We are super excited to reveal today the stunning cover of
THE FLIGHT OF HOPE by USA Today Bestselling Author HJ Bellus!
A Standalone Contemporary Romance set to release October 26th.
PRE-ORDER AVAILABLE NOW
Cover Designer: Cassy Roop of Pink Ink Designs
Cover Model: Shailey Collier
A tragic accident. A mother in mourning. Can a second chance rise from the wreckage?
Marlee Foster’s life was just getting started. She couldn’t wait for the return of her husband from deployment. After all, he’d be there just in time for the birth of their daughter. The welcome home party is full of joy, but on the way home, tragedy strikes…
When Marlee loses her husband and daughter, her friends and family do their best to heal her broken heart. But painful reminders of a future she’ll never see haunt her every day in the small town. Her only hope at a second chance is to leave it all behind…
As she sets out on a soul-searching adventure, the mourning widow wonders if the wilderness will give her hope for a brighter future or if she’ll forever be chained to a devastating past. During her journey, Marlee is about to learn that love has a funny way of coming back to those who need it the most…
The Flight of Hope is a heart-wrenching contemporary romance in the vein of Nicholas Sparks. If you like emotional journeys, strong-willed heroines, and second chance romances, then you’ll love HJ Bellus’ touching tale.
Buy The Flight of Hope to settle in with a tear-jerker today!
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HJ Bellus is a small town girl who loves the art of storytelling. When not making readers laugh or cry, she's a part-time livestock wrangler that can be found in the middle of Idaho, shot gunning a beer while listening to some Miranda Lambert on her Beats and rocking out in her boots.
Title: Riske and Revenge
Author: Natalie E. Wrye
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 17, 2017
Love is the strongest emotion in the world…next to hate.
I knew hate. Had known it since I was seventeen. For me, it was love turned on its head, a product of hurt and fear—twisted, tied up…and placed on the sculpted shoulders of Ethan Riske.
Home to the best cow-tipping in the world, the biggest hot dogs, and the lousiest sex.
Or so I'd heard...
They were right about the first two. Ethan Riske proved them wrong about the third and at seventeen, he and I spent a summer under the stars, squeezing our way out of trouble, sweating and panting among the haystacks.
Until he left.
Nine years later, when a huge publishing house tries to buy my small press, I storm into the office of the CEO to find him.
Same cocky grin. Different name.
And suddenly all I can think about is exacting revenge on Ethan Riske for breaking his contract...and my heart.
But there's someone who wants revenge even more than I do. As I begin to fall for the new Ethan, will the sins of the old one come back to haunt us?
“I hope you taste as good as you smell.”
The sound drifted through the air. A slow, sensuous melody floated with it, and as both made their way through the room, the beat of the song and the quiet statement I just heard rattled the bourbon in my hand, making the ice cubes shake.
Or maybe I was the one shaking.
I couldn’t help it.
Griff was poking a hole in my ribs with his elbow, and as the lips that had just whispered in my ear withdrew, I could see the look on my “best man’s” face. He was essentially salivating, his tongue practically swinging as he took in the vision of the woman who was speaking in my ear… and laying a seductive path in my open lap.
She stood, her long legs stretching, her bare torso twisting as she rolled the shape of an “S” in the air with her body, swaying seductively to the music. She was toned… that was obvious. A tight package with tits too big to be real, the buxom blonde in front of me was the object of every man’s wet-dream, star of every cock-swinger’s fantasy…
But she was doing her best. Clad in a piece of cloth that barely covered her clearly cleanly-waxed pussy, she ground her pretty ass two inches from my face while every other man in the room fought the urge to put their fingers all over her. My best friend, included. He nudged my side for the ninetieth time.
“Fuck me, man,” he slurred. “If she was doing that to me, I’d be two seconds from putting my finger in her ass.” He smirked widely and wildly.
“Good thing you aren’t me,” I shot back quietly, leaning over to look into his face. “That’d be a felony, you crazy ass.” I finally smiled. “And the last time I checked you didn’t fuck strippers because ‘and I quote… ‘Who knows how many other items have been in those goddamned holes?'"
I threw Griff’s own words back at him with a silent grin.
“Doesn’t matter,” he declared, staring at the stripper in front of me for the thousandth time. “For her?” He swallowed another mouthful of scotch. “I’d make an exception.”
I glared at the beautiful blonde again. Because Griff was right. The exotic dancer… She might have been one of the best looking I’d ever seen. Maybe the best. She was tall, long-legged. Gorgeous… in the porn star sense, of course, with a wide, luscious mouth made for licking and sucking in only the most erotic of ways.
She licked her lips at me as if she wanted to make good on the promise she’d just whispered, and I had no doubt when she looked at me, her brown doe-like eyes wide, that—if she could, she would devour me until nothing was left. Until she drained every drop.
Unfortunately, for her, I wasn’t interested.
She tried to drag me to my feet, her tiny fingers wrapping around my own, pulling as she walked backwards in the direction of the edge of the room. The overhead maroon lights illuminating the space in our black-curtain closed boudoir made her look as naughty as every word dripping from her blood-red mouth, and Bambi the Bimbo was putting on her best pout to entice me into joining her towards whatever dirty fun lay in the dark room beyond this one.
All of the men—friend and foe—whooped as I slowly dragged myself to my feet, stumbling and fumbling over the discarded decorations that littered the floor. Streamers and “Congratulations” ribbons ran the length of the room, taking up space between the cloth-covered tables, and I staggered past them, barely holding onto my Bourbon as I followed stolidly behind the too-excited dancer who nearly bounced on her platform-covered toes.
With the push of another curtain, we fell into another room, and I let my body flounce on the dark-colored couches beyond it, slumping into the padded cushions. I took a healthy swig of my drink and sank my fingers into the seat beneath, wondering how many stains these comfortable sofas had really seen.
The drunker I got, the more it didn’t matter. Ignorance truly was bliss.
And so was the sensation making its way down my crotch—a gentle rubbing that circled the length of my cock through the fabric of my suit pants. From the tip to the very base. I groaned, closing my eyes as I saw a vision in my mind. A vision too good to be true.
A vision over ten years old.
Waves of dark hair fell to a waist too tiny to be anything but touched. Shiny and soft, the beautiful brown mane swept across my chest, against my shirt, as two eyes, a crystal-clear blue, peeked from beneath the strands, as round and as large as saucers. In my mind, they met mine, saying things that couldn’t be vocalized, voicing words that need not be said.
They seduced in the most innocent of ways, waylaying me, pulling at a possessiveness in me I didn’t know existed. The blue eyes smiled. The smile beneath them was even better—wicked, as it dipped to my abdomen and pressed there, making me ache, causing my cock to strain against the inconvenient zipper located there.
How many times had I imagined those lips doing exactly that? That tongue licking out beneath those straight white teeth to lap at my skin, the edge of her mouth nipping at the most sensitive parts of me? It was torture—letting her tease me, taking me to the brink and back again as she swept that sheet of auburn locks over my body as she bent to her knees. I sucked in a breath soaked in desire as I waited for her to place her mouth where it mattered most.
And then it stopped. The teasing. She stopped.
And before I knew it, she was pulling—no, ripping—at my pants. The top button popped, and suddenly my cock was between her hands, her lips. She sank her mouth around it with a sigh, sucking with delight. The sexiest slurp ever made to man escaped from between her teeth, and I nearly lost it, grinding my own teeth as I gripped the back of her head, my eyelids squeezing tight enough to ache.
“Fuck, fuck, fuck…” I muttered. Over and over and over again.
It was fucking amazing. Something so simple--someone so simple, sweet and secretly naughty could bring a stubborn fucker like me—CEO and all—to his Giorgio Armani-covered knees.
I came… with my cock in her mouth and her name on my mind. I leaned back even further, letting my head fall into the cushions.
“Fuck, Kat…” I mumbled, feeling way too fucked up to move, the liquor coursing through my veins as I came down from my high, my fingers reaching out to touch her once more.
But she backed away.
“Kat?” she said, rising to her feet. “Who the fuck is Kat?”
I opened my eyes, staring at the figure fumbling around in front of me. It was the blonde vixen—the stripper. Standing on shaky legs, she wobbled between my legs, locking me with a stare, her eyes hard and unblinking. She placed her hands on her tiny hips.
“Who the hell is Kat?”
As if she was outraged. As if she had any right to question whatever the fuck I was doing anyway. I ignored her with a shrug, stowing my dick back in my pants with a loud zip! I finished my drink and sat it down.
“Ohhhh… I get it,” the blonde blower hissed. “She must be your fiancé. Well… I guarantee you that she’s never made you come like that. That was epic, baby,” she sighed, trying to straddle me. Her pussy was peeking completely out of her barely-there panties this time, and she tried to rub it across me, sliding her pink slit across the front of my pants with a slow grind.
I almost pushed her off. I stood.
“There is no fiance,” I rumbled.
“But I thought…”
“My friends,” I interrupted, “thought it’d be funny to celebrate my new position. They said it was fitting… seeing as how I’m now married to my job. This isn’t a real bachelor party. And that wasn’t a real blow-job…”
She raised an eyebrow. “Certainly felt real to me.”
I pulled out my wallet, taking out a couple hundred dollar bills and putting them in the palm of her hand. I folded her fingers around them, looking into her eyes.
“Can’t be real… Not when you’re thinking about someone else the entire time.”
I turned just as the fair-haired, breathing blow-up doll gaped. I pulled the black curtain aside, exiting, attempting to avoid the curious gaze of every onlooking employee that came to the party to usher me into my new executive role.
My smile was weak, as I tried to shake off what just happened to me in the other room… and who I was imagining it happening with. Somehow, it was the brunette in my head, and not the blonde on my lap, that felt as if she were still on my skin.
I was in so much fucking trouble.
About The AuthorNatalie Wrye is a tequila connoisseur, Game of Thrones addict and author best known for writing page-turning Contemporary Romance and Romantic Suspense. A fan of the beautifully polarizing anti-hero, she crafts sexy stories about hard-bodied, complex men and the strong-willed women who crave them.
She won't be able to resist this TIGHT END. The Rivalry by Nikki Sloane releases on NOVEMBER 21st!
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ADD TO YOUR TBR: http://bit.ly/2eDbdVaThis tight end is at the top of his game. He’s good with his hands, even better with his sexy mouth, and the best at making me forget my own name. His—ahem—stats are perfect. But I can’t fall for him. He might be everything I want, all rolled into a glorious package of gridiron god, but there’s one teeny-tiny problem. The vile, loathsome team I’ve spent my entire life hating—my beloved school’s arch-rival? This guy is their star player. About the Author: Nikki Sloane landed in graphic design after her careers as a waitress, a screenwriter, and a ballroom dance instructor fell through. For eight years she worked for a design firm in that extremely tall, black, and tiered building in Chicago that went through an unfortunate name change during her time there. Now she lives in Kentucky and manages a team of graphic artists. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America, is married with two sons, writes dirty books, and couldn’t be any happier. Stalk Nikki: Website: http://www.nikkisloane.com/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nikkisloaneauthor/?fref=ts Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/AuthorNSloane Amazon: http://amzn.to/2fsTzpI Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/NikkiSloane
by J.C. Valentine Spartan Riders, #4 Cover Designed by: Sara Eirew Publication Date: October 19, 2017 Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, MC Romance, Bikers, Standalone
#PREORDER YOUR COPY NOW!
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2hxeB8N
Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2wi7EL7
Amazon AUS: http://amzn.to/2fnOsEZ
USA Today and International bestselling author J.C. Valentine is back with the latest in her captivating, enigmatic, and rousing world of the Spartan Riders MC…
She has a secret she’s desperate to keep…
With danger looming on the horizon, former FBI agent turned bunny, Bambi Lane, isn’t taking any chances. Taking refuge in a nearby town, she builds a new and comfortable life under the radar, but when trouble comes knocking on her door, she finds that the one thing she’s worked so hard to protect is about to be exposed.
He has a desire that won’t be denied.
Curtis “Taco” Nash, the Spartan’s road captain, has always marched to the beat of his own drum, his only loyalty to that of his brothers and the club. Only one person has ever successfully clawed their way under Curtis Nash’s skin, and when she disappeared from his life without so much as a goodbye, he wrote her off—at least, he tried to. One mention of the one who got away, and he’s consumed with desire—and anger. He wants answers. He wants her. He’s about to get a lot more than he bargained for.
As the war between the cartel and the Spartans heats up, Taco has to decide if he’s going to protect his brothers or the new life that’s waiting for him. When everything hangs in the balance, one thing is clear: No one is safe. Will Bambi and Taco be able to come together and find the strength to take a leap of faith before time runs out?
EXCERPTShe’d witnessed the good, the bad, and the ugly of club life, and she’d gotten close enough to the flame to get burned. She should know better by now not to put her heart on the line, but it was already too late for that. Hips flexing involuntarily—or maybe completely on purpose—Curtis didn’t even try to hold back his pained moan. “I want to fuck you so goddamn hard.” “Then do it,” Bambi urged, surprised at herself for encouraging him when there was no way this could end well. They had so much water under the bridge, broken trust being among the biggest of their problems. But she wanted him. God help her, she wanted him so bad. It was as if all of those nights she’d tossed and turned, dreaming of this moment had finally come true. How could she turn him away now, when it was within her grasp? “I don’t think you understand,” he said darkly. “I want to ram my cock in you so hard, you see stars. I want you to scream in pleasure and in pain. I want to hurt you, dollface, just like you hurt me.” He squeezed her breast again, releasing a warm rush of milk that soaked his hand and her shirt. “I want to see your pretty face stained with tears while you beg for more.” Yes! God yes, she wanted it. She wanted his rough hands on her body, his harsh words in her ears. She wanted this man and all his brutality. She welcomed the punishment, needed it. “Is that what you want? Because if it’s not, say so now, and I’ll walk back out that door.” Her eyes widened in panic, remembering when he’d left early and how much that had hurt. She didn’t want that to happen ever again.
ABOUT J.C. VALENTINE
J.C. Valentine is the USA Today and International bestselling author of the Night Calls and Wayward Fighters Series and the Forbidden Trilogy. Her vivid imagination and love of words and romance had her penning her own romance stories from an early age, which, despite being poorly edited and written longhand, she forced friends and family members to read. No, she isn’t sorry.
Living in the Northwest, she has three amazing children and far too many pets. Among the many hats she wears, J.C. is an entrepreneur. Having graduated with honors, she holds a Bachelor’s in English and when she isn’t writing, you can find her editing for fellow authors.
Sign up for J.C.’s newsletter and never miss a thing! http://bit.ly/1KxXWWB
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Today we are sharing the cover reveal for ALPHA MAIL by Brenda Rothert. This book is a contemporary romance, standalone, title that will be released on October 24th. Check out the pre-order links for Amazon, iBooks, and B&N below to reserve your copy now!
Alpha Mail by Brenda Rothert
An adult standalone, contemporary romance
Coming October 24, 2017!
PRE-ORDER IT NOW!
Sienna Mills knows her alpha males. They brood. They growl. They love the word “mine”. After spending her early twenties in and out of relationships with alphas, Sienna used her knowledge to found Alpha Mail, a booming business that allows women to sign up for emails, letters, and texts from their own brooding, red-blooded man. Her star is on the rise and Sienna is attracting the interest of investors when a mysterious man starts messaging her about the true nature of an alpha. She’s got it all wrong, he says, and he’s willing to show her how a real man makes women respond. The more Sienna hears from him, the more aggravated she becomes. Who does this anonymous, supposed alpha think he is, anyway? And yet…she can’t deny his messages are becoming the best part of her days. Commitment-phobic Sienna finds herself wanting more from her sensei of seduction. But is she willing to trust her heart to an alpha again?
Brenda Rothert is an Illinois native who was a print journalist for nine years. She made the jump from fact to fiction in 2013 and never looked back. From new adult to steamy contemporary romance, Brenda creates fresh characters in every story she tells. She’s a lover of Diet Coke, chocolate, lazy weekends and happily ever afters.
"Enthralling and drop dead gasp-worthy."
- CD Reiss, New York Times Bestselling Author
American King, the stunning conclusion to the New Camelot Trilogy by Sierra Simone is coming October 31st!!
American King by Sierra Simone Publication Date: October 31, 2017 Genre: Contemporary Romance
Cover Designer: Hang Le
Photographer: Braadyn Penrod
Cover Model: Endi Zalic
They say that every tragic hero has a fatal flaw, a secret sin, a tiny stitch sewn into his future since birth. And here I am. My sins are no longer secret. My flaws have never been more fatal. And I’ve never been closer to tragedy than I am now.
I am a man who loves, a man whose love demands much in return. I am a king, a king who was foolish enough to build a kingdom on the bones of the past. I am a husband and a lover and a soldier and a father and a president.
And I will survive this.
Long live the king.
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2fhflxN
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Start the Trilogy Today!
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About the Author:Sierra Simone is a former librarian who spent too much time reading romance novels at the information desk. She lives with her husband and family in Kansas City.
Connect with Sierra:
Reader Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/SierraSimonesLambs/
Show Me the Way
The first stand-alone novel in A.L. Jackson's brand-new Fight for Me series...
Coming October 2nd
"This book is absolutely perfect.” - Corinne Michaels, New York Times Bestselling Author
The first sexy, captivating, stand-alone novel in the brand-new FIGHT FOR ME series from NYT & USA Today Bestselling Author A.L. Jackson . . .
Rex Gunner. As bitter as he is beautiful.
The owner of the largest construction company in Gingham Lakes has been burned one too many times. His wife leaving him to raise their daughter was the last blow this single dad could take. The only woman he’ll let into his heart is his little girl.
Rynna Dayne. As vulnerable as she is tempting.
She ran from Gingham Lakes when she was seventeen. She swore to herself she would never return. Then her grandmother passed away and left her the deed to the diner that she once loved.
When Rex meets his new neighbor, he knows he’s in trouble.
She’s gorgeous and sweet and everything he can’t trust.
Until she becomes the one thing he can’t resist.
One kiss sends them tumbling toward ecstasy.
But in a town this size, pasts are bound to collide. Caught in a web of lies, betrayal, and disloyalty, Rex must make a choice.
Will he hide behind his walls or will he take the chance . . .
© 2017 A.L. Jackson Books
Tension roiled between us. That tether pulled taut. Drawing us closer. I swallowed around it and reached for the latch. He was quick to open his door, jumping out and rounding to my side before I had time to step out of his massive truck. He helped me down, and his hand scorched where he aided me by holding on to my elbow.
“Let me walk you to the door. Last thing I need to be worried about is you here by yourself and some asshole taking advantage of you.”
He quirked this belly-flopping grin that pierced me like an arrow. “Unless of course that asshole is me.”
He barely angled his head to the side. There was something so endearing and self-deprecating about it. Everything about him right then was at odds with the surly, bear of a man I’d met weeks ago, the man exposing himself, layer by layer.
I lifted my chin, both in strength and vulnerability, tossing all the uncertainties and questions out into the open. “Should I be afraid?”
“Yeah, you should be.” His response was hard, but there was no missing the fact his irritation was aimed at himself. He set his palm on the small of my back, helping me through the gravel drive in my heels, an inch behind as we ascended the porch steps.
We crossed the planks. That tension wound higher with each step until we were nothing but needy pants at my door. Slowly, I turned around to face him.
His presence sent a ripple of energy vibrating across the floorboards, the overwhelming sight of him the owner of my breath.
He stood beneath the faint glow of the hurricane lamp that hung outside the door. A sculpture of sinewy muscle and raw strength, forged through years of obvious physical labor. Every inch of him was rugged, from those roughened, callused hands to the crinkles set deep at the edges of his eyes.
The man was a carving of pure, daunting beauty.
“What exactly am I supposed to be afraid of, Rex?” My brow twisted, and my voice quieted with the admission. “Because when I’m around you, the last thing I feel is afraid.”
“I fuck everything up, Rynna, and the only thing I’ve got to offer you is my mess. I can’t do this.”
Restraint rumbled in his chest, the sound so deep I felt it shake the ground beneath my feet.
I gently cupped one side of his rugged face. “I’m not afraid.”
It was a promise.
“You should be,” he grated. “Warned you, my shit doesn’t ever end well.”
“Maybe that’s a chance I’m willing to take.”
He groaned and he planted his hands high above my head. The man panted above me, torn, desperate, his nose just brushing mine. “God damn it, Rynna. God damn it.”
I felt the moment he broke. When the thread pulled too tight and this mesmerizing man snapped. His mouth descended on mine.
Lips and tongue and nips of teeth.
And those hands. They were on my face. My neck. My waist. Somehow, I managed to hold on to him and spin away as I fumbled with the lock. He pressed against my backside, his cock against my bottom, and his mouth leaving a trail of fire at the side of my neck. We stumbled into the darkness of my house, breaking apart as I turned to face him.
The only light trickled down from the lamp I’d left on upstairs.
Slowly, he clicked the door shut behind him. We stood there, two feet away from each other, staring.
Before we collided.
A tangle of tongues and bodies.
The man frantic, trying to touch me everywhere.
“What am I doing? Fuck, what am I doing?” he muttered incoherently, kissing me deeper. Madder. Wilder.
I pushed up on my toes and tore my mouth from his so I could kiss down the strong column of his throat. His head thudded back against the door, his entire body pressing against it as if he needed it to keep him standing.
He grated my name, and I kept kissing at his throat while I worked free the button on his jeans, hands shaking.
Every reservation spun out of control.
Out of reach.
It was only spurred further when the defined muscles of his abdomen jumped and twitched beneath my touch, when he mumbled, “You’re killing me, Rynna. Fucking killing me.”
Desire rippled from him in heady waves.
And I felt so brave and bold, my kisses brazen as I nipped at the hollow of his throat.
Before I could consider it—the ramifications and the repercussions and the distinct threat to my heart—I dropped to my knees.
I refused to think of anything but setting him free.
Hoping he’d find a little of that freedom in me.
A.L. Jackson is the New York Times & USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance. She writes emotional, sexy, heart-filled stories about boys who usually like to be a little bit bad.
Her bestselling series include THE REGRET SERIES, CLOSER TO YOU, and BLEEDING STARS novels. Watch for A.L. Jackson’s upcoming novel, SHOW ME THE WAY, the first stand-alone novel in her brand-new FIGHT FOR ME SERIES.
If she’s not writing, you can find her hanging out by the pool with her family, sipping cocktails with her friends, or of course with her nose buried in a book.
Be sure not to miss new releases and sales from A.L. Jackson - Sign up to receive her newsletter http://smarturl.it/NewsFromALJackson or text “aljackson” to 24587 to receive short but sweet updates on all the important news.
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Reader Group: http://smarturl.it/AmysAngelsRock
Defiant Attraction comes out November 16th!
Title: Defiant Attraction Author: V.K. Torston Genre: Contemporary, New Adult, Erotic Romance Release Date: November 16th, 2017
About the Book
Dan might be the enemy of my enemy, but I’m not sure that makes him my friend. He’s definitely not my ‘step brother’, no matter what everyone at school says. Honestly, I don’t know what he’s supposed to be to me. Or what he’s becoming…
Fact: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
In the yearbook, I’ll be Sophia Ramos: Valedictorian. Years of honor roll certificates, AP classes, and lugging around an obnoxiously large cello case are about to finally pay off. If everything goes according to plan, I’ll escape these decaying suburbs for a top university across the country.
The problem? A few years ago, my mom met someone just as broke, just as drunk, and just as impulsive as she is. Approximately five seconds into their relationship, they decided it would be an excellent idea for him—and his son, Dan—to move in with us. (Spoiler alert: it wasn’t).
Now I share a house with none other than Daniel Cole. Even though Dan dropped out two years ago, he’s still the tattooed, bad boy, heartthrob, legend of St. Anthony’s Academy. He and I aren’t supposed to have anything in common.
Living together means war. First, Dan and I were at war with each other. Now, our rivalry is giving way to an unlikely alliance—two opposing sides teaming up against a common enemy: our respective parents.
Which is to say, we’ve been hanging out.
Question: What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?
Here’s the thing: My brain is a complex organ. One hundred billion neurons, each with an average of seven thousand synaptic connections to other neurons. My brain is my ticket out of here.
My heart, by contrast, is a pump. It moves blood around.
I know Dan is off-limits. I know I shouldn’t do something I’ll regret. And I know how much is at stake (my family, my future).
So why can’t I stop thinking about him? Those inscrutable jade eyes. The smile that can say a thousand different things at once. That tattoo curving across his abs…
Even though I know better, I feel that pounding in my chest. And it’s getting harder to ignore.
But if I follow my heart, I can never go back.
Answer: There is no such thing as an immovable object.
About the Author
V.K. Torston is a millennial and ‘cool aunt’ to a brood of nieces and nephews. She was born and raised in San Francisco, attended university in New York City, and aspires to one day live in London. A veteran of the independent music scene, she began writing nonfiction in her late teens. Then she realized that making up stories was way more fun than coming up with endless synonyms for ‘frenetic’ and ‘danceable.’ Her hobbies include drinking too much coffee, making up stupid songs, and ranting about current events. Defiant Attraction is her first novel.
We’re just a few days away from the release of THE HEIRESS by Cassia Leo – are you ready to read the first chapter? Read it below!
Title: THE HEIRESS Author: Cassia Leo Genre: Romantic Suspense Release Day: September 26th
About The Heiress
A new heartfelt and suspenseful stand-alone novel from New York Times bestselling author Cassia Leo.
How much is love worth?Twenty-two-year-old Kristin and her single mom have always struggled to make ends meet. When her mother’s body begins to deteriorate after many backbreaking years of working as a housekeeper, Kristin must say farewell to her college dreams and hello to a full-time job waitressing. She doesn’t really mind. After all, giving up on her dreams will be her penance for that one horrible night. Her luck begins to turn when she meets Daniel Meyers. Daniel is sexy and funny, but most importantly, he wants to get to know the real Kristin. It doesn’t hurt that he’s also extremely wealthy and intent on protecting her. Kristin feels safe with him. She wants to open up to him, to share the details of the awful night that changed her life. But she can’t shake the feeling that Daniel may be keeping a dark secret of his own…
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Chapter 1 Taken Care OfThe dimly lit stairwells in our five-floor walk-up in the Bronx smelled even more like cat piss than usual. The August humidity had a lovely way of extracting the aromas that were usually trapped inside the dingy walls of our building. I tried to breathe through my mouth as I climbed the final steps to the fifth floor. But when I stepped into the corridor, a bright yellow notice taped to the front door of apartment 502 made me gasp, and the sharp smell got sucked into my nose again. I gagged, then marched toward my apartment. “What the actual fuck?” My curse came out much louder than I’d anticipated. Dropping my canvas bag of groceries on the floor, I quickly snatched the paper off the door, but not quickly enough. Mr. Williams walked out of his apartment as I bent over to stuff the notice into my grocery bag. “Good morning, Mr. Williams,” I said, breathing far too heavily for a casual walk to the bodega. “How’s your day so far?” He tilted his head a bit as his dark eyes remained focused on my bag. “Is that an eviction notice?” I unzipped my purse and dug frantically through the receipts and half-used drugstore makeup, which had probably been there since I dropped out of college two years ago. “It’s just a mix-up,” I replied with a chuckle when I found my house key. “Same thing happened a couple weeks ago. At least this time it happened on a Monday morning instead of a Friday night. I’m heading straight to the property manager’s office as soon as I get these groceries in the fridge.” “Is everything okay with you and your ma?” he asked through narrowed eyes. “We’re fine,” I said, forcing a smile. “Thank you so much for asking, but we’re just fine. This is just a huge mix-up.” Mr. Williams scratched his scraggly white beard, which sparsely covered his chestnut-brown skin. “Okay,” he said, slowly nodding. “Well, if you need anything, don’t you hesitate to holler at this old fool.” My smile widened, and this time it was genuine. “Thank you, Mr. Williams. I promise I’ll do that.” He stuck his chin out and beamed with pride. “That’s a good girl. You take care now,” he said, then ambled back into the apartment across the hall. When I was five, I often wondered if I was invisible—not metaphorically speaking, but actually invisible. I would watch in complete silence as my mom came home from a fourteen-hour shift, cleaning up other people’s messes. She’d collapse onto the sofa, turn on the evening news, and eat her dinner with a tired smile. Then I’d retreat to my bedroom and dream of a world where I existed. It wasn’t until a fateful evening in September two years ago, my fingernails peeling off as I desperately clawed my way up a highway embankment, that I finally realized how tangible I was, how heavily I was anchored to this merciless world. Now, as I rushed inside the humid apartment I shared with my mother in the South Bronx, I wished I could be invisible again. Closing the door softly behind me—so as not to attract the attention of any more neighbors—I power-walked into the kitchen and tossed my canvas grocery bag onto the counter. Yanking out the bright yellow eviction notice, I contemplated the ten-digit phone number scrawled on it in black marker. No. I wasn’t going to give those incompetent pricks at the property management office the courtesy of calling before I showed up. No way would I give them time to come up with some trumped-up violation that my mother or I had supposedly committed. Despite the fact that our building was more than a hundred years old and in serious disrepair, the bylaws consisted of a list of rules—I kid you not—at least sixty pages long. The list was mailed to us every year with an offer to renew the lease—with another rent increase, of course. And every year, the list got longer. One rule actually stipulated we were not allowed to walk around in high heels after ten p.m. I supposed it was a good thing I had no social life. I was in no danger of violating that rule. Of course, whatever bone the management was picking with us now was probably not due to anything I did or didn’t do. The eviction notice was almost certainly a response to what I had threatened to do. Three weeks ago, I threatened to file an ADA—Americans with Disabilities Act—complaint if they didn’t fix the loose handrails in the stairwells. When my mom and I moved into this apartment more than ten years ago, my mom was in excellent physical shape. Despite the fact that she had spent most of her life working as a housekeeper, she had managed to take good care of her body. Until she fell off a ladder at home and shattered her kneecap. Three surgeries later, she was desperate to return to work so I could return to NYU, but no one would hire her back. If the eviction notice was left on our door, that meant my mom wasn’t home when the notice was served, which meant our neighbor Leslie had come by to take her shopping. I put the groceries away and stuffed the eviction notice into my purse before I left the apartment. I thought of leaving a message with Leslie’s family, but decided against it. I didn’t want to worry her or my mom. Leslie was a stay-at-home mother with two kids in high school and a husband who drove a bus for MTA. She helped my mom up and down the stairs once a week to go shopping. Having amazing neighbors like Leslie and Mr. Williams was one of the many reasons I was hesitant to move to another apartment building with an elevator. One subway ride and nine blocks of walking in the glaring summer sun later, I arrived, sweaty and determined, at the front doors of Golde Property Management. I entered through the glass double doors, which squeaked on their hinges as I pushed my way inside. The black and gold confetti design on the linoleum looked like something straight out of a ’70s discotheque. The faux oak furniture in the waiting room, with the wood-grain laminate peeling off the corners, confirmed that I had stepped into an office stuck in another century. In the decade since we moved into our apartment, and ever since I began paying the rent a couple of years ago, I’d never had to visit Golde Property Management. I always paid the rent on time, and I always agreed to the new lease terms. If I had known that they were living in the ’70s, I wouldn’t have bothered asking them to bring our apartment up to modern building standards. Nonetheless, I needed to clear up this eviction nonsense. The last thing I needed was for my mother and me to be thrown out on our asses over a clerical error. The receptionist sat at a desk behind a sliding-glass window at the back of the waiting room. She watched me approach without even attempting to smile. I slid the yellow eviction notice across the counter onto her side of the glass. “I want to know what this is about.” She spun in her chair to face the computer on her left, positioning her fingers over the keyboard. “What’s the property address?” “Twenty-four eighty-three Hughes,” I replied sharply. She typed in the address, then her eyes scanned down to the lower-right part of the computer screen and stopped. “It says here that the eviction notice was posted today at 10:02 a.m. by the Bronx County Sheriff’s Department due to violation of the rental agreement. The violation listed here is nonpayment of rental dues in the amount of $7,050.” I couldn’t help but laugh. “Are you kidding me? Our monthly rent is $1,175. That means $7,050 is what, like, six months’ rent? We’re not even late one month, let alone six. I want to speak to a manager.” She rolled her eyes as she picked up the beige phone handset and dialed an extension. “Is Jerry in his office?” she asked the person on the other end. “I’ve got a tenant here who says she’s paid up, but she just got served.” She sighed as she balanced the handset between her ear and shoulder. “Well, tell him when he’s done with his meeting that I got someone waiting for him up here. Okay? Okay.” She hung up the phone and looked up at me with a bored expression. “He’s in a meeting with an investor. You’ll have to wait a few minutes.” I wanted to protest for the simple fact that if I caused a scene it might ruin their chances with this investor, but I decided not to press my luck. “I’ll be waiting right over there,” I said, nodding toward the tweed sofa in the waiting area. Taking a seat on the sofa that smelled like desperation, I picked up a copy of the NY Post from the coffee table. The paper was dated thirteen months ago. This place needed an investor more than my mom needed a disability-accessible apartment building with an elevator. Of course, my mom would never admit that she needed anything. The eldest of four sisters, my mom left her small hometown in South Dakota to make her way in New York City when she was just nineteen. After a brief brush with homelessness, she started cleaning houses and saving up money to start her own cleaning business. Not long after that, I was born, and her dreams of being her own boss were tossed out the window. I had just finished reading a story about a feud between the hosts of two popular YouTube channels when a door leading into the back office opened. The first man who stepped into the waiting area—whom I assumed was Jerry—looked to be about sixty years old, and wore brown slacks and a short-sleeved blue button-up shirt, the fabric thin enough to show the dinginess of the tank top he wore underneath. The second man who walked through the door looked more like a mirage than a man. He was no more than twenty-eight years old, wearing a sharp navy-blue suit and a swagger in his step that said he didn’t just own the place, he owned the world. His dark hair was short, but not so short you couldn’t help but notice it held the perfect amount of wave. Every inch of him, from his prominent brow to his broad shoulders and beyond looked sturdy. This man was built to last a thousand lifetimes. But it was his face that made me wonder if I was actually staring at a desert mirage. His strong jaw and brilliant green eyes looked as if they’d been chiseled by Michelangelo. As a former student of sculpture at NYU, I could make that type of comparison in the more literal sense. If this investor bought out Golde Property Management, I’d probably sign a hundred-year lease. I shrugged off this ridiculous thought. It wasn’t as if this wealthy godlike man was going to send my next lease renewal along with a handwritten marriage proposal. Will you be my wife? Check yes or no. Please send reply in the enclosed envelope with full rent payment by the first of the month. “Are you Kristin?” I snapped out of my absurd fantasy to find the man I suspected to be Jerry staring at me as he held the door to the back office open. “Excuse me?” “Are you Kristin Owens?” he replied. “Here about the eviction notice?” His question set my blood on fire with anger. “Yes. I want to know what this is all about,” I said, getting to my feet as I held the yellow paper in front of me. “We’ve paid our rent on time every single month for the past ten years. If this is about me threatening to—” Jerry held up his hand to interrupt me. “Okay, okay. Let’s go into my office,” he said, his expression a mixture of shame and anger, probably because I just made a scene in front of his potential investor. He looked up at the man. “I look forward to hearing from you again, Mr. Meyers. Jennie over there can validate your parking.” Mr. Meyers cocked an eyebrow as he looked me over. “Maybe I should sit in on this.” Jerry waved off the suggestion. “Oh, no, this is just routine admin stuff. It will be over in two minutes. Don’t want to waste your time.” I stared at Jerry, making no attempt to avoid looking directly at the huge hairy mole protruding from his temple. “So now I’m a waste of time?” I asked. “If you think you can get away with—” “Excuse me,” Meyers interrupted, taking a step forward. “Earlier, you said you’ve paid your rent on time every single month for the past ten years. So, forgive me if I’m wrong, but that allows you to continue living in the unit until any further disputes are settled in court. Am I right?” Jerry shook his head. “But she hasn’t paid her rent,” he insisted. “I thought it was strange when the computer spat out the notice, but they only come up when a tenant is coming up on six months past due. Computers don’t lie. People lie.” “Are you fucking kidding me?” I shouted. “Are you calling me a liar? You piece of trash. I swear to God, I will bury you in so many legal—” “Whoa-whoa-whoa…” Meyers interrupted again. “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves,” he said, casting a calm, confident look in my direction, holding my gaze for a moment before he turned back to Jerry. “You said computers don’t lie, but they do sometimes glitch. You even said you thought it was strange the computer spat out her name.” “Yeah, but it doesn’t randomly spit out names all day long,” Jerry objected. Meyers nodded and pressed his lips together in an expression that said he understood where Jerry was coming from. This guy was good. He was refereeing this dispute like a seasoned mediator. “But it’s possible the computer got it wrong,” Meyers continued as he looked back and forth between Jerry and me, smiling when I crossed my arms over my chest. “How about this? I’ll pay the past-due amount until you can figure out the glitch in the system. Does that sound fair?” I narrowed my eyes at him. “Who the hell are you?” His veneer of confidence cracked for just a fraction of a second before he regained his composure. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you,” he replied. “You’re right. It’s very presumptuous of me to think I could settle this with the swipe of a pen. Forgive me.” He turned to Jerry and gave him a curt nod. “I have some…thinking to do. I’m not sure your organization is a good fit for us. We’ll be in touch.” “Wait!” Jerry shrieked. “I think she was just taken by surprise with your offer. Right, Christina?” “Kristin,” I corrected him. “And I don’t need him to pay my rent. I already paid it. I need you to fix this!” I crumpled the yellow eviction notice and dropped it at his feet. “I can’t,” Jerry replied as Meyers quietly made his way to the receptionist’s desk. “My lawyer handles the evictions. He won’t close the file until the rent’s paid in full. I can’t pay him if I don’t have your money.” “You have my money!” I yelled so loudly I could almost hear my vocal cords snap. I cursed myself as tears stung the corners of my eyes. Blinking them away, I glanced over my shoulder, expecting to find Meyers staring aghast at my lack of control. He probably wasn’t accustomed to that sort of thing in his perfect world of privilege. But he wasn’t there. He was gone. I didn’t know if I felt more relieved that he hadn’t witnessed my outburst, or disappointed that the only sure way out of this eviction mess—at least, temporarily—had just walked out of my life. God, why didn’t I just let him help me? It wasn’t as if I knew the guy. I didn’t need to maintain some foolish sense of pride in front of him. I was becoming more and more like my mother every day. “It’s taken care of.” I looked up at the sound of the receptionist’s bored voice. She waved a piece of paper in the air, which looked suspiciously like a check. “He took care of your rent,” she said, looking annoyed. I turned to Jerry, but all he did was shrug. What the fuck just happened?
About the AuthorNew York Times bestselling author Cassia Leo loves her coffee, chocolate, and margaritas with salt. When she’s not writing, she spends way too much time re-watching Game of Thrones and Sex and the City. When she’s not binge watching, she’s usually enjoying the Oregon rain with a hot cup of coffee and a book.
One single dad.
One set of twins.
And the wall isn’t the only thing being drilled…
I learned the hard way that being a handywoman isn’t easy. The questions, the stares—the assumption I’m the proud owner of a cock and balls. Not that it matters. I’ve proven over and over that I’m ready for anything the judgmental asses throw at me.
Except the hot, single dad of twins who just moved to town.
Brantley Cooper gets the shock of his life when I show up on his doorstep to fix up his kids’ new rooms. His son is confused why ‘the pretty lady has a drill,’ and his daughter has a new obsession—me.
On paper, my job is easy. Go in, do their bedrooms, and leave.
In theory, I’m spending eight hours a day with a guarded, sexy as hell guy, and I’m staying for dinner more often than I’m eating it alone, on my couch, with Friends re-runs.
I shouldn’t be staying for dinner. I shouldn’t be helping him out with the twins. I shouldn’t be falling in love with tiny toes and dimpled cheeks.
And I most definitely should not be kissing my client.
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