Release Blitz: Heart’s Ease by Mimi B Rose #eroticromance #PNR @totally_bound @firstforromance

Heart’s Ease by Mimi B. Rose

Word Count: 70,954
Book Length: SUPER NOVEL
Pages: 286

GENRES:

BILLIONAIRE
CONTEMPORARY
EROTIC ROMANCE
FANTASY
PARANORMAL
WERESHIFTERS

Add to Goodreads

Book Description

 

Her mysterious past holds the key to protecting his clan.

Between helping teens at an After-School Art Club and trying to publish her granny’s fairy tales, Chantelle’s life still feels somehow unfulfilled.

When his father and older brother died, Charles was forced into the role of Alpha. Three years later, he still hasn’t dealt with the loss. Now a rival pack is stirring up trouble in his grandmother’s hometown, and he must investigate.

But that is only where the mystery begins. There’s something else going on and it starts with the mysterious and beautiful Chantelle. The secrets of her past and her untrained magical abilities hold the key to the rival pack’s attacks. And when they discover that sorcery is behind the violence against women and children in the territory, they have to trust each other and forge a connection.

But is their bond strong enough to protect the pack and fulfil a Fated Mates prophecy, or will they lead the pack, and their love, to ruin?

Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of racism, violence and attempted/threatened sexual assault. There is reference to past memory modification and the off-screen death of a teen.

Excerpt

Chantelle Mizuki didn’t want to die today.

I’m wearing old underwear. With holes. Nobody is going to see them. No nurse, no doctor, no coroner. Nobody.

Chantelle’s footsteps crunched in the autumn leaves of the mountain forest. Night was falling. Wolves were howling.

Real wolves.

Granny Ceci’s voice rang in her ears. “Don’t go in the forest at dusk, mon chou.”

Too late, Granny.

She hadn’t planned to be out this late. It was light when the After-School Art Club finished at the library. She had asked her student Alfonso to stay and talk about his application for art school. By the time they were done, the sun was low in the sky. Only after Alfonso had left did she discover she’d locked her keys in the car.

In the daytime, everyone used the path through the woods to get to the other side of the village in the Laurentian Mountains of Quebec. She loved the soft pine needles underfoot, tall trunks stretching their branches to the sky, soothing fragrances of moss and fern. During the day Chantelle expected to stumble across Snow White singing and dancing among the trees.

Night-time was different. Every noise was menacing, every shadow a predator waiting for her to stray off the path.

Chantelle kept to the darkened trail, wishing those howls and barks were getting fainter. The sounds of the forest were soothing when she was tucked into Granny Ceci’s gingerbread cottage—her cottage now. This evening, those sounds took on ominous undertones.

She remembered Granny Ceci telling her, “Ma cocotte, the Laurentian Mountains are home to many creatures, some fair, some foul. Be prepared for both.” Tonight, it was the foul creatures. Why couldn’t it be chipmunks or raccoons?

Another howl wailed over the tops of the trees. The hairs on the back of her neck stood up. One step in front of the other. You can do this.

Soon she reached the edge of the village. Only a quarter of a mile left. Past Marie’s big house on the hill, through the ravine, then up the path to the top of her street.

No problem. She had survived book signings with dozens of cranky children and their bad-tempered parents. She had run off her cheating no-good boyfriend. A wolf or two? No sweat.

She picked up her pace to a jog. Her legs were aching, her chest heaving. At the very least she’d have a funny story to tell Yvette and Kat. Well, it would be funny if she made it home in one piece.

The recent wolf sightings had everyone in town worried. The wolves were larger than usual, more vicious. They had even killed some dogs. Villagers were warned to stay away from the woods at night. She knew her woodcraft and carried her multi-tool at all times, but that wouldn’t be enough to stop a feral wolf.

Of course, today was the day she’d locked her keys in the car. She’d forgotten to take her ADHD medication. And her publisher called in the afternoon to say they were passing on her “passion project,” as they’d called it. Illustrating Granny Ceci’s stories and having them published were a way to honour her grandmother’s legacy. But her reputation as a children’s story illustrator was not opening doors for the collection of folk tales. Her usual collaborator hadn’t helped at all. He didn’t want his favourite illustrator distracted from his own book projects.

Was the howling closer now? Or was it her imagination? She crouched by a small cluster of sumac bushes. Her heart raced. The wind whistled through the treetops, clattering in the dying leaves.

There was a clearing ahead. What a relief! It was the small field behind her neighbour’s house. Marie, a dear friend of Granny Ceci’s, lived on the edge of the village. The little meadow divided the forest from her garden, which was enclosed by a stone wall.

There would be a large blue spruce at the northern edge of the clearing. The conical silhouette of the tree stood tall against the dying light. Three shadows, large and shaggy, skulked at the base.

She spared half a breath for one of Granny’s favourite curse words.

Could she make it to Marie’s house? She should move slowly, deliberately, not run. But rabid or savage wolves would still attack. If they came for her, she would have to run along the perimeter.

She was stuck. Sweat trickled down her back.

I need a plan. If she got out of this, she could move back to Montreal. There was nothing keeping her here. Granny had died last year. Why was she still here? Pull yourself together, girl!

The moon burst out from behind a cloud.

One of the wolves looked up, the cool light illuminating his outline. He cocked his head and looked in her direction. He howled, long and low. The other two wolves nosed him, turning towards her. Could they see her?

She sent a silent prayer up to Ceci. Wherever you are, please help me.

The wolves paced at the edge of the clearing, whining and sniffing the air.

She had to move. Maybe make a commotion once she got closer to the garden wall. Marie might hear.

She breathed in and out. Now. She took a cautious step.

One of the wolves inclined his head. Had he seen her? Another step.

He pointed his muzzle at her, his tail arching over his back. Two steps.

The lead wolf pushed off on his hind legs, padding towards her position. The others followed on his tail.

Ben l’on! Granny would have said. Oh, come on!

She sprinted towards the wooden gate in the middle of the stone wall.

They reached her in the clearing. The largest one growled, ears and tail erect. His eyes looked odd—orange, almost glowing. Impossible. It must be a reflection of the moonlight.

These wolves were big. And their faces looked funny—no, not funny, just strange. Almost human-like.

Heart racing, Chantelle took a step back.

The wolves advanced, circling her. They weren’t acting like regular wolves. What was going on?

The leader surged forward, snarling. She backed up and bumped into another wolf. The wolf behind her made a huffing noise that sounded almost like a laugh. Goosebumps broke out on her arms. Was this the end?

The largest one snapped at her leg. As she stepped back, her knees buckled and she fell to the unforgiving ground beneath her. Tears stung her eyes as she scrabbled in the grass and dirt. He descended on her and sunk his teeth in her calf. She batted at him, a shrill scream erupting from her throat. She had to get away.

The other wolves nipped at her arms as she pulled back, dodging their snouts and paws. She searched for purchase on the ground. They dragged her across the ground, away from the wall.

Fear churned in her stomach. Her heart beat fast as she struck at the wolves. Then something changed, fear turning into anger in her chest. Tingling sensations erupted into a warmth across her chest. Her ears buzzed.

What’s going on?

Some kind of energy bubbled from her middle. Rising up, it surged from her core out towards her arms and legs. It felt strange, yet familiar somehow.

The buzzing increased, changing into a burning sensation. A shooting pain in her leg snapped her attention back to the wolves. Sliding along the ground, she reached for the wolf attached to her leg. She smiled as she caught hold. His fur was matted, his bulk solid beneath her fingers.

The low droning made her ears itch and blocked out the growls of her attackers. Her field of vision telescoped into her hands, legs, and torso in front of her.

Anger surged within her. She pushed out from her diaphragm. Energy tingled and sparked, hot and strong. It poured down her arms and into her hands. When she shoved against her attacker, something blue zapped out of her palms.

The wolf let go when the blast hit him. Falling back a few inches, he shook his head and coat.

Growling, ears back, he pushed forward. The lights in his eyes glowed. The wolves regrouped and closed in.

I’m going to die here. With no one present to hear a snappy parting line.

A spotlight came on, almost blinding her. A rifle shot rang in the air and the creatures froze. Out from the garden gate stepped a small figure.

Marie!

The ancient woman leaned forward, hefting a rifle that was almost as tall as she was. Her red plaid jacket was three sizes too big and hung down to her knees. She peered out from thick glasses beneath a dark green hunter’s cap.

“Allez-y vous, sales chiens!” The old woman’s Québécois accent was thick but her tone was unmistakable.

Chantelle sucked in a big breath. She shuddered and turned to her attackers. The larger brown wolf swung his head towards her.

Another shot grazed the attacker’s mud-coloured fur. Yelping, he jumped out of the ring of light. He whined, pawing the ground, the other wolves huffing beside him. He glanced over at the old woman.

A new growl, low and menacing, rumbled by the gate. Beside Marie was a large dog, ears back, tail up. They moved forward in unison. The wolves backed away from Chantelle.

The lead wolf slunk towards the trees with his two companions. Looking back, he howled once before the trio disappeared into the night.

Chantelle pushed up from the ground, relief warring with the fear and pain. She tried to stand but her leg throbbed. The bite marks oozed blood. Her feet shuffled forward as she held her elbow against her side. Had they bitten her arm too?

She reached towards Marie by the gate.

Then she was falling.

Strong arms wrapped around her. A low voice murmured and Marie’s voice answered. She was being lifted up, arms carrying her to warmth. The voices faded away.

Her fingers touched a soft blanket. How long had she been out? A fire crackled nearby. Gentle hands prodded at the bite.

She faded out again.

Buy Links

Choose Your Store
First For Romance

About the Author

Mimi B. Rose

Mimi B. Rose writes fantastic tales filled with steamy enchantment and tender-hearted fulfilment to thrill strong women. As a teen she read V.C. Andews’s Flowers in the Attic and Anne Rice’s The Vampire Lestat and she was hooked on fantasy romance and paranormal romance. Some of her favourite tv shows are Sleepy Hollow, Grimm, and Once–and the reboot of Beauty and the Beast starring Kirstin Kreuk (does anyone remember that series?).

She loves all kinds of shifters and vampires. Her all-time favourite authors are Faith Hunter, Ilona Andrews, Nalini Singh, and more recently Richelle Mead.

Mimi likes a sassy heroine who is independent but finds a strong hero who can keep up with her and treasure her for their uniqueness–including her flaws!

Check out Mimi’s website.

Giveaway

Enter for the chance to win a $50.00 First for Romance Gift Card! Competition hosted by Totally Entwined Group.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Release Blitz: Heather and the Plaid by Raven McAllen #PNR @firstforromance @totally_bound

The Heather and the Plaid by Raven McAllan

Book 2 in the Castle on the Loch series

Word Count: 40,287
Book Length: SHORT NOVEL
Pages: 162

Genres:

CONTEMPORARY
PARANORMAL
ROMANCE

Add to Goodreads

Book Description

History, family, fate. Accept it or deny it at your will. To have a future, they need to make peace with the past.

Condemned to a half-life for helping to protect Bonnie Prince Charlie, the only way Lachlan Stuart can live properly is to find someone who trusts and believes in him in the present day.

That person is Bonnie Drummond, who is not best pleased at having her peaceful life disturbed.

Especially when she discovers just what he wants her to do—and that it appears there are more powerful entities who will stop at nothing to ensure she doesn’t succeed.

Can Lachlan and Bonnie achieve what’s needed and get the happiness they both deserve, or is he condemned to forever be on the outside?

Excerpt

“No, no and even more so no.” Bonnie Drummond folded her arms and glared at the tall, long-haired man in front of her. “Get that into your thick head. Watch my lips. N…O… No.”

His dark, almost black, grey eyes twinkled as he laughed at her, lifted her and swung her around in a circle. Her multi-coloured scarf tangled about her neck and arms, and one tasselled end hit her on her nose. It stung.

“Ooft, no.” She blew a rogue tassel off her cheek. “Yuk, noooo.”

“Bonnie, my love, you’re awfy fond of that wee word and you don’t mean it. Yes, yes and even more so yes. We’ll do it. You’ll love it.”

“Lachlan Stuart, don’t you dare.” Brave words, because she knew he would. “I’ll be sick.”

“Sick? My brave Bonnie? Never and if you are then…”

Then?

Where are we?

She strained to see him, twisted and turned and…

Woke up as she fell out of bed.

“Of all the stupid, idiotic, ridiculous…argh.” Bonnie unwound the sheet—she’d been too hot to use the duvet and had put a sheet over her instead, which somehow was wrapped around her like a shroud—kicked it away and stood up, yawning. “Enough is enough. Give me a break.”

Yet another night of broken sleep. Of dreams and conversation with someone called Lachlan. Lachlan Stuart. “Why Lachlan Stuart? What’s it all about? Whose life was I in?”

The name seemed familiar—probably from being told it in her dreams—but she didn’t know anyone called that in reality. “Crazy statement,” she muttered. “In fact, the whole thing is.”

“Not at all.”

That was all she needed. The mystery voice in her head adding its tenpenn’orth. Shut up, and don’t butt in where you’re not concerned.

“Oh, but I am. Concerned. Really, Bonnie. Use your senses.”

She ignored that. She was using them, wasn’t she? How else would he have invaded her mind?

The laugh that echoed round the room made her scowl. Something screwy was going on and she didn’t like it one bit. Bonnie admitted she hated not being in charge of every part of her life. Why, when she acknowledged she was a ’seer’, someone who could hear voices, sense things, see happenings—in both the past and, she assumed, though it was never verified, the future—did one new voice bug her so much? Why did her life have to change anyway? She was content—sort of—as she was. Content enough not to want anything drastic to occur, at least.

Bonnie accepted her thoughts and dreams as part of her. Until recently those thoughts and dreams had been positive, mild even. Rarely about herself, more often about her close family. Sometimes about people she didn’t know and subsequently met. Those, though, didn’t unsettle her like this one had. Enough to wake her up sweating.

All her life she’d had conversations in her mind. Chatted to herself, so to speak. Argued and got the conclusion she wanted. Usually. The times she hadn’t she tried to rationalize.

Now, though… Now she couldn’t explain what she heard and thought. Nor, she decided, could she share those conversations with her parents. It was fine as a teenager, asking why she had silent conversations, could magic things to move—sometimes—and see and hear what other people thought—on occasion. But not why you were convinced you’d made love with someone who spoke softly to you in a language akin to but not the same as Gaelic, and you understood them. Experienced the sensations of heat and arousal as they caressed you. Sensed them fill you and rejoiced when you moved together as one hot, aroused and powerful entity. Saw stars as you climaxed and heard him shout his completion.

Not the sort of information she chose to share with anyone—especially her parents.

Her dad would have a conniption, her mum ask for more details, and if they passed the information on to her brother, Baird, she daren’t think what might happen. He was a bit ‘act now, think later’ when it applied to his sisters. How Marcail, the eldest, had managed to meet, make love with and marry her husband was one of life’s unsolved—or untold—mysteries.

Bonnie headed for the shower and ruminated over what she needed to achieve that day.

First thing on her mental list was to decide on the colours of the plaid she was making for her nephew’s first birthday. Once she had a rough idea about that, she intended to get stuck in and write a synopsis that made sense for her next paranormal mystery and romance book series. For a week or so it had been simmering in the back of her mind. Now she thought—hoped—she had the plot fixed, and a rough idea of how her characters looked. Tier traits and characteristics.

“Like me.”

Where had that thought popped up from? ‘Like me’ who? She mentally shrugged. In general her heroes came out of her imagination and not from seeing someone in the papers or walking down a street.

No one had been more surprised than Bonnie when a dare by Baird—to enter a competition where you wrote a thousand-word hint-of-intrigue snippet for a magazine competition—had culminated in her being asked to expand the story, and subsequently being offered a three-book contract. She hadn’t mentioned it to anyone, except Baird, and he had been sworn to secrecy. When the first book had come out, under the name of Belle Scott, she’d casually asked her mum—who had been kneading dough—if she’d read it.

Her mum had shaken her head and put her dough to prove. ‘Should I have?’

Bonnie’s heart had sunk. ‘Just wondered.’

‘Ah, okay. The book club are interested. I’ve read an excerpt. It sounds great, and I’ve got it on my ‘buy next time I go online’ list. I reckon it will be right up my street. Hope to get it in the next day or so.’

Bonnie had grinned. ‘No need. Here you are.’ She’d handed a paperback to her bemused parent. ‘I reckon if you think about it, you might realise you know the author.’ Then she’d headed home in a hurry and immersed herself in weaving a cloth she’d decided to use to make Christmas presents. As ever, the simple repetition of working her loom had soothed her and as she’d weaved, she’d plotted, so by the time her mum had appeared at her door several hours later, she had almost forgotten she’d handed the book over.

‘Bonnie, its fabulous,’ her mum had exclaimed as she shared one of her gorgeous and jealously rationed homemade loaves with Bonnie. ‘You did write it, didn’t you? I wasn’t sure at first, but little things gave it away.’ She’d grinned. ‘Now I want it signed.’

‘How did you guess?’ Bonnie had chuckled and resisted the impulse to punch the air.

‘Your choice of words. Often those we use as a family for one, and then Belle for Bonnie and Scott because you’re Scottish?’

Bonnie had nodded. ‘Baird bet me to enter a competition. I couldn’t believe it when I was offered a three-book contract. I’m plotting book three now.’

‘Book three? What about book two?’ Her mum had appeared confused. ‘What’s happened to that?’

‘That’s gone off for editing. This next one is the last in the series. Hot, sexy hero. You’ll love him. He’s everything any woman wants all rolled into one sex-on-legs body.’

“Thank you.”

Bonnie almost jumped. A new voice in her head? I was going to say like my dad.

“That sounds dodgy.”

Not to my mum, and who are you anyway?

“You’ll soon discover that.”

‘Bonnie?’ Her mum had looked at her in concern. ‘Are you okay? You look a bit peely wally.’ A Scottish expression for pale. ‘I was saying how proud of you we are. And to keep it a secret. Amazing. You’ve never been able to do that before. You and secrets were like water in a leaky bucket.’

Damn it, she’d been away with the fairies—her family expression for deep in thought. Or was that thoughts? ’Gee, thanks, Mum. I’ve been called a lot of things but never a leaky bucket before.’

‘Sorry, love, but you just…went. And not as if you were in seer mode, if you get me. Sort of…’ She’d paused, obviously trying to find the right words.

‘Peely wally, I get you. Sorry, thinking about lots of things at once. Probably forget most of them.’ Especially pesky new voices.

“Ouch.”

Her mum had laughed. ‘I’ll buy you some notebooks.’

Bonnie still used notebooks for emergency ideas and when she was out and about. ‘Great stuff, I’m on my last one. The one that says watch it or you’ll die a gruesome death in my next book.’

“No gruesome deaths needed any more. I’ll remind you.”

That had been a while before.

To her annoyance, that sexy voice in her head was now a regular occurrence. When she’d started to think about her series, which she had decided was to be set on an imaginary island in the same loch as she lived on, one name had kept coming to mind.

Lachlan. Lachlan Stuart.

She had no idea why. Her hero she had decided to call Frazer, her heroine Louise.

“Lachlan is better.”

For my heroine? She had to be perverse. I don’t think so.

“Ha, silly, ha. You know what I mean, or if not, you will. Soon. Know what I mean and know me.”

It wasn’t helpful being told that with no explanation as to why. Even so, Bonnie scribbled the name in her notebook, along with bairns, bodies, books and bribery. Where had all that come from? Used to the vagaries of her wandering mind, she mentally shrugged and carried on making an omelette. It would or wouldn’t be clear before long. Meanwhile she’d eat then go out in the boat to decide where to put the island and see if any colours hit her for her plaid.

It might have sounded daft to some people, but it made sense to her. The water, the scenery, helped her so often. She often thought she could have been a water sprite. It had made her laugh when she was told, very firmly, no chance—she liked chocolate too much.

“I need the purple of the heather, the blue of the loch on a misty day, the yellow of the broom and the green of the pines.”

It was time to put Mr New Voice into his place.

Well, it’s not up to you, whoever you are. You’ve never told me that before so tough. In fact, you’ve told me b. all. You just issue orders. Which I tell you, I’m going to ignore. This is my creation for my nephew so butt out and bugger off. She sneezed. Bloody pollen.

“Naughty. Bless you.” Male laughter echoed around her kitchen. “I haven’t said much, have I? You’ll find out soon enough.”

She didn’t bother to reply. The last thing she wanted was to start arguing with a voice in her head, especially when she had no idea what the darned voice was all about.

“Life, love, care, help. Us. The future to save the past.”

Clear as mud, as ever. That’s not me, that was someone else. She’d had to stand back and not help her sister, and even now it stung. Whoever made up the rules should cut a little slack.

“Tut, tut, you know that’s not our way.”

Well, it should be.

Damn it, she’d answered, and now there would be a stupid dialogue ending in a huff in her head.

Bonnie waited for the fallout.

“That was different, and you know it. Stop sulking, it doesn’t suit you. You’ll see soon enough.”

She waited some more.

Silence. No thoughts, no voices, not one thing. Not even a faint laugh or smart retort.

Fair enough. After all, the mood she was now in would probably magnify any little problem and become a migraine-sized headache. Something she could do without.

Bonnie ate her food standing up, left her dirty pots in the sink—one of the pros of living alone—and headed out with her camera. She fancied some heathery tones, blues and dusky greens in the plaid she was creating. Of course, it wouldn’t be a proper tartan, but it would be young Master MacDonald’s very own pattern.

“Thought it was for me? We need one… To be…” The voice faded, and for the first time it annoyed her not to hear any more. Then came a mocking laugh that made her want to kick something. Or someone. Instead she threw stones in the burn that ran by her house then headed down to the loch via a series of tiny waterfalls and tiny but deep pools. They made a satisfying plop noise and the ever-spreading circles of water it displaced soothed her. It was time she pulled up her big-girl panties and remembered the basic tenets her mum had told her.

To wit, she had abilities most people didn’t. Those talents might vary over time, might not always be uppermost in her life, but were there for a reason. She was, for want of a better description, a witch. Her forte was seeing. Both the past and the distant—as in over a year or so—future. Weirdly not the present, or anything that could involve dishonesty. If someone asked her who would win the tennis tournament, she had no idea. Nor who would win the election or the lottery numbers. But she could tell if someone or something would have problems in the years ahead, whether a certain colour would be ‘in’ or not and relationships that would happen, whether the recipients wanted them to or not. She didn’t cast spells, but she could work out what herbs, flora and fauna could help in certain circumstances and also make potpourri, bath oils and salts and herbal teas.

She’d known who her sister’s partner would be before Marcail did, but luckily, not how and when they would get together. Nor any intimate details. That would have been beyond icky. Her brother Baird’s future was more uncertain and worried her to a certain extent. She could sense it wouldn’t be smooth or easy for him to overcome all the obstacles in the way of his fate. But at least she could sense a little of what was in store for him.

It made her present circumstances not exactly a worry, but something that gave her an itch up her spine and a slight unease. The sensation of trying to find a light in a darkened room and not succeeding.

Maybe a day being away from the house and the island would help. Bonnie had changed into her walking gear, made sure she had the basics for a meal, her phone and mobile charger, and strode briskly shoreward.

She was about to cast off her tiny boat with its reliable outboard motor when her phone pinged.

Her dad.

That in itself was unusual. He hated technology with a vengeance. Bonnie held off untying the craft and opened her phone instead.

“Hi, Pa, what’s up?” she said cheerfully and waited for his usual reply.

“The sun and do not call me Pa. Snarky madam. I’ve a request.”

“Oh, yes?” Bonnie said warily. Her dad’s requests usually involved whoever he was speaking to doing something they didn’t want to do. “I’m on a deadline for my next book and need to do a lot of research.” Not strictly true as she’d got the outline completed and finished most of the research she would need in the immediate future. “In fact, I’m researching now and waiting for a call from…” She searched her mind for a plausible phone call. “The library about a book I’m after.” The fact she did most of her research online wasn’t lost on her and she hoped it wouldn’t occur to him to query her response.

Her dad made a noise akin to a boiling kettle. “Fshhht. This won’t take long. I need you to come for dinner tomorrow. Your mum says it’s Crowdie fish pie from Mrs Henderson, and Cranachan by herself.”

Bonnie’s mouth watered. They were both her favourites, and not her dad’s. His wording hit her. No wonder she was suspicious. Need… Not would you like to…but he needed. “What’s the catch?”

“What do you mean?” Her dad’s voice was bland, which was a giveaway that he was up to something. “Whatever fish Mrs H’s husband caught, I guess.”

“Ha ha, Pa. You’re so sharp you’ll cut yourself if you’re not careful. You know fine well what I mean. Why the formal call? It’s usually a ‘do you fancy dinner tonight’ or whatever. Not an official request. I feel like I need a gilt-edged RSVP card to reply.”

Her dad didn’t answer.

“In lieu of one”—Bonnie felt proud of that response—“thank you for asking but I’m so sorry, I must gracefully decline your oh so kind invitation.”

She waited for the explosion and wasn’t disappointed.

“De…you can’t bloody decline.” His voice rose. “You need to come.”

“Do I, Dad? Why?”

“Why?” he blustered. “Your mum will be upset if you don’t.”

“Oh, Pinocchio, how’s your nose?” She mentioned the story about the boy whose nose grew if he told a lie. “That’s the biggest load of tosh I’ve heard from you in a long time, Dad, and you can’t half spout some if you have a mind. Fess up or I’ll ask Mum what’s going on, and she’ll tell me.”

“Mum doesn’t know,” he said triumphantly. “So, you can’t.”

“Know what?”

Silence.

“Your poor dad doesn’t deserve your grief, you know. Remember Paden.”

That’s what I’m trying not to do. Butt out, this is my problem, not yours.

“You reckon?”

The laughter in her mind was mocking.

Sod off. She scowled at a nearby frog, which jumped into a nearby puddle with a reproachful croak. “Sorry,” she muttered to the frog, which of course ignored her.

Three ducks took up the complaint.

She turned the switch on the boat to start the engine, was about to apologise when she remembered what was going on. “Dad, I have to go, speak later.”

“Wait,” her dad said in a harassed voice. “You need to know what time to get here.”

“As I’ve declined, I don’t, you know.” Bonnie smirked as she ended the call and thought what state her dad would be in. It served him right. He was a champion at not explaining things and expecting people to fall in with his often unwanted wishes. Well, no more. She intended to make a stand and be firm.

Buy Links

Choose Your Store
First For Romance

About the Authors

Raven McAllan

After 30 plus years in Scotland, Raven now lives near the east Yorkshire coast, with her long-suffering husband, who is used to rescuing the dinner, when she gets immersed in her writing, keeping her coffee pot warm and making sure the wine is chilled.

With a new home to decorate and a garden to plan, she’s never short of things to do, but writing is always at the top of her list.

Her other hobbies include walking along the coast and spotting the wildlife, reading, researching, cros stitch and trying not to drop stitches as she endeavours to knit.

Being left-handed, and knitting right-handed, that’s not always easy.

She loves hearing from her readers, either via her website, by email or social media.

Giveaway

Enter for the chance to win a $50.00 First for Romance Gift Card!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

Wicked Trouble by Angela Addams

Book 4 in the Wicked Distractions series

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

Genres:

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

Add to Goodreads

Book Description


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

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

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

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

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

Excerpt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ugh.

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

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

“Soda water, huh?”

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

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

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

“Zane,” he said, one eyebrow raised.

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

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

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

“Not yet.” Cammie grinned back.

“Oh…dimples, how very—”

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

Get laid—check!

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

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

“Neither am I.”

Buy Links

Choose Your Store
First For Romance

About the Author

Angela Addams

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

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

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

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

Giveaway

Enter for your chance to win a $50.00 First For Romance Gift Card!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Release Blitz: First You Dream by Aliyah Burke #EnemiestoLovers #Contemporary #eroticromance @totally_bound @firstforromance

First You Dream by Aliyah Burke

General Release Date: 22nd February2022

Word Count: 30,138
Book Length: SHORT NOVEL
Pages: 125

Genres:

CONTEMPORARY
ENEMIES TO LOVERS
EROTIC ROMANCE
MULTICULTURAL

Add to Goodreads

Book Description

 

A rash decision can become the best ever.

Race car driver Cody Gamino has come from Europe to the United States for one thing—to race with the incredible Xin. Their one night together meant more to him than he expected and suddenly, it’s not just about racing together but being together. Forever.

Racer N’Jelle ‘Xin’ Marx turns to a handsome man she met outside a bar, just to forget for a night. Six weeks and two pink lines later, she is questioning the decision she made that night. When he shows up at her job, revealing to her who he truly is, and snatches her position out from under her, she doesn’t have the fight in her any longer. And Cody isn’t one to give up—when he learns of his unborn child, he digs in even more. Will these two, used to life in the fast lane, learn to slow down and see what’s before them? Will they recognize what they have to lose?

Reader advisory: This book contains a brief mention of violence/murder.

Excerpt

“What’ll it be, love?”

The man who asked stared at her as if she were familiar to him and she barely resisted tensing up. She didn’t need to be recognized.

N’Jelle ‘Xin’ Marx craved nothing more than a good hard drink. At least if I can have that I’ll be on my way to forgetting this shitstorm of a day.

“Whiskey. Neat. Leave the bottle.”

The bartender nodded and had her requested items before her in mere moments. Blessedly, he then left her alone.

The first shot went down smooth and potent. Before the burn had even evaporated, she was pouring another, and chasing it down.

Warning prickles popped up along the back of her neck. That awareness came in handy while she drove on the track. Right now? Not so much.

“At least you drink whiskey like a decent human, no froo-froo shit for you.”

The slender woman that parked herself on the stool beside Xin looked not all that different from how she’d been earlier that day. N’Jelle sighed, not bothering to keep it quiet either. The other two were there as well.

She didn’t owe them a damn thing and she was irritated as fuck that they’d tracked her down.

Ignoring all three of them, she remained sitting faced forward and poured more liquid into her glass.

“Does she think we’ll just vanish if she doesn’t talk to us?”

The tallest and roughest of them had spoken this time. Not rough in an ugly way but more of an ‘I can kick your ass and look good doing it’ sort of way.

She’s,” N’Jelle sneered, “sitting right here and doesn’t give a damn what you think I may or may not think. I’ve had enough of you today.”

“Tough shit.” The middle-sized one spoke now. She was the one who actually shared a father with N’Jelle. Xandra was her name. “You’re my sister now and I don’t know what the fuck you were thinking, that you could just roll up at our event, drop that kind of bomb and walk off.”

Turning her gaze to the beauty beside her, Xin snarled. “You what, want me to apologize for not being invited to a family event and getting permission to show up? I don’t want anything from any of you. I had wanted to know why your father couldn’t be bothered with me, but I get it now. He has you and the other two he looks on as daughters—who gives a fuck about the one who was left behind and forgotten.”

Her shitty childhood was shoving at her, pushing for her to lose it and make a scene. Draw some blood.

This wasn’t smart—she had to get moving. Getting off the stool, she dug in her pocket for some bills. She tossed them on the bar top and nodded at the bartender. Then she spun to the door.

All three women stepped in front of her, and she snorted.

“Really? Grew up on the streets, bitches. Don’t push me. Get out of my way or you’re going to lose your weaves.”

Shoving through them, she walked out through the door and stepped into the night. Off in the distance, storm clouds rolled in, and she pinched the bridge of her nose. She requested a ride and kept an eye on the door as she waited. The three women walked out as her ride pulled up.

A leanly muscled man walked up to her from a different direction, his hat pulled down over his eyes.

“Where you off to, beautiful?”

Yeah, he’ll work. “Got any ideas?”

He held the car door for her and she got in, ignoring the calls from her half-sister and cousins. She wasn’t their concern. Hadn’t been before. Wasn’t now.

She needed to forget and this man, dressed in black jeans and a tight black shirt, with scruff on his face, seemed the perfect way to go about it.

Buy Links

Choose Your Store
First For Romance

About the Author

Aliyah Burke

USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR

Aliyah Burke is an avid reader and is never far from pen and paper (or the computer). She is happily married to a career military man. They are owned by six Borzoi. She spends her days at the day job, writing, and working with her dogs. She loves to hear from her readers and can be reached here. She can also be found on Facebook or Twitter: @AliyahBurke96. And Pinterest.

If you would like to be kept abreast of what’s going on in the world of Aliyah, you can sign up to her newsletter here.

Giveaway

Enter for the chance to win a $50.00 First for Romance Gift Card! Competition hosted by Totally Entwined Group.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Release Blitz: Six Weeks by Nan Comargue #eroticromance #multicultural @totally_bound @firstforromance

Six Weeks by Nan Comargue

Word Count: 37,154
Book Length: SHORT NOVEL
Pages: 158

Genres:

CONTEMPORARY
EROTIC ROMANCE
FAKE RELATIONSHIPS
FRIENDS TO LOVERS
MULTICULTURAL

Add to Goodreads

Book Description


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.

Excerpt

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.

Buy Links

Choose Your Store
First For Romance

About the Author

Nan Comargue

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?

Giveaway

Enter for your chance to win a $50.00 First For Romance Gift Card!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

BOOK REVIEW: Love & Moonshine by Aliyah Burke #eroticromance #multicultural @totally_bound @firstforromance

Love & Moonshine by Aliyah Burke

Book 2 in the Family Forever series

Word Count: 31,215
Book Length: SHORT NOVEL
Pages: 131

Genres:

CONTEMPORARY
EROTIC ROMANCE
FRIENDS TO LOVERS
MEN IN UNIFORM
MULTICULTURAL

Add to Goodreads

Book Description

Going home can be the best medicine.

Country boy Colum Boyle has been home to work the family farm for a while now. He’s shocked when he’s sent to pick up his sister’s best friend for a wedding, and he realizes he’s never gotten over her.

Veterinarian Xaya Asher isn’t sure all the mental preparation in the world has her ready to face Colum again. The sparks between them are combustible and soon the flames erupt.

Do these two have what it takes to overcome the obstacles before them?

Excerpt

“Line two, Dr. Asher.”

Jogging up the hallway from the back, Xaya waved a hand in acknowledgment to her practice manager as she passed the woman’s room.

The morning had been crazy and she was trying to get to her office for a moment of rest and food. That was the main thing. The half a bagel she’d inhaled at the ass-crack of dawn this morning hadn’t been what she needed to keep up with the expenditure of energy she’d expelled so far today.

“We ordered out—there’s a sandwich on your desk because I know you didn’t bring anything in with you.”

“I love you, Mrs. Connie.” And it was true, she loved her staff.

“Yeah, yeah,” the manager teased back.

With the door closed behind her, she walked to her desk and sat with a groan. The hot roast beef sandwich tempted her and the smells rising from it had her stomach chiming in on its opinion of how this should go. Phone or food first?

She kicked off her shoes once she’d taken her seat, stole two bites just to make her mouth happy, then she picked up the phone.

“Dr. Asher.”

“Xaya? It’s Avery.”

She frowned and shook her head before the smile overtook her. “Girl, what are you doing calling me on this line? I have a cell phone of which I’m fairly certain you have the number.”

“I wanted to give you a heads-up before I start hammering away at you on the cell.”

“I’m putting you on speaker so I can eat.” After doing just that, she took another big bite of her food and moaned in contentment.

“You sure you’re eating food and not getting dick?”

She snorted. “Positive. Now come on, tell me what this is all about. Why do I need a heads-up and what’s it going to cost me?”

“A plane ticket.”

Sucking gravy off her thumb, she scowled. “Everyone okay?”

A deep breath. “Yes. Lani’s getting married.”

“Oh my God!” Xaya clapped her hands. “This is incredible. She found someone we’re all okay with?”

“I miss you, Xaya. I love how you need to make sure you’re going to be okay with him as well, but yes. We do love him. His name is Sanders and no, not as in Colonel.”

She snorted because that was exactly where her mind had ventured. “Okay, so we approve of him, good. Why do I need a heads-up? I would love to come for the wedding. She’s like my own little sister. Where is it? Maui? Baja? Cabo? Paris? Italy? Bahamas?”

“You know Lani. It’s home.”

Her fork clattered to the desk, leaving behind a smear of mashed potatoes.

“Conception?”

Was that her voice that squeaked when she asked that?

“Yes.”

Xaya sighed. The denial built on her tongue. She wasn’t ready to head back to the small town she’d grown up in down south. Conception. School just hadn’t been a blast for her and to return was not something she wanted to do.

“I know,” Avery said quickly. “You didn’t have a lot of fun here, despite us having fun. It wasn’t easy for you but you did it. You survived. Lani wanted me to ask you and I’m willing to cash in any and all chips I have with you to get you here for her wedding. It’s all she wants, so what’s it going to take?”

“Nothing.” As soon as the word left her mouth she knew it was true. She would do anything for Avery, her best friend outside of her cousins, and Lani was also included in that.

“Text me the information and I’ll make the arrangements. You know there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for Lani.” And that was true. She and Avery’s family had been fiercely protective of that particular Boyle sibling. “Still going to cost you, though.”

“What?” she demanded in false outrage. “Are you sure?”

“More and more so with each passing second. And you better make it worth my while.”

“Okay, how about this… I give you one hot—your words not mine—brother of mine, Colum Boyle.”

If she’d had any food in her mouth she would have spit it out. Or choked. Colum had been five years their senior and, good Lord, he’d starred in all of her fantasies. No one in school had been able to compare to him.

“Pretty sure you’re pimping out your brother and I’m not sure he’s going to be okay with that.”

“Doesn’t matter what he thinks. This is about me making sure we’re square.”

Xaya laughed. “You totally mean that, don’t you?”

“Of course.”

“You can’t sell your brother to be my sex slave for the time I’m up there.”

“I never mentioned slavery. More like an escort.”

She dug back into her food, highly amused by the conversation. “How about we discuss payment that doesn’t include you selling off a family member for favors?”

“You’d take him.”

“Not even necessary to discuss this because we’re not using him as money.” Fuck yes, she’d take him. Especially if he’d only improved on what she remembered from the last time she’d seen him, right before he’d gone and joined the Marines.

“Dr. Asher. Hit and run inbound. They’ll be here in ten minutes.”

“Thanks, Melody.” She stole one last bite and took a drink. “Sorry to cut this short, Avery.”

“I know, I heard. I’ll text you the deets. And, Xaya?”

“Yeah?” She stood and readjusted her lab coat before swiping her cell and sticking it in her back pocket.

“Thanks for coming.”

“I meant what I said, Avery. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.” She hung up the phone and ran out of her office.

Buy Links

Choose Your Store
First For Romance

My Review – 5 stars!

I loved this second chance romance!

Colum has only ever wanted one woman. Too bad he can’t man up and tell her. There were times I wanted to smack him for being an idiot, and others he had me swooning.

Xaya doesn’t like chasing someone who’s made it clear they don’t want her. Then Colum gives her mixed signals. She was feisty and strong, and even found the courage to walk away when it seemed like he’d never love her.

There’s a teensy bit of drama, lots of steamy scenes, and a happily ever after that will make you smile. As well as an unexpected surprise that leaves us hanging a bit. But Xaya and Colum’s story wraps up nicely. Can’t wait to see what happens next in the series.

*Disclaimer: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The review above is only my opinion.

About the Author

Aliyah Burke

USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR

Aliyah Burke is an avid reader and is never far from pen and paper (or the computer). She is happily married to a career military man. They are owned by six Borzoi. She spends her days at the day job, writing, and working with her dogs. She loves to hear from her readers and can be reached here. She can also be found on Facebook or Twitter: @AliyahBurke96. And Pinterest.

If you would like to be kept abreast of what’s going on in the world of Aliyah, you can sign up to her newsletter here.

Giveaway

Enter for the chance to win a $50.00 First for Romance Gift Card! Competition hosted by Totally Entwined Group.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Release Blitz: The Nile Priestess by Catherin Curzon and Eleanor Harkstead #mystery #historicalromance #paranormal @totally_bound @firstfirromance

The Nile Priestess by Catherine Curzon & Eleanor Harkstead

Word Count: 61,298
Book Length: NOVEL
Pages: 237

Genres:

HISTORICAL
MYSTERY
PARANORMAL
ROMANCE
VAMPIRES

Add to Goodreads

Book Description

Amid the shifting sands of Egypt, is an ancient evil stronger than even the most timeless bonds?⁠

In the heat of 1920’s Cairo, Raf and Cecily are looking forward to making their honeymoon one to remember. Instead, they find themselves caught between a British nobleman on a mission to loot Egypt’s ancient tombs and a mysterious local woman who will do whatever it takes to protect the land she loves.⁠

When a foreboding pyramid rises from the sands and the scent of decay fills the air, Raf and Cecily find themselves caught in a terrifying race against time to vanquish a murderous mummy and put right the wrongs of the past. But is evil stronger than even the most timeless bonds?⁠

Excerpt

Cecily leaned over the ship’s railing, shielding her eyes from the hot Mediterranean sun with her hand. They’d travelled across Europe to get here, and now they were almost at their destination, a place Cecily had only ever dreamed of before.

“And tomorrow we’ll see Egypt, just there on the horizon!” she excitedly said to Raf, her husband.

If only I could wish and wish and it’d appear there right away.

“And tomorrow night, we’ll be snuggled in bed in the Rosetta of the Nile, counting the stars above Cairo.” Raf beamed. He put his arm around Cecily’s waist and said, “It’s the perfect honeymoon, Sissy.”

“It feels like a dream, Raf, like it’s not quite real!” Cecily pictured pyramids and deserts, a world away from their home in Yorkshire or the places in Europe they had journeyed through. “We’ll go everywhere by camel, of course, and eat nothing but dates.”

“Just like we do in Yorkshire,” he told her with a grin. Then he pecked a kiss to Cecily’s cheek and asked, “Happy, Mrs de Chastelaine?”

“Oh, so happy I might go pop!” Cecily said excitedly. Then with affection, she added, “But then, I have been ever since I first met you, Raf.”

Not so long ago Cecily would never have dreamed that she’d be married to a man—or dhampir, really—like Raf de Chastelaine, let alone be honeymooning in Egypt, but here she was. Her life had taken an unexpected turn and as she stood here beneath the sun, the botanical scent of Raf’s homemade sun lotion mingling with the heat and sea salt, she’d never been happier.

A breeze rippled the brim of her sunhat, and Cecily turned to see another passenger lean against the railings a few feet away. Miss Mansour was a very glamorous Egyptian lady, who they’d sat with at the captain’s table the night before, along with Miss Mansour’s party of archaeologists. Cecily had been over the moon to sit at such an important table on her first long sea journey, and with a party who were travelling to Egypt to uncover its wonders, too.

But Miss Mansour seemed preoccupied and hadn’t noticed them. Instead, she stared off towards the horizon.

Cecily’s sixth sense, her ability to pick up on others’ emotions, began to twitch.

She’s homesick, Cecily thought, although she realised that was obvious.

“Raf,” Cecily whispered, “let’s say good afternoon.”

Raf glanced towards the woman, then gave a nod. “Yeah, let’s say how do,” he decided.

Cecily moved along the salt-covered railing. “Good afternoon, Miss Mansour!” She smiled. “You must be very glad to be so close to home again.”

Miss Mansour removed her sunglasses and smiled back, but there was something sad in her expression. “Oh, of course, if one has a happy home, then one is glad to return. I am thinking of all the work I must do when we arrive. Lord Bath has such great plans for his dig. I think we might uncover many wonderful things.”

“It must be terribly exciting!” Cecily said. “All those treasures that haven’t seen the light of day for years and years and years, and you brush away the sand, and there in your hand there’s a little golden Anubis!”

“Lord Carnarvon hasn’t put him off?” Raf asked. “If you believe the papers, pyramid-diving is a bad business. I don’t know… I feel like perhaps English lords should leave Egyptian treasures in Egypt.”

A flicker of amusement crossed Miss Mansour’s face. She maybe didn’t hear that sentiment often enough. But Raf’s Romanian accent no doubt told her that he had no patience with the meddling of the English. “It is strange to me to think of my ancestors lying in museums across the world. I cannot think it was what they expected when they died—that one day their remains would travel the world, to be stared at.”

“I heard that Lord Bath reckons he’s found a tomb that nobody believed existed at all,” Raf replied. “But legends sometimes turn out to be true, don’t they?”

And Raf would know all about that, wouldn’t he? Not many advertisements for family businesses that spanned the generations read, ‘Ghosts need laying? Rates negotiable on application.’ Raf didn’t work alone anymore though—Cecily was part of the family business, too.

But what fates had Raf’s ancestors faced? His father might be human, but his late mother certainly hadn’t been. After all, it wasn’t many newlyweds who spent Christmas at a castle perched atop a precipice on the edge of the Carpathian Mountains. Cecily would never have guessed that vampires could be such generous and attentive hosts.

“The tomb of Menkare II,” Miss Mansour replied, with a note of distaste. “He is sure that he has discovered it, even though the sands covered it from human sight longer ago than you can imagine. A pharaoh who has almost been entirely forgotten, but the legend of his missing tomb has persisted down the centuries. And now Lord Bath thinks he’s found it.”

Cecily shivered with delight at the thought. “Do you think we might come along to the dig and have a look? We won’t touch anything. We’ll be on our best behaviour. Won’t we, Raf?”

“I don’t want to touch anything that’s been inside a forgotten tomb.” Raf chuckled. “I’ve got an allergy to curses. I’d love to have a nose at the site, though…history’s a bit of a hobby of mine. Along with gardening. And tinkering. I love tinkering.”

Miss Mansour chuckled. Then she looked Raf and Cecily slowly up and down, as if she was assessing them. Cecily did her best to smile under her scrutiny. It felt as if Miss Mansour wasn’t just looking at them, but into them. Although Cecily told herself she couldn’t be. Then Miss Mansour nodded.

“Yes, why don’t you come along? I believe I can trust you.” Miss Mansour pointed to the jumble of necklaces and amulets around Raf’s neck. “You’re wearing a scarab, I see. And the Eye of Horus.”

Raf nodded. “It’s not my first time in Egypt,” he admitted, almost bashfully. “And I like to pack on the protection. Whether it’s from the sun, or…whatever else is floating about.”

“You are very sensible to do so,” Miss Mansour said. “Lord Bath scoffs at such ideas, of course. And I am told sometimes that I am too superstitious, but you never can be too careful. Especially not when you’re robbing graves, even ancient ones.” She paused for a moment, before adding, almost to herself, “Especially ancient ones.”

“We’re very careful about such things,” Cecily said, knowing she couldn’t go into detail with someone they’d not long met. “We always treat the dead with respect.”

“They’re people too,” Raf pointed out, straight-faced. “Just like us.”

“Oh, they are…” Miss Mansour glanced away for a moment, towards the southern horizon. Cecily sensed her homesickness again, a feeling of loss and loneliness. Then Miss Mansour turned back to face them. “You see, I knew I could trust you. There are not many people on this earth who share that sentiment, Mr de Chastelaine.”

Raf smiled gently and admitted, “It’s just something life’s taught us.” And he glanced towards Cecily, his eyes filled with love.

“Miss Mansour!” It was Lord Bath’s braying voice, and it was coming closer from inside the ship. “I say, Miss Mansour, where are you hiding?”

Miss Mansour sighed. “I apologise. I must speak to Lord Bath.” She raised her voice and replied, “I am out here on the deck, Lord Bath, taking the sea air.”

“Dreaming of the old homeland, eh!” Lord Bath stepped out onto the deck. He put his hands on his hips and drew in a deep breath of sea air. “Good Lord, it’s hotter than ever today!”

He was dressed in a linen suit, as most of the European men on the ship were. But Lord Bath’s looked particularly expensive, cut to fit just right. His square jaw jutted out as he took the air, as though he was the master of all he surveyed. And the truth was, men like him were.

Not women like Cecily or Miss Mansour, not men like Raf. But wealthy English aristocrats in Jermyn Street linen suits ruled the world.

“This is not hot!” Miss Mansour chuckled. “You have the sea breeze here. But out in the desert, it doesn’t matter how hot it gets, you hope the wind won’t start up or a sandstorm might follow. But I will be glad to see my home again, yes. Are you not pleased to see yours when you return to England?”

“One has several, and one is always happy to see them. But the tomb of Menkare II is my life’s work. I’ll happily take a long-lost legendary treasure horde over even the nicest family pile in Bath.” Bath guffawed. He lifted his Panama hat to Raf and Cecily. “Good afternoon, Mr and Mrs de Chastelaine. Egypt awaits, what!”

“Oh, it does!” Cecily replied. “You must be so excited about the dig. I know I am, and I’m not even digging anything. But then I’ve never been to Egypt before, and you’re all experts on it. Miss Mansour especially.”

Miss Mansour smiled wistfully. “Egypt and her myths and legends have been my life’s work.”

But it wouldn’t be Miss Mansour’s name connected with the find. Rather, the name of a man born in a country far away, in a land without a single desert to its name.

“I must confess this was a last throw of the dice,” Bath admitted. “Seven failed digs over the years. But our Miss Mansour isn’t only a dashed pretty face. She’s got a very clever little brain in that head of hers!”

Little brain? Cecily had once been married to a man who spoke like that about women. She bristled on Miss Mansour’s behalf.

“How kind of you to say so,” Miss Mansour replied, acknowledging his backhanded compliment with a nod. “I have worked very hard—studied very hard—to acquire the knowledge I now have of my country’s ancient past.”

“And we’re all terribly grateful,” Bath assured her. “Miss Mansour was able to interpret the last clues to the location of the tomb. When the treasures of Menkare II are exhibited in London, I’m sure this young lady’s beauty will dazzle almost as much as the pharaoh’s gold.”

Young lady’s beauty?

Cecily bristled anew. She could sense that Miss Mansour didn’t appreciate the way Lord Bath spoke about her either, but she didn’t say anything.

“And everyone will want to talk to her to find out how she worked out the last clues,” Cecily said.

Miss Mansour gave Cecily a smile, as if telling her that she appreciated her support. “I would be more than happy to.”

Lord Bath met that with a bark of uproarious laughter. He clapped his hands together and exclaimed, “Quite so, Mrs de Chastelaine, quite so!” He wiped his eyes on a pristine white handkerchief. “And when one dines at the Ritz, one lauds the waitress for the chef’s splendid work, eh?”

“But without Miss Mansour, you wouldn’t have found the tomb,” Raf pointed out, frowning. “Isn’t that right?”

“And without my money to hire her, Miss Mansour wouldn’t have been part of the party at all.” Lord Bath’s smile had become rather tight. Cecily could tell that he didn’t take kindly to such ideas. “And she certainly wouldn’t have had access to the tablets and very rare papyri that held the secrets of Menkare II’s tomb. Believe me when I say that such treasures are highly prized and priced accordingly. Far beyond the reach of the Miss Mansours of the world.”

Miss Mansour raised an eyebrow before putting her sunglasses back on. A chill breeze rose from the sea. “That is because the tablets and papyri I needed to study are held in a private collection in England.”

“Guilty as charged.” Bath chuckled. “And I may yet have one surprise left up my sleeve, madam. A little showmanship, if you will.”

“Is that so?” Miss Mansour sounded like someone who was not easily surprised. She tapped her fingers against the ship’s railing, her rings clanging on the metal. “I shall look forward to it.”

“Well, you’ll excuse me. I must dress for dinner.” Bath gave a polite nod of farewell. “Miss Mansour, might I escort you to your state—cabin?”

No stateroom for the hired help then, no matter how valuable their knowledge.

“No, thank you, Lord Bath. I believe I can just about remember the way there. Good evening.” And with that, Miss Mansour inclined her head, then turned and glided away along the deck.

Cecily glanced at Lord Bath, wondering if he had taken offence. But how else could Miss Mansour have reacted without any further dents to her dignity?

“She’s homesick,” Cecily told Lord Bath by way of explanation.

“Ah, England’s green and pleasant land. We all miss her, of course,” Bath replied, apparently untroubled by her departure. And somehow unaware that perhaps Miss Mansour, his Egyptian associate, might not consider England home, no matter how green or pleasant.

“Egypt,” Raf said bluntly.

“Yes, she misses Egypt,” Cecily prompted Lord Bath. “I think maybe she’s glad not to be in England.”

“Well, I certainly won’t be asking her to come back to England if she prefers to remain in Egypt,” the Earl of Bath replied with a magnanimous smile. “I shan’t be requiring her expertise once the tomb is open. Miss Mansour can go wherever she might wish.”

Raf frowned and asked, “You won’t give her the credit for her work, then?” He added innocently, “I thought you said you couldn’t have done it without her.”

“She’s terribly clever,” Cecily added. “Just think of the number of languages she understands, modern and ancient ones. And she knows a terribly vast amount of things about the ancient world as well!”

“And dashed pretty too,” the Earl of Bath replied. “Well, I shall take my leave. Good afternoon to you both!”

“We must go and dress for dinner. Good afternoon,” Cecily responded, the words sticking in her throat. The earl gave another nod and retreated back towards the ship.

“Cheerio,” Raf called, but Cecily knew that his bonhomie was an effort. He didn’t like Lord Bath any more than she did. If the nobleman realised, of course, he didn’t care. Instead he disappeared into the ship, whistling a cheery tune as he went.

Cecily waited until he had gone, then she whispered to Raf, “What a dreadful man, robbing Miss Mansour of her discovery. I really don’t like him at all, Raf. But then, maybe I’ve known one too many men like him in my life.”

Raf nodded. He put his arm around Cecily’s shoulders and whispered, “Not my sort of bloke either. Do you want to head in and get ready to eat?” Raf kissed her cheek. “Do I have to wear shoes to dinner?”

“Oh, yes, let’s go back to the cabin.” Cecily chuckled. “Shoes? Well, if you don’t wear shoes, we might not be invited to the captain’s table tonight. But if the delightful Lord Bath’s sitting there again, maybe that’s a good thing.”

“I’ll put shoes on,” Raf assured her. Then he added with a wink, “But I’ll slip them off when I’m sitting down,”

Raf really didn’t like shoes. He was happiest barefoot, wandering through the garden at home. Cecily smiled at him. “I’d expect nothing less, darling! Right, let’s get ready for dinner.”

Arm in arm, they strolled along the deck towards their cabin.

Buy Links

Choose Your Store
First For Romance

About the Authors

Eleanor Harkstead

Eleanor Harkstead likes to dash about in nineteenth-century costume, in bonnet or cravat as the mood takes her. She can occasionally be found wandering old graveyards. Eleanor is very fond of chocolate, wine, tweed waistcoats and nice pens. Her large collection of vintage hats would rival Hedda Hopper’s.

Originally from the south-east of England, Eleanor now lives somewhere in the Midlands with a large ginger cat who resembles a Viking.

You can follow Eleanor on Facebook and Twitter

Catherine Curzon

Catherine Curzon is a royal historian who writes on all matters of 18th century. Her work has been featured on many platforms and Catherine has also spoken at various venues including the Royal Pavilion, Brighton, and Dr Johnson’s House.

Catherine holds a Master’s degree in Film and when not dodging the furies of the guillotine, writes fiction set deep in the underbelly of Georgian London.

She lives in Yorkshire atop a ludicrously steep hill.

You can follow Catherine on Facebook and Twitter and take a look at her Website.

Giveaway

Enter for the chance to win a $50.00 First for Romance Gift Card! Competition hosted by Totally Entwined Group.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Release Blitz: No Easy Catch by Jaqueline Snowe #enemiestolovers #eroticromance #sports @firstforromance @totally_bound

No Easy Catch by Jaqueline Snowe

Book 4 in the Cleat Chasers series

Word Count: 81,189
Book Length: SUPER NOVEL
Pages: 308

Genres:

CONTEMPORARY
ENEMIES TO LOVERS
EROTIC ROMANCE
SPORTS

Add to Goodreads

Book Description

A jock and a party girl teaming up—makes total sense, right? Actually, maybe…

Ambar Henderson is a senior communications major who has no idea what she wants to do in life. She spends most of her time working on her blog after gaining a lot of readers with a story she wrote junior year and…never followed up on. The last thing she expects is an angry jock accusing her of involvement in a scam that could shake the college to its foundations.

Jeff Maddow should be focused on his senior season of baseball and not the suspicious activity happening on the team. It’s his time to shine and get drafted, but after seeing incriminating evidence, he can’t not investigate. And his first lead is the campus blogger…who’s related to a name in the document he saw.

Ambar’s been coasting, writing about campus fashion and hook-ups rather than politics and economics, but when Jeff shows up at her place spouting wild accusations, she agrees to help him just to prove the stubborn athlete wrong.

Long nights, impassioned arguments, close quarters…both Jeff and Ambar find opposites more than attract when things heat up.

Publisher’s note: This book was previously released by Finch Books.

Excerpt

Convincing the hostess to let me into the second semester sports fundraiser was easier than it should’ve been. With one little promise of featuring her on my blog and bam, the young girl ushered me into the ballroom where the school’s biggest and best athletes mingled with coaches, alumni and the press.

Ah, the things people do for attention.

I tapped my pen against my lip while I took in the surroundings. It wasn’t black tie, but it was fancier than a casual get-together and I sent a prayer of thanks to my roommate who’d convinced me to wear a sleek black dress. It was a little tight and I kept running my hand down to the side to make sure my love-handles weren’t bulging out. My coordination was abysmal and I tripped over my own two feet sometimes, but at least I didn’t stand out—which was the goal.

I needed a new story to boost views on my blog or I would be shit outta luck. No views meant no affiliates, which equaled less money, and with my less-than-stellar first two years at school, I had no internships or job opportunities waiting for me at the end of the semester. The real world was knocking with graduation looming and I hadn’t a clue what I wanted to or could actually do.

But, I did have a clue about what the student body loved to gossip about more than any other topic—the latest on the hot jocks. Girls, guys, scholarships and walk-ons. Readers loved hearing about the latest flings or scandals and this fundraiser was hot-jock central.

“Ambar Henderson?” A familiar voice caught my attention and I glanced at my left to see Peyton Gentry smiling at me. “What are you here for? Sneak in for the free booze?”

“Ha ha.” I plastered on a fake smile despite the flash of hurt. Peyton and I had become friends freshman year—right in the smack of my party days—and he always brought it up no matter how much I had changed since then. “I’m here for a story, not the booze.”

“Right.” He smirked and lowered his voice. “Is it a juicy one?” He slung an arm over my shoulder in a quick hug and, while I didn’t dislike Peyton, I was glad when he removed his arm. “Heard there’s something weird going on with the volleyball team with one of their new freshmen.”

“Yeah?” I waited for him to respond, but his attention drifted elsewhere and he gave me a weak wave before heading off. “Great to see you too, Peyton,” I mumbled to myself. He was an average player on the soccer team but always managed to make himself seem bigger, better, more handsome. I snorted to myself at the headlines I would love to write someday.

Athletes and their egos—size does really matter

The bigger and not better—egos exposed

I took a deep breath, gathered as much courage as I could and walked about the event searching for anything that could be of interest. There were a couple of girls I recognized from the volleyball team, but they seemed normal, laid-back even. Each table had a large tented sign with the sport listed and it amazed me to see how much attention was given to athletes at our Division I school. Were there events like this for scholars? For those who made the Dean’s List year after year? Doubtful.

Schools spend money on sports, not smarts

Yeah, that headline wouldn’t sell shit. I derailed those thoughts and tried to ignore the tinge of jealousy weaving its way through my body. All these athletes had futures after college. They had tutors, scholarships, teams that supported them and, as someone who came from the opposite end of the spectrum, it was easy to envy them.

A loud cackle exploded near the front where the baseball players sat talking to what I assumed to be the coaches. They wore polos with the school logo, were significantly older than them and had the whole coaching vibe with the hard face and knowing eyes. Zade Willows, Tanner Johnson and Aaron Hill all wore suits and smiles and a part of my stomach fluttered. They were so handsome and such decent human beings I wished I could’ve written a million stories on them. Their faces alone would get readers. But I’d already done a story on Aaron and his girlfriend, so that well was dry. Plus, they were my friends and I refused to cross that boundary.

Moving on to another sport, I weaved through tables, trying to listen to conversations for something to spark motivation. Fifteen minutes passed without any luck and the familiar sensation of failure washed over me. How can I pass my senior classes when I can’t even write a stupid blog post without getting writer’s block?

God, I wish I could drink.

It wouldn’t hurt anyone if I snuck one bottled water and I blended in with the crowd as I approached the refreshment table. That was the good thing about being average-looking. No one really noticed me like they did my beautiful and tall roommates. I undid the cap and took a huge gulp when I felt someone staring at me.

Water spilled down my mouth and onto my dress when I found cold, unamused gray eyes narrowing at me. Jeff Maddow. He defined my perfect male specimen with his honey-brown hair styled just enough to be cool, his massive broad shoulders that went well with his defined pecs—perfectly showcased in the dark-gray dress shirt plastered across his chest. Good lord.

Shit, did he say something?

Did I?

His light gray eyes were framed by perfectly dark eyelashes and, God damn, those cheekbones were enough to make me forget my own name. He blinked and tilted his head to the side with impatience as he approached me. “Ambar Henderson, how the hell did you get into this event? You are neither an athlete nor a sponsor.”

“I have my ways.” I jutted out my chin and ignored the sweat pooling down my back.

“Did you sneak in? No, wait, let me guess. You bribed someone.” He smiled like it was a joke, but his tone made it clear he was not happy. “I should call security.”

“Really, Jeff? Come on.” I hated how my fingers shook when I ran them through my hair, trying to act nonchalant. “I didn’t bribe anyone.”

“I wouldn’t put it past you.” He brought up a glass of champagne to his mouth and held my gaze as he took a sip. It was annoying to be attracted to someone who thought so little of me, but, alas, that was life.

“What do you care if I’m here? I’m not bothering you or anyone for that matter.”

“False.” He finished the glass and took a step closer to me. For one stupid second, I wondered what it would be like to feel his full lips against mine, but the look on his face sobered that thought. “You are a known campus blogger who finds out information about people to get views. You’re no better than a tabloid magazine for a college. Athletes have enough to worry about with how hard we have to work. They should feel safe here, celebrating and networking, not worrying about being featured on a girl’s pathetic blog to get attention.”

“You know that’s not what I do, Jeff,” I defended myself but my voice lost its gusto. “I’m here for ideas…more like motivation. Nothing more.”

“Right.” He shook his head and tensed his jaw as he scanned the room. “Motivation to find out who’s sleeping with who? Who has a better batting average when they’re in a relationship versus being single?”

I gritted my teeth and willed my skin to not turn red. My cheeks burned when I attempted to defend my reasoning for writing those blogs. “It was for entertainment, Jeff. Plus, the stats didn’t lie.”

He gave me a look like many of my professors had. Disappointment. “Do you ever think about writing something credible or for a good cause?”

“The story about Hilly and Greta was—”

“Fine, sure.” He waved a hand in dismissal and gave me a look that made me feel even smaller than my just-over-five-feet frame. “But you could actually spend time writing stories that matter. Not dumbass pieces that exploit athletes and encourage cleat chasers to come after us.” He pressed his lips together and let out an aggravated sigh. “Stay away from my team, Ambar.”

Then he stalked away to the front of the room, his stiff shoulders telling me everything I needed to know. He wasn’t a fan of what I did or who I was. It wasn’t news, but his words hit one of my deepest insecurities. What am I even doing with my blog? My life?

God damn it. Find a story! I finished the water and tossed the bottle into a trash can when a familiar deep, masculine laugh caught my attention. That’s my Uncle Martin. My mood lifted instantly and I headed toward him. He was dressed in a three-piece suit and had his hand on a shoulder of a middle-aged man I didn’t recognize. He finished telling a joke—a specialty of my favorite family member—before he noticed me and ushered me over. “Ambar Henderson.”

“Martin Rhett,” I replied, mirroring his hugging stance and smiling into his chest when he wrapped me in a bear hug like he had since I was a child. “I don’t even know why you’re here, but I’m so glad.”

“Business partners in the community. We love supporting athletes!” He kept his arm around me and introduced me to the gentlemen around us. “This is my favorite niece, fellas. She’s a senior this year and is a hell of a writer.”

Various hellos and greetings echoed around me and I relished my uncle’s words. A hell of a writer. He never made me feel stupid or unremarkable. He’d encouraged me my entire life and seeing him at the event gave me the necessary boost of confidence.

“Nice to meet you all,” I said, looking all five of them in the eye and shaking their hands. There was a brief moment where I faced the direction of the baseball table and met Jeff’s gaze, but I forced myself to not stare or think about why he was watching me. “Anyone have a good story for me? I’m looking for a topic on my senior project and could use some ideas.”

“Ah, my girl is always working.” Uncle Martin laughed and led me away from the group with a smile that had taken years to practice. Once we were out of earshot, he changed his expression. “How did you get into the event, Ambar? I thought this was for athletes only.”

“See, the thing is… I was on my way out.” I gave him a cheesy smile. “Lunch next time you’re in town?”

“Of course.” He pulled me into another hug. “Stay out of trouble, okay? You have four more months of college and I don’t want anything more to happen. You know?”

Like my little drug and drinking binge freshman year?

Or my academic probation?

“I know, I know.” I frowned and felt every ounce of shame in my bones. “I’ll head out. I really did come for ideas. Nothing more.”

“I believe you. Now go through the side door. I’ll cover for you.” He indicated the large black double-doors and winked. “While I can’t condone you sneaking into an event, it does bring me joy to know you do have a little Rhett in your blood.”

“See you later, Uncle.” I smiled and snuck one more glance around the ballroom before leaving. It didn’t mean anything when Jeff continued to stare at me with an unreadable expression on his face. If anything, he should’ve been happy I was leaving his precious party. Ugh.

New headline.

Jeff Maddow should pull the stick out of his own ass to get a better batting average.

Buy Links

Choose Your Store
First For Romance

About the Author

Jaqueline Snowe

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.

You can take a look at Jaqueline’s Website and Blog and you can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Giveaway

Enter for your chance to win a $50.00 First For Romance Gift Card!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Release Blitz: Joy to Jane by Katherine E. Hunt #eroticromance #multiplepartners #contemporaryromance @totally_bound @firstforromance

Joy To Jane by Katherine E. Hunt

Book 4 in the Mended Hearts series

Word Count: 13,236
Book Length: SHORT STORY
Pages: 67

Genres:

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

Add to Goodreads

Book Description

It’s not all stockings and stuffing when Jane’s three lovers turn up at her door on Christmas Eve.

Christmas is a stressful time for anybody, but this year it’s turning out to be especially difficult for Jane Carter.

Her son, Greg, has brought home a girlfriend for the very first time, one of her boyfriends, Rupert, has decided to go full PDA on her and her other two boyfriends are feeling completely left out. Add a terrible snowstorm, a power cut and a few secrets and lies into the mix and she’s got a recipe for disaster.

Can Jane survive Christmas without her son finding out about her polyamorous love life? Can she cope with three boyfriends all under one roof, especially when it seems that those relationships are hanging on by a single thread? Maybe all she really needs is the ghost from Christmas past to remind her that communication is the key to happiness.

Excerpt

Christmas Eve eve morning

A can of condensed chicken soup careened off the shelf and landed on Joe’s foot. “Fucking holy hell!”

“Shhhh… Jeez, Joe, suck it up.” The whole idea of doing it in the pantry was to be discreet.

“You’re lucky I love you,” he whispered as he hiked my skirt above my waist and sank his hand between my legs. “Now show me some of that love.”

He traced a line with his lips from behind my ear down to the top of my spine. There was something so deliciously naughty about hiding away, secretly making love in a room no bigger than four-foot square.

I clutched onto the herbs and spices shelf as he entered me from behind, crouching down and almost lifting me off my feet as he thrust into me.

“Fuck.”

He slid his hand gently over my mouth, reminding me to be silent. I sank my teeth into it, enough to make him gasp.

We’d promised to be good. He’d come over, be ‘the gardener’, sneak a quick kiss here or there when we wanted but there would be no sex for two weeks. Greg, my son, was home for Christmas and had brought a girl with him for the very first time. This was not the moment to suddenly announce my polyamorous lifestyle to the family. I mean ‘pass the potatoes, and oh, by the way, I’m dating three men’ wasn’t exactly what you’d call polite Christmas dinner conversation.

Unfortunately, Joe was horny, and I was weak. A touch on the arm had turned into a cuddle on a chair and before we knew it, he was pounding me among the pasta and other dry goods.

Sex with Joe was rampant, wild. He had one hand clamped firmly over my mouth and the other rubbing furiously at my clit, and I was begging him to make me come. He sped up the rhythm, knocking over a packet of rice and sending it cascading over us as we both came explosively and yet silently, rocking that little room like a miniature earthquake.

I sank down from my tiptoes—Joe was a tall man—and caught my breath. I might have to do a little last-minute shopping. The contents of the cupboard were splayed out at my feet, but it had been worth it.

“Shit, Jane, I needed that.”

“Right? I thought we could wait, but it’s like when you go on a diet. The minute you can’t eat sugar, all you can think about is frosted donuts.”

He pulled out his dick and swirled his finger around my core one last time. “Next time, I get to eat the frosted donut, right?”

“Not if we do it in here again, you don’t. I’m too old to try to balance four shelves up among the canned beans and peanut butter.” I opened the door and peeked outside. It was nine a.m. and Greg would be up any minute. We were cutting it fine.

“Is it all clear?”

“Yes.” I stepped out, pulling my skirt down to a presentable level. I’d have to start wearing yoga pants and old T-shirts around Joe. The man was a sucker for a bit of thigh, and I couldn’t risk getting carried away again.

“Here.” I grabbed a broom as I picked rice out of my hair. “Make yourself useful while I make coffee.” He held up the knotted, used condom, waved it at me, and I took it out of his hand.

Right on cue, Greg stepped into the kitchen. “Hey, Mom.”

“Morning, sweetie.” I shoved the condom down my bra as Greg wiped the sleep out of his eyes. “This is Joe, our gardener.”

“Why is he sweeping the pantry?”

Fuck. “Umm…”

“Raccoons,” said Joe. “They got in last night and went rampant.”

“Yes, raccoons,” I repeated. “Out of control.” Personal note, thank Joe later.

He finished sweeping and tidying then headed outside without even a kiss goodbye. My heart sank a little. It didn’t seem right to treat him like that, but he understood. Greg was still young, he wasn’t over his father’s death yet and he was in his final year of college. It wouldn’t be fair to spring this on him, too.

“So what have you and Laura got planned for today? There’s a Christmas market on in town. We could all go drink some mulled wine and pick up some treats for Christmas Eve.”

“If you like. I was planning to take her out for lunch then go for a walk along the beach this afternoon. Would you like to come too? Maybe you could bring Rupert.”

Rupert was my official boyfriend in my son’s eyes. Greg had fixed us up and was proud to have found the new man in my life. “No thank you, sweetie. Rupert’s coming over tomorrow for dinner. He’s been busy marking papers and wanted to get it all finished before we celebrated Christmas together.”

It would have been oh-so-lovely to have all my lovers at the Christmas table with us. It felt rude to only invite the one. They’d all been great about it, but it had broken my heart a little. At least I could invite Paul over this afternoon if he were free. I didn’t normally fit in two boyfriends in one day, but needs must, and right now I needed the sweet taste of Paul’s lips on mine.

Buy Links

Choose Your Store
First For Romance

About the Author

Katherine E Hunt

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

You can find out more about Katherine on her website.

Giveaway

Enter for the chance to win a $50.00 First for Romance Gift Card! Competition hosted by Totally Entwined Group.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Release Blitz: Promising Love by Sara Ohlin #eroticromance #contemporary @firstforromance @totally_bound

Promising Love by Sara Ohlin

Book 3 in the Rescue Me series

Word Count: 73,343
Book Length: SUPER NOVEL
Pages: 279

Genres:

CONTEMPORARY
EROTIC ROMANCE

Add to Goodreads

Book Description

When a glamorous spa owner seduces the grumpy neighborhood bartender, passion smolders…

Ruby Naylor, confident, successful proprietor of Spa La La, has been crushing on Lachlan MacGregory for ages and finally throws herself at the grumpy bartender as he’s helping her tipsy butt home to her apartment above his pub.

Ruby is the only woman Lachlan has ever loved—from afar. When she makes a pass, he finally admits he’s wanted her for a long time. He leaves her that night with three promises—a kiss, a special connection between them and an epic tomorrow.

Unfortunately, when tomorrow arrives and Lachlan is smacked with the knowledge that she’s already in a relationship with two men, he feels he has nothing to offer her.

His day gets worse when his addict father is on his doorstep again, demanding money. The thought that he could end up sick and miserable like his father eats at Lachlan, making him focus on what has never let him down, his successful pub in the burgeoning Corvallis neighborhood.

Learning that Ruby is not taken, Lachlan finally goes all out to win her back. With his heartfelt apology, it’s easy for Ruby to forgive him—she believes in joy, in romance, in happy ever after. What she never expected was how vulnerable Lachlan could make her feel.

Can their love withstand life-shattering events to lead them into a beautiful future?

Reader advisory: This book contains mention of a parent suffering from addiction and some violence.

Excerpt

“Lachlan MacGregory, are you ever going to kiss me?” Ruby whispered. Leaving the key in the lock, she turned so they fit flush together, front to front. What’s a successful, sexy woman supposed to do anyway?

She’d been waiting for an eternity, it seemed, for Lachlan MacGregory to make a move, or accept her move. Okay, so it had only been a year and a half, but everyone knew time could be its own demon or goddess when love was concerned. Either way there was magic involved when sashaying around her feelings for Lachlan. It definitely felt more demon than goddess-inspired to her. Time she’d spent watching him casually date other women, while she herself had occasionally casually dated other men. They’d circled each other. And yet the forces had never aligned in their favor. Either that or neither one of them had been brave enough to step up.

Until now. Now she was going to ask for what she’d dreamed of. “I want you to kiss me.”

Aside from the deep burn in his gorgeous eyes, Lachlan’s face was stone and his entire body was rock-hard. Large and sexy, but most definitely a fortress at the moment. Or most moments, she’d found, during all the months she’d been drooling over him. She almost spun away from the freeze.

Maybe he’s not interested? It didn’t seem so, standing this close to him—even though he held himself like granite, his eyes gave him away. Using that courage, she searched into those golden-brown depths of his. Swirling pools of secrets or desire, or maybe both. They had a mind of their own and she’d caught him many a time sneaking glances her way. There were a few occasions when she’d almost made him laugh, and she’d taken them as wins. Stoic statue of a man. Does he even know how to laugh?

She hadn’t actually ever gotten a laugh from him, but she had gotten a different, more subtle and—in her mind—no less cute reaction. His mouth sometimes quirked up on one side while his left eyebrow did this little curve as if to say, “Give it your best, woman. You can’t break me. But it’s damn amusing to watch.” The man tried so hard not to show emotion, not to ask her out, not to kiss her. So, right this perfect minute when he was walking her upstairs to her apartment above his pub, when neither one of them was dating someone else, when the tango had put them smack-dab together, she’d decided to take matters into her own hands, and words and mouth. That’s what a confident woman does.

Or was it the hot-and-bothered woman in her? Because his body was so supremely close to hers, whisking all rational thought away from her. She’d tried flirting with him, and she’d tried ignoring him. It was time to ask for what she wanted, and hope, hope he felt the same. She leaned against him. He was a wall propping her up by her apartment door. She couldn’t take it one second longer. Pressing closer, she reached up and placed her hands on his shoulders. His hands immediately went to her waist. Oh, the warmth.

“You’re drunk,” Lachlan said. He looked down at his hands on her almost as if he couldn’t believe how they’d gotten there. One twitched and he gripped her, steadying her or himself—she wasn’t sure. But he didn’t pull away. When he began to move his thumb on her waist, searching little circles, exploring the tiniest bit of her, he watched, lost in her. Goody, goody, goody!

Lachlan’s fingers seared a brand on Ruby’s skin and almost took her legs out from under her. Nothing casual about our connection at all. She’d known it. And maybe that gave her the power to push her luck.

“Not drunk.” She pouted and got to see that almost-smile with the eyebrow betraying his attempt to remain stoic. Okay, maybe a teeny bit drunk, which did not dull the fact that she desired him.

“The gin and tonics were flowing to your table tonight, Ruby. And you ladies came in tipsy. I know Ellie wasn’t drinking them.”

This time there was no subtle eyebrow-lift, but both eyes—sparkly brown orbs that seemed to have a novel written in them, and boy she longed to read that story—lifted, his tone and his expression reprimanding. His voice was deeper. Perhaps because his eyes were both serious and searching, that reprimand went straight to her core. I wonder if he’d reprimand me in the bedroom?

She smiled, a full-on smile, because she, Ruby Naylor, had no problems showing her emotions, and leaned into his powerful muscles. “No, it wasn’t Ellie, although the ginger seltzer concoctions you made specially for her with the cute umbrella-cherry garnish were a huge hit and calmed her stomach. You thoughtful, thoughtful man.” Ruby gave his shoulders a gentle squeeze. My God, the man even has sexy shoulders, powerful, firm. She’d love to get her hands all over him, massage all his muscles, investigate each and every one.

“Besides, I’m tipsy from talking about love, dear man. I only had a few of your spectacular drinks. Ellie sipped her ginger drink while swooning over her life with Jackson and the new baby coming, and Natalie drinks like a sailor. But I’m not asking you to kiss Ellie or Nat, Lachlan MacGregory. I’m asking you to kiss me. Don’t you like me? It’s hard to tell some days,” Ruby purred. She was not above using all the tactics in her arsenal to seduce him. The man was a vault and she aimed to crash through, so he’d never know what hit him. Watching and waiting on the sidelines had gotten her nowhere, except a lot of great dreams. Now, Ruby sought the reality.

He’d offered to help her drunk butt upstairs, and even though she could have made it to her apartment above his bar perfectly fine, she wasn’t stupid. And whoosh, did it feel good to be so close to him. Finally. She was tipsy. Tipsy on Lachlan contact. It was a real thing, she could say, now that he was touching her.

His one hand clenched and unclenched at her side, then he slid it around to her back bringing them into a nice snug fit. What is happening? Maybe I am dreaming? His other one braced against the door behind her, almost as if he needed to balance himself, to hold on. And, holy smokes, he was looking at her now. Looking was too calm a word. His eyes had woken from their stoic slumber and were piercing and hot. And to have Lachlan MacGregory holding her, finally giving her the full direct force of his gaze? Oh, she could melt into a puddle. It was all too powerful.

“I like you.” His voice was deep and quiet, with a sharpened edge to it.

“I like you, too.” She watched those eyes of his, a page flipped over, or perhaps opened to her. “I’ve liked you for so long.” He blinked. But he didn’t focus on her eyes—he concentrated on her lips. A battle waged in his expression. To stay through the storm or run away to safety…which would he choose?

“Please,” she whispered. Please don’t run.

He tightened his grip on her, his fingers molding her through her jeans. “When I kiss you, I want you to remember it in the morning,” he rasped out. He was standing up taller now, all traces of casual disappeared into the night. He was intent.

Yay! He does want to kiss me! Ruby almost jumped up and down in cheers, but she settled for putting her hand on his cheek, unprepared for the sigh that wove through his body at her touch, how it sang through her nerves, but also gave her joy and strength. “I promise, Lachlan. I’ll remember. Will you?”

“Yes, beautiful, I’ll remember,” Lachlan said. He lifted her gently against the door and ghosted his lips over hers, sending shivers through her as he moved those amazing lips of his over her cheek and down her neck. Ruby’s head fell against the door, while the rest of her body tried so hard to stay molded to his. He stopped right beneath her ear. “I’ll remember how soft your skin is right here.”

Oh, my! It was a good thing that he held her up or she might have blown away from lack of oxygen. The man hadn’t even kissed her yet, and he’d stolen the breath from within her. And she could shoot herself for wearing a coat and her blouse tucked in when she craved the man’s hands all over her bare skin, not just the tiny patch where he’d snaked his fingers underneath the fabric to reach her waist. Although it might cause her to combust. She welcomed that combustion.

“I’ll remember how you smell, that fucking sexy, musky perfume you command.”

Huh. I was wrong, I am drunk. The man has skills. Command? Does he realize he’s going to brand me with his words?

Keeping her close, Lachlan took one hand away to unlock her door and walked her through the opening. Ruby had had no idea such intense concentration could be so fucking sexy. Lachlan’s heady gaze on hers, while walking them to her kitchen island, without a sound, added to the feeling that she was floating. A whimper escaped her mouth and she gripped his arms to hold on. This was not the time to close her eyes—this was her chance, warm in his embrace, to see his beauty up close. A man on a mission. And his mission was her. No distractions allowed. The power of that type of gaze mixed with his words went right to her head and her heart and other parts of her body. All those other parts that wanted his skin, his lips on her.

“The way you feel in my arms, Christ, Ruby, you have no idea.”

I do! I so do. I feel it too.

Now he’d kiss her. Yes, please! Lachlan lifted her onto her counter and, keeping his hands braced on her hips, held himself at the tiniest bit of distance. She had been waiting for forever for this. She’d beg. I wonder what other talents he keeps close to his belt? She reached to pull him closer.

“Ruby.” He’d nearly lost his voice, raw, edgy need feeding out of him with one word. My name. Jesus, he was going to undo her.

“Promise?” he asked. No, he was going to break her heart open with one request. If she was this turned on and whimpering with the touch of his lips soft on her neck, whispering gorgeous words to her, his kiss would probably brand her. Stake your claim, Lachlan. I’m here waiting for you.

She nodded. “I won’t forget. I promise, Lachlan.”

He gave it to her then, not the kiss she was desperate for, but the smile, his true smile. It changed his face from broody stone to brilliant, handsome man one hundred percent zeroed in on her. His eyes caught the fire and a shade lifted from those dark mysteries, like he’d been searching for light and he’d discovered it in her, finally. Holy cow!

And he strode from her apartment with one final announcement. “Goodnight then.”

What? Wait! What the heck is happening? “Goodnight?” She slid down from the counter and tried to anchor her feet on the floor because her legs were wobbly noodles and her heart was trying to beat out of her chest. Lust raced through her blood and she gripped the countertop for support.

He paused in the doorway, his hands on the frame, facing away from her, gathering himself.

No! Don’t gather your wits—come here. Throw your wits out of the window with mine.

And when he faced her, he blew her world into a million pieces of stardust. “I’m going to kiss you all night, kiss you into the morning, make you remember every single caress I place on your skin because I’ve imagined kissing you since the day you filled out the lease and teased me about lacking any sort of smile. When I nearly fell over at your beauty, the shimmer in your gorgeous eyes, that glow you spread out to everyone in your path. You have no idea.” Lachlan shook his head, lost in his thoughts. Or a memory? “I’ve wanted to kiss you since…since you altered my world.”

“Lachlan,” she whispered and took a shaky step toward him. Her body pulled her to his. They were connected now and the path to him was the only one for her. It was the feeling she’d had when she first met him too, and it had only grown stronger over the months. His words validated her romantic heart that existed in a world with so many people who didn’t believe, who walked their gray path and were fine with mediocrity.

He held up his hand to stop her. “Now that I know we’re here in the same space.” He made a circle in the air with his hands. “Now that I get to taste you, there’s no way I’m going to rush it. I’m going to savor every damn second.”

The man knew how to seduce, wielding anticipation like a gift, not a weapon. But she enjoyed rushing too. She loved rushing. Rush me into bed with your kisses now, you wonderful man, you!

“See you tomorrow,” he said. Then the handsome, frustrating-as-hell man smiled and strode out, closing the door behind him.

Lost in the laser hit of that smile for a minute, Ruby swayed on her feet as if she were truly drunk. Then his words filtered through her loopy state, wove themselves into her heart and set her on fire. “Oh, my beautiful goodness!”

Well, she hadn’t gotten a kiss. Any other man, any other spectacular moment and she might be pouting. Instead, her world had been spun in gold. She gently pressed her fingertips to her heart to feel the flip-flops it was doing. Drop-dead gorgeous, kind, sexy Lachlan MacGregory had zapped lightning through her with merely the promise of a kiss. Yet so much more than a kiss—he had noticed her. He did want her. Ruby held tight to the special moment, closed her eyes and cherished the luminous glow bursting in her dreams, in her heart at the promise tomorrow would bring.

Buy Links

Choose Your Store
First For Romance

About the Author

Sara Ohlin

Sara Ohlin has lived all over the United States, but her heart keeps getting pulled back to the Pacific Northwest where it belongs. For years she has been writing creative non-fiction and memoir and feels that writing helps her make sense of this crazy world. She devours books and can often be found shushing her two hilarious kids so that she can finish reading. When she isn’t reading or writing, she’ll most likely be in the kitchen cooking up something scrumptious, a French macaron, shrimp scampi, a fun date-night-in dinner with her sexy husband, or perhaps her next love story.

You can follow Sara on Instagram and Pinterest and check out her website here.

Giveaway

Enter for the chance to win a $50.00 First for Romance Gift Card!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Notice: This competition ends on 30th November 2021 at 12am EST. Competition hosted by Totally Entwined Group.