Release Blitz: Wicked Trouble by Angela Addams #eroticromance #BDSM #mystery @firstforromance @totally_bound

Wicked Trouble by Angela Addams

Book 4 in the Wicked Distractions series

Word Count: 51,613
Book Length: NOVEL
Pages: 207

Genres:

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

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Book Description


Her fetish cruise vacation started with a bang, literally, but fun quickly turned to terror when death came knocking at her door.

Cammie Sheppard, personal assistant to Sabine Cowan, is a capital-O-organized, type-A workaholic and, according to Sabine, in desperate need of a vacation. Despite the fact that her boss has explicitly forbidden her from touching anything related to work, Cammie has a plan for her forced five-day Dark Matter Kink cruise. One, schmooze and network on behalf of Cowan Enterprises. Two, product-test all the kink goodies available. Three, get laid as much as possible. Even a working girl needs a little release every once in a while, and Cammie has been saving up.

When she meets Zane Roberts, she finds a kindred spirit, so much so that their chemistry ignites, and Cammie checks off number three on her to-do list several times in the first few hours after departure. When she returns to her own cabin later that night, she discovers the body of a man—who is very much deceased—but when she goes to get help and returns with security, the body is gone. No one believes her, except for the mysterious Zane Roberts, who, it turns out, is conducting an investigation of his own.

Cammie thinks the dead man is connected to Zane’s case, but Zane isn’t convinced. Cammie might be a sub in Zane’s bed, but she’s anything but when she’s got a job to do. Right now, she’s determined to figure out how a dead man ended up in her cabin and stop a murderer from striking again.

Reader advisory: This book contains murder, a head injury, brief anal play and an instance of drugging.

Excerpt

Cammie didn’t do vacations very well, mostly because she loathed stepping away from the love of her life…work. But when the uber-powerful Sabine Cowan insisted on an all-expenses paid kink cruise, what she called “mandatory R and R”, what was a girl supposed to do?

A hardcore type-A like Cammie played to her strengths, so that’s what she did. She packed her bags and made a cruise ‘to-do’ list. One, schmooze and network more Kitty Cat connections—Gentlemen’s Club candidates, Kitty Cat hopefuls and new clients. Two, product test, because, come on…a kink cruise? A girl’s gotta have a little fun at work. Three, get laid…repeatedly. It is a vacation after all…even if it’s forced. It’d been a looong time since she’d found a man to crank her little kink-loving heart.

“This will be your cabin, Miss Sheppard. Your boss really loves you.” Ben, her steward, winked like they were already best friends. He’d been effervescent the entire way to her stateroom, bubbling with energy and peppering her with questions about where she’d traveled from and what she hoped to do on the five-day cruise. It had been impossible not to get caught up in his enthusiasm as he pumped up the various events that had been planned. “Shall I put your bags in the closet?”

A walk-in closet? In a stateroom? “Yes, please. Thank you, Ben.”

Of course, Sabine had spared no expense, so Cammie’s cabin was beyond luxurious. It was larger than her own bedroom at home in New York and big enough for a king-size bed, a lounge-dining area and a restroom that included an actual whirlpool tub. The view was spectacular as well. With floor-to-ceiling windows along one wall, Cammie would be able to see miles of ocean with no obstructed views. She also had a balcony and pictured herself having her morning coffee there while she checked email and knocked a few things off her ‘non-cruise to-do list’, of course.

“Is there anything else I can do for you, Miss Sheppard?” Ben stood at the door, his hands folded in front of him and his face clearly eager to please. His blond hair flopped over one eye, giving him an adorably disheveled look.

“Oh gosh, no. I’m fine.” She dug out some money from her purse then handed it to him. “Thanks for getting me here safe and sound. This ship is so huge. I think it’ll take me five days just to get the hang of where everything is.” Which was a total lie… Cammie had gotten the entire ship mapped out from bow to stern and everything in between before she’d stepped foot on board.

“I’m here if you need me. Just pick up the phone and I’ll answer.” Ben slipped the cash into his pocket with a nod and a grin. “Don’t forget about the sunset mixer on the Sky Deck.”

Cammie rubbed her hands together. “I’ll be there!” A sunset mixer sounded like exactly the type of place she’d find people to network with.

She had an hour to get ready, so she pulled out her sun-and-fun mixer dress—an orange, yellow and pink strapless that hugged her curves just right—then headed into the massive restroom for a dip in the tub. If Sabine wanted her to relax, she could at least make an effort.

It turned out that networking was easier than finding a nonalcoholic cocktail on the Sky Deck. Cammie had been offered no less than four umbrella-adorned drinks by four different scantily clad servers, and each time she’d asked if it was possible to get a soda or even water, she’d only been met with looks of confusion before a mumbled, “Of course! Let me get that for you.” She’d yet to find a cold drink in her hand, but she had met three very eligible men, who had been eagerly listening to what she had to say about the Kitty Cat Gentlemen’s Club. They hadn’t even balked at the fee range she’d hinted at.

“You can sign me up, little lady.” Mr. William Haversmith wore a huge tan cowboy hat on his big head. Everything about the man was larger than life, from his booming laugh and his ridiculously large cowboy boots to his long, curled mustache. “In fact, a pretty little thing like you can do whatever she wants with my assets.” He winked.

“Bill, don’t you know women don’t like to be spoken to like that?” Elm Stone also wore a cowboy hat and towered over Cammie in the same way his friend did, which wasn’t hard, considering Cammie was a whopping five foot three inches. He tried to come off as more gentlemanly, even though Cammie had witnessed him slip his hands over several of the servers’ asses as they passed by.

“I’m sorry. Can’t help myself. You’re a tiny, sexy thing, though. And on a naughty cruise like this to boot! You’re a firecracker, aren’t you? I can see it in your eyes.” He winked again, and Cammie had to wonder if he had a tic or if he really did think she—or any woman, really—was in to his kind of flirting. “And those dimples! So cute! I could just eat you up.” He leaned closer. “You don’t mind if I call you ‘little lady’, do you, sweetheart?”

Did she mind? Hell yes! But she’d never say that out loud. Working in an industry that catered to men, she’d become used to the ways that men behaved and the condescending things they often said. “Of course not, Mr. Haversmith.” She grinned, making sure her dimples popped for him. “I’m just going to charge you more for your membership.”

The men all laughed in their hearty way, not believing for one second that she would, in fact, give them the elevated price she reserved for special men like him. She laughed too, but hers—if a person listened closely—was edged with a ‘fuck you’.

“Well, you’ve got my contact information. Be sure to put it to good use, honey.” He didn’t wink again, thank goodness, but he did waggle his eyebrows like he was sending some kind of secret message.

Cammie laughed again then waved him off. “If you’ll excuse me, gentlemen, I’m going to search out a drink. I’m absolutely parched!” She didn’t stick around for another suggestive comment, but the men’s laughter and what could only be described as catcalls did follow her as she moved through the crowd.

Ugh.

“Oh, there you are!” A tall redhead wearing a super-flattering, black skin-hugging leather dress rushed to her on four-inch stilettos with a frosty glass in hand. “Soda water for you. I added a lime just in case you wanted a bit of flavor.”

“Thank you!” The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. Cammie really was dying of thirst.

“Soda water, huh?”

She turned toward the gravelly voice like a puppet on a string. “Yeah, I’m not in to alcohol.”

“Smart. Don’t want to get too drunk then end up tied down and at some Dom’s mercy.” The guy standing next to her checked all Cammie’s eye-candy boxes. He was tall and wide, barrel-chested, thick-armed and, like her, appeared to enjoy food. “That’s why I’m only sipping my beer.”

“Bound and at the mercy of a Dom is exactly how I want to end up.” A bold statement, sure, but Cammie had a to-do list, and this guy might be her way to check off one of those bullet points.

“Zane,” he said, one eyebrow raised.

Amused or intrigued? It was hard to tell. He tilted his pint glass toward hers.

“Cammie.” She turned herself toward him so she could take in his full size then clinked her glass with his. She liked men with meat on them. They complemented her curves and were usually hefty enough to hoist her into the positions she loved. “You here alone?”

His eyes crinkled and a grin tugged his lips. “Are you hitting on me?”

“Not yet.” Cammie grinned back.

“Oh…dimples, how very—”

“If you say cute, I’m leaving.” Cammie took a sip from her glass, watching him over the jutting lime. Her body heat had to be wafting off her with the way her pussy quivered and wept. Zane was exactly the kind of guy she could have some fun with.

Get laid—check!

“Enticing.” He gave her a spicy once-over, trailing a hot-as-hell gaze down, lingering over her double Ds to the curve of her extra-wide hips, then back up again. “Yes, I’m here alone.”

“I’m not looking for love.” Cammie would never be accused of beating around the bush, especially not when it came to sex.

“Neither am I.”

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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.

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Release Blitz: Dream Demon by Samantha Cayto #BDSM #LGBTQ #eroticromance @pridepublishing @firstforromance

Dream Demon By Samantha Cayto

General Release Date: 26th October 2021

Word Count: 33,173
Book Length: SHORT NOVEL
Pages: 123

Genres:

ANGELS AND DEMONS
BONDAGE AND BDSM
CONTEMPORARY
EROTIC ROMANCE
GAY
GLBTQI
HALLOWEEN

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Book Description

Sometimes nightmares turn into dreams come true.

Colby is new to the BDSM scene and longs for a Master to take control and show him the pleasure that can be found in pain. When he receives a Halloween invitation to play from a mysterious man, he takes the risk of delving into an unknown world.

Sebastian is a blood demon masquerading as a human Dom. Unlike others of his kind, he strives to fill his need ethically instead of preying on humans. He seeks consent to satisfy his urges and knows how to woo Colby with patience. The only thing he fears is whether or not his new sub will be able to accept him as he truly is.

Trusting Sebastian is easy, even as Colby’s dreams are plagued by an unknown shadow that attracts him as much as it scares him. Sebastian needs to build trust before revealing his true nature. He thinks he has all the time he wants, but he’s about to learn that even demons cannot control their fate.

Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of blood, pain and wax play.

Excerpt

The creature gained on him. As Colby dashed through the winding, narrow alleys, the sound of the steady, measured steps behind him grew louder. No matter how fast he ran, his heart thumping, his breath labored, his pursuer grew closer, not farther away. He bit back a whimper, determined not to show the terror that wanted to scream out. There was nowhere to escape to, no end to the twisting path he traveled. He would not make it. He would be caught. Then what? A shiver racked his body. Pain with a hit of pleasure weaved within. That reaction scared him more than anything else. He strained to run faster. The hairs on the back of his neck stood up as hot breath wafted over him. The scent of it should have been repulsive, fetid and evil, yet it wasn’t. It smelled exotic, like toasted spices for mulled wine. Instead of shivering with fear, he felt almost cocooned in some safe, warm place—with a spike of arousal. It made no sense.

What is wrong with me?

Colby bolted up into a sitting position, his breath caught and pain lanced through his chest. His heart pounded in a skipping tattoo that scared him into thinking he might be having a heart attack. He rubbed his palm over his sweat-coated pec and tried to rein in his breathing. Just a dream. Just a dream. That reassurance wasn’t enough to calm his body. Logic and truth be damned. The dream had felt so real and vivid, both the fright and the excitement. The evidence of the conflicting effects was on display. Below his ribcage against which his heart knocked, the twisted bedsheet was tented by his cock. That was nothing new. It was how he woke every morning—hard. But he wasn’t usually so achingly so, his balls cramping with the need for release.

Instead of waiting to deal with his dick in the shower, Colby wriggled his hand under the covers and clasped the shaft with clammy fingers. A few quick tugs had him coming with such force that he doubled over. Fragments from his dream danced inside his head as he worked his cock, goosing the pleasure and forcing him to stifle a moan. He didn’t want his roommate to hear—not that Marquis would care. Colby had never met anyone less inhibited than him. He could hear Marquis puttering in the kitchen, the apartment being small. If it were summer, the guy would be buck-naked, wearing only an apron to protect his precious assets. Colby was different, though. He couldn’t quite shake all the primness of his Midwestern upbringing.

Besides, it was almost shameful how aroused he’d been. Although he’d worked hard to accept his submissive and masochistic needs as nothing to feel guilty about, something about how he’d almost welcomed the nameless, faceless thing that had chased him in his dreams brought back those early feelings of remorse. BDSM was a consensual and often loving form of play. There wasn’t supposed to be real fear. Doms weren’t truly predatory, and yet…whoever had chased him in his dreams was different from any man he’d ever seen playing with ecstatic subs. There had been a menace that he’d instinctively felt and fled from. He should have only wanted to escape, but part of him had wanted to be caught.

“It’s just Halloween,” Colby muttered.

The pseudo-holiday had been a verboten day in his childhood, an alarming celebration of the devil and all that was evil. His family had prayed for those foolish people who thought it was a silly night for dress-up and getting free candy. For him, however, it was liberation day. Six months ago, he’d finally come out of the one remaining closet in his life and had declared that he was a masochistic sub yearning for a Master to take firm control of him. He’d spent an amazing night in the one local dungeon in the Boston area, watching others play and longing to join them—not that he’d had the courage to approach any of the enticing men dressed in black leather… They’d all been occupied with boys of their own. It had still been thrilling. Too bad they weren’t holding another open house this night. Things might have been different. As it was, he hoped to find some similar fun being held somewhere—or perhaps if he dressed in the clothing he’d purchased a few days ago at a sex shop, he might attract the right kind of man.

“Yeah, right. As if you’ve gotten any braver over the summer.”

The self-admonishment chased away the last remnants of his dream. Colby untangled himself from the sheet and stripped it off the bed before heading to the bathroom. He stuffed the soiled bedding in the hamper and hopped into the shower. That hot spray beating down perked him up and he would have loved to have lingered there. But water cost money and he and Marquis had precious little, so, he washed quickly and got out.

Wiping away the condensation on the mirror, he stared at his own reflection. Even wet, his nearly white-blond hair color was visible, and there was still a smattering of freckles on his pale cheekbones. Marquis had said when they’d first met that Colby was the whitest white boy he’d ever seen. There was no denying that, but Colby also knew that he was prettier than perhaps a boy should be. Certainly the bullies back home had thought so, jeering at him while they’d tried to push his face into their laps. It’ll be just like having a girl blow me, the instigator had said to be clear that, unlike Coby, he wasn’t gay. The taunting echoed in Colby’s head as it did from time-to-time, even though he was miles away from that life and comfortable in his own skin now. And he’d escaped—that assault and others, the endless praying of the congregation trying to make him ‘right’ with the Lord, as well as his family’s condemnation. He was an adult, living on his own and making the rules by which he lived. Looking back accomplished nothing.

He returned to his literal closet of a room and threw on jeans and an old sweater. The apartment was chilly. Heat was another expense they had to manage and growing up on a Nebraska farm meant that he could handle the cold. Marquis, poor guy, would be miserable for the next six months. Following delicious smells, Colby found his roommate plating up breakfast.

“Is that French toast?” Perhaps the smell of cinnamon had influenced his dream. Yeah, that’s it. Appreciation for his friend’s cooking had infiltrated the more menacing aspects of his visions.

Marquis put the plates on the counter that separated the galley kitchen from the rest of the room that served as their communal living space. “What can I say? I woke up with a fierce taste for it.”

Colby poured a mug of coffee, laced it with a cheap cream substitute and sat in his usual spot. He downed half of his coffee before forking a piece of his meal. “Hmm, thanks. This will fortify me for work and keep away the temptation to get something there.” He had a late afternoon shift at the coffee house he worked in, and even with his employee discount, the pastries cost more than he could budget for.

Marquis joined him. “Yeah well, I’m due at the gym in an hour. I’m going to have to get in some extra workout time of my own if I want to keep this off my hips. No one likes seeing a chunky guy mixing their healthy smoothies.”

Colby snorted. As thin as he was, Marquis was even more so without even trying that hard. A few pieces of French toast weren’t going to change that. “And I should go for a run before starting my shift.” He wouldn’t be done until closing at ten at night, and there was no way he wanted to run by himself so late. The South End of Boston was a pretty safe neighborhood, but still…

“Mm-m.” Marquis gestured toward the front door with his mouth full. After swallowing, he said, “I got the mail earlier and there’s something interesting for you.”

“Me?” Colby frowned. The only mail he got was junk. His bills were paperless, and no one wrote to him…ever.

“Yup, I was tempted to open it myself. If it’s junk, someone spent a lot on it.”

Curiosity had him leaving his delicious breakfast and going to the small table where they put the mail. He spotted the envelope immediately. It was black and thick, with gold lettering in a fancy script with his name and address clearly written. It was obviously for him unless some other Colby Taylor had lived in this very apartment at some point. He reached for it, then paused. A strange feeling stole over him, as if he were about to take some monumental step—that once he opened this letter, his life would never be the same.

Ridiculous.

He snatched up the envelope before he could think any more of it and flipped it over. The back flap was sealed in an old-fashioned way with black wax and short red ribbons dangling below. A stylized S and R were embossed within the wax. Colby held it close to his face to study the unusual markings. As he stared at them, he felt as if he were falling into some dark tunnel, being pulled into the seal, into the envelope itself. His world tilted for just a second before he blinked the feeling away and took a deep breath to ground himself.

Too much caffeine, too quickly, that’s all.

“What’s it say?” Marquis’ impatient voice called from the counter.

Colby broke the seal quickly before he could think better of it and pulled out a stiff invitation written in blood-red ink on cream paper bordered in black.

Mister Colby William Taylor,

You are hereby invited to play at a party, to be held at the Mayflower Dungeon this All Hallows’ Eve at 9 p.m. Dress optional

Come if you dare

Sebastian Reeves

There was no address given. Then again, there didn’t need to be. He knew where to find the place. His heart pounded, much as it had in the aftermath of his dream. The French toast sat heavy on his now slightly queasy stomach. But that wasn’t the only reaction to seeing the invitation. His dick had hardened instantly, pressing painfully against his fly with aching balls, as if he hadn’t come a mere fifteen minutes before. His hands shook slightly as he grasped the card and the envelope fluttered to the floor.

“Come on. What’s it say?” Marquis snatched the invitation from Colby and whistled. “Holy shit! Isn’t this the place you went last April?” When Colby could only nod, his roommate gave him a sly smile. “You didn’t tell me you made a friend there.”

Colby blinked slowly. “I didn’t. I-I just watched. I don’t know who this guy is or why he’d send me an invitation to play.” He remembered something. “Oh, I did give my contact information, because you can’t get in without filling out a waiver. I never heard from them, and I didn’t expect to.” The prices for joining the club were too steep for him, so it had been a relief not to get solicitations in the months since. There was no sense in torturing himself—ha ha—with something he couldn’t have.

“You must have met this Reeves guy. Why else would he invite you?” Marquis pressed.

Colby shook his head. “No, I didn’t. Other than the man at the entrance, I didn’t speak to anyone. I have no idea who he is.”

Marquis handed him back the invitation. “Huh. Well, you obviously made an impression on this dude. I can’t imagine why it would take months to contact you, though. Maybe he just got out of a relationship or he’s a Halloween freak.”

“Is there such a thing? I mean, is it a fetish or something?” There was a lot about the world of BDSM that Colby still didn’t know about.

His roommate shrugged. “How would I know? But isn’t there a fetish for everything? What are you going to wear?”

Colby frowned. “I’m not sure I’m going.” As tempting as it was to check out the party, there was a distant alarm bell ringing inside his head.

“Seriously? I thought this was your jam. Why wouldn’t you?” Marquis stooped to sweep the envelope off the floor and waved it in front of Colby’s face. “And this takes bank. I bet the dude’s from Beacon Hill or one of the flush suburbs. It couldn’t hurt to have a rich boyfriend.”

“Oh, please. You know I’m not looking for a sugar-daddy.” But he was looking for a play partner, if only for one night. His cock pulsed at the idea of finally being under a man’s control and feeling the exquisite pleasure of pain inflicted by someone who knew what they were doing.

‘Oh please’, yourself,” Marquis scoffed. “Aren’t you the one longing for a husband and a dog in some nice condo around here?”

Colby smacked the guy in the arm without any heat. “That’s not the same thing.”

“Isn’t it? In those dreams of yours, do you still sling lattes for minimum wage and measly tips? Just because he’s put a ring on it, doesn’t mean he isn’t a sugar-daddy.”

“You’re such a cynic.” Even as he laid the charge against his friend, Colby had to admit there was truth in it. When he thought about his future, the idea of kneeling and taking punishment in a home that Colby kept for his Master made his heart stutter with joy.

“I’m not sure I’m going,” he reiterated, even though, before the last word was out of his mouth, he knew that was a lie.

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About the Author

Samantha Cayto

Samantha Cayto is a Boston-area native who practices as a business lawyer by day while writing erotic romance at night—the steamier the better. She likes to push the envelope when it comes to writing about passion and is delighted other women agree that guy-on-guy sex is the hottest ever.

She lives a typical suburban life with her husband, three kids and four dogs. Her children don’t understand why they can’t read what she writes, but her husband is always willing to lend her a hand—and anything else—when she needs to choreograph a scene.

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Release Blitz: Skeletal Equation by A.E. Lister #eroticromance #gay #bondage @pridepublishing @firstforromance

Skeletal Equation by AE Lister

Word Count: 30,378
Book Length: SHORT NOVEL
Pages: 135

Genres:

BONDAGE AND BDSM
CONTEMPORARY
EROTIC ROMANCE
GAY
GLBTQI
HALLOWEEN
MÉNAGE AND MULTIPLE PARTNERS

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Book Description

 

What do medical kink, pup play and Halloween have in common? Scott Vernier. A visit to the local leather bar offers an unexpected treat!

Scott Vernier is lonely and bored, but he’d rather sit at home and mope than go out. A promise to a friend forces him to attend the annual Halloween party at Sonny’s, his local leather bar. Amid the tacky costumes and seasonal desperation, Scott meets two people he never expected to encounter.

Can a man well-versed in medical kink and his leather-pup boyfriend introduce Scott to a whole new world of illicit pleasure?

When Dr. Jericho Griffin gets down to business, Scott finds himself responding in explosive ways.

Reader advisory: This book features discussion only of scat, enemas and needle play. There are scenes of pup play and a scene involving voyeurism.

Excerpt

The scariest thing about Halloween currently was how little I cared for it. As a younger gay man, I’d have planned my costume for months, figuring out the sexiest way to be a zombie, a vampire or any of the other popular standards, and I’d have attended at least three parties to try to get laid. Now I was too old and jaded to care about any of that.

But it was a week until Halloween, and I had no excuses. I’d told Duke I’d be at the local gay leather bar for the annual party. He was scheduled to bartend that night and I’d foolishly committed to being there, at least for part of the evening.

I hated Halloween.

I’d loved it as a child, and as a teen and young adult, it had been an excuse to get smashed and flirt with people I’d be too intimidated by otherwise. But now, as an adult? Halloween seemed like a waste of time. I definitely had better things to do.

Or did I?

It was true that I hadn’t socialized a lot recently, because my job was exhausting, even though it fulfilled me. As an anthropology professor at the local college, I had classes to teach most days and students to support during office hours. Then there was the prep time and marking… I’d managed to fit my life into an organized and workable routine, but I was a busy man.

I had promised Duke I’d try to have some fun, simply to get him off my back and stop him from calling me ‘old before my time’—although the annual Halloween Ball at Sonny’s wasn’t exactly my idea of a great time.

For one thing, I didn’t have a costume. For another thing, I didn’t want to wear one.

But costumes were compulsory for this event, so I had to make at least a minimal effort. I had a T-shirt, somewhere, with glow-in-the-dark bones on it. If I could find it, I’d wear that and say I was a skeleton. Yeah, that was pretty dumb, but the guys who worked the door knew me, and I was pretty sure they’d let me in. It paid to be friends with the bartender, even though he pressured me to be more social.

I liked Duke a lot. He was a bear of a man but the sweetest guy anyone would ever meet. I’d gotten to know him when he’d taken one of my anthropology courses. He’d invited me for dinner once the semester had ended, and he and his cute-as-hell boyfriend Julius had cooked me the most amazing spaghetti Bolognese I’d ever eaten. It was a fast friendship with them both after that. Julius worked in IT and made good money, so Duke could bartend a few nights a week and spend the rest of his time making small sculptures out of reclaimed ‘junk’ and taking occasional classes of interest to him.

I didn’t have many close friends, and I considered Duke and Julius to be an important part of my life, especially as I hadn’t been able to find a partner to join me on this questionable journey. I’d had the occasional boyfriend, but the long-term bond had never become anything significant before either I or the other guy decided things weren’t working. I wondered if I had the temperament for a permanent relationship.

Some people were meant to be single and maybe I was one of them.

I dug through three drawers before I found my skeleton shirt scrunched in the corner. Great, it will be wrinkled as well as dumb. Ah well, there was nothing to do about it. I wasn’t gonna fucking iron it. I didn’t even think I owned an iron. Ironing seemed like the most useless and annoying chore on this planet, and I wasn’t going to be a part of it.

I slid the shirt over my head and stepped in front of the mirror. It fit a little tight, but that was okay. That just showed off my slim build to my advantage and made some of the wrinkles disappear. The sleeves were plenty long and the fabric gathered slightly at my wrists. I pulled down on the bottom edge of the shirt. It wasn’t too bad but would probably show skin if I had to reach my arms up. I wasn’t planning to do that, so it should be fine.

The bones glowed in the dimness of the room, even though the shirt had been in my drawer. I’d wear it around the house so it could absorb more light. I’d have to be careful not to spill anything on it while doing the dishes, but the more I wore it, the quicker the rest of the wrinkles would come out.

Luckily, I was able to load the dishes and wipe the counter without incident, and when I checked myself again, I was pleased with my half-assed attempt at participation. It would have to do, and at least I looked sexy. I’d put on my brown faux-leather pants that hugged my hips and showed off my long, slim legs. I was of average height and my black hair had begun to streak with gray, but I was fit and strong and didn’t look half bad tonight, if I was honest. Maybe the visit to the popular club would be worth it and I’d be able to bring someone home for the evening. It had been a while since I’d seen any action. I didn’t want to contemplate how long.

I went to the bathroom and used some gel to muss my hair into an artfully untidy style. At the last minute, I applied some black eyeliner that I saved for special occasions when I was feeling it. Even though my enthusiasm for the Halloween party was negligible, my interest in seducing a warm body for a few hours began to rise.

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About the Author

AE Lister

AE Lister/Elizabeth Lister is a Canadian non-binary author with a vivid imagination and a head full of unique and interesting characters. They have published 10 books, one of which received an Honorable Mention from the National Leather Association – International for excellence in SM/Leather/Fetish writing.

“Sensual and visceral BDSM.” – Amazon.ca

Find out more about AE Lister at their website, and follow them on Instagram and Patreon.

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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.

Giveaway

Enter to win a vintage silver plated dressing table set consisting of mirror, brush and comb from L.M. Somerton!

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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

ANGELA ADDAMS IS GIVING AWAY THIS FABULOUS PRIZE TO ONE LUCKY WINNER. ENTER HERE FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A LOVELY GIFT PACKAGE AND GET YOUR FREE ANGELA ADDAMS ROMANCE BOOK! Notice: This competition ends on 31st August 2021 at 5pm GMT. Competition hosted by Totally Entwined Group.

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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.

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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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