Jun 062021
 

The Spark by Vi Keeland
Model: Alessandro Dellisola
Release Date: July 12, 2021

BLURB

Before I even met Donovan Decker, I knew his shoe size.
You see, I’d gone away for a few days, and in my haste to get out of the airport, I’d grabbed the wrong suitcase.
After checking out the expensive footwear and tailored clothes, I dialed the number on the luggage tag hoping maybe Mister Big Spender might have my bag.
A deep, velvety voice answered, and as luck would have it, he had my suitcase, too.
Donovan and I met at a coffee shop to do the exchange.
Turned out, it wasn’t just his voice that was sexy. The man holding my luggage was absolutely gorgeous, and we had an immediate spark.
He got me to admit that I’d snooped in his bag and then convinced me to make it up to him by letting him buy me coffee.
Coffee led to dinner, dinner led to dessert, and dessert led to spending an entire weekend together. Donovan wasn’t just handsome with a panty-dropping voice. He was also funny, smart, and surprisingly down to earth for a man who wore seven-hundred-dollar shoes.
Did I mention he also did my laundry while I slept?
Definitely too good to be true.
So what did I do to repay him for his kindness?
I waited until he was in the shower, then ghosted him.
My life was too complicated for such a great guy.
In the months that passed, I thought about Donovan often. But New York City had eight-million people, so what were the chances I’d run into him?
Then again, what were the chances I’d run into him a year later…when I’d just started dating his boss?

Excerpt The Spark by Vi Keeland
CHAPTER 1
Autumn

I’m definitely getting too old for this.
I tossed a pile of mail on the couch and plopped down beside it. It was barely six o’clock, and I wouldn’t have minded climbing into bed and calling it a day. I needed a vacation from my four-day mini vacation. Thank goodness I’d scheduled myself a weekend to recover. My girls’ trip/early bachelorette party in Vegas for my friend Anna—the one where we were all going to relax by the pool and get spa treatments—had turned into all-night clubbing and almost missing my flight home earlier today because I’d overslept. It had definitely been a while since I drank more than two glasses of wine in the span of a week, and I was feeling my ripe old age of twenty-eight before the sun had even set this Friday night. Thank God I didn’t have to work tomorrow.
I briefly considered going the hair-of-the-dog route and sucking back a vodka cran while zoning out on Netflix, but then my phone rang, crashing me back to reality.
Ugh…
Dad flashed on the screen. I should’ve just gotten it over with and spoken to him, but I didn’t have the energy. Nonetheless, allowing myself to avoid the stress speaking to my father would inevitably cause reminded me of the other thing I needed to do that I’d been avoiding all afternoon. Laundry. One of my least-favorite tasks—mostly because it required me to sit downstairs in my building’s dingy basement laundry room. Up until a few months ago, I would start my laundry and come back forty-five minutes later to make the switch to the dryer. But that practice had come to a halt after one of my loads went missing—an entire load of wet bras and underwear. Who the hell stole wet clothes? At least nab dry ones. Nevertheless, it was an expensive lesson, and now I didn’t leave the basement until my clothes were washed and dried.
Sighing, I begrudgingly went to the bedroom, where my suitcase still sat on the bed, and unzipped it. I’d packed a linen skirt on top that I hadn’t wound up wearing, and I figured I’d hang it in the bathroom and hope the wrinkles worked themselves out over the course of a couple of steamy showers. I hated ironing almost as much as I hated doing laundry downstairs.
But when I flipped open the top of the suitcase, my linen skirt wasn’t on top. At first I thought my bag must’ve been selected for search, and things hadn’t been put back in order… Though the wingtip shoe I lifted was most definitely not mine.
Shit.
I rummaged through the suitcase in a panic.
Slacks, running clothes, a men’s dress shirt… A sickening feeling washed over me, and I scrambled to look at the luggage tag. I’d never filled out the identification card inside, but the leather had my initials embossed on the outside.
And this one…had no initials.
Crap. Crap. Crap.
I’d grabbed the wrong bag off the luggage carousel. I started to sweat. All of my makeup was in that bag! Not to mention a week’s worth of my best outfits and shoes. I needed to get it back. Rushing to the kitchen, I grabbed my cell from the charger on the counter and Googled the number for the airline. After wading through a half-dozen prompts, I reached a recording.
“Thank you for calling American Airlines. Due to unprecedented call volume, your estimated wait time is approximately forty-one minutes.”
Forty-one minutes! I blew out a rush of air. Great. Just great.
In the meantime, while I waited on hold on speakerphone, listening to staticky music, it hit me that whoever’s luggage I had might very well have mine. I hadn’t even checked the luggage tag to see if, unlike mine, the identification information was filled in.
I zipped back down the hall to my bedroom.
Bingo!
Donovan Decker—kind of a cool name. And he lived here in the city! Thankfully, Donovan even had his phone number listed. It couldn’t be that easy, could it? I doubted it, but considering I still had forty minutes before I could speak to someone at the airline, I wasn’t losing much for trying. So I swiped to end my call. I started to punch in the numbers on the tag, and then decided to hit *67 first to make my number private. With my luck, the guy wouldn’t have my luggage, but he’d be a total creeper.
I was caught off guard when a man’s deep voice answered on the first ring. I hadn’t yet figured out what I was going to say.
“Uhhh. Hi. My name is Autumn, and I think I might have your luggage.”
“That was quick. I just hung up with you guys two minutes ago.”
He must’ve thought I was calling from the airline. “Oh, no. I don’t work for American. I traveled home this morning and must’ve grabbed the wrong bag at JFK.”
“What are your initials?”
“My initials?”
“Yeah, you know, the first letter of your first name and the first letter of your last name.”
I rolled my eyes. “I know what initials are. I just don’t understand why you would ask—Oh! Does that mean you have my luggage? I have my initials embossed on the luggage tag.”
“That depends on what your initials are, Autumn. The first letter matches.”
“My initials are AW.”
“Well, then it seems you are indeed the thief who clipped my luggage.”
Sure, I hadn’t checked my luggage tag, but it offended me that he was calling me a thief. “Wouldn’t we both be thieves? Since you’re in possession of my luggage?”
“I only took yours because it was the last one left rotating around the carousel. You see, unlike you, I checked the luggage tag the first time it passed, and when I saw it wasn’t mine, I left it for the rightful owner to claim. But the line at baggage customer service was twenty deep, and I had a meeting I was already late for. So I took the one I have hostage until the airline could sort it out.”
My shoulders slumped. “Oh. Sorry.”
“It’s fine. Are you here in the City?”
“I am. Could we possibly meet to swap bags?”
“Sure. When and where? I’m out now, but I’ll be back in an hour or two.”
The tag had an address on the Upper East Side, but I lived on the West Side, farther downtown. “Could we meet at the Starbucks on 80th and Lex?” That was closer to him, but at least I’d only have to drag the suitcase onto one subway.
“I can’t think of any excuse not to. What time?”
That was sort of a weird way to phrase a yes, and the way he emphasized the word excuse seemed odd. But hey, I was getting my bag back. So what if he turned out to be a little strange? At least I’d hidden my phone number, and we were meeting in a public place.
“How about eight?”
“I’ll see you then.”
It sounded like he was about to hang up. “Wait…” I said. “How will I know it’s you?”
“I’ll be the one holding your luggage, Autumn W.”
I chuckled. “Oh, yeah. Sorry…long week in Vegas.”
I bent and lifted the shoe from the top of the bag. Ferragamo. Expensive. And big, too. A quick peek revealed it was a size thirteen. The inner teenager in me couldn’t help but think big feet, big…. Plus, the guy had a deep, sexy voice. I would definitely be exploring more of the dude’s luggage after we hung up.
“I’ll meet you at eight,” he said.
“See you then.” I was just about to swipe my phone off when something hit me. Oh God! “Hello? Wait…are you still there?”
It took a heartbeat or two, but the sexy voice came back on the line. “What’s up?”
“Ummm… Did you…open my bag?”
“I unzipped it at the airport to make sure it wasn’t mine when I noticed the luggage tag initials.”
“Did you…see anything?”
“There was a pink thong on top, so that pretty much sealed the deal that it didn’t belong to me. But I didn’t rummage through, if that’s what you’re asking.”
I forgot I’d shoved that thong in at the last minute. It had been at the back of a drawer when I’d checked the hotel room one last time on my way out. But I’d take him seeing my underwear over the other stuff inside my bag. I blew out a sigh of relief. “Okay, that’s great. Thank you. I’ll see you at eight at Starbucks.”
“Whoa. Hang on a second—not so fast. You sounded pretty nervous that I might’ve gone through your bag. Are you hiding something sinister in there? I’m not going to be walking around with a suitcase full of drugs or something, am I?”
I cracked a smile. “No, definitely not. I just…I’d prefer if you didn’t go through it.”
“Did you rummage through mine?”
I glanced at the shoe in my hand. Taking out one measly piece of footwear wouldn’t be considered rummaging, right? Nah. “No, I didn’t.”
“Are you planning on it?” he asked.
I had no idea what the man looked like, yet I could tell by his voice that he was smiling now.
“Nope,” I lied.
“Alright. Then we have a deal. I won’t go through your bag, and you won’t go through mine.”
“Okay. Thank you.”
“Do I have your word on that, Autumn W? I might have some things I’d prefer you didn’t see in there.”
“Like what?”
He chuckled. “See you at eight.”
After we hung up, I tossed the shoe back into the suitcase and bent to close it. But as I reached for the zipper, my curiosity got the best of me. Was he just screwing with me, or did he really have something in here he didn’t want me to see? Of course, I knew what I had in mine, which made me extra curious.
I shook my head and started to pull the zipper closed. About halfway, I laughed out loud. Who was I kidding? Now that I didn’t have laundry to do, I had almost a full two hours to kill before I met Mr. Bigfoot. This suitcase would taunt me all that time. I’d most certainly give in eventually, so why not put myself out of that misery and just take a little look-see inside now? Then I’d be able to relax. He’d never know I hadn’t lived up to my end of the bargain. Not to mention, for all I knew, he was elbow deep in my suitcase right now. In that case, it would only be fair that I got to go through his, right?
I nibbled my lip for a few seconds as a wave of guilt washed over me. But I quickly forced that out of my mind. Of course I’m right.
Feeling justified now, I unzipped the suitcase and took a minute to mentally note how everything was packed: a white dress shirt was folded on top, and two shoes were set on either side, heels facing up. I carefully unpacked those and placed them on the bed next to the suitcase in the same order. The next layer had more folded clothes: two expensive dress shirts, a pair of sweats, boxer briefs, and a few T-shirts, one of which had something emblazoned on the front—familiar lettering that began HA—so I unfolded it to see what it said. Harvard Law.
Ugh. One of those. No wonder he could afford Ferragamo shoes.
Underneath the pile of clothes was a white laundry bag—the kind a hotel gives you to put your dry cleaning in, but most people used it to separate their dirty clothes. With no desire to sort through smelly socks, I started to fold the clothes back into the suitcase, feeling a twinge of disappointment. But when I smoothed out the layers of the pile, I felt something lumpy and hard underneath in the plastic laundry bag. So I took the clothes back out and looked inside, hoping to find…I’m not sure what. Though what I found was definitely not what I expected.
The bag was filled with at least twenty or thirty of those little shampoo bottles hotels give out. Actually, a closer inspection revealed some were conditioner and a few were moisturizer. Buried on the very bottom were also three little sewing kits and half-a-dozen toothbrushes wrapped in plastic—the kind you could get at the front desk of a hotel when you forgot yours.
What the heck had Mr. Bigfoot done? Rob a housekeeping cart? This kind of stuff, though a lesser quantity, is what you’d usually find in my suitcase since I was broke all the time. But it wasn’t the type of thing you’d expect in the suitcase of a man who had gone to Harvard and wore seven-hundred-dollar dress shoes.
Now I was even more curious to meet Donovan Decker.

***

I arrived at Starbucks almost twenty minutes early, so I went online to treat myself to a flat white with honey almond milk. Even ordering it had me salivating, thinking about the sweet, creamy drink. Expensive coffee was my indulgence, but it didn’t happen too often with the five-dollar price tag and my skimpy budget.
I stood at the end of the counter, waiting for my drink and mindlessly scrolling on my phone, when a man walking through the front door caught my attention.
Oh, wow.
Now that was one good-looking man. Describing him as merely tall, dark, and handsome didn’t cut it, not by a mile. Jet-black hair framed a magnificent face with a chiseled, masculine bone structure, full lips, and a Romanesque nose. I wasn’t the only one to notice, either. I watched as the Adonis took a step back outside to hold the door open for a woman exiting the store, and the poor lady caught one glimpse of him and literally tripped over her own feet.
Seemingly oblivious that he’d caused the incident, he extended a hand to help her up, flashed a killer smile, and strolled inside. His bright blue eyes scanned the room, stopping right on my ogling ones. Embarrassed at being caught, I quickly diverted my attention back to my phone. A few seconds later, I was still pretending to be enraptured by my screen when footsteps came to a halt in front of me. I glanced up and blinked a few times. The guy from the door flashed a crooked smile.
“Were you able to control yourself?”
My forehead wrinkled. “Excuse me?”
His eyes danced with mirth, and his voice lowered. “I bet you couldn’t.”
I stared at him for an awkward moment before finally shaking my head. “What on Earth are you talking about?”
The man’s brows furrowed. “We made a deal, remember? I wouldn’t go through yours, if you didn’t touch mine?”
I’d watched the man walk in, stood right in front of him staring for at least a solid minute, and it took until now for me to notice he had something in his hand.
“Oh my God. You have my suitcase!”
He laughed but still looked perplexed. “What did you think I was talking about?”
“I…I don’t know. I was thoroughly confused.”
“I thought you saw me walk in.”
I did. But I hadn’t made it past your face. “No, I hadn’t noticed. Sorry. I guess I was just zoning out.”
The barista behind the counter yelled my name. I was glad for an excuse to put some distance between this guy and me. I needed a moment to gather my wits. Though when I returned, I still felt a little off-kilter.
“Thank you for meeting me to swap suitcases,” I said. “I’m really sorry I took the wrong one.”
“No problem.”
I rolled his case forward and released the handle. But the Adonis didn’t do the same. In fact, he pulled my bag closer to his side.
“Before we switch…” He tilted his head and studied my face. “I’m curious to know if you kept your word.”
I mimicked his pose and tilted my head. “What if I say I didn’t?”
“Well, then you’d have to pay a penalty for violating the terms of our deal.”
I raised a brow, intrigued. “A penalty?”
He nodded. “That’s right. There’s a penalty.”
I laughed as I lifted my coffee for a sip. “I just got back from a girls’ weekend in Vegas. Pretty sure this overpriced drink just used up the last five dollars in my bank account.”
“I wasn’t referring to a monetary penalty.”
“What kind of a penalty, then?”
He stroked the stubble on his chin for a moment. “You’d have to have coffee with me.”
Did this guy really think that would be a hardship? I debated how to answer. If I told the truth, it would be embarrassing. I mean, I went through the man’s personal belongings. But the flipside was I’d get to check him out some more over coffee. Then again, I’d be agreeing to spend time with a complete stranger. Though…whenever I met a guy online, I usually met him at a coffeehouse, and I probably knew more about this guy after going through his suitcase than I would from an online chat. Not to mention, none of my online dates had looked like Donovan Decker lately. In fact, none had made it further than coffee in a while.
Adonis had been watching my face as I debated my answer. His smirk made me think he already knew I’d checked out his bag. So, what the hell?
I stood tall and met his stare. “Was the lady from housekeeping harmed in the robbery?”
His eyes narrowed for a heartbeat, but then a giant smile spread across his face. He held his hand out toward the seating area. “After you, Autumn W.”

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 6 June 2021  Posted by  Tagged with: , , , ,  No Responses »
Feb 122021
 

Not Pretending Anymore by Penelope Ward & Vi Keeland
Release Date: April 12, 2021

BLURB

Finding a good roommate through a classified ad isn’t as easy as it sounds.
I was starting to lose hope.
Until a knock at my door came and God answered my prayers.
Except…uh…wrong prayer, God.
I’d definitely requested the big guy find me a drop-dead gorgeous man on more than one occasion…just not as my roommate.
Declan Tate talked me into interviewing him anyway.
While he was amusing and charismatic, I wouldn’t have been comfortable living with a man, so I regretfully declined.
Then cupcakes showed up at my door—freshly baked by Declan and just as sinfully delicious as he was.
You could say he was persistent.
I eventually folded. It wasn’t like I had another viable candidate anyway.
Plus, I was interested in someone else. And Declan was into another woman. So it wasn’t like anything would happen romantically.
After he moved in, the two of us became the best of friends. We even started to give each other advice on getting our crushes to notice us.
Eventually, Declan concocted an idea: we should pretend to be a couple to make our love interests jealous.
I was hesitant, but went along with it anyway. To my utter shock, his crazy plan worked.
Now I was dating the supposed man of my dreams, and my best friend had the woman of his.
But there was one problem.
I couldn’t stop thinking about Declan.
Those feelings we were trying to fake?
Yeah…I wasn’t pretending anymore.

Excerpt Not Pretending Anymore by Penelope Ward & Vi Keeland

CHAPTER 1

Molly

“So, what do you do for a living?”
The woman drummed her fingers on her thigh. “I’m a musician.”
I glanced down at the renter’s application in my hand. Lyric Chords was the name listed at the top.
I bit my tongue and tried to keep an open mind. This was the twelfth woman I’d interviewed as a prospective roommate. Just because she had a few safety pins in her eyebrow and what looked like a dog collar around her neck didn’t mean I should rule her out.
“Oh. That’s nice. Are you a singer?”
Lyric shook her head. “Drummer. Do you know the dimensions of the bedroom I’ll be sleeping in? I have two sets of drums I need to fit.”
“Umm… I think it’s fourteen by fourteen. But you don’t practice at home, right? I wrote in my ad that I’m looking for a quiet roommate because I work nights.”
“I do. But no worries. I’ll practice in my room.”
My bedroom and my potential roommate’s bedroom shared a wall, so that was the end of interview number twelve. I sighed and forced a smile. “Thank you for coming. I have a few other people left to meet with before I decide. I’ll let you know.”
“Great.” The woman stood. “Also, I know your ad said two months’ rent up front, but I’m running a little short right now. Would one be okay?”
I smiled. “Sure, no problem.” Since you’re not going to be living here.
After Drummergirl, I interviewed two more candidates. One wanted her boyfriend to move into the room with her, even though my ad had specified I was only looking for a single. And the other arrived twenty minutes late, reeked of alcohol, and slurred her words…at three thirty in the afternoon.
Why in the hell was it so difficult to find a roommate in a city of almost three-million people? I needed my last interview of the day to be a miracle, or I was going to have to shell out money for another ad and start the entire process all over. And I definitely didn’t have the time or the funds for that. Rent was due in two weeks. If I got stuck paying the full amount on this place myself again, I’d be eating cat food for a month.
When my last appointment knocked right on time, I took a deep breath, looked up at the ceiling, and asked the big guy in the sky for a little assistance.
Opening the door, I blinked a few times.
Uhhh. I think you answered the wrong prayer, God.
A man stood in my hallway—and not just any man, an absolutely gorgeous one with a perfect, straight nose, cheekbones to die for, a masculine, square jaw, full lips, tanned skin, and the sexiest chocolate brown, almond-shaped eyes I’d ever seen in my life.
“Uh. Can I help you?”
He flashed a killer smile, one that I immediately suspected had made countless women remove their panties.
“Hi. I have a four-thirty appointment with Molly Corrigan.”
“You do?” I had the last application in my hand and looked down at the name on the top. “I don’t think so. My appointment is with a D. Tate?”
He extended a hand. “That’s me. Declan Tate.”
“But…you’re…not a woman.”
He smiled again. “You’re correct. Very observant. I am most definitely not a woman. But my last roommate told me I should’ve been because I use moisturizer at night and cried at the end of Marley and Me. And if I’m being honest, I also got a little watery at the end of Toy Story, so maybe I’m a bit of a wuss. Either way, I think you should consider those my positive feminine qualities.”
I was thoroughly confused. “Umm… I’m sorry. You must’ve missed that my ad said female only.”
“Actually, I didn’t. But if you’ll give me just five minutes, I think I can convince you I would be a better roommate than a woman.”
I chuckled. “Let me get this straight… You hid your first name—what did you say it was again?”
“Declan.”
“Right. Declan. Anyway, you applied to an ad for a female roommate, intentionally deceiving the person who is going to decide if you get the room by leaving your first name off. And your strategy is to convince me I don’t really know what I want in less than five minutes? Do I have that right?”
He flashed that boyish charm again. “You sure do.”
I debated how to handle the situation. On one hand, he was going to waste my time, and I had done enough of that today. But on the other, my curiosity was definitely piqued. Something about his grin told me this could be amusing. Screw it. I had nothing better to do anyway.
I opened the door wider and stepped aside, holding my hand out for him to enter. “I’m setting the timer on my phone, and I’m getting a glass of wine before you start. I like a drink while I’m being entertained.”
Declan smirked and strolled into my apartment.
I motioned to the couch. “Have a seat. I’ll just be a minute.”
When I got to the kitchen, he called after me, “Hey, Mollz?”
I turned back. “Yes?”
“How about you make that two glasses of wine?”
I chuckled. “Sure. Why not, Decs.”
I poured a couple of glasses of pinot grigio and returned to the living room.
“Here you go. Hope you like white.”
“You see? We’re perfect together already. I prefer white over red.”
I brought my wine to my lips. “Yes, perfect. A match made in heaven. I think we might even be soul mates.”
Declan showed me his pearly whites once again. He really did have a great smile, nice teeth, too. Too bad he also had a penis. I knocked back half the contents of my glass and placed it on the coffee table. Picking up my cell, I swiped to the timer app and set it for five minutes.
I showed him the screen. “You ready?”
“I’m always ready.”
I pressed start, placed the phone face up on the coffee table between us, and folded my hands. “Go.”
“Okay. Well…what’s your favorite color?”
“My favorite color?”
Declan pointed to the timer. “Time’s a ticking, Molly. I’m going to need you to not repeat questions.”
I laughed. “Fine. My favorite color is pink.”
Declan reached into one of his pant pockets and pulled out a set of keys. The keychain had a bunch of pink beads with white letters between each one. The letters spelled out his name. “Mine too.”
I arched a brow. “Did you make that yourself?”
“No. My niece, Arianna, made it for me.”
“So how do I know that isn’t just Arianna’s favorite color?”
“Good point. Let’s move on. Your ad said you work nights.”
“That’s right. I’m a nurse. I work the night shift on the maternity ward.”
“So you sleep during the day, then?”
“I get off at seven, and I try to get to sleep as soon as I get home.”
He held his hand to his chest. “I work days. I leave for the gym by six and usually don’t get home until after seven at night. So the apartment will be quiet when you need it to be.”
I nodded. “Okay. I’ll give you that that would make you a good roommate. But most people work days, so it’s not really something that makes you too special.”
“Do you cook?” he said.
“Does macaroni and cheese count?”
“I grew up in a multigenerational Italian home. My nonna taught me how to make sauce from scratch.”
“So you’re going to cook for me?”
“If that’s what it takes to get this apartment, yes.”
“As tempting as that might be, there’s an Italian restaurant around the corner that makes great food. Funny enough, it’s called Nonna’s Place, and an actual nonna makes most of my meals. Not a knockoff.”
Declan took an exaggerated breath and blew it out. He glanced at the cell on the table. “Three minutes and thirty-eight seconds. I can see you’re not going to make this easy. How about you tell me why you can’t have a male roommate so I can address that head-on. Is it because of the toilet-seat thing? Because I have four older sisters, so I’m appropriately trained. When I was eight, I made the mistake of leaving it up once, and my sister sat down where I’d accidentally left a little pee. She dunked my head in the toilet bowl before she flushed. That was the last time I left the seat up.” He held up three fingers. “Scout’s honor. It won’t be an issue.”
I smiled. “It’s not because of the toilet thing.”
“Alright. So why don’t you want a male roommate, then?”
I’d actually never given much thought to why my roommate had to be female. It just seemed natural to have another woman sharing the apartment. “Well…I don’t really have a specific reason. I would just be more comfortable living with another woman. For example, I sleep in a T-shirt and underwear. When I get up to start the coffee, I don’t get dressed. It would be weird to do that in front of a man.”
“Why?”
“Why would it be weird to walk around with my ass cheeks on display in front of a man and not a woman?”
“Yes.”
I shrugged. “I don’t know. It just would. I guess because the women I’ve lived with aren’t attracted to other women, so it doesn’t feel sexual in any way.”
“Ah. Now we’re getting to the crux of your issue. So you’re afraid of some sexual tension going on between you and me? Is it because I’m so handsome?”
“What? No! And aren’t you full of yourself, assuming I think you’re handsome, and I’m worried I won’t be able to control myself.”
“Just keeping it real, Mollz. You’re only giving me five minutes, so I’m trying to get to the heart of the reason.”
“I guess I just don’t want to feel like I have to cover up to come out of my bedroom. When I dry my hair, I wear a towel or a bra and underwear—that type of thing.”
“Would you feel you had to cover up if I told you I was gay?”
That question gave me pause. Would I? I wasn’t sure. “Are you?”
“Fuck, no. I was just trying to pinpoint your issue. Is it the fact that I’m a man, or the fact that I might admire your ass if it were on display? Sounds like it’s the latter. So let me put your mind at ease: I won’t.”
I felt oddly offended. “What’s wrong with my ass?”
He chuckled. “I wouldn’t know. I haven’t looked. You know why?”
“Why?”
“Because I’m in love with someone else.”
As insane as it was, I felt a pang of jealousy. “Oh. Well, why aren’t you moving in with her?”
“Because she doesn’t return the feelings…yet. So basically, if your concern about having a guy for a roommate is that he’s going to be checking you out, you have nothing to worry about with me. I’m a one-woman man. If you want, I can give you the numbers of some of my exes for references. I’m no cheater.”
Hmmm… “I don’t know…”
Declan looked down at the clock. Thirty-one seconds were left. “We’re running out of time, so we need to speed things up. How about if I just give you the facts you need to know?”
“That would be good.”
“I’m twenty-eight years old. I make six figures. My credit score is eight hundred and ten, and I have references from previous landlords. I’m neat and clean up after myself. I’m not home a lot, but when I am, I’m pretty quiet. I’m also damn good with a hammer.” He glanced around my apartment and pointed at a hole I’d accidentally made in the wall when I flung the closet door open too hard. “I can spackle that and put on a door stopper so it won’t happen again.” He pointed to the kitchen. “And those cabinets are pretty tall. I’m six foot one. No more having to stand on a chair to reach something on the top shelf. And—”
The timer on the stopwatch buzzed.
“Can I just say one last thing?”
“Sure. Why not?”
“I’ll share my Hulu and Netflix passwords. I have the premium Hulu account.”
I laughed. “Well, those are some pretty enticing qualities for a roommate.”
He smiled. “So I’m in?”
I sighed. “I’m sorry. While I appreciate your tenacity, unfortunately, you’re not. Though I interviewed fourteen other people today, and I have to say, you do seem like you’ll make some other lucky person a fantastic roomie.”
Declan frowned, but nodded. “I figured it was worth a shot. This is a great building, and I work right around the corner. It’s hard to find an apartment where it’s only a six-month commitment.”
“My lease is up then, and I haven’t decided if I’m going to extend or not.”
“See? That’s another reason I’d be perfect. I’m only in town for six more months.”
“I’m sorry. This is definitely a case of it’s me and not you.”
He picked up his wine and guzzled it down before standing and extending his hand. “I appreciate you giving me your time. And thanks for the pinot.”
We shook. “It was nice to meet you, Declan.”
After I walked him out, I shut the door and leaned back against it. What a shame; he really seemed like a nice guy and the best candidate I’d met by a mile. I was just about to go wallow in another glass of alcohol when there was a knock at my door. Checking the peephole before opening, I found Declan standing there.
“I forgot something important,” he said.
“Oh? What’s that?”
He took out his wallet and produced a photo of a nun. “This is my sister Catherine, and it’s not a costume from Halloween. She’s a legit nun. How bad can a person be if his sister is a nun?”
I laughed. “Is this the sister who dunked your head in the toilet?”
He grinned. “It is, actually.”
“Well, I’m not sure there’s a direct correlation between your sister deciding to dedicate her life to the church and you being a good person. Though, even if I take your word for it, it still doesn’t change my answer.”
Declan’s shoulders drooped. “Had to try. She tells me her being a nun won’t get me into heaven. Thought maybe it was good for something.”
“Goodbye, Declan.”
“Later, Mollz.”

***

“So…how’s the roommate search going?” Emma poured a cup of coffee and sat down at the small table in our break room.
I sighed. “Why is it so hard to find a normal person these days? I’ve interviewed more than a dozen people, and not one suitable candidate.”
“Did you post an ad on the employee bulletin board, like I suggested?”
I shook my head. “I don’t want another nurse or tech. It makes it weird at work if things don’t work out.”
“Maybe Dr. Dandy will apply.” She wiggled her eyebrows. “I heard he’s sleeping on Dr. Cohen’s couch until he finds a place.”
That information certainly perked me up. “Really? Will and whatshername broke up?”
“Yup. Lisa in X-ray told me Dr. Cohen told her he’s staying with him. Apparently he and the wannabe actress are finito.”
“Wow.”
Emma smiled. “Yup. And fair warning, my friend… I’m allowing a ten-day grace period for him to grieve the end of a year-long relationship. But after that, I’m going to be up your butt making sure you let the man know you’re interested. He’s not going to be on the market for long, and you missed your opportunity last time he was single. You can’t keep pining for the guy.”
Of course she was right. And while I felt elated that Will was back on the market, the thought of coming clean to him about my feelings made me want to throw up. Will Daniels—or as Emma called him, Dr. Dandy, because of his last name and uncanny resemblance to a male model named David Gandy—and I had been good friends for four years now. We’d started on the very same day at the hospital and had gone through orientation together. I’d had a boyfriend back then, and he’d been seeing a girl from med school at the time, so even though I’d always thought he was insanely handsome, things didn’t bloom until two years ago. And most of the time since then, he’d been seeing one woman or another. Emma was right that the man never seemed to stay single for long.
“He’s going to be at happy hour this Friday night,” I said. “A few of the crew from CCU are meeting up over at McBride’s. I’m curious to hear what he says about the breakup.”
“Does he know you’re looking for a roommate?”
“I don’t think so.”
“Well, he needs a place to sleep, and you need a roomie.” Emma shrugged. “Timing is everything. Maybe it’s fate and he’ll move in and take care of two of your needs.”
“I think your imagination might be getting ahead of itself. Why don’t we start by seeing if things are really over with him and whatshername? They’ve split up a few times, but he always winds up going back.”
“Okay. But I have a good feeling about you two.”
“Could you possibly have a good feeling about me finding a roommate instead? I just had to pay for another damn ad.”
Emma shook her head. “I can’t believe you didn’t find one decent candidate.”
Remembering my last interview, I said, “Actually there was one who would’ve been perfect—great credit score, neat, cooks, leaves early in the morning, and works long days.”
“So why didn’t you take her?”
“Because she was a he.”

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Jul 272020
 

The Rivals by Vi Keeland
Photo: Walter Chin
Model: Tobias Cameroon
Release Date: July 13, 2020
The feud between Weston Lockwood and me started at the altar.
Only neither of us attended the wedding, and the nuptials happened decades before either of us was born.
Our grandfathers had been best friends and business partners, at least up until my grandfather’s wedding day—when his bride-to-be blurted out she couldn’t marry him because she was also in love with Weston‘s grandfather.
The two men spent years fighting over Grace Copeland, who also happened to be their third business partner. But in the end, neither man could steal half of her heart away from the other.
Eventually, they all went their separate ways. Our grandfathers married other women, and the two men became one of the biggest business rivals in history.
Our fathers continued the family tradition of feuding. And then Weston and I did, too.
For the most part, we kept as much distance as possible.
Until the day the woman who started the feud died—and unexpectedly left one of the most valuable hotels in the world to our grandfathers to share.
Now I’m stuck in a hotel with the man I was born to hate, trying to unravel the mess our families inherited.
As usual, it didn’t take long for us to be at each other’s throats.
Weston Lockwood was everything I hated: tall, smart, cocky, and too gorgeous for his own good. We were fire and ice.
But that shouldn’t be an issue. Our families were used to being at war. There was just one minor problem, though. Every time Weston and I fought, we somehow wound up in bed.

Now this was a very expected release for me. I love Vi Keeland’s books and always one click them.

Weston Lockwood and Sophia Sterling have a family feud that dates since the time of their grandparents. Having to share hotels and try to prove which family is better has taken a lot on the kids as well.

What their families don’t know is that Weston and Sophia had a little more to share than they should and that the chemistry between them is too hot to ignore.

After some years of sharing a bed, they come face to face yet again, to assist on the hotel that they share.

They try and outmatch each other but soon realize that attraction has a strange was to insert into their life and mess things up.

This is a standalone and both main characters are different than you think. They will discover themselves in the same way a reader will and this is what makes the book fantastic.

 

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Jun 212020
 

The Christmas Pact by Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward

From New York Times Bestselling authors Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward comes a standalone holiday novella.

Eggnog. Check. Roaring fire. Check. Hot romance book. Check!

Riley Kennedy’s emails keep getting crossed with her male colleague, Kennedy Riley. The infuriating man forwards them along with his annoying commentary and unsolicited advice. At least she never has to see him in person, since they work in different locations…until they come face to face at the office holiday party.

As luck would have it, Kennedy turns out to be outrageously handsome…though still a jerk. Yet somehow he’s able to charm her out on the dance floor–and convince her to participate in his crazy scheme: he’ll go home with Riley for a Christmas party and pretend to be her boyfriend, if Riley agrees to be his date to a wedding. It sounds easy enough. Little by little, however, the act they’re putting on starts to feel like so much more than a Christmas pact–and Riley’s about to learn there’s more to Kennedy than she ever imagined.
Publication Date: November 1, 2020

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 21 June 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 272020
 

The Rivals by Vi Keeland
Photo: Walter Chin
Model: Tobias Cameroon
Release Date: July 13, 2020
The feud between Weston Lockwood and me started at the altar.
Only neither of us attended the wedding, and the nuptials happened decades before either of us was born.
Our grandfathers had been best friends and business partners, at least up until my grandfather’s wedding day—when his bride-to-be blurted out she couldn’t marry him because she was also in love with Weston‘s grandfather.
The two men spent years fighting over Grace Copeland, who also happened to be their third business partner. But in the end, neither man could steal half of her heart away from the other.
Eventually, they all went their separate ways. Our grandfathers married other women, and the two men became one of the biggest business rivals in history.
Our fathers continued the family tradition of feuding. And then Weston and I did, too.
For the most part, we kept as much distance as possible.
Until the day the woman who started the feud died—and unexpectedly left one of the most valuable hotels in the world to our grandfathers to share.
Now I’m stuck in a hotel with the man I was born to hate, trying to unravel the mess our families inherited.
As usual, it didn’t take long for us to be at each other’s throats.
Weston Lockwood was everything I hated: tall, smart, cocky, and too gorgeous for his own good. We were fire and ice.
But that shouldn’t be an issue. Our families were used to being at war. There was just one minor problem, though. Every time Weston and I fought, we somehow wound up in bed.

Excerpt The Rivals by Vi Keeland

Sophia

“What the hell?” I pressed the button on the elevator panel a second time. It illuminated, yet the car continued to sit there. So I jabbed my finger at it a third time. Finally, the doors started to glide closed. Just as they were about to shut completely, a shoe blocked them from closing.
A wingtip shoe.
Weston’s smiling face was there to greet me when the doors bounced open.
My blood was near boiling. “So help me, Lockwood, if you try to get in this car, I can’t be responsible for what happens to you. I’m not in the mood anymore.”
He entered the elevator anyway. “Come on, Fifi. What’s wrong? I’m just playing around. You’re taking things way too seriously.”
I counted to ten in my head, but it didn’t help. Fuck it. He wanted to get a rise out of me? He was going to get one. The doors slid shut again, and I turned and backed him into a corner. Seeing my face, he at least had the decency to look a little nervous.
“You wanna know what’s wrong? I’ll tell you what’s wrong! My father thinks I’m inept because I don’t have an appendage dangling between my legs. The man I spent the last eighteen months with was cheating on me with one of my cousins. Again. I hate New York City. I despise the Lockwood family. And you think you can get away with anything you want just because you have a big dick.” I jabbed my finger into his chest and punctuated each staccato word with another stab.
“I’m
Tired.
Of.
Men.
My father.
Liam.
You.
Every single fucking one of you. So leave me the hell alone!”
Frazzled, I turned back around and waited for the door to open, only to realize we hadn’t started to move yet. Great. Just fucking great. I jabbed the button a few more times, closed my eyes, and took deep, cleansing breaths as we started to move. Halfway through breath three, I felt the heat of Weston’s body behind me. He had to have moved closer. I continued to try to ignore him.
But the fucker still smelled good.
How the hell could that be? Whose cologne lasted for—what had it been now?—twelve hours? After the gauntlet run he’d sent me on across town this morning, I probably smelled like BO. It pissed me off that the asshole smelled…fucking delicious.
He moved closer, and I felt his breath tickle my neck.
“So,” he whispered in a gravelly voice. “You think my dick’s big.”
I turned and scowled at him. While this morning he’d been clean-shaven, he now had a five o’clock shadow all along his chiseled jaw. It gave him a sinister look. The suit that hugged his broad shoulders probably cost more than Liam’s entire sweater wardrobe. Weston Lockwood was everything I hated in a man—wealthy, good looking, cocky, arrogant, and fearless. Liam would hate him. My father already hated him. And at the moment, those were actually Weston’s strong points.
While I struggled with my body reacting to his scent and how much I liked the stubble on his face, Weston slowly reached out and put a hand on my hip. At first, I assumed he thought he needed to steady me, as he had when I’d wobbled in the bar. Had I wobbled again? I didn’t think I had. But I must’ve.
Though when his hand glided from my hip around to my ass, there was no misunderstanding his intention. He was not trying to help me stay on my feet. In my head, my immediate reaction was to scream at him, but somehow my throat felt too clogged to speak.
I made the mistake of looking up from his jaw into his blue eyes. Heat flickered, turning them almost gray, and his eyes dropped to my lips.
No.
Just no.
This was not happening.
Not again.
My heart thundered in my chest, and the blood in my ears roared so loudly I almost didn’t hear the ding of the elevator announcing that we’d arrived at my floor. Thankfully it snapped me out of whatever moment of insanity I’d slipped into.
“I…I need to go.”
It took all of my focus to put one foot in front of the other, but I managed to walk down the hall and make it to my room.
Though…
I wasn’t alone.

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 27 May 2020  Posted by  Tagged with: , ,  No Responses »
Mar 182020
 

Happily Letter After by Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward

From New York Times bestselling authors Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward comes a love story about taking chances, and the surprises that come with them.

My love story all started with a letter.

Only it wasn’t from the man I’d eventually fall in love with. It was from his daughter. A sweet little girl named Birdie Maxwell who’d written to the magazine that I worked for.

You see, once a year, my employer fulfilled a few wishes for readers. Only that column didn’t start up again for months.

So I fulfilled some of her wishes myself. It was harmless…so I thought. Until one day I took things too far.

While anonymously granting yet another of Birdie’s wishes, I got a look at her father. Her devastatingly handsome, single dad father.

I should have stopped playing fairy godmother then. I should have left well enough alone. But I just couldn’t help myself. I had a connection to this girl. One that had me acting irrationally.

Like showing up on their doorstep.

Excerpt Happily Letter After by Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward

Copyright © 2019 by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward

“I cannot believe we are doing this.” Devin and I took the C train to Columbus Circle and stopped at Starbucks before walking over to the carousel. My partner in crime came dressed for surveillance, wearing head-to-toe black, dark sun- glasses, and a wool cap . . . in July. We were lucky it was New York or she might look like the weirdo she is. I, on the other hand, had on jeans and an Aerosmith T-shirt. Because . . . you know . . . Steven Tyler and those lips. I didn’t even care he was probably pushing seventy. I’d still suck on those babies.
We took a seat on a bench located to the right of the carousel—not directly in front of it but where we could still see everyone who walked in and out. As we got into position, I started to feel really bad about what we were about to do—invade little Birdie’s privacy.
“Maybe we shouldn’t do this.”
Devin put her hand on my shoulder and applied pressure—just in case I tried to get up. “We’re doing this. Don’t even try to make a run for it.”
I slouched back onto the bench. “Fine.”
We sat for the better part of an hour, sipping coffee, gossiping about work, and looking around for a little girl and her dad. When I caught the time on my phone, I said, “It’s after eleven. I don’t think they’re coming.”
“Let’s give it until eleven thirty.”
I rolled my eyes. But screw it, we were in this far—I might as well go along with the rest of the ride. Otherwise, Devin would never let me hear the end of it. At eleven thirty on the dot, I stood. “Let’s go, Lacey.”
“Who?”
“Cagney & Lacey. It was a show my mom used to watch when I was little. It had two women detectives.”
“Well, which one was hotter? Maybe I don’t want to be Lacey.”
I laughed. “You can be whichever one you want to be.”
I turned to throw out my coffee cup in the basket next to the bench and was just about to start to leave when I spotted a little girl and a man who had just turned into the entrance of the park. They were pretty far off, but I thought it could be Birdie. “Oh my God. Sit! Sit! I think that’s them.”
The two of us planted our asses back on the bench at the same exact time. Devin leaned forward and squinted. “Are you sure?”
I grabbed her arm and pulled her to sit back. “Don’t be so obvious.”
We watched, while completely failing at looking casual, as the man and the little girl moved closer. The man was tall, broad-shouldered, and had on a pair of jeans and a T-shirt. He was holding the hand of the little girl. And she had on . . . a bodysuit and tutu. It was definitely Birdie!
“Oh my God. It’s them!”
Neither of us said a word as the father and daughter approached the carousel. When they got close enough so I could finally see their faces, I gasped. “Oh my God. He’s . . .”
Devin grabbed my hand. “I call dibs. I want to have his babies.”
I couldn’t believe my eyes. While I was expecting a modern version of my dad twenty years ago, the man standing before me was anything but. For the record, my dad is awesome, and he’s not too shabby-looking. But this man . . . was . . . drop. Dead. Gorgeous. Wow. Just . . . yeah. Wow.
Sebastian Maxwell had dark hair, bone structure to die for, and full, beautiful lips. I’d joked how Devin thought the guy was a super- model, but this man could actually be a supermodel. He had that longish, messy hair—the kind that he could drag a hand through, and it would look like he’d been both thoroughly fucked and just finished a photo shoot. Yeah, that was him. I was absolutely, positively speechless.

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Mar 152020
 

My Favorite Souvenir by Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward

My planned trip for two unexpectedly turned into a trip for one. Rather than let my breakup get me down, I packed my bags and decided a week at a luxury resort was just what I needed.
But one calamity after the next, and suddenly I was stuck without a hotel room, along with a few hundred other people.
It looked like my fancy vacation was about to turn into me sleeping on the hotel lobby floor.
Until I overheard a gorgeous man pretending to be someone he wasn’t in order to steal a reservation from a guest who hadn’t shown up yet.
When I realized there were two rooms, instead of calling him out, I pretended to be his sister. That’s how the story of “Milo and Maddie Hooker” began.
We were the Hookers.
My depressing trip quickly made a U-turn into an adventure.
My fake brother spent the next few days showing me around his hometown. When it was time to leave, neither of us really wanted to go yet.
So, instead of flying back to our respective homes, we ventured on a road trip.
At every stop, we’d pick up souvenirs.
But as hot as our chemistry was, we never crossed the line.
Milo knew I’d just come out of a tough relationship and didn’t want to mess with a vulnerable woman.
So instead, at the end of our trip, we made a pact to meet again in three months.
It was always my intention to meet him.
But when I got back home, reality hit in a big way.
And I worried I may have lost my handsome stranger forever.
Was there a place for him in my future?
Or had the memory of him just become my favorite souvenir?

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 15 March 2020  Posted by  Tagged with: , , ,  No Responses »
Jan 142020
 

The Invitation by Vi Keeland

Model: Nick Bateman
Release Date: January 18, 2021
BLURB

The first time I met Hudson Rothschild was at a wedding. I’d received an unexpected invitation to one of the swankiest venues in the city.

Hudson was a groomsman and quite possibly the most gorgeous man I’d ever laid eyes on. He asked me to dance, and our chemistry was off the charts.

I knew it wasn’t a good idea to get involved with him, considering the wedding I was at. But our connection was intense, and I was having a great time.

Though the fun came to a screeching halt when Hudson figured out I wasn’t who I’d said I was. You see, that unexpected invitation I received? Well, it hadn’t actually been addressed to me—it was sent to my ex-roommate who’d bounced a check for two months’ rent and moved out in the middle of the night. I figured she owed me an expensive night out, but I guess, technically, I was crashing the wedding.

Once caught, I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. As I bolted for the door, I might’ve plucked a few bottles of expensive champagne off the tables I passed, all while the gorgeous, angry groomsman was hot on my tail.

Outside, I jumped into a taxi. My heart ricocheted against my ribs as we drove down the block—but at least I’d escaped unscathed.

Or so I thought.

Until I realized I’d left my cell phone behind at the table.

Take one guess who found it?

This is the crazy story of how Hudson Rothschild and I met. But trust me, it’s only the tip of the iceberg.

Excited about Vi Keeland’s upcoming release, The Invitation?
Check out this SNEAK PEEK of CHAPTER 1!

CHAPTER 1
Stella

“I can’t do this…” I stopped halfway up the marble staircase.
Fisher paused a few steps ahead of me. He walked back down to where I stood. “Sure you can. Remember the time we were in sixth grade and you had to make that presentation about your favorite president? You were a nervous wreck. You thought you were going to forget everything you’d memorized and be standing there with everyone staring at you.”
“Yes, what about it?”
“Well, this is no different. You got through that, didn’t you?”
Fisher had lost his mind. “My fears all came true that day. I got up in front of the blackboard and started to sweat. I couldn’t remember a single word I’d written. Everyone in the class stared, and then you heckled me.”
Fisher nodded. “Exactly. Your worst fear came true, and yet you lived to see another day. In fact, that day turned out to be the best day of your life.”
I shook my head, bewildered. “How so?”
“That was the first time we’d ever been in the same class. I thought you were just another annoying girl like the rest of them. But after school that day, you ripped into me for teasing you while you were trying to do your presentation. That made me realize you weren’t like the other girls. And that very day I decided we were going to be best friends.”
I shook my head. “I didn’t speak to you for the rest of the school year.”
Fisher shrugged. “Yeah, but I won you over the next year, didn’t I? And right now you feel a little calmer than you did two minutes ago, don’t you?”
I sighed. “I guess I do.”
He held out his tuxedo-clad elbow. “Shall we go in?”
I swallowed. As terrified as I was of what we were about to do, I also couldn’t wait to see what the inside of the library looked like all done up for a wedding. I’d spent countless hours sitting on these steps, wondering about the people walking by.
Fisher waited patiently with his elbow out while I debated another minute. Finally, with another loud sigh, I took his arm. “If we wind up in jail, you’re going to have to come up with the bail money for both of us. I’m way too broke.”
He flashed his movie-star smile. “Deal.”
As we climbed the remaining steps to the doors of the New York Public Library, I went over all of the details we’d discussed in the Uber on the way here. Our names for the evening were Evelyn Whitley and Maximilian Reynard. Max was in real estate—his family owned Reynard Properties—and I’d gotten my MBA at Wharton and recently moved back to the City. We both lived on the Upper East Side—at least that part was true.
Two uniformed waiters wearing white gloves stood at the towering entrance doors. One held a tray of champagne flutes, and the other a clipboard. Though my legs somehow kept going, my heart felt like it was trying to escape from my chest and take off in the opposite direction.
“Good evening.” The waiter with the clipboard nodded. “May I have your names, please?”
Fisher didn’t flinch as he doled out the first of what would be a night full of lies.
The man, who I noticed had an earpiece in, scanned his list and nodded. He held a hand out for us to enter, and his partner handed us each bubbly. “Welcome. The ceremony will take place in the rotunda. Seating for the bride is on your left.”
“Thank you,” Fisher said. As soon as we were out of earshot, he leaned close. “See? Easy peasy.” He sipped his champagne. “Oooh, this is good.”
I had no idea how he was so calm. Then again, I also had no idea how he’d managed to talk me into this insanity. Two months ago, I’d come home from work to find Fisher, who was also my neighbor, raiding my refrigerator for leftovers—a common occurrence. As he ate two-day-old chicken Milanese, I’d sat at the kitchen table sorting through my mail and having a glass of wine. While we talked, I’d sliced open the back of an oversized envelope without checking the address on the front. The most stunning wedding invitation had been inside—black and white with raised gold leaf. It was like a gilded work of art. And the wedding was at the New York Public Library, of all places—right near my old office and where I’d often sat and had my lunch on the iconic stairs. I hadn’t visited in at least a year, so I was seriously pumped to get to go to a wedding there.
Though I’d had no idea whose wedding it was—a distant relative I’d forgotten, maybe? The names weren’t even vaguely familiar. When I turned the envelope over, I quickly realized why. I’d opened my ex-roommate’s mail. Ugh. That figured. It wasn’t me who was invited to a fairytale wedding at one of my favorite places in the world.
But after a couple of glasses of wine, Fisher had convinced me it should be me going, and not Evelyn. It was the least my deadbeat ex-roommate could do for me, he’d said. After all, she’d snuck out in the middle of the night, taken some of my favorite shoes with her, and the check she’d left behind for the two months of back rent she owed had bounced. At a minimum, I ought to get to attend a ritzy, thousand-dollars-a-plate wedding, rather than her. Lord knew none of my friends were ever getting married at a venue like that. By the time we’d polished off the second bottle of merlot, Fisher had decided we would go in Evelyn’s place—crash the wedding for a fun night out, compliments of my no-good former roomie. Fisher had even filled out the response card, writing that two guests would attend, and slipped it into his back pocket to mail the next day.
I’d honestly forgotten all about our drunken plans until two weeks ago when Fisher came home with a tuxedo he’d borrowed from a friend for the upcoming nuptials. I’d balked and told him I wasn’t going to crash some expensive wedding for people I didn’t know, and he’d done what he always did: gotten me to think his bad idea wasn’t really that bad.
Until now. I stood in the middle of the sprawling lobby of what was probably a two-hundred-thousand-dollar wedding and felt like I might literally pee my pants.
“Drink your champagne,” Fisher said. “It’ll help you relax a bit and put some color back in your cheeks. You look like you’re about to attempt to tell the class why you like John Quincy Adams so much.”
I squinted at Fisher, though he smiled back, undeterred. I was certain nothing was going to help me loosen up. But nevertheless, I gulped back the contents of my glass.
Fisher tucked one hand casually into his trouser pocket and looked around with his head held high, like he didn’t have a fear in the world. “I haven’t seen my old friend party animal Stella in a long time,” he said. “Might she come out to play tonight?”
I handed him my empty champagne flute. “Shut up and go find me another glass before I bolt.”
He chuckled. “No problem, Evelyn. You just sit tight and try not to blow our cover before we even get to see the beautiful bride.”
“Beautiful? You don’t even know what she looks like.”
“All brides look beautiful. That’s why they wear a veil—so you can’t see the ugly ones, and everything is magical on their special day.”
“That’s so romantic.”
Fisher winked. “Not everyone can be as pretty as me.”
Three glasses of champagne helped calm me enough to sit through the wedding ceremony. And the bride definitely didn’t need a veil. Olivia Rothschild—or Olivia Royce, as she would be now—was gorgeous. I got a little teary eyed watching the groom say his vows. It was a shame the happy couple weren’t really my friends, because one of their groomsmen was insanely attractive. I might’ve daydreamed that Livi—that’s what I called her in my head—would fix me up with her new hubby’s buddy. But alas, tonight was a ruse, and I was no Cinderella story.
The cocktail hour took place in a beautiful room I’d never been in. I studied the artwork on the ceiling as I waited at the bar for my drink. Fisher had told me he needed to use the restroom, but I had a feeling he’d really snuck off to talk to the handsome waiter who had been eyeing him since we’d walked in.
“Here you go, miss.” The bartender slid a drink over to me.
“Thank you.” I took a quick look around to see if anyone was paying attention before dipping my nose inside the glass and taking a deep sniff. Definitely not what I ordered.
“Ummm, excuse me. Is it possible you made this with Beefeater gin and not Hendricks?”
The bartender frowned. “I don’t think so.”
I sniffed a second time, now certain he’d made it wrong.
A man’s voice to my left caught me off guard. “You didn’t even taste it, yet you think he poured the wrong gin?”
I smiled politely. “Beefeater is made with juniper, orange peels, bitter almond, and blended teas, which produces a licorice taste. Hendricks is made of juniper, rose, and cucumber. There’s a different smell to each.”
“Are you drinking it straight or on the rocks?”
“Neither. It’s a gin martini, so it has vermouth.”
“But you think you can smell that he used the wrong gin, without even tasting it?” The guy’s voice made it clear he didn’t think I could.
“I have a very good sense of smell.”
The man looked over my shoulder. “Hey, Hudson, I got a hundred bucks that says she can’t tell the difference between the two gins if we line them up.”
A second man’s voice came from my right, this one behind my shoulder a bit. The sound was deep, yet velvety and smooth—sort of like the gin the bartender should’ve used to make my drink.
“Make it two hundred, and you’re on.”
Turning to get a look at the man willing to wager on my abilities, I felt my eyes widen.
Oh. Wow. The gorgeous guy from the bridal party. I’d stared at him during most of the wedding. He was handsome from afar, but up close he was breathtaking in a way that made my belly flutter—dark hair, tanned skin, a chiseled jawline, and luscious, full lips. The way his hair was styled—slicked back and parted to the side—reminded me of an old-time movie star. What I hadn’t been able to see from the back row during the ceremony was the intensity of his ocean blue eyes. Those were currently scanning my face like I was a book.
I cleared my throat. “You’re going to bet two-hundred dollars that I can identify gin?”
The gorgeous man stepped forward, and my olfactory sense perked up. Now that smells better than any gin. I wasn’t sure if it was his cologne or some sort of a body wash, but whatever it was, it took everything in my power to not lean toward him and take a deep whiff. The sinfully sexy man smelled as good as he looked. That pairing was my kryptonite.
There was a hint of amusement in his voice. “Are you telling me it’s a bad bet?”
I shook my head and turned back to speak to his friend. “I’ll play along with your little bet, but I’m in for two hundred, too.”
When my eyes returned to the handsome man on my right, the corner of his lip twitched just slightly. “Nice.” He lifted his chin to his friend. “Tell the bartender to pour a shot of Beefeater and a shot of Hendricks. Line ’em up in front of her, and don’t let us know which is which.”
A minute later, I lifted the first shot glass and sniffed. It honestly wasn’t even necessary for me to smell the other, though I did it anyway, just to be safe. Damn… I should’ve bet more. This was too easy, like taking candy from a baby. I slid one shot glass forward and spoke to the waiting bartender. “This one is the Hendricks.”
The bartender looked impressed. “She’s right.”
“Damn it,” the guy who had started this game huffed. He dug into his front pocket, pulled out an impressive billfold, and peeled off four hundred-dollar bills. Tossing them in our direction on top of the bar, he shook his head. “I’ll win it back by Monday.”
Gorgeous Guy smiled at me as he collected his cash. Once I took mine, he lowered his head to whisper in my ear.
“Nice job.”
Oh my. His hot breath sent a shiver down my spine. It had been way too long since I’d had contact with a man. Sadly, my knees felt a little weak. But I forced myself to ignore it. “Thank you.”
He reached around me to the bar and lifted one of the shots. Bringing it to his nose, he sniffed before setting it back down and smelling the other.
“I don’t smell anything different.”
“That just means you have a normal sense of smell.”
“Ah, I see. And yours is…extraordinary?”
I smiled. “Why yes, it is.”
He looked amused as he passed me one of the shots and held the other up in toast. “To being extraordinary,” he said.
I wasn’t generally a shot drinker, but what the hell? I clinked my glass with his before knocking it back. Maybe the alcohol would help settle the nerves this man seemed to have jolted awake.
I set my empty shot glass on the bar next to his. “I take it this is something the two of you do on a regular basis, since your friend plans to win it back by Monday?”
“Jack’s family and mine have been friends since we were kids. But the betting started when we went to the same college. I’m a Notre Dame fan, and he’s a USC fan. We were broke back then, so we used to bet a Taser zap on games.”
“A Taser zap?”
“His father was a cop. He gave him a Taser to keep under his car seat just in case. But I don’t think he envisioned his son taking hits of fifty-thousand volts when a last-minute interception made his team lose.”
I shook my head. “That’s a little crazy.”
“Definitely not our wisest decision. At least I won a lot more than he did. A little brain damage might help explain some of his choices in college.”
I laughed. “So today was just a continuation of that pattern, then?”
“Pretty much.” He smiled and extended his hand. “I’m Hudson, by the way.”
“Nice to meet you. I’m St—” I caught myself in the nick of time. “I’m Evelyn.”
“So are you a gin aficionado, Evelyn? Is that why I didn’t smell anything different between the two?”
I smiled. “I wouldn’t consider myself an aficionado of gin, no. To be honest, I mostly drink wine. But did I mention my occupation? I’m a fragrance chemist—a perfumist.”
“You make perfume?”
I nodded. “Among other things. I developed scents for a cosmetics and fragrance company for six years. Sometimes it was a new perfume, other times it was the scent for a wipe that removes makeup, or maybe a cosmetic that needs a more pleasant smell.”
“Pretty sure I never met a perfumist before.”
I smiled. “Is it as exciting as you’d hoped?”
He chuckled. “What exactly is the training for a job like that?”
“Well, I have a chemistry degree. But you can have all the education you want, and you still won’t be able to do the job unless you also have hyperosmia.”
“And that is…”
“An enhanced ability to smell odors, an increased olfactory acuity.”
“So you’re good at smelling shit?”
I laughed. “Exactly.”
A lot of people think they have a good sense of smell, but they don’t really understand how heightened the sense is for someone with hyperosmia. Demonstrating always worked best. Plus, I really wanted to know what cologne he was wearing. So, I leaned in and took a deep inhale of Hudson.
Exhaling, I said, “Dove soap.”
He didn’t look completely sold. “Yes, but that’s a pretty common soap choice.”
I smiled. “You didn’t let me finish. Dove Cool Moisture. It’s got cucumber and green tea in it—also a common ingredient in gins, by the way. And you use L’Oreal Elvive shampoo, same as me. I can smell gardenia tahitensis flower extract, rosa canina flower extract, and a slight hint of coconut oil. Oh, and you use Irish Spring deodorant. I don’t think you’re wearing any cologne, actually.”
Hudson’s brows rose. “Now that’s impressive. The wedding party stayed in a hotel last night, and I forgot to pack my cologne.”
“Which one do you normally wear?”
“Ah… I can’t tell you that. What will we do on our second date for entertainment if we don’t play the sniff test?”
“Our second date? I didn’t realize we were going to have a first.”
Hudson smiled and held out his hand. “The night’s young, Evelyn. Dance with me?”
A knot in the pit of my stomach warned me it was a bad idea. Fisher and I were supposed to stick together and limit contact with other people to minimize our chances of getting caught. But glancing around, my date was nowhere in sight. Plus, this man was seriously magnetic. Somehow, before my brain even finished debating the pros and cons, I found myself putting my hand in his. He led me to the dance floor and wrapped one arm around my waist, leading with the other. Not surprisingly, he knew how to dance.
“So, Evelyn with the extraordinary sense of smell, I’ve never seen you before. Are you a guest or a plus one?” He looked around the room. “Is some guy giving me the evil eye behind my back right now? Am I going to need to get Jack’s Taser from the car to ward off a jealous boyfriend?”
I laughed. “I am here with someone, but he’s just a friend.”
“The poor guy…”
I smiled. Hudson’s flirting was over the top, yet I gobbled it up. “Fisher is more interested in the guy who was passing out champagne than me.”
Hudson held me a little closer. “I like your date much better than I did thirty seconds ago.”
Goose bumps prickled my arms as he lowered his head, and his nose briefly brushed against my neck.
“You smell incredible. Are you wearing one of the perfumes you make?”
“I am. But it’s not one that can be ordered. I like the idea of having a true signature scent that someone can remember me by.”
“I don’t think you need the perfume to be remembered.”
He led me around the dance floor with such grace, I wondered if he had taken professional lessons. Most men his age thought slow dancing meant rocking back and forth and grinding an erection against you.
“You’re a good dancer,” I said.
Hudson responded by twirling us around. “My mother was a professional ballroom dancer. Learning wasn’t an option; it was a requirement if I wanted to be fed.”
I laughed. “That’s really cool. Did you ever consider following in her footsteps?”
“Absolutely not. I grew up watching her suffer with hip bursitis, stress fractures, torn ligaments—it’s definitely not the glamorous profession they make it out to be on all those dance-contest TV shows. You gotta love what you do for a job like that.”
“I think you have to love what you do for any job.”
“That’s a very good point.”
The song came to an end, and the emcee told everyone to take their seats.
“Where are you sitting?” Hudson asked.
I pointed to the side of the room where Fisher and I had been seated. “Somewhere over there. Table Sixteen.”
He nodded. “I’ll walk you.”
We approached the table at the same moment as Fisher, who was coming from the other direction. He looked between Hudson and me, and his face asked the question he didn’t say aloud.
“Umm…this is my friend Fisher. Fisher, this is Hudson.”
Hudson extended his hand. “Nice to meet you.”
After shaking with a silent Fisher, who seemed to have forgotten how to speak, he turned to me and took my hand once again. “I should get back to my table with the rest of the wedding party.”
“Okay.”
“Save a dance for me later?”
I smiled. “I’d love to.”
Hudson turned to walk away and then turned back. As he walked backwards, he called, “In case you pull a Cinderella on me and disappear, what’s your last name, Evelyn?”
Thankfully, him using my fake name reminded me not to give him my real one as I’d almost done the first time. “It’s Whitley.”
“Whitley?”
Oh God. Did he know Evelyn?
His eyes swept over my face. “Beautiful name. I’ll see you later.”
“Uhh…okay, sure.”
When Hudson was barely out of earshot, Fisher leaned close to me. “My name’s supposed to be Maximilian, sweetheart.”
“Oh my God, Fisher. We have to leave.”
“Nah.” He shrugged. “It’s no big deal. We made up Maximilian anyway. I’m your plus one. No one knows the name of the person Evelyn brought. Though I still want to play a real estate tycoon.”
“No, it’s not that.”
“Then what is it?”
“We have to leave because he knows…”

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AUTHOR BIO

Vi Keeland is a #1 New York Times, #1 Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author. With millions of books sold, her titles have appeared in over a hundred Bestseller lists and are currently translated in twenty-five languages. She resides in New York with her husband and their three children where she is living out her own happily ever after with the boy she met at age six.

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 14 January 2020  Posted by  Tagged with: , , , ,  No Responses »
Dec 312019
 

Egomaniac by Vi Keeland

The night I met Drew Jagger, he’d just broken into my new Park Avenue office. I dialed 9-1-1 before proceeding to attack him with my fancy new Krav Maga skills. He quickly restrained me, then chuckled, finding my attempted assault amusing.

Of course, my intruder had to be arrogant. Only, turned out, he wasn’t an intruder at all.

Drew was the rightful occupant of my new office. He’d been on vacation while his posh space was renovated. Which was how a scammer got away with leasing me office space that wasn’t really available for rent. I was swindled out of ten grand.

The next day, after hours at the police station, Drew took pity on me and made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. In exchange for answering his phones while his secretary was out, he’d let me stay until I found a new place. I probably should have acted grateful and kept my mouth shut when I overheard the advice he was spewing to his clients. But I couldn’t help giving him a piece of my mind. I never expected my body to react every time we argued. Especially when that was all we seemed to be able to do.

The two of us were complete opposites. Drew was a bitter, angry, gorgeous-as-all-hell destroyer of relationships. And my job was to help people save their marriages. The only thing the two of us had in common was the space we were sharing. And an attraction that was getting harder to deny by the day.

Excerpt Egomaniac by Vi Keeland

Chapter One
DREW
I hate New Year’s Eve.

Two hours in traffic to make it not even the nine miles home from LaGuardia. It was after ten o’clock at night. Why weren’t all these people at a party by now? Whatever tension two weeks in Hawaii had relieved was already back to coiling tighter and tighter inside me as the town car inched its way uptown.

I tried not to think about all the work I was coming back to—the endless string of other people’s problems to compound my own:

She cheated.

He cheated.

Get me full custody of the kids.

She can’t have the house in Vail.

All she wants is my money.

She hasn’t given me a blowjob in three years. Listen, asshole, you’re fifty, bald, pompous, and shaped like an egg. She’s twenty-three, hot, and has tits so young they almost reach up to her chin. You want to fix this marriage? Come home with ten Gs in fresh, crisp bills, and tell her to get on her knees. You’ll get your blowjob. She’ll get her spending money. Let’s not pretend it was ever more than it really was. That doesn’t work for you? Unlike your soon-to-be ex-wife, I’ll take a check. Make that out to Drew M. Jagger, Attorney at Law.

I rubbed the back of my neck, feeling slightly claustrophobic in the back of the Uber, and looked out the window. An old lady with a walker passed us.

“I’ll get out here,” I barked at the driver.

“But you have luggage?”

I was already exiting the back of the car. “Pop the trunk. It’s not like we’re moving anyway.”

Traffic was at a dead stop, and it was only two blocks to my building. Tossing a hundred-dollar tip at the driver, I grabbed my suitcase from the trunk and took in a deep breath of Manhattan.

I loved this city as much as I hated it.

575 Park Avenue was a restored pre-war on the southeast corner of Sixty-Third Street—it was an address that gave people preconceived notions about you. Someone with my last name had occupied the building since before the place was converted into overpriced co-ops. Which is why my office was allowed to remain on the ground floor when other commercial tenants were tossed out years ago. I also lived on the top floor.

“Welcome back, Mr. Jagger.” The uniformed doorman greeted me as he swung open the lobby door.

“Thanks, Ed. I miss anything while I was gone?”

“Nah. Same old, same old. Peeked in on your construction the other day, though. Looking good.”

“They use the service entrance down Sixty-Third like they were supposed to?”

Ed nodded. “Sure did. Barely heard them the last few days.”

I dropped my luggage inside my apartment, then headed back downstairs in the elevator to check things out. For the last two weeks, while I was screwing off in Honolulu, my office space had been getting a total renovation. Cracks in the high, plastered ceilings were to be patched and painted, and new floors installed to replace the old, worn parquet.

Thick plastic remained taped over all of the interior doorways when I walked in. The little furniture I hadn’t put in storage was also still covered with tarps. Shit. They aren’t done yet. The contractor had assured me there would only be finish work left by the time I returned. I was right to be skeptical.

Flicking on the lights, I was happy to find the lobby completely done, though. Finally, a New Year’s Eve with no horrible surprises for a change.

I took a quick look around, pleased with what I found, and was just about to leave when I noticed a light streaming from under the door of a small file room at the end of the hallway.

Thinking nothing of it, I headed to turn it off.

Now, I’m six foot two and a half, two hundred and five pounds, and maybe it was just my frame of mind, my not expecting to see anyone, but when I opened the door to the file room, finding her there scared the living crap out of me.

She screamed.

I took a step back through the door.

She got up, stood on the chair, and began yelling at me, waving her cell phone in the air.

“I’ll call the police!” Her fingers shook as she dialed nine, then one, and hovered over the last one. “Get out now, and I won’t call!”

I could have lunged for her, and the phone would have been out of her hand before she realized she hadn’t dialed the final digit. But she looked terrified, so I retreated another step and put my hands up in surrender.

“I’m not going to hurt you.” I used my best soothing, calm voice. “You don’t need to call the police. This is my office.”

“Do I look stupid to you? You just broke into my office.”

“Your office? I think you took a wrong turn at the corner of Crazy and Nutjob.”

She wobbled atop the chair, holding both arms out to regain her balance, and then…her skirt fell to her feet.

“Get out!” She crouched down and grabbed her skirt, tugging it up to her waist as she turned her back to me.

“Do you take medication, ma’am?”

“Medication? Ma’am? Are you joking?”

“You know what?” I motioned to the phone she was still holding. “Why don’t you push that last one and get the police over here. They can drive you back to whatever loony bin you escaped from.”

Her eyes widened.

For a crazy person—now that I was really looking—she was pretty damn cute. Fiery red hair piled on top of her head seemed to match her firecracker personality. Although from the looks of her blazing blue eyes, I was glad I’d held off on telling her that.

She pushed one and proceeded to report the crime of entering one’s own office. “I’d like to report a robbery.”

“Robbery?” I arched an eyebrow and looked around. A lone folding chair and crappy metal folding table were the only furniture in the entire space. “What exactly am I stealing? Your winning personality?”

She amended her complaint to the police. “A breaking and entering. I’d like to report a breaking and entering at 575 Park Avenue.” She paused and listened. “No, I don’t think he’s armed. But he’s big. Really big. At least six feet. Maybe bigger.”

I smirked. “And strong. Don’t forget to tell them I’m strong, too. Want me to flex for you? And maybe you should tell them I have green eyes. Wouldn’t want the police to confuse me with all the other really big thieves hanging out in my office.”

After she hung up, she stayed standing on the chair, still glaring at me.

“Was there also a mouse?” I asked.

“A mouse?”

“Considering you jumped up on that chair.” I chuckled.

“You find this funny?”

“Oddly, I do. And I have no fucking idea why. It should annoy the crap out of me that I come home from a two-week vacation and find a squatter in my office.”

“Squatter? I’m no squatter. This is my office. I moved in a week ago.”

She bobbled again while standing on her chair.

“Why don’t you get down? You’re going to fall off that thing and get hurt.”

“How do I know you’re not going to hurt me when I get down?”

I shook my head and contained my laugh. “Sweetheart, look at the size of me. Look at the size of you. Standing on that chair isn’t doing jack shit to keep you safe. If I wanted to hurt you, you’d be out cold on the floor already.”

“I take Krav Maga classes twice a week.”

“Twice a week? Really? Thanks for the warning.”

“You don’t have to ridicule me. Maybe I could hurt you. For an intruder, you’re really kind of rude, you know.”

“Get down.”

After a full minute stare-off, she climbed off the chair.

“See? You’re as safe on the ground as you were up there.”

“What do you want from here?”

“You didn’t call the police, did you? You almost had me there for a second.”

“I didn’t. But I can.”

“Now why would you go and do that? So they can arrest you for breaking and entering?”

She pointed down at her makeshift desk. For the first time, I noticed papers all over the place. “I told you. This is my office. I’m working late tonight because the construction crew was so loud today that I couldn’t get done what I needed to. Why would anyone break and enter to work at ten-thirty at night on New Year’s Eve?”

Construction crew? My construction crew? Something was going on here. “You were here with the construction crew today?”

“Yes.”

I scratched my chin, half believing her. “What’s the foreman’s name?”

“Tommy.”

Shit. She was telling the truth. Well, at least some of it had to be the truth. “You said you moved in a week ago?”

“That’s right.”

“And you rented the space from whom, exactly?”

“John Cougar.”

Both my brows shot up this time. “John Cougar? Did he drop the Mellencamp, by chance?”

“How should I know?”

This wasn’t sounding good. “And you paid this John Cougar?”

“Of course. That’s how renting an office suite works. Two months’ security, first and last month’s rent.”

I shut my eyes and shook my head. “Shit.”

“What?”

“You got conned. How much did all of that cost you? Two months’ security, first and last month? Four months in total?”

“Ten thousand dollars.”

“Please tell me you didn’t pay cash.”

Something finally clicked, and the color drained from her pretty face. “He said his bank was closed in the evening, and he couldn’t give me the keys until my check cleared. If I gave him cash, I could move in right away.”

“You paid John Cougar forty thousand dollars in cash?”

“No!”

“Thank God.”

“I paid him ten thousand in cash.”

“I thought you said you paid four months.”

“I did. It was twenty-five hundred a month.”

That did it. Of all the crazy shit I’d heard so far, thinking she could get space on Park Avenue for twenty-five hundred a month took the cake. I broke out in a fit of laughter.

“What’s so funny?”

“You’re not from New York, are you?”

“No. I just moved here from Oklahoma. What does that have to do with anything?”

I took a step closer. “I hate to break the news to you, Oklahoma, but you got ripped off. This is my office. I’ve been here for three years. My father the thirty before that. I was on vacation the last two weeks and had the office remodeled while I was gone. Someone named after a singer scammed you into giving him cash to rent an office he had no right to rent. Doorman’s name is Ed. Walk through the main building entrance, and he’ll verify everything I just said.”

“That can’t be.”

“What do you do that you need office space?”

“I’m a psychologist.”

I held out my hand. “I’m an attorney. Let me see your contract.”

Her face fell. “He hasn’t brought it by yet. He said the landlord was in Brazil on vacation, and I could move in, and he would come back on the first to collect the rent and bring me the contract to sign.”

“You’ve been scammed.”

“But I paid him ten thousand dollars!”

“Which is another thing that should have tipped you off. You couldn’t rent a closet on Park Avenue for twenty-five hundred a month. Didn’t you find it strange that you were getting a place like this for next to nothing?”

“I thought I was getting a deal.”

I shook my head. “You got a deal alright. A raw deal.”

She covered her mouth. “I think I’m going to be sick.”

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 31 December 2019  Posted by  Tagged with: , , ,  No Responses »
Dec 302019
 

Sex, Not Love by Vi Keeland

My relationship with Hunter Delucia started backwards.

We met at a wedding—him sitting on the groom’s side, me sitting on the bride’s. Stealing glances at each other throughout the night, there was no denying an intense, mutual attraction.

I caught the bouquet; he caught the garter. Hunter held me tightly while we danced and suggested we explore the chemistry sparking between us. His blunt, dirty mouth should’ve turned me off. But for some crazy reason, it had the opposite effect on me.

We ended up back in my hotel room. The next morning, I headed home to New York leaving him behind in California with the wrong number.

I thought about him often, but after my last relationship, I’d sworn off of charming, cocky, gorgeous-as-sin men. A year later, Hunter and I met again at the birth of our friends’ baby. Our attraction hadn’t dulled one bit. After a whirlwind trip, he demanded a real phone number this time. So I left him with my mother’s—she could scare away any man with her talks of babies and marriage—and flew back home.

I’d thought it was funny, until the following week when he rang the bell at Mom’s house for Sunday night dinner. The crazy, gorgeous man had won over my mother and taken an eight-week assignment in my city. He proposed we spend that time screwing each other out of our systems.

Eight weeks of mind-blowing sex with no strings attached? What did I have to lose?

Nothing, I thought.

It’s just sex, not love.

But you know what they say about the best laid plans…

Excerpt Sex, Not Love by Vi Keeland

“You’re not going anywhere before you do two things.”

“Two things?”

“Leave your number and kiss me goodbye.”

“I…I…you haven’t brushed your teeth.”

Hunter chuckled. It felt like he could see through all of my bullshit. Reaching over to the nightstand, he grabbed his phone and held it out to me before getting up. “Toothpaste in the bathroom still?”

“The little one the hotel sets out.”

“I’ll brush. You type.”

While he was in the bathroom, I mulled over not typing anything into his phone. There was no way I was keeping in touch with a man living three-thousand miles away. A guy like him was the last thing I needed. But then I thought better of just telling him I’d put my number in. He seemed to have figured me out pretty quick. So instead, I typed my name and number, only I changed the last two digits.

And it was a good thing I did, because when Hunter returned from his bathroom trip, the first thing he did was check that I’d entered something. Luckily, he didn’t attempt to call me. Satisfied, he tossed his phone on the bed and nodded.

“Thank you. Now kiss me.”

I could see he wasn’t going to let me leave without this. So, sacrificing to make my plane, I pushed up on my toes and delivered a quick peck to his lips.

Mmm…. Nice and soft.

(And minty fresh.)

“Well…it was nice to meet you.” I turned to dart out the door, but Hunter grabbed my wrist yet again.

“I said kiss me.”

“I did!”

“Kiss me the way you kissed me last night.”

Before I could even attempt to let that sink in, Hunter yanked me against him. One of his large hands cupped the back of my neck, and he squeezed firmly to direct my head where he wanted it. Then, his lips crashed down on mine.

The shock of feeling his mouth against mine quickly dissipated as he licked my lips, encouraging me to open for him. His tongue dipped inside, and he groaned as he tilted my head and deepened the kiss. The vibration of the sound traveled between us and sent a hum through my body. Soft and gentle went out the window after that. He grabbed a fistful of my ass, and I lifted my body up onto his, wrapping my legs around his waist. As he backed us to the wall, a sense of familiarity overcame me. I couldn’t remember the specifics of our previous kiss, but I now knew deep inside what it had felt like.

My cell dropped from my hand so my fingers could tangle in his hair. Yanking on the soft strands, I couldn’t get enough. A moan from deep inside my chest moved through our connected mouths. Hunter pushed harder, his thick erection pressing into the center of my open legs. He rocked as he kissed me, causing a friction through two layers of clothing that was leading me to a place I didn’t think it was possible to go fully dressed.

It felt like he wanted to swallow me whole, and in that moment, I would have let him. My breasts were crushed to his chest, and a heartbeat raged out of control—only I wasn’t sure if it was my own or his. Jesus, where does a man learn to kiss like this?

I was breathless and stunned when our kiss broke. Hunter sucked on my bottom lip, tugging it before releasing my mouth.

His voice was strained. “Change your flight. We’re not done here.”

I swallowed, trying to gain some composure. “I can’t.” My voice was barely a whisper. It was all I could muster.

“Can’t or don’t want to?”

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 30 December 2019  Posted by  Tagged with: ,  No Responses »
Nov 202019
 

Inappropriate by Vi Keeland

I couldn’t believe the letter in my hands.⁣

Nine years. I’d worked my butt off for one of the largest companies in America, and I was fired with a form letter when I returned home from a week in Aruba. ⁣

All because of a video taken when I was on vacation with my friends—a video made on my time. …⁣

Pissed off, I cracked open a bottle of wine and wrote my own letter to the gazillionaire CEO telling him what I thought of his company and its practices.⁣

I didn’t think he’d actually respond.⁣

I certainly never thought I’d suddenly become pen pals with the rich jerk. ⁣

Eventually, he realized I’d been wronged and made sure I got my job back.⁣

Only … it wasn’t the only thing Grant Lexington wanted to do for me. ⁣

But there was no way I was getting involved with my boss’s boss’s boss. Even if he was ridiculously gorgeous, confident, and charming.⁣

It would be completely wrong, inappropriate even.⁣

Sort of like the video that got me into trouble to begin with.⁣

Two wrongs don’t make a right.⁣

But sometimes it’s twice as fun.

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 20 November 2019  Posted by  Tagged with: , ,  No Responses »
Nov 052019
 

Dirty Letters by Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward

I’d never forgotten him—a man I’d yet to meet.
Griffin Quinn was my childhood pen pal, the British boy who couldn’t have been more different from me. Over the years, through hundreds of letters, we became best friends, sharing our deepest, darkest secrets and forming a connection I never thought could break.
Until one day it did.
Then, out of the blue, a new letter arrived. A scathing one—one with eight years of pent-up anger. I had no choice but to finally come clean as to why I stopped writing.
Griffin forgave me, and somehow we were able to rekindle our childhood connection. Only now we were adults, and that connection had grown to a spark. Our letters quickly went from fun to flirty to downright dirty, revealing our wildest fantasies. So it only made sense that we would take our relationship to the next level and see each other in person.
Only Griff didn’t want to meet. He asked that I trust him and said it was for the best. But I wanted more—more Griff, in the flesh—so I took a big chance and went looking for him. People have done crazier things for love.
But what I found could change everything.

Title: Dirty Letters
Author: Vi Keeland; Penelope Ward
Publication Date: November 5th, 2019
Shelves: Contemporary; Romance;
Format: Kindle (300 pages)
Rating: 9/10

I have always wanted a Pen Pal growing up since I love writing stuff. Even in the digital world, I still keep on writing stuff on paper.

So, when I saw that Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward were doing a new book with Pen Pals, I signed right up.

Now superstar Griffin, aka Cole Archer, has had a very close connection to his pen pal. After a decade though, Luca Vinetti suffered unimaginably loss, and has developed a fear of a crowd and locked spaces. During that time she stopped responding to his letters.

Luca lost her best friend in a fire when she was 17 and she had the survivor’s guilt. Now, she it trying to outgrow her hears through a therapist. This is why, when she goes to clear her father’s place in New York, she founds the last letter from Griffin.

Since the letter was an angry one, she decided to come clean why she stopped replying to his letters. What quickly felt like something she has lost, rekindled and became more.

Little by little, the letters started to become more intimate and dirtier, because now they are adults. And they want to know things that had happened since the last time they spoke.

Things are different now, and since she is afraid of crowds and he’s super famous, how are they going to stay together?

Loved this book!


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Oct 112019
 

Dirty Letters by Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward

I’d never forgotten him—a man I’d yet to meet.
Griffin Quinn was my childhood pen pal, the British boy who couldn’t have been more different from me. Over the years, through hundreds of letters, we became best friends, sharing our deepest, darkest secrets and forming a connection I never thought could break.
Until one day it did.
Then, out of the blue, a new letter arrived. A scathing one—one with eight years of pent-up anger. I had no choice but to finally come clean as to why I stopped writing.
Griffin forgave me, and somehow we were able to rekindle our childhood connection. Only now we were adults, and that connection had grown to a spark. Our letters quickly went from fun to flirty to downright dirty, revealing our wildest fantasies. So it only made sense that we would take our relationship to the next level and see each other in person.
Only Griff didn’t want to meet. He asked that I trust him and said it was for the best. But I wanted more—more Griff, in the flesh—so I took a big chance and went looking for him. People have done crazier things for love.
But what I found could change everything.

Excerpt Dirty Letters by Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward

The small dining room table had a pile of mail. I’d had Dad’s mail forwarded to my house, so mostly it was just catalogs and junk. Once a month, Mrs. Cascio sent me everything that arrived, even though I’d told her it wasn’t necessary. I mindlessly fingered through the pile, not expecting to see anything worth keeping. But I stopped at an envelope addressed to me—well, not me, but Luca Ryan. That was a name I hadn’t heard in a long time. In second grade, my teacher, Mrs. Ryan, started a pen pal writing program with a small town in England. We weren’t allowed to use our real last names for safety reasons, so the entire class used her last name—hence I was Luca Ryan. I checked out the return address for the sender’s name.
G. Quinn
Wow, really? It couldn’t be.
I squinted at the postmark. It was from a PO box in California, not England, but I didn’t know any other Quinn other than Griffin. And the handwriting did look pretty familiar. But it had been close to eight years since we’d exchanged letters. Why would he write now? Curious, I ripped it open and scanned right to the bottom of the letter for the name. Sure enough, it was from Griffin. I started at the beginning.

Dear Luca,
Do you like scotch? I remember you said you didn’t like the taste of beer. But we never did get around to comparing our taste in hard liquor. Why is that, you might ask? Let me remind you—because you stopped answering my letters eight damn years ago. I wanted to let you know, I’m still pissed off about that. My mum used to say I hold grudges. But I prefer to think of it as I remember the facts. And the fact of the matter is, you suck. There, I’ve said it. I’ve been holding that shit in for a long time. Don’t get me wrong—I’m not obsessive or anything. I don’t sit in my house thinking about you all day long. In fact, there have been months that go by when thoughts of you don’t even enter my brain. But then some random thing will pop into my head out of the blue. Like I’ll see some kid in a pram eating black licorice, and I’ll think of you. Side note—I’ve tried it again as an adult, and I still think it tastes like the bottom of my shoe, so perhaps it’s that you just have no taste. You probably don’t even like scotch. Anyway, I’m sure this letter won’t find its way to you. Or if by some miracle it does, you won’t answer. But if you’re reading this, you should know two things.

1. The Macallan 1926 is worth the extra cash. Goes down smooth.

2. You SUCK.

Later, traitor, Griffin
What in the hell?

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 11 October 2019  Posted by  Tagged with: , ,  No Responses »
Sep 092019
 

Several authors are joining Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward’s Cocky Hero Club World. What does this mean? Lots of new books in 2020 with characters from Vi and Penelope’s blockbuster series.

Below you’ll find what we know about Cocky Hero Club World. With each cover you’ll find the title of the book the author was inspired from. We know a lot of you want to know where to find them, so we have made this possible as well.

Please keep in mind that currently are 190 authors, so this page will be “in construction” for a while. We add little by little every day, or when the authors release more info.

All books are standalones and FREE in Kindle Unlimited

Cocky Bastard (ebook)  (audio)
Stuck-Up Suit (ebook)  (audio)
Playboy Pilot (ebook)  (audio)
Mister Moneybags (ebook)  (audio)
British Bedmate (ebook)  (audio)
Park Avenue Player – (ebook)  (audio)

 

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 9 September 2019  Posted by  Tagged with: , ,  No Responses »
Aug 252019
 

Park Avenue Player by Penelope Ward & Vi Keeland

It started out like any normal day.
Then the fender bender happened.
The guy I collided with drove an expensive car and was drop-dead gorgeous. Too bad he was also a total jerk. We argued over whose fault it was and any other thing that came out of his condescending mouth.
Eventually, the police came and we went our separate ways. The insurance companies would have to figure things out. I had a job interview to get to anyway—one I was excited about.
Though that excitement changed to disappointment the moment the person interviewing me walked in. The guy from the accident.
Whoops!
Yeah, so I didn’t get the position.
The problem was, I really wanted it. No, I neededit. Anything to get me out of my current career and back into working with kids.
So, even though Hollis LaCroix was as intimidating as he was devastatingly handsome, I went back to see him and begged for a chance.
To my surprise, he gave me a shot taking care of his troubled niece.
At least my attraction to him wouldn’t be able to go anywhere. I wasn’t about to jeopardize my job or the strong bond Hailey and I formed.
But resisting the magnetic pull between us wasn’t that simple. (Then there was our little underwear game—don’t ask.)
We continued to flirt without crossing the line—until it finally happened.
This is the part of the story where we fall in love and live happily ever after, right?
Well, life has a way of throwing some major curveballs.
Ours was one I didn’t see coming.

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Jul 122019
 

Hate Notes by Penelope Ward & Vi Keeland
From New York Times bestselling authors Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward comes an unexpected love story of secondhand hearts and second chances…

It all started with a mysterious blue note sewn into a wedding dress.

Something blue.

I’d gone to sell my own unworn bridal gown at a vintage clothing store. That’s when I found another bride’s “something old.”

Stitched into the lining of a fabulously feathered design was the loveliest message I’d ever read: Thank you for making all of my dreams come true.

The name embossed on the blue stationery: Reed Eastwood, obviously the most romantic man who ever lived. I also discovered he’s the most gorgeous. If only my true-love fantasies had stopped there. Because I’ve since found out something else about Mr. Starry-Eyed.

He’s arrogant, cynical, and demanding. I should know. Thanks to a twist of fate, he’s my new boss. But that’s not going to stop me from discovering the story behind his last love letter. A love letter that did not result in a happily ever after.

But that story is nothing compared to the one unfolding between us. It’s getting hotter, sweeter, and more surprising than anything I could have imagined.

Something new.

But I have no idea how this one is going to end…

Excerpt Hate Notes by Penelope Ward

Grabbing my laptop, I searched my history and called up the last website I’d visited.

Eastwood Properties is one of the largest independent brokerage firms in the world. We connect the most prestigious and exclusive properties with qualified buyers, assuring the utmost privacy for both parties. Whether you’re in the market for a luxury New York City penthouse with a view of the park, a waterfront Hampton estate, or an enchanting chateau escape in the mountains, or you’re ready for your own private island, Eastwood is where your dreams begin.
There was a link to search properties, so I typed in the name of the place the woman had mentioned in the voice mail: Millennium Tower. Sure enough, the penthouse popped up for sale. For only twelve million dollars, I could own an apartment on Columbus Avenue with sweeping views of Central Park. Let me write you a check.
After drooling through a video and two dozen photos, I clicked on the button to make an appointment to view the property. An application popped up, the top of which read: For the privacy and safety of our sellers, all prospective buyers are required to complete an application to view properties. Only buyers that meet our stringent prequalification criteria will be contacted.
I snorted. Great prequalification criteria you have there, Eastwood. I wasn’t sure I had enough money to take the train uptown to get to that swanky place, much less buy it. God knows what I’d written that had qualified me.
I closed the website and was just about to shut my laptop and go back to bed again when I decided to take one more peek at Mr. Romantic on Facebook.
God, he was gorgeous.
What if . . .
I shouldn’t.
No good ever came out of ideas formulated while drunk.
I couldn’t.
But . . .
That face . . .
And that note.
So romantic. So beautiful.
Plus . . . I’d never seen the inside of a twelve-million-dollar penthouse.
I really shouldn’t.
Then again . . . I’d spent the last two years doing everything I should do. And where had that gotten me?
Right here. It’d gotten me right damn here—hungover and unemployed, sitting in this crappy apartment. Maybe it was time I did the things I shouldn’t be doing for a change. I picked up my phone and let my finger hover over the “Call Back” button for a while.
Screw it.
No one would ever know. It could be fun—getting all dressed up and playing the part of a rich Upper West Sider while satisfying my curiosity about the man. What harm was there?
None that I could think of. Still, you know what they say about curiosity . . .
I pressed “Call Back.”
“Hi. This is Charlotte Darling calling to confirm an appointment with Reed Eastwood . . .”

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 12 July 2019  Posted by  Tagged with: , ,  No Responses »
Jul 112019
 

Rebel Heir by Penelope Ward and Vi Keeland
From New York Times Bestselling authors Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward, comes the first book in a new, sexy duet.

How to kick off a great summer in the Hamptons:

Snag a gorgeous rental on the beach. Check.

Get a job at a trendy summer haunt. Check.

How to screw up a great summer in the Hamptons:

Fall for the one guy with a dark leather jacket, scruff on his face, and intense eyes that doesn’t fit in with the rest of the tony looking crowd. A guy you can’t have when you’ll be leaving at the end of the season.

Check. Check. Check.

I should add–especially when the guy is your sexy, tattooed God of a boss.

Especially when he not only owns your place of employment but inherited half of the town.

Especially when he’s mean to you.

Or so I thought.

Until one night when he demanded I get in his car so he could drive me home because he didn’t want me walking in the dark.

That was sort of how it all started with Rush.

And then little by little, some of the walls of this hardass man started to come down.

I never expected that the two of us, seemingly opposites from the outside, would grow so close.

I wasn’t supposed to fall for the rebel heir, especially when he made it clear he didn’t want to cross the line with me.

As the temperature turned cooler, the nights became hotter. My summer became a lot more interesting–and complicated.

All good things must come to an end, right?

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

Rebel Heir is the first book in the Rush Series Duet. Book Two is named Rebel Heart,

Rebel Heir by Penelope Ward and Vi Keeland

Excerpt

“All done.” I found Gia in the yard sunbathing. Of course, she had to be lying on her stomach so I could get a closer look at her ass. It was fucking phenomenal. Like a chubby, upside-down heart from where I stood. I’d spent the last hour pretend fixing her car and picturing her riding me reverse cowgirl, those ass cheeks jiggling like fucking Jell-O while she rode me hard. I had to force my eyes to her face and clear my throat to continue. “Here are your keys. Your rotors were shot, too. In the future, don’t ride on bad brakes. It just turns a little problem into a big one.”
She shielded her eyes from the sun and twisted her neck to look up at me, still not flipping over to her stomach. “Oh. Okay. Thanks. Can I make you some lunch? It’s the least I can do to repay you for hours of working on my car.”
Is that ass on the menu?
“No. I have to get going.”
She lifted from flat on her stomach to on her knees in a yoga-like pose, taking her sweet ass time before turning over.
“Are you sure?” She bit her bottom lip. “You’ve had to have worked up an appetite.”
Is she fucking with me? I had an appetite alright. “I gotta run.”
I sounded like a broken record, yet here I still stood. My head wanted to get the fuck out of that yard, but my traitorous feet wouldn’t move. Not even when she stood up, turned around and practically rubbed her ass against me as she held up suntan lotion. “Could you rub some sunscreen on my back before you go? I don’t want to burn.”
No. “Sure.”
“Shanks.”
I took the sunscreen and squeezed a glob of creamy white lotion into the palm of my hand. Swallowing hard, I began to rub it into her back. Her shoulders were warm and soft with the tiniest little layer of fuzz on it. It reminded me of a peach. My mouth salivated at the thought of biting into her.
“Could you do a little lower?”
My breathing became labored and my cock swelled as i lowered my hands and rubbed into the middle of her back. I was breaching into dangerous territory.
“Lower” she said. I knew from her breathy voice that I wasn’t the only one aroused.
I lowered to just above her bathing suit bottom and rubbed lotion all over.
When I finished, she turned her head so I could see the side of her face and closed her eyes to whisper, “Lower.”
Fuck me.
I couldn’t stop myself. I reached for the creamy sunscreen and squeezed enough into my hand to cover a large person’s full body and then began to rub it into her ass cheeks. She had the most unique heart-shaped mole on her left side that was perfectly symmetrical. I ran my fingertips over it. When i trailed a pool of lotion to the top of her ass crack, and slowly rubbed it in tracing the material of her bathing suit in between her cheeks, she let out a low moan.
More. Make more sounds like that.

Rebel Heir

review soon

Rebel Heart

review soon

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 11 July 2019  Posted by  Tagged with: , ,  No Responses »
Jul 112019
 

Dear Bridget I Want You Penelope Ward & Vi Keeland
From the New York Times Bestselling authors of Stuck-Up Suit and Mister Moneybags comes a sexy new standalone novel.

Dear Bridget,
I’m writing this letter because it’s highly doubtful I’ll ever garner the courage to say this to your face.
So, here goes.
We’re totally wrong for each other. You’re the proper single mum with a good head on your shoulders. I’m just the carefree British doctor passing through town and temporarily living in your converted garage until I head back to England.
But here’s the thing… for some bloody reason, I can’t stop thinking about you in very inappropriate ways.
I want you.
The only reason I’m even admitting all of this to you right now is because I don’t believe it’s one-sided. I notice your eyes when you look at me, too. And as crass as I appear when we’re joking around about sex, my attraction to you is not a joke.
So, what’s the purpose of this note? I guess it’s a reminder that we’re adults, that sex is healthy and natural, and that you can find me just through the door past the kitchen. More specifically, it’s to let you know that I’m leaving said door cracked open from now on in case you’d like to visit me in the middle of the night sometime.
No questions asked.
Think about it.
Or don’t.
Whatever you choose.
It’s doubtful I’ll even end up sliding this letter under your door anyway.
―Simon

Dear Bridget I Want You Penelope Ward & Vi Keeland

Oh no.
When I returned to the living room with two glasses of Zinfandel, Simon was nose deep in my Kindle reading my book.
“Simon, stop.”
“You’ve been holding out on me, Bridget. This is the stuff in your books?”
Feeling the heat rise in my face, I said, “What did you think was in my books?”
“I figured it was some Fabio shit, you know, woman blushes, follows the guy to the bedroom, he makes love to her. This chap has his cock between her tits, and he just shot his load on her face.”
“He did?”
“Oh, that’s right. I read past your bookmark. I guess you hadn’t gotten there yet.”
“Apparently not.”
“Let me back up and read it to you, then.”
The expression on my face must have looked like a mixture of terror and amusement. At least, that was how I felt. “Simon…”
“Come on. I promise. I’ll be serious. We can have Storytime with Simon. Sit back with your wine and I’ll read to you.”
Oh my God. He was serious.
I had to admit, though. The thought of listening to him reciting the sex scenes for me in that accent was too enticing to pass up. So, against my better judgment, I did as he said, took my glass of wine, sat down, leaned my head back and just listened.
“Let’s see now. Looks like your bookmark begins right here.” Simon cleared his throat dramatically. “Ahem” And then began…
“His fingers dug deep into my tense shoulder muscles.”
Oh my God. I’d completely forgotten that I’d left off in my book at a point where the hero was about to give the heroine a massage. Just like Simon had done to me not two minutes ago. “This isn’t a good idea.” I began to jump up from the couch, but Simon caught me. He hooked one arm around my waist and pulled me back down. Only now we were sitting much closer on the couch. Our thighs were touching, and the warmth from his body transmitted to my leg and shot down to an interesting place.
“Rubbish. You set me up with a boney-ass, wanna-be kitten. Now I’m going to get some action tonight, even if it has to come from your e-reader.”
I smirked. “Her ass was kind of boney, wasn’t it?”
“Did you even inquire if she was a starfish?”
I giggled. “No.”
“Alright, then. You owe me. And as payback, I’m going to read this little hot scene and then when we’re done, I’ll go back to my place and enjoy a good wank, and you’ll do whatever it is that you do.”
“A good wank?” I questioned.
“Masturbate. You know…” Simon formed a C with one hand and pumped it back and forth, simulating a hand job. “Jerk the gerk. Choke the chicken. Pump the stump. Do the five knuckle shuffle. Flog the lizard. Burp the worm. Charm the snake…whatever you Americans call it these days.”
If I had any common sense, I probably should have been offended that my tenant was suggesting that he read me the dirty parts of my book and then we go our separate ways and masturbate. But…it did sound sort of appealing. God knows I was tense. Simon smirked. “You’re in. I can read it all over your face. You won’t deprive me this simple pleasure after the catastrophe of my date.”
“Fine,” I huffed trying to sound like it was a sacrifice.
Simon started to read again. I didn’t bother to move from my new position snuggled against him.
His fingers dug deep into my knotted shoulder muscles. “You’re so tense. Why don’t you remove your blouse so I can really work my fingers into you?”
“Okay.” I unfastened the small pearl buttons and slipped my blouse from my shoulders.
“Christ, you have no bra on underneath your shirt, Cheri.”
“I’m perky enough that I don’t need to wear one.”
“Perky, huh? Perhaps I should be the judge of that.” Andrew reached around to cup both my breasts. He pinched one nipple hard. “These are pretty damn perky. How about if I massage these for a while instead of your neck?”
Simon stopped reading. “Wait. So that was an option? I only got to rub your neck?”
I elbowed him in the ribs, and he chuckled while speaking. “Let me ask you, does this thing have a word search feature?”
“The e-reader? Yes, why?”
“Do you ever just search for cock or tits and skip right to the good parts?”

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Jul 102019
 

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.

Excerpt Cocky Bastard by Penelope Ward & Vi Keeland

A knock at the door made me jump.
With a huff, I got out of bed and stood on my tiptoes to look out the peephole. Why were those things always so high on the door anyway? I was surprised to find no one standing on the other side. Maybe I’d imagined it.
Another knock.
I flicked on the lights. The sound wasn’t coming from the entrance door. It was coming from an interior door I hadn’t even noticed before.
Chance’s door.
I unfastened the top lock and cracked it open just enough so I could see what he wanted. And there he stood.
Shirtless.
Wearing only dark gray boxer briefs that hugged him like a second skin.
It took a minute to understand what he was doing there, even though he was holding up a toothbrush in question.
“I thought we had established I wasn’t a serial killer already.”
I opened the door wider.
He smiled.
Oh lord. Stop that. Right now.
“I must have left my toothpaste in my saddlebag in the car.”
I swallowed hard. “Uh huh.”
He cocked his head to the side, and his brows dipped in. “Can I borrow yours?”
“Oh. Yeah, sure.”
He walked past me and let himself into my bathroom. I waited at the door.
“You got an awful lot of girly crap in here for one night,” he said with a jumbled mouth full of toothpaste from the bathroom. “Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia.”
He was reading my Estee Lauder perfume bottle.
I heard him rinse and spit. Then there was a gargling sound. He used my mouthwash, too. Sure, help yourself.
He walked out and flicked off the bathroom light. “Is tuberose a rose?”
I shook my head, still confused by the whole situation going on.
“That’s why,” he murmured.
“Why what?”
“I couldn’t figure out what you smelled like all day. Not sure I ever smelled a Tuberose before.” He shrugged and walked back into his room but not before turning back. “Even those little black lacy underwear smell like tuberose.”
My eyes bulged. I’d taken off my bra and panties and left them on the bathroom counter.
“You…you—”
“Relax. I’m teasing. Do I look like an underwear sniffer to you?”
Yes.
No.
Maybe?
“Night, Aubrey.” He graced me with a dimple and disappeared.
AH-BREE. Damn him.
I locked the door and checked it twice, unclear if it was for my safety or his. His voice saying my name was on audio replay inside my head, getting softer and softer like a soothing lullaby with each breath as I drifted off to dreamland.
Until the knock came again.

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