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3.5 SMARTBUTTERY STARS

| On
Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Every Little Thing

Hart's Boardwalk #2

by

Samantha Young






“Not so smart for a smart guy.”

There are stories that are surprisingly hard to rate. While I loved a lot about this book there were some thing I just couldn't get on board with. Let me explain. 

Bailey is Hartwell-royalty. She is a descendant of the original founders and well-liked all around. She owns the inn on the boardwalk and is "OK" with her life. Is she happy? That would be an exaggeration. Her boyfriend sports a serious case of commitment phobia which clashes with her yearning for a family. Temptation comes in the body of Vaughn Tremaine, a man she despises and it goes both ways. Or so she thinks. 

I was as attractive as a limp noodle to him. And it shouldn’t bother me. The man was a jerk.

Vaughn's feelings for the princess of Hartwell are complicated. He wants her. Bad. But relationships don't work for him so he helps himself to a beautiful woman once in a while. It doesn't satisfy his raging need for the beautiful, vivacious redhead but it takes the edge off it. Too bad that he can't get Bailey out of his mind and it sure doesn't help that they have weirdly gentle encounters when they don't antagonize one another.



“No wonder you’re single.”
I gave him a look that would have made a lesser man’s balls jump back up inside him.
“You’re cold through and through. You haven’t got anything real to offer a woman. Nothing but money. And sooner or later they’ll realize not even money is worth a lifetime of nothing.”
It was harsh. It was horrible. And it was all about me, not him. Immediately I wanted to take the words back, but they were out there. Me and my stupid no brain-to-mouth filter. Like the ice I’d accused him of being, Vaughn’s expression turned an arctic level of cool.
“I’m single because I want to be, Miss Hartwell. Unlike you I’m strong enough to be alone rather than settle for mediocre. But then like attracts like, doesn’t it.”

*wince*

To say that Vaughn was an ambivalent character is an understatement. He is vulnerable and deep on one hand but also hard and sometimes cold on the outside. He definitely has a tendency to be a jerk. The things he did and said didn't always make sense to me. In once scene, after putting Bailey through an emotional wringer, he is taken aback that Bailey doesn't trust him, when only a couple weeks earlier they were making each other's life hard by being spiteful with one another. On the other hand he has very sweet moments and makes his girl feel special and protected.




“I’m sorry. I have a bad habit of being a bastard to you.”
Bailey’s eyebrows rose at his admission. And then something rueful and mischievous glinted in those beautiful eyes of hers.
“Maybe that’s because I have a bad habit of being a bitch to you.”

Bailey is a firecracker. With her the theme is "what you see is what you get". Censoring her thoughts doesn't work for her. She is confrontational and a straight talker and her nose is pretty much in everybody's business. And while this is true for most of the book she too had a couple of situations in which she acted a bit out of character and not the way I expected her to. The scene when Vaughn comes back from New York in particular. And again, while these are things that didn't add up in my book I still liked her as a person. 

There was a lot of love about this story. Especially the detail of the small town descriptions made me feel like I belonged. As if I were right in the middle of it being another of the nosy towns people, watching Bailey and Vaughn standing off. 
I loved the secondary characters and I definitely can't wait to get my hands on Emery's and Jack's story. I'd also like to know what happened to Daliah. I want to go back and read Jess' and Cooper's story. I fell in love with them although they were only side characters. 


“I want you to watch out for Bailey. I know you do anyway, but I’m specifically talking about this Rex person.” He narrowed his eyes. “I don’t like the sound of him, Lawson.”
His friend took a slow, casual sip of his coffee and studied Vaughn until he was almost squirming.
“Well?” Vaughn snapped.
“I was just wondering.”
“What?”
“If it’s uncomfortable.”
“If what’s uncomfortable?”
“Having your head that far up your ass.”

Altogether this was an enjoyable read and it made me curious to learn more about the town and the people in it. Samantha Young's spellbinding writing held me interested throughout the story and despite all my reservations it did make for a captivating read. 

Bailey Hartwell liked a little dirt in bed. No lily-white princess. Loyal. Fierce. Protective. Kind. Strong. Funny. Sassy. Sexy. And goddamn perfect for him in bed.

RELEASE BLITZ ✬ AUDREY O'CONNOR ✬ CARAMEL BEACH

| On
Monday, February 27, 2017



CARAMEL BEACH

BY

AUDREY O'CONNOR


In Audrey O’Connor’s steamy, stormy follow-up novella to Lessons in Pure Life, Diego and Lia reunite after weeks apart for dance-floor revelations, midnight confessions, and a run-in with the law. Fans of Karina Halle's Racing the Sun won't want to miss this exciting new release published by Tryst Books!


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About Caramel Beach


Title: Caramel Beach
Author: Audrey O’Connor
Publisher: Tryst Books
Series: Lessons in Pure Life #2
Release Date: February 27, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Series Romance
ASIN: B01MUAWZR0





In Audrey O’Connor’s steamy, stormy follow-up novella to Lessons in Pure Life, sun-soaked days melt into restless nights for Diego and Lia, kept apart for weeks by long hours and miles of coastline. When an A-list wedding reunites them in Caramel Beach, the tension is higher than ever.

Over the course of an electric twenty-four hours filled with sugar, sex, and magic, the couple faces their share of personal demons, angels, and unlikely prophets. While Diego confronts his problems with the help of a surf champ and a bottle of whiskey, Lia stumbles into a bathroom-stall seduction and possibilities she never knew existed. Amid the chaos, Lia and Diego try to reconnect. What comes after is a life-altering odyssey into uncharted territory.




Available for $0.99!
Amazon






We meander back to the hostel in the wet sand, the surf to our left. The moon is full and bright, bouncing off the gentle waves that roll into the bay.

My first few months in Costa Rica were rich with the exhilaration of my new environment. I landed in the lap of a whole new life, just like that. After working all month in Pacifica without him, being with Diego again sends those early memories bobbing up to the surface. He’s got this sharp energy beneath the layers and layers that make up a man. Intimidation is what he inspires, followed closely by strange physical sensations that spell your undoing. He triggers an energy in me that could tear the hood off a car. And I’m sure as hell not on flakka.

He slides his arm around my waist like he can hear me. We walk a few steps before he stops and turns to face me.

“I wouldn’t hate it if you’d let me hold you.”

The waves crash endlessly behind us, a soaking wet heartbeat. I’m still strung up in his words when he closes the empty space between us.

“You’re on fire,” he tells me, hands making a ring behind my back so we’re suspended in some kind of stained glass embrace.

“Hey, thanks.”

“You sure know how to put yourself together, gringa.”

Blush.

“I’m not the only one.”

He sighs and I wait patiently. Indecision slows his expression, crystalizing in his delay.

Whatever it is goes away.

“Did you enjoy your time, you know, without me distracting you?” he asks.

“It was busy, but we got a lot done at the new school. I can’t complain.”

“I wish you would.” He pulls me in closer.

That one gets me. His slow kiss disappears everything around me before I’m even sure it’s happening. Lips softer than I remember, the light scrape of his chin on mine. A rugged feeling so welcome it can stay for dessert.

“You’re trouble,” he breathes.

“The best kind of it,” I reply.

“There’s nothing I can do about it, is there?”

“I doubt it.”

Bowing his head, he lowers his eyelids.

“I forgot what this is like,” he laughs tiredly, rubbing his cheek with his hand. “You still take me by surprise.” He tilts his head, considering me tenderly but wincing, like it hurts to admit it.

Watch and see my defenses lower to unprecedented depths.

I press against him, not sure whether I’m teasing him or me. His palm is warm on the back of my leg.

“How’d you get your skin so soft, anyway?” he whispers, stroking my thigh gently until it evolves into a grasp, the tips of his fingers pushing into my flesh.

“Magic.”

“It’s working.”

I laugh, breathless. “So what do you wanna do?”

“Right now?”

I nod.

He pulls me in by the bottom with both hands. “Get to know you all over again.”

Copyright © 2017 by Audrey O’Connor



For a limited time you can purchase 


Lessons in Pure Life for $1.49




Don’t miss out on this spectacular deal!



About Lessons in Pure Life


Title: Lessons in Pure Life
Author: Audrey O’Connor
Publisher: Tryst Books
Series: Lessons in Pure Life #1
Date Released: January 15, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Series Romance
ASIN: B01N5Q2HA1




Freshly minted grad Emilia Noble arrives in Costa Rica to teach English in the tropical community of Pacifica. Its carefree, pura vida lifestyle is a welcome contrast to her dark and wintry origins. Tossing caution aside like an old winter coat, she plunges headfirst into an exotic cocktail of sensory pleasure.

Diego is a local whose surfer body and cool detachment make Lia buzz with a long-lost thrill. Fascinated by her new environment, she can’t help but wonder about the moody inner workings of the boy with triceps like Wolverine and a grimace to match.

Diego seems to have no problem ignoring Lia, though. Caught up in his family’s conflicted attitude toward foreigners, he notices her only when it’s convenient. But as Lia thrives in her new surroundings, Diego might just find reason enough to defy his embattled, insular father. When north and south are mixed together, the results are intoxicating.




Now on Sale for $1.49 for a LIMITED TIME!

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Audrey O’Connor is inspired by art, science, compassion, and rare moments of transcendence. She writes in Chelsea, Quebec, and enjoys river swims, woodsy gatherings, live music in Wakefield, and a deep, dark cabernet sauvignon.




4.5 SNOW ANGEL STARS ☆ MELANIE HARLOW ☆ IF YOU WERE MINE

| On
Sunday, February 26, 2017

4.5 Snow Angel Stars


IF YOU WERE MINE

by

Melanie Harlow






Claire is tired of sitting at the singles table at weddings. So what's a girl to do when she is invited to another wedding? She lies through her teeth and tells her friend that she has a boyfriend who will be her plus one. In her despair a tipsy Claire browses the internet for a date to hire. She books a guy and expects more Ryan Reynolds than Keanu Reeves but dark and tall is what she gets. This guy, Theo, is as cocky as they come and has his nose in her business.

So much about her was youthful, even childlike— her exuberance, her trusting nature, her excitement over small things— but she was all woman, too.

Theo reads people well. The moment Claire walks into the bar where they arranged their first meeting he is captivated. He is not a relationship kind of guy yet he can't forget the sassy, kind and sweet Claire who is everything he wants but can't have. He keeps his private life under wraps but Claire sneaks past his walls and after a passionate night that is supposed to be a one-time-only thing he keeps coming back for more.

Jesus. That escalated quickly. I hadn’t meant for this to happen. I hadn’t meant to tell her the truth, hadn’t meant to kiss her, hadn’t meant to take her home and fuck her with my tongue next to the Christmas tree.

Claire is an immensely endearing and compassionate heroine who wants nothing more than love in her life. She isn't flashy though, she thinks she is plain and lacks a bit self confidence. Theo is the person who bolsters her. She is drawn to his devil may care attitude and senses the pain in Theo. She has a strong will and knows what she wants but she doesn't take risks. Claire plays by Theo's rules but that doesn't mean she is a doormat. Quite the opposite. There is a feisty side to her that has the hero's ears ringing.

Theo comes with a truck load of emotional baggage. While he sounds younger than he is when we meet him, more flippant and without a care in the world the more we get to spend time with these two we learn of all the struggles and his painful childhood. Theo deeply regrets that he can't be what Claire wants but is selfish enough to take what she offers. Theo's hardest decision will be whether he keeps running or takes a leap, opens up and lets Claire in.

She was exactly the salve I’d hoped she would be— the moment I crushed my lips to hers, I felt the conflict in my body resolve. The anger dissipate. The sadness lift. All of it was swept aside, replaced only by the desire to get closer to her.


I loved Theo. And Claire. And OMG did I say that I LOVED THEO? He is the ultimate broken soul and damn he made me feel. I was mad at him, I swooned and I wanted to hug him and comfort him. He is HOT. No scratch that, he is SCORCHING. Jesus, the guy has a mouth on him. Their chemistry is explosive. I broke a little bit of a sweat in the sexually charges chapters.


My cock stirred between us. “Uh, are we still observing the no-touching rule tonight?” I asked as she kissed her way up my chest. “Asking for a friend.”

Theo is also a nurturer and loves taking care of people and it was heartwarming how he looked after his brother's family.

“I bet you’re a fun uncle.” “I am pretty awesome at tea parties.”

If there is anything that bothered me it would be that Claire gave in too quickly in the end. Theo had hurt her badly so I expected some grovelling and a little bit more resistance from our girl.

I adored this story. Melanie Harlow writes amazing characters who are likable and real. She makes you feel and laugh. This story definitely makes for an engaging read and I gobbled it with gusto. If you love a broken hero and an endearing heroine in an epic love story, look no further. If You Were Mine ticks off all those boxes and will have you swoon at the end.


5 "KARMA IS A WANKER" STARS ☆ PENNY REID & L.H. COSWAY ☆ THE CAD AND THE CO-ED

| On
Sunday, February 26, 2017


5 "KARMA IS A WANKER" STARS

THE CAD AND THE CO-ED

by

L.H. Cosway & Penny Reid







I’d never forget that look.
I’d never forget seeing her like this.
I’d never forget another moment with her for the rest of my life.



Young Eilish wakes up all googly eyed after the best night of her life in which she gave her virginity to rugby player and heart throb Bryan Leech. And the first words that come out of his mouth?


"Do me a favor, love, and close the curtains. I've got a splitting headache."


This is not how she expected to be greeted. When the guy doesn't remember her in the morning she is utterly humiliated. Tail between legs she flees the scene. That night, which admittedly was amazing, has severe consequences and turns her life upside down. It includes an adorable boy who looks exactly like his father, leaving the country and getting an education. Five years later she returns home and lands a job as a physio intern for the rugby team and she is determined to give a particular player a wide berth.


Bryan is a recovering alcoholic. After his coach found him on the floor passed out he issues an ultimatum: Either Bryan gets his sh*t together or he will be kicked out of the team. He has changed since then. He prefers tea to beer, wears PJs, a housecoat and fur-lined slippers. Some may call him boring these days but he needs the routine.
Parties are detrimental for an alcoholic so Bryan doesn't really enjoy them as he used to. On his roommates birthday party he claps eyes on a beautiful redhead and damn but that hair color is his kryptonite. He knows he isn't ready to date yet but she bedazzles him with her intelligence, aloofness and beauty.

It was part of my recovery. I needed to learn to look after other things than just myself. So far, I had failed. But now, for some inexplicable reason, I was more determined to succeed than ever. An image of blue eyes and red hair flashed in my mind.


What we get with this book is a wildly entertaining story with detailed and developed characters who act in a way you can relate to. Eilish is a strong and independent woman with a backbone to boot. Her deep love and devotion to her son are incredibly sweet to watch. Eilish is stubborn and a little bit stuck in the past. When she meets Bryan again, she is wary of him and still reeling from the fact that he doesn't remember her but she does see the change he has gone through. He is a different man but can she trust him? With her son? Her heart? The truth?

Bryan's change from party animal and alcoholic to a responsible adult is so well done. He deals with the new truths and realities in his life amazingly well and while they sometimes feel a little bit like setbacks they only help him to steel his resolve and move forward. 

If I wasn’t careful, Eilish Cassidy would be elevated to sainthood level in my mind. I decided I should debauch her before this happened.

I loved how he was with Eilish, how he adored her and didn't hide it. When Bryan has made up his mind to make her his (well there wasn't a choice really) he does so with purpose. And can I say how swoonworthy he is? The way he is with his son is so freaking adorable, all that came out of my mouth were different chants of "aaawwwww".


I think this is a book that everyone would enjoy. It isn't dark, it has a teeny bit angst which helped to make this an engaging read. It's also surprisingly hot and has a lot of humor and lovely prose. These two authors are a match made in heaven. They click so well that you have no idea who is writing which chapter. I'm definitely going back to read the previous books in this series.

“I’m sorry,” he whispered, still touching me, shifting his weight from one foot to the next.
“What for?” The question was out before I could catch it.
“For so many things. For not asking you out at Will’s party months ago, because I wanted to. For not kissing you back, because I really wanted to. But mostly,” he paused for a moment, his thumb sweeping along my jaw, “Mostly for ever making you think you are anything other than magnificent and unforgettable.”



BLOG TOUR ☆ KL KREIG ☆ LOST IN BETWEEN

| On
Saturday, February 25, 2017
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Lost in Between 


by KL Kreig 


is LIVE!



"Clear a space on the top shelf of book boyfriends….there’s a new man claiming a top spot and his name is Shaw Mercer." - Totally Booked Blog



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BUY NOW

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



CHECK OUT THE TRAILER!









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



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As a USA Today Bestselling author, I write stories that are deeply emotional with flawed characters, because humans ARE flawed and if we read about perfect characters living in their perfect world, first of all, snoozer, but secondly, we never experience the gratification of redemption. Outside of writing, I’m just a regular ol’ Midwest girl who likes Game of Thrones and am obsessed with Modern Family and The Goldbergs. I run, I eat, I run, I eat. It’s a vicous cycle. I love carbs, but there’s love-hate relationship with my ass and thighs. Mostly hate. I like a good cocktail (oh hell…who am I kidding? I love any cocktail). I’m a huge creature of habit, but I’ll tell you I’m flexible. I read every single day and if I don’t get a chance…watch the hell out. My iPad and me: BFFs. I’m direct and I make no apologies for it. I swear too much. I love alternative music and in my next life I want to be a bad-ass female rocker. I hate, hate, hate spiders, telemarketers, liver, acne, winter and loose hairs that fall down my shirt (don’t ask, it’s a thing).




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RELEASE BLITZ ☆ KERI LAKE ☆ RIPPLE EFFECT: Episode 1

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Friday, February 24, 2017




RIPPLE EFFECT: Episode 1


 A Dark Hitman Erotic Romance Book 1



by KERI LAKE



Genre: Erotic Suspense/Erotic Romance

Release Date: February 26, 2017








From the author of Ricochet and Backfire comes a dark erotic suspense serial ...

Episode One: Dylan will do anything to escape her current nightmare, even if it means falling into the tangled web of a ruthless killer.

Series Synopsis:

Ripley
They call me RIP.
I’m a killer. A murderer. A psychopath.
In the eyes of the righteous, I’m a monster, born of sin and depravity.
I want to protect her, but I’m not a good man.
I want to love her, but I no longer feel.
She gets under my skin, though, and has awakened something inside of me.
Something I’d kill for.
I’m not her savior—not even close. In fact, I’m worse than the hell she’s already suffered.
I’m her vengeance. Tit for tat, as they say.
And if she’s not careful, I’ll be her ruin.
Dylan
For months, I’ve watched him.
I’ve fantasized him as my savior, my lover. My ticket out of the hell I’ve lived in for the last six years.
I never dreamed he’d be my nightmare.
Had I known what he really is, I’d have never gotten in the car that night, but life is full of cause and effect.
And sometimes the choice on offer isn’t a choice at all.
It’s the result of something already in motion, and we’re merely left to survive the ripple effect.
*This is an erotic suspense/erotic romance not recommended for readers under the age of 18 due to graphic violence and sex






















"This whole series was laid out beautifully ... Keri tells a twisted tale of violence, destruction, deceit that is thrilling, addictive and will leave you beautifully haunted by these characters." -Read-Love-Blog



"Dark romance lovers UNITE! Keri Lake knocks RIPPLE EFFECT out of the park and into the next ball field. With twisted, heart-pounding, sexy, delicious goodness on every single page, Ripley will own your soul without remorse. Come into the dark, my beautiful butterflies...you'll want to stay." -
KL Kreig, USA Today Bestselling Author



"The mood is intense. Sinister, brutal and raw and not for the faint of heart, yet in the end you'll find yourself deeply in love with a brutal killer and the love of his life." -Vanilla & Spice Books Blog







Keri Lake is a dark romance writer who specializes in demon wrangling, vengeance dealing and wicked twists. Her stories are gritty, with antiheroes that walk the line of good and bad, and feisty heroines who bring them to their knees. When not penning books, she enjoys spending time with her husband, daughters, and their rebellious Labrador (who doesn’t retrieve a damn thing). She runs on strong coffee and alternative music, loves a good red wine, and has a slight addiction to dark chocolate.

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