Thursday, April 8, 2021

BOOK SPOTLIGHT: Careless Whispers by Synithia Williams @ERomNews #Giveaway @SynithiaW #ContemporaryRomance #NewRelease

 

 


Careless Whispers
A Jackson Falls Novel #3
by Synithia Williams
Genre: Contemporary Romance


She’s falling in love with the one man she can’t trust…

Elaina Robidoux knows how people view her: coldhearted, ambitious, ruthless. But it doesn’t matter. Running the family business is all she’s ever wanted and she’s so close she can almost taste it…until her father fires her and hires her nemesis—arrogant, unflappable Alex Tyson. Elaina may be hurt but she refuses to be defeated, so she throws herself into creating a business of her own. But she never dreamed that to close her first deal, she’d need Alex’s help…

Alex understands the power of a family legacy better than most and the last thing he wanted was to take that from Elaina. Her beauty and fierce strength are undeniable, but there’s a softer side that no one but him seems to see. She’s been taught that emotions are a liability, yet one impulsive kiss starts a chain reaction that neither of them wants to stop. But can love ignite—and survive—when secrets and loyalties collide?



[An] exceptional tale of forbidden love.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review, on Forbidden Promises

Praise for Synithia Williams’s Jackson Falls series

Williams (His Pick for Passion) makes waves with this exceptional tale of forbidden love.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review, on Forbidden Promises

A romance for readers looking for equal parts passion and family drama.” —Kirkus Reviews on Forbidden Promises

Politics, passion, and family drama combine to make a deliciously soapy second-chance, brother’s-best-friend romance. Readers of Alisha Rai’s Forbidden Hearts series or Reese Ryan’s Engaging the Enemy will be tantalized and surprised by the many twists and turns.” —Library Journal on Forbidden Promises




Careless Whispers Excerpt 2

“Thank you for coming down here to help and volunteering. I know you were told to be here.”

Alex chuckled and walked back over to the box next to her. “I didn’t realize being active at the country club was a part of the job description.”

“It usually isn’t. We recently lost the person who helped last year. You were promoted at an opportune time.”

“Tonight wasn’t too bad,” he said.

“I suspect not.” She watched him for a few seconds as he read over the list in the box he’d opened. “Sade was very friendly. I was surprised you chose to help me instead of going off with her.”

He didn’t look up from the paper. “I wasn’t interested in going off with her.”

“I couldn’t tell.”

“Was there a reason you paid so much attention to my interaction with Sade?” This time he did look up and nailed her with that I-can-see-through-your-bullshit stare.

Elaina glanced away quickly. “I just noticed, that’s all. She’s a nice person. I even tried hooking her up with Byron once. You could do worse.”

“Why would I want to do worse?”

She lifted a shoulder. “Sometimes worse is more fun.”

“In what way?” he asked.

“The person you know you shouldn’t be with always holds the bigger appeal,” she stated matter-of-factly. “It’s the entire off-limits aspect that makes everything much more addictive.”

“Are you speaking from experience?”

She turned to face him, her heart pounding again and a dozen warning bells going off in her head. She should shut down the flirting, but the look in Alex’s eyes said he was willing to go with her down this path. “I’ve got some experience with wanting the wrong man.”

“But that’s all in your past now.” He took a half step closer.

She shook her head. She’d never been good at not going for what she wanted. Her ego needed stroking, and Alex with his quiet understanding and empathy had shown her more care than anyone had in a long while. She’d be smarter this time. This was just to quell her curiosity. People said there was a thin line between love and hate. Maybe all their bickering had just been leading to this.

“Not quite,” she said, choosing her next words carefully. She pretended to check the list in her box. “I find myself thinking about someone who I once despised. I miss clashing with him daily. I enjoy the verbal sparring. Not to mention he recently wrapped his arms around me, and for some reason I can’t get that out of my head.” She glanced at him. “He’s stronger than I imagined. His embrace is comforting in a way I didn’t realize I’d like. It makes me want more even though I know I shouldn’t.”

Alex stilled next to her. “What are you going to do about this ill-advised craving?”

“It kind of depends on him,” she said. “I think he’s interested, but I can’t be sure. And you know I could never offer myself to a man who didn’t want me.” She said the last part with a slight shrug though her heart imitated a hummingbird against her ribs, and a mixture of excitement and adrenaline flowed with each beat.

Alex slid closer, closing the distance between them, and filling her senses with him. He pulled the paper out of her hands. “What if he wants you too?”

His deep voice slid over her like warm satin. Elaina’s nipples tightened as heat flooded her sex. She faced him and met his dark eyes. “Then I’m in trouble, because I’m no good at saying no to the things I want but shouldn’t have.”

Alex watched her for several heartbeats. The pulse beat quickly at the base of his neck. A question hovered in his eye. Was she being genuine, or was she playing with him? She wasn’t about to back down now. Not after she’d worked up the courage to acknowledge the attraction humming between them.

Before he could let common sense kill the moment she lifted on her toes and brushed her lips across his. “Tell me, Alex, am I in trouble?”

Alex’s strong arm wrapped around her waist. He pulled her carefully against his body as if she were precious. Emotion squeezed her chest while a jolt of desire rushed through her. She never could resist a man willing to accept her challenge.


 




Synithia Williams has loved romance novels since reading her first one at the age of 13. It was only natural that she would begin penning her own romances soon after. It wasn't until 2010 that she began to actively pursue her publishing dreams. Her first novel, You Can't Plan Love, was released in August 2012.
When she isn't writing, this Green Queen, as dubbed by the State Newspaper, works to improve air and water quality, while balancing the needs of her husband and two sons. You can learn more about Synithia by visiting her website, www.synithiawilliams.com, where she blogs about writing, life and relationships.





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Tuesday, April 6, 2021

BOOK SPOTLIGHT: In Your Eyes by Jayne Townsley @JayneTownsley @ERomNews #Giveaway #COntemporaryRomance #NewRelease

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

In Your Eyes
(Seasons of Love #2)
By Jayne Townsley
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 127 Pages
January 5, 2021

Crystal Davis got her wish for the Crew’s long-awaited post-graduation trip. Sun and fun before focusing on her new career as a pediatric RN at St. Francis’ Children’s Hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was just what she needed. Bonus? She met Troy Bennett, and she realized she wanted less frivolity in her life and a little more serious.

Troy Bennett is a man fighting the demons who tell him he is worthless every day of his life. Demons his mother conjured. He quiets them with alcohol and casual relationships, never allowing any woman to get close enough to him so he will never have to disappoint one. Then on the spur of the moment trip to Panama City Beach with his Ranger buddies, he sees the future he’s always been afraid to pursue exit a Jeep Wrangler at a local donut shop.

Just as Troy and Crystal are finding their footing, she gets the call she never thought she would earn: Crystal Davis is going to Hollywood to be a contestant on America’s Next Chart Topper. What started as a way to honor her murdered friend has now become her dream. Chasing her dream means leaving Troy behind for a bit, and she wonders if her absence will cause what they’ve built so far to come crashing down.

Chasing her dream also means she’s put herself in a place where she’s vulnerable to the side of Hollywood that no one wants to acknowledge. A place where people only care about her and Troy’s story for the audience while behind the scenes, evil, selfish people work to tear them apart.

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Crystal’s nerves were fraying after some nut job had run Kevin and Rin off the road earlier. Kevin also informed them some strange guy had followed the Crew around all day. He did not know if it was the same man who had done both things, but Kevin was confident a connection existed between the stalker and the accident. Kevin feared the stalker had links to human traffickers. Words did not usually fail her, and she had a feeling she was worrying Troy with her silence since they got in their Uber. Kevin’s plan had been for the eight of them to pair up and go in different directions once Rin left the hospital. She and Troy were one pair.

“Crystal?” Troy asked. She could hear the implied are you OK in there.

“I’m all right, Troy,” she responded with a tremor in her voice. “Or I will be. Do you know how, after an intense event happens, you can get all shaky? That’s me right now. You’d think I’d been the one in the car accident.”

“I do know about that shaky feeling. You’re having an adrenaline dump. Try taking some deep breaths. When we get to the hotel, if you can stretch a bit, it might help, too.”

“Good advice,” she replied after trying one of those deep breaths. “How do you know about dealing with shock?”

“Adrenaline dumps are an occupational hazard for us.”

Right, she thought to herself. It has to be intense to be an Army Ranger.

The Uber arrived at their humble abode for the evening, and they exited the car. As Troy placed his hand on the small of her back, walking them into the motel, a small smile tugged at her lips, and a sense of calm overcame her. His presence reassured her.

“Crystal, don’t be afraid,” Troy said, seeming to sense her mood. “I’m not going to let anything happen to you, OK? My brothers and I will keep you and the Crew safe and see you home in one piece.”

“I know you will,” she replied with conviction. “I believe in you.”

She would have missed the shock on his face if she had not been looking. It was there and gone in half a second and had her wondering why he would be surprised by her words. Was she coming on too strong? Too much too soon?

Once they were checked in and at their room, she readied herself for bed while Troy stood outside the door. An awareness hit her that she had changed. Crystal generally flirted for practice and fun. Her interactions with Troy felt utterly different. Less lighthearted playfulness. More ‘can we see where this goes?’ Her intentions were breathtakingly new. She hoped he felt the same connection with her that she felt with him. If he did not, he would be a hard man to forget.





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About the Author


Jayne Townsley lives with her multi-generational family in Northeast Oklahoma's aptly named Green Country. A transplanted Okie from the Chicago suburbs, she has grown to love this state and its people with a passion, happily calling it home for the past 15 years.

Jayne shares her home with a rescued Shollie named Maui and two cats called Gamora and Nebula. 

Jayne enjoys old-fashioned road trips and is in the process of planning one to tour Oklahoma's Route 66. 

She is also something of a Disney World addict.


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Wednesday, March 17, 2021

BOOK SPOTLIGHT: Second Chance Cowboy by Clair McEwen @ERomNews #Giveaway @ClaireMcEwen1@PrismBookTours #NewRelease

 

On Tour with Prism Book Tours



Second Chance Cowboy
(Heroes of Shelter Creek, #5)
By Claire McEwen
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 210 Pages
March 1, 2021 by Harlequin Heartwarming




He was her first love…

But some things she can’t forget

Busy small-town veterinarian Emily Fielding is finally ready to take on some help. The best man for the job, however, is Wes Marlow—who broke her heart in high school. Though Wes has a way with horses and a way of melting her resolve, Emily needs to keep things purely professional. Wes left her once—will he do it again? Because she can’t lose her heart a second time…

Heroes of Shelter Creek
Book 1: Reunited with the Cowboy
Book 2: After the Rodeo
Book 3: Her Surprise Cowboy
Book 4: Rescuing the Rancher
Book 5: Second Chance Cowboy




Emily took a shaky breath. Just sitting next to Wes opened the floodgates to a wave of memories. The way he used to stumble out of his room in the mornings with tousled hair and a sleepy smile just for her. Their first kiss, so hesitant and careful, one evening when they’d taken her dog out for a walk. Sitting at the kitchen table studying for an exam, feeling the energy radiating from him, just as she could feel it now. Could she even drive with him in the cab? Could she think straight on this case if he was with her? “Maybe this is a bad idea.”

You said the horse is tough to work with. I can help with that. I promise.”

“I hope you’re right.” She started the truck and turned toward downtown Shelter Creek. She’d need to cross town to get to Haley’s property. They were quiet for a few moments and she tried to get used to the idea of Wes Marlow, in the cab with her. Assisting her on a call. “This is surreal.”

“Right?” Wes gestured to the town around them. “There have been so many changes here. Look at all these restaurants and art galleries. And wine tasting rooms. How’d everything get so fancy?”

She’d been thinking about Wes and he’d been thinking about Shelter Creek. It hadn’t taken five minutes for him to start taking up way too much space in her mind. She should never forget how easily he left her behind. How she’d already spent way too many days of her life thinking about him. “I meant, it’s surreal, driving in a truck with you. Seeing you. You look the same, except all grown up.”

“Ah.” He gave her a look she could feel, even though she kept her eyes on the road. “You look the same, too. Except better.”

That had her glancing his way. “Better, how?”

He suddenly looked flustered. “Just...better.”

 



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About the Author



Claire McEwen is an award-winning author whose strong heroes and heroines take big, emotional journeys to find their happily-ever-afters. She loves writing stories set in quirky small towns and romantic western settings. Claire lives by the ocean in Northern California with her family and a scruffy, mischievous terrier. When not dreaming up new stories, she’s a busy mom who also enjoys gardening, hiking, discovering flea-market treasures and wandering on the beach. A life-long bookworm, she always has her kindle close by.


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One winner will receive a copy of Second Chance Cowboy (ebook or paperback, winner's choice) and a $30 Amazon gift card

Two winners will each receive a copy of Second Chance Cowboy (ebook or paperback, winner's choice)

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Thursday, March 4, 2021

COVER AND BLURB REVEAL! Protecting the Duke by Karyn Gerrard @ERomNews @KarynGerrard #Historical #Victorian #ComingSoon

 



Cover art by The Write Designer



Blurb for PROTECTING THE DUKE (The Rakes of St. Regent's Park #1)


The fact that women couldn’t join the London Metropolitan Police was an injustice to Eleanora Galway. She found her way around such an obstacle: by forming a detective agency. When a note arrives from a duke concerning a mysterious and gruesome delivery, Eleanora agrees to investigate.


Despite the pursuit of pleasures by The Rakes of St. Regent’s Park, weariness and boredom were setting in. Along with stark loneliness. No one felt this more than Christian Bamford, Duke of Allenby. Once the Galway Agency arrives, Christian is fascinated by Eleanora and her razor-sharp deductive mind and bold confidence. She attracts him as no other woman has done before.


When Christian proposes assisting her with her inquiries, Eleanora initially balks. But the temptation of being in the darkly handsome duke’s company is hard to resist. Swept up into an adventure and a passion neither had counted on, the blending of unlikely lives, occupations, and societal standing seems insurmountable. But for the independent Eleanora and the progressive-minded Christian, nothing is impossible. Not even love.


THE RAKES OF ST. REGENT'S PARK SERIES


In a private meeting place, in an old bank office behind Colosseum Terrace on Albany Street, a group of gentlemen attended a gathering. It had nothing to do whatsoever with financing, investments, or stocks—unless you counted moral bankruptcy. The central rules of this club: no serious attachments to anyone, and the pursuit of one’s own pleasures, especially of the carnal variety, were to be of the utmost importance.

But weariness and boredom were setting in. Along with something more worrying: loneliness. A disquiet of the soul. These bad boy peers of Victorian London were damaged, hiding their inner torture beneath a thin veneer of devil-may-care dissoluteness.

It takes an exceptional group of women to capture the hearts of such men. To see past the outer shell. The ladies are determined to live and love in their own way, with no relinquishment of their independence and no compromises. How satisfying to find that deep down, these progressive men are in total agreement.

 


Author's Note


This is an all-new historical romance set in 1897 Victorian London, and I will be folding in already published standalone historical romances into this series (revised, of course)

Here will be book 2


Book 3



Book 4 is a historical romance that I received the rights back to a few years ago. Also reworking/revising that. There may be more books in this series, but I'm not committing to anything for now.

Hoping to have these three books ready to go in the spring. I am working on my own schedule. 









Karyn Gerrard is a multi-published author from Canada. She loves to write sensual historical and contemporary romances. Tortured heroes are an absolute must.

 Karyn’s been happily married for a long time to her own hero. His encouragement and loving support keep her moving forward.
To learn more about Karyn and her books, visit  www.karyngerrard.com.



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Monday, February 22, 2021

BOOK SPOTLIGHT: The Duke Heist by Erica Ridley @EricaRidley #Giveaway #Historical @ERomNews #NewRelease

 

 


The Duke Heist
The Wild Wynchesters Book 1
by Erica Ridley
Genre: Historical Romance

NYT bestselling author kicks off a new Regency series of "irresistible romance and a family of delightful scoundrels" as a woman looking to recover a stolen painting accidentally kidnaps a duke instead. (Eloisa James)

Chloe Wynchester is completely forgettable -- a curse that gives her the ability to blend into any crowd. When the only father she's ever known makes a dying wish for his adopted family of orphans to recover a missing painting, she's the first one her siblings turn to for stealing it back. No one expects that in doing so, she'll also abduct a handsome duke.

Lawrence Gosling, the Duke of Faircliffe, is tortured by his father's mistakes. To repair his estate's ruined reputation, he must wed a highborn heiress. Yet when he finds himself in a carriage being driven hell-for-leather down the cobblestone streets of London by a beautiful woman who refuses to heed his commands, he fears his heart is hers. But how can he sacrifice his family's legacy to follow true love?

"Erica Ridley is a delight!" --Julia Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of the Bridgerton series

Anyone who registers their purchase at https://ericaridley.com/preorder/ gets a FREE bonus book!





Miss Wynchester swept into the Duke of Faircliffe’s dining room with her head high.
Faircliffe’s throat went dry and his mind emptied of rational thought.
Gone was the insipid blandness of tan-on-tan. Her curves were now draped in a slip of mauve twill, overlaid with a sweeping frock of white netting. The dark velvet trim on the light rose bodice matched the velvet vandyke points decorating the skirt. The gauzy romantic colors brought out the dark brown of her hair and the deep brown of her long-lashed eyes.
His body tightened. It was all he could do not to reach for her. Pull her against his chest, and claim her in ravenous kisses that weren’t his to take.
A smile flitted at her lips, as if she sensed the maelstrom she’d unleashed within him.
His lungs tangled, making it hard to speak. Each syllable was the rasp of a drowning man. “You look magnificent.”
She stood much too far away for Faircliffe’s taste. That bodice would be displayed at its best pillowed against his chest, the perfect distance for a man to embark on a trail of kisses from her rosy lips, down the column of her throat, and into the swell of her bosom.
Tonight, he would dream of nothing else.
Miss Wynchester took a step toward the table. He watched, rapt. The swing of her hips was sensual and confident. She was a Wynchester. A woman of flesh and blood. Not being a highborn lady erased none of her power. The empty dining room crackled with it.
He leapt to his feet to help her into her chair.
She stopped her forward progress when she was less than an arm’s length from him. Close enough to touch. Close enough to see.
Her eyes were the warmest shade of brown he had ever beheld. They were fathomless, penetrating. He wanted to see those eyes flutter closed in pleasure, and know that it was he who had brought her to that peak.
That.” Her voice was warm honey. “Whatever you’re thinking at this very moment. That is what you should be doing.”
He’d been thinking of her. Of devouring her kiss by kiss, lick by lick, until she was limp and sated in his arms.
It was highly improper dinner party behavior.
His voice was hoarse. “I don’t think you understand what I…”
“Don’t I?” Her eyes were hot on his, her gaze intense and unwavering.
He tried to calm the rushing in his veins, carnal desires straining to be set free. She meant this. That he should be and do as he pleased.
But what he wanted would lead them both to ruin.
“My father...” His voice was too low, too rough. A rumble of thunder on a spring day. “Father was emotional and impulsive. It made him a laughingstock.” It had made Faircliffe a laughingstock. “I will not compound his mistakes.”
Even if there was nothing he wanted more than to end this conversation by covering her mouth with his. Giving in. Allowing passion to consume him.
Her gaze searched his face. “What if it’s not a mistake? How will you know, if you keep yourself gaoled inside your head?”
Gaol. That was exactly what he should do with the urge to take her, kiss her, taste her. Lock his visceral, libidinous urges behind bars and throw away the key. It was the only way he would be strong enough to resist temptation.
“I...” Had he stepped closer? Had she? Their forbidden kiss was a breath away.
Her eyes sparked with challenge. “What would you do, Your Grace? If you were the sort of craven rogue who indulged his every desire. What impulse are you trying to fight?”
He reached up to touch her cheek. He should not have. Its softness was his undoing.
Faircliffe was done fighting. For the moment, he would allow desire to break free from its chains. With no gaoler to stop him, there was only one thing Faircliffe wanted… and she was right in front of him.
He grasped her face, his fingers delving into the softness of her hair, and brought her to him. Heaven. Hell. His lips upon hers were less a kiss, and more two souls crashing into each other, shattering and melding at the same time.
She smelled like honeysuckle and tasted like fresh tea. Had he thought he hated the substance? He adored it when it came from her lips. No amount of sugar could compare to the sweetness of her mouth, the fierce rush of her fingers twisting in his hair.
Something fluttered in his chest, an unfurling, a rebirth. He explored the contours of her mouth, mapping each hidden corner to remember later, to revisit in his mind when he could not have her in his hands.
Both palms now cupped her cheeks. Not to keep her in place, but to stop himself from skimming his eager hands down the column of her neck, the hollow of her back, the flare of her hips.
If he touched her body, he’d be tempted to pull her closer. To leave no doubt that kissing her was no fleeting impulse, but a gale-force of temptation he barricaded himself against every time he thought her name or saw her face. This was what he had hungered for. Her. Beneath his fingers. Had he truly believed he could stay away?
Kissing her was as inevitable as the rain falling from swollen clouds, and just as impossible to hold in one’s hands forever.
He forced himself to wrench his mouth from hers, panting. Her face was still in his hands, her lips swollen from his kisses. He touched their foreheads together and tried to regain his breath. It was no use.
“Now you know.” The words were a growl, a plea. “All I can offer you is a moment’s passion. Do not ask me to uncage myself again, unless this is what you want.



 




**Get the FREE Prequel The Governess Gambit here!**



Erica Ridley is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of historical romance novels, including the newly released THE DUKE HEIST, featuring the Wild Wynchesters. Why seduce a duke the normal way, when you can accidentally kidnap one in an elaborately planned heist?

In the 12 Dukes of Christmas series, enjoy witty, heartwarming Regency romps nestled in a picturesque snow-covered village. After all, nothing heats up a winter night quite like finding oneself in the arms of a duke!

Two popular series, the Dukes of War and Rogues to Riches, feature roguish peers and dashing war heroes who find love amongst the splendor and madness of Regency England.

When not reading or writing romances, Erica can be found riding camels in Africa, zip-lining through rainforests in Costa Rica, or getting hopelessly lost in the middle of Budapest.


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Friday, February 19, 2021

BOOK SPOTLIGHT: Operation K-9 Brothers by Sandra Owens #MilitaryRomance #Giveaway @ERomNews @SandyOwens1

 

 



Operation K-9 Brothers
Book 1
by Sandra Owens
Genre: Military Romance


Navy SEAL Jack Daniels (save the jokes, he’s heard them all) and his trusty Belgian Malinois sidekick, Dakota, are back home in Asheville, North Carolina, after a bomb left them scarred. Unable to accept that he’ll never be able to return to his team, Jack is looking for a miracle. What he isn’t looking for is a permanent relationship, though he’s open to a no-strings distraction at the magic hands of gorgeous local potter Nichole Masters.

Nichole is on a losing streak with men. Her ex-boyfriend won’t stay gone, a competitor is out to ruin her business and even her rescue pup, Rambo, is refusing to get in line. A chance run-in with a navy SEAL turned canine companion trainer might solve the dog problem. The fact Jack is easy on the eyes doesn’t hurt, either.

But when Nichole feels like she’s being watched, Jack is the only person she can turn to. He’s a protector and problem solver by nature and training. Accepting his protection is one thing—Nichole didn’t count on falling in love.





“You stalked me?”

 

“I don’t know if I’d exactly call it stalking.” Jack sighed when Nichole raised her brows. “Yeah, okay, I stalked you, but only long enough to find out where you worked. I’m an ass.”

 

“An ass and a toad,” she said as she slid off the rock, landing next to Dakota. “Is he always a toadstool?” she asked his dog. Dakota huffed, sounding way too agreeable. “You’re donkey doo, you know that?”

 

Jack couldn’t help it. He laughed. That got him a glare from Nichole. Even Dakota, the traitorous thing, gave him a dirty look. “You have a talent for name calling. Donkey doo just replaced doggie doo as my favorite one.”

 

She pushed up, crossed her arms over her chest, and scowled. He wondered if he should tell her that her attempt to glare him into next week wasn’t working, mostly because her arms were pushing her breasts up. He was a man. Breasts trumped all else, and hers were ten times better than perfect.

“Eyes up here, soldier!”

 

He could tell her that a SEAL was never referred to as a soldier, but she could call him soldier all night if she let him anywhere near those sweet girls. As difficult as it was, he managed to drag his gaze up to her face.

 

“Sorry,” he said. Or not. Now that he knew his scars didn’t disgust her, like a broken record, his male brain was stuck on one word. Sex. Now. Okay, that was two words, so he wasn’t as boneheaded as he was acting.

 

Sex now with her.

 

There. A complete sentence. He could think again. That was good.

 

He tried a smile but didn’t get one back. He sighed. It was time to grovel. “You’re right. I’m donkey doo, doggie doo, a toad, and all those other things you called me. I knew it was creepy to stalk you, but—” She narrowed her eyes. “Right, no buts. I’ll take you home, then I’ll disappear from your life.”

 

“Probably a good idea.”

 

He was glad she thought so because he sure didn’t. Although it was undoubtedly for the best, considering the way his chest hurt at the thought of never seeing her again. Better to put a stop to those kinds of feelings while he still could.

 

“I’m sorry, Nichole. Really.” He tugged his shirt back on, then picked up his pack from where he’d dropped it on the rock.

 

“So that’s it? You’re not going to try to change my mind?”

 

Was that what she wanted him to do? Women were confusing. He glanced at the dogs. Rambo had woken from his nap and was sitting quietly—a minor miracle that—next to Dakota, both of them staring at him, as if waiting to see if he’d manage to screw this up. He tried to think of the right words, but his mind was a complete blank.

 

To hell with it. Didn’t actions speak louder than words? He strode to Nichole, cupped her cheeks, lifted her face, and lowered his mouth to hers. When she didn’t slap him, he took that as a positive sign. On a soft sigh, she melted against him.

 

He raised his head. “This is me doing my best to change your mind. Is it working?”

 

“Yes, you creepy stalker, it is. Now shut up and kiss me again.”

 

“Yes, ma’am.” He was trained to follow orders, and this was one he was definitely on board with. Her breath quickened, matching his own as their tongues tangled. Drunk on endorphins, his worries about his arm, his future, about anything melted away. He’d found his oasis, and he never wanted to stop kissing her.

 

Wild need raged through him, and he wanted to devour her right here. Right now. He wasn’t sure he would ever get enough of her, of her taste, of the feel of her body pressed to his. He wanted to consume her and be consumed by her.

 

“You taste like cherries,” he murmured against her mouth.

 

“Lip gloss.”

 

How could he resist a woman who smelled like vanilla and tasted like cherries? He broke away from her mouth and peppered kisses across her cheek until he reached her neck. He pressed his tongue over her pulse point, feeling the rapid beat of her heart. She purred, sounding like a kitten. He smiled against her skin, gave serious consideration to taking her down to the ground with him.

 

This wasn’t the place—and maybe even not yet the time—for giving free rein to what he wanted, what he was practically dying for. He reluctantly pulled away, then rested his forehead against hers. She scared him. The timing was all wrong for the connection and chemistry they had between them.

 

Yet he knew he wouldn’t walk away from her, even though he should.



A best selling, award winning author, Sandra Owens lives in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Her family and friends often question her sanity, but have ceased being surprised by what she might get up to next. She's jumped out of a plane, flown in an aerobatic plane while the pilot performed death-defying stunts, has flown Air Combat (two fighter planes dogfighting, pretending to shoot at each other with laser guns), and rode a Harley motorcycle for years. She regrets nothing. Sandra is a member of Romance Writers of America's Honor Roll, and a 2013 Golden Heart® Finalist for her contemporary romance, CRAZY FOR HER. In addition to her contemporary romantic suspense novels, she writes Regency stories.





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