Fools in Love Anthology Release Boost
**A Word from the Authors**
The authors included in this collection are excited to bring you some of our best work. Some of us have many more books for your reading pleasure, some are newer at this game, but one thing is true for all of us. We love romance! And we bring you some of the hottest around.
We hope you’ll some new authors to enjoy as well as an old favorite or two. Most of us offer free books, stories or other bonuses to our newsletter subscribers. Be sure to follow the links at the end of each book to stay in touch with us and to take advantage of our offers.
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AVAILABLE FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY
Ten authors. Ten steamy romances. Fools in Love features alpha males and the women who tame them from ten of the hottest authors in contemporary and new adult romance!
Billionaires! Stepbrothers! Everyday people! Curvy women! Domination! and Suspense!
Jessa Jacobs - Recoil, Book One
Candy J. Starr - Snatched, Part One
Aidy Award - Curvy Seduction: Rebound
Annabel Chant - Falling from Grace
Annabel Chant - Falling from Grace
Michelle Love - Arsen’s Rules: Book 1, For Her and Book 2, For Him
A.J. Goode - Love’s Little List
Crystal Kaswell - The Billionaire’s Deal #1
Alana Leigh - Lies of Omission (NEW AUTHOR!)
Alana Leigh - Lies of Omission (NEW AUTHOR!)
Lexi Larue - Tycoon, Book One
Marysol James - Enemy Within
*Contains multiple first in series which may include cliffhangers. All follow-up books may be read for free with Kindle Unlimited.
Be sure to check out the fantastic offers most of these authors have for even more free books, links included.
Amazon Universal Purchase Link:
"We didn't get much chance to get to know each other at the engagement party," I ventured, smiling my most charming smile.
"Why should we? I don't anticipate much family togetherness," she snapped. The smile that followed was a perfect imitation of the ones catty women in my father's social circles gave each other while uttering double entendres about each other's clothing, sexual preferences, or extramarital conquests. It was so perfect I burst out laughing.
"Glad I could amuse you," she said. "Care to tell me what in particular was so funny?"
"Nope. But let's cut the act. We're on the same side, really. I don't like this marriage, and you don't like this marriage. My objections should be obvious, but yours are a little murkier. Why don't we lay our cards on the table, join forces, and stop it?"
This time, I allowed my figurative fangs to show. The woman was too smart to fall for any of my subterfuges, and I wanted to see how she'd handle the real me. Yeah, pun intended again.
She was studying me, and I allowed it, letting the silence stretch out. Most women would have filled it with prattle or protested my statement. She did neither. The first one of us to speak would lose some kind of contest, and I had no intention of losing.
She was saved by the server coming back to take her order. Startled, she looked at her watch and allowed another expression of annoyance to surface. "I guess my meeting is a no-go," she said to me. Then she ordered a surprisingly hearty breakfast for a woman of her svelte proportions.
After that, the contest of wills was broken anyway. I felt no sense of victory as she took up the conversation where I'd left it minutes ago.
"All right. I see no harm in telling you my objections. My father has been gone less than six months. It's inappropriate – too rushed. I don't understand why your father would be so anxious to marry that he'd defy convention in this way. And I'd like to know more about why my mother finds herself in circumstances that seem to require it if she's to maintain her way of life. So yes, I object to the marriage. But it isn't my place to stop it. You're on your own there."
I hadn't thought of it in the exact same terms, but now she'd said it in that way, I had the same questions. Dad hadn't been forthcoming about why he'd marry her instead of just keeping her as a mistress. With a new respect for the daughter, I began to agree that Audrey wasn't the type of woman to be satisfied with such an arrangement, even though the marriage was little more. At least it would be a respectable way to be kept.
At the moment, I was far more interested in Julia than I wanted to be. It was one thing to fantasize about taking her and then moving on. But her cool demeanor intrigued me. Did it conceal a fiery sexuality, or was she all business? There was nothing but my gut instinct to hint of the former. However, my gut had never been wrong. Despite her matter-of-fact speech and the conservative business suit that muted her curves, I was semi-aroused.
"You aren't the only one who's curious about that. Frankly, I asked my dad the same thing. Why the damned hurry? He blew me off." Almost before I'd ended my sentence, I regretted saying so much.
I'd said we were on the same side, but it wasn't the truth. She'd be loyal to her mother no matter how she felt about the issue. Or so I believed. Her next words were as frank as mine, surprising me. I expected her, an excellent lawyer, to hold her cards close to her chest. And a lovely chest it was. Instead, her eyes changed from her practiced neutrality to sharp interest.
"Really? You know, I know exactly why my mother's in a hurry. I hadn't thought about why your dad would go along with it." In my turn, I raised my eyebrows to encourage her to say more.
"You no doubt understand that she's marrying him for money, although she tells me she has grown to love him. Honestly, I'm puzzled about two things. One, what happened to my dad's estate. I know he'd have provided for Mother, and yet she tells me she has too little to live on. And two, why she'd choose a man more than a decade her senior. She's still a beautiful and relatively young woman. No offense against your dad, but he's not in her league in that way."
I had to choke back a guffaw. She thought looks trumped money? And here I'd thought she was smart. On the other hand, it gave me an advantage. I knew what I looked like. I had mirrors, after all, and I had the reaction of women I passed on the street and in the course of business. This seduction was going to be fun. Sorry, Dad, can't resist.
He backed me up against the pillar with my hands held by my sides. His face was so close to mine that I could feel his hot breath on my neck. He had that rich people smell too. He must’ve been able to hear my heart pound, it was so loud. My whole body pounded. I’d become a pounding, blushing idiot.
“You shouldn’t,” I said, but instead of sounding insistent, my words came out in a husky whisper. Like a plea.
“Oh, I should.”
The deep rumble of his voice vibrated in my ear, sending delicious sensations through my body, down to my feet. He didn’t sound like he was going to take no for an answer.
My common sense told me to stop him but it’d been so long since I’d been with a man.
His lips hovered near mine and all common sense fled my mind. The only thought I had was how much I wanted him to kiss me. Every fibre of my being screamed for him to kiss me. It thudded through my body and reverberated with my pulse. The edges of my self blurred and I melted into the space around me.
That plump bottom lip of his called to me. It told me it held the keys to dreamland. That everything I’d ever fantasised about could be fulfilled.
He fixed me in the glare of his steely eyes until I quivered from the anticipation. My attention moved from his lip to those eyes. I couldn’t move. Even if I wanted to, he had me trapped. Nothing else mattered. The wedding, the dancing, all these people milling around. They no longer existed. There was only his eyes, so cold and vicious, as though he could see into my soul and didn’t like what he found there, but he wanted it just the same.
“Let’s get out of here and do something fun to celebrate your freedom.”
“I am going to have fun. Sex is fun.” Or so I’d been told. Or so I had fantasized.
“So this is about the sex.”
I absolutely, positively, unequivocally refused to blush. I watched the bartender, mostly so I didn’t have to look Grayson in the eye while lying. “No.”
He leaned in close and whispered so softly in my ear, his breath heating my skin. “You’re a horrible liar.”
Liar, liar, pants seriously on fire. “I am not.”
He didn’t back off an inch. “If this isn’t about sex, why did your chest and neck flush?”
I could feel the heat creep up my face like the warmth from a good glass of red wine. “It’s the alcohol. Plus, why are you looking at my chest anyway?”
“There isn’t a man in here who isn’t.” His eyes rose back up to mine. “And you’ve only had about a half a sip of that whiskey and even less of the beer, so good try.”
I grabbed the shot glass, downed the remainder, and slammed it on the table. “Fine. It’s about the sex.”
The tables around us went quiet. Oops. I said that a bit too loud.
I smiled and held my beer aloft, toasting the gawkers.
If Gray didn’t like my plan, that was his problem. It had taken a lot of cajoling to get him to go along with my scheming, after several false attempts. I certainly didn’t have the cojones to do this on my own. I needed a friend…and a bodyguard to pull this off.
I lowered my voice for this go around. “So what if it is? I’m entitled to spread my wings, or in this case my legs, if I want to. If I want a one-night stand and to have sheet-sweaty, shouting sex, I’m going to have it. I’m not engaged anymore. I can have dirty, dirty sexcapades with anyone I want.”
Gray nodded and his eyes flicked down to my chest and back up. “Yes, you can. It’s about time, too.”
Uh, not the reply I expected. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
He chuckled. “Just that I doubt Sparky was very imaginative in the sack.”
“I have no response to that.” Mostly because the only correct comeback would have been duh.
Gray searched my eyes then smiled. “What turns you on, Angel?”
You. This time it was no light flitter in my belly, this was a full on hurricane of butterflies attacking my internal organs with a barrage of trembling beats. Oh no. “I’m not talking about this with you.”
“If you really want to get your rocks off, this isn’t the place to do it.”
“You’ve got someplace better?” I sipped my beer and looked around the dank bar. Okay, so anyplace was probably better than here.
“Where?” Please say the carriage house, or the back of the limo, or my room, or on one of his motorcycles. Not that I had spent anytime fantasizing about how sex on Gray’s motorcycle would work.
I’d finished chopping the fruit, and the news had finished with Grace Anderton and the inestimable shit that was Leo Sparkes. For the time being, at least. I scraped the fruit off the chopping board and into the juicer, still thinking about her. That face; an enchanting blur of tears and cosmetics, haunted me. Why were footballers such pricks? It seemed to be written into their contract. Which reminded me…
I turned on the juicer. It was supposed to be quiet, but it was anything but, and I knew it. For the first time that day, I heard movement in the bedroom. A minute or so later, Charlotte was standing in the doorway. She’d thrown her clothes on – hadn’t even buttoned her shirt. She was wild-eyed with panic.
I turned off the juicer. ‘Breakfast?’
‘I…I’m late for work.’
‘Really?’ I poured juice into two tall glasses. ‘I thought you lot kept your own hours.’
‘What do you mean?’ Her eyes widened briefly, and she couldn’t hold my gaze. I could tell I’d unnerved her.
‘I mean, since you were working all night, I thought you’d be okay to lie in this morning.’
She didn’t reply, just turned and ran back into the bedroom. I could hear her rummaging through the bed clothes. I followed her in. She was on her hands and knees, looking under the bed.
‘Now, really, Charlotte.’ I couldn’t help but be amused. ‘There’s no need to grovel. The session ended last night.’
‘Where is it, you bastard?’ She jumped to her feet, almost panting. I thought she was going to hyperventilate.
‘Don’t…’ she took a deep breath and looked like she was about to cry. ‘…do this.’
‘Do what?’ I shrugged. ‘I’m doing nothing.’
‘Don’t come all high and mighty with me.’ Her voice wobbled, and I was half tempted to go over to her, to comfort her, but she’d brought this upon herself. ‘You got as much out of this as I did. Don’t pretend you didn’t.’
‘I got nothing out of this, Charlotte.’ I turned away from her. ‘Except peace of mind.’
‘You arrogant prick.’ She pushed her feet into her shoes. ‘Did I mean nothing to you?’
‘On the contrary, your safety meant everything to me.’ I stood at the door, and watched as she buttoned her shirt.
‘You were out of control, Charlotte.’ I didn’t want to remind her of how we’d found her. She’d come such a long way since then.
‘Out of…?’ She gave that harsh laugh again, and walked into the living room. ‘Entrapment, dear.’
I shook my head. I’d been had. We all had. It was hardly worth asking - I knew the answer - but I couldn’t help myself. ‘Why?’
‘Because of who you are, of course,’ she said, simply. ‘It was a guaranteed story. I’d heard enough about you to know you fancy yourself as some kind of knight errant. The preux chevalier of spoilt little rich boys. I wanted to get behind the myth. Find the real story. And, boy, what a story it’s turned out to be. I went round every Dom in Dominion, trying to get on the inside, to get a story. I never thought I’d end up in the confidence of the Kingpin himself.’
‘Always the fondness for the melodramatic, Charlotte,’ I said, watching her hunt around the sofa for her laptop. She could look all she liked…it was in Max’s office, in his safe. ‘How did I not guess before you were a hack?’
She looked up at me, suddenly. She looked taken aback for a moment, then she seemed to collect herself. ‘Well,’ she said, with a shrug. ‘I got a good story.’
‘You got nothing,’ I said. ‘You were never in my confidence. You’ll have to write lies, because I’ve told you fuck all.’
She didn’t say anything, just looked down at her nails with a secretive smile. She seemed so sure of herself that I almost felt alarmed, but I had my ace card at hand. ‘Whatever you think you know, you signed a confidentiality clause. I witnessed it myself.’
‘That?’ She picked up her handbag, wielding it like a weapon. ‘Worthless. It’s not even my real name.’
I cursed inwardly. I should’ve kept that business card box. Maybe I should even have fucked her. She’d fucked me anyway, in her own way. ‘So what are you going to do now?’
‘Well, I’d almost convinced myself to drop the whole thing.’ For the first time, her resolve seemed to weaken and something approaching a sob escaped her lips. ‘That is, I thought…’ She looked up at me, her eyes softer, almost appealing. ‘But now…’
‘Now?’ I returned her gaze, but without softening mine, without conceding at all. I had to know the worst. What was she planning to do? I raised my eyebrows, waiting tensely for her to reply.
‘Now I think the whole world needs to hear about you and your sleazy network. You… filth monger.’
I actually laughed. It was half in surprise, but half because I couldn’t believe that was what she really thought. Did she understand so little – even after all this time?
I put my arm across the doorway. ‘I’d take a long, hard look at yourself before you take your story anywhere outside these four walls.’ I looked at her, standing there so proud and defiant, and almost pitied her. ‘You haven’t a shred of evidence.’
‘Then I’ll find some,’ she said. ‘If it kills me.’
She pushed past me, still brandishing her bag, as if she thought I’d try to restrain her. It just showed how little she knew me. I never restrained women…not without their explicit consent.
‘Be careful what you wish for,’ I murmured to myself, as she slammed the front door behind her.
His stammering made her giggle, and he had to ball his hands into fists to stop himself from grabbing her hair in his hands and pulling her mouth to his. Her lips, plump and pink formed a smile. “Nervous?”
“Me?” he asked and found his voice going high.
That was not like him. She did make him nervous, and that was odd. “Do I make you nervous?”
“Hell no!” He slipped his arm around her waist.
Paul came to his side after telling the cops he had no idea who was at fault either. “Hi,” he said to the girl who would be running away from Arsen if she knew what he really wanted with her. “I’m Paul.”
“As you can see that’s my driver, Paul. So you won’t be completely alone with a stranger if you allow me to drive you to your home.” Arsen told her as he moved her along with him, his arm tight around her waist.
“Promise me something.”
“Anything,” he said. “I think I could promise you anything?” His finger trailed over her collarbone and he looked deep into her eyes.
They were full of trust, even though they shouldn’t be. If she only knew what he wanted to do to her beautiful porcelain skin, watch it turn a nice shade of pink after he had paddled it well.
“Promise you won’t hurt me.” Her words hit him hard.
“Why would you say that?” he asked as he pulled his hand back and searched her eyes.
“Shhh.” He pulled her close, one warm hand at the small of her back and the other stroking her hair. For just a moment, she allowed herself to melt against him. She rested her head against his chest and closed her eyes, listening to the soft thumping of his heart.
“It’s going to be all right, Mel,” he murmured. “You don’t have to be strong all the time.”
She sighed. It had been a long time since she’d felt a man’s arms around her like this. Too long. She felt small and vulnerable and . . . protected, somehow.
Regretfully, she took a step away from the man who held her.
“I’m not ready, Dan,” she whispered.
“I can’t do this. Not now. Not with his friend.”
“Do you want me to leave?”
“No.” It was a mistake to look up. She knew it even as she did so. She looked up into his soft brown eyes and couldn’t tear her gaze away. He was looking deep into her soul; in that instant, she realized that he could see all of her doubts, all of her insecurities, her fears.
She knew what she was going to say next, and she hated herself for it. “No, I don’t want you to leave, and that’s why I’m asking you to.”
“All right,” he said softly. He touched her cheek and brushed his thumb gently across her lips. “I’ll go, but not without this.”
He kissed her then. It was the tender, cautious kiss of a man who wasn’t sure if he was doing the right thing. His lips met hers, timidly seeking a response. It was a soft kiss, a gentle kiss that seared her soul and stole her breath; she swayed against him, suddenly dizzy.
He wrapped his arm tightly around her and pulled her even closer as the kiss grew in intensity. She allowed her arms to creep up and around his neck, hungrily accepting his embrace and leaning into him. As Dan’s hands moved possessively over her body, she wondered what she would do if he tore her clothes away and made love to her right here in the kitchen.
She caught her breath when his fingers slipped under the silky fabric of her blouse, and she twisted slightly in his grasp to give him better access to her skin. His warm, gentle fingers slid upward and traced the outline of her nipples through the lace of her bra, sending shockwaves of sensation through her. She quivered, needing so much more.
What am I doing? Suddenly, she pushed him away. “Dan –“
“You’re not ready.”
“No, I – I’m not. Please understand.”
He blew out an explosive breath. “I do understand, Mel. I’ll go, but I’ll be back.”
The place is crowded--incredibly crowded--but we are instantly given a table right by the window. Gorgeous view of Fifth Avenue. It's dark out--the entire day lost to an exhausting makeover--and the city lights are in full effect. Yellow lights bleed into the brilliant royal blue sky.
Blake slides his arm around my waist, holding me tightly. There's something protective about it. It's almost sweet. But it must be for show. That's the whole idea here. Our relationship is a ruse. Just for show.
He pulls out my chair for me and pushes it in after me. A perfect gentleman on the outside. Inside, I haven't got a clue, but there's no reason why it needs to concern me.
I slide my fingers over the menu but pay no real attention to its details. Blake is the kind of guy who likes to be in charge of dinner. He'll order for me, right down to my drinks and dessert. If we're staying for dessert.
I take a long sip of my water, avoiding his gaze. It's penetrating again. I stare at the clean, white tablecloth as long as I can. When I can't stand it any longer, I make eye contact. The same penetrating look is on his face.
"This only works if we're honest with each other."
"Okay. I'm tired. I'm starving. I want to go home and see my sister, but according to her texts, she's going out with her best friend. God knows where they're going or if they have fake IDs."
He nods like he understands. His eyes pass over me, his expression softening.
"You like me all cleaned up?" I ask.
"It doesn't matter what I like."
"But do you like it?"
There's this weight in my chest. It shouldn't matter, but I still feel heavy all over.
"I liked you before, too." He reaches across the table, offering his hand. "Look at me, Kat."
"I'm looking at you."
"Like you're infatuated with me."
I draw a circle on his palms with my fingertips. Make my eyes are big as they'll get. Part my lips like I'm desperate to kiss him. "Like that?"
"We'll have to practice."
I slide back into my chair, pulling my arms to my sides. Gaga couples can't be gaga all the time. They get into fights. Isn't the passion the whole appeal of a passionate love affair? Passion isn't just long, desperate kisses and bodies thrashing together in ecstasy. It's screaming and fighting and slapping too.
"What?" I snap. I blame hunger.
"Have you ever loved anyone?"
"No. And no one has ever loved me. If that was your next question." I dig my nails into my now totally smooth thighs. "If you're so good at pretending, look at me like you're in love with me."
He nods. He slides out of his seat and kneels next to me. Several heads turn. He is in the perfect position to propose. He lifts himself up, so he's a few inches from me. His eyes get wide, soft. His lips curl into the smallest of smiles.
Warmth spreads through my body. It's not like before. It's not a coursing, desperate heat. It's in my chest, not between my legs. Blake takes my hand and rubs the pad of his thumb against the skin between my thumb and forefinger. I look away, and he reaches for me. His fingertips graze my cheek, light as a feather. It's warm there, too.
Dizzy. I'm dizzy. It's bright in here. Loud. But, somehow, I can't hear or see anything except him. I can't help but stare into his eyes. That look is pure affection. It's love. Hell, I almost believe it. No, not almost.
I do believe it. That warmth swims to my stomach and cheeks. Breath escapes my body. It's all pretend. An example. But I can't stop the feeling. No one has ever looked at me like this. I want so badly for it to be real. I never wanted anything like this before, but now it's the only thing that matters.
He leans closer. Closer. His lips are an inch from mine. It's not like before. That was passionate, yes, but it was carnal. Nothing but sex. This is sweet, innocent even. His hands slide through my hair, and for a second, I forget my whole appearance is different. My eyes flutter closed and I do forget. I forget everything except the feeling of Blake's lips. Soft. Sweet. Hint of lemon from the water.
He pulls back and brings his mouth to my ear. "It's pretend, Kat. It's all pretend."
I nod like I believe him. "I know."
"Can you do that?"
I nod like I believe in my ability to lie.
He shifts back to his seat. His eyes stay glued to mine. "Good."
"The way you're looking at me. I believe you."
"Oh, yeah, of course." I press my palms against the chiffon, but the fabric does nothing to absorb the sweat. We nearly had sex in a dressing room. I shouldn't be nervous over a kiss and a few sweet glances.
The server arrives with a good evening. Just as I predicted, Blake orders for us. I let my attention shift away, off to some place where it won't hurt me. My only job is to look at Blake like I'm in love. I can absolutely do that without falling in love. Absolutely.
At the sound of John’s question from behind me, I stand up from my crouched position by the bookshelves in the library and turn to face him with what I hope is a neutral expression.
It quickly turns into a frown at the sight of him wearing another hoodie and the stupid sunglasses. I mean, we’re in a library, why is he still wearing them indoors? “Yeah, that’s right.”
“Wasn’t sure if you’d remember me or not.”
“Forget the guy who got me into an exclusive club? That would be a bitchy thing to do.” Putting the book in my hand back on the shelf, I cross my arms over my chest. “Wondering how you managed to find me in the library is another thing altogether, however.”
He grins, making me wish those stupid glasses weren’t on his face so I can see what he looks like, and points his thumb backward over his shoulder. “Coincidence, I assure you. Thought it was you when I came up the steps and didn’t see you again the other night so figured I would say hello.”
I refrain from pointing out the fact he’s the one who walked away and left me in the club after wishing me a good night. “Oh. Well, you might’ve seen me before since I work here.”
Chuckling, he shoves his hand into his pockets. “Nice. I come here a lot. That does explain why I thought you looked so familiar the other night.”
“Mystery solved.” With a smile, I point at my own face while asking him, “What’s up with the glasses? Are you missing an eyeball or hiding a scar or what?”
He shakes his head while laughing humorlessly. “I wish. At least those would be exciting reasons. Mine is more for privacy reasons.”
I can’t decide whether he’s being mysterious or obnoxious. “What are you, a movie star?”
“If that’s what you want to believe I am, sure. Just as long as you agree to go on a date with me tonight.”
My mouth gapes. “A date?”
“Dinner and a movie. Or if you’ve got a better idea, I’m open to suggestions. Just say yes and we’ll go from there.”
I would ask him if he’s serious, but something tells me he is, just as he was the other night. We barely know each other, and while I know the whole point of a date is to get to know someone, I’m not sure why he wants to go on one with me.
“I don’t know if I can tonight…”
“All right. Give me your phone. I’ll put my number in it and you can call me to let me know when you’re free.”
He holds out his hand, and since he’s only giving me his and not asking for mine, I hand my phone to him after unlocking it. He types fast, places it back in my hand, and then steps close until he’s only a few inches away.
“Call me later, Libby. I’ll be waiting.”
“Good morning Mr. Wexler,” I say as cheerfully as I can manage, knowing how much he hates cheerful people.
“What’s good about it?” he huffs.
“Well, you’re still here,” I chuckle. “I’d say that’s a pretty good start.”
Alfred Wexler is our resident grouch though deep down, he’s a big softie. He’s 59 years old and divorced, with three grown kids, six grocery stores and a Grade-three Anaplastic Astrocytoma, in other words, a brain tumor.
“You bet your ass I’m still here, I’m not checking out until that son of mine comes to his senses and signs a pre-nup or ditches that gold-digging fiancée of his.”
“I take it your weekend with family didn’t go so well.”
“To tell you the truth I was glad to see them go,” he says, waving his hand dismissively. “I love them but I could have lived without the ass kissing and sympathy. It was depressing.”
“Well you certainly won’t get any of that here,” I assure him, prepping him for his blood draw. “You’ll just feel a little stick.”
“Anyone ever tell you that you’re a sadist?” he asks.
“Wait until you see what I can do with a pair of clippers,” I chuckle.
I send his blood work to the lab before shaving his head, bathing him and getting him ready for surgery. His daughters arrive just as the orderly comes to wheel him downstairs.
“I’ll be here when you get back,” I assure him.
“Thanks for the warning,” he scoffs.
I watch as his daughters kiss his cheeks and try to reassure him before following the gurney down the hall. I know that they’re both terrified, knowing that this could be the last time they see their father alive but I can see his stubborn determination in both of them.
I look over at the window seat and realize that I forgot to put on his lucky socks. “Damn it!”
I grab the socks, rush into the hallway after him and run smack into the huge metal breakfast cart just as it rounds the corner. It knocks me on my ass with a huge clatter.
Amy the dietician, Josh the orderly and the handsome Asian guy hurry to my rescue. “Oh my God, Desiree, I’m so sorry,” Amy says apologetically. “I didn’t see you coming!”
Amy Wynn is only about five feet tall on her best day and weighs maybe a hundred pounds soaking wet. It’s a wonder she can manage to push the cart, let alone see over it.
“I’m okay Amy, look, no breakfast for 308 until I’ve checked his blood sugar and Josh; I need you to get these down to Mr. Wexler in surgery right away. Don’t you leave there without making sure they’re on his feet, do you hear me?”
“Got it,” he says taking the socks from me and running toward the elevators.
“Let me help you up,” the hot Asian guy says, offering me his hand. “I’m Ian, Rosalie Parker’s son.”
“Ian, yes I think she mentioned you were coming today,” I say as he helps me into a chair in the hallway. “I’m Desiree Sparks, your mom’s nurse.”
“I’ve heard a lot about you, she’s very fond of you,” he smiles. “Are you sure you’re okay?”
“I’m fine; I think I just banged my knee.”
“Are you always so vigilant about socks?” he chuckles.
Logically, I’m sure he’s just trying to break the ice but in my mind he’s still the asshole who drenched me in coffee this morning and the last person I wanted to come to my rescue. Now I just feel patronized. “Only when they’re thirty-five year old lucky socks for a man about to undergo brain surgery,” I scoff.
“I didn’t mean-,”
“Ian?” Mrs. Parker calls from her room, interrupting his apology.
“Go check on your mom, I’ll be there in a few minutes,” I tell him, stepping over to Mr. Kent’s doorway in 308.
When Emma Cartwright pulled into the parking lot of Shooter’s Bar on that Friday night, she was a woman with a mission. Like the best of missions, it was simple, clear, and had a defined and measurable aim: Emma was going to go in there and pick up a scorching hot man and go home with him.
Shooter’s was, she knew, hands-down the best damn place in Denver to embark on such a mission. According to Kat, the guys in this place were pretty much after nothing but a good time. And Emma needed a good time tonight.
She sat in her car for a minute, running over the game plan in her mind. OK, so a few deal breakers in terms of her choice for her very first one-night-stand:
First, Kat said Shooter’s attracted lots of soldiers passing through, and Emma wasn’t so interested in guys recently back from combat. Chances are they’d be traumatized, and she had more than enough trauma going on in her life right now. No, tonight was an escape for her, and as such, she wasn’t interested in damaged, possibly dangerous, guys. And she’d have to keep her wits about her here: no getting drunk and putting herself in a bad situation with the wrong guy.
Second, nobody too sweet. He had to be a nice guy, clearly, but not relationship material. She had a tendency to get attached to sweet guys, guys who held her hand and wanted to take her for dinner. But if this was just casual sex, then she didn’t want it to be with a guy that she’d really want to see again.
Third, she needed to lie about herself. Not her name; that was going a bit far. But she definitely didn’t want anyone knowing that she was a psychologist – that tended to freak people out even at the best of times – so tonight she was going to be Olivia Jameson’s personal assistant. She was sure that Liv wouldn’t mind the deception, though she was pretty certain that her actual assistant Nigel most definitely would.
As if she had conjured Olivia up just by thinking about her, Liv’s ring tone trilled from Emma’s purse. She pushed ‘reject’ and then turned the ringer to vibrate. She knew that Kat and Liv and Jenny were all anxious to hear the final diagnosis after almost a month of tests, but Emma didn’t want to talk about that right now. Tomorrow was fine for doom and gloom. Tonight was about grabbing on to life with both hands, as hard as she could, as many times as she could take it.
She knew what she was doing was unhealthy and reactionary. If one of her patients received the kind of bad news that she’d gotten that day, and they then turned around and flung themselves full-on into a one-night-stand, Emma would have plenty to say about that. She’d say they were in some major denial, and desperately trying to avoid inevitable pain, and maybe even engaging in some complicated form of self-harm.
Author Bios & Social Media Links:
Jessa Jacobs ~
Like you, I’m a reader. When I read a good story with characters I can connect with, my everyday existence fades into the background as I enter a world that may contain exotic locations, adventure and excitement. And, if I can be totally honest with you, in my favorite stories I can fall in love for a while with an impossibly gorgeous guy who is the best lover imaginable.
So, maybe it won’t come as a surprise that in my books you’ll find hot alpha male book-boyfriends, sassy heroines who are much more clever and beautiful than I am, and stories I hope will make you laugh and cry while reading them, as I did while writing them. Oh, and some scenes you may want to role-play with your lover.
When I’m not writing (which is almost never) I enjoy reading, hiking in the foothills near Denver, live blues music, karaoke and now and then indulging in her karaoke habit.
If you'd like to know more about me, my books, or special offers for free reading, please check my website.
Candy J. Starr ~
Candy J. Starr used to be a band manager until she realised that the band she managed was so lacking in charisma that they actually sucked the charisma out of any room they played. "Screw you," she said, leaving them to wallow in obscurity - totally forgetting that they owed her big bucks for video equipment hire.
Candy has filmed and interviewed some big names in the rock business, and a lot of small ones. She's seen the dirty little secrets that go on in the back rooms of band venues. She's seen the ugly side of rock and the very pretty one.
But, of course, everything she writes is fiction.
Aidy Award ~
Once upon a time there was a girl who lived to write stories of happy ever after. During the day.
But at night, oh at night, her world transformed into one of dark desires, deep passions and the forbidden. It is this duality that makes her so interesting.
She combines the two sides of her imagination by penning stories of erotic romance and true love.
Read the delicious fantasies of heroes and heroines come to life under the covers and between the pages of Aidy’s books.
Want to find out when the newest Aidy Award book hits the shelf? Sign up for the new releases newsletter!
Annabel Chant ~
Annabel Chant has always loved reading and writing stories. She lives in village about half an hour from London, with her family, her dog and a vastly over-stuffed library that no one appreciates except for her.
She was seized one day with the idea for an erotic short story. She wrote the first pages, about a woman getting dressed up to go to meet a guy that called himself only The Filth Monger.
Then, she put it aside without ever looking at it again but, from that seed, this whole series developed.
She has lived in Nice and Belgium, as well as all over the UK. When she’s not writing, she enjoys nothing more than curling up with a steamy read.
Annabel also writes YA romantic comedies.
Michelle Love ~
Michelle Love writes about smart, sexy women and the hot alpha billionaires who love them. She has found her own happily ever after with her dream husband and adorable 2-year-old.
A.J. Goode discovered romance novels as a teenager, when she learned to sneak away with her mother's collection of Harlequins and 1970's bodice-rippers. She quickly fell in love with the happy endings and stories in which love conquers all.
She is also a single mother, a high school lunchlady, and a blogger with a knack for seeking the humorous side of every situation.
A.J. is a lifelong resident of Michigan, and her fictional town of Beach Haven is loosely based on the real town where she spent her childhood summers. The series is her way of combining her love for the beach with her addiction to romance novels.
Crystal Kaswell writes scorching hot new adult romance. When she isn't writing, she is chain drinking tea, binge watching Law and Order, practicing yoga, or debating which fictional character would be the best in bed. She lives in Portland, OR with her husband.
Alana Leigh ~
Alana Leigh set off to find herself by writing, and found she’s still lost. From short and sweet to hot and spicy, Alana has decided to publish whatever she digs up from the depths of her psyche, and let you, her readers to find her. When you do, please send wine. And chocolate – dark chocolate. Thank you.
Alana has been too busy writing to find a place all her own yet, but you can follow what she’s doing on her publisher’s Facebook page (please like the page while you’re there).
Lexi Larue ~
Lexi Larue has been writing suspense and romance short stories since she was a young girl. She loves romances with a little bit of mystery. She loves creating strong characters who love life and live with abandon. Lexi lives in Chicago where she enjoys the hanging out in jazz clubs and dining in hole in the wall restaurants.
Marysol James ~
Marysol James was raised in a small town in Canada and is still a small-town girl at heart. She's a cancer survivor, cinnamon bun lover, and hardcore caffeine addict.
Marysol crosses genres in her writing, happily and enthusiastically. To date, she's published 23 steamy, sexy, slinky Contemporary Romances spread over four different series, including the Amazon best-selling 'Unseen Enemy' and 'Dangerous Curves' series.
Besides her romances, Marysol also writes crisp, clever, Contemporary Literature. It can be dark and provocative at times, and magical realism features heavily in her books. She loves moving between the worlds of magical realism and glorious romance, and she's grateful every day to be able to do both.