Archive for June, 2014
Ellery knows they can never be together because she is harboring a deep secret that could destroy Connor emotionally forever.
Join Connor and Ellery as they embark on a journey of courage, love and strength. Will it be enough to save them?
Kathryn lives in her small East Texas hometown with her husband and two children. She is a music infused writer and self-proclaimed book junkie. When she isn’t listening to music, writing or reading you will probably find her watching her favorite sport, UFC.
Kathryn is also an anti-bullying advocate and avid supporter of mental-illness and suicide awareness.
When that unexpected chance comes, take it. Don’t let it pass you by. You never know what you could be missing.Always wanting to be a writer, but not having much experience with men or romance, Aubrey sets out to find her inspiration with the help of her best friend. Just when she thinks all hope is lost, she meets Alex Logan. He’s beyond handsome, well dressed, and is known to be a player—perfect for the role.
The unexpected happens and Alex becomes more than just an inspiration to Aubrey, but a misunderstanding leaves her heartbroken. Before an opportunity arises to straighten things out, tragedy strikes, and Aubrey’s world is turned upside down.
While Aubrey is trying to cope with her new life, a new chance at love arises. Can she find it in her to trust again? Will Alex be able to win her back? Or will she take this new unexpected chance at love?
**Adult Content** 18+ is recommended
Family and friends are the most important things to me. I enjoy meeting new people, traveling,reading, relaxing on a beach and shopping….especially for shoes! I have an addiction to Coffee and Diet Coke; you may want to stand clear if I haven’t had my daily intake!
Writing has been something that has been private and not shared until the day I decided to publish Unexpected Chance; which by the way came to me in a dream! Waking up to the voices of Alex Logan and Aubrey Ryan changed everything!!
I love watching my New York Yankees – yes I called them mine ;). I also enjoy playing and watching golf.
When that unexpected chance comes, take it. Don’t let it pass you by. You never know what you could be missing.
Grace Hamilton was the girl with a plan. She knew exactly where her life was going and prided herself on always achieving her goals. It was who she was, and how she lived her life. She never stepped outside the lines, and never considered what she might desire and whom she was actually trying so hard to please. Until him…
This is not a simple story of first loves, this is an emotional yet touching look at life and how the smallest decisions can shape futures.
What you think you know can change before your eyes. Fathers abuse, mothers deceive, best friends betray, sisters dismiss, love controls, and anger consumes.
After graduating from high school, Easton Grace knows exactly what he wants and how to get it. His goal for the summer includes two things: avoiding his father’s wrath and protecting his sister. His carefully laid plans are quickly changed when a girl comes to town causing him to lose his tight grasp of control on everything, including himself.
Following years of sorrow, Taylor Monaco returns to a town she never wanted to see again but will forever call home. Her life was eternally changed by the people in this town, especially one boy. Her heart desires someone she’s not sure her soul can handle.
Can Easton and Taylor find their path before it’s too late – before the storm?
Note: Before the Storm is a prequel to Haven from the Storm but may be read in any order.
Sarah Dosher was born and raised in rural Oklahoma where she currently resides with her cowboy husband and twins (one cowboy and one cowgirl). She spends her day slaving away in healthcare and her nights pouring her heart out to her keyboard. She is addicted to books and The Golden Girls. Her love for reading inspired her to start her writing journey.
Publisher’s Note: Due to mature adult themes and adult language, this novel is not suitable for minors under the age of 17.
Selene Chardou is a world traveler and the alter-ego of Elle Chardou.
Ms. Chardou’s writing is all about hot romance and exciting times with the rich and famous set in the New Adult realm.
She is currently working on Falling into Us (One More Night Trilogy).
There will also be a spin-off series titled simply the Scarlet Fever Trilogy which will chronicle the relationships of the other four band members. She also has a pop stars series planned titled Young, Rich & Talented, which will also be a trilogy.
Ms. Chardou has lived abroad in Stockholm (Sweden), Manchester (England), Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area and Portland. She currently resides in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Some people are blessed to find that one certain person who completes them.
Wrynn’s yesterdays were what others only dream of having. She and Tripp were the best of friends before they even thought about love. They had the fairy tale life where ‘like’ turns into ‘love’, and ‘love’ becomes ‘happily ever after’.
What happens when life conspires against you, and snatches your soul mate from your arms?
…only her forever love ended much too soon.
Broken beyond her own ability to repair, Wrynn boxes up her grief and attempts to raise her three girls the best she can on her own. As time slowly passes, Wrynn relives her life with Tripp while struggling most days to get out of bed. She is reminded of him at every turn.
How do you set your grief and anguish aside? How do you pick up the shattered pieces, put those pieces back together again, and try to move on?
Wrynn tries to find the joy in life every single day through her daughters, family, and friends. Her twin brother Liam has dedicated himself to helping Wrynn put her life back together after losing his own love. On the other hand, her mother-in-law lives to torment her at every turn. Wrynn can’t even find a chance to breathe, much less a desire to somehow search for her tomorrow.
Kathryn is a simple country girl who likes to spend time with her family. She was born and raised in North Carolina, and while she loves to travel, she can’t imagine ever leaving the mountains that she has come to call home. She holds Jeremiah 29:11 very close to her heart and believes it with every fiber of her being. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Kathryn loves flip flops, chocolate, sweet tea and dirt between her toes. As far back as she can remember, she’s had a book in her hand. Reading has carried her to places she will never go. It has introduced her to people that she will never meet. When life is great and when it is rough, she’s always been able to find a book to carry her through. She finally decided to write down some of the stories in her head and heart after dawdling around and wasting years dreaming. She hopes you enjoy reading those stories as much as she loves writing them!
After a failed teenage suicide attempt, Toni hit the road in search of a life free of undeserved cruelty and any resemblance to her past.
Years later, Toni finds herself in a dead end marriage and makes a painful confession that sends her back to the one place she always wanted to escape. But can she really right the wrongs that haunt her? Toni soon finds that the only place where things stay the same is in your mind.
When her path crosses with David Stark, childhood playmate turned one night stand, she cannot deny the spike in temperature she feels every time he’s near or the scorching dreams that flood her at night.
Digging through the years of heartache, Toni soon finds herself torn between the man she is committed to and the one who has always held her heart. As each layer unfolds before her, she discovers the root cause of her pain. Always believing the source was external, nothing could prepare her for the truth.
JL Brooks is a former columnist turned novelist. What started as a bet changed her entire course in life. With a passion for adventure, she believes everyone has a story to tell. Chances are she will try to convince you to tell yours.
Paige’s father has Alzheimers, and her fiancé is shot and killed in an armed robbery. Paige fights her depression and pulls herself out of the dark place that she has succumbed to, with monumental effort and a new-found determination to live her life to the fullest, doing things that both terrify and exhilarate her.
When Paige meets Adam, the attraction is instantaneous. Adam grew up in an orphanage and has no recollection of his life before the age of six. Paige falls head over heels in love and embraces a happiness she never dreamed possible. Until the day she finds Adam in bed with another woman.
Wanting nothing more to do with him, Paige cuts Adam out of her life, until she receives a mysterious visitor, who reveals secrets about Adam’s past that shock Paige to her very core.
Determined to fight for the man that she loves, Paige finds herself on a journey that will change her life forever.
This is a very powerful read!
I love the realness of this story, as it made me feel a sort of kinship with the heroine. I’ve known the heartbreak of Alzheimer’s and have seen what losing your love at such a young age can do to a person. The fortitude Paige possesses is astounding, yet heartbreaking.
While I admit that I felt Adam misled Paige by not being truthful in the beginning, their story is too enigmatic to hold a grudge. True love takes work, devotion, determination, loyalty, and compromise. Melissa Delport has brilliantly translated true love in this beautiful story.
I recommend picking up a copy, but not without a box of tissues. Great read!
Wife, mother of 3, businesswoman by day and writer by night, Melissa is the author of The Legacy and The Legion (books 1 and 2 of The Legacy Trilogy), and she is currently writing the final installment of the trilogy, The Legend.
Melissa is also the self-published author of the stand-alone novels Rainfall and The Traveler (available on Amazon).
An avid reader herself, Melissa finally decided to stop ‘watching from the sidelines’ and to do what is her passion.
“I was driving home from work when inspiration struck, and a storyline started unravelling in my head. For a few days, it was all I could think about and eventually I realised that the only way to get it out of my head, was to put it all down on paper. I started writing, and that was that.”
She lives with her husband and three children in Hillcrest, South Africa.
TITLE – Ravesndale
SERIES – That Scoundrel Émile Duois
AUTHOR – Lucinda Elliot
GENRE – Historical Romantic Comedy
PUBLICATION DATE – 19 April 2014
LENGTH (Pages/# Words) – Approx 85,000 words
PUBLISHER – Elliot
COVER ARTIST – Streetlight Graphics
When the group of highwaymen headed by the disgraced Earl of Little Dean, Reynaud Ravensdale holds up the hoydenish Isabella Murray’s coach, she knocks one of them down and lectures them all on following Robin Hood’s example.
The rascally Reynaud Ravensdale – otherwise known as the dashing highwayman Mr Fox – is fascinated at her spirit.
He escaped abroad three years back following his supposedly shooting a friend dead after a quarrel. Rumour has it that his far more respectable cousin was involved. Now, having come back during his father’s last illness, the young Earl is seeking to clear his name of murder, even if he is living as an outlaw meanwhile.
Isabella’s ambitious parents are eager to marry her off to Reynaud Ravensdale’s cousin, the next in line to his title. The totally unromantic Isabella is even ready to elope with her outlaw admirer to escape this fate – on condition that he teaches her how to be a highwaywoman herself.
This hilarious spoof uses vivid characters and lively comedy to bring new life to a theme traditionally favoured by historical novelists – that of the wild young Earl, who, falsely accused of murder by the machinations of a conniving cousin and prejudged by his reputation, lives as an outlaw whilst seeking to clear his name.
‘Ravensdale’ is a fast paced, funny and romantic read from the writer of ‘That Scoundrel Émile Dubois’, following the adventures of that character’s equally roguish cousin and set in 1792, just prior to the outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars and two years before the story of ‘That Scoundrel Émile Dubois’ .
This was quite an enjoyable read that definitely strays from the norm!
A much needed break for me, this novel was a comical relief that flowed easily and produced an entertaining cast of characters. Isabella’s not the welcome mat most HF heroines tend to be, and this was a refreshing change. Reynaud’s “jitters” had me in stitches, and I couldn’t help but think of Romeo and his ability to fall in love so quickly after his breakup with Rosaline. There are several other novels that come to mind, but this is in a class all by itself!
I recommend this to any lover of HF looking for a fun read!
BUY & TBR LINKS
Jumping the ditch, he vanished amongst the shrubs and bushes.
Longface, following more cautiously, nearly twisted his ankle.
Suddenly, Mr Fox sprang behind a bush. Longface leapt behind a lilac tree. The strapping wench who’d floored Filthy Fred came round the side of the house, holding a pair of pistols, and made for a target fixed to one of the shrubs.
She wore a pale lemon dress with matching floppy bonnet contrasting with her dark mane of carelessly piled up waving black hair. Longface supposed that she looked quite pretty. The sight of her had an astounding effect on his companion, who reeled on his feet and ogled like a madman.
She went over to a bench, and began to load the pistols. Longface shuddered. She got into difficulty with loading the wadding in the first, and after struggling for a while, shocking Longface with her language, threw it on the bench and marched about the adjoining rose garden in her rage.
Here Mr Fox showed the full extent of his madness. He stole up to the bench, and using a stone, hammered the wadding securely into place, darting back as the girl turned.
Longface awaited detection. On seeing that the pistol had been loaded, the girl merely raised her eyebrows, smiled, and moved towards the target. Longface, behind a bush nearby, threw himself to the ground, covering his head with his arms. The shot rang out. Looking up, he saw that she had shot through the centre of the target and was smiling happily.
Longface, startled at how charming her smile was, dreaded its affect on the deranged Mr Fox, who quivered and seemed about to have a fit.
The next hour was both dull and nerve racking. The besotted outlaw dodged from bush to shrub, yearning eyes fixed on the hoyden, while she practiced her shooting, singing happily as she loaded the pistol, swearing savagely when she bungled her aim.
Longface dreaded that she must see one of them, but Mr Fox was good at concealing himself. Once he sprang behind a bush at the back of which Longface had already rolled. One of his booted feet came down on Longface’s favourite neck cloth. Longface felt at his last gasp when his tormentor finally moved, tearing it and leaving Longface panting.
At last, a maid came out to speak to the girl. In frozen horror, Longface heard the words, ‘Mr Ravensdale’. Could this be the cousin whom the rumour went had been involved in the then Viscount’s disgrace? Miss Isabella agreed to be led in, the maid fussing about her heavy dark hair tumbling down, one piece having snaked as far as her waist.
On her way into the house, Mr Fox’s goddess dropped a lace edged handkerchief. Of course, as soon as she had gone in, he darted to snatch it up, sniffing it ecstatically and fondling it as if it were the girls’ own flesh.
Then he staggered over to a tree, and beating his head on it, muttered of ‘Outlaw’ ‘Cozened, by Hell and the Devil!’ ‘Brigandage’ and ‘Disgrace’. Longface’s embarrassment at this display was swept away in fear that the Young Hothead might do himself an injury. He also wondered vaguely if he was Disgraced himself. The emotional effect was the same, but as after his father’s ruin his goods amounted to half a donkey and a pound in silver, the practical effects weren’t. Meggie was lucky to have had any solvent man offer for her after it, even if her husband was a misery.
He started forward to stop Fox just as the outcast pulled away from the tree. Then he stole round the side of the house. Here great windows opened on to a long terrace. With bleeding forehead and wild eyes, he hid behind one of the rhododendrons, staring across at the windows, one being that of a drawing room. Longface feared even more for his
sanity, wondering if they would ever leave.
After a while, the Disgraced Earl’s patience was rewarded. Several family members came into the room, including the hoyden, now dressed for dinner in ivory silk, her hair up again. She did look well, and the outcast groaned aloud. Longface’s fears were confirmed with the appearance of an upright, tall, vigorous young man who could almost have been the outlaw’s twin.
A woman’s voice came stridently over the lawn, repeating, ‘Mr Ravensdale’ as if she could never say it often enough. After a time, this other Ravensdale came up to the piano near the window and Miss Isabella sat down to accompany him while he sang in a fine baritone:
‘Where’er you walk, cool glades shall fan the glade;
Trees, where you sit, shall crowd into a shade;
Where’er you tread, the blushing flowers shall rise,
And all things flourish, where you turn your eyes…’
Mr Fox writhed. Longface felt his pain. Miss Isabella laughed with his cousin as they finished the song, and so the outlaw’s torment wore on. Then Edmund Ravensdale came out onto the terrace to take a turn in the air alone.
Now the outlaw’s hand crept to this pistol, and he took aim. The only thing that stopped Longface from throwing himself on him was a strange sense, he knew not from where – that something of the sort had happened before with Reynaud Ravensdale and turned out badly. He stared frozen instead.
Then his chief put his hand on the rumpskuttle’s handkerchief and thrust his pistol back into his belt. His cousin went back in. The robber turned away hunched. On his way back towards his horse, he murmured once:
‘Ye Gods, and is there no relief from Love?…
On me love’s fiercer flames forever prey,
By night he scorches, as he burns by day.’
Longface, dolefully chewing on a piece of grass, muttered, ‘He’s gone fairly off his chump.”
After a few more steps, Mr Fox stopped. So did Longface, but the other, without troubling to turn round, called him.
Sheepishly, Longface approached. He was astounded that his chief had seen him when he had been hiding so skillfully. Still, Mr Fox had sharp eyes, so needed in their trade.
Fox was too distracted even to be angry. He swallowed. “Now you know.”
Longface met his eyes, and turned away. “I’m sorry,” he offered. He had once known the torments of love himself.
On their long, silent ride back to the inn, Longface tried to think of some comforting words to say, but found none. Perhaps, ‘There must be other strapping wenches with gipsyish looks and a liking for fisticuffs and shooting,’ wasn’t tactful. To suggest Kate’s cure might spark off a fit of rage. So, he kept a discreet silence, fingering his torn neck cloth.
As they drew into the inn yard, Longface’s chief spoke. “We’ve got our prize; Jack is to Town. Now is your chance to retire into respectability, Longface, as I’m going for a respectable occupation myself.” To Longface’s amazement, he grinned.
Late that night, when all was still in The Huntsman, Reynaud Ravensdale appeared downstairs, light in hand, looking for something. He searched first in the bar, then in the kitchen. At last his eyes fell on the brown bottle of the pedlar’s cure, also known as The Famed and Marvellous Elixir, which stood next to the teapot. Finding a spoon, he poured himself a generous helping, swallowing it in one gulp. Then he stood, eagerly waiting for the result.
This came speedily. His eyes widened, his face drained of colour, his breathing quickened and he swallowed and looked very ill for the next five minutes. Finally, recovering enough to speak, he swore heartily, poured the bottle down the sink, and trudged back to bed.
Lucinda Elliot was born in Buckinghamshire England, and brought up in various parts of the UK, as her parents earned a living renovating isolated, old country houses before it became fashionable. Some of these would have made an ideal setting for the Gothic novels she loves to write.
Having lived and worked in London for many years she now lives with her family in North Wales and writes. She has many interests, including improving her languages and weight training, and loves a laugh above anything. She’s also an environmental and a classic English novel geek with combined first class honours.
AUTHOR FOLLOW LINKS:
3 eCopy sets of “That Scoundrel Emile Dubois” and “Ravensdale”
The Horseman is unending,
his presence shan’t lessen.
If you break the curse,
you become the legend.
Washington Irving and Rip Van Winkle had no choice but to cover up the deadly truth behind Ichabod Crane’s disappearance. Centuries later, a Crane returns to Sleepy Hollow awakening macabre secrets once believed to be buried deep.
What if the monster that spawned the legend lived within you?
Now, Ireland Crane, reeling from a break-up and seeking a fresh start, must rely on the newly awakened Rip Van Winkle to discover the key to channeling the darkness swirling within her. Bodies are piling high and Ireland is the only one that can save Sleepy Hollow by embracing her own damning curse.
But is anyone truly safe when the Horseman rides?
This was a very unusual twist on Irving’s classic tale, but I found it extraordinary!
The narration alternates between the present heroine, Ireland, and her ancestor, Ichabod Crane. This brilliant maneuver allows you to follow both characters as their stories unfold which builds anticipation and intensifies the mystery. I was completely engulfed in this exciting thriller as the pages seemed to race across my kindle! There are several supporting characters that make a complex addition to this story, and a few that add comedic relief when needed.
With the perfect balance of gore, romance, comedy, and mystery, I found this novel to be an excellent YA read!
About Stacy Rourke
There is nothing worse than being put on the spot and asked to talk about yourself. For me it brings back that inevitable moment in a new school when the teacher would ask me to stand up, introduce myself and tell the class something about myself. I was always worried I would blurt out something stupid that I would get teased for. Something like, “My name’s Stacey and I like pickles!” Then for the rest of the school year I’d be known as the Pickle Girl and let’s be honest, no one wants that. So to avoid such a faux pas I will simply say that I love to write. It allows me to get my crazy out just enough that I can function as a normal member of society.
“Six Million Accusers” is a historical novel reliving the hunt for, and capture of one of history’s most evil criminals – a leading Nazi named Adolf Eichmann.
Having disappeared after WWII, members of an Israeli organization search the world for Eichmann, hoping to one day capture one of the men responsible for brutally massacring millions of Jews, and others. Following any tip possible, eventually they discover a Jewish father and daughter who swear Eichmann quietly lives in their community, under a new name. The search for Eichmann ramps up, and the agents begin to fervently believe they have found their man.
As they get closer and closer, a plan must also be created to capture Eichmann, and secretly transport the villain back to Israel. Is it really Eichmann? And if so, what complications may arise that might destroy their plans to have this notorious Nazi held responsible for his crimes?
This is a gripping tale that chilled me to the bone!
Although this story is told by a fictitious Mossad officer, the author brings him to life by including historical actualities. I was immediately entranced by Hiam’s tale and exhilarated as his chase began. You’d have to be made of stone not to be affected by the characters and the sacrifices made, in the name of the “Accusers”.
After the emotional journey this novel chartered, I would read ANYTHING D. Lawrence-Young wrote. The historical significance and the brilliant manner in which this tale is delivered will educate, while keeping you entertained. Excellent read!
AUTHOR INFORMATION & LINKS
D. Lawrence-Young takes the often pompous and frequently silly “Shakespeare Authorship Controversy” and turns it into a fast-paced page-turning detective story. All the nooks and crannies of rival candidates and claims are traversed in interesting locations and often funny encounters. The SAC has got under the Shakespeare-loving and teaching David Young’s skin and he has turned this irritant into a pleasure to read and from which there is much to learn.
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Merlin the Magician only exists in myth and legend – at least that’s what archaeology student Jason Carpenter thought until he discovered the mysterious orb that had housed history’s greatest wizard for 1,600 years.
Forced into an uneasy alliance, Jason and Merlin are sucked into a web of deceit, intrigue and murder that sends them on a chaotic race to outwit, and out run, Merlin’s ancient nemesis, the evil sorceress Morgana le Fay, her gang of drug smugglers and a 500 year-old Chinese necromancer. Tis a race against time to complete their quest before an army of dragons are unleashed on a vulnerable and unsuspecting 21st century world.
After being accidentally thrown into the modern world of the 21st century, the wizard, Merlin teamed up with archaeology student, Jason Carpenter to aid him in his battle against the evil sorcerous, Morgana le Fay.
In this second book of The Merlin Chronicles, Merlin braves the mysterious depths of Morgana’s underground lair in search of the alien device with which she communicates with the Dragon Lords.
Meanwhile, Jason is forced to battle his way across war-torn Central Africa in search of a legendary gem that holds the key to closing the dragon gate forever. When Merlin is captured by Morgana’s thugs, Jason and Beverley, must risk their lives and the future of mankind in a desperate effort to save their friend.
AUTHOR INFORMATION & LINKS
Daniel Diehl has been an author, writer and investigative historian for thirty-five years. For nearly twenty years Diehl has been involved in writing for publication and documentary television production. Mr. Diehl’s work has won awards from the Houston (Texas) Film Festival, the National Trust for Historic Preservation (US) and the City of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Arts Foundation. Working alone and as a part of the multi-award winning team of Daniel Diehl and Mark Donnelly, Diehl has produced work in two main categories; trade publication and television documentary scripts. His canon of work includes twenty non-fiction books (which have been translated into ten foreign languages), one previous work of fiction and scripts for more than one hundred and seventy hours of documentary television primarily for A&E Network, The History Channel, History International, Biography Channel and Discovery Network.
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✮ ✮ DARE TO SURRENDER (Dare To Love #3) by Carly Phillips ✮ ✮
After ending a relationship to a cheating, domineering man, Isabelle Masters takes off in her leased Mercedes, only to be arrested for grand theft and hauled to a local police station. To her surprise, she is rescued by the most unlikely person possible, Gabriel Dare, a man she’s been attracted to for far too long. Gabe offers Isabelle freedom along with an invitation to Eden, an exclusive island resort where everything and anything is possible.
Although Gabe yearns to possess Isabelle, he knows all too well he must fight his primitive need to bind her to him, and instead help bring out the independent woman she yearns to become – or risk losing her for good.
A woman who needs to run her own life. A man who needs to exert control. Can she surrender to his erotic demands without losing her sense of self once more?
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The elevator doors opened, and I was stunned to find him waiting in the darkened, moody hallway, arm braced on the doorframe. He wore dark jeans and a long-sleeved, collared shirt, white, unbuttoned enough to tempt yet still give him that in-control, dangerously sexy air. His dark brown hair was tousled, as if he’d run his fingers through it in frustration more than a few times.
His eyes lit on me, and in that instant, longing caught in my throat, along with a healthy dose of wariness. Because no matter what I felt when I laid eyes on him, this morning’s hard truths hadn’t changed. And though I’d returned, I needed to understand what was going on between us before I could stay.
I stepped out and paused in front of him.
“You’re okay.” The words came out a mix of anger and relief.
I swallowed hard. “Yes.”
“And how should I have known? You’ve been gone since early this morning.” He stepped forward then stopped himself, visibly holding himself back from me.
I winced. “I suppose I should have left you a note, but—”
“Yes, you should have.”
I looked down, chastened, hating it and yet … oddly affected by his mix of emotions. Because that meant he still cared? Desired me?
Was that what I wanted?
I thrust my fingers into my tangled hair. “I’m sorry if you thought—”
“You have no idea what I was thinking.” He gestured inside his apartment with a flick of his wrist.
Even as a part of me rebelled at his command, I strode past him, head high, acknowledging the part of me that was pleased he’d been concerned. When was the last time anyone had thought about my welfare?
He slammed the door shut behind him before turning back to face me. “Do you want to know what went through my mind?”
I swallowed hard. “Of course.”
“Let’s see. First, I thought Daltry had come by. I wondered if you’d changed your mind and left with him,” Gabe bit out.
Oh, Gabe. “I wouldn’t just pick up and leave after you’ve been so kind.”
“I thought we’d gone over this. I’m not kind,” he said in a tone meant to convince me.
“Well, to me you are.” And suddenly it didn’t matter what he’d done to Naomi; I was different. He treated me better. Or was I deluding myself as I’d done with Lance? My stomach tumbled at the thought. “Do you want to know where I’ve been?” I asked.
I breathed out, elaborating on my day. “First I went to the public library so I could look through job listings and newspapers. I made lists and planned calls for Monday. Then I spent the day in the park. Reading. And thinking.”
“By any chance, did that thinking include whether or not you should stay with me?”
He reached out and nabbed my hand, linking his big fingers through mine, tightening incrementally. His closeness eased some of the lingering tension, and my shoulders lowered as I allowed myself to relax beneath his touch. With a tug, he pulled me closer, invading my personal space, nuzzling his chin in my hair.
I closed my eyes and sighed, and when I breathed in, the expensive cologne I’d come to associate with him wrapped around me and lit me up from the inside out, like a firecracker with an ever-shortening fuse. I squeezed my thighs together to alleviate the ache that both excited and unnerved me at the same time.
“Don’t leave.” He turned me to face him.
My heart sped up in my chest. I should want to run, not wrap myself around him and never let go.
“I need you to say it.” His grip on me tightened.
With his jaw clenched and his eyes imploring, I answered from the heart. “I won’t.” I tried not to panic at the commitment that statement implied and reassured myself that I’d find a job and make this new situation work. Whatever it meant for us, that would have to play itself out.
When stark relief etched his handsome face, I knew I’d pleased him, and a corresponding sense of peace settled inside of me, making me wonder — what was this unspoken thing between us? I didn’t understand it.
I wanted more even as I fought against the sensations because they threatened me — more accurately, they threatened the sense of independence I’d told myself I needed.
Gabe slid his hand through my hair, tugging until I responded with a whimper. Okay, I clearly liked that dominating side of him. It was something I’d never experienced before but obviously responded to. Something else to think about later, I thought. Another facet of myself to explore when the opportunity arose.
“I’m going to kiss you now,” he informed me. “And this has nothing to do with gratitude,” he muttered and sealed his mouth over mine.
Holding me firmly, he slid his tongue over my lips once, twice, demanding entry. As if I’d deny him. Just the touch of his tongue set off fireworks inside me, and I responded to everything about the man. Everything he took, I wanted to give. Everything he provided, I craved more of. He must have understood because his tongue tangled with mine, tasting the far reaches of my mouth, sucking, pulling, learning every part of me, while I turned to liquid at each slip and glide, every thrust and parry.
This was being kissed. It was being told that I mattered. Even the way he sank his hand into my hair and held on let me know that, as much as he was dominating me, he yearned for me too. He needed the connection between us as badly as I did. The intensity was furious, fast and sudden, but I needed it, and somehow he sensed as much. My nipples puckered tight, beading until they were begging for Gabe’s touch. His kiss held a direct line to my sex. But physical responses aside, the emotional yielding inside me explained so much more, screaming for me to believe that I could trust this man. A virtual stranger in so many ways, yet my body knew him already. Why else would worry flee from my mind, a foggy, blessed euphoria taking its place?
He broke the kiss but didn’t release me, instead dragged his lips over my jaw and down to where my shoulder met my neck and slid his tongue over my skin. I trembled as he found an erogenous zone I hadn’t realized I possessed. Cream coated my panties. Though I should be embarrassed at my easy acquiescence, it felt too good, desire melding into a whirlpool of burning need. A hard nip of my skin startled me into awareness, the sting of pain taking me by surprise, and I yelped out loud. Before I could struggle against him, a shock of ecstasy pulled me back into the vortex, reaching downward to my full, damp pussy.
Shaking, I crawled closer, finding his rock-hard erection behind a denim barrier, awaiting me. I needed him so badly. Could come so easily. I trembled and moaned. “Oh God.”
“No, Iz. Just me.” His breath was hot in my ear, and even his deep chuckle sent shooting sparks of awareness through me.
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Carly Phillips has written over 28 romance novels with contemporary characters and plotlines that today’s readers identify with and enjoy. She sold her first novel to Harlequin Temptation in 1998 and hasn’t slowed down since. Carly’s life is filled with a devoted energy and passion to romance, family and career. Carly lives in Purchase, New York, with her husband, two daughters and two soft-coated wheaten terriers.