When a pretend engagement ends in a very real combined bachelor/bachelorette weekend in Goa, three couples find their lives going from chaotic to disastrous…
Hatefully Yours by Alisha Kay is the quintessential enemies to lovers story with a very interesting twist.
Aditi and Manan hate each other but love their mutual best friend, Karthik. Planning his bachelor party is a trip to hell sprinkled with accidental kisses that taste of heaven. Past misunderstandings, present attraction, and a future built on hope all tangles together to make this weekend one to remember.
Sinfully Yours by Shilpa Suraj is the story of a one night stand turning into nights that they hope never end.
Sidharth is Bollywood’s biggest hit-turned-overnight-flop. His best friend Sanjana’s bachelorette in Goa is the perfect place for him to hide out and drink his sorrows away. Until he passes out in the arms of the extremely hot pixie who moonlights as a bartender in a shack in Goa. And Dani is left with an armful of drunk movie star who is as messed up as he is hot.
Deceitfully Yours by Andaleeb Wajid is the story of what happens when a fake relationship starts to feel very, very real.
Sanjana and Karthik just wanted their parents to stop talking marriage to them. So, they faked an engagement and now their parents are not talking marriage but planning a wedding instead. When their friends throw them a combined bachelor and bachelorette party, they use the opportunity to plan their breakup. Except behind all well laid plans lies the path to disaster.
Three love stories, three oddball couples, one epic weekend in Goa…
Will they find their heart’s twisted path or focus on the brain’s straight-but-boring one? Will they gamble on their happily-ever-after or choose to leave Goa as they came, single and not ready to mingle?
The minute he asked himself that, Manan could have kicked himself. Of course, she’d be here. She was Karthik’s friend, just as he was, and while Karthik was the smartest guy he knew, he was completely oblivious to the cold vibes between his two best friends. Or maybe he didn’t care. He wouldn’t see anything wrong in inviting both his friends together.
Something else struck him, and the biryani that he’d had for lunch threatened to make a second appearance.
His mother hadn’t told him anything about the girl that Karthik was supposed to marry. Just said that she was a friend of his. Was it Aditi?
Every cell in his body revolted at the idea of Karthik marrying Aditi. He told himself that it was because he didn’t want his friend to be ensnared by the evil little she-devil. It had nothing to do with the way his heart sped up at the very sight of her. Or the very inexplicable impulse that came over him occasionally to kiss her senseless.
Not that he ever gave in to such an impulse. He hated Aditi with all his heart. That’s all there was to it.
Alisha Kay writes funny, exciting and steamy stories, with spunky heroines who can rescue themselves, and hot, woke heroes who find such independence irresistible.
The first book in The Devgarh Royals series, The Maharaja’s Fake Fiancée, won the grand prize at the Amazon KDP Pen to Publish Contest 2020.
Sid froze, the glass near his lips. “You certainly have a way with words and polite conversation.”
“Really? You are critiquing me on etiquette, Beach Bum?” She responded to someone hailing her from the other end of the bar with a raised hand.
“Listen, I’ve got to go,” she told him. “Work and stuff. You have a good night, okay?”
“Dani, listen.” Sid grabbed her hand before she could rush off. “When do you finish?”
“I finish at two in the morning,” she smiled. “Not exactly an early night.”
“I’ll wait,” he smiled back, something frozen in his chest thawing at the sight of her warm, beaming face. “Could we get something to eat and maybe chat or something?”
“I don’t ‘or something’ with guys I’ve just met,” she grinned.
“I threw up on you. You threw a bucket of water on me. I think we’re past first or even third date pleasantries, don’t you agree?”
Dani threw her head back and laughed, the same loud, warm laugh he remembered. The thawing moved on to melting.
“Alright,” she said. “Stick around. We’ll grab dinner during my break and chat.” She pointed a finger at him. “No ‘or something’.”
Sid grinned. Suddenly, ‘or something’ was all he could think about.
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.
Short Excerpt from Deceitfully Yours by Andaleeb Wajid
Karthik stared at Sanjana as she stood at the jetty and it almost felt like the rest of the world had faded to nothing. He could see only her, as she stood there, stark against the background of the greyish water. He was still reeling from what his mother had just said about him and Sanjana but he was also trying to look at it realistically. He had been a child then. But surely, there had to be something about her, something that had drawn them together that fateful day when he saw her seated in the garden on his favourite bench.
Fate. It had to be fate, he told himself.
Andaleeb Wajid is the author of 27 published novels and she writes across different genres such as romance, YA and horror. Her horror novel It Waits was shortlisted at Mami Word to Screen 2017 and her Young Adult series, The Tamanna Trilogy has been optioned for screen by a reputed production house. Andaleeb’s novel When She Went Away was shortlisted for The Hindu Young World Prize in 2017. Andaleeb is a hybrid author who has self-published more than 10 novels in the past two years.
Jaya’s relationships never last more than six weeks. Austen wants to be her forever.
Six weeks is the outer limit for one of Jaya’s relationships. When men find out there is no future with her, they tend not to stick around for long.
She’s gotten into the habit of leaning on her cousin Austen to get over each breakup. Who better? Austen is six feet three of solid sympathy. Both adopted into the same extended family at young ages, they’ve been friends their whole lives, with a mutual taste for good food and expensive whisky. But when Jaya takes her latest failed romance to him, Austen makes it clear his interest in her is far from cousinly.
“Think about me,” Austen tells her, and Jaya starts to do just that. No doubt, Austen is incredibly attractive, and she can’t say she’s not curious to find out what he’s like in bed, but can their bond survive this new test?
Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of light bondage.
Austen answered his phone on the first ring.
“What do you need, kiddo?”
Jaya paused, taken aback by the curt greeting. After a moment, she realised that he always answered his calls from her in the same way. “What do you need?” As if she could never just be calling for no reason at all.
“Is that any way to greet your favourite cousin?” she replied, forcing a bright note into her voice. “You’re my favourite, you know.”
“As far as you know, you might have any number of cousins,” Austen said coolly. “How could you possibly claim to know I would be the favourite?”
Because you’re the only one I’ve actually met, she wanted to tell him, although she understood the crude point he was trying to make. By blood, she was no cousin of his.
Jaya wished she owned one of those old-fashioned phones with the long curly cord so she could twine it between her fingers. Instead, she shifted her mobile from one sweaty hand to the other.
She wasn’t about to tell him that she couldn’t bear her own company tonight. She’d left work early, needing to get away from the high-energy actors she was constantly surrounded by, only to find that the so-called peace of her apartment was too oppressively quiet.
“I thought we might grab a drink tonight,” Jaya said, still striving to maintain her cheerful tone. “It’s been a while.”
“Six weeks,” Austen said. “Right on schedule.”
She remembered what he’d said the last time they’d met up. That she only called him when she broke up with someone. That, to her, he was no more than a shoulder attached to a man. A shoulder for her to cry on, presumably, although she never did cry. She merely got drunk.
“Ha ha. Do you want the drink or not?” Jaya demanded.
“I have to get up early tomorrow,” Austen told her, sounding uncharacteristically reluctant.
What is wrong with him? Jaya wondered, pulled out of her own problems for a brief moment. It had to be bad if he was turning down liquor. They both fancied themselves connoisseurs of the hard stuff. Neither of them drank wine or, shudder, beer.
“I’ll get you home early, granddad,” Jaya told him. “So how about it? Nine o’clock at The Cat’s Whiskey?”
“All right, kiddo.”
Shaking her head, Jaya hung up. He didn’t have to sound so bloody glum about the prospect.
Nan Comargue is a romance and erotic romance writer who has been reading romance novels all her life. She prefers sexy confident heroes who win over slightly introverted heroines (read: nerdish types) but she writes about everything from angel-warriors to cowboy ménage.
Nan blogs about her writing journey and other interesting topics (zombies!) here but lately she tweets more than she blogs (and sometimes more than she writes).
Nan is Canadian, eh?
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Corinne Michaels is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of romance novels. Her stories are chock full of emotion, humor, and unrelenting love, and she enjoys putting her characters through intense heartbreak before finding a way to heal them through their struggles.
Corinne is a former Navy wife and happily married to the man of her dreams. She began her writing career after spending months away from her husband while he was deployed–reading and writing were her escapes from the loneliness. Corinne now lives in Virginia with her husband and is the emotional, witty, sarcastic, and fun-loving mom of two beautiful children.
Pretending to date your best friend is always a good idea…right? Wrong.
Greta Aske has a lot on her mind, and a string of bad dates has her giving up on men, at least for the time being. Her life contains a little too much drama, meaning she needs a break and to save money and get good grades. The perfect solution presents itself—pretend to date the campus playboy. That’ll keep the guys away for sure.
Aaron Hill is desperate to save his baseball career because, with his dad fighting cancer, he damn well knows he can’t ask for a single penny from his parents. Baseball is his past, present and future, so when a scandal threatens his chance in the MLB, he turns to his best friend for help. A fake relationship will keep him out of trouble. It’s perfect, really. Greta’s taking a break from dating and Aaron needs to focus on training.
Nothing could go wrong…as long as neither falls for the other. But when lines are crossed, what’s real and fake blurs and the two are forced to face their fears. Could Greta be the game changer Aaron needs?
Reader advisory: This book was previously released by Finch Books.
Action movies are full of shit, feeding us fake information our entire lives. For instance, when a fight breaks out in a bar, there’s no Mark Wahlberg look-a-like to rescue the damsel in distress. Second the sound of flesh hitting flesh is repulsive and meaty. There are no wooshes or bangs or ka-pows. Nope. It’s just disgusting.
I cringed at the smack and crashing of a fist meeting the face of my date. That’s right. I always picked the best of the best when it came to dating and tonight was no different. Todd, who had blood dripping down his eye, chin and nose, had made the bold decision to ask me out. I’d accepted, like a fool, and would live to regret this night for all eternity.
“Where is my money, Todd?” The broad-shouldered man with a beard longer than my hair pummeled his meaty fists into my date’s face. “Where the feck you keepin’ it?”
No response. Burly Guy didn’t like that. He grunted, swung his arm back past the table and hit Todd square in the nose. What happened in my past life for me to witness this?
No one got up to help. No one moved. They all watched with half-smiles on their faces and I knew in the pit of my stomach I needed to get the hell out. Like, ten minutes ago. I slowly slid my trembling hand into my purse to find my phone, but Mr. Burly heard me. He whipped his face toward mine, the terrifying glint to his eyes making me gasp. I gulped, the fear suddenly very real.
“You know this fecking asshole?” he barked at me. Countless gazes followed his voice and now stared at me. They wanted a show and I was so not the person for the role. My chin trembled as I shook my head.
“N-n-no. I j-just met him tonight.” I clutched my phone to my chest. I would use it as a weapon if necessary, although I had no fucking clue what damage I could do on this beast of a man.
He ran his fat tongue over his lips and studied me. I stood stock-still, my spine straight as a rod. “I think it’s time for you to go, doll. My boss ain’t gunna like me lettin’ ya leave, but your blonde hair don’t fit in here. Get the feck out and don’t come back.”
I nodded, glancing one more time at Todd. My gut screamed to get out, but I had been raised Catholic. Do I leave my epic failure of a date to get killed? Do I call the cops?
Mr. Burly thought I took too long and put his grimy fingers around my wrist. I squealed, yanking it out of his touch.
“Get gone, girl.” He kicked open the door and threw me outside. I stood on a rundown street with one streetlight working correctly. The others flashed and made a high-pitched buzzing sound that sent chills down my spine. “Fuck. Fucking. Fuck.”
I called my best friend with shaking fingers and snot running down my face. Oh, did I mention I had blood on me that wasn’t my own? I gagged, looking at the splatters. The phone rang and rang again. I loved Callie to death, but if that bitch didn’t answer right then, I would get her for it. Big-time. Because what the fuck? It appeared the downward spiral my life had begun a month ago still had a way to go before hitting pure rock bottom. Nothing topped this story, as long as I got home alive.
“Give me my fecking money!” A booming voice traveled through the closed door. My longtime sixth sense had sent warning after warning all day and I’d chosen to ignore it. This is my own damn fault.
I gripped my phone tighter and took a deep breath. Count to eight. Make a box with your breathing. It did me no good and my fingers still shook. After three failed calls to Callie, I called the other number I knew by heart. Aaron Hill answered after the first ring with his obnoxious and playful voice.
“G-spot, what’s crackin’? Finally calling me for a booty call?” His voice had the power to make me smile and roll my eyes simultaneously. This was not that time.
“I need you to come get me.” My voice shook as the shouting picked up. Why had I let Todd convince me this place was cool and a ‘real biker bar’? Standing alone on the dark country road made it feel more like a place where girls went missing than a legit biker hangout. I fell for it. Dumbass.
“Where the hell are you?” His good-natured tone shifted and I imagined his steel eyes going dark. “It’s past midnight. Shit, G, are you alone?”
“Uh, pretty much.” I sent him the address while still on the phone. “I texted you the place. I’m calling in my favor.”
“Jesus, Greta.” He let out a string of cuss words. “Why the fuck are you all the way out there?”
“A date gone bad.” Shame filled my chest, regret chasing it. The feelings had my throat closing. Tears weren’t far behind.
“Goddamn it. I’m on my way. Stay on the phone with me. I swear, I’m going to wring your neck. I hate this shit.” A door slammed—he’d just gotten into his car. After a minute of silence, he sucked in a breath. “Are you at Dirty Matt’s? Please say no. Tell me no, right now, Greta.”
The neon signed mocked me, Dirty Matt’s, blinking over and over. “I’m at Dirty Matt’s.”
“Jesus Christ.” His deep voice got so low, so calm, I made a vow to end all my plans for dating. His anger and disappointment in me were well deserved.
I gulped. Ever since my childhood best friend Callie had found love the year before, I’d wanted to try it. She’d fought it, but seeing how damn happy she had been all year and how she’d grown into herself had motivated me. I was damn happy for her and in no way jealous. I just yearned to have the closeness she had with her boyfriend, Zade.
Okay, so all the longing and searching had led me to a series of bad, awful and miserable dates. Not one had clicked. Not one had ended with the promise for more. And, not one has ended with a guy acting like a gentleman. Apparently, I had a stamp on my head that read, I tend to date losers. And, now, I could add I dated felons. It was the only explanation I could muster why Todd had brought me here, and why they’d beaten the shit out of him.
“I’m twenty minutes out and I’m beyond pissed at you. You know the rep this place has? Do you?” His deep voice held nothing but rage and worry. I closed my eyes and leaned against the wall. I had known about the reputation, but I’d wanted an adventure. Todd rode a motorcycle. He had tattoos and looked as good as sin. I wanted, even an inkling if possible, of the happiness Callie felt. Is that so bad?
Yes. I shivered.
Aaron’s shaking voice pulled me from my self-pitying thoughts. “Greta! Did you know and still go there?”
Shit. He was past mad. “Yeah.”
“Why? Tell me why. I know shit hasn’t been great for you recently, but stop with this self-destruction crap. I can’t watch you do this.”
The squealing tires informed me he was close. His dark SUV sped down the road on a mission, the headlights showcasing how wretched this place looked. He pulled up to the spot right in front of Dirty Matt’s and threw open his door. He stormed out, his anger evident on his handsome face.
“You asshole,” he said, yanking me into his arms. “You worried the hell out of me. I lost ten pounds on the drive here.”
“Aaron,” I managed to squeak out before he pressed my face into his chest. “I’m okay.”
“Just, let me be.”
So, we stood like that for at least three minutes. His ridiculously large frame towered over me, but not in the way Mr. Burly back there had. Aaron was different. His body was sculpted from hours and hours in the gym. My arms barely fit around his middle, but I tried anyway. He squeezed me one last time and broke our hug. His gray eyes still held on to some anger, but relief took over. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome, G.” His lips turned white while he glanced at the sign. “Now, get in the car.”
I obeyed, not foolish enough to piss him off even more. He opened the passenger door and glared at me until I buckled myself in. Without a word, he shut it and pinched his nose walking to the driver’s side. His cologne clouded the car, the pleasant aroma of wood and leather comforting my nerves.
My body shook, the adrenaline wearing off. Aaron must’ve seen, because he turned on the heat despite the high July temperatures. I understood him well enough to let him stew. We had been close for over two years, but last year things were different. His dad being diagnosed with cancer had made the Aaron we all knew and loved change and we had grown closer and closer. Callie was my girl for life, but I couldn’t envision a future without knowing Aaron would be there. He understood me, respected me and pushed me to be better. He was allergic to feelings and emotions while I was forever giving up on men. Our friendship worked.
He drove the silent, dark path back to campus, one hand on the wheel and the other repeatedly making a fist. I blamed myself for his anger. He had enough to worry about and now picking me up… Remorse filled my chest and my eyes stung. “I’m fucking sorry. I’m an idiot. I don’t know why I went there. I wanted to have an adventure or something.”
He nibbled on his bottom lip, keeping his expression blank. Shit. Instead of remaining silent and letting him deal with it, I’d decided to ramble. Rambling was a favorite sport of mine and I couldn’t stop.
“He had a motorcycle…”
“I thought he would be a winner…”
“I want what Callie and Zade have…”
“I didn’t realize he was a felon or something and would get the shit beat out of him…”
“I had no fucking clue I would get manhandled…”
“Excuse me. What did you just say?” His jaw tightened.
“I didn’t have a clue—”
“No. You said manhandled. Someone hurt you?” His grip on the wheel tightened and I swallowed, loudly.
“Not hurt, no.” I tucked my arms further into myself. A bruise had already formed and Aaron was in no state to know that. “Forget I said anything.”
“I swear to God, Greta.” He pulled off the road and stopped the car. He shook, his large frame tight with pent-up rage. I wanted to crawl into a hole. Pissed-off Aaron could scare the boogeyman into retirement. “Don’t fucking lie to me. Are you hurt?”
Jaqueline Snowe lives in Arizona where the ‘dry heat’ really isn’t that bad. She enjoys making lists with colorful Post-it notes and sipping coffee all day. She has been a custodian, a waitress, a landscaper, a coach and a teacher. Her life revolves around binge-watching Netflix, her two dogs who don’t realize they aren’t humans and her wonderful baseball-loving husband.
Micalea Smeltzer is a twenty-something author from Northern Virginia. She has four dogs, which is as crazy as it sounds. As a recent kidney transplant recipient she’s dedicated to raising awareness around the effects of kidney disease, dialysis, and transplant as well as educating people on living donation. When she’s not writing you can catch her with her nose buried in a book.
In the world of high-end escorts, getting personal is never part of the arrangement.
When Josh Roberts became a male escort, there was no room for emotions. They went against the job description. He had a full appointment book and enough clients to pay the bills. There was definitely no time to get attached to an older, extremely successful, incredibly gorgeous man who paid for his services.
But Josh can’t turn down the money that has started rolling in, along with the gifts and the opportunity to live in the lap of luxury as the man flies him around the world to play pretend as his boyfriend. How on earth is he supposed to say no? Especially once he starts falling for his client.
James Barnwell is the successful CEO of Winter Luxury Resorts who stumbled upon Josh Roberts in a dark, high-end bar in midtown Manhattan. The young man was cocky, young, beautiful and offered James exactly what he was looking for—the chance to be with a man who knew the ropes and offered no opportunity to get attached. James had a lucrative business to run and meetings all over the world to attend. Having someone by his side would just weigh him down—or so he thinks, until he finds himself caring deeply for the man he pays for companionship, and it completely changes his world.
Two men are trying to play make believe—until they realize their sham might be closer to reality than they thought.
The bar wasn’t too busy for a Friday night. Soulful jazz filled the air of the midtown Manhattan hot spot that attracted wealthy businessmen and young, single, gold-digging women. Not many people came here unless they were looking to settle a big business deal or celebrate one—or, of course, if they were looking for one of those drunk, happy, successful men to take them home.
Which was why Josh Roberts was here tonight. He didn’t necessarily belong there. He wasn’t on Wall Street, wasn’t a millionaire, wasn’t a CEO or even someone who worked for a CEO. No, he was a college graduate with an art degree…and a booming business as an escort.
He hadn’t always been an escort. It was a fairly new profession he’d taken up by accident. It was a strange story to tell someone he didn’t know, and honestly, the industry was so hush hush that not many asked. But he didn’t mind getting paid for taking people out and sleeping with them. It had been odd at first, but it paid the bills—and beyond—and he was good at it now. He had a pretty full calendar, already booked a month out with regulars who took very good care of him financially. At twenty-four years old, he was well on his way to paying off his school loans and saving for the art gallery he hoped to open one day. And he was able to help pay his mother’s mortgage on the Brooklyn townhouse he’d grown up in. That alone made it worth it.
His mother didn’t know what he did—of course she didn’t. She couldn’t. He wouldn’t allow her to refuse his money. He didn’t live at home anymore, but she was his only family. He couldn’t risk losing or disappointing her. She was beyond supportive and would give him the benefit of any doubt…unless she knew he was being paid for sex. She wouldn’t be able to understand that. And honestly…sometimes he wasn’t sure he did. But it was satisfying his bank account, keeping food on the table, a roof over his head and more—so he kept it up. His art couldn’t pay him the way this could.
As he leaned against the end of the long mahogany bar, he surveyed the men in attendance, sipping his Old Fashioned. He wasn’t too much of a drinker and he needed to keep his wits about him when he was working—especially in a place like this. Class meant everything.
There weren’t many options this particular evening. Josh had a way of seeking out the ones who might be susceptible to his services. He worked with a lot of referrals, but tonight he’d been open and available, so he’d decided to head out and offer his services to someone in need of a good time. So far, that hadn’t been playing out too well for him. Most of the men were older, wearing rings or a little too drunk for Josh’s liking.
His gaze settled on a handsome guy in the middle of the bar who was sitting with a pretty blonde woman to his right. When Josh had first watched them, the man had been engaged as the woman had approached. He’d offered her a smile and invited her to join him.
That had been about an hour ago, however, and now the man looked somewhat tortured. He’d downed three Scotches in that time frame and was asking the bartender for another. A man in a suit stood a few feet behind him, but Josh suspected he was security of some sort, as that man had an earpiece and hadn’t had a drink all night. It made Josh curious as he watched, wondering who the guy was and why he’d need security in a bar like this. And if the man standing behind him was security, how come he wasn’t saving him from the ditz currently droning on and on about some nail polish line?
Josh finished his drink and was about to pay his tab and try his luck elsewhere when the blonde excused herself. He couldn’t hear if she would be gone for a minute or for the night, but he watched the guy’s shoulders sag slightly in what looked like relief as soon as she was a few feet away. Josh had a moment to make up his mind. Give it a shot or head out…?
The man was beautiful, about six feet tall with thick, dark hair that matched his beard. Even in the dim light, Josh could tell his temples were graying. It was a good look on the guy…fitting. Josh could see laugh lines around his eyes, no ring, a royal blue suit with a white shirt underneath and no tie. He was well dressed but not stuffy.
Josh glanced down at his own chocolate-brown three-piece suit. Being so young, he had to overcompensate to fit in. But for the man across the bar, the unbuttoned collar of his white shirt and the playful mid-range blue of his suit gave off the opposite feel, and it worked well for him. Is he into men? Josh couldn’t tell from where he stood. But he was visibly bored of his female companion, so Josh took a chance and headed his way.
“That looked brutal,” he remarked as he stood a barstool’s distance away from the man. The guy peered up at Josh with a raised eyebrow, taking Josh by surprise.
“Was I fakin’ it poorly?” The attractive man—even more attractive up close than he had been from across the bar—winced with a half-smile. Josh glanced up at the woman over his head, watching her gait slow as she returned from the direction of the restroom and saw Josh standing in her place.
“Well, she’s coming back, if that helps you feel any better about your acting skills.” His new companion cursed under his breath and took a long swig from the rocks’ glass.
“Maybe she’ll think we’re talkin’ business and find someone else to talk to?” He looked up at Josh, questioning, and he raked his gaze subtly over Josh’s suit. He wasn’t sizing Josh up. He was actually looking him over. Josh felt a little proud as he pretended not to notice. “Need a drink?”
“Sure.” Josh took the invitation coolly to avoid seeming eager and settled into the seat the woman had occupied before him. Her expression was clearly one of annoyance, but he watched her turn to find another rich man to fawn over. Phew. “Old Fashioned. Rocks. Thanks.”
The man nodded and quickly grabbed the bartender’s attention. Drink ordered, he turned back to Josh, seemingly still curious. “Nice suit.”
“Thank you.” Josh couldn’t stop the flush that heated his cheeks. Compliments always did him in, especially when the man was looking at him with those haunting steel eyes in a way that Josh hardly ever noticed his own clients looking at him.
“I appreciate you saving me,” he began, settling his gaze on Josh’s face. Josh held his look with the smallest of smiles. “Not many men would do that. They’d probably just enjoy watching me be miserable.” He huffed a laugh, and raised one side of his lips in a true half smile. “It’s not that she was a terrible gal or anything. She just…isn’t my type.” The way he said it gave Josh everything he needed to know to push on with his own agenda.
“I couldn’t bear to watch you sit through another monologue about wearing blue nail polish in the fall.” Josh mimicked her slightly, and he was pleased when the attractive man chuckled. He sipped his beverage, thoughtful. “Don’t like small blondes?” Josh then asked, licking his lips and savoring the taste of his new drink. He said it a little teasingly but was surprised when the guy just looked toward him and eyed him up and down slowly.
“I think I prefer them…bigger.” He didn’t sound so sure as he responded, and Josh had to wonder what that meant. Josh was, of course, blond, but he couldn’t be referring to him… Could he?
“You think?” Josh pressed, tilting his head as he regarded the man.
“Well, they’re usually her size, but I’m thinking of trying something new these days…”
Oh. Well, that was an interesting development. Josh hadn’t expected this to go so well.
The guy toyed with his rocks’ glass, spinning it in his fingers before turning completely to look at Josh, his body now sideways. Josh leaned against the bar, facing the man the same way. “Josh Roberts.” He extended his hand with a slight smile, roaming his eyes around the man’s gorgeous face.
The guy took Josh’s hand in a firm shake with zero hesitation. “James Barnwell… A pleasure to meet you, Josh.” He gave Josh a half smile of his own, and Josh couldn’t get past how beautiful the man was—one of his more handsome endeavors, for sure.
“So you’re looking to try something new?” Josh decided not to beat around the bush now. He’d go right in for the kill. James nodded with a lick to his sinful bottom lip. Josh wouldn’t mind kissing it. He definitely wouldn’t mind.
“I’ve uh… I don’t have any experience, but it’s been on my mind for a while.” James seemed slightly nervous now, but Josh wanted to reassure him there was no need. He gave Josh a look that was almost adorably unsure. Josh couldn’t help his own confident grin.
“Well, as it happens, I’m very well versed in such activities.” He nibbled on his bottom lip, tilting his chin down and looking up at Barnwell through his lashes. He wanted this sale, wanted to show this man a good time—especially now, knowing he’d never been with another man before. It became a challenge that spoke to Josh’s competitive soul.
James’ eyes widened a fraction and he seemed to consider the statement. Then he laughed, throwing Josh off a little. “You must think I’m some fuckin’… I’ve gotta be at least ten years older than you, and I’ve never experimented like that. I mean I have…with my—you know—but I’ve never actually been with a man. You’ve gotta be getting a kick out of this.”
Josh didn’t know which part he should be getting a kick out of—the fact he’d never been with a man, the age difference or the fact that James was insinuating that he’d played with himself. Josh was eating it all up, if he were to be honest. He’d never taken a man’s virginity, but he was up for the adventure and knew he was a safe bet as the man’s first. He knew just how to do it right and gentle, make it worth James’ time. “Well, if you think I’m judging you, you’re wrong. I’m in the wrong business to judge anyone.” Josh kept his voice low so he didn’t make a spectacle of their conversation. “It doesn’t matter how old you are or what you’ve done or not done. If you want an experience, you wanna try a taste, I can give you one. I’m happy to do it.”
Josh wasn’t one to play games. He was straightforward and as honest as they came. He pulled one of his sleek matte cards from his pocket and slipped it across the bar to James, who picked it up and looked it over, a look of surprise and a flush covering his high cheekbones as he seemed to read the word printed under Josh’s name on the card—Escort.
James cleared his throat, biting his bottom lip as he set the card back down. Josh noticed that he kept it close and he took that as a good sign. “And here I thought you were just picking me up.” James laughed a little and Josh liked the sound.
“In a way I was. You’re a handsome man. I couldn’t tell from afar whether you’d be interested in men or not, but I took my chance anyway.” Josh offered him a gentle grin.
“Do I look like I need to pay someone for sex?” James cocked his head to the side and regarded Josh through squinted, guarded eyes. He might have even been slightly offended. Josh held his ground, undeterred.
“You look like you wanna sleep with a man—but you haven’t yet and don’t know how. I’m sure you have women dying to sit on your cock. But that’s not what I’m here for.”
“And if I wanna sit on your cock, is that what you’re here for?” Hearing the word fall from James’ lips made Josh want to squirm a little. He definitely wanted that. It was always a bonus when he was physically attracted to his clients and that they had chemistry. It was often not the case.
“You can sit on anything you want, Mr. Barnwell. That is, in fact, what I’m here for.”
James grew silent at that, dropping his gaze to his glass. Apprehension bloomed in Josh’s chest, but he sipped his drink and watched the man mentally battle over whatever waged inside his mind. He took the moment to let his eyes roam the broad shoulders, the peek of chest hair, the gray on his temples. This man had to look exquisite naked, judging by the way that suit jacket pulled in all the right places.
James lifted his gaze back to Josh’s, and Josh could feel the heat and question that lingered in those blue-grays. “I’m not familiar with…your business. What’s it you want? How much do you get paid? Do you do weekends in exchange for money, gifts?”
Josh couldn’t help but chuckle…amused. “I mean, I don’t have an ad saying ‘sugar daddy wanted’ on my back, but if you’re offering…” Confusion then amusement dawned on James’ features. “Money is how I’m usually paid. I can be booked for any length of time. I can be a date to an event, a party or a companion on a trip. It’s really whatever the client wants. Whatever they want.” He stressed the word because he catered to any and all whims. He had a few hard limits but had experienced a lot. And at this point, he’d say yes to anything with James out of pure curiosity.
“Whatever they want? Give me an example, please.” He spoke quietly as he asked, as if unsure if he should. Josh was an open book. He never gave names, but he’d absolutely give examples.
“Sure. Most women want to be dominated in some way, but most men want to dominate me. I’ve gone to Hawaii on a business trip with a woman who only needed me to pretend I was her fiancé. I’ve been collared and expected to crawl on my knees like a dog. I had a woman who would pay me for one weekend a month of as much sex as she could handle. I have another woman who just wants me to sit in my briefs and rub her feet. I’ve had a few men who prefer roleplay, and I’m decent at it.” He shrugged lightly. “The ‘usual’ is I show up to the client’s place and we have sex, I fulfill whatever their fantasy or need is and I’m out of the door afterward. But like I said, it’s the dealer’s choice. Whatever the client feels like, needs or wants from me, I give. I haven’t had a single complaint.” Josh felt more than confident in his track record and his services. Sure, when he’d started, he’d had some catching up to do, had to learn his ways around certain kinks and scenes, but now he had zero issues. He felt at ease behind closed doors.
James was intrigued, if nothing else. It was written all over his suddenly expressive face. “So…kinks? Toys? Trips? Everything is on the table?”
Josh nodded. “I draw the line at violence, degrading play and extreme, potentially harmful things. Marks are fine, spanking is fine, but you can’t hit me—and I won’t hit you. You can call me names, but you can’t shove my face in a carpet or make me lick your shoes. Luckily, no one I’ve been with has tried to punch me or worse.” Josh smiled ruefully. James looked a little disturbed by that.
“Well, at least you’re taking care of yourself,” he replied with a concern that surprised Josh.
“I get tested monthly. I’m careful. It’s my job to deliver a safe and fun experience.” He wanted to make sure James knew all the details and his intentions. This business relationship had to be based on trust.
“What do you cost? Is it by the service or…?”
Josh pulled out his phone, opening the app he used to take payment. He set it down on the bar for James to see. He had no secrets. “I don’t do it by the service. I do by the hour. You can have whatever you want in the time frame you pay me for—and there’s fifty percent off your first experience, no matter the length. If a person comes back, which I can usually guarantee they will, it’s full price after that.”
James whistled low at what he saw on the screen. “You certainly are looking for that sugar daddy, aren’t ya, pal?”
Josh blushed at the term but laughed too. “I think it’s a fair trade. Good money for great sex.” He shrugged. James eyed him.
“You think you’re that good, huh?”
Josh simply smiled, nodding once. “Yes, sir. I’m that good.”
James glanced back at the security guard a few feet away then to the bartender. Josh, for a brief moment, wondered if he was about to be physically removed from James Barnwell’s presence. Then James was laying down crisp cash from his wallet on the bar and standing.
Josh followed his every move, his hopes deflating. He’d really enjoyed their banter. It had been a long time since he’d been shot down—and by someone like Mr. Barnwell…
“I’ve got a car out front. We’ll go back to my place. That’s how it works, right? My call? My place?” Josh stood before James could finish his questions.
“Absolutely, sir. Your call. Everything is your call.”
“Good. We’ll go back to my place, I’ll pour us a drink then I want you to take over. Understood?”
Josh was surprised by the expectation, but it was nothing he couldn’t handle. In fact, he looked forward to blowing this man’s mind…and hopefully more. “Yes, sir.”
Evelyn has been writing since middle school, constantly getting lost in creating a whole other world (usually loosely based on a fandom of some kind) and falling in love with those characters. An avid reader, she never leaves home without a well-worn book and a notepad for thoughts. She writes almost entirely on her phone, because it’s small and easy to pull out at a moment’s notice, when the idea for a scene hits. As the wife of a busy husband and as the mother of a young daughter, two big dogs, and a horse, there’s not always designated writing time. Writing is her passion and whenever she finds a window of free time, that’s what she’s doing!
EVELYN MAHONY 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 17th August 2021 at 5pm GMT. Competition hosted by Totally Entwined Group.
It was one little white lie. What could possibly go wrong?
With my brother’s destination wedding on the horizon and no plus-one at my side, desperate times call for desperate measures. My mother has made it her personal mission in life to get me back together with my ex, who also happens to be the best man and my partner down the aisle. Nobody knows why I abruptly broke off our engagement and fled to Montana two-years ago, and I intend to keep it that way. Wyatt is determined to win me back, and the thought of dealing with him and my mother for a week in Maui would drive any woman to drink. Which is exactly what I did, and five shots of Tequila later, I’ve got the perfect solution to my problem. All I need is a fake fiancé…
I’ve had one goal that’s kept me alive when it would have been easier to give up—recuperate and get back to Afghanistan to complete my mission. What I wasn’t expecting was a petite, sexy-as-hell blonde to crawl through my bedroom window and turn my life upside-down. After a rocky start that involved me pulling a gun on her, we coincidentally find ourselves in need of the same thing—a fiancée.
To be fair, I warned her not to fall in love with me—that I was only going to break her heart. Guess I should have taken my own advice…
What happens when you mix a quirky woman, an alpha Marine, and a fake engagement? Lots of laughter, heat, and a bit of heartbreak,
While the fake fiancé trope always offers the same ingredients, I really loved that Cullen was not only active military, but Summer accepted him scars and all. His PTSD and flashbacks made his character more realistic. Watching him reluctantly fall for his “Smalls” made for a delightful read.
Summer is sassy and so much fun. I loved her character. The way she handled her ex made me want to cheer her on, especially during their last scene together.
Hit It and Quit It is a beautifully written romance full of heat, heart, and two broken souls who can only be whole if they’re together. The ending seemed rushed compared to the pacing of the rest of the book, but overall, it was a very enjoyable read.
*Disclaimer: I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The review above is only my opinion.
Last year Karrie was riding high. She had a boyfriend she loved, a softball scholarship, and the best roommate a girl could have. When it turned out her man was a lying, cheating ballsack, she may have gone off the rails a bit. Now, it’s a new year and Karrie’s ready to build herself back up and move on to bigger and better things. Still, a little revenge would go a long way in helping the healing process.
He’s got a plan for revenge that will suit them both…
Ridge is used to being the BMOC. Sergeant of Arms of his frat and the ability to land any chick within snapping distance has made life pretty easy for him. His home life is another story. He and his brothers are in the middle of a battle between his socialite mother and asshole father. Ridge is looking for a stand-in to placate his mother and her matchmaking ways, and he has a feeling he’s just met the girl he can perfectly mold.
This makeover has nothing to do with love and everything to do with Karrie and Ridge using each other to get what they want. What starts as a ruse soon becomes an attraction they cannot deny. When it’s all said and done, they’ll both have more to confess than a need for revenge.
I typically avoid books about guys in fraternities, however, I’m a suck for a fake relationship romance. I’m glad I gave this author, and this book, a try because I thoroughly enjoyed it. There was a moment when I hesitated to keep reading, but for the most part I enjoyed the interaction between Ridge and Karrie. She made him a better person, or at least allowed him to realize he wasn’t quite as rotten as he’d thought. Ridge gave Karrie the confidence she needed, letting her see she was stronger than she realized. The two were perfect for one another!
If you like fake relationship romances, especially in a college setting, this one is a must-read!
*Disclaimer: The author did not request a review of this title. I purchased a copy through Amazon and this review is merely my personal opinion.