New Release

The Last Boss’ Daughter



He shouldn’t want me. I shouldn’t trust him. But there’s only one way we both make it out alive—together.
The Last Boss’ Daughter is LIVE and on sale for $2.99, release week only! Also available on #KindleUnlimited.

Amazon US >>
Amazon UK >>
Amazon CA >>
Amazon AU >>

Cover Reveal

Arrested Heart by SM Donaldson

Title: Arrested Heart
Series: Dispatch 247 Series
Author: S.M. Donaldson
Genre: Adult Romace
Release Date: Coming Soon 

Life has a way a throwing curve balls at every turn. I’m Eli “Mox” Moxen and I’ve finally figured out what I want in life.
I’m fearless. In life, in my career, and in love. I’ll face it all with strength and determination.
Just when I think I’m getting ahead, something comes along to knock me on my butt. I’m Amber Young, single mom, jaded in love, and in danger.
I refuse to fail. For my daughter and for myself, I refuse to fail at life, in my career, and in love.
For first responders like Mox, there is rarely a second chance for anything…except maybe love. This is Mox’s chance to show Amber he’s a man who also refuses to fail…especially when it comes to her heart.

S.M. Donaldson is a born and raised Southern girl. She grew up in a small rural town on Florida’s Gulf Coast, the kind of place where everyone knows your business before you do, especially when your Daddy is a cop and your Mom works for the school system. She married one of her best friends at the age of 20 and has one son. She is a proud military wife, has always had a soft spot for a good story, and is known to have a potty mouth. At the age of 31, she decided there was no time like the present to attempt her first book. Sam’s Choice was born and she hasn’t stopped since. If you are looking for a good, steamy, Southern set romance with true Southern dialect, she’s your girl.


Coming Soon, Pre Order

Purring with his Mate



Purring with His Mate (Miracle Book 1)

by @Shea Malik

In a world where everyone was against them, they needed a Miracle. What no one had expected was to find their salvation in an abandoned town that was ready to collapse. Yet, that is exactly what happened when they moved to the town of Miracle, Oregon.

Edrick Rapp, a mountain lion shifter, wanted to kick himself for not moving he and his friends far from their former pack years earlier. It wasn’t until he came upon one of his friends being beaten to death for their sins that he realized his mistake.

Mouse shifter, Nole Hayward, had been punished by his Alpha. Left for dead, he barely managed to crawl away with his life. He ends up hiding out in Miracle, Oregon until a group of mountain lion shifters show up. Before he could get away he ends up with a building collapsing down around him and his mate rescuing him.

Can Edrick and Nole find love or will they let the ghosts of their pasts tear them apart?

Cover Reveal

Crashed by Kerri Ann

Title: Crashed
Series: Crown and Anchor Series
Author: Kerri Ann
Genre: Dark Romance 
Release Date: March 3, 2017

All it takes is one wrong choice to change the course of your life forever. It was all planned out; I was going to be someone special. That was me in a nutshell. But, when everything has been in your grasp, how do you live when it all slips away?
My life has been a series of bad memories, bad moves, wrong turns and pain. Lots of pain. Then I met him. I thought that pain would be a thing of the past; I guess not. I thought I was living, but I soon found out I was simply surviving until I met him.
After years of watching from afar, I realized that there is so much more to him. Wyatt Crown is beautiful to watch, lovely to imagine and a dream come true in the flesh. Every woman knows that. Did they know there are darker, more devilish pieces to his soul?
There’s things he can’t show the outside world that is not part of decent society, but, it’s a need he can’t deny.

I’m wealthy beyond what I’ll be able to spend, I have a family that cares, I have everything I could ever ask for — yet, I’m alone. There’s a hole in me that can’t be filled. There’s a darkness that can only be fed by depravity. Disguised as loved, it’s my bedfellow of choice.
I’m from a family of daredevils. We call ourselves race junkies. I need the roar of the crowd, the rush of pushing limits and most of all — success. My father is, my sister is and my brother too. We race to win. Nothing less is accepted. If I can’t win, there’s no living with me.

This isn’t your sweet, he said/she said, they found true love. This is dirty, dark, twisted and full of partial hope. Don’t expect a happy ending, but if you get it; you can thank me later.

With an avaricious appetite for stories, Kerri Ann can be found quite often with her nose in a book or writing it. On many occasion it has been said that she’s in her own world, living in the stories of those she reads about, giving them a life they deserve.
She can easily be found under a tree in the shade, or reclining at Starbucks scribbling notes about new stories and new characters, all while keeping the coffee chain in business.
Whether late at night, at a music festival, or sitting on a ski lift, when the thoughts arise, Kerri Ann will add them to those in progress. So be wary, your antics could be in her next book.


Release Blitz, Uncategorized

Happily Ever Alpha Boxset

Title: Happily Ever Alpha 
Genre:  Alpha Romance
Release Date: February 13, 2017
20 Billionaires.  20 Sizzling Ways to Fall in Love 
20 Billionaires. 20 Sizzling Ways to Fall in Love. Whether your fantasy is a prince or a self-made man, this set has all the hard-bodied, Alpha billionaires you can handle. Let our award-winning, best-selling authors take you on a trip filled with exotic locales, dizzying privilege and heart-warming happily ever after.

Victoria Pinder – Secret Crush: The House of Morgan
Jina Bacarr – Come Fly With Me
Opal Carew – Played by the Master
Eileen Cruz Coleman – Something Like This: A Secrets Novel, Book One
Margo Bond Collins – The Billionaire Cowboy’s Speech: A Necessity, Texas Novella
Rossie Cortes – Risking it All
Tara Crescent – His Fill-In Fiancée
Michele Dewinton – Valentine’s Vengeance
Blaire Edens – Dram Good Love
Nicole Garcia – Noelle’s Wish
Erin Hayes – The Royal Trade: A Billionaire Prince Romance
Courtney Hunt – A Teacher for the Billionaire
Mary Hughes – Falling for the Billionaire
Sydney Logan – Songbird
Alix Nichols – Winter’s Gift
Tierney O’Malley – To Trust a Wicked Billionaire
Peter Presley – Nothing But Trouble: An Alpha Billionaire Romance
Mandy Rosko – Arrangement With a Billionaire
Cristiane Serruya – So Much More
Debbie White – Finding Mrs. Right
Victoria Pinder – Secret Crush: The House of Morgan

“I assumed he was taking over. Did you want that job?”

John’s entire body jumped as if she’d slapped him. “Hell no.”

She gulped her sip fast. She kept saying the wrong thing. Inside his blue eyes was a kaleidoscope of emotion. Alice remembered that he used to be kind. She rubbed her lips together. “Then who cares?”

He drank his wine and scanned the room. After making the rounds with his gaze, he took in her entire figure with an intensity that made her knees weak. “What is it you do, Alice?”

“Collins Organic Farm.” She brushed her brown bob behind her ear. “I work for my family. What is it you do?”

Again, his blue eyes flashed as if lightning was in his stare. She watched him, hypnotized. “I work in real estate.”

“Liar.” She tilted her head. He definitely didn’t work in real estate. She crossed her arm around her chest. Without another word, she waited for the fallout of her remark.

His eyebrows quirked in shock. Then his dimples appeared. “What do you think I do?”

She met his smile with her own. “Professional bad boy and poker player. It’s what I always thought.”

Jina Bacarr – Come Fly With Me

Why spend New Year’s alone when you can fly first class with a sexy billionaire?

Opal Carew – Played by the Master

A story of Domination and submission, where breaking the rules of the game is where the fun begins, when Jacqueline crashes a billionaire’s exclusive poker game in order to seduce him into granting a favor to save her sister, but instead finds herself Played by the Master.

Eileen Cruz Coleman – Something Like This: A Secrets Novel, Book One

Devastatingly handsome & rich Reece Carter’s mission is to win Jadie’s heart. Will she surrender herself to him or push him away?

Margo Bond Collins – The Billionaire Cowboy’s Speech: A Necessity, Texas Novella

What had possessed her to strip her shirt off?

He was about to suggest we quit.

And she didn’t want that.

In fact, she realized, if I don’t quit now, I’m not going to stop at all.

Suddenly, Leta didn’t care.

Tor’s gaze raked across her, snagging on her mouth for an instant before he dragged it up to meet her own wide-eyed stare. Everywhere his look had touched burned, as if his eyes had trailed fire across her skin.

His gray eyes turned smoky, darkening even more with desire as she watched, pinned in place by the heat he exuded.

The shy, diffident ranch hand was gone. In his place was a tall, muscular cowboy ready to take what he wanted.

And apparently what he wanted at the moment was Leta. As he held her gaze with his, he held out one hand, lightly closed, and ran his knuckles, slightly roughened from working outside, down the side of her face. The feel of his skin rasping against her sent shivers rolling up and down her back.  

Tara Crescent – His Fill-In Fiancée

Cameron needs a fake fiancee. Enter ex-girlfriend Maddie. Then the past catches up.

Michele Dewinton – Valentine’s Vengeance

“Don’t like flying much?”

“When we’re up in the air it’s okay. I just don’t like the takeoff, or landing, or the bumps on the way.” The plane staggered through another rough patch and at a particularly large bump she let out a little squeal.

“We’ll be there before you know it. Should I distract you?” he asked.

She nodded grimly.

Looking around he spotted a man in a black suit, his sunglasses still on and behind him a guy with a baseball hat pulled down way too far over his eyes. “So Mr Baseball Cap over there is a major celebrity from somewhere overseas. Big time TV star, one of those Scottish highland heroes who are so hot right now.”

That got her attention, she looked where he nodded and a small smile finally tugged at her lips.

“Only thing is he doesn’t realize that his show isn’t on cable here yet so no one knows who he is. He’s hiding, but it’s only making him look like Idiot McIdiotface.”

The snort was undignified, but he relished hearing it. It was something he’d always liked about Cara, she was quick to laugh, to find joy in things.

“The guy behind him, he’s in another league. Was security for the Russian mafia for years, now he’s undercover with the CIA.”

Cara sat forward and gave him a little grin. “Not very good undercover,” she whispered. “He sticks out like a stripper at an Amish wedding.”

It was his turn to snort and the people across the aisle gave them a look.

Composing his face, he lent in to whisper in her ear. “He’s a double agent. CIA operative, posing as Russian bodyguard, but secretly still working for Russia, and having an affair with the wife of a high level Texan congressman.”

Blaire Edens – Dram Good Love

“Sorry,” he mumbled. “I was, uh. . .”

“Staring at me? Wondering what it would feel like to kiss me?”

He’d wondered if she felt the attraction, too. Over the past few weeks, he’d thought she was flirting but he’d told himself he was imagining it. “Maybe.”

“Why don’t you try it?”

He was used to being the direct one. Most of the women he dated were too busy playing coy to ever tell him what they really wanted. “You might like it.”

“That would be a shame. I was getting used to thinking you were nothing but an ordinary millionaire.”

Roderick shook his head. “I’m anything but ordinary.” He leaned closer, inhaling the sweet, floral scent of her perfume. He toyed with one stray curl, wrapping his index finger inside the ringlet. “No one has ever accused me of that.”

He pressed his lips to hers, softly at first, and kissed her softly. She tasted like the sweet heat of the single malt. She grabbed the front of his sweatshirt and pulled him closer. He slid his tongue into her mouth and the heat cycling between them went from smoldering to nuclear. Her tongue lashed against his and every cell in his body reacted. 

Nicole Garcia – Noelle’s Wish

What happens when a sexy billionaire meets his match in his feisty new assistant? Chaos, nothing but beautiful chaos.

Erin Hayes – The Royal Trade: A Billionaire Prince Romance

She fell for the wrong prince.


“Why what?”

“Why are you doing this? All for your brother’s ex-fiancée?”

I stare at her, aghast. “Isn’t it obvious?”

She falters, as if she’s unsure of what to say next. I know because I’m the same way. “Tell me.”

The command comes out as a whisper.

I comb a hand through my hair. How the fuck do you put feelings, pent-up for the past four years, into a simple explanation?

“I…care you about Cara. My brother always had everything; the crown, the media attention. The expectations. Fuck that. I never wanted any of that. But you… you were the one thing he had that I wanted. And now that you’re not his…”

“So, that’s it?” she asks, hurt edging into her voice. “I’m just a possession to both him and you?”

“No, that’s not what I mean. Dammit, Cara, I—”

Words fail me. Hell, the whole universe fails me at this moment. So I do the only that comes to mind.

In one fluid movement, I force the door open further, grab her shoulders, and capture her lips with mine.

Courtney Hunt – A Teacher for the Billionaire

One sexy single dad billionaire plus one beautiful kindergarten teacher equals one scorching summer fling.

Mary Hughes – Falling for the Billionaire
Zan was considering his approach to the twins when Vicky’s sister Ronnie moved off toward the restrooms, Vicky waving goodbye.

Heading straight for Vicky, he called, “Ronnie, wait,” with no volume at all. 

He stopped—coincidentally right next to Vicky—and frowned, putting his hands on his hips, as if in consternation. “Darn. Missed her.”

Then he turned to Vicky. Smiled expectantly at her. “Hi.”

“Hi.” A delicious pink blush rode her cheeks.

He found he wanted to kiss that pink skin. “I’m Zan Sinclair. You’re Vicky Brooks? I’m acquainted with your sister.”

“I know.” Her voice was breathy, oh-so-sexy. “She said.”

Her lips were a perfect natural rose. He wondered if they’d be petal soft if he kissed them….

“I’ll go get her for you!” Vicky scooted off.

Lost in her lips, he was totally unprepared for her flight. He stood there in surprise. He was wondering what he should do now when she trotted back with her sister in tow.

Ronnie didn’t look happy until she caught sight of him. Then her whole face changed, and she hove out in front of her twin like a barge.

And Vicky…stopped. She began to turn. He clenched fists. She was going to run away again. He had only seconds to act or lose her.

He covered the distance in two strides, catching Ronnie by the upper arm with one hand and Vicky by the shoulder with the other.

Vicky’s slight body was warm and soft under his fingers. A distracting surge of sheer need flooded his system. She looked up into his face, her eyes big and blue.

Her pouty pink lips trembled.

His whole body hardened, instantly ready. He almost ignored the people milling around them to yank her to him, to feel her heart flutter against him, to embrace her, to kiss her…

Sydney Logan – Songbird

Sitting down on the bench, I let my fingers drift aimlessly along the keys. I switch on the microphone and start to play the opening bars of my favorite Fleetwood Mac song.

Closing my eyes, I play and sing, allowing the music to soothe my troubled mind. I’m at the final chorus when I feel someone’s eyes on me. It’s the most incredible sensation—instinct alerting me to the penetrating stare of some stranger in the dimly lit bar.

I slowly open my eyes, and my fingers slip off the keys when I see him.

He’s seated at a table just a few feet away. His tie is undone, as are the first couple buttons of his shirt. He gazes at me, and I watch as his finger lazily trails along the rim of his glass while I struggle to remember the words to a song I’ve loved all my life.

The man rises from the seat, his eyes never leaving mine as he picks up his glass and walks over to the piano. I break the spell, forcing myself to look down and focus on the keys. Without asking permission, he sits down on the bench next to me. I take a deep breath and pray for instinct to take over as I finish the song.

After I play the last note, silence hangs in the air between us until he lifts his hand and brushes my hair away from my shoulders.

“Play something else,” he says, his voice deep and smooth against my ear.

I sing, paying no real attention to the words as we stare at each other throughout the song. I have no idea how long we sit there, but it’s apparently too long for the bartender because he announces last call.

The handsome stranger stands up and reaches for me.

“Come with me, Songbird.”

The look in his eye is unmistakable, filling me with a sense of longing and excitement that I haven’t felt in so very long. I know I’m too tired, too lonely, and probably a little too tipsy to accept this man’s outstretched hand.

I do it anyway.

Alix Nichols – Winter’s Gift

I hold out my hand. “Anton Malakhov. It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance.”

“Anna.” She grants me a brief, but intense, joy of her touch. “The pleasure is mine.”

I go on to shake hands with her friend without taking my eyes off Anna for a second. There’s no point in hiding how much she’s impressed me.

Anna. It’s a beautiful name… even if a touch too formal.

“Does anyone call you Annushka?” I find myself asking.

“Only my mom.”

She smiles, and I debate whether I should invite her for a drink right now or ask for her number. One thing is certain. I must see her again. In fact, I need to see her as soon as possible, and as often as possible. Preferably, every day.

And every night.

She resolves my quagmire by ripping a page out of her notebook and scribbling something on it. Why am I not surprised she carries a notebook and a pen in her purse? I bet she also has a book or an e-reader somewhere in there. Although I just met her, I feel like I know her. I can see her inner core, her fundamental essence. It shines through.

She hands me the sheet, and I glance at what she’s written. There’s a phone number, her name, and a meaningless figure under it. I look up at her, about to ask if it’s an extension.

“This,” she says, pointing her slender index finger at the top line, “is my agent’s number. And below is my hourly rate.”

My jaw slacks.

The woman of my dreams is a hooker.

Tierney O’Malley – To Trust a Wicked Billionaire

One wicked sexy billionaire will do everything it takes to win his woman’s trust.

Peter Presley – Nothing But Trouble: An Alpha Billionaire Romance

Shannon is the best thing that has ever happened to me. Big homes, fancy cars, a good body: none of that matters if you don’t have someone to love you.  

My mom is dead. My dad is dead. Most of my family members are jerks. They only call me if they need a loan. I’ve got my staff, like Helen. They’re cool, but they work for me. They could leave at any time. But Shannon is special, and yet, I just can’t seem to appreciate her.  

I’m going to try hard not to fuck any more women. If I was able to stop eating junk food, exercise, and get into shape, I should be able to stop cheating on Shannon. Today, I’m buying her jewelry and a new dress, and then tonight, I’m taking her out to a 5-star restaurant. She’s my queen, and she deserves it.

Cristiane Serruya – So Much More
It’s unfair. He’s become even more… Hannah couldn’t find the term she needed. Handsome was too calm a word to define him. He was intensely masculine. He was sexual.

Her steps faltered for a second as Markus’s mouth opened in the slow, seductive grin that was so his, exuding confidence and animal magnetism. He stretched his hand in her direction. “Ms. Kristensen.”

Not knowing if she should be disappointed by him not recognizing her, Hannah took off her dark glasses. “Hello,”—she stopped herself from calling him by his first name. He is going to be your employer.—“Mr. Blackthorn.”

He halted mid-stride, did a double take, and his arm fell to his side as her heavily-lashed emerald-green eyes bore into his. He frowned. What the fuck?

He was aware of his own eyes widening and that he was staring. He was equally aware of the way her shoulders squared back.
The movement drew his attention downward to a figure with the elegant curves of what he could only qualify as a contemporary, tall, and slim statue of Venus, just to snap back to her face in something akin to shock.
He hadn’t recognized her at first and that was not a surprise in itself. The last time he had seen her she hadn’t been more than a bookish, shy, and pretty nineteen-year-old. She was also the daughter of his father’s housekeeper, and someone with whom he’d once considered having an affair.
His low, smooth voice slid over her and got under her skin to curl low in her belly.
As he contemplated her, he pushed his fingers through the strands, mussing the mane of chopped black hair which would appear too long if he wasn’t so tall and large.
But whatever softness the disarray might have imparted to his appearance was countered by his eyes. They were sharp and dark, a piercing ebony, like the night with no stars, nor moon; a pitch-black well she once thought she wouldn’t mind falling into.
Those eyes landed on her beautiful heart-shaped face and wandered over those full, soft, plum-rich lips.

Fuck! Recomposing himself from the most powerful reaction his body ever had to a woman, he held his hand out to her once more. “It’s been a while.”

His tenor voice conjured a number of disturbing images in Hannah’s mind: heavy velvet pulled over naked skin; steel sheathed in satin. Definitely a mass of contradictions she wanted nothing to do with coupled with a bedroom voice and a commanding tone. Hannah found herself wanting to lean closer, shock him into kissing her, just to slap that handsome face, hard. But the kisses would come and she would not slap him.

Not a while, but seven years. To Hannah it felt like a lifetime. Since Senator Blackthorn had dismissed her mother from his household, her life had turned upside down. It was ironic she was going to be working for and helping the son of the man who had fired her mother.
She looked at his hand as if it were a snake and involuntarily, her tongue moistened her lips.
His gaze zeroed in on her mouth, but nothing else gave away the vulnerability he had briefly glimpsed.

Stop. You are here for the money. She pulled herself back from the torrent of sensual feelings. Under her steel will, her face went blank and her fingers curled around his hand, firmly and detached. In an even voice, she said, “Yes, it has been a while. How are you, Mr. Blackthorn?”

Debbie White – Finding Mrs. Right

They watched some love story, chatting in between scenes while enjoying pizza and wine. Seemed neither one was truly interested in the movie. They cuddled on the couch, and in between bites of pizza, they kissed. When the movie was over, he helped clean up the crumbs they’d made and rinsed the glasses out in the sink. He wanted to show her that he too could be a good guest.

They stood inside the kitchen with locked gazes, making for an uncomfortable setting. Gabe wasn’t sure what he should do. He glanced at his watch. When he looked up, Rose was making her way toward him. “Can you stay the night?” she asked.
Victoria Pinder grew up in Irish Catholic Boston before moving to the Miami sun. She’s worked in engineering, then became a lawyer. But after passing the bar and practicing very little, she realized that she hated the practice of law. During all this time, she always wrote stories to entertain herself or calm down. When she sat down to see what skill she had that matched what she enjoyed doing, writing became so obvious. She is bold, and brainy like her characters. Her website is
Jina Bacarr is a Kindle Scout winner with her Civil War time travel romance, Love Me Forever. She enjoys writing to classical music with a hot cup of java by her side, adores dark chocolate truffles, vintage anything, the smell of bread baking and rainy days in museums. She always loved walking through history—from Pompeii to Verdun to Old Paris. The voices of the past speak to her through carriages with cracked leather seats, stiff ivory-colored crinolines and worn satin slippers. She always wondered what it was like to walk in those slippers when they were new.

Hi. I’m Opal Carew and I write erotic romance for St. Martin’s Press. I’ve been writing since 1993, though originally I wrote futuristic, urban fantasy, science fiction, paranormal and contemporary romance. These stories are set in the present, future, or alternate realities and most of my stories are steamy. I am now republishing these under the name Amber Carew. As Opal Carew, I write erotic romances which always have a romance and a happy ending.
Eileen Cruz Coleman was born in Washington, D.C. to an immigrant El Salvadoran mother and a Puerto Rican father. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland with a degree in History. Her award-winning short stories have appeared in numerous literary journals both online and in print. Before venturing into the indie world of publishing, she was represented by two New York Literary agents.

She is an optimist and believes that no matter how bad things may seem, there is always a happy ending coming around the corner. When she’s not writing, you can find her gardening, cooking, or watching movies with her family.

She is fluent in Spanish and English.

She lives in Maryland with her husband and two children.
NYT bestselling author Margo Bond Collins is a former college English professor who, tired of explaining the difference between “hanged” and “hung,” turned to writing romance novels instead. (Sometimes her heroines kill monsters, too.) Visit her at

Rossie Cortés is a versatile writer whose career includes over 560 bylined stories in newspapers, magazines and digital outlets in English and Spanish. She has also worked as a ghostwriter, speechwriter, scriptwriter, editor and writing consultant. Her novel Betrayed, a thriller, will be published Spring 2017 and is currently working on her second thriller, Deceived. She has a double degree in Marketing and Business Administration from the Inter American University in Puerto Rico. Rossie was born and raised in Puerto Rico and currently lives in Miami.

Tara Crescent writes steamy contemporary romances for readers who like hot, dominant heroes and strong, sassy heroines. When she’s not writing, she can be found curled up on a couch with a good book, often with a cat on her lap. She lives in Toronto. Visit her at
Being a writer was not what Michele was supposed to be when she ‘grew up’. But over time she’s discovered she cant fight it, words are her drug. Now a Best Selling author, Michele lives in New Zealand with her two small, loud, children, a lot of trees and a big view. She likes her heroines smart and sassy cos girls can do anything, right? But you can count on men who know just how to make a woman melt as well. Come on over and pleasure your shelf at
Blaire Edens lives in the mountains of North Carolina. She has a degree in Horticulture from Clemson University. She’s held a myriad of jobs including television reporter, GPS map creator, and personal assistant to a fellow who was rich enough to pay someone to pick up the dry cleaning. When she’s not plotting, she’s busy knitting, running, or listening to the Blues. She’s the past president of South Carolina Writers Workshop and an active member of Romance Writers of America.

N.Y. Times Bestselling author Nicole Garcia has a degree in Nursing, but has been a stay at home mom for the past 9 years. Her passion is reading and decided to make a career out of sharing her love for books. Writing and promoting has become a full time job for her now. Currently she writes steamy Paranormal, Contemporary, and New Adult Romance, but plans to write other genres in the future. Hope you will join her in all the fun ahead.
Sci-fi junkie, video game nerd, and wannabe manga artist Erin Hayes writes a lot of things. Sometimes she writes books.

She works as an advertising copywriter by day, and she’s an award-winning New York Times Bestselling Author by night. She has lived in New Zealand, Hawaii, Texas, Alabama, and now San Francisco with her husband, cat, and a growing collection of geek paraphernalia.

You can reach her at and she’ll be happy to chat. Especially if you want to debate Star Wars. Her website is
Courtney Hunt is a Kindle Scout winner for The Lost Art of Second Chances. She’s also the author of the Cupid’s Coffeeshop series and the Always a Bridesmaid series. An attorney by day, she lives outside Washington, DC with her husband and son. When Courtney isn’t writing, she enjoys photography, sailing, and reading. She can never resist a craft store. After an early stint as a Disney cast member, she is a life long Disney addict. Visit her at
Who am I? A lover of stories that crackle with action and love. A mother, a flutist, a binge-TV-watcher of NCIS, Sherlock, and The Big Bang Theory. Most of all, a believer in grand passion. I’m Mary Hughes, and I write wickedly funny romantic comedies and scorching hot paranormal romances, fast-paced reads with challenging heroes—and resilient heroines who aren’t afraid of a challenge. My books have won contests and been bestsellers, but what I like best is to hear from you!

Sydney Logan is the bestselling author of six novels. She has also penned several short stories and is a contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul. A lover of music, she fills her playlist with everyone from Johnny Cash to Eminem.

Sydney holds a Master’s degree in Elementary Education and spends her days surrounded by kids and books. A native of East Tennessee, she enjoys playing piano and relaxing on her porch with her wonderful husband and their very spoiled cat.
Alix Nichols is a caffeine addict and a longtime fan of Mr. Darcy, especially in his Colin Firth incarnation. She is a Kindle Scout and Dante Rossetti Award winning author of sexy romantic comedies. At the age of six, she released her first rom com. It featured highly creative spelling on a dozen pages stitched together and bound in velvet paper. Decades later, she still loves the romance genre. Her spelling has improved (somewhat), and her books have made Amazon bestseller lists, climbing as high as #1. She lives in France with her family and their almost-human dog. Her website is
Tierney O’Malley is a bestselling author from the Pacific Northwest. Today there are paperbacks and eBooks available for purchase on her list. Her books appeared on KOBO, Fictionwise, and Bookstrand’s bestsellers list. Ms. O’Malley lives with her husband and children in Seattle Washington, and is currently working on a new novel and sets of series she recently sold.

Ms. O’Malley is always excited to hear from readers.
Piper Presley is a short fiction romance series author of bad boys, billionaires, and hotties. (Novellas and novels can be found under her alter ego Peter Presley.) She’s a wife and a mother of two adult children, and she lives in the Midwest. Piper is a physically fit woman who enjoys running as well as pole dancing for fitness. When she’s not writing, reading, exercising, cooking healthy meals, or gardening, she’s watching way too many true crime shows on the Investigation Discovery (ID) channel. Her website is:
USA Today Bestselling and award winning author Mandy Rosko loves writing paranormal romances with werewolves, dragons and people with special powers, while occasionally dipping into Billionaire Bad Boys ^_~ She is the author of the Things in the Night Series, Night and Day, the Dangerous Creatures Series and Alpha Bites. Find out more at
Cristiane Serruya–or just Cris–lives in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with her six-foot-six tall husband, two teenage daughters, and Loki, her Shetland sheepdog. In 2011, after twenty-two years of practicing law, Cris decided to give writing a go. And—amazingly—it was just the piece that was missing from the puzzle of her life. Known for her empowering stories enveloped in heady, sensual romance, she is the author of TRUST Series, Love Painted in Red, From the Baroness’s Diary, and The Modern Man. Meet Cris at

Debbie White: I currently live in beautiful northern California where the hills are dotted with vineyards and the rocky coast is nearby. The weather is usually warm and you can find me sitting in my backyard with a glass of wine during the summer or visiting one of the many wineries in the area. The views from some of these wineries are spectacular. Animal rescue is dear to my heart and I donate a percentage of ALL book sales to this very worthy cause. When you purchase one of my books you are also helping a furry friend with food and shelter while they await their forever home.


Blog Tour, Uncategorized

Crescent Vendetta

Crescent Vendetta – Book 1 of the Vendetta Series
By Desiree L. Scott
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Crescent Vendetta Cover Front.jpg
WTMO Synopsis Banner Final.jpg

Wolf-shifter Vanessa Burns has survived a life of brutality and neglect. Being kidnapped, drugged, and forced into an underground fighting ring is just the beginning of one man’s sick and twisted obsession.
Travis Kameron, the Alpha of the Crescent Ice Pack, suffering a similar fate, wakes up to find his life is about to be irreparably changed by the fierce she-wolf in the next cage.
Can they put aside old rivalries and the past and work together to not only survive and escape but to weather the storm of complications, revenge, and betrayals waiting for them on the outside?

WTMO Buy Links Banner Final.jpg

Crescent Vendetta – Book 1 of the Vendetta Series

WTMO Excerpt Banner Final.jpg
The sounds of howling, growling, and whimpering grew louder drawing his attention away from his intriguing and captivating companion and bowl of slop at his feet.
He returned his focus back to the sound of the crowd screaming that could be heard even through the thick walls. He looked towards the door and then back at her.
“How long does the medication last before you can shift?”
Silence, and then she sighed as her gaze shifted over to the door as well.
“I don’t know. They keep the drugs coming.”
“How long have you been here?”
Travis tried to think of anyone who had gone missing but drew a blank.
“How soon until they return again?”
Her eyes glowed as they went from the door to him, but she answered through their link, a link that was growing stronger.
“Anytime now. They seem to have the effective time span of the serum down pat.”
Just as she finished with that thought, he heard footsteps outside the door, followed by loud cursing and something falling to the ground with a clank.
Travis lay back down, his thoughts racing. How the hell were they going to get out of this?

WTMO Teasers Banner Final.jpg

Crescent Vendetta Teaser 1.jpg

Crescent Vendetta Teaser 2.jpg
WTMO Author Bio Banner Final.jpg
Desiree L. Scott.jpg

Desiree L. Scott has been writing since she was sixteen years old. There have been many influences within her life that has set her on the path that she cannot help but walk. A few of those influences consist of Karen Rose, Lisa Gardener, Nora Roberts, Cynthia Eden, Catherine Anderson, Laura Griffin, Andrea Kane, and Lisa Jackson, just to name a few. This list by no means defines my own writing but they have indeed influenced her desire to live outside of her own world and to create the thrill of her dreams.
Desiree lives on 40 + acres in the SHOW ME state with her ten-year old daughter, with the wonderful addition of four dogs. The weather is unpredictable, but the surrounding beauty of the country helps her creativity as she sits on her top deck with her laptop and coffee close by.

Social Media Links:
Crescent Vendetta Cover.jpg

Lavish Publishing Blogger.png

WTMO Hosted By Banner Final.jpg


MY REVIEW:Clone’s BrideBy C.J Scarlett


*•.¸(*•.¸ ♥¸.•*´)¸.•*´



🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

TITLE: Clone’s Bride

AUTHOR: C.J. Scarlett
SERIES:  Celestial Mates
GENRE: Werewolves & Shifters
LENGTH: 427 pages
RELEASE DATE:  February 7, 2017


Few people in the verse understand or have a genuine liking for the Shardon. They see clones as expendable since they are so easy to replace. Some are even under the mistaken impression clones aren’t real people and they share a hive mind.

Lar Shalon is one such clone. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day to combat all the irrational beliefs about his kind. Being a physician he understands the critical need to breed humans in order to save his dying race. What he can’t quite get his head around is how they are going to lure human females to them. As he sets about learning their breeding habits, one won’t seem to leave him alone. She can’t seem to keep from touching him. It’s disconcerting and he doesn’t know quite what to make her behavior.

Madison and her twin sister are dying. The doctors on Earth have no idea what’s wrong with them. Their one hope of survival is signing up for the alien brides program. Aliens have spaceships and technology, right? They must have advanced medical knowledge as well. The desperate pair risk everything on one last wild gamble at staying alive, landing gorgeous alien husbands in the bargain. *****************************************************************


Clones bride is a wonderful and with a extra bonus of 2 extra books mix in. When earth is slowly dying and there is alien race that is looking for human females a deal is made. We are taken on a wild ride with 2 sisters and the ones that are match for them. This was excellent sci fi story.  Cant wait to read more. Recommend this book

Release Blitz

King’s Captive


For three years, I’ve belonged to Julius King.

Some people would think being stuck on a private island is heaven, but this is my hell.  

Because I’m not here as a guest. Not even close. I’m a prisoner. I’m his.

Julius King. Powerful. Wealthy. Dangerous.

There are parts of me he wants that I can’t give him. When he looks at me, there are times I swear he sees someone else. And the scary part is that sometimes, when he touches me, I think he may be someone else, too.

Though my body might be tempted, and he might control everything else, I can’t let him have any piece of my heart. I won’t. But every day, the fight gets harder, and Julius manages to slip past my defenses in the most unexpected ways.  

I have to find out the truth about Julius King. Even if it destroys me.  

This book is approximately 81,000 words

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise! Find out more at

“Glad we could do business again.” Julius steps towards Jack and they shake hands. It’s a funny thing; Julius must be twenty years younger than Jack. He’d be no more than thirty to Jack’s fifty, yet when they clasp hands it’s Jack who lets go first.
Chairs skate backwards on the polished floors as everyone gets up. The sound bursts my bubble. Everyone’s leaving and so must I if I don’t want to be caught alone. I tuck the money into my handbag, then push back my chair, slow and easy, then slip to my feet. Inch away as the men shake hands. Take one last look at Julius’s broad back, then turn to the door. They’ll all be going directly out the doors from the pool room. Still, I keep my strides even, thighs clenching until I pass through the frame, and hit the cool dark stretch of the hallway.
My muscles loosen but I resist the compulsion to run before Julius notices I’ve gone. The sharp solid thud of dress shoes on wood echoes behind me. My backbone fuses for an instant. I stumble. One strappy heel twisting before I right myself, and keep my legs moving.
His steps trail behind me. Closer and closer. He doesn’t call out, or order me to stop. Just closes in somehow without seeming to pick up the pace. He’s always that much faster than me, that little bit ahead.
The light from the kitchen floods the end of the hall. I just need to make it through the kitchen and I’ll get to the back door. Be outside, then I can break into the jog itching through my quadriceps.
I reach the end of the hallway. A hand closes around my wrist and brings me to an instant breathless stop.
My skin sizzles where he touches me.
“How did you like your gift?” he says, still behind me, still holding my wrist.
I turn to him. Give him my best big-batting eyes. “Thank you, Julius, it’s always good to keep up with current events. I found the horoscopes particularly satisfying.”
He pushes the transitional sunglasses he wears for business up on top of his head, and I’m struck as always by his eyes. “Yeah, what do the stars say about your future?”
I don’t normally give him this much. Like my opinion, let alone a preference. I keep my personality all to myself, don’t give him any weapons. He has enough over me as it is.
But that newspaper fills the back of my mind.
It’s like I’ve been living the same exact day over, and over, and over, and over. Days and weeks bleed together. Like a movie, or a dream, time has no substance, means nothing here.
But that date—one month left.
Now I feel each moment as though I’m handed a grenade every time the minute hand twitches.
And I must do something, anything, to alter my course. I smile and wonder if it looks as stillborn on my lips as it feels on my face. “Oh, just that I’m going to meet a handsome stranger who will sweep me off my feet and take me someplace new.”
A stranger who’ll kill you dead.
Wickedness breaks across his face, and fuck-me if it doesn’t make him that much better looking.
“Ahh,” he says, and that one sound vibrates down my spine. He tugs me by the wrist and looks right down into my face. Those eyes in half light—I want to close my own. Shut them out. They see too much.
I keep my lids open, keep them wide.
Hold his gaze.
“Is that what you want, romance?” His voice drips with sweetness.
I’m no stranger to this side of him. He’s always offering, and offering, and offering, as though there’s an alternative to his food, his shelter, his company.
Luring and baiting.
Until I’m craving his cooking. Singing his damned songs. Thinking about his presence when he’s gone. He’s a devil—offering my damnation peeled, sliced and arranged on a china plate.
I suck in air. His scent is on my gasp, heady enough to taste. Spicy cologne, and something all him—male and feral.
He leans down, lowering his head.
I turn my face away.
Hold my breath.
His face touches my neck. Hairs stand and rise over my body. Not what I’d thought he’d leaned in for, yet somehow worse. His nose runs intimately from the base of my throat to my jaw. His sharp inhale hums right against my skin.
“What’s this you’re wearing today?”
I stare from the hall to across the kitchen, to the door to freedom. “I spent some time in the garden. It’s called sweat.”
He chuckles, low and rough. “Of course it is.” He touches my cheek, turns my face, and makes me look at him.
I blink slowly, unable to stop the sight of him filtering through my lashes.
“Do you want to kiss me goodnight?”
My lips part. Open with no answer and hardly any conscious volition.
The question repeats in my head. A thousand times. For every day I’ve been here and every day he’s asked. The full weight of time bears down on me in these moments and I understand exactly why people go crazy in prisons.
This is all there is.
Reality shivers. His lips are right there and I see them speak, again and again and again. In my mind, in memories, in dreams. Things he’s said and things I know he has not, until maybe the dreams are real, and this a nightmare.
Now it’s his breaths filling the space between us. Closer.
I almost lean in. Every day the struggle is the same. My will no stronger from practice. Julius’s voice compels surrender. Every single day it’s this—this temptation beating in my blood. Begging me to try. See what it’d be like to just-give-in.
I breathe in, breathe out through pursed lips, reach down inside myself to the place that’s hard and strong and inaccessible.
He brushes my cheek with his fingertips. Maybe I’m going even crazier, seeing things with my eyes open instead of when they close, but for a moment I think there’s something a little heartbroken in the way he looks at me. “Why do you always lie to me?”
My chest squeezes and I wrench my face away.
His hand falls from me, but his voice rises up to take its place tormenting me. “One day, baby, I’ll have only the truth from you.”

amber 1.png
Kings Captive Amber Barden Teaser 5.jpg


After spending years imagining fictional adventures, Amber finally found a way to turn daydreaming into a productive habit. She now spends her time in a coffee-fuelled adrenaline haze, writing romance with a thriller edge.

She lives with her husband and children in semi-rural Australia, where if she peers outside at the right moment she might just see a kangaroo bounce by.

Amber is an award winning writer, Amazon Bestselling Author, and member of Romance Writers of Australia, Melbourne Romance Writers Guild, and Writers Victoria.

Author Links

Cover Reveal

Ripple Effect

Coming February 24th


They call me RIP.
I’m a killer. A murderer. A psychopath.
In the eyes of the righteous, I’m a monster, born of sin and depravity.
I want to protect her, but I’m not a good man.
I want to love her, but I no longer feel.
She gets under my skin, though, and has awakened something inside of me.
Something I’d kill for.
I’m not her savior—not even close. In fact, I’m worse than the hell she’s already suffered.
I’m her vengeance. Tit for tat, as they say.
And if she’s not careful, I’ll be her ruin.


For months, I’ve watched him.
I’ve fantasized him as my savior, my lover. My ticket out of the hell I’ve lived in for the last six years.
I never dreamed he’d be my nightmare.
Had I known what he really is, I’d have never gotten in the car that night, but life is full of cause and effect.
And sometimes the choice on offer isn’t a choice at all.
It’s the result of something already in motion, and we’re merely left to survive the ripple effect.

*This is an erotic suspense/erotic romance not recommended for readers under the age of 18 due to graphic violence and sex.

Shells are made to be cracked.
I stare down at the tiny white egg, wedged between the ashtray filled with cigarette butts and the empty bottle of Jack Daniels on the balcony.  Hardly broken in two halves, the busted center reveals an underdeveloped bird inside, nearly devoured by the bugs that crawl in and out of the shell.  I can just make out one bulbous eyeball, surprisingly intact, staring back at me.  Mourning Dove, I’d bet.  They seem to flock to this shithole every year, for whatever reason.
The nest teeters on the edge of the eave somewhere above me, as if the mother intentionally chose this most dangerous spot to lay her egg then up and abandoned it.  Left to the careful watch of carnivores.
Poor little bird.
A tickle hits my arm and I slap a hand to my skin, before scratching at the spot just below a black monarch butterfly tattoo, digging my nails into the place where I’m certain I felt something crawling over me.  I hate when my long wisps of hair skim across the surface like a translucent web dancing over my skin.  Insects give me the willies.  Well, except for butterflies, I don’t mind them so much.  My therapist put a name on it once, said I had ento-something-phobia—a fear of bugs.  It’s not really the bugs themselves I fear, though.  It’s the idea that something could breach the barriers of my skin, and infest, just like the shell that housed that bird.  Sometimes I have dreams about them, crawling over me, nesting inside of me.  
The very thought casts a shiver down my spine, and I’m grateful for the pane of glass that separates me from the macabre outside my window.  
Wind rattles the glass in its frame, the tendrils of late winter snaking their way beneath the thin afghan wrapped around my shoulders.  It’s been mild, unseasonably warm enough for bugs and early blooms, but that Chicago wind carries the vestiges of a brutal winter.
The fog of my pills is lifting, making me more aware of the cold, but I’m holding off for something stronger.  I’ll need it tonight.
From below, the mumbled shouts of Lady Ortiz, as I call her, push their way through the rotted wood planks that separate our balcony from hers.  She and Mr. Ortiz are fighting again, their voices escalating into the crash of broken glass.   The Yorkie, three floors below, barks an incessant plea to take a piss outside, and I wonder if his owner, Mrs. Silvia, has finally kicked the bucket.  The lady’s pushing ninety, and the pungent reek of ammonia that fills her apartment seeps through the heating ducts of this place sometimes.
Oddly enough, in spite of the noise, the smells, and the crawling bugs, this is my moment of peace. Escape.  Freedom.  
I must be the only teenage girl on the planet who longs for quiet moments without the gossip, the socializing, and all the damn noise.  In a generation of selfies and the desperate need for validation, sometimes I like to slip onto the other side of the mirror and simply watch.
Fringed by the glow of my bedroom light, I study the broken shell, eyeing an ant that marches away with a chunk of something far too big for its size, and I’m reminded that the world takes what it wants even after death.
That’s how I got here, this shithole apartment smack in the middle of Chicago.  Just like insects, after my father’s death, the bank took our house, the creditors took our cars, and shame stole our pride as we bounced from shelter to shelter, my mom and me.  I was nine years old when he died, and as innocent and vulnerable as a baby bird trapped inside a fragile shell.
Because he committed suicide, my dad’s insurance policy was considered null, and we were left without a pot to piss in.  For a while, though, we got by.  My mom landed a job dancing, and as a veteran’s widow, qualified for something like Section Eight housing.  I was left home alone most nights, but it worked.  We survived. Things were okay for a while.
I can’t even remember the moment life changed for us.  
Feels like it happened in the span of a year, but I know it only took one fleeting second in time, when she didn’t have to worry about me, when the weight bearing down on her lifted and she felt high as the clouds.
An odd dichotomy, heroin—the way it rolls off the tongue as two completely opposite things—a selfless and courageous woman, and a selfish agent of destruction.  
My mom gave up one for the other and that began our descent into some of the darkest days of my life.
My stomach twists, and I curl into myself, bringing my knees tighter to my body.  
Almost time.
Two silhouettes hit my periphery, and I turn toward the mouth of the alley, where they move abruptly, limbs flailing, as if they’re in the thick of a fight.  I focus on them for a moment, spotting the sag of his slacks just below his un-tucked shirt, and realize they’re not fighting at all. They’re fucking.  A prostitute and her John pressed against the dirty bricks of the building, beside the overflowing dumpster. Her dark skin is hard to make out, but his crisp white shirt stands out like a beacon of debauchery.
This alley is a constant stream of slum life stories.
Staring at them drudges a memory of sitting tucked beside a line of garbage cans in the back alley of a bar, watching a rat pick at a maggot-infested chicken leg lying in a toxic pool of wastewater, while the sounds of my mother’s animalistic grunts and moans drifted from the other side.  Nothing but meat and the stench of rot taunting my gag reflex.  Through a small gap between the wall and garbage, I could just make out a man’s naked ass slamming into her, his dirty fingers curled around her bony thigh.  Even then, no more than eleven years old, I knew what she’d become before the word was brutally carved into her skin. Whore.  Junkie.  A prostitute, always searching for the next high.
The two in the alley stop moving.  Only that they’ve begun to pull their clothes back on tells me one of them must’ve climaxed.  There is no big finale, or magical moment of ecstasy in the underbelly.  It’s all quick and quiet fucks, while breathing in the fog and reek of stale sex and damp garbage.  He tugs his slacks over his hips and holds up an object, which I’m guessing is a thin wad of cash.  She reaches for it and the guy strikes her with the back of his hand, the echoing smack that kicks her head to the side is the first sound I’ve heard between them.  
He’s probably her pimp.  If she fights him, she’ll have to drag her ass across the city looking for an unclaimed street corner, and pray some crazy lunatic doesn’t pick her up and turn her into a human skin rug with her head mounted on his wall.
At seventeen, I know more about organizational hierarchy and job security than the average middle-aged CEO, and just like the corporate world, success depends on how many people get fucked.  
Wolves and sheep.
For those of us in the flock, survival comes down to how well we manipulate, because a predator’s eyes are naturally drawn to the most innocent.  So when my mom’s John started giving me that carnal look, I began carrying a pocketknife, and at thirteen, I once held it to the junkie’s throat, threatening to slice out his voice box if he ever touched me again.
Sometimes the sheep can be cunning, though.
My mom once tried to make me pickpocket—a lesson that landed us in the back of a cop car.  Took ten minutes with the cop before we were released with a warning, and it was then I learned a valuable lesson in life:  even at a woman’s weakest, sex could be her most powerful weapon.
I glance back at Charlie, my stark white Dogo Argentino, stolen from one of my mother’s back alley conquests.  If not for her, I wouldn’t be sitting here, letting the blood-sucking insects feed off of me, after my mother spiraled straight to her grave.  
Charlie gives me purpose.  If there is a God, I truly believe he put her in my life to keep me from doing stupid shit.  That, or to give me a weakness, because Lord knows I’d probably go psycho bitch crazy and end up in a padded cell if anything ever happened to my beloved dog.
Because of her, my heart is a tenderer piece of meat for the insects to tear apart.
At the opposite side of the room is another bed that belongs to my eight-year-old foster sister, Layla.  Well, for now anyway.  She won’t be here long.  This place is a revolving door for foster girls, most only staying a couple months max.  I don’t know where they go, and honestly, I don’t care.  There’s no point getting to know them.  In the time I’ve lived with the Westpricks, at least two-dozen girls have been in and out of here.  In some ways, I resent them, getting out and moving on to something else.  Maybe somewhere better.
I’m the only one who ever stays.  The constant in this hellhole.
Since I was nine years old, I’ve been bounced around from house to house, wishing and hoping for things that just don’t happen to kids where I come from.  For six of those years I’ve been lost.  The forgotten.  The unwanted.  I’ve been hurt in ways that have forever changed my landscape and numbed me to future pain.  
But now I have Charlie, who’s a reminder that good things can come from bad situations, and that even a beast can penetrate the hardest of hearts.  
Charlie makes me think of my mother more than I care to.  Perhaps because it was my mother who stole her for me, unwittingly gifting me my own personal guardian angel.  
I miss her sometimes, though.
The memories of her are like bent photographs that I pull from my back pocket from time to time, wishing I could set them out on a shelf someday.  But life’s too short, particularly in this part of the city, to dwell on what will never be again.
My mom wasted away before I even hit middle school. Police told me it was an overdose, but I think she got a hold of a tainted batch of heroin.  
And I’ve been caught up in the system ever since.
A few places worked out okay.  They let me keep my dog, which was cool, but people tend to give up on kids who don’t love as easily as others.  I acted out.  Punched my first foster mother in the face and broke her nose.  Didn’t even have a good reason, really, except that she was the first person I had to deal with after my mom died.
Lucky for me, my caseworker managed to track down my mom’s sister, Chanel, and her long-time boyfriend, Randy.  I’d never met her before, never even knew my mom had a sister. Aside from the fact that Chanel treats Layla and me like her favorite Barbie dolls, the two of them can’t stand us most of the time.
Doesn’t matter, though.
Two more months and I’ll be out on my own.  
I close my eyes so tight they ache.  Two more months.  That’s when I graduate and can get the hell out of this shithole, and away from the shady foster system that threw me into the hands of Randy Westprick, as I like to call him, and my flighty aunt.  In a few weeks I turn eighteen and no one will own me anymore.  No one.
I could run away now, ditch school and hit the streets, but that would put me on the same path as my mother and I’d rather die in this hellish place than repeat her mistakes.
The neon sign across the alley blinks a mesmerizing repetition of lost hopes that reflects off the patches of water along the pavement.
A shadow slips along my periphery, and I lift my gaze as a dark figure stalks down the alley toward the old fashioned-looking diner that sits across the narrow cross section on the corner.  A place that reminds me of the Boulevard of Broken Dreams painting I once saw at the mall.
It’s him.
Head to toe in black, the stranger’s tall frame remains concealed in the leather coat he always wears.  I flip open the dull brass pocket watch, the only remnant left of my real dad, and check the time.  Ten o’clock, as usual.  Churning in my stomach has me hugging my mid-section.  
Almost time.
Every Friday I watch the stranger enter the diner, choosing the corner booth beside the window, where he orders a burger and drink.  It’s only Friday he orders a burger.  Some nights he’ll come in, grab carry-out, and leave. But not on Fridays.  On those nights, he stays and sits alone, never seems to make small talk with the waitress—the same lady who waits on him every time he ventures in.  Their interactions are brief and as cold as I’d imagine from a man like him.  In spite of that, the sight of him makes me dream things.  I don’t know who he is, but I fantasize that he’s a deft killer by the way he carries himself with such lethal grace.  If he is, then this is the side his victims never get to see—his vulnerability, choosing the same place, the same seat, the same time every Friday night.  It’s a sadness that speaks to me, because without fail, I find myself settling in by my window at the very same time.  
Occasionally, he goes at different times, on different days, some weeks not at all, which might seem erratic to some, but I’ve watched him long enough to know there’s a pattern.  One that I’ve picked up on, because that one week he’s not there, is repeated precisely four weeks later.  Perhaps it’s mindless on his part, maybe his visits correspond to events in his life that I’m not privy to, but I’m a creature of patterns, and I’ve memorized his.
From as high as my window, I can see he’s big.  A man, not a boy, at least ten years my senior.  His bulky frame fills the creases of the leather coat he wears, and he reminds me of something straight out of a comic book—not the hero, but the menacing antihero, the bad guy no one expects to be good.
No, in my fantasy, he’s bigger.  Meaner.  Stronger.  A man who kills on instinct.
Beneath the cover of my blanket, I sneak my hand down inside my shirt, closing my eyes the moment my fingertip makes contact with my hardened nipple.  I imagine his lips closing over it, the scratch of his day-old scruff against my skin and his strong hands holding me in place, the gruff in his voice as he says my name like a fervent prayer.  I imagine he smells good, not like stale beer and the putrid mix of body odor and bacon grease, but something deliciously masculine.
I shouldn’t want for a grown man this way, but I do, and I don’t even know him.  
For months, I’ve held this invisible rendezvous with him, staring down from my perch, imagining him stealing me from this cage.  Turning me into whatever he is.  Killer?  Criminal?  I don’t even care, so long as it’s tougher, more wicked than Randy Westprick.
I fault him for my lack of interest in the boys at school.  Not that I’m allowed to date them anyway, but I’m certainly not touching myself to any of the guys my age.
Sometimes he stares out the window and I swear his gaze scans up to my balcony. However, if he sees me, he never makes it known.  Perhaps to a man like that, I’m nothing but a young girl, hardly a threat for noticing him.
With my bottom lip caught between my teeth, I succumb to the visuals toying with my mind and the soft moan that escapes me has me stealing a furtive glance back at Layla to make sure she’s still asleep.
He takes his usual seat, filling the booth with his bulky frame.  Some nights I picture sliding into his lap, his body crushing me against that table, as I straddle his thighs.  I imagine his massive arms enveloping me.  His tongue across my skin and in my mouth.  Sweat dripping down my back, along my spine where the palm of his hand holds me in place.  How he’d feel without the pills denying me the sensation of his cock filling me.  The edge of the table beating into my back with every punishing drive of his hips, and the tight clench of his jaw in that reckless moment when he finishes inside of me.
My lips part at the vivid imagery, and my belly tightens while I circle my nipple with the pad of my finger.
If anyone were after him, he’d be hard to miss in those bright lights, the way he stands out like a splotch of black paint on a stark white canvas. He hasn’t looked this way once tonight, which allows me to study him intently, admiring his virile features.
He’s beautiful.  A sad, but beautiful man.
The click of the doorknob sends a knot straight to my throat and my stomach sinks like bricks in a murky river. The sound alerts my dog, who I can hear rustling in her bed, and a low growl rumbles in her chest.  
I slip my hand out of my shirt, straightening myself beneath the afghan.  
A beam of new light invades the soft glow of the Christmas lights I’ve strung around the room for Layla, and as my nightmare enters, Charlie’s growl dies to a whimper.
The thud of his boots across the floor sound like the hooves of the devil coming to claim my soul.  A scuffling tells me he’s stumbled, but not even that prompts me to turn around.  
Drunk again.
The moment I caught him hunkered down in front of the television with a six-pack, I knew he’d come for me.  I don’t want to look at him.  I hate him.  The smell of him makes me sick, like a walking deep fryer.  
If not for Charlie, I’d climb over the railing of the balcony, spread my arms, and fly.  The police would find a broken shell of me.  They’d study me, the same way I studied the baby bird, while the world dissects pieces of my story to suit their curiosities, leaving nothing but a picked over carcass.
All because my mother abandoned her nest.
They’ll never know it was he who gave the final push, and it won’t even matter.  Once he injects the drugs, I’ll fall into dissociative bliss, tucked away in the same fog that kept my mother oblivious of the world around her, on rose-colored clouds, and a never-ending dream.  
The darkness behind my eyelids is my only refuge from the hell around me, and I’ll willingly climb inside, burrowing myself in that place where no one can touch me.  While my body’s propped on the cold metal of the washing machine, I’ll be miles away, fallen deep into the rabbit hole.  No one can find me there.  Not Randy, nor the men who see the photographs of me that he takes in the dingy laundry room of this apartment complex.  
Although he never violates me himself, for whatever reason, he likes objects.  The more common they are, the more he gets off.  He once had me masturbate the end of a vibrating toothbrush and used it for months after—smiling at me every time he brushed his teeth.  
I’ve been defiled in every sense short of rape, stripped and purged of innocence, feeding his disgusting obsession with me.  
I often wonder what Chanel’s like when she’s not hopped up on pain pills.  If she’d be jealous and accuse me of fucking her man, or if she’d take pleasure in watching him do it.  I once tried to tell her about him taking me down there and snapping pictures of me.  She offered me one of her pills and asked if I liked the boots her friend had handed down to me.  
I can’t blame her too much, though.  Randy likes to use her as his personal punching bag, and most days, she’s sporting a bruise somewhere.  Even if it’s not always visible.  He’s hit me a few times, but unlike Chanel, I hit him back, even at the risk of more pain, because I believe once you show weakness, it’s easier to fall prey to it.
A tug at my elbow and I glance to the side, swatting at his arm.  “Don’t touch me.”
Sometimes Randy offers gifts—small tokens that come with his usual pep talk about how it’s not abuse because he never actually penetrates me and the photos don’t show my face.  That’s a lie.  I once swiped his phone when he passed out on the couch and deleted a good few dozen pictures of me—his little mementos.  I couldn’t stand to look at my own face—droopy eyes singed with the apathy toward whatever he forced me to do. I’d hoped to see shame in those photos, but it seemed buried too far beneath the effects of the drugs.
He’s threatened to circulate them throughout the school if I say a word about any of this.  Send them to all my classmates on Facebook, as if they’d come from me.  Like he’d ever let me have my own account.  As far as the world is concerned, I don’t exist.
“C’mon,” is all he says, before walking out of the bedroom.
I give one more glance toward the man in the diner, as he stares off, waiting for his food.  Maybe one day he’ll look up and see me.  
Maybe he’d want to kill Randy Westprick, if he knew that somewhere close by, a girl was forced to do bad things.  Very bad things.
For now, the drugs will put up a barrier, separating my mind from the horrors of my reality, much like the pane of glass that separates me from the insect-ravaged bird outside my window.
Maybe it won’t hurt as much this time, knowing that I do this to keep Randy from slaughtering my dog or taking away the pills that have become as necessary as the air I breathe.  A vicious cycle of escaping to survive and surviving to escape.
Because sex is power.
And even the hardest shells are made to be cracked.

Keri Lake is a married mother of two living in Michigan. By day, she tries to make use of the degrees she’s earned in science. By night, she writes dark contemporary, paranormal romance and urban fantasy. Though novels tend to be her focus, she also writes short stories and flash fiction on the many occasions distraction sucks her into the Land of Shiny Things.

For news, updates and sneak peeks at the sexy cover model candidates for her annual Cover Model Contest, subscribe to her newsletter: