monster you think I am.”
It takes me a moment to process the words. I must take too long to respond because he adds, “Tomorrow is a new day.”
Jax walks into the master bedroom, closing the door behind him.
Part of me wants to follow him, knock on the door, and yell at him to finish what he started. The other part wants to run away and hop on the next flight back to New York.
I don’t do either. Instead, I stand here, confused and frightened as hell.
Confused because I still don’t fully comprehend what Jackson Davis is doing here, back in my life.
And frightened because, despite the past, I can’t help the way he makes me feel in the present.

 

Check out Jeannine Colette’s other novels!


About Jeannine Colette


Jeannine Colette is the author of the ABANDON COLLECTION – A series of
stand-alone novels featuring dynamic heroines who have to abandon their reality
in order to discover themselves . . . and love along the way.
A graduate of Wagner
College and the New York Film Academy, Jeannine went on to become a Segment
Producer for television shows on CBS and NBC. She is now a full-time author who
spends her days at Starbucks, writing and listening to way too much Snow
Patrol. She lives in New York with her husband, the three tiny people she
adores more than life itself, and a rescue pup named Wrigley.


Follow Jeannine Colette

 

Instagram: @JeannineColette

 

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A LITTLE TOO LATE by Staci Hart

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A Little Too Late, an all-new romantic standalone from Staci Hart is coming October 24th!

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A Little Too Late by Staci Hart

Publishing Date: October 24th, 2017

Genre: Contemporary Romance

I wasn’t supposed to fall in love with the nanny.

When my wife left, she took the illusion of happiness with her, and I’ve been caught in a free fall ever since. For nine long months, I’ve been fighting to figure out how to be a single dad, how to be alone.

For nine long months, I’ve been failing.

When Hannah walked through the door, I took my first breath since I’d found myself on my own. She slipped into our lives effortlessly, showing me what I’ve been missing all these years. Because Hannah made me smile when I thought I’d packed the notion of happiness away with my wedding album.

She was only supposed to be the nanny, but she’s so much more.

The day my wife left should have been the worst day of my life, but it wasn’t. It was when Hannah walked away, taking my heart with her.

Excerpt:

Hannah

The first time I saw Charlie Parker, I didn’t see one thing at a time; I saw all of him. It was an assault on my senses, an overwhelming tide of awareness, and for a moment, the details came to me in flashes over what was probably only a few seconds but felt so much longer.

His hair was blond and gently mussed, his face long and nose elegant. I could smell him, clean and fresh with just a touch of spice I couldn’t place. I tipped my chin up—he was tall, taller than me, and I hovered just at six feet—and met his eyes, earthy and brown and so deep. So very deep.

And then he smiled.

He was handsome when he wasn’t smiling. He was stunning when he was.

I was so lost in that smile, I didn’t register the flying gob until it whapped against my sweater. Tiny splatters of something cold speckled my neck.

This was the moment the clock started again, and the sweet serenity slipped directly into chaos.

A blond little boy looked up at me from his father’s side with a devilish gleam in his dark eyes. The spoon in his hand was covered in blood-red jam and aimed at me like an empty catapult.

Several things happened at once. Charlie’s face morphed into embarrassed frustration as he reached for who I presumed to be his son. The boy—Sam, I guessed from the names I’d been given by the agency—spun around lightning fast and took off down the hallway, giggling. Another child began to cry from somewhere back in the house, and a bowl clattered to the ground, followed by a hissed swear from what sounded like an older woman.

I glanced down at the sliding, sticky mess against my white sweater and started to laugh.

Charlie’s head swiveled back to me, his face first colored with confusion, then in horror as he looked at the Pollock painting on my sweater.

“Oh my God,” he breathed, his apologetic, wide eyes dragging down my body. “Jesus, I am so sorry.”

I was still laughing, almost a little hysterical. I couldn’t even tell you why.

I waved a hand at Charlie, and he took my elbow, guiding me into the house as I caught my breath. Another crash came from the kitchen, and a little girl came toddling out into the entry, leaving powdery footprints on the hardwood.

Charlie’s face screwed up. “Sam!” he called, stretching the word, a drawn-out promise of consequences.

A riot of giggling broke out in the kitchen.

We both snapped into motion. I followed him as he scooped up his crying daughter and stormed toward the kitchen. The little girl watched me over his shoulder with big brown eyes, her breath hitching in little shudders and her small finger hooked in her mouth.

Charlie stopped so abruptly, I almost ran into him.

When I looked around him and into the kitchen, my mouth opened. I covered it with my fingers as laughter bubbled up my throat.

A bag of flour sat in the middle of the floor, the white powder thrown in bursts against the surrounding surfaces and hanging in the air like smoke. The floor next to the bag was the only clean spot, shaped like a small bottom—the little girl’s, I supposed. A bowl lay upside down, its contents oozing from under the rim and slung in a ring from ceiling to cabinet to floor, as if it had completed a masterful flip on its way to its demise. And in the center of the madness stood an older woman with flour in her dark hair and dusted down the front of her. Clutched under her arm was a wriggling Sam, offending spoon still in hand.

Her face was kind but tight with exasperation. “Please tell me this is the new nanny,” she said flatly.

“I doubt we could convince her to stay at this point,” he said with equal flatness.

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About the Author

Staci has been a lot of things up to this point in her life — a graphic designer, an entrepreneur, a seamstress, a clothing and handbag designer, a waitress. Can’t forget that. She’s also been a mom, with three little girls who are sure to grow up to break a number of hearts. She’s been a wife, though she’s certainly not the cleanest, or the best cook. She’s also super, duper fun at a party, especially if she’s been drinking whiskey.

From roots in Houston to a seven year stint in Southern California, Staci and her family ended up settling somewhere in between and equally north, in Denver. They are new enough that snow is still magical. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, sleeping, gaming, or designing graphics.

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Her Secret Bodyguard by Amanda Adams

Today we have the teaser reveal for Her Secret Bodyguard by Amanda Adams! Check it out and preorder your copy today!

Title: Her Secret Bodyguard

Author: Amanda Adams

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: November 10th

About Her Secret Bodyguard:

I watch over her from the sidelines.

She’s beautiful.

Famous.

Hot as f&ck.

My need for her pumps through my veins and heads straight south.

Someone is following her.

Why? I have no idea—she has too many damned secrets—but I’m a former SEAL.

I’ll protect her whether she wants me to or not.

From everything and everyone…but me.

 

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Exclusive Excerpt:

I made my way across the room and leaned on the wall next to the window, looking at her as I crossed my arms. “Angelina.”

She turned her gaze to me, and the sadness in her eyes almost broke me apart.

“You care about all of these people. But who takes care of you?

Her bottom lip trembled; I’d clearly hit a nerve. Hatred spread inside me for all those people—her uncle most of all—who only looked at her like a paycheck or an opportunity and nothing else. Had they forgotten she was a human being, too? Did they not realize that no person could keep doing what she did without burning out?

Angelina just shook her head. I didn’t even think about what I did next; I was going on total instinct. Taking her hands, I moved her arms down from where she held them crossed over her stomach and put mine around her. She inhaled a sharply, but to my relief, she didn’t push me away.

Trembling, she leaned into me, pulled me a bit tighter and nestled her head against my chest.

“You should have somebody who cares about you. For you.” I caressed her cheek, where a blush was blooming.

When her lashes fluttered, I couldn’t help myself any longer. Leaning down, I pressed my mouth to hers, and the touch of her silky sweet lips against my own sent fire raging through my blood. I wrapped her tighter in my embrace as she clutched at my shirt and moaned against me.

Within seconds, I was shaking as well. I hadn’t planned on kissing her—and I sure as hell hadn’t planned on kissing her like I wanted to claim her as my own. But it happened, and my head started spinning.

This was madness. Stupid. She was rich. Famous. Gorgeous. She dated race car drivers and movie stars. She was so far above my pay grade I shouldn’t even be breathing the same air. I was a former SEAL, a bodyguard sworn to protect her, not seduce her.

But my body seemed to have a mind of its own.

My fingers brushed against her jaw, urging her to open it for me. When she parted her lips, I exalted. Our tongues tangled, and I drank from her lips like a man needing water in the dessert. Whatever I’d felt with her before was long gone, replaced by something even stronger, wilder. More possessive. Instinctive. Needy—and I didn’t need anyone.

This was dangerous.

Focusing on her sweet lips, I ran a hand down her spine while she played with the hair at the nape of my neck. I was about to suggest we move to the bed, but a sharp knock on the door made her jump. I raised my head, and gently pushed her behind me just before the door burst open.

Immediately, I was in go mode, ready to take on anyone coming for her. As I turned to face the intruder, I was greeted with a familiar face standing in the door. I didn’t know her personally, but I recognized her from the entourage looming over Angelina every night at the arena.

“Angelina!” the woman cried out, her expression unreadable. I couldn’t tell if she was relieved or pissed. She gave a heavy, exaggerated sigh before hurrying over to Angelina to embrace her.

I moved toward the corner of the room, keeping out of the way on the sidelines. Back where I belonged. Lord knew I had no place among those land piranha. We had been lucky for sure. Her reflexes had been just as sharp as mine, allowing us to jump back from one another before the door had even fully clicked open.

But even as the rest of her leeches crowded around her, all I could think about was the softness of her lips. The more I reminisced about that kiss, the more I could still feel her lips on my own. The taste of her; her body curved against mine. Though I knew better, I found myself hoping that tonight wouldn’t be my only shot at those lips. I couldn’t help wanting more—she was perfect.

Another familiar voice echoed through the room, and my body stiffened. “Jesus Christ, that took forever.” Angelina’s uncle pushed through the crowd of people, but he didn’t hug his niece. Instead, he stood there, hands on his hips, narrowing his eyes as he looked down at her like she was a child. “Really, Angelina? You couldn’t have waited for us? You’re always so selfish.”

Angelina was at a loss for words—but I wasn’t. I had several on my tongue waiting for him. But—I managed to keep my mouth shut as she said, “I didn’t know—”

“Of course, you didn’t! You never think, Angie.” Her uncle tapped her on the temple, and she blushed in humiliation. “Never. Like I said… you’re selfish.”

I was going to take that fat rodent’s finger and twist it off if he touched her again. Slowly.

Breathe… just breathe. I gritted my teeth and told myself to behave. That maiming her uncle or punching him in the face wouldn’t help the situation. That this mess, this woman, Angelina, famous pop music star and her too beautiful to be real persona, was none of my business.

But she was. Like it or not, I was already involved—especially after that kiss.

Angelina needed someone to protect her. There was no walking away. Not for me.

As I watched her smile her fake smile and try to appease everyone around her, I made a shockingly easy decision.

She was mine. She just didn’t know it yet.

 

About the Author:

Amanda Adams writes super-sexy, new adult and contemporary romance. A full time author, Amanda spends her days trying to walk more and type less. If she eats a salad for lunch, she makes sure to reward herself with chocolate after (as any reasonable woman would do.) Amanda believes in true love, love at first sight, and every other cliché because lightning struck her in high school and she’s been happily married to her sweetheart ever since. However, she also knows, from personal experience, that life can big one great big, painful mess as well. Amanda believes in keeping things real. Her books are free of cheating–with a guaranteed HEA–but hold on tight…it’s going to be one hell of a bumpy ride.
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Cowboy Up by Harper Sloan

 

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Harper Sloan returns with a passionate and breathless romance about the sparks that ignite when a cautious cowboy and a once-scorned woman open up to each other in the third installment of the Coming Home series.

As the eldest Davis, Clayton has always tried to lead by example. He takes his job as head of the family businesses seriously, making sure the farm and auto shop are running smoothly—along with keeping an eye on his brother and sister. For him, there’s a time and place to let go of the control he holds with an iron grip. And with the way he grew up, coupled with a disastrous end to his last relationship, he’s just fine with his quiet, solitary life.

Most of the time.

What he hadn’t counted on was the cute, quirky, shy bookstore owner, Caroline Michaels. She’s the proverbial woman next door—well, the next town over, that is. Caroline hasn’t lived an easy life, but after escaping a verbally abusive ex, she’s finally living it for herself. The last thing she ever expected was a one-night stand with Clay Davis she can’t stop thinking about.

So when she falls on hard times and Clay comes out of nowhere to her rescue, she realizes just how impossible it’ll be to stay away from him. Now all she has to do is convince him to live a little…. Will Clay be able to give up the reins and finally settle down? And, more importantly, will Caroline muster enough courage to lasso him up?

 

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AN EXCERPT FROM COWBOY UP

 

I push my hands from his shoulders and palm his jaw as his stubble prickles against my fingers while my hands wander up to his hair. His hat falls to the ground with a thud and I know he’s just as lost in me as I am in him, because he doesn’t even make a move to pick it up. He lets out a deep grunt when I mold myself against his body, seeking some sort of friction. The next thing I know, my back is against the door and he’s gripping my bottom. His mouth hits my jaw with a bite of his teeth, making a squeak of pleasure shoot up my throat, and his deep rumble of laughter reaches my ears as he presses me harder into the door with his hips. The heavy bulge of his erection against that spot makes me so desperate for him that I whimper in relief when his mouth finally closes over mine in a wet tangle of tongues.

I’ve never been kissed so thoroughly.

This is the kind of kiss that sets the bar for any that might follow.

The kind that shows you everything you’ve been missing and everything you never knew you wanted. I’m going to be comparing every kiss I ever have to my dark cowboy’s, even though I know there’s a good chance no one will ever compare. The sounds coming from my mouth, the ones being swallowed by his, are nothing short of needy. My hips move in tandem with the thrusts of his, and even though we’re both fully clothed, I know it won’t take much more of this for me to go off like the town’s fireworks on the Fourth of July.

“Fuck, you taste just like apple pie,” he whispers against my lips, breaking away with a gasp.

“Huh?”

“Goddamn, I love apple pie,” he says before his mouth is back on mine, this time with a whole new kind of hunger deepening his kisses.

I’m held captive, enraptured. Then his hands move from my bottom to glide up my torso. He lifts his hard chest off mine and suddenly those delicious fingers are at my breasts. Even if I had big boobs his hands would dwarf them, I’m sure, but as it is he covers both with a firm grasp before adjusting his hold with a deft twist of the wrists. His mouth continues to feast on mine while his huge hands learn my body with slow movements. I tear my mouth from his with a breathy moan when he pushes my shirt up and slips his fingers into the cups of my bra to tweak my nipples.

“Oh, God,” I moan when he does it again.

“I can’t get enough of you,” he rumbles.

“Please,” I beg, not with the slightest clue as to what I’m begging for.

His hips dig even harder into mine as he leans back, supporting me against the door with that connection alone as he pulls my shirt off. The darkness makes me feel more confident than I normally would be, almost half naked with a man—no, a stranger.

“Yours too,” I tell him as his fingers move to unclasp my bra. “I want to feel your skin on mine,” I breathe, taking over the task so he’ll hopefully give me what I want.

I fumble in my haste to feel more of this dangerous arousal he’s creating in my body, but the second my bra is free and dangling toward the floor, his naked chest collides against mine, pushing me into the door with a force that sends the air rushing out of my lungs.

His mouth hits my collarbone at the same time his hands grasp my bottom, sliding me up the door until I feel the wet heat of his breath against my breast.

Then he stops.

 

 

 

Harper is a NEW YORK TIMES, WALL STREET JOURNAL and USA TODAY bestselling author residing in Georgia with her husband and three daughters. She has a borderline unhealthy obsession with books, hibachi, tattoos and Game of Thrones. When she isn’t writing you can almost always find her with a book in hand.

Facebook | Website | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page

 

 

 

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Hooking Up by Helena Hunting

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HOOKING UP releases November 7th

Amalie Whitfield is the picture of a blushing bride during her wedding reception–but for all the wrong reasons. Instead of proclaiming his undying love, her husband can be heard, by Amalie and their guests, getting off with someone else. She has every reason to freak out, and in a moment of insanity, she throws herself at the first hot-blooded male she sees. But he’s not interested in becoming her revenge screw.

Mortified and desperate to escape the post-wedding drama, Amalie decides to go on her honeymoon alone, only to find the man who rejected her also heading to the same tiny island for work. But this time he isn’t holding back. She should know better than to sleep with someone she knows, but she can’t seem to resist him.
They might agree that what happens on the island should stay on the island, but neither one can deny that their attraction is more than just physical.

Filled with hilariously scandalous situations and enough sexual chemistry to power an airplane from New York City to the South Pacific, Hooking Up is a standalone, laugh-out-loud romantic comedy.

 

Chapter Reveal

One

Wedding Unbliss

Amie

This is the happiest day of my life. I allow that thought to roll around in my head, trying to figure out why it doesn’t seem to resonate the way it should. This should be the happiest day of my life. So I’m not exactly certain why the uneasy feeling I associate with cold feet is getting worse rather than dissipating. I’ve already done the hard part; walked down the aisle and said “I do.”

My husband excused himself to go to the bathroom several minutes ago and, based on Armstrong’s itinerary for the day, speeches are supposed to begin promptly at eight-thirty. According to my phone, that’s less than two minutes from now, and he’s not here. The emcee for the evening is awaiting Armstrong’s return before he begins. And then the real party can start. The one where we get to celebrate our commitment to each other as partners for life. As in the rest of my breathing days. Dear God, why does that make my stomach twist?

I sip my white wine. Armstrong pointed out that red is not a good idea with my dress, even though it’s my preference. Besides, I don’t want it to stain my teeth. That would make for bad pictures.

I glance around the hall and see my parents, who are probably celebrating the fact that I didn’t walk down the aisle with a convicted felon. And frankly, so am I. My dating history pre-Armstrong wasn’t fabulous.

The sheer number of people in attendance spikes my anxiety. Speaking in front of all of these people makes me want to drink more, which is a bad idea. Tipsy speeches could lead to saying the wrong thing. I check my phone under the table again. It’s after eight-thirty. The longer Armstrong takes to return, the further behind we’ll get. The music playlist, devised by Armstrong with painstaking efficiency, leaves no room for tardiness. If we don’t start on time I’ll have to take out a song, or possibly two, to compensate for his delay and he’s selected the order in such a way as to make that difficult and that will annoy him. I just want today to be perfect. I want it to be reflective of my decision to marry Armstrong. That I, Amalie Whitfield, can make good choices and am not a disgrace to my family.

“Where the hell is he?” I scan the room and take another small sip of my wine. I should switch to water soon so I don’t end up drunk, especially later, when all of this is over and we can celebrate our lifelong commitment to each other without clothes on. I’m hopeful it will last more than five minutes.

Ruby, my maid of honor and best friend for the past decade, puts a hand on my shoulder. “Would you like Bancroft to find Armstrong?”

Bancroft, or Bane for short, is Ruby’s boyfriend who she’s been living with for several months. Recently I find myself getting a little jealous of how affectionate they still are with each other, even after all this time. Cohabitation hasn’t slowed them down on the sex or their PDA. I have hope that Armstrong and I will be more like Bane and Ruby now that we’ll be sharing the same bed every night.

I’m about to tell Ruby to give him another minute when a low buzz suddenly fills the hall. It sounds like a school PA system. I start to panic—they can’t start the speeches without Armstrong at my side. What’s the point of speeches if the groom isn’t present?

I’m halfway out of my seat, ready to tell the deejay, or whoever is behind the mic, he needs to wait, when a very loud moan echoes through the room. The acoustics are phenomenal in here, it’s why we chose this venue.

I glance at Ruby to make sure I’m not hearing things. Her eyes are wide. The kind of wide associated with shock. The same shock I’m feeling.

Another moan reverberates through the sound system, followed by the words, “Oh, fuuuck.”

A collective gasp ripples through the now-silent crowd. While the words themselves are scandalous among these guests, it’s the voice groaning them that makes me sit up straighter, and simultaneously consider hiding under the table.

“Fuck yeah. Ah, suck it. That’s it. Deep throat it like a good little slut. Fuuuuuccckkkkk.”

My mouth drops and I look to Ruby to ensure I have not completely lost my mind. “Is that—” I don’t finish the sentence. I already know the answer to the question, so it’s pointless to ask. Besides, I’m cut off by yet another loud groan. I clap a hand over my mouth because I’m not sure I’m able to close it, my disbelief is as vast as the ocean.

Ruby’s expression mirrors mine, except hers is incredibly animated since she’s an actress. “Oh my God. Is that Armstrong?” Her words are no more than a whisper, but they sound very much like a scream. Oh no, wait, that’s just Armstrong on the verge of an orgasm. But these sounds are nothing like the ones he makes when he’s in the throes of passion with me.

I clutch Ruby’s hand. The next sound that comes from him is a hybrid between a hyena laugh and a wolf baying at the moon. And every guest at our wedding is hearing the same thing I am. Our wedding. Someone other than me is blowing my husband at my own wedding. My mortification knows no end.

I grab the closest bottle of wine and dump the contents into my glass. Some of it sloshes over the edge and onto the crisp white tablecloth. It doesn’t matter. There’s plenty more where it came from. I chug the glass, then grab Ruby’s.

People lean in and whisper to each other, eyes lift to the speakers. A few people, the ones who are probably just here for the social-ladder-climbing potential, question who it is.

“Is the deejay watching porn?” That comment comes from a table full of mostly drunk singles in their early twenties.

Several eyes shift my way as I carelessly down Ruby’s wine and someone asks where the groom has disappeared to.

The grunts and groans grow terrifyingly louder. This is nothing like what I’m used to in bed with Armstrong. The dirty words aren’t something he ever uses with me, mostly it’s just noises and sometimes a “Right there” or “I’m close,” but that’s about it. He’s never talked to me like he is to the woman currently providing oral pleasure. And I’m very adept at oral. Although with Armstrong it’s very polite, neat oral, with no sounds other than the occasional hum. Slurping is uncivilized and a definite no-no.

I reach past Ruby for the bottle of red since I don’t really give a flying fuck about purple teeth right now. As I sink low in my seat I pour another glass of wine, surveying the people in the ballroom from behind the cover of the centerpiece. The centerpieces are huge and excessive and I don’t like them at all, but at least provides a protective barrier between the guests and my disgust, which I’m certain they must share. He sounds like a wild animal rutting. It is entirely unsexy. I have no idea who he’s getting intimate with, but I’m suddenly very glad it’s not me.

And doesn’t that tell me more about our relationship than it should.

It’s only been about thirty seconds—the most humiliating thirty seconds of my life—before Armstrong comes. How do I know this? Because he says, very clearly, “Keep sucking, baby, I’m coming.”

And “baby,” whoever she is, makes these horrific gurgling noises. It sounds like some form of alien communication. It’s way over the top, and apparently Armstrong is loving it, based on the string of vile profanity that spews from his asshole mouth.

“Holy crap. Is this for real? That was really fast,” Ruby mutters.

I guzzle my glass of wine. Then decide the glass is unnecessary and take a long swig from the bottle before Ruby snatches it away. Wine dribbles down my chin and onto my chest, staining the white satin purple. My dress is ruined. I should be freaking out. But I really don’t care.

“Come on,” Ruby tugs on my hand. “We need to get you out of here while people are still distracted.”

My older brother Pierce and the emcee are standing in the middle of the hall, gesturing wildly to the speakers above us. My other brother, Lawson, is on his way toward the podium in an attempt to do something. I don’t think there’s anything he can do to stop this train wreck from there.

Ruby tugs again, but I’m frozen, still trying to figure out what exactly just happened. Well, I know what’s happened. I just can’t believe it.

The sound of a zipper and the rustle of clothes follows. “Thanks for that, now I’ll be able to last later tonight,” Armstrong says.

“What about me?” A female asks. Her voice is nasally and whiny.

“What about you?”

“Well I helped you, aren’t you going to help me?”

“Didn’t you come with a date?”

“Well, yes, but—” God her voice is familiar. I just can’t figure out where I know it from.

“My cousin, right? He loves my sloppy seconds. Speeches are starting. I gotta get back to my ball and chain.”

Gasps of horror ripple through the room, followed by a few giggles. These people really are assholes.

I think I’m going to throw up. I can’t believe he’s going to come out here and pretend nothing just happened. Like some other woman didn’t just have her lips around his cock. His distinctly average cock. Maybe even slightly below average in length, if I’m being one hundred percent honest.

A door opens and closes.

Lawson turns on the mic behind the podium and taps it, sending screeching feedback through the room, making people cringe. Too bad no one did that a minute ago.

Murmuring grows louder and glances flicker to the head table and then away as Brittany Thorton, a seriously skanky debutante, comes strutting through the doors, using a compact to check her lipstick. She’s made it her mission to attempt to get into the pants of half the eligible men in this room. She’s followed, not five seconds later, by a very smug-looking Armstrong.

“I’m going to kill him.” I grab the closest steak knife, but it appears my hasty, and possibly felonious, plan is unnecessary. My brothers leave their respective posts and stalk toward him. Across the room my mother is gripping my father’s arm, whispering furiously in his ear. Great. Just what I need, additional family drama.

“Oh shit,” Ruby gasps.

I follow her gaze to find Bane converging on Armstrong with my brothers. Bancroft is a tank and he used to play professional rugby. I’ve seen him with his shirt off, he’s built like a superhero and he’ll probably crush Armstrong, or at least break something. Possibly multiple somethings.

For a second I consider that Ruby should probably stop Bane from destroying Armstrong’s pretty, regal face, but then I realize I don’t actually care. In fact, the possibility that he might break Armstrong’s perfectly straight nose fills me with glee. Armstrong’s wellbeing is no longer my concern, it’s more about Bane ending up in prison for murder.

“I hope Armstrong has a good plastic surgeon, he’s going to need it once Bane is done with him.” Ruby echoes my internal hopes and her chair tips as she jumps up. “Come on, let’s get you out of here.” She nods to the right.

I notice my mother and father engaged in a heated discussion with Armstrong’s parents. I really don’t need this right now. Not the drama. Not the humiliation. All I wanted was a nice wedding. Instead I end up with a husband who gets a blow job during our reception—and it’s broadcast to everyone attending.

Ruby urges me into action. “Don’t worry about them. Get your stuff and we’ll get you the hell out of here. I’ll have the limo meet you by the entrance near your bridal suite as soon as I can.”

I nod and stumble unsteadily to my feet, thanks to having consumed the better part of a bottle of wine in the last minute and a half. It’s amazing how ninety seconds can change a person’s entire life.

All hell breaks loose as more men jump in to either pummel or extract Armstrong from the pummeling. I grab my clutch and phone from the table, gather up my stupid, too puffy gown, and head for the bridal suite, where I had prepared for what was supposed to be the most amazing day of my life. And now it’s likely the worst, at least I hope the mortification level I’m experiencing can’t exceed this. I feel like the foulest version of Cinderella ever.

I rush down the empty hall and grab the doorknob as I fumble around in my clutch for the key. I’m surprised when it turns. I thought I’d locked it before we left for the ceremony. Regardless, I need to get away from everyone before I either lose it or commit a felony. Maybe both. Murder in the first. Armstrong will be my victim. And maybe that horrible skank, Brittany.

I thrust the door open and slam it closed behind me, locking it from the inside. Tears threaten to spill over and ruin my makeup. Not that it matters since there’s no way I’m going out there again. I can’t believe my forever lasted less than twelve hours. I can’t believe the man I’m supposed to spend the rest of my life loving couldn’t be faithful to me for even one day. What the hell is wrong with me? With him? I’m as devastated as I am angry and embarrassed. Once I annul this farce of a marriage I’ll become a spinster. I should probably go ahead and adopt six or seven cats tonight.

“I need to get out of this dress,” I say to myself. I reach behind me and pull the bow at the base of my spine. Instead of unfurling, it knots and I only succeed in pulling it tighter. Of course my dress has to be difficult. I growl my annoyance and rush over to my dressing table where my makeup and perfume are scattered from earlier today. Half a mimosa sits unconsumed beside the vase of red roses Armstrong had delivered.

The card read: I can’t wait to spend forever loving you.

What a load of bullshit. I drain the contents of the champagne flute, not caring that the drink is warm and flat. Then I throw the glass, because it feels good and the sound of shattering crystal is satisfying. Next I heave the vase of roses, which explodes impressively against the wall, splattering water and shards of glass across the floor.

I yank out a couple of the drawers and find a pair of scissors. They actually look more like gardening shears and seem rather out of place, but I don’t question it. Instead I reach behind me with my back to the mirror and awkwardly try to cut myself free. It’s not easy with the way I have to crane my neck.

“Goddammit! I need to get out of this stupid dress!” I yell at my reflection. I think I might actually be losing it just a touch now. I stop messing around with the laces in the back and shove the scissors down the front. I nearly nick myself with the blade—they’re a lot sharper than I realized—but that doesn’t slow me down. I start hacking my way through the bodice; layers of satin, lace, and intricate beading sliced apart with every vicious snip.

I just want out of this nightmare.

 

 

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Excerpt Reveal · Giveaway

Show Me the Way by A.L. Jackson

Show Me the Way

The first stand-alone novel in A.L. Jackson’s brand-new Fight for Me series…

Coming October 2nd

“This book is absolutely perfect.” – Corinne Michaels, New York Times Bestselling Author

The first sexy, captivating, stand-alone novel in the brand-new FIGHT FOR ME series from NYT & USA Today Bestselling Author A.L. Jackson . . .
Rex Gunner. As bitter as he is beautiful.
The owner of the largest construction company in Gingham Lakes has been burned one too many times. His wife leaving him to raise their daughter was the last blow this single dad could take. The only woman he’ll let into his heart is his little girl.
Rynna Dayne. As vulnerable as she is tempting.
She ran from Gingham Lakes when she was seventeen. She swore to herself she would never return. Then her grandmother passed away and left her the deed to the diner that she once loved.
When Rex meets his new neighbor, he knows he’s in trouble.
She’s gorgeous and sweet and everything he can’t trust.
Until she becomes the one thing he can’t resist.
One kiss sends them tumbling toward ecstasy.
But in a town this size, pasts are bound to collide. Caught in a web of lies, betrayal, and disloyalty, Rex must make a choice.
Will he hide behind his walls or will he take the chance . . .

© 2017 A.L. Jackson Books
Tension roiled between us. That tether pulled taut. Drawing us closer. I swallowed around it and reached for the latch. He was quick to open his door, jumping out and rounding to my side before I had time to step out of his massive truck. He helped me down, and his hand scorched where he aided me by holding on to my elbow.
“Let me walk you to the door. Last thing I need to be worried about is you here by yourself and some asshole taking advantage of you.”
He quirked this belly-flopping grin that pierced me like an arrow. “Unless of course that asshole is me.”
He barely angled his head to the side. There was something so endearing and self-deprecating about it. Everything about him right then was at odds with the surly, bear of a man I’d met weeks ago, the man exposing himself, layer by layer.
I lifted my chin, both in strength and vulnerability, tossing all the uncertainties and questions out into the open. “Should I be afraid?”
“Yeah, you should be.” His response was hard, but there was no missing the fact his irritation was aimed at himself. He set his palm on the small of my back, helping me through the gravel drive in my heels, an inch behind as we ascended the porch steps.
We crossed the planks. That tension wound higher with each step until we were nothing but needy pants at my door. Slowly, I turned around to face him.
His presence sent a ripple of energy vibrating across the floorboards, the overwhelming sight of him the owner of my breath.
He stood beneath the faint glow of the hurricane lamp that hung outside the door. A sculpture of sinewy muscle and raw strength, forged through years of obvious physical labor. Every inch of him was rugged, from those roughened, callused hands to the crinkles set deep at the edges of his eyes.
The man was a carving of pure, daunting beauty.
“What exactly am I supposed to be afraid of, Rex?” My brow twisted, and my voice quieted with the admission. “Because when I’m around you, the last thing I feel is afraid.”
“I fuck everything up, Rynna, and the only thing I’ve got to offer you is my mess. I can’t do this.”
Restraint rumbled in his chest, the sound so deep I felt it shake the ground beneath my feet.
I gently cupped one side of his rugged face. “I’m not afraid.”
It was a promise.
An appeal.
“You should be,” he grated. “Warned you, my shit doesn’t ever end well.”
“Maybe that’s a chance I’m willing to take.”
He groaned and he planted his hands high above my head. The man panted above me, torn, desperate, his nose just brushing mine. “God damn it, Rynna. God damn it.”
I felt the moment he broke. When the thread pulled too tight and this mesmerizing man snapped. His mouth descended on mine.
Overpowering.
Overwhelming.
Dizzying.
Lips and tongue and nips of teeth.
And those hands. They were on my face. My neck. My waist. Somehow, I managed to hold on to him and spin away as I fumbled with the lock. He pressed against my backside, his cock against my bottom, and his mouth leaving a trail of fire at the side of my neck. We stumbled into the darkness of my house, breaking apart as I turned to face him.
The only light trickled down from the lamp I’d left on upstairs.
Slowly, he clicked the door shut behind him. We stood there, two feet away from each other, staring.
Chests heaving.
Before we collided.
A tangle of tongues and bodies.
The man frantic, trying to touch me everywhere.
“What am I doing? Fuck, what am I doing?” he muttered incoherently, kissing me deeper. Madder. Wilder.
I pushed up on my toes and tore my mouth from his so I could kiss down the strong column of his throat. His head thudded back against the door, his entire body pressing against it as if he needed it to keep him standing.
He grated my name, and I kept kissing at his throat while I worked free the button on his jeans, hands shaking.
Every reservation spun out of control.
Out of reach.
It was only spurred further when the defined muscles of his abdomen jumped and twitched beneath my touch, when he mumbled, “You’re killing me, Rynna. Fucking killing me.”
Desire rippled from him in heady waves.
And I felt so brave and bold, my kisses brazen as I nipped at the hollow of his throat.
Before I could consider it—the ramifications and the repercussions and the distinct threat to my heart—I dropped to my knees.
I refused to think of anything but setting him free.
Hoping he’d find a little of that freedom in me.

Giveaway

 

//static.usrfiles.com/html/a38a86_64a2729fc52a691d73403072e86fbb65.html

A.L. Jackson is the New York Times & USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance. She writes emotional, sexy, heart-filled stories about boys who usually like to be a little bit bad.
Her bestselling series include THE REGRET SERIES, CLOSER TO YOU, and BLEEDING STARS novels. Watch for A.L. Jackson’s upcoming novel, SHOW ME THE WAY, the first stand-alone novel in her brand-new FIGHT FOR ME SERIES.
If she’s not writing, you can find her hanging out by the pool with her family, sipping cocktails with her friends, or of course with her nose buried in a book.
Be sure not to miss new releases and sales from A.L. Jackson – Sign up to receive her newsletter http://smarturl.it/NewsFromALJackson or text “aljackson” to 24587 to receive short but sweet updates on all the important news.

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Twitter: @aljacksonauthor
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Snapchat: @aljacksonauthor

 

 

Excerpt Reveal · Pre-Order · S&SR Review Soon

LUST by Emma Hart

 

LUST-banner

LUST2New York Times bestselling author, Emma Hart, brings together two polar-opposite single parents in the second book in the sinfully sexy Vegas Nights series.

Detective Adrian Potter had a lot to answer for. I didn’t care that he was tasked with shutting down the city’s most prolific hookers.

I cared that he was stopping me from providing for my daughter.

He didn’t care.
Not at all.
Until I broke down in the backseat of his car… And he let me go.

Adrian was a single parent, too. He knew how hard I had it. At least, he thought he did.
He had a job. He had people who cared. He didn’t know just how lucky he was.

My name is Perrie Fox.
I was a whore of the highest value.

Until Detective Adrian Potter.

Until the tattooed, redemption-seeking detective entered my life, looking for his fairytale.

The cop and the hooker.

Happily ever fucking never.

You’ve met one Fox sibling.
Now meet the other…

(LUST is book two of the Vegas Nights series. While it is a standalone, the time frame does overlap with scenes in the previous book, SIN. You can, however, read LUST without reading SIN.)

 

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“So, are you seeing him?”

“Tomorrow.” She paused. “I have an interview at The Scarlet Letter for a position as a bartender. I have to call my sitter.”

“Charity?”

“You’d think, right? But no—Dahlia was very clear. I’m not being offered a job, merely an interview. She’s savvy and smart, I’ll give her that.”

I smiled, looking out as Zac cannonballed into the pool.

Perrie rolled her eyes for me. “Zac! No balls, okay?”

I grinned.

Zac looked back at her, wide-eyed.

“Yeah, Zac! No balls! I don’t want your balls in this pool!” Lola shouted.

Perrie slapped her hand against her face. “Goddamn it.”

I did all I could do—burst out laughing.

“What’s so funny?” Zac asked.

“No cannonballs, Zacco!” I reiterated, forcing my laughter under control. He saluted me, and I snorted when he dived underwater. Judging by Lola’s shriek, he was going for her ankles.

Not a smart choice after the dinosaurs last night.

Lola screamed at the top of her lungs. “Dinosaurs!”

Zac sputtered with laughter as he broke the surface.

“Zac!” I said sharply. “Stop it.”

“’Kay, Dad!” He turned to Lola, and apologized loud enough that we could hear it.

Perrie sighed heavily. “Kids give me a headache.”

I laughed, leaning right back. The grill was smoking and I’d probably wasted the chance to cook, but fuck it. I’d order in. The kids were having fun and we were talking. Hell, I was learning things about her I never thought I would.

I’d buy fifty pizzas if we could carry on like this. Unraveling the mystery of Perrie Fox was priceless.

“Are you nervous about seeing Damien?” I asked her, looking at her. My eyes skirted her profile, from her button nose to the freckles that dotted it and the lashes that fanned against her skin to the lips that pursed in the perfect pout of her indecision.

“Yes. No. I don’t know. He’s my brother, but eight years is a long time.” She twirled a lock of hair around her finger. “I didn’t think I ever would again, so maybe that’s the thing I can’t accept. That I am going to see him.”

“I get that.”

“Do you?”

“No. I was trying to be sympathetic.”

She laughed anyway. “I think the grill is screwed.”

I sighed. “I know, but when you talk, I listen.”

“That sounds like a line.”

I side-eyed her. “If it was, would it work?”

“For what?”

“To get my cock inside you again.”

She pursed her lips. “At least you’re honest.”

 

 

 

emma

By day, New York Times and USA Today bestselling New Adult author Emma Hart dons a cape and calls herself Super Mum to two beautiful little monsters. By night, she drops the cape, pours a glass of whatever she fancies—usually wine—and writes books.

Emma is working on Top Secret projects she will share with her followers and fans at every available opportunity. Naturally, all Top Secret projects involve a dashingly hot guy who likes to forget to wear a shirt, a sprinkling (or several) of hold-onto-your-panties hot scenes, and a whole lotta love.

She likes to be busy—unless busy involves doing the dishes, but that seems to be when all the ideas come to life.

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Excerpt Reveal · Giveaway

In The Crease by Toni Aleo

 

 

 

 

Jensen Monroe is a unicorn. As handsome as any model, as polite as can be, a goalie of unmatched skill, and the best friend anyone could ask for. But he longs for a particular special someone to make his life complete. He’s been in love with Wren since he was a teenager, but as his best friend’s sister, she’s always been off-limits.

Wren Lemiere has prided herself on being a love ’em and leave ’em girl her whole life. She’s all about equal opportunity in the battle of the sexes. Why should guys like her brother and his best friends get to be the only ones allowed to play the dating game? One wrong move, however, and she finds herself in violation of her own rules.

In need of a fake husband and baby daddy for her unexpected bundle of joy, Wren finally accepts Jensen is the logical one to ask for help. Except he has a counteroffer…one with so many strings attached, they may just find themselves wrapped up in ties that bind. Forever.

 


Dr. Richards laughed as Wren giggled. “Everything is good. Come on up,” he said, helping Wren up before he patted her back. “But we need to discuss something.”
Her expression turned worried as she met his gaze. “Is everything okay?”
“Fine, but looking over your chart, you had quite the weight gain from last time. Fourteen pounds.”
Her face flushed as she held his gaze. “Baby weight?”
“Some, but not all. Healthy weight gain is about twenty pounds, and you’ve gained thirty.”
She shrugged. “Taco weight?”
He smiled, patting her back. “Are you exercising?”
She nodded. “I walk to the fridge?”
“I’ll take that as a no,” he said, marking his chart. Why did she feel like he was scolding her? “You need to get a little more active, and I’m sure your husband won’t mind doing that with you.”
Wren couldn’t look at Jensen, she was so embarrassed, but still, she said, “Of course.”
“And maybe instead of all the tacos, we have a taco salad?”
She glared. “You’re ruining my life, doctor guy.”
He smiled before he winked. “Just a suggestion.”
“Duly noted.”
“Good. So have a good trip,” he said with a grin before sliding out of the room with only a wave and “see ya next time.”
“Well, that sucked,” she muttered, scooting to the end of the table and getting off. Still unable to look at Jensen, she went to pull her shirt down, but she jumped in surprise when Jensen’s hands stopped her. When she looked up, he was staring at her, his eyes dark as he took her belly in his hands. Bending down, his very large body took up most of the room as he went to his knees before kissing her belly. Her heart fluttered in her chest as she watched him.
“Hey, you, we need to back off the tacos, okay?”
She laughed as he kissed her once more before standing and taking her face in his hands. “And you are fucking sexy, okay? Those numbers mean nothing, except that we’re going to go for walks in the mornings this whole trip.”
Her eyes started to cloud with tears as she nodded. “Okay.”
“Don’t let that bother you, okay?”
“Okay.”
“We’re good.”
She nodded. “We are.”
“And I like the name Liam.”
“Liam?” she asked as he slowly brought her shirt down over her belly. “I don’t know about Liam.”
“I like it, but can I tell you what I don’t like?”
Her brow rose. “What?”
“That doctor.”
She laughed. “What? He’s nice!”
“He’s too hot to be touching you, and I’m man enough to say that. We need to switch.”
She laughed hard, and he took her hand in his as she reached for her purse. “I know you’re not jealous.”
He gave her a dry look. “Beyond.”
“What! No, you’re not!”
“I am,” he admitted, shaking his head. “Does he stick his hands inside of you a lot?”
She sputtered. “Many times.”
“Bullshit. I hate him.”
“You’re silly!”
“I was boiling, sitting there as he touched you. I wanted to deck him.”
“You did not!”
“I did.”
“Like that would bother you.”
He set her with a look that swirled so much desire and the dirtiest thoughts imaginable inside of her. Pulling her against him, he looked deep into her eyes, his mouth barely away from hers as he whispered, “It bothers me just knowing that men look at you.”
“Jensen,” she gasped, her lips curving. “Stop lying to me.”
“I’m not. You’re mine, woman, and that’s that.”

 

 

$25 Amazon Gift Card

 

Enter HERE

 

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

 

 

Excerpt Reveal · S&SR Review Soon

In The Crease by Toni Aleo

 

 

Coming August 22nd

 

 

Jensen Monroe is a unicorn. As handsome as any model, as polite as can be, a goalie of unmatched skill, and the best friend anyone could ask for. But he longs for a particular special someone to make his life complete. He’s been in love with Wren since he was a teenager, but as his best friend’s sister, she’s always been off-limits.

Wren Lemiere has prided herself on being a love ’em and leave ’em girl her whole life. She’s all about equal opportunity in the battle of the sexes. Why should guys like her brother and his best friends get to be the only ones allowed to play the dating game? One wrong move, however, and she finds herself in violation of her own rules.

In need of a fake husband and baby daddy for her unexpected bundle of joy, Wren finally accepts Jensen is the logical one to ask for help. Except he has a counteroffer…one with so many strings attached, they may just find themselves wrapped up in ties that bind. Forever.

 

 


Prologue

Five months earlier…

Wren Lemiere felt awful.
The kind of awful where you felt like you were dying.
Not that she had ever been the victim of an almost-death, but she was pretty sure it felt like what she was feeling.
Why she came back home to Colorado when she was this godforsakenly sick was beyond her, but then she hadn’t felt like death when she got on the plane. It was once she got off and for the following three days that the death hit her. She didn’t know what was going on, but she just wanted some drugs to make the excruciating nausea go away. That was all. Just some drugs.
Holding her face in her hands, she inhaled a deep breath before letting it out in a whoosh, begging the turning of her gut to stop. She wasn’t sure what she ate or what bacteria she picked up, but when she found out whatever did this to her, they would suffer. Slowly and painfully. It was probably Vaughn, her brother’s best friend. He was a walking cesspool. Ugh. She had never been so sick in her life, she swore it, but then again, that time she had the flu, she was sure she’d thought the same.
Either way, she was dying.
Plain and simple.
“Ugh,” she moaned as she swallowed back the bile that was threatening to come up her throat. When the door opened and the doctor stepped in, she cried out in relief. “Please, give me something. Anything. Knock me out if you have to.”
Ryan Churner laughed. They had gone to school together, dated briefly, but they’d been just kids. Now, he was married and happy—with lots of kids of his own. Wren, though, was living the single, carefree life. Much to her mother’s dismay. Her mother wanted grandbabies, and since her brother, Wells, was gay, it was easy to say it was Wren’s job to give her mother babies. Which was not going to happen. Wren would suck as a mom. Plus, she couldn’t find a decent guy to love her large ass. So that left her brother, and Wells could adopt. Yeah, he should do that. Take some of the pressure off her. She needed to call him about that.
“I’m afraid there are no drugs for what you have.”
Wren threw up her hands. “It’s a virus?”
He laughed. She didn’t like the sound of that laugh. Or the way he said, “Um, no.”
Her face wrinkled in confusion. “Then, what?”
He grimaced a bit before looking up at her. His dark blue eyes held her gaze as a grin pulled at his lips. “When was your last period?”
She shrugged. “Like six months ago. I have polycystic ovary syndrome, though.” She added while pointing at him, “Not sure that’s in my chart.”
He nodded. “It is, but I hadn’t realized it had been that long.”
“Yeah.” She had maybe two periods a year, possibly three. It was a problem, but her problem. One she was blessed with when she was younger. Her PCOS kept her a little on the thicker side and also wreaked havoc on her hormones, but she managed. She wasn’t going to let it bring her down or dwell on it. She already did that enough.
“Okay, well, are you in a relationship right now?”
She shook her head. “No.”
“Are you sexually active?”
“Always,” she said with an exaggerated wink. Then she paused. “Wait, I’m not hitting on you.”
“I know.” He laughed and she grinned, though, it was brief before she felt a wave of queasiness. “But your pregnancy test came up positive.”
Wren could only blink as her body went cold. She started laughing because surely, she’d heard him wrong. “You weren’t this funny when we were younger.”
“I’m not joking.”
“I’m sorry?”
“Your pregnancy test came up positive, but sometimes with PCOS, you can get a positive result. So I want to do an ultrasound.”
“For what?”
“To see if you’re pregnant.”
“Pregnant? Me?”
“Yes.”
“But…really?”
“Yes,” he said with a smile before he stood, walking to the door. “Well, usually when you have sex, a baby can be made as a byproduct of all that passion.”
“But…” She trailed off, her heart jumping into her throat. Surely that wasn’t the case. She couldn’t be pregnant. They’d used protection. “I have sex with condoms, and I’m on birth control.”
“Are you consistent with your birth control?
She shrugged. “Sure.”
He raised an eyebrow. “That’s not believable, Wren.”
Her face wrinkled more as he called out to the nurse. Sitting there, she tried to remember when this could have happened. She was home last month and had seen him…a lot and all of him, but they’d used condoms. Hadn’t they? Shit.
Soon a cart was brought in, and she was asked to take off her pants. It was all a blur, lying there with a drape over her bottom half and Ryan shoving some damn probe up inside her. Staring at the ceiling, she didn’t know what to think. She hadn’t even thought this was a possibility. With her PCOS, it was supposed to be hard for her to get pregnant. Not to mention, she didn’t want to be a mom. She would suck as a mom. And he would suck as a dad. They were selfish.
“Yup, there it is.”
Turning her head, she looked at the screen to see a little peanut. Seriously, a peanut, or at least, that’s what she assumed it was. But in the middle of the peanut was a little flicker. It was so small, almost undetectable, but she was sure she could see it. Was that the heartbeat?
“That’s it? I’m pregnant?”
“You’re pregnant.”
Blinking hard, she gasped. “Oh, fuck.”

~*~

“I’m pregnant.”
The words felt funky.
“I am pregnant,” she said to her reflection in the rental car’s visor mirror. “We’re having a baby.” She tried saying it while waving her hands. But that felt weird too.
Holy shit, she was pregnant.
She was almost thirty. She had a good job, and she was in a good place. It was not even the least bit expected, nor was it good timing since she wasn’t thirty yet, nor was she married. But it was fine. They would get a quickie marriage, and bam, they’d be good. No one would have to know she was pregnant before they decided to elope. It would be fine. Everything would be fine; her inheritance wasn’t in jeopardy.
But, shit, she didn’t want to move back to Colorado. She would have to because he wouldn’t be able to leave his job. He owned the damn firm, while she was contracted by the Nashville Assassins, the professional hockey team back in Nashville, Tennessee. Her gig was awesome, so damn awesome, and she loved it, but it wouldn’t work. She’d have to be the one to move. Damn it. She’d finish out the season for sure, but that meant she couldn’t sign the five-year extension that was sitting on her desk back home. With the lovely bonus that was going to pay off her car early. Damn it.
She wasn’t sure how he was going to take it, but they were good. They had known each other their whole lives. Been fucking for years, so it was time. She loved him. Ish. Kinda. Well, obviously a little since she continued to sleep with him, but he was a cool dude. And even if marriage was the last thing she wanted, she knew she had to do it.
She needed the money from her inheritance that her dad was holding, which had been passed down from her grandfather. When she turned thirty in October, it would be hers. The only catch was she couldn’t have a baby out of wedlock before she was thirty. It was stupid, and it was barbaric in her opinion. But it was what her grandfather had written up, and her father was standing behind it. It was annoying, to say the least, but if she wanted to pay off all her debt and live pretty damn comfortably for the rest of her life, along with providing a comfortable life for Wells, she had to do what she had to do.
She just hoped he didn’t let her down.
Getting out of the car, she swallowed hard as she walked toward the doors that read Washington, Fieldsman, and Barnes. When she opened the door, she was greeted by the receptionist, and Wren shot her a quick, curt smile. She was nervous. Why was she nervous? Crap, was she going to puke?
Yup.
Dipping into the bathroom before his office, she threw up the rest of her guts and sat there shaking her head. “You’re lucky I love you, kid.”
Wow, that was quick.
Wren had never seen herself as a mother. She’d thought she was going to grow old with lots of money and dogs. She hadn’t seen love or babies in her future. She’d seen lots of fucking, but that was about it. She didn’t have the best luck in love and really hadn’t imagined this coming, but now, she saw herself holding a baby.
Problem was, she still didn’t see him in her picture.
But that would change…right?
Surely.
Crap.
Washing her mouth out and then popping some gum, she walked out of the bathroom and right into another person. “Ah!”
“Crap! I’m sorry, Wren.”
Wren clammed up. Shit. “Hey, Shanna. What you doing here?”
“I had to see Bradley. What are you doing?” her best friend for her whole life asked.
Dammit, Wren hated lying to her.
“I have a meeting with him. He has to go over my contract for the Assassins.”
Shanna lit up. “Cool! Are you still coming for dinner tonight?”
Wren was shaking. Why was she shaking? Shit. “Shan, I texted you. I had to move my flight up, remember?”
“Oh, yes. My bad. Next time.”
“Of course,” she said before Shanna embraced her. Squeezing her eyes shut, Wren knew she would have to tell her. But Bradley had wanted to keep them under wraps. Plus, Wren knew how overprotective Shanna was of her baby brother. Wren had known better, but the dude was hung like a horse and hot to boot. She just hoped she wouldn’t lose a friendship over this. But Shanna would be excited. They’d be sisters like they’d always wanted, and there’d be a new baby. Shanna would love that.
Right?
Right.
Don’t freak out. This is fine.
Saying goodbye, Wren waved as she walked toward his office before knocking on the door. “Come in.” As she opened the door to the huge, posh office, he stood behind his desk, looking every bit as gorgeous as the day was long. His suit was pressed and clung to him. His blond-brown hair was brushed to the side, while a bit of stubble dusted his jaw. She only saw it because the sun was kissing it, shining on it ever so sweetly. He was a good-looking man, beautiful even, but still, she couldn’t see herself married to him. Shit.
Wren smiled though, and when Bradley looked up, heat filled his gaze. “Hey, you.”
“Hey,” she said, shutting the door as he came around the desk to her. Gathering her in his arms, he kissed her hard on the lips, dipping her back slightly as she clung to him. This had to work. He was a great guy.
Pulling back, he kissed her nose. “You look hot.”
She laughed, waving him off. “I look and feel like death.”
“Still?” he asked, concern filling his handsome face. He was a year younger than her, and growing up, they’d called him the baby. Though, he didn’t look like a baby. When he had first kissed her, eons ago, she hadn’t expected it. And even though they had both been with other people over the years, they somehow always gravitated back to each other.
Always.
But that was about to change.
“Yeah. I went to the doctor today.”
Moving his thumb along the inside of her palm, he smiled. “Is it contagious?”
She shook her head, her face filling with heat. “No.”
“Oh, good,” he said, gathering her in his arms and pressing his lips to hers. “So we can take this discussion to the couch.”
She stopped him as he tried to pull her to where she knew they would likely have all kinds of hot sex, but she needed to get this out. “Not yet.”
His brows pulled together. “What’s wrong? Don’t feel up to it?”
She swallowed hard. “It’s not that. It’s…um…” Inhaling deeply, she met his gaze. The gaze she had known her whole life. Though right now, she felt like she was going to puke, her nerves were so bad. “I’m pregnant.”
She watched as his eyes widened, his jaw dropping before he dropped her hands. “Pregnant?”
“Yeah.”
He only blinked. “Is it mine?”
She nodded. “You’re the only guy I’ve been with for the last six months.”
He blinked once more, his eyes burning into hers. “Are you sure?”
She gave him a deadpan look. “I think I’d remember if I happen to fall, pussy first, on a cock other than yours.”
He didn’t laugh like she wanted, nor did he look her in the eye. Instead, he chewed his lip, looking anywhere but at her. “So, no other chance it isn’t mine?”
Her brows drew in. “It’s yours, Bradley.”
Turning his back to her, he walked away, going to the windows as he looked out of them, his hands folded across his chest. “I didn’t expect this. We used condoms.”
“I know.”
“And you’re on birth control, I thought.”
“I am, though I don’t take it as often as I should.”
He looked over at her. “So you trapped me?”
She glared. “You’d better be joking.”
He didn’t answer; he just looked away as her heart started to speed up.
This didn’t feel right.
As he started to pace, she watched him, her blood beginning to boil. She didn’t like his comment, nor did she like the way he wouldn’t look at her. Clearing her throat, she watched him as she said, “Okay, well, I know this is a lot at once, and it’s a lot for me too. But we have something that could pose an issue—my inheritance.”
His face wrinkled up as he snapped, “How does that have anything to do with me?”
She glared at the side of his face. “It has to do with you because your baby is inside of me, and I’m not thirty yet. So if I have this baby before I turn thirty and I’m not married, I’m fucked.”
“Then don’t have the baby.”
Her jaw dropped. Actually dropped, almost catching flies. “Excuse me?”
Still looking out the window, he shrugged. “Go get an abortion.”
“What?”
“Listen, I don’t want this. I don’t want a kid, and fuck, this is going to mess everything up.”
Her heart was in her throat. “Mess up what?
Turning to her, he yelled, “I’m marrying fucking Fieldsman’s daughter.”
It was as if he’d hit her. Reaching out, she braced her hand on the window. He had been seeing the girl, but he swore it wasn’t serious. They were just cool; it was business as he said. But marriage? “What? You said you didn’t want to get married.”
“I know, but I have no choice.”
“You do. You can marry me and help out the mother of your child.”
“No, I can’t. I was going to tell you tonight, that we had to break this off. For good.”
Drawing in a breath through her nose, she shook her head. “Wow.”
“Yeah. So listen,” he said, walking around her and to his desk, but she didn’t move as the tears gathered in her eyes. “Go get an abortion. It’s for the best. Here, this should cover it.”
When she opened her eyes, he was filling out a check before holding it out to her. Shaking her head hard, she muttered, “I don’t want your money.”
“Take it, Wren. Please. I can’t have this fuck up what I’ve got going for me. I’ll have more stock in this firm once I marry her.”
Her lip started to tremble. “But I’m having your baby.”
“I don’t want it,” he said simply. “I don’t want any of it. She will get pissed. She’s already so jealous and thinks I’m fucking around.”
“You are!”
“I know, but not anymore. So, please, get rid of it.”
“I can’t.”
“Wren, come on!”
“You can’t do this. We’ve known each other our whole life.”
“I understand that. So please do it.”
“No.”
“Don’t be stupid, because I’ll deny it. You fuck around. Everyone knows it, and I’ll deny the kid is mine. You’ll have to take me to court to prove it. But by the time that happens, you’ll already have it before your thirtieth birthday, so you’ll be fucked anyway. Just do the right thing. Get rid of it, Wren.”
She wouldn’t let her tears fall. Not for this fucking douche. “I thought I knew you, you selfish asshole.”
The words didn’t even faze him. He glared at her. “I thought I knew you. How could you let this happen? We were never serious. We were just fucking.”
Looking down at the ground, she bit into her lip to keep the tears from falling. Yeah, he was right, but she thought she’d meant more to him than just a fuck. “Just fucking, huh?”
“Yeah, it isn’t like we love each other. I mean, come on. You’re not even my type.”
“Your type?”
“Wren, come on,” he said simply, holding his hands out. “You’re not trophy wife material.”
She was going to deck him. “I can’t believe this.”
“Just take the check.”
He held it out once more, and her eyes landed on it through her tears. She should take it. It really was the only option, yet she knew she couldn’t.
Meeting his gaze, she swallowed hard as she shook her head slowly from side to side. “No.”
“Wren, don’t be an idiot.”
“No.”
“You’re being fucking stupid—”
Standing erect, she stepped over to him, her eyes burning into his and completely cutting off his words. She was sure her eyes were full of heat, full of rage because his words shook her. To the core. She wasn’t sure who this man was, but he sure as hell wouldn’t be the father of her child. Over her dead fucking body. “Fuck you, Bradley. I don’t need your money or even you. So. Fuck. You.”
And with that, she walked away.
With no clue what she was going to do now.
Except for the certainty that she wasn’t killing her baby.

 

 

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

 

 

Excerpt Reveal · Pre-Order · S&SR Review Soon

THE LEARNING HOURS by Sara Ney

 

He’s not a douchebag;

but that doesn’t stop his friends from

turning him into one.

 

MY FRIENDS WANT ME TO GET LAID.

So much so that they plastered my ugly mug all over campus, in bold printed letters:

Are you the lucky lady who’s going to break our roommate’s cherry?

Him: socially awkward man with average-sized penis looking for willing sexual partner. You: must have pulse. Text him at: 555-254-5551

The morons can’t even spell. And the texts I’ve been receiving are what wet dreams are made of. But I’m not like these douchebags, no matter how hard they try to turn me into one.

THIS ISN’T THE KIND OF ATTENTION I WANT.

One text stands out from hundreds. One number I can’t bring myself to block. She seems different. Hotter, even in black and white.

 

However, after seeing her in person, I know she’s not the girl for me. But my friends won’t let up—they just don’t get it. Douchebags or not, there’s one thing they’ll never understand: GIRLS DON’T WANT ME.

Especially her.

PRE – ORDER NOW

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He’s seated at a table in the far corner when I spot him from the door. He’s not hard to miss—not with his purple t-shirt in a sea of black and yellow, and wavy mussed hair.

He’s slouching, hunched over his table.

Defeated. Tired.

My stomach rolls with nerves, nerves that have me rooted to the spot in the doorway, watching him.
Just watching.

For the entire four minutes I stand here, he sits immobile, studying his laptop, eyes moving along the screen, completely transfixed by whatever he’s reading.

Learning.

“Just go over there,” I whisper to myself, blowing out a puff of pent-up air.

I put one foot in front of the other and begin toward him, spine ramrod straight, steeling myself, prepared for another argument.

Twenty feet.

Fifteen.

Eight.

Two.

“Hi.”

No reply.

“Do you mind if I sit here?” I lay my hand on the back of the wooden chair across from him, intending to pull it out.

He stiffens but doesn’t lift his head. “Yes I mind.”

“Would you mind if I sat at the table next to you?” I’m pushing his buttons, looking for a reaction, but he only spares me a brief glance.

Shrugs. “Free country.”

I bite my lip to hide a smile, glad he didn’t tell me to take a hike…

 

 

 

Sara Ney is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the How to Date a Douchebag series, and is best known for her sexy, laugh-out-loud New Adult romances. Among her favorite vices, she includes: iced latte’s, historical architecture and well-placed sarcasm. She lives colorfully, collects vintage books, art, loves flea markets, and fancies herself British.

She lives with her husband, children, and her ridiculously large dog.

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