Guest Post and Spotlight: Sinfully Summer by Aimee Duffy

 

Aimee Duffy has a special treat to share today.  She’s got a character introduction for Enrique Castillo, the hunky hero of her new release Sinfully Summer, and she’s got an excerpt for you to enjoy.

Meet Enrique Castillo… by Aimee Duffy

The delectable Spanish hunk runs an exclusive hotel on the beach in the city all the celebrities flock to, Marbella.

Enrique, or Ric, wasn’t born into the world with a silver spoon in his mouth like the notoriously wild heiress, Alexa Green. Ditched on the streets of Madrid as a child, he’s had to fight to survive. It wasn’t until his mid-teens when the billionaires, Maria and Antonio Castillo, adopted him.

But Ric was angry at the world, and refused their help. He almost went off the rails, chasing adrenaline highs and beautiful supermodels, but he managed to pull himself together and win over the respect of those in Spain’s high society circle.

Only trouble is, will teaming up with the renowned party girl, Alexa Green, turn the tables on him, or make his charity ball all the more successful?

Ric always liked a challenge…

Sinfully Summer Blurb

Sun, Sea and Scandal

Notorious heiress Alexa Green has certainly been enjoying her most recent girls-holiday in Marbella. Just as we thought, she’s been knocking back the cocktails and showing off her fabulous bikini body on the beach… but rumour has it she’s also been spotted sneaking out of Enrique Castillo’s penthouse in the early hours of this morning – in nothing but her underwear! Our question is, doesn’t this fiercely private billionaire know what he’s letting himself in for?

He’s got the millions… and she knows how to spend them! So lie back on your sun lounger and get comfortable, because this summer fling is going to be a sizzler!

Sinfully Summer Excerpt

Adrenaline roared through her veins. This was her only chance. Pushing away from the wall, she rounded the lift, desperately seeking an escape. She barely noticed the plush furnishings, soft-looking leather sofas and floor to ceiling window which showcased the most spectacular view she’d ever seen. Instead she focused on the walls surrounding the elevator.

‘Are you lost?’

The heavily accented voice froze her to the spot. She darted a glance toward the sound. Dark brows furrowed over the richest coloured eyes she’d seen. His gaze swept over the length of her body, then up, lingering on her rear for a beat too long. Her skin tingled under his scrutiny.

Turning her whole body to face him, she slapped a hand on her hip. ‘Had a good enough look?’

His lips quirked in a sexy, lopsided grin. The jitters were back and Alexa swore the temperature in the room shot up ten degrees. Her gaze dropped to his broad shoulders, covered in a thin white t-shirt, then down to a well filled chest. She could see a dark pattern beneath the t-shirt. She longed to find out what kind of tattoo he had. Usually, tats didn’t do it for her. But on that body…

‘I could ask you the same thing.’

She snapped her attention back to his face. He stepped toward her, his jaw set, his eyes dancing with humour and something darker…something that made her blood heat and her mouth water.

Alexa raised her arm, palm out. ‘Hold it there, Mr. Any closer and I’ll scream.’

He paused by the sofa. Propping his hip against the cream leather, he folded his arms across his chest, causing the muscles to bulge. The moisture drained from her mouth and flooded in her belly.

‘No one’s here to hear you.’ He cocked a brow. ‘You seem to be forgetting where you are and,’ his gaze dipped down to her breasts causing the nipples to peak against the lacy fabric ‘how underdressed.’

Alexa thought this moment would have topped the blush scale. She planted her other hand on her hip and glared at him, unwilling to show any weakness. ‘I’m just leaving.’

She turned and strode back to the lift, keeping her back straight and trying not to wiggle her hips too much. The predatory sheen in his eyes made her body more jittery than the idea of sprinting around the lower floor in her underwear. She reached out to hit the button, but a large hand circled her wrist before she made it.

Alexa squeaked and darted back a step. He was so close, and his chest was right in her face. She could see the dark outline of the tattoo beneath the thin cotton. The outline of a burning sun, she thought, or something that looked like a sun. Her hands itched to lift the material and see for herself.

‘I’m up here.’

She snapped her gaze back up to his smirking face and took another step back. His lips kicked up at the corners and his eyes darkened. She swallowed against the urge to step closer, to feel his hard body pressed against hers. But she realised she was in little more than her bra and knickers in a stranger’s home. Unease skittered down her spine.

Alexa squared her shoulders, trying to quash the fear turning her heated blood into cold sludge. ‘I’m leaving now.’

‘After you explain what you’re doing in my home in your undergarments.’

Undergarments?’ Alexa pressed her lips together to keep a giggle at bay. ‘Seriously?’

About the Author

All my life I’ve been dreaming up stories. My mum said when I was little I used to make all the My Little Pony figurines talk to each other, and even fall in love. Later, it was Barbie and Ken. In my teens, I played matchmaker with my friends at school.

When I wasn’t creating imaginary scenarios, I had my nose stuck in books, reading across genres and there was one thing I loved more than the escapism—the fact a story can touch me so deeply, like I was experiencing everything along with my characters. I knew from early on this was something I wanted to do for others.

Fast forward a few years, and the dream almost got lost in real life, but I still couldn’t shake it completely. Now I write sizzling romance with the hope of making my readers’ hearts race like they are falling in love for the first time.

You can find me here:

Website/Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads / Pinterest / Google +

Spotlight: Once Upon a Twist by Aimee Duffy and Michelle Smart Part Two

Thanks to Aimee Duffy and Michelle Smart, I have some excerpts to share from their Once Upon a Twist Anthology. If you enjoy the excerpts, please use the order link to purchase a copy.

 

Excerpt: Glass Slippers and Combat Boots by Michelle Smart

Ella pulled the last of the rollers from Izzy’s thick auburn hair and scrutinized her work. She had not succumbed to the temptation of turning Izzy’s hair into a frizz-ball. That particular temptation had been tempered by Christell’s pet cat Domino, the ugliest, nastiest feline to have ever walked the land, guarding Izzy like a sentry. If Ella had made the slightest error, Domino would have gone tearing off to his mistress.

In any case, she didn’t want to sabotage Izzy’s night. Izzy might treat her as if she was a bad smell but she didn’t have the innate viciousness of her mother or sister. Somehow, her beatings were gentler too, rarely marking Ella’s skin. There were times, when it was just the two of them, that relations between them were almost friendly.

“What do you think?” Izzy asked.

Ella smiled. “I think you look beautiful. Prince Charming won’t be able to resist you.”

Izzy sniffed. “Rumour has it the prince has already found a bride.”

“Really? Then why go ahead with the Ball?”

“Who knows? It might be only a rumour. Still,” she added, suddenly cheering up, “I’ve heard that his Knights are very pleasing to the eye and there will be plenty of them in attendance. There is nothing more attractive than a man with an air of danger about him.”

So long as you keep your mitts of James, you can do what you like. Or do who you like.

An unexpected wave of compassion for her stepsister suddenly swept through her. She clenched her hands into fists to stop herself from squeezing Izzy’s shoulders and telling her she didn’t need to be the bike of the land; that true love was waiting for her.

The moment was lost when Ana came bursting into Izzy’s bedroom. “Are you ready? Mother says the carriage will be with us in five minutes.”

Unlike her sister, Ana had not trusted Ella with her hair or makeup, having not forgiven or forgotten the time when Ella had deliberately made her look like a clown.

Compared to Izzy’s willowy beauty, Ana looked like a man in drag. Of course, in Ana’s eyes she looked like the Belle of the Ball.

“Come, Cinderella,” said Ana, smiling malevolently, “We can’t have you missing any of the fun. I insist you wave us off.”

In a whirl of sickly perfume, Ella followed them downstairs to where Christell was waiting.

“Girls, girls, you look beautiful.” Her cruel pale-blue eyes then fixed on Ella. “Just think, by the time we return, one of your stepsisters may be betrothed to the Prince. I suggest you spend the evening practicing your curtseys. Now get in your cellar.”

The cellar door was soon locked shut, leaving Ella trapped alone in the bottom of the huge house.

When her father had been alive, a fleet of staff had catered to their every need. Christell had fired each and every one, unwilling to risk Ella blabbing to any of them.

Sinking onto the cold, stone floor, Ella hugged her knees.

Despite all her fears about the imminent arrival of the undead, she was feminine enough to feel a large dose of envy that the people of the land were gathering together for the party of the century.

More than anything, she longed to see James. She hated the idea of all those beautiful women at the Ball who were bound to spend the evening flirting and making eyes at him.

It had been only three days since she had seen him but she missed him dreadfully. She closed her eyes. She had known him barely a fortnight and already it felt as if he were a part of her. If she had been free she would be at the Ball with him, dancing with him, his hard body pressed tight against hers…

A wave of fury suffused her at all she was being forced to miss out on. Getting back to her feet she kicked the solid wood door.

“Damn you, Christell,” she howled. “Damn you to hell for killing my father. And damn you too, fairy godmother, for leaving me to cope with all this on my own. Where the hell are you?”

As if by magic – which of course it was – a puff of light appeared in the room. Seconds later, a plump, fluffy white haired elderly lady materialized before her.

Chapter Three

It took Ella a few moments to comprehend what had just happened. She blinked to make sure her febrile mind hadn’t just conjured up her fairy godmother.

“Hello, dear,” Linda beamed. “You called for me?”

“I’ve been calling you for a year and a half,” Ella said, her initial joy quickly turning into petulance.

“Have you, dear? Did you shout? My hearing-aid’s been on the blink.”

“It’s what?” She shook her head in disbelief. “You said you’d be calling in to see me.”

Linda bristled. “Well, dear,” she said, an edge creeping into her voice, “I did have the small matter of ensuring Princess Rosamund didn’t actually die when she pricked her finger on that spindle – I did warn her father it was pointless banishing all spindles from the land but would he listen to me…?”

“You’ve got a suntan,” Ella accused, taking in the golden hue of Linda’s skin.

“Well, yes dear. After making sure your stepmother couldn’t kill you and then sorting out Rosamund, I was knackered so I took a nice little cruise.” Before Ella could voice her outrage, Linda hurried on, “Still, I’m here now. No harm done. What can I do for you, dear?”

Ella threw her hands in the air. “I’m sorry for sounding like a brat but Christell has put an enchantment around the cottage that keeps me trapped here. She’s sacked all the staff so I can’t blab about what she did to my father, she’s making me live down here in this horrid cellar and treating me like a slave, and tonight there’s a Ball in the palace and, and…” Her voice thickened. Before she could prevent it, a large tear fell down her cheek, landing with a loud plop on the concrete floor.

“I’m sorry for being such a drip,” Ella muttered, furiously wiping the ensuing tears away, “But there’s an invading army of undead heading for this land and I don’t particularly fancy being trapped and defenseless when they arrive.”

Purchase Link:

Blurb:

Glass Slippers and Combat Boots

Once upon a time in a land far, far away, the creatures are coming…

In a land run by misogynists, where fair maidens are deemed liable to fall in a dead faint at the sight of blood, Prince Charming is worried – the creatures that have destroyed their neighboring kingdoms are coming for them. He judges it imperative to get all the females to safety, but first he needs to break the enchantment enslaving his One True Love to her hateful home. Oh, and there’s the small matter of the Ball to get through too.

But when the creatures reach them ahead of their expected time, all plans are foregone. Can Ella break her wicked stepmother’s enchantment? Can she save her handsome Prince and the kingdom before midnight strikes? And can she show his soldiers what it really means to kick  a monster’s butt? The clock is ticking…

Reunited With Red

Many, many years later…

When Ruby visits her grandmother in the deep, dark forest, she stumbles into a nightmare. Her grandma’s been attacked by a wolf-like creature, and an ancient disease that turned people into monsters is back… and so is the cold-hearted ex she walked out on a year ago.

Now she has to either accept Jeremy’s help or face becoming a monster herself. Fighting alongside the man she once loved isn’t easy, especially when she discovers there’s more to Jeremy than the cheating bastard she took him for.

As they fight to survive the disease and save those they love, can they keep from falling for each other all over again?

Michelle’s Links:

Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads

Aimee’s Links:

Website/Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads / Pinterest / Google +

Spotlight! Once Upon a Twist by Aimee Duffy and Michelle Smart Part One

Thanks to Aimee Duffy and Michelle Smart, I have some excerpts to share from their Once Upon a Twist Anthology.  If you enjoy the excerpts, please use the order link to purchase a copy.  Check back tomorrow for an excerpt by Michelle.

Excerpt: Reunited with Red by Aimee Duffy

A shot sounded just as the door behind her groaned in protest at the force of the creature’s attack. She could give in. Best case scenario, the thing would kill her, but she knew if the man-like creatures got anywhere near her she’d become one of them.

Another shot echoed in her ears. The men were close and the bullet took them both out. She closed her eyes against the sight of brain and blood and yuck. Once had been enough.

“Now!” he demanded.

Without thinking, she took off down Grandma’s garden path, ignoring the bodies on the floor. The sound of the wood splitting made her push her legs faster as she headed for the forest.

A muffled curse sounded to her left. She turned in time to see him running toward her, a shot gun aimed directly at her head. Her heart missed a few beats. She stopped immediately.

“I’m not…I’ve not been bitten. I—”

“Behind you!”

She spun around. Another few of the infected were at the edge of the forest. He let off another shot and her ears rang with the sound. It didn’t muffle the crack of more wood splintering, or the snarl that came from the creature which had managed to make a hole in the door big enough for its head to get through. Snapping jaws gnawed at the gap, trying to create a way out.

He caught her around the waist and picked her off the ground with one arm, pressing her close to every hard, unrelenting muscle of his body. His scent engulfed her, and his rough skin comforted her.

Anger and gratitude rippled through her, as well as something she didn’t want to think about. She bit her tongue to distract herself, but the tears streaming down her face reminded her that Grandma was gone. Her breath choked out on a sob. His arms squeezed tighter around her.

Ruby pushed at his chest. “Don’t touch me, put me down!”

He lowered her to the ground, his jaw tense, his sharp features so severe she probably imagined the flash of hurt in his black eyes. Eyes she’d once happily fallen into. Eyes that had once made her forget everything else in the world. Eyes she’d wanted to gouge out for betraying her in the worst way possible.

“We need to get out of here.” His voice tore her back to the present. She heard the creature tear another chunk of wood from the door. “Now.”

She reached for his outstretched hand, but hesitated. “Grandma.” Her voice broke around the word.

They had to go back, what if there was still a… Ruby stopped the thought dead. Even she knew hoping was ridiculous. Still if they could get her to a hospital… She snatched her hand away and turned back to the house.

His strong, constricting arms banded around her waist and he picked her up again. She kicked and screamed, unwilling to go easy, her mind a haze of grief. The bastard didn’t even flinch, didn’t loosen his hold. And then they were moving. She tried another kick, aiming for his knees.

“Red, quit it.”

Her limbs froze, but her chest ripped out sobs with every breath. “Stop…calling…me…that.” Her hair was more blonde than red, especially now she’d had it highlighted, and the nickname took her back to a time she wanted to forget.

The ground met her feet and suddenly he was in front of her, wiping her eyes, her cheeks. The severe expression on his face had been replaced with wide eyes and a frown.

“She’s…” He cleared his throat. “We can’t save her. It’s too late.”

Rage boiled through her veins, wiping away rational thought. After all, what was the point? She had nothing left. No family. Not even him. “No.”

His teeth snapped together and he grabbed her hand. She tried to pull it away but he was too strong; his grip almost crushed her bones. He turned and tugged her hard. It was either fall or follow, though she was sure if she fell he’d drag her along anyway. Any man who could lug around trees didn’t worry about the weight of a hundred and thirty pound woman. The bastard broke into a sprint, leading them into the thick of the forest in the opposite direction of his home. She tried to push the grief down, concentrate on following him through the darkness.

“Where are we going?” she asked, pushing her legs faster to keep up with him.

She couldn’t see a foot in front of her. Darker shadows than the night around them gave no indication of where they were. The moon hid beneath clouds above, somewhere through the trees. If he crashed into something she was going down with him.

“We need to mask your scent.”

If stranger words had come out of his mouth, she hadn’t heard them. But then it clicked. “The thing can smell me.”

And it did get a good whiff at the house. She swallowed against the tears in her throat. It wasn’t the time to grieve. Now she could think rationally and, although she grudged it, she was grateful he’d come when he did or she’d either be an infected monster by now or the thing would have eaten her.

He didn’t answer, just ran faster. She kept up, but her calf muscles burned and her lungs heaved with the effort. Over her ragged panting, she heard the sound of the river, but she knew they were too high up. He must be taking her to…

Ruby slowed, tried to yank her hand free. “You’ve lost your mind!”

His grip didn’t ease up as he dragged her closer to the ledge. “There’s no other way.”

“It’s at least a ten foot drop. You know I can’t swim!”

He stopped at the ledge and launched the gun into the darkness. She thought for a second he’d thrown it into the river, but it landed in the distance with a thud. The moonlight broke through the clouds, illuminating the scary jump and rushing water below. Her heart sped.

“You’ll be fine. I won’t let you drown.” His lips quirked, like he found her terror entertaining.

All the pent up anger, grief, and fear fought for supremacy inside. She couldn’t control what came out of her mouth. “And I’m supposed to trust you? Are you kidding me?”

His arms banded around her, holding her arms down by her sides in a steely grip. “You could always trust me, Red. I told you everything I was allowed to.”

Before she could argue, or before she could wonder what he meant by allowed, he picked her up and jumped off the ledge.

Purchase Link:

Blurb:

Glass Slippers and Combat Boots

Once upon a time in a land far, far away, the creatures are coming…

In a land run by misogynists, where fair maidens are deemed liable to fall in a dead faint at the sight of blood, Prince Charming is worried – the creatures that have destroyed their neighboring kingdoms are coming for them. He judges it imperative to get all the females to safety, but first he needs to break the enchantment enslaving his One True Love to her hateful home. Oh, and there’s the small matter of the Ball to get through too.

But when the creatures reach them ahead of their expected time, all plans are foregone. Can Ella break her wicked stepmother’s enchantment? Can she save her handsome Prince and the kingdom before midnight strikes? And can she show his soldiers what it really means to kick  a monster’s butt? The clock is ticking…

Reunited With Red

Many, many years later…

When Ruby visits her grandmother in the deep, dark forest, she stumbles into a nightmare. Her grandma’s been attacked by a wolf-like creature, and an ancient disease that turned people into monsters is back… and so is the cold-hearted ex she walked out on a year ago.

Now she has to either accept Jeremy’s help or face becoming a monster herself. Fighting alongside the man she once loved isn’t easy, especially when she discovers there’s more to Jeremy than the cheating bastard she took him for.

As they fight to survive the disease and save those they love, can they keep from falling for each other all over again?

Michelle’s Links:

Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads

Aimee’s Links:

Website/Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads / Pinterest / Google +

Spotlight! See by Jamie Magee!

Jamie Magee dropped by the virtual offices to share an excerpt from her novel, SEE.  Since it’s a long weekend for most of us in the States, it’s the perfect time to discover new authors and books. Please enjoy Jamie’s excerpt!  Purchase links are below.

 

About the book:

Forgetting who you are, your ambitions, your love is crippling….but remembering – embracing your purpose with a new sense of determination is more than empowering….its life altering.

Charlie Myers is on a life altering path that will cause the damned to humble in silence…

One night…just a few friends how could it go so wrong? That was the question seventeen year old Charlie Myers was asking when she found herself in the ER. Outwardly nothing was wrong with Charlie, she was a vision of perfect heath, internally she was battling a raging headache…one the doctor told her she would overcome shortly, but Charlie knew something else was wrong …very wrong.

Part of her had been stolen….she was missing memories. Those memories were sacred. They held the key to her sanity. They told her that the sinister whispers, the shadows that came to life before her were not as ominous as she felt they were. They held the bond with her late father, a famed musician. They caused her to forget the one talent that allowed her to face the darkness that haunted her every waking hour. They also masked a much deeper bond, the face of the one that had stolen her heart, long before the age of seventeen.

Charlie wanted to stay in NY, figure out what she was missing, why, and who was behind it all, but her mother had other plans. Against her will, Charlie was sent to Salem to live with her sister….within that small town Charlie found her memories….and so much more.

Her story begins now.

 

SEE Excerpt:

I glanced up and noticed that a new band had begun to play. I turned down the song that was playing in my headphones and listened through my open window. I could hear a nervous anxiety in the lead vocalist, but his audience was forgiving as they screamed and danced to the music. By the time he reached the chorus, his anxieties were gone and he took over the stage he was on. It always made me smile when I witnessed someone take ownership of their talent. They played their set, then three more bands played. I liked what I heard and made a mental note to find their music.

Madison came back to my car all alone. She was literally dancing as she walked – I guess all the caffeine in her system was starting to take effect. I got out and slid on my hood, careful not to let my boots make a mark. Madison crawled up beside me.

“Having fun?” I asked half-heartedly.
“Not yet,” she said, lying against my windshield.
“What were you doing?”
“Looking for backup – it’s kinda exhausting being around you.”
“What are you talking about – you need energy drinks to be around me?” I said in an amused tone.

She didn’t answer me. She sat up and looked at the stage. We both clapped as the band that was playing finished their set and left the stage.

“I think we should go closer for the next band,” she said, sliding down off the hood. “I like this spot,” I said, refusing to move. “Who’s playing anyway?”
“They don’t really have a name – the lead singer’s name is…Draven.”
My eyes grew wide as I looked at her in utter shock – could there be two? Was the Draven I saw today about to sing? My heart started to race, and my ears began to burn. I pulled my hood up and tried to find a calm expression, but it was useless.

“Know the name?” she asked, raising her eyebrows.

“No – yeah – I saw him earlier, if that’s the same guy. I think my mom knows his dad.”

“Same one. Draven Michaels.”

“Do you remember him from when we were little?” I asked as I tried to find the air to breathe. He wasn’t even on stage, and I couldn’t control myself. Why did he do that to me?

“I don’t think my memory is the one that should be in question,” she answered, looking anxiously at the stage.

I followed her stare. The lights were out, but the screen behind the stage was white and was blinking on and off rapidly. Throughout almost all of the other bands, the crowd had lingered by their cars or were having conversations over the music. They still moved to the music and cheered, making them a good crowd to perform in front of – but to say the least, their attention was divided. As if on cue, everyone in the field and the cars around us moved to the stage. The crowd, including Madison, screamed as the shadowed images of Draven and his band came to the stage. My heart pounded against my chest as I studied his perfect silhouette holding a guitar and adjusting his mic. He was just too perfect. The stage enhanced every part of his tall, lean body.

Purchase Links:

Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/See-ebook/dp/B0080K8HHA/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1368375718&sr=1-1&keywords=See+Jamie+Magee

Barns &Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/see-jamie-magee/1110613701

FaceBook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Insight.Jamie.Magee?ref=hl

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jamie_Magee_

Spotlight: Heating Up Hawaii by Carmen Falcone

I have a special treat for you! Carmen Falcone has a smokin’ new romance hitting store shelves, and she wanted to share an excerpt with you!  If you enjoy this taste of Heating Up Hawaii, please use the purchase link below to grab a copy!

Heating Up Hawaii by Carmen Falcone

After a long separation, will Penny and Luc’s sizzling attraction be enough to surpass their startling secrets?

There is just one person standing between Penny Ashbrook’s dream of opening her own PR business or being stuck at her job: the formidable Luc Leoni – her first lover, and the man who lets nothing and no-one get in his way. Seeing him after so long brings all the hidden emotions after a life altering break-up to surface. Pain, denial…and lust.

Luc has made many sacrifices for his career, including Penny Ashbrook, the woman who set his aspirations back a year. But now she has returned and is more alluring than ever. After all these years, he thought a self-made billionaire like himself could master everything, but to resist the strong pull toward the one woman he can’t have is an impossible task.

When this unlikely pair is reunited they will have to face the many challenges set in their way, especially an attraction that has only heightened with time and a deadline quickly approaching. Can their new bond surpass old—and new—fears?

Publisher: Breathless Press

ISBN: 978-1-77101-962-0

By Carmen Falcone

Heat Rating: 3

Word Count: 38240

Release Date: May 3, 2013

Bio:

Carmen Falcone learned at an early age that fantasizing about fictional characters and places beat doing Math homework any day. She traveled the world, achieved a B.A. in Tourism in her hometown in Brazil and was soon invited to work in the USA, where she met her Swiss husband. She’d always dreamed of becoming a published writer, and after her daughter was born, she revisited that dream of writing – this time, unwilling to give it up. She lives in Austin and enjoys reading, traveling and spending time with her family and three high energy pugs.

Author Website ? Goodreads ? Twitter ? Facebook Blog

Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

Only a few more months. Penny Ashbrook pressed her folded arms on the metal rail of the rooftop bar. She looked at the pallet of orange, yellow, and pink colors dipping into the background as the sun set behind the Dallas skyline. A few more months, and she’d be debt free–and not just monetarily.

Although each day would stretch into the length of a decade, she knew she could handle it. Hell, hadn’t she done just that for the past six months? She’d kept her head high and chin up even though her boss’s passive aggressiveness often drove her crazy. She’d pretended not to listen when small-minded coworkers whispered behind her back. At thirty, wasn’t she too old to be the talk of the office?

With a sigh, she stood straight and squared her shoulders. The much-awaited networking happy hour was not the place for a therapy session. She glanced around her. A sea of people occupied the large outdoor area. Elegantly attired men and women sought new contacts and hot leads while munching on caviar hors d’oeuvres and overpriced liquor.

She decided to stare at the blinding sun one more time, in hopes of extracting enough energy to walk around and get moving. After all, her client list wouldn’t just materialize in front of her, would it? She’d had to fight hard and strong to get where she wanted to be.

"Penny, I’ve just run into an old friend of yours," her boss, Charles Dawn, told her while his fingers lightly touched her elbow. He prompted her to turn toward him and the tall, broad-shouldered man standing next to him.

Penny flashed her signature smile and squinted to get a sharper view of the man in front of her. An oversized palm tree shadowed him.

She guessed he was at least six feet two, which put her at a disadvantage at only five feet six. His dark gray designer suit looked tailor-made to fit the planes of his large chest, and good God, legs that went on and on.

Old friend? She couldn’t remember having friends that looked this intimidating—old, or current. If she was honest with herself, the few friends she had, all vanished like dust after she’d called off her wedding.

But this man… He took a step in her direction, the setting sun illuminating his face as he moved out of the shade. She glanced at him like her eyes were old-fashioned camera lenses, capturing his features in slow motion and adjusting to his figure. His lips, sensual and rich like his clothes, twitched. As soon as her gaze collided with his, her heart skipped a beat for a few seconds only to resume and pound its way out of her beige linen dress.

Luc Leoni.

It couldn’t be, could it? To see him again after all these years.

Oh, but it was…

Penny stared into his two-colored eyes—one lighter than a clear blue sky, and the other reminiscent of murky seas. Yes, even they were ambiguous.

"Luc." She cleared her throat, and noticed a couple of fine lines around his mismatched pair.

"Penelope." Luc’s velvety voice was like a warm caress. His French accent alone lured women to drop their underwear by his bedside. His deep pronunciation of her name hadn’t changed… Pen-ay-looh-paay.

Penny stiffened her back, offered him a professional handshake under Charles Dawn’s ambitious grin. Although she wished she could kick Luc Leoni where he deserved, she had to swallow her resentment and go along with it.

Luc took her hand in his larger one, and heat coiled low in her stomach. But instead of a professional handshake, he pulled her closer with a swift movement and leaned down. He kissed her on one cheek, his warm lips brushing gently on her skin. The whisper of a touch between his stubbled chin and her other cheek belted a wire of electricity into her system.

Penny smelled his earthy masculine cologne, where rich woodsy notes blended with a light citrus. Luc Leoni was a fantastic gift wrapping for an unworthy product.

He stepped back.

This can’t be my imagination… The hot breeze ruffled a few lustrous black strands of his hair, warning her that it was all too real.

"What a small world," Charles said. "I did fail to ask where you two know each other from."

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Excerpt: Flirting with Disaster by Ruthie Knox

Random House has an excerpt from Ruthie Knox’s Flirting with Disaster.  If you enjoy it, click the link below to purchase a copy!

Flirting with Disaster by Ruthie Knox, A Loveswept eOriginal Excerpt by Romance At Random

 

About the book:

In the latest eBook original novel in Ruthie Knox’s scorching-hot Camelot series, a no-strings fling looks an awful lot like falling in love—or flirting with disaster.
Fresh out of a fiasco of a marriage, Katie Clark has retreated to her hometown to start over. The new Katie is sophisticated, cavalier, and hell-bent on kicking butt at her job in her brother’s security firm. But on her first assignment—digging up the truth about the stalker threatening a world-famous singer-songwriter—Katie must endure the silent treatment from a stern but sexy partner who doesn’t want her help . . . or her company.
Sean Owens knows that if he opens his mouth around Katie, she’ll instantly remember him as the geeky kid who sat behind her in high school. Silence is golden, but he can’t keep quiet forever, not with Katie stampeding through their investigation. It’s time for Sean to step up and take control of the case, and his decade-old crush. If he can break through Katie’s newfound independence, they just might find they make a perfect team—on the road, on the job, and in bed.
Includes a special message from the editor, as well as excerpts from these Loveswept titles: How to Misbehave, Along Came Trouble, and About Last Night

 

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Excerpt: The Geek Girl and the Scandalous Earl by Gina Lamm

 

Thanks to Sourcebooks, here’s an excerpt from The Geek Girl and the Scandalous Earl by Gina Lamm. 

 

EXCERPT:

Her sword glittered as it swung in a wide arc, whistling as it cleaved the air. She smiled as the goblin bolted.

“Jamie, I need heals.”

Ignoring the call for help, she advanced on another goblin. The tide was turning now. Her allies had almost annihilated the threat.

“Jamie?”

With a wild cry, she loosed a spell on the disgusting creature. It staggered backward before recovering and charging on her in a berserk rage, eyes wild and fangs extended. Her next swing missed, and she took a critical hit.

“Jamie, for chrissakes, we’re dying here!”

Some quick spellwork took care of the goblin, and Jamie reluctantly turned her attention back to her allies. Whoops. Three of the guild’s portraits were glaring red, signaling their imminent deaths.

“Hang on, guys. I’m here.”

Targeting the leader, she cast her most powerful healing spell. The computer screen flashed: OUT OF MANA.

“Eeep!”

She fumbled in her bags for her mana-restoring potions. She’d just managed to find one, clicking to activate it when the screen went gray. YOU HAVE DIED. RESURRECT NOW?

The guild’s groans sounded through her headset as she slumped back in her seat.

“Jamie, where the hell were you?”

“Worst. Healer. Ever.”

“I wouldn’t use your heals for a paper cut, Jamie. That was pathetic. Haven’t you ever run this level?”

She shoved her long highlighted brown hair over her shoulder, glaring at the computer screen. “Of course I have. I can heal this run in my sleep. I just got a little carried away with the mobs. It won’t happen again.”

Kurt, the guild leader, let out an audible sigh over the chat channel. “Fine. One more run. Everyone ready?”

Jamie readied her character’s potions and spell rotation. Typical. They figured since she was the only girl in the guild, she should be the healer. She didn’t mind healing, especially in the more difficult dungeons, but she wanted to do her part to take down the bad guys too. It wasn’t fair. Men never took her seriously. That’s why she played these games. It was supposed to be a level field. But the game, like her life, was rarely ever exactly what she thought it should be.

The Lords of Discord guild cleared the dungeon run easily that time, with Jamie focusing on healing alone. She picked at the chipping mauve polish on her fingernails between fights, only needing to keep half an eye on the large computer screen.

“Great job, Lords.” Kurt’s voice held a ton of relief as he divvied up the loot.

After securing her share of the rewards, Jamie said her good-byes to her guild-mates, logged out, and switched to her other character, Killaz. A hulking Amazon melee class in a chain-mail dress with a huge two-handed sword, Killaz was how Jamie saw herself in her mind’s eye—kick-ass, tough, and more than a little bit intimidating. As she cut a swath through the forest full of giant spiders, she wished that she was anything like that in real life. If I was as tough as Killaz, then that jerk Logan wouldn’t have broken my heart and walked all over me like a dollar store welcome mat.

After an hour of grinding out daily quests, a vibration in the front pocket of her shorts made her jump. Her groan echoed through her junky living room when she saw the text: “Go help Pawpaw Milton with the antiques or I’ll sell your Comic-Con pass. Love, Leah.”

Jamie slogged up the stairs with a huge sigh, studiously ignoring the piano with half-written songs strewn across the bench. The last thing she wanted was to move dusty furniture and knickknacks in the triple-digit heat. But her best friend, Leah, had had enough of Jamie’s post-breakup isolation and had put her foot down where it hurt—right on the pop-culture fan’s trip to the Holy City.

As she drove downtown to the storage unit she was helping Pawpaw Milton clear out, she tried to believe that everything would go back to normal. Well, before-Logan normal. With Leah’s help and this part-time job, maybe she could get there. Maybe even start writing music again. And besides, she’d grown up a lot since the last time she’d worked at the antiques store. Her first summer job there had ended after only three days. The antiques were probably way less fragile now.

***

“Damn!”

The resounding crack of glass echoed through the storage unit, making Jamie flinch. Pawpaw Milton had left her alone in the unit to go to an estate auction. The hundred-degree heat had her dripping with sweat—not the best condition for handling two-hundred-year-old crystal.

Jamie hoped that Pawpaw hadn’t noticed the pretty bowl tucked away in the corner. She carefully shoved the evidence of her klutziness into a large black garbage bag. What he doesn’t know won’t get me fired, she figured, though she couldn’t exactly shake the guilt.

Holding the end of her ponytail atop her head, she gulped from the giant bottle of water like a frantic desert survivor. This was hell.

Jamie pulled her phone from her pocket: 2:00 p.m. Another three hours to go before she could escape to her cave and take a shower. Oh well. It would be worth it in two months when she got to Comic-Con. Hopefully.

She unknotted the bottom of her tank top and dried her face and hands with the tail of it. Even in her thinnest tank top and shortest shorts, she still felt overdressed for this weather.

After carting out and cataloging a number of fragile items without incident, all that remained was the large furniture on the opposite side of the unit. Well, other than the big sheet-covered monstrosity behind the table. What is that, anyway?

Reaching up, she stood on tiptoes to toss back the corner of the dust cover for a quick peek. But she tugged just a little too hard, and the white fabric billowed as it floated down on top of her, dust and cobwebs coating her sweat-slicked skin. Arms flailing, she fought free of the cover, stomping it in a fit of frustration when it lay on the concrete at her flip-flopped feet.

“What the hell is your problem?” Jamie yelled at the innocent-looking mound of fabric. It said nothing, just laid there looking smug.

She turned her back on it to see what it had been covering.

The piece was a tall bureau, made of a rich mahogany that almost glowed gold from deep within the wood. It sloped outward in the middle, wider at its drawer-filled base than the top. Mirrored doors covered the upper portion.

She touched the wood lovingly. It was beautiful, cool to her skin even in the sweltering heat. When she’d reached up as high as she could, she sighed and trailed her thumb down the center of the shiny mirror on one door.

Her thumb dipped into the center of the glass.

With a gasp, she pulled, trying to free her hand. It wouldn’t move. She was stuck.

She yanked backward with all her strength. The mirror pulled on her hand, drawing her farther into the glass. She braced against the bottom of the bureau, using her legs to give her leverage. She was in up to her wrist now.

“Help!” she yelled, frantically scrabbling against the mirror’s hold. “Somebody, please!”

Using all her weight, she jerked backward, nearly dislocating her shoulder in the process. The mirror refused to release its hold. She whacked the slanted middle with the flat of her free hand in frustration.

With one last effort, she braced her feet against the bottom drawer and pulled with all her might. Without loosing its grip on her, the furniture tilted dangerously, almost tipping before she hit the floor to right it again.

Well, this sucks, she thought, slumping against the bureau. Her right ear was traveling through the mirror now.

So much for Comic-Con. So much for her place in the Lords of Discord guild. So much for showing Logan she could be fine without him. She hadn’t really been doing a good job of that anyway, but dammit, she deserved better than being consumed by antique furniture!

Once she gave up fighting, the pull went much faster. Within moments, the glass had swallowed her entire head.


 

If you enjoyed this excerpt, you can order The Geek Girl and the Scandalous Earl from your favorite bookseller or clicking the links below:

About the book:

 

The Stakes Have Never Been Higher…

An avid gamer, Jamie Marten loves to escape into online adventure. But when she falls through an antique mirror into a lavish bedchamber—200 years in the past!—she realizes she may have escaped a little too far.

Micah Axelby, Earl of Dunnington, has just kicked one mistress out of his bed and isn’t looking to fill it with another—least of all this sassy, nearly naked woman who claims to be from the future. Yet something about her is undeniably enticing…

Jamie and Micah are worlds apart. He’s a peer of the realm. She can barely make rent. He’s horse-drawn. She’s Wi-Fi. But in the game of love, these two will risk everything to win.

Excerpt: A Bride By Moonlight by Liz Carlyle

 

 

Please enjoy this excerpt  from A BRIDE BY MOONLIGHT by Liz Carlyle:

Napier cocked one hip on his windowsill and crossed his arms, studying her. “Elizabeth,” he said quietly, “why are you not leaving?”

Her satin cords, or whatever they were, having been tossed aside, Elizabeth threw up both hands and looked at him incredulously. “Because we’ve work to do?” she snapped. “Because the sooner we’ve done whatever it is you’ve dragged me off to do, the sooner we’ll be away from here?”

Away from here.

Away from her.

God, he prayed for both—but for far different reasons, he was beginning to think.

Suddenly her eyes widened. She cut a glance at the door, then hastened to it, the green velvet of her carriage dress slithering enticingly over her hips. Then, to his extreme discomfort, she bent over a little and set an ear to a flat spot in the carved wood, providing a delectable view.

It seemed an eternity before she straightened and shook her head. “My imagination,” she muttered. “I’m sorry, what were you saying?”

Napier sighed, and altered his strategy. “Make your point, but be quick about it,” he said. “In what way might you be of help?”

Again, the ingenuous expression. “Why, it’s hard to know,” she said, “when I’ve been told nothing of what brought you home to Burlingame. After all, I am just the hired help—no, the blackmailed help. Nonetheless, I will have time alone with all your maddening female relations—and ladies do gossip. Moreover, they will take no notice whatever of another lady asking a great many questions. Indeed, given our so-called betrothal, they will wonder if I do not.”

“There is some truth to that,” he admitted.

“And then, of course, there’s Fanny.”

“Who, pray, is Fanny?”

“My maid,” she said impatiently. “Servants’ hall tittle-tattle is the purest form of gossip.”

“True, my man Jolley is invaluable in that regard.”

“Furthermore, Fanny and I are apt to be in parts of the house you will not,” she said. “While you’re closeted with your grandfather in some stuffy estate office, the ladies will likely take tea in the drawing room, or sew in the parlor, or read in the library. Are you looking, perhaps, for a weapon? Or purloined goods? Or what?”

He considered it for a moment, and wondered why he should not take her up on it. Elizabeth was a clever piece of work, and the fact that she made his cock throb every time she drew near was merely a testament to his stupidity.

“All right,” he said, setting one hand high on the bedpost. “I need every bit of gossip either you or Fanny come across, so long as you take no risk to get it. And I need paper.”

“Paper?”

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