BOOK REVIEW: My Dad’s Best Friend by Katee Robert #bookreview

My Dad's Best Friend (A Touch of Taboo #3)

He’s the one man I’m not supposed to want… My dad’s best friend.

After he rejected me six years ago, I’ve steered clear of Jonas. Until now. I need his help, and I won’t take no for an answer. The plan is to show up at his house and plead my case, but a rainstorm derails everything, trapping us together for the weekend.

When he catches me in a compromising position, things quickly spiral out of control. We promise each other the weekend to purge the desire that’s been simmering for six long years. No fantasy is too dark, too filthy, too forbidden, to play out.

The only rule is that this thing between us ends when the storm does.

Surely it’s the one rule I can keep from breaking?

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MY REVIEW

3 stars

I’ve really enjoyed Katee’s books in the past, but this one completely missed the mark for me. If the book description had made it clear this was a “daddy” erotica and not the dad’s best friend romance I expected, I wouldn’t have bought it. Calling a lover “daddy” is just a hard no for me and it honestly made it difficult for me to even finish reading the book.

I’m giving it three stars for the quality of writing. The story itself would get a lot less. Mostly because there isn’t one.

If you’re looking for romance, this book doesn’t have any.

My Dad’s Best Friend is erotica with little to no plot, minimum character development, and zero romance. But if daddy kink is your thing and you want a book that’s 90% sex, you’ll probably love this one.

Katee is a fabulous writer. This just isn’t the sort of book I’ve come to expect from her. I’ll be giving the rest of this series a pass.

*Disclaimer: The review above is only my opinion. I purchased a copy of this book from Amazon. Neither the publisher nor author requested a review.

Release Blitz: Give Way by Valentine Wheeler #LGBTQ #ContemporaryRomance @ghostalservice @GoIndiMarketing @ninestarpress

Title: Give Way

Author: Valentine Wheeler

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 01/04/2021

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 31400

Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, MM romance, men over 40, second chances, sexual discovery, interracial romance, retiree, mail carrier

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Description

Kevin McNamara’s life after retirement is…fine. He has friends, a few consulting gigs, and an ex-wife he’s finally on good terms with. But when he meets an intriguing stranger–a rarity in close-knit Swanley, Massachusetts–in his apartment lobby, he can’t stop thinking about him or about the unexpected attraction that knocked him flat.

Awais Siddiqui never thought he’d want to come back to his childhood hometown, but when his grandmother falls ill, he’s the only one who can move back to help. Awais figures he’ll be back in a big city soon enough–but then a silver fox on his route catches his eye.

It’s never too late to accept a second chance at love.

Excerpt

Give Way
Valentine Wheeler © 2020
All Rights Reserved

Kevin McNamara was not having a good day.

As he trudged up the street toward his block, his building loomed ahead, five stories of forbidding concrete. His kids kept telling him he had to find a nicer apartment–he’d only meant for this one to be a stopping place after the divorce, but here he was fifteen years later, solidly into his retirement, still crammed into his tiny two-bedroom. It was fine. He didn’t have to mow a lawn, and most of the other residents were older people or divorced dads, so he fit right in. A few kids visited their fathers on weekends and livened things up, and it was close enough to downtown that he could walk to get whatever he needed. On less soggy, snowy days, a stroll home was appealing, but not after a four hour transit meeting in Boston and with gray slush soaking into his loafers.

As he pulled his keys from his pocket in the vestibule, ready to open the door to the lobby, tires crunched on the asphalt outside and he turned to see a mail truck pulling up. He pushed open the vestibule door and got ready to greet Doris–she’d been his mail lady for ten years, so she deserved a smile even if Kevin’s toes were numb. But instead of his compact, South Asian mail lady, he was surprised to see a man in a postal uniform standing on the sidewalk, tall, dark, and–well, attractive. He was staring at the front of the building, glancing down at the mail in his hands and back up again.

“Hi,” said the man. “This is 210 Washakum Avenue, right?”

Kevin nodded. “Yes, the two fell off the sign last week and nobody’s been by to fix it.” He wasn’t sure why he’d felt the need to explain and wished he hadn’t.

The man grinned, showing very white, very even teeth. They looked even brighter against his short beard and light brown skin, which even in December was a few shades warmer than Kevin’s ever got. “Great. I’ve got a couple packages here, and I really didn’t want to leave them out in all this wet.”

“Yeah,” said Kevin. “Um.” He glanced behind him at the door to his building’s lobby, feeling unaccountably flustered. “Doris usually leaves them inside. Is she not in today?”

The man nodded. “She took the day off, so I’m helping out. I can’t believe they approved the time. December’s usually a no-go for leave, you know? Busiest season for Santas like me and Doris.”

“I bet.” Kevin pushed the door open. “Here, I won’t let the door lock you out.”

“Oh, I’m sure Doris left me a key somewhere,” said the man. “Don’t want to hold you up. I’m helping deliver packages for my overtime, and I’m still learning the town.” He paused. “I’m Awais, by the way.”

“Kevin,” said Kevin. “And it’s fine. I’m happy to hold the door. I’m in no rush.”

“McNamara? Kevin McNamara, is that right?” asked Awais.

“How did you guess?”

Awais grinned again, this time showing a dimple in one cheek, barely visible under his close-trimmed beard. “You’ve got a package, man.”

Kevin swallowed as Awais gathered a tub of packages in his arms and brushed past him into the lobby. The door wasn’t wide and neither was the lobby. He set the tub on the floor and knelt beside it. His slacks hugged his thighs: they seemed tighter than the usual postal cut as he bent over. And was the foyer suddenly warm?

“Let’s see.” Awais dug in the tub, setting a few packages aside. Kevin stood awkwardly, still holding the door. Dropping it would be rude, and it would trap them together in the small space, but he’d been holding it open for what felt like a long time. “Okay. Here we go!” He pulled out a large manila envelope, stacked the rest of the packages back in the tub, and rose to his feet gracefully. He was slender, Kevin noticed, but his shoulders were broad enough that the small space was awkward with both of their nearly six foot frames crowding it. “Here,” said Awais, holding it out.

Kevin took it. His fingers brushed Awais’s, shockingly warm against his own chilled ones. “Thanks,” he said, putting a bit of his usual charm in his smile. He knew the effect it had on people, and maybe it would counteract the incredibly weird impression this guy was getting of him.

Awais smiled back. “No problem. Gift for the wife?”

Kevin blinked. “Um, no,” he said, flummoxed. “I’m single.” Divorced, he’d meant to say. But it was too late to correct himself without drawing attention to it.

Awais’s eyes widened for the briefest moment, then his smile stretched even further. He winked. “Well, the ladies are missing out then.” He slung his satchel back over his shoulder, brushing past Kevin again where he was standing, still holding the door like a chump. He smelled like snow and woods and a little bit of sweat. Kevin decided to pretend he hadn’t just smelled the guy. He couldn’t help it in the hot, steamy foyer.

Through the glass, Awais climbed back in his truck, slid the door closed, waved, and pulled away.

Kevin looked down at the envelope. He didn’t even remember what he’d ordered. He took a step backward and winced at the squelch. He’d completely forgotten about his soaked shoes.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

Valentine is a latecomer to writing, though she’s always been a passionate reader. Through fanfiction she found her way to an incredible community of writers who’ve taught her to love making stories.

When she isn’t writing, she’s making bad puns, yelling about television, or playing with her small child.

Her life’s ambition is to eat the cuisine of every single country. Follow Valentine on Twitter

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Book Blitz: Unplugged by Sigal Ehrlich #NewAdult @Sigal_Ehrlich

Unplugged
Sigal Ehrlich
(Unplugged, #1)
Publication date: March 10th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

An against-all-odds & forbidden rockstar romance

After surviving the long and excruciating recruitment process, I thought I would end up working for Madonna or the CIA at the very least.
Boy, was I wrong.

Even in my wildest dreams I couldn’t have imagined what I was in for. What my heart was in for.

I couldn’t have possibly fathomed the lifestyle, the responsibility, how much it would take out of me, the inner battles, and mostly, the emotional whirlwind.
I could never have imagined, prepared myself for, or anticipated…

Him.

It was supposed to be a job. Just a temporary job. Just a few months. Just a short stop before the journey I was about to take to follow my dream.

It was supposed to be a lot of things…but not this.
Little did I know it would be the one event that would shape me, would change me, would bring on such a shift in the balance of my world.
Would bring…

Him.

Would bring…

Them.
Both.
Into my life.

*UNPLUGGED is the first part in a two-part series; it has a cliffhanger-ish ending.

Goodreads / Amazon

NOW ON KINDLE UNLIMITED!

EXCERPT:

I hold one of the monstrous fridge doors open, taking inventory of the profusion of goods on display. I twitch my lips, moving them from side to side, as I muse what can best serve as a natural sedative. I stoop slightly forward for the carton and stop dead. More precisely, I find myself being stopped by an iron grip. Instinctively, I suck in a breath as a firm arm slides to wrap around my waist. A warm, hard body presses against me in tandem to someone’s lips nuzzling me right below my ear. A momentary stupor enfolds me as a few things register concurrently. The prickly feel of the scruff on my neck, and the smell hovering near that is a mixture of part masculine, part alcohol. Heavy alcohol. The most tantalizing fact, though, would have to be that the body pressed against my back is very much naked, as I can distinctively feel every part of the firm torso through my thin, cotton tee.

Still utterly startled, I chance a hesitant glance at the strong arm embracing me. Suntanned and large, it could be easily mistaken for a canvas crowded with colorful, detailed illustrations. The other hand, the one not holding me firmly, is another art creation in the form of a human limb extended toward the OJ carton.

“Open that for me, babe,” a raspy, low voice demands. And I do. The carton is lifted above my shoulder, and right after a pause, it is set in my stunned hand. Lightly moist, cold lips, bordered by a prickly beard, kiss my neck next. “Come back to bed, babe,” says the utterly seductive voice. A light smack on the butt jolts me, and I’m left by myself. My heart is beating in my ears, and my lips part in shock. I swallow hard and slowly turn to see who just groped-spanked me. There’s so much to take in. The lion’s head tattoo covering the right shin, the dark hair messily knotted, the toned arms, the musical notes tattooed on the left shoulder blade. But one thing calls for my full attention. A delectable, as in an award-winning, butt.

Author Bio:

Sigal Ehrlich is a bestselling author of refreshing, fun, and sweet romance books. She loves books, cold weather, and the occasional bubbly drink. Living as an expat for most of her life, Sigal has been lucky enough to visit many exotic places and meet some unique people from all corners of the world, while experiencing the sweet triumphs and travails of trying to acclimate to new “homes.” Currently, Sigal calls the Czech Republic home where she lives with her husband and three kids.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Bookbub / Pinterest / Amazon

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Blog Tour: Enemy Zone by Alex Lidell #RomanticSuspense @AlexLidell @MagicPenTours

0 BANNER Enemy Zone Book Tour

Welcome to Magic Pen Book Tours‘ organized book tour for Enemy Zone (Trident Rescue #1) by Alex lidell taking place January 4-15, 2021!

The first book in an adult contemporary romantic suspense series that can be read as a standalone. Check out the book and author details, excerpt and tour schedule.

Book Details:

0 COVER Enemy Zone by Alex Lidell

Title: Enemy Zone
Series: Trident Rescue #1
Author: Alex Lidell
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Romantic Suspense / Enemies-to-Lover Romance, Steamy Romance
*Can be read as a standalone
Release date: January 8, 2021
Publisher: Danger Bearing Press
Pages: 330

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BLURB

I know all about guys like Cullen Hunt.
Gorgeous. Wealthy. Powerful.
I just fled New York to escape one.
But when I reach Colorado, it’s either take a job at Cullen’s Trident Rescue or become homeless.
And Cullen? He’s worse than I thought.
Controlling. Demanding. Jerk.
A grenade always teetering on the edge.

He’s also hot as sin and makes my toes curl.
I hate that I dream about him.
Kissing me, holding me.
He has dreams as well.
Nightmares that only I can tame.

I know all about guys like Cullen Hunt.
I’m smart enough to stay away.
Aren’t I?

Amazon top-hundred author Alex Lidell delivers a page-turning enemy-to-lovers stand-alone romance, with a spunky heroine, a powerful Navy SEAL, and heart-wrenching PTSD that only love can heal.
Enemy Zone is the first book of the Trident Rescue Series, which follows a group of Navy SEALs who return home to Denton Valley, Colorado, and start a search and rescue team called Trident Rescue. The books can be read in any order.


PRE-ORDER NOW on AMAZON!

Enemy Zone by Alex Lidell Teaser SCARED

Excerpt

“I didn’t intend to frighten you,” he adds. I comprehend that he’s not talking about tonight, but I don’t say anything to absolve him. I do, however, feel my breathing settle.

“Eli was looking for you. Said you’ve been MIA lately.”

“Roger. I’ll get back to him.”

If that’s not an evasion, then I don’t know what is. Now that I’m calm enough to look closer, I grasp how haggard Cullen is, his piercing moss-green eyes rimmed with circles of fatigue. Sweat soaks the fabric of his shirt, which clings to chiseled muscle. It’s near one in the morning, and Cullen’s been working out. From the pale tint to his skin, it was punishing work too, not a light jog. Almost against my better judgment, I find myself edging closer to him. “Are you all right?”

“Always.”

“I’d have thought you were a better liar than that.”

I touch his arm, discovering the muscles coiled tightly beneath his skin. As if he hasn’t relaxed in hours. Days.

“When did you sleep last, exactly?”

He shrugs a shoulder, scrutinizing my hand on his arm as if it’s the most fascinating spectacle he’s ever witnessed. “Why not?”

I hear my tone shifting, something inside me switching from prey mode into my professional skin. Investigative journalism isn’t all that different from medicine in some regard, working through layers of information to get to the truth.

“Can’t.”

“When’s the last time you ate? ” I demand, getting another shrug in return.

“Today?”

“Can we go back to the version of the evening where you’re scared of me and on your way out?”

He is only half kidding. I huff. Releasing Cullen’s arm, I raid the mini fridge that’s kept in the dispatch office, which is full of juice boxes and applesauce cups for patients. Kicking one of the wheeled chairs over to Cullen, I hand him both the items.

“Drink. Eat.”

“Those are for patients,” he argues, but does take the offered chair.

“I’m fine.”

“You look like hammered dog shit, Cullen. Eat the food.”

With an exasperated sigh, he pops open the apple sauce. Within two seconds, he’s inhaled the small jar and accepts another two from me without protest, color returning to him with the intake of sugar. It’s unexpectedly satisfying.

____

Enemy Zone by Alex Lidell Teaser DON'T LOOK AWAY


About Author:

Alex Lidell

Alex Lidell is the Amazon Breakout Novel Awards finalist author of THE CADET OF TILDOR (Penguin, 2013) and Amazon Top 100 Kindle Bestsellers POWER OF FIVE and MISTAKE OF MAGIC (Danger Bearing Press, 2018).

She is an avid horseback rider, a (bad) hockey player, and an ice-cream addict. Born in Russia, Alex learned English in elementary school, where a thoughtful librarian placed a copy of Tamora Pierce’s ALANNA in Alex’s hands. In addition to becoming the first English book Alex read for fun, ALANNA started Alex’s life long love for fantasy books. Alex lives in Washington, DC.

WEBSITE | NEWSLETTER | GOODREADS | FACEBOOK | READER GROUP ON FB| AMAZON | BOOKBUB


Enemy Zone by Alex Lidell Teaser I KNOW

Tour Schedule

January 4

@eamons https://www.instagram.com/eamons/ – Review + Creative Post / Mood Board

January 5

Books a Plenty Book Reviews https://booksaplentybookreviews.blogspot.com – Review + Promo

@lady.of.bookland https://www.instagram.com/lady.of.bookland/ – Promo/Excerpt

January 6

Books+Coffee=Happiness http://bookscoffeehappiness.com – Promo/Excerpt

January 7

@Readkerryread http://www.instagram.com/readkerryread – Review + Promo

January 8

Book Lovers 4Ever http://www.bl4ebookblog.com/ – Promo/Excerpt

Recommended Romantic Reads https://www.juliafirlotteauthor.com/blog – Review

January 11

Alicia’s Book Blog http://www.instagram.com/aliciasbookblog – Review + Promo

January 12

@tea_reading_and_oz https://www.instagram.com/tea_reading_and_oz/ – Review

@LaurenAlsten https://www.instagram.com/laurenalsten/ – Promo/Excerpt

January 13

Powerlibrarian https://powerlibrarian.wordpress.com/ – Review

January 14

#BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog https://bookreviewvirginialee.com/ – Promo/Excerpt

Valerie Ullmer | Romance Author https://www.valerieullmer.com – Promo/Excerpt

January 15

Journey in Bookland https://Journeyinbookland.wordpress.com – Review + Promo

Thank you for stopping by! Remember to visit other tour stops as well!

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Love, Marriage, and Other Disasters by Shilpa Suraj #RomCom #ContemporaryRomance @shilpaauthor

She believes in love, family and…squiggles!

Alisha Rana is not your typical single desi girl. For one, she is on the wrong side of 30.  For another, she is divorced. And last but definitely not least, she is still, gasp, a virgin!

Alisha doesn’t want much. But what she does want is that elusive thing all women search for – A man who gets her…but a man who gets her hot! She calls it “feeling the squiggle.”

Enter Dr. Vivaan Kapoor, cute, hot, squiggle-worthy. The younger brother of her cousin’s prospective groom, he’s got the squiggle factor in spades. The only catch? He’s never been married and is years younger than Alisha. Basically, completely off-limits.

And then there is Arjun. Widowed, older than her by the right number of years and a genuinely nice guy. He’s Vivaan’s cousin and a so-called perfect match for Alisha. The problem is, Alisha’s squiggle-o-meter refuses to budge for him.

What will Alisha choose? A lifetime together with the ‘right’ man or a chance at happiness with the ‘wrong’ one?

Book Links:

Goodreads – https://rb.gy/xtnqhw

Amazon India – https://amzn.to/3phxIRR

Amazon USA – https://amzn.to/3nxqsRe

Read an Excerpt from Love, Marriage, and Other Disasters by Shilpa Suraj

She closed her eyes and let the nippy breeze cool her flushed cheeks. This moment of solitude in the middle of all the chaos felt like heaven.

“Private moment? Or can I interrupt?” 

Resigned to her fate, Alisha looked up. “Are you stalking me?”

“No.” Sitting down next to her and stretching his long legs out, Vivaan laced his hands on his stomach. “It was getting a little stifling in there, so I thought I’d come out for fresh air. I saw you sitting here alone and figured I’d see if you wanted some company.”

“Terrible,” she said, narrowing her eyes at him.

“What?”

“Your excuse for being out here is terrible. If I wanted company, I would have stayed in there. And the only thing stifling you in there were the women throwing themselves at you.”

Grinning, he pointed out, “You weren’t.”

Tossing her hair, she said, “I have taste.”

“Ouch.” Wincing, he straightened from his slouch. “That hurt. I don’t know if I’ll ever recover from that.”

“Oh please. Go in there and let one of those girls slobber all over you. You’ll be fine in minutes.”

“All those tasteless girls in there? No thanks. I think I prefer the discerning one out here.” Reaching out to touch a lock of her hair he twined it around his fingers and watched her reaction.

“Cut it out.” Slapping at his hand, Alisha stood up. “You shouldn’t be flirting with me.”

Rising with her, he faced her. “Why?”

“Because I don’t cradle snatch and I certainly don’t intend to start with my younger cousin’s brother-in-law.” She tried for both their family’s sakes to take the sting out of her words but knew she’d failed when she saw the expression on his face.

“How old do you think I am?”

Alisha sighed. “Do we have to do this?”

“I’m trying to understand,” Vivaan said. “The age thing matters so much?”

 Alisha stared past him to the crowd now leaving the bar and yelling out goodbyes to each other. Drunk, happy and carefree. She felt every inch of her exhausting thirty-three years at that moment.

“For the record, I’m twenty-nine years old.” His low murmur had her closing her eyes. Twenty-nine. Shit. 

“I don’t think we should be having this conversation,” she said, starting to walk past him to the foyer.

Vivaan caught her hand as she crossed him and yanked her back, his grip firm and compelling. “Answer me. My age matters so much?”

“Yes,” she said, finally.

“Why? Does it make that much of a difference to who I am?”

“Why? What do you mean why? I’m older than you and divorced to add to that. You need any more reasons?” Giving her hand a slight tug, she groaned when his grasp only tightened. “Let go of my hand.”

“Does being older and divorced mean you can’t be friends with me?” 

“It means I can’t stand around holding hands with you.” Staring pointedly at their hands until he released hers, she stepped back and started to move away.

“What makes you think any of it matters to me?” His question had her stopping in her tracks and turning to look at him. “I don’t care, Alisha. I like you.”

“It doesn’t make a difference if none of it matters to you. All of it matters to me.” This time when she made her way into the crowd, she didn’t look back.

About Shilpa Suraj:


Shilpa Suraj wears many hats – corporate drone, homemaker, mother to a fabulous toddler and author.

An avid reader with an overactive imagination, Shilpa has weaved stories in her head since she was a child. Her previous stints at Google, in an ad agency and as an entrepreneur provide colour to her present-day stories, both fiction and non-fiction.

Shilpa on the Web:

Website – http://shilpasuraj.com/

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

Twitter – https://twitter.com/shilpaauthor

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/shilpa.suraj/

Book Blitz: Foreplayer by Kate Meader #ContemporaryRomance @kittymeader

Foreplayer
Kate Meader
(Rookie Rebels #4)
Publication date: December 29th 2020
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

The next Rookie Rebels novel

Featuring Mia Wallace, Vadim Petrov’s sister!

She’s all grown up and ready to play . . .

She’s got game everywhere but the bedroom. Enter the player who knows exactly how to grade her curves . . .

After a very public breakup and a viral post that declares him the villain, power forward Cal Foreman is taking a timeout from women and relationships to focus on hockey. When Chicago Rebels captain and old friend, Vadim Petrov, “volunteers” him to help train Vadim’s sister Mia, Cal figures he can do a favor for a pal and get ready for the season with his new team. But the imperious Russian would slice a skate blade through Cal’s internal organs if he knew what lessons Mia really wants.

Yeah, not that kind of stickhandling.

Hockey phenom and Olympics hopeful Mia Wallace needs help seducing the man of her dreams. That man is most definitely not Cal Foreman: notorious playboy, thorn in her side, and her brother’s bestie. But surely a guy with his reputed skill set has a few tips on how she can nail her target—which makes him the perfect foreplayer.

Cal knows Mia sees him as merely the warm-up act in her grand plan to win another man, but as they spend more time together, he wonders if that’s enough.

If they could be more.

And if he could convince her he’s worthy of the starting line-up . . . in her heart?

Goodreads / Amazon / iBooks / Kobo

EXCERPT:

With a stony glare, he headed to the kitchen and removed a bottle of water from the fridge. “I don’t drink the devil’s bubbles.”

The devil’s bubbles. Cute. “You should use a water filter instead of these one-shot deals,” she said. “It’s terrible for the environment.” She unscrewed the cap because she was a hypocrite and her throat was bone dry.

He took the water from her after she’d downed a quarter of it and put it to his lips.

And drank.

She watched, mesmerized. Her lips had been there, right there, and he was … treating her like one of the guys. This boded well for their upcoming buddy chat.

“I need advice.”

He passed the bottle back to her and headed out to the living room. “Okay. Come sit.” He patted the seat beside him. She could sit where his hand had touched and it would be like her … no. What was wrong with her?

Surely she wasn’t attracted to Cal Foreman. While she could see the appeal—the man had a rough and ready sexual charisma and Tara had talked him up in the sex department—he was not her type at all. Not that she had a recognizable type but she knew it wasn’t this.

She took a seat one cushion over and placed the bottle on a Quebec Royals coaster on the coffee table.

“Is this about your tryout?” he asked.

“No.”

“Vadim?”

“Why would it be about Vadim?”

He squinted at her, obviously annoyed she was skirting the main event. “I assume he’s being his usual big dick brotherly self, so you’re here to learn how to handle him. Or vent about him.”

“No. I mean, yes, he’s being his usual big dick brotherly self but that’s not why I’m here.” Ah hell, here goes. “I like someone, and I need advice about it.”

He inhaled a deep, give-me-strength breath. “Mia, I’m flattered but—”

“For the love of Gretzky, not you, Foreman.”

His brow darkened. “Is it someone on the Rebels roster? Because Vadim won’t like that.”

“God, no. Hockey players, ugh!”

“Present company excepted.”

She shook her head vehemently. “Present company most definitely not excepted. You and your ilk are so not what I’m interested in.”

He grinned and leaned back as if … oh, God … he was presenting all the action below the waist area. He actually liked her diss of his species. Probably saw it as a challenge.

“What’s so funny?”

“I love how you act like being with a jock is so beneath you. You’re a jock, Mia. You’re one of us.” He waved casually between them.

“Okay, but that’s only because I like sports and I’m excellent at my chosen one. However, I don’t have that jock brain cell that you all share and pass like a puck to each other on the ice.”

“I suspect I’m not smart enough to completely understand that, but did you just call me dumb?”

“If the skate fits.”

That made him laugh. It was a nice, warm, wrap-her-up-in-a-sweater laugh and she almost felt bad for calling him stupid because he wasn’t stupid. Not at all. Apparently he read books as big as toasters. But like his hockey brethren, he did have a one-track mind which is what she needed to groove into right this minute.

“So, how can I and the jock brain cell I’m currently renting from the cell pool be of service, Mia?”

“I like someone.”

His brow furrowed again. “Right, you said, but not a player. Because players, dummies, yes?”

She rolled her eyes. “Yes. This guy is kind of, uh, sophisticated, I suppose. And experienced. More experienced than me. I want to know what guys like.”

At which point dumber than a box of pucks Cal Foreman burst out laughing.

Author Bio:

Originally from Ireland, USA Today bestselling author Kate Meader cut her romance reader teeth on Maeve Binchy and Jilly Cooper novels, with some Harlequins thrown in for variety. Give her tales about brooding mill owners, oversexed equestrians, and men who can rock an apron, a fire hose, or a hockey stick, and she’s there. Now based in Chicago, she writes sexy contemporary romance with alpha heroes and strong heroines who can match their men quip for quip.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Amazon / Instagram / Bookbub


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Preorder: Mad, Bad Bear by Kenna McKay & Jessica Coulter Smith #shifters #paranormalromance @AuthorKMcKay @kitcatjms

Cover Art by Angela Knight

Jessalyn Delaney has only known pain at the hands of her shifter ex-husband, a coyote who thrived on making her scream. When a brash Highland bear shifter insists she’s his destined mate, she knows better than to go down that path again. Except Tavish isn’t anything like her ex, and she can’t ignore how much she yearns for his touch.

Tavish MacBride is determined to claim his mate and her cubs, even if she’s human. The fact that her ex is causing problems is easily enough handled. As a bear, Tavish isn’t afraid of shedding a little blood. When the coyote harms his mate, Tavish knows he’ll have no choice but to take the shifter out. But first, he has a mate to claim… and what a claiming it will be!

Author’s Note: Mad, Bad Bear has a few violent scenes, bad language, and an alpha bear shifter who knows how to make his mate beg for more. There’s a guaranteed Happily Ever After, and no cliffhanger.

Available January 8th at Changeling Press or January 15th at online booksellers

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2021 Kenna McKay & Jessica Coulter Smith

Jess didn’t know why she’d thought she could escape. Eighteen years of marriage, of torment and fear, and she’d thought she was finally free. But could he let her go? No. It wasn’t enough that he’d dragged things out and not signed the divorce papers for months, but now he’d followed her to Scotland. It had sounded so simple. Take a trip with her girlfriends to get away for a while, leave the kids at home with the grandparents, but it was fast turning into a nightmare.

Nicholas didn’t seem to have any interest in the kids, even though they’d seen their fair share of his special kind of attention over the years. She didn’t understand why he wanted her back. Love had been missing from their marriage for a long time, if it had ever truly existed. All he did was belittle her, and that was on a good day. The other days he let his fists do the talking.

She felt the Scotsman approach, had noticed him the previous night, but the last thing she needed was a hookup. Men were the bane of her existence and she was much better off without one, right? Maybe if she found a nice man someday, one who would treat her kids like they were his own, then maybe she could see herself giving love another try. Too bad there wasn’t some magical way to know you were destined to be with someone.

“Lass.”

She refused to look up at him. If she ignored him, would he go back to the bar?

Gently, he pinched her chin between his large fingers and turned her to face him. She saw the concern and anger in his eyes when he noticed the bruise on her cheek. It wasn’t like she could hide it.

“What happened, lass? Who did this to you?” he asked.

“We don’t need your help,” her friend Monica said, a hand on her hip. “Just go back to your buddies at the bar. If you’re looking for a quick lay, you won’t find it here.”

The Scotsman held her steady gaze, his hand still gently holding her chin. “I’ll nae hurt her. I want to help.”

“You can’t help me,” Jess said. “No one can.”

“Now, lass. That cannae be true. I swear it, if you tell me who did this to you, I’ll see you avenged.”

Her eyes widened a little. “Avenged? What exactly does that mean?”

She had visions of a sword-swinging barbarian going after Nicholas, which almost made her smile. She’d love to see the look on his face if this huge Highlander went after him with a claymore. Her lips twitched.

“Ah, that was almost a smile there, lass.” His lips tipped up on the corners and her breath stilled. She couldn’t remember ever seeing a more handsome man before. What he was doing at her table she didn’t understand. “Tell me his name, lass. I ken just aboot everyone in this town. You tell me who’s responsible and I’ll see that justice is done.”

Monica snorted. “Yeah, because she wants a club-wielding caveman to beat up her ex. On second thought, that isn’t such a bad idea.”

“Ex?” the Scotsman asked.

“Her asshole of an ex-husband followed her to Scotland. It’s his handiwork you see on her face. I guess we should just be grateful he didn’t do worse.” She muttered something he didn’t quite catch. “I never thought he’d leave the US just to get his hands on her.”

Jess saw his eyes flare, then change from a mossy green to a golden brown, then back again. She thought it was just her imagination playing tricks on her until it happened again. Through the hand gripping her chin, she felt a tremor rake his body, as if he were trying to contain something within himself. Could he be like her ex? Were there others out there like him? The man was huge, and if he also had a shifter’s strength, she wouldn’t stand a chance. Yet, he’d seemed enraged by what Nicholas had done to her. Was it possible it wasn’t her ex’s shifter side that had made him so violent?

The Scot looked at Monica. “Do you have a picture of this ex? Do you ken where he’s stayin’?”

Monica snatched Jess’s phone off the table and began scrolling through the photo gallery. When she found what she was looking for, she flipped the phone around and showed the Scot the last family picture with Nicholas. Jess had meant to delete it, but the kids looked so happy in the photo she hadn’t been able to part with it.

The Scot looked from the picture to Jess. “Are those your kids?”

She nodded. “Piper is sixteen and Donovan is thirteen. You’d think it was the other way around, as tall as he is.”

“Your ex disnae look verra tall.”

Jess smiled. “He isn’t. The men on my side of the family are all over six feet tall. Donovan took after them.”

“I don’t know where the asshole is staying,” Monica said. “We’re at the Sheep’s Heid Inn and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he’d found a room at the same place. The better to keep an eye on Jess and ensure she doesn’t have any fun.”

The Scot waved toward the phone. “May I borrow that for a moment?”

Monica arched a brow, but handed the phone over. The Scot rose to his feet and returned to the three men he’d been sitting with. Jess watched as they talked amongst themselves and didn’t miss the dark looks cast her way. When he returned, the men followed him.

The Scot handed the phone back to Monica and knelt in front of Jess again, taking her hand in his. The way his fingers wrapped around her smaller hand, the callused feel of them against her softer skin, sent shivers down her spine. There was heat in his touch, something she’d only ever read about. She watched his eyes do that weird thing again where they changed colors, and it was on the tip of her tongue to ask him about it.

Would you like to win a swag pack, book-themed charm bracelet, and a metal bookmark? Check out the release giveaway for Mad, Bad Bear at Rafflecopter.

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New Release Blitz: Retrograde by Desiree Holt #eroticromance #suspense @desireeholt

Retrograde by Desiree Holt

General Release Date: 22nd December 2020

Heat Rating: Burning
Format: EBOOK
ISBN: 978-1-83943-470-9
Sexometer: 2
Word Count: 80,672
Language: English
Book Length: SUPER NOVEL
Pages: 297
Genres: CONTEMPORARY, EROTIC ROMANCE, THRILLERS AND SUSPENSE

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Book Description

Hot ex-military, desperate woman, tight conspiracy…wait for the explosion!

Peyton West is desperate. Her brother-in-law is dead, her sister is in a coma and no one seems interested in finding any answers. With every door slammed in her face, she’s referred to Scott “Blaze” Hamilton and the men from super-secret Galaxy.

Conducting meetings on a plane and digging into the underbelly of Tampa politics, she sees a ray of hope…and discovers Blaze lives up to his name in more ways than one. She crosses her fingers that the scorching sex will continue to blaze once the killer is found.

Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of violence, murder and attempted murder.

Excerpt

Well, didn’t this just turn out to be a clusterfuck.

“They’re gaining on us,” John ‘Rocket’ Hardin called from the rear of the van.

“I’m pushing this baby as hard as it will go,” Matt ‘Viper’ Roman ground out.

The tension inside the van was so thick they could almost see it. Disaster was always waiting for them around the corner, but Scott ‘Blaze’ Hamilton knew if anyone could get them to the exfil point, it was Viper. No one could outdrive him.

“Damn it,” Blaze swore under his breath.

A previous rescue attempt by another group had failed and put the hostages in jeopardy. That was always when Galaxy was called. When Blaze had done his research, he’d learned that the only reason the hostages were still alive was because the kidnappers needed them to make sure the ransom was paid. At first, it had sounded like a by-the-book rescue. Jim and Nita Rosen, one of America’s one-percenter couples with money to burn, had been kidnapped for ransom. Their daughter, Angela, afraid her parents would be killed if she called in the FBI, had paid it, but the jerkoffs had come back and asked for more.

When the first people she’d hired had botched the job, that was when she’d turned to Galaxy.

For the four highly trained former SEALs, this should have been a simple retrieval. Tapping into every source, they were unhappy to learn that the kidnappers were less than sophisticated. They were offshoots of a cartel whose leader was barely second tier and had big ideas about establishing himself. Kidnapping was his prime source of income while he built up enough of a bank to take on the big cartel chiefs. These people were the most dangerous kind, since they had oversized egos and small brains. The crew who worked for him came from the dregs, which meant things could easily go wrong.

Reaching out to all their contacts, they’d gotten the location where the Rosens were being held—an old warehouse just outside the little town of San Felipe. Only two guards were on duty at any one time, an indication of the kidnappers’ stupidity and arrogance. The one good thing was that the so-called brains behind this kidnapping only showed up once a day, about midday, to check on their victims. It certainly sounded like amateur hour to Galaxy, but sometimes those were the ones that went sideways.

After a drive-by to scope the place out and take pictures, the team planned the operation. They would breach the building, grab the Rosens and get the hell out of there in their borrowed van before the leader and the rest of the bad guys showed up for their daily visit.

‘Saint’ Francis, their official pilot, would be waiting for them at an extraction point with the helicopter.

Easy peasy, right?

Wrong.

As they’d learned in the military, if something can go wrong it will.

FUBAR.

Fucked up beyond all repair.

Especially with kidnappers like these, who were not very smart.

At first, it was smooth sailing. Only one vehicle, an old car, was parked by the warehouse. They knew from their source that this was the one driven by the two men left to guard the Rosens, so they were good to go. Using an infrared scanner, they were able to determine the location inside of the guards—away from the captives, sitting near the entrance to the warehouse. Breaching the door was kindergarten work for them, as was disposing of the guards before the two knew what was happening. They grabbed the Rosens and hustled them out to their waiting van.

Just as ‘Viper’, their designated wheelman, cranked the engine, a car drove up to the warehouse. Three well-armed and unpleasant-looking men tumbled out, even before the vehicle had come to a stop. One looked to be in charge, pointing at the Galaxy van, and at once the others began shooting at them. They pulled out onto the road before the doors were even fully shut, but the other vehicle was after them at once. Blaze thought there must be a hell of a motor in that thing, because they barely got out to the road before the other vehicle was practically on their tail.

Now they were racing down the two-lane road to the extraction spot with shots from the vehicle behind them peppering the van they were using. It pissed Blaze off that a cheap-ass operation like this one had managed to grab two high-value targets and get away with it. But even more, that best-of-the-best Galaxy was barely escaping a deadly showdown.

“Fuck it all,” Viper cursed.

“It’s true, you know,” Blaze reminded his partners. “The only easy day was yesterday.”

“And today will be our last,” Rocket snapped at him, “if we let ourselves get beaten by these pieces of shit.”

“Never fear. The Viper is here.”

Viper was swerving back and forth to avoid the bullets as they sped down the road at a speed that would dry the spit in the mouth of most people.

“Yeah?” Blaze shifted in his seat. “Well, get us the fuck out of here, then.”

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About the Author

Desiree Holt

A multi-published, award winning, Amazon and USA Today best-selling author, Desiree Holt has produced more than 200 titles and won many awards. She has received an EPIC E-Book Award, the Holt Medallion and many others including Author After Dark’s Author of the Year. She has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning and in The Village Voice, The Daily Beast, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The London Daily Mail. She lives in Florida with her cats who insist they help her write her books, and is addicted to football.

You can follow Desiree on Facebook and Twitter and check out her Blog.

Giveaway

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Desiree Holt’s Retrograde Giveaway

DESIREE HOLT IS GIVING AWAY THIS FABULOUS PRIZE TO ONE LUCKY WINNER. ENTER HERE FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A LOVELY GOODIE BAG AND GRAB YOUR FREE DESIREE HOLT ROMANCE BOOK! Notice: This competition ends on 31th December 2020 at 5pm GMT. Competition hosted by Totally Entwined Group.

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Cover Reveal: Blane (The Chaos Chasers MC) by C.M. Marin #ContemporaryRomance @CMMarinAuthor

Blane
C.M. Marin
(The Chaos Chasers MC, #5)
Publication date: TBA
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

BLANE

She’s back home.

My friend from a time that feels so distant is as beautiful and as kind as she was over five years ago, but her eyes now hold a confidence that didn’t use to shine there. Lana has returned as a fully independent woman sporting something hard that’s masking the pain that I know was etched in by her past.

And fuck if she isn’t sexier than I ever remember her being.

But after vanishing from my life without any sort of explanation or a goodbye, she’s come back home, and not for just a few nights of pleasure. She’s on a mission. One that has her diving into a world where danger lurks in its every corner. And even though I wish she wouldn’t keep her distance, I also know it might be for the best. Losing someone I care about again isn’t an option. But as more time passes, more worry creeps into my gut.

And when Lana allows me to get close to her in a way that destroys all boundaries of friendship, it becomes even harder to stay away.

Or rather fucking impossible.

LANA

I’m back home.

Trying to bring justice to my family should have been my hardest challenge once back in Texas. But the hardest part of being back home has been staying away from the friend I left behind all of those years ago.

I expected Blane to hold a massive grudge against me for disappearing without a word, but I should have known he would be there for me.

The grieving college student I met back then has become a brawny biker with a roughness and an intensity that slightly darkens his expression, but he instantly becomes like a rainbow to me, bringing colors to my dull, lonely days. That’s why it’s too bad that I have to keep him at a safe distance. And I was succeeding with flying colors until our chemistry explodes and I let myself crumble under the weight of my craving for him.

Now everything has lost its clarity, and the only part of my mind that’s not blurry with uncertainty is the one reminding me how much I want Blane in my life.

How much I care about him.

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Author Bio:

C.M. Marin is an author of romantic suspense and contemporary romance.

Even though she lived in the crowded and beautiful city of London for a few years, she is now a small-town girl. Quiet and nature are all she really needs now… as long as there are books and a box full of assorted teas within easy reach!

She hasn’t found her own happily ever after yet, but she sure loves to write about falling in love and finding forever. With a touch of suspense, just the right amount of sexiness, and plenty of love, she writes books for every lover of romance around the world!

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Bookbub


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Book Blitz: Murder Mittens by R.J. Blain #ContemporaryRomance @RJ_Blain

Murder Mittens
R.J. Blain
(Magical Romantic Comedies, #13)
Publication date: December 25th 2020
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Becoming a bounty hunter and taking on the call sign of Murder Mittens wasn’t Harri’s brightest move, but what’s a lynx to do with millions of debt while working a customer service gig? The scars deforming her face won’t remove themselves, and she’ll bag and tag every criminal in the United States to get rid of them if necessary.

Being assigned a handler could make or break her, but did the powers that be really have to toss Sebastian Sumners her way? The lion with a stubborn streak as wide as hers tests her patience on a good day, but nothing makes her purr more than goading him into roaring.

Add in a protective family, a serial killer on the loose, and more trouble than any one cat needs, and it’s going to take a miracle for Harri to get through the most important job of her life.

Warning: contains magic, humor, cranky shapeshifters, cats, murder, and mayhem. Proceed with caution.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

EXCERPT:

Chapter One

Why was murdering irate, irrational, ignorant, and flat-out wrong customers illegal? The idiot on the phone rambled about how it wasn’t fair that dumping coffee on his router invalidated his warranty.

I thought it wasn’t fair his stupidity might lose me IQ points, and I’d learned long ago that humans—or lycanthropes, such as myself—didn’t come with warranties or guarantees. I had bills to pay, and murdering one of the customers wouldn’t pay my bills.

Then again, in prison, I wouldn’t have to pay any bills. Every day by the end of my shift, I considered incarceration as a viable option.

Free board, free food, good medical care, and asshole inmates to beat on sounded a lot better than dealing with an idiot customer.

“Sir,” I said in the hopes of circumventing his tirade. Mr. Edward Lavell ignored me.

The idiots always ignored me. I bet my gender had something to do with it. On average, the men finished their calls five minutes faster, and every supervisor to review the situation came to the same general conclusion: customers took men in tech more seriously than women, and I, unfortunately, sounded too feminine.

“Sir,” I repeated, only to be ignored again.

Why couldn’t I just hang up on him? Oh, right. I valued my job. As I valued my job, I couldn’t hang up on him, I couldn’t curse, I couldn’t threaten to rip his throat out, and I couldn’t indulge in my desire to murder him.

There was a time and a place for murder, and on the job at a call center for a cable internet company was not the time nor the place.

For the fourth time since calling in, Mr. Lavell explained that it really wasn’t his fault he’d dumped coffee on his router.

“Sir, liquid spills are right in the contract for the router. I’m sorry, but I can’t change the rules for you. Spilling coffee on your router invalidates its warranty.”

“It’s not my fault the cup holder in my computer has a mind of its own,” he complained.

Wait. What?

His computer’s cup holder has a mind of its own? The realization I dealt with someone far worse than just an idiot sank in. Every call center had legends of Code Red customers, who were in an entirely different class from the standard 1-D10T and the unfortunately common PEBKAC. With Mr. Lavell, I had it all. A problem certainly did exist between the keyboard and chair, and he’d definitely deserved his flag as an 1-D10T.

Until his call, I had remained safe from the evils of a Code Red customer.

By the time I got off the phone with him, I’d need some alcohol and someone to kill.

It’d be easier to find someone to kill than the alcohol; me and booze just didn’t mix, and I’d been banned out of every damned bar in town to keep the peace.

Maybe I could whip on some makeup, grab a gray wig, and pass for a little old lady. With my face covered in burn scars, it wouldn’t take much to pull off some makeup artistry and transform myself into an older woman rather than a mutilated one. I could become a conventional beauty given an hour and the right products. An old lady wasn’t an impossibility.

Alternatively, I could shift, pay my family a visit, and steal a bottle of liquor from one of the cabinets. With the number of lynxes running around the place, they might not even notice me before I made off with my alcoholic prize.

As sighing was not acceptable when dealing with paying customers, I took a moment to steel my nerves before saying, “Sir, computers do not include cup holders.”

That caught his attention. “What?”

“Sir, computers do not include cup holders,” I repeated, already dreading the moment I would have to explain what a CD was, how they were used, and what the player’s actual purpose was. Few systems still had any disc drives at all, as most companies had moved to online downloads of their programs and games.

The next few minutes of my life would not be fun, and I typed a message to my supervisor warning him I had a major 1-D10T on my hands, a possible Code Red situation, and to make sure he was aware I faced the demise of some IQ points, I notified him the customer had opted to use his disc drive as a coffee cup holder.

“What the hell is this thing for, then?”

“CDs, sir.” I closed my eyes and waited for the meltdown.

“First, you claim I invalidated my warranty, and now you’re telling me my cup holder plays music?”

“As this is an internet company, sir, I can’t help you with your CD player. However, it is not a cup holder, nor should it be used as one. As for your router, you owe $35.79 on the device. Once you finish paying for the damaged equipment, I can schedule a tech to come to your home and install your new router. Since you’ve been a customer for so long, I can waive the fifty dollar installation fee. Your monthly bill will not change if you opt to pay off the damaged equipment and start a new rental.”

If he gave me a hard time, I’d take my time and give him all of his options. None of them would be as good as my initial offer. I cracked open an eye and checked my messages with my boss.

He wished me the best of luck and promised to send flowers to my funeral. He also begged me not to tell my brothers about the menace wasting my time. If any one of my forty-seven brothers found out I dealt with customers screaming at me five days a week, they’d go on a rampage.

That my boss knew my family drove me crazy on a good day.

I figured my idiot family had gone on a hunt to meet my boss, and because we were all infected with lycanthropy, my boss wouldn’t have thought twice about their behavior.

Lycanthropes had a reputation.

Most days, it wasn’t a good one.

Only an idiot would piss off a bunch of male lycanthropes out to protect their precious little sister. Unfortunately for me, I counted as an endangered species, as the odds of a lycanthrope having daughters in the first place fell somewhere in around ten thousand to one.

I needed to notify my mother she needed to have more daughters. While she was at it, she needed to give me a new name, because nobody ever believed Harri was a woman’s name. I figured she’d meant to name me Harry because she’d expected yet another boy, swapping out the ‘y’ for an ‘i’ to make things easier on her.

When on the job, I went by Christine because Christine seemed gloriously feminine and nobody on the team used their real names. Technically, I was supposed to change my name every day, but I went by Christine for all new callers, and I only rotated through when I knew I was dealing with someone who gave me issues.

My method worked well enough, so my boss didn’t complain.

While Mr. Lavell spluttered and began the tedious process of mulling over his options, I began making plans for after work—assuming I escaped from my job without succumbing to the temptation of informing the customer he was most definitely wrong, he needed to go back to school to join the modern world, and it wouldn’t hurt if he learned to be civil.

I had to explain his options four times before he finally conceded he should stick with his old plan, pay for the damaged router, and move on with life. It took an extra ten minutes of listening to him whine before he finally hung up.

Above all, I hated the rule that we were not supposed to hang up on clients. It wasted time. Had I been allowed to just hang up, I would have wished him a good day, disconnected the call, and began the tedious process of adding notes to his file so the next customer service representatives stuck with him knew they had trouble on their hands.

My phone rang, but instead of a customer, my phone reported my boss wanted to speak with me. With slumped shoulders, I accepted his call and answered, “Sir?”

“I listened in on your Code Red.”

I hated when my boss actively monitored my calls; thanks to how the system worked, he could listen in on me at any time. But, a job was a job, and with my scarred face, finding a job became troublesome at best—and nobody in the call center knew or cared what I looked like. Oh, well. Before I jumped to conclusions, I’d ask. “What’s my grade, sir?”

“You did fine. You stayed professional, you didn’t come across as too condescending, and frankly, there’s no sane tech on this planet stays totally cool a Code Red. It could have been much worse.”

I checked the clock, breathing a sigh of relief that I’d hit the end of my shift and wouldn’t have to take any more calls. “What do you need?”

“I had a question about your schedule. You’re off for the next week, correct?”

“Yes, sir.” I had plans, and they involved the International Most Wanted List along with every legal bounty list I had managed to get my hands on in the past month. If my boss tried to put an end to my hard-earned vacation, I’d finally do what I should have done months ago, snap, and quit.

I wanted him to cross my last line so badly.

“Ted wants an extra shift. How would you feel about an unpaid day added to your vacation? I’ve already gotten approval if you’d like to claim the unpaid day.”

Score. I’d bid for time off almost a year ago, but sick days were the bare minimum the state allowed, which accounted to five for the entire year. An extra day tacked onto my vacation might let me bag an extra bounty.

Any day I bagged an extra bounty was a good day in my opinion.

“I can take an unpaid day, sir. That’s fine. Can you send me an email confirming the unpaid day off?”

“It’ll be in your inbox within the next ten minutes, and I’ll CC human resources notifying them you’re excused for that day.”

“Okay. Will the rest of my schedule remain the same once I’m back from vacation?”

“Yes. Ted just asked for extra hours, and the others with seniority declined the day off.”

I bet; on our income, every hour mattered. Most who worked for the call center had seen better days. I lived like I’d seen better days and I looked like I’d seen better days, but appearances lied. I only worked at the call center to maintain appearances. Thanks to depression in my teens and therapy that hadn’t gone like my parents had wanted, my entire family demanded I check in at least three times a week to ensure I remained human.

They believed if they took their eyes off me, I might shift into a lynx and never come back.

Two years ago, they wouldn’t have been wrong, but I’d found a new purpose in life. Not a single one of my brothers would approve, my mother would have yet another litter of kittens, and my father would be so disappointed.

Personally, I thought it was obvious. I worked in customer service. I was a prime candidate to become a murderous asshole. I did so legally, on behalf of the government and other legal entities, and I did so for a filthy amount of money.

Smiling stretched my scars, but I did it anyway. “If anyone needs any extra hours, I can afford another day or two off,” I offered. “I can take up to a week unpaid. I’ve been saving up to take some time off if any opportunities allowed.”

It would delay paying for the expensive procedure required to piece my face back together and remove the evidence of the fire that’d almost killed me as a child. It took a lot of magic to convince the lycanthropy virus I wasn’t supposed to be a scarred wreck.

A lot of magic cost a lot of money, and I figured I might have the three million dollars within five years if I landed a bounty every weekend and took on some of the more dangerous jobs. While I waited for my boss to mull over my offer, I considered the various jobs on offer.

I liked hunting other lycanthropes. Unmated males were easy catches, and the fugitives usually brought in a pretty penny. The last one I’d bagged as a live capture had added fifty thousand to my bank account.

Then again, if I landed an entire extra week, I’d make up the lost hours with a single small bounty, and anything else would be extra cash in my savings account.

My boss grunted, signaling he’d come to a decision. “I’ll keep that in mind and pitch the offer. I’ll email your personal and work addresses if there are any takers plus text your phone.”

“Thanks, sir. Have a good evening.”

“You, too.”

He hung up, and before something could go wrong, I clocked out, filed my paperwork for my final call, and logged out of the system so I couldn’t be sucked back into doing even more work.

If all went well, I’d be a hundred grand richer by the end of the week and that much closer to being able to look in the mirror without wincing.


Author Bio:

RJ Blain suffers from a Moleskine journal obsession, a pen fixation, and a terrible tendency to pun without warning.

In her spare time, she daydreams about being a spy. Her contingency plan involves tying her best of enemies to spinning wheels and quoting James Bond villains until satisfied.

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