Edge of Brotherhood by Molly E. Lee -Release Day

Photo & Cover Design: Regina Wamba / MaeIDesign and Photography

Release Date: April 19, 2017

Synopsis

What do Dash Lexington, Easton Wells, and Connell Murphey have in common?

They put their lives on the line each day they clock into work. That and their fierce love for the women who match them step for step.

When the studio head who produces both Dash and Easton’s shows announces auditions for a special series to highlight the E.D.G.E men’s skills, Connell and an extreme stunt man named Wade Roberts are the first stars chosen.

Their objective? Accompany Easton deep in the Amazon where he’s recently discovered the lost city of Paititi. With half the structure submerged in dangerous waters, a slew of unpredictable rainforest storms, and a nearly inaccessible location, each man will have to put aside his alpha tendencies and utilize his skills in order to survive the perils of the City of Gold.

But when an enemy from Easton’s past threatens the love of his life, she is met with the wrath of the newly formed E.D.G.E. clan, who will stop at nothing to protect the women they love.

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About the Author
Molly E. Lee is an author and editor best known for her debut novel EDGE OF CHAOS, and as a fourth year mentor at Pitch Wars – a program which connects promising writers to established authors in the community. Molly writes New Adult Contemporary and Young Adult Urban Fantasy featuring strong female heroines who are unafraid to challenge their male counterparts, yet still vulnerable enough to have love sneak up on them. In addition to being a military spouse and mother of two + one stubborn English Bulldog, Molly loves watching storms from her back porch at her Midwest home, and digging for treasures in antique stores.

 

Connect with Molly

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Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2gQdK1d

 

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More Than A Feeling by Erika Kelly – Excerpt and Review

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From the award-winning author of TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT comes the final full-length standalone contemporary romance in Erika Kelly’s red-hot Rock Star Romance series, MORE THAN A FEELING. A steamy and emotional story about a loner rocker finding his perfect duet, MORE THAN A FEELING finds the perfect pitch and will leave you with more than a song in your heart! Order your copy of MORE THAN A FEELING today!

 

 

MORE THAN A FEELING - cover

About MORE THAN A FEELING:

From the award-winning author of TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT comes the final story in her red-hot Rock Star Romance series, about a loner rocker finding his perfect duet.

When Cooper Hood left Snowberry, Montana ten years ago, he swore he’d never go back to the town that painted him with the same brush as his addict mother. But right in the middle of his band’s national tour he gets a call to come home: his mom’s got a whopper of a secret to reveal.

Daisy Charbonneau’s in trouble. The talent she hired for her resort’s annual Huckleberry Festival just bailed on her, and she’s desperate to find a replacement act. Luck turns her way when she discovers her high school crush is back in town—and he happens to be a rock star.

As they work together, a crush deepens into so much more, but who falls in love in two weeks?

Especially when Cooper’s never coming back to town, and Daisy’s never going to leave it.

Order MORE THAN A FEELING Today!

iBooks ** Amazon ** Barnes & Noble ** Kobo

 

Add to your Goodreads

 

Closing her eyes, Daisy bit into the crunchy drizzle, her teeth sinking through the buttery rich goodness of the bread. Oh, dear God. Her mom made the world’s best cinnamon rolls. With a sigh, she looked up to find someone heading toward her on the path.

Of course her childhood crush would show up the moment she’d stuffed her mouth full of pastry. Leaning against the hood of her car, Daisy chewed quickly—which sucked because, basically, time should stand still while savoring her mom’s desserts.

But Cooper wasn’t looking at her. Scowling at his phone, he stopped on the path, fingers furiously typing. Was he dealing with his mom?

Or maybe a girlfriend. Instantly her skin tightened, and her heart thudded. If Cooper had a girlfriend…God. Last night she’d gone on and on about how much he’d meant to her.

She looked away, mortification crashing through her system.

First, she’d bumped into him wearing waders and a fishing hat, and then she’d forced him to go out with her. Awesome.

He couldn’t have been clearer that he didn’t want to spend the day with her, but she’d gone and made an offer she knew he couldn’t turn down. Not if he wanted to get his mom’s house built and get himself back on tour.

Feeling a little sick to her stomach, she licked the sticky drizzle off her fingers and shoved the treat back into the bag.

As he paused on the path, thumbs working over the phone’s keypad, she took in his powerful physique. A white T-shirt strained across broad shoulders, hugging his thickly rounded biceps, and worn blue jeans cupped his hard, muscular thighs.

The colorful ink covering his body made him look like a total badass. She’d noticed a strange symbol on his inner wrist and a cartoon image on his forearm of a pin-up girl holding a barbell, a sexy slash of red for her lips.

The man he’d grown into made her soul wake up, and God, she couldn’t even remember the last time she’d felt this kind of fluttery attraction for a guy.

As if he felt someone watching him, he looked up sharply and found her. The worry lines eased. But he didn’t smile. “Hey.”

She pushed off her car. “You ready?” Forced or not, her plan was good for both of them. She was sticking to it.

We finally get Cooper’s, the last bachelor of Blue Fire, story. He has to go back to his home town to help his mom on the band’s tour break and he gets more than he bargained for. He reunites with his best friend from High School Daisy and this is the story of how they become more than friends.

Cooper couldn’t get out of this town fast enough, while Daisy never wants to leave. Each has things they need to overcome in order to make this work, and the story handles these issues beautifully. I recommend this book to anyone that like their rockers with a side of broken little boy and a big helping of small town charm.

 

 

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And don’t miss the first three standalone titles in The Rock Star Romance Series!

YOU REALLY GOT ME

I WANT YOU TO WANT ME

TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT

 

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Erika Kelly’s MORE THAN A FEELING – Review & Excerpt Tour Schedule

March 27th

A Novel Glimpse – Review

Beware Of The Reader – Review & Excerpt

My Slanted Bookish Ramblings – Review

The Reading Cafe – Review & Excerpt

March 28th

ageordielass honest blog on reviews – Review

Mes Livres – Review & Excerpt

SBB Reviews – Review

Textteaser Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

March 29th

All Things Dark & Dirty – Excerpt

Ashley Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

Loves Great Reads Blog – Review & Excerpt

This Wacky Momma Reads – Review

March 30th

A Sky Filled with Sparkling Stars – Excerpt

Bookishly yours – Review & Excerpt

Jodie’s W.I.N.E. List – Review & Excerpt

Pretty Sassy Cool – Review & Excerpt

March 31st

Babbling Chatter Reads – Review & Excerpt

Krista’s Dust Jacket – Review & Excerpt

Obsessed with Romance – Review & Excerpt

What Is That Book About – Excerpt

April 1st

Author Zoe Forward – Review

Brittany’s Book Blog – Excerpt

For the Love of Books & Alcohol – Review

Words of Wisdom from The Scarf Princess – Review & Excerpt

April 2nd

Crazy Chaotic Book Babes – Review

Once upon a romance blog – Review & Excerpt

Quesarasera Book Blog – Review

The Butterfly Reads – Review & Excerpt

April 3rd

Books & Boys Book Club – Excerpt

Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt

iScream Books – Review & Excerpt

Oh My Growing TBR – Review & Excerpt

April 4th

Jack of All Trades, Master of None – Review & Excerpt

Marieke’s Books – Review & Excerpt

Renee Entress’s Blog – Review & Excerpt

Sofia Loves Books – Review

April 5th

Four Chicks Flipping Pages – Review

Lightning City Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt

Peace Love Books – Review & Excerpt

April 6th

Adventures in Writing – Excerpt

Dog-Eared Daydreams – Review & Excerpt

Friends Till The End Book Blog – Excerpt

Miss Betty’s Reviews – Review & Excerpt

April 7th

Melena`s Reviews – Review & Excerpt

Pretty Little Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt

Short and Sassy Book Blurbs – Review

Those Crazy Book Chicks – Excerpt

April 8th

Abibliophobia Anonymous Book Reviews – Excerpt

G & T’s Indie Café – Excerpt

Miranda’s Library – Excerpt

Movies,Shows, & Books – Excerpt

Erika Kelly - author picAbout Erika Kelly:

Award-winning author Erika Kelly has been spinning romantic tales all her life–she just didn’t know it. Raised on the classics, she didn’t discover romantic fiction until later in life. From that moment on, she’s been devouring the genre and has found her true voice as an author. Over three decades she’s written poems, screenplays, plays, short stories, and all kinds of women’s fiction novels. Married to the love of her life and raising four children, she’s lived in two countries and seven states, but give her pen and paper, a stack of good books, and a steaming mug of vanilla chai latte and she can make her home anywhere.

 

Website ** Facebook ** Twitter ** Newsletter Signup ** Erika Kelly Goodreads

 

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Coastal Elite by Kate Canterbary – Release Day

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Title : Coastal Elite

Author:  Kate Canterbary

Release: March 7

Genre:  Contemporary romance/military romance

Series:  This is a spin-off from The Walsh Series, although it is a *true* standalone.

Heat Level:  Steamy

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About Coastal Elite:

Jordan Kaisall has problems.

Business problems, political problems, cheating ex-girlfriend problems. He knows that a week away from the Washington D.C. Beltway won’t do a damn bit of good for those problems, but his beach house in Montauk is exactly where he needs to be right now.

April Veach has plans.

Work plans, travel plans, try-everything-once plans. Montauk is keeping her plenty busy this summer between decorating wedding cakes and teaching yoga, and busy is good. But busy is also a lonely bed, and that wasn’t part of her grand plan.

After a weekend together, his problems and her plans take them in an unexpected direction.

Amazon US   |    Amazon CA   |   Amazon UK   |   Amazon AU

Barnes & Noble  |  IBooks  |  Kobo   |  Google Play

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For more about Will and Shannon and the whole Walsh family check out Kate’s Walsh series:75563_949105785124573_519070669343442735_n

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01N91U35B

Barnes & Noble – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/the+walsh+series+kate+canterbary

IBooks https://itunes.apple.com/us/book-series/the-walsh-series/id981056163?mt=11

Kobo – https://www.kobo.com/us/en/search?Query=The+Walsh+Series

Google Play – https://play.google.com/store/books/author?id=Kate%20Canterbary&hl=en 

Add the Walshes to your Goodreads : https://www.goodreads.com/series/135208-the-walshes

About the Author

Kate Canterbary doesn’t have it all figured out, but this is what she knows for sure: spicy-ass salsa and tequila solve most problems, living on the ocean– Pacific or Atlantic– is the closest place to perfection, and writing smart, smutty stories is a better than any amount of chocolate. She started out reporting for an indie arts and entertainment newspaper back when people still read newspapers, and she has been writing and surreptitiously interviewing people– be careful sitting down next to her on an airplane– ever since. Kate lives on the water in New England with Mr. Canterbary and the Little Baby Canterbary, and when she isn’t writing sexy architects, she’s scheduling her days around the region’s best food trucks.

Website  •  Facebook  •  Twitter  •  Goodreads

Instagram  •  Pinterest  •  Amazon Author Page  • Facebook Group

 

Love Story by Lauren Layne – Release Day

Over the course of one wild road trip, 
feuding childhood sweethearts get a second chance at love.
 
LOVE STORY
a Love Unexpectedly novel
Lauren Layne
Releasing February 14th, 2017
Loveswept

Over the course of one wild road trip, feuding childhood sweethearts get a second chance at love in this charming rom-com—a standalone novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Blurred Lines and Good Girl.

When Lucy Hawkins receives a job offer in San Francisco, she can’t wait to spread her wings and leave her small Virginia hometown behind. Her close-knit family supports her as best they can, by handing over the keys to a station wagon that’s seen better days. The catch? The cross-country trip comes with a traveling companion: her older brother’s best friend, aka the guy who took Lucy’s virginity hours before breaking her heart.

After spending the past four years and every last dime caring for his sick father, Reece Sullivan will do just about anything to break free of the painful memories—even if it means a two-week road trip with the one girl who’s ever made it past his carefully guarded exterior. But after long days of bickering in the car turn into steamy nights in secluded motel rooms, Reece learns that, when it comes to Lucy, their story is far from over. And this time, they just might have a shot at a happy ending.

Although listed as a title in the Love Unexpectedly Series, all books in the series stand alone.

 
Lauren Layne is the New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen romantic comedies. A former e-commerce and web marketing manager from Seattle, Lauren relocated to New York City in 2011 to pursue a full-time writing career.
She lives in midtown Manhattan with her high-school sweetheart, where she writes smart
romantic comedies with just enough sexy-times to make your mother blush. In LL’s ideal world, every stiletto-wearing, Kate Spade wielding woman would carry a Kindle stocked with Lauren Layne books. 
 

 

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Love Story by Lauren Layne – Pre-Release Blast

Over the course of one wild road trip, 
feuding childhood sweethearts get a second chance at love.
LOVE STORY
a Love Unexpectedly novel
Lauren Layne
Releasing February 14th, 2017
Loveswept

Over the course of one wild road trip, feuding childhood sweethearts get a second chance at love in this charming rom-com—a standalone novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Blurred Lines and Good Girl.

When Lucy Hawkins receives a job offer in San Francisco, she can’t wait to spread her wings and leave her small Virginia hometown behind. Her close-knit family supports her as best they can, by handing over the keys to a station wagon that’s seen better days. The catch? The cross-country trip comes with a traveling companion: her older brother’s best friend, aka the guy who took Lucy’s virginity hours before breaking her heart.

After spending the past four years and every last dime caring for his sick father, Reece Sullivan will do just about anything to break free of the painful memories—even if it means a two-week road trip with the one girl who’s ever made it past his carefully guarded exterior. But after long days of bickering in the car turn into steamy nights in secluded motel rooms, Reece learns that, when it comes to Lucy, their story is far from over. And this time, they just might have a shot at a happy ending.

Although listed as a title in the Love Unexpectedly Series, all books in the series stand alone.

 
Lauren Layne is the New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen romantic comedies.
 
A former e-commerce and web marketing manager from Seattle, Lauren relocated to New York City in 2011 to pursue a full-time writing career.
 
She lives in midtown Manhattan with her high-school sweetheart, where she writes smart romantic comedies with just enough sexy-times to make your mother blush. In LL’s ideal
world, every stiletto-wearing, Kate Spade wielding woman would carry a Kindle
stocked with Lauren Layne books. 
 
Hobbies include cocktail hour, a designer purse addiction, and dry rosé.
 

 

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The Spire by Kate Canterbary – Release Day

 Title: The Spire

Series: The Walsh Series #6

Author: Kate Canterbary

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: December 13, 2016

 

Blurb

Rebel, runner, recluse, rich girl.

Nine years ago, Erin Walsh ran away from everything.
Home.

Family.
Secrets.
Tragedy.
Herself.
The only permanence in her life is catastrophe.

She travels from country to country, chasing disaster, teasing fire, playing with poison. She guards against real connections, and shuns the only family she has left.
She holds everyone—even her siblings—at a mile-long distance. It’s the only way to protect herself.

But she can’t protect herself from him.

He’s the ice to her fire, and he’s willing to sacrifice everything to bring her home.

Purchase Links
 

 

 

Excerpt

 

I gave her a little shove, and she fell to the mattress. She aimed a meaningful glance at my jeans, and that was all the encouragement I needed to drop them to the ground. She crawled backward, and I followed, stalking her every movement until we were flat against a bank of pillows.

“Hi,” she said, running her hand up my flank and over my shoulder. She hooked her leg around my waist and pulled me flush against her. My cock was acutely aware that only my boxers and her panties separated us, and was alternately thrilled with that situation and impatient as hell. She smiled, a little shy. “I like the way you touch me.”

“That’s good because I really enjoy touching you,” I said, bringing my lips to her neck and trailing them down between her breasts. “I didn’t want to let you go when I met you last night. Wanted to keep you all to myself.”

“Oh,” she said, her eyebrow quirking as if this was an peculiar sentiment. “I don’t think anyone’s ever wanted to keep me before.”

Fuck, she was too much. Just too much. Beautiful and rough around every edge yet vulnerable and sensitive.

“I want to keep you,” I said, sliding my fingers behind her back to unclasp her bra. “I’ll keep you as long as you let me, lovely.” Her arms moved to her chest the minute her bra went flying over my shoulder. That vulnerability? There it was again. “And I want to see you, too.”

A groan was rumbling past my lips the second her arms went around my neck and she was bared to me. I thought her tits were a crime in that t-shirt, but I had no idea. They were full and pale, and delicious. I licked and sucked as if I was trying to consume her, and maybe I was.

“Say something,” she whispered, her fingers raking through my hair. “I want…I want to know what you’re thinking.”

I released her nipple with a satisfied groan, and then dropped kisses on each of her breasts before finding her eyes. “I’m thinking get me inside you right now.”

Our lips met as my fingers inched her panties over her hips. I could take her just like this, face-to-face while I tasted her hungry hums, and I’d want for nothing.

“You probably thought I’d be crazy in bed,” she said, her words muffled as she spoke against my neck. “Like, I don’t know, adventurous and kinky. Like, I keep nipple clamps in my back pocket and actually prefer wearing thongs, and I’m always down for anal. And it’s my fault, really. This whole night has been pretty wild, and I kissed you like a maniac and then everything on the boat, and it wouldn’t be wrong to think that tequila on my tits is an average Saturday morning but—”

“It only matters what you want,” I said, tipping up her chin. “Don’t worry about what I think, or what you think I’m thinking. Tell me what you want.”

Erin’s fingers clawed at my boxers, and together we got them over my hips and out of the way. Her panties were long gone and my cock was in love with the wet heat between her legs.

“Please don’t make it hurt,” she whispered.

I shook my head and dropped a kiss on her forehead. “Never.”

 

 

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Author Bio
Kate Canterbary doesn’t have it all figured out, but this is what she knows for sure: spicy-ass salsa and tequila solve most problems, living on the ocean–Pacific or Atlantic–is the closest place to perfection, and writing smart, smutty stories is a better than any amount of chocolate. She started out reporting for an indie arts and entertainment newspaper back when people still read newspapers, and she has been writing and surreptitiously interviewing people–be careful sitting down next to her on an airplane–ever since. Kate lives on the water in New England with Mr. Canterbary and the Little Baby Canterbary, and when she isn’t writing sexy architects, she’s scheduling her days around the region’s best food trucks.
Author Links

 

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Heat Wave by Karina Halle – Release Day and Excerpt

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heat-wave-3d-bookThey say when life closes one door, another one opens.

This door happens to lead to paradise.

And a man I can never, ever have.

Still grieving the loss of her sister who died two years ago, the last thing Veronica “Ronnie” Locke needed was to lose her job at one of Chicago’s finest restaurants and have to move back in with her parents. So when a window of opportunity opens for her – running a kitchen at a small Hawaiian hotel – she’d be crazy not to take it.

The only problem is, the man running the hotel drives her crazy:

Logan Shephard.

It doesn’t matter that he’s got dark brown eyes, a tall, muscular build that’s sculpted from daily surfing sessions, and a deep Australian accent that makes your toes curl.

What does matter is that he’s a grump.

Kind of an asshole, too.

And gets under Ronnie’s skin like no one else.

But the more time Ronnie spends on the island of Kauai, falling in love with the lush land and its carefree lifestyle, the closer she gets to Logan. And the closer she gets to Logan, the more she realizes she may have pegged him all wrong. Maybe it’s the hot, steamy jungles or the invigorating ocean air, but soon their relationship becomes utterly intoxicating.

There’s just one major catch.

The two of them together would incite a scandal neither Ronnie, nor her family, would ever recover from.

Forbidden, Illicit, off-limits – sometimes the heat is worth surrendering to, even if you get burned.

 

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PROLOGUE

I saw him first.

It shamed me to think it then, it shames me to think it now.

But that’s what the truth does to you sometimes. It shames you because it’s only in the truth that you realize how human you really are. What a raw, devastating thing that is, to embrace your humanity and learn to live with all your sharp points, the hollow places, the cracks and the crevices. To be utterly real. To be terribly flawed.

Those cracks had always been forming inside me, slowly making their way to the surface over the years. In my family, there wasn’t much you could do but try and hold yourself together, to stick glue on your wounds, to paste over the imperfections. But the cracks still grew, until all of us were held together by crumbling cement, just statues waiting to collapse.

That was years and years ago. I was just twenty-two at the time. A baby. I’m still a baby in the grand scheme of things, but there’s something precious about your early twenties, where you think you’re so much older, bigger, than you are, where life is just about to deliver the crushing blows that will knock you off your feet for the rest of your days. The small things become the big things and the big things become the small things and you aren’t quite sure when they made the switch.

But in the end, I saw him first. He was mine, even before he knew it. He was mine in some strange way that I still don’t understand. The only way I can think of to explain it is…

You just know.

There are moments in your life, people in your life, that when they cross your path and meet your eye, you know. Maybe it’s all in the chemistry, certain pheromones that react when they mix together, maybe it’s a smell that triggers a memory, maybe it’s a glimpse at a future you don’t recognize or a hint at the past, a life you’ve lived and forgotten. Whatever it is, you know that moment, that person, is going to shape you for the rest of your life.

That’s what it was like when I saw him. Standing over by the windows and staring out Lake Michigan, like he was wishing he could be anywhere but there.

I wished the same. My mother’s the deputy mayor of Chicago and this was another one of her fundraisers I felt obliged to attend. It was tradition in my family, for my father, for me, for my sister, to show up and wave the flag of support. It didn’t seem to matter that the stuffy politicians that surrounded these events never paid me any attention. And if they did, it was the wrong kind of attention, always the sixty-year-old man leering after the young thing with the nice smile.

Luckily I didn’t smile all that often. My resting bitch face took over whenever I was deep in thought, which was pretty much all the time.

But this guy…I felt a kinship with him. I felt like I knew exactly what he was thinking, feeling, and that it was completely wrapped up in and connected to everything that was going through me.

I don’t know where I found the nerve to go over and talk to him. He seemed so much older, not quite the sixty-year-old politicians I was used to seeing, but maybe in his early-thirties. More than that, there was some kind of aura around him. Sounds stupid, I know. Whatever it was, it was like he belonged in some whole other universe than here, a star on earth, permanently grounded and yearning to be in the sky.

It was usually Juliet’s job to go around and make everyone feel warm and comfortable at these events—hell, in every event—but she wasn’t here yet. And though I could have easily stayed in the shadows, I was pulled to him, like he had a wave of gravity whirling around him.

I remember what I was wearing. Strappy flats because I hated wearing heels, a knee-length cocktail dress in emerald green, sleeveless, high-neck. It made me look older and I wore it because my mother always wanted me to look like a lady.

With a glass of champagne in hand, I made my way over to the windows, my heart racing the closer I got to him. He looked taller up close, well over six feet. His shoulders were broad, like a swimmer’s, and suddenly I had a vision of him diving into the lake. The navy blue suit he was wearing looked well-tailored but he seemed uncomfortable in it, like he couldn’t wait to get rid of it.

I stood beside him for a moment, following his gaze out the window. He seemed lost in his thoughts but out of my peripheral his head tilted slightly and he brought his eyes over to me while I kept staring at that wide expanse of water, stretching out to the horizon.

“Can’t wait to get out of here?” I asked, but though my tone was mild, my delivery was bold. It was as if someone else had taken a hold of my body, forcing me to speak. I slowly turned my head to meet his eyes.

I was taken aback for a second. He was staring at me like he knew me, even though I’d never seen him before. Then again, I was sure I’d been staring at him in the same way. That feeling of knowing. He knew me, I knew him, and who the hell knows how that was possible.

His eyes were brown—are brown—dark with currents of gold and amber, giving them beautiful clarity. Slightly almond shaped. His brows were also dark, arched, adding to the intensity of his gaze. He’s the type of guy whose eyes latch onto you, dig deep, trying to sift through the files of your life, see who you really are.

“How did you know?” he asked, a full-on Australian accent rumbling through his gruff voice. It made my stomach flip, my core smolder. How deed you now, is what it sounded like. Funny how I stopped hearing the accent after time.

I gave a half shrug and looked back to the party. More people had flooded the room, mingling around the appetizers. My mother was in the corner, a crowd of politicians around her. She didn’t see me. She never did.

“Because I think I’d rather be in the middle of Lake Michigan too,” I told him, “then be stuck here with all these people.”

“These people,” he repeated. My focus was drawn to his lips, full, wide, tilting up into a smirk. Beneath them was a strong chin and even sharper jaw, dusted with a five o’clock shadow that seemed permanent, like the man couldn’t get a clean shave even if he tried. “How do you know I’m not one of these people?”

“Because you’re over here and not over there. How come you keep answering my questions with more questions?”

He studied me for a moment. My blood pounded in my head and I felt a giddy kind of thrill at how this was progressing. If anything, I was proud for holding my own with this handsome stranger. He was the first man I ever really felt at ease with.

He cleared his throat, offered me a quick smile before he nodded at the lake, his hands sliding into his pockets. “She almost looks like the ocean, doesn’t she?”

“Not quite the same as Australia, I would imagine.”

“No hiding this accent, is there?” He glanced at me and stuck out his hand, which I shook for a moment, warm palm to warm palm. “I’m Logan Shepard. Australian. And the reason I’m here is because I was invited by a friend of mine. I’m only in town for a few days and he didn’t want to go alone. He’s over there.” He nodded at a tall black man in the corner, listening intently to another man.

“Warren Jones,” he said, as if I should know him. Perhaps I should. He probably thought I was one of them. “He’s local and the key piece to my investment.”

I wasn’t one for business talk—I never had anything to contribute other than lamenting student loans—but I wanted him to keep talking. “What’s your investment?”

“Starting my own hotel,” he said. “In Hawaii. Have you ever been there?”

“Once. When I was eight. I think we were in Honolulu. I remember a city, anyway. Waikiki Beach.”

“This hotel is in Kauai. The Garden Isle. Went there once as a teenager and couldn’t get it out of my mind.”

I didn’t know the right things to say. I wanted to ask more about the hotel, what it means when you have an investor, but I didn’t want to appear dumb. I kept my mouth shut.

“You haven’t introduced yourself,” he said. “Protecting a secret identity?”

I smiled, close-lipped. “Not really. I’m Veronica Locke. American. And I unfortunately I don’t have much else to add to that.”

“Locke?” he repeated, eyes darting to my mother. “Are you the daughter of the deputy mayor, Rose Locke?”

“One of them,” I told him.

He nodded quickly. “I see. No wonder you’d rather be in the middle of the bloody lake. I bet you have to do this stuff all the time.”

“It’s not so bad.” I took a sip of my drink so I didn’t have to say anything more and looked away at the crowd. The bubbles teased my nose, making my eyes water.

I could feel his gaze on me as he spoke. “I’m sure you have plenty more to say about yourself though. Where do you work? Student?”

“Culinary arts,” I told him. “I’m one of those crazy people who dream of being a chef one day.”

He frowned. “Why is that crazy?”

I gave him a look, forgetting that most people have no idea how hard it is. “Because it’s a long road, long hours, and nothing is guaranteed. People think being a chef is easy. They see Gordon Ramsey or Nigella Lawson and think it’s all fame and food and money and they have no idea what it’s really like. I’m not even out of school and already I feel half-beaten.”

He was still frowning. He did that a lot, I would soon learn. “Sounds like life to me.” His eyes dropped to my lips and something intensely carnal came over them, like suddenly I was the food, not the wannabe chef. “Did you want to get a drink somewhere. After this? When you’ve done your daughterly duties?”

I swallowed hard. I didn’t know what a drink meant. Just a drink? A date? Was it sex? I started going through my head, trying to think of reasons why it was a bad idea. My legs were shaved, did my bra and underwear match? Did I have a condom? I had taken the pill this morning, even though my last boyfriend and I had broken up months ago. I hadn’t been with a guy, let alone a man, in a long time.

Don’t flatter yourself, I quickly thought. What makes you think he’d be interested in you that way?

“Yes,” I said when I finally found my voice. “Yes, I would like that.”

A spark flashed in his eyes, lighting them up in such a way that made my toes literally curl. Damn. I was in trouble with this man. “Any way you can get out of your duties sooner?” he asked.

I couldn’t help but smile, raising my brow at his presumptuousness, while simultaneously trying to hide the fact that I was freaking out. I looked around the room and tried to judge how likely it was that someone would notice if I was gone. My mom was still surrounded by a wall of people and no one was paying any attention to us, standing by the windows, already removed.

A sad thought hit me, sliding past before I could really dwell on it: no one even notices when I’m here.

“If we’re quick and sneaky,” I told him.

“Being quick isn’t in my repertoire,” he said, “but I could give it a shot.”

Again. Damn. I wasn’t one to blush but I could feel my cheeks heating up and hoped my skin supressed the flush. He was so much older than me in so many ways, the last thing I wanted was to appear the naïve schoolgirl.

And I didn’t know what to say to that. He was staring at me with those dark eyes, a look so intense yet sparkling with charm and something…wicked.

I’d never find out how wicked they could be.

“Ronnie!” A melodic, ultra-feminine voice sliced through the moment like an unwieldy machete, causing me to flinch, my fingers tightening around the stem of the glass.

Oh no, I thought. Not now.

Logan’s head swiveled toward the sound of the voice, like a hound picking up a scent. I didn’t bother looking over, I kept my focus on him, watching his expression intently. It changed, as I knew it would.

She had walked into the room.

He saw her.

And like it was for so many men, that look of lust I had thought was for me, was now for her.

That’s when I knew it was over. Whatever thing I had felt for him, it didn’t matter anymore, not when she was in the room. Nothing ever mattered as long as she was around.

I might have saw him first.

But he was all hers after that.

 

 

 

 

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Halle HeadshotKarina Halle is a former travel writer and music journalist and The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling author of The Pact, Racing the Sun, Sins & Needles and over 25 other wild and romantic reads. She lives on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her rescue pup, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails and devours a lot of books.

Halle is represented by the Waxman Leavell Agency and is both self-published and published by Simon & Schuster and Hachette in North America and in the UK.

Hit her up on Instagram at @authorHalle, on Twitter at @MetalBlonde and on Facebook. You can also visit http://www.authorkarinahalle.com and sign up for the newsletter for news, excerpts, previews, private book signing sales and more.

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