Book Tour and Excerpt Reveal: Co-Wrecker, a Sexy RomCom by Meghan Quinn

Blog Tour Banner for Co-Wrecker, by Meghan Quinn

Co-Wrecker, an all new sexy, laugh out loud romantic comedy is available now! Check out this awesome excerpt!

coWRECKER

Co-Wrecker

by Meghan Quinn

Publication Date: March 23, 2017

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Photographer: Lauren Watson Perry

About Co-Wrecker

What do ice cream and Sadie Montgomery have in common? They’re both ice cold, but one taste is never enough.

I wanted to be friends — I would have even settled for her seeing me as anything but a nerd — but there was no getting through. So just like any hard-headed, red-blooded man out there, I made up my mind.

I’d make my coworker fall for me.

I’d like to say it was simple, but like every other epic love story, all it took was one drunken night and a lot of naked courage to get the girl. For a moment, at least.

Love with a coworker is never simple, especially since Sadie’s trying to keep us on the low. Not to mention her persistent ex-boyfriend who won’t leave her alone. But I’ve never been good at giving up, and I don’t plan to start now.

The whole thing is a recipe for a rocky road, but I plan to eat the whole gallon, no matter how bad the brain freeze.

An Excerpt:

Knowing I will probably regret this, I lift from the freezer, ice cream scraper in hand, and jerk toward Sadie just in time to slip on some melted ice on the floor shooting me across the fountain and straight into Sadie.

But not just Sadie; straight into her chest—her billowing, womanly chest. It’s a satisfyingly soft cushion for my head but from her instant outrage, I’m going to guess she’s not keen on me using her breasts as a pillow.

“What the hell are you doing?” she asks, trying to back away, difficult when I’ve got her pinned against the counter.

Fumbling to get some kind of grasp on my falling body, scraper still in hand, I give her a bit of motor boat—not on purpose—and muffle in her breasts, “I’m sowwy.”

“Get off me.”

“I’m twying,” I say, finally getting a grip on the counter behind her and standing tall. Glasses askew, hat on the floor, and a smothered feeling on my face, I straighten my apron and clear my throat. “My apologies.” Her friend is laughing, hand on her stomach, as I push my glasses back on my nose. “Although, I’m grateful for your sturdy bosom for catching my fall. It might have been a twisty straw to the eye, and I’m not sure my glasses would have held up on such an impact.”

Sturdy bosom? Shit, Andrew, don’t fucking say words like bosom. And for the love of God, don’t say a woman has a STURDY bosom. Say words like tits. Tits are more manly.

“Tits,” I mutter.

“Excuse me?” Sadie has the look of horror on her face.

Fuck, did I say that out loud?

“I think he said tits, Sadie,” her friend cuts in, thumbing through the straw holder. Yup, I said tits out loud.

“I heard him, Smills,” Sadie mutters under her breath.

Glaring at me, looking for an answer, I shrug my shoulders, because I have nothing. No way of digging myself out of this one. Funny how your brain can literally stop working the minute you need it the most. Come on, old fella, kick it into high gear. Come up with something witty, something snarky, something that will put a Band-Aid over this rather raw and embarrassing incident.

But, good fuck. I just had my face in her chest. What man could come back quickly from that?

“Well . . .” Sadie has her arms crossed over her bosom, waiting for an answer. No. Her arms are crossed over her breasts. Shit. Shit.

Nerves crawl up the back of my neck, igniting my ears into lava levels of heat. Crap. Just say anything.

Clearing my throat, I pat her shoulder and say, “Sturdy tits.”

And here I thought it couldn’t get any worse, at least my hand didn’t pat down her breast to see if her nipples were made of steel, or to see if her areolas consist of chain-link mesh. You have to look at the positive.

CoWreckerAN

Read Co-Wrecker Today!

(Free in Kindle Unlimited)

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2nmgar2

Amazon UK: https://goo.gl/nw47jy

Add to Goodreads: https://goo.gl/PRM1Ux

Baseball

About the Author:

A BLONDE AT HEART

Born in New York and raised in Southern California, Meghan has grown into a sassy, peanut butter eating, blonde haired swearing, animal hoarding lady. She is known to bust out and dance if “It’s Raining Men” starts beating through the air and heaven forbid you get a margarita in her, protect your legs because they may be humped.

Once she started commuting for an hour and twenty minutes every day to work for three years, she began to have conversations play in her head, real life, deep male voices and dainty lady coos kind of conversations. Perturbed and confused, she decided to either see a therapist about the hot and steamy voices running through her head or start writing them down. She decided to go with the cheaper option and started writing… enter her first novel, Caught Looking.

Now you can find the spicy, most definitely on the border of lunacy, kind of crazy lady residing in Colorado with the love of her life and her five, furry four-legged children, hiking a trail or hiding behind shelves at grocery stores, wondering what kind of lube the nervous stranger will bring home to his wife. Oh, and she loves a good boob squeeze!

 MeghanQuinnAuthorPic

 

Connect with Meghan:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/meghanquinnauthor
Instagram: authormeghanquinn
Website: http://www.authormeghanquinn.com/

Sign Up for Meghan’s Newsletter: http://bit.ly/MQWrapUp

Just Like That, by Nicola Rendell: Chapter Reveal & Pre-Order Opportunity!

Chapter Reveal Promo Banner for Just Like That, by Nicola Rendell

 

Coming April 10th
Pre-order exclusively via
iBooks HERE
goodreads-badge.png

 

I’m so excited to host today’s Chapter Reveal for Just Like That, a new contemporary romance coming soon
from Nicola Rendell!
AP new - synopsis.jpg

“I bet I can untangle you.”

At an airport baggage claim, Penny Darling looks up from her knotted mess of ear buds to find the sexiest hunk of man she’s ever seen. He’s got a military haircut, a scar through his eyebrow, and he’s rocking a pastel pink dress shirt like only a real man can. But Penny is on a man-free diet so she leaves the airport without succumbing to his delicious double-entendres…or his dreamy dimples.

PI Russ Macklin can’t take his eyes off Penny. As she sashays out of the airport with hips swaying and curls bouncing, he suspects they may share more than just sweltering chemistry. That suitcase she’s rolling along behind her? It looks a lot like his.

Because it is.

When he tracks her down, he holds her bag hostage in exchange for a date. Their night begins with margaritas and ends in urgent care, and Russ proves that Cosmo’s theory about a very particular type of orgasm was oh-so-wrong.

In Penny, Russ finds a small-town sweetheart with a very naughty side. For the first time ever, he’s thinking about picket fences. Penny finds in Russ a loving, caring man who understands the power of massaging showerheads.

But Russ is only in Port Flamingo for a week. They agree it’ll be a fling and nothing more. Because really, they can’t fall ass-over-teakettle in love just like that…

Can they?

99k words. HEA. Dual POV. No cheating.
Featuring a big drooly dog named Guppy.


1
Russ

 

I step off the escalator, and there she is. She’s looking down, doing something with her phone. Air conditioning blows on her from above, making the hem of her purple dress flutter against her leg. And fuck, look at those legs. Look at that body. Look at that woman. Underneath the dress, instead of a bra she’s wearing the top half of a pink bikini, tied at the nape of her neck in a bow.

Welcome to Florida. God bless the Sunshine State.
The place is dismal, except for her. On the walls are 1980s tourism posters, rippling with the humidity. All the guys have Magnum, P.I. mustaches, and all the women look like extras from Baywatch. She’s a vision in the middle of all of it, an oasis at the goddamned baggage claim. I circle the clumps of old people bumping into each other with walkers, like slow-motion bumper cars. As I get closer, I see her face. Her freckles, her slightly shiny pink lips. Her breasts, which are fucking beautiful. But her expression, it isn’t beautiful. It’s seriously pissed. Nostrils flared, teeth set, jaw clenched. In her hands is a whole big tangle of ear buds, and maybe a phone charger. A big knot of cords, like a wad of cold pasta.

I get closer. Not too close, because I don’t want to be that guy, but close enough to see the small starfish necklace dangling from her neck, and close enough to smell something warm, and sweet. Familiar. Vanilla, maybe. Whatever it is, it’s fucking delicious.
On the wall behind her is a big banner. It’s got a faded old cartoon flamingo, flapping his wings and grinning. Underneath is the caption:
WELCOME TO PORT FLAMINGO! HOME OF THE FIRST AIR CONDITIONER!
No shit. Because it’s hot, and I don’t mean like ordinary summertime hot. I mean hot like the time the sauna malfunctioned at my gym and turned all the drywall in the locker room into oatmeal. She doesn’t look hot at all though. She looks cool, and soft, and beautiful. Just the thing I need. Like a vodka soda after a long fucking day.

I set my shoulder bag at my feet and take off my suit jacket. Her braid comes down over one shoulder, the curl at the bottom nestling into her cleavage. I roll up my sleeves. “I bet I can untangle you.”
She looks up at me. Her eyes are deep blue and sparkling. A smile starts to pinch her cheeks. The end of the charger swings between us. “I’m okay. Got myself into this mess, got to get myself out of it.”

“Sometimes two is better than one.”

She smacks her lips at the cords. “Sometimes.” She pulls hard on the plug end, making the wires tighten even more. “You’d think I’d learn to keep that little plastic box that comes with these, but oh no, every—” She tugs. “—single.” Tugs again. “—time.”

Granted, she’s not exactly in need of rescue from a burning building, but no way am I going to stand here and watch her struggle, no fucking way. Without another word, I start undoing the end of the tangle that’s nearest me, and I watch that smile of hers get bigger. She doesn’t look at me, but I see a dimple, and she bites her lip.

Still focused on the knot, she says, “Let me guess. You’re not from around here, are you?”
Can’t imagine what gave me away. Maybe the fact that I’m the only guy in the building wearing slacks and actual shoes.
“Here on business.”
She looks me up and down. “What kind of business? FBI?”
Fuck. Not the first conversation I want to have, definitely not. Also, I don’t know a single fed who wears pants this nice. “Private business.”
“Hmmm.” She eyes me more mischievously. “Tall, dark, and a military haircut. Something tells me you’re not here to do some competitive bass fishing. “
Oh man. Cute. Really cute. “No, I’m not.”
Slowly, the tangle comes undone, until we’re in the middle together. Reminds me of that scene in Lady and the Tramp.
But before I can say anything more—like, for instance, I’m down for 20 questions, as long as it’s over a drink—the buzzer on the carousel roars to life, as loud as a tornado siren. The crush of people starts to tighten around the conveyor. She winds the three sets of ear buds and the cord around her palm. From the pocket of my bag, I take out the plastic case that came with my ear buds and hand it over. “There.”

She laughs through her nose. “I’ll be okay.”

“I insist.” I press it into her hand, and her eyes meet mine.

“I’ll bet you do.” She looks away as a blush covers her cheeks.

The bags start to rumble off the conveyor. For one long second, she watches me, smiling. Sizing me up. The little curls around her face tremble in the air conditioning, and I’m about to say You, me, a pitcher of margaritas, tonight when she looks away and hoists her purse up on her shoulder.

“That’s my bag,” she says. “I should get going. Thanks for…untangling me.”

She steps away and threads her way between a handful of old ladies in walkers. I know I should help her, I know I should grab her bag, but holy fuck look at that body.
She grabs her bag herself and flips up the handle.
“Give me your number. Let me take you out for dinner.”
Her smile dissolves into a scowl. “You married?”
I shake my head slowly. “I’m a lot of things, but married definitely isn’t one of them.”
“Separated?”
Shake my head again. “Nope.”
She takes her starfish charm between thumb and forefinger and loops the chain over her lip. “Under any restraining orders? Involved in a complicated love triangle that your Match.com profile describes as an open marriage? Divorced five times and counting? Polyamorous?”

Whoa. This girl’s got to find a new dating pool, stat. “Promise. I’m Russ, and what you see is what you get.”

Zip-zip-zip goes her necklace.

“Just a drink.” I lift my hands out between us, to say C’mon. “Maybe dinner, if I make the cut.”
She blinks hard a few times and she drops her necklace charm. “I’m sorry. You’re sweet, but I can’t.”

Well, fuck it. The first time I try to get back in the saddle in ages and the goddamn thing slides right down onto the ground again. I respect it though. I don’t want to overdo this, so I give her a final nod and clear my throat.
“Had to try.”
She swallows hard. “I’m glad you did.”
Fuck.
And she’s gone. As she goes, her hips sway with her dress. She works that sashay, as my aunt says, like a fucking pro. She looks back over her shoulder, only once, as she walks through the sliding doors. I give her a wink.
And she fucking winks back.
Jesus Christ.
She takes a left out of the door, which means she isn’t gone yet. Not by a long shot. The architecture does me a favor, and I get to watch her sashay right past the floor-to-ceiling windows. I couldn’t take my eyes off of her, not even if I wanted to. She smiles at the sidewalk without looking up, and laughs a little. Like she knows I’m watching her and is feeling pretty good about it.

God, what a cutie. And what a bummer. She was fucking sexy, she seemed sweet, and there was something about her that was up to no good. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but it was somewhere between the bikini top and I’m glad you did. But the spark wasn’t all we had in common. I realize, as she finally disappears from view, she also has a bag that looks just like mine.

Medium-sized black Samsonite. Sensible, dependable. Number One Amazon Bestseller in Luggage.

But that couldn’t be my bag, I think to myself as I turn back toward the conveyor. Couldn’t be.

***

It was. Twenty minutes later, I’m the only guy standing by the carousel, and there’s a single black bag going around and around in front of me. It’s exactly the same as mine, except it’s overstuffed and has a pink puff of yarn tied to the handle. Same color as her bikini top and literally hanging by a thread.

It slides to a stop, and the yarn ball swings off the side of the carousel. Tick-tock, tick-tock.
A rattle from the center of the conveyor sounds promising—I was early connecting through Atlanta, so my bag had to be the first one on—but no dice. What comes off the conveyor isn’t a bag at all, but instead one of the baggage guys in big set of protective earphones and a reflective vest. He crawls up through the flap and pokes his head out. He wipes his forehead on his bare leathery shoulder and then looks from me to the bag and back again.
“Nice pom-pom, man,” he says and backtracks down the hole.

I glance around for some airport help on this, but all I see is a handwritten sign at the baggage claim desk. Will Return On Monday!

It’s Saturday.
Christ.

As I take hold of the bag, I notice it’s got not one but three “LIFT WITH CAUTION” tags: the first one new, the second one beat up, and the third one halfway shredded, all together the way people keep lift tickets from ski areas. I give it a hoist. The thing is so heavy it makes me grunt like I’m doing a dead lift. With a two-handed lug, I yank it off the conveyor and set it on the ground, wheels down.

Squeezing the roller handle, I pull it up…and it snaps off right in my hand. The arms stick up from the suitcase like the tines of a fork.

I clench my eyes shut and think back to “the most helpful critical review” from Amazon.
“Looks like every other bag on the planet. Sh**ty handle.”

Touché. But it is what it is. Which is her bag, hopefully.

I wheel it along to a bank of benches, by some old beat-up phone booths, lining the far wall. I open up the ID pouch and read:

PENELOPE DARLING
125 E. BEACH POINT DRIVE
PORT FLAMINGO, FL 34102

I bite down on my gum and groan. How cute is that name? Jesus Christ, come on. Penny Darling. What’s more, it’s not a business card or typed up like mine, but written by hand. Her writing is sweet, pretty, and feminine, with big plump letters written in bright pink marker that’s bled into the plastic cover, so they’ve got a haze around them like neon lights. And there, at the bottom.

Her number.
Jackpot.

It might not be my smoothest move, but I’ll take it. I pull my phone from my pocket and give her a call. As I wait for the ringtone, I decide to hell with suave and understated. I want her, and I need her to know it.

But then in my ear I hear, “Mobile Network Temporarily Unavailable.”
Goddamned Verizon, jamming up my plans. So I try to text her instead.

This is Russ.
From the airport.
I’ve got your bag and I think you’ve got mine.
How about that drink?

I hit send, and I’m answered immediately with a row of red exclamation points and four repetitions of NOT DELIVERED. What. The. Fuck.

Then I noticed my cell service flips over from 1 bar, to Roaming, to Searching for service…
I pull my hot pack of gum from my sweaty pocket and take out a second piece. The gum is weirdly melted even before I put it in my mouth.

The options now are pretty simple: I could touch base with the guy who hired me to come down here to the land that Verizon forgot or…

I think about those tan lines, the curve of her hips. That bikini. The glisten on her rosy lips. The way she wrinkled her nose when she smiled.

Why is this even a goddamned question? It’s four o’clock on a Saturday. A beautiful woman is on East Beach Point Drive with all my stuff. And somewhere in this town, I’ll bet there’s a beachside bar with a pitcher of margaritas with our names on it.

 

AP new -about the author.jpg

 

Nicola Rendell writes dirty, funny, erotic romance. She likes a stiff drink and a well-frosted cake. She is at an unnamed Ivy and prefers to remain mostly anonymous for professional reasons. She has a PhD in English and an MFA in Creative Writing from schools that shall not be named here. She loves to cook, sew, and play the piano. She realizes that her hobbies might make her sound like an old lady and she’s totally okay with that. She lives with her husband and her dogs. She is from Taos, New Mexico.
Follow Nicola Rendell on Social Media:

 

ArdentProse_LogoMain.jpg
HTML

 

Surprise Announcement & Giveaway: Provocative, #1 of a new duet by Lisa Renee Jones, coming soon!

Promo Banner for Provocative by Lisa Renee Jones

Provocative (White Lies Book One) by Lisa Renee Jones
Release Date:  April 18th
Genre: Contemporary Romance

A Note from the Author:

Hi everyone!

I am BEYOND excited to introduce my WHITE LIES DUET! This is a sexy, intense, psychological thriller, that is provocative in every way, thus why I named book one: PROVOCATIVE. And since this series takes me back to my indie roots, the pricing is lower than my New York titles, and the release dates are close together.

Here are the details on the series:

  • PROVOCATIVE, book one, will be out on April 18, 2017 and priced at $2.99 – includes the free novella – REBECCA’S FORGOTTEN JOURNALS – for readers who purchase during release week or pre-order where pre-order is available.
  • SHAMELESS, book two, will be out on July 11, 2017 and priced at $3.99
  • BOTH books will be full-length!
  • I’m also giving away prizes on my blog every day in April to celebrate! Entry is super easy. Just comment! The link to my blog is HERE so be sure to subscribe!

And now, without further ado, the covers for the duet, blurb for book one, and CHAPTER ONE of PROVOCATIVE! I can’t wait for you to meet the dirty talking alpha, Nick “Tiger” Rogers. I hope you enjoy him as much as I enjoyed writing him!

Provocative Final Border

ABOUT PROVOCATIVE

Book One in the sexy and intense new White Lies duet by Lisa Renee Jones!

There are those moments in life that are provocative in their very existences, that embed in our minds forever, and sometimes our very souls. They change us, mold us, maybe even save us. But some are darker, dangerous. If we allow them to, they control us. Seduce us. Quite possibly even destroy us.

The moment I walked into Sonoma’s Reid Winter Winery and Vineyard and made eye contact with Faith Winter for the first time was one of those moments. Provocative because I know at least one of her secrets, of which, I suspect she has many. Provocative because she believes I was a stranger to her when we met, but I am not. Provocative because I sought her out, with no intention of touching her. But now I have. Now I want her. Now I have to have her. But that changes nothing. It doesn’t change why I came for her.

Pre-Order PROVOCATIVE Today!

Special $2.99 pre-order price – will increase after release!

Amazon alert: http://bit.ly/ProvocativeAmazonAlert

B&N: http://bit.ly/ProvocativeBN

iBooks: http://bit.ly/ProvocativeiBooks

Kobo: http://bit.ly/ProvocativeKobo

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34602810-provocative

Read Chapter One Now:

pro·voc·a·tive

adjective

  1. causing annoyance, anger, or another strong reaction, especially deliberately.
  2. arousing sexual desire or interest, especially deliberately.

Chapter One

There are those moments in life that are provocative in their very existences, that embed in our minds forever, and sometimes our very souls. They change us, mold us, maybe even save us. But some are darker, dangerous. If we allow them to, they control us. Seduce us. Quite possibly even destroy us.

The moment I stepped into the mansion that is the centerpiece of the Reid Winter Vineyards and Winery wasn’t one of those moments. Nor were any of the moments I spent weaving through a crowd of suits and dresses cluttering the circle that is the grand foyer of the 1800’s mansion, fancy tiles etched with vines beneath my feet. Nor the ones spent declining three different waiters offering me glasses of various wines from one of the most established vineyards in Sonoma, meant to entice me to buy their bottles and donate money to the charity hosting the gathering. Not even the instant that I spotted the stunning blonde in a snug black dress that hugged her many lush curves proved to be one of those moments, but I would call it a damn interesting one. The moment I decided the blonde silk of her long hair belonged in my hands and on my stomach was also a damn interesting one. And not because she’s fuckable. There are plenty of fuckable women in my life, a number of whom understand that I enjoy demands for pleasure, which I will definitely provide, and nothing more. This woman is too prim and proper to ever agree to such an arrangement, and yet, knowing this, as she and her heart-shaped backside disappear into the congestion of bodies, I find myself pursuing her, looking for more than an interesting moment. I want that provocative one.

I follow her path formed by huddles of two, three, or more people, left and right, to clear a portion of the crowd, scanning to find my beauty standing several feet away, her back to me, with two men in blue suits in front of her. And while they might appear to blend with the rest of the suits in the room, they hold themselves like the parasites I meet too often in the courtroom, those who most often call themselves my opposing counsel. My blonde beauty folds her arms in front of her chest, her spine stiff, and if I read her right–and I read most people right–I am certain that she’s found trouble. But lucky for her, trouble doesn’t like me near as much as I like it.

Closing the space between me and them, I near their little triangle just in time to hear her say, “Are we really doing this here and now?”

“Yes, Ms. Winter,” one of the men replies. “We are.”

“Actually,” I say, stepping to Ms. Winter’s side, her floral scent almost as sweet as the challenge of conquering her opponents that are now mine, “we are not doing this here or now.”

All attention shifts to me, Ms. Winter giving me a sharp stare that I feel rather than see, my focus remaining on the men I want to leave, not the woman I want to make come. “And you would be who?” the suit directly in front of me demands.

I size him up as barely out of his twenty-something diapers, without experience, the glint in his eye telling me he doesn’t realize that flaw, which makes him about as smooth as a six-dollar glass of wine everyone in this place would spit the fuck out. A point driven home by the fact that he’s wearing a three hundred-dollar Italian silk tie, and a hundred-dollar suit, no doubt hoping the tie makes the suit look expensive, and him important. He’s wrong.

“I said, who are you?” he repeats when I apparently haven’t replied quickly enough, his impatience becoming my virtue as my role as cat in this game of cat and mouse is too easily established.

Unwilling to waste words on a predictable, expected question that I’d never ask, I simply reach into the pocket of my three-thousand-dollar light gray suit, which I earned by beating opponents with ten times his experience and negotiation skills, and finger the unimportant prick my card.

He snaps it from my hand, gives it a look that confirms my name and the firm I started a decade ago now, after daring to leave behind a certain partnership in a high-powered firm. “Nick Rogers?” he asks. “Is there another name on the card?” I ask, because, I’m also a fearless smartass every chance I get.

He stares at me for several beats, seeming to calculate his words, before asking, “How many Mr. Rogers sweater jokes do you get?”

I arch a brow at the misguided joke that only serves to poke the Tiger. Suit Number Two, who I age closer to my thirty-six years, pales visibly, then snatches the card from the other man’s hand, giving it a quick inspection before his gaze then jerks to mine. “The Nick Rogers?”

“I don’t remember my mother putting the word ‘the’ in front of my name,” I reply dryly, but then again, I think, she didn’t ask my father, to change my last name either. She just hated him that much.

“Tiger,” he says, and it’s not a question, but rather a statement of “oh shit” fact.

“That’s right,” I say, enjoying the fruits of my labor that created the nickname, not one given to me by my friends.

“Who, or what, the fuck is Tiger all about?” Suit Number One asks.

“Shut up,” Suit Number Two grunts, refocusing on me to ask, “You’re representing Ms. Winter?”

“What I am,” I say, “is standing right here by her side, telling you that it’s in your best interests to leave.”

“Since when do you handle small-time foreclosures?” he demands, exposing the crux of Ms. Winter’s situation.

“I handle whatever the fuck I want to handle,” I say, my tone even, my lips curving as I add, “Including the process of having you both escorted off the property by security.”

“That,” Suit Number One dares to retort, “would garner Ms. Winter unwanted attention in the middle of a busy event. Not that Ms. Winter even has security to call.”

“Fortunately, I have a phone that dials 911 and the ability to call it without asking her.”

If she’s your client,” Suit Number One says, clearly inferring that she’s not, “you’re obligated to operate with her best interests in mind.”

“My decisions,” I reply, without missing a beat, and without claiming Ms. Winter as a client, “are always about winning. And I assure you that I can think of many ways to spin your story to the press that ensures I win, while also benefiting Ms. Winter.”

“This isn’t my story,” Suit Number One indicates.

“It will be when I’m finished with the press,” I assure him, amused at how easily I’ve led him down the path I want him to travel.

“This is a small community with little to talk about but her,” he says. “She doesn’t want her foreclosure to become the front page story.”

My lips quirk. “If you don’t know how easily I can get the wrong attention for you here, and the right attention for Ms. Winter, you’ll find out.”

“We’ll leave,” Suite Number Two interjects quickly, and just when I think that he’s smart enough to see the way trouble has turned from Ms. Winter to them, he looks at her and says, “We’ll be in touch,” with a not so subtle threat in his tone, before he elbows Suit Number One. “Let’s go.”

Suit Number One doesn’t move, visibly fuming, his face red, that white ring thickening around his lips. I arch a brow at Suit Number Two, who adds, “Now, Jordan.” Jordan, formerly known as Suit Number One, clenches his teeth and turns away, while Suit Two follows.

Ms. Winter faces me, and holy fuck, when her pale green eyes meet mine, any questions I have about this woman and the many I suspect she now has of me, are muted by an unexpected, potentially problematic, palpable electric charge between us. “Thank you,” she says, her voice soft, feminine, a rasp in its depths that hints at emotion not effortlessly contained. “Please enjoy anything you like tonight on the house,” she adds, the rasp gone now, her control returned. Until I take it, I think, but no sooner than I’ve had the thought, she is turning and walking away, the absence of further interaction coloring me both stunned and intrigued, two things that, for me, are ranked with about as much frequency as snow in Sonoma, which would be next to never.

Ms. Winter maneuvers into the crowd, out of my line of sight, and while I am not certain I’d label her a mouse at this point, or ever for that matter, considering what I know of her, I am most definitely on the prowl. I stride purposely forward, weaving through the crowd, seeking that next provocative moment, scanning for her left, right, in the clusters of mingling guests, until I clear the crowd.

Now standing in front of a wide, wooden stairwell, my gaze follows its path upward to a second level, but I still find no sign of Ms. Winter. A cool breeze whips through the air, and I turn to find the source is a high arched doorway, the recently opened glass doors to what I know to be the “Winter Gardens,” a focal point of the property, and a tourist draw for decades, settling back into place. Certain this represents her escape, I walk that direction, and press open the doors, stepping onto a patio that has a stone floor and concrete benches framed by rose bushes. No less than four winding paths greet me as destination choices, the hunt for this woman now a provocation of its own.

I’ve just decided to wait where I am for Ms. Winter’s return when the wind lifts, the floral scent of many varieties of flowers for which the garden is famous touching my nostrils, with one extra scent decidedly of the female variety.

Lips curving with the certainty that my prey will soon to be my prize, I follow the clue that guides my feet to the path on my right, a narrow, winding, lighted walkway, framed by neatly cut yellow flower bushes, which continues past a white wooden gazebo I have no intention of passing. Not when Ms. Winter stands inside it, her back to me, elbows resting on the wooden rail, her gaze casting across the silhouette of what would reveal itself to be a rolling mountainside in daybreak. The way I intend for her to reveal herself.

I close the distance between us, and the moment before I’m upon her, she faces me, hands on the railing behind her, her breasts thrust forward, every one of her lush curves tempting my eyes, my hands. My mouth. “Did those men know you?” she demands, clearly ready and waiting for this interaction. “Did you know them?”

“No and no.”

“And yet they knew the nickname Tiger.”

“My reputation precedes me.”

“I’ll take the bait,” she says. “What reputation?”

“They say I’ll rip my opponent’s throat out if given the chance.”

“Will you?” she asks, without so much as a blanch or blink.

“Yes,” I reply, a simple answer, for a simple question.

“Without any concern for who you hurt,” she states.

I arch a brow. “Is that a question?”

“Should it be?”

“Yes.”

“It’s not,” she says. “You didn’t get that nickname by being nice.”

“Nice guys don’t win.”

“Then I’m warned,” she says. “You aren’t a nice guy.”

“Is nice a quality you’re looking for in a man? Because as your evening counsel, Ms. Winter, I’ll advise you that nice is overrated.”

She stares at me for several beats before turning away to face the mountains again, elbows on the railing, in what I could see as a silent invitation to leave. I choose to see it as an invitation to join her. I claim the spot next to her, close, but not nearly as close as I will be soon. “You didn’t answer the question,” I point out.

“You wrongly assume I am looking for a man, which I’m not,” she says, glancing over at me. “But if I was, then no. Nice would be on my list but it would not top my list, however, nowhere on that list would be the ability, and willingness, to rip out someone’s throat.”

“I can assure you, Ms. Winter, that a man with a bite is as underrated as a nice guy is overrated. And I not only know how, and when, to use mine, but if I so choose to biteyou, and I might, it’ll be all about pleasure, not pain.”

Her cheeks flush and she turns away. “My name is Faith.” She glances over at me again. “Should I call you Nick, Tiger, or just plain arrogant?”

“Anything but Mr. Rogers,” I say, enjoying our banter far more than I would have expected when I came here tonight looking for her.

She laughs now too, and it’s a delicate, sweet sound, but it’s awkward, as if it’s not only unexpected, but unwelcome, and an instant later she’s withdrawing, pushing off the railing, arms folding protectively in front of her body, before we’re rotating to face each other. “I need to go check on the visitors.” She attempts to move away.

I gently catch her arm, her gaze rocketing to mine, and in the process her hair flutters in a sudden breeze, a strand of blonde silk catching on the whiskers of my one-day stubble. She sucks in a breath, and when she would reach up to remedy the situation, I’m already there, catching the soft silk and stroking it behind her ear.

“Why are you touching me?” she asks, but she doesn’t pull away, that charge between us minutes ago now ten times more provocative with me touching her, thinking about all the places I might touch next.

“It’s considerably better than not touching you,” I say.

“My bad luck might bleed into you.”

“Bleed,” I repeat, that word reminding me once again of why I’m here, why I really want to fuck this woman. “That’s an extreme, and rather interesting choice of words.”

“Most bad luck is extreme, though not interesting to anyone but the Tigers of the world, creating it. You’re still touching me.”

“Everyone needs a Tiger in their corner. Maybe my good luck will bleed into you.”

“Does good luck bleed?” she asks.

“Many people will do anything for good luck, even bleed.”

“Yes,” she says, lowering her lashes, but not before I’ve seen the shadows in her eyes. “I suppose they would.”

“What would you do for good luck?”

Her lashes lift, her stare meeting mine again. “What have you done for good luck?”

“I came here tonight,” I say.

She narrows her eyes on me, as if some part of her senses, the far-reaching implications of my reply that she can’t possibly understand, and yet still, the inescapable heat between us radiates and burns. “You’re still touching me,” she points out, and this time there’s a hint of reprimand.

“Holding onto that luck,” I say.

“It feels like you’re holding onto mine.”

With that observation that hits too close to the truth, I have no interest in revealing just yet, I drag my hand slowly down hers, allowing my fingers to find hers before they fall away. Her lips, lush, tempting, impossibly perfect for someone I know to be imperfect, part with the loss of my touch, and yet there is a hint of relief in her eyes that tells me she both wants me and fears me.

A most provocative moment, indeed.

“Have a drink with me,” I say.

“No,” she replies, her tone absolute, and while I don’t like this decision, I appreciate a person who’s decisive.

“Why?”

“Good luck and bad luck don’t mix.”

“They might just create good luck.”

“Or bad,” she says. “I’m not in a place where I can take the risk for more bad luck.” She inclines her chin. “Enjoy the rest of your visit.” She pauses and adds, “Tiger.”

I don’t react, but for just a moment, I consider the way she used my nickname as an indicator that she knows who I am, and why I’m here. I quickly dismiss that idea. I’d have seen it in those pale green eyes, and I did not. But as she turns and walks away, and I watch her depart, tracking her steps as she disappears down the path, I wonder at her quick departure, and the fear I’d seen in her eyes. Was the root of that fear her guilt?

That idea should be enough to ice the fire in me that this woman has stirred, but it stokes it instead. Everything male in me wants to pursue her again, and not because I’m here for a reason that existed before I ever met her, when it should be that and nothing more. It is more. I’m aroused and I’m intrigued by this woman. She got to me when no one gets to me. Not a good place to be, considering I came here to prove she killed my father, and maybe even her own mother.

ShamelessFinal_4

Book two: SHAMELESS will be out on July 11th!

Pre-Order notification:http://bit.ly/2nocwgZ

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34602828-shameless

Enter the Giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT series. Suzanne Todd (producer of Alice in Wonderland) on the INSIDE OUT series: Lisa has created a beautiful, complicated, and sensual world that is filled with intrigue and suspense. Sara’s character is strong, flawed, complex, and sexy – a modern girl we all can identify with.

In addition to the success of Lisa’s INSIDE OUT series, Lisa has published many successful titles. The TALL, DARK AND DEADLY series and THE SECRET LIFE OF AMY BENSEN series, both spent several months on a combination of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling lists. Lisa is presently working on a dark, edgy new series, Dirty Money, for St. Martin’s Press.

Prior to publishing Lisa owned multi-state staffing agency that was recognized many times by The Austin Business Journal and also praised by the Dallas Women’s Magazine. In 1998 Lisa was listed as the #7 growing women owned business in Entrepreneur Magazine.

Lisa loves to hear from her readers. You can reach her at www.lisareneejones.com and she is active on Twitter and Facebook daily.

LRJAuthorPic

Connect with the Author:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLisaReneeJones/

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2kWFra1

Twitter: @LisaReneeJones

Stay in touch with Lisa by joining her mailing list:

http://lisareneejones.com/newsletter-sign-up/

Website: http://lisareneejones.com

 

 

Discover DELUDE, by Jacob Chance: Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway!

SALE.png

DELUDE

By Jacob Chance

EXCLUSIVE Excerpt, SALE & GIVEAWAY!

Now Live on Amazon:

http://amzn.to/2mWvmbv

Synopsis

She wasn’t part of my original plan for revenge, but one glance at her and
I was entranced. I followed her for weeks, observing her habits. I’ve been
in her apartment numerous times, learning anything and everything I can
about her. She’s become an obsession, and I’ll do whatever it takes to make
her mine.

It’s only a matter of time before I have her where I want her … on her knees and at my mercy.

Soon, there will be no secrets between us.

Promo banner for DELUDE by Jacob Chance

Limited Time Only.JPG

Exclusive Excerpt from Jacob Chance!

Who is she? My eyes narrow as I take in the red-haired nymph on the dance
floor. Studying her movements, I notice she’s graceful and fluid, yet sexy
at the same time. Watching her hips sensually sway to the slower tempo and
grind to the thumping bass has my teeth clenching and my heart pounding
wildly in my chest. I fight an instinctive urge to rush over, take her in
my arms and never let her go.

What the hell is wrong with me? I’ve never had this reaction to a woman
before. Usually, they’re just a means to get off – a nameless, faceless hole
to fuck. I use them hard and fast, bringing them extreme pleasure and pain
because one isn’t as good without the other.

I’m tempted to slide behind her and let my hands roam over the gentle
curves of her hips then slip around her waist to pull her flush against the
front of me. There’d be no mistaking the effect her body has on me. She’d
wiggle her ass against my cock, teasing me, then flick her eyes over her
shoulder with a small playful smile on her shiny red lips. My fingers would
slide down the soft material of her dress to skim along the bottom edge,
trailing over her silky thighs. She’d tremble from my touch, proof she
wants me too.

Merely thinking about it has me fighting the overwhelming urge to carry her
off and have my wicked way with her. I want to see her cuffed to my bed,
whimpering and begging for my tongue or hard cock.

She returns to the table in the back corner of Quake, a popular club in
Boston, with her friends. Her cheeks are flushed pink from dancing, and her
hair falls around her shoulders in a sexy disarray of waves.

My eyes scan the faces of the people she’s with. I know the names and have
background information on them all. I’m well acquainted with some, more
than others. I grimace as my hand rubs over my stomach. It was only weeks
ago that I had a knife buried to the hilt in my gut and I was at death’s
doorstep. Seeing the person responsible causes anger to burn through my
veins.

Taking a deep breath, I flick my gaze back to the living red-haired angel.
Immediately, I feel a sense of calm wash over me. She’s the only new face
amongst them and now that I’ve seen her – no other matters. I have to find
out who she is. I need to learn all I can about her.

Her eyes scan the room as if she can sense the heat of my stare. I smirk
knowing she feels it too. This pulsing attraction between us is powerful,
and it needs to be explored. It will be explored. When I set my mind to
something, nothing stands in my way.

Her hands smooth down the material on the back of her dress before she
sits. She awkwardly tugs down the bottom to provide as much modesty as
possible, but the short length leaves a good portion of her long sleek legs
exposed. I can tell she’s uncomfortable and I smile at her modesty. There’s
a sense of innocence about her I find extremely attractive.

Round after round of drinks are ordered by her friends as I stand here,
studying her every move, slowly sipping a beer. Watching her tongue make a
slow trek around the rim of her margarita glass, licking up all traces of
salt has me mesmerized.

She throws her head back, laughing, and her long red hair tumbles past her
shoulders.

What would her hair feel like trailing over my bare chest if she bent down
to kiss me while riding my cock?

I need to know who this precious angel is. Seeing her tonight isn’t a
coincidence. Fate placed her in my path for a reason.

Standing to the side of the bar, my shoulder braced against a white stucco
pillar, my casual body language conceals the hurricane of emotions she’s
stirring up in me. She’s an unexpected twist in my well thought out plan. I
can’t wait to get to know her.

Let the games begin…

Purchase DELUDE

Follow Jacob Chance:

Jacob’s Other Books

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter


Spoiled by Chance Reader’s Group

Website

Newsletter


Enter to WIN Jacob’s GIVEAWAY!

 

Gift Card Giveaway.JPG

Excerpt Reveal: The Deep End (Honey Series, #1) by Kristen Ashley

THE DEEP END - header banner

✮✮✮ A delicious world of erotica, BDSM with alpha-subs and their Dommes, and a gripping love story…Welcome to The Bee’s Honey! The first book in New York Times bestselling author Kristen Ashley’s Honey Series, THE DEEP END is a seductive and rich love story releasing March 7, 2017! And check out the tantalizing excerpt below! ✮✮✮ 

Fall into THE DEEP END and preorder your copy today!

 

THE-DEEP-END-cover

About THE DEEP END

(Erotic Romance Releasing March 7, 2017):

Enter a decadent sensual world where gorgeous alpha males are committed to fulfilling a woman’s every desire…

Olivier isn’t sure what he’s gotten himself into when he joins the Honey Club, only that a dark part of him hungers for the lifestyle offered by this exclusive club. Here, no boundary will be left untested…and one’s deepest fantasies will become an exquisite reality.

When Amélie invites Olivier to surrender, she gives the alpha submissive what he craves. Soon they both find themselves falling harder than they ever anticipated—but as their connection deepens, the truth about Olivier’s past could destroy everything…

Gripping and seductive, The Deep End is the first book in a sensational new series from bestselling author Kristen Ashley.

Pre-Order The Deep End 

Amazon | Kindle | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

GooglePlay | Kobo | IndieBound | BAM 

 

THE DEEP END - Excerpt Reveal Teaser

Excerpt

She turned back to him. “You seem to have a good deal of stamina.”

“Amelie…Mistress, I don’t think you’re getting that I seriously find you not hard on the eyes.”

She bent closer, as intended for this part of their session, some of her fair falling on his chest in another caress. She did this letting her amusement show, if not all of the emotion she felt at his compliment.

“I wonder, monchou, if you think you can butter me up with compliments.”

“I don’t know. Maybe. Though not sure why I’d bother since I didn’t give you one and you just made me shoot a huge-ass load the like that have never come from my cock.”

“And he gives another compliment,” she said through a smile.

“You earn it, I’ll say it, he replied, his lips twitching. “That is, if I’m physically capable of speech.”

She was still smiling when she reached out a hand and delicately traced circles around his nipple.

His eyes darkened.

Her good humor increased.

“You’re of course aware I should do something about you being so audaciously cheeky.”

Another darkness crossed his face. “What?”

“I shouldn’t allow you to be cheeky with me.”

“Cheeky?”

“Impudent,” she explained.

The look fled. “You mean, in uppity, hot-chick speak, a wise-ass.”

Amelie couldn’t help it, she laughed softly.

“She’s got a pretty laugh, too, to go with that pretty accent,” he murmured and she saw his eyes on her lips.

I could get lost in this one, she thought. Lost and never found.

About Kristin Ashley

Kristin Ashley - headshotKristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA and nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorise and she hadn’t taken her first breath!). Her mother said they took Kristen away, put her Mom back in her room, her mother looked out the window, and Gary was on fire (Dr. King had been assassinated four days before). Kristen’s Mom remembered thinking it was the end of the world. Quite the dramatic beginning.

Nothing’s changed.

Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana and has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus, she’s blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her family was (is) loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write. They all lived together on a very small farm in a small farm town in the heartland. She grew up with Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched).

Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up.

And as she keeps growing, it keeps getting better. 

WEBSITE * FACEBOOK * TWITTER * NEWSLETTER * GOODREADS * PINTEREST * INSTAGRAM

 

InkSlinger PR Blogger banner

Coming SOON: Royally Matched, a Sweet, Sexy New Royal Romance by Emma Chase

RM-COMING Author-FB-banner

Coming Soon….

Royally Matched

by

Emma Chase

Royally-Matched-3D-bookSome men are born responsible, some men have responsibility thrust upon them. Henry Charles Albert Edgar Pembrook, Prince of Wessco, just got the motherlode of all responsibility dumped in his regal lap.

He’s not handling it well.

Hoping to force her grandson to rise to the occasion, Queen Lenora goes on a much-needed safari holiday—and when the Queen’s away, the Prince will play. After a chance meeting with an American television producer, Henry finally makes a decision all on his own:

Welcome to Matched: Royal Edition.

A reality TV dating game show featuring twenty of the world’s most beautiful blue bloods gathered in the same castle. Only one will win the diamond tiara, only one will capture the handsome prince’s heart.

While Henry revels in the sexy, raunchy antics of the contestants as they fight, literally, for his affection, it’s the quiet, bespectacled girl in the corner—with the voice of an angel and a body that would tempt a saint—who catches his eye.

The more Henry gets to know Sarah Mirabelle Zinnia Von Titebottum, the more enamored he becomes of her simple beauty, her strength, her kind spirit…and her naughty sense of humor.

But Rome wasn’t built in a day—and irresponsible royals aren’t reformed overnight.

As he endeavors to right his wrongs, old words take on whole new meanings for the dashing Prince. Words like, Duty, Honor and most of all—Love.

ADD ROYALLY MATCHED TO GOODREADS

 

PRE-ORDER ROYALLY MATCHED

Kindle | Amazon Paperback | iBooks | Nook | B&N

Paperback | Kobo | BAM | IndieBound

 

EXCERPT

 

“Are you a virgin?” I ask.

“Well . . . yes.”

“Then why are you complaining? You qualify.”

Sarah’s eyes flash with annoyance. “Because I’m more than my hymen, Henry! To base the value of an accomplished, intelligent woman on a flimsy piece of skin is degrading. How would you feel if your worth rested on your foreskin?”

I think it over. And then I grin. “I’d be all right with that, actually. I’ve heard it was an impressive foreskin—all the nurses were fawning over it. It’s probably being showcased in a museum right now.”

She stares at me for a beat, then she laughs out loud—a rich, throaty, sensual sound.

“You’re a terrible human being.”

“I know.” I shake my head at the calamity of it all.

“And you’re an even worse feminist.”

“Agreed. That’s something I need to work on. You’ll help me, won’t you? We should spend as much time together as possible—every minute of the day and night. I’m hoping you’ll rub off on me.”

Sarah pushes my shoulder. “You’re just hoping I’ll rub you off.”

Now it’s my turn to laugh. Because she’s not even a little bit wrong.

“But there’s never been anyone? Really?”

Sarah shrugs. “Penny and I were tutored at home when we were young . . . but in year ten, there was this one boy.”

I rub my hands together. “Here we go—tell me everything. I want all the sick, lurid details. Was he a footballer? Captain of the team, the most popular boy in school?”

“He was captain of the chess team.”

I cover my eyes with my hand.

“His name was Davey. He wore these adorable tweed jackets and bow ties, he had blond hair and was a bit pale because of the asthma. He had the same glasses as me and he had a different pair of argyle socks for every day of the year.”

“I am so disappointed in you right now.”

“He was nice,” she chides. “You leave my Davey alone.”

I shake my head. “So what happened to old Davey boy?”

“I was alone in the library one day and he came up and started to ask me to the spring social. And I was so excited and nervous I could barely breathe. And then before he could finish the question, I . . .”

I don’t realize I’m leaning toward her until she stops talking and I almost fall over.

“You . . . what?”

Sarah hides behind her hands.

“I threw up on him.”

And I try not to laugh. I swear I try . . . but I’m only human. So I end up laughing so hard the car shakes and I can’t speak for several minutes.

“Christ almighty.”

“And I’d had fish and chips for lunch.” Sarah’s laughing too. “It was awful.”

“Oh you poor thing.” I shake my head, still chuckling. “And poor Davey.”

“Yes.” She wipes under her eyes with her finger. “Poor Davey. He never came near me again after that.”

“Coward—he didn’t deserve you. I would’ve swam through a whole lake of puke to take a girl like you to the social.”

She smiles so brightly at me, her cheeks maroon and round like two shiny apples.

“I think that’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me.”

I wiggle my eyebrows. “I’m all about the compliments.”

 

RM-FB-promo-6

 

MEET EMMA CHASE

Emma Chase is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the hot and hilarious Tangled series and The Legal Briefs series. Emma lives in New Jersey with her husband, two children and two naughty (but really cute) dogs. She has a long-standing love/hate relationship with caffeine.

WEBSITE |  FACEBOOK | NEWSLETTER | TWITTER  |

Coming Soon: Black Hearts (Sins Duet, #1), a Dark Romance by Karina Halle – Excerpt Reveal!

Book Cover, Black Hearts, by Karina Halle

Black Hearts

(The Sins Duet, Book #1)

by

Karina Halle

SYNOPSIS:

For Vicente Bernal, truth is all he’s known. The son of an infamous drug lord, Vicente was born to help run the family business, which means he’s been raised on a throne of sordid pasts and dirty laundry, violence and pride. But when Vicente stumbles across someone he’s not supposed to know about – a woman from his father’s checkered past – he sets out to California to find her behind his father’s back.

What Vicente doesn’t expect to find in San Francisco is Violet McQueen, the woman’s twenty-year old daughter. Beautiful and edgy with a vulnerability he can’t resist, Violet tempts Vicente from afar and though he promised himself he’d stay away from her, curiosity and lust are powerful forces. Besides, Vicente has always gotten everything he wants – why shouldn’t he have Violet too?

Soon his wants turn into an obsession, one that sweeps Violet into his games as they fall madly, deeply in love with each other, the type of first love that can drive a person mad.

But it’s a love with tragic consequences.

Both the truth – and the lies – not only threaten to tear them apart, but threaten their very lives.

Someone has to pay for the sins of the fathers.

And they’ll be paying the price with their souls.

Note:

Black Hearts is book one of the Sins Duet, with the sequel, Dirty Souls, releasing in March 2017. These books can be read as a standalone. Though they are a spinoff of the Sins & Needles and Dirty Angels trilogies, Black Hearts & Dirty Souls are set 20 years in the future and follow new characters. You do NOT need to read TAT or DA to enjoy or understand this duet.

Add Black Hearts to Goodreads

FOLLOW KARINA ON SOCIAL MEDIA:

Facebook Author Page

Twitter (@MetalBlonde)

 Amazon

AN EXCERPT FROM BLACK HEARTS:

Copyright Karina Halle 2017

The fog is continuing to roll in, bringing a briny mist that you can taste. Only the tops of the bridge remain visible, the orange red seeming to glow against grey skies, while shadows of the structure come and go as the fog moves in.

Violet stares in quiet fascination, her dark eyes taking it in. I can see the fog reflected in them, giving her an eerie quality. She appears to be listening but whether it’s the fog horns, the chatter of the fishermen, the lapping waves, or the dull roar of the bridge traffic, I don’t know. Could be something else entirely.

I don’t want to break her concentration or bring her back from whatever world she’s in. I just stand beside her and let her be. If anything, it says a lot about her comfort level with me if she lets herself drift away.

After a few minutes, she slowly turns to me and blinks. “How long did you say you were going to be in San Francisco for?”

“I don’t know,” I say carefully. “It depends if I find what I’m looking for.”

“And what are you looking for?”

“A reason to stay.” I hold her gaze with mine. The sea breeze picks up a few strands of her hair, moving them across her face like a black veil. Without thinking, I reach over and brush them away, tucking them behind her ear.

I could kiss her. I should kiss her. The feel of her skin against my fingers ignites a million torches inside.

Then she looks away, uncomfortable, the silence between us changing.

I steer the subject onto her. “You said your mother is a famous photographer. Does she have a studio?”

She lets out a soft sigh, her eyes back on the bridge. “Yeah. In the mission district.”

“And you don’t want the same for yourself?”

She rubs her lips together in thought before looking down at her hands that hang over the side of the railing. “As I said, I don’t know what I want. I’m not sure I feel comfortable with the idea of having a studio. My mom does portraits of people. That’s not what I like to shoot.”

“Not a people person?”

A wry smile cracks her lips. “No. Not really. It’s too…intimate. My mom is great at it because people feel comfortable with her. She can…I don’t know, manipulate their feelings.”

Interesting. Very interesting.

People like my father.

“So they end up exposing pieces of themselves that they don’t see. I guess I have the same intuition as her but the one on one is too much for me. I prefer to work with nature. With this.” She gestures to the fog. “No one else really understands how beautiful this is to me.”

I look back at the fog, moving faster now. I wouldn’t call it beautiful. Moody. Dark, maybe. If anything, her beauty stands out more because of the bleakness around her.

“My goal is to take photos that show how I see the world. All the beauty in it. The world is such an ugly and beautiful place, horrible and hopeful. I want to show the light in all the dark places.” She pauses and gives me a sheepish look. “Sorry. I know that must have sounded hella pretentious.”

I slowly shake my head because she sounds anything but that. She sounds real. She sounds like something I want to shake loose from her, to let free and run wild.

“You’re not pretentious,” I tell her, my voice low. “Not even close.”

“That’s not what I hear.”

“What do you hear?” I move in closer to her, the distance between us just a few inches. She doesn’t back up. “What does the world tell you you are?”

I watch her swallow, take a moment. “Oh, you know. I’m too self-absorbed. Narcissistic. Pretentious. I live too much in my head, I’m too anti-social, too distant. I feel too much, care too much. My mother has always chided me for being too sensitive and then I was diagnosed with having hyper-sensitivity, so it turns out she was right. I am too sensitive. About everything. And there’s not a single thing I can do about it except know that when I experience reality, it’s not what everyone else experiences. For better or for worse.” She sighs. “Mainly for worse.”

I feel like this is something she doesn’t unload on many people. My instincts about her were right. She’s fragile but not weak, too much a part of the world and too much removed from it. A contradiction.

“I’m sorry,” she says, shooting me a glance. “I didn’t mean to blab away like that. I know you probably think I’m crazy now. Hell, I think I’m crazy half the time. I really wish I could just be like everyone else. To just…shut it all off.”

“You’re not crazy,” I tell her. “I’m just understanding you better.”

Her mouth quirks up into a dry smile. “I’m surprised you understand me at all. We’ve only just met.”

“True,” I tell her as I reach out and run my fingers along her jaw, tipping her chin up. “But I’m sure you of all people would know that sometimes you can connect with someone in ways you didn’t think you could. Or should.”

She barely nods, her eyes focused on mine, anticipation on her brow. I’m met with the overwhelming desire to protect and shield her which is extremely inconvenient, if not unwelcome, given the circumstances. One minute I need to fuck her, the next I need to protect her, and in the end, what I really need is to do the job I set out to do.