Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Dirty Little Lies: Men of Summer

Dirty Little Lies
a Men of Summer novel
by Lora Leigh
an Erotic Romantic Suspense



From #1 bestselling author Lora Leigh comes Dirty Little Lies, a scintillating novel of the Men of Summer—and the scorching hot women who set their hearts on fire…

THE HEART HAS ITS SECRETS.
Zack Richards knows he’s asking for trouble. Trying to protect a member of the notorious Maddox family could get a man killed—even a battle-scarred, muscle-ripped alpha like Zack. But the woman who has captured his wildest fantasies is nothing like the rest of her power-hungry clan. She’s innocent, beautiful, and has quickly become the one shining light in his dark, desperate world. The only woman worth fighting for…and dying for…

BUT PASSION NEVER LIES.
Her name is Grace Maddox—and everybody knows that she is a marked woman. Targeted for her family’s sins and hunted like a wild animal, Grace has no choice but to accept Zack’s protection. In his arms, she finally feels safe. In his eyes, she sees an insatiable desire that mirrors her own. But the truth is dangerous—and could end up tearing them apart. Will surrendering to Zack end up being the biggest mistake of Grace’s life?


Review by pearls
The Men of Summer series follows the action of homegrown militia group and its agency counterpart as they fight terrorist and criminals on American soil.  If you've been following the series, you've already met the incredibly hot and Alpha men.  If not, Lora Leigh quickly brings you up to speed.  There is a traitor amongst them, and Grace is caught in the crosshairs.  There has always been sexual tension between Grace and Zack, but they have been fighting it for so long they don't how to not fight it.  But when her safety depends upon living under his protection, the tight quarters force them past their barriers.  As always, Lora Leigh delivers on the steamy nights.  The suspense and mystery drive the plot, and shows how these two were fated from the beginning to wind up together.  Another great novel!


About the Author
Lora Leigh lives in the rolling hills of Kentucky, often found absorbing the ambience of this peaceful setting. She dreams in bright, vivid images of the characters intent on taking over her writing life, and fights a constant battle to put them on the hard drive of her computer before they can disappear as fast as they appeared.

Lora's family, and her writing life co-exist, if not in harmony, in relative peace with each other. Surrounded by a menagerie of pets, friends, and a teenage son who keeps her quick wit engaged, Lora's life is filled with joys, aided by her fans whose hearts remind her daily why she writes.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Rebel Heir


The Rebel Heir
a Spare Heirs novel
by Elizabeth Michels
a Historical Romance

The Spare Heirs Society Cordially Invites You
to Meet Ash Claughbane: The Imposter

Pre-order for Sept. 6 Release

Lady Evangeline Green is living a lie. To please her family, she masquerades as the perfect debutant...until she meets the wickedly charming Lord Crosby. With him, there are no rules. She's finally free to do as she desires-but freedom comes with a price, and Lord Crosby is not what he seems...

Ash is not Lord Crosby. He's a con artist, a noble Spare Heir living off his silver tongue. When the Green family ruined his, he swore he'd make them pay, and he never doubted his devotion to revenge...until he met Evangeline. Now, caught in a web of lies, torn between duty and desire, what's a con to do but deceive all of London and steal the one lady who dared match wits with the devil himself?

Spare Heirs:
The Infamous Heir
The Rebel Heir
The Wicked Heir
The Unsuitable Heir


Praise for Elizabeth Michels:
"Michels's latest is the complete package: a captivating romance with gripping suspense wrapped up in a novel to be savored."-Publishers Weekly STARRED for The Infamous Heir
"Rich with wit and charm."-
Publishers Weekly on How to Lose a Lord in 10 Days or Less
"Michels' fresh and funny debut will delight readers with its endearing characters and infectious mix of sweet yet sexy romance and realistic yet wry wit."-Booklist Online STARRED on Must Love Dukes

Review by pearls
Intrigue, plots and clandestine meetings keep this plot moving along.  When Lord Crosby set out to ruin the Green family, he didn't expect for the daughter to be a grown woman that would capture his attention with her looks and her brains.  Evangeline is equally compelled to stop Lord Crosby from seducing another unwitting woman.  While she sidesteps her overbearing mother, he is a step a head of a horde of angry investors.  Can they manage their individual goals without all the juggled balls crashing to the ground.  Can be read as a stand-alone, but does include members of the Spare Heirs.  A good read for those who enjoy parlor games. 

An Indecent Proposal


AN INDECENT PROPOSAL


The O'Malleys series
Author: Katee Robert
a Boston Mafia Romance
On Sale: August 30, 2016
Publisher: Forever



 ABOUT THE BOOK

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Katee Robert continues her smoking-hot series about the O'Malleys—wealthy, powerful, and full of scandalous family secrets.



Greed. Ambition. Violence. Those are the "values" Olivia Rashidi learned from her Russian mob family-and the values she must leave behind for the sake of her daughter. When she meets Cillian O'Malley, she recognizes the red flag of his family name…yet she still can't stop herself from seeing the smoldering, tortured man. To save her family, Olivia sets out to discover Cillian's own secrets, but the real revelation is how fast—and how hard—she's falling for him.



Plagued by a violent past, Cillian is more vulnerable than anyone realizes. Anyone except Olivia, whose beauty, compassion, and pride have him at "hello," even if she's more inclined to say good-bye to an O'Malley. While his proposal of sex with no strings seems simple, what he feels for her isn't, especially after he learns that she belongs to a rival crime family. Cillian knows that there is no escape from the life, but Olivia may be worth trying—and dying—for.



BUY THE BOOK HERE







Kobo


Review by pearls
I love the O'Malley siblings!  Forced by birth into a lifestyle they neither want nor enjoy, but obligated by family loyalty to do their duty.  Each finding love in a way that allows them to follow their heart.  This third book does not disappoint.  He may be an accountant, but Cillian is all Alpha.  When Olivia needs help, he stands up for her, but still allows her to make her own decisions.  Olivia is caught between a rock and hard place, and the hard place keeps getting harder.  She has to learn to trust, to see the man behind the suit.  Action and suspense, along with lots of steamy sexy scenes.  You won't need to read the first two to follow this storyline, but why miss out on some great mafia romance stories!?!




AN INDECENT PROPOSAL Excerpt


Need another drink?” The words were clear despite the general ruckus of the bar, the voice like whiskey on the rocks. If Cillian O’Malley put a little imagination into it, he could almost taste her tone. It was the closest he’d come to having an actual drink in ten months.

Olivia.

He looked up, straight into night-dark eyes that made him think reckless thoughts about leaning across this bar and kissing the hell out of this woman. It was something the old Cillian would have done, and if the look on her face was any indication, he would have gotten the shit kicked out of him for the effort. He smiled despite the dark mood that had brought him wandering into Jameson’s to begin with. “Hey, gorgeous.”

The guarded look on her face was the same as the first time they’d met, like she expected him to whip out a gun and start shooting or threaten her or some shit like that.  Since he knew for a fact he’d ever so much as raised his voice at her in the two times they’d interacted previously, it stung a little that that was her knee-jerk reaction to him.

And it made him want to show her how wrong she was.

“You know, I’d pay good money to know what I did to piss you off so much.”

Olivia’s expression iced over in a way that would send a smarter man running. It just made Cillian more intrigued.  He’d been caught up in his family’s dramas for so long, it was refreshing to having an unconnected interaction—even if it was with someone who hated him. Hell, it was almost better this way.

It just added to the tangled mess inside him caused by sitting in this bar. Jameson’s and he had a complicated history that he’d never be able to escape. It was the last place his family had felt whole. He’d been here with his brothers, Aiden and Teague and Devlin, on the final night when they’d been celebrating Teague’s impending marriage. Devlin had been shot in a drive-by on the way home, and the O’Malley family had lost the closest thing to an innocent they could call their own. Cillian hated this place as much as he loved it, but it was here his feet brought him when he wandered.

Olivia crossed her arms over her chest, which only served to accent the way her breasts pressed against her shredded T-shirt. It wasn’t ripped enough to be truly indecent, but he could see several slices of her dusky skin beneath the black fabric, and it was distracting as hell. She cleared her throat, but he still gave her body a slow look, taking in her spiked combat boots, tiny skirt, coming back to that shirt, and then settling on her face. She was beautiful in the way good models were—a little too sharp for strictly traditional good looks, but all the more striking because of it. The mass of dark hair and the anger in near-black eyes took her over the edge into devastating.

She looked like the kind of mistake he would have jumped at a year ago. He had  jumped at her six months ago when they’d first met, and it had gone in the same direction their current interaction was headed. She’d taken an instant dislike to him, and nothing he could say seemed to convince her that he wasn’t this monster she seemed to label him as.

            So much had happened between then and now, so much that weighed him down and threatened to drag him under for good. He hadn’t even been out by himself since he was shot—the same night he’d last seen Olivia. He rubbed his shoulder, half-sure he could feel the scar beneath the fabric of his shirt.

What would it be like to be that carefree and crazy version of himself, just for one more night?




MEET THE O’MALLEYS



The Wedding Pact, #1

The Marriage Contract, #2

An Indecent Proposal, #3



Author Katee Robert's Top 5 Shows on Netflix



Sense8 – This show is one of those that, if you’ve seen it, you know EXACTLY why it’s on this list. If you haven’t… What are you waiting for? Go. Watch! Give it 2 episodes, because the first very much thrusts you into this world and expects you to find your feet, but it is SO worth the payoff. You have a diverse cast with diverse characters in settings across the world. You will laugh, you will cry, and you will be baying at the moon for season two (it’s coming! I promise!)

Jessica Jones – Oh, the feels. Jessica Jones has some of the most compelling characterization of the aftermath of an abusive relationship and rape that I’ve seen to date. It’s dark. It’s definitely a slow-boil story, and she’s self destructive to a clinical degree…but you can’t look away. And the emotional payoff at the end is just perfection.

Daredevil – So I loved the first season. The fight scenes are great, and Matt and Foggy’s relationship is gold. But season two is where I just lost it because of one character—Frank Castle, the Punisher. That particular character has been played before and played well (depending on who you ask) but his portrayal in this season was just… God, I have no words. Raw and dark and completely, heart-wrenchingly relatable. I can’t wait for him to have his own season (and to see him again in other Daredevil seasons?).

Empire – This is a new-to-me show. It was on my radar, but I finally got around to watching it this month…and promptly binged the entire first season. The music is amazing, the family dynamics are on point, and the plot unravels so pitch perfect. Cookie and Lucious give me life (even though I want to punch him in the throat 75% of the time).

UnReal – This show is one of the most compelling on television right now. Seriously. The characters are all complex and, let’s face it, not particularly good people. But you can’t look away, and you end up rooting for them despite yourself. Rachel and Quinn have one of the best and most nuanced friendship that transcends everything around them. If you haven’t watched this show, I’m not above shoving it into your hands. I love it SO SO much!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR



Katee Robert learned to tell stories at her grandpa's knee. Her favorites then were the rather epic adventures of The Three Bears, but at age twelve she discovered romance novels and never looked back.



Though she dabbled in writing, life got in the way-as it often does-and she spent a few years traveling, living in both Philadelphia and Germany. In between traveling and raising her two wee ones, she had the crazy idea that she'd like to write a book and try to get published.



Her first novel was an epic fantasy that, God willing, will never see the light of day. From there, she dabbled in YA and horror, before finally finding romance. Because, really, who wouldn't want to write entire books about the smoking-hot relationships between two people?



She now spends her time-when not lost in Far Reach worlds-playing imaginary games with her wee ones, writing, ogling men, and planning for the inevitable zombie apocalypse.













FOLLOW FOREVER ONLINE












RAFFLECOPTER Contest








Friday, August 26, 2016

It Takes Two




It Takes Two
by Nikki Sloane

FREE!!!

 

☆☆☆ "PANTY MELTING HOT"☆☆☆

It Takes Two by Nikki Sloane is now FREE on all platforms!!! Originally published in the USA Today bestselling anthology "For the First Time," this novella contains 50% more all-new content.

Blurb

I know what’s supposed to happen at my casting call. In walks a stranger, my clothes come off, and we shoot amateur porn. Only a hot guy doesn’t show up—two of them do.


Thursday, August 25, 2016

Beyond Your Heart


Beyond Your Touch
Dark Heart Series, Book Two
by Pat Esden 
Genre: new adult paranormal
 Publisher: Kensington
 Date of Publication: August 30, 2016

Number of pages: 320
Word Count: 85k

 Book Description:

 She wants more than he can promise.

 His desires could lead to betrayal.

 But without each other, neither can survive the dangers ahead.

 Annie Freemont knows this isn’t the right time to get involved with a man like Chase. After years of distrust, she’s finally drawing close to her estranged family, and he’s an employee on their estate in Maine. Though she never intended to stay on the estate for long, her father’s illness and the mysteries surrounding her family made leaving impossible. And now with the newfound hope of rescuing her long-missing mother, Annie’s determined to be involved with the family’s plans one way or another.


If only she could keep her mind off Chase and focus on the impending rescue. But there’s something about the enigmatic Chase that she can’t resist. And she’s not the only woman. Annie fears a seductive stranger who is key to safely freeing her mother is also obsessed with him. As plans transform into action and time for a treacherous journey into a strange world draws near, every move Annie makes will test the one bond she’s trusted with her secrets, her desires—and her heart.



Amazon     BN     BAM     Indiebound


About the Author:

 PAT ESDEN is an antique-dealing florist by trade. She’s also a member of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, and the League of Vermont Writers. Her short stories have appeared in a number of publications, including Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, the Mythopoeic Society’s Mythic Circle literary magazine, and George H. Scither’s anthology Cat Tales.


Her new adult paranormal novel, A HOLD ON ME (book #1 in the Dark Heart series) is available from Kensington Books. BEYOND YOUR TOUCH (book #2 Dark Heart series) will be released August 30th.







Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Sugary Sweets

SugarySweetsebookWrap

Sugary Sweets
A Taste of Love Novel Vol 2
by AM Willard

NOW LIVE
#99cents Release Sale
Synopsis
Zara James never expected to fall in love, leaving the hopeless romantic lifestyle to her friends. She also never imagined she’d be expecting a baby and married to the one guy she fought so hard to keep at arm’s length. Faced with life’s challenges of insecurities, pregnancy hormones, and the pressures of being a new wife in the burbs of Atlanta, Georgia, Zara tries to master them one cupcake at a time. Well, that is until her world is turned upside down by one accident that could change everything.

Hatcher James knew his smart-mouthed wife was the only woman for him years ago. He just had to figure out the correct formula to make her fall in love with him. Putting together the perfect mixture of intimacy, spice, and frosting might just do the trick, and bring joy to both of their lives. As Hatcher tries to come up with the right ingredients, will all the hard work end in smoke or will they conquer life’s hurdles together, one tasty treat after another? Sugary Sweets continues the Taste of Love series as we join the gang for some comical scenes, life challenges, friendship, and most of all, love covered in sugar.

Sugary Sweets Teaser updated

About the Author
International Bestselling Author, A.M. Willard is a true believer of soul mates, and happy ever afters. She enjoys reading, sailing, and of course writing contemporary romance, and romantic comedy with some saucy scenes. Releasing her first novella of the One Night Series on April 12, 2014, has sent her on a new journey in life.

Sugary Sweets Now Live
Available Now!
Amazon US → http://amzn.to/2bz6ykn
Amazon UK → http://amzn.to/2bnHDjd
Amazon CA → http://amzn.to/2b6eewh
Coming on Nook, and Scribd soon!

Connect with A.M. Willard


Frosted Sweets Vol 1 of A Taste of Love Series
is currently #FREE on #Amazon

Frosted Sweets FREE Teaser

Amazon US → http://amzn.to/2auVdQF
Amazon UK → http://amzn.to/2b251r2
Amazon CA → http://amzn.to/2aH4NmT

cropped-Nells-PR-Marketing-FB-Cover-.jpg

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

My Wild Irish Dragon


My Wild Irish Dragon
a Paranormal Romance
by Ashlyn Chase



ONE JOB OPENING
TWO SHIFTERS APPLY…
SPARKS FLY

Dragon shifter Chloe Arish is hell-bent on becoming a Boston firefighter. She uses her Irish charm and fake documents to score an interview, knowing she has to work every bit as hard as a man—harder if she wants their respect.

Born into a legendary Boston firefighting family, phoenix shifter Ryan Fierro can’t possibly let someone best him on the training course or the job. He’d never hear the end of it. When a feisty new recruit comes along who’s determined to do just that, Ryan plots to kick her out—until their sizzling chemistry turns explosive…

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2bVtezG

EXCERPT

“Are you sure you’re up for this?” Ryan asked.

Chloe had her gym bag over her shoulder and laughed. “Why? Did that little hotel fire yesterday tucker you out?”

He grinned. “What fire?”

“Exactly. I thought a big city like this would be a lot busier.”

“I know from listening to family members that it can be crazy busy. Sitting around and waiting for something to happen was the hardest thing about yesterday.”

“I’m looking forward to the physical exercise,” Chloe said.

“Me too.” He held open the door for her.

She had almost given up on trying to change his “ladies first” mentality. It seemed as if that was ingrained in his makeup. Obviously he’d had no sisters who were willing to run up and over his back to be first.

“So, what do you think of this twenty-four hours on and four days off schedule?” he asked as they waited for the elevator.

She laughed. “Yeah, the schedule is feckin’ crazy. But I guess we hit it right. It could just as easily have been three or four days round the clock, and then a day off.”

“That would have been fine by me. I get bored easily.”

The elevator arrived and they stepped inside. Chloe didn’t address his comment. It was hard to tell if it was his competitive nature again, or if he just meant it as an innocent comment.

She would see if his competitive streak showed itself again soon enough. They changed in their respective locker rooms and met at the weightlifting equipment.

As she spotted him, he lifted more weight than she thought the average man could manage. But Ryan was proving he was anything but average.

The weight he kept adding to the barbells was bordering on ridiculous. His skin glistened with a fine sheen of sweat, and she couldn’t help noticing his muscles. Damn it all, her mouth watered. Don’t drool, Chloe. He has enough of an ego without you feeding it.

At last it was her turn. He started removing the weights, and she said, “Leave ’em.”

He cocked a brow. “Seriously? You think you can lift this?”

“I can.”

He smirked. “All right, princess. I’ll let you try…but just so you know, I’m going to hover. You don’t need an injury before your next shift.”

She rolled her eyes. “Fine. Hover all you want. I’m tellin’ you, I can do this.”

As he stood behind her and she lay on the bench below the barbell, he chewed his lower lip. Ah, a tell. Now she knew when he was nervous.

Her toned arms looked even leaner as she reached for the barbell.

“Don’t,” he said and clamped his hand over the middle of the bar.

“Excuse me? It’s my turn.”

“I know, but I can’t let you do this. Even if you did manage to lift it, the strain isn’t worth it. You need your arm strength for the job.”

At that moment a woman appeared dressed as if she were auditioning for a remake of the ’80s movie Flashdance—complete with leg warmers and a poofy perm.

“I need to speak with you, miss,” she said.

“I’m in the middle of—”

“Now!” The woman grabbed her hand and all but yanked her off the bench, then marched her to the ladies locker room. When they saw a couple of women chatting, the staff member barked, “Leave!” They immediately scurried out.

“Jaysus, there’s no need to be—”

Suddenly the woman transformed into none other than Mother Nature herself. Her hair turned white, long, and loose, and she wore her signature ivory robe, belted with a vine.

Chloe gasped. She had only met the deity once, but it was a meeting she’d never forget. One isn’t often lectured by the Goddess of all. And here she was, almost breaking the rule she’d been lectured about.

“What do you think you’re doing?”

When she recovered her decorum, Chloe answered, “Defending the right of women to be as strong as a man.”

Mother Nature paced, staring at her with narrowed eyes. “Are you an ‘idjit,’ as your people would say?”

Chloe folded her arms. “Not a’tall.”

“I beg to differ. What if I had been a real staff member? Without the muscle to back up your ability, you’d reveal that you’re supernatural. You know that’s not allowed.”

“I—I…”

“Yeah. I-yi-I! Not. Good. Downright stupid.”

“I get it! You don’t have to insult me intelligence.”

“Oh, I think I do. If I were sweet about it, would you listen?” She mockingly said in a meek voice, “If it’s not too much trouble…that is, if you wouldn’t mind…would you kindly refrain from trying to show your strength?”

Chloe had to agree. She’d steamroll a request like that and do whatever she wanted. And she wanted to show Ryan she was his equal.

“I understand your competitive nature. Hell, I gave it to you! I thought women might need it, being the smaller, gentler sex.”

“So you knew we’d have to prove we’re equal?”

Mother Nature rolled her eyes. “Again. Just who do you think you’re talking to?”

“Oh.”

“Now, go out there and take at least half the weight off that barbell. If you can’t do that, make up an excuse to leave.”

Chloe sighed. “Yes, ma’am. I’ll make up an excuse and go home.”

Mother Nature’s eyes widened and she rose about a foot off the floor. “I hate being called ma’am! It’s Goddess, or Gaia, or Mother Nature. Understand?”

“I do. My apologies, Goddess.”

She nodded and floated to the floor again. “That’s better.” She patted Chloe on the head. “Now be a good little dragon and pretend to be normal.”

Oh, that rankled. But when dealing with the Goddess of all, the least of her problems was a little patronizing behavior—or would it be matronizing? Whatever. The woman could reduce her to ash if she wanted to. Her fireproof gift could be removed in the blink of an eye, and then where would she be? Reduced to competing with the others on a human basis. Ugh.

Chloe changed into her street clothes and found Ryan. She waved her cell phone. “Sorry. I got a call from my brother. Apparently he needs me right away.”

“Oh. Sure,” Ryan said as he put the free weights back in the rack. “Just give me a minute to change and I’ll drive you home.”

“Not necessary. I can find my way.”

“Are you sure? I don’t mind leaving early. Maybe I can help.”

“Ah, no. It’s a family matter. I’ll see you at work in a few days.”

When she saw the disappointed look on his face, she impulsively invited him to their session at the Boston Uncommon Tea Room the following night. During training she had told him that her family formed a small Irish folk band and he’d said he liked that kind of music.

Now she had to think up a plausible family emergency and ask Rory and Shannon to play along.






About the Author
ASHLYN CHASE specializes in characters that reinvent themselves, having reinvented herself numerous times. She has a degree in behavioral sciences and has worked as a psychiatric and a Red Cross nurse for several years. She lives with her real-life hero husband in New Hampshire.


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Monday, August 22, 2016

Be Mine


Be Mine
Second Chances Series Book 1
by Isobelle Cate
a Contemporary Romance



Gracie Sinclair just wants life to return to normal.

Now a widow and picking up the pieces after the death of her husband, she delves into her work, seeking a new normal, until she bumps into a handsome stranger who derails her orderly life, completely.

Luke can’t wait for the week to be over. Having built an engineering company into a multi-million pound enterprise in record time, he feels...empty. Nothing satisfies him anymore, not even having weekenders in his bed. But when he bumps into a woman—literally—on his way out of a bar, realizing she is his last meeting before he goes on holiday, his plan of staying away from relationships takes a nose dive. He wants Gracie Sinclair.

Gracie learned a long time ago how insincere love can be, so when Luke decides to become part of her life, she tosses up every obstacle to dissuade him until he breaks down her walls and makes her realize that her life can only be complete with Luke by her side.

However, something sinister from Luke’s past threatens the happiness they have struggled to find. If he concedes, he will become criminally liable and lose everything.

If he refuses, he loses Gracie’s heart… 


Minutes later sunshine replaced the grey clouds, a precursor for better things to come. Gracie and Noreen had just put the finishing touches to their table when cars started coming inside the manor's grounds. Children waited inside the cars before parents and grandparents opened their doors to let them out. Colourful jackets, coats, and parkas made for a rainbow that decided to take a break from arcing over the skies. Smells of sausages and grilled hamburgers with a pinch of strong coffee soon wafted through the fare. People queued for food. Others perused the items on sale, from pottery and glass jewellery to different cheeses made in several parts of the country. Tasting trays of small breads and crackers with dollops of jam or cheese made their way on food stall tables for people to sample. Some crowded a few booths while other booths waited for people to gather around them. By noon, the swell of chatting groups and shouts of butchers selling fresh slabs of meat mixed with the shrieks, laughter, and whining of children.
"Thank you." Gracie smiled at a buyer, while Noreen handed over the change for another purchase.
"Oh my God, Gracie, can you believe it?" Noreen's face had a happy smile. "The fair isn't closing for a few hours yet and we're down to just one crate."
"And I should say well done, you." Gracie enveloped her friend in a warm hug.
"Girl, they didn't just buy my stuff. They also bought yours." The lilt in Noreen's voice belied her serious face. "Well done, apprentice."
Gracie laughed. "Thank you. I have a wonderful teacher."
A dusky blush coloured Noreen's caramel skin. She was the epitome of elegance no matter even if she was in dungarees. Her braided hair was tied with a piece of cloth at the nape of her neck, where several necklaces with tiny ceramic beads clicked against each other whenever she moved. Her softly kohl rimmed eyes sparkled with excitement and could be liberally laced with mischief, but not this time. Pure joy radiated through her in the way her mouth lifted in the biggest of smiles and the way she engaged potential buyers in conversation. Her enthusiasm, contagious.
Noreen waved her hand dismissively at Gracie's compliment. "We will start trading compliments very soon."
Gracie grinned, shaking her head. She bent down to get more ceramic bowls from the crate, gently taking them out from the bed of bubble wrap, unmindful of the quiet behind her. "We'll need to take out this blue and grey set of salad bowls, Noreen." She straightened up, turning towards her friend. "Where should I put..." Surprise slammed into her like a freight train. "these..."
"Hello, Gracie." Whatever chill she felt abated in the banked fire in his blue eyes.
"What are you doing here?"
His eyes gleamed with amusement. "It is the weekend fair. People come to enjoy it."
Colour flooded her cheeks. Dumb, Gracie. Just dumb. "Yes. Right. Well...enjoy the day then." She turned to Noreen, who watched the exchange with curiosity. "I'm going to get coffee. Do you want anything?"
"I'll get it," Luke interjected. Noreen had just opened her mouth to speak and kept it open as she turned to Luke before she pursed her lips.
"It's not necessary," Gracie said.
"Gracie, please let me."
"Why don't you both go and get me coffee," Noreen retorted wryly. "Better yet get me the huge cafetière because seriously I feel like I'm watching a table tennis match."
Gracie scowled. Luke chuckled.
"Good idea," he said. "Gracie?"
Not wanting to belabour the point, Gracie turned to get her small purse and slung it diagonally across her chest. She refused to acknowledge of the sudden loud thudding of her heart and the turmoil that seemed to be usurping the calm inside her belly. She could also feel Noreen's gaze on her, but she refused to look at her friend, opting to make her way out of their stall to join Luke.
"Luke! Baby!"
The strong cloud of perfume arrived first before a woman flung herself at Luke, capturing his mouth in a kiss that had a few passers-by gawk, glance with surprise, and snicker. Gracie stopped mid-stride, sighing and shaking her head.
She gave Noreen a curt smile. "I'll be back with the coffee."
"Gracie!"
She continued walking, her wellies splashing over puddles that hadn't been dried by the sun. The warmth she felt at the sight of Luke became colder than the fall weather. She ground her teeth at his girlfriend's shrill laughter.
She was such a fool. She felt used. Degraded.
Betrayed.
She swallowed against the lump lodged in her throat. She wasn't going back to the stall. Noreen would understand her need for silence. For solace. Knowing Luke's penchant for following her, Gracie allowed herself to be lost in the crowd, choosing to weave her way through the thickest group of people. Not even the obnoxious dressed for the Ascot races man sputtering his importance at a group of rowdy teenagers made her stop. She stole a glance back. Luke was nowhere in sight. Relieved, she made her way to the stall from where the aroma of rich, strong coffee came from. She groaned in frustration. A lot of people seemed to have the same idea as the queue formed a straight line perpendicular to the stall. If she went to the end of the waiting line, Luke would no doubt see her and that was the last thing she wanted. She nearly stomped her foot in annoyance.
"Bloody nuisance," she gritted before she abandoned her mission and opted to leave the fair for the quieter part of the manor grounds. Fishing out her mobile, she typed a quick text to Noreen.
Just needed to get away. Will be back in half an hour.
A few minutes later, her phone vibrated. Okay, but you owe me an explanation. And who the hell is the woman nearly clinging around your guy like a boa constrictor?
Gracie's thumbs flew over the QWERTY board. He's not my guy!
Noreen texted back. Uh huh.
Gracie huffed, not bothering to reply.




Sexcerpt:


Luke Bryce was leaning against her office door. He wore denims and a pastel blue Ralph Lauren button down shirt with the sleeves rolled up to show his muscular forearms. The logo was discreet unlike the brand's other shirts that seemed to scream that the horse and rider were just about to join the charge of the Light Brigade.
She resumed walking.
"Mr. Bryce, you should have waited for me to get you from reception," she said, trying to inject displeasure in her tone when she was feeling the opposite.
"It's Luke, Gracie. I want you to call me that."
Her eyebrow lifted of its own volition.
"What is it you wanted?" she asked, not bothering to say his name. Irritation flashed in his eyes before it was gone. Slight apprehension uncoiled inside her. Gracie hacked it with a mental knife.
This man wasn't Jonathan. This man was the opposite and her body knew it.
"Let's talk inside your office."
Gracie saw that the receptionist had left her post and was watching their exchange with interest.
"Very well," she muttered, walking towards him to open the door. As she did, his cologne drifted to her nose, and she inhaled deeply. His body heat embraced her, ratcheting her awareness of this virile man who had no problem invading her personal space, making her very aware of his sex appeal. He was so near that when he exhaled she could feel his breath close to her temple. Her sex pulsed at the contact.
She twisted the doorknob, walked ahead, and waited for him to come in. When she turned around after closing the door, he was standing so close to her that she had to tilt her head up. Her breath hitched when she saw his eyes smoulder, the heat in them burning a trail down her sternum to spread across her breasts. Heart in her throat and excitement running through her bloodstream, she took in everything Luke Bryce was. From the shadow that covered his jaw, to his deep set eyes that seemed to look into her very soul, and his wide mouth that she desperately wanted to kiss. Oh God, she wanted what he was offering. Her mind battled against itself. She wanted to move away and yet wanted to stay. He used her moment of indecision to cage her in with his hands against the door by her shoulders. If lust had a scent, Gracie knew what it was. Freaking hot, delicious, and damn good. It swirled around her in a sensual blanket, and she could feel her pulse throbbing in her clit, causing her core to moisten in response. Her nipples also responded by budding inside her bra, the lace sensually abrasive against the points.
"You lied to me," he said softly.
"Excuse me." Her eyes snapped to his deep blues.
He was unperturbed at her consternation. "You said you were married."
"I am Mrs. Sinclair."
"Yes, you are. Widow of Jonathan Sinclair."
She sucked in a sharp breath.
"It doesn't matter how I know, Gracie," he admonished gently, answering the unspoken question in her eyes. "Why did you make me believe you were still married?"
"What's it to you?"
“Why didn't you want to go out with me?"
She sighed, closing her eyes. Try as she might, she couldn't open them again as excitement seeped through her pores and pleasure slowly built inside her, warming her thighs, circling inside her belly before going up slowly, languidly to tease her nipples and add to the rapid rate of her heart. Oh God, this man was wreaking havoc on her body. Her lips parted when she felt Luke's breath brush her cheek, her face angling towards his involuntarily. She made a sound between a gasp and a moan when his tongue caressed her earlobe before tracing the shell of her ear. She felt like falling and raised her hands to push him away but as soon as her palms touched his chest, they heated, her fingers nearly curling against his pectorals. The flicker of desire inside her roared to life. Luke moved forward, pinning her to the door. She was not able to stop the soft and rapid pants coming out of her lips, and could feel her sex moisten further at the hardness of his arousal against her belly, igniting the fire that had been dormant for so long. She brushed her lips against his jaw. Luke didn't need any further prodding and turned his head to capture her mouth.
Sweet joy stormed into her very soul. Luke's tongue seared the seam of her lips, teasing, coaxing, exploring, before he parted the barrier her teeth put up to invade her mouth. He claimed her tongue, tasting it, flicking it, playing with it until Gracie growled softly and deepened the kiss. The kiss was rough and filled with unbridled need. Their tongues greedily explored, staked, and claimed. Their breaths became hot and heavy, each wanting to give and take as much as they could. Gracie moaned against Luke's mouth as her arms encircled his neck. She slanted her mouth to give him more access and the more he swirled his tongue with hers, the more he nibbled on her lips, the more liquid heat flowed from her core. Her mouth parted against his lips, taking in his breath as Luke's hands lifted her skirt to skim her stockings, teasing the lace band that held it up before drifting towards her mound. Gracie's breath came short and fast, and she moaned when Luke's finger teased her against the wet silken fabric.
"So wet, Mrs. Sinclair," he rasped. "Did I do this? Let me see if I've done a good job." He slipped his finger inside her panties and found her engorged bundle of nerves, spreading her wetness over it. "Yes, baby. It seems I did." His mouth dipped to suck the skin against her erratically beating pulse. Slowly, he rubbed, but Gracie couldn't get enough. He was toying with her. When she moved to direct his digit, Luke would move it away.
"Please." She sighed. He raised his head, his gaze filled with lust made her melt to a quivering mass. Her hips moved of their own volition, urging him to take her. "Luke."
That was all he needed to insert his finger inside her.




**Bio***

Isobelle Cate is a woman who wears different masks. Mother-writer, wife-professional, scholar-novelist. Currently living in Manchester, she has been drawn to the little known, the secret stories, about the people and the nations: the English, the Irish, the Scots, the Welsh, and those who are now part of these nations whatever their origins. Her vision and passion are fuelled by her interest and background in history and paradoxically, shaped by growing up in a clan steeped in lore, loyalty, and legend.

Isobelle is intrigued by forces that simmer beneath the surface of these cultures, the hidden passions, unsaid desires, and yearnings unfulfilled.

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