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On the Rocks, an all-new standalone contemporary romance by Kandi Steiner is LIVE!

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Synopsis

 

Noah Becker is nothing but trouble.

That’s what Mama told me when I was a kid, kicking his pew in church and giggling at the games we’d play. It’s what the town said when his father died and the Becker brothers went wild.

And it’s on repeat in my mind the day I walk into the whiskey distillery where he works to buy a wedding gift for my fiancé.

He’s trouble.

Dirty, sweaty, rude trouble.

No matter how many times I repeat it, I can’t escape Noah in our small Tennessee town. And the more I run into him, the more he infuriates me. Because he sees what no one else does.

He sees me—the real me.

The me I’m not sure I’m allowed to be.

I’m Ruby Grace Barnett, the mayor’s daughter. Soon to be a politician’s wife, just like Mama and Daddy always wanted.  Soon to fulfill my family’s legacy, just like I always knew I would.

Until the boy everyone warned me about makes me question everything, like whether the wedding I’m planning is one I even want.

Everyone said Noah Becker was nothing but trouble.

If only I had listened.

A stand-alone, contemporary romance.

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About Kandi:

Kandi Steiner is a bestselling author and whiskey connoisseur living in Tampa, FL. Best known for writing “emotional rollercoaster” stories, she loves bringing flawed characters to life and writing about real, raw romance — in all its forms. No two Kandi Steiner books are the same, and if you’re a lover of angsty, emotional, and inspirational reads, she’s your gal.

An alumna of the University of Central Florida, Kandi graduated with a double major in Creative Writing and Advertising/PR with a minor in Women’s Studies. She started writing back in the 4th grade after reading the first Harry Potter instalment. In 6th grade, she wrote and edited her own newspaper and distributed to her classmates. Eventually, the principal caught on and the newspaper was quickly halted, though Kandi tried fighting for her “freedom of the press.” She took particular interest in writing romance after college, as she has always been a diehard hopeless romantic, and likes to highlight all the challenges of love as well as the triumphs.

When Kandi isn’t writing, you can find her reading books of all kinds, talking with her extremely vocal cat, and spending time with her friends and family. She enjoys live music, travelling, anything heavy in carbs, beach days, movie marathons, craft beer, and sweet wine — not necessarily in that order.

 

Connect with Kandi:

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Kandi Steiner may be coming to a city near you! Check out her “events” tab to see all the signings she’s attending in the near future:

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Blog Tour

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Opposites don’t merely attract. . .they combust.

 Take Me Down, an all-new, sexy contemporary standalone from Wall Street Journal and New York Times bestselling author Carly Phillips, is available now!

 

 

 Synopsis

 

Parker Knight was going through the motions… and then he met her.

 Parker Knight lived and lost his dream. Now he works for his family’s business, wearing a suit and pretending to be happy. A weekend away to plan a corporate retreat turns into a revelation when he lays eyes on Emily Stevens, the sexy owner of a small inn that’s seen better days. One look at Emily and the run down bed and breakfast and suddenly Parker has a purpose. He turns his short stay into a longer one, intending to act on the intense chemistry and desire that runs hot between them. While there, he plans to give Emily and her father’s inn a much needed infusion of cash and manpower.

Coming off an emotionally abusive marriage, Emily has an immediate bias against suave, city guys … But despite the slick exterior, Emily discovers Parker is sweet, charming and eager to help. And when she caves to their incredible passion, she discovers he makes her feel just as good in bed as out. Yet no matter how hot they burn or how well they mesh, Parker’s time with her has an expiration date. And Emily has an ex who refuses to accept that their relationship is over.

Parker isn’t a man who gives up. Sweet, sexy Emily Stevens is his chance to reclaim his life. He wants to take care of this woman who makes him feel … everything. If only he could figure out how to merge his two lives, everything would be perfect. But when her ex makes his move, Parker realizes what’s important. He only hopes he isn’t too late.

 

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Excerpt:

“I like the dreamy look on your face.”

“It isn’t often I’m thrown into a good memory of my mom,” he admitted.

More often than not he thought about the bitter ones of his dad and his lack of attention, his many wives, and losing the one parent who loved him unconditionally.

“Do you know the key ingredient that differentiates a Snickerdoodle from a sugar cookie?” she asked.

He shook his head. “Can’t say that I do.” That memory escaped him.

“Cream of Tartar. It’s a leavening agent that gives the cookie its signature tangy flavor and chewy texture.”

“She made them every Christmas,” he said, hearing his own wistful tone. “We left them out for Santa.”

Emily smiled at his memory. “I’ll make them for you one day if –“ She shook her head.

If you’re still here went unsaid.

“Can I take this to mean you’re not mad at me anymore?” he asked, leaning in on one arm.

She poured the brownie mix into the pan and sighed. “I was never mad at you. At first I was just scared to death. Then I was frustrated with dad and the situation. You being here, supporting his dream doesn’t help. But I’m not angry at you.”

The heaviness in his chest eased. But he was going to throw her an even more difficult question. He wasn’t sure if he expected an answer and given he didn’t know if he could answer in return, it wasn’t exactly fair.

“Okay then, good. What about before we came back? Are you still running from what we felt?”

She’d stuck a chocolate covered finger into her mouth and at the question, her eyes opened wide. The question had been bad timing on his part because his dick hardened at the sight of that finger in her mouth. He wanted her lips wrapped around his cock.

But, they had important things to discuss. “Running?” she asked on a squeak.

He pushed himself to standing and strode around the island, coming up to her and pushing her back against the counter. “Running,” he confirmed. “Not physically but emotionally.”

“I can’t let myself get too attached to you, Parker. You’re leaving. Sooner not later. Just because we don’t discuss it doesn’t make it not true. I need to protect myself.”

Her words sliced through him because they were true. Because he hated them. Because she was right and he didn’t want her to be. So he did the only thing he could do in the moment.

“But we have now.”

 

Meet Carly Phillips:

 

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Carly Phillips gives her readers Alphalicious heroes to swoon for and romance to set your heart on fire, and she loves everything about writing romance. She married her college sweetheart and lives in Purchase, NY along with her three crazy dogs: two wheaten terriers and a mutant Havanese, who are featured on her Facebook and Instagram. She has raised two incredible daughters who put up with having a mom as a romance author. Carly is the author of over fifty romances and is a NY Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestseller. She loves social media and interacting with her readers. Want to keep up with Carly? Sign up for her newsletter and receive TWO FREE books at www.carlyphillips.com.

Connect with Carly:

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Now Available

Now Available

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Synopsis

 

Stephen Hastings is a control freak.
He’s arrogant. He’s smart as a whip and sexy AF.
He has too much money. He’s bossy, and he’s usually right.
All I saw were his clear blue eyes, tight ass, and ripped torso. I gladly handed him my V-card that night, ten years ago.
I was so stupid. I swore I’d never be that stupid again…

Emmy Barton works for a dry cleaner?
Yes, that Emmy Barton—long, blonde hair, bright blue eyes, pretty smile…
Sexy little ass. Smart mouth.
She was the only girl who interested me, but I was leaving to be an officer in the Navy.

Now I’m home, running my business. My life is perfectly ordered until I bump into her, divorced and struggling to make ends meet.
I hate seeing her like this. I hate that she married Burt “The Dick” Dickerson. What an asshole.

She says she hates me, but when we fight, it’s all heat and lust.
I won’t leave her this way.
She will let me help her and her son. She will stay
It’s a thin line between love and hate, and this line is on fire.

(STAY is a STAND-ALONE enemies-to-lovers, second-chance, marriage of convenience romance. No cheating. No cliffhangers.)

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STAY is LIVE and on SALE for just 99 CENTS for Release Week ONLY!!

Hop over and snag your copy NOW… It’s also FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

 

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STAY
by Tia Louise
(c) TLM Productions LLC, 2019

PROLOGUE

Stephen 

Ten years ago…

Stop crying, kid. Life isn’t fair.

Humans invented fair as a pacifier, because they needed justice. Animals don’t know fair. In nature only the strong survive. You’re kind, loving, honest? Nice try.

If you’re weak, you die.

Or poor.

“What are you thinking, Esteban?” Ximena lowers herself carefully into a dingy-brown, worn-out armchair, and I blink these thoughts away. “You were always the smartest boy in the room.”

The gray strands outnumber the black in my old housekeeper’s hair. It’s thinner than it was when I was a boy, and she keeps it twisted in a low bun.

“Now I’m a man.” I kiss the top of her head. “And I’d wager the whole city.”

Her muscles tremble from exertion, but her eyes are bright. She still greets me with a smile, just like always when I visit. “Smartest man in the city. What is that like?”

“It sucks.” I look around her crumbling one-bedroom apartment.

It’s a second-floor walkup, outdated but clean. She works hard to keep it clean, even with the cancer eating her insides. Even with the years passing, drawing her closer to death.

The thought of her dying fans the darkness inside me. “Where’s Ramon?”

“He moved downtown. He got a good job, working at the shipyards.” Her accent is thick despite all the years she’s lived in Manhattan, her English sprinkled with Spanish.

“That’s a long way from here.”

He won’t visit. He might want to, but he won’t have the time or the energy to check on his dying mother.

Her neighborhood is shady as fuck, and she’s too weak to climb stairs. And I’m leaving for a long time. I’ll have to count on her neighbors to do what I can’t.

Slipping a fat business envelope from the breast pocket of my coat, I place it under a mug on her coffee table. “This should last a while. I’ll send more, but I won’t be able to check on you. I’ll be gone eighteen months, probably longer.”

“I’m so proud of you. So proud.” Her cheeks rise, and she slowly shakes her head. “A Navy officer.”

Every line in her face wrinkles with her grin. Her faded purple housedress is as thin and old as she is. I remember her fat and jolly, shining cheeks and hair, every word out of my mouth would make her laugh, even if it wasn’t funny. I didn’t understand her, how she gave love so generously to a boy who wasn’t hers. To the son of a man who didn’t even consider her worth his time, who thought he was doing her a favor hiring her to keep his oversized brownstone.

She takes my hand from where she sits, and I take a knee beside her. Every time I visit she’s smaller, slipping away. Her grip tightens, and the scent of her drugstore perfume drifts faintly around us, dried flowers and talcum powder. It draws a memory of me as a little boy sitting on her lap, crying against her neck after the death of my mother. She would hug me against her soft body, rocking and humming a sad song I didn’t recognize.

“Your father will cut you off if he finds out you’re giving me money, Esteban.”

I exhale a disgusted laugh. “Thomas is too proud to cut me off. It would make him look bad at the club. Unruly boys are to be tolerated, bragged about even.”

Her eyes close, and her head leans back as she exhales a weak chuckle. “Men are the same everywhere. Machismo.”

Pissing wars. I rise to standing in one fluid movement. “I’ll never forgive him for doing this to you.”

I blame him for her illness. I blame him for her deteriorating health. I blame him for her inability to find work after he ruined her reputation. No one would hire her after he branded her a thief in his home. All the Upper East Siders shut their doors in her face, and she was left to scrounge a living wherever she could.

I’ve brought her money from my allowance for five years, and I’d love him to come at me for it. Pompous bastard. So worried about his appearance. So offended by a missing watch.

“He did what he had to do.” Ximena still defends my father’s actions. “My son stole from him. Your father could not keep me in the house after he stole.”

“Ramon stole to buy you medicine. He didn’t steal to party or do drugs.”

He might’ve gotten away with it, too. If only he hadn’t stolen my father’s favorite Rolex—not one of the other seven he never wears.

“He did not put my son in jail.” She nods her head, as if my father, Thomas Hastings has the ability to throw anyone in jail.

He’s just a grown-up trust-fund brat who knows how to invest the massive wealth he inherited from our bootlegger ancestors. At least he’s good for something.

Pride beams in her eyes when she looks up at me. “Now you will go and be a hero. So handsome, serving your country.”

I smooth my hand down the front of my jacket, contemplating hypocrisy. “It’s what my mother always wanted. Her father was in the military.”

“Yes, and she can see you from above. She is so proud of you. Just like I am proud.”

I study the woman who filled my mother’s role for a little while. I can’t heal her. I can’t change her situation, and I want to leave her with happiness, not bitterness.

“Thank you, mamá. I love you.”

“I love you, Esteban.” She takes a slow inhale and forces a chuckle. “Now why are you here with an old woman? Why are you not out celebrating with friends? You have too much spirit. You should be with a girl tonight, release some energy.”

Energy. She’s encouraging me to go out and get laid. “I’m not looking for a girl.”

“A boy then!” My eyes snap to hers, and I see a joking sparkle.

After all the medicine, the chemotherapy, the drugs, she refuses to be beaten. She still manages to tease me. She’s the only person who can get away with it.

“I’m not gay. I’m leaving in the morning.”

“Which means you have all night.” She carefully rises out of her chair and takes my arm, pulling me to the door. “No more hanging around here. Go out and live your life.”

I wrap my arms around her in a long hug. The feel of her bones beneath thin cotton is physically painful to me. “I’ll find someone to check on you while I’m gone.”

“I have my friends. I have my neighbors. Stop worrying about me.” She shoos me away. “When it’s my time, I’ll be ready.” Touching my cheek, she says her final words to me. “Be brave, Esteban. Laugh often. Take care of yourself.”

“Take care of you.” I kiss the top of her head and hesitate one last time before I go.

It’s the last time I’ll ever see her…

* * *

Emmy

“Harley Quinn is way sexier than Black Widow any day of the week.” Burt Dickerson’s voice is too loud.

He’s on one of his DC versus Marvel fan-boy rants, and I’m staring into the bottom of my empty red solo cup. I need refill number four.

“Fuck that. Black Widow. Hands down.” My older brother Ethan yells at him, but he’s only yanking Burt’s chain. Ethan doesn’t give a shit about comic universes. “Give me a redhead any day. Fire crotch.”

My nose wrinkles, and I want to punch my brother in the junk. “She was a blonde in the last movie. You just like Scarlett Johansson.” Why am I’m still standing here listening to them?

“What’s wrong with that?” He pokes me in the ribs, and I’m ready to call it a night.

It’s almost midnight, and I’ve been watching the door so hard, my eyeballs hurt. Ethan threw this big college-graduation-slash-summer kick-off party for all his old school friends, and I made sure Stephen Hastings got an invitation.

Stephen Hastings… the love of my life.

Ethan said he wouldn’t come. He laughed at me and said Stephen hates most of these guys. It looks like he was right.

God, I’m such a fucking moron. How long can I save myself for a guy who doesn’t even know I exist? I’m a college woman now. Time to ditch the crush and start living my life.

I just…

I hoped.

With a sad exhale, my mind flies through all my cherished spank-bank memories of Stephen growing up… Tall, lean, dark, wavy hair that looks like he never touches it, but it’s always just perfect. He was on the rowing team with Ethan, and when he’d take off his shirt… holy shit, my core clenches at the memory of his broad shoulders, his perfectly sculpted arms… So muscular and tanned. The lines in his stomach would flex, and my mouth would water like Pavlov’s dog.

I’m ready to trade this beer for a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, curl up in my bed, and cry.

He’s not coming.

Walking down the steps, away from the landing at the door, I’ve reached the edge of the crowd when my brother’s voice freezes my insides.

“Stephen! Hell, I don’t believe it.” Ethan laughs, and a few of the guys join in greeting him. “Didn’t think you’d come.”

“I didn’t either.” Stephen’s low baritone tickles my lady bits, and I turn slowly to look up at him.

He’s wearing a brown tweed jacket over a white button-down shirt and dark jeans. He hardly ever wears jeans, but shit, his ass is so fine in them. He always seems just a bit impatient, and when he scans the crowd, his blue eyes seem to glow from under his dark brow.

He’s so fucking hot.

My heart beats faster as I contemplate my next move. He will see me tonight, dammit. I’m giving myself one last chance.

He turns again to Ethan, and the muscle in his square jaw moves. “I’m pulling out in the morning.”

“Last day as a free man. Sucks to be you.” Ethan shoves a whiskey in his hand.

He inspects the glass. “I thought it demonstrated my good character.”

“Good character.” Burt’s loud voice interrupts them, and Stephen visibly cringes. “Still think you’re better than us, Hastings?”

“Only you, Dick.” Stephen takes a long drink. “Only you.”

Girls actually swoon over Burt all the time, but he’s nothing compared to Stephen.

“Let’s join the party.” Ethan puts his hand on Stephen’s shoulder, and they start down the stairs in my direction. “Find a chick and get your dick wet.”

“Right. That sounds like me.” Stephen shrugs off my brother, and Ethan staggers away.

He pauses at the bottom, scanning the crowd with a frown. I follow his gaze over the mob of former classmates. Most are buzzed. Most are familiar. We passed each other daily at Pike Academy four years ago—until he left for Yale. Tonight we’re reunited.

Girls sway in colorful silk dresses with thin, spaghetti straps, practically lingerie. Their hair hangs in waves over their shoulders and their eyes sparkle as they listen to guys tell exaggerated stories of their prowess, either in the stock market or on the playing field. The guys evaluate their breasts, their hips, their lips. I’m sure they’ll be fucking like good little rabbits before the night ends. Our classmates can be so predictable.

All I know is Stephen is wide open. It’s now or never.

“That’s a fierce scowl.” I’m amazed at how confident my voice sounds, loud and commanding. Thanks, beer. “Don’t like what you see?”

I hop up on the bottom step beside him. It puts my head at the top of his shoulder, and I lift my chin, looking over the crowd with a scowl, imitating him. “You’re right.” My nose wrinkles, and I meet his gaze. “They’re a bunch of horny assholes.”

I manage to come off casual, teasing, and his frown morphs into a narrow-eyed grin. “Emmy Barton. Ethan didn’t say kids would be here.”

His voice is like warm butter, and I’m thrilled he remembers me. “I’m not a kid anymore, Stephen Hastings. I started at Sarah Lawrence last year.”

“Bully for you.” He takes a drink of whiskey, but I’m stronger than his sarcasm.

“I wanted to stay close to home.”

“Why the hell would you want that?”

Blinking up at him, I smile, going for honesty. “I miss my dad. I miss Ethan. I guess family feels more important when you lose someone.”

“Oh, right. Sorry.” He looks down at his tumbler, and his expression darkens.

My mom lost her long battle against lung cancer a few years ago. It was devastating watching her suffer, and her death was a mixture of heartbreak and relief she was out of pain. It still hurts if I think about it too much…

Stephen’s mother died of cancer when we were kids, but I remember how it changed him. How he smiled less, played less.

“We have that in common, don’t we?” My voice is gentle.

“It’s not so fresh for me.” His softens, and I’m encouraged. I’m not inside the wall, but I’m closer.

“Here you are.” Burt appears at my side, putting his hand on my lower back. What the hell?

Stephen’s eyes go to where he’s touching me, and all I can think is Fuck no.

“You’re drunk.” I shove Burt’s hands off my short denim skirt.

He immediately puts both hands on my waist and turns me to him, leaning closer. “You’re not blowing me off for this asshole are you?” His breath smells like vodka, and his flat brown eyes are intoxicated.

He makes a move like he’s going to kiss me, but I duck and twirl away, moving to stand beside Stephen, holding his arm. “Stephen and I are having a nice chat. You need to call it a night.”

Burt’s attention turns to Stephen, and his brow lowers. Stephen is ready when Burt lunges at him. His strong arm shoots out, gripping Burt by the shoulder and holding him back.

“Walk it off, Dickerson.” It’s a low growl, and I know Stephen could wipe the floor with Burt’s drunk ass.

“Don’t tell me what to do, Hastings.” Burt grips his wrist.

Stephen’s fist rises, and I hold my breath. I’ve never seen Stephen fight, and my heart is flying. I’m sure it’s about to go down when Ethan and a big guy appear. They corral Burt, dragging him to the right, and I take my chance, catching Stephen’s arm and pulling him into the crowd.

He stops and straightens his jacket, jaw clenched. “That asshole. I’m taking off.”

“Wait!” I gently pull his arm again. “I know where we can get a refill… away from all this.”

He hesitates a beat, then our eyes meet and his shoulders relax. I quickly lead him past everybody, waving at old friends as we weave through the crowd.

Ethan put a keg out on the terrace near the wet bar, and Stephen goes to refresh his whiskey while I step over to the corner balcony overlooking Central Park. It’s a beautiful night, and I can see the moon and a few stars. I make a quick wish.

Warmth at my side causes me to turn. He’s standing beside me in the moonlight, dark hair, blue eyes, that dimple in the side of his cheek. “So, what’s your major?”

The way he says it makes me laugh. I push a strand of long, wavy blond hair behind my ear. “Art history.”

The scene flips. He actually groans, rolling his eyes and turning his back to the railing. “Not planning to work after college?”

His disgust offends me. “I most certainly am. I want to get a job at Sotheby’s or at one of the museums downtown. Maybe something in SoHo. Or maybe I’ll move to London!”

A moment’s pause, and he slants an eye at me. “Is that so?”

“It is.” My feathers are still ruffled, and I straighten my button-up cropped top. “What will you do now that you’re out? Take a job with your dad? Have a wife in New Haven and a mistress in the city?”

Two can play the stereotypes game.

He drifts a little closer, and my pulse ticks faster. “Is that what we do?” His voice is low, and his eyes drop to my lips.

My voice is softer, higher compared to his. “Isn’t it?”

A slight grin from him, and that humming is back in my veins. “You’re smarter than I gave you credit for.”

“Is that a compliment?”

“It’s actually an apology. I underestimated you.”

Now it’s my turn to hesitate. Still, it’s not like I didn’t know Stephen was arrogant. It’s one of the things I love about him.

“Apology accepted.” Reaching out, I trace my finger down the front of his blazer. “Now. Wasn’t that easy? You don’t have to fight with everybody.”

Taking a chance, I put my hand on his chest. It’s firm and warm, and he covers my hand with his. It’s a gentle touch, but it radiates heat to my chest, fanning out into my belly, warming the space between my thighs. I want this so much… I’ve dreamed of it. I know if he’ll let me in, everything will change. He’ll change.

My voice is just above a whisper. “When you look at me like that, I wonder what you’re thinking.”

Our eyes hold, and I know he feels it, this pull between us. My breath stills, and I’m humming with desire.

But he throws on the brakes. “I’m thinking I’ve had enough whiskey.” His tone is level, and he releases my hand, moving away.

I have to stop him.

I can’t lose this moment.

“What do you want?” I’m sassy, flirting. “Do you even know?”

He stops, giving me the full force of his scowl. “Not a wife in Connecticut, and I definitely don’t need a mistress in the city.”

Closing the distance, I put my hand on his waist this time, sliding it back and forth, working my way lower. “Maybe you need me.”

He stops my downward progress with a strong grip. “You’re playing with fire, Emmy Barton.”

“I’d rather be hot than cold.”

His grip on me tightens, and he pulls me against his chest. I can barely breathe, but I blink up to his lips, slipping my tongue out to touch mine. His erection is against my stomach, and I’m so wet.

“Are you drunk?” His voice is a rough whisper.

“No. Are you?” Stretching higher, I touch my lips to the scratchy stubble of his jaw.

Leaning down, he kisses me fast. His lips shove mine apart, and his tongue invades, finding mine. My knees start to give out, but his arm is around my waist, scooping me up against his chest.

It’s a rough kiss, not kind or gentle, and my fingernails scratch up to his shoulders. A little noise escapes my throat, and he rumbles in response. Heat floods my panties.

Our mouths break apart with a gasp, and his blue eyes are blazing. “Do you want this?”

Nodding, I step back, holding out my hand. “Come with me.”

He hesitates as I go to the glass doors leading to Ethan’s dark bedroom. When I pause and look back, he’s watching me like a predator. His hair is messy from my fingers, and his lips are parted with his breath. He looks like pure sex.

“This way.” I’m holding still, hoping, until…

He follows me inside.

My shirt is ripped open. Stephen doesn’t bother removing my bra. He shoves the cups down under my small breasts, and devours me, pulling a taut nipple into his mouth and giving it a bite, sending electricity straight to my core.

“Stephen…” I whimper as his large hands cup and kiss me.

I’m on fire, threading my fingers into his hair. His mouth feels so good against my skin, and he lifts me like I weigh nothing, perching my ass on the edge of the sink.

We’re locked in my brother’s small half bathroom, and he’s making my dreams come true.

“You still want this?” His voice is hot at my ear as he shoves my skirt up to my waist.

“Yes.” I gasp, gripping his neck. God, yes

His belt clinks, and I wait as he rolls on the condom. Our eyes meet once more, and his burn with desire. Everything’s going to change after this. He’s going to fall in love with me. I just know it.

Large palms go under my thighs, lifting them, and I feel the tip of his cock touching me, probing… It’s about to happen… Then all at once…

Oh, holy shit! My eyes squeeze shut, and I bite my lower lip hard, letting out a little moan of pain.

“Fuck, Emmy,” he groans in my ear. “You’re so fucking tight.”

I make a little noise of assent, gripping his shoulders. His massive cock rips through my virginity, and it hurts so much more than I expected. He has no idea, of course, and I have no intention of telling him. I know for certain Stephen Hastings would not deflower me so roughly.

Rotating my hips, I do my best to accommodate this distinct sense of fullness. My eyes are squeezed shut, and I focus on his scent, spicy sweat and fresh soap. It’s warm and good. He groans again, thrusting faster at my movements.

“Yes…” His lips find mine, kissing me quickly, a touch of his tongue leaves me wanting more. “Like that.”

His face is in my hair, and as he moves faster, somehow the pain begins to subside. It transforms into numbness, until gradually, gradually, the smallest flicker of warmth blooms in my lower belly.

“Come for me.” Hot breath is at my ear, and my forehead tightens. Can I?

Warm hands cup my ass, lifting me off the sink and turning us to the wall. The pain is gone, and my body slides up and down against his hard pelvis. His cock glides in and out, the ridge of its head working my insides. My clit is against his shaft, and something begins to happen. Prickling warmth starts to grow. It gets stronger, and I forget everything but chasing it down.

My thighs tighten around him, and I’m pumping my body up and down on him, riding him, wanting that tingling heat to keep getting hotter. I’m desperate, gripping his skin and moaning as the orgasm creeps higher up my thighs.

“Fuck, Emmy.” He groans, fucking me harder.

“Yes…” It’s almost there. “Yes!” It’s right there… the tightness in my lower stomach.

It bursts through me, and I moan so loud. It’s like a million fireworks shooting through my veins. My vision goes white. I’m flying, and I feel it when his orgasm breaks, pulsing deep inside me as he comes with a loud noise.

I’m shaking. My thighs shudder and grip him, and he holds me. He holds still as we both fly through space together, soaring past galaxies, touching the stars. It’s amazing.

Gradually, I blink open my eyes, and through the haze, I see us in the mirror, our bodies molded perfectly together. It’s just like I dreamed it would be. My arms are around his neck, our bodies flush. It only lasts a moment.

The noise of the party outside creeps into our little cocoon. He reaches between us, lowering me to my feet as he grips the condom and quickly disposes of it. I feel like a newborn colt, my legs are so shaky.

His back is to me, and his shoulders broaden as he takes a deep breath. Then he moves to the sink to wash his hands. “It’s been a while since I’ve done that.” He sounds apologetic.

Shoving my skirt down, I straighten my bra, struggling to get a grip. “What? Bathroom fucked at a party?” I’m shook.

He cuts off the water and dries his hands on the towel as I button my shirt. I’ve managed to get myself together when he steps to me, putting one hand above my head on the wall and leaning close. “Had sex, period.” Leaning down he kisses my cheek. “You were great.”

He steps back, and just like that, he’s ready to go.

“That’s it?” I’m confused. The devastation hasn’t hit me yet.

“I think I’ll head on home.” He reaches out and pats my upper arm. “Good luck at school.”

I recoil from his touch. Are you kidding me? Good luck at school?

Loud banging startles me. A female voice shouts through the door, “Hurry up in there!”

The banging grows louder, and I go toward it, looking over my shoulder but not meeting his eyes. “Seems I overestimated you.”

Pushing through the door, I run into the crowd. The party surrounds me like a wave, and I let it pull me under, drowning my tears in noise and sweeping us apart.

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Release, Review and Excerpt

Natasha-Bammer

Synopsis

Two lovers strive to trade a grim past for a bright future in this story of bittersweet yearning.

Tina Jenson belongs to the same social stratum as Harris Chapman, but he’s out of her league—at least that’s what she thinks before they jump in bed together. It’s the perfect night, but when she overhears crude, hurtful comments the next morning, she can’t get away fast enough.

Ten years later, Tina’s life is a mess. That night with Harris didn’t just hurt her feelings; it started a cascade of disappointment and heartbreak. Every time she bumps into Harris, her heart twists inside out. She still wants him, but she’s harbouring a painful secret from their night together that she’s not ready to reveal.

Crossed signals, high-society whispers, and shame have kept Tina and Harris apart for years, but deep down, they’re hungry for each other and eager to write their own rules. Can they let go of the past and find their way back to each other, or are the barriers between them too high and too strong?

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“5 -Then, Now, and Forever Stars!”

As with all of Natasha Anders’ books, I always feel a whirlwind of emotions when I’ve finished one of her stories.

Her characters are so damn complex and layered.
The characters and histories are heartbreaking, sad and painful.
But, the journey to forgiveness and healing is SO worth the read.

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This story is no exception.
I absolutely adored Tina’s character. She went through so much at such a young age, and
the consequences of that “one night” still affect her.
The strength it took to persevere (even though she was so broken) was inspiring.
Unfortunately, in order for her to survive, she had to build an almost indestructible wall around her heart.
It was the only way she could cope and semi-function for the last 10 years.

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Until… she started spending time with Harris.
There is so much history and hurt between the two of them.
Some things are just unforgivable, and Harris doesn’t know the whole story about what happened after that “one night”.

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So many secrets are screaming to come to light and now is the time.

I loved Harris! He was such a great character.
His perseverance, gentleness and love for Tina was beautiful.

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I really enjoyed this story.
It is a story of loss, regret, forgiveness, love and learning to move forward and second chances.

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“I voluntarily read an ARC of this book which was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.”

Excerpt

“How you’d like your steak cooked?” Harris asked.

“Medium rare.” Tina retreated to one of the mismatched tall stools at the breakfast bar and clambered up onto it. She watched him competently move around the kitchen, cleaning and washing the spuds before readying them to go into the oven. He hummed softly beneath his breath as he worked … the tune was very familiar, but because his humming was so off-key, she couldn’t quite place it. The title hovered on the edge of her brain.

“Ugh, what is the name of that song? It’s driving me crazy!”

He looked up, startled. “What song?”

“The one you’re humming.”

“I’m not sure. Wait…” He hummed again and then breathed a few lyrics in a falsetto voice that reduced Tina to stitches. He repeated the same two words over and over again. And the words, combined with the seriously off-key tune, were definitely familiar to her.

He shook his head before saying, “I’m not sure what that song’s called … hey, stop laughing. I know for a fact your singing voice isn’t much better.” His offended observation just made her laugh harder. “Do you know the song title?”

“It’s…” She gasped for breath, then broke down into gales of laughter again when she glanced up into his expectant face. She folded her arms on the countertop and dropped her head for a moment as she tried to bring her giggles under control. Once the laughter abated, she lifted her gaze to his smiling eyes—he didn’t really look offended at all, just gently amused. “I’m sorry. It’s not your singing … okay, it kind of is. But I think I found it funnier that you were asking for the song’s title when you k-kept…” She inhaled deeply when it felt like the laughter was threatening again. “Kept singing it in that godawful voice.”

“What do you mean?”

“The song’s called ‘No One,’ Harris. By Alicia Keys.”

“Oh.” He twisted his face into a sheepish grimace before chuckling, the sound deep and masculine. “That makes sense. I like that song.”

She did too. In fact…

“We danced to that song. On my twentieth birthday,” he said, his voice quietly reminiscent. She nodded, surprised that he remembered the song, considering the state he had been in that night.

“I know.” Danced. And then kissed. Her very first kiss. The song had come to mean so much more to her, but she determinedly tamped down those particular memories.

Amusement fled, and they exchanged an uncomfortable look before both averted their eyes. Silence descended, their troubled history once again asserting itself between them. Tina nervously drummed her fingers on the Formica countertop.

“Tina.” His voice sounded anguished. “If I could do it all over again…”

She stopped tapping and lifted her hand to prevent him from saying anything further.

“Let’s not go into this again, Harris.” She watched him screw his eyes shut as he battled with what looked like some pretty powerful emotions.

“Damn.” The word was soft and fierce and sounded like a prayer.

“Why don’t we…” She paused as she considered the words she was about to utter. No matter which way she phrased them, they would seem like an olive branch. And she wasn’t sure if she wanted to extend one yet. Or ever. Still, she was in his—temporary—home, about to break bread with him, so to speak, and maybe—for her emotional health—it would be best. “Why don’t we set this aside? For today at least.”

She watched his throat move as he swallowed and then shifted her gaze to his navy-blue eyes, which were alight with gratitude.

“I’d like that,” he said gruffly, offering her the tiniest of smiles.

Tina heaved a relieved sigh, feeling lighter than she had in months. Possibly years.

“Good. Now, how about you get those steaks on? I’m starving.”

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About the Author

Since making her publishing debut in 2012, Natasha Anders has drawn praise and attention as a unique voice in romance. Montlake author and 2018 RITA® Finalist, Anders was born in Cape Town, South Africa. She spent nine years as an associate English teacher in Niigata, Japan, where she became a legendary karaoke diva. Anders currently lives in Cape Town.

Connect with Natasha Anders

website: https://natashaanders.com/
Twitter: @satyne1
FB: https://www.facebook.com/Natasha-Anders-Author-298896293558306/

Release Blitz

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The Undisputed Series with swish EBOOK

 

 

Follow Breccan Carlisle and Ryker Hawke’s journey through triumph, adversity, love and heartbreak, both in and out of the cage.

The Undisputed Series by A.S. Teague, in one boxed set with all-new, exclusive content, is available now!

Synopsis

 

Undisputed:

Sidney O’Neil isn’t my type. While I spend my nights out drinking at the trendiest clubs in town, she spends hers taking care of her sick nephew. She is nothing I thought I wanted, yet she’s somehow become the one thing I need.

 

But what happens when the world is tipped on end and I’m no longer who she needs?

How do I convince her that we’re worth the fight when all she knows is defeat?

Sometimes, the toughest fight of your life is outside the cage.

 

Undone: An Outside the Cage Novella:

Breccan and Sidney set off on the adventure of a lifetime. But, with every new excursion, a new set of problems arise.

They may be doing it for all the right reasons, but they’re losing themselves with each task completed. Can they keep their promises without ruining each other?

Unraveled:

When my job, my livelihood, and my passion are suddenly snatched away from me, I’m left scrambling to keep my head above water. Desperate, I’m forced to walk into the last place I ever thought I’d go.

Rebecca Toler’s living the dream––or so I thought.

Beautiful, funny, and tough as nails, she answers to no one.

It’s time to take my life back, and I’m starting with her.

But, as I’ve learned over the years, sometimes the toughest fight of your life is outside the cage.

 

Undaunted: An Outside the Cage Novella:

Our life was crazy, but we were happy. But when the kid that Ryker had trained for years goes missing, we realized that our lives wouldn’t be complete without him.

The obstacles that we were forced to face were challenging, but if there’s one thing we knew, it was that there was nothing that was too daunting for Ryker and Rebecca Hawke.

Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

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About A.S. Teague

 

A.S. Teague enjoys the warmth of South Carolina with her husband and two daughters. The stereotypes about peach cobbler and sweet tea are not overstated. After years in the medical field, she is now enjoying every minute of being a stay-at-home mom. She loves wine, the beach, wine on the beach, and crying at Disney movies. When she doesn’t have a book in her hand, she can be found pestering her husband with pictures of animals she wants to rescue, as well as debating whether to exercise or take a nap.

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Release Blitz

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Million Dollar Devil, a devilish contemporary romance where big-city sophistication meets carnal hunger from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Katy Evans is LIVE!

 

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Synopsis

 

Heir apparent to her father’s company, Lizzy Banks needs a man. The perfect man. But when the rich “fundbabies” she usually rubs shoulders with prove impossible to hire, she takes a chance on a raw beast of a man salvaged from the wreckage of a bar brawl.

James Rowan earns a modest income as a YouTube daredevil, but he can’t refuse Lizzy’s million dollar deal. As she polishes his rough edges, creating a sophisticated gentleman fit for the highest circles of society, not only does she bring out the perfect man—it’s like she’s making the man of her dreams. How can she resist?

Though Lizzy loves seeing James in his clothes—and out of them—he isn’t the kind of man you bring home to Daddy. Her father’s disapproval and the pressure of the campaign have her eyeing the straight and narrow, but Lizzy’s finding it awfully hard to resist the devil on her shoulder…

A stand-alone, contemporary romance.

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Download your copy today!

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About Katy:

Katy Evans is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. Her debut REAL shot to the top of the bestselling lists in 2013 and since then 9 of her titles have been New York Times bestsellers. Her books have been translated into nearly a dozen languages across the world.

Connect with Katy:

Email: katyevansauthor@gmail.com

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Release Blitz

Release Blitz

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The Initiation, an all-new standalone contemporary romance by USA Today bestselling author Nikki Sloane is LIVE!

 

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Synopsis

 

No one knows how new members are selected to the board of Hale Banking and Holding. But there are rumors of a sordid rite of initiation.

Whispers how one woman and nine men disappear into a boardroom.

This time, that woman will be me.

The Hale family owns everything—the eighth largest bank in the world, everyone in our town, even the mortgage on my parents’ mansion. And now Royce Hale wants to own me.

He is charming. Seductive. Ruthless. But above all, he’s the prince of lies. My body may tighten with white-hot desire under his penetrating gaze, but I refuse to enjoy it.

I’ll make a deal with the devil to save my family and sell myself to the Hales. But Royce will never own my heart.

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About Nikki:

USA Today bestselling author Nikki Sloane landed in graphic design after her careers as a waitress, a screenwriter, and a ballroom dance instructor fell through. For eight years she worked for a design firm in that extremely tall, black, and tiered building in Chicago that went through an unfortunate name change during her time there.

Now she lives in Kentucky, is married and has two sons. She is a three-time Romance Writers of America RITA© Finalist, a Passionate Plume winner, a HOLT Medallion finalist, and couldn’t be any happier that people enjoy reading her sexy words.

Connect with Nikki:

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