Title: What Happens During the Holidays
Authors: E.M. Abel, Renee Ericson, Lucy Gage,
Jessica Ingro, Kelli Jean, Elle Jefferson,
Cheryl McIntyre, Beth Michele,
Tessa Teevan & K. Webster
Genre: Romance Anthology
Release Date: November 27, 2017
Emotions run high and plans can get turned upside down, landing you in bed with someone so far off the radar you never saw them coming.
Is it love? Is it lust? Or is it just what happens during the holidays?
*What Happens During the Holidays is a collection of fun and sexy holiday short stories from a group of fun and sometimes sexy authors. Or maybe theyâre ninjas.*
All proceeds to benefit Direct Relief
Coming Home by E.M. Abel
Fortune by Renee Ericson
The Meeting by Lucy Gage
Love Square: The Remix by Jessica Ingro
Mahalo by Kelli Jean
Big Mistake by Elle Jefferson
A Gift from Fate by Cheryl McIntyre
Going Down by Beth Michele
The Naughty List by Tessa Teevan
Naughty St. Nick by K. Webster
ANTHOLOGY FACEBOOK PAGE
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
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Title: The Plan
An Off-Limits Romance Standalone
Author: Ella James
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: November 27, 2017
Youâve heard this story before. Woman feels her biological clock ticking and gets someone to knock her up.
Not for love, for baby.
Thatâs what I thought.
Then I found out my fiancÃ© had a vasectomy. The life I thought I had? Nope. Suddenly Iâm 33, and I donât even have a kissing buddy.
When my momâs health takes a turn and I wind up back in my hometown of Fate, Alabama, I tell myself to leave things up toâ¦well, you know.
Then I see Gabriel McKellan. Heâs Fateâs most famous son, a bestselling author who is beautiful, complicated, and living just below me. In addition to his plus-sized brain, Gabeâs well-endowed in other ways, and great in bed to boot. I would know. He's my ex husband.
When I suggest The Plan, I don't imagine that he'll take the bait. It's been ten years, and we don't work. But Fate has other plans for both of us.
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Ella James is the USA Today bestselling author of sixteen teen and adult love stories. She's an angst-a-holic who loves exploring difficult situations and the emotions of the people caught up in them. Also, smut. But always, always romance.
Ella's obsessions include vanilla cream soda, hiking, other weird, crunchy things like rock collecting, and the antics of her three little monsters.
To find out more about her projects, follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ellajamesbooks, tweet her at author_ellaj or follow her on Instagram (authorellajames).
Interested in the foreign rights for one of Ellaâs books? Contact her agent, Rebecca Friedman, at email@example.com.
My son is my life. Nothing on earth matters but him.
Soon, I’ll have to send him out into society. The cruel machine that gnashes innocence and spits out the hollowed remains of a child’s imagination. It’s a place I know all too well, considering my past. I’ve worked hard to separate myself from it, but it looms in the back of my mind—waiting for the perfect moment to strike.
My son, Logan, wants to have birthday parties, make friends, play at the park—all the normal things that seven-year olds want to do. All the things I want to do with him.
I’ve put up walls around our life to shield us from danger. Giant barriers to ward off possible threats.
Cora Chapman crashes through them like a wrecking ball. She’s intelligent and hilarious with soft curves and a spark that ignites a flame deep inside of me.
There’s only one problem—she’s Logan’s teacher.
When my past wraps its tentacles around my throat and threatens to strangle the breath from my lungs, I’m given an option—fight for my family’s freedom, or die as they’re stripped away from me.
I can’t lose. I won’t lose.
My name is Landon Lane and I am a warrior.
Coming December 27th
Sloane Howell lives in the Midwest United States and writes dirty stories. When not reading or writing he enjoys hanging out with his family, watching sports, playing with the dogs, traveling, and engaging his readers on social media. You can almost always catch him on Twitter posting something goofy.
Visit his web page www.sloanehowell.com to sign up for his mailing list to get updates on new releases, promos, and giveaways. Thanks for reading.
Series: The Club Girl Diaries #7
Author: Addison Jane
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: November 21, 2017
Skylar thought she’d outrun her past six years ago.
Growing up, her life was dictated for her and reinforced with a heavy fist. The people who were meant to love and protect her were those that caused her the most pain. So she risked everything and ran.
It was the Brothers by Blood MC that gave Skylar the chance to explore her own mind and body, and work toward a future that she had control over.
She swore she’d never fall for a brother, not willing to lose the life she’d built. When she’s paired with Eagle during a club run, Skylar’s determined to pull a smile from the dark and moody brother.
What started out as a playful game, soon ignited into something much deeper than she’d anticipated.
Was she ready to risk everything all over again if he didn’t feel the same?
Eagle didn’t like to stay still for long.
After many years in the army, his luck finally ran out, and he had to watch helplessly while his team was killed. People he’d laughed with, and shared his life with, suddenly gone.
There were moments when the memories became too much, and he was trapped in his own personal hell, but it had become a part of who he was, something he felt was his burden to bear.
He never expected to break down in front of Skylar, to have her see him at his worst.
She didn’t try to fix him. She threw sass, she was sarcastic, and she made those moments when he could breathe again worth fighting through hell for.
But how did you claim a woman who refused to belong to anyone but herself?
Neither of them knew how to tell the other how they felt, but when the past returns with a vengeance, they might just run out of time to find out.
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Addison Jane is a born and bred kiwi girl with a passion for romance and writing.
When she gets the chance she enjoys the little things in life such as reading, dancing, music, and Facebook, but her world really revolves around the little girl who calls her Mum. It's an awkward balance between alpha males and Disney princesses but it works.
Growing up on a small farm next to the beach will always make her a country girl at heart. But since moving away to a small town close to the city she's discovered a dangerous love for shopping.
Writing stories has been something that's come naturally since she was young, and with the massive support of her friends and family, she finally decided to step out of her comfort zone and share them with the world.
She enjoys bringing her books to life with strong female leads, sexy passionate men and a rollercoaster of twists and turns that lead to the happily ever after that her readers desire.
Title: The Rivalry
Author: Nikki Sloane
Genre: Sports Romance
Release Date: November 21, 2017
This tight end is at the top of his game.
He’s good with his hands, even better with his sexy mouth, and the best at making me forget my own name. His, ahem, stats are perfect.
But I can’t fall for him.
He might be everything I want, all rolled into a glorious package of gridiron god, but there’s one teeny-tiny problem. The vile, loathsome team I’ve spent my entire life hating—my beloved school’s arch-rival?
This guy is their star player.
Title: Hushed Torment
Series: Iron Fury MC #2
Author: Bella Jewel
Release Date: November 20, 2017
One accident changed my life.
One single second changed everything for me.
In one terrifying moment, everything I knew was gone.
Music is the only thing that keeps me holding on.
When the opportunity arises for me to tour with country music star, Scarlett Belle, I take it.
Only it isnât enough to lift the shadows of my past.
And when I meet him, dangerous and different, I canât turn away.
He is forbidden to me.
The President of a Motorcycle Club.
A man who could bring noise back into my soundless world.
But the shadows of my past haunt me.
They linger like a dark nightmare, reminding me that we can never be.
Because my sins are far too heavy.
And my mind far too broken.
Music is the only escape I can allow into my life.
The only one that I will let seep through my hungry veins.
But heâs always there.
And heâs persistent.
But if he knew what I kept behind closed doorsâ¦no.
I must continue my life just the way it is.
Breathing in my nightmare.
Living in my Hushed Torment.
Bella Jewel is a self published, USA Today bestselling author. Sheâs been publishing since 2013. Her first release was a contemporary romance, Hellâs Knights which topped the charts upon release. Since that time, she has published over five novels, gaining a bestseller status on numerous platforms. She lives in North Queensland and is currently studying editing and proofreading to further expand her career. Bella has been writing since she was just shy of fifteen years old. In Summer 2013 she was offered an ebook deal through Montlake Romance for her bestselling modern day pirate series, Enslaved By The Ocean. She plans to expand her writing career, planning many new releases for the future.
From the moment I saw her, I knew I couldn’t let her go.
For a decade I’d stayed secluded, my appearance and attitude frightening people, keeping them away. But I’d come to like that, grow stronger from it. And then she came into my life, a spitfire of a woman who challenged me and showed no fear.
I should have sent her away for her own good, but I was too selfish to let her go.
I wanted her as mine even though I didn’t deserve her.
I should have been afraid when he said I was his.
His heart had grown hard and cold, his isolation making him hate the world. He thought people should fear him because of the scars he bore, but I found beauty in them. I was just the housekeeper, but I couldn’t help how I felt for him.
Maybe he was a beast, a vicious animal hidden under a hard, powerful body. Maybe I should have run, but I knew he’d come for me, find me. Deep down, where I couldn’t lie, I wanted him to be mine.
And that frightened me most of all.
Warning: This is a sweet, fast retelling of Beauty and the Beast. But this isn’t the fairy tale you heard long ago. It’s packed full of hot, dirty bits that’ll make you squirm while you’re reading it. Don’t worry; it’s got that sticky-sweet Happily Ever After we all crave.
I didn’t care if I was crossing lines. I didn’t give a fuck if I should have stayed away, reminding myself she was my employee. I wanted Britta like a fucking fiend needing his next fix, and I wasn’t going to deny myself. I wasn’t going to practice self-control, not when I had her right here in front of me, her desire for me clear.
Truth was I wanted her to know that she was mine, that I would destroy anything or anyone who tried to tell me differently. Being locked away these last ten years, even though it was my own doing, had made me hardened. It had changed me, made me the beast everyone already thought I was.
Instinct controlled me and I found myself moving closer to her. She moved a step back, maybe slightly afraid, maybe because she didn’t know what I had planned. But this primal need was dictating what I did, propelling me forward until I wasn’t myself. And then I was right in front of her. I pulled her close to me and she gasped. I loved that sound, and wanted to hear her make it again when I was balls deep in her.
Emotions slammed into me, and I knew this wasn’t about me wanting to control her, to own her. I wanted her as mine, no doubt about it, but I wanted her to know that I was hers too. This was fast, fucking crazy in all senses of the word. But it was real, and I hadn’t felt anything like this before.
I should have been gentle, taken my time, made this a slow burn, but I couldn’t. I was too selfish for her, too primed for a taste of Britta.
And I’d have her, every fucking part of her.
Jenika Snow is a USA Today Bestselling Author that lives in the northwest with her husband and their two daughters. Before she started writing full-time she worked as a nurse.
Coming November 27th
By the time Flint Rendell caught the beautiful, curvy brunette in mid-air, he already knew he’d never let her go. Flint figured his life of chopping down trees and building his cabin in the woods far from civilization, would be his life. He’d never found much use for other people, but from the moment he caught a glimpse of her, everything changed.
Wren Reynolds lived a nomad’s life with her hippie parents until a tragedy stole everything from her. Starting over in the middle of nowhere she dreamt of finding peace again. When the local lumberhunk rides in on his white horse to save her from herself, her dreams begin to change, and she starts to believe in fairy tales again.
But, fate had different ideas, and an incarceration that saves her, but sends Flint away changes everything. Can these two find their way back or will the real world have its way, and end their happily ever after before it has its chance to begin?
Author’s Note: The scent of pines and sex will have you swooning for this match made in backwoods heaven. One hunky lumberjack who’s not touched a woman in years finds his one and only, in this sweet, smutty novel in the CUT series. All standalone stories sure to have you dreaming of flannel and wishing for a piece of hard wood all your own.
Dani Wyatt loves her alpha men; make them military, cowboys, MMA -- any uber alpha with a wicked possessive streak and an insatiable libido. Receive a free exclusive unpublished title when you join Dani's private readers group for updates, free chapters and discounts.
She's a 40 something regular lady who just happens to love badass alpha males who pull your hair and love their women with a lethal passion.
When she's not writing (which is not often) she is probably laughing about some irony (like A-1 Steak Sauce is vegan), riding her horse, wondering why The Walking Dead can't have a new episode every night, or looking cross-eyed at some piece of technology sent to ruin her day.
Blog Tour: He Loves Me ... KNOT
by RC Boldt
Genre: Contemporary Romance / Second Chance Romance
Sometimes love needs a second chance ...
I never looked back after skipping out on my own wedding, even if it did leave me estranged from most of my family. Eight years later, I have the life I've always wanted. As an advertising account executive, my world is damn near perfect.
Until I come face-to-face with my past. With the man I once loved. The man who holds my future in his hands. The man who's hell-bent on getting even with me for leaving him at the altar.
Even with all the unfinished business between us, I still love Knox Montgomery. The only problem?
He loves me ... KNOT.
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About the Author
RC Boldt currently lives on the southeastern coast of North Carolina, enjoys long walks on the beach, running, reading, people watching, and singing karaoke. If you're in the mood for killer homemade mojitos, can't recall the lyrics to a particular 80's song, or just need to hang around a nonconformist who will do almost anything for a laugh, she's your girl.
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Beckett Drake is Mr. Responsible, but his life is different from his brothers—his eyes, his skin, and his father. His job is to put out fires, but the moment he lays eyes on Dallas, he knows that is a fire he never wants to extinguish.
Dallas takes pride in providing for her daughter and not letting a man help in any way.
Beckett will stop at nothing to protect these two, even if he has to lose himself in the process.
Walking into the old wooden farm house, I toss my hat on the counter as I grab a beer and cuss the fucking day. I’m tired as hell and my fucking brothers aren’t home yet to help out as usual. I’m not sure why in the hell I even try anymore, but then I glance at the picture on the refrigerator and know why I still fucking care. I see the most beautiful woman in the world. The woman that came to our rescue when I was seven years old. I still remember the day like it was yesterday when I walked into her classroom for the first time. Carol Drake was like an angel in human form, and saved me and my three brothers from a life of hell. I’d hate to see where we’d be today. We’d probably all be dead or in jail. Looking at the picture of my mom I smile, but miss the fuck out of her.
As the back door opens, Colby walks in with a fucking smirk on his face. Taking a pull of my beer, I don’t say shit. Instead, I stand and start to walk toward the door for the barn.
“Let me get out of this fucking get up and I’ll come help you.”
“Don’t bother,” I say and when he mumbles under his breath, I fucking snap.
“Don’t do me any damn favors. Go on and keep up that fucking pretty boy act, but we all know you’re just like the rest of us.”
“Dude, who pissed in your corn flakes?” he says and I don’t say a word. Instead, I walk out to the barn, feed the animals, and make sure that everything is taken care of before getting ready for my third shift rotation at the fire station.
As I start to water the horses, Colby walks out and doesn’t say anything, and that pisses me off even more. I swear, I’m so fucking tired of being the one to carry all of the load around here. I’ve been doing it since I was barely legal and I’m tired as fuck. They all think they can go on about their jobs and come home to find everything taking care of. I’m fucking sick of it.
“Go on to Dixie’s. I know you don’t want to be here.”
“What the fuck is your problem, Beckett?” he says and I just look at him and then go back to work. He doesn’t move. Instead, he stands there. “Fuck. I can’t help you if you don’t talk to anyone. Hell, all you do is try to be our fucking dad anyways. You're our brother. We don’t need you looking out anymore. We just want Beckett back.”
Taking the water hose, I hang it up and then pull out the feed as he follows me, attempting to work.
“Really? That’s what y’all want? Do you know what the hell would happen around here if I didn’t act like Dad? Do you?” He looks at me with a blank look. “Exactly. Shit would fall apart. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Now, go on to Dixie’s, I got it. Just make sure everything’s good before work tomorrow. I’m on third tonight.”
“You got it, Dad,” he says like a fucking smart ass and I lose it. Walking up to him, I slam him against the fucking barn wall.
“Fuck off, Colby,” I say and let him go. Walking out of the barn, I cuss myself. I don’t mean to be an asshole, but I’m different. I’m not the same as them. Hell, we’re all fucking Drakes, but I’m the odd man out. Since day one, I’m the one that got the strange looks, questioned how I belonged, but at the end of the day, we’re brothers. I’d give up my fucking life for them, but they piss me the fuck off more and more each and every day.
“Let’s grab a burger and head home. How does that sound?” I say to Lettie as we pull into Barger’s parking lot. I’m exhausted from working, but there’s nothing a Barger’s burger and fries can’t fix. She looks up at me and smiles as we walk hand in hand. Stella gives a wave from behind the bar as we walk up.
“What can I get y’all?” she questions.
“Two cheeseburgers, one fry, and a sweet tea. Can you make it to go?” I ask and she nods.
Taking a seat at the bar, Dixie walks in and Lettie runs over to her. Dixie takes her by the hand and Lettie leads her over to me.
“Hey, girl! How are you?” she questions. It’s amazing how my hairdresser is now one of my best friends. It wasn’t so long ago that I didn’t have anyone I could talk to in this town.
“I’m exhausted. I swear, I’ve worked non-stop all day, and Lettie insisted on going out to the park. I’m like give me a burger and call it a night.” We both laugh as Stella places two drinks in front of us.
“Stella, I said one.”
“Girl, no. Just think of one as a refill,” she smiles and I can’t help but thank the big man upstairs for such a group of amazing people. As people begin to trickle in, I know it’s time for Lettie and me to bounce. She doesn’t need to be exposed to big folks behaving badly. Stella takes the food and places it in front of me. Laying a twenty down, I stand and grab Lettie by the hand. She hugs Dixie bye and we walk out the door, going the short distance to our four-room house at the edge of town.
Casey Peeler grew up in North Carolina and still lives there with her husband and daughter.
Growing up Casey wasn't an avid reader or writer, but after reading Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neal Hurston during her senior year of high school, and multiple Nicholas Sparks' novels, she found a hidden love and appreciation for reading. That love ignited the passion for writing several years later, and her writing style combines real life scenarios with morals and values teenagers need in their daily lives.
When Casey isn't writing, you can find her near a body of water listening to country music with a cold beverage and a great book.
Connect with Casey
A powerful contemporary romance set in the fast-moving world of international rugby.
When your world crashes down
When they all say you’re out
When your body is broken
I will rise.
I will return.
And I will be undefeated.
Nick Renshaw is the golden boy of British rugby. When a serious injury threatens his career, he starts to spiral downwards, a broken man.
Feeling abandoned and betrayed by those closest to him, he fights to restart his life. Maybe there’s someone out there who can help him. Maybe he can find his way back toward the light. Maybe … not.
Dr. Anna Scott might be the one person who can help Nick, but she has her own secrets. And when Nick’s past comes back to haunt them both, the enigmatic doctor is more vulnerable than she seems.
Broken and betrayed, the struggle to survive seems intolerable. Who will give in, and who will rise, undefeated?
Coming January 23rd 2018
Stuart is a retired England International Rugby League player who’s career spanned 16 years as a professional playing for several top League clubs. He has had several major injuries that nearly ended his career just as in Undefeated, the amazing collaboration with Jane.
Currently he is a Personal trainer living in Cheshire, and has an online fitness program: Fear Nothing Fitness.
I enjoy watching surfers at my local beach, and weaving stories of romance in the modern world, with all its trials and tribulations.
It’s been the best fun working with Stu on this story. And yes, he did think about joining the Marines once.
Title: Up for Heir
Series: Westerly Billionaire #2
Author: Ruth Cardello
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: November 14, 2017
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Ruth Cardello puts two hearts on the line when a Boston billionaire takes a second chance on the woman of his dreams.
Spencer Westerly is his own man. He didnât need his fatherâs money to build his wildly successful tech companyâand he doesnât want to deal with the fallout from old family secrets. But as much as Spencer wants to avoid Westerly drama, his grandmotherâthe family matriarchâis determined to pull him back into the fold. And sheâs discovered the perfect lure: his college sweetheart, Hailey.
Although she broke his heart, Hailey is still the only woman heâs ever loved. Now that sheâs back and looking as desirable as ever, Spencer is determined to get a second chance.
A lot has changed for Hailey Tiverton. The only thing that hasnât? The inexplicable pull she feels toward Spencer. When they were younger, his work was his priority. Now, heâd better be willing to prove that, this time, love comes firstâ¦
Ruth Cardello hit the NYTs and USA Today for the first time back in 2012. Millions of sales are evidence that her books are akin to potato chips, addictive from the first one. She has created a multi-series billionaire world with a combination of escapism and realism that has gained her a faithful following of readers.
What Kindle Reviewers write about her:
"Wow hot at every page. Heart stoping, fear raging, mind blowing wonderful."
"I'm a true fan of Ms. Cardello. I ran on to her first book a few years back and have been hooked ever since. I could go on and on about the story line of this book, but I'm not. All of her books are total page turners, unique, heart wrenching, and I love them all. There isn't two alike in the bunch and I feel like I know the characters personally. I personally read 97 authors books. And I buy every book they put out. This author is in my top 10. Great job and keep them coming."
"Love this series. Got me to start reading again. I look forward to the next book. Thank you for giving me the love of reading back."
Ruth Cardello was born the youngest of 11 children in a small city in northern Rhode Island. She spent her young adult years moving as far away as she could from her large extended family. She lived in Boston, Paris, Orlando, New York--then came full circle and moved back to New England. She now happily lives one town over from the one she was born in. For her, family trumped the warmer weather and international scene.
She was an educator for 20 years, the last 11 as a kindergarten teacher. When her school district began cutting jobs, Ruth turned a serious eye toward her second love- writing and has never been happier. When she's not writing, you can find her chasing her children around her small farm or connecting with her readers online.
From Wall Street Journal bestselling author Ilsa Madden-Mills comes a new standalone romance about a flawed hero and the woman he can’t forget.
Spider, a sexy and forbidden new standalone, is LIVE!
Title: Spider Author: Ilsa Madden-Mills Publication Date: November 13th, 2017
He calls himself Spider.
I just know him as the sinfully gorgeous guy with eyes of fire that fate places next to me on the airplane.
I didn’t who he really was . . . future rock star . . . my stepbrother.
He kissed me because he thought he’d never see me again. He would.
Everyone warned me about him.
They told me he was careless and ruthless and screwed up.
They said he’d leave me with a hole in my heart.
Maybe I should have listened.
Maybe I should have built a fortress to keep him out.
But I crumbled instead.
They say an unbreakable thread connects those who are destined to meet. If that’s true, then the moment he sat next to me, we were bound together forever.
He just had to figure it out before it’s too late…
Read Today for only 99¢ for a VERY limited time!
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Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2zxoMkQ
Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2zEz940 Amazon
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About the Author
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Ilsa Madden-Mills writes about strong heroines and sexy alpha males that sometimes you just want to slap.
She's addicted to dystopian books and all things fantasy, including unicorns and sword-wielding females. Other fascinations include frothy coffee beverages, dark chocolate, Instagram, Ian Somerhalder (seriously hot), astronomy (she's a Gemini), and tattoos.
She has a degree in English and a Master's in Education.
When she's not pecking away on her computer, she shops for cool magnets and paints old furniture.
Connect with Ilsa
Series: The Gibson Boys #1
Author: Adriana Locke
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Cover Design: Kari March
Release Date: November 10, 2017
This is one mistake Sienna Landry canât buy her way out of.
As Walker Gibson looks at her, then at the damage to his precious truck (that she may or may not have accidentally inflicted), she knows sheâs in trouble. Itâs not the busted headlight and dented grill thatâs sunk her though. Itâs the downright sinful man in front of her thatâs the problem.
The small town mechanic is broody. Rough. Smells like engine grease and gasoline and Sienna isnât sure why thatâs so sexy, but it is. It so is. Sheâs ready to peel off her panties at the drop of his wrench.
He wants her too. She can feel it when he brushes against her. Experience it as he presses her against the wall of the shop. Itâs thinly veiled in his deep, brown eyes when he looks at her like sheâs everything heâs ever wanted. So why wonât he give in?
The damage to Walkerâs truck is the first of many mistakes between the two of them, ending with truths that rock Siennaâs world. Nothing can fix her broken heart except the love of a man that wonât, maybe even canât, love her back.
Crank is a standalone romance in a new small town, blue-collar series from USA Today bestselling author Adriana Locke. Join readers everywhere as they fall in love with the delicious Gibson Boys.
USA Today and Amazon Top 10 Bestselling author Adriana Locke lives and breathes books. After years of slightly obsessive relationships with the flawed bad boys created by other authors, Adriana has created her own.
She resides in the Midwest with her husband, sons, and two dogs. She spends a large amount of time playing with her kids, drinking coffee, and cooking. You can find her outside if the weather's nice and there's always a piece of candy in her pocket.
Please contact Adriana at www.adrianalocke.com. She loves to hear from readers.
Nina can’t let herself fall in love with the man she’s going to marry. Both of them have experienced the sting and sham of love and have no intentions of falling victim to it twice. Love is expensive—hate is free.
Three years. A million dollars. A solution to both of their problems. They planned it all, from the story of their first meeting to the date of their divorce. Nothing could go wrong.
But what they didn’t consider was chemistry, and Nina and Max have no shortage of it. After too many near-kisses, Nina convinces herself that hating Max is better than loving him, and the more she gets to know this soon-to-be-husband of hers, the more she discovers just how very much she truly, madly, and deeply . . . hates him.
This isn’t a love story. This is the other kind.
He hadn’t stopped smiling at me, and it wasn’t the friendly kind of smile. It was the kind that made it seem like he was in on some secret I wasn’t privy to. The kind of smile that made me feel like I was being trifled with and made the punch line of a hundred jokes I had yet to hear.
I wanted to wipe the cocky smile off his face, but that would have required touching him and even I wasn’t gutsy enough for that. A woman did not touch a guy like him unless she wanted him to be her undoing. Nope. You didn’t play with fire. You didn’t touch it. You didn’t even come close.
Fire. That was all I saw when I looked at him. I was playing with it by agreeing to this kind of arrangement with him.
Even the way he lounged in the chair was smug. Like it was his throne and he was just waiting for minions to come bow before him.
“You’re younger than I thought you’d be.” He broke the silence first.
Though it was faint, I could just make out an accent. It was European, but I couldn’t nail down the country. To look at the bastard, you’d think he was Scandinavian—blond hair, blue eyes, commanding frame—but his accent was too sharp to hail from the land of Vikings.
I was tempted to glare at the tipped smile aimed at me, but I didn’t want to lead him to the impression I cared. I gave him my version of the same smile, abandoning my “no expectations” policy for the prospect of pissing him off. “You’re older than I thought you’d be.”
His smile shifted into the realm of a smirk, like he knew I was lying. So yeah, maybe I was lying about thinking he was older, but I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of confirming his silent accusation. He was older than me, but not by much. He might have been closing in on thirty, but he wasn’t past it.
He leaned forward in the chair. When his gaze circled my face to my fiery red hair, his brow elevated. Yes, I am the stereotype. Be warned.
I stiffened. He was fucking with me now. I’d already agreed to marry him. How much more did he think he could screw me over?
I gave him a cursory glance and kept the unaffected look on my face. “Uglier.”
He cocked a brow like he knew better. “And the personality of ten women rolled into one.”
His head shook once. “Intrigued.”
His eyes investigated me again. It felt intrusive, definitely not cursory. “Impressed.”
“As impressed by me as the woman in heat who was just mauling you over by the bar?”
“You mean the woman who gave me this?” He pulled something out of the inside pocket of his suit jacket and set it on the small table between us.
It was a hotel card key. With a lipstick kiss pressed into it.
“Classy place, this five-star hotel.” I glanced back at the woman at the bar. She was still there, watching him as though he was the height of the male species. “Did you tell her the reason you were here?”
His attention stayed on me. “Yes, I told her I was here to meet the woman I was going to marry.”
My stomach wrung. This was the man I was going to marry.
“And she didn’t ask for her room key back?” I asked.
“She didn’t give it to me until right after I mentioned that.” His stare was intense. Too intense. I felt like every secret—every piece of who I was—was strewn out on that table for him to see. “Women love a man who isn’t afraid of commitment. It’s like an aphrodisiac.”
“You know what else women like?” I didn’t pause for an answer because I guessed he didn’t have a clue. “A man who’s humble.”
He fought a smile and leaned back in his chair when a server approached with a couple of drinks on a tray. “No, they like to think they do, but they don’t.” His head shook authoritatively. “They like the cocky bastard who goes after what he wants and doesn’t take no for an answer.”
Because the server was shielding some of me from his view, I allowed myself to shift. I was getting fired up, and if he kept saying the same kinds of things with the same kinds of looks on his face, that drink was going to wind up in his face.
That was when I noticed what the server had set in front of me. A tumbler with something amber in color. The same thing she was setting in front of him. Although from the curve of her smile, she was offering to give him a blow job on the side, compliments of the house.
“What is this?” I asked. Him. Her. Whoever wanted to answer.
“Scotch,” he answered, ignoring the server lingering between us.
My nose curled at the drink.
“I don’t care if it came from the fountain of youth. I won’t drink it.”
His forehead creased with what appeared to be irritation, but I couldn’t be sure. Maybe it was confusion, like he couldn’t decide what to make of me. “You would have me believe you wouldn’t take a sip of that if you knew it would give you eternal life?” When I shook my head, his head tipped. “Why?”
“Because I value my free will far more than long life.” I pushed the drink away until it clinked against his. “I’d rather live one day free than an eternity in a cage.”
He was quiet for a moment. The server stayed between us, staring at him, waiting.
“Then why are you here?” he asked me finally.
I leaned forward and hoped my stare was as powerful as his. “Because free will is expensive.”
Nicole Williams is the New York Times and USATODAY bestselling author of contemporary and young adult romance, including the Crash and Lost & Found series. Her books have been published by HarperTeen and Simon & Schuster in both domestic and foreign markets, while she continues to self-publish additional titles. She is working on a new YA series with Crown Books (a division of Random House) as well. She loves romance, from the sweet to the steamy, and writes stories about characters in search of their happily even after. She grew up surrounded by books and plans on writing until the day she dies, even if it’s just for her own personal enjoyment. She still buys paperbacks because she’s all nostalgic like that, but her kindle never goes neglected for too long. When not writing, she spends her time with her husband and daughter, and whatever time’s left over she’s forced to fit too many hobbies into too little time.
Nicole is represented by Jane Dystel, of Dystel and Goderich Literary Agency.
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