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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

THE LORDS OF MIAMI: TO CATCH HER. by Alice K. Wayne


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The Lords of Miami: To Catch Her
by Alice K. Wayne
Release Date: February 24th, 2017 Genre: Contemporary Romance

The Lords of Miami: To Catch Her, an all-new contemporary romance by Alice K. Wayne is now available!!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00014]
Book one of the Brothers Ramírez
Tomás Ramírez was the youngest son of his organized crime family, and the only smear they carried on their perfect lineage. He was brazen, defiant, and shamelessly sexual, with a sadistic streak that left me lying awake at night wondering what he would do to me, or my body, next. He was the type of man that made me hate him while I clung to him.
Oh… and did I mention he’s blackmailing me?
Mikayla Jones was a sweet, quirky girl, with a dirty past, trying to make her way alone in the world. She was doing just fine in her warm bed of lies, until I came along and burned it all to hell, making her face the truth and confront her demons.
“Why?” you might ask… because I’m in love with the silly little girl, and I won’t stop until she’s mine.

Elaine's Review:
This is the first book that I have read by this author. The book had me from the start of book to the very end. Her writing flows and her characters have it together. Thomas and Jonesy are by far my favorite couple. They have emotional ties to each other and I can't wait for her next book to come out. I had one moment those where what the heck just happen. Thanks for a wonderful book Ms. Wayne!!

tch-an

Read today!

(Free in Kindle Unlimited)
Add to GoodReads: https://goo.gl/IjtFrF
dream

About the Author:

Alice K. Wayne is a paranormal romance/ erotica writer straight out of the Motor City. From a young age books became her favorite escape, and that love eventually turned to writing as well. Alice loves traveling, is a self proclaimed foodie, sushi addict, selfie Queen, and like all good Detroiters, is completely obsessed with Red Wings hockey. If you like thick books with twists, turns, depth, and LOTS of steamy scenes these books are for you! alicekwayneauthorpic

Connect with the Author:

Twitter: @QueenOfTheBreed

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Lost in Between by KL Kreig


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Lost in Between by KL Kreig is LIVE!
"Clear a space on the top shelf of book boyfriends….there’s a new man claiming a top spot and his name is Shaw Mercer." - Totally Booked Blog
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BUY NOW
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Blurb:
We all have one. A price. That magic number that will get us to agree to do anything, be anything. Don’t sit on your gold-plated high horse and say you don’t because you do. Everyone does. Each of us has something we covet enough that we’d sell ourselves to have it. What’s my tipping point, you ask? Apparently a cool quarter mil will do the trick. What does one do for 250 large, you wonder? Anything the infamous, gorgeous playboy of Seattle wants. For the next four months I’ll be Shaw Mercer’s arm candy, his beck and call girl, his faux girlfriend. I’ll be his to command, mold, push and pull in any direction he sees fit. I’ll fight falling into bed with him. I’ll fight falling in love with him even harder. I’ll fail at both. And when my past and present collide in the most unexpected of ways, I’ll learn that while one man’s love for me has never died, the only man’s love I really want will never be mine.


Elaine's Review:
This is not the first book of K.L Kreig's that I have read but this is by far my favorite. Shaw and Willow meet thru his friend Noah because Shaw needs to find a girlfriend fast because of his father. But what Shaw didn't know was how fast he would fall for Willow.
This book is full of twist and turns, its emotional for both characters and this book pulls you right in, by the end of the book you have a what the heck happened!
This book is a must read for 2017. Can't wait for the next book to come out!!!  Thanks you K.L. Kreig for a fantastic read.





CHECK OUT THE TRAILER!


ADD TO GOODREADS: http://bit.ly/2h3ekbT
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Excerpt:
As long as Noah and I have known one another and as close as we are, he’s far from an open book. He holds some of life’s secrets so close to the vest, he’ll likely take them to his grave. So how he knows Ms. Randi Deveraux of La Dolce Vita is still a mystery he won’t divulge. When he told me his plan and showed me the picture of the woman who’d play my love interest for the next several months, I was immediately drawn to the her, but it took me a few seconds to realize why. It was her. My spicy little Goldilocks. The one I haven’t heard from. The one I haven’t been able to get out of my fucking head for the past eight days. The one my cock involuntarily gets hard for in the dark of night. The glossy-colored print I stared at for long minutes was a complete contradiction to the fiery woman I’d met. On paper her exterior was flawless. Not one sculpted eyebrow out of place. Striking blue eyes rimmed with the right amount of shadow, liner, and mascara that made them alluring but not slutty. Pouty lips painted a deep shade of maroon, lined impeccably so the stain didn’t seep, then glossed enough in the middle to draw your attention to their fullness. Hair curled into loose ribbons that fell over her shoulders and down her slim back. But while the outside was practiced perfection, the inside screamed dead. Not damaged, not broken or bruised, but lifeless. This beautiful creature went through the motions. She moved through life without living. I don’t know how I saw it, or why, but I know it wasn’t a product of my overactive imagination. This woman’s pain was rooted deep but she put on an award-winning façade that told the outside world otherwise. I saw the same thing when I stared into her fierce eyes under the cover of my sunglasses days ago, but I also saw something else. Smoking embers buried under piles of ash. God help me, but for some reason I want to be the man who stokes those smoldering cinders until they spark into a burning inferno, bringing her roaring back to life. Standing before her now, I’ve no doubt I’m the igniter, the single match needed to wake her from the living dead. “Summer, is it?” I close the door behind me and move to the couch, gesturing for her to sit. She doesn’t. She just blinks rapidly like she’s seeing a ghost. That makes me smile for some reason. I know the name she’s using is fake. I hate it. Not the name, per se, but the fact that I don’t know her real one. I told Ms. Deveraux my circumstances and my concern around using a fake name. The press will eventually find out and it’s best if we’re up front in the beginning rather than if they dig, thinking we’re hiding something. That would be disastrous. She agreed but told me the decision was up to Summer. If she agreed to my terms, I could plead my case. If not, then her anonymity was still protected. “You don’t look like a Summer,” I say casually as I take a seat and cross my legs. Although in a way she does. She’s hot and sultry and I’ve no doubt she’s nice and moist in the place I’m dying to drive my cock. Jesus, she is absolutely mouthwatering. And she has the sexiest fucking voice I have ever heard. It’s no wonder I can’t stop thinking about her. She crosses her arms and cocks a hip in irritation. “Is that so? What do I look like then?” Mine. Why that disturbing word pops into my head, I haven’t a clue. She is yours temporarily, though. If she agrees. “How is your neck by the way?” That seems to catch her off guard because her cocky bravado falters. “Uh…fine. It’s fine.” She unconsciously reaches up to palm it. My fingers itch, wishing they were on her skin instead. I still remember the electricity that ran down my arm when I touched her before. It set my cock on fire and it hasn’t stopped burning since. “You’re lucky, you know. I could be wearing a neck brace right now and be lawyered up.” “And you’d still be just as beautiful.” I ignore the lawyer comment. I know it’s just a dig. When she blushes and looks away, my grin gets wider and I allow myself a few seconds to absorb her, head to toe. I find myself zeroing in on that tiny diamond stud in her nose, now catching the light. I first noticed it when she pounded on the window of my Rover calling me names. I generally find them childish, yet on her, I find myself incredibly turned on by it. “Why don’t you take a seat?” On my lap would be preferable. Defiant eyes snap back to mine. “Hit and run anyone else lately?” “Hit and run?” I chuckle. “I didn’t hit and run you. I took accountability.” “Yeah. After I dumped car parts into your lap, it was pretty hard to deny it any longer.” Hell. This woman is full of restrained passion. She just needs someone to help her unleash it in a very controlled manner. “Why haven’t you called about your car? Change your mind on whose fault it was?” I’m goading her, but Hot. Damn. The sparks firing from her are overly addictive. “Oh, it was your fault, all right,” she snaps. “And I’ve been…busy.” “Yes, I can imagine you have a very full schedule.” I sound more sarcastic than I intend, but the thought of her with other men makes me feel exactly the way I felt when I thought of Noah with her. Her lips thin. She’s madder than a hornet. I’m harder than a two by four. “Why are you here, Drive By?” Drive By? I laugh at her feisty spirit. God, I want to kiss her. Feel her tongue sparring eagerly with mine. See if she tastes of rage and raw energy. “I was under the impression you were agreeable to meeting with me.” When Noah set this up, I insisted on three things. One: it take place in Ms. Deveraux’s private home with her alone. There’s no way in hell I will be caught on film coming and going from her “business.” Two: I meet with Ms. Deveraux in advance and work through the contractual details to my satisfaction. Let’s just say I now feel comfortable we have a mutual interest in keeping this arrangement buried deep. And three: I be allowed to personally meet with “Summer” before she signs the contract. Surprisingly, that was the toughest piece to negotiate. Seems Ms. Deveraux is very protective of her, or maybe she’s that way with all of her employees. Everything I have done to secure her has deviated from Ms. Deveraux’s normal course of business, but this situation is far from normal. It’s reckless at worst. Precarious at best. “How did you find me?” Sheer, dumb luck. “I’m very resourceful.” Her forehead creases. “This is a mistake.” She turns to leave and I panic. True blistering panic sears through me at the thought she’s about to walk through that door and I may never see her again. I don’t know her real name. I don’t know how to contact her and if this meeting goes south, I know I won’t get anything further about her from Randi Deveraux. If she walks out on me now, I highly doubt she’ll give me the time of day when she finally does call Dane about her car. I don’t know why I care that I spend the next few months with her and only her so damn much. I just do. “Wait,” I plead. She stops but doesn’t turn. I have no idea what possesses me, but I close the distance between us until I’m a whisper away. Our body heat plays off each other, growing hotter by the second. “You haven’t even listened to my proposal,” I say against her ear. Her breath kicks up. Good. She’s not unaffected by me, and that will play into my hand nicely. “You can get someone else,” she replies softly, without conviction. Drawing her long hair off her shoulder, I let my finger feather across her bare flesh. It’s soft and silky. She shivers. I suppress a moan. Fuck, I want her so much. It makes no sense. “I don’t want anyone else,” I tell her truthfully, keeping my voice low. “Why?” she breathes. I don’t know why. I have no idea what it is about her that draws me in. I wish I did. I need to stop it. I should end this right now—look at a dozen other pictures and pick a woman whose very presence doesn’t twist me into knots and make me have thoughts I’ve never had before. Thoughts that make me uncomfortable. It’s unnerving. But, fuck me. I can’t. There is just something different about this woman and I won’t rest until I find out what it is. “Have a seat. Just hear me out. Please,” I tack on sincerely. She stands motionless and I wonder what her next move will be. My hands curl into fists as I restrain myself from throwing her over my shoulder and hauling her to my house. I think she could benefit greatly from a hard hand and a red ass. I have a feeling she might even enjoy it. When she floats effortlessly to one of the velvet-covered chairs, I release a veiled breath. Picking up the contract from the edge of Ms. Deveraux’s desk, I make myself comfortable across from her and place the paperwork on the table separating us. Her eyes drop to it but she makes no move to pick it up. “So what’s your proposal, Mr. Knowles?” “Mr. Knowles?” “That’s your name, right? Dane Knowles. Wildemer & Company?” Amused, I rest my elbows on my knees and grin at her. “No. Dane is my assistant. I told you to call him and he’d take care of the damage to your death box.” “Death box?” She sounds offended. “Do you know what the safety rating is on that little tin can you drive?” When she opens her mouth to respond, I talk over her. “Five point seven out of ten. You’re basically driving around in your own steel coffin.” I expect a hot retort or for her to leave in a huff. What I don’t expect is a genuine, breathtaking smile that lights up her face like summer and makes my cock knock uncomfortably on my zipper in a futile attempt to reach her. My God, she’s trying to kill me already. “Are you a walking Kelly Blue Book of safety ratings, Mr.…?” “I have a vast array of useless Trivial Pursuit knowledge up here,” I retort with a smirk, finger pointing to my temple. I’ll never admit that I looked it up after our little accident. She could be seriously hurt in that ridiculous miniature box on wheels that somehow passes for a fucking car. Hell, had I hit her any harder, she would be in the hospital. “And I’m Shaw. Shaw Mercer.” “Shaw Mercer,” she repeats slowly like she’s tasting my name for the first time. Savoring every consonant and every vowel. Fuck. I sit back and cross one leg over the other to hide my rock-hard erection. “Any relation to Preston Mercer?” I nod, impressed that she tied me back to my father instead of referring to me as one of Seattle’s most eligible bachelors. She’s intelligent and up on politics. I like that. Immensely. If you ask three-fourths of the residents of Seattle, they wouldn’t be able to tell you how many branches of government there are, something that’s taught in middle school, let alone who the mayor of Seattle is. “So why is the mayor’s son…here?” Her eyes are locked on mine, waiting on an answer. When she swallows I follow the delicate line of her neck down to the swell of her breasts that peek out from the light pink strapless flowing dress she’s wearing like a fucking Greek goddess. One flick of my finger and I could find out the color of her areolas and the size of her nipples before I draw one into my mouth for a sample. My mouth waters at the thought. The conversation that Ms. Deveraux and I had earlier about expectations sits hard in the pit of my stomach. On one hand, I was relieved to get confirmation she doesn’t sell herself, only her “time,” but now that I’m sitting here in front of her, I won’t rest until she lets me explore every square inch of not only her perfect body, but her complex mind. I want to know her like no one else has. When our gazes connect again I’m sure mine is full of unmistakable heat. Hers definitely is. She clears her throat and straightens her back. “I think you have the wrong idea about what it is I do.” “I don’t,” I state plainly. “I don’t sleep with my clients, Mr. Mercer.” Oh, but you will. We both know our ingredients are explosive. “Women would pay to have sex with me, not the other way around.” She huffs a laugh as a wry look crosses her face. “Then what is it you need if not a good fuck?” I chuckle and when I lean forward she straightens her spine. I love that even the simplest of movements I make in her direction affect her, just like she does to me. “Is that what I’ll be missing with you? A good fuck?” I won’t be missing a damn thing. She will be mine in every conceivable way. I know it and so does she. “Not just good. Life altering,” she banters smoothly. Now it’s my turn to smile slowly. What I wouldn’t give to throw her up against the wall and show her just what a life-altering fuck really is. For what seems like forever we stare at each other in some sort of weird silent challenge where we’re waiting to see what move the other will make. Shaking myself out of her spell, I pick up the papers and hand them to her. “What’s this?” “Your employment contract.” “All the paperwork is handled through Randi.” “I want a little extra insurance.” She quickly flips through the five-page document before lifting her eyes. “Nondisclosure agreement? This is sounding very fifty shades-ish. And just so you know, if I find any mention of hard limits or safe words, that’s a deal breaker.” I can’t help but laugh loudly. “I’m not kidding,” she says, her voice stern. “Trust me, Goldilocks, if I could have gotten that past your warrior she-devil, I would have.” Her eyes narrow, but I see a little twitch at the corner of her mouth so I forge ahead, making a mental note to invest in handcuffs and a flogger. Or six. “The duration is for approximately the next four months. Ten hours a week, maybe more, maybe less, depending on my schedule. You may be required to travel and you will be available at all times when I need you, day or night. You will attend social events, fundraisers, business dinners, and family functions. You will be photographed and it’s only fair to warn you, you will likely be hounded by the press but I’ll try to shield you as much as possible.” She regards me quietly. I wish I could tell what’s spinning around in that pretty little head of hers. A corner of my mouth tips when she says, “Reelection is just around the corner.” Not a question and I don’t answer, but score another point for her. For not the first time I wonder if this little plan of Noah’s will backfire, taking us all down in a curl of hot flames. She figured out what I was doing within two minutes. Lianna would be a far safer, more believable choice. But there’s also an undeniable, powerfully charged connection between us that will be hard for people to refute. “And what is my role, specifically?” Deciding I don’t care if this entire thing blows up in my face because that means I won’t get what I want—which is her—I stand and step around the table, holding out my hand. When she tentatively sets hers in mine, I help her up and wrap one arm around her waist. Pulling her close, I relish in the hitch of her breath. Cupping her cheek, I savor the baby-fine skin under the pad of my thumb. I take a deep breath, drinking in her delicately floral scent. She’s intoxicating and my head is already spinning. “What are you doing?” she whispers, her small hands going to my chest. Dipping my head, I trail my nose along her jaw, stopping so my lips brush her ear. “Making sure we have chemistry.” She mutters a curse under her breath I know I’m not meant to hear before stuttering, “Wh…why?” Fuck, if she only knew the dirty things running through my head right now. “Because, my wide-eyed little pretty, you’re going to play my new love interest. My girlfriend. My serious girlfriend.” I emphasize the word so she understands what she’s getting herself into. I won’t pay her to be in my bed but that doesn’t mean she won’t end up there anyway. “I…I haven’t agreed to anything yet.” Her breathlessness is testing me and she’s only about half an inch away from finding out exactly how much. Walking into this meeting, I had already agreed to what I thought was a generous offer with her boss, madam, keeper, whatever she’s called. But after the last fifteen minutes, I’ve decided I will pay whatever it takes to have her. To own her. I think I would give away my own soul. Framing her face with both hands now, I lean in until my mouth is a hairsbreadth from hers. Her eyes fall to my lips. I feel her wariness, but I also feel her hunger. She parts her lips and I watch with a deep ache in my groin as her tongue darts out to moisten them in anticipation of my kiss. I restrain from slamming my mouth to hers, taking what I want. What she wants me to take, regardless of how she’s trying to refute me. “But you will. Everyone has a price, Summer. What’s yours?” 16776907_685124031649126_1004284463_o
About the Author:
As a USA Today Bestselling author, I write stories that are deeply emotional with flawed characters, because humans ARE flawed and if we read about perfect characters living in their perfect world, first of all, snoozer, but secondly, we never experience the gratification of redemption. Outside of writing, I’m just a regular ol’ Midwest girl who likes Game of Thrones and am obsessed with Modern Family and The Goldbergs. I run, I eat, I run, I eat. It’s a vicous cycle. I love carbs, but there’s love-hate relationship with my ass and thighs. Mostly hate. I like a good cocktail (oh hell…who am I kidding? I love any cocktail). I’m a huge creature of habit, but I’ll tell you I’m flexible. I read every single day and if I don’t get a chance…watch the hell out. My iPad and me: BFFs. I’m direct and I make no apologies for it. I swear too much. I love alternative music and in my next life I want to be a bad-ass female rocker. I hate, hate, hate spiders, telemarketers, liver, acne, winter and loose hairs that fall down my shirt (don’t ask, it’s a thing). AUTHOR LINKS Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/KL-Kreig/808927362462053 Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/646655825434751/ Website: http://klkreig.com Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9845429.K_L_Kreig Twitter: https://twitter.com/klkreig Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/klkreig/

Friday, February 24, 2017

The Lords of Miami: To Catch Her by Alice K. Wayne


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The Lords of Miami: To Catch Her, an all-new contemporary romance by Alice K. Wayne is LIVE!!

The Lords of Miami: To Catch Her

by Alice K. Wayne

Release Date: February 24th, 2017 Genre: Contemporary Romance

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00014]
Book one of the Brothers Ramírez
Tomás Ramírez was the youngest son of his organized crime family, and the only smear they carried on their perfect lineage. He was brazen, defiant, and shamelessly sexual, with a sadistic streak that left me lying awake at night wondering what he would do to me, or my body, next. He was the type of man that made me hate him while I clung to him.
Oh… and did I mention he’s blackmailing me?
Mikayla Jones was a sweet, quirky girl, with a dirty past, trying to make her way alone in the world. She was doing just fine in her warm bed of lies, until I came along and burned it all to hell, making her face the truth and confront her demons.
“Why?” you might ask… because I’m in love with the silly little girl, and I won’t stop until she’s mine.
tch-an

Read today!

(Free in Kindle Unlimited)

Add to GoodReads: https://goo.gl/IjtFrF
blackmail

About the Author:

Alice K. Wayne is a paranormal romance/ erotica writer straight out of the Motor City. From a young age books became her favorite escape, and that love eventually turned to writing as well. Alice loves traveling, is a self proclaimed foodie, sushi addict, selfie Queen, and like all good Detroiters, is completely obsessed with Red Wings hockey. If you like thick books with twists, turns, depth, and LOTS of steamy scenes these books are for you! alicekwayneauthorpic

Connect with the Author:

Twitter: @QueenOfTheBreed

Solitary Man by Diana Benefiel





Title: Solitary Man
Author: Diane Benefiel
Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Release Date: November 6, 2016



Blurb

On a battlefield in Afghanistan, Sgt. Ryder Bronson makes an oath to protect his dying friend’s wife from a rogue cop—and from the passion that will threaten to overwhelm them both.

ALONE...

After surviving a deadly Taliban attack on his unit, Sgt. Ryder Bronson returns home to fulfill a promise—to keep his dead friend’s wife safe from a scandal so dark that it threatens her life. But protecting her from a distance is essential. To be in close contact with Brenna McMurtrey means fighting the guilt and desire waiting to destroy him. Being honest with her would reveal more than his heart can bear.

TOGETHER

Over a year after the death of her husband, Brenna is finally ready to move on. Yet, just as she begins to push past the grief and start living again, danger rises at every turn. Several close calls prove she is the target of a sinister scheme. Nowhere is safe, especially not home. Her next-door neighbor appears to be watching her, a handsome if bad-tempered stranger who seems everywhere at once—and whose gray eyes hold an ocean of tragedy. Even if he is capable of protecting her, a part of Brenna will still be in jeopardy. The part that believes she can never love again.


Purchase Links

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU



Excerpt

Trying to shake off the hollow feeling, she clicked through more photos. One grabbed her attention, had her frowning. It was a selfie, Kenny outside on a blazingly bright day, standing in front of a tent and holding up a thermometer showing the temperature at 122 degrees. But it was the man standing several feet behind him that had her peering closely. Out of focus, the soldier stood in profile, sunglasses on against the glare. An army t-shirt revealed a muscular build and dark hair cut military short. She studied the photo but couldn’t be one hundred percent sure. It could be him, but maybe not. She clicked the mouse to move on to the next image.

She’d almost gotten to the end of the file when she found the image she’d been looking for.

Kenny had sent it after he and his sergeant had met with tribal leaders. Out of respect for their hosts, he’d said, the soldiers had dressed in the loose-fitting garb commonly worn by Afghan men. Both looked sunburnt, Kenny’s light brown hair nearly bleached blond by the sun. The wind had obviously been blowing; she could see dust billowing behind them, and they’d pulled white fabric from their tunics over their mouths and noses. She couldn’t look away from the man standing next to her husband. Slate gray eyes unrelieved by blue over sharp cheekbones. Ryder Bronson looked at her out of the photo, his arm slung loosely around Kenny’s shoulders.

Oh God. It was him. He’d served with Kenny and never said a word. Warring emotions drove her to her feet. Brenna hit print before storming out of her house and across the yard. Fury propelling her, she ran down her driveway to the gap in the split-rail fence and crossed onto Ryder’s property, the sheet of printer paper clutched in her hand. She approached the house and heard music, gritty metal, reverberating loudly through the late afternoon. At his front door she raised a fist and pounded. “Ryder! I want to talk to you!”

Waiting, barely able to contain the emotions surging inside her, she was afraid she would explode into a thousand pieces if she didn’t find a target for her anger. Ryder Bronson made a perfect target. When the door remained firmly closed, she seethed. She’d just bet he was hiding in there like a coward. “Ryder!”

Sucking in a deep breath, she tried to calm her racing heart. Even the knowledge that if she saw him in that moment she’d do more damage than Wade had inflicted didn’t deter her. About to knock again, she suddenly realized that the music wasn’t coming from inside the house, but from behind it. She strode around the side of the house to an open gate. Stepping through, she rounded the corner to the backyard then drew to a halting stop.

A sunroom had been built onto the back of the house and the windows were open to the outside, exercise equipment arranged around the room. Her attention zeroed in on Ryder, standing with his back to her at a chin-up bar. She stepped closer, stopping just outside the window, the music drowning out any sound of her approach.

His shaggy hair reached almost to his shoulders and he wore only a pair of athletic shorts riding low on his hips. He raised his arms, gripped the bar and, muscles bulging, sweat glistening, pulled himself up, held, then lowered back down. He had a beautiful back with wide, muscular shoulders tapering to a taut waist. A tattoo of an army insignia rippled on his right shoulder blade as he repeated the process without pause. Dismayed, Brenna realized she’d gone from raging anger to a belly-deep hunger in under ten seconds.

She wasn’t about to admit to that hunger being lust, but it sure felt like it. She tried to bring back the fury. Feeling anything close to lust for a man who wasn’t her husband, for a man who’d lied to and confused her, only made her angrier.

Wavering, unsure whether to confront him or just go back home and eat a gallon of ice cream, she found the decision made for her. A dog let out a bark from inside the room and Ryder dropped to the floor and turned to the window. He caught sight of her as two dogs tore out of the open doorway, barking furiously.

“Bruno, Winnie, shut up!”

Brenna put out a hand to the dog now busily sniffing her shoes, glad to have something to look at that wasn’t Ryder’s chest. The music cut off and in the sudden silence she lifted her head. He walked to the doorway, gaze locked on hers, wiping the sweat dripping from his forehead with a shirt wadded in his hand. A rough scar marred the skin high on his left shoulder. Throat dry, she swallowed convulsively at the play of muscles as he shook out the shirt. He raised a brow in question. “Want water?”

She shook her head. He pulled the shirt over his head before crossing the room, where he reached into a mini fridge. Returning to the doorway, eyes on hers, he tipped back the bottle, throat working as he swallowed. Screwing on the lid, he stepped across the threshold.

She took a hasty step in retreat. “Never mind. I changed my mind. I don’t want to talk to you.”

“Then why are you here?”

“Because I was going to talk to you and now I’ve decided it’s not a good idea.” It really wasn’t a good idea because confusion, need, and anger all mixed together to make her feel like a seething mess.

“Chicken.”

“Chicken? I am not chicken.” She backed up another step. “I just made a mistake coming over. People make mistakes all the time. I bet you even make mistakes. I came over to talk to you, and now I’ve decided not to.”

A shiver raced down her spine and she realized her emotions were too close to the surface. “I’m so mad at you it would be better not to talk to you right now.” Still in retreat, she held up a palm when he moved closer. “Go back to doing…” she fluttered her hand and gulped a breath, “to doing that, that muscle thing, and I’ll go back home. I’ll see you then. I mean, not then, but later.”

“Do you know you talk too much when you’re nervous?”

“I’m not nervous, I’m mad.”

“I think you’re nervous. You may be mad too, but I think you’re more nervous than mad.”

“I should know whether I’m nervous or mad. Never mind. This was a really bad impulse. Good-bye.” She turned to flee but he reached out and grabbed her hand. When she stilled, he wasn’t looking at her face. He stared at her arm, his thumb brushing across the sensitive skin where the bruises left by Wade’s fingers showed as dark smudges. Pulsing energy followed his touch along her arm. She was surprised there weren’t little crackles of electricity wherever his skin contacted hers.

“I need to go.” She felt her belly quiver.

“What’s a really bad impulse?” Even as he said the words he took the crumpled sheet of paper from her other hand. She held her breath as he let go of her and opened it. He stood motionless, studying the image. Steady eyes raised to meet hers.

“I’ve wondered if you’d figure it out.”

The soft-spoken words let loose something inside her, a wall that had held back all of the anger over Kenny’s death and the feelings of betrayal by Ryder. Without conscious thought, she raised a fist, pulled it back, and landed a solid punch in his stomach. He let out a grunt.

“You lied to me.” She let loose with another punch but this time her fist slapped into his palm as he caught it. She pulled back her left and let fly, striking him on the shoulder.

“Damn it, stop hitting me.”

She hiccoughed, then gave up trying to hold back the tears. “I don’t hit people. I never hit people.” Tears streamed down her cheeks, and she punched him again, attacking with emotions too long pent up. “You lied to me,” she sobbed. “You lied. You knew Kenny and you didn’t tell me.” She jerked her right hand free of his grip. Her breath heaved as she redoubled her efforts, fists pounding against his chest. He quit trying to stop the blows, instead pulling her closer, arms encircling her shoulders and making it impossible for her to get any leverage behind the punches.

“Shush, Brenna, darlin’.” He uttered the soothing words, hands moving in calming movements over her shoulders and down her back.

“Don’t you ‘shush, Brenna’ me. I’m on to you.” Her words were muffled because he’d pulled her against his chest, locking her arms against him, her cheek resting over his heart. He held her close and she took a deep breath to steady herself, his scent filling her head. Even when her mind screamed that this wasn’t right, that he wasn’t Kenny, for just a moment she let herself give in to the overwhelming need to be held. She wrapped her arms around his waist and hung on, eyes squeezed shut as a last shudder shook her body.



Author Bio


Born and raised in Southern California, Diane Benefiel likes nothing better than summer. For a high school history teacher, summer means a break from teenagers and early mornings spent immersed in her current writing project. She writes what she loves to read – emotional, heart-gripping romantic suspense novels. With both kids living (mostly) out of the house, in addition to writing, she enjoys camping and gardening with her husband. Diane is an active member of two RWA chapters, East Valley Authors and Orange County. She loves hearing from readers.



Author Links


Scars and Tats by Kristi Pelton





Title: Scars and Tats
Author: Kristi Pelton
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: February 21, 2017



Blurb

Scars are tattoos with better stories…

A scarred, lonely woman
A curious little boy
One uninvited, tattooed guest
A nasty blizzard
One cabin
Two guns
A set of handcuffs

What could possibly go wrong?

Mela McKinley fled with her infant son and disappeared four years ago trying to heal the awful scars inside and out. Taking refuge in the mountains of Colorado, not one person had come near their secluded doorstep… though she was prepared for a fight.

In the middle of a historic blizzard, little Beck points out the window to a figure approaching in the snow. After hiding Beck…and fully armed, Mela confronts Jackson Winslow and has zero reservations about shooting him, if necessary.

Ultimately, saving him from the forces of nature, she takes the uninvited stranger prisoner in her home holding the upper hand. While cautiously tending to him, she realizes how much she has missed a man—though this scarred and tattooed man is not who he seems. Once he has invaded her thoughts in a delicious way, her guard is down and suddenly, the tables are turned and now…it’s his turn.

What she doesn’t know is who he really is and what he brings to her doorstep.








Purchase Links

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU





Trailer




Excerpt

If only it were still Christmas, I thought, in awe of the amount of snow that had fallen through the morning hours this spring. Beck in his newly four-year-old way pressed his forehead against the floor-to-ceiling window, watching in wonder as his breath formed a pillow of condensation that quickly disappeared. Over and over again.

The teakettle whistled, and I fingered through his hair as I walked past.

“Momma. Snow.”

I laughed. “Yes, buddy. Lots of snow.”

The whistle of the kettle faded when I pulled it from the heat, pouring Beck a hot chocolate and me my tea. The two ice cubes in his mug began to melt instantly.

“Momma, Layne.”

Stirring honey into my tea, I put one more ice cube in his cup and carried the miniature marshmallows over to him.

“No, buddy. We won’t see Layne today,” I explained, sitting on the sofa in front of the fire, which needed wood.

“Layne is right there,” he said, tapping the window.

A sudden chill shuddered up my spine as the hair on the back of my neck stood. In slow motion, my eyes moved to where Beck pointed. The figure stood a hundred yards away, thigh deep in snow. My heart began to pound. The pack on his back showed over his shoulders. I watched through the glass as the steps he tried to take led him in the direction of the cabin.

Sitting my mug on the end table, a jolt of panic shot through me but was quickly calmed by a wave of courage—of confidence.

“Beck. Come here. Now.” My words were terse, and he immediately padded over to me.

“What’s wrong, Mommy?”

“Sweetheart, I don’t know who this is, and my job is what?”

“To protect me?” he asked.

“Yes.” I nodded. “To protect you. Always.”

He smiled.

“Go. Go now to your cubbyhole. You know where your food is. You know where the water bottles are. You don’t come out until Mommy comes to get you.”

“Or Layne!” he shouted.

“Yes. Or Layne. But you and Layne have a code word and no one else knows that word. So don’t come out unless you hear that word. Got it?” Tears started to sting my eyes, but I fought with every ounce of my being not let them win.

“Yes. Go now?”

“Yep! Go now, buddy. I love you.”

“I love you more!” he yelled as he ran to his hiding spot.

The moment he was gone from my view, I turned my sights on our visitor. Thank God the snow was causing him to struggle. I unhinged the loaded shotgun from the back of the front door, then retrieved the forty-caliber from behind the coffee mugs. Both guns were pumped and cocked with the chambers full in a matter of seconds. Without a coat, I stepped out onto the porch.

“Turn around right now and go back the way you came. Follow your tracks!” I yelled.

He stopped, held his hands out to the side and swayed a bit in the wind. “I need help.” His voice was muffled from the scarf covering his mouth.

“You won’t find that here. Move along,” I shouted, then tucked the pistol into my pants. Raising the shotgun to my shoulder, I nestled it tight, resting my cheek against the cold steel while I sighted him down the barrel. The pistol would be a better choice—but the shotgun may have more effect. Rock’s mom had taught me well.

“Please,” he said weakly, swaying again.

I watched as the snow cascaded. There was no wind.

“Mister. I’m warning you now. Don’t come closer.”

After another strenuous step in the near three-foot-deep snow, he stumbled backward—falling. He lay there for a minute. Hurriedly, I seized the opportunity to grab the binoculars—Beck’s toy, plastic ones, but they worked nonetheless.

Bursts of steam puffed from his mouth straight into the air. One hand rose weakly, then collapsed back down, disappearing into the powdery snow. Through the scratched-up binoculars, I watched as he mustered up enough energy to heave himself upright. Still sitting, he pulled the scarf away from his mouth exposing red, swollen lips. Quickly, I lowered the binoculars, taking him in more thoroughly. His shoes and legs were hidden in the snow. Chunks of snow clung to the North Face jacket he wore. His eyes were heavy…thick lids blinked deliberately and sluggishly.

Snow fell so heavily…a thin blanket covered him in the minute I stood frozen. Making a hasty decision, I dashed into the house once again and grabbed the handcuffs Rock’s mom had given me. From the time I darted inside to when I got back out, he hadn’t moved. Just inside the door, I clicked my snowshoes in place and threw my coat on. The pistol tucked tightly into my waistband, handcuffs in my coat pocket, and ski poles in hand…I began my trek toward him.

When I purchased the snowshoes, I had no real intention of wearing them too terribly much but they’d been on my feet more than I thought they would. Our unwanted visitor was still on his back with little to no movement. His breaths were visible in the puffs of steam in the air.

“Please don’t shoot me,” he begged albeit weakly.

“Why are you here?”

“I got caught in the storm.”

Frozen snot trailed over his upper lip.

“Why were you out here? I mean to begin with. What brought you here? There’re no trails this way.” My demanding questions spewed out quickly.

The puffs of air turned to short raspy pants.

“Lost. I…just…wanted—to get lost.”

I didn’t believe him. Anger consumed me as my hand trembled when I reached to touch him. Be strong always. The second my fingertips brushed his fiery skin; I sucked in a quick breath. He was burning up. Fever. Damn it!

Instantly, I turned around hoofing it back to the cabin and yanked Becks sled out of the corner of the front porch. Within a minute, I was back at his side. A low groan slid up his throat as I lifted him by the shoulders and scooted his upper body onto the sled. After I’d boosted his legs over, I began the trek back to the cabin remembering Beck was still in hiding. My quads and glutes burned from the haul.

Once I pulled him to the porch clearing the steps, I took a minute to breathe. Thank God, I’d trained enough to be able to heave his ass up there. He seemed to have lost consciousness at some point because as I cuffed him, he didn’t flinch. It wasn’t until I’d lugged him inside next to the fire that I exposed his hands—finding bluish tinted fingers. Instinctively, I blew on them as if they were Beck’s little fingers and I’d done that a hundred times when he’d gotten cold. How could this man’s fingers be so cold yet he was burning up with fever?

I tossed his gloves near the fire so they could dry out and warm up. The sooner I could get him out of here, the better. His fingers were swollen.

I hustled toward the hideout. “Beck!” I shouted with a whisper. “WOD. It’s ok. Come here. Mommy needs your help.”

When I pulled off the man’s stocking cap, I was captivated for a moment by his face. Though his cheeks appeared sunken in and dark rings circled his eyes, he was a beautifully, rugged man. His thick brows matched the overgrown beard. The tip of his nose was shiny and bright.

“Mommy. Who is that?”

Directing my attention toward Beck, I gave him a serious look.

“This man is sick. I need you to get me two of your cereal bowls of warm water. Not hot, ok?”

He nodded eagerly, and I watched him grab his stool and heave it into the kitchen. I felt awful keeping the man handcuffed, but I couldn’t take a chance with someone I didn’t know. I heard the water running in the kitchen and, in this moment, I was proud of the way I’d raised Beck. He needed to be independent if necessary—even if at barely four years old.

Hustling to the medicine cabinet in the bathroom, I grabbed the lip butter and the ibuprofen. I darted to the kitchen and snagged a bottle of water from the fridge.

“How’s it going?”

“Good,” Beck said, walking slowly trying not to spill any water from his miniature cereal bowls—his tiny hands could barely manage.

We met near the visitor. I took the bowls from Beck.

“Nice job, buddy. Thank you.”

When Beck knelt next to him, my heart skipped a beat. Gripping Beck’s shoulders, I shook him just enough to keep his attention and for him to realize I meant business.

“We don’t know him, Beck. You must keep your distance from him. Deal?”

He nodded, backing up. “Pickle,” he whispered.

I shook my head. “You are so silly. It’s dill not deal.”

My beautiful son smiled, then found a seat on the sofa.

Kneeling next to the stranger, I balanced the bowls of water on his thighs, and then rested his fingers in the water. I tipped his head, angling his neck so his face pointed toward the ceiling. I attempted to pour some of the water through his parted lips. He instantly sputtered and choked—liquid coming back out, but thankfully his eyes opened.

“Mister,” I said.

His glossy eyes tried to focus.

“I need you to swallow this.” I kept his head upright, dropped three ibuprofen into his mouth and then tipped the bottle to his lips. When I saw his Adam’s apple jut out and back in, I knew he’d swallowed them. That was a start.

“Mommy. What’s his name?” Beck asked from the sofa.

His jeans were wet. Jeans? How ill prepared was this idiot for the storm? After I moved the bowls of water, I unfastened his jeans and began tugging them off. The elastic band of his underwear read Armani. Perfect…wealthy and dumb.

I fought looking at his crotch but the damn trunks hugged him tightly, and honestly, there was no ignoring the relaxed bulge. Once I had his jeans off, I laid them out in front of the fire, adding more wood, and then covered his lower half with a quilt. Out of sight, out of mind. And I certainly didn’t need Beck asking questions.

His lips were in pretty bad condition so I slathered a thick layer of the lip butter over them. His lower lip was full…plump. Jesus… narcolepsy really wasn’t my thing. But, hey, he was only unconscious not dead

“Mommy. What’s his name?”

“I’m sorry, Beck. I don’t know. Hold on a sec.”

I reached for his jeans, and, sure enough, the back pocket held a wallet. When I opened it, a Colorado driver’s license lay behind a thin piece of plastic.

“His name is Jackson,” I announced. “Jackson Winslow,” I whispered beneath my breath and stole a long glance at our bearded stranger.

For the first time, I noticed his hair was longer on one side. This man…this stranger was stunningly handsome. Ruggedly beautiful. I shook my head trying to erase any desire. It had been so long since I had felt the touch of a man. Yet, this man could have been sent here to find us…to hurt us…to take Beck. He was off limits.

Night was falling and the moon cast a beautiful reflection off the three-foot blanket of snow. Beck and I played checkers at the kitchen table. The flickering light of the fireplace flung shadows over the walls. Our stranger seemed to be resting peacefully.

Even though I felt bad for him being cuffed, my sole purpose for living sat across from me, and I had to do whatever was necessary to protect him.

“Buddy. Want to sleep in the hideout?”

Beck’s eyes about bulged out of his head.

“Can I?”

I stood up. “Yep. Let’s get you in there and situated.”

Beck hopped out of his chair, dashing up to his room. There wasn’t anything that could make me smile bigger than witnessing his enthusiasm for life. The boy was a spitting image of his father. Most days that was good.

There was no way of knowing or even speculating what the night could hold…so I told Beck he could come out if he needed.

Once he was hunkered down under his covers, inside his tent, with his night light on…I closed the door. I hustled to my bathroom, brushed my teeth, washed my face, threw on my comfy sweats to sleep in, then grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge before I stared blankly at the heap of man on my living room floor.

When my eyes finally adjusted to the glow from the fireplace, I noticed Jackson twitching. As I crept closer, I saw he wasn’t twitching; his body shook with tremors. Instinctively, the back of my fingers felt his forehead. Wow. He was burning up. Again.

Immediately, I ran to the kitchen, wetting a rag with cold water. Back in the living room, his eyes shot wide as the cold material made contact with his skin.

A small groan echoed up his throat, but as fast as his eyes opened, they closed. Without thinking, I yanked all the covers off of his body. I hated the ignorance of the—smother the fever philosophy. His body needed to cool down…quickly. Leaving him uncovered and with the cloth on his forehead, I got another bottle of water and snatched both the ibuprofen and the thermometer from the cupboard.

When I slid the digital thermometer between his lips, I realized some of the redness was gone. The lip butter was helping. Once again, his eyes opened. For the briefest of moments, our eyes met before his closed again.

At 104, the thermometer stopped blinking.

“Wow,” I whispered out loud, turning the cloth on his forehead to the cooler side.

“Wow,” he moaned or ow, I’m not sure which, but it caused me to sit back a bit, distancing myself. “Aaah.”

My stranger seemed delirious. The fever. It had to be the fever.

“Jackson. I need you to swallow these.” I lifted his head and slid my folded legs beneath him. I dropped four capsules in his mouth, then as gently as possible, I slapped his cheek…his beard was rough to my fingers, but regardless, his eyes opened.

I tipped the cold bottle of water to his lips. “Swallow,” I demanded, and he did. And once again, our eyes connected. Even though I stared down at him, and he was upside down to me, the force of whatever passed between us triggered me to drop his head and jerk away.

What the living hell? Did I know him? My left hand trembled as I set the water bottle next to him. Not that he could drink it. Both his hands were bound by metal. The clock read 10:15. The fever should be down within an hour. I’d check on him them. Other than that, I wanted nothing to do with him.

Sitting on the sofa, my eyes flickered back and forth between the fire and him. I heard Layne’s words in my ear. Information is good. Always find out what you can. I uncovered and picked up Jackson’s wallet from where I left it earlier.

Colorado drivers license. His picture was perfect. Who’s drivers license pic looked that good? Thirty-one years old. Six foot two. One hundred ninety pounds. Blue eyes. Organ donor. Ian was an organ donor and I had no idea if his organs were donated. If he was living inside someone else…

This man had no pictures of girls, family, kids, no pictures at all.

One Visa card.

One American Express card.

And some sort of ID. His picture—he looked younger but still strikingly handsome. United States Attorney. This man was an attorney. My mind raced in a thousand directions. I dropped his wallet at my feet. What brought this attorney in our direction? I couldn’t help but wonder if he came intentionally to my cabin or if this was some kind of fluke. But, if this man was looking for a fight…a war…he came to the right doorstep. I was ready.





Author Bio

Just the fact that someone may be reading my ‘bio’ thrills me. What does one say in an author bio? Well, I LOVE to write! Sometimes characters talk to me in my head (in a non-psychotic way) and I have to get what they are saying out on paper! So, here we are! 😊

I am a part-time juvenile probation officer and full time wife…but I spend the majority of the time helping my two favorite sons (only 2) navigate through life and hopefully become the best humans they can be.

I am a huge fan of the Kansas Jayhawks, the Oregon Ducks and the 2016 World Series Champs—the Chicago Cubs! (I have a dog named Wrigley)

I’m terribly addicted to music—ALLLLL kinds and driving in the car with the sunroof open and radio turned up helps the creative juices flow.

I am deliciously addicted to queso, Dr. Pepper, and cupcakes; but even with all that…I like to slowly kill my body with Crossfit.

People ask me ‘what has been your favorite book to write’—I would have to say my original series. (I think it sold 100 copies) 😊 Someday…I may have to tweak them a bit because my heart was poured into those books—but they need help! Slick was my Amazon best seller…but every one of them mean something to me.

In the end, I truly believe life is taken way too seriously by most…I say enjoy every moment, have an adult beverage and READ!! Cheers….



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