Saturday, October 15, 2016

With Ties That Bind Blitz & Giveaway!


With Ties that Bind: A Broken Bonds Novel, Book Two
Trisha Wolfe
Publication date: October 11th 2016
Genres: Adult, Romance, Thriller


A new threat has descended upon Arlington, and lead medial examiner Avery Johnson is in its sights, being targeted by the city’s latest serial killing menace known to the public as the Alpha Killer.

Whether urban legend or reality, the Alpha feeds into the media craze, orchestrating a killing spree to stamp out all rivals. And when Avery’s tangled web of deception pulls her further into to Alpha’s sadistic game, there’s only one thing she fears more: losing Quinn. With just as many secrets to guard as the elusive crime lord, Avery’s time is running out to reveal the truth to Quinn, the stubborn, by-the-book detective bent on protecting her at all costs.

As a lead takes the ACPD task force deep into the bowels of a corrupt law firm, the discovery of a vast criminal network with far-reaching connections threatens to unmask many players. How deep does the corruption go? How far does the Alpha’s reach extend? While the team races to catch a killer, Detective Quinn is faced with an impossible choice. Will he betray the woman he’s fallen for, or seek his own vengeance outside of the law?



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Author Bio:
From an early age, Trisha Wolfe dreamed up fantasy worlds and characters and was accused of talking to herself. Today, she lives in South Carolina with her family and writes full time, using her fantasy worlds as an excuse to continue talking to herself.
For more information on Trisha Wolfe and her works, please visit: www.TrishaWolfe.com
To be the first to hear about new releases and sale events, sign up for Trisha Wolfe's Newsletter: http://bit.ly/1rXTKI7 


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Friday, October 14, 2016

Variations Blitz, Excerpt & Giveaway!


Variations
Megan Mitcham
(Base Branch, #9)
Publication date: October 11th 2016
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense


From USA Today bestselling author Megan Mitcham…
Decisions split paths. Bad decisions compound and suddenly you are no more than variations of yourself.

Marina Sorensen rots in a prison of her own making. The bars are the thick arms and meaty hands of Brödraskapet thugs who make money selling her body. Her guilt is the unbreakable shackle. Loneliness is her ever tightening noose. Trading her life for the survival of another is her only salvation.

For Base Branch operative Oliver Knight an eliminate and rescue mission in hostile territory against a brotherhood of brutal sons-of-bitches is another adventure. Downtime between missions in foreign locales with exotic women is worth dodging a few bullets. There is also the sense of duty and pride in a job well done.

He and his buddy rescue Marina and are blindsided by the striking, broken woman who mistakes them for Stronghold Tech. Before they can figure out how she knows about the elite securities team or find and eliminate their mark, the enemy discovers their hideout. Capture would be a fate worse than death and it looms so close Oliver and Marina can french it.

Betrayals meet harsh light and the fun-loving soldier is forced to face cruel reality. His damsel in distress is the one to blame, especially when Stronghold forces show, adding chaos to the kabooms. The dire situation turns deadly and Marina holds the key.

If only Oliver can stop loving and hating her long enough to get the answers.



Start the series with Enemy Mine – book 1 – for FREE!
Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Googleplay / All Romance

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EXCERPT

“Marina?” The deep timbre of his voice dimmed the ache in her ribs and the throb in her thigh and shifted them both higher and lower, to places that had felt a hundred hands and responded to none.
Her vocal cords constricted.
“Are you okay? Can I come in?” The concern in his voice and actions seemed genuine, which only made the realization hurt all the more.
He’d use her for information and then cast her aside, no question. She could weather the storm of him if he treated her like all the other men in her life had. If he’d take his pleasure and walk away, she’d survive. She’d survived it too many times to count.
“Marina? Answer me.”
She wanted to reassure him, but she couldn’t. After two years of captivity, self-preservation overrode all other essential human mechanisms. Decency didn’t register on the scale.
“I’m coming in.”
Corded muscles encased in the white T-shirt distracted from the vibrant watercolor lion roaring on the front. He’d lost the lumberjack long-sleeve somewhere outside the massive bathroom. As he closed the space between them in two gaping strides, those thick masses bound and stretched under the tight cotton. His mane hung loose like the wild animals on his chest. Concern knitted his brow.
“Your lips are blue.”
The tentative consent-seeking man vanished. Oliver plunged a hand into the tub, while another pressed two fingers to her neck.
“You’re freezing,” he growled. “A place this uppity should have a mammoth water heater.” His head shook, tousling his long blond locks. “I should have checked on you sooner.”
A roughened palm, a match to the one that had pressed to her face, pushed up her neck. His fingertips gripped her chin and turned her face to him.
“Marina, talk to me.” His dark blue gaze begged. If she spoke, she’d change her tactic and lose the battle altogether.
He wrenched off the water. Metal cried against metal.
The urge to join in, to weep until she couldn’t think, rushed through her veins. She yearned for a simple life—a normal job, a home, someone to love, and someone to love her in return. A chill shook her from the useless thoughts.
Want couldn’t create.
Survival could. And she was so close. Caring eyes, kind words, and a body made to give and receive pleasure wouldn’t railroad her determination.
Oliver’s strong arm banded her back, while his other hooked under her knees. When he hoisted her out, water cascaded in a torrent. Then she was against his chest, the warmest, safest place she’d ever been.
A tingle started in Marina’s fingers and toes and then burned its way up her limbs. Her body shivered against immovable slabs of muscle.
“I’ve got you.”

Author Bio:
USA Today bestselling author Megan Mitcham was born and raised among the live oaks and shrimp boats of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, where her enormous family still calls home. She attended college at the University of Southern Mississippi where she received a bachelor's degree in curriculum, instruction, and special education. For several years Megan worked as a teacher in Mississippi. She married and moved to South Carolina and worked for an international non-profit organization as an instructor and co-director.
In 2009 Megan fell in love with books. Until then, books had been a source for research or the topic of tests. But one day she read Mercy by Julie Garwood. And Oh Mercy, she was hooked!
Megan lives in Southern Arkansas where she pens sizzling suspense novels. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest & Goodreads. For news, giveaways, and exclusive offers sign up for her newsletter at www.meganmitcham.com! 

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Thursday, October 13, 2016

Russian Heat Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway!

Russian Heat
Hot Ice
Book 7
Lily Harlem

Genre: Contemporary erotic romance

Publisher: All Romance eBooks

Date of Publication:  October 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-945193-65-1

Word Count: 68k

Cover Artist: Erin Dameron Hill      

Book Description:

One night stands should be exactly that, one wild night. Somebody should tell that to the sexy Russian.

I love working for an airline and traveling the world—it’s everything I'd ever hoped and more. I work hard and play hard, and if I can have some sexy time with a hot guy, why not? I'm a free agent.

When my one-night stand is a hunk of a hockey player with a smooth Russian accent and an even smoother way of sweet talking me into his bed, not once but several times over, things definitely get complicated for my heart. I have no intention of having it broken again.

Will he be able to make it up to me? Has he even returned from his homeland? And what the hell is going to happen when engine failure makes my life flash before my eyes? Only one way to find out, and that's to hang on for the ride.

First time in print! Includes the bonus short story: “Rookie Rules”!



Excerpt

“Vadmir,” the man in front of me said, holding out his hand. “My name is Vadmir Arefyev.”
I tore my attention from the departing couple and let his warm fingers wrap around mine. He had a few callouses on his palm and his nails were neat and square-shaped. “Samantha.” I paused. “But I guess you know that because my friend just said it.”
“Yes.” He grinned, a proper smile this time, not the half-amused curl of his lips he’d had before. “But it looks like you have lost your friend.” He spoke with an accent, Russian I guessed, having heard passengers speak that way.
He released my hand.
“I’ve only lost her for a few hours.” I knotted my fingers together, trapping the warmth infused from his palm. “Let’s hope she doesn’t eat him alive.”
He laughed, a deep, rumbling chuckle that shifted his huge pecs beneath his t-shirt. “I hope she does. Jackson is still getting used to his new Viper fame and it might teach him a lesson. Knock him up a peg or two.”
“Do you mean down a peg or two?”
“Yes, yes, that’s what I mean, down.” He smiled again and I noticed that his two front teeth were slightly crossed.
“Yes, and he is new, isn’t he?” Harmony had mentioned that earlier. “In that case, he might be a little worn-out at practice tomorrow.”
He rubbed his hand over his chin, creating a sharp sound over his dusting of pale stubble. “I’m not here tomorrow but it would be good to see.” He nodded at the parking lot. “So do you need a ride now?”
“I’ll grab a cab, that’s how we got here.”
“I don’t mind taking you somewhere. I’ve finished for the day.”
“No really, I don’t want to bother you.”
“It is no…er…bother.” He gestured to the lot. “Anyway, there are no cabs here.”
A small, welcome breeze lifted my hair from my shoulders and wafted the scent of dew-coated moss and light herbs my way. He was wearing an unusual cologne that seeped into my nose and heightened my awareness of his magnetism. There was definitely something seriously sexy about Vadmir Arefyev.
Damn, I really should get a ride out of here.
In fact, better still. I should make him my ride.
“Well I guess you’re right,” I said, “there are no cabs about, so yes, a ride would be cool. As long as you don’t mind.”
“I really don’t mind.” He adjusted his bag, his upper arm muscles straining against the sleeve of his t-shirt. “It’s this way.”
He turned to the lot and I fell into step beside him. I had to take two strides to his one but luckily my Hermes wedges were up to the job.
He swung his keys around his fingers again. “Samantha, that’s a pretty name.”
“Thanks, yours is…unusual.”
“Not where I’m from.” He shrugged. “There are plenty of Vadmirs there.”
“Where is that, then?”
He glanced at me. “You are not a Vipers fan?”
“No, sorry, I was just hanging out here with Harmony. I’m more of a Prada, Gucci and Jimmy Choo fan. Don’t mind a bit of Donna Karan and Armani, either.”
He chuckled again. “I get your drift.”
“So you’re from where exactly?” I asked.
“Russia. North of Moscow. I’ve been here four years now, though.”
“Your English is good.”
“Thank you. I have worked very hard to get it right.”
“And do you miss home? Russia?”
He paused at a white convertible Chevy Camero and clicked his key fob. The car beeped to life and he tugged open the passenger door for me. “Yes, of course. I miss my family, my parents are not getting younger but at least, doing this, playing here, it means I can provide for them.”
“That’s very kind of you.”
“They’ve always been very kind to me.” He smiled and gestured for me to climb into the car.
I climbed inside and he shut the door. As he walked around the front, I buckled up and placed my purse down at my side.
“And you,” he said, dropping into the driver’s seat. “You’re not American. I can tell.”
“Ah, well spotted. No, I’m English, well, technically half-and-half but I grew up in England so that’s home. But my father lives over here, in Denver. America has been home for a long time now.”
“We played Denver last month. I liked the cold. The heat in Florida can be very…tiring.” He revved the engine and flicked on the air-conditioning.
“I won’t disagree with you there.” I crossed my legs.
His gaze drifted over my thighs and knees and I couldn’t help yet another small thrill. It seemed Vadmir was a leg man, which was just as well. I had great legs. Not by chance but by hours in hotel gyms and a healthy dose of good genes from my grandmother and mother. Right now my legs were also tanned to a milky-coffee shade of brown and freshly waxed.
“Tell me if you get cold,” he said. “You’re…er…not wearing much.”
Now it was my turn to laugh. “I’m fine, it’s a relief to be out of the sun.”
He looked me in the eye and my breath hitched. There really was something captivating about him, and being this close to him—his handsome face, his scent and his obvious interest in me—was hitting all my buttons.
I pulled in a deep breath, licked my lips and willed my heart not to race too much.
“So where do you want me to take you?” he asked, his attention dropping to my mouth and his eyelids getting heavy.
On a fast and sweaty one-way trip to Heaven.




About the Author:

Lily Harlem lives in the UK with a workaholic hunk and a crazy cat. With a desk overlooking farmland, she allows her imagination to run free and revels in being able to use the written word as an outlet for her creativity. Lily’s stories are made up of colorful characters traveling on everyone’s favorite journey—falling in love. If the story isn’t romantic, sexy and exciting, it won’t be written, at least not by this author.

For more information on other books by Lily, visit her website:




Tempting Tristan Blitz, Excerpt & Giveaway!


Tempting Tristan
Melissa Foster
(Harborside Nights #3)
Publication date: October 19th 2016
Genres: Adult, LGBTQ+, Romance


Tempting Tristan is a stand-alone M/M romance featuring two sexy, lovable alpha heroes.

TRISTAN AND ALEX

Fresh off the heels of yet another bad relationship, Tristan Brewer is taking a break from men to try to figure out where he keeps going wrong. He knows his biggest fault—he leads with his heart, not his head—and that’s never going to change. But after several introspective weeks, he’s beginning to get a handle on things. That is, until badass heartthrob Alex Wells walks into his bar…

Alex has spent eight years in the army, months in a hospital bed, and far too long hiding his sexual identity. He’s guilt-ridden, damaged, pissed off, and up for a Silver Star for the incident that nearly cost him his life—and kept him from his grandmother’s funeral. But all he wants to do is live the life he’s always dreamed of and forget his stint with the institution that allows but doesn’t necessarily accept.

The chemistry between Tristan and Alex ignites from the moment they meet, and the more time they spend together, the hotter the flames burn. But the closer they become, the more Alex’s walls go up, and when the two walk onto a military base, Tristan finds out Alex’s physical scars aren’t the ones that run the deepest.



EXCERPT

She rolls her pretty green eyes. “No, Tristan. Because the hottest man on the planet just parked his motorcycle and he’s heading in here. All of my female customers are drooling, and I’m sure you’ll see a flock of them coming in any minute now. Meanwhile, I’m stuck outside and soon I’ll have a pier full of empty tables.” She grabs a handful of napkins and waves them at me with a smirk. “Drool rags.”
“Dibs,” Charley says as she whips up a cocktail.
I laugh and hold my hands up. “I’m on a hiatus from all things male, so be my guest.” My ex, Ian, is a self-absorbed ass, and I was an idiot for letting him treat me like shit. Which is why I’m taking a break from men—even if it kills me. It’s been weeks since we broke up and I moved into my buddy Wyatt’s house. Wyatt and his twin sister, Delilah, own the Taproom. They inherited it when their parents were killed in a car accident a little more than a year ago.
“I’m sure he’s straight anyway,” Livi says. “The guy swaggers like a stud.”
“Hey, gay guys can swagger like studs,” I tease.
“I know that.” Livi peers out the pass-through window to the outside seating area and tosses her blond hair over her shoulder. “You’ll see what I mean. He’s a total badass.”
I tend to my customers as the girls discuss the badass hot guy, and when the front door opens, I can’t help but let my eyes drift over. Livi and Charley fall silent, ogling what truly might be the hottest guy on the planet. Linebacker shoulders fill the doorframe. The godlike creature is carrying a shiny black motorcycle helmet in one very large hand. His white T-shirt is stretched so tight across his chest I can see every ripple of his shredded abs, and his deliciously defined biceps are seriously struggling to be set free from his short sleeves.Tear, baby, tear.
He steps inside and runs a hand through his dirty-blond hair. Deep-set, brooding eyes slide over the customers sitting at the bar, sweep over Charley and Livi, and finally land on me. Charley whimpers, and Livi makes a sound in the back of her throat, both mimicking what I’m feeling, though my mouth is too dry to make a sound.

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Author Bio:
Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes sexy and heartwarming contemporary romance, new adult romance (M/F, M/M, F/F), romantic suspense, thrillers, and historical fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Melissa's emotional journeys are lovingly erotic and always family oriented. Her books have been recommended by USA Today's book blog, Hagerstown Magazine, The Patriot, and several other print venues. She is the founder of the World Literary Café. When she's not writing, Melissa helps authors navigate the publishing industry through her author training programs on Fostering Success.
Melissa has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Her interests include her family, reading, writing, painting, friends, helping others see the positive side of life, and visiting Cape Cod.
Melissa is available to chat with book clubs and welcomes comments and emails from her readers. Visit Melissa on Facebook or her personal website.
Never miss a brand new release, special promotions or inside gossip again by simply signing up to receive your newsletter from Melissa. 

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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Hot, Wet, Smooth, and Hard Tour & Excerpt!

Hot, Wet, Smooth, and Hard
Craving Cove
Book One
Marina Blue

Genre: Contemporary EroticRomance

Date of Publication: Sept 28th, 2016

ISBN: 1537448331

Number of pages: 188

Word Count: 70K

Cover Artist: Mayhem Cover Creations

Book Description:

Melody’s a beautiful hurricane with an unbreakable spirit, and she’s capable of anything she sets her mind to. But after fifteen long years of living a life not meant for her, she’s returned home to Craving Cove, to take the perfect path she knows in her heart she was destined for, and to win back the man she abandoned all those years ago.

Knox…

Every inch of this rough waterman is hot, smooth, wet, and hard, and each woman who’s laid eyes on him is dying for a taste of his tattoos. But he knows in his still-broken heart there’s only one girl out there for him, and he’s been waiting for the chance to reclaim what’s his.

But when dangerous forces threaten them and their home, it will take every bit of their loyalty, courage, and spirit to protect everything they love. Will they be able to cling to each other and conquer the storm, or will unknown enemies pull them apart, and destroy everything they love?

If you adore hot men, strong women, and beautiful locations then set sail through dangerous waters with the residents of Craving Cove, and take a trip to HEA in this “contemp-erotic romance” that you’ll never forget!


Excerpt

Melody gently laid her beautiful hands on William’s delicious meat. With a perfect stroke, she moved them back and forth. Back. And forth. Then slowly, and with definite focus, she grabbed a bottle of oil, and poured a viscous stream into her palm. The liquid slipped between her already wet fingers, and she continued to move her hands. Reaching over, she pinched some coarse sea salt, and sprinkled it evenly.
Looking down at the rib eye, Melody smiled. Perfectly seasoned…
But before she could start cooking in earnest, she gave the dining room a quick glance. The red wine was breathing, the table was set with Swiss watch precision, and William’s favorite songs were prepared to play on their entertainment system.
Everything was perfect.
Even her. Underneath her red dress was a black bustier hot enough to sear the waiting steak, and a pair of stockings that would make a mute man scream in joyous rapture. The plan was to surprise her husband with a fabulous anniversary dinner, and drink a great bottle of wine, then rut like stoats upstairs. None of which should be a problem, especially the surprise. Their actual anniversary was on the following Saturday, and Melody was supposed to be on a trip with her friend Kat, and not back in town until the following morning.
So like she thought, it was going to be perfect.
Then the sound of their garage door roused her from her thoughts.
Damn it. Melody looked at her watch. Seven thirty… William’s home early!
Melody ran to the light switch, but on the way passed by her full-length mirror, where she checked herself one last time. Her thick, brown hair was up just right, allowing a slim tendril to curl down the side of her face, and the red dress fit well enough. But still, she fretted. The figure she’d had at twenty-five was no longer the same, but she was still curvy.
So, with everything ready, she killed the kitchen and dining room lights, and froze.
Seconds passed. She was breathing deeply. Her heart beat loudly in her ears. She was so excited!
And then finally, the door opened, and she heard William say, “Come on, let’s get to it.”
“Why?” a woman said. “We’ve got all night, it’s not like she’s home.”
“Not until tomorrow. But every second I’m not inside you is one I wish I was.”
Melody’s quick beating heart stopped. She turned her head slightly, unsure of what she’d just heard.
The mystery woman said, “Well then, if you’re that hungry we’ll have to get right to it.”
Then the door slammed. There was some fumbling. And the two of them rushed into the living room.
Melody crept along the wall of the dining room, and peeked around the corner.
William was in one of his tailored, gray suits, and all five and a half feet of him was twisted around a woman who couldn’t have been over twenty-three. She looked like a sundae, topped with a dollop of whipped cream blond hair, and wore a tight, white dress, over a perky body.
Melody nearly broke her teeth grinding them together. It was Kendra. William’s paralegal!
The two tumbled onto the couch, with William landing on top of his employee. “My God,” he said. “I’ve been thinking about this all day.”
Kendra ran her fingers through his thinning hair. “Me too, Billy.” She undid his tie and threw it on the floor. “During that meeting I wanted to pull out your cock and-”
“What the hell’s going on?” Melody was standing in the doorway to the dining room, staring down at the two.
The lovers froze, with their eyes full of shock. William was the one who broke the silence. “Melody, what’re you doing here?”
Melody stared at him with a viper’s gaze. “Surprising you, apparently.”
The two cheaters disentangled, and staggered to their feet.
Kendra straightened her white dress as William said, “Melody, I can explain. This isn’t-”
“Say ‘what it looks like’ and I’ll jam an oyster fork in your eye,” Melody said.

About the Author:

Marina Blue is a small town girl who turned into a big city pro, only to return to the small town she left. A long time fan of reading romance and adventure, she's often seen writing with Muffin the cat, and Boosa the dog.





Darkness Savage Blitz, Excerpt & Giveaway!


Darkness Savage
Rachel A. Marks
(The Dark Cycle #3)
Published by: Skyscape
Publication date: October 11th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult


The fate of humanity hangs in the balance as Aidan faces a crushing choice: give in to the demands of the forces of Darkness in order to save his sister, Ava, or fight on the side of good and risk losing her forever. With so much at stake and so little time, Aidan embarks on a mission to finish assembling a team of “Lights,” other teens whose special abilities are linked to his own.

Meanwhile, Rebecca discovers that she’s more than just a normal teen, and that the power awakening inside her may be stronger than she ever could have imagined. As the city plunges into chaos and Aidan doubts his plan of attack, Rebecca’s newfound gift may tip the balance in the wrong direction.

In this thrilling final installment of The Dark Cycle trilogy, will Aidan find the help he needs to release the world from Darkness’s grip? Or will he lose everything he’s been desperately trying to save, including his soul?



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**Book 1 & 2 are on sale all month on Amazon: Kindle for $1.99 and paperback for $5.99**


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Excerpt 

I’ve been sitting in the living room, staring at the patterns on the Surya rug and chewing on my nails since Tray called an Uber to take him and Samantha home. My treat, since the mess was pretty much my fault. I should’ve never let Samantha tag along with me to see a witch. I can’t let her get caught up in all my crazy magical mess. That girl is not prepared for reality. In the car on the way home, we didn’t even talk about the demon attack, as if we were all trying to pretend it hadn’t happened. And even though we got away, I can’t stop wondering: Why didn’t it hurt me?
The sound of the doorbell nearly makes me jump out of my skin when it hums through the living room. I hesitate and then realize its probably Connor come to check on me. The guy needs to learn how to text me warnings in moments like this, after a demon attacks.
When I let him into the house, he steps over the threshold, looking around the wide-open entryway suspiciously before grabbing me and smothering me to his chest. You need to be more careful. Where was the demon? My God, Rebecca, you couldve been—” his voice catches and he squeezes me tighter.
Connor, I cant breathe,I say into his shirt.
He releases me a little but doesnt let me go entirely, resting his forehead against mine. I kiss his cheek and then tug him to the couch to sit. Im okay,I say as we settle in beside each other. And Im going to be wearing my amulet from now on, so theres nothing to worry about.
I cant lose you to this craziness,he whispers. The vulnerable look in his eyes makes my chest hurt. Then I realize how sunken they are, the dark circles under them, how pale he is. Even the smattering of sun freckles on the bridge of his nose looks dimmed.
Im okay,I repeat, touching his temple. But you arent. You look so sick. What happened?
He shakes his head.
I scoot closer to him, leaning my head on his shoulder, my fear turning sour at the thought of how vulnerable he is, how much danger hes in sticking to Aidans side.
I cant stand this,I say, feeling it all fall on me like a lead blanket.
He just breathes and takes my hand in his, curling his fingers over mine. Im so glad youre okay,he says. He shifts to face me, and I find myself studying his features, that lovely sun-kissed face. I want to be the sun and kiss that skin. Always.
I lean in and gently touch my lips to his jaw, tightening my grip in his.
His body stiffens at the soft connection. He leans back a little and looks me in the eye, a question there between us. And I marvel at the way he seems to understand me, the way he cares about me. Because in all this horror, theres this thing between us. Its more subtle than it was with Aidan. Its a secret in my heart that I barely know myself.
I find my body leaning closer again as the thought comes to me. I graze my lips against his and release a sigh, feeling his warmth, his presence, like it could save me.
His hand pulls from mine to touch me, his fingers trailing a path over my leg, gripping my waist. I sink into the kiss, my urgency growing, and find myself getting lost in how much I want more. How much I want him. My hands turn to fists tugging on his shirt. My body moves as close as it can, pressing into his chest, my breath stuttering, mingling with his as his hands anchor me to him.
His fingers find the hem of my shirt, and calloused palms slip underneath, glide up my side, squeezing my ribs, flickering fire over my skin, bringing it to life. I gasp at the sensation, at the feel of his mouth on my neck.
The sound seems to undo him. He finds my lips again and leans into the kiss, forcing me down against the couch cushion, pressing with his fingertips at the curve of my hip as he settles between my legs. The cautious Connor is nowhere to be found now, his gentleness evaporated, replaced by desperation and need, his and mine. Because I ache everywhere, my whole body pulses with focus. On him, on the tastes and smells, the feel of it all as it consumes me.
I help him pull his shirt over his head. He tugs mine up more, starting to trail kisses along my colar bone
Emery!The shocked, angry voice fills the room. My father.
I yank my shirt back down and wiggle out from under Connor, my knees coming up to my chest, like making myself smaller will save me.
What the hell is happening here?he asks from several feet away. His suit jacket is on the floor at his feet as if he dropped it in his shock.
Connor doesnt react as quickly as I do. His body moves away from mine slowly, his bare chest suddenly very obvious in the dark room. He mutters under his breath, Shit,and then releases a sigh as he pulls his shirt back on. Only after hes put himself back together does he look at my dad. Sir, Im very sorry.
You bet your ass you areyoure going to be.My dad is so not a tough guy. I can see his face change from anger to confusion as Connor standsall six feet and broad shoulders of him. That side of my dad that wants to kill Connor seems to be warring with the commonsense side of him that knows hes an investment guy who barely ever works out.
I try to swallow but I cant because my throats become a desert. Dad, please,I manage to say, not sure what Im asking for. Dont kill my boyfriend.
Im a jackass,Connor says, putting his hands in his pockets and hunching his shoulders. Ill just go.And he heads for the door.
I jump up and make it to his side, stopping him as he gets to the entryway. Just wait.Then I look over at my dad, giving him a pleading look. Dad, can we take a second here?I hadnt really wanted these two to meet because the idea felt so alien, like then Id have to choose between the two worlds Ive been trying to juggle lately. I certainly didnt want them to meet like this. But now, seeing both of them in the same room, my life suddenly seems much more average than it is. Its actually nice to have a normal teenage problem; my dad caught me making out with a guy on the couch.
Its almost awesome.
Excuse me, Emery, but this young man needs to go,my dad says in a tight voice. Now.
His names Connor. This is the guy you were asking me about.
Rebecca,Connor says, touching my arm gently, hes right, I should go.
This is the boy with the beat-up Jeep?my dad says, as if Connor isnt still standing right there.
Connor, Dad. His name is Connor. And hes my . . . well, hes my boyfriend.
I didnt think it was possible for my dads eyes to widen any more, but they do.
Connor rubs his temple and shakes his head. Rebecca, Im leaving.
Stop calling her that!my father suddenly roars.
Connor jerks back at the sound.
No one calls her that,my dad adds more quietly. And the thing hes not saying rings loud in the air, Only Charlie called her Rebecca. My heart squeezes tight in my chest. This is insane,he says more to himself, running a hand over his forehead.
Daddy, its fine,I say, stepping closer, wanting to get that lost look out of his eyes. Because it is fine. And very normal. Im good, I promise. Better than good.I want to say, When Connors with me I feel like myself again, innocent of pain, like before Charlie died. And I miss that feeling.
He looks at me for several seconds before asking in a calmer voice,How old is he?
Please stop talking about him like he isnt right here,I say carefully, motioning to Connor.
Connor holds out a hand, like hes trying to tell me not to defend him. I understand. This looks bad.
Yes, it does.My dad seems to deflate even more. Its also a very new experience for me.
It shouldnt have happened,Connor says, and I know he means it one hundred percent. He feels like he lost control, went too far with me. And hes obviously unhappy with himself about it.
Dont be ridiculous!I say, making them both look over at me in surprise. You two are being crazy. Of course it shouldve happened. Im a healthy sixteen-year-old girl, Im not a nun, even if Ive been living like one. I should be kissing boys and making out with them, but instead all Im doing is feeling sad and lost, and Im sick of it.I pause and look between the two of them, but neither one seems to know what to say, so I add, Im going to be a normal girl now. Im going to get into trouble and skinny-dip and get caught by my dad making out with my favorite guya guy who makes me happy and safe and whole. Three things I havent felt in far too long.
Connors lips tip up in a slight grin.
My dads mouth has come open a little in shock.
So, who wants some ice cream?I ask, straightening my shirt. After all that, I need chocolate and guilty-pleasure TV. What do you think, Dad? Should we introduce Connor to Rehab Addict? And then we can discuss how grounded I am. Man, I havent been grounded in forever. Itll be fun.
I walk past them as they blink at each other. Silent questions bounce between them as I head into the kitchen.

When they pause only for a few awkward seconds before following me, Dad first and then Connor walking hesitantly like hes not sure what else to do, I find myself considering a future, looking forward to it instead of fearing it, and the warmth that fills me nearly lifts me off the ground.



Author Bio:
Rachel A. Marks is an award-winning author and professional artist, a SoCal girl, cancer survivor, a surfer and dirt-bike rider, chocolate lover and keeper of faerie secrets. She was voted: Most Likely to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse, but hopes she'll never have to test the theory. Her debut series The Dark Cycle, described as Dickens' Oliver Twist meets TV's Supernatural, is now out through Skyscape, beginning with DARKNESS BRUTAL. 

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