Mar 072020
 

Tumble (Dogwood Lane Series #1) by Adriana Locke

A Washington Post and Amazon Charts bestseller.

From USA Today bestselling author Adriana Locke comes a witty romance about first love and second chances.

After being burned by her dream job in New York City, sports journalist Neely Kimber suddenly finds herself jobless and paying a long-overdue visit to her hometown in Tennessee. Her plan? Relax, reset, and head back up the corporate ladder. There’s just one unexpected step. Neely’s back in Dogwood Lane for barely a day when she sees the man she ran from nine years ago: the bad boy next door who was her first kiss, her first love, and her first heartbreak.

Devoted single dad Dane Madden knows he hurt Neely in the worst way. He’s got a lot to make up for. And as passionate as their reconnection is, it’s a lot to hope for. Having her back in his arms feels so right. But falling in love all over again with a woman who wants to live a world away is bound to go so wrong.

What’s it going to take for Neely to give him—and Dogwood Lane—just one more chance?

Title: Tumble (Dogwood Lane #1)
Author: Adriana Locke
Publication Date: February 16th, 2019
Shelves: Contemporary; Romance;
Format: Kindle (279 pages)
Rating: 9/10

If I have a book with a single dad, raising a little princess, I am completely sold.

This was the case with Tumble, a book where Dane stole my heart.

Neely fled her hometown because she was heartbroken over a mistake Dane did. 10 years later, after she stupidly resigned her job over a work-related situation, she took a flight home.

Here, she is faced with her past and all the friends she left behind. Her struggle is between a New York hectic life and a small-town life, where things slow down and she can actually live for once.

Things are not easy, Dane is still the one that stole her heart, broke it, but never returned it. Their chemistry is hard to fight, especially when she is pulled by the little girl who calls Dane, Daddy.

This was an easy read, one that made me what to binge the whole series.

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Feb 242020
 

Anthology: Jordyn’s Army

SPECIAL RELEASE IN HONOR OF JORDYN PRESTON

JORDY’S ARMY is a charity anthology for Jordyn Preston (daughter of author Beverly Preston) who lost her fight against cancer on February 16, 2020. (Keep reading if you want to learn more about this amazing young lady.) This was previously released in September, 2019.

EVERY SINGLE PENNY, not profits, but ALL money from this project will go to the Preston family.

Seventeen previously released short stories from:
Fighting For Our Forever… Baby style by Heidi McLaughlin
Pure Rose by Kathy Coopmans
Waking Up to Forever by Amy Briggs
Crush by Adriana Locke
Love, Rose by Shari Ryan
Reunion by Julie Richman
Coming Home by Author HJ Bellus
Roses for Rachel by Sam JD Hunt, Author
Finley and Sebastián, Wages of Sin series by Tara Leigh
Whiskey & Roses by Kaylee Ryan
Where I Escape by Michelle Dare
Capturing Tomorrow by Haylee Thorne
Coming Up Roses by Michelle Windsor
LINE 39 by Verlene Landon
Mine to Protect by Kristin Mayer
The Way We Fell by MJ Fields
Ring Me by Rebecca Brooke

A little about Jordyn:

For those who don’t know, Jordyn Preston was a twenty-year-old Las Vegas native where she lived with her family and two golden retrievers. When she wasn’t kicking cancer’s ass, you would’ve found her volunteering at her favorite dog training facility, creating art from copper or the stroke of a paintbrush. She also enjoyed cooking and sewing.

In June 2015, Jordyn was diagnosed with a very rare liver cancer and received a full liver transplant on September 3, 2015. She remained cancer-free for almost two years, before being re-diagnosed in Aug 2017, one week into her senior year of high school.

Through cancer, Jordyn found a new love, speaking in public. She shared her story and scars in hopes of inspiring others. Jordyn also acted as an Ambassador for the Make A Wish Foundation.

With the help of Jordyn and her mom, Beverly Preston, we’ve been able to bring Jordyn’s Army to you.

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Dec 272019
 

Trouble (Dogwood Lane Series #3) by Adriana Locke

She wants something real. He wants something now. Together they’re trouble in USA Today bestselling author Adriana Locke’s sexy and funny twice-in-a-lifetime love story.

With his shameless grin and let’s-play swagger, carpenter Penn Etling leaves women wanting in Dogwood Lane. What do they get? Avery Perry knows: a one-night stand. She’s been there. She remembers every hot pulse as if it were yesterday. But Penn? He doesn’t remember a thing. Now he’s making new moves, and Avery’s not falling for trouble…again. Is she?

How could the beautiful stranger resist him? Avery is going to be a challenge for the bad boy. She’s the kind of woman who digs deep—deep enough to see there’s more to Penn than meets the eye. But first she has to give him a chance. She has to say yes. Could she also be the woman to make him change his playboy ways?

When these two come together, it’s hard to pull them apart. But with love and trust on the line, can Avery and Penn get what they both want? This time for keeps?

Excerpt Trouble by Adriana Locke

Meet Penn Etling

Chapter One
Penn
“How hard is it, Penn?”
Dane’s keys hit the table. They skid into the salt shaker, sending it rattling around the tabletop. A raised brow that is some kind of warning is shot my direction before he turns and signals for a coffee.
“Well,” I say, as Claire approaches the table, “I probably shouldn’t answer that. I am a gentleman, after all.”
“You are not.” Claire side-eyes me as she sits a mug down in front of Dane. “You and the word gentleman should never be used in the same sentence.”
“But you just did.”
She rolls her eyes. “Want me to accidentally-on-purpose miss the cup and pour this piping hot liquid on your lap?”
“You’ve tried that before. I’m too quick.”
Claire snorts, her lips twisting into an amused smile. “I heard that about you.”
My jaw drops in mock horror.
“Will you two stop it? You fight like brother and sister,” Dane says.
“That would make Claire’s dreams awkward.”
Her head whips to mine, her eyes narrowed for my benefit. There’s a comeback on the tip of her tongue. I lean forward as if I’m waiting on her reply. She laughs instead.
“I hate you,” she says before turning to Dane. “Do you want anything to eat?”
“No. Thanks. Just trying to track this jackass down all morning.” He jams a thumb my way.
“Yeah, well, good luck now that you’ve found him. He’s sat in here all morning giving me hell,” Claire says. “If youneed anything else, let me know.”
Claire walks away, swaying her hips a little for my benefit. It’s appreciated. I’d much, muchrather think about her hips than whatever it is Dane’s going to rope me into.
He sips his coffee beside me like it’s another morning at the Dogwood Café. The table of farmers by the door probably think it’s just Madden Carpentry having some breakfast before we find Matt, my best friend and Dane’s younger brother, and get to work.
But it’s not.
Something is brewing over there and I don’t know what it is. What I do know is that Dane doesn’t start blowing up my phone at six in the morning on an actual work day, let alone my first vacation day in two years.
Yeah. Something is up and I’m not going to like it.

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 27 December 2019  Posted by  Tagged with: , ,  No Responses »
Jul 182019
 

Tumble (Dogwood Lane Series #1) by Adriana Locke

A Washington Post and Amazon Charts bestseller.

From USA Today bestselling author Adriana Locke comes a witty romance about first love and second chances.

After being burned by her dream job in New York City, sports journalist Neely Kimber suddenly finds herself jobless and paying a long-overdue visit to her hometown in Tennessee. Her plan? Relax, reset, and head back up the corporate ladder. There’s just one unexpected step. Neely’s back in Dogwood Lane for barely a day when she sees the man she ran from nine years ago: the bad boy next door who was her first kiss, her first love, and her first heartbreak.

Devoted single dad Dane Madden knows he hurt Neely in the worst way. He’s got a lot to make up for. And as passionate as their reconnection is, it’s a lot to hope for. Having her back in his arms feels so right. But falling in love all over again with a woman who wants to live a world away is bound to go so wrong.

What’s it going to take for Neely to give him—and Dogwood Lane—just one more chance?

Excerpt Tumble (Dogwood Lane Series #1) by Adriana Locke

Splat!
The sound of the hammer crushing my thumb—swung with more force than was necessary, to boot—ricochets across the front lawn. The tool falls from my hand, striking against the sawhorse, and flips into the soft grass with a gentle thud.
“Son of a…!” My hand shakes, the top of my thumb threatening to explode. I tilt my head to the sky and try to find some peace in the clouds.
I come up empty. “Matt!” I call to my younger brother. “I’m taking ten.”
He nods from halfway up the ladder leaned against the side of the house.
Wrapping my good hand around my thumb, I head toward my truck. Sounds of construction ring out behind me. It’s usually music to my ears, the lifeblood of the Madden name. But each cut of a sawblade, buzz of a power drill, and swing of a hammer feels like a distraction this morning. I have a throbbing thumb to show for it.
Beads of sweat cluster along my forehead. I remove my hat with my good hand and run the back of my forearm along my brow.
“Damn it.” Everything feels sticky. Mildly irritating. And the progress on the project that usually energizes me has failed me epically this morning. I just don’t want to be here. Not that I have a better place to be. Quite frankly, I have a lot of places I shouldn’t be, and with Neely, or thinking about Neely, is one of them.
I would’ve recognized her anywhere. Same gray eyes that glimmer like she’s about to tell you a secret. Full lips that spread into a smile so infectious you can’t help but feel your own mouth following suit. The hint of floral perfume, the golden hair that may as well be silk, and the aura about her that’s just as strong as the day she left Dogwood Lane and me—it’s all the same. It’s like time forgot to age her. She somehow has become more beautiful, sexier, stronger.
The world hates me. I’ve postulated this for a long time, but it’s obvious today.
The tailgate of my truck lowers. Scooping a handful of ice from the cooler in the bed into a bandanna, I wrap it around my injured digit. The relief lasts only a few moments.
“What are you doing down here?” Penn rests his forearms over the side of the truck, the tattoos carved in his skin like mini masterpieces on full display. He eyes my makeshift bandage. “What happened to you?”
“Hammer,” I groan, adjusting the ice.
“That’s interesting.”
“How you figure?”
“Never knew you to hit yourself with a hammer before. I find that interesting.”
“If that’s interesting, you need a hobby. Or you could work like I’m paying you to do . . .”
“I have a hobby, thank you, and you should’ve seen her last night,” he says, smacking his lips together. “Lord Almighty, she’s a—”
“Penn.”
“Yeah?”
The tip of my finger sticks out of the bandanna. It’s bright red and hot to the touch despite the ice packed around it. “All your escapades really sound the same at this point.”
“Is that jealousy I hear?” He cups his hand to his ear. “I thought so. Not my fault you’re in a dry spell.”
Leaning against the truck, I look at him. “Jealousy isn’t how I’d describe it. But if that makes ya feel good, go for it.”
“My hobby makes me feel good.” He moves his lips around, like he’s fighting the next words trying to pop out. He does this when he knows he shouldn’t say something but can’t quite convince himself not to. “From the looks of you, I’d say you’re more than jealous. I’d say you’re . . . tempted.”
My tongue presses on the roof of my mouth. “Tempted to what?”
He leans against the truck, too, the gold St. Christopher’s medal he’s worn since elementary school clamoring against the side. The corners of his lips nearly touch the corners of his eyes. He knows.
“Word travels fast, huh?” I say, prodding around to see if my guess is right.
He slow blinks. Twice.
“What?” I ask.
“That’s all you have to say about Neely being back in town? ‘Word travels fast.’ What’s wrong with you?”
We don’t have time for that conversation.
I sigh. “What do you want me to say?”
“I’d love to have been a fly on the wall for that little run-in.” Penn snickers. “Did you stutter around like I imagine? Or did you not manage to say an entire sentence?”
Working my jaw back and forth, I point a finger his way. “You better stop while you’re ahead.”
He reads me correctly, and his animation drops a notch. “Really, though. How’d it go? But before you answer that, let me toss out there that I heard sparks were flying all over the diner so hot Claire had to call the fire department.”
I shake my head. “Shut up.”
“Just telling you what I heard.”
“The firemen were there to order food, you idiot.”
He thinks he’s onto something. There’s a glee in his face that means only one thing: it’s going to be a long day around here.
“So, what happened?” he asks, resting his arms over the truck bed.
“You know, sometimes I think you should’ve been a girl with all the gossiping you do.”
“This isn’t gossip,” he contends. “This is Neely-freaking-Kimber, man. Every memory I have of my entire adolescence has her in it. She bailed me out of jail when I was too scared to call my dad and you and Matt were passed out on moonshine. Remember that?”
My chuckle is so hard, it causes my thumb to throb. “I forgot about that. She was pissed.”
“Neely came through, though. God, I miss her.”
Those last words echo through my mind.
I have shoved her out of my head for the last few years. Took over Dad’s business, took care of my business. Trudged forward without her because that was the only choice I had. I hardly even think about her anymore unless someone brings her up in conversation.
So why do I itch to crawl into the truck and hunt her down?

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 18 July 2019  Posted by  Tagged with: ,  No Responses »
Jul 182019
 

Tangle (Dogwood Lane Series #2) by Adriana Locke

Sparks fly between a die-hard romantic and a sexy cynic in this fresh, funny romance from USA Today bestselling author Adriana Locke.

That cream-filled, caramel-topped doughnut should have been hers. Still, Haley Raynor can’t deny that the pastry thief with the dreamy blue eyes looks even more delicious. But moving in on a handsome devil like Trevor Kelly is bad news for a die-hard romantic like Haley. Trevor doesn’t believe in love. She does. Giving in to a fling and Trevor’s irresistible charms can’t end well. Can it? What can it hurt to give it a shot?

Girls always fall for Trevor, and in the end, he always ends up looking like a bad-boy cad. Still, spending some time with Haley and her smart-talking, kissable mouth sounds pretty perfect. Besides, he’s only going to be in Dogwood Lane for one week. How much trouble could they possibly get into?

The only answer? A “no falling in love” contract. All Trevor and Haley have to do is follow the rules and resist the attraction sizzling between them…before their hearts get completely tangled up in temptation.

Excerpt Tangle (Dogwood Lane Series #2) by Adriana Locke

Chapter One
Haley
“Tell me you have one.” My purse hits the counter with a loud, unceremonious thud. “I’m in desperate need of a caramel-topped donut. Bonus points if it’s cream-filled. Double bonus points if there are pecans on top.”
My friend, Claire, looks at me from across the bar of the Dogwood Cafe and laughs. “That good of a morning, huh?”
“Something like that.” The stool squeaks as I sit. The sound rips at my temple, adding to the frustration of the start to my day. “I’m going to need the biggest cup of coffee you can find too.”
“The coffee I can do. The donut, though. That’s going to be a problem.”
“Come on, Claire,” I say, sniffing the air. “You have one. I smell it.”
“You can’t smell it.”
“You underestimate me and my senses.”
She glances under the counter. Her attention settles on a spot near the end of the bar where the donuts are kept beneath a heavy glass dome. They’re a specialty at the Dogwood Cafe, handmade pieces of pure joy created by the owner’s wife.
I live for these things. Claire does too and the look in her eye tells me one of my favorites is left. The problem is—they’re her favorite too.
“I’ll jump the bar and get it myself,” I warn.
Her laugh is loud, filling the mostly vacant dining room. “There’s one left, but—”
“No buts. None,” I say, talking fast so she can’t interrupt me back. “I. Need. That. Donut. Today has gotten off totally on the wrong foot and I need something to smile about, okay?”
“You have me. We’re friends. Smile away.”
“Donuts make me smile. People don’t.”
I hold my hand out, palm up, and look her in the eye. She waits for me to crack. When a few long seconds pass and I haven’t even blinked, she sighs.
“Someone bought it,” she says. “For real.”
Brushing a strand of my long black hair out of my face as if preparing for battle, I narrow my gaze. “No.”
“No, what?”
“You aren’t allowed to buy the donuts if a paying customer wants them.”
“Haley—”
“No. I love you, Claire. I do,” I say, shaking my head. “But not more than donuts.”
“Haley—”
“And not more than donuts on a day like today.” I wince as my brain decides to play back the morning for my mortification. “Especially on a day like today.”
“It’s sold.”
I shoo her away. Like a child, I climb onto the stool, knees on the seat, and peer over the bar. Just as I suspected, perched on a platter like the little gift from God it is, sits a glorious caramel-topped donut with the most perfect pecans I’ve ever seen.
The sight alone melts some of my stress. The way the icing glistens in the morning sunlight streaming through the windows makes me forgot about the meeting I have in a few hours. Staring at the pecans, I almost forget my ex-boyfriend’s stupid text messages this morning and how much it still hurts even though I don’t want it to.
“Want me to go ahead and grab it?” I ask. The words come out strangled because of the inverted position. When Claire doesn’t answer, I look up.
She’s looking behind me, smoothing out her blue apron. The flirty smile on her lips clearly isn’t for me.
“Hey,” I say in an attempt to draw her attention back my way. “Give it to me.”
“If you insist.”
I freeze.
The voice, all gravely and deep, wasn’t Haley’s. And, unless she became a ventriloquist with a penchant for leather-scented cologne that sends chills racing down my spine to my yoga-pant covered behind—a behind that’s up in the air …
Oh, crap.
My body teeter-totters over the bar as I try to find the internal switch from awe to action.
A swallow passes down my throat as I survey the situation from my precarious position. Claire’s cheeks are tinted pink as she drops her gaze to mine. The giggle that’s hidden by a twist of her lips tells me one thing I already thought to be true: whoever is behind me must be seriously good-looking to warrant the sparkle lighting up Claire’s face.
Lowering myself onto the stool, I keep my gaze focused on the oversized wooden fork adorning the wall behind Claire’s bright red curls. I wonder how close my cheeks are to matching Claire’s tresses.
“I’ll take the donut to go, please,” I say with a gulp.
“And I’ll have mine here.”
His voice must be inches behind me and the proximity makes me jump. He chuckles before sitting next to me.
The richness of his scent melts with the honeyed twang of his voice and I consider what will happen if I dissolve into the vinyl bar stool. It’s too early in the day for humiliating myself in front of cute strangers.
Can life come with a re-do button already?
I grab my bag and dig through it like the aforementioned button is buried at the bottom. Sorting through mountains of candy wrappers and receipts only reminds me how much I’m sucking at life right now, but it’s better than looking at the guy who just saw my butt up in the air. In the thinnest yoga pants I own. With the brightest pink panties I have in my closet.
My wallet gets jolted a little harder than necessary as I realize how pointless wearing my pretty panties are today. No one will see them but me. That’s what I get for making some stupid deal with my cousin Dane that I won’t date for six months.
It’s for my own good, I remind myself as I sling a tube of lip balm against my wallet. The guys I pick are completely wrong for me.
A muscled forearm extends across the bar, taking a cup of coffee from Claire. “Thank you,” he says.
Hands still stuck in my purse, I look at Claire.
She grins. “Did you say you wanted coffee?”
I clear my throat, trying to ignore the pull of energy from the man beside me. “Yes, please. I’ll take it with me.”
She takes the donut box to the kitchen to get my order ready to go. As soon as she’s gone, the room seems to shrink. Fidgeting in my seat, knowing this guy just saw me in a very unflattering position, I start to stand.
“You aren’t from around here either, I take it,” he says before I can execute my plan to flee. “I mean, with your accent and all.”
I consider pretending he isn’t talking to me and ignoring him altogether, but that would be rude. And, as things are going, his voice might be the highlight of my day. So, I sit again.
“You mean I don’t sound like I’m from Dogwood Lane, Tennessee?” I ask, still not looking at him. “I’m shocked. I thought I had my drawl down pat.”
He laughs. “Sorry. You sound very Midwestern, if I was guessing.”
“Good call. I’m from Ohio. I’ve lived here a long time though …” The words drift away, along with all coherent thought, as my gaze is snatched out of thin air. Despite ascertaining from Claire’s reaction he was cute, I’m wholly unprepared for the delicious package in front of me.
Staring back at me are the bluest eyes I’ve ever seen. They’re the color of the sky on a winter day—crystal clear and bright. His brows are heavy, his lashes thick, and if I could find my voice, I’d compliment them.
Smooth, tanned skin is highlighted by a brilliant white smile. A sturdy jaw is softened by laugh lines at the corners of his full lips. There’s confidence in his posture that somehow absorbs my shock and the kindness in his smile puts me at ease.
“Ohio, huh?” he says. “I’m a Michigan fan. I hope you won’t hold that against me.”
“I’m not a sports fan. I hope you won’t hold that against me.”
His grin grows wider. “Fair enough.”
What’s not fair is how I can’t remember what I’m doing here or what I have to do after. I untangle my gaze from his just in time to see Claire coming around the corner with my donut on a plate. Just like that, everything comes rushing back.
I didn’t realize my shoulders had relaxed or the throb in my temple had eased, but I’m well aware when they slam back into me again.
“Did I forget to tell you I wanted that to go?” I ask, rubbing the side of my head.
“You told me,” she says. She sets the plate down in front of him.
“Hey,” I say, pointing at the plate. “That’s mine.”
He looks at the donut and then at me. I fully expect him to slide the plate my way. There’s not a part of me, not a piece the size of one of those candied pecans, that thinks he won’t.
But he doesn’t.
Instead, he smirks.
“At risk of you stabbing me with a fork, I beg to differ,” he says. “This looks delicious. Thank you.”
“You are so welcome,” Claire purrs.
I glare at my friend. “You can’t give that to him because he’s cute, Claire.”
“Hey now,” he interrupts with a furrowed brow. “I’m not sure I like ‘cute’. Ruggedly handsome? Roguishly attractive, maybe?”
“Thief?” I offer.
He lifts his fork like he’s taunting me but, proving not to be a total daredevil, doesn’t touch the donut.
“Um, maybe I gave it to him because he ordered it first,” Claire offers. “Get a hold of yourself, Haley.”
That’s it.
“Get a hold of myself?” The dam holding back the irritation that’s been building all morning breaks in a spectacular display. I half-stand and half-sit on the stool and fire away at my friend. “Do you even know what’s happened to me this morning, Claire?”
“No.”
“Let me fill you in,” I say through clenched teeth. “A smoke detector started chirping at four o’clock this morning because the battery went bad, despite changing them last week. Okay? And I was too short to reach it without climbing on a chair and because it was four in the morning and I hadn’t had coffee, I fell. Hit my knee, bumped my elbow, and I cried. Because I’m a baby.”
Claire bites her bottom lip to keep from laughing.
“Then—”
“Hold up,” he says.
“Hush, donut thief,” I say, shushing him with a wave of my hand. “Then I couldn’t make coffee because the town flushed the water lines yesterday and the water is still red. And then, because it just keeps getting better, I get a call from Sandra at the library, asking me to come in today and I’m praying like heck it has nothing to do with the rumors that we’re having budget cuts.” I take a lungful of air. “I’m over today and it’s not even really started yet.”
“Ouch,” the man says, taking my need for oxygen as a cue to add his opinions. “That is a rough morning.”
“Oh, it gets better,” I insist, feeling my blood shoot through my veins. “Then Joel sent me a text.”
Claire’s brows shoot to the ceiling. “Joel the hippie?”
“Stop calling him that.”
“That’s what Dane called him the entire time you dated him,” she says.
“You dated a hippie?” the man asks. “That’s surprising.”
I glare at him. “Want to know what’s surprising? I’ve managed to act like a lady and haven’t taken that donut right off your plate. That’s surprising.”
He chuckles.
“This isn’t funny.” I bounce in my seat, trying not to beg while also trying not to take the pastry off his plate. It’s not so much I need the donut itself; it’s that I need the comfort of the carbs that will remind me of my mother’s homemade cinnamon rolls and give me the illusion that everything is going to be okay. “My life is falling apart.”
Ignoring my puppy dog eyes, he digs his phone out of the pocket of his jeans. His fingers fly against the screen.
I take a moment to study him from the side. The light catches off his neatly trimmed sandy-brown hair. His face is freshly shaven and I wonder vaguely what he would look like with a good three-day stubble.
For a moment, the donut is forgotten. In its place is a thought as delicious as the caramel icing—of the taste of the thief’s lips against mine. My little daydream is halted when he slips his phone back in his pocket.
“How much do I owe you?” he asks Claire.
“A donut and coffee is four eighty-six,” she says.
He fishes a ten-dollar bill from his wallet and places it on the counter. “Pay for her coffee too and then keep the change. Can I get this coffee to go, though?”
“Sure thing,” Claire says.
She strolls to the cash register, leaving the thief and I alone. I struggle to fight the grin splitting my cheeks.
“Did you just buy my coffee?” I ask.
“Yes.”
“You know what goes good with coffee …” I look at his plate and then back to him. All he does is laugh.
He gets to his feet, unfolding a body that’s taller, and harder, than I expected. His jeans are coupled with a grey and black flannel that fits him well enough to see the lines of his body. The curve of his biceps, the dip of his waist, and the slight angle from his shoulder to his neck is divine.
“Are you finished?” he asks.
I zip a line from his boots to his face. “What do you mean?”
“I don’t want to walk out of here until you’ve finished appreciating me.” He grins. “If you’re done, I do need to go.”
A full-on blush covers my body and, when he laughs, I wonder if he’s thinking it’s the same color as my panties. This makes me blush more.
“You are not the gentleman I hoped you were,” I say, failing to hide a laugh.
He smiles devilishly, assessing me as he shoves his wallet back in his pocket. Then, with a pained expression and a dose of hesitation for my benefit, he slides his plate in front of me. “Here. You can have my donut. I know it’s not all you wanted, but it’ll have to do. I’m late.” He takes a cup from Claire for the road.
“I didn’t hear anything you said after ‘You can have my donut’,” I say, sticking my finger in the middle of the pastry. “But thanks.”
“They have forks, you know.”
“I know. But I wanted to make sure you didn’t ask for it back.” A warmth spreads through my middle as he laughs. “Thank you for this.”
“You’re very welcome, Ohio.” He heads to the door but stops before exiting. Looking at me over his shoulder, he narrows his eyes. The feel of his attention on me changes. It gets heavier. Not uncomfortable, but it makes me squirm nonetheless. “I’m Trevor Kelly, by the way.”
“And I’m Haley.” My voice is breathier than I intend or expect and if I weren’t still flushed from getting caught staring at him, I might blush again. “Haley Raynor.”
“It was nice to meet you.” His features soften as he steps into the sunlight. “Oh. If I didn’t mention it, you owe me for the donut.”
And, with a final grin that sinks me into my seat, he’s gone.

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 18 July 2019  Posted by  Tagged with: ,  No Responses »
Jul 182019
 

The Perception (Exception Series #3) by Adriana Locke

There is no greater burden than a secret, and Kari Stanley has been carrying one alone for a long time. But fate intervenes in the form of a broken down car and the kind offer of assistance from a handsome stranger with a sweet, southern drawl. In exchange, all she has to do is go to dinner with him. Temptation was never so sweet.

Max Quinn has secrets of his own. His good deeds aren’t just a product of his southern upbringing; they’re his atonement. As one dinner turns into two, he realizes that Kari just might be his salvation.

As they struggle to find their path together, their secrets weigh heavier on them. Will they be able to trust one another with the truth, or will their secrets keep them apart forever?

This book CAN be read as a stand-alone novel.

Excerpt The Perception (Exception Series #2) by Adriana Locke

I leaned against the doorframe and watched him.
Max hadn’t heard me enter. He was sprawled across the bed, a pair of crimson red boxer briefs the only thing covering his divine body. His abs muscles rippled as he played with Titus, the puppy he found abandoned on a job site. In typical Max fashion, he brought the puppy home. Titus slept on Max’s chest that night, obviously in love with him from the start. I couldn’t say I blamed him – it was my favorite spot to snuggle, too.
Max rolled the chocolate-colored puppy a few times, his large hand bigger than the puppy’s head. Titus rolled across the bed and Max chuckled, stretching out on his back. The dog padded across the blankets and plopped down beside him, panting from the play. Max reached over and stroked his stomach. “How are ya, boy? You like this, huh? You like playin’ with me?”
“I’m not sure how anything wouldn’t like you touching it like that,” I laughed, walking into the room.
Max popped up on his elbows and smiled sexily. His dimple shining in his cheek, his hair a wild mess, he looked downright edible. “Get your ass over here and I’ll touch you like that, too.”
I shrugged off my robe and tossed it onto a nearby chair. “I don’t want to interrupt …”
“Woman,” he growled, picking up the puppy and sitting it gently on the floor. Titus whined immediately, his little cobalt blue eyes sad. Max reached down and petted him. “Be good and go on.” He nodded his head towards the fluffy pillow he bought the dog and Titus obediently walked over, marched in a circle, and laid down.
Max shook his head and sighed. “If only I could get you to listen half as well as that dog.”
“Not a chance, babe,” I laughed. I stood between his legs. He wrapped his arms around my waist and nuzzled his face into my abdomen.
“I bought you all of those things to sleep in and you are wearin’ my old Sun Devils shirt?”
“I like this shirt. It’s all cozy and soft and it smells like you. And I took all of my things to my house to wash yesterday.”
His shoulders slumped. “Would it do me any good at all to point out the ridiculousness that you don’t live here?”
“Nope,” I said, grabbing his hair and pulling his head back so I could see into his emerald eyes. They were so easy to get lost in. I had found myself on the verge of agreeing to things I knew better than to agree to when gazing into them.
He grabbed my thighs, pressing his fingertips into my bare skin. His touch, coupled with the earlier unobstructed view of his body, made me ache with want.
“It wouldn’t do you any good at all to go there,” I continued, “but it might do you some good to go here.” I grabbed his right hand and placed it between my legs. He rubbed his thumb over my opening, the fabric of my panties pressing into my wetness. I pushed my body against his hand, needing the friction to ease the buildup that was beginning to grow out of control.
Max withdrew his hand and placed both of them on the backs of my legs, pulling me closer to him.
“What are you doing? I want you. Now,” I all but begged.
“I know you do, sweetheart. But I want to slow down a minute.”
I looked at him in disbelief. “I don’t want to slow down. I want you inside me.”
“And I want to be inside you,” he said, his voice deep and rough. I could hear the need in his tone, mirroring mine. He ran his hands up the backs of my legs, setting my skin on fire, until he reached my backside. He cupped both cheeks in his hands. “I always want to be inside you. But I want to enjoy your body. This,” he said, squeezing my ass, “should be appreciated. Let me love on you a minute.”

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 18 July 2019  Posted by  Tagged with: ,  No Responses »
Jul 182019
 

The Exception (Exception Series #1) by Adriana Locke

There are exceptions to every rule.

Jada Stanley is starting over, freeing herself from her past. Following the rules she’s given herself is easy enough, until she meets HIM. He’s gorgeous, cocky, and everything she needs to avoid, but that’s easier said than done.

Cane Alexander has his own set of guidelines, a plan to keep his life simple and free of complications. But when he sets his sights on Jada, she proves to be a temptation he just can’t resist.

Walls crumble, resolve fades, and precious rules are bent.

They can’t help but take a chance on each other, but chances come with risk. As the past rears its ugly head in ways they never see coming, will they revert back to protecting themselves? Or will they realize that the other is the exception to every rule they’ve ever made?

Excerpt The Exception (Exception Series #1) by Adriana Locke

Cane shook his head, apparently to rid himself of whatever he was thinking. His eyebrows raised, he turned towards me. “So you will have lunch with him and not me? What am I missing here?”
“It’s business. Pretty simple, I think.” I peered out the door, watching Simon’s black Avalanche pull out of the parking lot.
“I can pretend it’s about business, if that’s what you want.”
“Cane,” I warned, turning my head to look at him.
“Lunch with him will not be about business. When I walked in here, that was not about business.”
“Whether it was or it wasn’t is no business of yours.”
Cane blew out a breath, his forehead marred in frustration. “Do you know Simon Powers? Have you dealt with him before?”
“No, I just met him today. Why?”
He looked relieved. “It doesn’t matter. Look, if he needs to see this property again, I want you to call me first, okay?”
“All right. I won’t bring him here without calling you first.”
“I’m going to give you my phone number. If he wants to see this property or becomes a pain in your ass, I want you to call me. Don’t put up with any shit from him and don’t bring him here unless you actually speak to me. Do you understand?”
“You’re making me nervous. What’s going on?”
“There’s nothing to be nervous about,” he said calmly, trying to dissipate the mood he just created. “I just don’t like that guy. I don’t trust him.”
“Whatever you say.”
“I like it when you just do what I say.” His eyes darkened.
“Noted. I have to go, Cane.”
“What’s your phone number?” He placed his hand on the small of my back. I stilled at his touch. A jolt of energy darted through my body, landing at the apex of my thighs. I closed my eyes and just felt for a minute.
“You can get my number from Max,” I said breathily, throwing his words from the night at the restaurant back at him.
Cane spun me around quickly, my back pressed against the wall. He leaned in, his face almost touching mine. I willed myself not to moan, to not give him any inclination that my willpower was melting away.
“Oh, Jada,” he whispered, the warmth of his breath only adding to the riot inside me. “Why do you fight this so hard?”
“Cane …” I tried to formulate a response but words were not accessible.
He smirked, knowing what he was doing to me. “Yes?”
“I … I need to go.”
“You need to. But do you want to?” He searched my eyes with his own. “I know what you want and what you need, baby. Why won’t you trust me?”
My eyes widened, my pulse pounding. He was so close and I wanted more than anything to reach out and pull him up against me.
But I can’t.
He smiled before leaning in, his lips grazing my ear as he whispered, “Why do you fight this? Just give me one night to get you out of my system.”
I turned my head to respond, to explain that was exactly what he wasn’t getting, and our eyes locked. The air between us, so hot and rife with energy, boiled over.
He captured my lips with his own, tentatively at first. I resisted for a split second before succumbing to his charge. His lips moved over mine, a soft juxtaposition to his hard exterior. The heat of the exchange, of him finally touching me, melted me from the inside out.
I opened my mouth, giving him entry, and he took it without hesitation. He explored my mouth with his own lazily, the softness of his tongue making my knees buckle.
I tried to focus, tried to commit everything to memory, because it would only happen once. That would be the first and last time I allowed my defenses to be obliterated by Cane Alexander.
The sound of blood roaring past my ears and the feel of his body, hot and hard against me, made it impossible to concentrate on anything for long. I hesitantly placed my hands on his back, feeling his muscles ripple beneath them.
The sensations were overwhelming and I was on the cusp of bursting at the seams.
Cane pulled back slowly and kissed me lightly on the lips, before retreating far enough away to look into my eyes. There were a hundred emotions playing across his gorgeous face, his eyes a dozen colors of blue.
I looked away, trying to catch my breath. I wasn’t able to figure out my own emotions—I had no business trying to figure out his.
“One night.” He lifted my chin so that my eyes met his. His tongue flicked across his lips.
He only wants one night …
My wits were scattered across the room and I gathered as many of them as I could before responding, “I need to go.”
A look flashed across his face that I couldn’t read. He raised his eyebrows. “That’s all you’re going to say?”
“I don’t know what else you want me to say.” I sidestepped him and made my way to the door. I looked over my shoulder one last time and he changed before my eyes.
The confused, vulnerable look gave way to an impassive, cool veneer. He sat his hands on top of his head and turned away, heading towards the office.
Seeing everything I needed to see, more than enough to convince myself I was doing the right thing, I pushed through the door and didn’t look back.

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 18 July 2019  Posted by  Tagged with: ,  No Responses »
Jul 162019
 

Wherever It Leads by Adriana Locke

Smooth. Sexy. Irresistible.

Those qualities equal only one thing.
Big. Freaking. Trouble.

Brynne Calloway knows that anything that seems too good to be true usually is. Fenton Abbott and his cashmere voice, Adonis body, and a magnetism like no other clearly falls into that category. But what’s life without a little risk?

It was supposed to be a rebound, an uncomplicated escape from reality. But nothing ever goes as planned. Fenton turns out to be so much more … in ways Brynne never sees coming.

Excerpt Wherever It Leads by Adriana Locke

CHAPTER 1
Fenton
“Tell him I got his message yesterday and I don’t need him to blow me. But thank him for the offer.”
Grabbing the nearest shopping cart and sliding it in front of me, I toggle the phone against my shoulder. It nearly slides off my rigid muscles, a mix of workout fatigue and work stress setting up shop across my back.
Duke sighs through the phone, not even pretending to hide his frustration. “Fenton, that’s not true,” he says, exasperation thick in his voice. “He didn’t ask to blow you.”
“Obviously it’s not fucking true. I just want to hear him have to deny it.”
“You know what? Just forget I called. I’ll come up with a response myself.”
“That’s probably the best idea you’ve had yet.”
Duke sighs again, louder this time. I’m sure I’ve been an asshole to deal with since I hired him, but I gave him plenty of warning what he was getting into. This entire situation, the one he was hired to deal with, has been a complete clusterfuck from the start. There’s nothing more vexing than not being able to fix a problem and having your hands tied behind your back while being needled that the problem exists. I know it exists. I’m keenly aware and no one wants it fixed more than me.
“I’ll just tell them the status hasn’t changed.”
“I could’ve taken care of this,” I bite out.
“I know. I know.”
“And they wouldn’t let me.”
“I. Know.”
“I know you know. Try to impart some of that knowledge to them. I’m playing by their rules right now, but I’m starting to lose patience with their—”
“Fenton, you have to play by their rules. Otherwise—”
“I’m heading into the store,” I interrupt. “The service is going to get shitty.”
“Talk soon,” Duke says, ready to end the conversation anyway, and the line clicks off. I shove my phone into the pocket of my black athletic pants. My jaw pulses, the buzz from this morning’s workout now vanished.
Ignoring the eyes of an uptight man perusing the apples, I skirt my cart left to avoid interaction. I have no idea why I chose today of all days to do my own grocery shopping. I could’ve waited three damn days until my housekeeper gets back from vacation.
Steering clear of the apples and the negative energy rolling off the shopper, I head towards the bananas. I need to find the optimism I had five minutes ago before Duke called from the office and ruined my Saturday morning.
The bananas are organic and perfectly ripe, so I pluck a bunch off the podium. I start to push away, but the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. A ruffle of unease scatters through my subconscious. I pause mid-step and glance around the store. People mill about, minding their own business, nothing out of the ordinary. I start to push away again when I spy the offender. A black piece of plastic peeks out from behind a bundle of bananas, the overhead light ricocheting off it and catching my eye.
I reach behind the produce and pull out a black cell phone. Turning it over in my hand, it looks no worse for wear. I press the round button on the bottom and the screen lights up.
Starting back at me are two gorgeous girls, probably a couple of years younger than me. Mid-twenties, I’d say. The dark-headed one is flashing a peace sign in a barely there white bikini. She’s hot as fuck. But it’s the blonde that draws my attention. She sits crossed-legged in shorts and a tank top on the beach, her hair falling around her narrow shoulders. Her body is covered, her stance demure, but there’s something striking about her that I can’t pinpoint. I almost can’t look away. Her blue-green eyes taunt me, tease me with a look that’s downright beguiling. The touches of vulnerability hidden behind her confidence intrigue me, make me want to hear her voice and know what she’s thinking.
Laughing at my ridiculousness despite the heat roiling in my blood, I skim the store again. No one seems to be searching for the phone.
I glance back at the screen and my gaze goes immediately to the blonde. The curve of her hip has my thumb gliding over the screen.
I should turn the phone in to management. It’s the logical, responsible thing to do.
My feet don’t move.
Losing your phone in the bananas doesn’t exactly shout responsibility.
Taking a deep breath, I ponder my options. I can turn it in to Lost and Found and hope that they actually give it to her if she comes looking. Or … I could try to get in touch with her myself.
Keep telling yourself you’re playing the Good Samaritan.
Leaning against the produce display, I do a quick analysis. The odds of her finding it at the Help Desk aren’t great. Maybe fifty-fifty. Some bagger boy will probably see the lock screen and take it to the bathroom and jerk off. The odds of that are phenomenal. The odds of me breaking the passcode aren’t great either, but if possible, would greatly increase her chances of getting it back.
And the chance for me to see those eyes in person.
I type in 0000.
“Try again” flashes on the screen.
1234.
“Try again.”
Steering the cart with my elbows towards the customer service desk, I run through possible passwords before I commit to my final try. I have one more chance before it locks me out for good and I have no choice but to turn it over to Bagger Boy and his bathroom break.
I go for 1111, another overused password.
It makes a clicking sound and the lock screen opens. The phone toggles in my hands, my jaw dropping in disbelief. It worked. The home screen is filled with apps over shiny gold wallpaper, waiting to be explored.
Should I or shouldn’t I?
My thumb glances over the photo album and I see the first photo.
I definitely should.

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 16 July 2019  Posted by  Tagged with: ,  No Responses »
Jul 162019
 

Lucky Number Eleven by Adriana Locke

I’ve always been the person that does whatever someone tells me I can’t.

Can’t graduate with a four-point-oh? Check.
Can’t win a modeling contract without trying? Did it. Check.
Can’t make it in the pro football league? Triple check with an MVP Award on top.

When my best friend told me to stay away from his little sister, Layla, it didn’t sound like a challenge. Then again, I’d never seen her before.

He obviously wasn’t thinking about who he was talking to if he believed I could ignore her. I obviously wasn’t thinking of him at all when I fell in love with her either.

Fact of the matter is: I not only fell harder than a quarterback sack on a Sunday night game, but I did us one better. Kind of like that MVP award, only not so shiny. Sort of like my Player of the Year title, except the only thing I’m walking away with is an ex-best friend and a woman that hates my guts.

It’s okay. Just tell me I can’t win her back.

I’m Branch “Lucky” Best and today’s my lucky day.

*This is a STANDALONE ROMANCE.

Excerpt Lucky Number Eleven by Adriana Locke

“One question,” Poppy interjects, looking at Branch. “What position are you?”
“I typically like the bottom so I can watch—oomph,” he says, getting another elbow from Finn. “Wide receiver. Why?”
Looking at Poppy, I can’t help but laugh as her eyes light up.
“You got a problem with wide receivers?” Branch asks.
“You do,” Finn interjects, giving me a narrowed glare. “They aren’t any better than quarterbacks.”
Branch looks from me, to Finn, and back to me. “Why do we not like quarterbacks?”
“My sister was dating Callum Worthington.”
“No shit?” His face puckers like he just bit into a lemon. “How in the hell did that cocksucker end up with you?”
“He didn’t. We’re not together anymore.”
Branch’s eyes heat, the look causing my pulse to quicken. “I’m not a bit sorry to hear that.”
“You better forget you heard any of that,” Finn warns. “This is my sister, Branch. Not a cheerleader or reporter or some chick from a dating app. Got it?”
“Finn, relax,” I say, shoving a swallow past the lump in my throat. “I appreciate the big brother spiel, but I can handle myself.”
“I know you can,” he says, pulling his gaze away from Branch. “But you can’t handle him.”

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 16 July 2019  Posted by  Tagged with: ,  No Responses »
Jul 162019
 

Sacrifice by Adriana Locke

My life changed forever the night my husband died.
I was left with a shattered heart, a heap of bills, and our daughter, EVERLEIGH. I don’t want to rely on anyone, least of all CREW GENTRY. He’s my first love and the man who almost destroyed me, the man who has let me down every time I’ve needed him.
But when tragedy strikes a second time, Crew just might be my only hope.

My life changed forever the night my brother died.
I was left with a guilty conscience, a pile of mistakes, and little else. I take care of JULIA GENTRY, my brother’s widow and the love of my life, and their daughter. I know she doesn’t want my help, but she gets it anyway. I owe her that.

When another disaster hits, I’m given the opportunity to make things right. I’m taking it. I’m willing to sacrifice it all.

A STANDALONE ROMANCE from USA Today Bestselling author Adriana Locke.

Excerpt Sacrifice by Adriana Locke

“She’s been missing him a lot lately.” Julia’s voice is barely a whisper and my chest constricts. Our conversations don’t normally make it to discussing Gage unless we’re already arguing. The fact that she just brought it up shocks me and I’m not comfortable with it. I don’t know how to take it. I feel my jaw pulse with frustration and scramble to change the subject again. “Why is it so chilly in here?”
Her smile disappears and she tugs her sweatshirt nervously. “I didn’t know it was.”
“How can you possibly not know?” I start to the thermostat across the room when she clears her throat.
“The heater isn’t working right. I asked Lane to come by and look at it earlier this week.”
“And he hasn’t been here yet?” I shoot her a look and she shakes her head. “He’ll be here tonight.” I dig my cell outta my pocket.
“Crew, don’t. Please. The last time you called my landlord he was a complete jerk to me for a couple of months. I just got on good terms with him again.”
I scroll through my contacts list, looking for his name.
“Crew …” I know her doe-eyes are pleading with me. I also know if I look up at her, I’ll be somewhat inclined to give in. So I don’t.

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 16 July 2019  Posted by  Tagged with: ,  No Responses »
Jul 162019
 

Written In The Scars by Adriana Locke

Falling in love is easy.

Falling out of love is the hardest thing in the world.

And Elin and Ty Whitt are terrible at it.

The first time the local basketball star smiled at Elin, she was a goner. It was just so damn easy to fall for the dark-haired hometown hero with his charming smile and strong, athletic build.

Thousands of sleepy smiles, aimless drives down country roads, and squeaks of the backdoor after a swing shift later, reality hits. And it hits hard. Falling in love was definitely the easy part. Watching it break apart was impossible.

Through the tears, the second-guesses, the memories of a life built together, the world keeps spinning. With each turn comes clarity and hope—sometimes in the form of a pair of muddy boots by the back door or from the words of a wise friend.

When Ty shows back up with a new found determination to put his family back together, Elin’s torn between the fights of the past and the possibility of a new start. This is the man that holds her heart, the man she loves beyond anything else. But this is also the one person in the world that can cause her the most pain.

Life’s not always easy. Love’s not for the faint of heart. But with life comes lessons and Ty and Elin have the scars to prove it. But it’s their love written in those scars that will hold them together … or break them apart.

A brand new STANDALONE ROMANCE from USA Today Bestselling author Adriana Locke.

Excerpt Written In The Scars by Adriana Locke

Thunder cracks outside just as my back hits the wall. My chest rises and falls, touching his with every intake of breath. He peers down at me, his eyes boring into mine.
“There hasn’t been a damn thing easy about this,” he says, his breath hot against my skin.
“That was your choice.”
I try desperately to hold on to the anger that’s being replaced quickly with my need, my desire, my craving for this man. The only man I’ve ever loved. The man that is my other half—whether it’s fucked up or not. Being this close to him puts me at a disadvantage, but there’s no denying the little balm of peace that’s washed over some of my wounds by his presence. By his touch. By the way he’s looking at me.
“It sure as hell didn’t feel like my choice,” he gruffs.
“Maybe that’s the problem,” I say, the words full of hesitation. “Maybe we aren’t the same people anymore. Maybe we’ve changed. I know you’re not the Ty I once knew.”
“No, you’re right,” he says with an arrogant shrug of his muscled shoulders. “I love you more than I ever have.”
“Fuck you,” I say, a slip to my voice that he hears.
His eyes glimmer, distracting me, and I don’t see the kiss coming. But the feeling of his lips against mine sends a zip of energy screaming through my veins.
“Ty!” I object half-heartedly, pressing him away with only a portion of the gumption I could put behind it if I wanted to. He doesn’t care. He just kisses me harder, his lips soft and smooth like I remember.
My knees go weak, like it’s some kind of first kiss, my breathing ragged like the first time he kissed me under the steps at the high school.
He drops his grip on my wrist and clenches my hips with both hands. His lips are unrelenting, working mine with such precision, such skill, that it’s all I can do to follow along.
And really, it’s all I want to do.
Our kisses grow quicker, our breathing more labored. My head is spinning, shouting at me to stop the madness. My body, my heart, lobbying in tandem to stay put because this is where I’m supposed to be.
I can’t process the arguments. All I can do is fall into an easy rhythm, be played like an instrument in the hands of the man that knows it like the back of his hand. A man that’s played it a million times, that’s crafted how it plays by his touch.
My fingers find the back of his hair and I lace them through his wet locks. He growls against my lips, the heat of his breath tingling my mouth and eliciting a fire between my thighs.
His fingers dig into my hips, his body pressing mine into the wall. The intensity of the contact at every level makes me desperate for more.
Ignoring the tick of my subconscious that tries to remind me why I shouldn’t be here, my hands hurriedly find the hem of his shirt. It’s wet and heavy, and when my skin touches the defined lines of his abdomen, we both flinch.
My fingertips skirt his chiseled torso, his body rolling against my skin, itching for connection the same as me. In a swift movement, I find the waistband of his jeans and frantically undo the button. The zipper slips down over his hardened cock.
“Ah,” I moan as his lips finally leave mine and work their way to the skin just below my ear.
Before I can register it, my shirt is up and over my head.
“Fuck, E,” he breathes as he takes in my nude body. “Damn, baby.”
“Ty,” I whisper, my voice barely heard over the storm raging outside. It’s no match for the explosion happening inside me.
His eyes never leave mine as he slips off his shoes and jeans. I watch, pinned to the spot by the words he’s telling me without saying anything at all.
“Come here, sweetheart,” he whispers as the light in the bedroom flickers and the power goes off.
My hands shake as I reach for him in the darkness. He takes my hand mid-air, like he knew where I’d be, and guides me to him. Our bodies press together, skin to skin, our hearts thumping at the same frenzied pace.
“God,” he mutters, holding me tight against him.
“Ty?”
“Yeah?” he asks as his fingers stroke my back.
The war raging inside me tears me in half. For once in my life, I go not with what makes sense, but what makes me feel better.
This time, just this once, I’m going to give in. After this, I know what I’ll have to do and it’s been a long time coming.
I take a deep, shaky breath and go for it. “Fuck me before I change my mind.”

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 16 July 2019  Posted by  Tagged with: ,  No Responses »
Jul 162019
 

Crank (The Gibson Boys #1) by Adriana Locke

Crank is a standalone romance in a new small town, blue-collar series from USA Today bestselling author Adriana Locke. Join readers everywhere as they fall in love with the delicious Gibson Boys.

This is one mistake Sienna Landry can’t buy her way out of.

As Walker Gibson looks at her, then at the damage to his precious truck (that she may or may not have accidentally inflicted), she knows she’s in trouble. It’s not the busted headlight and dented grill that’s sunk her though. It’s the downright sinful man in front of her that’s the problem.

The small town mechanic is broody. Rough. Smells like engine grease and gasoline and Sienna isn’t sure why that’s so sexy, but it is. It so is. She’s ready to peel off her panties at the drop of his wrench.

He wants her too. She can feel it when he brushes against her. Experience it as he presses her against the wall of the shop. It’s thinly veiled in his deep, brown eyes when he looks at her like she’s everything he’s ever wanted. So why won’t he give in?

The damage to Walker’s truck is the first of many mistakes between the two of them, ending with truths that rock Sienna’s world. Nothing can fix her broken heart except the love of a man that won’t, maybe even can’t, love her back.

Excerpt Crank (The Gibson Boys #1) by Adriana Locke

CHAPTER ONE:
Walker
“I’m not taking you to the hospital.”
Peck teeters on the edge of one of Crave’s billiard tables. He sways back and forth, his sneakers squeaking against the cheap wood over the chatter of the patrons of the bar. “You don’t think I can land a back flip off here?”
The truth is I’m pretty sure he could. My cousin has the reflexes of a cat. The problem is he also has nine lives, and I’m sure he’s used up eight of them already.
“The question isn’t if you can land it. It’s how bloody the end result would be,” I say, taking a sip of beer. “And I’m not trying to splint a head wound. Can you even do that?”
“You could. Look at my arm.” He holds his left forearm in front of him, his watch catching the light from the new fixtures above. “This is some of your best work.”
Memories of splinting Peck’s arm with nothing but a belt, a bar towel, and a Playboy rush through my mind, as does loading him into the back of my truck for a quick trip to the emergency room.
“I really think I can do this,” Peck insists, working his shoulders back and forth.
Downing another drink, hoping I’m good and hammered before Peck attempts this disaster, I look across the table. My older brother, Lance, is watching me as he brings an Old-Fashioned to his lips. We exchange a look, both of us waiting for Machlan to catch wind of Peck’s antics and throw him out of Crave. Again.
“What’s the worst that could happen?” Peck asks. “Another broken arm? I mean, I think I can get the rotation fast enough to not land on my head.”
“I think it’s your turn to take him to the hospital,” I tell Lance.
He coughs, choking on his drink. “Yeah, I don’t think so.”
“Remember how hot that nurse was last time?” Peck asks, wiggling his brows. “Actually, that kind of makes me want to go for it now just in case she’s on duty.”
“She’s not,” Lance chimes in. “I think she was fired after the Hospital Administrator found her fuck-foundered in triage three the night of your broken arm.”
“Peck! Get your fucking ass down.” Machlan’s voice rips through the bar, booming over the crowd.
Everyone quiets a few notches, not quite scared of my younger brother, but not willing to test his boundaries either. His reputation as a man you don’t want to tangle with without a small army definitely helps his cause when it comes to managing his bar. Peck, on the other hand, just rolls his eyes.
“Just one jump, Mach! One. Uno. I got this.” Peck gives Machlan his best shit-eating grin before looking at me and Lance. “If he throws me out, I’ll be back in a couple days. Hell, he threw me out on Tuesday and I was back on Thursday for corn hole.”
“I think that just means you’re in here too much,” Lance offers.
Peck starts to respond but his attention is redirected as Molly McCarter saunters by. The dim lighting does nothing to hide the exaggerated sway of her hips or the way she licks her lips as her sight sets on me.
Bracing for what may come out of her mouth, I fill mine with alcohol.
“Hey, Walker,” she says, stopping at my chair. Her hands rest along the top rung, her fingertips sliding across the back of my neck. “Hey, Lance.”
Lance tips his glass her way.
“I was thinking,” she purrs, “my car is way overdue for an oil change. Maybe I could bring it to Crank sometime this week, Walker? Do you think you could fit it in?”
“I’m pretty full this week,” I lie, ignoring her thinly veiled offer. “See what Peck has available.”
A huff whispers through the air and she pivots on her heel. “Thanks anyway.”
“I can get you in …” Peck’s voice drowns into the Crave chaos as he follows her towards the bar.
He tails after her, all but drooling, as she slides onto a bar stool. Her gaze flicks to mine, her knees spread just a little farther apart than a lady ever should. Then again, no one has ever called Molly a lady.
“Ever fuck her?” Lance asks, downing the rest of his drink as he turns back to me. “I’ve been tempted to a couple of times and did get a decent blow job one Halloween when she was dressed up in this nurse outfit.”
“What is it with you and nurses?”
“Think about it: they’re smart, make good money, work a lot so you have free time, and they’re used to getting dirty,” he smirks. “It’s like a straight shot to my dick.”
“And they’re good with needles, have access to medicines that can make you lose your mind, and I’ve never met one who didn’t have a warped sense of humor,” I counter. “They set off my crazy radar.”
Lance laughs. “Did that radar just start working? Because I distinctly remember you getting balls deep with some psychologically-challenged women. One in particular.”
“Are you feeling froggy tonight? Because if you keep that mouth runnin’ like that, I’m about to knock those glasses off your face.”
I’m kidding. More or less. The problem is Lance knows it.
“Oh, go to Hell,” he laughs.
“Already there, brother. Already there.”
He takes his glasses off his face and places them on the table. “I usually look at your life and think I’d hate to have it. But after the day I had today, I’d trade you places.”
“What? Did the high school kids refuse to learn about the American Revolution?” I laugh. “You have such a cush job.”
“I’m a professional.”
“A professional bullshitter, maybe.”
He makes a comeback, but it’s swallowed in the roar of the crowd as a popular song blares through the overhead speakers.
Crave, an old brick building along Beecher Street, is longer than it is wide, and pulses with the noise of the crowd and music. Alcohol ads, high school sports schedules, and a giant cork board adorn the walls. The latter is a good read and filled with letters and notes from one townsperson to the next. Affairs have been called out, coon dogs found, marriage proposals made, and entire conversations about who is working what shift at the factory have taken place on that thing. It’s been a mainstay of the bar since our uncle founded it almost fifty years ago. When our younger brother, Machlan, took over Crave thanks to Uncle George’s failing liver, he extended the wall of corkboards all the way to the door.
“That’s new,” Lance says, moving over one seat closer to me. Motioning to the phallic design made up of yellow rubber duck Christmas lights on the wall between the pool tables, he laughs. “Let me guess: that’s Peck’s handiwork.”
“Naturally. Machlan wasn’t thrilled, but Peck rallied the masses and they convinced him to keep it.”
“It is nicely done,” Lance says, chewing on the end of his glasses. “I can see the art in it.”
“Fuck. I should’ve been an artist if that counts as art.”
“Apparently things didn’t go well with Molly,” Lance says, twisting in his chair.
“She’s never gonna give Peck a chance.”
At the sound of his name, Peck walks through the front door. He stops just inside, the glow from the exit sign giving his mop of blond hair a pinkish hue.
Peck makes a beeline for our table, a look etched in the lines on his face that sends a ripple of concern up my spine. After growing up with him and then working with him for the last few years, I can read him like a book. Something is wrong.
“What’s going on?” I ask, scrambling to my feet as he gets closer.
“Walker, man, you need to get outside,” Peck says. “Someone just bashed the front of your truck.”
“What?” I hiss, sure I misheard him. “Someone did fucking what?”
“Yeah, man. You need to get out there.”
Blood ripping through my veins, I plow my way through the bar. Machlan lifts his chin, sensing something is off, but I shake my head as we pass. I know he loves a good fight, but this one is mine.
Lance is on my heels as we make our way through the crowd. “Who did you piss off now?”
“Someone who wants to die, apparently.” My fingers flex against the wood of the door, the warm summer air slamming my face as I hit the sidewalk. “You sure you don’t want to stay inside? I think getting into a street fight is against your teacher code of conduct.”
“Fuck off,” Lance chuckles. “I’ll have Peck hold my glasses and I’m in.”
“You, my brother, are an intelligent heathen.”
“I’ll take that as a compliment. I think.”
The top of my black pickup truck comes into view, sitting beneath one of the few lamps lining Beecher Street. There are two people standing on the sidewalk next to my truck.
“Do we know them?” I ask Peck through gritted teeth.
“I promise you we’ve never seen them before.”
“So it’s not …” Lance doesn’t finish his sentence. “Holy shit.”
The two women turn to face us and I think all of our jaws drop. The first is tall with jet black hair and a strong, athletic build. It’s the second one who has me struggling to remember why we’re out here.
Long, blonde hair with faint streaks of purple and the brightest blue eyes I’ve ever seen, she assesses me in the hazy streetlight. She doesn’t make a show of looking me over like most women do, batting their eyelashes like some damsel in distress. There’s something different about her, a quiet confidence that makes her almost unapproachable.
Unapproachable, but still hot as fucking hell.
My gaze drifts down her ample chest, over the white lace fabric of the top that hugs the bends of her body. Cutoff denim jeans cap long, lean legs that only look longer next to the Louisville Slugger half-hidden behind her.
It takes a ton of effort, but my eyes finally tear from her body and to the body of my truck. Sure enough, there’s a rip across the grill and a broken headlight that looks an awful lot like a slam from a baseball bat. It’s nothing that can’t be fixed in my shop, but that’s not the point. The point is the disrespect.
“Either of you know what happened?” I ask, leaning against the hood. They remain silent. The only response is a dashed look between them.
Settling my scrutiny on each one individually, watching them squirm, I save the blonde for last.
“Did you see anything?” I ask, turning back to the tall one.
Her weight shifts from one foot to the other as she runs a hand through her shiny hair like we’re talking about coffee or having a beer later. “Me? No. I didn’t see a thing.”
“Really? You were standing out here just now and you didn’t see anything?”
“No,” she smiles sweetly. “Nothing at all.”
Peck steps between us and inspects the damage. When he turns around, he bites the inside of his cheek. “If I were a betting man, Walker, I’d say it looks like someone walloped Daisy with a baseball bat.”
The blonde lifts a brow, something on the tip of her tongue that she holds back.
“You got something to say?” I prod.
“You named your truck ‘Daisy’?”
Her eyes narrow, almost as if she’s taunting me. That she has the guts to challenge me combined with those fucking blue eyes throws me off my game. “I did. Got a problem with that?”
“No. No problem,” she says, twisting her lips into an incredibly sexy pout that I want to kiss off her goddamn face. “Just never met a man who named their truck after a flower.”
“Me either. Now, before I go calling the Sheriff about this, I’m gonna give you two a moment to consider telling me what happened. And,” I say, cutting off the blonde, “I’ll give you a piece of information before you decide what to say. Doc Burns’ office has cameras installed that will show everything. Just let that sink in a second.”
Their eyes go wide as they instinctively move together into a protective huddle. The tall girl points to the blonde who responds with a frantic whisper. She’s guilty as hell.
On one hand, I want to break her down and get inside her in ways she’s never dreamed. On the other, I can hear my brain issuing an alert to back away slowly.
The longer they confer, the more time I have to watch. The blonde controls the conversation, the other deferring to her as they talk amongst themselves. It’s hot as hell.
The light bounces off the wounded plastic of the headlight and draws my attention back to the fact that Daisy is damaged, and in all likelihood, one of these two did it.
“You really calling Kip?” Peck whispers. “He’s not gonna do shit about this, you know.”
“He might throw them in the back of his cop car and fuck their brains out. Especially the blonde,” Lance whistles. “Can you imagine her in handcuffs? Shit.”
The thought shoots a flame through my veins that catches me off guard. The vision of her bound up with one of these assholes at the helm irks me. Bad. “You two stay out of this. Let me handle it.”
The sound of metal pinging against the ground rings through the air. The girls jump, the blonde leaping away from the aluminum bat as it rolls across the sidewalk and lands in the gutter with a flourish. Her eyes snap to mine, guilt etched across her gorgeous face. “It was an accident.”
“How, exactly, does a baseball bat accidentally strike the front of my truck?” I ask. “Did it just hop over there and smash itself into my headlight?”
“Well,” she gulps. “I …”
“She was imitating her brother,” the dark-headed one says. “So we stop using pronouns, I’m Delaney. This is Sienna.”
“I’m Walker. That’s Peck and Lance.” I rest my attention on Sienna. She’s leaned against the grey car, her arms crossed over her chest. “So?”
“I was swinging the bat,” she says, “while Delaney puked over there and it slipped out of my hands.”
“I think we’re gonna have to see your swing,” Peck chuckles.
Sienna rolls her eyes. “You do not need to see my swing.”
Imagining her ass popped out, her body moving for our benefit, seems like a fair trade for the hassle of dealing with this tonight.
“How else do we know it was you? It could’ve been Delaney and you’re just covering for her,” I explain, loving the frustration on her beautiful face. “Gonna need to see the swing.”
“No.”
“Lance, call Sheriff Kooch.”
“Wait,” Sienna sighs. “It was an accident. I can cut you a check for the repairs but please don’t call the police. I … I can’t have a record. You don’t understand.”
Looking away, it takes everything I have not to laugh. The plea in her voice is so damn adorable it almost makes me give in. Yet, she hasn’t shown any remorse, and that’s something I can’t get to sit right.
Swiping the bat out of the gutter, I extend it to her. The air between us heats, our fingers brushing in the exchange. The contact is enough to have her eyes flicking to mine. The light above may be dim, but it’s bright enough to see the way her lids hood, her lips part just barely as she pulls her skin from mine.
A zip of energy tumbles through my veins and I remind myself I can’t tug on the bat and pull her into me. There’s no way I can cover her lips with my own, sliding my tongue across hers, making her attempt at resistance to this proposed swing futile.
Instead, I step back.
“Batter up.” Peck motions for her to go. “Let’s see it.”
“Are you really going to make me do this?”
“Did you really just smash the front of my truck?” I ask. “The answer is the same to both questions, Slugger.”
Her eyes narrow, but there’s a fire in them that turns me the hell on. She steps away from her friend, zapping all the power I held just a few seconds ago with the flick of her tongue. It darts out, rolling across her bottom lip as the bat comes over her head. Sticking her ass out, bending her knees, her eyes still locked on mine, she slices the bat through the air … and stops it at the last possible second before impact.
It’s everything I thought it would be.
“Any questions, fellas?” she asks, propping it up on one shoulder.
“I have one,” I say, forcing a swallow, trying to redirect my thoughts. “If you could stop it that fast, then why the fuck didn’t you do that the first time?”
“Very funny.” She tosses the bat into the back seat of the car and crosses her arms in front of her again.
“Can I ask why you have a baseball bat to begin with?” Lance asks. “Do you belong to some softball league or something? If so, I just took a huge interest in women’s softball.”
Sienna laughs as Delaney’s face turns red. “Delaney’s car is like a scavenger hunt. You can find anything in there. So while she got sick, I just rummaged around in the trunk, found the bat, and fooled around.” She looks at me, her eyes softening. “Are you going to be here for a while? I’ll go home and get the money. I didn’t bring my debit card with me tonight.”
It’ll cost fifty bucks to fix the damage and about an hour’s time. Definitely not worth her going out of her way tonight. But it is worth making her come around again and say she’s sorry. It might do her some good.
Might not hurt me either.
She clicks her tongue against the roof of her mouth, the motion driving me crazy.
“Come see me Monday morning at Crank. It’s two streets over,” I say, gesturing to the north, before I can talk sense in to myself.
“Smart,” Peck whispers behind me, getting an elbow to the side from Lance.
Her jaw sets, a glimmer of resistance clouding her baby blue eyes. “I have plans Monday. I can try on Tuesday.”
The nonchalant attitude cuts through me, like her fuckup is no big deal. I wasn’t set on Monday morning, but I am now. “Monday or I call the Sheriff. Your decision, but make it quick. I got shit to do.”
“Fine,” she huffs. “Monday.”
“Fine,” I mock. “See you Monday morning.”
We start back down the sidewalk, her gaze heavy on my back. I pause at the bumper of their car. “Peck got your license plate number, so don’t think about not showing.”
“I did not,” Peck hisses, catching another elbow from Lance as their car doors open and slam shut.
“What the hell are you going to do with that?” Lance asks once we’re out of earshot. “Because I have a list of suggestions if you need them.”
As we get farther away, the air clearing of Sienna’s perfume, I realize it’s not suggestions I need. It’s a heavy dose of self-control.

Crank

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Craft

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Cross

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Crave

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Crazy

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 16 July 2019  Posted by  Tagged with: ,  No Responses »
Jul 162019
 

Craft (The Gibson Boys #2) by Adriana Locke

They’re not quite enemies. Not really friends. More like frustrated balls of sexual tension and neither will give in.

Lance Gibson drives Mariah Malarkey absolutely crazy. He uses her office like a phone booth, takes cupcakes from the corner of her desk like she baked them just for him. She didn’t. Maybe she knew the history teacher happened to love peanut butter icing, but that was purely a coincidence. All sixteen times.

Mariah has a way of getting under Lance’s skin too. She calls him out on his crap, spoils him even if inadvertently, and seeing the librarian in skirts drives him wild. She won’t give in. It’s for the best, really, considering there’s no way he could lie to a woman like that and he’s not about to tell her the truth about himself. Not in a million years.

These two don’t hate each other. They don’t really like each other. But for this to be a friends-to-lovers story, they have to start somewhere, right?

Note: This can be read as a standalone novel.

Excerpt Craft (The Gibson Boys #2) by Adriana Locke

CHAPTER ONE
LANCE
Nerdy Nurse: I’m going to have to pull out.
Working the tie around my neck with one hand, I lift the phone with the other. No photo, not even a real name, just a silver-grey profile picture with a bright pink set of lips pressed into a kiss. Why this generic image representing a woman I’ve never met makes me smile, I’ll never know. But, in my thirty-some years of life, I’ve learned not to question every reaction. There’s no fun in that.
My fingers swipe across the screen, the upturn of my lips firmly in place.
Me: Isn’t that my line?
Nerdy Nurse: Very funny. Are you always so … quick?
Me: Only when excellence calls for it.
Nerdy Nurse: Now you’re making me regret this thing that came up.
My fingers stall. Hovered over the keys, I re-read her words.
This is the most bizarre thing I’ve ever done. Carrying on this little conversation-ship with Nerdy Nurse isn’t, on the surface, my idea of a good time. I downloaded this dating app to keep from having any words ending in -ship. Yet, our back-and-forth is something I look forward to. Her wit and curiosity, her intelligence, is something that I crave. Even though we make plans to meet nearly every week, one of us will inevitably cancel. I’m okay with that because it means a continuation of this little thing we have going on.
Do I want to meet her? Abso-freaking-lutely. I want to fuck her so hard, so soft, so thoroughly that she’s ruined for anyone else. Until then, I’m good with this messaging thing. Strangely.
Adjusting my cock inside my khaki’s, I grab my briefcase and head into the kitchen. The coffee pot has one last cup left in the bottom and I pour it into a travel mug before flipping off the switch.
The clock on the stove shines the time my way in a bright, red warning that I’m going to be late. With a nod that way, I place my things on the counter and pull out my phone again.
Me: I bet it’s going to be harder for me to get it down than you, if you catch my drift.
Nerdy Nurse: The pitfalls of being a man.
Me: Reschedule?
I can’t even type the words without a chuckle.
Nerdy Nurse: What would we be if we weren’t rescheduling? Ha! I’m not sure what shift I’ll be on after tonight, so I better not commit quite yet.
Me: A woman after my heart.
Nerdy Nurse: Not exactly what I’m after. Hearts make me squeamish.
Me: Keep talking dirty to me.
Grabbing my things, I manage to get to the car and into the driver’s seat as her chat bubble flickers as she types on her end.
Nerdy Nurse: Blood is pouring onto the floor as we speak. Dirty enough?
Me: Blood makes me squeamish.
Nerdy Nurse: The guy before this had gangrene. Should we try that?
Me: You’re twisted.
Nerdy Nurse: I really need to go now.
Me: You know where to find me. At the top of your matches.
Nerdy Nurse: And to think you started at the bottom. If I hadn’t changed my preference from biographies to historical reads, you might’ve stayed there.
Me: Is that where you like it? The bottom?
A quiet groan passes my lips as I imagine her sprawled out under me. I wonder what she looks like, tastes like, what her voice sounds like as it moans my name. The scent of her sweat as it drips down her chest, the feel of her skin damp from her arousal.
Flicking on the car, the clock blazes the time and I know I’m already a few minutes behind. I need to get out of the garage, but her chat bubble bounces again and my mind imagines her tits, round and firm, bouncing in front of my face.
Good god. Get a grip.
Nerdy Nurse: Taking notes?
Me: Every good student takes notes.
Nerdy Nurse: And here I thought you told me you were a teacher.
Me: You can’t teach what you don’t know and I never stop learning.
Nerdy Nurse: Such a nerd answer.
Me: Looks like we’re a match then.
Nerdy Nurse: I was hoping for more … alpha.
Me: I hate that modern society thinks nerds can’t be alphas. Who runs the world? Who wields the true power in the universe? Nerds. We just don’t go flexing around about it.
Nerdy Nurse: Sounds like the start of a syndrome …
With my foot on the brake, I shift into reverse but still don’t back out.
Me: Are you talking medical to me? Let’s go back to the dirty part. I liked that better.
Nerdy Nurse: Bye.
Me: Don’t get cold feet on me now. I was just getting going.
Nerdy Nurse: You’re exhausting.
Me: You’re still responding.
Nerdy Nurse: You’re so full of yourself.
Me: Bet you wish you were full of me.
/Nerdy Nurse offline
My phone hits the leather seat beside me with a thud.
As I wait on the garage door to open, thoughts of Nerdy Nurse begin to fade away. They’re replaced with thoughts of work and, most importantly, what I’m doing on my lunch break.
I just hope there’s peanut butter icing involved.

Crank

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Craft

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Cross

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Crave

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Crazy

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 16 July 2019  Posted by  Tagged with: ,  No Responses »
Jul 162019
 

Cross (The Gibson Boys #2.5) by Adriana Locke

Cross Jacobs was a screw-up.

Everyone knew it, especially him, and the point was hammered home when Kallie Welch drove herself right out of his life.

But, she’s back.

Seeing Cross wasn’t on Kallie’s to-do list. She didn’t think she could avoid him forever but trying never hurt anyone. One minute she’s standing by herself and the next she’s accosted by a rich, velvety scent that could only belong to one man: Cross.

At face value, he’s divine. All rugged and confident with a smile that melts her right where she’s standing. It doesn’t take long to find him to be charming, witty, and the owner of a few legitimate businesses. Not at all like the mischievous boy she left.

He laughs and her heart flutters. With a touch of his hand, she’s dizzy. She’s fairly certain she’s going to die when he pulls her into an embrace and touches his lips to her forehead.

It feels right. It feels so right.

But is it?

Cross is a novella, originally published in the Team Player Anthology. Cross includes three chapters not included in the original story. There are also two Gibson Boy short stories, Restraint and Crash, included at the end for your enjoyment.

Excerpt Cross (The Gibson Boys #2.5) by Adriana Locke

FIRST CHAPTER SNEAK PEEK
Cross
“Where have you been in that thing?” Machlan shouts.
The roar of his muscle car’s engine winds down and he clicks the transmission into park. The purplish-black paint shines in the early afternoon sun.
Having just backed out of a parking spot onto Main Street, I check my rearview mirror. No one is coming. “Bluebird Hill,” I tell him. “After all that rain last night, I figured I’d test the new tires Walker put on my truck last week.”
“You’re a fuckin’ kid.” He laughs.
“Says the man driving that,” I tease, pointing at his ride.
“I’m not sure what your point is. This car is the baddest thing in town.” He punches the gas, the motor roaring like a banshee.
Glancing around at Doc Burns’ office with two cars in the parking lot and the Linton County History Museum across the street that only opens for the Water Festival once a year, I grin. “That’s not saying much.”
“Go to Hell.” His hand slips through his dark hair and over his chin. The amusement in his features evaporates as I watch … and cringe.
I know this look. I know all of his looks, actually, a by-product of being his best friend as long as I can remember. Many of them concern me and a lot of them worry me. But this one? It’s a flashing red sign with Vegas-inspired lights.
The thing is, I can’t just ignore it. When this look comes, so does the topic of my sister and, even though I love the both of them, I wouldn’t mind seeing them in a padded room until they fix whatever it is between them that is so broken.
With a sigh, I jam my truck into park too. “Yes,” I say, answering the question he’s yet to ask. “Hadley called and isn’t coming home this weekend. She said maybe next week.”
His jaw works back and forth as he stares down the street. “Why?”
That single word is spit with a lifetime of emotion. Machlan has loved my sister since the day she moved to Linton with our father and me when our mother died. She was fourteen and innocent and he was fifteen and infatuated. Through the years, they were off and on and together and not—at least officially. Everyone knew Machlan and Hadley were one and the same.
I’m not sure why she moved away from here. Being both her brother and his best friend precluded me from certain information, which is for the best. They both drive me nuts without having the details.
“Not sure,” I reply. “She left a voicemail last night saying she wouldn’t be home today. She didn’t pick up when I called her back.”
He flips his gaze to me. “You didn’t talk to her after that?”
“She’s a big girl, Mach,” I mock. “I’m sure she had shit to do.”
“Yeah.” His fingers regrip the steering wheel as his jaw goes back to work again.
“I’m gonna go wash this before I head back to the gym—”
“She’s all right, though. Right?” he interrupts. His face is stone-cold sober. “I mean …”
“She’s fine.”
He waits. Blinks. Re-grips the wheel again. “That’s it?”
Popping my truck into drive, I blow out a breath. “Yeah, that’s it. You want to know more? Call her. What a fucking amazing concept.”
“Yeah. I’ll get right on that,” he snips back.
“You should. Then you could quit this whole thing.”
“Got nothin’ to quit, man. Just being a decent guy.”
A decent guy. It’s my turn to turn my knuckles white on the steering wheel.
Machlan isn’t a decent guy. He’s a fucking great one … much better than the guy Hadley is seeing now. A guy I haven’t mentioned to Mach since I got home a couple of weeks ago from visiting her. I’m not mentioning him, either. I’ll save the boyfriend an ER bill and myself the bail money.
I can’t blame him. It has to be hard to see Hadley with another guy when, in Machlan’s mind, she’s his girl.
My stomach twists like it always does when my mind goes down this road. At least my girl didn’t bring other guys back with her. Hell, she didn’t even come back at all.
“Here comes Kip,” Machlan says, bringing me out of my reverie. Nodding toward the road in front of him, he laughs. “I’m not moving.”
I twist in my seat to see the sheriff coming toward us. He blares the siren twice as if to get us to move. We don’t.
Machlan pokes his head out of the window. “Need somethin’?” he shouts.
Laughing, I watch Kip’s car slide carefully between Machlan’s and the curb on the other side.
“You can’t park in the street!” Kip yells.
“What are ya gonna do about it?” I holler.
“Take ya both in.”
“Don’t you have somewhere to be?” Machlan asks. “Someone to protect and serve? Or service, if I know you?”
Kip shakes his head as Machlan flips him the bird. The sirens come on again before Kip hits the gas and speeds off down the street and vanishes over the hill.
When I look back at Machlan, his attention is on his phone.
“What?” I ask, curious about the smile on his face.
He looks at me and laughs. Sticking the phone in the cup holder, he shrugs. “Nothing. But can you do me a favor?”
“No.”
“I need help moving a couple of things at Crave. Come help me. Just for a few.”
“What’s in it for me?” I ask.
“A beer?”
Throwing the truck in neutral, I rev the engine. It barely sounds before his is screaming over top of mine and we jet off in opposite directions. I get to a stop sign at the end of the street and do a quick one-eighty to head to Crave.

Crank

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Craft

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Cross

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Crave

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Crazy

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 16 July 2019  Posted by  Tagged with: ,  No Responses »
Jul 162019
 

Crave (The Gibson Boys #3) by Adriana Locke

Hadley Jacobs is over Machlan Gibson.

Sure, she’ll always be a little weak to the dimple in his right cheek and the way his five o’clock shadow makes him ruggedly handsome. But that’s not enough to cover every other thing about him because they all drive her nuts. Like how he won’t admit he’s wrong even when he knows it and how he drives his stupid car a million miles an hour on wet asphalt. As she rolls back into town and takes a seat at Crave, she won’t take the bait. She’s over him. Mostly.

Machlan isn’t over her.

It’s not because he hasn’t tried. He reminds himself over and over that she’s not the girl for him. After all, she drives him insane with her sassy attitude and the way she calls him out on everything. She beats him at poker, even though she doesn’t know the difference between a straight and a flush, and when she looks at him with her bright, blue eyes, it’s unnerving. When she climbs onto that bar stool and orders a drink, he puts it in front of her and ignores the sparkle in her eyes. He’s not over her, but she won’t know that.

But she does know that. And he knows she’s not as over him as she’s pretending to be. When life forces their hand this time, there’s more on the line than a pile of poker chips. It’s their forever.

Crave is a second chance standalone romance in a new small town, blue-collar series from USA Today bestselling author Adriana Locke. Join readers everywhere as they fall in love with the delicious Gibson Boys.

Excerpt Crave (The Gibson Boys #3) by Adriana Locke

Chapter One

Hadley
“This is the best idea I’ve ever had,” I say to myself. “Or it might be the worst.”
I park my car along the curb a few spaces down from Crave. The bar sits in front of me with its crooked ‘a’ hanging sideways on the sign. Some of the red tube lights used to form the letters are bright, while others are dim, and I wonder if I should just re-start my car and go back home.
“No,” I say aloud. “You have to do this.”
The sun hovers over the horizon. The sky is spectacular with bright oranges and deep purples. Sunsets are one of my favorite things in the world, but I can’t enjoy this one. There are too many distractions.
Like how I didn’t tell my brother, Cross, I was coming to visit a night early.
And how I forgot my toothbrush and cell phone charger back at my apartment.
And how the underwire in the push-up bra that’s supposed to make me confident is actually poking a hole in the side of my boob.
Distractions abound, and I haven’t even made it to the biggest distraction of all—the one with deep chocolate brown eyes and a smirk I usually want to punch off his handsome face.
Machlan Gibson. The man I’m here to convince myself I can live without.
He might tie up my insides without trying. He might’ve been my first kiss and my first unofficial date—the first boy I snuck out of the house to meet in the middle of the night. He might know more about me than anyone in the world and be the one person with whom I hold the most secrets.
But it doesn’t matter. Not to him. And it can’t to me anymore.
Every time I come back to Linton, Illinois, I hope it’s the visit I stay for good. That Machlan will see what we can be, wrap me up in his arms, and ask me to work things out.
I’ve had that hope for years. That ends now.
This time, I’m over him. Or I will be before I leave. Somehow.
Taking a deep breath, I look back at the sign hanging askew. “You can do this,” I prep myself. “Just go in, lay some groundwork, and get out before you get in over your head.”
My sneakers hit the asphalt before I can rethink this entire thing. My stomach squeezes so hard I think I might have to sit back down.
Straightening my shirt, I pull a deep, steadying breath. The only indication of how wobbly I am on the inside is the way the little four-leaf clover necklace vibrates on my chest. “I’ve got this.”
“You got what?”
I spin around, hand covering my heart, and find Peck leaning on the hood of my car. My friend since the day I met him, he’s also Machlan’s cousin. Ridiculously charming with his blond hair poking out the sides of his baseball cap, he has a smile that could end a world war.
“I got your number, that’s what I got,” I say with a laugh. “What are you doing, troublemaker?”
“Oh, just seeing what this cute little redhead was doing talking to herself. Then I realized it was you and I was like, ‘Eh, I don’t really need a trip to the ER tonight.’”
I know what he’s getting at. Machlan is at Crave.
I pop him in the shoulder. He winces, humoring me, before shoving off the car and following me as I head down the sidewalk.
“What brought you back to town?” Peck asks. “Haven’t seen you in a while.”
I gaze at the horizon and the way the sun is barely visible over the tree line. I wish I were on Bluebird Hill watching it go down.
“Do you remember that tire swing we put up on Bluebird Hill?” I ignore his question and ask one of my own. “Is it still there?”
“I think so.” He takes off his hat emblazoned with a machinery company’s logo and runs a hand over his head. “I haven’t been up there in a while. The last time ended up with my truck being buried up to the axle in mud and me having to call Machlan to come get it out at two in the morning.” He grins sheepishly. “I’ll let you guess how that call went.”
My feet stop moving, so Peck halts too. We stand a few feet from the doors to Crave. His eyes search mine in a way only capable someone you’ve known for a long time can.
“He’s in there,” he says, motioning toward the door with his head.
“I hope so.”
Peck’s brow furrows. “Not the answer I was expecting.”
“Why else would I show up here?”
“Don’t you guys usually try to do this behind closed doors?” Peck asks.
“Do what?”
He runs his tongue along his bottom lip before biting down to withhold a grin. It doesn’t work. I roll my eyes at both his question and reaction and head toward the door.
Whatever happens once I’m inside Crave will be fine. Either he’ll serve me a drink or he’ll be a major ass—either option I can work with in my plan to get over Machlan Gibson.
“Are you ignoring me?” Peck asks.
“I just want a drink,” I lie.
“And what do you drink these days?” he prods, seeing through my lie. I’ve never been much of a drinker, and I’m definitely not the kind of girl to just stop by a bar for a drink—this bar, no less.
My mind races to come up with a drink I’ve heard my friends order, all the while trying not to let Peck see how hard my heart is racing and the sweat glistening on my palms. “I’m drinking a tequila and Coke.”
Peck chuckles behind me. “Can I give you one quick tip?”
“No.”
With a deep breath, I step into the building. Antique lanterns on the ceilings and various Christmas lights strung around the building illuminate the bar. I hold my breath before allowing the scent to hit me. It’s the smell of desperation and sweat, of a thousand spilled beers and even more bad decisions. It’s like perfume on your man that isn’t yours: repulsive.
“Fine then,” Peck says. “But when Machlan laughs his ass off because no one has ever, in the history of the universe, ordered a tequila and Coke, don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
My cheeks burn. “Oh.”
“Rum and Coke or tequila shots. Not tequila and Coke, Had.” He shoves his hands in the pockets of his worn jeans as he eyes me with amusement. “But do the rum and Coke. You’d be a mess on tequila, and while I’d pay a lot of money to watch Machlan lose his shit over that, I’m not sure he’ll even serve it to you.”
“He has to if I order it,” I say.
Peck leans back and releases a full-belly laugh. “You tell him that.”
“I will.” Looking him in his bright, blue eyes, I almost lose my courage and tell him to get me the hell out of here. He would. He’d take me to Goodman’s, buy me a sweet tea, and drive me around as I spilled my guts. But I can’t do that to him. Or me.
This wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment decision. It’s been a long time coming, and I finally broke down last week and realized it had to be done. I have to figure out how to move on with my life. I can’t put roots down somewhere else and allow myself to fall in love or really start a life when my heart is still here. With Machlan.
Peck’s face breaks into a sympathetic smile. “Take my advice and order the rum and Coke. You have a shot at getting that. Though it’s a small one, it’s better than your tequila chances, which are negative sixteen hundred.”
“I don’t understand why you don’t think he’ll serve me.”
“Rhubarb moonshine mean anything to you?” He makes a face reminiscent of someone dying before heading toward the bar.
I stand next to the bulletin boards lining the front wall, thinking about the night with the moonshine. How Mach and I got into a huge fight and I didn’t realize what moonshine was. And how he picked me up and took me home and stayed with me all night to make sure I didn’t pass out in my own vomit.
Besides the people playing pool in the back, the only other patrons drinking are seated near the old jukebox. As my gaze runs across a pair of pink panties pinned to the top of one of the bulletin boards, it settles on Peck. He waves at me to join him.
His merriment at my situation is written all over his face. I hope confidence masks the fear on mine. No matter how I get to the end result, this is going to hurt.
No, this is going to be hell.
I make my way over the cement floors. A man wearing a sleeve of tattoos and an undeniable invitation tickling his lips passes me. He turns around and whistles as he walks backward to the door.
This helps.
My confidence slightly bolstered, I look back at the bar.
This doesn’t help.
My feet shuffle, nearly tripping over an invisible boulder in my way as Machlan’s lips form a thin, hard line. His arms cross his thick chest.
Even with the cool reception, my cheeks still heat.
Machlan sure knows how to make hell feel like home.

Crank

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Craft

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Cross

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Crave

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Crazy

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Jul 162019
 

Crazy (The Gibson Boys #4) by Adriana Locke

USA Today Bestselling author Adriana Locke brings laughter and love in this friends-to-lovers, small town romance.
Love is crazy.

Peck Ward, the sweet, small-town mechanic, isn’t sure it’s for everyone. Least of all him. His life is chaotic enough without adding the pressure of a relationship. Besides, unrequited love is a real thing and he’s kind of over it.

This works out perfectly until a certain someone throws a wrench–pun intended–into his plans. As they go from adversaries to friends to possibly something more, things get complicated. After all, they know how this story ends. It’s not with them together.

His easy grin is enough to win her over. Her unabashed personality does him in. But are they ready to accept the fact that sometimes you don’t find love where you’re looking for it? Sometimes you find it in the most unexpected, craziest places.

Crank

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Craft

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Cross

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Crave

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Crazy

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Jul 162019
 

Sway (Landry Family Series #1) by Adriana Locke

BARRETT LANDRY has it all.

Power, prestige, and plenty of women, the dapper politician’s life is pretty phenomenal. But in the midst of the biggest campaign of his life, he needs to focus. The last thing he can afford is a distraction.

ALISON BAKER is a work-in-progress.

As a single mother to HUXLEY, she’s rebuilding life on her terms. She’s focused on family, faith, and a future for her son that can’t be taken away. Putting her child first means not being careless, no matter what.

A chance encounter forces Barrett and Alison to redefine what they really want out of life. But everything comes at a cost … and sometimes, even for love, it’s a price too steep to pay.

*Author’s note: Sway is a deliciously sexy, full length standalone novel. It packs a heavy dose of steam and has no cliffhanger.

Excerpt Sway (Landry Family Series #1) by Adriana Locke

“I want a chance to win you over,” he breathes, peering at me. The way his eyes search mine make it seem like time stands still. “Will you let me try?”
He forces a swallow and the look of hesitation, the internal fight he’s having, isn’t lost on me. It’s there, right beneath the surface, and when I add my concerns to the mix, it’s enough to make me balk. Just a bit.
“I’ll think about it,” I whisper, holding on to the little strand of courage I have left.
“Say yes.”
Instead of responding, I ask, “Where’d you get that scar over your right eye?” I reach out and press gently on the raised skin. I expect him to pull back, but he doesn’t.
My hand shakes as I touch his warmed skin. His forehead is silky and smooth. I’d like to run my hands over every inch of it, feel it ripple beneath my fingertips.
The corner of his lips twitch. “Lincoln hit me in the head with a baseball.”
“Bad reflexes on your part?”
“Wicked curveball on his,” he says, his face breaking out into a full smile.
“I thought he played center field?”
“He does. But he pitched some growing up.”
We stand inches apart, my hand gently brushing down the side of his face. Although I feel like he’d stand here all night and talk to me, it’s not possible.
“I really need to get back to work,” I say, trying to unlock my eyes from his.
“Dinner? This week?”
I can barely resist the look in his eye, the one that implores me to say yes. The one that makes me believe he really does want to have dinner and spend a few hours with me.
I need to get away, put some space between us while I can.
“We ran into each other tonight,” I shrug. “If we’re supposed to see each other again, then I guess we will.” I start to turn away before I completely buckle under his gaze.
“How am I supposed to get ahold of you? I don’t have your number,” he calls after me.
Heading up the steps to the Savannah Room, I glance at him over my shoulder. “You’re the Mayor. Figure it out.”

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Jul 162019
 

Swing (Landry Family Series #2) by Adriana Locke

Screw him and his perfect stats.
Sinful smirk.
Delicious body.
Lincoln Landry probably even has game-winning stamina.

Dangerous curves.
Sweet smile.
Ryan Danielle Ashley probably even has a game-changing personality.

There’s no denying the chemistry between them. It’s so fiery, it’s undeniable. They partake in it. Enjoy it.
They really enjoy it.

Attraction is not a problem. Nor is their banter, relationship status, or habits. That’s all fine. Perfect, actually.
The problem is as tangled up as their sheets.

A lighthearted and sexy STANDALONE romantic comedy from USA Today Bestselling author Adriana Locke.

Excerpt Swing (Landry Family Series #2) by Adriana Locke

#1
Why they call it a farmhouse is beyond me. That word paints an image of a little white house with a chicken coop. This is a Southern plantation. A huge, wide porch with pillars looks to encompass the entire place. Mums line whiskey barrels and give the clean exterior pops of burgundy, orange, and yellow. It’s breathtaking.

“This is gorgeous,” I breathe as it comes into full view. “Not what I expected.”

“This is my second favorite place in the world,” he whispers against my ear.

“Second? What could be more perfect that this?”

“Inside you.”

Before he can pull away, I turn my face so my lips capture his. He deepens the kiss, our lips working against one another in perfect harmony. As we pull away, breathless, he grins. “Thank you for coming.”

“I’ll ensure you come later,” I promise.

“Naughty girl,” he chuckles as the car rolls to a stop. “I like it.”

“You will.”

#2
The bell chimes as the front door closes behind me. I’m to my car in record speed. I need space. I need air. I need to think. When my phone buzzes right before I pull out of the parking lot, I know it’s Pepper and she’s not going to quit until I give her something to occupy her mind.
“Fine!” I nearly shout into the phone. “His cock is about ten inches, if I’m guessing, and he fucked me in about every position I could explain. My favorite, though, was the corkscrew. Not sure what that is? Google it.”
My finger goes to swipe off the call when I see the name on the screen and drop the phone. “Shit!” I cry, digging through the items on my passenger’s side floorboard until I find the glowing device.
My heart is pounding as I try to decide whether to end the call or talk to Lincoln. Mortified, I bring it to my ear and squeeze my eyes shut. He’s silent.
Maybe he didn’t hear. Please, God, don’t let him have heard that.
“Hello?” I eke out.
“I’d say ten inches is fair and I’ve made a note about the corkscrew. Glad I called,” he chuckles.

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Switch (Landry Family Series #3) by Adriana Locke

Mallory Sims is late for her first day of work.

After spilling her tea, she discovers she has no gas in her car. Add that her arm keeps sticking to her dress from syrup left on the console of her car, flustered feels like an understatement.

Then she sees her new boss.

Graham Landry is the epitome of NSFW in his custom-fit suit, black-rimmed glasses, and a look so stern her libido doesn’t stand a chance. Being flustered is just the start of her problems.

Her punctuality is only the start of his. With a pink slip in hand, he’s been waiting on his new secretary to show up only to let her go. Then she rushes in with her doe eyes and rambling excuses, smelling like bacon and lavender. The termination paper falls to the side as she falls in his arms.

This is a disaster in the making. Not because of his pinpoint exactness or her free spirit, but because when they’re together, the sparks that fly threaten to burn the whole place down.

Excerpt Switch (Landry Family Series #3) by Adriana Locke

We both know we aren’t just talking about a moved stapler or a mishmash of files. As that really sets in, the air around us gets heavier. Hotter. Hazardous.
“Those things always lead to dangerous situations,” he says, his eyes trained on me.
I shift in my seat, the throb between my legs growing stronger by the second. “People do it every day and survive.”
“They may survive, but don’t things get messy?”
“Only if they do it right.”
His chair flies backwards and he’s to his feet and next to me before I know what’s happening. He doesn’t ask that I stand, but he doesn’t have to. It’s implied and my body reacts accordingly to his silent command.
We stand face-to-face, our breathing ragged. Our chests heave with the anticipation, the possibility, of what might come next.
“You are, quite possibly, the most dangerous of them all,” he says, his voice rough.
“Why is that?” I breathe.
“There’s no plan for you.”
“But you’ve already penciled me in, haven’t you, Graham?” I ask, finding the courage to play this little game with him. Being strictly professional is incredibly hard, and this is way too easy.
I can flirt with the best of them in a bar or on a college campus. But here, with him, it’s a game all its own. A level I had no idea I’d ever be a contender in. Maybe I’m not, but I’m going to play the hell out of it while I’m here … even though if I keep it up, I might not be here for long.
“What do you want, Mallory?”
“I want to do all the things you ask of me and do them better than you ever expected they could be done.”
A rumble emits from his throat as his eyes darken. My knees go weak and I grab the table with my left hand to ensure I don’t fall.
He licks his lips and flips his gaze to my mouth. I think I whimper as I lift my chin, waiting to see what he does next. My entire body is on fire for this man, my heart thumping so hard I’m sure he can hear it.
He moves so my back is pressed against the table, our food long forgotten. His hands are on either side of me, caging me in. Our eyes locked together, he leans in, a slow smirk spreading across his gorgeous face.
“Excuse me, Mr. Landry. Ford is here to see you,” Raza chirps through the line.
We exhale simultaneously, a giggle escaping with mine. There’s nothing funny about this, but the energy has to come out in some way.
“Mr. Landry?” she asks again.
“I’ll be right out. Thank you, Raza.”
“Oh, you’re so welcome, sir.” The line clicks off and Graham marches across the room and punches a button. The light on top indicates he’s not to be disturbed.
I busy myself with cleaning up our lunch, and before he’s at my side again, I have everything bundled up.
“Thanks for lunch,” I say like nothing just happened.
“Mallory …” He runs his hand through his hair, leaving one lock sticking up. Knowing what that will look like if we walk out together, I reach up, hesitating for a split second, before smoothing it out.
His hair is silky against my fingers. He jumps when I touch him at first, but doesn’t back away. “What are you doing?”
“Nothing went on in here. I refuse for it to look like something did. That’s the way rumors get spread, Mr. Landry.”
“Mallory, I …”
I get a final look at his face, reach up and straighten his tie as his eyes go wide, then turn towards the door. “I’ll send Ford in.”
“Mallory!”
“Yeah?” I turn to see him over my shoulder. He’s standing by the table, his hands in his pockets looking frazzled. When he doesn’t respond, I place my hand on the knob. “I’ll have that file back to you before I leave today. Thanks again for lunch.”
I walk out before I can change my mind.

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Jul 162019
 

Swear (Landry Family Series #4) by Adriana Locke

Ellie Pagan has a list of reasons to stay away from Ford Landry.

It’s a mile long and was so much easier to stick to when he was a world away. Now that he’s standing in front of her—body hard and chiseled from a stint in the military, suit cut to perfection, and a smirk she could never resist—remembering all the reasons why just got a whole lot harder.

Ford gets Ellie isn’t his biggest fan. He just doesn’t care.

Standing in front of him, giving him hell, she’s even prettier than he remembered. All he can think about is how she felt in his arms, the taste of her kiss, the sound of her giggle in the middle of the night. He may not know how to win her back, but he does know this: he may have let her go once, but that’s one mistake he won’t make again.

SWEAR is a heartfelt and steamy standalone romance.

Excerpt Swear (Landry Family Series #4) by Adriana Locke

Our breathing quickens, the blues of his eyes growing stormy. A chill tears through me as he accidentally-on-purpose brushes his arm against mine. It’s like muscle memory, my body remembering exactly what to do around his.
My knees dip, my mouth waters, and I fight the ache in between my thighs as he looks down at me like it’s me he wants for dinner.
“What if I throw breakfast in afterwards?” he prods. “Does that make me, I mean it, more appetizing?”
That’s all it takes, that one little hint of arrogance, that brings me back to reality.
I flip him a smile. “It makes it less, actually.”
His own smile wavers. “I get that you probably hate me.”
“You’re right. I do.”
“I want the chance to explain.”
“You have the same chances of getting the chance to explain as I do of getting what every woman wants.”
“What’s that?”
I lean in, like I’m going to tell him a secret. Whispering, I say, “Being able to eat all the pizza and not gain an ounce.”
Turning on my heel, I head to the back as his chuckle fills the room. “That was good. I’ll give you that.”
I shrug and keep walking.
“You can at least let me apologize.”
The authority in his tone, like I owe him something, stops me in my tracks. I whirl around to face him. “You don’t deserve a chance to apologize to me.”
“I didn’t say I deserved it,” he says earnestly. “But I would love the opportunity to do so.” He forces a swallow, my eyes glued to his lips. “I would appreciate the chance to get to see you again.”
The snicker that comes from me is unexpected by both of us. “So charming. I forgot how good you are with words.”
“Does that mean that’s a yes?”
“That means that’s a no,” I smile. “That means I’m not about to let you come in here and look at me with those bright blue eyes and make me forget what it felt like to have you rip my heart out.”
He flinches. “I didn’t mean to do that, Ellie.”
“Don’t act surprised,” I laugh angrily. “There’s no way you thought I just went on with my life after you left. I dated you for four years, Ford. And after what we went through …”
It’s me gulping now, the anger so palpable that I almost have tears in my eyes. My hands shake as I remember the fight that ensued after he told me he was enlisting.
“You left me,” I repeat, shaking my head. “So leave me again. There’s the door. Should I hold it open for you this time?”

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