RELEASE BLITZ: Brewed Hope by Emma Penny #eroticromance #PNR #reverseharem @firstforromance @totally_bound

Brewed Hope by Emma Penny

Book 2 in the Orders to Haunt series

General Release Date: 14th February 2022

Word Count: 43,207
Book Length: SHORT NOVEL
Pages: 167



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Book Description

Four brewery owners. Two ghosts. Unofficial orders to haunt.

Brewery owners Marco, Bryson, Shawn and Ayden have been friends for years, but their business is floundering. In desperation, Marco makes a formal request to Madeline for orders to haunt his friends and repair the business. All he wants is to bring his family together again.

Audrey is Madeline’s wild card. Although she’d previously fired her from The Order, Madeline brings Audrey back in an unofficial capacity. In desperate need of income, Audrey takes a job at the brewery to go undercover and help Marco haunt his friends.

Audrey has a new brew to craft—hope.



I cannot roll my eyes harder. My sister is ridiculously in love, and while it’s adorable, it’s equally annoying. She and Mom are chattering away, and it’s all I can do to ignore them by sitting on the couch and flipping through random television shows.

They squeal about something, and I shift to face Dad and stop. Cool blue eyes stare at me—that perfectly rounded face, full, red-painted lips and dark loose curls hanging below her shoulder. I sit up straight immediately, every hair on my arms and neck standing straight up.

“Madeline,” I say under my breath like it’s a curse.

The room stills, Stephanie and Mom quieting as they hear my voice. I can’t tear my gaze from Madeline. I never thought I would see her again, not after she tossed me on my ass when I failed my training. It had been awful.

Madeline nods at Steph and Mom but turns her focus directly on me. “Got a minute?”

My stomach is in absolute knots. My voice catches in my throat, and I have no idea what to say. I don’t want her here, not after the embarrassment I left in.

“It’s nothing bad,” Madeline adds, as if she can sense my apprehension, which I suppose she can. She knows everything. She knows what happened six months ago, she knows how I stormed out of The Order with fire on my heels and she knows that I am not anyone she wants working orders. She told me as much.

“Audrey?” Mom asks, as if she she’s going to protect me from this big bad witch.

I try to shift a glance to her, but I can’t tear my gaze from the woman standing in front of me. I curl my fingers into a fist, nails biting into the skin of my palm until I have some wits about me. “I’m fine, Mom.”

“You sure?”

“Yeah.” Pushing myself upward to stand, I eye Madeline carefully. “Only place to meet in private is my bedroom.”

I didn’t want to push it and suggest we talk at The Order. That’d be laughable—me walking back into that place as if nothing had happened. Snorting at the thought, I drag my feet forward until I’m inches from her. As is our custom, I grab her wrist and ghost from the living room to my bedroom. Standing inches from her is even more unnerving than when she’s staring directly at me. Never thought that would happen. None of this. Ever.

I shut the door, hoping it’ll give us at least some privacy. Turning around, I wring my hands together before stopping. I can’t show her how weak I am. “What do you want?”

Madeline sighs and shifts to sit on the edge of my mattress. She looks so out of place in my messy room with the unicorn comforter and unicorn stuffies I refuse to get rid of.

“I’m not here to accost you.”

“Could have fooled me.” Why I’m giving her attitude, I have no clue—but it’s probably not going to help my case any. “Again, I ask, what do you want?”

“I’ve some orders I thought you might be interested in.”

“You fired me,” I respond through clenched teeth. “What the hell kind of orders could you have for me?”

Madeline’s lips thin before she pulls them in a half-smile that is no doubt forced. “Would you relax? I’m only here to try to repair this.”

“There’s nothing to repair. It was severed.”

“There are factors at play that you don’t know about. You didn’t fail in your orders as badly as we told you. You were only off by two marks, and if we had the funds to hire another ghost, you would have been allowed to reapply. However, that’s not the case. I’m here with orders to haunt, if you would like them, but they will not be paid by me.”

“So this is me being volun-told to work a job I was fired from?” I raise a skeptical eyebrow at her.

Madeline shakes her head. “No. I would have very much liked to hire you, Audrey. You would be an excellent asset to The Order.”

“You. Fired. Me.” I spell it out slowly because it doesn’t seem like she’s understanding.

“Yes, but if I’d had another choice at the time, I would have made it.”

I narrow my eyes, anger still boiling in my belly. “Why should I work for you—on the side, without pay?”

“Because you are excellent at what you do, which is causing people to think differently about the world around them in unique and creative ways. I always admired your creativity.”

I scoff, walking to plop onto the mattress next to her. “Never seemed like it.”

She waves her hand. “Persona. Please, I mean what I’m saying.”

“What’s the job?”

“Do you know Bams Brewery?”

I nod. I’ve been there a time or two. Decent beer. Nice atmosphere. Asshole manager.

“They need a haunting.”

“All of them?”

“The four owners, specifically. Marco is one of us, so he will assist, but he also needs his own lesson in there, which is where I need your creativity. He has agreed to hire you on, so you will be paid.”

“Hire me for what?”

“Something at the brewery. Something to your skills.”

“I don’t know how to make beer.” I wrinkle my nose.

“You’ll find something. Would you consider it?”

“What’s in it for me, Madeline? Because, honestly, I don’t relish the idea of doing you a favor, which it seems like this is, without knowing why I’m doing it or what I’m doing it for.”

Madeline falls silent. I’m not sure what she’s thinking, but she is contemplating deeply. “The Order is changing, drastically, and it won’t be what your parents remember much longer. I need allies for what it will be when these changes are made.”

“So let me get this right. You fired me, then you want me as your ally?”

She gives a weak smile. “Yes. If you’ll accept.”

“I’ll accept these orders, because, frankly, I need the paycheck, but beyond that? I have no idea. You’re going to have some explaining to do.”

“All in good time. Since you’ve accepted, you’ll need to contact Marco and create a plan. The rest is left up to you two.” Without another word, she’s gone.

Sitting alone in my room, I stare at the wall and shake my head. What the fuck was that? Never in my life have I heard of such a thing, but she knew exactly who to come to. I’ll do anything to get back in the good graces of The Order. I ghost downstairs after changing into a clean pair of jeans and a tight shirt. Mom and Steph look at me curiously. I shrug.

“It was harmless.” I hope I’m right on that.

“What did she want?” Mom asks.

I shake my head. “She didn’t really want anything—at least, she didn’t insist on anything.”

“Madeline doesn’t just show up for nothing,” Steph adds, her eyes widening.

Shrugging, I chug the last of my beer I’d left opened and grin at them. “I’m off.”

In two seconds, I’m standing outside a small apartment I’ve never seen before. At least Madeline had given me that information. Number four-zero-six. Canting my head to the side, I listen to see if he’s home. Unlike Madeline, I’m not an asshole, so I shift into my corporeal form, make a fist and knock on the steel door. Fixing a grin on my lips, I wait to see what greets me.

Marco is insanely handsome. Madeline put me right in his lap, too, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to be putty. His black hair is slicked to the side, combed perfectly and gelled. I just want to stick my hands in it and mess it up. Rubbing my fingers together, I barely resist the idea. His lips are full, which is incredibly sexy on a man. I nearly moan as the thought of pulling his lower lip between my teeth shudders through me.

“Who are you?” he says, his voice wary but also deep.

Fuck, he’s sex on a stick. Madeline is an evil, evil woman for this one. I’m going to get revenge for this. “I’m Audrey.”

“All right.” He raises an eyebrow at me and shifts to block the door. “And who are you exactly?”

“Oh.” I flush, realizing Madeline had left out some very important information for both of us. “Madeline sent me…about the orders to haunt.”

Marco shushes me, grabs me by the wrist and drags me into his apartment. “You can’t be saying that out loud. My neighbors will hear you!”

I squint at him. “Then you need new neighbors.”

“Why didn’t you just ghost in here?”

Putting my hands on my hips, I face him down. “Because I’m not an asshole, and I respect privacy.”

Marco frowns. “What exactly did Madeline tell you?”

“That you’ll pay me.”

Marco’s lips thin. “We will.”

“What will I be doing?”

“Bartending and waitressing.”

“It’s usually one or the other, not both.” He looks cute when he’s frazzled, and I can’t help myself from pushing at him more.

“It’s both.”

“So what’s the pay?”

“Minimum plus tips.”

I whistle my surprise. “No wonder you can’t keep anyone employed.”

Marco pouts. “Who told you that?”

“I’ve been to your brewery before, Marco, and I’ve seen the employees come and go. Now I know why.”

Sighing, he collapses onto his couch. “The main reason is Bryson. He’s going to be the one you have to work through to get hired.”

“Oh, so this isn’t even guaranteed pay? I’m out.” I start to ghost, but he’s quick. He’s on his feet, grabbing my wrist and dragging me back. “What?”

“Don’t go. I…I need this to happen.”

Clenching my jaw, I give him a hard stare. “Why?”

Marco softens, his entire demeanor changing. He looks so broken. My heart shatters for him, as I see his struggle, the pain this is causing. Sliding up against him, I wrap him in a quick hug.

“Fine, I’ll help. Tell me how to get this job.”

We talk for hours, and he goes from confident to nervous every five minutes it seems, though, he does have good insight into those he works with. It’s after midnight when weariness creeps over me, the events of the day and being thrust into orders I’m not sure are actual orders finally weighing me down. But I don’t know how to leave Marco. First and foremost, he seems lonely, which for a guy who started a business with his three college friends shouldn’t be the case.

Reaching out, I brush my fingers against his arm to get his attention. “It’s getting late.”

Marco nods. “Right. I shouldn’t have kept you.”

“No, it was good.” I give him a gentle smile. I’m not lying. I enjoyed spending the time with him, getting to know him and his friends better. This is going to be one of the best orders I have ever worked, and even if this isn’t a real case, I’m going to see it through—not only to get back into Madeline’s good graces but also for the cold hard cash I really need.

He stares into my eyes, and for a second, I think he might kiss me. I wouldn’t be opposed to the idea, but I’ve only known him for a few hours at this point. He’s adorable and handsome, but this is business. If he wants more—or if I do, for that matter—we need to properly talk about it. Leaning in, I press my lips to his cheek to try to ward off any awkwardness.

“I’ll see you tomorrow at the open interviews.”

He grins. “Yes, later today actually.”

I snort lightly. “Today, then.”

Kissing his cheek again, I ghost into my bedroom. I’m thankful to find it blissfully empty and quiet, though I’m sure Mom and Steph are going to hound me with a million more questions as soon as they can find me. I’m not sure what to tell them. Madeline didn’t swear me to secrecy, but if she’s right and The Order is in for dramatic changes, I don’t know if anyone is going to be happy about it.

Stripping naked, I slide under my unicorn blanket and close my eyes, turning the side lamp by my bed off. I need to sleep so I can have my wits about me tomorrow. Bryson is apparently a beast in the form of a handsome man, and Marco warned me I was going to need to be prepared to pass the interview test. Luckily, Marco was going to help me cheat and gave me some clues as to what might happen. Smiling to myself, I turn on my side and close my eyes. I fall into sleep thinking of the handsome man I’d just met.

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About the Author

Emma Penny

Emma Penny is a millennial living in the US. She often moves and loves experiencing new adventures and letting her mind wander to new possibilities. She currently lives north of Denver, CO and has fallen in love with writing steamier romance. Emma started writing when she was a teenager and has never looked back from the creative side of her life. She particularly loves to explore worlds beyond the believable, worlds that stretch her imagination but still root her in the very real personalities of her characters and their relationships.

Follow Emma on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and find her at her website.


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RELEASE BLITZ: Stolen (Cupid’s Academy) by Jayce Carter #eroticromance #reverseharem #PNR @totally_bound @firstforromance

Stolen by Jayce Carter

Word Count: 44,084
Book Length: SHORT NOVEL
Pages: 171



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Book Description


Larkwood is dangerous, but love scares me even more.

As a selkie, nothing matters more to me than my freedom. Larkwood destroyed that when they took my skin, and with it, my ability to transform. I’ve spent the six years since incomplete, but now that the rumors say Larkwood has changed, it’s my chance to finally get back what they stole.

I need to keep my head down and focus, but from the moment I step foot back in Larkwood, I can’t catch a break. The other shades hate me, the people in charge pity me and the two men I’ve tried to forget won’t leave me alone. Asher, a quiet and intense amarok, and Talon, a mischievous and playful kitsune, seem to think I’ve come back looking for romance.

As we all venture into the most dangerous place in Larkwood to find what was stolen from me, I realize that there is no bigger threat to me and my freedom than the two men I’m falling for. If I don’t keep my wits about me, I might just find myself trapped once again.


Six years since I’d escaped Larkwood’s clutches, since I’d somehow survived a place determined to destroy me, and it hadn’t changed a bit. It had the same imposing walls, the same layout, the same empty desert that stretched out for miles around it. Sure, the news swore the place was different, but I was way too smart to believe that.

Still, I never thought I’d come back here.

At least not willingly.

Even standing in the intake room, the same one they’d used in the past, didn’t help me differentiate between the past and the present.

“Mara?” The familiar voice made me turn and look up into a face that shouldn’t have surprised me. Kit Porter had taught when I’d lived at Larkwood years ago, and he’d been the only shade given such a position. However, since he worked in level 1 and I was officially a level 4, I didn’t think I was important enough for him to take notice of me.

“I’m surprised you remember me,” I said.

“I have an exceedingly good memory.” He bypassed the unasked question of why he knew me, but that was hardly unusual for him. Kit had always kept things close to his chest from what I’d seen. “Besides, seeing you jogs old memories. Not many shades have returned here.”

“I can’t be the only resident with nowhere else to go.”

“Student.” At my look, he clarified, “Larkwood has changed. We have no residents or guards. Those who choose to come here do so of their own free will. They are students.”

I snorted at the explanation, especially from Kit. We’d all known that he was little more than a pet for the Warden, a shade willing to do her dirty work for his own benefit. The fact he remained increased my suspicion about this place.

He lifted one of his dark eyebrows, but before he could say anything else, a woman walked up who I’d seen on the news enough to identify.

Hera Weston. The previous darling of the influential Weston family and now the Director at Larkwood Academy. The scar at her throat had been difficult to see on the TV, but in person it stood out. Her hands moved in a quick, practiced flurry, but I had no idea what it meant.

Kit spoke to her when she paused. “This is Mara Holland. She was here…” He paused, the flat blackness of his eyes making his expression difficult to read. “Six years ago, I believe.”

Hera moved her gaze to me, then signed again.

Kit translated. “This is Hera Weston, the Director. She’s welcoming you here.”

I nodded at the woman, unsure how else to respond. She looked to be around my age, yet where I wore a large hoodie and leggings, like the normal nineteen-year-old trying and failing to figure my shit out. Hera wore a fitted suit that proved we were not at all the same.

She reminded me of the sort of person I’d look for when I realized I needed an adult who was doing a better job adulting than I was.

She was also a person with absolute power. The Warden had looked similarly put together when I’d arrived at Larkwood, so I knew better than to trust anyone in power.

Hera signed again, then waited for Kit to translate. “She wants to know why you’ve come back.”

“I thought all shades were welcome here?” I wrapped my fingers around the strap of my backpack, which had what little I owned crammed inside.

“They are,” Kit offered, his words slow as if unsure how to keep going. “We’ve set Larkwood up as a refuge for those who need it. I just haven’t seen many return here. Usually, when people get out of the place it used to be, they have no desire to return.”

“Yeah, well, it turns out that life outside of here isn’t that great, either. So do I have a room or not?”

Kit pressed his lips together but nodded. He gestured toward a table farther in. “Deacon is handing out room assignments and will pass you off for orientation.”

That made me turn my head to catch sight of the man Kit had mentioned who, again, looked just the same as I recalled. I swallowed down my unease at the fact they’d kept a guard on staff, mostly because I didn’t want to have any more discussion than I had to.

I needed to stay quiet, to do what I’d come to do, then get the hell out of Larkwood again. The last thing I needed was to draw attention to myself.

So I nodded and followed Kit’s directions. Deacon lifted his purple eyes to me but showed no sign of recognition.

Then again, six years was a long time, and it wasn’t as if I’d been a troublemaker. He’d had no reason to notice me.

I knew exactly what I looked like—any teenager not worth a second glance. I kept my dark curly hair cut short and always wore dark leggings and baggy hoodie sweaters. My eyes were dark, and the only truly notable or memorable thing about my appearance was the freckles on my face that stood out on my dark skin.


“Mara Holland.” I kept my voice strong but non-confrontational. Don’t be memorable but don’t be weak, either. The rules of Larkwood were shockingly similar to those in prison.

He furrowed his brows, tapping his finger across the tablet in his hand. “You were here before, right?”

“You don’t recognize our little selkie?” That voice was one I sure as hell wouldn’t forget. Wade walked up, the void older but with the same old smirk. “We only had one in the years I’ve been here.”

“Aren’t selkies level 4s? Why would you know her?”

“She wasn’t housed in level 4.”

Deacon turned his gaze to me, his eyes full of suspicion. His lifted eyebrow asked the question so he didn’t have to.

“They wanted to do experiments and since the North Tower is connected to level 1, they thought it was easier to keep me here—not so far to transport me.” Even as I spoke, I kept my voice flat. If I didn’t, if I went back to the memories of the North Tower, of the hell they’d put me through, I’d let Deacon and Wade see far too much.

“I see,” Deacon said, his tone giving nothing away about how he felt. “Your room’s in level 1. We don’t have that many people, and because they made level 1 to house shades long-term, it’s got the best set-up. We’ve been putting everyone in level 1 while we work on getting the other levels renovated.”

“By which he means that level 1 has kitchens, full bathrooms, and it’s directly connected to the other areas,” Wade explained, as if Deacon needed a translator just as Hera had.

Instead of asking more, I held my wrist out.

Deacon went still, a frown touching his features.

Wade shook his head, then gently set his gloved hand on my wrist. “We don’t do wrist bands anymore.”

Oh… I guess that made sense. I ignored the warmth on my cheeks as Deacon pulled a card from a stack on the table he leaned against, then swiped it through a reader on his tablet. A few beeps rang out before he held the card out. “This will get you into your room— one-three-four-five.”

“Will it get me into the pantry and rec areas?”

Deacon shook his head. “We don’t keep the same security measures they had back then. The only off-limit areas are dangerous or security-centric. Otherwise, none of the areas require special access.”

“The North Tower?” I asked, unable to help the slight quiver in my voice at mentioning that place. It felt like talking about it might call its attention to me.

Deacon didn’t answer, with Wade taking that one. “The North Tower’s locked. There’s way too much stuff in there that we don’t understand yet. Plus, we don’t want people breaking in just to steal things. A lot of what’s there could seriously hurt shades if it got into the wrong hands. Don’t worry, though no one’s working there.”

Which means this is going to be more complicated than I wanted…

“Come on, I’ll show you where to go,” Wade said, gesturing toward the door at the back of the intake room.

“I’m good,” I assured him, tucking the keycard into the side pocket of my leggings. Even after six years away, this place haunted my dreams. I couldn’t possibly forget a single hallway of this prison, of the place that had tried to destroy me…the place that had taken what mattered most from me.

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About the Author

Jayce Carter

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


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RELEASE BLITZ: Remaking a Man by Amy Craig #ContemporaryRomance #suspense #Billionaire @totally_bound @firstforromance

Remaking a Man by Amy Craig

Book 2 in the Sun Valley Mafia series

Word Count: 72,223
Book Length: SUPER NOVEL
Pages: 305



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Book Description

A one-night stand turns serious…

Nina’s neighbor sets her up on a blind date with a handsome insurance salesman. After a candlelit dinner, Nina hooks up with him in a posh New York hotel room, but she writes off the date as a one-night stand. Returning home, she discovers her neighbor’s death, her dog’s abduction and the salesman’s possible involvement.

Traipsing across the city with her date in tow, she realizes he’s a quarrelsome billionaire and that her dog may never return. Grieving her losses, she accompanies her date to a ‘billionaire summer camp’ in Sun Valley, Idaho, but the idyllic setting revolves around his whims—and the person who took her dog follows them.

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


Standing on the marble front step of her family’s Miami mansion, Gisella tapped her designer footwear, adjusted her sunglasses and blocked out the bright spring day. She breathed deeply and shuffled the bags hanging from her toned arms.

At the end of the driveway, her brother Antonio revved his red convertible’s souped-up engine and pounded the dashboard in time to blaring rock music. Miami traffic streamed past the estate. People stared.

Why can’t he just leave? She marveled at his arrogance, but she kept her expression neutral and her phone in her pocket. He was the youngest of her two siblings, and he had the stocky, tan physique her male family members prized. He also had a propensity to wear outlandish suits, a revolving door of girlfriends and a sophomoric sense of humor. If he caught her taking a selfie in front of the house, he would turn it into a meme, but her account depended on dance stills and teasing hints of glamour. The minute he left the estate, she would take the picture while her hair looked good.

Flexing her toes, she rifled through the bags on her arms. One duffle held her ballet kit, another tote functioned as a purse and the bags from her morning shopping spree hiked her credit card bill. Instead of feeling guilty for the extravagance, she admired her long, lean legs.

Her form allowed her to excel as a professional ballerina, but she worried she had the coltish naivety to match her legs. When would she work up the nerve to demand a driver’s license and stop relying on Antonio for transportation? Every time she talked about her license, her father pouted and asked what more he could do to ensure her comfort.

If her mother had lived, Gisella’s life might be so different.

A car horn honked. A woman blew kisses. “Antonio!!”

He ignored the entreaty, let the engine rumble and scanned the beachside traffic. His muscled forearm hung over the door, and he tapped his fingers against the expensive paint job. Milky fingerprints marred the convertible’s finish.

A second Miami driver slowed to gawk at the handsome, moneyed mobster. A trailing car smashed the vehicle’s lights. Horns blared and doors flew open.

Releasing the engine’s pent-up energy, Antonio took advantage of the distraction and roared across two lanes of traffic.

Gisella rolled her eyes and snapped the picture she needed, but she doubted her high-gloss smile was worth the price of the photograph.

Riding home with her brother from dance rehearsals and a shopping spree, she had stared out of the window and listened to him complain about women and their fickle ways. His problems never changed, but the consistency soothed her. If he spent more time listening to the women, he would have fewer problems with them.

For instance, she had wanted to close her eyes and rest, but Antonio couldn’t take a hint. As soon as she made Principal Dancer, she could move out of her father’s house and make rent, but she would have to stop shopping like a mafia princess.

Squaring her shoulders, she faced her father’s front door. Most Miami residents painted their doors to ward off humidity’s warping effects. Papà imported Cocobolo heartwood and exposed the precious wood to the elements. His house could grace the cover of Architectural Digest, but his acceptance in local society depended on discretion. Biscayne Bay would freeze over before he opened the mansion’s doors to gawking strangers.

Every piece of furniture came with a decorator’s commission, authenticity papers and a cataloged serial number. The insurance company knew the exact cost of her father’s investment, and if the house burned, they’d be wise to pay up.

She appreciated the wealth, but its origins bothered her. Her sweet Papà, Gregorio Vitella, ran drugs from South America up the Eastern shoreline. She feared that enjoying the proceeds made her complicit in his crimes.

Pressed by a tipsy ballet friend, she’d admitted the concession that let her sleep at night. Her father’s legitimate insurance company probably covered her bills, but how could a person separate good money from bad people—and where did that distinction place her?

Pushing open the door, she scanned the marble foyer and dropped her bags, but a green potted palm, a black concert piano and an excruciatingly expensive console table provided little company. The console table rested on acrobatic loops of brass. Beneath a glass top, python skin gleamed with a subtle sheen, and she wondered if the piece’s black crystal pulls would make an interesting jewelry set. Opening a drawer, she checked for mail and flipped through the family correspondence. “Come stai, Papà?”

Her question echoed.

Raising her head, she set down the mail and waited.

A hidden white paneled door opened. Martin, the butler, emerged, wearing the formal black suit and crisp white shirt required for his service. He’d perfected the practiced, subservient gaze on his own. She’d grown to like him, but she wondered how long he would last in the household.

Signorina Gisella, your father is in his study.”

Keeping a bright smile on her face, she handed Martin her shopping bags and kept her purse on her shoulder. “Thanks. I’ll freshen up and join him.”

“Yes, Signorina.”

The man couldn’t speak ten words of Italian. As soon as staff members picked up a basic understanding of the language, her father fired them. Smart members played dumb. Gisella found her allies among them, but she’d learned to mind her comments, too.

Ducking into the gilt-papered bathroom off the foyer, she pinched her cheeks, added lipstick and prepared to act like a dutiful daughter. Her life revolved around the Miami Ballet Company, beachside runs and formal dinners, but in her father’s house, she would forever be ‘Gigi’.

Bracing her hands on the sink, she tilted her head. Her loving father owned Florida’s biggest commercial real estate company, Cosmica Insurance Holdings, but he also ran the Florida branch of the Italian mob.

He wore a suit to school functions, but when business soured at home, he rolled up his shirtsleeves, and the gentlemanly look faded. When she had been ten, she’d witnessed the reality of his business dealings through a crack in the study door. She’d never seen his victim again, and she’d kept her observations to herself—but she listened.

When classmates at her parochial school asked what her father did for work, she parroted the company line. “CIH offers property insurance, casualty insurance and value-added insurance services across twenty southeastern states.”

They looked impressed.

Why shouldn’t they? Every new homeowner in Florida received a direct mailing touting CIH’s low rates and friendly staff. The mailings glossed over the company’s potential money laundering credentials, but who read the fine print?

Leaving the bathroom, she made her way to the back of the house and to her father’s study. The caviar-black masculine room had views of the pool and heavy leather furniture. Despite a sparking oasis waiting beyond the windows, the room looked like a cave.

Last fall, her father’s interior designer Lisette had joined the family before Sunday dinner. Wearing a pantsuit, she’d sipped a dirty martini and made vague references to former clients. “I prefer to create a visual impact by mixing wood species and texture. That movie star I mentioned”—she sipped her drink—“had a thing for ebony.”

Gisella had wanted to like the woman, but her influence on the house’s décor leaned toward gilt and Hollywood glamour. Having a thing for ebony shocked her as much as Lisette’s cosmetic surgery bill. Once a woman immersed herself in wealth, keeping life entertaining required novelty and a steady flow of cash. “How do you plan to tackle the study?”

Lisette had wrinkled her surgically enhanced nose. “The hospitality industry uses black to create glamour, drama and intimacy. Everyone’s doing it.”

Gisella had sipped her wine and assumed Lisette was doing her father.

Walking across the room, Gisella admitted the study’s black walls created drama, but if her father wanted to scare his minions into compliance, he could pull out the handgun he kept in the desk’s top drawer. To keep her in line, he deployed guilt. ‘What would your mother think?’

She wrinkled her nose.

Walking around the polished walnut desk, she leaned down and pressed a kiss to his cheek. He smelled of black tea, Damascus rose, tobacco and leather. At sixty-five years old, he looked ten years younger. Faint silver streaks threaded his black hair. He could wear chinos and he would still smell like old manners and aged wine caves. “Come è andato il lavoro, Papà?”

“It is what it is.” Continuing in Italian, he set aside his papers. “How was your shopping trip?”

She sat opposite him and crossed her legs. “Fruitful.”

He laughed.

Pulling a stack of receipts from her purse, she slid them across the desk. “The rest will come by email.”

Shrugging, he leaned back in his chair and left the crumpled slips on the table. “Gigi, you’re old enough to drink and old enough to marry.”

She picked at her nails. “Is that so?”

“More than old enough. In the home country…”

Looking up, she tilted her head. “We’re not in the home country.”

He held up a hand. “But if we were, you’d be a bride, and I’d be a grandpa.”

“Ursula is older.”

“Your sister wants to be a nun.”

“So she says.” Looking past his full head of hair, she regretted her outburst and second-guessed her decision to come home after rehearsal. If she’d stayed out and shared a drink with Antonio, she’d have to listen to his stories and give up her evening run. She couldn’t hide from her father. He financed her life and provided patronage for her art. Looking at him, she softened her expression and recalled the sunlit days he’d spent with her and Ursula. “You’re too young to be a grandpa.”

“Hear me out,” he said.

She exhaled. Drinks with Antonio sounded better. At least he planned to fuck up his own life instead of hers.

When her mother had drowned off the Amalfi Coast, Papà had whisked his three children to Miami and begun a new life on the Atlantic’s eastern coast. Given how he’d lost his wife, one would think he would have chosen Oklahoma, but he knew how to make money along a coastline. Aunts and nannies had sopped up spilled milk, but when he’d come home at night, he’d kissed her cheek and left his old-world scent against her shoulder.

Some nights, remembering the smell of roses and leather, she recalled how much consistency mattered to children and old men. “Yes, Papà.”

“I have a series of eligible young men lined up. You will give them each an evening and tell me which man suits you.”

“What if I prefer women?”

“Gisella Santa Maria Vitella!” He slammed his palm against the desk.

A vase rattled but resisted gravity’s lure.

She rolled her eyes and stood. The dates her father arranged would be insurance agents or mob hit men. She couldn’t decide which option she found more appalling. “I can find my own dates, Daddy.”

He gripped the leather armrests. “Sit down.”

Lowering her frame, she kept her back straight and maintained eye contact. The company’s Artistic Director scared her more than her father did, but his familiar expectations could surprise her. Cosseted and pampered, she enjoyed an easy life until she slammed into a glass wall keeping her from enjoying life’s stunning vistas. Eventually, she found an exit, and her father acquiesced to her wishes.

He cleared his throat. “You’re too old to prance around the stage in a tutu.”

She wet her lips. “Too old to dance, and too young to procreate. What’s a girl to do? Marriage is a contract, isn’t it? Do I get a lawyer?”

He raised an eyebrow.

Outside the mansion’s walls, ballet defined her life and gave her predictability. At fifteen, she’d enrolled in the company school and trained for three years. After graduation, she’d joined the ballet as a School Apprentice and spent two years in the trenches before joining the corps de ballet. Three years later, she’d made Soloist, then Principal Soloist. The lure of becoming Principal Dancer kept her focused.

The goal also kept her father off her back. It was like he’d made a deal with his six-year-old daughter, and he refused to back out of his agreement. For the last twenty years, he’d sponsored the company’s performances, but rarely attended them.

Last month, she’d celebrated her twenty-fifth birthday. Most dancers stopped dancing professionally between thirty-five and forty years of age. She’d known her father wouldn’t give her that much time and would propose an arranged marriage. She might have to accept it, but an IUD would buy her time to achieve her dreams. Crossing her arms, she settled back into the chair.

Sometimes, she lay awake at night and imagined defying her father, but he killed the men who disobeyed him, and she lacked a mother to intercede on her behalf. Caught between ideals and reality, she walked a narrow line and kept her gaze focused on the future. Sometimes, she dreamed of her mother, but she wondered how much time had reshaped the memories.

She remembered holding her breath under water to watch fish, but now she hated to swim. Her inability to trust her memories undermined her faith in herself, and her father’s coddling approach undermined her achievements. She could dance across the stage playing a role, but striking out on her own meant vulnerability. Until she knew she could succeed, she would humor his demands. “I hear you, Papà. Who’s the first victim?”

“You will love Marco.”

Tilting her head to the side, she rubbed her scalp. “Doubtful, but tell me where to report.”

“You’re a good girl, and you’ll make me proud. I’ve tried to raise you the old way, but your aunts can’t replace your mother. I’m getting old. You’ve had leeway to pursue your dancing, but tomorrow evening at eight, you and Marco will dine.”

She shook her head. “Not tomorrow, Papà. I organized a beach cleanup.”

“You hate the water. Find someone else to pick up trash…”

Holding up her hand, she interrupted his mandate. “CIH is sponsoring the event.”

His forehead wrinkled.

Maybe he was getting old. “Perhaps Tuesday?” she offered.

His nostrils flared. “Tuesday.”

Standing, she rounded the desk, pressed a kiss against his smooth cheek and let his scent calm her frustration. How many times had he threatened her dancing? How many times had he shipped her back to Italy to take in the old country? Here she remained. Marco and the remaining suitors would fizzle out, and she’d continue dancing. “Ti amo, Papino.”

He pulled back. “You will go on this date.”

“Sure.” Picking up the receipts, she dropped them in the trashcan. “I have plenty of new dresses to wear.”


She winked. Walking out of the office, she let her clicking heels say everything she held back. The marble-backed rhythm sounded so final, like the sound of a bullet fired at close range. Violence hung over her family like a constant threat. If her father understood anything, he understood endings. Keeping him focused on new beginnings remained her job.

Opening the door to her room, she shucked the heels for soft slippers, settled into a stretch and let the music guide her.

Ursula opened the door connecting their rooms and pushed a shoe out of the way. “I thought dancers didn’t wear high heels.”

“They do when they want salespeople to take them seriously.”

Dropping to the floor, Ursula lolled her head. “You’d think a black credit card and a bodyguard would be enough to get their attention.”

“You’d think.” Gisella deepened her stretch and puzzled through Ursula’s recent transformation. Her sister’s dark brown hair, olive skin and generous curves could rock a bikini, but lately she’d insisted on dressing like a martyr. If Ursula deviated from her prayers and walked into a boutique, the salespeople might press the panic button. Gisella suppressed a smile.

Her sister had always been serious, but her devotion had deepened in the last six months. After Sunday mass, Gisella had known why. No longer content to hide behind her hymnal, Ursula had stared at Father Pietro, the hot new priest. The man of the cloth must have given Ursula a bit of pious encouragement.

Gisella shrugged and laid her torso along her leg. If Ursula wanted to plan her life around vespers, God love her. “How was your day?”

“Good. Lots of praying, solemnity, hymns and stuff.”

Gisella raised her head. “And stuff?”

Ursula swallowed. “Church stuff.”

“Maybe you could put the stuff on hold and help me cleanup the beach tomorrow. Every set of hands helps.”

“Sure.” Ursula stood. “I have a few hours to spare.”

Watching her sister slip into the next room, Gisella judged her sister’s choices. Dancing made her feel alive. Why would any woman dedicate her life to an organization that spent so much time imagining what came after death?

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About the Author

Amy Craig

Amy Craig lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana USA with her family and a small menagerie of pets. She writes women’s fiction and contemporary romances with intelligent and empathetic heroines. She can’t always vouch for the men. She has worked as an engineer, project manager, and incompetent waitress. In her spare time, she plays tennis and expands her husband’s honey-do list.

Find Amy at her website, on Amazon and follow her at BookBub.


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RELEASE BLITZ: Somehwere in Between by Liia Ann White #eroticromance #BDSM @totally_bound @firstforromance

Somewhere In Between by Liia Ann White

Book 1 in the Masters of Haven series

Word Count: 92,843
Book Length: SUPER NOVEL
Pages: 347



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Book Description

Prepare to enter a world filled with pleasure and desire.

Meet Amara, an ordinary twenty-eight-year-old woman trying to navigate her way through life. Amara is a full-time carer for her mum. Her life isn’t easy but is fairly routine…until one night she joins her friends at an exclusive BDSM club, somewhere she hasn’t been in a long time.

She thought it would be a relatively normal night, but she was wrong. Because she met him…Sullivan. He is unlike anyone she’s ever met before.

Since her previous dabbling in the BDSM community, she has developed uneasy feelings about various aspects of her life. But Sullivan has managed to break through her barriers and expose her deepest desires, bringing out the most intense pleasure she’s ever experienced.

Now Amara must decide if she’s ready for this new life of fiery passion.

Will this new romance bring her more pleasure or pain?

Or will it consume and implode everything around her?

One thing is for certain—nothing will be the same again.

Reader advisory: This book contains mentions of dementia, the serious illness of secondary character, past alcoholism, body image issues, seizure, and the off-label use of painkillers.


Amara entered the club and fought the sudden urge to flee. It had been eighteen months since she’d stepped foot inside Haven, Perth’s most exclusive BDSM club, and so much had changed in that time. This used to be her safe haven, the one place she never had to hide her true self. Where she could let go of her control issues and let her submissive side come out to play. Now, it was a strange place. It was somehow more daunting. She didn’t belong here anymore.

With her best friend by her side, she signed in as a guest and handed over her completed waiver and membership forms. The dim lighting from chandeliers and wall sconces cast red and gold glows around the main room. The only well-lit section was around the bar. Everything spoke of darkness, pleasure and sex—the wooden flooring, darkly painted walls, exposed beams that held an assortment of chandeliers.

There was no artwork on the walls anymore. Instead, they were decorated with an array of toys free for anyone to use. Even the position of the bar had changed. Now set against the far-left wall, the oblong wooden bar top sat as a feature of the room. Chains hung from the top beams and deeply set metal links were inserted into the wooden top. Perfect for naughty little submissives, she thought.

A dance floor took up a small portion of the converted warehouse, and the rest of it was taken up by an array of black and brown lounges, armchairs and small tables. But there was plenty of empty space for play, for submissives to be splayed out as tables, as one man currently was. A Domme sat on a black leather lounge and had her boot-covered feet resting on his back. The look on the man’s face, that smile of pleasure and desire as he looked straight ahead while his Domme spoke to him… Amara knew that feeling well and missed it deeply. It filled her with envy.

The familiar scents of leather mixed with sweat and sex invaded her nose as she inhaled deeply. The sounds of leather slapping flesh, bare hands smacking arses and cries of pain and pleasure were comforting. It had been far too long since she’d been involved in any of this. Despite her good reasons, she mentally kicked herself for taking such a long break. The atmosphere of the club called to her. She’d missed this, needed this. When she’d frequented it previously, it had still been a public club. Now, under new ownership, it was private and exclusive. She’d been lucky to get access to a temporary membership. If she hadn’t been helping with a demonstration, she wouldn’t be here at all.

A hand touched her back and guided her towards the bar. Her friend Larissa gestured for her to take a seat on a red leather-covered stool and took a seat beside her.

“Haven looks so different now,” Amara said as she looked around.

“Yeah, the new owner did a complete renovation before he opened it up. He’s always changing things around, though,” Larissa said.

“You’ll have to introduce me so I can thank him for allowing me in.”

“I can’t believe he gave you a month-long pass. Good thing we vouched for you, isn’t it?”

Amara regarded her friend with a small smile, despite the sadness and anxiety that filled her. “Too bad I won’t be using it other than tonight.”

No matter how badly she wanted to, she wouldn’t be returning. She simply didn’t have the time. She was a twenty-eight-year-old woman with almost no social life. And wasn’t that just a little depressing?

“You will be coming back next week. You promised me.” Larissa’s stern expression told her there would be no give on her promise.

“Fine, I’ll come back next week. But after that, you know I can’t.”

“I know why you say you can’t. I’m sure you could work something out.”

Amara accepted her drink from the bartender, thankful for the interruption. She didn’t want to talk. Not tonight. Tonight was about her dipping her toes back into the old lifestyle she’d loved so much to see if there was still a spark there. Not that she expected to play with anyone tonight. Now that she looked around to see all the other women nearby, she realised it definitely wouldn’t be happening. They all held such confidence, self-assurance. Two things she was now severely lacking.

What had happened to her? She used to saunter around confidently, knowing how to turn on her sexual appeal like a switch. Once upon a time she would have shown up in a latex skirt and a tight corset, sexy as hell. Now, she wore a multicoloured pleated skirt that was too short for her comfort and a tight black top that showcased her large breasts and veered attention away from everything else. She’d gained weight and had more fat rolls than she used to, bigger curves than she was comfortable with. In some spots, she was just plain round. She used to love her curves, the roundness of her belly, the mounds of her breasts, the softness of her thighs, but now… Now it was all too much.

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About the Author

Liia Ann White

A born and bred Aussie, Liia hails from Perth, Western Australia. After spending her childhood years dreaming of far-off lands, she eventually discovered her love of romance and hasn’t looked back since.

A self-proclaimed geek, she loves all things Disney and Star Wars. Being a bisexual, bipolar and ADHD battler, she is passionate about mental health and LGBTQIA+ rights, as well as advocating for animal rights.

When not writing, she can be found curled up with a good book, with her two dogs by her side.

Follow Liia on Instagram and check out her website.


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RELEASE BLITZ: Mac of All Trades by Aurora Russell #Suspense #ChickLit #EroticRomance @firstforromance @totally_bound

Mac of All Trades by Aurora Russell

Book 2 in the Minne-sorta Falling in Love series

Word Count: 60,029
Book Length: NOVEL
Pages: 224



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Book Description


She thinks she might be losing her mind…but she knows she’s losing her heart.

Poised. Elegant. Lovely. The local press loves to write glowing stories about Lana Fitzhugh, the youngest sibling and only sister of the famous Minnesota Fitzhugh family. But Lana’s past holds secrets, pain and shame…so much that she’s unworthy of a relationship with any good man, especially her brother Fitz’s close friend Mac. Keeping her distance from him is the right thing to do, so why can’t she stop thinking about him?

Finally settling into his first new job after long months of recovery from a severe injury, when Joe ‘Mac’ MacKenzie meets Lana Fitzhugh, the former Navy pilot thinks things might finally be looking up for him. His friend’s little sister is gorgeous, kind and makes his heart and body come alive again. But after they share an explosive embrace, she pushes him away so hard he’s still reeling.

When tragedy plunges Lana into the unexpected role of guardian to a preschooler, odd coincidences begin to happen…and grow increasingly more sinister. As Lana begins to fear that she herself might be the source of the danger, Mac doesn’t hesitate to return to help her. The only thing better than the joy they discover as a makeshift family is the passion they find in each other’s arms, but the unknown menace still grows closer every day. Will they be able to move beyond the past to grab for a future together?


“I have to admit that I’m impressed by how well you handled all the questions from the police about Brock Templeton,” Lana said grudgingly. Joe ‘Mac’ MacKenzie was already much too cocky, and his ego hardly needed any stroking. Watching him with the officers, though, had been like watching a master. She could easily see how he’d earned so many promotions and honors as a Navy pilot.

He shrugged, not taking his hands off the wheel, but the small smile he gave—and why couldn’t he be a little less handsome?—was self-satisfied. “It’s the accent,” he answered, really laying it on thick. “Like my daddy said, a Southern man tells the best jokes and is always welcome at any dinner table or gatherin’.”

She snorted, and not the usual elegant sniff that sometimes escaped but a full-on nasal rattling noise. “You sound like Tom Hanks’ cousin from the deeper South—like, the Mariana Trench of Alabama.”

“Oh, no, ma’am, not Alabama—perish the thought! My family’s pure Georgia. How did you guess I was from Mariana Trench, though?” he teased. “My granddaddy was mayor of Mariana Trench, as a matter of fact.”

She raised one skeptical eyebrow. “Matter of fact, eh?”

Her heart felt like it beat double-time at Mac’s charming grin, flashing like the Cheshire Cat’s as it was lit periodically by the streetlights they passed. Lana Fitzhugh, you of all people know better than to get your head turned by a handsome, charming man, she scolded herself. He’d shown himself to be overbearing, jealous and possessive when he’d fired one of the caterers on the spot earlier in the evening without even consulting her. But you didn’t disagree with his decision, the annoyingly honest voice in the back of her head forced her to acknowledge. The caterer had actually been making her uncomfortable, but it had been her problem to deal with, not Mac’s.

“Would I lie to such a stunning creature? You wound me, ma’am, straight to the core.” He pretended to be hit by a bolt to the heart, and she couldn’t help the burble of laughter that she tried to stifle. He was just so ridiculous. He was smart, funny and seemed truly dedicated to helping other men and women who’d recently left the service. Several times over the past few weeks as she’d worked closely with him to plan that night’s fundraiser, she’d found herself liking him in spite of her better judgment.

The party had been an unqualified success for the worthy veteran’s charity that Mac and Fitz, her second-oldest brother, had become very involved with. Well, she mentally amended, it was practically perfect until Brock Templeton, Fitz’s fiancée’s ex-boyfriend, made a scene, insulted Clara and drunkenly confessed to trying to cause her to ‘accidentally’ lose their baby. Brock had clammed up when they’d gotten to the police station, but, thank goodness, Mac had already recorded everything on his phone.

“I know that Fitz and Clara will really appreciate your getting the police to agree to take their statements tomorrow. They don’t like to leave baby Hope for too long,” she answered, sobered by the recollection of the night’s events.

“I’m certain they’ve checked in on Miss Hope, but I do believe they may be doing some, uh, private celebrating of their engagement, too—or, at least, on behalf of lonely single dudes everywhere, I hope they are. It’s not every day that a man gets the woman he loves to agree to marry him.” Mac’s voice was light, but there was something sad behind his tone, just below the surface.

“No…no, it’s not,” she agreed, snapping her mouth shut when she realized she sounded wistful. She had plenty to be grateful for, especially now that Fitz had returned to their lives, bringing the lovely Clara and Hope, shaking up the household and breaking their oldest brother, Drew, and Lana herself out of the cold, boring routines they’d fallen into. “Clara is just lovely—and Hope, too. I couldn’t be happier for them,” she enthused, perhaps a bit too heartily.

Mac quirked one side of his mouth up in a wry smile. “You’ve convinced me…but are you sure you’ve convinced yourself?”

His insight surprised her.

“I suppose you’re right…but please don’t think it’s about Clara, because she really is wonderful. I truly am happy for them.” She paused, forcing herself to be truthful. “Maybe a little envious, too. A long time ago—God, when I was so young and arrogant, self-assured to the point of naiveté and convinced of my own completely irresistible self—I made some really awful decisions.”

If he’d said anything, she probably wouldn’t have continued, but he remained silent, waiting.

“I ended up with a badly trampled heart—let’s call it pulverized instead of broken—and it cost me my best friend and years of my relationship with Fitz, too.” Suddenly uncomfortable with just how much she’d revealed, she gave a weak laugh. “I’m sorry I said that…burdened you with that. You didn’t ask for my life story.”

Mac touched his hand to her thigh for an instant before returning it to make a hard turn with the steering wheel. “Whatever happened, it sounds like you learned a lot from it, although I’m sorry it sounds like it caused you so much pain,” he replied in a low, earnest voice, so different from the light, teasing tones he usually used with her. “And, Lana, nothing you could ever tell me would be a burden,” he finished, clearing his throat. She wondered if he was equally uncomfortable with what she’d revealed.

Taking pity on him, she deliberately lightened the tone. “I bet you say that to all the young debutantes,” she answered. “Does it ever work?”

Mac’s laughter was a surprised bark. “Touché, Miss Fitzhugh. It might shock you to learn that I have, indeed, known my fair share of debutantes, including my two sisters.”

“Now, that is unexpected,” she agreed, although now that she pictured it, she could definitely see Mac all dressed up in a gray afternoon suit, flirting shamelessly and fetching lemonade for some pretty young thing. “Does that mean you can dance? You never asked me once tonight.”

They stopped at a signal so that his face was half in the light and half out, but the expression on the half she could see was distant. The silence between them became thick and uncomfortable. Lana knew she must have mis-stepped, but she wasn’t certain how.

“I don’t think I can dance anymore—or at least not like I used to,” he answered at last, his voice gruff. “I lost my right leg below the knee about eighteen months ago now.”

Lana sucked in a sharp breath. She’d known Mac and Fitz had met in a military hospital, and she’d noticed that Mac walked with a limp, but she’d never wanted to pry, figuring that Mac would tell her about his injury if he wanted her to know. She’d never imagined he’d lost part of his leg entirely.

“Horrified? Tempted to feel sorry for me?” Mac sounded defensive. “I’ve had to deal with just about every type of reaction.”

She touched his shoulder gently. “Nope, just surprised, since I didn’t know,” she answered quietly. “I can’t even begin to understand how difficult recovering from an injury like that would be, and I admire your charity work even more now.”

The enclosed space of the small front seat of the car felt suddenly intimate, especially so late at night, as if the two of them might be the only people awake in the city—or maybe in the world.

They pulled onto the long driveway—well, really a small, private lane—that led to the main house of her family’s compound—Fitzhugh’s Folly, as it was widely known, given how outrageously expensive and ostentatious it had been when her grandfather, Pat, had built it.

Tonight, it looked cavernous and dark…forlorn. Or maybe that’s just me, Lana thought, but recognizing the source of her melancholy didn’t make her feel better. Her oldest brother, Drew, had opted to stay at his high-rise apartment downtown to save time before his morning meeting. Her grandfather and Roger, who was ostensibly their butler but really a member of the family, along with being her grandfather’s long-time companion and probably his closest friend, had gone to bed early, so the lights had likely been out in their wing since ten o’clock or so.

Fitz and Clara were staying in the large separate guest house—which was actually the original house on the property—so Lana would be alone in the north wing of the main house. She should have been comfortable with it—in fact, she was very used to it, since at least three or four nights a week she had the mansion practically to herself, with its multitude of bedrooms, sitting rooms and other various spaces for practically every conceivable purpose. She often relished the solitude, after needing to be ‘on’ for so much of her charity work, which was no easy feat for a natural introvert who would have been happy just reading and drinking tea. Tonight, though, she felt a pang of loneliness.

Before she knew it, they’d pulled up to her front doors. They were tall, made from a thick, dark wood, and the whole impressive entryway looked forbidding, shrouded in darkness.

“They don’t leave the front lights on for you?” Mac asked, breaking the silence and some of the tension.

Lana wished they did, but they weren’t that kind of family. “I often get home late, and my grandfather is surprisingly frugal, so…” She shrugged, looking away. “I’m accustomed to it.” She could feel Mac’s gaze, but she refused to turn toward him. “I go in the side door, anyway.”

Before she could tell him not to, Mac had gotten out of the car and come around to open her door, offering her his arm. He still looked impossibly handsome in the fading moonlight. It was so cold at the tail end of mid-November that his breath puffed out of his mouth in white clouds, but he looked unruffled in his pristine dress uniform.

“Let me walk you there?” he asked. When she hesitated, with one leg on the ground and one still in the car, he spoke again. “So I’m certain you’re safe.”

With a swift bolt of comprehension, Lana realized he must be doing this—ensuring her safety—for Fitz, as a favor to her brother, which made total sense. They hadn’t totally repaired their relationship as brother and sister, since that would take a long time, but they’d made some good headway, and Fitz had always been protective of her when they had been younger. So why do I feel so disappointed? she wondered.

“Since you insist,” she agreed, unable to keep the snap of annoyance from her voice entirely. Still, holding onto Mac’s solid, warm arm, inhaling his distinctive scent, so smooth and comforting, like masculine soap and cinnamon and detergent, she wasn’t sorry not to be alone. No…it was more than that. She wasn’t sorry that Mac was the specific man she walked with.

Across the lawn, she saw a light come on in the guest house, which she recognized was in baby Hope’s room. Silhouetted on the shades, she saw a curvy woman’s figure rocking a child, and a larger outline as a man came up behind her, enveloping them in his shadow with a hug and leading them away from the window. The peace and serenity of the domestic scene, along with recollections of the love that she’d seen on their faces every time Fitz and Clara looked at each other and at tiny, perfect Hope, made her heart hurt, because she knew she would never have anything like it—and didn’t deserve it, anyway. Tears filled her eyes. As their steps slowed when they neared the side entrance to her area of the house, she kept her face averted from Mac so he wouldn’t see.

“I’m here safely, so you can report back to Fitz that you did your duty,” she answered, more coldly than she’d intended.

“Hey, now,” Mac answered, turning toward her in front of the side steps and urging her chin up with one strong but gentle finger so he could look at her face. “I never do anything I don’t want to do—not anymore, in any case—and I wanted to see you to your door safely for myself, so I wouldn’t worry.” He studied her, and she had the uncomfortable sensation that he saw much more than she’d wanted. “Are those tears, sugar?”

“No,” she denied in a thick voice, but her body immediately betrayed her as two droplets fell from her lashes and traced icy paths down her cheeks.

“Oh, darlin’, I’m sorry. Not quite sure what I did or said, but I never meant to make you cry,” he murmured in a deep, sincere voice, and Lana thought that she could have forgiven him just about anything, if there’d been something to forgive.

“It’s not you,” she answered. “It’s just that I feel so…alone sometimes, you know?” she admitted.

“God, yes,” he replied, with feeling. He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close into his body, so tightly that something he had pinned to his uniform pressed into her cheek. In spite of the tiny prick of pain, she felt safer and warmer than she had for a long, long while. “You’re not alone now, Lana.”

She tipped her head back, and she wasn’t sure whether she pushed up toward him first or he lowered his head, but somehow he closed his mouth over hers, and it was sublime. At first, his lips were gentle—surprisingly soft for such a brave, tough ex-military pilot—but when she moaned, he deepened the kiss, and she savored his spicy taste, a little like the coffee they’d drunk at the police station, but mostly just his own unique flavor.

She pushed herself against him, feeling his hardness rise, thick and long, against her stomach, and he tangled his hands into her updo, dislodging bobby pins, which made tiny metallic pings as they landed on the steps. He caressed her tongue with his, claiming her mouth in bold strokes until her nipples tightened against his chest as she imagined how he would claim her with other parts of his body.

When he finally raised his mouth from hers, his breathing harsh and uneven, she noticed they must have walked together right up to the wall of the house, and her back was cold against the bricks. The rapid puffs of her breath mingled with the clouds of his, and he leaned his forehead against hers.

“I’m sorry… I got a little carried away,” Mac said, and they still stood so close that she could feel the quick rise and fall of his chest against her breasts.

“No, no…I was just as into it, maybe more,” she said, then flushed with embarrassment. “I didn’t mean…well, you know. I’m sure you could tell that I was enjoying it, but of course we shouldn’t have done that.”

Mac took a step back. “What do you mean?”

Lana bit her lip, feeling like she wished the ground would swallow her up. Where was some handy quicksand when you needed it?

“Well, like you said, I’m sorry, too.”

Mac shook his head. “No, darlin’, I’m not sorry it happened…only sorry we went so fast.”

When she looked up into his face—so handsome, perfectly formed with strong lines and eyes that she couldn’t make out clearly right now in the low light but that she knew were a startling deep green and probably blazing with emotion—she wished she dared to trust herself again with a good man, a kind man, a true friend like Mac. Being with someone like him wasn’t in the cards for her, though. That kind of man wanted more than she could give—more than she was capable of giving anymore.

She put her hand on his chest. “Mac, there can’t be anything more between us. I can’t be with someone like you.” She tried to be gentle, but she rushed her words as thick tears rose in her throat.

Mac took another step back, breaking all contact between them. “Someone like me, huh? Why did I think you were different?” His voice was hollow, resigned…but the tone was underlaid with hurt.

“That’s not—” she started to explain, but he cut her off.

“You know what, Lana? Don’t say anything you might regret. I’ll stay away from you, and you can stay away from me from now on, but no matter what, we’ll still have to see each other sometimes, and I don’t want it to be any worse than it has to be.”

Lana felt as if he’d slapped her, but she forgave him for lashing out. He didn’t understand, but explaining might make it more painful. As Fitz’s closest friend, he was bound to cross her path in the future at important events.

“If that’s what you want,” she agreed, her voice low and sad.

“Does it matter what I want?” Mac’s laugh was mirthless, and he started to turn away. “No, hold on. I’m gonna say one more thing first, because I vowed that if I ever started to feel for someone again, I would say the words out loud—not leave confusion or doubt.”

Lana braced herself for whatever he was going to say, but his words were more surprising for their tenderness than anything else.

“It sounds like we don’t feel the same way and maybe you won’t thank me for saying this, but no matter how you feel, I care about you. I was beginnin’ to think I might be able to care pretty deeply and that maybe you could, too.”

She winced at the raw tone of his voice.

“That doesn’t change overnight. Truth is, for a man like me, that doesn’t really change, period. So if you’re ever in trouble or hurting—no matter everything we said tonight—you can call me and I’ll be there. That’s it.”

His offer stunned her, and letting him turn around and walk away, back into the darkness that was beginning to streak gray with the first light of the coming dawn, was one of the worst things she’d ever forced herself to do. He’d be better off without her, though. She knew it, and he’d recognize it, too, in time.

She’d thought her sad, shredded heart was incapable of feeling anything anymore, but now she learned—too late—that she must have been mistaken. If it had truly been destroyed, it couldn’t hurt so darn bad now. She hurried inside the massive house, her steps echoing off the walls and floors of the empty rooms, and cried for everything that might have been.

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About the Author

Aurora Russell

Aurora is originally from the frozen tundra of the upper-Midwest (ok, not frozen all the time!) but now loves living in New England with her real-life hero/husband, two wonderfully silly sons, and one of the most extraordinary cats she has ever had the pleasure to meet. But she still goes back to the Midwest to visit, just never in January.

She doesn’t remember a time that she didn’t love to read, and has been writing stories since she learned how to hold a pencil. She has always liked the romantic scenes best in every book, story, and movie, so one day she decided to try her hand at writing her own romantic fiction, which changed her life in all the best ways.

You can find out more about Aurora at her website here.


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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



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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.


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.


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.

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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.


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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



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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?


“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…”


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.


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?”


“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.

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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.


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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



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Book Description

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

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

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

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

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


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.


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

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

“Soda water, huh?”

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

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

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

“Zane,” he said, one eyebrow raised.

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

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

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

“Not yet.” Cammie grinned back.

“Oh…dimples, how very—”

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

Get laid—check!

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

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

“Neither am I.”

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About the Author

Angela Addams

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

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

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

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


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Release Blitz: 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



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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.


“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.

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About the Author

Aliyah Burke


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.


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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



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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.


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.

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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?


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