An Affair Across Times Square
Marietta Hotels Book 1
by Rachell Nichole
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Layla Morgan is tired of getting into trouble, and getting hurt. And she fears her wild nature is going to strike yet again. But maybe this time, she’s finally met the guy that can stand close enough to touch her inner flames, and not get burned. The man across Times Square seems enthralled by her wildness instead of scared in the face of it. He can’t seem to look away as she shows him just how much fun she can have… with herself.
After one glance of silky skin and talented fingers, Tyler Lachlan doesn’t stand a chance of resisting the delicious distraction of the mystery woman from the Marietta Hotel. He’s sure there’s more to her than her sultry voice and mahogany thighs, but he doesn’t know if he’s willing to risk his career to find out.
Could what began as a voyeuristic affair across Times Square develop into something more?
An Engagement in Paris
Marietta Hotels Book 2
All Mandy Lachlan wanted was her own identity. All she had to do was run away to Paris to find it. Instead, she finds love, a baby, and a marriage proposal.
Julien Chevalier needs a family. Ever since his mother left when he was a kid, he’s been searching for the security and consistency that comes with marriage and babies. So when he falls for the young African American professor at the Sorbonne, he knows immediately this is the woman for him.
Julien needs to get married the same way Mandy needs her freedom. When they find themselves at the impasse of matrimony, one of them will have to compromise what they want and need.
A Love Affair in Las Vegas
Marietta Hotels Prequel
Dawn Jansen has only ever wanted one thing: to provide a life for her daughter in New York City, away from the small-town minds of her family and her upbringing. She has fought hard to finally make it to manager at the Hauteman hotel, and one of her first duties is to attend a conference at the Marietta Las Vegas to learn all she can about running the show. But when she arrives in Las Vegas, her plans to learn as much as she can on a professional level, turns into learning far more about herself than her job. She may get a second-chance at this whole love thing after all.
Barnaby “Barney” Garrison has always had one goal in life: to help people. He’s found his calling as manager of the Marietta Times Square, and since his past failed relationship, has focused all of his energy on being the best manager he can be. This year, that means helping to run the Marietta Hotels second annual Hoteliers’ Conference in Vegas. But as soon as he notices Dawn in the crowd, his focus instantly splits, his desires for her swift and fierce. When he realizes the attraction is mutual, he doesn’t waste any time seducing her to his bed. But when he suspects she’s hiding something from him, he worries that maybe he’s just destined to attract two-timing women to his life.
Can what began as a fling in Vegas turn into something more once they’re home in New York? Or does what happen in Vegas truly stay in Vegas?
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Rachell Nichole is a contemporary erotic romance author, who loves writing sexy romances about memorable characters who have to fight to hold on to love.
Rachell holds two undergraduate degrees, one in Professional Writing and the other in French. She also received a Master of Fine Arts in Writing Popular Fiction at Seton Hill University. She is the author of The Marietta Hotels Series, Spicy with a Side of Cranberry Sauce, Gingerbread Photography, To Sir, Belle By Night, and Queen of Hearts.
Rachell lives in Pennsylvania with a mountain of books, the love of her life, and an invisible cat who likes to snuggle.
Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!
DAWN PULLED HER BOTTOM lip between her teeth, trying to be patient and watch him strip.
“Too slow,” she finally proclaimed.
He was taking too damned long to get naked. While she was enjoying the show as he unbuttoned his crisp white shirt, she was hungry for more. She stepped closer and made quick work of his buttons, then slid the soft satin down his arms, revealing acres of ebony skin to her gaze. He was far more muscular than he looked when he had clothes on. She molded her hands up and down his shoulders, mesmerized by the feel of them, by the texture of hot skin beneath the tips of her fingers. He inhaled sharply as she caressed down his chest and over taut brown nipples.
She raised her gaze from his chest to his face to ensure that was a gasp of pleasure, and was greeted with dark, hooded eyes half-closed in ecstasy. Oh, yes, he liked that very much. She reached for the belt at his waist, eager to see what else he liked. She shouldn’t be doing this. She knew it. But it felt so right. It had been so long since she’d felt a man’s touch. As if he knew what she was thinking, Barnaby reached for her, the wide pads of his fingers tracing delicate lines across her cheeks as she unhooked his belt. His fingers stroked down to the sides of her neck and her sheath tightened, aching for more.
She undid his pants and worked them down over his ass and thighs until the fabric slid freely to his ankles. His fingers had reached the edge of her blouse and he left a trail of gooseflesh in his wake as he traced the edge from her shoulders to her cleavage. She shivered. He bent his head and kissed her right collarbone, then her left, his soft, thick lips tantalizing her skin. She wanted to take her time, but she also wanted him inside her right that second. The two sides warred within her. Take her time and savor every inch of him, or skip right to the best part? Both. Damn it. She wanted to have her cake and eat him, too. Was that so bad?
She tugged the base of her shirt out of her skirt and leaned back so she could pull her shirt off. It was then that panic sunk in. Fuck. How long had it been since anyone had seen her naked? Definitely since before Hailey was born. Back when she was just a little thick around the middle, before she had stretch marks and a mother’s body.
“Damn,” Barnaby said, yanking her attention back to him.
She watched his face closely, waiting for him to register all the imperfections she had spent years cataloguing. He was smiling at her. And the heat in his eyes hadn’t cooled one bit. He tore his gaze from her just long enough to bend and remove his shoes and socks before pulling his pants off the rest of the way and tossing them aside. Then his gaze was travelling up her body from her small black high heels, up over legs, up the curve of her hips, and the swell of her post-baby belly, to breasts that had once been perkier, and finally, to her face. With each inch of her body that he inspected, the hunger etched on his face grew, his eyes gleamed brighter through his glasses. When his gaze finally met hers, he looked like he could devour her in one bite.
Gone was the mild-mannered, laid-back somewhat geeky guy who had led the presentation, and then low-key flirted with her for hours. In his place was a grown man who wanted her as much as she wanted him.
And it was the sexiest thing she’d ever seen.
She launched herself at him then, yanking at her skirt as her lips touched his again. He wrapped his arms around her, sliding soft hands up her back and sending shivers coursing through her. He zeroed in on her bra and worked at unhooking it as his lips parted and his tongue dueled with hers. She undid her skirt and kicked it aside, all while he ravished her mouth. She couldn’t get enough of the taste of him. He stopped fiddling with her bra, and she broke the kiss for a moment so she could bend to reach her shoes.
“Um,” he said.
She looked up, and that sheepish look was edging back into his eyes. She laughed. “You’d like me to leave these on?”
He nodded. “If that wouldn’t be too much trouble.”
Fuck, he was kind of adorable like this, all unsure of himself and sweet. She could tell by the bulge in his boxers that he was eager, yet here he was, making a small request and waiting for her to yay it or nay it. Most guys she’d been with would have simply issued her a command to leave on the heels. While an assertive man in the bedroom had its benefits, she found herself liking this power dynamic much more.
Five Things Most People Don’t Know About Me!
Hi folks, I wanted to chat today a bit more about my life and some facts you might not know. It should be interesting.
Tell me something about you, and leave your e-mail address if you’d like to be added to my e-newsletter, which is sent out every couple of months. I hope you enjoyed learning a bit more about me and I hope to hear some more about you, readers. I’d be happy to answer any questions you have.
Thanks so much for having me stop by today, I had fun.
Lady Guardians: Forgiven
by Reana Malori
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Geneva Powers had experienced one of the worst days of her career.
She played the corporate game every day for the past ten years and enjoyed the life she’d built. Straddling two worlds was never easy, but she’d done just that for many years. During the day, she was a mild-mannered financial guru in a world of suits. But in her free time, away from the clean-cut world of numbers, she was a Lady Guardian. Riding her bike in the open air with the hum of the engine underneath her, was the only time she felt free to be herself. Due to some underhanded dealings at her office, her two worlds were about to collide in a most glorious way.
Jamison Reed just wanted a good burger and a cold beer.
He was a war veteran, a businessman, and a biker all rolled into one. The night he caught sight of the beautiful woman walking into his favorite bar, all those labels fell to the side. At that moment, he was simply a man. A man who wanted to claim the woman who had a body made for loving. It was only supposed to be one night. Just enough to get her out of his system. That small taste of her wasn’t enough and now he wants more. When danger comes to her doorstep, he knows there’s no one else better to protect Geneva. His need to protect her was too great and he would let nothing come between him and his woman.
*40K Word Novella | BWWM Romance | HEA*
Reana's stories focus on multicultural / interracial romance. A firm believer that LOVE in all its forms should be celebrated, her goal is to weave a story that pulls the reader into her world and share in her universe, even if only for a short time. She currently lives in Virginia with her husband, and has two very handsome sons. You can most often find her enjoying a good book, as she is first and foremost a reader. And she loves a good romance.
Lady Guardians – Excerpts
Geneva was in awe of the man standing in front of her. He was rough around the edges, but polished and kind all at the same time. He had an air about him that told the story of things better left unsaid, but he also had this kindness to him that he couldn’t fully hide. And the way he looked at her, as if she were the only thing that existed in the world for him, did funny things inside her body.
She lay on the bed naked, her clothes thrown to the side haphazardly. He, on the other hand, had taken the time to fold his clothes neatly and methodically before setting them on the chair. On the outside, they seemed so opposite, but she had an inkling they were more alike than they knew. That he hadn’t batted an eye when he saw her climb on her bike at the bar told her that her world wasn’t foreign to him. Or maybe he just wanted to take a walk on the wild side.
“You’re so fucking beautiful,” his whispered words broke through her solitary thoughts.
“Thank you. So are you.” She saw the scars on his body, but that only made him that much more attractive to her. Her gut told her he got them honestly, so she wasn’t concerned about that. It gave him character and added to the sexiness standing before her.
He hesitated, “No. I’m not.” She noticed one of his hands touch a scar that crossed over his ribcage. Noticing her gaze, gave a derisive smile, “US Army, Afghanistan.”
“And that, Reed ‘No Last Name Given,’ is why you’re beautiful.” If she hadn’t been staring at him so closely, she would have missed the slight wince that came over his features.
“Damn, woman, you know exactly what I needed to hear.” He leaned down over her, pressing his bare chest against her softer mounds. His lips touched hers and it quickly escalated into something hot, wet and erotic. Hard to believe this was their first kiss. Then again, it was absolutely perfect, because it was exactly what they each needed.
“Hey sweetheart,” he returned, stepping through her doorframe. At six feet four inches and wearing his black riding boots, he towered over her five feet seven-inch frame. He grabbed the door, closing and locking it behind him before he turned to her again. “It’s good to see you,” he said, just before leaning his head down to capture her lips in a soft kiss.
The squeak in her voice as she returned his greeting was so embarrassing. She was thirty-one for God’s sake. “Have a seat. Make yourself comfortable. I was about to pull something out for brunch, but I didn’t know what you wanted. Are you hungry?”
“I’m always hungry.” Dropping his black leather bag on the floor, he removed his cut and laid it on the back of her couch.
“That third door on the left has a few hangers in there. You can hang it up there if you want.” Eyeing him hungrily, she licked her lips as she watched him maneuver around her large living room. When she’d purchased this home, her mind had been focused on having enough space for parties with her friends and when her family came to visit. Now that Reed was in the space, she felt that she’d known a man like him would enter her world. He was a large man and someone like him needed space to maneuver.
“Keep looking at me like that and brunch won’t be the only thing I’ll be eating this morning.” His low drawl met her ears and snapped her out of her musings over how well he fit in her home.
Glancing at him, she gave up any pretense that she didn’t want to be underneath him again. At the thought of having his cock inside her again, or his mouth nibbling on her wet pussy, she gave him a seductive smile. “And what if I don’t.”
“You’re playing with fire baby. Don’t start something you’re not willing to finish.”
Flip the Beat
by Roxanne D. Howard
Genre: NA Contemporary Romance, Modern Day Fairy Tale, Romantic Comedy
Release Date: July 10th, 2018
Molly Ivers thinks she is falling for the opposite of Prince Charming, and she knows she should give him up, but, oh, the temptation.
WHEN YOU WISH UPON A STAR
Molly Ivers thought she found Prince Charming, complete with a devilishly sexy accent, and six months ago she gave into their undeniable attraction. But the swarm of ever-present groupies was so not part of the fairy tale. As much as it hurt her heart, she shut out rocker Evan Castle.
Now, on the verge of finishing her graduate degree and moving to Paris—she even hires a French life coach—Molly begins to realize Evan, who hasn't given up on her, might be the man of her dreams after all.
Roxanne D. Howard writes sizzling erotic romance with Boroughs Publishing Group and The Wild Rose Press. She is a U.S. Army veteran, and a Columbia College alumni. She loves to read poetry, classical literature, and Stephen King. Also, she is an avid Star Wars fan, musical theater nut, and marine biology geek. Roxanne resides in the western U.S., and when she's not writing, she enjoys spending quality time with her husband, children, and furry companions. Roxanne loves to hear from her readers, and encourages you to contact her via her website and social media.
Molly laughed while she told her what had happened last night, though at the moment, she wasn’t sure it was a joke. She sighed and left the computer to go make scrambled eggs. Nell followed her to the kitchen. “So, should I call you ‘Number One’ now?” She could never keep a straight face with Nell. Molly speared a peach slice with a fork and nibbled the end of it. Sweetness filled her mouth. “‘Make it so.’ No, nerd. He seems pretty cool. I mean, if I check it out, this may turn out to be a positive change. At the least, he’ll get me in shape for Paris. His bio says he’s from Giverny, and he’s a retired civil-rights attorney. His website says that when he retired, he decided to change his objective to improving people’s lives, which is why he’s a life coach. Pretty impressive.” “So, you’re going through with it?” “Going through with what?” They both looked into the living room, where a bemused Evan stood half naked and barefoot in a pair of black pajama bottoms. Molly licked nectar off the peach on the end of her fork to save it from dropping to the floor. Evan’s jaw tightened, and his eyes gleamed as he zeroed in on her. He cleared his throat and lifted an empty half gallon of milk. “Sorry, you left the door cracked open. I came to borrow milk.” “Jesus, Evan! Knock next time, or at least text. I’m in my panties.” Nell smacked him on the arm and tugged down her nightshirt as she ran past him into her bedroom. “Sorry,” he said, but he seemed distracted as he strode toward Molly, eyes glued to her lips. She sucked the rest of her peach slice into her mouth and wiped at a little of the nectar at the corner of her lips. Her cheeks blazed at the hungry longing in his eyes. She turned away to open the fridge to get the milk. It wasn’t uncommon for them to borrow food from one another, and he always watched out for them. He had a comforting, protective nature she’d gotten used to. She grew painfully aware of her night shorts, which had a tendency to ride up her butt and cut off at mid-thigh, and her thin white tank top. Could he see her nipples? And jeez, Louise, why did they have to harden every time he came near her? She pushed hair out of her face and poured the milk into his empty half gallon. “Help yourself to the fruit in the bowl there. Nell had leftovers. How much milk do you want?” “Enough for a bowl of cereal, please. I’ll get some at the store later.” His voice only dropped that low and husky during sex. She stopped after she poured enough milk, then gave him extra. Evan reached over her to open a nearby drawer. He took out a fork, inserted it into the flesh of a peach slice, and brought it to his lips. “Forbidden fruit, hmm?” He teased the fruit around his lips with a wicked smirk. He winked at her and sank his teeth into half the peach as he watched her, licking it. Her mouth went dry. Oh, he knew what he was doing.
Live, Love, Repeat
Milestones Book 1
by JD Corbett
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Over the last 25 years, Liz Banner’s life has grown stagnant. Not that she hasn’t loved being a stay-at-home wife and mother, but she didn’t mean to lose herself in the process. And after surviving the most challenging time in her life, Liz realizes that life is too short, and second chances don’t come around very often.
With a milestone birthday approaching, Liz is determined to live a little. And when her best friend, Anne, gifts her a ticket for a 10-day luxury cruise, Liz decides it’s the perfect excuse to experience new things, and just take some time to relax with some of her favorite women. But her idea of a relaxing vacation gets thrown overboard when a few surprise guests make an appearance and attempt to win their way back into Liz’s heart.
With a second chance at life…and love, turning 50 never felt better.
Jen Drapp, who writes under the name of J.D. Corbett, was raised in Charleston, South Carolina. As a girl, she was obsessed with learning and reading about historical and fictional characters; one of her favorites being Scarlett O'Hara. Jen has always loved writing, whether it was short stories about made-up worlds or even essays for school. She has recently had two contemporary romances published and continues to learn and grow as an author. Jen currently lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, daughter, and a 15-year old very fat cat.
The Adventures of Louise Book 1
by Bena Roberts
Genre: Romantic Comedy, ChickLit
Louise, otherwise known as a red-haired Kardashian decides she wants to settle down. She dreams of a sugar daddy and is willing to sacrifice good looks and great sex for Mr. Sensible.
Is this really what Louise wants? Can she put her lover, liar and diva life behind her and fall in love with the older man Gerhard?
Will this May to December date change her life forever? Alternatively, will Louise's sexual appetite make things difficult for her?
Question - What is the first line of the book?
Answer - Yesterday, I had God-like sex with a man juicier than sirloin steak.
This laugh out loud short story is a quick read for the beach, train or plane.
**Only .99 cents!!**
My Bite Back!
The Adventures of Louise Book 2
He promised to be a lawyer, a great lover and a tennis player.
First betrayal and manipulation then Louise bites back. After two weeks of feeling sorry for herself, she makes a plan to get her revenge.
This is a hilarious chicklit short story! With a flash of adult humor!
Betrayal, manipulation, and payback.
Amazon Short Read - this is a 15 to 30 minute short story!
My Bite Back is from The Adventures of Louise Series all of which can be read as standalone.
This is an adapted version of one of the chapters from Blind Dates, Big Love and Six Tinder Weeks.
**Only .99 cents!!**
Bena Roberts was a journalist and analyst. Now she prefers the title novelist and romance adventurist. She graduated in England 1994 and then with a Masters in 1997.
Born in 1973, Bena lived in West London until she was 24. Then she lived and worked in Budapest, Bruges, Prague, Amsterdam, Vienna, Hamburg and Munich. She currently resides in Germany, between Heidelberg and Frankfurt. Although she still refers to London as 'home.'
Bena successfully created a technology blog which gained funding, had lunch with Steve Ballmer and was 'top 50 most influential woman in mobile.' Her blog also won several awards including Metro Best Blog.
Bena has two children, loves small dogs and always writes books with a cup of Earl Grey.
Bena's favorite literary style is black humor, and she hopes to offer a unique voice in this area. Her books aim to confront the darkest of life experiences, with levity. Most of her writing is heavy hitting yet also entertaining. The second novel out in 2018 offers thought-provoking fiction which embraces the absurd with reality.
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Knights After My Heart
Westbrook Knights Book 1
by Sonya Jesus
Genre: NA Romantic Suspense
Amelia’s past issues and personal time limits propel her into a relationship that alters her normal life at Westbrook University. Connor, her new potential boyfriend, triggers jealousy, rehashes old relationships, sparks new ones, and ignites a rage in others that will devastate her ordinary life. As she desperately tries to hold on to her pre-Connor life, she struggles to balance the new-found attention while trying to follow her heart. Something she realizes is complicated… very complicated - because her heart has no idea where it’s going.
Connor may be the change Lia is looking for, but he is certainly not the ending Hawk wants for his Queen. Hawk’s invested too much time in planning his future to let some random guy walk away with his happily ever after. He will do anything to protect her virtue, even if it means protecting her from herself because Amelia belongs to him.
He’s chosen her…
He’s watched her…
He’s studied her…
He knows everything there is to learn about her…
And when the time is right she will reign his heart.
Knights Who Stole My Heart
Westbrook Knights Book 2
Amelia’s heart is torn between the new, the old and the familiar but when her heart screams out what it wants, Amelia listens. It’s not always easy since a conflicted heart wants different things on different days, but she finds a way to work around her indecisiveness and focus on what she needs- what she thinks she can’t live without.
The closer Amelia gets to figuring out her love life, the more Hawk unravels. While he deals with loose ends and new threats, his strategic plans start to fall into place. Pawns advance, the King’s in the ideal position and the Rook hosts the Mad Lib Auction. What he doesn’t expect is for his Queen to be in danger and for Knights to steal hearts.
Knights Who Broke My Heart
Westbrook Knights Book 3
They were out to break my heart...
Amelia finally figures out exactly who her heart wants, and she is determined to go for it. She is willing to give the knight who stole her heart everything. She owns up to her mistakes and truly attempts to change, but just because her mind is made up, doesn’t mean her love is reciprocated. Will she choose the best-friend who learned her by heart, or the soccer god who ignored her for the longest time? One of them will win her heart, the other will break it… But neither of them are safe from the guy who will stop at nothing to protect her.
Murder isn’t something Hawk shies away from. Actually, he prefers to use it as a last recourse, but he’s unravelling. The closer Amelia gets to achieving happiness, the more his control disintegrates. And when one of his carefully laid plans turns on him, he loses it. Realizing he’s the reason behind Amelia’s attack, plagues him with guilt. In all his attempts to protect her, he was the one who put her in danger- a failure he isn’t willing to have looming over him… But what happens when his Queen fails him in ways she can never take back?
New Adult, Romantic Suspense. Contains sexual content that may not be appropriate for younger audiences.
Sonya´s a science nerd who decided to give into her creative fictional side in order to balance out the non-fictional scientific side of her PhD. She doesn´t have much free time, but she spends it enjoying her family and friends, watching Netflix and playing with her dogs.
Follow the tour HERE for exclusive content, guest posts and a giveaway!
When and why did you begin writing?I started writing in high school. Mostly poetry at first and short stories. I wrote my first full length novel while I was writing my master’s thesis in microbiology as a way to balance out the nonfictional side of me. I never published it, (because it was a mess). From there, I started imagining the characters in my head, trying to get a feel for who they are as real people. I wanted to know everything about them, so I’d sit in between lab assignments and think, “What tugs at their heart strings? What attracts them to other people? What food would they eat? What’s their favourite soda?” After a while, they were real and I put them down on paper, which ended up in the Knights Series.
Who is your favorite character in your book and why?Hawk! Hands down. He’s kind of diabolical and it is so much fun writing his kind of twisted. I’m a huge Criminal Minds and Bones fan which means psychological profiling and details intrigue me, so I made one for Hawk (and another character). The list included his triggers, his stressor, his MO, everything from how the signs started to manifest to his flaws. I wanted to capture the evolution of obsession to murder. Sinister, brilliant people have always made me think twice. Murderers are creepy, but the ones who strategisze and manipulate, those are the ones who freak me the hell out. There are somethings Hawk does that I still cringe when I read them, honestly.
Who is your least favorite character in your book and why?Lia (Amelia, as Hawk calls her). Don’t get me wrong, I like her enough to not kill her off, but the thought has crossed my mind a few times (just kidding). She’s indecisive and at times, you want to slap the stupid out of her…repeatedly. But I always have to remind myself there’s a reason for it and I did it on purpose. For Hawk’s evolution to work, her character needed to be indecisive and flimsy in the matters of the heart. Also, she’s young and naive, having her “shit" figured it out isn’t exactly a priority. There’s nothing wrong in being a little reckless, while trying to figure out what your heart wants. Love is all about trial and error, so she tries and she errs quite a bit, but be patient with her. She’s going to figure things out and when she does that’s when Hawk’s control deteriorates.
How does your Full-Time profession tie into the book?Oh, I am such a nerd. My science nerd superpower comes in a few times during the book. Methods of murder, random facts, love analogies… the biggest probably being the overall picture. Amelia’s pursuit of love is directly correlated to Hawk’s deterioration. They are inversely proportional: when one increases, the other decreases. So, the closer she gets to figuring out her love life, the more he unravels.
Are you at all like your main characters?Um… no. I am not crazy and my life is not as eventful, but there are some similarities between Lia and I, like our love of food. Chicken Fingers and honey mustard were my go to in college and I practically ran on coffee. I did live in a suite once, but i loved my suite mates and they will always hold a special place in my heart. I was a cheerleader, like Lia, but I sucked at it. (What can I say, dancing isn’t my thing.) Hmm. what else? I was a bio major. That’s about it. Everything else is so unlike me. Believe it or not, I get annoyed with indecision.
Is the romantic lead inspired by your own romantic life?There are a few romantic leads in this story, primarily Robins and Aiden. If they were real, they would have been people I fell for back in college. That’s why I created them that way. The things they said, the small gestures, the intimate touches, their presence- all of it- would def have gotten to me. You can say, I equipped them with all the things that would turn me on, and the ones that would turn me off.
As for Hawk, I don’t know if I would have fallen for him-or rather the guy he pretends to be. He’s amazing at playing the good guy, and though I would like to think I was smart enough to see through it, I probably wouldn’t have. His facade is all about being the sexy, sweet, somewhat damaged guy who rarely shows vulnerability. He’s like a damaged hero and he’s easy to trust. As a reader, we see his dark side, but Lia doesn’t.
Anything else that inspired your series?There are two Portuguese sayings that inspired me and my mom always said them. Roughly translated they are, “We see faces, but not hearts” and “Too much confidence is a sign of poor request.” I think they are themes throughout the book. We never know if the person we pass by on our way to work, is a crazy serial killer who was there on purpose. And, the people who are closest to you are the ones who can cross the boundaries of your relationship faster.
Chasing the Wild Sparks
Wild Sparks Series #1
by Ren Alexander
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Throwing down the marriage gauntlet has never been so wild.
**FREE on all platforms!!**
Ren Alexander was born in Wheeling, West Virginia. She graduated from West Liberty University, where she received a B.S. in criminal justice. Although interested in that field, her true passion was reading and writing. She currently lives in Detroit, Michigan with her husband, two daughters, and two cats. "Chasing the Wild Sparks" is Ren's first novel.
Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!
“Some of these people here are scary as hell, Hadley.”
“Morgan, get off of me!”
“The closer I am to you, the further these people are from me.”
“Honestly, I think you’re being a tad dramatic, don’t you think?”
“Not a chance. I should’ve stopped by an urgent care on the way here and got myself a damned tetanus shot.” I nudge her away and she scornfully asks, “Where’s your man anyway?”
I impatiently state the obvious, “He’s racing on his dirt bike, Morgan. Where in the hell has your mind been all this time?” I sigh as I crane my neck to see if I can see him anywhere. It was such a mistake bringing my best friend with me. She definitely isn’t cut out for live sporting events. If it’s not college football or basketball on TV, she’s not interested. My longtime boyfriend, Finn Wilder, is participating in a dirt bike race about half an hour outside of where we live in Richmond, Virginia. In the past, he’s raced in amateur motocross events, but today, he’s racing for charity, not to mention the event is being covered by the very same Richmond TV station where he is their star sportscaster. When he’s not risking his life.
“I’ve been here. I’ve just been distracted by Ma and Pa Kettle over here fighting over the last dip of snuff!” she criticizes loudly, turning up her nose and leaning onto me again, clutching my arm tighter.
“Morgan!” I hiss, looking past her to see if anyone heard her mouth. She drags her wavy, dark hair with one hand, draping it over a shoulder, using it as a privacy barrier between her and the riff-raff, as she referred to them earlier. “Why did you come with me if you don’t want to be here?”
“Something to do while Ivan is working.” She cringes as she’s jostled. Ivan’s her personal trainer, as well as her boyfriend who works at the gym we belong to. “Excuse you!” she shouts to a group of kids walking down the wooden bleachers.
“Morgan, stop!” I again shake her off and stand to see if I can see Finn’s black and blue bike. Morgan tugs on my arm and I plop back down beside her.
“What?” I edgily ask.
“Have you talked to Finn?” she asks, digging into her purse.
“Hadley, do not play dumb with me. You know what I’m talking about.” I glance down at her duffle bag-sized designer purse as she continues to rummage through it. Oh, yes. Talking to Finn. Nope. Not looking forward to that.
“I did not,” I say, returning my attention to the track.
“Why not? There it is!” I look over at her to see she's holding a silver compact. “Now to find my lipstick.”
“I have a couple questions. One: Why do you have a purse that big if you can never find anything in it? Two: Why do you need lipstick at a racing event?” Morgan’s mouth drops open and she gives me a look that’s a cross between incredulity and disgust. She rolls her eyes and hands me the mirror.
“Here, hold this. I can’t believe you actually asked me that question, Hadley Beckett,” she scolds and recommences excavating her bag. “A woman must always look her best, no matter where they are.” She stops searching and gives me a roaming, disapproving look. “You should try it sometime.”
Miffed, I automatically look down at my clothes. I’m wearing a light blue t-shirt with small, dark blue sequins scattered throughout, and blue jeans. “What’s wrong with what I’m wearing?” I ask, confusion painting my tone.
I assess what she’s wearing: a dark blue blouse with dramatic ruffles cascading down the front, khaki capris, and brown-heeled sandals. Her outfit’s very classy, as usual for Morgan, but not practical for watching a motorcycle race.
“It’s not just your clothes,” she distractedly answers towards her purse. I tug at my light brown ponytail self-consciously and scowl at her. “What do you mean?”
“Please, girl. Have you seen your boyfriend lately?” I glance to the track at the mention of him, but from where we’re sitting, I can’t see my #35 yet.
“I see him often.” I grab her purse and put it on the other side of me.
“I want you to tell me what you mean by that statement. You can’t just say that and expect me to not want you to explain yourself.”
“I mean that you look as homeless as some of these people sitting here.”
“Shit, Morgan! Keep your voice down!” I loudly whisper, imploring her as I look around us.
“Oh, who cares?” Morgan dismisses the people around her with a wave of her hand, her orchid nail polish shining in the sunlight. She lifts up her dark sunglasses so I can see into her dusky brown eyes. “I mean, you’re dressed rather plainly. You have a hotter-than-fuck boyfriend. You should be dressing up your equally hot, little body so it doesn’t look like he’s dating a 12-year old.” My mouth pops open at her observation. “You also could use some more makeup and a cuter haircut.” Her eyes float down to my fingers. “And stop wearing black nail polish. You’re not in a satanic cult, a heavy metal band, or a victim of teen angst.”
“Morgan Yates!” I shriek, but the sound of roaring dirt bikes drown out my protest. A flurry of motorcycles emerges through the small tree grove the track snakes in between, and I, along with everyone else in the stands, minus Morgan, jump up and cheer. She reaches around me to snag back her purse.
Finn’s bike is near the front, so I squeal as I hop up and down, clapping around Morgan’s compact still in my hand. The riders begin their last circuit and we all take our seats again.
She says, “You didn’t answer my question, bitch.”
I irritably scoff, “After all of your gushing flattery concerning the clothes I’m wearing and my overall horrid appearance, I forget what you asked.” I glance down at my shiny, black-polished nails before I curl my fingers under my hand. What’s wrong with my nail polish?
“You know I love you, Hadley. I’m only trying to help you keep your man.”
I morosely glower at her. “I don’t need help.” Do I?
“Really? So how come you won’t answer me? Why haven’t you talked to Finn?”
I sigh heavily and slump my shoulders. “Because we’ve had similar talks in the past, Morgan. He doesn’t want to get married. He has said that repeatedly.”
“Hadley, you’ve been dating him for three years and living apart from each other, at that. When are you two going to grow up and stop the weekend-only fuck fests?”
I wince. “Do you have to put it that way?”
“Don’t tell me that isn’t what you and that fine specimen aren’t doing every weekend,” she poses dubiously.
“No, we knit,” I mutter and look away from her. I practically hear her rolling her eyes at me.
“You need to talk to him again, Hadley. Three years is enough for you to have wasted your time on a man who isn’t going to commit to you or give you the children that you want. You’re 33-years old. Won’t he be 34 in a few months?” I swing my head back to her and nod. “His sperm will last forever. You, on the other hand,” she raises an eyebrow and shakes her head sadly, “are in a time crunch. Those eggs of yours aren’t going to wait around forever, you know.” So says the woman who is almost four years younger than me.
Annoyed, I reply, “I know this, Morgan. It’s all I think about lately, but I can’t force him to change his mind and propose.”
“Then, you do it.”
“No. I can’t do that because I know what his answer will be.” He’d reject me without a second thought.
“Well, you have your answer then. If he said no to your proposal, then you would break up with him and move on.”
“With whom? I’m in love with Finn. He’s all I want.” I stare at her waiting for her to elaborate, her dark skin glowing in the sun, no doubt from wearing a dark color on an unseasonably warm, mid-April day.
“He is not all you want. You want a marriage and kids. He doesn’t. But for some ridiculous reason, you let him string you along, and who knows how long he’ll do that to you. He may never grow a pair. It could be indefinitely, Hadley. I don’t want that for you. You need to give him an ultimatum.”
I shake my head furiously at her. “I won’t do that to him. I know he loves me. He just…” I aimlessly look to the track as we wait for them to finish the race.
She finishes my sentence with what I was not going to say. “He's just getting his milk for free.”
I look over at her, frowning. “Thanks for calling me a cow.”
Morgan laughs, but the smile soon fades from her face. “You are so stubborn,” she accuses me. She sighs. “Remind him of what you want. You deserve happiness. Talk to him, Hadley. Your eggs are going to dry up and blow away.” I know. That’s what I’m afraid of each passing day.
“Talk to who?” a familiar voice asks from above me. I angle my head up, squinting, to see my friend Rod.
“Nothing,” I dismissively mumble, looking down as he scoots closer to me.
“Come on, Hadders. What’s up? Sorry, I’m late. I had to do a couple things and they ran over.”
“It’s a Saturday, Rod. What the hell were you doing?” Morgan asks, pushing me forward so she can see him.
He taunts her, “None of your bees’ wax. Are you going to cast a spell on me now?” Morgan reaches behind me and punches Rod’s arm.
“Ow!” he cries, rubbing where she hit. “You’re a lawyer, Morgan! You should know that’s assault and battery!”
She starts to protest, but I sit back and put my arms out to restrain the both of them. “Come on, you two! Cut it out!”
He clutches my shoulder. “What’s going on with you, Hadders? Is your man losing the race? I know what you could do to make him feel better,” he merrily insinuates.
“Shut up, Rod.”
“What? I was going to say buy him an ice cream cone! Damn! You’re bitchier than your friend Morgan over there. Are you on your period?” I shove Rod as he shakes his head, his short, brown hair lightly blowing in the breeze. He laughs while looking over at Morgan, who flips him off.
Those two are natural-born frenemies. I know there is some love there, but not a lot of it lost, either. I’m always the buffer. I love them both, yet it does get tiring refereeing their fights.
Greg Rodwell has been a friend of ours, mostly mine, since he started at the law firm where Morgan and I work, Rhodes, Dryden, Charleton & Associates, about two and a half years ago. She’s a lawyer and I’m a paralegal for one of the partners, Val Dryden, while Rod assists Amos Vaughn. Rod’s first name is in fact, Greg, but nobody has called him that since Morgan started dubbing him as Rod shortly after being hired as a paralegal. Now, everyone calls him Rod at work, even Fred the mailman and the people who work in the building’s cafeteria.
He sneers to Morgan, “By the way, cool shades. It’s so nice seeing you out in the daylight with the rest of us lowly mortals. I thought you’d be sleeping in a coffin, or hanging upside down from a tree branch or a belfry. What gives, Elvira?”
“I’m here supporting my best friend and her boyfriend, Ass Rod.”
He huffs, “Name calling. How mature of you, Morbid.”
I intervene, “Please! You two are acting like bratty children!” Leaning forward, I rest my head in my hands.
Rod bumps my arm with his. “What were you talking about before I got here?”
“Hadley won’t give Finn an ultimatum,” Morgan interjects before I can blow him off again.
He asks, “An ultiwhatum? I’ve never heard of that one before. I’ve heard of a rusty trombone, a Hot Carl, a Dirty Sanchez, and an Abe Lincoln, but not whatever you just said. Does Wilder do it to you or do you do it to him?”
I immediately straighten. “Oh, my God! Shut up!” I demand as I move closer to Morgan.
“That’s disgusting,” Morgan says as she finally takes her compact out of my hand. “You would know that shit.”
“What shit?” Rod asks innocently, genuinely looking confused.
Instead of elaborating, I answer Rod's original question, “Morgan wants me to tell Finn that either we get married or break up.”
Raising my left hand, I stare at the bluish metal band on my middle finger. He can’t even promise me a future with a promise ring. I love the ring, but then again, I hate it. It’s a reminder either way. After last night and the things he told me, but I still have doubts. If he loved me as much as he says he does, wouldn’t he want to make me his wife? Instead, I’ll forever be an ambiguous girlfriend, no one of significance in his life. Hell, he won’t even tell people that I am his girlfriend.
It’s a lose-lose situation for me all around.
“What’s wrong?” Finn asks, standing in the bathroom doorway with a fluffy, blue towel around his waist, running his fingers through his wet hair. The water enticingly glistens over his muscles, coercing me to want to forget about damned kites. I also note that he does, indeed, have a hickey. Oops. Did he even see it? How is he going to hide it today?
I guiltily drop my hand. “Nothing.” Staring at his neck, I stand and his mouth falls open.
“What’s wrong?” I volley back to him and search his astonished face.
“Wow.” He shifts on his feet, his hands on his hips and his eyes roaming up and down my body.
I wince. “Is that a good wow or a bad wow?”
“It’s a go-change wow.”
I look down at my dress and then up at Finn, perplexed. “What?”
He adamantly shakes his head and scoffs, “Huh-uh. You’re not wearing that dress.”
“There are so many reasons why not.”
I put my hand on my hip and argue, “Sorry, but it’s too late to change.”
He walks toward me, clutching his towel. “Becks.”
“Finn,” I emulate him. “There’s nothing wrong with my dress. It’s not too short, see-through, or revealing.”
He stops in front of me, towering over and intently staring me down. “It’s enough. Everyone will be staring at you, including me.”
I smile. “It’s a good thing if you do, isn’t it?” He doesn’t answer as he glowers. “Why would anyone else stare? There will be a lot of people there.”
Unsmiling, he counters, “Exactly.”
I scowl at his face. “Everyone stares at you. Why is this any different?”
He clasps one of my breasts, his thumb seeking my nipple through the material, which makes my breath quicken. “Because they’ll be staring at you for all the wrong reasons.”
I reach up and stop his hand. “And your Finnatics lust after you for all the right ones?”
Taking his hand from his towel, he clutches my other breast, more firmly than the other this time. “I don’t dress like this.”
I grin. “Now, that would be funny. You’d be so pretty.”
Frowning at my remarks, he points his chin over to his dresser. “Can’t you wear jeans or sweats?” His thumbs begin to circle, clouding my concentration, and I want to rip off his towel.
Grabbing onto his other hand, I plead, “Finn, stop.” I don’t know if he’ll take that as to stop about the dress or his hand. I hope he doesn’t stop touching me, even though I need him to stop.
He steps against me; his freshly showered body smells so good. “Shit,” he mutters. “It’s a good thing I’ll be there.” Putting his arms around my waist, Finn pulls me into him.
“Why? Are you going to be my bodyguard, my babysitter, and my chastity belt?” I retort and quirk up my lip. Without thinking, I grasp the edge of his towel, tucking my fingers into it. His left hand moves from my waist over to my hand and he pushes on it, causing the towel to fall to his feet.
He lifts the skirt of my dress and whispers, “I’ll be all three and your overprotective boyfriend.”
I clear my throat. “Yes, I’ve noticed.” How ironic. The daredevil doesn’t want me to take a risk, being even remotely audacious. Paired with my cardigan, I could wear the dress when I go to Mass with him if I ever go to church with him. Yet another place he doesn’t want me hanging around him.
I close my eyes as he grinds against my bare stomach. “Finn, we’re going to be late.”
Nodding, he boldly grins. “Yes, we are going to be late.”
I attempt to feebly push him away, but he strongly holds me close to his chest. “We can’t do this.”
Finn’s smile drops and he grates his teeth in frustration. “Becks, come on.” He looks around the room and sighs before restoring his gaze to me. “We haven’t been together a lot this weekend. Let’s take some extra time…just for us.” His fingers stroke my back and my willpower.
I argue in vain, “We’ll be spending the day together.”
He petulantly rolls his eyes and shakes his head, looking down at me pointedly. “That’s not what I mean.”
I glance at the hickey I gave him, still wondering how he’s going to hide it since it’s bigger than I meant for it to be. “We’re already running late.”
“Late for kites?”
“Rod wanted to be there at 11:00 and he’s already on the road. We have an hour and a half drive.”
Finn snaps, “Damn it. He can wait.” He takes my hand and wraps my fingers around his solid arousal, keeping his hand on mine. “I can’t,” he heatedly insists. He’s past the point of no-return, but I continue to futilely object.
“I promised him I’d be there.”
“We will,” he replies impatiently. “You promised me you’d always love me, Becks.” He squeezes our hands around him. “Right now, I need you to love me.”
“I do, Finn, it’s just—”
“We cannot go when you’re wearing this dress and I’m this jacked up.” He takes his hand off mine and puts his arms around me as I continue to hold him intimately. Inclining his head, he kisses me, gently at first, but then his lips quickly engulf mine. I feel his desperation with every move of our lips. Why does he suddenly want me so much? Or is it just the sex he wants? Finn’s hold strengthens around me and he begins to twist us and walk us backward to his bed.
“Finn, no,” I whisper and move my hands up to his chest. His hands are again up my dress and soon inside the top of my waistband. “Stop it.”
He stops us at the edge of his bed. “Don’t you want me, baby?” he whispers back, staring ardently into my eyes as he starts to peel down my underwear. He knows I do. I put my hands on his to stop him, but he keeps pushing. Letting go of one side of my waistband, he sits on the bed, trying to pull me down to straddle him.
“Finn, stop. You don’t even have a condom on.” I move my hips away and he grips me tightly.
Mostly disregarding my statement, his eyes flick up to mine and he says, “You said we’d be alright, Becks.” He pulls on my hips and positions himself beneath me.
My eyes widen in disbelief. “Why are you not willing for me to wear this dress in public, but you’re willing to risk getting me pregnant when that’s the last thing you want?”
He yanks my underwear to the side and tries to ease into me. He closes his eyes and shakes his head. “I’m not. You said we were okay.” I almost hear the gushing of the adrenaline coursing through his veins. I think it’s like a game of Russian roulette for him. Another rush. There’s no way in hell he wants to knock me up, but he loves the thrill of it being a possibility—something else to triumph. What happens if he loses and gets me pregnant? Would he hate me? Would he leave me?
I attempt to lift off him through his steel grip. “No. I said I thought we were. That’s not the same thing.”
Finn immediately opens his eyes and as if I just showed him a positive pregnancy test, he scowls and pushes me back. “Then, I’ll put on a rubber.” He reaches for his nightstand drawer and I slide off his lap.
I fix my dress and step away. “We have to go, Finn.”
I look at him and his eyes fly over my face, pleading with me to reconsider. “Baby,” he says softly. He tears open the package and I watch him work the condom. He then leans back onto his elbows, offering himself up to me with vulnerability in his eyes, but a cocky-as-hell smirk on his face. Finn knows I can’t resist him, yet I think he’s afraid I will.
“Finn, what’re you doing? You know we have to go,” I say quietly, but resigned to the fact that we will be late due to the irresistible sight before me.
His deep voice utters, “I want to be the only one who knows the ecstasy under your dress.”
I can’t help my smile. “You are. You already know quite well.”
His vulnerable gaze is now confident when he resolutely states, “Remind me.”
I bite my lip and as if he hypnotized me, I take off my underwear. His passionate brown eyes burn into me, as mine travel slowly over his tantalizing body, draped provocatively on his bed. My gaze locks onto his dick and he boldly reaches down and grasps it. “It’s all for you, Becks.”
My mouth opens in awe from his brashness. In public, he’s so smug and self-assured about his athletic prowess and aptitudes, yet he’s reserved and so secretive when it comes to me. I see every angle of the complex design that is Finn Wilder.
I still must be staring because he coaxes, “Come on, baby. You know you want me.” He gives me a come-worthy grin. Definitely…cocky.
I crookedly smile at him, insolently crossing my arms. “You think you do anything for me?”
He grins devilishly. “You already took off your underwear.” He’s going to be the death of me.
“I can always put them back on.”
He deliberately shakes his head from side to side, not taking his heated scrutiny off mine. “No, you won’t.” He licks his full lips and seductively bites his tongue.
“I can always go commando to the festival.”
Suddenly, he drops his hand from his erection and snarls with genuine irritation rolling over him, “Fuck no!”
“Oh, I will,” I taunt.
His body tenses all over. “Then we won’t be going. You’re mine, Becks! I don’t want you accidentally flashing anyone and people gawking at your naked body.”
“Women fawn all over you,” I counter.
“I’m never naked.” True. Sometimes the camera catches him without his shirt, though. “I’m yours. Nobody else’s.” Playfulness seeps into his eyes again. Glancing down at his erection and with a mischievous smile, his impish, dark eyes are on my face as he alluringly elicits, “Why don’t you come and get what’s rightfully yours?”
“No, I can’t,” I lie, but knowing that the only thing I can’t do is refuse him. If I ever would take a risqué picture of Finn, this would be it. The way he’s leaning back on his elbows and inviting me to take advantage of what he has to offer is beyond a thousand and one words.
“Walk away from me, Becks.” Burning his eyes into my wide-eyed stare, he whispers, “I dare you.”
I run past the steps and go down to the edge of the massive hedge, swinging around them, but I misjudge the turn, lose my balance and slam right into the shrubbery. Fuck, that hurt! My arms are scratched up, but I have to keep going. I will not be taken out by a gang of yew bushes. I run around the long arm of the hedge, hoping to catch her on the other side. It’s not crowded up here, so that’s an advantage.
Rounding the other side, I see the clearing to the path and picnic tables on either side. I slow down so I don’t collide with anyone coming out of the shrub-enclosed picnic area, and that’s when a small, aqua-colored cloud runs into me.
She won’t even look at me. I immediately grab her arms and bend so I can see her face. Becks tries to pull her arms away from me, but I strengthen my hold on her. “Let me go, Finn!”
“Not a chance in hell.” There’s no way I’m leaving her when she’s so upset. She angles her head to wipe her face on her trapped hand. That’s when I noticed her damp cheeks and her red eyes.
“You’re crying.” I thought she would be upset, but not to this degree. I’m in deeper shit than I thought.
She looks at the ground and not at me. “I’m not.” Liar.
I tug at her chin so I can look at her, but she won’t focus her eyes on me. I’ve only seen Becks cry twice. I don’t ever want to see her crying sad tears again. Becks is, though. Because of me.
“Yes, you are.” I reach down and grab her wrist again. “Did you know all this was going on with Morgan?”
She winces. “No.”
I pull her to me, but she goes unwillingly. “Let’s get out of here.”
Still refusing to look at me, she grumbles, “No. I need to spend time with Morgan. She just made a huge announcement. I need to be here for her.”
“Then why aren’t you? Why did you take off?”
Her eyes blaze with anger as she finally glowers at me. “How can you ask me that? You know the things I want. Now, even Morgan is getting married and starting a family. She said she wasn’t even sure she wanted kids. If Rod beats me to the altar, you’ll have to lock me up in the loony bin.”
“Becks, I said I’d think about it.” I already have, though.
She scowls at me and her eyebrows pull harshly together. “No, you won’t. I saw your reaction to her bombshells. You were furious.”
“No, I wasn’t.” Yes, I was.
“Don’t lie to me, Finn Wilder. I saw you,” she snaps. I’ve never seen Becks this mad at me.
I release an arm. “Can we please go home and talk about this?”
“No. You won’t talk about this at home, either. You’ll say that you’re thinking about it. I have no idea how long you’ll take to make a decision if you even make one at all. Meanwhile, my ring finger is ice cold and my eggs are drying up!” Wow. She’s more than upset.
I fling my arms out to my sides in exasperation. “What do you want me to do?” She can be pissed off about all this? Well, so am I! I didn’t want this shit to happen! “I said I’d think about it, but now all you want to do is throw it in my face! Why can’t you give me the time that I need?”
Her eyes widen. “Time? Sure, you have all the time you want! I don’t!”
“I won’t take that long, Becks.” I’ve already made my decision. I’m not marrying you. I love you too much.
“You’ve already taken three years! How much more time do you need?” She jerks her arm from my laxed grip and crosses her arms, and again, avoiding eye contact with me. “It’s me, isn’t it? You don’t know if it’s me that you really want.” Not true.
Resting my hands on my hips, I take a quick look around to see if we’re drawing a crowd. That’s the last thing we need. “That’s not it. I promise you.”
She angrily sighs. “I forgot. It’s your parents.”
I glance back to her. I can’t believe she’s this dejected. “I told you it was.”
“I don’t believe you.”
I shake my head and scathingly retort, “What? You think I’m lying to you?”
“Yes. I think there’re other reasons for you not wanting to make the lifelong commitment to me.”
“I already have!” I say loudly, probably too loud. I take another cursorily look around and irritably lower my voice. “I told you that we’re permanent and I’ll never leave you!”
“You just don’t want us wearing rings to broadcast that fact because then people would see you’re taken.” No, I don’t.
“I am taken!” I slide a hand into my hair and bite my lip. “Damn it! I told you I don’t care what people say about me. It’s what they say about you!”
“Right.” What the hell?
Past frustrated, I motion aimlessly into the air. “That’s the damn truth, Becks! I want to protect you!”
“You want to hide me! I feel like your dirty, little secret, Finn!” What? No!
I heave a hand into my hair again. “You’re not!”
Becks says, “Even if you would wear a wedding ring in public, you still don’t want to sign a legal document saying that I’m yours.”
“Do you honestly need a piece of paper to believe that you’re mine?”
She instantly nods. “Yes.”
“What do you want me to do?” I open my eyes and take a step toward her, stooping as I peer into her eyes. “Do you want me to go out and get you a diamond ring and propose to you?” What am I doing? I throw my hands out again and she glances away from me. “Fine. I’ll do just that. Will that make you feel more secure about us?”
Her eyes are hotly on mine. “Why are you being such a dick?”
“What the hell? I just said we’ll get…engaged!” What the fuck did I just do?
“You’d only be asking me to marry you just to shut my mouth for a while. You’d put a ring on my finger, but you still would have no intention of ever marrying me.” True.
“So, if I got down on my knee and proposed right now, you’d say no?”
“Yes. I’d say no.”
“Fuck, I can’t win,” I growl, turning away from her. She’d actually reject my proposal now? Really? She would? That inexplicably hurts. Even though I don’t want to propose, that’s a definite blow to my ego.
When I consider it more, I’m not so dead-set on getting engaged. It’s the beyond that. She’s right.
Exasperated by this entire conversation, I sigh. “Why would you say no?”
She sniffs as I watch people walking past. “Because you’d be proposing to me almost under duress. But because you want a future for us!”
“Baby, I have one with you.”
She sniffs again and wipes her cheek. “You think you do.” What the fuck?
I feel like she just swung a Louisville Slugger into my stomach. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
What is something unique/quirky about you?
Unique or quirky. Hmm. I’m right-handed but can only drive with my left. Weird, I know. I write my best/intense scenes in the dark. The smell of peaches or cucumbers makes me gag big time. The artificial scents are even worse than the smell of real peaches.
Where were you born/grew up at?
I grew up in several places in West Virginia’s northern panhandle, but I lived the longest in both Bethany and Wheeling and attended West Liberty State College (now University), graduating with a degree in Criminal Justice.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I loved writing the most in middle school and my middle school language arts teacher, Mrs. Mains, told me I should be a writer. I loved hearing that, but I fell out of writing in high school some until college. My Freshman English professor encouraged me to write more since she enjoyed my daily journal entries we had to turn in to her. She either laughed or cried, which was a huge compliment. From there, I took a creative writing class, where I learned a thing or two. I was going to major in English, but I didn’t really know what I could do with an English degree, besides becoming a teacher, which I didn’t want to do. I wanted to be a writer, but I didn’t know how far I could get with that career since it seemed unobtainable. I didn’t even keep my stories or journal entries because I thought I’d never get anywhere and I was wasting my time.
I loved law enforcement, but I also didn’t want to be a police officer, instead working behind the scenes or along with the police. So, that’s what I ultimately decided to pursue in college, hoping to get a job, but it also was an uphill climb to get anywhere in the field.
After working for a medical insurance company and being assigned to write the remarks on EOBs, I became a certified medical transcriptionist, which oddly, has led me to transcribing police reports. So, that’s where I am right now amidst my writing.
Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?
Ooh. I’ve thought about that. I think out of all my books, The Keys to Jericho or UNSCREWED would be good as movies, whereas my Wild Sparks books would be good as a series on HBO or Netflix. Just a thought for anyone out there with connections.
What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
On the way to one of my book signings, two of my friends and I visited Richmond, Virginia, the home of my Wild Sparks series, and then the New River Gorge Bridge in Fayetteville, West Virginia, which is also featured in that series. It was surreal being in the places I wrote about. I felt like my books were coming to life in a way. I loved it.
Do you have a favorite movie?
One of my favorite movies of all time is Honeymoon in Vegas with Nicholas Cage and Sarah Jessica Parker. Such a great and underrated movie. I also love Wedding Crashers, and Girls’ Trip.
What inspired you to write this book?
My most current book, UNSCREWED, is so out of my comfort zone, but it’s also my favorite character’s story, Greg Rodwell. He’s a funny guy with a big heart, who has serious problems buried beneath the surface that nobody ever expected. Nothing really specific inspired me to write it, except that Greg needed to tell his story. It’s not pretty, perfect, or always funny. In all actuality, his story is probably the most tragic of all my characters.
How did you come up with the title of your first novel?
It took a while but one of the main characters, Finn Wilder, is a sportscaster/daredevil who has his own sports segment on Fridays called the Wild Side. As I was writing the second book, Daring the Wild Sparks, it became apparent that his name would dominate the series. I can’t give it all away, but by reading the series, you’d figure out why or how it got its name.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I wanted UNSCREWED to be so much longer, but I tend to let my books run away from me like that. Beckoning the Wild Sparks is huge at around 700 pages I think. The Keys to Jericho is slightly shorter.
Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
A lot more real than fiction.
Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
That I would dismantle my Wild Sparks series with one paragraph from UNSCREWED.
Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story? Convince us why you feel your book is a must-read.
Oh, hell yes. I always have an outline. But when I write, usually about halfway through, all that is blown apart, especially Greg Rodwell. He has such a mind of his own. It’s like he takes over my brain and I just type what he says. Seriously. Most of the time I have no idea what he will say or do. That’s the beauty/horror of writing him. UNSCREWED is a book I was terrified to write for four years now and it is the most challenging book I have written so far. It took me way out of my comfort zone, but his story needed to be told authentically and as raw as possible. His story will make you laugh, yell, cry, and question what the hell is happening. I questioned it at every turn. Underneath his silly exterior lies a deeply traumatized soul. Finding the balance of the light and the dark was a struggle, but I’m immensely proud of the book, no matter how difficult it was to write and it will be to read.
What is your favorite part of this book and why?
The end. It’s earth-shattering and mind-blowing. I did not expect any of it.
Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?
Mostly beforehand in the outline, but some will pop up here and there as I go. The major ones, though, are well-thought out ahead of time.
Pen or typewriter or computer?
It used to be pencil when I was in grade school. By college, it was typewriter that soon transitioned to a computer. I don’t know how I did it before the computer came along!
What makes a good story?
A story that sucks you in and refused to let you go, even after you finished. It will stick to you for days, sometimes weeks, and often you want to go back and read parts of it or the whole thing again. Those are my favorites.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
It never used to be until recently, but Facebook and my damn phone. I’m constantly checking FB because that’s how I communicate with my PA, who lives in Canada. I’m a slave to distraction. I would get so much more done if I didn’t stop to check FB, my messages, or just to procrastinate in general. I do that especially when hitting a difficult section of my book, which UNSCREWED had a ton. I need to be better about ignoring all the crap and just writing.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
When I started out, I wrote three books in about four months, and they’re LONG books, like 200,000 plus words. My latest UNSCREWED is one of my smaller ones and it took twice as long due to the story and the increased amount of distractions. Refer back to the previous question/answer.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
More than the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Abominable Snowman altogether. The struggle is friggin’ real.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
As Shakespeare said, “To thine own self be true.” It’s my life’s motto. I do my own thing and ignore the trends or what people tell me I should be doing. I’m not them. I’m Ren Alexander, not Author A or Author B, and I’m truer to myself than anyone else could be in my place. I tell the stories that need to be told, whether they’re commercial or not. Don’t really care about that aspect, even if I should.
Highland Brides of Skye Book 1
by Tarah Scott and April Holthaus
Genre: Historical Romance
Over the years, many lasses have found refuge in the Scottish Highland’s Glenwood Abbey. But for three young ladies, sanctuary becomes servitude, with master puppeteer Malcom Donald using them in his plan to rule the Isle of Skye.
When a return trip home from a clan meeting ends in a bloodbath, Laird Caeleb MacLeod begins his search for the clansman who betrayed them. Little does he know he need look no further than his bed.
As the housekeeper for Laird Caeleb MacLeod, Gwendolyn is in a position to learn many things important to her master, Malcom Donald, captain to the Donald laird. Now she must choose between destroying the man she loves and saving the sister being held hostage by Malcolm.
PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED AS TREASURES OF SKYE
Highland Brides of Skye Book 2
For years, master thief Helena Donald has lived at Glenwood Abbey and submitted to Malcolm Donald’s bidding. Desperate to break free of his control, Helena agrees to steal the MacLeod Faire Flag for Malcolm for she intends to sell the flag and start a new life far from Malcom. When Helena is caught in a blizzard, she prefers to die in the cold wasteland rather than return to the abbey.
Kaden MacLeod has chosen a solitary life in a cabin on the shore of Loch Haven. But a woman’s scream during a raging snowstorm sends him racing to rescue Helena from the frigid waters of the frozen loch. When he learns that this beautiful young woman is about to commit the same crime for which his father, Laird MacLeod, hung Kaden’s younger brother, he’ll stop at nothing to prevent her from facing a similar fate.
Highland Brides of Skye Book 3
Betrothed to Lady Allison, the granddaughter of the dying MacKenzie laird, Jacob MacKinnon stands ready to do his duty and unite their two clans. But enemies watch, and plan to prevent the uniting of those two powers.
After an attack on his betrothed’s carriage leaves only Lady Allison alive, Jacob is determined to find her would-be killers.
Linnae Donald is a lowly serving girl. How is she supposed to tell Laird MacKenzie that the granddaughter he’s mistaken her for died when their carriage was attacked?
She can’t break a dying man’s heart. Neither can she do what Jacob MacKinnon asks and help him prevent a war by pretending to be Lady Alison…and marrying him.
Best-selling author Tarah Scottcut her teeth on authors such as Georgette Heyer, Zane Grey, and Amanda Quick. Her favorite book is a Tale of Two Cities, with Gone With the Wind as a close second. She writes modern classical romance, and paranormal and romantic suspense. Tarah grew up in Texas and currently resides in Westchester County, New York with her daughter.
April Holthausis an Award-Winning Author for her Scottish Historical Romances. For more than ten years, she has worked full time in the direct marketing business, but developed a passion of historical romances through her love of reading, history and genealogy. When she is not working or writing, April loves to spend time with her family and traveling.
Excerpt 1 (sensual)--
Linnae understood what passed between a man and a woman. She just wasn’t certain she was ready for it to pass between her and Jacob.
The women had stripped her, washed her, and put her between warm sheets naked. She lay, the covers clutched to her neck, and eventually began to sweat in the warm room. How long before Jacob would come? She knew wedding celebrations could last into the wee hours of the night. Twice, she nodded off and jarred awake at sounds she believed she’d imagined.
A shout caused her to jump. More shouts followed, mingled with laughter. The men approached.
Would they all burst into the room?
Would they insist upon witnessing the consummation of the marriage?
She had heard of such happenings.
Linnae began to tremble. The voices grew closer. When they reached the door, she scooted back and sat up against the headboard, the covers up over her shoulders.
The door burst open and she tensed at sight of a dozen rowdy men pushing through the doorway with Jacob in the lead.
He whirled and shouted, “Back, lads, or I will have you whipped, one and all.”
Raucous laughter followed, along with shouts of, “There she is,” and “She’s ready for you, Jacob,” and, “If he’s too drunk to satisfy ye, lass, I can take his place.”
Jacob shoved the two closest men and they fell back into the crowd. He slammed the door, threw his weight against the wood, and shoved the bolt into place.
The door groaned against the weight of the men and a myriad of shouts and threats ensued. Jacob turned, met her gaze, and grinned. “You must forgive them. They drank too much wine and ale.”
She nodded but could find no words.
His expression gentled. “I imagine the lasses left you in a state desirable to me, but perhaps not so desirable for you.”
She frowned. “What do you mean?”
“I mean, a man will always delight in finding a beautiful naked woman in his bed. But the woman may not care to be that naked woman.”
“I am your wife. It is my duty to submit.”
He grimaced. “A woman--particularly a naked woman in a man’s bed--should not be there because she must submit.”
“But it is a wife’s duty,” she said.
“So the priests teach,” he said. “But, Linnae, do ye no’ think that mutual liking will make for better lovemaking?”
Lovemaking? Her stomach did a flip. She hadn’t thought of it in that light. How had she thought of it? As she’d said: duty.
“You’re clearly terrified,” he said.
“Terrified?” she blurted. “I am not terrified.”
“Lass, you are clutching that sheet as if ye expect me to eat you alive.”
That wasn’t far from the truth. But her pride was pricked and she threw back the sheet and leapt to her feet.
His brows shot up. ”Ye have nothing to prove, lass. You didnae expect to be married. I’m willing to give you time to adjust to your new state.”
Her cheeks flamed, but she said, “You promised me if we wed, it would be a real marriage—you swore before God and witnesses that I was your wife.”
He crossed his arms over his chest. “Are you challenging my word?”
Linnae lifted her chin. “I am.”
“A man can’t let such a challenge go unanswered.”
Excerpt 2 (clean)--
Linnae kept her attention on the scenery passing outside the carriage and pretended not to notice the other two maids’ giggles.
“Cook said that Jacob MacKinnon can make a lass swoon simply by looking at her,” the younger maid, Rebecca, said.
Lady Alison shifted on the carriage seat beside Linnae. “Perhaps it is true,” her mistress said. “Such a man would only marry a beautiful woman.”
Linnae hid a smile. Lady Alison referred to herself, of course—and failed to add that her grandfather, Laird MacKenzie, had betrothed her to Laird MacKinnon in order to bind the MacKenzie and MacKinnon clans. Lady Alison could have been horse-faced and Laird MacKinnon would have married her. Lady Alison, however, was not horse-faced. No doubt, Laird MacKinnon would be more than pleased to have the flaxen-haired beauty as his bride, even if she was only fifteen.
“I believe Linnae is laughing at me,” Lady Alison said.
Linnae looked at her and said in an innocent voice, “Nae, my lady, I would never do that.”
Lady Alison arched a haughty brow. “Do you know the penalty for laughing at your mistress?”
Linnae dropped her gaze. “A lashing.”
“A tongue lashing, ye saucy maid.” Alison bumped Linnae’s shoulder with her own.
Linnae looked up and widened her eyes. “And you are very good at dosing out tongue lashings, my lady.”
Lady Alison grinned. Linnae didn’t miss the roll of Rebecca’s eyes and Dina’s answering look, but didn’t care. They were simply jealous of the friendship that had sprung up between Linnae and her mistress. No one was more surprised than Linnae that the spoiled noblewoman had taken to her with such force. After nearly two years of Linnae’s service, Alison rarely went anywhere without Linnae.
When Lady Alison had received the message from her brother David that their grandfather had betrothed her to Jacob MacKinnon, her one condition of acceptance was that Linnae go with her. He’d sent Dina and Rebecca, as well, for David MacKenzie wouldn’t have it said that he’d sent his sister to marry the MacKinnon laird without at least three maids in attendance. Of course, he didn’t accompany them, just as he hadn’t been home for more than a few weeks during the last two years.
“ ‘Tis warm for that cloak you’re wearing, do ye not think, Linnae?” Dina said.
Before Linnae could answer, Lady Alison said, “Hold your tongue, Dina. Ye are just jealous because I gave the dress and cloak to Linnae.”
Dina’s eyes widened.
Alison tossed her head. “I might decide to send ye back to my brother’s home.”
Tears filled Dina’s eyes.
Alison rolled her eyes. “Good heavens, do no’ cry. ‘Tis your own fault for being cruel to Linnae.”
“She wasnae really cruel,” Linnae said gently. “And she is right. The carriage is warm. But I admit, I like the brush of fine cloth against my arms.”
Alison’s eyes narrowed and Linnae feared she had miscalculated. Alison was loyal to a fault, but that fault often came in the form of a childish demand to be obeyed. She might insist Dina had been cruel and deserved punishment.
Dina stared at her hands clasped in her lap and said in a small voice, “The rich purple of the dress does flatter your hair, Linnae.”
“Just as I knew it would,” Alison said. “Linnae and I have the same fair hair.”
Dina looked up, eyes wide, but said nothing.
“I saw Laird MacKinnon once,” Rebecca said, in an obvious attempt to divert Alison’s attention. “He is perfect.”
Linnae sighed. More talk of Jacob MacKinnon wasn’t wise, at this point.
“He can break a tree in half with his bare hands,” Rebecca went on.
Linnae snorted. She knew nothing of the man save the gossip that had swept through the castle when word of the betrothal had reached them a month ago—and would wager neither did Rebecca. It was irrational to believe that a man—or a beast, for that matter—could break a tree in half with his bare hands or make a woman swoon at the sight of him. If such a man existed, he wouldn’t live among mortals. As long as a man had a good name and a good family, an honest woman needed nothing more. Lady Alison should be so fortunate to marry such an esteemed laird.
Rebecca giggled. “Ye are very fortunate, mistress.”
Alison’s fingers groped for Linnae’s on the seat beside her. Linnae grasped Alison’s hand and gently squeezed. True to her station in life, Lady Alison was a maiden. Her apprehension about arriving at her grandfather’s home to immediately marry and be bedded by a man she hadn’t seen since she was six years old had grown into an anxiety that had kept her awake the last two nights.
Linnae once again turned her attention out the window and Lady Alison rested her head on Linnae’s shoulder. Their carriage curved along a steep incline and Linnae peered out the window into a deep ravine. Patches of bluebells, primroses and hyacinths colored the landscape.
Linnae’s stomach churned. Her own anxiety had grown along with Lady Alison’s.
After the wedding, Jacob MacKinnon would take Lady Alison away from Eilean Donan Castle to his home on Skye. Linnae hadn’t been on Skye since she ran away from Glenwood Abbey two and a half years ago. In truth, she hadn’t planned on ever returning. Dunakin Castle, seat of the MacKinnon clan, commanded the strait of Kyle Akin between Skye and the mainland. From the tower, she would be able to see the loch and hills as far as the eye could reach. That would be as far into Skye as she dared venture for--
A deafening cry drowned out her thoughts, causing Linnae to jolt in her seat. The carriage listed to the right and the other three women slammed against Linnae’s side of the coach. One woman crashed into her. Linnae’s head struck the side of the carriage and dull pain throbbed. The vehicle righted and the women scrambled back into their seats.
“Holy God, what happened?” Lady Alison demanded as she leaned toward the window.
Linnae reached for her. “Nae! My lady,” she cried, but her warning came too late. The carriage began to tip.
The other women screamed and slid against the wall again. The carriage crashed onto its side—then began to tumble. Linnae’s head slammed the cushion, then she was thrown against Lady Alison. Her ladyship flailed. They struck the front of the carriage as it came to a grinding halt. And silence.
Her head pounded. Linnae raised her hand to her head and drew a breath at the pain. Her heart thrummed in her ears. What had happened?
Angry male shouts mingled with the clash of steel. She tried to concentrate on the noise, but it seemed to come from a distance. Linnae grasped the door handle and dragged herself to a sitting position. Her head spun. She squinted in an effort to discern her surroundings. The interior of the carriage swam into blurry focus. Two of the women—one Lady Alison—lay motionless beside her. Linnae groped for a pulse at Lady Alison’s neck. Tears pressed against the backs of her eyes when she detected no heartbeat.
“Ye cannae be dead, my lady,” she said through tears. “Wake up.” But the young woman remained motionless.
Linnae brushed Lady Alison’s hair from her face and searched for any signs of life in the eyes that stared up at her. This wasn’t possible. Her mistress couldn’t be dead. Tears streamed down her face, but she forced herself to examine the other two women. Dina lay with her neck at an odd angle. Linnae wasn’t surprised when she felt no pulse in Dina’s neck, but her stomach churned and she forced back tears as she felt for a pulse on the young Rebecca’s neck. She, too, was dead. Linnae rose and realized she stood on the roof of the carriage. She edged past her mistress to the door and shoved it open, nearly falling out. She caught herself and straightened. She gasped at sight of the carriage walls crushed inward like paper.
Shouts yanked her from the shock. She stumbled around the side of the carriage, then stopped. The horses lay in a tangle of leather and harness. Shouts yanked her attention up where a dozen men fought atop the hill. Her eyes tracked the skid marks the carriage had carved from the top of the hill to the steep ravine. Sweet heaven, how had she survived?
Two men dismounted their horses and began scanning the ravine. She ducked behind the carriage, then stilled for three heartbeats until her head cleared. Carefully, she peered around the edge. Her heart beat wildly. The men had started down the hill.
Her mind muddled. What was she to do? She thought of her female companions—and Lady Alison’s bag, which carried her mother’s ruby necklace and the gold band she was to give Laird MacKinnon when they married. Linnae forced back tears and sent up a quick prayer for the women’s souls, then quickly retrieved Lady Alison’s satchel. She pressed a kiss to Alison’s forehead, then climbed out of the carriage. With trembling fingers, she felt for the knife sheathed and strapped to her belt and nearly burst into tears when she found it hadn’t fallen out during the accident. With a prayer that she wouldn’t have to use it, she stumbled toward the trees.
Keeping out of sight of the road, she stayed inside the tree line and continued away from the clang of steel-upon-steel. Sounds of the fighting waned, and the thunderous pounding of horses’ hooves racing along the high road above drew nearer.
The trees began to thin and she reached a stone arch bridge that crossed a creek. She started across then froze at the sound of riders approaching. Cloak gripped tightly about her, she scurried down the incline and under the arch. Her heartbeat matched the thunder of hooves as they galloped past. Loose dirt fell like rain into the rapid waters below. With trembling hands, she clung to the cloak until quiet reigned.
Fear cramped her stomach, but she picked her way back up the incline and ran across the bridge. Night would soon be upon her and sleeping in the woods without food or protection wasn’t a fate she wished to consider.
“This way!” a man shouted.
Linnae whirled. Three men trekked through the brush toward her. How had they found her? She caught sight of her small footprints in the moist ground.
Oh, sweet Heavens!
Linnae whirled and barreled into a broad expanse of plaid. She leapt back and jerked her gaze up to the face of a tall man with stormy blue eyes and shoulder-length brown hair. She froze. Bootfalls sounded behind her. Linnae clutched the satchel close to her breast. Three other giant brutes came into view.
The first man eyed her like a wolf about to attack. Linnae broke eye contact as the others circled her.
She yanked the knife from the sheath strapped to her belt. “Take another step closer and I will kill ye.” The trembling inside her stomach began to work its way through her body and she prayed her hand wouldn’t betray her terror.
“Ye need no’ fear us, lass,” the first said.
The concern in his voice surprised her. She stared.
“I am Laird Jacob MacKinnon. My men and I were expecting you this morning. When ye did no’ arrive, we began searching for you. I am only sorry we arrived too late.”
Laird MacKinnon? Lady Alison’s betrothed. Memory flashed of the women’s description of him, tall, muscular and handsome. Lady Alison would never see him for herself.
Tears sprang to her eyes and she dropped the hand gripping the knife to her side. “The carriage went off the cliff. The others—” She broke off.
“We saw the others, my lady,” he said in a soft voice. “I am sorry.”
A lump formed in her throat.
“We must go,” he said.
She slid the knife into its sheathe, then remembered the men. “I saw men fighting on the hill.”
His mouth thinned. “Aye. We chased the curs. They attacked your party.”
“Attacked us? Why?”
“I dinnae know, but we will find out soon enough. Come, we will escort ye home. Our horses are just over the hill.” He winged an am arm toward her.
Linnae slipped her hand into the crook of his arm. He covered her fingers with his large warm hand and squeezed. She clutched close the satchel and was grateful for the warmth of his hand on hers as they tramped through the woods. Linnae hurried to keep up with his long strides until they reached the top of the hill. Half a dozen other men waited with their horses.
“Let me take your satchel, lass.”
Before she could respond, he took the satchel and hung it from the pommel, then grasped her waist and hoisted her onto the horse’s rump. He mounted in front of her and clicked his tongue. The horse lurched into motion. Linnae threw her arms around his waist, cheek pressed against his back, and hugged him tight in order to keep from slipping off. The scent of musk and burnt wood filled her nostrils. His stomach muscles flexed beneath her fingers.
This man would have soothed Lady Alison’s fears. Memory of Alison’s motionless body brought tears. Silently, Linnae gave into her sorrow and cried into Laird MacKinnon’s plaid.
The Princess and the Wolf
The Clan of the Wolf Book 1
by Karen Kay
Genre: Historical Romance
TWO HEARTS BETRAYED
Refusing to believe the rumors that the European prince she was forced to marry had died in a far-off land, the princess, Sierra, sets sail to America, bent on revenge and determined to learn the truth. Because she will require a scout to guide her through the wilderness, she calls in a favor from the man who had betrayed her long ago, the man she had once loved deeply and had hoped to wed, the noble Cheyenne scout, High Wolf.
Many years before, a European prince had invited High Wolf to travel an ocean and as a brother, to live as a member of the royal family. There High Wolf had fallen in love with the princess, Sierra. But instead of an engagement and the planned wedding, the princess had treacherously married his friend, the prince. Betrayed and broken-hearted, High Wolf sailed back to America, determined to forget the princess. But a promise given to her years earlier brings her back into his life, igniting a desire he must resist, for to surrender to her again is unthinkable.
Forced into one another’s company, with the threat of life or death around every corner, overcoming their prejudice might be their only means of survival. But can either of them trust in a love, once betrayed? Or will their past force them apart again, this time forever?...
This book has been previously published.
Warning: A sensuous romance that might fan the flames of desire. Be warned. You might fall in love all over again.
Brave Wolf and the Lady
The Clan of the Wolf Book 2
He saved her life, then stole her heart….
To escape an arranged marriage, Mia Carlson, daughter of a U.S. senator, instead elopes with the man she loves. As they are escaping from her Virginia home, heading west, their wagon train is brutally attacked, leaving Mia alone and in grave danger. Rescue comes from a most unlikely source, a passing Lakota scouting party, led by the darkly handsome Indian, Brave Wolf.
Although Brave Wolf has consented to guide Mia to the nearest trading post, he holds himself apart from her, for his commitments lie elsewhere. But long days on the trail lead to a deep connection with the red-haired beauty. Yet, he can’t stop wondering why death and danger stalk this beautiful woman, forcing him to rescue her time and again. Who is doing this, and why?
One thing is clear, however: Amid the flurry of dodging assassin bullets, Brave Wolf and Mia come into possession of a powerful love. But is it all for naught? Will Brave Wolf’s obligations and Mia’s secret enemy from the past finally succeed in the sinister plot to destroy their love forever?
Writing under the pen names of Karen Kay and Gen Bailey, Karen is a multi-published author of Native American historical romances. She has been praised by reviewers and fans alike for bringing the historic American Indian culture to life, and she has been nominated for several different awards. Karen's great-grandmother was Choctaw Indian, and because of this, she is honored to be able to write stories that depict the Native American point of view.
All of her books concern the Native American culture, and says Karen, "With the power and passion of romance, I hope to bring about an awareness of the vital forces that helped shape the American Indian culture. There are some things that should never be forgotten."
Forged in Flood
by Dahlia Donovan
Genre: M/M/M Contemporary Romance
From best-selling author Dahlia Donovan comes a new witty novel between three very different men. With drama, emotional turmoil, and hilarious banter, be prepared to be swept away in Dahlia’s British M/M/M romance.
When one drunken night forever scars three best friends, will they ever find a way to pick up the pieces?
Eaten up with guilt, Ivan Black spends ten years hiding from the world. He retreats to his family forge to wallow in misery. Alone. So lonely his heart aches with it.
Wesley Cook and Rolland Spence have been together since university. They struggle through the physical scars of the accident, building a life in the ruins of their dreams. They find happiness but continue to miss their angry ginger Viking—Ivan.
In all the anger of wasted years, the three men find a way to forge a relationship as hot as the fires in the smithy.
Forged in Flood is a British contemporary M/M/M romance. With heartache, hot men with foul mouths, and plenty of heat, enjoy getting to know Ivan, Wesley, and Roland.
Dahlia Donovan wrote her first romance series after a crazy dream about shifters and damsels in distress. She prefers irreverent humour and unconventional characters. An autistic and occasional hermit, her life wouldn’t be complete without her husband and her massive collection of books and video games.
Follow the tour HERE for exclusive content and a giveaway!
Excerpt:The Blacks of Boscastle had run the forge since before the sixteenth century. All the men and many of the women in his family had been blacksmiths by trade. Ivan had always felt particularly proud to follow in their footsteps. They’d worked through rains, wars, and plagues.
I’m not going to be the first to run over a spot of bad weather.
There was one major downside to everyone in the village having fled—there were no distractions. Ivan had far too much time on his hands to think. His mind went back in time to an event best left untouched. One dismal night, one massive car crash, and three young lives drastically altered forever.
He’d restricted himself to Boscastle and the smithy since then, promising never to take risks ever again. And he hadn’t, not really. His life had become incredibly boring and predictable.
Ivan gritted his teeth and slammed down the hammer in his hand to stave off the onslaught of memories. “Sodding rain.”
As a young man, Ivan and his two best mates had been the pride of their university. Rugby stars in the making; all three had already signed contracts to turn professional upon graduation. The offers hinged on them staying healthy and keeping their heads in the game.
One accident had ruined it for all three of them.
All my fucking fault.
Of the three young men, Ivan had gotten off easiest as far as long-term issues. He’d suffered a severe concussion along with cuts and bruises. The accident left him with memory problems, a short fuse on his temper, and blindingly painful migraines; his balance had also been greatly affected by the damage to his brain.
His mate, Wes, had the injuries that were most visible. His face, hands, and arms had been left covered with scars. He’d also lost the sight in his right eye.
The third of their trio, Rolly, had gone through multiple surgeries on his left leg. Even with the best care, it would never be the same. He’d walk with a limp for the rest of his life.
Three promising sports careers flushed down the toilet by one foolish mistake. Everyone consoled Ivan by reminding him that any of them could’ve been behind the wheel. They’d driven drunk a thousand times before and gotten lucky each time.
Their luck had simply run out. They’d taken their lives (and the lives of anyone else on the road) into their own stupid, drunken hands. The car had flown around a corner on a rain-slicked road and rolled several times before crashing into a tree.
For Ivan, his dreams going up in smoke hadn’t been the worst part. Not a day went by where he didn’t regret losing his best mates. Guilt, more than anything, kept him from trying to breach the gap and contact them.
He’d hidden himself away in Cornwall to avoid ever having to see either man again.
Fucking enough, you fuckwitted moron.
Beating yourself up won’t change anything.
Sod this sodding rain.