Release Blitz: The Gilded Mirror by L.M. Somerton #LGBTQ #eroticromance #BDSM @pridepublishing @firstforromance

The Gilded Mirror by L.M. Somerton

Word Count: 60,041
Book Length: NOVEL
Pages: 234

Genres:

ACTION AND ADVENTURE
BONDAGE AND BDSM
CONTEMPORARY
EROTIC ROMANCE
GAY
GLBTQI
MYSTERY

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Book Description

Life would be simpler if X marked the spot.

When Landry Carran buys an antique mirror from a pop-up flea market, he doesn’t expect it to set him on a treasure hunt originating in the Second World War. He can’t resist tracking down the clues even knowing that every step brings him closer to danger.

Landry’s partner and Dom, Detective Gage Roskam, has his own problems handling a money laundering case that twists and turns as much as Landry’s treasure trail.

As a decades-old mystery collides with modern-day crime, Landry and Roskam must juggle work, friendships and their relationship to solve both puzzles. It’ll be a miracle if nothing gets broken along the way.

Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of physical assault, gunshots and expressions of homophobia. There are references to non-nurturing parenting, addiction and attempted abduction.

Excerpt

“Moving apartments involves way too much physical exertion.” Landry Carran launched two garbage bags full of bed linen into the spare bedroom before continuing to the kitchen to survey the chaos. “I’m exhausted and I have bruises in unmentionable places. Why aren’t cardboard boxes spherical? Corners are evil.”

“You’re moving one floor down in the same building.” Gage Roskam, Landry’s boyfriend, poked his head around the door. “And you have half of Seattle PD’s finest helping out, so quit whining or I’ll spank you in full view of all of them.”

“That’d scare the uniform pants off ’em. Something I wouldn’t mind seeing one little bit.” Landry contemplated the idea of a bunch of semi-naked cops with delight.

“Not so much. I’ve heard at least three different people say you need a spanking today. None of them seemed bothered about when or where it happened.”

“I’m offended!”

“You’re a brat.”

“I just want boxes marked ‘kitchen’ to go in the kitchen. Do they not teach reading at the police academy?”

“Not so’s you’d notice.”

“I never knew I had so much stuff,” Landry muttered. “It’s like living in one of those anxiety dreams where you know you have to finish something but it’s never-ending.” He shuddered.

“Are you one of those hoarder types? I think full disclosure should have occurred before I agreed to move in with you, if that’s the case.” Gage shoved another box of kitchenware onto the already crowded counter.

“You’ve been living with me for almost six months. You invaded my closet, kept your toothbrush in my bathroom and installed a gun safe in the bedroom. You discovered my rubber ducky fetish, stole an entire box of peanut butter cups and left your huge-ass boots where I’d trip over them. Just because you kept paying rent on your place does not mean we weren’t living together.”

Gage shrugged. “Your rubber fetish is a lot broader than ducks.” His blue eyes twinkled.

“That’s where you’re going with this?” Landry pouted. “Stop grinning.”

“Come here.” Gage crooked his finger.

“Nope.” Landry folded his arms. “Not gonna.”

Gage blinked. “Right now, Landry.”

“Or what?”

“Hmm, let me think. There’s that new latex hood with the built-in penis gag—that has possibilities. Chastity for the next week—always fun—or removal of coffee privileges.”

Landry decided the three steps into Gage’s arms were his best option. He rested his cheek on Gage’s chest. “So mean.”

“And you love it.”

“Not admitting to anything that might prejudice my defense. Ooh, you’re so warm and you smell good.”

“How can that be when I’ve been carting boxes and furniture all day?”

“Don’t know, don’t care, but it’s true and that T-shirt shows off your muscles so well. Very distracting. You reduce my productivity.” Landry stroked a firm bicep.

“Oh no. You are not prepping the ground for blaming me when you can’t find your favorite mug this evening, or if some random object goes missing. Your productivity would increase if you spent less time drinking coffee and more time hauling shit. Less gossiping with Sancha needs to go on that list, too.”

“I don’t know what you mean.” Landry made his eyes big and wide and projected innocent vibes.

“My box of toys is in our bedroom. I have several paddles you haven’t met yet. Tonight, you’ll pick one then count while I apply it to your ass.” Landry gulped and his cock jerked. Gage snuck his hand down the front of Landry’s pants to give his shaft a squeeze. “Someone wants that spanking real bad.”

“Not me.”

“This says different.” Gage played a little more. “You’re leaking.”

“Unhand me, you brute.”

“Have you been watching old British films again?”

“Maybe.” Landry shoved his groin into Gage’s palm.

“Madre de dios, put that boy down!” Sancha Hernandez, Gage’s partner, shouted from the hallway. “Or at least wait until I have a better view. There’s unpacking to do, and I was promised beer and pizza for helping out. I’ve seen no evidence of either and as I am a detective, I’d know.”

Landry whimpered as Gage gave him a final squeeze before removing his hand from Landry’s pants. “Later, brat.” Gage grabbed his cell from the counter. “I’ll order the pies before we have a mutiny on our hands. You sort the drinks. I’m not unpacking anything else tonight. The bed’s made. I have a toothbrush. I’m set.”

“I can’t believe you’re leaving me all alone for three whole days,” Sancha moaned, joining them. “Who’s gonna buy my coffee and fill in my paperwork?” Landry sniggered. “I can’t believe the captain signed off on your vacation time. Do you have blackmail material on him I don’t know about?”

“Pretty sure you’ll survive by enlisting some other naïve sucker,” Gage muttered before putting in his pizza order.

“Junior detectives are meant to make themselves useful. I’m giving them valuable life experiences and don’t forget my garlic prawns,” Sancha prompted him.

“And that right there is why I’m glad I don’t have to share a car with you tomorrow,” Gage said. “There aren’t enough air fresheners in the world.”

Sancha shrugged. “Lightweight. How are you doing, Landry, sweetie? I hope you haven’t been carrying anything too heavy. Moving is hard work, and you need to stay hydrated. Why don’t you grab a soda then come sit with me?”

“That sounds so cool. I am a little achy.” Landry directed his pout at Sancha.

“I’ll be on the couch.” She smiled at Landry, scowled at Gage then left the kitchen.

“Why doesn’t she care if I’ve been overdoing it?” Gage complained. “I’m the one she spends every day with.”

“Duh. Because you have muscles on your muscles whereas I’m a delicate flower.”

“Who shifts furniture around all day in an antique store.”

“Details. This much cuteness needs to be protected.” Landry swept a hand down his body.

“Yes, I’m still here. Sorry. Someone delusional was interrupting me.” Gage finished ordering food while Landry got himself a soda. He turned from the fridge to find Gage looming over him. “You give me a crick in the neck when you do that.” Landry tilted his head back. “I need a stool or a box or something.”

“I think my partner loves you more than me.” Gage twisted his fingers through Landry’s hair.

“I’m a lovable person. Of course I’m Sancha’s favorite. She loves me best because I am way cuter and far more adorable than you. You have this whole broody, menacing thing going on.” Landry grinned. “Which is a huge turn on for me, gotta say.”

“I know.”

“You do, huh?”

“I do.”

“I should go talk to Sancha…”

“You should stay right here while I remind you who you belong to.”

Landry drew breath to speak but his words were cut off as Gage captured his lips in a demanding kiss. Every submissive gene in Landry’s body responded to Gage’s dominance. He moaned into the kiss, knees wobbling. Every tug Gage gave his hair sent a miniature bolt of lightning to Landry’s cock. When they finally parted, he took a step back, dazed.

“I…that was…wow.”

“Now you may go and talk to Sancha.”

“Oh I may, may I?” Landry hesitated, wondering if he might get kissed into silence if he talked back. “You don’t get to tell me who I can and can’t talk to.” Gage gave him one of his patented ‘don’t mess with me’ looks. “Okay, sometimes you do. Not all the time, ‘cause I’m a grown-up and I make decisions for myself. Like when we have cookies, and I have to choose between chocolate chip and ginger. I can do that.”

“No you can’t. You always take both.”

“Bad example.” Landry scuffed the toe of his sneaker on the floor.

“I know you’re all grown up, sweetheart, and you’re quite capable of making decisions. Mr. Lao wouldn’t trust you with Treasure Trove if you weren’t. But you’re mine and that gives me a say in your life. Sometimes you need a nudge in the right direction is all.”

“And that’s your job?”

“Along with watching out for you, tying you up, fucking you into the mattress, protecting you from predatory British art thieves…”

“You had to go there.”

Gage smirked. “Go keep Sancha company. I’ll go wait for the pizza guy and let the others know food is on the way. I think pretty much everything that needs to be, has been moved.”

“Bring them all in here, yeah? There’s a cooler full of beer behind the couch—unless Sancha has already found it, in which case it may be half-full by now.” Landry ambled through to the sitting room, which had a similar layout to the one in his old apartment except for an extra nook for a dining table. He threw himself onto the couch where Sancha was glugging down a bottle of Dubbel Entendre, which Landry had sourced from Sound Brewery in Poulsbo.

“You found the cooler then.” Landry leaned into Sancha’s side.

“I can scent beer from a mile away, you poor innocent lamb. Of course I found it and damn, this beer is good. Just what I needed. Love the name of this stuff too.”

“I couldn’t resist it, it’s such a cool name.” He cracked open his soda. “Thanks for helping out today, I really appreciate it. I know you don’t get much free time, and you must have had better things to do than helping me and Gage move.”

“How many times have you guys helped us out? Besides, it was this or taking the kids to soccer practice. My loving husband saw fit to remind me that I tend to get over-excited around the coach who I happen to think would have a much more lucrative career as an underwear model. Honestly, he’s wasted on a bunch of kids.”

“Leering in front of children is not a good plan.” Landry slurped his drink.

“Sad but true. However, we’re not here to talk about my perversions.”

“We’re not here to talk about mine, either,” Landry cautioned. “Because that would take way too long.”

Sancha gave an unladylike snort. “Ain’t that the truth? Also, Gage might object. So, tell me what Mr. Lao is up to and why you get to move into his apartment. Gage is hopeless at filling me in. I need to get the details from you. Mr. Lao isn’t ill or anything, is he? I kinda like the old guy.”

“He’s fine. More than fine. He’s moving in with his girlfriend.”

“He’s… Run that by me again.”

“He has a girlfriend called Maisie. He met her at his seniors bowling club—that’s bowling on grass by the way, not bowling on an alley, and now they’re moving in together in some gated community in the ’burbs, complete with health club, tennis courts and on-site restaurant. He’s stepping back from the store, to spend more time with her—semi-retirement, I suppose you could call it. I get to be the store manager and one of the perks is to move into Mr. Lao’s old apartment, which as you can see has more square footage than mine. The kitchen is bigger and there’s a spare bedroom, which is great because I can hide all Gage’s junk in there.”

“Congratulations! Manager, huh? Does that mean you get a humongous raise?”

“I wish. I agreed to a percentage of the profits on everything I sell on top of my puny salary, plus this place which, despite the lingering scent of incense, is quite a perk. Mr. Lao will still be doing most of the buying while I get to park my butt in the store. He loves traveling around finding great deals and bartering with his pals in the trade. Oh, I also get to look for an assistant. A new me.”

“And Gage is moving in with you. That’s so sweet.”

“I dare you to use the word sweet in front of him. It’s practical. He saves a bundle on rent, and I get to jump his bones any time I want. We were as good as living together already, anyway.”

“More like he gets to keep a closer eye on you.”

“Exactly,” Gage said, joining them. “Because someone has a habit of getting into strife when I’m not watching him.” He dropped a pile of pizza boxes on the coffee table and the room was soon swarming with all the people who’d been helping out with the move. The noise level and banter grew as the pizza mountain shrank and the beers from the cooler were drunk. Landry laughed at all the jokes Gage’s colleagues made about him, noticing that they were a lot more cautious about teasing Sancha. When he mentioned it, she laughed.

“They wouldn’t dare. The last time one of them tried to play a trick on me at the precinct, I accidentally stapled his hand.”

Landry looked to Gage for confirmation. He nodded. “She did. Not sure it was accidental, though.”

“No comment!” Sancha proclaimed.

“Your aim is spot on, and you know it!”

“And on that note, I think it’s time that me and this crowd of reprobates cleared out of here and left you two lovebirds alone.”

Landry fought back a yawn. “You don’t have to go yet.”

“It’s been a long, hard day and you’re going to be really busy with setting up this place until the store reopens on Monday. Take the peace and quiet while you can and besides, Gage is needy. You have to keep stroking his…ego.” She snorted with laughter before levering herself off the couch. She gave Gage a kiss on the nose then began ushering everyone out of the apartment.

“Give me a minute,” Gage said. “I need to make sure they’ve really gone.”

Landry giggled. He curled into the corner of the couch and nibbled on a leftover slice of pizza. A wave of fatigue washed over him. He’d been so excited about the move, he’d been up since dawn and hadn’t slept much the previous night. Snuggling in bed with Gage sounded like a fine way to end the day, even if the bed was still surrounded by boxes.

By the time Gage returned, Landry was half-asleep.

“You have drool coming out of your mouth.” Gage’s graveled tones pulled Landry from his doze. He rubbed at his mouth with the back of his hand. “So this is how it’s going to be. One day living together, and you’re already letting yourself go.”

“If I had the energy, I’d swat you for that remark,” Landry muttered, yawning.

“You look like you’re about to go into hibernation.”

“That’s not a bad idea. Did you know there’s a Twitter account that follows a bunch of bears in Alaska and people get to vote on which of them is the fattest before they hibernate. These guys are chonks, let me tell you. They get to eat whatever the hell they like, pile on the weight then snooze away the cold months and when they wake up, they’re all skinny. Mind you, I’m not that fond of salmon. I don’t think bears eat pizza.”

Gage gaped. “I worry about you.”

“I know you do. Makes me all gooey inside thinking about it.”

“Sometimes I wonder how you survived before you met me.”

“I managed just fine.” Landry squeaked as Gage scooped him into his arms.

“That’s not what your brothers tell me.”

“You are way too close to those Viking wannabes and you shouldn’t believe a word they say about what I did or didn’t get up to as a child. They lie.”

“They have photographic evidence.”

“Image editing software is a thing, you know. It’s all fake, whatever they say.” Landry pouted as Gage hauled him into the bedroom. Gage dropped him, and he landed on the bed in a sprawl.

“Get your clothes off, brat.” Gage’s feral expression sent shivers down Landry’s spine. He scrambled out of his clothes with indecent haste, full of renewed energy. “Sure you’re not too tired for this?” Gage removed his T-shirt far too slowly for Landry.

“Don’t tease me, Gage! And no, I’m not too tired. Raring to go.” Landry licked his lips at the sight of Gage’s chest. “Your bare skin has magical energy powers.”

“Hands and knees.” In his rush to get into the position Gage wanted, Landry got too close to the edge of the bed. Gage caught him as he toppled off the side. “Don’t want you bruising your backside before I get to it.” He manhandled Landry back onto the bed.

“My hero.” Landry batted his lashes. He got onto his hands and knees, wiggling his ass in blatant provocation. His cock, hard and aching, bounced. He was hot, feverish with anticipation and when the smack of leather against skin sounded in his ears, he jumped.

“Just testing it against my palm.”

Landry twisted, trying to get a look at what ‘it’ was. The paddle Gage held was rectangular with a tapered end, the handle a snug fit in Gage’s hand. “Oh…”

“I was going to let you choose but decided you were too tired to think straight. This is double-layered leather, hand stitched and reinforced with a metal plate.”

“I don’t need the technical specification, Gage.”

“Sir.”

“Feeling especially Dommy are you…Sir?” With a happy sigh, Landry rested his head on his folded arms, widened his legs and wiggled his butt a bit more.

“I should gag you.” The paddle connected with Landry’s backside with a thwack. He moaned. “But then I wouldn’t get to hear the noises you make.” Gage delivered a further four blows before dropping the paddle on the bed. Landry forced himself to take slow, even breaths while heat, edged with pain, blossomed across his skin. He was desperate to come and on the edge of begging Gage to fuck him. When Gage stroked Landry’s sore skin, he whimpered.

“So pink and pretty. You want me in you, don’t you? You want me to stuff you full.” Landry couldn’t summon enough coherence to respond, and when Gage pushed a cool, lubed finger into his ass, Landry sobbed. “So needy. Sucking me in.”

Landry worked Gage’s finger with his inner muscles, muttering nonsense words under his breath. Gage added a second finger, then a third in quick succession, stretching Landry’s channel enough that it burned. “Pl…pl…platypus!” Landry refused to beg. Gage enjoyed it far too much.

“Is that a new safe word?” Gage withdrew his fingers.

“No!” Landry wailed. “Put them back!”

Gage flicked Landry’s balls. “What’s the plural of platypus?”

“I. Don’t. Care.”

“I should get my phone and check or perhaps we could find the box with the dictionary in.”

Landry sobbed. “I hate you.”

“No you don’t.” When the blunt head of Gage’s cock made contact with his pucker, Landry sucked in his breath. “Relax.” Gage moved at a leisurely pace.

“I’ve seen pregnant hippos move faster than you.” Landry yelped as Gage reached around his body to pinch a nipple.

“That spanking wasn’t punishment enough, was it?” Gage pushed home, then stilled. “I need to think of better disincentives.”

“That’s a hellishly big word considering what you’re supposed to be doing,” Landry muttered, trying in vain to push back onto Gage’s cock.

“Quiet, brat, or tomorrow you’ll be unpacking with a vibrating plug stuck up your rear.” Gage took hold of Landry’s hips and pounded his ass with unbridled enthusiasm. All Landry could do was brace himself and take it, and that suited him just fine. Now Gage was doing exactly what Landry wanted him to, Landry could relax and enjoy the rush of pleasure, the surge of orgasm, as it flooded through him. When Gage came, he dug his fingers into Landry’s hips, yanking him back so that he was as deeply impaled as it was possible to be. He could have come untouched, but it was Gage’s firm grip on his cock that tipped him over the edge. Landry cried out, spilling into Gage’s hand in a series of uncoordinated jerks before collapsing face down on the bed. For a while, Gage let his weight rest along the length of Landry’s body. Landry loved being held down, loved being rendered helpless by a bigger, stronger man. Gage knew it and took full advantage, sinking his teeth into Landry’s shoulder.

“Wanna mark me, huh?” Gage didn’t bother confirming or denying. He sucked at Landry’s skin. “What do you call a hickey surrounded by teeth marks?” Landry wondered.

“I call it mine.”

Landry gave a happy sigh. “No one will see it under my shirt.”

“I’ll know it’s there and that’s all that matters. Tomorrow, your ass will ache, your shoulder will ache and every twinge will make you think of me.”

“I have other things in my head apart from you, you know.”

“In that case…” Gage rolled to one side then flipped Landry onto his back. He hooked Landry’s legs over his arms, bending him back. “I’d better fuck you again because those other things need to take second place to me.”

“You talk a good game, Sir, but there’s no way you’re hard again yet.”

“I don’t recall saying what I was going to fuck you with, and by the way, you doubting my powers of recuperation focuses my mind even more on how best to punish you.”

“I should be quiet now.”

“No, by all means carry on. That hole you’re standing in can still get deeper.” Gage groped beneath the covers and extracted a sizable dildo.

“You are a virile, masterful Dominant, Sir. I can think up some more positive adjectives, but I need a minute. You’re distracting me with that…thing.”

Gage grinned. “Nice try. You need more lube?”

“No? Wait, if I say yes does that buy me some time?”

“What do you think?” Gage touched the tip of the toy to Landry’s hole then pushed.

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About the Author

L.M. Somerton

Lucinda lives in a small village in the English countryside, surrounded by rolling hills, cows and sheep. She started writing to fill time between jobs and is now firmly and unashamedly addicted.

She loves the English weather, especially the rain, and adores a thunderstorm. She loves good food, warm company and a crackling fire. She’s fascinated by the psychology of relationships, especially between men, and her stories contain some subtle (and some not so subtle) leanings towards BDSM.

You can follow Lucinda on Facebook, Twitter and her Website.

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Release Blitz: Sarah’s Secret by Katherine E. Hunt #eroticromance #BDSM @totally_bound @firstforromance

Sarah’s Secret by Katherine E. Hunt

Book 3 in the Mended Hearts series

Word Count: 12,166
Book Length: SHORT STORY
Pages: 55

Genres:

BONDAGE AND BDSM
COMEDY AND HUMOUR
CONTEMPORARY
EROTIC ROMANCE
MÉNAGE AND MULTIPLE PARTNERS

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Book Description

Sarah has a secret. She’s on the run from some very nasty men. Can she find love—and herself—before her past catches up with her?

Sarah has recently bought a home in Winchester Drive. As is customary for the widows on the street, she has been invited to join The Winchester Widows Sex Club. Beautiful and seductive, she is a popular new addition.

But Sarah has a secret. Her name’s actually Beth, she’s in hiding—with some not-very-nice people on her tail—and she’s not even a widow.

Her estranged husband Marco is an undercover FBI agent, and when he turns up on her doorstep, that can only mean one thing…danger.

Beth is tired of running. She longs to make friends and find love again, which she does when she makes Paul’s acquaintance and finds herself smitten with him. Bonding over romantic TV shows and jigsaw puzzles, they fall deeply for each other.

But the hitman is still out there, and Paul, a law student of a nervous disposition, is not exactly ready for a life on the run.

Beth has to work out what she really wants from the men in her life, move on from her past and allow herself to finally be true to who she is.

Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of violence. It is best read in order as part of the Mended Hearts series.

Excerpt

At the scent of his skin, I released the hilt of the knife that was under my pillow.

He’d snuck into my bedroom first thing in the morning, stripped off and gotten under the sheets with me. The man had a death wish.

Marco was a passionate man. Our marriage—short though it had been—had been a never-ending festival of love. When he hadn’t been in bed with me, he’d been by my side, never far away. In retrospect, he’d feared the worst. My background and his were such that eventually, something was going to have to give.

Thus I knew his scent, intimately. It triggered a sensation of tranquility, something I didn’t experience very often while alone in my bed. Just for a second, we were home again, before it had all happened—the calm before the storm.

“Beth.”

“Marco.”

His breath hitched as he snuggled in closer to me. “I don’t have much time.”

Can’t we pretend, just for five minutes, that we are simply husband and wife? A little hot and heavy lovemaking before popping to the shops then spending the afternoon in front of the TV or gardening—or anything that doesn’t involve murderous gangs and guns? That everything was as it had been before I’d come here. “It’s seven a.m. No bad guys are going to drag us screaming from my home during the peak morning rush hour, with school buses and people leaving for work.”

“I have twenty minutes tops.”

Pushing my butt up against his rock-hard dick, I shimmied a little. “Twenty minutes should be enough.” The tiny moan that emanated from his lips was all I needed to know that he agreed.

Despite his brutish appearance, Marco was a sensual lover—Italian. There was nothing like that fiery Latin blood to get me hot, even at this time in the morning.

“Your body haunts my dreams. The thought of holding you once again is the only thing that keeps me going in this stupid life.” He explored every inch of my skin with his warm hands, entering and caressing me with his fingers. It took little action on his part to get me wet for him. Just his presence in my bed was enough to make me need him inside me.

He brushed the back of my neck with his lips, his rough, unshaven skin sending a frisson down my spine.

Parting my legs, he entered me, filling me entirely and reminding me of why I’d married this man. I arched against his body with my head tilted back onto his shoulder. He moved his hand to my chest, holding me tenderly as he fucked me from behind—every stroke, every movement more exciting than the last.

“Il mio amore.” The accent was more Long Island than Lake Garda, but he knew what those words did to me.

“More,” I whispered.

He circled my hardened clit with his fingers, clasping my body to his as the rhythm of his thrusts increased. “Mia cara, ti desidero,” he growled.

I gasped as the orgasm rocked me, and Marco still held me to him. Can he feel every beat of my heart, every flicker of my body?

His thrusts were ferocious, animalistic, and he pounded into me as he came, obviously releasing a need that he’d had for so long.

While I had moved on from our marriage, Marco had never let go of the idea that one day we would be together again. He respected the vows that I had long since chosen to ignore. There was only one woman in his life, and he intended to keep it that way.

But I had had enough.

“I’m not going with you.”

“What?” He pulled out of me then rolled onto his back.

“I have a life here, just like everywhere else. You take me somewhere, leave me to pick up the pieces, make new friends, then just when I get comfortable, you swoop back in and make me leave again.”

“They will kill you.”

“They were your problem, not mine.”

He rolled me around to face him. “Beth, we both know that they will find you. I can’t let that happen.”

Marco. Sweet Marco. A teddy bear wrapped in the body of a heavyweight boxer—big, tough and strong, filled with cotton candy.

“I can handle myself. You know that. In fact, I was doing pretty well before you came along. Why are you here? What have you heard?”

“Enough to know that you’re in danger.” He scratched his ear. The man had a tell. He could convince the entire criminal underworld that he was part of their gang, but I knew when he was lying at twenty paces.

“You’re working for them again.” He fidgeted, looking away. “Fucking hell, Marco, why? After everything that happened.”

“They sent someone here to kill you, Beth. I don’t know who. Someone here is not who they seem.”

I’d met an awful lot of people recently. None of them had struck me as the contract-killer type. Then again, when I’d met Marco, he’d turned out to not be everything he’d purported to be, either. I would have noticed a cold-hearted killer, though. Won’t I?

“This is just another ploy.” I got up from the bed and turned away from him. I didn’t need to look to know that he was checking out my body, probably memorizing every dimple and curve. “We made a choice, Marco. You said you would honor my decision to stop running. You were the one who wanted to give us up. You were the one who left.”

“Beth, I can’t live without you. I thought I could move on, but it’s impossible.”

“Then stay.”

“You know that I can’t do that. It kills me, but I have to bring these guys down.”

“You can’t live without me, but you can’t stay. If it’s so difficult for you to make up your mind, Marco, then you know where the door is.” I left the room. My heart broke a little bit more every time he did this. I’d conceded too many times, agreed to let go of another life and another name—sometimes even a chance at love.

This time it was different. This time I was finally settling in somewhere, making friends. I wasn’t giving up any of this because of another of Marco’s stupid whims.

Fight for me, Marco. Show me I mean more to you than the life you lead, the job you have to do. I went into the bathroom, shut the door and clicked the lock—then I waited for him. Kick the door down. Show me how much you love me. Tell me you’re staying.

I held my hand up to the door, lowered my forehead onto the cold white wood and waited for signs of life. It juddered as he slumped against the other side. Sinking to the floor, I sat in silence…waiting.

I unclicked the lock. There, now it’s even easier for you to come charging in on your white horse. Nothing.

He wasn’t even going to say goodbye. We’d said it a million times before, but this time was definitive. After a while, I could no longer hear him on the other side.

His heart would always beat for me, but for now, it would beat elsewhere.

I lifted my hand instinctively to my mouth as I started to cry, as if to silence myself. I traced my lips. Not even a kiss. My husband had come to me for the very last time, and he hadn’t even kissed me goodbye.

I lifted a loose tile and removed a large box. Marco might be gone, but I had another fight to contend with. The battle was over, but the war was not won, not by a long shot.

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About the Author

Katherine E Hunt

Katherine E Hunt ran off with a Frenchman twenty years ago. She now lives on a French mountain with three children and two dogs. When she isn’t writing contemporary romance she can be found huddled up in front of a roaring fire, with a glass of Chardonnay in one hand and a book in the other.

You can find out more about Katherine on her website.

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New Release Blitz: Wicked Secrets by Angela Addams #BDSM #eroticromance @totally_bound @firstforromance

Wicked Secrets by Angela Addams

Word Count: 53,150
Book Length: NOVEL
Pages: 202

Genres:

ACTION AND ADVENTURE
BONDAGE AND BDSM
CONTEMPORARY
CRIME
CRIME AND MYSTERY
EROTIC ROMANCE

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Book Description

Lexi had always hidden her dark desires…until she found him.

Lexi Monroe, one of Sabine Cowan’s most valued Kitty Cats, is set to retire from Cowan Enterprises, but just as she leaves her own farewell Kitty Cat party, she stumbles on a secret that could change Sabine’s world forever. But what she discovers is not a secret she can tell Sabine—not until she finds out the whole story. So instead, she enlists the help of hard-hitting, investigative reporter Sam Henderson to get to the bottom of things.

Sam’s always on the hunt for dirty deeds, so he agrees to work with Lexi. It’s not a hardship for him, however, since he’s got a thing for redheads and he finds Lexi simply irresistible. Even though Lexi doesn’t completely trust Sam to have Sabine’s best interests at heart—especially when a juicy story is in play—she believes that ultimately, he’ll always do the right thing. At least, that’s her hope.

Their chemistry is explosive, and in the process of uncovering the whole story, Sam and Lexi delve into their own dark secrets, revealing parts of themselves that they’ve never shared with anyone before. As terrifying as it is to be so vulnerable, both Sam and Lexi understand that the only way to get what they each want is to open themselves up to being hurt. But that’s hard to do when they are both hiding behind layers of defenses.

They must set aside their different approaches to life and love in order to save not only Sabine herself but also everything she’s built in Cowan Enterprises.

Reader advisory: This book contains mentions of violence, catastrophic injury, depression, therapy, murder, and pain management.

Excerpt

If Sam Henderson died this very moment, it would be the death of a sexually frustrated man.

Sitting across from him was the object of his lust—the object of lust for thousands of men—and she was completely out of his league.

“Should we go with an easy question this time or a hard one?” Despite his cool exterior, Sam’s heart was pummeling his chest wall. His body was tight, and not just because his cock was already straining against his zipper. He was taut like elastic that was primed and ready for release.

Lexi Monroe, one of Sabine Cowan’s most popular Kitty Cats, sat in front of him appearing more gorgeous up close than she had in her promo videos—and that was saying a lot. A natural redhead, she was stunning to look at with her pale skin and freckles. She had pink, pouty lips that begged to be kissed and intense blue eyes that could cut a guy in half if he were the kind of guy who got flustered around beautiful women—which, apparently right now, Sam was.

“I like it hard, Sam.” Lexi twitched her lips into a wry grin, like a cat about to pounce on prey. “You’ve been teasing me all morning. Hit me with the hard stuff.”

I like it hard, Sam.

He groaned silently. He’d love to give it to her hard, right here, right now. He’d throw her over the back of that chair and pound her until she moaned.

Buying himself some time, he reached up and stroked his beard then glanced at his phone and his list of questions. “Why don’t you tell us what led to your decision to leave the Kitty Cats?”

When he looked up at her, she was staring intently at him, her focus shifting from him stroking his beard to his eyes. She bit her bottom lip and his whole body coiled tighter.

“She won’t be answering any questions about her decision to leave the Cats, Sam.” Adam, the security guard from hell, didn’t even look up from his phone when Sam snapped an angry look his way. “Or about the accident. I know Sabine set out her expectations with you.”

Fuck!

Sam prided himself on getting all the dirt, and so far in their long friendship, Sabine had blocked him from almost all the secrets she held, which extended right now to Lexi’s secrets as well.

He was no fool. He knew both Sabine and Lexi possessed some doozies. Sabine had built her empire on them, he was sure. But that was speculation on his part, because Sam wasn’t allowed to ask Lexi anything that could, even in some obscure way, uncover anything Sabine didn’t want to be leaked.

Which was why he’d been so damn surprised to receive a summons from the Queen of Sex herself to do an interview with one of her most beloved Kitty Cats.

Lexi was an athlete, a gymnast, a talented one too—or had been up until a year and half ago, when she’d somehow fallen wrong and had broken things that had required multiple surgeries and a lot of physiotherapy. It was another Lexi secret Sam had planned to dig into, but apparently that was not going to happen either.

“All right.” Sam shook his head as he scrolled through the list of questions Sabine had approved. “What would an aspiring Kitty Cat need to do to reach the level of success you have?” He looked up from his phone to find her staring at him again. This time, her gaze was roving over his chest and down one of his arms. She was obviously checking out his ink, and he had to admit that he liked the trail of heat her eyes left as she gave him a good once-over.

“Well, I guess…” Lexi’s voice was wispy, like she was distracted by something she found intriguing. She slowly shifted her gaze back up his body until she met his eyes, sending a jolt straight to his groin. “I suppose you should be open to all possibilities—and you need to be a people person. An aspiring Kitty Cat has to be loyal and really, really good at listening.”

“I’ve heard that you’re one of the best.” Sam clicked his phone off. This was not going the way he’d thought it would. “Which is why it’s so surprising that you’re leaving.”

Adam grumbled. Sam lifted his hand to wave him off.

“Sometimes you just have to move on.” Lexi shrugged, a gesture that looked practiced and full of shit. “It’s time to pursue other things.”

Sam leaned closer, intrigued by the look in Lexi’s eyes. She was lying—that was obvious—but was she lying more to herself or to him? She shifted her eyes to her lap and Sam felt it like a wall coming down between them.

When Sabine had asked Sam to interview Lexi as a farewell expose because the successful Kitty was hanging up her cat ears and calling it quits, he’d had a dozen ideas of how to make the piece explosive. So far, Sam’s questions had mostly been thwarted either by Lexi side-stepping and giving a less-than-intriguing response or Adam outright forbidding an answer. Sabine had wanted Sam to put together a fitting tribute as a farewell for her precious Kitty Cat, but that was looking more and more impossible, thanks to how secretive everyone was being. Sam had already lined up a trendy magazine to take this story, but right now he was honestly thinking that he’d have to back out of that contract, because he was getting nothing juicy to work with.

Sam sat back in his seat and draped his arm along the top of the couch.

Lexi had her hands in her lap, busy plucking with her fingers at invisible lint or something. Am I making her nervous? Or is she uncomfortable being interviewed? Sam had watched Lexi’s promo videos many, many times. He’d researched all the interviews she’d given over the years—which hadn’t been many, but still, in all that footage Lexi had been vivacious, outgoing and always smiling. The woman who sat with him now was a very subdued version of her former self.

“Tell me your most scandalous story, Lexi.” Sam leaned in closer, like they were old friends sharing secrets. He had to pull something tantalizing from this interview.

She flattened her hands on her lap then looked at him with her startling eyes and, once again, he felt like she’d harpooned him and was reeling him closer.

She smelled like apples and cinnamon, and that made his mouth water.

“Give me a secret no one knows. I promise I won’t tell anyone.” He winked.

She laughed, tilting her head back, her hair brushing over her shoulders. Her skin was so soft-looking, and he had the most impulsive urge to reach out and stroke along her arm.

When she looked at him again, her eyes sparkled with mischief, but only for a moment. Adam cleared his throat and she shuttered herself from Sam once again.

“If I told you that, I’d have to kill you.” Her gaze drifted to the windows. “You know I can’t tell you that kind of thing.”

Fuck, Sabine did know how to pick the loyal ones.

Lexi snapped her eyes back to meet his and she had a quirk of a smile on her lips, making him feel like she was playing him in some way he couldn’t figure out. Her eyes were alight with a wickedness that made his cock harden like cement. She leaned forward, almost beckoning him to move even closer to her…like she was about to tell him a secret after all.

Twenty seconds of intensity passed where neither one of them said a word, yet Sam’s senses were piqued and his body revved like he was hitting the gas, even though he had nowhere to go. He wanted to touch her, taste her. He wanted to hear her moan.

She leaned back first, putting distance between them, and Sam swayed toward her. This woman is pure magic.

He cleared his throat. “All right, then tell me what you look for in a man. What kind of bachelor might have some luck with a beauty like you?” He ran his fingers over his beard again, partly to disguise his embarrassment at asking such an amateur question and partly because he could tell that she liked it when he stroked his beard.

“Oh, I don’t know…funny, intelligent, hard-working.”

“Oh, come on, Lexi. That’s not even an answer.” Sam kept his tone light, like he was joking, when in reality he was dying to know the kind of guy who would attract a girl like her. “You might as well describe half the guys in the world.”

She snapped her eyes up and grinned that wicked grin. “Only half?”

He barked a laughed. He liked her sass. He wanted more.

The interview carried on like that for another twenty minutes, and Sam learned about her younger years as a gymnast, the time predating her Kitty Cat life. It was clear to him that she was an athlete at heart and that whatever had happened to her with the accident, and after, had destroyed a part of her in a devastating way.

Sam badly wanted to dig into that, to find out the details surrounding the mystery of her incident, but he knew he wouldn’t be getting that information from Lexi.

“Time’s up.” Adam walked closer, tapping at his phone without looking up. “Lexi has an appointment.”

“I think I’ve got everything I need,” Sam lied. He didn’t want to upset Lexi by saying he had no idea what the point of this interview even was. She’d given him nothing, and it was Sabine’s fault. She’d trained her Kitty Cats to be expert secret keepers.

Adam nodded once then turned and headed to the door. Lexi picked up her small purse then stood. Sam stood as well, not sure if he should shake Lexi’s hand or what. Suddenly everything seemed very awkward.

“Thank you, Sam.” She closed the distance between them.

Lexi was tall, which was unusual for a gymnast and something that she’d talked about in other interviews he’d watched. Her height had been held against her at times in competitions. Of course, she was a decorated gymnast, so she’d proven them wrong in the end, but still, she was supermodel tall, which was something Sam liked a lot. She was lithe and, of course, moved with grace. Sam could stare at her body for hours, mesmerized by how she seemed to float.

She sidled up close to him and invaded all his senses at once. Her body radiated heat, her pupils dilated, her breath, which was as fresh as mint, was hot against his neck. He froze, not wanting to scare her away, but inside he was a volcano of lust, his blood bubbling with desire. The chemistry between them was combustible.

Lexi put her hand on his forearm and leaned in so that her body was practically pressed against his. He could swear he felt her nipples bud against his forearm. Her luscious smell went straight up his nose to short-circuit his brain. She brushed her lips against his ear and whispered, “I’ve always had a thing for beards and tattoos. Maybe I’ll see you around.”

His cock pulsed, a reminder of his aching erection, and it took everything in his power not to chase after her as she walked away. He listened to her heels click on the foyer tiles.

“You’ve got the suite for the rest of the night, Sam. Checkout is eleven tomorrow,” Adam said just before the door whooshed shut.

Sam blew out a breath then ran his hand through his hair. He tugged it free from the tie that bound it at his neck.

Lexi had secrets…big ones. What Sam wouldn’t give to peel back the layers of that fine creature. He had to figure out a way to get close to her again.

Right now, he needed a cold shower—or maybe he needed to indulge himself and rub one off in a hot one instead.

He had his clothes off in record time and was under the hot spray, lathering himself up, his thoughts cycling around Lexi’s sexy voice. “I’ve always had a thing for beards and tattoos.” He groaned as he took his cock in hand and began to stroke himself. “Maybe I’ll see you around.” Fuck, yes, he’d be seeing her again. He wanted to rub his beard all over her body. He’d die to have her trace his tattoos with her tongue.

He’d love to take Lexi from behind, gather her hair in one of his hands and pound her sweet pussy until she screamed. He’d give anything for the chance to lick along every cut and angle of muscle her gorgeous body had until she moaned his name.

His balls tightened and he increased his stroking, applying pressure and letting his mind wander to how good it would feel to have Lexi’s mouth wrapped around his dick. He’d stretch her lips out and he could practically feel the barrier of her throat holding him back until, slowly and steadily, she took him all the way down.

His cum exploded like a fire hose, and he painted the wall of the shower with it. The release felt great—better than great—but it did nothing to abate his desire for Lexi or the ever-cycling thoughts about stripping her down and getting her naked—physically, but also mentally. He wanted to know what made a woman like that tick and he would love a second chance, without an audience, so that he could get to know her more intimately.

But women like Lexi were unavailable to guys like Sam. He was damaged goods, running away from his past—if only because he hated what his family stood for and wanted to put as much distance between his life and theirs as he could. Lexi wasn’t the only one with secrets.

He got himself rinsed off and cleaned up, then got out of the shower and toweled off. His tattoos looked darker when his skin was wet, more vibrant too. He took a minute to appraise his ink. Lexi liked tattoos, and that gave him a surprising jolt of pride. He didn’t have any room left on his arms, shoulders or upper chest, but he’d been planning to add some script to his stomach as soon as he had time to spare. Maybe he’d get that going while he was in Miami.

Lexi’s farewell Kitty Cat party was happening the next night and he could swing for another couple of days in Florida if it gave him the opportunity to do some recon. Obviously, he didn’t have an invite, but that had never stopped him before.

He continued drying off, noting that he still had a semi and could probably go a few more rounds with his hand to fully satiate himself. Now that he’d decided he’d be seeing Lexi again, he kind of wanted to hold off, to deny himself until he figured out how to get close to her.

He left the bathroom butt-naked and found his personal, non-work cell phone. There was one guy he knew would absolutely be at Lexi’s farewell party, and luckily he was an old friend who owed him one. He searched his contacts. He only used this phone on the rare occasion that he needed or desired to touch base with his past life. It had come in handy a time or two to set aside his reporter identity in favor of his actual one. He found the name he was looking for and hit Call.

“Samuel Dove, holy shit, man! How are you?” Devon Caldone was filthy rich—maybe not quite as filthy rich as the Dove family, but up there in terms of having a ridiculous amount of money, more now because of his celebrity status. Devon was a couple of years younger, but they’d gone to school together and he and Sam had been friends of sorts. They’d gone to the same parties, played the same sports, even ended up at the same university and pledged the same fraternity.

“I’m good, man. How are things with you?”

“Never been better! I’m in Miami right now, soaking up the sun, hanging with my girls. Where are you?”

“Miami too, actually.”

“No fucking way! We need to catch up.”

“Yeah, we do. Hey, listen… I heard you’re into those Kitty Cat parties. Do you know if there’s one coming up? I’d like to check it out if they’re as good as I’ve heard.”

“Oh, do I know of one? Hell yes! Tomorrow night, dude! I’ll get you in with my crew! It’ll be like old times. I’ll send a limo. Where are you staying?”

“The Grand.”

Devon whistled. “Of course you are. Only the best for my man, right?” He laughed to himself. “Okay, dude, we’ll swing by to get you around ten. Sound good?”

“Great. Thanks. I’ll catch you later.” Sam hung up, feeling only slightly guilty at the manipulation. It was sinful really, but Devon was desperate for acceptance and had always looked up to Sam. But it was a means to an end.

All he’d have to do was avoid Sabine somehow so she didn’t find out he was there, because if she did, she’d sure as shit have him thrown out immediately. No press was allowed. Luckily, Sabine only knew him as Sam Henderson and had no idea that he was actually Samuel Dove, sole heir to a multi-billion-dollar fortune, a fortune that he wanted very little to do with as long as his father expected him to take over the family business one day.

Sam was no stranger to going undercover. It wasn’t like he’d never played up the rich-guy angle before to get intel he needed, and he’d definitely tapped into his endless resources and connections thanks to his family name, but tomorrow night he’d step into the role of suave, wealthy bachelor, not to get a story, but to get a few minutes alone with the sexy Lexi Monroe.

Okay…maybe also to get a story.

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About the Author

Angela Addams

Angela Addams is an author of many naughty things. She believes that the written word is an amazing tool for crafting the most erotic of scenarios and likes telling stories about normal people getting down and dirty and falling in love. Enthralled by the paranormal at an early age, Angela also spends a lot of her time thinking up new story ideas that involve supernatural creatures in everyday situations.

She is an avid tattoo collector, a total book hoarder, and loves anything covered in chocolate…except for bugs.

She lives in Ontario, Canada in an old, creaky house, with her husband, children and four moody cats.

Sign up to Angela’s newsletter and check out her blog and website. You can follow Angela on Instagram and Pinterest, and find her at Amazon, Bookbub and Books & Main.

Giveaway

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Angela Addams’ Wicked Secrets Giveaway

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Release Blitz: Sun, Sea and Sinful Delights by Jayce Carter #eroticromance #reverseharem @totally_bound

Sun, Sea and Sinful Delights by Jayce Carter

Word Count: 38,639
Book Length: SHORT NOVEL
Pages: 157

GENRES:

BONDAGE AND BDSM
CONTEMPORARY
EROTIC ROMANCE
REVERSE HAREM

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Book Description

Her three sexy houseguests are forbidden fruit, and she really wants a taste…

Jennifer has spent her life trying to be who her rich and proper family wants her to be and never quite living up to it. All that has given her is a failed marriage, a lot of insecurities and a business selling sex toys in secret. When she rents out the rooms of her beach house to three handsome men, however, she wonders if they might just put her toys to shame.

Lucas, Shane and Brandon go on vacation to get over the woman who broke their hearts. They’re tired of being treated as a dirty little secret by girlfriends who enjoy their attention in private but refuse to accept them in public. When they meet the sweet woman who owns the house they’re staying at, though, they realize it might be worth it to take that risk just one more time.

Even as Jennifer starts to fall for the men, she can’t escape the reality that her family will never approve of the odd relationship. In the end, she will have to decide what she really wants—the approval of her family, or a life with three men who make her truly happy…

Reader advisory: This book contains a brief scene involving sexual and physical assault. There is also menion of an emotionally abusive family.

Excerpt

This dildo is way too big.

Jennifer had thought that plenty of times when a client asked her to make something well outside her personal comfort zone, but the payment had always been more than worth it.

Still, when the toy dwarfed the soda can it sat next to, she winced.

No one needs that much.

If any man came at her with that, she’d run in the opposite direction. There really could be too much of a good thing.

She snapped a picture, then finished packing everything into the box. A quick tape job before she affixed the label, and she was done.

Despite their odd proportions, she did love taking special requests. There was something fun and creative about working on a product for a specific client, a challenge that her mass-produced items lacked.

And, yes, so maybe making sex toys wasn’t the creativity most people would picture when they thought about artists, but what did that matter?

She’d found a niche that paid well, that she enjoyed and that she’d found success in.

Not that anyone knows…

She thought about her mother, about the absolute horror that would show on her face if she ever discovered Jennifer’s real job.

Nope. Let her think I just rent out the rooms of my house.

Whatever it took to keep her family off her back was fine by her. Managing them was a full-time job on its own.

Jennifer’s ringtone had her leaving her newly sealed package on the living room table and rushing to answer her phone.

“I think we should try online dating,” Mandy said, mid-conversation as she always was, as if Jennifer hadn’t really needed to answer for the talk to go exactly the same way.

“I don’t think so.”

“Come on. You haven’t been on a date in, like, a year. Don’t you think it’s time?”

“What’s the point?”

“How about sex? Forever love? Sex? A partner? Did I mention sex?”

Jennifer leaned her hip against the stool at the counter. Love wasn’t something she really believed in anymore, and sex?

That was nothing the thing she’d just packed up couldn’t handle just fine.

Well, maybe not that box.

“Internet dating is for people who want to have a higher-than-average chance of being murdered,” Jennifer pointed out.

“It’s for people who don’t go out enough to meet anyone the old-fashioned way. I’ve tried to get you to go to bars, to go anywhere, and you refuse. At this point you’ve got two options—online or bar hopping with me.”

The thought of bar hopping with Mandy made Jennifer instantly feel older than her twenty-eight years. While her friend might be a bundle of uncontainable energy, Jennifer wasn’t.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea,” Jennifer said, ready to go into her hand-holding, sweet rejection that wouldn’t hurt Mandy’s feelings too much. Despite them being good friends, Mandy required a lot of work.

A ringing doorbell felt like a rescue, especially since it was loud enough that Mandy had to have heard. “Oh, I’m sorry, I’ve got to go.”

“You rang that yourself, didn’t you?”

Jennifer laughed, almost wishing she’d thought of that. “No, I didn’t. My renters are here.”

“Oh, right. You’re at full capacity for this week, aren’t you?”

“Yep. All three rooms booked together.” Jennifer had scanned the information first, as she always did. The three men were veterinarians and had the same hospital listed for employment. She liked hosting groups, because they tended to need her to entertain them less than singles.

“Well, if they’re hot, bring them to my place on Saturday night. I’m having a party.”

Jennifer groaned at the idea, having already decided that there was no way she’d be inviting them. Still, it was easier to smudge the truth. “Sure, if I think it’ll be their sort of thing. Got to go.”

They hung up, with Jennifer putting her phone back on the charger. She rushed to the front door, reaching it just after the doorbell rang a second time.

She expected to find three older men, the sort who wanted to get away for a few days. She’d hosted all sorts of people at her beach house, and much to Mandy’s lament, it was never young, hot guys.

Except this time…

On her porch stood three men who could have walked right out of any LA casting call.

Talk about tall, dark and handsome…

Jennifer stared so long that it took the one in front clearing his throat to bring her brain back online.

She smiled, trying to play it off as if it hadn’t just happened. “Sorry. Lucas, Brandon and Shane, right?”

The man in front nodded, though a soft chuckle said he’d caught her slip-up. “Yeah. I’m Lucas, in the jeans is Brandon and in the shorts is Shane.” He gestured behind him, letting Jennifer connect faces to the names she already knew.

Lucas had dark skin and even darker eyes. Stubble over his jaw had started to gray, but somehow it only made him more attractive. He wore a pair of slacks and a tucked-in white polo shirt. His hair was trimmed short and neat, and his smile could melt an iceberg.

Brandon wore faded blue jeans and a T-shirt, his dark hair short and simple, as if he hated going to the barber so always picked the easiest option. He had brown eyes too, but while Lucas’ were oak, Brandon’s were honey.

Lastly, Shane had pale skin and reminded her of a college kid. He had his hair shaved at the sides and messy on top, and the bluest eyes that held an unusual humor to them. He reminded her of Mandy a bit, with that same frantic energy inside him.

Lucas cleared his throat again, and she didn’t bother to hide her mortification. Jennifer had rented out rooms in her house for the past six years—why was she acting as if these were the first good-looking men she’d ever seen?

Probably because they’re the first you’ve been this close to in a long time.

She could almost hear Mandy piping in, telling her to pick one and make a claim.

“Come on in,” she said, trying for casual and to pretend that she hadn’t been staring at them. “You’re veterinarians, right?”

Work was always a safe conversation.

Lucas caried in his bag, the others behind him. “Yeah. We run an animal hospital. Brandon handles livestock and large animals, Shane does most of the day-to-day visits and treatments and I’m the surgeon.”

Well, that explained a bit of Lucas’ I’ve got things under control attitude. While any sort of medicine took confidence, actually cutting into any living being to fix them required a calmness and steadiness that Jennifer sure didn’t have.

When they followed her into her living room, she realized that her house—which she had always thought of as rather large—was not nearly big enough for men of their size.

She led them into the kitchen, showed them where the coffee maker and fridge were, and explained the things she kept on hand. She went over the remotes to the television in the living room, showed them how to get the finicky latch on the back slider open, and the places to sit out back, overlooking the ocean. That was the big draw of renting a beach house.

It was why she could never imagine living anywhere else, either. There was something almost spiritual about waking up to the salt in the air and falling asleep to the gentle rhythm of the waves.

They said little as they went through her routine, taking in the details, not balking at any of her odd rules.

She’d found people often complained about them, thinking they were staying at some five-star resort and forgetting that when they booked a private home, they had to expect some idiosyncrasies.

Finally, they reached the middle floor, where the three main bedrooms sat. A single bathroom was shared between them, but since she didn’t use it, it would be somewhat private for them.

“You can decide who takes what,” she explained. “They’re mostly identical. The builder put all the rooms on the side facing the beach, so they all share a balcony that has stairs down to the beach, and they all have the same view. There’s a shower out back, too, to rinse off the sand. It isn’t fun to track that in.”

Lucas smiled, seeming the quickest to speak. Or maybe he just knew how stunning his smile was, so the group had designated him leader. “Thank you, Jennifer. It looks perfect.”

She tried to tuck her hands into her pockets until she recalled she’d worn leggings, which some idiot had decided didn’t get pockets. “I can make a run to the store tomorrow, and I usually try to pick up a few things for whoever is here. There’s a list on the fridge, so just jot down anything you’d like. I make dinner a lot of nights, and I always make too much, so if you ever feel like staying in, you’re welcome.”

Lucas nodded. “I think tonight we’re going to go out, try something new. Any suggestions?”

“Well, what are you looking for? Quick and local, fancy?”

“Local is more our style.”

Jennifer listed off a few places, all small ones that might not make the list for fanciest but had the best food.

The men thanked her before picking their rooms and leaving her to stare at the end of the hallway.

Mandy’s words ran in her head, and the temptation to give in was so strong, she took a step backward.

Nope. Sleeping with men who were only in town for a week was a very stupid idea, and the fact that she’d even considered it meant Mandy was right. Jennifer had gone far too long without a man.

So instead, she gave in and messaged Mandy.

Okay, set up the date.

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About the Author

Jayce Carter

Jayce Carter lives in Southern California with her husband and two spawns. She originally wanted to take over the world but realized that would require wearing pants. This led her to choosing writing, a completely pants-free occupation. She has a fear of heights yet rock climbs for fun and enjoys making up excuses for not going out and socializing. You can learn more about her at her website.

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Release Blitz: Bound to Remember by Alexandra Alan #contemporaryromance #romcom @firstforromance @totally_bound

Bound to Remember by Alexandra Alan

Word Count: 15,038
Book Length: NOVELLA
Pages: 63

GENRES:

BONDAGE AND BDSM
COMEDY AND HUMOUR
CONTEMPORARY

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Book Description

Meeting an old flame is about to tie her in knots…

Most first kisses don’t end in stitches.

True, kissing in high school can be far from perfect, but when Annie Carver is finally courageous enough to make out with Nicholas Liu, there should have been stars and trumpets, not broken glasses and a collapsed closet.

Ten years later, Annie still thinks about Nick. Although she’s been through her share of difficult relationships and sexual awakenings, she can’t help but wonder about the sweet boy who blushed as she helped him with homework assignments and whose name she wrote in her notebooks.

A concert is the last place she expects to run into him. It’s easy for them to connect…and even easier for her infatuation to return. In the last ten years, Annie’s changed—she’s discovered how much she enjoys bondage. Her ex saw her kinks as a flaw, but will Nick be willing to push his limits, or is this one relationship that’s bound to remain a memory?

Excerpt

Tonight was a perfect night.

Most summer evenings were so humid that they left a layer of tacky sweat on already heated skin, and mosquitoes targeted any exposed limbs with all the determination of a pack of war generals. Any movement other than a slow walk made sweat bead along temples and armpits, which, of course, further attracted said mosquitoes.

Not this night, though.

There was a crisp chill in the air, just sharp enough to hint at approaching autumn, and a lazy breeze cooled damp skin. Couples milled about under warm streetlamps and shared bites of ice cream. Fireflies dodged frantic children with Mason jars, and the sound of laughter bonded with the smell of tart beer from bars that had opened their doors to let the evening inside.

It was, without a doubt, a perfect night.

Annie Carver couldn’t have cared less about any of it.

A herd of screaming, gyrating people surrounded Annie in a venue where saxophones blared loud enough to destroy the eardrums of the uninitiated.

And she absolutely fucking adored it.

Annie had always loved ska music. She loved the lyrics, the thud of bass, the wild scream of the trumpets, the peppy riffs that—even if the singer belted about the injustices inherent in the political landscape—were done alongside a beat that didn’t so much encourage dancing as mandate it.

Okay—Annie hadn’t always loved ska. That might have been a lie. There had been a time, a good solid thirteen years or so, where she had gone about thinking the best music was the kind in which someone wailed into a microphone about the unfairness of life and the inhumanity of humanity. There had been mention of souls in there, somewhere. Vampires might have made an appearance, too.

Then ska had come along, swooping in and carrying her out of that meaningless pit like any good storybook hero would do, except it hadn’t done so with a sword and a noble steed, but with syncopated guitar riffs and checkered high-top sneakers.

In the tiny venue, buffeted by stale air and the blast of brass, Annie tightened her grip on her plastic cup of cheap beer and raised it above her head as she shouted the lyrics to the song’s whirlwind finale.

One of her friends elbowed her in the side, and Annie started. She had been so involved in the music that she’d forgotten for a moment they were with her tonight.

Lee nudged her again and pointed at the mosh pit. “That looks scary,” he shouted over the riotous cheering. “Who goes in there? Masochists?”

“Sometimes,” she shouted back.

Charlie appeared at her side. “What are we talking about?”

“Mosh pit.” Annie pointed at the swirling flow of thrashing people.

“More spit? Who has more spit??” Lee shouted.

Mosh pit,” Annie said again, and jabbed her finger in emphasis.

Charlie blinked as someone in the pit shrieked. “What?”

It took a full second, but she managed not to drag her hand down her face in exasperation. She tried to keep in mind that this was her friends’ first show. They hadn’t needed to figure out the technicalities of being in a mosh pit with orthodontia or lie to their parents about where they’d gotten their split lip. Neither Lee nor Charlie had spent enough money on tickets that, if combined, could be a down payment on a comfortable home.

And really, it was quite sweet that they’d wanted to come tonight. This wasn’t exactly a good time for Annie, what with the bad breakup memories of last year, so when she’d mentioned this show, they’d jumped at the chance to join her.

We’ll keep you company!” Lee, the man who did not appreciate large crowds, had said.

How different could it be?” Charlie, the man who frequented opera and baroque ensembles, had said.

They seemed to be doing fine, though Lee jumped whenever someone screamed, and Charlie covered his ears with his hands at every opportunity.

Annie leaned in and shouted a few words into Lee’s ear.

“Oooh,” he said in response. “So you just run around and punch people?”

It was too loud for anyone to hear her scandalized gasp, because that was like simplifying all four seasons of Battlestar Galactica into the phrase “Robots doing stuff.”

Annie made a tight spinning motion with her beer cup. “You don’t run in the pit. You skank around violently and with great enthusiasm.”

Lee blinked at her in an unsyncopated way that spoke of the two beers he’d already had tonight, then asked Charlie, “Did you get any of that?”

Charlie turned to Lee. “What?”

The band kicked off another song, the mosh pit roiled once more, and Annie had to hold a hand around her ear so that she could listen to Lee.

“She says they’re not running, they’re being angry sluts,” he said with a drunken giggle.

The yelp he made when Annie elbowed him was loud enough to hear over the blasting notes of the saxophone.

She rolled her eyes and returned her attention to the pit. Everyone there was having so much fun. Limbs flailed, heads thrashed, faces turned up to the stage in something nearing rapture. There was one tall dark-haired someone, catching her eye only because of the height of his jumps, who danced as if he were summoning demons of joy with his body. He looked like he was having so much fun.

Annie wanted to have that much fun, and she couldn’t see it happening if she stayed all the way over by the grungy, beer-stained wall.

When they’d arrived, she’d felt obligated to keep away from the most dangerous part of the venue, thinking that if she returned with a black eye, the sight would frighten Charlie and Lee away from ska shows for the rest of eternity.

Despite Charlie’s improvised ear protection and Lee’s general confusion, they were starting to nod in rhythmic appreciation of the band. Lee was even making a minimal effort to dance.

Annie didn’t want to ruin this for them. She watched as Lee pulled one of Charlie’s hands away from his ears and held it tight, then gave his boyfriend a warm smile. It’s good to try new things in a relationship. Wasn’t that what she’d read in a magazine somewhere?

Her stomach flipped in the disappointed, leaden sort of way she’d grown used to whenever she thought about how things had ended a year ago.

She’d tried. Really. She and Trevor had been stagnant for several months, and when Annie had taken the magazine’s advice—try something new, talk about your fantasies, change up the bedroom routine—Trevor had become a lot less stagnant. Really mobile, actually. He’d practically flown out of both her apartment and her life.

Her sigh was lost in the din. She turned to the stage and watched the brass musicians aggressively try to out-blow one another for only a few seconds before Lee tugged at the sleeve of her shirt.

“That girl is wearing the same pants as you!” he shouted, pointing at a woman twenty feet away. “You should sue!”

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About the Author

Alexandra Alan

Alexandra lives in Colorado with her partner and two very strange cats. Her nerdiest experience was when she had a heated discussion about Star Wars during a game of Dungeons & Dragons. Though she’s always on the lookout for more hobbies, some of her favorites are drawing, knitting, archery, rock climbing, brewing mead, and scrimshaw. The most badass she has ever felt was when she took jousting lessons for a year. She has never met a bad pun she hasn’t adored, and loves to read books that make her heart race. Follow Alexandra on Twitter.

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Alexandra Alan’s Bound to Remember Giveaway

ALEXANDRA ALAN IS GIVING AWAY THIS FABULOUS PRIZE TO ONE LUCKY WINNER. ENTER HERE FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A LOVELY GIFT PACKAGE AND GET GET A FREE EBOOK FROM THE AUTHOR! Notice: This competition ends on 15th June 2021 at 5pm GMT. Competition hosted by Totally Entwined Group.

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Release Blitz: The Shame Game by Hannah Murray #bondage #contemporaryromance @firstforromance @totally_bound

The Shame Game by Hannah Murray

Book 1 in the Perfect Taboo series

Word Count: 50,362
Book Length: NOVEL
Pages: 192

GENRES:

BONDAGE AND BDSM
CONTEMPORARY
EROTIC ROMANCE

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Book Description

A good marriage is built on love, trust and kink…

James and Amanda have been together for fourteen happy, playful kinky years. That’s the way they both like it, and neither feels there’s anything missing, until one day, a typical scene morphs into something atypical—humiliation play.

They’ve never played with this kink before, but it was shockingly hot, and satisfying in a way their more playful scenes aren’t. They’re both excited to try something new after so many years together, but James is leading his beloved wife and submissive into uncharted territory where their comfort zone will be stretched and their bond tested…

It will take all the love and trust they’ve built over fourteen years to survive The Shame Game.

Excerpt

James Douglass walked through the front door of his home and sighed with relief. “Thank Christ that’s over.”

Behind him, his wife let out a snorting laugh and shut the door. “You say that every year.”

“I mean it every year.” He turned to watch her slip out of her coat, the soft faux fur he’d given her for Christmas gleaming under the light of the foyer chandelier. “Tell me you don’t feel the same.”

Amanda smiled as she hung up her coat, then held out a hand for his. “I like your mother.”

He dropped the bags he held and shrugged out of his overcoat. “It’d just be nice to be able to spend one New Year’s somewhere else.”

“Well, that’s your fault for being born one minute past midnight on January first.” Laughter colored her voice, deepening the Texas accent that still lingered more than a decade after she’d left the Lone Star State. “If you’d stayed put for another week like you were supposed to…”

“Oh, so now it’s my fault for being born early?” He raised an eyebrow, wondering if his wife of twelve years would respond with sass or respect. He figured the odds were about seventy-thirty in favor of sass.

She took his coat with a wink. “Pretty much.”

“Insolent wench,” he muttered, and stifled a grin when she rolled her eyes. Sass it is, then.

“You could always tell your mom no when she invites us,” she pointed out.

He sighed and bent to pick up the bags. “No, I can’t.”

“I know.” She closed the closet with a snap and crossed to him, her bootheels clicking on the tile, and rose on her toes to plant a smacking kiss on his chin. “That’s because you’re a big old softie.”

The eyebrow went up again, almost of its own volition this time. “What was that?”

“Sorry,” she said, not looking sorry at all, her dimples popping out even as she lowered her eyes respectfully. “You’re a big old softie, sir.”

“Better,” he allowed, fighting a smile of his own. “But you’re lucky my hands are full.”

She glanced down at the bags he still held, then back up at him, her brown eyes dancing. “Oh, yes. Thank goodness for those two duffel bags, otherwise I’d be in so much trouble.”

James gave a bark of laughter. Apparently, he wasn’t the only one tired of being on his best behavior for the last couple of days. “If I didn’t know better, I’d say you were looking for trouble.”

She walked past him, her dimples still winking. “Well, then it’s a good thing you know better, isn’t it? Besides,” she continued, her voice drifting back to him as she moved toward the curved staircase. “Even if I was, it’s not like you could do anything about it.”

She paused on the first stair, her hand resting lightly on the banister, and looked back at him. They’d been together fourteen years, and still she took his breath away. Soft dark hair, a little tousled from the nap she’d taken on the drive home. Sparkling dark eyes, full of mischief and promise and affection. Her dimples flashed again, pulling his attention to her soft, full lips, curved in the faintest of smiles. That mouth had given him a jolt at their first meeting all those years ago, and its impact hadn’t lessened over time. If anything, it had only grown stronger, because now he knew just what those lush lips were capable of. He knew just how swollen and red they grew from his kisses, how they looked wrapped around his cock. And how she bit them when she was in pain, or in pleasure.

Then those lips spread in an impish grin, bringing him back to the present, and the game she was trying to tempt him into playing. “It’s not like you could chase me up these stairs or catch me even if you did. You’re fifty-one now. An old man.”

He growled because he knew she wanted him to, and with a rollicking laugh, she ran up the stairs.

He stayed where he was, enjoying the view. The yoga pants she’d worn for comfort on the drive home curved over rounded hips and a rounder ass, the soft sweater in misty green—another Christmas gift—covering bouncing breasts. He’d seen her dress that morning in a pretty lacy bra, the kind built for maximum visual effect rather than physical activity, so there was a lot of bounce.

It was pretty fucking hot.

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About the Author

Hannah Murray

Hannah has been reading romance novels since she was young enough to have to hide them from her mother. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband—former Special Forces and an OR nurse who writes sci-fi fantasy and acts as In-House Expert on matters pertaining to weapons, tactics, the military, medical conditions and How Dudes Think—and their daughter, who takes after her father.

Find out more about Hannah at her website and blog.

Giveaway

Enter to win a fabulous gift package and get a FREE Alexandra Alan romance book!

Hannah Murray’s The Shame Game Giveaway

HANNAH MURRAY IS GIVING AWAY THIS FABULOUS PRIZE TO ONE LUCKY WINNER. ENTER HERE FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A LOVELY GIFT PACKAGE AND GET GET A FREE EBOOK FROM THE AUTHOR! Notice: This competition ends on 15th June 2021 at 5pm GMT. Competition hosted by Totally Entwined Group.

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Release Blitz: Sweet Hart by Rae Marks #LGBTQ #contemporaryromance @pridepublishing

Sweet Hart by Rae Marks

Book 1 in the Hart Consulting series

Word Count: 79,903
Book Length: SUPER NOVEL
Pages: 321

Genres:

ACTION AND ADVENTURE
BONDAGE AND BDSM
CONTEMPORARY
EROTIC ROMANCE
FAKE RELATIONSHIPS
GAY
GLBTQI
MEN IN UNIFORM
THRILLERS AND SUSPENSE

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Book Description

When Brayden stumbles into a covert operation, Sam has to keep him alive. Together they navigate their unexpected attraction and the world of the Ukrainian mafia.

Brayden Hart needs to find his older brother Mason and time is running out. Mason disappeared after being discharged from the military two years before. While on leave from the army, Bray follows a lead his friend has been able to find. When he knocks on the door of a dingy apartment outside Miami, the last person he expects to meet is the gorgeous but grumpy Sam Wheeler.

Sam denies knowing Bray’s brother and turns him away. But Sam is Bray’s only lead. Luckily, Bray’s childhood friend is one of the best hackers in the country and helps Bray follow Sam to Ukraine.

In Kiev, Bray falls blindly into the fray of a covert operation and Sam steps in to keep him alive. While navigating the choppy waters of the Ukrainian mafia, Bray and Sam fall into the bedroom. But what happens when the mission ends?

Reader advisory: This book contains references to historical rape, child sexual abuse and sex trafficking. There are also scenes of violence.

Excerpt

“Look, kid. I got nothing to tell you.”

Bray pulled his gaze from the full lips he’d been watching as the man in the doorway, Sam, gave a flat refusal. He took a deep, calming breath and willed away his body’s response. Maybe he needed to back up a little and explain the urgency of the situation. He didn’t have a lot of time to find Mase, and this Sam guy was his best bet.

The guy blocking the doorway would be hot if his eyebrows weren’t pinched together so tight and his big, full lips weren’t turned down. Hell, he was still hot, even in full intimidation mode.

Sam’s honey-blond hair was longer on top and styled high. His groomed beard was just a few shades darker than the hair on his head and hinted at the tiniest bit of red highlights. Bray lowered his eyes again to Sam’s lips. Both were plump, but the top lip was a little fuller than the bottom one. That was rare, in Bray’s experience, but sexy as hell.

The tic in the jaw next to those lips brought Bray back to the matter at hand. He looked up into Sam’s cinnamon-brown eyes as he considered his options.

“I know you’re working with Mase and I have to find him. I’m—”

“I don’t know what you’re going on about, but I have shit to do.”

Sam tried to close the old, paint-chipped door in Bray’s face, but Bray stepped forward, using his foot as a doorstop. He wouldn’t give up that easily. Bray needed to untie his tongue and keep on task, no matter how sexy the guy was.

“Please, I don’t have a lot of time. I just need to talk to him.”

“Look, kid—”

“I’m not a kid. I know he’s pulled some crazy stunts since he got kicked out—”

“You don’t know shit, kid. If you just got kicked out of the military and you’re looking for camaraderie and a job, forget it.”

As soon as Sam said the word ‘military’, Bray breathed a sigh of relief. Sam swore under his breath. So the guy definitely knew his brother. Sam flexed his huge biceps as he crossed his arms. His head dipped to one side as he leaned forward. Bray swallowed then a tiny breath escaped his lips as he imagined the man before him leaning in to steal a kiss. Was this guy Mase’s boyfriend? If so, his brother was one lucky bastard.

“Move your foot. Like I said, kid, you don’t know shit,” Sam ground out through clenched teeth.

“Just tell me what’s going on. Is he okay? If he’d returned any of my emails over the past two and half years, maybe I’d know more about what was happening.”

“You think I can help you?”

Bray gave one sharp nod of confirmation. Sam blew a breath out between his lush lips and dropped his arms to his sides. The crease between his brows eased a bit as he seemed to really look at Bray for the first time. He looked over Bray’s head down the hallway for a moment before coming to some kind of decision.

“What’s your name, kid?”

“Bray, Brayden Hart.”

There was a pause. Bray assumed it was Sam digesting Bray’s last name, Mase’s last name.

“Well, I’m sorry, but I got nothing for you, Mr. Hart.”

“How’d you know I was in the army?”

“You got it written all over you, from your close-cropped cut to your military stance.” The guy rolled his eyes and shook his head. “I’ve got things to do, kid, so do you mind moving your foot—or do I need to move it for you?”

Bray wet his dry lips as he contemplated his choices. He could call Max for another favor, but if he went that route, he’d need this part to be believable.

“I can just sit out here and wait until he comes home.”

“You’ll be waiting the rest of your life, kid.”

“It’s Bray or Brayden, and I think you have a really good idea when you’ll be talking to Mase again.”

Looking over Sam’s shoulder, Bray took in the shit-hole apartment with its dingy brown carpet and walls so old that the wallpaper was peeling at the corners along the ceiling. A ceiling with tiles that had different-sized brown rings, a sure sign of water damage. Was this how Mase was living now? The thought made Bray’s gut twist uncomfortably.

If Mase needed money… Bray shook his head. Mase would never be the one to reach out, which was exactly why Bray was standing in the hallway that smelled like piss mixed with broccoli farts. Unless the inside of the apartment smelled better, he didn’t see how anyone could even think about putting a morsel of food into their mouth in this place.

If by chance Sam did talk to Mase before Brayden could get to him, he had to figure out a message most likely to get a response. Would Mase come home or even return a call if he knew the truth? Probably not. Bray bit his lip as he waffled. He didn’t like lying, and he especially didn’t like lying to family. He wasn’t sure he’d ever be able to forgive his father for his ‘little white lie’.

“When you see him, tell him Nickel needs him. Tell him it’s looking like it might be life or death.”

Both those statements taken separately were absolutely one hundred percent true. Nick might deny he needed their older brother, but he and Bray were twins. Bray knew they both required all the support they could get.

When Mase heard those statements together, Bray knew what he’d assume, and he’d have to apologize for it later. For now, he decided it was the best route. He had a feeling Sam would repeat those statements verbatim to his brother.

“Nickel?” Sam asked.

“Nick, my twin.”

“Twins? There’re two of you running around wreaking havoc?”

“Nick wreaks more havoc and we’re not identical, so there aren’t exactly two of me.”

Sam’s only response was a raised eyebrow.

“So you’ll tell him?”

“I’m sorry. There’s no way I can help you,” Sam said with the shake of his head.

Even though Bray was anxious, he hesitated before lifting his foot. He needed Sam to think he was reluctant to leave. Sam was only a couple inches taller than Bray’s five-foot-eleven-inch frame, but he hunched down a little, so they were eye to eye.

“I can’t help you,” Sam said again.

Bray swallowed as energy began to hum under his skin at the man’s direct stare. He couldn’t be lusting after his brother’s boyfriend. Wetting his dry lips one last time, Bray nodded and lifted his foot. The two men stared at each other for a moment longer, until the sound of a baby screaming somewhere down the hall had Bray turning his head. Before he could even suck in another breath, the door in front of him slammed shut and the lock snicked into place.

With a dejected sigh, Brayden looked at the door for another minute. Guilt had his stomach tightening into knots. He couldn’t afford to stand around, though his hesitation to leave would probably work in his favor in case Sam was watching through the peephole.

When he pushed open the door of the building a few minutes later, Bray sucked in some of the fresh air. He didn’t even care that his clothes immediately glued themselves to his body with the humidity Florida was famous for. He was just glad to be out of the stench that had pressed down on him inside the apartment building.

After one last glance at the second floor, Bray walked down the sidewalk toward the parking lot. As soon as he was in his rental car, he dialed Max’s number.

“How’d it go?” Max said.

“He wouldn’t even admit he knew Mase.”

There was silence on the other end. Max had warned him against making contact with Sam. He’d suggested following him until he led Bray to Mase, but Bray didn’t have that kind of time.

“So, it looks like you were right,” Bray admitted.

There was still silence on the other end of the line.

“Look, Sin. I still need help.”

Bray always struggled calling his friend by his pseudonym. Even though it stood for Super Intel Nerd, calling a nerdy guy like Max, Sin seemed funny to Bray.

“Next time listen to me. You’ve now ruined the advantage of surprising him.”

“Fine. Can you find out where he’s going?”

“Of course I can.”

Bray could hear the light click-clack of Max tapping on the keys of his laptop. Putting the phone on Bluetooth, Bray started his rental and pulled out of the parking spot behind Sam’s apartment building.

“Where’s he going?” Bray asked as he pulled out onto the street.

“I have him traveling out of Miami to Kiev tomorrow with a stopover in Munich.”

Bray tapped his fingers on the steering wheel. This had just gotten a lot more complicated and expensive than he’d anticipated. Was Mase undercover or was he in trouble? If he was in trouble, Bray wanted to be there.

“Looks like I’ll be heading to Kiev,” he sighed.

“I’ll book you a flight that stops over in DC. I’ve got something I want to give you if you’re going to Kiev.”

“I just have to check out of the hotel. Give me a couple of hours to get to the airport.”

Max disconnected the call without saying goodbye, but it didn’t surprise Bray at all. Max was always on to the next problem.

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About the Author

Rae Marks

Rae has been secretly penning romances since high school. It started with short stories that grew into full-length novels. When she received her first Kindle and had thousands of books at her fingertips, she became a little distracted from writing. Then one day she read a book that she would have written a different way. She began writing again and hasn’t stopped since.

When she’s not writing, Rae can usually be found reading, walking along the beaches of Half Moon Bay, or taking her geriatric dog to the vet, yet again.

You can follow Rae on Instagram.

Giveaway

Enter to win a fabulous gift package and get a First For Romance Gift Card!

Rae Marks Sweet Hart Giveaway

RAE MARKS IS GIVING AWAY THIS FABULOUS PRIZE TO ONE LUCKY WINNER. ENTER HERE FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A LOVELY GIFT PACKAGE AND GET A FIRST FOR ROMANCE GIFT CARD! Notice: This competition ends on 25TH May 2021 at 5pm GMT. Competition hosted by Totally Entwined Group.

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Release Blitz: Home Run Cowboy by Gemma Snow #multiplepartners #bdsm @Totally_Bound

Home Run Cowboy by Gemma Snow

Book 1 in the The Sinclair Seven series

Word Count: 80,535
Book Length: NOVEL
Pages: 203

Genres:

BONDAGE AND BDSM
CONTEMPORARY
COWBOYS AND WESTERN
EROTIC ROMANCE
MÉNAGE AND MULTIPLE PARTNERS

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Book Description

The only thing better than riding a cowboy is submitting to one.

On her own for the first time, Skylar Wedgeworth has no idea what to do about it. She’s torn between behaving like the hard-working mom she’s dedicated her life to being…and embracing her fascination with the erotic world of lust and submission she has long put second.

That’s where The Ranch comes in. And with it, Caleb Cash.

The injury that cut short Caleb’s pitching career just before he joined the majors, then his wife walking out on him have made Caleb question everything about himself, and he hasn’t had a partner since.

Until Skylar.

There’s no denying the heat between them when Skylar checks into the erotic lifestyle club Caleb and his six best friends opened in the Montana mountains, but for things to go further than their physical connection, Skylar has to learn how to put herself first and Caleb must be willing to trust a new partner with his heart…

Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of anal sex, outdoor sex, the use of sex toys. There is reference to body modification, sports injury and implied abortion.

Excerpt

Oh, they were high up now.

Ev had brought Skylar to Open Air Skydiving to get her mind off things, just as she had taken her white-water rafting, dancing and drinking, hiking, and movie binging, but it turned out that things had taken Skylar’s mind off skydiving and she was very suddenly hit with the realization that she was about to jump out of a plane.

Sweat ran down the cotton shirt pressed to Skylar’s back by the bulk of her diving gear and the attached diving instructor. She leaned over to hear what her best friend was saying.

“Of course you miss her.” Ev had to shout to be heard over the roar of the small plane’s engine and the whirling wind that beat against metal. This wasn’t a good idea. Why had she thought it was a good idea? “You know that’s okay, right? You’re allowed to miss her.”

It was just the rush of air coming from the open door that had Skylar’s eyes watering behind the plastic goggles they’d been given when they checked into Open Air Skydiving Center just outside of DC earlier that afternoon. Just the air pressure and not the pressure behind her eyes, or anything ridiculous like that.

“I know,” Skylar shouted with more conviction than she felt. How was it she could be more than ten thousand feet above the ground and still feel this sense of malaise? “I was just hoping that sunshine and hot men would make me forget about it for a while.”

That had been the plan. A jaunt around Greece—exploring the coasts and the beaches, visiting some of the world’s most beautiful historic sites, getting tan and drinking local wine until the day she returned to the city—all with the hope that their home wouldn’t feel quite so quiet when she got back.

“You know that Callie is totally going to take on the world, right? Don’t think of it as your little girl going off to college. Think of it as…as the next step toward her Nobel Peace Prize.” Ev raised her voice even more to be heard. She leaned close and put her hand on Skylar’s, and goodness if Skylar didn’t need the kind of comforting touch Ev brought, even if it was slightly inhibited by the two diving instructors strapped to their backs, diving instructors who were now communicating that their jump point was coming up.

Oh…boy.

“Maybe this isn’t such a good idea…” The words were swallowed by the sound of the instructors moving about the cabin of the plane. Then Skylar was right there, standing over the world, her stomach somewhere at her feet, and the sweat she had been feeling a moment ago cooling into a panic that made her shiver.

“Are you ready?” her instructor asked, but the words were swallowed up on the wind and he didn’t give her a chance to respond before her feet were no longer anchored to the floor of the plane, before none of her body was anchored to the plane, but out in the open air, nearly three miles above the ground, a dizzying display of city and farmland and highway spreading out around them like the rug Callie had had in her room when she’d been a child.

Wait until she told Callie…

Callie would think this was the coolest thing Skylar had ever done.

With that thought in mind, Skylar spread her arms and relaxed her body enough to let the wind buoy her. Her heart pounded faster than the whirling plane propeller above them and her mouth was open in an eternal scream. This was terrifying, this was stupid, this was….

Amazing.

Her instructor pulled the cord and the parachute yanked them back, pressing hard against Skylar’s body and knocking the air from her chest for a moment. In a moment they were floating above the Virginia farmlands, a million tiny barns and homes and buildings coming into focus as they followed the natural course of the air. This was peace, somehow, in a tumult of chaos. In a whirlwind of everything that had happened these past weeks, she somehow felt at peace miles above the solid ground and wished, fleetingly, stupidly, that she never had to touch down again.

When her feet hit the ground, she stumbled but didn’t lose her balance and a rush of adrenaline coursed through her body. She wanted to dance, to swim across a river, to go back to Greece and figure out exactly what she had run away from by coming back from her Mediterranean adventures nearly a week earlier than she had planned and allowing Ev and her partners to toss her into every available adventure within three hours of the city.

As if she could hear her thoughts, Ev touched down a few hundred yards from Skylar, whooping and hollering with the same delight that raced through Skylar’s body right now. Soon they were disentangled from their chutes and Skylar was running over to Ev, wrapping her in a hug and swinging her around. Adrenaline made picking up her friend easier than expected and she could almost see how mothers could lift cars off their children in emergencies.

“That was wild!” She was definitely shouting but Ev didn’t seem to realize. “Let’s go again!” Ev laughed, wrapped her arm around Skylar’s waist and half-pulled her to the facility to drop their diving suits off and grab their bags. When they returned to the parking lot, it was to find Ev’s partners, Lucas and Quinn, waiting for them against a large black SUV.

Quinn Langston and Lucas Vallejo were Ev’s husbands and friends from back when they had trained at Quantico together. It had been nothing more than a momentary blip for Skylar to accustom herself to their relationship. Not only had the three been thick as thieves for a decade and the transition an easy and natural one, but Skylar’s own love for Ev went back even further, and she was never going to begrudge her happiness, no matter what form it took.

Ev had been there since the beginning, since Skylar had been pregnant and alone and desperate for a job, any job. Ev had just moved to DC the summer after graduating from Columbia University, before her training at Quantico, and they’d shared night shifts, and morning shifts and lazy afternoon shifts all summer long, sweating their asses off and working their calves to hell in the City Street Diner, across the street from George Washington University Hospital.

It had formed an impenetrable bond between the two of them, two young women trying to make it in a world not designed for them, and though Ev had gone on to save the world from evil at the FBI and Skylar had created her own successful business from the ground up, they had never lost touch.

Ev had been there the day Callie was born, been the one Skylar had put on her emergency forms, the one Skylar had called when the going had gotten really rough. It shouldn’t have come as a shock that Ev the grown-up, now in her late thirties and balancing two relationships and an incredibly successful career, would be able to see exactly what was bothering Skylar without skipping a beat. Well, almost everything that was bothering her.

“I’ve never seen you look more gorgeous in my life,” Lucas teased as the two neared the SUV. He was pretty gorgeous himself, all honey words and thick dark hair that Ev had disclosed one drunken night he very much liked pulled. Beside him, Quinn’s stoic expression cracked slightly, and he leaned down to kiss Ev before wrapping Skylar in a hug. It felt like having a brother back and some of the adrenaline of their trip through time and space faded slightly.

“Did you enjoy yourself?” he asked. Quinn was the most reserved of the three, and while they’d been waging a war against Skylar’s demons since she had returned from Greece early without an explanation, he’d given her the most space to process things, to be herself. She knew he had secrets of his own and appreciated his methods and gentleness as much as she did Lucas’ flirtatious humor and Ev’s open warmth.

“It was amazing,” she said honestly. For five minutes, she’d been able to stop thinking about Callie, about her empty apartment, about the what if of what she had run away from in Greece.

“Night’s just getting started!” Lucas chimed in, wrapping his arm around Ev’s waist and leaning in very, very close. “We have reservations at Little Cuba in”—he made a show of checking his watch—“ten minutes.” Little Cuba had the kind of festive atmosphere that was just perfect for a night out after jumping from a plane and Skylar had to appreciate the extent to which her friends were going to help her feel good.

It might help if I explained what the problem is.

Because she hadn’t exactly told Ev that it wasn’t so much the sense of being lost at sea with Callie in her first year of school on the other coast that had her in a funk. That had been why she’d left for Greece in the first place. But what she had found there…

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About the Author

Gemma Snow

Gemma Snow loves high heat, high adventures and high expectations for her heroes! Her stories are set in the past and present, from the glittering streets of Paris to cowboy-rich Triple Diamond Ranch in Wolf Creek, Montana.

In her free time, she loves to travel, and spent several months living in a fourteenth-century castle in the Netherlands. When not exploring the world, she likes dreaming up stories, eating spicy food, driving fast cars and talking to strangers. She recently moved to Nashville with a cute redheaded cat and a cute redheaded boy.

You can take a look at Gemma’s website and blog and also follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

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New Release Blitz: Unlikely Harmony by Lily Michaels #LGBTQ #ContemporaryRomance @PridePublishing

Unlikely Harmony by Lily Michaels

Book 3 in the Improbable Bonds series

Word Count: 32,368
Book Length: SHORT NOVEL
Pages: 140

Genres:

BONDAGE AND BDSM
CELEBRITIES
CONTEMPORARY
EROTIC ROMANCE
GAY
GLBTQI

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Book Description

In the middle of his darkest moment, Sebastian finds an unexpected light.

Since his immense gift was first discovered, Sebastian Chevalier has led a life of blissful indulgence—crisscrossing the globe to perform to thousands of adoring fans and garnering international attention for putting a modern face on opera—that is until a vocal cord injury steals Sebastian’s most prized possession.

While he rehabilitates, he turns his focus to composing an opera and hires Jasper Lorde to join as his accompanist to help turn his written music into a living creation. Although Jasper is the polar opposite of everything he is normally attracted to, Sebastian finds himself with an overwhelming desire for the man and as he slowly regains his ability to speak, the two men explore the passion building between them.

Once the opera is complete and Sebastian has been cleared to sing, he books a debut at the prestigious LA Opera House. But this decision releases a Pandora’s box of demons for Jasper that threatens their tentative connection.

Reader advisory: This book includes the impact of PTSD and anxiety and reference to a car crash with multiple fatalities.

Excerpt

Just standing in front of the imposing oak door soothed the part of my soul that had been scattered, erratic and unsettled. A two-hundred-city tour could easily do that to a person. I missed home. I missed my bed. And damned if I didn’t miss this.

Instead of falling into the comfort my two-thousand-thread-count sheets afforded, I was waiting in the cool, late summer night air for the host to swing open the door and welcome me in…because I needed this.

At any point during the tour, I could have—and probably should have—made a few phone calls and found a similar club in Luxemburg, Paris or New York, but none possessed the familiarity and anonymity Sergio insisted upon for Devour.

In the way that only Sergio could, he—not a designated attendant—opened the door with a flourish and a wicked grin. “Did you miss me, darling?”

I leaned forward and kissed each of his cheeks, as had become our custom over the years. “Terribly, but not quite as much as your dark room.”

His slate-colored eyes glimmered with mischief and knowing all melded into one. “It is your favorite place in Devour.” He stood to the side and held out one arm. “We’ve had a new visitor over the past couple of months while you were gone. He memorized the vocabulary of the dark room with freakish speed. He’s here tonight and I think he may be right up your alley.”

Never in the three years I’d known Sergio and frequented his club had he drawn my attention to anyone in particular, even though he knew I had a very specific type. “What makes you say that?”

He tipped his head to the side, his devious grin melting into a much more serene smile. “You’ll see, cupcake. He’s the only one in the dark room not currently paired up.”

In a familiar routine that soothed some of the aching remnants of my tattered nerves, I handed my leather coat to the clerk, slid the ticket into the pocket of my tight black denim pants and made my way to the room I’d spent the entire flight home from London thinking about.

I’ve lived my life on overload and typically loved every minute of it. Crisscrossing the globe, performing, recording, giving interviews and personal appearances… Every second of it fed my already admittedly healthy ego. It was impossible to not be rather enamored with yourself when men and women from twenty to sixty-five threw themselves at you. About half only salivated over me because of my singing abilities, the others because of my appearance. Either reason was okay with me.

But in the dark room everything stilled, quieted and was at peace. I was wanted for who I was at my core, the most authentic part of me. Hell, no one I’d ever encountered within those four walls had known my name, much less my public identity, and I adored that fact.

Just outside the door I slid on the required half-mask and closed my eyes, giving them a moment to transition from the low lights in the hall to the black lights minimally filling the room. I stepped inside and didn’t open them again until the click of the mechanism closing sounded behind me.

As Sergio had indicated, there were several couples paired up in various positions and stages of play throughout the dimly lit space. A solitary figure stood swirling a drink no more than a dozen paces from me. The black light, which tended to toy with and distort a person’s vision, flashed off the silver mask covering half his face. His body was a little on the lanky side, but the fitted tank top he wore showed off lean muscles on his upper arms and a modest bulge to his chest. He had a thick mop of curly hair that appeared dark in the room, although I was well acquainted with not only the tricks the lights played with appearances but also the lengths to which some people went to keep themselves from being recognized when they came to Devour.

I closed the space between us and reached for his hand. The dark room was about feeling and immersing oneself in the moment, all while keeping the interactions anonymous. Everyone was required to conceal their face, and the ultraviolet bulbs assisted in making the players unrecognizable.

Most important to me, however, was the ‘no talking’ rule. Sergio had set up a system of tracing letters and a few basic symbols on the hand of whomever one wished to partner with for the night as the way to communicate and confirm consent, but no words were ever spoken. And based on his little disclosure, the newbie had caught on quickly and would be able to follow along.

Sub? I moved my index finger just below his knuckles and my heart rate kicked up a notch at his responding nod.

From what I could tell, he was certainly my type physically, but the confirmation that he was submissive was truly what ticked my box. Play? I drew each letter painstakingly slow to be certain he understood what I was asking. I loved embracing my Dominant side and certainly was a fan of a little rough play, but only with both partners fully on board.

He nodded again and I led him to the wall where Sergio had created a handful of signs that would help us outline what we wanted for the night without the long process of spelling it out and possibly creating a misunderstanding. I held out my hand to the papers on the wall, indicating he could choose. I had been too-long deprived and was ready for nearly anything, as long as I could flex the muscles of authority that had lain dormant.

And as much of an arrogant asshole as I was in my daily life, nothing meant more to me than meeting the needs of the submissive under my control, even if only for a night. I needed to know what he wanted from me, what he needed.

The other man pointed at the ‘sadist’ sign and himself simultaneously, then tapped his finger on the points below that said, ‘nipple clamps’, ‘paddle’, ‘flogger’. He then slid over to the list of sexual acts identifying ‘blow job’, ‘bottom’, ‘rimming’.

Once more, for my own peace of mind, I grabbed his hand and traced Play? Sure?

Instead of a response, he grabbed the back of my neck and pulled me in for a kiss. Sparks ricocheted through my entire being from the point where we were connected. I reached beneath his top, which was damn near a second skin on him, and pinched each of his nipples simultaneously as I plundered his mouth with my tongue. He whimpered and the sound shot confidence directly into my spine.

The moans and gasps from the three other couples in the room faded into the background. An unusual charge of energy I couldn’t define passed between us, and within seconds, I was desperate to get the man naked and discover if the fine muscles hinted at beneath his clothes were as enticing when exposed to the minimal light the room offered. It took longer than I wanted to free him from the form-hugging material. Once he had been, I drew in a very necessary lungful of air. The man was gorgeous.

I leaned down and sucked on one nipple for the briefest moment before sinking my teeth into the tender flesh. He swayed a little and I quickly held his back to keep him upright as I moved to repeat my ministrations on the other side.

My aching cock was pressing painfully against the fly of my jeans and desperate for freedom. I disentangled his fingers from where they’d knotted in my hair and wrapped them around his own hard dick before turning him around and pushing him against the wall.

Once I’d shed my own clothes, I rummaged through the tall wardrobe a few feet away and came back with a bottle of lube, a condom, nipple clamps and a flogger. I moved to the man’s side, hooked a finger around his chin and turned him so he faced me. I held up the items and nearly exploded with gratitude at his affirmative nod to accept the various forms of play.

First I affixed the clamps and I traced, OK? on his hand again. My breath was trapped in my lungs for the half a second before he answered. At his affirmative response, I turned him to face the wall again then trailed the tips of the flogger over his shoulder and down his spine. I rotated my wrist a few times before delivering the first strike, followed quickly by two more. Even in the low light, he visibly stiffened beneath the three blows.

OK? I drew once more. This time he shook his head, grabbed my still-extended finger, and wrote More on my palm. The plea sent a jolt of unnecessary extra desire straight to my dick, and I happily obliged, landing another four hits to his backside, which was now brightly reddened, visible even under the ultraviolet rays.

Normally my willpower was damn near infinite, but everything about the brief interaction with the man was unusual. Sooner than I’d have preferred, I was sheathing my cock with the latex barrier and lathering it, as well as his ass, with an excessive amount of slippery lubricant.

Once more I broke many of my own rules when I spun the man around and pressed his back and hands to the wall, lifting him against the wooden surface, hiking his thighs over my hips and sliding inside him easily. Perfectly. Our dual moans mixed and mingled to create a beautiful harmony.

I was never so thankful for the dogged insistence of my personal trainer to make me lift and work-out hardcore, even while on tour, as I was when I was easily holding him with one arm and removing one clamp with my free hand, quickly replacing the metal with my lips. I repeated the action on the other side, licking and sucking the tiny pebble until he gave me the whimpering response I wanted…needed.

I pulled back and crashed my mouth into his, gripping each of his ass cheeks firmly, the knowledge that I’d leave him with reminders of me much more thrilling than it should be.

Two more strokes inside and a shudder ran through his entire body as liquid lava erupted between us. The proof he’d met his release gave me permission to launch myself from the precipice I’d been dangling from into the warm, welcome abyss of ecstasy that beckoned me.

He leaned forward and planted soft kisses on my shoulder. New threads of pleasure wove around every cell in my body because of him, every part of him—his hands, his lips, his hot breath on my skin.

Damn, what I wouldn’t give to know his name.

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About the Author

Lily Michaels

Coffee, chocolate, and books make up Lily’s world, often all three at the same time. Whether reading or writing she is a sucker for an over-the-top happily ever after… only following an appropriate amount of pain, of course.

When she is not writing or reading (which is not very often) she enjoys exercising her right brain in non authorly ways such as creating mosaics, crocheting, knitting, scrapbooking, and taking one man’s trash to create something new. But never, ever ask her to draw something. That is a beast best left alone.

You can find Lily on her website here and follow her on Pinterest.

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