Jul 252021
 

North Star (Compass Series Book 2) by Aria Wyatt

Book 2 of 2 in the True North Duet
Lena
Alaska was a brutal hostess.
I spent three weeks lost in the wilderness with celebrity heartthrob, Wes Emerson. Sharing a tent with the Australian actor was one thing. Opening my heart? That was a totally different ballgame–and you guessed it–he won.

Wes is the embodiment of warmth, strength, and shelter. We forged a soul-deep connection in the face of peril and uncertainty.
Too bad our rescue was only the beginning.

When reality comes knocking, it hits hard. I’m an ordinary nurse from upstate New York. He’s a Hollywood A-lister who lives on a different continent. Our lifestyles are worlds apart.
What happens without Mother Nature to level the playing field? Can our love withstand the noise, chaos, and media attention?

Wes and I conquered the Far North, but we discover wilderness can take on many forms . . .

NORTH STAR is book two in the Compass Series and book 2 of 2 in the True North Duet. Warning: this novel contains scorching long-distance lovin’, caramel syrup, paparazzi, shared showers, and kamikazes.

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 25 July 2021  Posted by  Tagged with: , , , , ,  No Responses »
Jul 242021
 

True North (Compass Series Book 1) by Aria Wyatt

Book 1 of 2 in the True North Duet

It was supposed to be a guys’ trip.
Just my best mates and me at a remote lodge in Alaska’s Far North. They promised a breather from the stifling attention. Nature. Seclusion. Two weeks with no cameras, no autographs, and definitely no women.
Tell that to the snarky New York nurse who snagged the resort’s last vacancy.

Lena Hamilton is the wildcard I never expected to be dealt.
She’s got a dirty mind and a smart mouth. Lena couldn’t care less that I’m Wes Emerson, Hollywood actor. She doesn’t just rattle my cage, she bites back, pushing buttons I didn’t know I had. Her soft heart and fiery spirit make me ache for things I’ve sworn off for years. Something more. Something deeper.

Lena doesn’t believe I truly want her, but when we find ourselves at the mercy of the Alaskan wilderness, she has no choice but to trust me.
TRUE NORTH is Book One in the Compass Series and book 1 of 2 in the True North Duet. Warning: this novel contains snarky banter, hot surfer dudes, a cocky Australian actor, tundra-melting sexual tension, the northern lights, shared tents, campfires, and frenzied forest shenanigans.

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 24 July 2021  Posted by  Tagged with: , , , , ,  No Responses »
Feb 112021
 

Temptation (Temptation #1) by T.K. Leigh

A handsome Australian surfer. An attraction she can’t ignore. Business has never been so pleasurable.

It was supposed to be a typical business trip to Hawaii.

During the day, I’d put the final touches on the new location of my bakery. At night, I’d relax on the lanai while sipping a glass of wine.

But that all changed when I met Lachlan.

Sexy. Intriguing. Haunted.

And easily fifteen years younger than me.

I should walk away. Forget about the way he sparks a yearning inside me I thought died years ago.

But something keeps drawing me back to him.

So I make a proposition.

One week. No last names. No expectations.

It was the perfect plan…

Until it wasn’t.

They say temptation can be dangerous.

I didn’t realize it could be so deadly.
Publication date : January 24, 2022

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 11 February 2021  Posted by  Tagged with: , , , ,  No Responses »
Oct 252020
 

Falling (Spiralling Skywards #1) by Lesley Jones

It only takes one defining moment.
One look.
One dance.
One conversation.
Sarah knows from the second she meets Liam that their connection is more than just instant attraction. It’s deep, it’s consuming, and has the potential to be the real thing. But true love comes at a price.
Fuelled by Liam’s past, Sarah’s issues, and a messy web of family ties, business partnerships, and exes, the combined forces threaten to snuff out their new found relationship. Will that spark be smothered by outside forces? Or will they be carried like smoke from the ashes and sent spiralling skywards?
Written in Lesley Jones’ usual heartfelt, witty, and emotional voice, this dual point of view story is just the beginning of her Spiralling series.

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 25 October 2020  Posted by  Tagged with: ,  No Responses »
Oct 172020
 

The Aussie Next Door (Patterson’s Bluff Book 1) by Stefanie London

American Angie Donovan has never wanted much. When you grow up getting bounced from foster home to foster home, you learn not to become attached to anything, anyone, or any place. But it only took her two days to fall in love with Australia. With her visa clock ticking, surely she can fall in love with an Australian—and get hitched—in two months. Especially if he’s as hot and funny as her next-door neighbor…

Jace Walters has never wanted much—except a bathroom he didn’t have to share. The last cookie all to himself. And solitude. But when you grow up in a family of seven, you can kiss those things goodbye. He’s finally living alone and working on his syndicated comic strip in privacy. Sure, his American neighbor is distractingly sexy and annoyingly nosy, but she’ll be gone in a few months…

Except now she’s determined to find her perfect match by checking out every eligible male in the town, and her choices are even more distracting. So why does it suddenly feel like he—and his obnoxious tight-knit family, and even these two wayward dogs—could be exactly what she needs?

Excerpt The Aussie Next Door by Stefanie London

Tears sprang to Angie’s eyes so quickly, they caught her off guard. Oh, hell no. She hadn’t kept herself together all through that meeting this afternoon only to lose it now.

She spun around to face the sink—now more concerned about her emotions than the big black dog in her tiny kitchen. Why did she have to act like a melodramatic teenager in front of Jace now? He was pretty much a level of adulthood she could never hope to achieve. He always had a cool head about him. He was quiet and composed, thoughtful. And hot…so hot.

Like, exactly what you think a sexy Australian guy should look like kind of hot.

Blue eyes, sandy hair. Crooked Hemsworth smile. Tanned skin. Shoulders broad enough to carry the world. She’d seen him in board shorts a number of times and knew that what he had going on under his usual T-shirt and jeans was the stuff of her horny dreams.

Holy freaking physical perfection, Batman.

Except that he most likely thought she was a mess of a human. Which, to be fair, she was. Call it a by-product of the fact that she had only one mode of operation in dealing with nervous energy: grin and bear it. Or, as was more accurate, grin and verbal diarrhea.

In the case of Jace Walters, that meant flitting around with a too-big smile and starting conversations about literally anything that popped into her head. Like that one time she suggested he plant cacti instead of annuals, because they were easier to care for. Except that he should be careful because this one time she fell on a cactus, and pulling the prickles out of her leg was torture. But that it would definitely be worse for a guy because their nether regions were so much more exposed. Which had been super awkward, so then she’d changed the topic and started talking about how strange it was that eggplants had nothing to do with eggs.

She cringed remembering how he’d stared blankly at her. Sometimes it seemed like he had no idea how to react to her or what to say, but who could blame him? She talked sixty miles a minute and changed conversation topics like the wind.

Jace cleared his throat. “Should I go? I don’t want to…intrude.”

“No, stay. Please.” She cursed herself for the desperation in her voice. Warning: stage-five clinger. She turned around and offered him one of her too-big smiles. “I mean…it’s been a long day. I could use some company, actually.”

Falling apart was not an option.

He absently scratched his chest, as if he wasn’t sure what to say next. Then he blurted out, “Want to help me look for the other dog?”

She blinked. “You lost him already?”

“I didn’t lose him,” Jace replied, frowning. “I…misplaced him.”

Angie let out a half laugh. “Sure. I can help with the dog hunt. We’re looking for the little one, right?”

“Right.”

“And you’ll lock up the big one.” She eyed Tilly warily.

“Yes, I’ll lock her up.”

“And you’ll let me make you a cup of coffee after.”

A crooked smile pulled at Jace’s lips, making a dimple form in one cheek. “Sure.”

“Give me a second to change.” She darted off to her bedroom and quickly wriggled out of her pencil skirt and blouse. She wanted to burn the damn things—useless talismans that they were. She reemerged in jean shorts, a white T-shirt, and thongs…which she still couldn’t say without giggling. Although now, not even the Aussies’ funny word for flip-flops could lift her spirits. The meeting today had left her feeling like a husk.

Like someone had hollowed her out and taken a match to her future.

You could always find a bloke to marry. I wouldn’t be totally opposed to the idea.

Paul’s words swirled in her head, but she shut the thoughts down. There was no way she could marry a guy for a visa. She’d always known she would marry for love—because her life would have been very different if she’d had love…from anyone.

No way would she shortchange herself where that was concerned.

Not even for the life of your dreams? Not even for the chance to live anonymously and happily?

No. She deserved more.

“I’m outside,” Jace called, and Angie jogged through the front door, then slammed it shut behind her. “Big dog is locked up.”

“Well, that is a giant relief.” She also didn’t love small dogs. Angie didn’t hate them, of course, but she’d had such a bad experience earlier in life that she’d never bonded with any other dog since. “Okay, Dr. Watson. What’s your read on the situation?”

“How come you get to be Sherlock?”

“Because Sherlock would never have lost the dogs in the first place.”

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 17 October 2020  Posted by  Tagged with: , , ,  No Responses »
Aug 272020
 

Her Aussie Holiday (Patterson’s Bluff Book 2) by Stefanie London

Cora Cabot’s life is falling apart. So when her Australian friend announces she’s secured an internship in the States, Cora has a brilliant idea: house swap! Small-town Australia sounds like the perfect getaway. Only, when she gets there, the house isn’t empty. Turns out her friend’s hot Australian brother is staying there, too—and he doesn’t look happy to see her.

The last thing Trent Walters needs is a roommate for the summer. Especially an American who immediately floods the house and single-handedly destroys the family project his sister created for their parents’ anniversary. Now, not only does Cora insist on helping fix the house, he needs her help re-creating the family scrapbook. And glitter is not his forte.

But between late nights cooking, pints at the local pub, and competitive matches of cricket on the beach, Cora starts to break through Trent’s defenses. Too bad Cora made a promise to return to working with her father at the end of the summer—a promise she can’t break—because this holiday is starting to feel like one she never wants to end.

Excerpt Her Aussie Holiday by Stefanie London

They approached the beach’s outdoor showers, which were designed for people to quickly wash the sand and sea-water from their bodies before heading to their cars. A teenage boy with a boogie board stood under one shower and a mother occupied the one closest to the carpark, wrangling two chubby-limbed youngsters so deftly Trent wondered if she had extra arms.

“After you,” he said, motioning for Cora to take the last unoccupied shower.

“I had been waiting all day for this.” Cora set her bag and sandals down next to Trent, and then stripped her dress over her head.

Underneath she wore a white bikini with little gold beads dangling from the ties at her shoulders and hips. Trent almost tripped over his own feet at the sight of it. Cora might not have ever played sports but whatever physical activity she was doing, was definitely working for her. Her body was lean and strong, with legs that seemed to go on forever. And an ass that filled out her bikini bottoms to perfection.

Clearing his throat, he pretended to look at his phone as she strode toward the last shower. The teenage boy next to her did a double-take so comical, it looked almost as if it could have been staged. Cora was oblivious, driven by the desire she’d been hanging onto all day to wash the long flight from her skin. The water streamed over her, soaking her hair and gliding over her body. Making her glisten. Water ran in rivulets along her back, over the curve of her butt and down the backs of her thighs.

Trent’s mouth was suddenly drier than the sandy ground beneath his feet. Lust gripped him at the base of his spine, an instant need pulsing in time with his accelerated heartbeat. He dragged his eyes away—not quick enough. He’d need to be careful of that.

“I never knew a shower could make me feel that good,” Cora said with a blissful sigh.

Trent nodded, keeping his eyes on the crashing waves. Maybe if he counted them as they rolled in, his body would calm down enough that he could look Cora in the eye without thinking anything inappropriate.

“I feel like a brand-new human being,” she added.

Trent glanced back in her direction and she’d turned around. Now the flat plane of her stomach exposed, and the sight of her perky breasts barely kept in place by the skimpy white triangles was enough to melt him like an ice cream on a summer’s day. He caught sight of a small tattoo on her upper thigh, something black and white that was small and a little difficult to make out. He would never have pegged her to be the kind of girl hiding some ink under her skirt.

The teenage boy was scurrying in the direction of the carpark now, averting his eyes from Cora’s body and strategically holding his boogie board in front of him.

I feel your pain, buddy.

“Nice tatt,” Trent said, determined to keep his mind on a subject that felt safe, rather than letting his mind wander to how easily he could snap those bikini strings with his teeth.

She’s your sister’s friend, Dude. Not cool.

“Oh thanks.” Cora turned the taps off and squeezed the water out of her long hair. “It’s in the perfect hide-from-your-parents place.”

“They’re not a fan of sports or ink.”

“Just two items in a long list of many things I was never supposed to indulge in,” she said drily. When she came closer, he could see it was a small creature. A caterpillar. It was inked only in fine black lines, almost minimalist in design. It seemed an unusual choice.

“I’ve seen a lot of butterfly tattoos in my day, but not many caterpillars.”

“I have a theory on that,” she said, pulling her dress over her head. Since her body was damp, it stuck to her in places but the fabric was thin and the balmy breeze would have her dry in no time at all. “Lots of people choose the butterfly as the representation for metamorphosis, because it’s the end state. The goal. And so many people want to be the butterfly now. They want the beauty, and the admiration, without putting in the work required of the caterpillar. Yet without the caterpillar, there is no butterfly.”

“That’s very profound.”

“I guess I’d rather be a point where there’s still hope and good things in front of me, than just wishing to rush to the end.” Cora’s cheeks flushed as though she was embarrassed for sharing too much. “But that was probably way more information that you wanted.”

She gave him a gentle shove toward the showers, her pale-blue gaze not quite meeting his. Trent wasn’t sure he’d ever met someone where his initial impression had been so swiftly turned on his heel.

And, against his better judgement, Cora Cabot had him officially intrigued.

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 27 August 2020  Posted by  Tagged with: , , , ,  No Responses »
May 282020
 

Cocky Bastard by Penelope Ward & Vi Keeland

From New York Times Bestsellers, Penelope Ward & Vi Keeland, comes a sexy new standalone novel.

He was someone who belonged in my wildest fantasies instead of a rest stop in the middle of Nebraska.

A sexy, cocky, Australian named Chance was the last person I expected to run into on my cross-country drive.

When my car broke down, we made a deal. Next thing I knew, we were traveling together, spending sexually-tense nights in hotels and taking unplanned detours.

My ordinary road trip turned into the adventure of a lifetime. It was all fun and games until things got intense.

I wanted him, but Chance wouldn’t make a move. I thought he wanted me too, but something was holding him back.

I wasn’t supposed to fall for the cocky bastard, especially when I knew we’d be going our separate ways.

All good things must come to an end, right?

Except our ending was one I didn’t see coming.

Author’s note – Cocky Bastard is a full-length standalone novel. Due to strong language and sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18.

I am a fan of the world of the Cocky Hero Club. Cocky Bastard is one of the book that will inspire a lot of authors to write in this world.

It’s a standalone so you can enjoy it and know you will not want to put the damn book down. Trust me.

Aubrey is moving to another town. She has a lot of miles to her destination, so when she meets a cocky Australian at a gas station, the chemistry between them starts abruptly.

What is more strange is that this hotshot guy has a bike that won’t start, leaving him asking for Aubrey’s help to reach the next town.

It you’re looking for a road trip romance, you’re in for one hell of a ride.

During their travel together, the attraction becomes to hard to handle and feelings set early on. But Chase has a secret that will destroy any future they might have.

After years have passed, Chance wants his second chance, but they way he left Aubrey has her heart broken. Will she listen to him? Will she pause her life to give him another chance? It’s funny how the name matches his wish.

Read the book, meet the goat and tell me all about it. You’ll know what I’m talking about.

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May 142020
 

Love Game by Emma Scott

Sikai Solomon is a tennis prodigy.

A mega-talent.

A legend in the making.

Kai is also the official, undisputed, bad boy of the “gentleman’s” sport with more smashed rackets than trophies; more penalty fines than prize money. The temperamental Australian sells out every match and the crowd loves his unconventional style of play, but when his fuse gets lit? Game. Over.

With the Australian Open only a few weeks away, a Grand Slam win should be a no-brainer. Instead, Kai’s self-sabotage has him on the verge of being banned from professional tennis for life. As a last-ditch effort to help save his career, his agent hires Daisy Watson to spend two weeks with the hotheaded superstar.

Daisy is a specialist in the healing arts. Or she will be, someday. Right now, she’s a broke receptionist at a Reiki Wellness Center in Maui, Hawaii, trying to make ends meet and heal her own emotional wounds from a dark episode in her past she’d rather forget.

Kai and Daisy are fire and water, but her compassion could be the perfect balm for his hot-blooded temper. His fearless, take-no-prisoners approach to life could be just what she needs to rediscover her own power…or they might end up with nothing.

Because in the sport of tennis, love means zero.

*Love Game was previously published in the Team Player 2 romance anthology

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 14 May 2020  Posted by  Tagged with: , , , ,  No Responses »
May 092020
 

Callan (Outback Shifters Book 2) by Zoe Chant

Everything’s hotter down under. Especially the shifter cops.

When Ella was just a kid, her deadbeat dad ditched her in Australia. She’s still there, working as a biochemist. And apart from a few little trust issues, she’s gotten her life on track. Until now.

Her lab? Trashed. Her apartment? Destroyed. Her life? Over. And now she’s on the run with a mysterious and insanely hot cop who just happens to turn into a massive extinct beast, in the middle of the Australian wilderness, pursued by some really weird enemies.

Shifter cop Callan has been a tough field agent for ten years. He’s built his reputation on being cool, calm, and collected. But nothing’s prepared him for the maelstrom of emotions that the beautiful, fiery Ella unleashes within his heart. It goes against everything he’s been trained for, but when he realizes she’s his mate, he knows he has no choice but to help her – no matter where that leads them.

With a dangerous enemy hot on their heels and ghosts from Ella’s past coming back to haunt them, protecting her won’t be an easy job.

Can they solve the mystery before time runs out? Can sharing a Tim Tam slam by the campfire be enough to get Ella to open the heart she’s kept closed off for years?

Don’t know what a Tim Tam slam is? One-click Callan for a fast-paced, steamy paranormal romance read, and find out now!

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 9 May 2020  Posted by  Tagged with: , , , ,  No Responses »
May 092020
 

Hector (Outback Shifters Book 1) by Zoe Chant

Co-parenting a baby pegasus with the hottest guy you’ve ever met? That’s easy.

Learning to love Vegemite? That’s hard.

Myrtle thought her Australia trip was to study endangered moths. But her grant proposal should’ve said, “I propose to co-parent a baby pegasus shifter with an insatiable appetite for mashed apples while getting chased across the outback with a smoking hot Australian cop named Hector. Did I mention that he’s smoking hot?”

But Hector isn’t just any incredibly hot cop with an amazing accent – he’s also a griffin shifter, and he’s certainly being cagey about showing her his badge.

As an undercover operative for a secret law enforcement agency, Hector’s plan to take down a smuggling ring didn’t include a gorgeous woman who turned out to be his mate, the adorable baby pegasus who captured both of their hearts, or the deadly conspiracy that now has them on the run in the wild outback.

Now all Hector has to do is protect his new family, survive a landscape that’s trying to kill them, defeat the shadowy enemy that threatens to destroy them all… and teach his mate to appreciate Vegemite.

What could go wrong?

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 9 May 2020  Posted by  Tagged with: , , , ,  No Responses »
Apr 272020
 

The Rebound (Mills & Boon Dare) (Close Quarters Book 3) by Stefanie London

Good-girl-gone-bad Presley Richardson is running straight from the altar to a sinfully sexy rebound in USA TODAY bestselling author Stefanie London’s third Close Quarters story!

Bolting from the church half-naked was not part of the official wedding program…until I learned my husband-to-be was marrying me only for his father’s approval. How was I to know my incredibly hot getaway driver was the groom’s evil stepbrother? Or that diving into his sleek black Mercedes would be the first step on my journey to the dark side?

Wealthy executive Sebastian Foster is a bad decision waiting to happen—all hard muscles, square jaw and eyes that strip me bare. But I’m done being the good girl, done following the rules. It’s time to give up my perfectly planned life and embrace my inner siren.

Soon Sebastian is my sexy sidekick at Melbourne’s most exclusive nightclubs. Dancing burlesque for him makes us both crave a night of sensual sin. I’m starting to think this forbidden rebound may lead to something much deeper. But when I learn he’s hunting for information about my ex, I can’t help wondering—is he just another ambitious man using me to get ahead?

Take control. Feel the rush. Explore your fantasies—Harlequin Dare publishes sexy romances featuring powerful alpha males and bold, fearless heroines exploring their deepest fantasies.

Excerpt The Rebound by Stefanie London

Presley

My motto has always been: Life Is Better with a Mimosa. What’s not to like? It has bubbles, orange juice, a pretty glass. A mild buzz, which is enough to lower my social inhibitions without pushing me into hot-mess territory. It’s like the sweet spot of alcoholic beverages—good for brunch, good for a quiet night in. Good at a family barbeque.

Good any time except right now.

Don’t vomit. Don’t vomit. Don’t vomit.

Sucking in a breath and willing my stomach to behave, I sag back against the door I’ve just closed behind me. The room is spinning. My lungs feel like they’re about to cave in behind the strength of a boned bodice I’d thought was a good idea because, you know, breathing is optional on your wedding day.

I clamp a hand over my mouth.

I can’t even think the W word anymore without wanting to be sick. Which is a problem. A huge freaking sequin-encrusted problem.

You see, I’m still wearing my wedding dress. And my groom is hanging out two rooms away with his portion of the bridal party. Our family and friends are waiting in the garden outside, dressed to the nines and anticipating the day’s festivities.

My chest heaves with each breath, straining against the dress and undergarments forcing my straight up-and-down figure into Kim K curves. Well, baby Kim K curves… There’s only so much I can do without having a rib removed.

I have to get out of here.

I wring my hands in front of my dress and catch sight of the huge diamond flashing on my left hand. It suddenly feels like a noose. I claw at it, dragging it off my finger and tossing it onto the dressing table next to my beaded clutch and bouquet, which sit picture-perfect where the photographer snapped a close-up of them less than five minutes ago.

I don’t have much time before everyone is back, ready to fluff my train and adjust my veil and walk me out to meet my future husband. Panic is like a fist around my throat. I can’t marry him. Not now.

Not ever.

I jump as footsteps walk past the door. The clack of heels is like a tiny pickax beating against the inside of my skull. My mother, twin sister and the bridesmaids will be back any minute. Without thinking, I reach behind me and feel for the lock, turning it with a soft snick and trapping myself inside. I need a moment to think.

No… What I really need is an escape route.

Here’s what I know. There are only two ways in and out of this old Victorian building—through grand double doors at the front or via a small side door near the kitchen. Neither is a viable option, because the chances of me being seen are near guaranteed. And my outfit isn’t exactly easy to miss.

The sound of birds tittering through an open window snags my attention. Outside the bridal dressing room, greenery stretches out as far as the eye can see—gum trees and other native plants, yellow flowers of some kind. We’re at ground level.

I rush over to the window and peer out. From here, I can see the driveway snaking into the venue, and a few remaining cars slowly trickle in. This could be my way out! But the second anyone sees a woman in a big white dress, it’s game over.

Where will you even go? You’re never going to get out of this mess.

My subconscious mocks me for making this mistake not once…but twice. That’s right. This is not my first time running away from my own wedding. Only, last time I’d had the forethought to realise the man I was about to marry was totally wrong for me before I got to the venue. This time the revelation came a little late. Until ten minutes ago I’d still been ignoring the red flags flapping in my mind, telling myself it was nothing but normal wedding day jitters. That it was nerves about stupid things like tripping on my way down the aisle or stuttering while saying I do.

Now I know that I should have listened to those warning signs.

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Mar 162020
 

Arrogant Aussie (Cocky Hero Club) by Kat T. Masen

Gabriella

It was supposed to be simple—drink tequila, forget about the life I’m running away from and have one wild night. That’s exactly what my next-door neighbor, Aubrey, told me to do.

That’s when I met him—the arrogant Aussie.

It’s easy to forget a night with a stranger until that stranger is living next door.

Oliver

If it wasn’t for my horrific motorbike accident, I’d still be playing soccer. Instead, I’m crashing at my mate Chance’s place with no clue where my life is heading.

I needed an escape while I got my head together.
But it was never supposed to be with her—the girl next door. The rich heiress arranged to be married to some wealthy snob, and I was the arrogant Aussie who didn’t care about anyone but myself.

She couldn’t have been more wrong.
Gabriella Carmichael is a heartbreaker—the worst kind.
And I’m selfish, cocky, and won’t settle for second best.
I have to make her all mine.
There is no other choice.

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 16 March 2020  Posted by  Tagged with: , , , ,  No Responses »
Feb 152020
 

Jilted Jock (A Cocky Hero Club Novel) by Rebecca Jenshak

He was someone who belonged on the cover of Sports Illustrated instead of in my small beach town.

A sexy, cocky Australian soccer star named Finn was the last person I expected to be living with for two weeks.

He showed up at my brother’s house on his wedding night, hot, drunk, and very much not married. Next thing I knew, we were roommates, spending nights watching TV and getting to know one another.

Those two weeks turned into more than either of us bargained for.

He was fresh off a broken heart and I had a boyfriend.

I wasn’t supposed to fall for the jilted jock, especially when I knew we’d be going our separate ways.

All good things must come to an end, right?

Except he’s not letting me go without a fight.

This story was inspired by Cocky Bastard and features Chance’s sister Adele as the heroine.

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Jan 102020
 

The Fling (Close Quarters #2) by Stefanie London

From USA TODAY bestselling author Stefanie London comes the second book in her scorching-hot miniseries Close Quarters! Drew Richardson discovers she’s been having a racy affair with the best man at her sister’s wedding… Will their irresistible chemistry turn into something deeper?

I swore off romance after my ex broke my heart, so I’m not thrilled to be back home performing maid-of-honor duties for my twin sister. Her bridesmaids want everything to be capital P Perfect, and the best man, Flynn Lewis, is a giant pain in the ass—if his emails are anything to go by. Thank God for the delicious distraction next door: the anonymous “Mr. Suit.”

My nameless neighbor is utterly gorgeous and oh-so-serious. After a racy night of passion at his place, the truth comes out. “Mr. Suit” and Flynn Lewis are one and the same. Flynn wants a woman who’s as serious as he is—someone who wants to stay in Melbourne. But I’m happiest heading off on another adventure. We might be complete opposites, but the chemistry between us is red-hot…as long as no one gets burned.

CAN THIS BE READ AS A STANDALONE?
Yes! Each book in this series features a different couple, so they can be read in any order.

Excerpt The Fling (Close Quarters #2) by Stefanie London

Drew

I DUST MYSELF off and roll my shoulders back, trying not to wince at the pain in my feet. These boots were not made for climbing four flights of stairs. Mr. Suit is watching my every move like his life depends on it—though I don’t mind.

He’s gorgeous. If I had to make a quick guess I’d say mid-thirties, a lawyer/banker/insert mind-numbing profession here. But his suit fits like a dream, nipping in a trim waist and accenting broad shoulders. He might be desk-bound, but he works out. His eyes are the colour of the sky and his hair has an attractive reddish sheen to it, with warm-toned stubble on his sharp jaw to match.

Who would have known I’d be hot for a ginger?

“Were you stuck in there long?” He steps back so I can escape the concrete column of doom.

“How long is too long without phone reception? I was starting to worry I’d have to forage for food.” I cock my head. “Why don’t I know you? Do you live on this floor?”

He nods. “405.”

“We’re neighbours, then. I’m in 406.” I have a sudden urge to do something bold—to shake off the critical voice that’s been nagging me ever since I packed my bags and flew home to Melbourne. Each night has been an exercise in distraction—Netflix binges until I fall asleep, trying not to wish the weeks away so I can get on with my next adventure. Being home makes me antsy.

But tonight just got a whole lot more interesting.

“Want to come in for a drink?” I tilt my head, studying my smart-mouthed rescuer. The guy looks serious, like he’s got a gold medal in frowning. But I sense something beneath the surface—a simmering heat, like he’s stripping me back. I’ve had a lot of guys look at me over the years… but nothing like this.

It’s like I’m something precious behind glass.

“Is that your way of saying thank you?” he asks. There’s a slight crinkle to the edge of his eyes—like a delightful chink in his armour. “With liquor.”

“It only seems fair. After all, if you hadn’t come along, the poor concierge guy might have found a pile of bones at the top of the stairs. It would have traumatised him for life.” I nod, a mock sincere expression on my face. “You’re basically a national hero.”

He laughs, but still hasn’t accepted my offer. There’s no ring on his finger—no tan lines, either. That doesn’t mean he’s single, however, and for a moment my heart drops like a stone off a cliff. It’s stupid. I’ve recently come out of the biggest heartbreak of my life and I am not looking for anything.

In fact, when I’d hastily thrown everything I owned into two suitcases, tears streaming down my face, I’d promised myself I was done with trying to live up to other people’s expectations. And I was certainly done with men in suits.

Men with money. Men who had more power and more value than me.

Mr. Suit is clearly one of those guys. Wrong for me. Bad for me. And so tempting my body is throwing a party. Which should be the biggest red flag of all—because the more I want a guy, the bigger a jerk he usually turns out to be.

I open my mouth to rescind my offer, but he nods. “Sure, why not?”

What happened to turning over a new leaf, huh? Learning from your mistakes?

Sadly, my brain is out of there so fast only a brain-shaped cloud of dust remains. I can’t find the willpower to turn him away, because this guy’s magnetism is so strong, my body is almost vibrating with want. There’s something about him—something mysterious and enticing that’s like a hand pulling me closer so he can whisper naughty things in my ear.

I head toward my temporary apartment and pull the key out of my bag. “I didn’t think you’d say yes for a minute.”

“Neither did I.”

The way he says it sends a delicious shiver through me. Maybe this is exactly what I need right now—a little instant gratification to smooth the edges of the gaping hole where my heart used to be. A meaningless make-out session with a random guy to boost my confidence. Possibly a hookup.

Quick, dirty, with no tomorrows. With no talking and no plans and no worrying about what happens next.

Yeah, psychologists would have a field day with me. But I’m reaching deep into the bag of fucks I have to give and I’m coming up empty.

Aren’t you getting ahead of yourself? You only invited him in for a drink.

Everyone knows what that means, right? Sure, he’s my neighbour and I probably wouldn’t go there under normal circumstances. But I’m only here until the wedding, and then I’m taking off for some sunshine and sand while I sort my life out. This situation is temporary, so who cares if I have to avoid him in the elevators for a little while afterward?

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Jan 092020
 

Faking It (Close Quarters #1) by Stefanie London

From USA TODAY bestselling author Stefanie London comes the first book in her scorching-hot miniseries Close Quarters! Security expert Owen Fletcher and Detective Hannah Anderson are going undercover…as husband and wife. Their marriage may be fake, but the attraction burning between them is dangerously real!

Owen Fletcher is the most irritating man I’ve ever met…and the hottest fantasy I’ve never forgotten. I haven’t seen him since he left the police force to work as a security expert in New York, but now he’s back in Melbourne to help my department break up a ring of jewel thieves. The catch? We’re going undercover as husband and wife.

Getting up close and personal with Owen is messing with my professional focus. I should definitely not be dreaming about running my hands through Owen’s hair and kissing his smart-ass mouth. But there’s a solution: a no-strings affair to get him out of my system. For one night, I’ll take charge of my own pleasure and invite Owen to explore the red-hot chemistry that’s threatening to combust at any moment…

CAN THIS BE READ AS A STANDALONE?
Yes! Each book in this series features a different couple, so they can be read in any order. NB. This book is loosely linked to the Dangerous Bachelors Club series, and takes place after Mr. Dangerously Sexy.

Excerpt Faking It (Close Quarters #1) by Stefanie London

Chapter One: Owen

I know it’s going to make me seem like a cruel bastard, but there isn’t much in this world that pleases me more than getting the drop on someone. The element of surprise is my catnip. I love the moment my target realises they’ve been duped. Maybe it’s because nobody ever expected a thing from me.

Who actually thinks the class clown will amount to something? No one.

So yeah, I like it when the tables are turned. Especially when my target comes in a five-foot-two-inch package filled to the brim with bristling indignation.

“No.” Miss Indignation shakes her head, a frizzy brown ponytail slapping her ears like she’s a puppy shaking off the water from an unwanted bath. “Can’t we pretend to be brother and sister?”

“I’m not sure which part of this meeting you misinterpreted as a negotiation, Anderson.” My old boss, Gary Smythe, raises a bushy silver eyebrow. “This is your first assignment as a detective. I thought you’d be champing at the bit.”

Hannah Anderson, now known as Detective Senior Constable Anderson, straightens her shoulders. “Yes, sir, and I’m very grateful for the opportunity—”

“Then I suggest you quit shaking your head like you’re trying to dislodge something.”

I snort and stifle the noise with a cough. Neither one of them buys it. We’re sitting in a meeting room at the Victoria Police headquarters. It feels strange to be back. I’d never planned on returning to Australia, let alone to my old job. But that’s life, right? The second you think you’ve got your shit together, fate punches you in the nuts.

“Yes, sir.” Hannah looks like she’s about to erupt. She clutches her coffee cup in a way that tells me she’s trying to mentally crush my skull.

Nice try, Anderson.

“Not exactly the warm welcome I was hoping for,” I chime in, returning her fiery glare with a cocky grin. If there’s one thing that makes Anderson blow her stack, it’s people who take life less seriously than she does.

Spoiler alert: that’s literally everyone.

“Shut up, Fletcher.” Gary takes a sip of his cappuccino. He’s drinking out of a mug that says “I like big busts and I cannot lie” with a picture of a pair of handcuffs beneath it. A white line of milk foam caps his Ned Flanders-style moustache. “If you want someone to fawn over you, then pay your grandmother a visit.”

“Will do, sir.”

Anderson rolls her eyes. If it’s not completely obvious at this point, she kind of hates me. Well, hate might be a strong word although she has said it before. It’s a weird kind of hate. The kind that feels prickly and cold but is really a front for a gooey centre of white-hot attraction. Yeah, she has the hots for me and she hates herself for it.

So I’m scoring another point in the bastard category, but that pleases me very much.

“We’re going undercover,” I say, leaning forward against the table and not even trying to hide my glee. “As man and wife.”

I swear she somehow manages to tell me to go fuck myself with her eyes. “Right.”

“We thought we’d put this to bed before you left.” Gary frowns.

He told me the pertinent details before I submitted my leave at Cobalt & Dane, the security company I work for in New York City. A folder with everything required for this undercover gig—ID for my new identity, keys and an access card for the apartment I’m going to call home for the next month, and surveillance info that’s been collected to date—is already in my backpack.

This is an evidence-gathering mission, in the hopes of convincing the higher-ups to put together a task force. And I’m going to enjoy the heck out of being cooped up with Anderson.

“So did I, Boss.” The name comes out of habit. Gary Smythe will always be “Boss” to me.

We’d cracked the old case before I left for New York. But organised crime is a tricky beast. You think you’ve cut off the snake’s head and suddenly it grows back. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that greed is unrelenting.

“It looks like one of the relatives took over the family business,” Gary continues. “We suspect they’re running the operation out of an apartment complex in South Melbourne. We’ve secured an apartment for you. You’ll move in on Monday morning and make friends with the neighbours.”

Easy as pie. I love making friends.

But I suspect Anderson might have trouble with that. Friendliness isn’t her strong suit.

“I want you two to get reacquainted. Finish your coffees and figure your shit out.” Gary pushes up from his seat, his belly straining against his navy uniform shirt. Today he’s in office dress—proper trousers instead of the tactical ones, and a black tie at his neck. Probably had a meeting with the big boss. “See if you can keep from killing each other.”

“Our reputation precedes us,” I say as Gary exits the meeting room, leaving me alone with my soon-to-be fake-wife.

“Your reputation proceeds you,” Anderson corrects me. “Mine is nice and quiet. The way I prefer it.”

“Always so argumentative.” I lean back in my chair and fold my arms over my chest. Unlike her, I’m not dressed in uniform since I’m here as a consultant.

They might be able to drag me back for a case, but I’m not signing any long-term contracts. I’ll do this job as a favour for my old boss. I like the guy. I don’t like the life I left behind. Too many demons. The second this job is over I’m getting my ass back to New York.

“Look, this is my first assignment as a detective,” she says, nailing me with her wide brown eyes. “And I know you have a penchant for wreaking havoc, but I will not let you screw this up. You might have left this life behind, but this job is important to me.”

Anderson is all spit and polish, just as I remember. Perfectly pressed shirt and slacks, neat ponytail. She’s clearly catching up on paperwork before her big move into a detective’s role. I bet she stayed up late last night shining her shoes.

“Message received, Anderson. No tomfoolery.”

“You should start calling me Hannah. Get into the habit so my surname doesn’t slip out in front of anyone while we’re on the job.” She sticks her thumb into her mouth to chew on a nail, but then thinks better of it and folds her hands in front of her. Outside the meeting room, people wander back and forth—some in uniform and others in civilian dress. “I wanted to keep our first names the same. Make it easier to remember. Although I still don’t see why we can’t be brother and sister. It seems ludicrous that anyone would think I’d marry you.”

“Oh yeah, speaking of which…” I dig my hand into my pocket and pull out a worn velvet box. Anderson’s eyes widen as I flip it open, showing her the old, ornate ring nestled inside.

The ring is legit. It belonged to my mother and since I’m never, ever getting married I’m pleased to use it for something. It wasn’t her engagement ring—that one lives with my grandmother. But my mother loved jewellery enough to have a personal jeweller on retainer when she was alive, so I wasn’t short on options for this fake proposal.

Fun fact: I don’t need to work. My parents were rich. Like, travel around the world on a private jet rich. Like fly in a bunch of diamonds straight from Antwerp rich.

Not that I want anything to do with the money. It’s been sitting in a bank account for the last fifteen years while my financial adviser plays with cryptocurrency like he’s got a great big pile of Monopoly money in front of him. I told him to pick the riskiest ones and not even think twice if he lost the lot. He didn’t, not by a long shot.

And for this job, I’m going to have to embrace the upper-crust lifestyle.

“You’ve got to start wearing this,” I say.

Anderson blinks. “This is not how the fairy tales led me to believe a proposal would happen.”

The gold band cradles an interesting stone in a smoky shade that’s somewhere between brown and grey, which is nicer than it sounds. It’s surrounded by tiny white diamonds that glimmer under the artificial lighting.

The ring is unusual and pretty, like Anderson.

“I guess I’m not doing it right.” Clearing my throat, I slide off my chair and drop down to one knee. “Detective Senior Constable Hannah Anderson, will you—”

“Fletcher!” she squeaks, and several people outside the meeting room snap their heads in our direction. She gives me a shove and I fall to one side, laughing and landing on my palm. She snatches the ring box out of my other hand and shoves it into her pocket. “Are you trying to give me a heart attack?”

“What? I thought I was being nice.”

She shakes her head as though I’m the biggest idiot this side of the Yarra. Which, to be fair, might be true. “Couldn’t you find one of those gumball machines and get me some crappy little trinket? I’m going to freak out wearing this.” She pats her hand over the pocket containing my mother’s ring. “This is…real.”

“Yeah, it is. Topaz or some shit. And we’re going to be tracking a band of jewellery thieves. Ever think of that? Might be good to have a sparkly conversation starter.”

Her expression tells me it was a good call but there’s no way in hell she’ll say it aloud. Anderson—sorry, Hannah—doesn’t like to admit when other people are right.

“We should meet early on Monday morning. I’ve arranged for Ridgeway to drive a van with some boxes to the apartment building.”

“What’s in the boxes?”

“Nothing much. Files and stuff. But we have to look like we’re moving in.”

I grin. “It’s a new adventure for us. Newlyweds getting their first place together. You’ll have to practice looking excited.”

“I don’t know if I have it in me,” she drawls. Then she stands. Even with me sitting and her standing, she doesn’t have much height on me. What did I call her back then? Pocket Rocket. “Monday morning. Seven a.m.”

“Seven?” I groan. “Who moves into a house that early?”

“People who are excited to be living together.” She picks up her coffee cup. I’m already imagining how strange it’s going to be to see my mother’s ring on her finger. For some reason, it doesn’t repulse me as much as it should. “Don’t be late.”

“Seven a.m. it is, my darling wife.”

She rolls her eyes again and I contemplate warning her that the wind might change. But this time I hold my tongue. I’ll have many hours ahead of me to drive her nuts. Gotta take the perks of the job wherever they come. I pull the file out of my backpack and scan the summary page containing the key details of our assignment. Seven a.m. at 21 Love Street, South Melbourne.

Love Street? Sounds like the perfect place for a fake marriage.

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 9 January 2020  Posted by  Tagged with: , , ,  No Responses »
Jul 292019
 

Heat Wave by Karina Halle

HEAT WAVE is a STANDALONE contemporary ROMANCE from the NYT bestselling author of The Pact and Love, in English

They say when life closes one door, another one opens.
This door happens to lead to paradise.
And a man I can never, ever have.

Still grieving the loss of her sister who died two years ago, the last thing Veronica “Ronnie” Locke needed was to lose her job at one of Chicago’s finest restaurants and have to move back in with her parents. So when a window of opportunity opens for her – running a kitchen at a small Hawaiian hotel – she’d be crazy not to take it.

The only problem is, the man running the hotel drives her crazy:
Logan Shephard.
It doesn’t matter that he’s got dark brown eyes, a tall, muscular build that’s sculpted from daily surfing sessions, and a deep Australian accent that makes your toes curl.
What does matter is that he’s a grump.
Kind of an asshole, too.
And gets under Ronnie’s skin like no one else.

But the more time Ronnie spends on the island of Kauai, falling in love with the lush land and its carefree lifestyle, the closer she gets to Logan. And the closer she gets to Logan, the more she realizes she may have pegged him all wrong. Maybe it’s the hot, steamy jungles or the invigorating ocean air, but soon their relationship becomes utterly intoxicating.

There’s just one major catch.

The two of them together would incite a scandal neither Ronnie, nor her family, would ever recover from.

Forbidden, Illicit, Off-limits – sometimes the heat is worth surrendering to, even if you get burned.

NOTE: Heat Wave is a complete standalone romance. There is no cheating or adultery in this book, but there is coarse language and explicit sex. Reader discretion is advised!!

Excerpt Heat Wave by Karina Halle

I saw him first.
It shamed me to think it then, it shames me to think it now.
But that’s what the truth does to you sometimes. It shames you because it’s only in the truth that you realize how human you really are. What a raw, devastating thing that is, to embrace your humanity and learn to live with all your sharp points, the hollow places, the cracks and the crevices. To be utterly real. To be terribly flawed.
Those cracks had always been forming inside me, slowly making their way to the surface over the years. In my family, there wasn’t much you could do but try and hold yourself together, to stick glue on your wounds, to paste over the imperfections. But the cracks still grew, until all of us were held together by crumbling cement, just statues waiting to collapse.
That was years and years ago. I was just twenty-two at the time. A baby. I’m still a baby in the grand scheme of things, but there’s something precious about your early twenties, where you think you’re so much older, bigger, than you are, where life is just about to deliver the crushing blows that will knock you off your feet for the rest of your days. The small things become the big things and the big things become the small things and you aren’t quite sure when they made the switch.
But in the end, I saw him first. He was mine, even before he knew it. He was mine in some strange way that I still don’t understand. The only way I can think of to explain it is…
You just know.
There are moments in your life, people in your life, that when they cross your path and meet your eye, you know. Maybe it’s all in the chemistry, certain pheromones that react when they mix together, maybe it’s a smell that triggers a memory, maybe it’s a glimpse at a future you don’t recognize or a hint at the past, a life you’ve lived and forgotten. Whatever it is, you know that moment, that person, is going to shape you for the rest of your life.
That’s what it was like when I saw him. Standing over by the windows and staring out Lake Michigan, like he was wishing he could be anywhere but there.
I wished the same. My mother’s the deputy mayor of Chicago and this was another one of her fundraisers I felt obliged to attend. It was tradition in my family, for my father, for me, for my sister, to show up and wave the flag of support. It didn’t seem to matter that the stuffy politicians that surrounded these events never paid me any attention. And if they did, it was the wrong kind of attention, always the sixty-year-old man leering after the young thing with the nice smile.
Luckily I didn’t smile all that often. My resting bitch face took over whenever I was deep in thought, which was pretty much all the time.
But this guy…I felt a kinship with him. I felt like I knew exactly what he was thinking, feeling, and that it was completely wrapped up in and connected to everything that was going through me.
I don’t know where I found the nerve to go over and talk to him. He seemed so much older, not quite the sixty-year-old politicians I was used to seeing, but maybe in his early-thirties. More than that, there was some kind of aura around him. Sounds stupid, I know. Whatever it was, it was like he belonged in some whole other universe than here, a star on earth, permanently grounded and yearning to be in the sky.
It was usually Juliet’s job to go around and make everyone feel warm and comfortable at these events—hell, in every event—but she wasn’t here yet. And though I could have easily stayed in the shadows, I was pulled to him, like he had a wave of gravity whirling around him.
I remember what I was wearing. Strappy flats because I hated wearing heels, a knee-length cocktail dress in emerald green, sleeveless, high-neck. It made me look older and I wore it because my mother always wanted me to look like a lady.
With a glass of champagne in hand, I made my way over to the windows, my heart racing the closer I got to him. He looked taller up close, well over six feet. His shoulders were broad, like a swimmer’s, and suddenly I had a vision of him diving into the lake. The navy blue suit he was wearing looked well-tailored but he seemed uncomfortable in it, like he couldn’t wait to get rid of it.
I stood beside him for a moment, following his gaze out the window. He seemed lost in his thoughts but out of my peripheral his head tilted slightly and he brought his eyes over to me while I kept staring at that wide expanse of water, stretching out to the horizon.
“Can’t wait to get out of here?” I asked, but though my tone was mild, my delivery was bold. It was as if someone else had taken a hold of my body, forcing me to speak. I slowly turned my head to meet his eyes.
I was taken aback for a second. He was staring at me like he knew me, even though I’d never seen him before. Then again, I was sure I’d been staring at him in the same way. That feeling of knowing. He knew me, I knew him, and who the hell knows how that was possible.
His eyes were brown—are brown—dark with currents of gold and amber, giving them beautiful clarity. Slightly almond shaped. His brows were also dark, arched, adding to the intensity of his gaze. He’s the type of guy whose eyes latch onto you, dig deep, trying to sift through the files of your life, see who you really are.
“How did you know?” he asked, a full-on Australian accent rumbling through his gruff voice. It made my stomach flip, my core smolder. How deed you now, is what it sounded like. Funny how I stopped hearing the accent after time.
I gave a half shrug and looked back to the party. More people had flooded the room, mingling around the appetizers. My mother was in the corner, a crowd of politicians around her. She didn’t see me. She never did.
“Because I think I’d rather be in the middle of Lake Michigan too,” I told him, “then be stuck here with all these people.”
“These people,” he repeated. My focus was drawn to his lips, full, wide, tilting up into a smirk. Beneath them was a strong chin and even sharper jaw, dusted with a five o’clock shadow that seemed permanent, like the man couldn’t get a clean shave even if he tried. “How do you know I’m not one of these people?”
“Because you’re over here and not over there. How come you keep answering my questions with more questions?”
He studied me for a moment. My blood pounded in my head and I felt a giddy kind of thrill at how this was progressing. If anything, I was proud for holding my own with this handsome stranger. He was the first man I ever really felt at ease with.
He cleared his throat, offered me a quick smile before he nodded at the lake, his hands sliding into his pockets. “She almost looks like the ocean, doesn’t she?”
“Not quite the same as Australia, I would imagine.”
“No hiding this accent, is there?” He glanced at me and stuck out his hand, which I shook for a moment, warm palm to warm palm. “I’m Logan Shepard. Australian. And the reason I’m here is because I was invited by a friend of mine. I’m only in town for a few days and he didn’t want to go alone. He’s over there.” He nodded at a tall black man in the corner, listening intently to another man.
“Warren Jones,” he said, as if I should know him. Perhaps I should. He probably thought I was one of them. “He’s local and the key piece to my investment.”
I wasn’t one for business talk—I never had anything to contribute other than lamenting student loans—but I wanted him to keep talking. “What’s your investment?”
“Starting my own hotel,” he said. “In Hawaii. Have you ever been there?”
“Once. When I was eight. I think we were in Honolulu. I remember a city, anyway. Waikiki Beach.”
“This hotel is in Kauai. The Garden Isle. Went there once as a teenager and couldn’t get it out of my mind.”
I didn’t know the right things to say. I wanted to ask more about the hotel, what it means when you have an investor, but I didn’t want to appear dumb. I kept my mouth shut.
“You haven’t introduced yourself,” he said. “Protecting a secret identity?”
I smiled, close-lipped. “Not really. I’m Veronica Locke. American. And I unfortunately I don’t have much else to add to that.”
“Locke?” he repeated, eyes darting to my mother. “Are you the daughter of the deputy mayor, Rose Locke?”
“One of them,” I told him.
He nodded quickly. “I see. No wonder you’d rather be in the middle of the bloody lake. I bet you have to do this stuff all the time.”
“It’s not so bad.” I took a sip of my drink so I didn’t have to say anything more and looked away at the crowd. The bubbles teased my nose, making my eyes water.
I could feel his gaze on me as he spoke. “I’m sure you have plenty more to say about yourself though. Where do you work? Student?”
“Culinary arts,” I told him. “I’m one of those crazy people who dream of being a chef one day.”
He frowned. “Why is that crazy?”
I gave him a look, forgetting that most people have no idea how hard it is. “Because it’s a long road, long hours, and nothing is guaranteed. People think being a chef is easy. They see Gordon Ramsey or Nigella Lawson and think it’s all fame and food and money and they have no idea what it’s really like. I’m not even out of school and already I feel half-beaten.”
He was still frowning. He did that a lot, I would soon learn. “Sounds like life to me.” His eyes dropped to my lips and something intensely carnal came over them, like suddenly I was the food, not the wannabe chef. “Did you want to get a drink somewhere. After this? When you’ve done your daughterly duties?”
I swallowed hard. I didn’t know what a drink meant. Just a drink? A date? Was it sex? I started going through my head, trying to think of reasons why it was a bad idea. My legs were shaved, did my bra and underwear match? Did I have a condom? I had taken the pill this morning, even though my last boyfriend and I had broken up months ago. I hadn’t been with a guy, let alone a man, in a long time.
Don’t flatter yourself, I quickly thought. What makes you think he’d be interested in you that way?
“Yes,” I said when I finally found my voice. “Yes, I would like that.”
A spark flashed in his eyes, lighting them up in such a way that made my toes literally curl. Damn. I was in trouble with this man. “Any way you can get out of your duties sooner?” he asked.
I couldn’t help but smile, raising my brow at his presumptuousness, while simultaneously trying to hide the fact that I was freaking out. I looked around the room and tried to judge how likely it was that someone would notice if I was gone. My mom was still surrounded by a wall of people and no one was paying any attention to us, standing by the windows, already removed.
A sad thought hit me, sliding past before I could really dwell on it: no one even notices when I’m here.
“If we’re quick and sneaky,” I told him.
“Being quick isn’t in my repertoire,” he said, “but I could give it a shot.”
Again. Damn. I wasn’t one to blush but I could feel my cheeks heating up and hoped my skin suppressed the flush. He was so much older than me in so many ways, the last thing I wanted was to appear the naïve schoolgirl.
And I didn’t know what to say to that. He was staring at me with those dark eyes, a look so intense yet sparkling with charm and something…wicked.
I’d never find out how wicked they could be.
“Ronnie!” A melodic, ultra-feminine voice sliced through the moment like an unwieldy machete, causing me to flinch, my fingers tightening around the stem of the glass.
Oh no, I thought. Not now.
Logan’s head swiveled toward the sound of the voice, like a hound picking up a scent. I didn’t bother looking over, I kept my focus on him, watching his expression intently. It changed, as I knew it would.
She had walked into the room.
He saw her.
And like it was for so many men, that look of lust I had thought was for me, was now for her.
That’s when I knew it was over. Whatever thing I had felt for him, it didn’t matter anymore, not when she was in the room. Nothing ever mattered as long as she was around.
I might have saw him first.
But he was all hers after that.

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 29 July 2019  Posted by  Tagged with: , , , , ,  No Responses »
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