Dirty Rich One Night Stand — A HOT New Standalone from Lisa Renee Jones!

Lisa Renee Jones is back with a sexy, stunning STANDALONE:

DIRTY RICH ONE NIGHT STAND!

GENRE: Contemporary Steamy Romance

RELEASE DATE: October 18, 2017

 

DIRTY, RICH ONE NIGHT STAND.

That’s all it was supposed to be. Her. Him. Pleasure. And then a fast goodbye. He’s a stranger. And yet, he’s not. She knows him even though he doesn’t know her.

He’s the powerful attorney, now world-renowned after coming off the trial of a century which was publicized across the country. And I’m one of the reporters that sat in his courtroom.

I watched him, studied him, got to know him from afar which isn’t hard since I know his exact brand of confidence, arrogance, and wealth.

I know his type. I’ve dated his type. Which is why when I happen to come face to face with him, when sparks fly and heat simmers between us, I know what happens if I say “yes” to Reese Summer.

I know he’ll taste like sin and sex, even before he kisses me.

I know he’ll feel like pleasure and passion, even before he touches me.

I know he’ll demand more than I wants to give, and yet, because I dare to give myself to him, the result will be deliciously hot.

I know that I will not leave his bed without being utterly, completely sated.

And I know that I will leave the next morning anyway.

And so, I do.

And so, he follows.

And as chase begins my question becomes: Is Reese Summer THE one or is he really just a dirty, arrogant lie that should have stayed a one night stand?

teaser for Dirty Rich One Night Stand

 BUY LINKS

Special Release Day Price — 99 cents — will go up to $4.99 shortly after release!

Amazon US ➜ http://bit.ly/DirtyRichAmazon
Amazon CA➜ http://bit.ly/DirtyRichAmazonCA
Amazon UK ➜ http://bit.ly/DirtyRichAmazonUK

EXCERPT

“You’re as perfect as I knew you would be,” he says, his voice managing to be both sandpaper and silk on my nerve endings, as he adds, “and almost as naked as I want you to be.”

The idea that he has wanted me as much as I have wanted him does funny things to my stomach, but more so, delivers an unexpected wave of illogical vulnerability. This is sex. The end. I don’t want or need to feel anything more. I want and need him naked and fucking me now, fast, hard. That’s safe. Desperate to find that safe place, to shift the control from him to me, I push to my toes, my breasts molding to his chest, and press my lips to his lips. They are warm, and he is hard everywhere I am soft.

And his response to my kiss, the answering moan I am rewarded with, is white-hot fire in my blood that he ignites further with a deep, sizzling stroke of his tongue. He slants his mouth over mine, deepening the connection, kissing me with a fierceness no other man ever has, but then some part of me has known from moment one that he is like no man I have ever known. Which explains why he is everything I want. And nothing about this night is what I expected, any more than this man is anything I can control.

But there is something intensely arousing about the idea of trying.

As if claiming I am reaching for the impossible, he molds me closer, his hand between my shoulder blades, his tongue playing wickedly with mine, but I meet him stroke for stroke, arching into him. He cups my ass and pulls me solidly against his erection. He wins this one. Now I am the one moaning, arching into him, and I welcome the intimate connection. I burn for the moment he will be inside me.

But I also want him to burn for this just as much as I do, and I need to touch this man. Really, really, need to touch him. My hand presses between us, and I stroke the hard line of his shaft. Reese tears his mouth from mine, pressing me hard against the pillar supporting the window again, and when his hands leave my body, when his palms press to the concrete above me again, I sense his withdrawal is about control. I was winning. I confirm that as reality when our eyes lock, and the dash of fire in his eyes is lit by one part passion and one part challenge.

“If I slide my fingers between your legs right now,” he says, “are you wet for me? Are you ready for me?”

“Why don’t you find out for yourself?” I dare him, testing him, pushing him.

About the Author

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT series.

In addition to the success of Lisa’s INSIDE OUT series, she 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 also the author of the bestselling the bestselling DIRTY MONEY and WHITE LIES series. And will be publishing the first book in her Lilah Love suspense series with Amazon Publishing in March 2018.

Prior to publishing, Lisa owned a 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.

SOCIAL LINKS

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

Website – http://lisareneejones.com/

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

Twitter – https://twitter.com/LisaReneeJones

Instagram – http://instagram.com/lisareneejones

Goodreads  https://www.goodreads.com/LisaReneeJones

 

 

Temporary, by Sarina Bowen and Sarah Mayberry: Review and Author Interview

Two fantastic authors deliver one wonderful standalone Romance…it’s

Temporary

by Sarina Bowen and Sarah Mayberry

Front Cover, Temporary

Synopsis

The most beautiful man I’ve ever seen is the one who can ruin everything…

The first time I lay eyes on Callan Walker, I know he’ll be trouble. With his smug grin, hot Aussie accent and thousand dollar shoes, he’s just the kind of rich guy who always gets what he wants.

And he wants two things: a night of sin, and my cooperation as he outmaneuvers his powerful mother to take control of his uncle’s estate.

I can’t afford either one. I’m the only thing standing between my little sister and the foster care system. He may have money and charm on his side, but I have something even more powerful — pure desperation. This temp job at his mother’s company can become a full-time job for me. It has to.

But when Callan’s eyes rake over my body, sometimes I forget my obligations. His piercing gaze finds the fun, optimistic girl I used to be and not the tired person I’ve become.

And it works–if only for a moment. Our night together was a mistake. I can’t afford to get sucked into his high-powered family’s treachery. But the closer I get to Callan, the more layers I find beneath those expensive clothes. Though I can’t forget this is temporary. He’s temporary. I have too much to lose.

Too bad my foolish heart didn’t get the memo…

Links

➜ Amazon: http://geni.us/TEMamazon
➜ iBooks: http://geni.us/TEMibooks 
➜ B&N: http://geni.us/TEMnook
➜ Kobo: http://geni.us/TEMkobo

Review: 4.5 Stars

Temporary is a sweet, contemporary Cinderella story that will sweep you off your feet, but also hot enough to melt your glass slippers!

In this hot new stand-alone romance by Sarina Bowen and Sarah Mayberry, your Prince Charming is Callan, a hot Aussie playboy and the estranged black sheep in his family’s cattle dynasty, Walker Holdings, Inc.

Grace, our Cinderella, works as a temp in Manhattan by day, raises her teenage sister–Olivia–by night, and desperately hopes her current assignment will secure her future with Walker Holdings.

The primary source of conflict is Callan’s cold-blooded, manipulative, power-hungry mother, Victoria, who hires Grace to inventory the holdings of her deceased brother, Callan’s beloved uncle, who lived in New York until his death. Victoria Walker is a classic fairy tale villain archetype, a greedy, heartless woman you’ll truly love to hate.

Like any fairy tale, there’s a beautiful message underneath; and like the Cinderella story, it’s all about family. There’s the dark side: greed, sibling rivalry, money, and power. But there’s also the bright side: love, honor, self-sacrifice, and humility. The plot is driven by the pull of sexual attraction (which, by the way, is a very powerful attraction); the struggle between what the head wants and what the heart needs; and the vulnerability that results when you risk it all for the sake of a love that may turn out to be only a fantasy. It’s heart-warming, mildly suspenseful, emotional and unexpectedly inspiring.

If you’re looking for a sweet, sexy, funny, poignant story that will allow you to escape into your most tempting romantic fantasy, lose yourself in Temporary this weekend. It’s a decadent delight.

An Interview with Sarah & Sarina

What do you enjoy most about collaborating/co-writing a book? What are the possible pitfalls and how do you handle them?
Sarah: The magic of having someone else write the book while I was sleeping never got old! And I got to wake up every morning to a Sarina Bowen scene. Doesn’t get much better than that!. There weren’t any major pitfalls that I can think of.
Sarina: The time difference was the only hard part. I confess to sending at least one email reading: Wake up! I had an idea. Poor Sarah. We had a lot of fun with the culture clash.
Is there one character you’ve written that has special meaning for you? Who’s character traits and/or arc changed you in some way as you wrote him or her? Who is it and why do they stand out as your favorite?
Sarah: There are two brothers who both had their own books – Tyler in The Last Goodbye, and Jon in One Good Reason. They were both survivors of an abusive father, and I found them both very moving books to write because one of my close friends had a difficult childhood and I wanted to really honor the truth of that.
Sarina: Corey from The Year We Fell Down will always be close to my heart. She taught me how to write a fierce heroine.
Is there a character from a book by another author that had a similar effect on you – or is generally unforgettable? Who is it and why?
Sarah: One of the first strong heroines who really stayed with me was Lessa, from Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonflight. She was such a difficult, determined, complicated woman, and at the end of the day she risked everything to save her world.
Sarina: Some of Alice Hoffman’s female characters are still close to me even twenty years after I’ve read them. Nora Silk from Seventh Heaven is so wonderfully unique.
What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
Sarah: Don’t worry about what any other writer is doing or what’s happening in their career. I didn’t understand that when I first heard it, but now I do. You write the books you write, and you have your own career, no one else’s. You’ve got to run your own race.
Sarina: Give your characters internal yearnings that they can’t yet articulate on page one. It hasn’t failed me yet.
What would you like your readers to know about you new story? What do you hope they take away from it?
Sarah: I want them to know we had so much fun writing it. I would literally giggle with glee when I woke up and read what Sarina had written that day. I would love for readers to have as much fun reading Temporary as we did writing it.
Sarina: I want them to know that Callan is a very unique hottie. You won’t want to miss him.

Release Day! We Own Tonight, a Sexy New Standalone by Corinne Michaels

From New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author Corinne Michaels, comes We Own Tonight, a sexy new STANDALONE romance novel.

WE OWN TONIGHT is available now!

Front Cover, We Own TonightI’m not a one-night stand kind of woman. I’m especially not the woman who has a few drinks at a concert and ends up in bed with my childhood celebrity crush, Eli Walsh.

However, that’s exactly where I find myself.

What’s a girl to do after a drunken mistake? Run. I grab my clothes and get away from the powerful, irresistible, and best-sex-of-my-life superstar as fast as I can. His gorgeous green eyes, rock-hard body, and cocky smile have no place in my world. My life is complicated enough.

Someone forgot to tell him that.

Eli is relentless. Pushing his way into my heart, wearing me down, proving he’s nothing like I assumed, and everything I need. But when my world shatters to pieces, he holds the broken bits together. Unwillingly, I fall desperately in love with him.

He made me think we’d have forever . . . I should’ve listened when he said we could only own tonight.

 

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PURCHASE WE OWN TONIGHT NOW!

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Amazon Paperback   ♣   Amazon Kindle

 

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About Corinne Michaels

New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Corinne Michaels is the author of nine romance novels. She’s an emotional, witty, sarcastic, and fun loving mom of two beautiful children. Corinne is happily married to the man of her dreams and is a former Navy wife.

After spending months away from her husband while he was deployed, reading and writing were her escape from the loneliness. She enjoys putting her characters through intense heartbreak and finding a way to heal them through their struggles. Her stories are chock full of emotion, humor, and unrelenting love.

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Release Day: One Night, by Aleatha Romig

One Night…

Front cover, One Night, by Aleatha RomigA sweet, fun, and sexy stand-alone romance from New York Times bestselling author Aleatha Romig.

One night to remember

Is that too much to desire?

One night for fun, passion, and a chance to remember what it’s like to be a woman.
I’m not looking for love.
There’s a man in my life who loves me with all his heart. He has beautiful blue eyes, is three feet tall, and calls me mommy.
He’s my whole world and I’m his. Fate stole his daddy way too soon.
What would happen if I allowed fate another chance, just for one night?

One night to help a friend

Why did I agree to this?
Blind dates are disasters. If I weren’t helping the friend of a friend, I wouldn’t go.
I’m not looking for romance, love, or even a one-night stand.
After all, the man my friend knew is gone. I’m no longer the hockey star known for his “pep” on the ice and in the sack. I have a new life, and a new career—a new passion. I’m not looking for more.
When the blind date is a bust, could fate change everything?

One night doesn’t end with a kiss—it begins with one.

Be ready to laugh, cry, and fall head over heels as you meet Leatha, the lighter side of Aleatha in this new sweet and sexy stand-alone romance, ONE NIGHT.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | iBooks

An Excerpt from One Night…

Mandy

When we finally pull apart, before I can speak or even contemplate what happened, Malcolm’s blue eyes shine down on me, taking me in and reading me.

His voice rumbles through the background commotion of the bar. “You taste like sweet wine and smell like perfume and desire.”

Warmth fills my cheeks. “You taste like good beer.”

“Good? You’re a beer connoisseur?”

I shrug. “Mostly, I know cheap beer.”

He lifts my chin, bringing his indigo eyes into focus. The room disappears, making those blue orbs all I can see.

“I’m a connoisseur,” he says as his thumb gently rubs over my bruised lips. “And you, beautiful Mandy, if you were a beer, would never be a cheap one. No, you’re a rich custom craft brew. I see it in your eyes, feel it in your touch, and smell it in the air. Kissing a stranger isn’t something you do, is it?”

I try to move my eyes away, but Malcolm’s grip of my chin is unrelenting. Meeting his gaze, I reply, “No. I won’t even bore you with how long it’s been since I’ve kissed a real man.”

His eyes sparkle. “You kiss fake men?”

“Boys. Well, only one actually.”

“You kiss boys…” And then, as if the reality of his statement hits home, he asks, “You have a son?”

My heart flutters, its speed increasing by the second. “I do, but I don’t want to talk about him. Not because he isn’t important for he is—he’s my world—but because tonight isn’t about him. It’s about me.” I can’t gauge Malcolm’s reaction. I can only guess that he’s assuming that I’m some needy woman trying to get a man to take on the responsibility of a kid who isn’t his.

I reach out and splay my fingers over his chest. His heart is beating to match mine. “I don’t want to talk about him,” I continue, “because he’ll never know about you—I’ll never tell him and never introduce you. Don’t worry. I’m not after a man to rescue me. I’m perfectly content with my life as a mother. I just wanted to remember what it felt like to be a woman…for just one night.”

“I’m not anti-children—”

I shake my head. “Stop. That doesn’t matter.” It’s then that I notice the filled glasses on the table and laugh. “When did the waitress come?”

Malcolm bows his head until our noses touch. He inhales deeply, his eyes closing as his hand falls to my lap. “I’d say just after you.”

More heat floods my cheeks. “I-I didn’t…”

“Then we need to do something about that.” He looks again at the full glasses. “I think the drinks came while my tongue was busy getting to know your sweet mouth.” His hand splays over my thigh.

My breathing hitches. “Malcolm?”

“You said you want one night. One night doesn’t end with a kiss. It begins with one.”

About Aleatha Romig

aleatharomig1Aleatha Romig is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author who lives in Indiana, USA. She grew up in Mishawaka, graduated from Indiana University, and is currently living south of Indianapolis. Aleatha has raised three children with her high school sweetheart and husband of nearly thirty years. Before she became a full-time author, she worked days as a dental hygienist and spent her nights writing. Now, when she’s not imagining mind-blowing twists and turns, she likes to spend her time a with her family and friends. Her other pastimes include reading and creating heroes/anti-heroes who haunt your dreams!

Aleatha released her first novel, CONSEQUENCES, in August of 2011. CONSEQUENCES became a bestselling series with five novels and two companions released from 2011 through 2015. The compelling and epic story of Anthony and Claire Rawlings has graced more than half a million e-readers. Aleatha released the first of her series TALES FROM THE DARK SIDE, INSIDIOUS, in the fall of 2014. These stand alone thrillers continue Aleatha’s twisted style with an increase in heat.

In the fall of 2015, Aleatha moved head first into the world of dark romantic suspense with the release of BETRAYAL, the first of her five novel INFIDELITY series that has taken the reading world by storm. She also began her traditional publishing career with Thomas and Mercer. Her books INTO THE LIGHT and AWAY FROM THE DARK were published through this mystery/thriller publisher in 2016.

2017 brings Aleatha’s first “Leatha, the lighter side of Aleatha” with PLUS ONE, a fun, sexy romantic comedy.

Aleatha is a “Published Author’s Network” member of the Romance Writers of America and PEN America. She is represented by Kevan Lyon of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.

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New Release: MERCY, from the Dark Side of Debra Anastasia

 

Release Banner for Mercy by Debra Anastasia

 

Title: Mercy
Author: Debra Anastasia
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: August 21, 2017
Blurb
He taught me to kill. Murder is in my blood now. It runs through my veins and though I hide the monster I see in the mirror with ink, it doesn’t keep him from coming out.
My street name is Mercy, but I never show any. Except for her. I watch Becca, though she doesn’t know. She saved me a long time ago; the day my father killed my mother. Her bravery turned her into a target.
My father holds a grudge and knife with the same proficiency, and Becca is the focus of his hatred. And I’m the only monster who can save her.
Purchase Links
$2.99 for a limited time
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Trailer
Author Bio
Debra Anastasia likes to write from her heart, her soul or
her butt. The genres she dabbles in are examples of that. There are two
paranormal romances in the Seraphim Series and now four contemporary romances in the Poughkeepsie Brotherhood Series and a stand alone in the same genre, Mercy.
Fire Down Below and Fire in the Hole, Booty Camp Dating Service and Beast complete her comedy repertoire. The Revenger, a dark paranormal romance,
is finally in the light, and the last, a novella called Late Night with Andres,
is special because 100% of the proceeds go to breast cancer research. 
Debra lives in Maryland with her two kids, husband of twenty
years and two dogs. The king of the house is clearly the tuxedo cat that is the
size of a small donkey. Find about her latest adventures on DebraAnastasia.com
Author Links

So Good: A Sexy, Funny Romance by Nicola Rendell – Blog Tour

 

Tour Banner for So Good by Nicola Rendell

 

 

 

 

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AP new - synopsis.jpg
On the roof of a house outside Truelove, Maine, master carpenter Max Doyle looks down through a skylight and sees the most beautiful woman he’s ever laid eyes on. She’s naked, she’s gorgeous, and everything about her is perfect, down to the ball-busting tattoo of a rose that wraps around her hip. But it isn’t just any woman making his knees buckle. It’s his best friend, Rosie Madden. And as he stands there, mesmerized and precariously close to toppling off the roof, he knows he’ll never, ever be able to look at her the same way again.

Rosie can’t help but notice that Max is suddenly acting very strange—lots of long stares, totally tongue-tied, and not at all like the slightly cocky hunk she’s proud to call her best friend. She can’t figure it out, until later that night when Max rescues her from the world’s worst date, challenges her to a game of pool, and shows her just exactly what she’s got him thinking about. Repeatedly.

But life is complicated. Rosie’s cat, Julia Caesar, wants to eat Max’s dog Cupcake for an afternoon snack. A dream job threatens to pull them apart. And another glance through the skylight changes everything, one more time. Yet try as they might, they can’t go back to being just friends, because falling in love with the one you’ve always adored?

It feels so good.

Read my Review of So Good on Goodreads

Max

As I unlocked the door to my houseboat, I heard it. At first, it sounded like a duck paddling, but then I heard something else—a panting, or a gasping. For a second, it died down. It didn’t worry me, really, because the docks were full of weird noises, and boats were noisy as fuck. But I turned the deadbolt turned, the sound got louder and more frantic. Whatever it was, it didn’t sound good and it sure as hell didn’t sound like a duck. I let my work belt slide off my shoulder onto the deck, and looked down in the water, gripping the taffrail. There in the shadows, gasping, paddling, and panicking, I saw something small and wet and terrified.
​Holy fuck. It was a dog. A tiny, drowning dog.

​Fully clothed, boots on, I jumped into the water off the sternside. I plunged in deep, submerged in a world of shadowy barnacle-crusted dock pilings and chains holding anchors far below. Holding my breath and looking up toward the sunshine, through the bubbles that came down with me, I saw it. No bigger than a chicken, and kicking hard. I breaststroked toward the dog, aiming to come up right below it, but the salt water stung my eyes, and I closed them out of reflex. When I surfaced, it had gotten a few feet away. It was just a tiny thing, soaking wet, sucking in terrified breaths. It doggy-paddled in circles, slipping down into the water so that only its nose was above the surface. I did one strong breaststroke, but it was in full flight-or-fight mode, absolutely fucking petrified, and it paddled away from me, slipping out of my grasp. With one more big stroke, I had it, and I scooped it up into my arms to held her up out of the water, the way people do when the hold babies in the air. I saw it was a girl, her tummy soft and much less furry than the rest of her. Her big black eyes bugged out for an instant, and then…

She went limp in my hands. Lifeless, with her feet dangling down, her tongue hanging out. Her eyes were closed. On my palm, I couldn’t feel a heartbeat where I was sure there should have been one thrumming along.

​Fuck. Fuck.

​I gave her a shake, but she dangled like a rag doll.

I held her out of the water, keeping her in a tight bicep curl over my shoulder. Carefully, I maneuvered under the jetty that led to my boat. I got a toehold on the old dock ladder, rusty and unsteady. Using one hand to climb up, and using both boots like climbing picks, I emerged from my boat’s shadow and out into the sunshine of the dock. I laid her down on her back, supporting her lifeless body. With every passing millisecond, my heart fucking broke more and more. I could not let this happen. I could not let her die. I pulled myself up all the way and knelt beside her. She was flat on her back, with no signs of life at all. Her arms were limp at the wrists, and her paws dripped onto the dry wood beneath her. Still, her tongue hung out. Still, her eyes were shut. Still, she wasn’t breathing.

Somewhere, buried deep in my memory, I remembered learning the basics of canine CPR. I felt like maybe it was in my lifeguard class when I was in high school, but I didn’t fucking know and it didn’t fucking matter. All I knew was I had to do something, and fast. So I did. I wrapped my fingers around her tiny muzzle and brought my lips to her leathery nose. I blew gently, and as I did I felt her chest swell up. I held my own breath and prayed for anything, any sign of life, but there was nothing. Lightly, with the tips of my fingers, I did compressions on her soaking wet fur. One. Two. Three. And then I did another breath. One. Two. Three.
“Come on, little lady,” I whispered, and rolled her onto her side. I gave her a few pats, firm but not too hard. She was absolutely tiny—from scruff to tail, hardly bigger than the span of my hand. I rolled her over onto her back again and gave her one more breath, all the while going through the paces of what the fuck to do if this didn’t work. I had no goddamned idea whatsoever where the vet was. Did we even have a vet? Would she survive that long? What the fuck was I going to do?

But as I started the next set of compressions, she coughed. She actually coughed, like a tiny person, a gasping choking hack, accompanied by a few mouthfuls of water spilling out onto the wood planks.

Holy shit.

I froze with my hands just above her tiny body. Her strange, buggy eyes opened up and she started panting hard.

“Hey, hey!” I scooped her up in my arms, cradling her to my chest. I could tell by the way she was so limp against me that she was exhausted. Keeping her close to my body, to keep her warm and safe, I scratched the fur at the back of her neck, her tail started to wag. But she was also shivering hard, and I didn’t like that one bit.

 

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.
Author Links

 

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Chapter Reveal: SO GOOD, Coming Soon from Nicola Rendell

 

 

Coming August 7th

 

 

 

Front Cover of So Good by Nicola Rendell

 

AP new - synopsis.jpg

On the roof of a house outside Truelove, Maine, master carpenter Max Doyle looks down through a skylight and sees the most beautiful woman he’s ever laid eyes on. She’s naked, she’s gorgeous, and everything about her is perfect, down to the ball-busting tattoo of a rose that wraps around her hip. But it isn’t just any woman making his knees buckle. It’s his best friend, Rosie Madden. And as he stands there, mesmerized and precariously close to toppling off the roof, he knows he’ll never, ever be able to look at her the same way again.

Rosie can’t help but notice that Max is suddenly acting very strange—lots of long stares, totally tongue-tied, and not at all like the slightly cocky hunk she’s proud to call her best friend. She can’t figure it out, until later that night when Max rescues her from the world’s worst date, challenges her to a game of pool, and shows her just exactly what she’s got him thinking about. Repeatedly.

But life is complicated. Rosie’s cat, Julia Caesar, wants to eat Max’s dog Cupcake for an afternoon snack. A dream job threatens to pull them apart. And another glance through the skylight changes everything, one more time. Yet try as they might, they can’t go back to being just friends, because falling in love with the one you’ve always adored?

It feels so good.

Max

I wasn’t planning to see her naked—I swear to God, I wasn’t. The day was a scorcher, one of those godforsaken New England summer days that makes a guy wonder how he ever said fuck you to winter. I stood on the roof her house, three stories above the Maine woods, with a far-off view of the ocean. It was pretty, yeah, like the kind of shit real estate companies put on complimentary calendars. But in that heat, it was like standing on top of a goddamned toaster, turned all the way to burnt. I could feel that shit in my socks, straight through my work boots. At my feet was a stack of shake shingles, old school, to replace the ones that were missing. Her house had a few slow leaks, and one over her bathroom that made the ceiling look like a huge Rorschach test. She said it definitely looked like a rose in bloom, I said it definitely looked like Batman. But I told her hidden meanings wouldn’t make shit for difference when the ceiling collapsed into the tub, so there I was. Fucking miserable work, but I was glad to do it. Glad to do anything for her—anything she needed at all.
In the forest on every side around the cottage, the cicadas screeched. It sounded like a needle squeaking off a record player. I knelt down by the stack of shingles, using my utility knife to score a line through one to fit a nearby gap. I snapped it with my hands and tossed the scrap end off the edge of the roof. A trickle of sweat ran down my forehead, and I wiped my face with my forearm. One droplet got away, sparkling in the sun. It caught my eye, and I watched it fall, as it landed on the skylight window with a splat.

And that was when it happened. Boom.

There she was, right under me. She couldn’t have been more than six feet away, but she felt even closer. I had a direct line of sight down into her gorgeous, soft cleavage, bright and pure in the sunshine. Maybe it was the heat, or maybe it was the surprise of seeing her, but at first I didn’t really process that it was Rosie at all. My dude brain said, I want that woman.
Then my regular brain said, Don’t be an asshole, man. It’s Rosie. Have some respect.
Respect I definitely had, but of course I’d thought about seeing her naked before. She was so fucking beautiful that any man would have thought about it. Sometimes, like right then looking down into her dress, I couldn’t fucking help it. Sometimes we’d be out doing something ordinary, like eating dinner, or I’d be changing her oil, or she’d be teaching me to do shit I should have learned at some point in the last 34 years, like iron a dress shirt without screwing up the collar, and I’d catch myself watching her cleavage rise and fall as she breathed, or thinking how nice her legs were, and I’d think, Holy hell.

Now she was directly underneath the skylight. The angle of the sun cast my shadow down the roofline, away from the skylight, so I didn’t give myself away. Like that, I watched her. I gave in to my dude brain and just took her in. Her light brown hair glinted, and a beam of light caught the curve of her shoulder.

That was when the goddamned striptease started, beginning with the left strap of her sundress.

Her movements were graceful, sexy, sassy—the sway of her hips, the shake of her shoulders. I realized I might be in real fucking trouble, because I loved that sexy sass. It wasn’t normal Rosie-cute. It was naughty, like nothing I’d ever seen her do before. I liked it so much, I couldn’t look away. She shimmied out of her sundress, and it fell to the floor in a pool at her feet. No big deal, I tried to tell myself. I’d seen her in her bikini a thousand times. This was no different from that.

Except it was, because then she reached around to undo her bra. Before I could tell myself Don’t look, dude. It’s Rosie, don’t look, it was too fucking late. The straps slid down off her shoulders, and for one perfect second got caught on her nipples, swinging in the air before falling to the floor.

Holy…

I pressed my clenched fist to my mouth and groaned into my hand. All my blood was leaving my head. The roofline was getting wobbly.

It wasn’t like I didn’t know her curves; we’d spent whole summers on the beach—I knew her shape and her softness, I knew her lines and her freckles. Every curve of Rosie Madden was sacred in my book. Fucking douchebags on the beach giving her eyes had to answer to me and my eyes, right behind her. She did that to me—I was one punch away from defending her honor, always. But this? This was different. Seeing your best friend in a bikini at a clam bake is one thing. Protecting your best friend from assholes with wandering eyes is part of the guy-girl best friend creed. But seeing your best friend, absolutely naked in her bedroom, without knowing she can see you? That was a different deal.

…Shit.

Part of me knew I should keep my eyes off of her. She thought she was in private, I had no business spying. Anyway, I didn’t want to be that guy. I hated that guy. But the other part of me, fuck. The other part of me was nothing but want.

Then she bent at the hips, and time slowed down, like some kind of stop-motion Jackie Chan kung fu sequence. All the cicadas went silent, at least in my head they did. The wind stopped blowing through the trees. It was just her, and her perfection, in the sunshine underneath me. I felt like I was on one of those glass-bottomed boats, looking at a world I never knew existed.

She tossed her bra aside, and it landed on her neatly made bed. She shimmied out of her panties, shaking her ass as she did. I growled into my fist, and that’s when I went down into a crouch.

Because as she shimmied I saw it in a V above her ass. My kryptonite. A skimpy thong.
All these years, all these decades, I’d had her pegged for cute cotton panties—pastel polka dots, thin stripes, shit that was sweet and sensible. But I was so fucking wrong. Black. Strappy. Tiny. Not sensible at all. Now it was in a rolled-up ball at her ankles. Using her toes, she plucked her panties from the floor, and caught them on one finger.
Fucking A.

She was completely naked, not a thread on her. Every thought I’d ever had got sucked out of my brain, like dishwater down the sink drain. What was left was only one true thing, and it wasn’t about her ass, or her skin, or her breasts. It was the one thing I think I’d always known but never let myself feel. Until that moment.

She is the most beautiful woman in the world.

Part of the reason I thought that was, yeah, obviously, she was fucking stunning, every inch of her straight out of a dream. Not just my dream, either. Guys would slow down on Main Street to give her the elevator stare, and I’d quietly crack my knuckles and give them don’t-you-fucking-dare stares. But the other part, the part that wasn’t in my gut but that was in my heart, was that I fucking adored her. Adored her so hard it hurt.

She crouched down to pick up her dress, lifting the delicate straps with her small, sweet fingers. She pivoted, so I had a view of her other side of her body for the first time. There it was.

The tattoo.

I groaned again. I wasn’t prepared for this shit; three stories up, that body was dangerous. It was a rose tattoo, snaking around her hip, on the milk-white skin that was always under her bikini bottoms. The part of her I’d never seen. It was serious ink, real art, not some namby-pamby temporary tattoo or some amateur shit she might’ve gotten in an hour at a tattoo parlor on a dare on a cruise to Puerto Rico. It was complicated, detailed, and artful. Multiple visits to some tattoo artist, touching that creamy skin—goddamn.

It took every fucking ounce of strength I had, but I did manage to look away. I felt as disoriented as if I’d been sucker punched. Not cotton—lace. Not cute—hot. Not my friend—my fucking fantasy.

She was so important to me, such an integral part of my world, that I’d never let myself think of her as more than what she was. She was like running water, or electricity, or the sunshine itself. She was one of those things that was perfect exactly as it was, and one of those things only an idiot would want to change. I never looked at her and thought, I wish I could have more of her than I do already. That would be like thinking, I wish I could turn that cold glass of water into a swimming pool. Or, I wish electricity came through the air. Fuck that noise. Perfect things are perfect things, and Rosie Madden was a perfect goddamned thing, from the tips of her toes to the freckles on her nose. And that rose, holy fuck, that rose.
I was strong, but not that strong, and I let my eyes move down again. She’d disappeared from view, mostly, except for the edge of her ass. I watched her rifle through her closet, and a few dresses fluttered onto her bed. On her bedside table, I caught a glimpse of the picture she always kept there, of the two of us together. The memories flew back at me like a runaway train. The first time I’d ever seen her was the day my parents and I moved to Truelove, at the start of middle school. The first time I ever saw her, she was volunteering at the community gardens. She had a smudge of dirt on her cheek, and I thought she’d looked super badass. I’d helped her dig up carrots and had been too fucking tongue-tied to say a goddamned word.

That’s how I felt, all over again times a thousand.

I’d never made a move. She’d cried on my shoulder through a line of guys who were never good enough for her. Jocks and pricks and a brief and seriously unfortunate stint with a guy who was a drummer for a reggae band who I hated so much it made me grind my teeth. But I never said shit about it. She was perfect even when she made mistakes. Tips of her toes. Freckles on her nose.

Never mind that rose. Like Banksy took on a temple.

One more time, I glanced down. Now she was sitting on her bed, and I saw that dark V shadow between her thighs. Oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck. I watched her put on a pair of red panties. Equally skimpy, equally not-sensible, equally ball-busting. They were only tragic because they hid the parts of her I’d never seen before.

Christ. All. Mighty.

As the world started to spin, I realized fixing the shingles could wait. I’d been working on old houses long enough to know that if you found yourself on a dangerously sloping roof and felt like you might be less than 100% on the ball, you needed to reconsider your game plan. I needed to get my shit together—that body had me totally fucking derailed. So I made my way down the roof, basically bouldering down backward. I focused on my grip, and my steps, like a climber coming down from Everest without enough oxygen. When I got to the gutter, I worked my way around the corner, standing on the eave, and hooked my leg over my ladder, making sure to put one foot after another and keep a tight grip on every rung.
When I stepped off the ladder, I grabbed a bottle of water that she’d left for me and filled up my palm and then splashed my face. My sweat stung my eyes through the droplets of water, and I rubbed away the tears. I heard the hinges on the screen door creak. “All done?” she asked.

I opened my eyes. They stung like hell, but I didn’t give a fuck. There she was, in a dress I’d seen before. Striped and sweet. But now I knew the secret. There were red panties under there. Red. Cherry red. My eyes fell on that part of her hip that I knew was inked.
“Max?”

I managed somehow to snap out of it. “Sorry. Getting there. Spotted something weird with the skylight.”

Rosie cocked her head. “Were you up there? Above my room?”

Awesome, dude. Smooth. “Just noticed it out of the corner of my eye.”

“I don’t like you being on the roof.” She pursed her lips. “Too steep. Promise you’ll get some ropes up there or something? Promise?” She reached out and put her hand to my arm, her fingers with their short pink nails pressing into my tanned skin. I had a quick but totally unavoidable image of her gripping my forearm in a very different situation. I want that. So fucking…

Oh, for fuck’s sake.

When I didn’t answer—I knew that if I opened my mouth the first words out would be You. Me. Right Now.—she looked up at the roof and squinted into the sun. She peered suspiciously up at me and shifted her nose, kind of like a bunny. Adorable. She wasn’t very tall, so whenever she looked at me she had to lift her chin, which used to be cute. But now looked…like everything I’d ever wanted. “Have you had too much sun?”

I was vaguely aware that she’d said some words, but I wasn’t hearing them because I realized that I couldn’t see her bra straps, so that had to mean she was she was wearing a strapless…

Knock. That. Shit. Off. “I’m good.”

“Mmm.” She nodded and furrowed her delicate eyebrows, which had never looked so pretty as they did at that moment. I didn’t even know eyebrows could be pretty. They’re eyebrows, for fuck’s sake. But suddenly I felt like for the last ten years, I’d been looking at her through a standard definition television, with a shitty cable connection. Now someone had handed me an HDMI cable, and she was in 1080 dots per inch. Christ.

“Lemme make you a sandwich. You’re acting strange.”

Rather than answer her, I dumped the remaining half a bottle of water over my head, like Andre Agassi used to do between break points at the French Open.

“Ham? Or turkey? I’ve got both. Or chicken salad!” She clapped her hands together, compressing her cleavage. “Do you want a pickle?”

She means an actual pickle, you fuckwit. “Surprise me,” I told her, and dragged my eyes off the curve of her cleavage. I grabbed the bottom of my T-shirt and pressed it to my eyes. I had to get out of there. I needed a cold shower, or a call from my tax guy, or an unexpectedly urgent trip to the DMV—anything to stop myself seeing her stark naked every goddamned time I looked at her. Anything to get my mind off that ink.

As I wiped my face, she cleared her throat, and I dropped my shirt. “What?”

She pressed her lips together and rocked back on her sandals. “Nothing!”

I followed her eyes and glanced down at my fly, but the stallion was still in the barn. “Come on,” I said, finding myself smiling right along with her. “What are you looking at?”

“Just…” She swallowed hard. “Looking good there, champ.” She glanced at my stomach, where I’d shown her my bare abs. She made a fist and gave me a mock punch, soft and sweet. “That P90X is working great for you.”

Here we go again with the fitness videos. For everything else she was—beautiful, smart, funny—she was also a fucking ball-buster sometimes. She’d worked up this whole narrative that I spent my nights with Tony Horton on my houseboat, getting cut and doing reps while I drank protein shakes with a straw straight from the blender. It was her only explanation for why I didn’t have a girlfriend. P90X it had to be, she’d said. Or maybe, she’d whispered like a co-conspirator, “Jazzercise.” Now, though, I had a better idea than ever about why I was so picky: not a single woman held a candle to her. I’d been fucking blind to it, but now the mist had burned right off. “I’ve never even seen the opening sequence. Never have. Never will.”

“They’re streaming now!”

“Christ.”

Rosie snorted and made a long wheeeeee. “Sure. Surrrrrrre,” she said, stifling her giggle. “One ham-and-turkey, coming right up.” She spun on her sandals and disappeared into the house. Hips swinging. Red panties invisible, but not to me.

Not anymore.

 

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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.
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