Looking for Dei
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Fairmont – Capital of the Great Land 652PB (Post-Breshi)
The toddler blew at the dandelion bloom until its seeds broke free and floated away on a breeze that gusted past the man watching her from the bushes. His breath hitched as his burdens were lifted and briefly forgotten.
It had taken ten years to locate her. A life of study, prayer, and service to Dei in a monastery had not prepared him for so many years on the run, hiding under false names while he searched for the one he feared he might never find. His grizzled, greying goatee and unkempt hair might have labeled him a beggar or a desperate criminal, but the hope in his eyes told a different story.
Oblivious to the nearby threat, the girl dropped the crumpled dandelion stem and stumbled clumsily near a pile of stones. No more than two years old, she waddled across the overgrown orphanage courtyard, her cloth diaper askew. She plucked more flowers, her red hair dancing as she hopped after the seeds. She seemed to favor the world as her playmate, ignoring the twenty other children in the courtyard. She bumped into a small boy, fell down, and hopped back up with a baby-tooth grin before trotting off.
When she fell, a glimpse of her back jolted the man to his task. It was the blemish that beckoned him here—an ugly red scar stretching from upper back to waist, announcing her identity as the prophetic treasure he had sought for so long. The weight of the manuscript in his backpack grounded his thoughts, and he glanced around the area. There were no fences, plenty of bushes for cover, and a single matron leisurely surveying the yard. The woman sat on the aging building’s back steps, watching the little ones as they ran about. She wore a dress and would be unable to chase him. How long would it take for her to alert the authorities?
As he surveyed the grounds to plan his escape, the girl waggled her hand at a passing butterfly and giggled as it flew away. Fortune favored his plans when she ran to a group of dandelions just a few feet from his hiding place. Squatting, she grabbed several stems, preparing to blow and release the seeds.
The man looked over to the matron, who had turned away to manage a quarrel between two other children. Knowing this might be his only chance, he burst forward and scooped the babe up in one arm, then raced back through the bushes behind the orphanage. He ran as fast as he could, unable to avoid jostling the child in his arms. She began to cry at the shock of her abduction, still gripping the dandelion stems in one tiny fist.
Back at the orphanage, the matron in the dress looked toward the back of the yard. The only evidence of a disturbance was a cloud of dandelion seeds that drifted upon the air, scattering in the light breeze. She turned to the many children she cared for, oblivious to the crime that had just been perpetrated under her watch.
“If you’re here to nag me, please leave. I’m not dealing with your cop shit today.”
“Why not? I would think the sooner you answer my questions, show me anything I want to see, be honest with me, the sooner I’ll be out of your hair. I’d have thought that would be something you would want. Don’t you want to prove your innocence?”
“You don’t have shit on me and we both know it. If you did, I’d be in handcuffs, but I’m not, am I?” It’s not a question he wants a response to and he doesn’t stop to let me give one even if I wanted to. “You think I’m dirty, your boss thinks I am, so what? I don’t give a shit, Bri. You’re not going to find anything because there is nothing to find.”
“I don’t think you’re dirty,” I defend myself, quicker than I realize what’s coming out of my mouth. Sure, it’s my job to find the evidence if it exists, but my gut has known from the day I met him he wasn’t dirty. And I don’t think he’s a drug smuggler. I do think he’s keeping something a secret, but I don’t think that’s it. Something isn’t right about this case. I’ve felt that since my interview with Gabriel’s mother.
“Then why are you here if it isn’t to dig up something you think I’m dirty of doing?”
I move, taking a step into the room, getting closer to him and not for a professional reason. His remark hit something inside me and not in a good way.
“D,” I sigh, taking another step. “This is my job. A case that involves you was assigned to me. My job is to determine if there is any validation to the accusation against you. I am going to be thorough in this investigation whether you like it or not.” I tap my index finger on his desk to drive my point home. “But at no point”—my own anger starts to seep out of my voice—“did I ever give you the impression I thought you were dirty.”
I’m getting mad and I’ve never shown emotions or lost my composure on the job before. The fact that I am now, with him, is only agitating me.
His dark eyes cut away from me, but I see the moment his temper takes a step back. After another second, he looks down.
“The first day we met, you told me you thought I had an illegal business relationship with Diaz.” His eyes glide up. “Are you saying that’s changed? You no longer think I’m in bed with the Mexican Devil?”
This is what I didn’t need. The lines between us are more blurred than I thought.
He’s right; I did say that. It was a tactic I often use. A tactic I wanted to work on him, but it didn’t.
My knee touches one of his, startling the both of us. I didn’t even realize I’d moved this close. I’m too close and I shouldn’t be in his personal space. I know better, yet I’m not taking a step away.
“I’ve heard a lot of things about your family, mostly of your father through others on the force, but I never believe anything as truth until it’s proven. Until I see it for myself.” I place my palm on his shoulder. “The first day we met, something told me you weren’t bad, or dirty, as you said. I don’t judge without knowledge, without the truth, Drago. And right now, for some unknown reason, I don’t believe you’re guilty of all the accusations that have been made.”
The next thing I know, I’m in his arms and he’s out of his chair, standing. In a quick move, I’m placed down on his desk, on top of sheets of paper while his lips come down onto mine in such a soft manner it contradicts the aggressive way he just handled me.
I smile against his mouth, not able to hold my form to his. I like this way too much. Who knew rough and gentle could go together so well?
Still . . . This can’t happen. Again.
I go to put my hands on his chest to push him away, but he anticipates my action, quickly pushing them down. Drago then leans in closer to me, pushing my chest backward, making me strain to stay upright. His hand comes down on my dress pants, parting my thighs where it eats up the remaining space between us.
“Dra . . .” I try to say his name between our lips, but it comes out more like a moan when his other hand goes inside my suit jacket, cupping my waist.
Shit. I do not have a handle on this at all.
“D,” I finally get out, pulling away from him and successfully getting my hands on his chest, but when I push, he barely moves. Instead, he has my wrist in his hand, quickly pinning it to my back and holding me from falling at the same time. Next, my other wrist is in the hand that leaves my waist and before I know it, it’s also behind my back. A second later, my eyes widen at the realization that he’s cuffed me—with my own fucking handcuffs that were stashed between my back, clipped over my pants.
How the hell did he do that?
“What the fuck?”
Title: Blue Velvet
Author: Linnea May
Genre: Dark Billionaire Romance
Cover Design: Arijana, Cover It! Designs
Release Date: April 17, 2018
Filthy rich and bedecked with power - but broken beyond repair.
I'm no man to be trusted.
Yet, she wants to join my silent and twisted solitude.
She seeks solace in tranquility and darkness - I need it for my sanity's sake.
We both crave the pleasure it yields for our broken souls.
Just skin against skin.
Testing, claiming - evoking inaudible gasps.
The Velvet Rooms provide our sanctuary. A place of safety, bliss and unbridled play, untainted by the ruckus of reality.
But the madness always finds you.
And this time it may be too late to stop the beast from destroying everything I worked for.
Linnea May loves to read and write about strong alpha men with loaded bank accounts and skeletons in their closets. Her heroes are as sexy and beautiful as they are broken - only to be fixed by the smart & captivating heroines who cross their paths.
Originally from Europe, Linnea currently tries to befriend the lively squirrels in Rhode Island. â¤
Everything He Wants: Billionaire Breakfast Club: The Jock A #MeetCute Romance
Everything He Wants is the first book in my new series, The Billionaire Breakfast Club. The BBC is a group of seven very different friends who meet when they are young and (mostly) poor, but with dreams of one day becoming billionaires. Now they are all on the cusp of realizing their success goals, but suddenly wealth and fame don’t seem so shiny anymore. Can they learn that love is the greatest fortune of all?
D’Andre glanced around guiltily.
It was pretty much impossible to be inconspicuous as a six-four black kid while he snuck out of the Young Entrepreneur seminar, but he managed to slide out a side door as the speaker’s attention was snagged by some girl in the front row who raised her hand every five minutes.
His head hurt.
Yeah, he’d promised his mother but even this dumb football jock knew that the guy at the podium was no longer on the cutting edge. He was taking about venture tactics that might have worked when D was in elementary school but the world moved at a crazy pace.
He nodded sharply to a Hispanic kid who sat on a bench outside the closely guarded lecture hall. Something about the guy struck D as dejected but you’d never know it from looking at him.
The kid stared at D’s badge then sighed and stood.
A perfectly-groomed blond guy with shiny hair and the requisite country club attire of a navy blazer and tan khakis eased out a different side door. Huh, Richie Moneybags was cutting out too. He stopped when he saw D, then gave him a chin lift and a conspiratorial grin.
“I’m heading over to the diner across the street. Wanna come?” He was purposely slurring his words together, but even with the attempt to be ghetto, the prep school diction came through.
“Dude, that was lame.” Some surfer guy sauntered up to them as the entire lecture hall came streaming out of auditorium for a scheduled potty break. He held out his fist and waited for a fist bump. “Duke.”
D obliged. “D’Andre.”
“You are a beast.” Surfer Duke wore a suit and tie but his hair was silvery gold from salt water and he had mixed heritage olive skin with a killer tan.
“Jay.” Preppy boy nodded at them both.
Jay’s princess counterpart, the perfect preppy girl, bounced up to their little group. “Fabulous!” She clapped. “Let’s go.” She smiled at them all.
“This is Tracy,” the prince said. They made a flawless couple like a prep school Ken and Barbie.
They all walked out together. D noted that the Hispanic kid trailed behind them.
When they entered the diner, a skinny little Asian kid sat at the largest table in the place, one of those with a booth and a weird circle banquette type thing and a chair on the end. His tag hung around his scrawny neck, and D had the random thought that he could crush the guy with one hand behind his back. But Tracy walked straight up to him and smiled. “Hi.”
The kid blinked. “Uh, hi?”
“Can we sit with you? We’re from the same seminar. We also decided we’d be better off trading ideas than sitting through more of that lecture.”
“Great!” She slid into the booth and basically herded him into the corner.
No way was D squeezing into that sitting area.
He grabbed the lone chair, turned it around and straddled it.
The Hispanic kid had followed, except now that he was closer D could see the guy was older than him and the golden kids.
“Peter Nguyen.” The Asian kid chattered nervously, “I’m at Harvard. Graduated number one in my class but I’m already a junior because I took a billion AP classes.” He paused, looked at everyone as if waiting for them to list their academic prowess. “Not really a billion, of course. I was attempting to be relevant. But clearly I’ve failed at social interaction.”
And after that, everyone else said their names again with no mention of where they went to school or what their GPA was, thank fuck.
Preppy Ken said, “Jay Hollingsworth.”
“The fourth,” the bouncy girl added.
The Hispanic kid thrust out his hand. “Diego Ramos. School of life.”
No apologies. D’s impression improved.
“Why did you come here?” D wondered.
“Read about this seminar and wanted to see if I could get in.” His posture was slightly defensive as if waiting for them to tell him to get lost.
Instead of being disgusted at his sheer balls, Hollingsworth the fourth’s mouth spread into a wide, welcoming smile. “Nice. A rule breaker. Have a seat, Diego.”
The chatty princess folded her hands in front of her and bounced on the seat. “Smart. You must be really motivated.” She wasn’t rude exactly but more like examining them all like bugs under a microscope as if they were some exotic unknown species that she wanted to study.
And maybe they were.
He’d bet that he, Nguyen, and Ramos were all foreign entities in her rarified world.
“Tracy Thayer.” She gave a little wave.
“Thayer?” Nguyen asked. “As in— ”
“Ugh, yes. That’s my family.”
Jay raised one eyebrow at Harvard boy.
“Understanding the political climate of my adoptive state is only smart.”
He probably had plenty of time to study politics since he clearly didn’t get out much.
“Let’s focus on why we’re here,” Tracy said. “Entrepreneurs in training.”
“I want to be a billionaire,” Nguyen stated quickly. “But that seminar wasn’t informative enough.”
“Me too!” Tracy said.
“Money doesn’t suck,” Jay contributed.
Diego said, “I’m going to own my own business.”
They all had large goals. No way was D going to admit that he was only here because of his mother. But as he looked around the table, he thought this band of misfits might be good friends to cultivate. And he was nothing if not friendly.
Before anyone could say anything, Nguyen blurted, “Hey, we’re like the movie The Breakfast Club.”
Five blank faces.
“The Jock, the Nerd, the Rebel,” he slid a sideways look at Diego. So the Nerd paid attention. “The Free Spirit, and the Prince—” he stopped himself before he said Princess.
“Jesus, Nguyen. Do you ever get laid?” D snarked out. Peter Nguyen was the guy he couldn’t stand. So crazy smart he looked down on everyone else.
Diego shot D a look. “Chicks dig smart guys. At least, according to my friends who are also crazy smart.”
“The Breakfast Club…but the billionaire version,” Nguyen said.
“We aren’t billionaires,” D was compelled to point out.
“Yet.” Jay cocked his blond head and bared his white teeth in a cocky grin.
Of course, he was pretty much guaranteed to be a billionaire by the time he was thirty.
“Uh, the building we just bugged out of was named after your grandfather. Pretty sure you’re a shoo-in.” There went Nguyen, shooting his knowledge and showing off.
Jay flushed. “Family money doesn’t mean it’s going to come to me,” he muttered.
Still, D couldn’t even imagine that kind of money. He was seriously thinking about going into the draft in a few weeks. Then he’d be making more money than he’d ever dreamed of. He might not go in the first or second round, but it would still be insane amounts of cash. That’s why his momma wanted him to come to this seminar. He wasn’t about to be stupid with his money. But billionaire?
He’d just be happy to be able to support his momma so she could quit her jobs.
The surfer dude piped up. “Got to think big, man.”
Yeah, but even D knew that what the seminar speakers were talking about wasn’t the future. So the Emerging Young Entrepreneur Seminar was a bust.
Even though Nguyen annoyed the shit out of him, D liked his optimism. Sitting in this greasy diner, he thought maybe he’d found his tribe. They all wanted similar things. Money, fame, acknowledgement. And he personally thrived on competition.
“Money isn’t everything.” Duke, the crunchy surfer dude, practically had Berkeley pacifist student tattooed on his forehead.
They all snorted.
Duke ducked his head. “Okay, yeah, it’s important.”
Diego pushed. “How about a wager, gentlemen…and lady?”
A feminine hand with black nail polish slapped on the Formica tabletop. “I’m in.” The skinny girl from the back row with the multi-colored hair and multiple piercings tossed a smirk at Hollingsworth.
“You don’t even know what it is,” Jay argued.
“Doesn’t matter.” She shoved in next to Duke. “Name’s Courtney. And this looks like the meeting to be at instead of the lame bull they’re slinging back there.” She jerked her head toward the building they’d left.
Jay tilted his chin in the air like a complete jerk. Weird since he’d been pretty mellow and open up until this point. “We didn’t invite you.”
“And sister!” Tracy piped up, watching the back and forth avidly.
D tuned out Jay and Courtney as they bickered.
What could they wager?
“Guys, what’s the wager?” Courtney kicked him under the table.
Diego said, “Okay, okay, first person to make their first million buys breakfast for everyone.”
They looked around the table at each other, blinking, nodding.
“We need a name,” Tracy bounced again, such perky, slightly annoying cheerfulness. “First rule of marketing is to create and stick to your brand.”
“Billionaire Breakfast Club,” Nguyen said stubbornly.
Billionaire. D had to admit, the idea was growing on him. He loved the sound of that. As he glanced around the table, the name was already sticking with everyone.
“All those in favor say, aye.”
The chorus of Ayes was robust.
Everyone put their hand in the middle and bumped fists.
And the Billionaire Breakfast Club was formed.
Title: Crazy Sexy Love
A Dirty Dicks Novel
Author: K.L. Grayson
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 21, 2018
Three-time world champion bull rider Rhett Allen has never been afraid to get his hands dirty. Hard work, sweat, and determination have gotten him where he is todayâand thatâs holed up in a hospital room, wondering how he let that damn bull buck him off. Heâs also wondering why he thought it was a good idea to let his twin brother talk him into returning home to heal.
Rhett has a million reasons to come home to Heaven, Texas, and only one reason to stay away. That reason comes in the form of a sweet and feisty girl who stole his heart long before he ever thought to give it away. The only problemâ¦that girl has turned into a stunning woman.
Monroe Gallagher is downright sexy with more curves than he has notches in his bed post. Itâs been six years since heâs seen her, six years since heâs felt any form of peace, and six years since she gripped his heart in her delicate little hands and squeezed the life out of it. The longer heâs in Heaven, the more he starts to realize that the heart she took from himâthe one she crushed into a million piecesâshe also never gave back.
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Praise for Crazy Sexy Love
"KL Grayson's writing is intoxicating. She effortlessly sweeps you away into a world of love, humor and tenderness. I love her!" - New York Times Bestselling Author, Kristen Proby
"KL Grayson delivers with an emotional second chance romance with laugh out loud poignant moments to capture every type of reader." - New York Times Bestselling Author, Heidi McLaughlin
"Crazy Sexy Love is KL Grayson's best work to date. Plan to fall helplessly in love with this swoony cowboy and his first love. 10 + stars!" - Rebecca Shea, USA Today Bestselling Author
âMake love to me.â
âPlanninâ on it.â Pushing up from the bed, I kick off my shoes and slip her sandals from her feet. Her eyes follow my every move. Careful not to lift my left arm too high, I reach behind my head and pull my shirt off. When I reach for my sweats, she sucks in a sharp breath, her eyes glued to my cock as I let my pants fall to the floor.
âYour turn.â I crawl onto the bed, her eyes searing through me. When I undo the button of her shorts, she lifts her hips, allowing me to pull them off, along with her white cotton panties. Sitting up, she reaches for the bottom of her shirt, lifts it over her head, and flings it off to the side.
âYou are so beautiful, Mo.â
The last time I looked down at her like this, sprawled out in front of me, I was too young to appreciate herâtoo young to understand the depth of what she was giving me. But thatâs no longer the case. Iâve dreamed of her many times over the last six years, but my fantasies didnât do her justice. Nothing compares to having her in my bedâhair fanned out, chest heaving, creamy skin begging for my mouth. I have to reach out to touch her to make sure sheâs real.
I slide my fingers over her abdomen. The muscles contract beneath my touch.
She looks down, but I shake my head. âNo, sweetheart, keep your eyes on me. You have nothing to be embarrassed about. Iâve seen every inch of you, remember?â
Her cheeks turn the prettiest shade of pink. âItâs been a long time. My body has changed.â
âHasnât been that long, and trust me, your body is perfect.â
With a flick of the front clasp, her bra opens, her beautiful breasts spilling out. She shrugs out of it, and I lower my body to hers, scarcely able to believe this is happening.
K.L. Grayson resides in a small town outside of St. Louis, MO. She is entertained daily by her extraordinary husband, who will forever inspire every good quality she writes in a man. Her entire life rests in the palms of six dirty little hands, and when the day is over and those pint-sized cherubs have been washed and tucked into bed, you can find her typing away furiously on her computer. She has a love for alpha-males, brownies, reading, tattoos, sunglasses, and happy endingsâ¦and not particularly in that order.
Title: To Fall for Winter
Series: Kinney Brothers #2
Author: Kelsey Kingsley
Genre: Contemporary Adult Romance
A.BookNerd.Bookseller&Bibliophile.Blog - “To Fall For Winter was such an amazing story.....two people who haven’t had to best of luck.....but that’s about to change.....luck of the Irish □ is on their side.”
Michelle - “I just love Kelsey's style of writing and her story mind.”
Bookish Aurora - “Snow and Ryan's story was a beautiful sweet story about love between two people who needed it and deserved it after all they had been through.”
"Oh, Ireland... You've already ruined me forever."
I’ve been called the Black Sheep. Troublemaker. And probably a dozen other words that are nowhere near that nice. My past is checkered. Full of questionable choices and even worse outcomes. But I’ve put it behind me. I’m on the straight and narrow now.
For two years, I've towed the line. Stayed out of trouble. Kept my head above water. And have not made even one reckless decision.
But then Snow came to River Canyon on the first day of winter.
Inked, pierced, and unafraid of speaking her mind, and going after what she wants, she made me an offer I couldn't refuse. Together, I knew we would make a mess.
I just couldn't keep myself from getting dirty.
Kelsey Kingsley lives in New York with her family and a cat named Ethel.
She believes there is nothing better than a good doughnut and a cup of tea, and that there is a song for everything.
Title: Where We Ended
Series: Where We Began Duet #2
Author: Nora Flite
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: March 20, 2018
Laiken has finally heard the dark rumors about me.
Everyone who hears runs away. But she can't.
She's trapped here, in my house—with me.
Each minute we're together I'm driven to swallow her up. To see if the electricity that moves between us will grow or vanish. I thought we were falling in love.
Now, I'm sure that she hates my very existence.
But when she glares at me... I see a flicker of desire in her blue eyes.
The way she fixates on my mouth reminds me of how filthy we've been.
How filthy we could be.
My father has warned me to stay away from her. He knows she's become my weakness.
All my life, I just wanted to be the perfect soldier for him.
To do everything he asked so he'd be proud.
I thought I could.
She's doing her best to prove me wrong.
A USA Today Bestselling Author, Nora Flite lives in SoCal where the weather is warm and she doesn't have to shovel snow—something she never grew to love in her tiny home-state of Rhode Island.
All of her romances involve passionate, filthy, and slightly obsessive heroes—because those are clearly the best kind! She's always been a writer, and you'll probably have to pry her keyboard/pen/magical future writing device out of her cold, dead fingers before she'll stop.
She loves when people say hello! If you see her in the wild, walk up and start chatting. Or hey, just email her— email@example.com
Title: Love in C Minor, A Backroads Duet
By: Mindy Michele
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Release date: April 27th
Preorder TODAY for $2.99. Price WILL go up on release.
Amazon US ~ Amazon UK ~ iBooks
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Add Love in C Minor to Goodreads
ABOUT THE BOOK
When a promise is broken, their simple lives become complicated. How long can late night phone calls and secret rendezvous in the haystacks remain hidden?
From the co-writing duo of Mindy Michele comes a tale of small-town charm and backroads trouble.
Full description coming soon.
I want to scream. Let my voice reverberate around the room until he feels my frustration in his soul. Instead, my voice breaks. “All I wanted was a day of peace, Linc. Would that have been so hard?”
The urge to cry is strong. I’m so exhausted. Working at the camp was an amazing experience, but it was hard. I was always ‘on’ and I’d give anything to be ‘off’ right now. I can’t even be ‘off’ in my own home. Have I ever been able to?
“Lighten up, Rea. You’ll give yourself a heart attack.” He strides across the kitchen, tossing one last grape into his mouth.
When I spin, ready to bring him down a notch with a witty retort, Ridley is standing in the doorway. How long has he been there? His brows are drawn together, but he doesn’t speak as Lincoln brushes by him.
“You know you’re going to miss me when I leave for college tomorrow,” Lincoln calls over his shoulder.
Highly doubtful. He’ll be one hour away and home too often. I open my mouth to say so, but the words don’t form. Ridley is still there and I’m tongue-tied. He stares a moment too long, siphoning the oxygen from me, before he follows Lincoln without uttering a single word.
About the Authors
We're pretty awesome! We both write books. We both live in the Carolina's (Mindy in South, Michele in North). We like singing in the car, eating white cheddar popcorn, and going on road trips together. You'll find us sharing a table at a few book signings each year. We have a love of romance, New York, anything sweet, and great books.
To find out more you can hunt us down on social media. We're all over the place!
Mindy Michele on Amazon
You can find us individually here:
Track down Mindy:
Connect with Michele:
Title: His Deal
Series: Lock and Key Series #2
Author: Rebel Rose
Genre: Contemporary/Erotic Romance
Release Date: March 13, 2018
Nothing in my life is the same. She has changed everything, simultaneously turning my world upside down while making it right for the first time ever.
I break this woman a little more each day—and she lets me. It’s all part of our deal. But every pleasure that she gives to me brings her closer to freedom. Closer to paying her debt in full. And I’m not ready to let her go.
Ruthless. That’s what she calls me. It’s true. I am a man who will do whatever it takes to get what I want.
And what I want is her.
I could go back on our deal. Force her to stay, risk her hating me forever. Or I could let her go because for once in my life I care about someone else’s happiness more than I do my own.
She is my joy.
She is my pain.
She is my submissive.
A Wonderful World of Words - “Powerful - Breathtaking - Riveting”
Farah - “Continuing straight from Her Debt, His Deal is just as, if not even more steamy and eroticly charged.”
Rebel Rose is a decadently dark romance author living in the beautiful city of New Orleans. She prefers anti-heroes over Prince Charmings and often uses her own sexual experiences in her novels. She can typically be found somewhere in the French Quarter enjoying a cup of coffee while people watching.
Keep up to date with Rebel Rose at: authorrebelrose.com
"Hypnotically romantic…this book reads like a sensual dream and I didn't want to wake up." - Tessa Bailey, New York Times bestselling author
Escort, a sexy new contemporary romance standalone from New York Times bestselling author Skye Warren is now LIVE!
There is no shame in pleasure. And no love in business.
I have a blind date tonight, and I know with 100% certainty that I'm getting lucky. There shouldn't be any surprises, not for one as jaded as me, but when I walk into the penthouse suite of L'Etoile, everything changes.
1) For one thing, Bea is heartstoppingly gorgeous. Pale green eyes and endless freckles. Curves I want to spend all night exploring, as if her body was made for me.
2) Her innocence makes me want to use my entire inventory of bedroom tricks on her and then invent a few more.
3) Except that . . . she's a virgin.
I can initiate her into the world of desire without letting her get attached, can't I? A few hours of tutoring, and at the end of the night a small fortune will be deposited into my bank account.
Yes, you read that right. There are many words for what I do. After all, mine is the oldest profession. I'm an escort, which means this date is nothing more than a mutually enjoyable transaction.
But once I realize one night with her won't be enough, I'm the one who's screwed.
The word seems to take her aback. “Pleasure?”
“That’s the nature of my business, yes.” My body tightens, because it would be pleasure indeed to touch this woman. To kiss her. To make her moan for me.
Although I might have to rethink that plan, because the word pleasure might as well have been medieval torture based on the way Bea looks at me. “I thought we were going to have sex.”
She sounds so forlorn it could break my heart.
Instead I laugh, a small huff of breath, because I can’t afford to have a heart.
“Sex,” I say, standing to full height, circling the scuffed oriental coffee table, standing behind her chair. “And pleasure. Pleasure and sex. They’re interchangeable.”
I brush my knuckles over the side of her neck, a demonstration. Her wild curls tickle my skin.
It’s provocative, this. If she had agreed to dinner I would have started with small touches, a glance of my palm against the small of her back as I pulled out her chair, holding her hand while we talked over a glass of wine. Perhaps being so bold as to run a finger along the inside of hers, where it’s more sensitive. She would shiver; her gaze would meet mine.
There’s an order to these things. You can move fast or slow, but there’s still an order.
“We can skip the pleasure part,” she says, her voice high, her breathing faster. Her chest rises and falls in the black dress, made all the more alluring by how much it covers. She’s a mystery. The black sky in the city. I have to work to see her secrets.
“No,” I chide gently. “We focus on the pleasure. That’s the point.”
“What if—” Her breath catches as I drop the back of my hand over her collarbone, a reverse caress. That’s what one does for a skittish creature like her. “What if I have a different point?”
“And what point would that be, my sweet Bea?”
“I want to lose my virginity,” she says, so fast it comes out as a single word.
IWANTTOLOSEMYVIRGINITY. It takes my lust-warmed brain a full minute to comprehend. She’s not only nervous, this woman. She’s a virgin.
My hand freezes. I yank it away. “Pardon me?”
I can’t have heard her correctly. There is no chance in hell that this beautiful young woman, as strange and interesting as she is, is a virgin. No chance in hell that I was the one tasked to be her first. I could not possibly spread her legs and thrust inside her, knowing that no one’s ever been there. It would be a physical impossibility. Never. No possible way.
“It doesn’t have to take long,” she says, suddenly earnest. Almost begging me. “I don’t need…you know…whatever you do for other women. I only want the sex.”
My God. “You are insane.”
A scrunch of her nose. “Well, you don’t have to sound too surprised. It is what I requested when I called. The woman said that’s what you do.”
“I’m not taking your virginity.” On some level I might have guessed this about her. If I had considered it even possible, I might have. Virgins don’t hire me. They stammer and giggle and turn away from me, their protective instincts strong enough to send them in the opposite direction. So perhaps I can be forgiven for not recognizing this one, so forthright.
Bea frowns. “Is that a different department or something?”
She’s mocking me. She’s mocking me for being, well, prudish, and I feel strangely buoyant. I could float away with the absurdity of it. “Yes, it’s a different department. The department of a frat boy who fumbles around in the dark.”
“Are you seriously not going to do it?”
The irony is enough to flatten me, that this is a woman I might have pursued outside this job. She would have been too young for me, even if I weren’t an escort and she wasn’t my client. That wouldn’t have stopped me from wanting her.
But in another incarnation, if I had been one of those fumbling frat boys, I would have followed this woman to the ends of the earth. That’s a hypothetical scenario on multiple levels, but I’m good at hypotheticals, which is another reason I’m good at my job.
So good that I please every single client I’ve ever had.
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Skye Warren is the New York Times bestselling author of dangerous romance such as the Endgame trilogy. Her books have been featured in Jezebel, Buzzfeed, USA Today Happily Ever After, Glamour, and Elle Magazine. She makes her home in Texas with her loving family, sweet dogs, and evil cat.
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