A Breath of Sunlight
Publication date: August 17th 2021
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Don’t show compassion for men. Never save a man’s life. And no matter what, never fall in love with someone you must ultimately kill. But some rules are meant to be broken, even if it means risking your life by betraying your valkyrie sisters.
The plan was simple—attack the Pits, kill the male slaves, save the women. But when Skaja runs into a fae man she can’t kill, she instead breaks all the rules to save him.
Prince Calle was sold into slavery by his jealous brother, and he would do anything to taste freedom again, even put his trust in a dangerous valkyrie. To protect his people and gain the throne, he and Skaja must trust each other. But neither of them expected trust to turn into something more, and the cost of love has a much steeper price than either of them anticipated.
Calle gasped and shot up into a sitting position. He clawed at his throat to remove the boot, but instead of finding a rough leather boot, he touched soft, warm skin.
“Shh,” Skaja soothed as she touched his hands, his face, his hair. “It was only a bad dream.”
Her face finally came into focus in the darkness. Pinched, concerned brows. Pursed lips. Hair falling across her forehead.
He shook his head, suddenly aware of the perspiration that clung to his skin. His back ached where he’d been whipped. His throat still burned for air. The slave brand on his forearm rippled with heat. “N-n-no. It w-w-wasn’t a d-d-dream.”
“It was,” she said in a soothing tone, and for the first time since they’d met, her eyes were kind and gentle. Her fingers stroked either side of his hair. She was touching him… And not just an uncertain, awkward touch. A compassionate caring lingered in her caress, and he couldn’t help but lean into her hand.
“Please don’t stop,” he whispered.
A pause. But then her fingers continued their exploration. Her light touch skimmed his hair, his eyebrows, his nose, his cheekbones. They hesitantly touched his earlobe before she more daringly traced the shape of his long, pointed ear.
His heart slowed into something calmer. Something safer. The fear in his soul settled to the bottom of a clear, placid lake. The pain in his back and throat ebbed. The burn on his forearm died slowly like a waning fever.
He breathed in Skaja’s scent of jasmine and cool midnight skies and breathed out a river of calm. She was right. It was only a dream.
Yet, it had felt so real.
A flash of darkness passed across his mind, and as if he once again found himself in the deep ravine of the Pits, his hands began trembling. Skaja’s gentle touch trailed from his ear, to his shoulder, down his arm, before she clasped his hand. Her touch felt so good. Like a breath of sunlight after being caged in the darkness for so long.
Sydney Winward is a fantasy and paranormal romance author who dabbles in the occasional historical fiction. She loves building complex worlds filled with magic, strong characters, and emotional stories that can make you laugh and cry.
Sydney is the author of The Bloodborn Series, and when she’s not writing, she’s reading, thinking about stories, or going on adventures with her children. She lives in Utah with her husband, two amazing kids, and one stubborn fish.
Under Control By Zoe Normandie
General Release Date: 17th Aug 2021
Word Count: 70,063 Book Length: SUPER NOVEL Pages: 287
ACTION AND ADVENTURE BONDAGE AND BDSM CONTEMPORARY EROTIC ROMANCE MEN IN UNIFORM
Book DescriptionDanica has no choice but to trust her ex-Navy-SEAL bodyguard, so she can’t let her defenses down or fall in love—no matter what. All I’ve ever done is run. I’ve had no choice. It’s just run or die. My family is ruthless. But then everything changed. He showed up. Protecting me, challenging me, teaching me… I don’t know what to think about this former Navy SEAL. I’ve never had a bodyguard before. I’ve never been with a man before, either. He represents a lot of firsts for me. The only problem is that the harder I fall, the faster he pulls away. There’s something in his past he won’t tell me. Something dark. He says he’ll never fall in love again. But, for me, it’s too late. I’ve never felt these intense feelings before, and I’m terrified. What I feel for him seems dangerous. I may have no choice but to run again—if it’s not too late—because I’ve realized that my heart is firmly under his control. Reader advisory: This book contains violence, abduction, attempt at a forced marriage and references to murder.
Excerpt“Moose, hold up. I haven’t cleared the area,” Delta called out to the man jumping out of the passenger side of the armored black SUV. Former Navy SEAL and decorated war hero Carrick Byrne tilted his head back, giving Delta the usual ‘don’t even start’ expression. “Relax, big rig. This is just a little ‘find and retrieve’ contract,” Carrick said in a skeptical voice tinted with the slightest Irish accent as he leaned back into the idling SUV. “I don’t think we need to worry about one little girl.” Delta narrowed his brown eyes, and a lock of his slicked-back dark-blond fell onto his unimpressed face. “She’s been on the run for years. Don’t underestimate her.” Carrick looked around with obvious sarcasm at the fact that they were literally about to walk through a park on their way to finish the job. Glancing back, Carrick raised his eyebrow to his friend, recognizing the face of someone who wanted to punch him. “Come on. How much trouble could one chick cause?” “Your client seems to think she can cause a lot of trouble,” Delta reminded him. “And our intelligence suggests the same. She’s slippery, Carrick—and I don’t think your client is very forgiving.” “Don’t overdramatize this,” Carrick warned. “This is a nothing contract.” The two strong, opinionated men exchanged looks before Delta backed off, seemingly knowing that at the end of the day, Carrick was the CEO of Sea-to-Sky Security. “Have it your way,” Delta said, leaning back. “You’re the boss.” Moving away from the SUV, Carrick slung his old black hockey skates over his shoulder, heading toward the rink. He flipped up the collar of his black work coat, even further concealing his identity. He had a target to follow. Years of urban reconnaissance and black ops had given him more than enough tactical training to handle the job. Popping a black baseball hat on and smoothing back his black hair that was peppered with gray, the dark Irish-American moved stealthily. Delta took off behind him with gusto, but Carrick didn’t care. He just needed to get the job done and over with, then move on to the next one. It should be in and out—quick and easy. Those were the types of cases Carrick needed to build his client base and his reputation as the premiere private security firm in LA. And, damn it, he was going to do the best job he could—because after losing everything that mattered to him, this new business venture was all he had left. Carrick focused on the scene before him. The crowd had thinned. It was growing quiet. As he came up to the skating rink, a young couple passed him on the other side of the pathway leading out of the park. They seemed happy—in love. His only instinct was to scowl, and he pulled down the brim of his hat farther as he stooped to put on his skates. The target was on the ice. It was time to get closer. Then retrieve. Out on the rink, it was nearing closing time, and everyone was clearing out. He was the only one heading in. Good. He needed the space. It was much easier to keep eyes on the target. At least, that was what he told himself. He wouldn’t admit it, but at that moment—Valentine’s Day night—he wanted nothing else than to have a reason to be alone—alone and away from everything to do with his life, away from the memories. Is this my second Valentine’s Day alone? He shuddered, pushing the thought aside. That wasn’t something he was prepared to feel. He didn’t have to. The girl was in sight. Hockey skates on, Carrick moved hard down the bumpy outdoor ice—as hard as the restrictive leather strap of his shoulder holster would allow. Wearing a pistol was like wearing boxers. He did it every day, no matter what. It had come to feel like a second skin. Keeping his eyes on the ice, not on her, his blood pumped to his engorged muscles and a sated grin crossed his lips. There were very few things in life that served to alleviate his stress—hockey being one. The other was a similar cardio-exhausting exercise that elevated his endorphins, pumped his blood and left him satisfied and spent. Pushing forward, he observed her—the lone woman skating in the opposite direction, once again nearing his position. Her long brown hair had escaped her pink toque, and her warm breath visibly illustrated her panting chest, even from afar. Carrick had to admit that her form was more than pleasing to look at. Athletic and swift—he didn’t doubt she could give him a run for his money in a race, but he kept his gaze down. He made sure to give her enough space so that he wouldn’t scare her away. Danica Petrova. As she was skating past him, he stole one glance of her face, locking eyes. He had to see her face in person. All he’d seen was a picture. He wasn’t disappointed. Her red cheeks flashed at him and her eyes sparkled. So youthful and full of life. What he’d seen in a blink of an eye held the promise of an eternity of pleasure as he took in her beautiful face. But then, in an instant, just as her body floated by him, her skate hit a groove in the ice, an unmistakable sound—and common. Turning immediately, he thrust forward and reached out, catching the young woman as she fell. He quickly heaved her back onto her skates, rescuing her from a hard fall. As he held her, she fluttered her dark lashes at him, enchanting and stunning him. “You okay?” he asked, looking her over, hoping she hadn’t been hurt. “I’m okay.” A sweet, feminine voice escaped her full lips. Holding her close, he realized that her eyes hadn’t been sparkling. They were wet. Has she been crying? “I just caught an edge,” she explained, like she’d been caught doing something wrong. “Thank you.” As she made to push away from his arms, he realized that he had been still holding her all this time. I never let her go. She frowned as she probably realized the same thing. He released his grip on her thick sweater, letting her float back a foot into her own space. Silence filled the rink. Their gazes did not break, and she continued to blink at him, likely assessing him, given the look in her eyes. There was something distrustful about the way she was evaluating him. Her body language screamed that she was scared and threatened that she was about to run. Before thinking, he threw out his hand, just knowing she was just about to pop smoke and disappear—and knowing he couldn’t allow that. His client had warned him that she was a runner—and that she could slip out of any situation. His client had also warned him of the importance of not letting her go. “Carrick,” he introduced himself, keeping her there. She took his hand, though hers remained limp, and she retracted it right way. Clearly, she didn’t know what to make of him—but her manners shone through. “Dani.” Cute. She seemed very sweet, and not at all like the client had described. That was the first thing that brought on his suspicion that something might be wrong and not as he’d been led to believe. “Nice to meet you,” he replied with a little more meaning than he’d expected. She responded slow and shy, her voice cracking, “I really do appreciate you saving me from the fall.” “Forget it.” He shrugged as instinct urged him to back off a little. But the caveman inside him couldn’t take his eyes off her. Lithe and pert, she almost glowed under the soft lights. There was something different about this target. She continued averting her gaze, looking down at the hard ice and shaking her pretty heart-shaped face. Something was brewing in his mind that he was unwilling to accept, and his strategy shifted. This was not how he’d planned the operation to go, but he had to adjust on the fly—right? Carrick checked his watch and turned in the direction she was going. “Heading this way? Last five minutes.” He motioned, nearly regretting it as he did. Really, he knew better. They didn’t have time for leisurely skating. “I was.” Her words poured out nervously, responding to his invitation. “But…” “You aren’t anymore?” “I mean, I am.” She toyed with her gray sweater buttons as she looked away, seemingly just as conflicted as him. She was a smart little coyote, and he wondered if she was ready to bolt. She is definitely ready to bolt. “Well, let’s go then.” He took the lead, pushing off the ice and gliding away from her. If there was one thing Carrick was good at, it was controlling a situation. After a pause, there was the distinct sound of skates on the ice behind him, and she caught up to glide alongside him. He’d been sure she would follow—had just known it. A sense of intrigue tugged at his senses as a cold burst of wind blew her long brunette locks across her shoulder. So he decided to lay it on thick. “Looks like you’ve got tough luck tonight,” he said. “It certainly wouldn’t have been the worst thing to happen to me on Valentine’s Day.” The rebellious words seemed to slip from her mouth, and she glanced up with an embarrassed expression. “That sounds like a good story,” he replied. Her wide gaze betrayed discomfort. The effect? He was able to observe her eye color more closely. They were a lighter brown, but mixed. With green? Like camouflage. He’d never seen a color like that before. He continued looking around. “We must be two sad cases—out here alone on Valentine’s night.” She brought her gloved hands together, rubbing them and offering him a shy smile. “Or, we must both just love skating.” He couldn’t help but smirk, his chest flexing, “Guilty. I’m a hockey guy.” What the hell am I doing? He wiped the smile off his face, feeling like an idiot. However, it seemed her guard was lowering—and in return her shy tiny smile grew a bit. “I can’t believe you…caught me.” “Come on. I couldn’t let you take a nosedive.” He shrugged, pumping harder down the ice. She kept up, showcasing just how good she was on blades. She cocked her head and offered the slightest grin, tepid and testing. “You have quick reflexes.” He shrugged again. “Yeah, when I need to.” Built from years of Special Forces tactical training. She shook her head again in apparent disbelief, then looked away. It was almost like she didn’t believe someone would save her. The bumpy ice on the rink was overdue for maintenance, which tended to be the case at the end of the skating day. There weren’t many rinks in California—and fewer outdoor ones. Her skate caught an edge again, which she was too distracted to see. As she yelped and almost fell, he lunged instinctively, grabbing her against his body one more time. “Christ.” He exhaled. Holding her in his arms again, he gazed down on her young, golden face. She bit her lip as she glanced up at him. He was aware of his great height and wide frame, which could be intimidating for some, especially when he was on skates. “Want to keep going?” he asked, offering his arm. “Or should we head off?” Danica grinned up to him, making him wait far too long before she answered, her glittery, innocent gaze flickering left and right. Never before had he wanted someone to take his arm so badly. As much as he hated to admit it, he had her exactly where he wanted her. He was forcing her to make a choice. It was going to play into the job nicely. “One more round.” She grinned her little smile, but her cooperation was tentative at best. She slipped her hand in the crook of his elbow, only to then avert her gaze from his. The flush in her cheeks grew, and he guessed it was more than just the cool night wind coming in off the Pacific Ocean. Comfortable silence found them briefly as they pushed along the ice side by side. She never let go of his arm, and for the first time, it felt like they were skating together. Something stirred inside him that hadn’t been there before. “How long have you been skating?” he asked, propelling the conversation forward. “Oh, for as long as I can remember,” Danica began, revealing more and more. “I grew up on skates and dreamed of becoming a figure skater.” Again, the admission was followed by caution that flashed across her eyes. She didn’t want to share much, but she was. She recoiled slightly, as if realizing her mistake, and tried to create space between them until he decided he wouldn’t let her. He didn’t want her to withdraw. Changing the tempo, he pushed her out a little from him, allowing her hand to slide down his forearm and slip to his just as he twirled her around on the ice. It was so smooth, so natural—like they’d been skating together for years. He didn’t miss the wide smile that crossed her lips. “It never hurts to dream,” Carrick said as he pulled her back into him, running his gaze over her form for the hundredth time, his curiosity at maximum. What does Danica want? What does she do? Questions sprang to the front of his mind. Why did my client lie to me? “I have no shortage of dreams.” Her sweet smile betrayed a longing, and it was clear she noticed the way he was looking at her. “What do you do for work?” He pressed on as he ushered them farther down the ice. “I’m a nurse.” “At the hospital?” His gaze caught the city worker beginning the process of closing the rink. “No, at a family clinic,” she replied. “What else?” he probed. “Tell me more.” She let out a low laugh, as if in disbelief he would even say that. “I think it’s time to go.” Then she let her hand slip out of his arm, gliding one perfect white skate in front of the other on her way to leave the rink. As he followed, he couldn’t keep his eyes off her, watching her closely as she moved. It was like he’d never met a woman before, never seen one. If he were a wiser man, he’d notice that his chest didn’t feel as tight as usual for the first time in too long. If he were a wiser man, he’d notice that he’d grown very distracted. “What about you?” She cut into his thoughts as she held on to the wall of the rink, stepping one foot through the gate. “Are you…?” If it weren’t for the sound of a man shouting as he sprinted toward them, Carrick would have caught what she said after that. The shouting was unmistakable, and for a second he felt like he could kill Delta for the interruption. Danica snapped her eyes open like a doe caught in the headlights, clearly frightened by the six-foot-five man running up to the gate. Delta grabbed onto the side of the rink with his meaty SEAL-build as he spoke to Carrick in low tones. “Moose, there’s a situation. We have to go.”
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General Release Date: 17th August 2021
Word Count: 53,150 Book Length: NOVEL Pages: 202
ACTION AND ADVENTURE BONDAGE AND BDSM CONTEMPORARY CRIME CRIME AND MYSTERY EROTIC ROMANCE
Book DescriptionLexi had always hidden her dark desires…until she found him. Lexi Monroe, one of Sabine Cowan’s most valued Kitty Cats, is set to retire from Cowan Enterprises, but just as she leaves her own farewell Kitty Cat party, she stumbles on a secret that could change Sabine’s world forever. But what she discovers is not a secret she can tell Sabine—not until she finds out the whole story. So instead, she enlists the help of hard-hitting, investigative reporter Sam Henderson to get to the bottom of things. Sam’s always on the hunt for dirty deeds, so he agrees to work with Lexi. It’s not a hardship for him, however, since he’s got a thing for redheads and he finds Lexi simply irresistible. Even though Lexi doesn’t completely trust Sam to have Sabine’s best interests at heart—especially when a juicy story is in play—she believes that ultimately, he’ll always do the right thing. At least, that’s her hope. Their chemistry is explosive, and in the process of uncovering the whole story, Sam and Lexi delve into their own dark secrets, revealing parts of themselves that they’ve never shared with anyone before. As terrifying as it is to be so vulnerable, both Sam and Lexi understand that the only way to get what they each want is to open themselves up to being hurt. But that’s hard to do when they are both hiding behind layers of defenses. They must set aside their different approaches to life and love in order to save not only Sabine herself but also everything she’s built in Cowan Enterprises. Reader advisory: This book contains mentions of violence, catastrophic injury, depression, therapy, murder, and pain management.
ExcerptIf Sam Henderson died this very moment, it would be the death of a sexually frustrated man. Sitting across from him was the object of his lust—the object of lust for thousands of men—and she was completely out of his league. “Should we go with an easy question this time or a hard one?” Despite his cool exterior, Sam’s heart was pummeling his chest wall. His body was tight, and not just because his cock was already straining against his zipper. He was taut like elastic that was primed and ready for release. Lexi Monroe, one of Sabine Cowan’s most popular Kitty Cats, sat in front of him appearing more gorgeous up close than she had in her promo videos—and that was saying a lot. A natural redhead, she was stunning to look at with her pale skin and freckles. She had pink, pouty lips that begged to be kissed and intense blue eyes that could cut a guy in half if he were the kind of guy who got flustered around beautiful women—which, apparently right now, Sam was. “I like it hard, Sam.” Lexi twitched her lips into a wry grin, like a cat about to pounce on prey. “You’ve been teasing me all morning. Hit me with the hard stuff.” I like it hard, Sam. He groaned silently. He’d love to give it to her hard, right here, right now. He’d throw her over the back of that chair and pound her until she moaned. Buying himself some time, he reached up and stroked his beard then glanced at his phone and his list of questions. “Why don’t you tell us what led to your decision to leave the Kitty Cats?” When he looked up at her, she was staring intently at him, her focus shifting from him stroking his beard to his eyes. She bit her bottom lip and his whole body coiled tighter. “She won’t be answering any questions about her decision to leave the Cats, Sam.” Adam, the security guard from hell, didn’t even look up from his phone when Sam snapped an angry look his way. “Or about the accident. I know Sabine set out her expectations with you.” Fuck! Sam prided himself on getting all the dirt, and so far in their long friendship, Sabine had blocked him from almost all the secrets she held, which extended right now to Lexi’s secrets as well. He was no fool. He knew both Sabine and Lexi possessed some doozies. Sabine had built her empire on them, he was sure. But that was speculation on his part, because Sam wasn’t allowed to ask Lexi anything that could, even in some obscure way, uncover anything Sabine didn’t want to be leaked. Which was why he’d been so damn surprised to receive a summons from the Queen of Sex herself to do an interview with one of her most beloved Kitty Cats. Lexi was an athlete, a gymnast, a talented one too—or had been up until a year and half ago, when she’d somehow fallen wrong and had broken things that had required multiple surgeries and a lot of physiotherapy. It was another Lexi secret Sam had planned to dig into, but apparently that was not going to happen either. “All right.” Sam shook his head as he scrolled through the list of questions Sabine had approved. “What would an aspiring Kitty Cat need to do to reach the level of success you have?” He looked up from his phone to find her staring at him again. This time, her gaze was roving over his chest and down one of his arms. She was obviously checking out his ink, and he had to admit that he liked the trail of heat her eyes left as she gave him a good once-over. “Well, I guess…” Lexi’s voice was wispy, like she was distracted by something she found intriguing. She slowly shifted her gaze back up his body until she met his eyes, sending a jolt straight to his groin. “I suppose you should be open to all possibilities—and you need to be a people person. An aspiring Kitty Cat has to be loyal and really, really good at listening.” “I’ve heard that you’re one of the best.” Sam clicked his phone off. This was not going the way he’d thought it would. “Which is why it’s so surprising that you’re leaving.” Adam grumbled. Sam lifted his hand to wave him off. “Sometimes you just have to move on.” Lexi shrugged, a gesture that looked practiced and full of shit. “It’s time to pursue other things.” Sam leaned closer, intrigued by the look in Lexi’s eyes. She was lying—that was obvious—but was she lying more to herself or to him? She shifted her eyes to her lap and Sam felt it like a wall coming down between them. When Sabine had asked Sam to interview Lexi as a farewell expose because the successful Kitty was hanging up her cat ears and calling it quits, he’d had a dozen ideas of how to make the piece explosive. So far, Sam’s questions had mostly been thwarted either by Lexi side-stepping and giving a less-than-intriguing response or Adam outright forbidding an answer. Sabine had wanted Sam to put together a fitting tribute as a farewell for her precious Kitty Cat, but that was looking more and more impossible, thanks to how secretive everyone was being. Sam had already lined up a trendy magazine to take this story, but right now he was honestly thinking that he’d have to back out of that contract, because he was getting nothing juicy to work with. Sam sat back in his seat and draped his arm along the top of the couch. Lexi had her hands in her lap, busy plucking with her fingers at invisible lint or something. Am I making her nervous? Or is she uncomfortable being interviewed? Sam had watched Lexi’s promo videos many, many times. He’d researched all the interviews she’d given over the years—which hadn’t been many, but still, in all that footage Lexi had been vivacious, outgoing and always smiling. The woman who sat with him now was a very subdued version of her former self. “Tell me your most scandalous story, Lexi.” Sam leaned in closer, like they were old friends sharing secrets. He had to pull something tantalizing from this interview. She flattened her hands on her lap then looked at him with her startling eyes and, once again, he felt like she’d harpooned him and was reeling him closer. She smelled like apples and cinnamon, and that made his mouth water. “Give me a secret no one knows. I promise I won’t tell anyone.” He winked. She laughed, tilting her head back, her hair brushing over her shoulders. Her skin was so soft-looking, and he had the most impulsive urge to reach out and stroke along her arm. When she looked at him again, her eyes sparkled with mischief, but only for a moment. Adam cleared his throat and she shuttered herself from Sam once again. “If I told you that, I’d have to kill you.” Her gaze drifted to the windows. “You know I can’t tell you that kind of thing.” Fuck, Sabine did know how to pick the loyal ones. Lexi snapped her eyes back to meet his and she had a quirk of a smile on her lips, making him feel like she was playing him in some way he couldn’t figure out. Her eyes were alight with a wickedness that made his cock harden like cement. She leaned forward, almost beckoning him to move even closer to her…like she was about to tell him a secret after all. Twenty seconds of intensity passed where neither one of them said a word, yet Sam’s senses were piqued and his body revved like he was hitting the gas, even though he had nowhere to go. He wanted to touch her, taste her. He wanted to hear her moan. She leaned back first, putting distance between them, and Sam swayed toward her. This woman is pure magic. He cleared his throat. “All right, then tell me what you look for in a man. What kind of bachelor might have some luck with a beauty like you?” He ran his fingers over his beard again, partly to disguise his embarrassment at asking such an amateur question and partly because he could tell that she liked it when he stroked his beard. “Oh, I don’t know…funny, intelligent, hard-working.” “Oh, come on, Lexi. That’s not even an answer.” Sam kept his tone light, like he was joking, when in reality he was dying to know the kind of guy who would attract a girl like her. “You might as well describe half the guys in the world.” She snapped her eyes up and grinned that wicked grin. “Only half?” He barked a laughed. He liked her sass. He wanted more. The interview carried on like that for another twenty minutes, and Sam learned about her younger years as a gymnast, the time predating her Kitty Cat life. It was clear to him that she was an athlete at heart and that whatever had happened to her with the accident, and after, had destroyed a part of her in a devastating way. Sam badly wanted to dig into that, to find out the details surrounding the mystery of her incident, but he knew he wouldn’t be getting that information from Lexi. “Time’s up.” Adam walked closer, tapping at his phone without looking up. “Lexi has an appointment.” “I think I’ve got everything I need,” Sam lied. He didn’t want to upset Lexi by saying he had no idea what the point of this interview even was. She’d given him nothing, and it was Sabine’s fault. She’d trained her Kitty Cats to be expert secret keepers. Adam nodded once then turned and headed to the door. Lexi picked up her small purse then stood. Sam stood as well, not sure if he should shake Lexi’s hand or what. Suddenly everything seemed very awkward. “Thank you, Sam.” She closed the distance between them. Lexi was tall, which was unusual for a gymnast and something that she’d talked about in other interviews he’d watched. Her height had been held against her at times in competitions. Of course, she was a decorated gymnast, so she’d proven them wrong in the end, but still, she was supermodel tall, which was something Sam liked a lot. She was lithe and, of course, moved with grace. Sam could stare at her body for hours, mesmerized by how she seemed to float. She sidled up close to him and invaded all his senses at once. Her body radiated heat, her pupils dilated, her breath, which was as fresh as mint, was hot against his neck. He froze, not wanting to scare her away, but inside he was a volcano of lust, his blood bubbling with desire. The chemistry between them was combustible. Lexi put her hand on his forearm and leaned in so that her body was practically pressed against his. He could swear he felt her nipples bud against his forearm. Her luscious smell went straight up his nose to short-circuit his brain. She brushed her lips against his ear and whispered, “I’ve always had a thing for beards and tattoos. Maybe I’ll see you around.” His cock pulsed, a reminder of his aching erection, and it took everything in his power not to chase after her as she walked away. He listened to her heels click on the foyer tiles. “You’ve got the suite for the rest of the night, Sam. Checkout is eleven tomorrow,” Adam said just before the door whooshed shut. Sam blew out a breath then ran his hand through his hair. He tugged it free from the tie that bound it at his neck. Lexi had secrets…big ones. What Sam wouldn’t give to peel back the layers of that fine creature. He had to figure out a way to get close to her again. Right now, he needed a cold shower—or maybe he needed to indulge himself and rub one off in a hot one instead. He had his clothes off in record time and was under the hot spray, lathering himself up, his thoughts cycling around Lexi’s sexy voice. “I’ve always had a thing for beards and tattoos.” He groaned as he took his cock in hand and began to stroke himself. “Maybe I’ll see you around.” Fuck, yes, he’d be seeing her again. He wanted to rub his beard all over her body. He’d die to have her trace his tattoos with her tongue. He’d love to take Lexi from behind, gather her hair in one of his hands and pound her sweet pussy until she screamed. He’d give anything for the chance to lick along every cut and angle of muscle her gorgeous body had until she moaned his name. His balls tightened and he increased his stroking, applying pressure and letting his mind wander to how good it would feel to have Lexi’s mouth wrapped around his dick. He’d stretch her lips out and he could practically feel the barrier of her throat holding him back until, slowly and steadily, she took him all the way down. His cum exploded like a fire hose, and he painted the wall of the shower with it. The release felt great—better than great—but it did nothing to abate his desire for Lexi or the ever-cycling thoughts about stripping her down and getting her naked—physically, but also mentally. He wanted to know what made a woman like that tick and he would love a second chance, without an audience, so that he could get to know her more intimately. But women like Lexi were unavailable to guys like Sam. He was damaged goods, running away from his past—if only because he hated what his family stood for and wanted to put as much distance between his life and theirs as he could. Lexi wasn’t the only one with secrets. He got himself rinsed off and cleaned up, then got out of the shower and toweled off. His tattoos looked darker when his skin was wet, more vibrant too. He took a minute to appraise his ink. Lexi liked tattoos, and that gave him a surprising jolt of pride. He didn’t have any room left on his arms, shoulders or upper chest, but he’d been planning to add some script to his stomach as soon as he had time to spare. Maybe he’d get that going while he was in Miami. Lexi’s farewell Kitty Cat party was happening the next night and he could swing for another couple of days in Florida if it gave him the opportunity to do some recon. Obviously, he didn’t have an invite, but that had never stopped him before. He continued drying off, noting that he still had a semi and could probably go a few more rounds with his hand to fully satiate himself. Now that he’d decided he’d be seeing Lexi again, he kind of wanted to hold off, to deny himself until he figured out how to get close to her. He left the bathroom butt-naked and found his personal, non-work cell phone. There was one guy he knew would absolutely be at Lexi’s farewell party, and luckily he was an old friend who owed him one. He searched his contacts. He only used this phone on the rare occasion that he needed or desired to touch base with his past life. It had come in handy a time or two to set aside his reporter identity in favor of his actual one. He found the name he was looking for and hit Call. “Samuel Dove, holy shit, man! How are you?” Devon Caldone was filthy rich—maybe not quite as filthy rich as the Dove family, but up there in terms of having a ridiculous amount of money, more now because of his celebrity status. Devon was a couple of years younger, but they’d gone to school together and he and Sam had been friends of sorts. They’d gone to the same parties, played the same sports, even ended up at the same university and pledged the same fraternity. “I’m good, man. How are things with you?” “Never been better! I’m in Miami right now, soaking up the sun, hanging with my girls. Where are you?” “Miami too, actually.” “No fucking way! We need to catch up.” “Yeah, we do. Hey, listen… I heard you’re into those Kitty Cat parties. Do you know if there’s one coming up? I’d like to check it out if they’re as good as I’ve heard.” “Oh, do I know of one? Hell yes! Tomorrow night, dude! I’ll get you in with my crew! It’ll be like old times. I’ll send a limo. Where are you staying?” “The Grand.” Devon whistled. “Of course you are. Only the best for my man, right?” He laughed to himself. “Okay, dude, we’ll swing by to get you around ten. Sound good?” “Great. Thanks. I’ll catch you later.” Sam hung up, feeling only slightly guilty at the manipulation. It was sinful really, but Devon was desperate for acceptance and had always looked up to Sam. But it was a means to an end. All he’d have to do was avoid Sabine somehow so she didn’t find out he was there, because if she did, she’d sure as shit have him thrown out immediately. No press was allowed. Luckily, Sabine only knew him as Sam Henderson and had no idea that he was actually Samuel Dove, sole heir to a multi-billion-dollar fortune, a fortune that he wanted very little to do with as long as his father expected him to take over the family business one day. Sam was no stranger to going undercover. It wasn’t like he’d never played up the rich-guy angle before to get intel he needed, and he’d definitely tapped into his endless resources and connections thanks to his family name, but tomorrow night he’d step into the role of suave, wealthy bachelor, not to get a story, but to get a few minutes alone with the sexy Lexi Monroe. Okay…maybe also to get a story.
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Love Burns By Adrian J. Smith
General Release Date: 17th August 2021
Word Count: 79,076 Book Length: SUPER NOVEL Pages: 303
CELEBRITIES CONTEMPORARY EROTIC ROMANCE GLBTQI LESBIAN
Book DescriptionA chef must learn to open her heart when challenged by her young but wise nanny, who has a knack for turning up the heat. Kimberly Thompson—or Kim Burns, her stage name—is a celebrity chef whose career is taking off. As a single mom who has a penchant for being a bit of a bitch, she goes through nannies like the flavor of the month until Becca Kline is sent to her by Kiddie Academy. Becca—known as ‘the fixer’—is often sent to homes considered to be troublemakers. In charge of caring for four-year-old Michael, she is determined to make this job her last before student teaching in the fall and finishing up her degree, which she has been working on for the better part of a decade. Neither Kimberly nor Becca are prepared for the changes headed toward them, and they both have to learn the hard way that love doesn’t wait or discriminate. Reader advisory: This book contains references to drug use.
ExcerptBecca carefully set the last of her picture frames into the cardboard box then shoved two shirts around them, making sure they were tight against the sides. Folding over the flaps, she pressed down lightly as she pulled the packing tape across to seal the box. This day had come far sooner than she had hoped, but the twins she had watched over for the past year were officially on track with life, and she was no longer needed. It was time for them and her to move on. The agency, Kiddie Academy, was sending her to a new home. They had warned her it would most likely be a temporary position. No one lasted long at this appointment. Becca had heard the rumors before Kiddie Academy had even decided to send her there. The other nannies all talked, all shared, and she had seen a vast number of women go through that house in just two short years. Nerves ramped up in her belly as she picked up the box and walked it out in a light March rain to her run-down car. After opening the back door, she slid it in, her entire life fitting into the small sedan. Sighing and brushing away a few tears, Becca went to the house, triple-checked that she had everything, then set the alarm and left. All her goodbyes had been said, and this was how she’d wanted it—quiet and without fanfare. Slipping behind the wheel, Becca turned the engine and backed out of the drive. A year had been a good run, her longest nanny position yet, but it was time for a new life—perhaps her last before she finally finished her degree. She was the fixer, the one who went into struggling homes and helped the kids turn around. That was what her employer Kiddie Academy called her, anyway. With a steadying breath, Becca headed to the address on the files she’d acquired, ready to begin her new job. When she pulled up outside the house, she was gobsmacked. The house itself was beautiful, but it was also huge. This was the upper class. They routinely had nannies and maids who were live-ins and had their own sections of the house. That was why she’d opted to work for those families, to cut down her costs, pay more for school—that’d been her theory, anyway. But this house? There was something different about it. The tans and browns blended together to look like a vast desert in the middle of a rainforest because of the number of trees and shrubs and green things that surrounded the building. Stepping out of her car, the glimmer of the sun off the waters in the pool caught her eye. She took a step to the side of the house to get a better look and let out a deep breath. Clenching her jaw, Becca flipped through the papers in her hand again and looked for the name of her new employer. Kimberly Thompson. Something about it rang a bell, but she couldn’t place the name. Still, the niggling feeling in the back of her mind didn’t leave. Turning on her toes, Becca headed for the front door. Nerves swelled in her belly, but she tamped them down before pressing the bell. The ring echoed through the house. There was a loud thump then pattering feet as their owner no doubt raced toward the door. Becca heard a small voice on the other side, squeaky but clear. “Can I open it, Mama? Can I? Can I?” “Wait until I get there, please. You know better than to just open doors for strangers.” “But can I open it?” Becca smiled to herself, knowing she’d likely have the same conversation with any child in her care. It was only a few more seconds before the handle turned and the left side of the French door snicked open a crack, revealing the bright brown eyes and red cheeks of a small, cheery boy. Becca planted the softest smile she could on her face and bent down to his level. “Afternoon,” she offered. “I’m Becca. You must be Michael.” “Open it all the way, kid.” The woman’s voice, still behind the door, was solid and strong, but her admonition to Michael was said with a tone of love. Michael shoved the door the rest of the way open, the door itself flinging rapidly toward the wall. A small hand with thick, short fingers caught it before it slammed to a stop. “Michael…we don’t open doors like that.” “Who are you?” His small voice was full of curiosity. He completely ignored the beautiful woman now standing fully revealed before Becca. Becca had to work hard to pry her eyes away from her, but she managed to glance again at Michael and hold her hand out for him. “I’m Becca. It’s good to meet you.” The woman stepped behind Michael and pressed her fingers to his shoulder in a protective manner. “Are you from Kiddie Academy?” “I am.” Becca straightened her back and turned her smile toward whom she presumed was Kimberly, her new employer, hoping it would disarm some of the hostility coming off her in waves. “I know I’m a little early.” Kimberly waved her away before stepping forward and extending her own hand. “It’s all right. I’m Kim. This is Michael. We just finished dinner. Come on in. Michael can give you the grand tour while I clean up.” “Sounds like a plan.” Becca put her focus on Michael as she swallowed the lump in her throat. First impressions were everything, and while she was there for Michael, her impressions of Kimberly mattered far more, since she was the source of Kiddie Academy’s problems. “What are you going to show me first?” Michael bounced on his bare feet briefly before running inside. “My room!” Chuckling, Becca waited for Kimberly to move to the side so she could come in, but Kimberly hesitated. Their eyes locked, and Becca found herself lost in the pale hazel with a hint of yellow. Becca raised an eyebrow and cocked her head to the side, surprised when Kimberly jerked and held her hand open for Becca to walk through the doorway. As soon as Becca was inside with Kimberly behind her, out of her immediate sight, she was able to relax briefly. But she was just as lost as ever. Michael was nowhere to be found, and the inside of the house matched the outside. It was huge. The living area took over most of what she could see, and from there, all she saw was a kitchen. Kimberly stepped beside her. “His room is down the hall off the kitchen. Third door on the left.” “Right. Thanks.” Becca headed away from Kimberly, hoping she’d masked the shudder racing up her spine. The niggling feeling that she knew Kimberly came back sharply, but Becca ignored it and focused on Michael—the main reason she was there. She knocked on the door and grinned. “You left so fast that I missed where you went. You must be as fast as Flash!” Michael stopped where he stood and cocked his head to the side, the toy tractor slipping from his fingers onto the floor. “Who’s Flash?” “What? You don’t know who Flash is?” Michael shook his head. Becca stepped onto the carpet and curled her legs under her to sit down on the floor in front of him. She grabbed the tractor and set it the right way. “Flash is the fastest man alive. He was struck by lightning, and he became as fast as lightning. He can run for days and never stop. He can run so fast that you can’t see him.” “Is he a superhero?” “He sure is.” “Cool!” Michael plopped down on the floor and grabbed the controller for his tractor. He drove it in circles around Becca, and she laughed as he ran into things and narrowly avoided her. Occasionally, she would pretend she was scared he was going to scoop her up and dump her somewhere else. Michael roared with laughter as he attempted to run her over. Becca had no idea how much time had passed, but when she glanced out of the window after hearing footsteps down the hall, she realized it was dusk. She glanced around the room for a clock, found none then looked at her watch. “Michael, do you suppose it’s getting close to bedtime?” He sheepishly crossed his legs and looked down at his hands in his lap. “I guess.” “Do you think we should clean up your toys before bed, so your room is nice and clean in the morning?” “I guess…” he muttered. Becca smirked and picked up the tractor. “Where does this go?” He jumped up, took it from her and put it in a cubby against the wall. It didn’t take them long before the room was cleaned, and when he turned to look toward the door and not Becca, Becca was taken off-guard. “We cleaned my room!” He beamed. “That you did.” Kimberly’s voice was like silk, floating over Becca’s skin and warming her. “Did you show Becca anywhere else other than your room?” “Ummm. I did.” Becca glanced up in time to see Kimberly give Michael a look that meant business. “Did you?” “No. We just played.” The smile that brushed Kimberly’s lips was one of pure love. “Why don’t you get changed into your jammies, and I will show Becca the rest of the house.” “Okay!” He jumped up without another question. Becca, however, rolled to her side then got up to her feet. When she stood, facing the door, she found herself within an arm’s reach of Kimberly. Her heart rate ratcheted up and her breath left her lungs. “This way.” The curt tone was back, and Becca couldn’t figure out if it was just her Kimberly wasn’t liking or if she was like this with everyone. Doubling down on her efforts, Becca knew she’d have to make progress, otherwise her name would end up back on the available list like everyone else who had been through this house. Becca followed Kimberly the way she had come before, her eyes focused on Kimberly’s swaying hips. Kimberly had generous curves and a rounded butt covered by skin-tight leggings. Her shirt billowed a little more as she moved, her dark hair straight down her back. “There’s a bathroom at the end of the hall that Michael uses. The kitchen’s here, living area… There is a den down that hall, along with two guest rooms. There’s also the sunroom that leads to the pool that way. Michael is not allowed near the pool or in the backyard without you or me. You are CPR trained, correct?” “Yes, ma’am,” Becca answered. Kimberly wrinkled her nose. “No need for that. You can call me Kim.” “Kim. Kim Burns.” The click in Becca’s head was nearly audible. “You’re Kim Burns. How did I not put that together?” Kimberly hummed to herself. “I am. Didn’t think you recognized me. I tell Kiddie Academy not to share, so I’m not surprised they didn’t tell you. That, and Burns is my maiden name, not my married name.” Becca’s eyes widened again, her muscles locking up with a touch of fear and worry. “I’m so sorry. I should have recognized you. I’ve seen your cooking show.” “I don’t expect people to know who I am, but thank you.” Becca grinned and winked. “I didn’t say I liked your show. I just said I’d seen it.” Kimberly smirked, and it was the first time Becca felt she’d made a chink in Kimberly’s thick and solid armor. It was a small one, but a chink at that. Kimberly pushed open the door to a room down a hallway the complete opposite direction from Michael’s. “This is your wing…bedroom and bathroom. You’ll have to share the kitchen with us. I do apologize for that, but I rarely cook when I’m home.” “Don’t blame you for that. I can’t imagine cooking all day then coming home after work and wanting to cook again.” Kimberly let out a snort. “Exactly. We can discuss everything else once you get a bit more settled and once Michael is asleep. I’d rather not mess up his routine any more than necessary.” “Absolutely. I’ll just bring in my stuff then.” “Here’s a key.” Kimberly held out the single key between her thumb and forefinger, dangling it in front of Becca. “I’ve got a file for you with the alarm code and everything else that you’ll need to know.” “Got it.” Becca reached forward and held her hand open so Kimberly could drop the key into her palm. She would much prefer to avoid touching Kimberly if at all possible. Something about her set Becca’s nerves on fire.
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(City of Kaus, #1)
Publication date: November 16th 2021
Genres: LGBTQ+, New Adult, Science Fiction, Western
It has been three years since Elvira “Ellie” Ryder was betrayed by her best friend Cor and watched as her hometown of Kaus was leveled by invaders from a different Zone. Now sworn to seek revenge on him, Ellie has teamed up with her old friend Zach to find their long lost friend.
After getting offered a bounty hunting job—really an assassination job—they find out that part of their payment is the whereabouts of Cor. Without hesitation Ellie and Zach take the job and make their way to the Human Zone to assassinate their target. As they make their way through the desert, and through the Human Zone, they are up against the prejudice of their kind—Kausian, a race that can shapeshift but always stand out with their golden eyes. Nevertheless, they never miss a mark—that is, unless they find out the truth about who destroyed their kind and how their target is right in the middle of it all.
Will Ellie be able to forgive Cor after learning the truth? Or will she forever hold on to that hatred?
Dani Hoots is a science fiction, fantasy, romance, and young adult author who loves anything with a story. She has a B.S. in Anthropology, a Masters of Urban and Environmental Planning, a Certificate in Novel Writing from Arizona State University, and a BS in Herbal Science from Bastyr University.
Currently she is working on a YA urban fantasy series called Daughter of Hades, a YA urban fantasy series called The Wonderland Chronicles, a historic fantasy vampire series called A World of Vampires, and a YA sci-fi series called Sanshlian Series. She has also started up an indie publishing company called FoxTales Press. She also works with Anthill Studios in creating comics through Antik Comics.
Her hobbies include reading, watching anime, cooking, studying different languages, wire walking, hula hoop, and working with plants. She is also an herbalist and sells her concoctions on FoxCraft Apothecary. She lives in Phoenix with her husband and visits Seattle often.
Alien Embrace: A Limited Edition Collection of Sci Fi Alien Romances
Publication date: August 17th 2021
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction
Aliens move among us—warriors, soldiers, explorers, and more—testing fate and finding love with their true mates. And they’ll do whatever it takes to ensure their human mates remain forever caught in their Alien Embrace.
This hot new collection brings you all the best in science fiction alien romances from New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling authors.
Our heroes and heroines will satisfy your cravings for every kind of alien romance, whether you prefer slow-burn or fast, one hot hero or two…or more.
Get this steamy new collection of alien romances from the best, new, and up-and-coming voices in sci-fi romance.
★.•°`☆ NEW RELEASE ☆`°•.★
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They’ll protect me… if they don’t break me first.
I refuse to be a disposable pawn in my father’s underworld dealings. If that means heading out in the middle of the night to get as far away as I can from my mafia family, so be it. I have everything planned, and it’s all going perfectly… right up until the point where they catch me.
Angelo. Scary, domineering, the bruiser. If he wants me, he’s not going to stop until he gets me — any way he has to. Saint tries to be the “nice guy,” but he’s got a filthy little habit of touching me when I’m sleeping, when I’m helpless. And Victor? He’s the most terrifying one of all, the brains behind the brawn, with a cold composure I’m desperate to crack. If I can get to him, the others will fall in line — but what if he gets to me first?
They promise to protect me as long as I do what I’m told, but just how far will I have to go — and how much of me will splinter in the process?
Content Warnings: This MMMF reverse harem is a dark mafia romance, complete with: dubious consent 🔥 captivity 🔥 humiliation 🔥 somnophilia 🔥 med-kink 🔥 violence, and so. much. more.
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Title: The Boss Assignment (Rogue Protectors, Book 3) Author: Victoria Paige Genre: Romantic Suspense Narrated By: D C Cole & Melissa Barr Release Date: August 17, 2021 Hosted by: Buoni Amici Press, LLC.
A billionaire kidnaps a scientist and is unprepared for the consequences … to his heart.
Thief. Enforcer. Womanizer. Billionaire Antonio Andrade has been called all these things. His road to respectability has been buried in bloodshed. And his foes are waiting for him to have it all, so they can rip everything away.
Framed. Threatened. Abducted. Virologist Charlotte “Charly” Bennett is in a tailspin of trouble. The man who kidnapped her thinks she’s guilty of the bioweapon he wants to destroy. Agreeing to be used as bait could be her one chance to reclaim a normal life. If she survives.
With time running out and a hidden enemy on the move, Antonio and Charly rush to stop the mastermind behind these acts of terror.
For Antonio, sticking to his plan should’ve been easy. Until passion ignites between them. Now Antonio must decide between preserving his legacy or protecting Charly.
But as danger closes in and tragedy strikes close to home, that decision is torn from Antonio’s control. And straight into enemy hands.
Spoilers from books 1 and 2 are woven into this story so it can be read as a standalone with a happily-ever-after. It is more enjoyable to read the series in order:
The Ex Assignment (Rogue Protectors 1)
Protector of Convenience (Rogue Protectors 2)
Victoria Paige writes romantic suspense with badass alpha males and smart, feisty heroines. Her heroes are possessive, overprotective, and frequently the obsessed, jealous type with a penchant for strong language. Her heroines are strong-willed and intelligent women who can hold their own against a bossy hero. Her books are sexually explicit and may contain dark themes, morally ambiguous choices, and disturbing situations
Victoria lives in Richmond, VA with her husband and their German Shepherd Dog.