Title: Damaged Heart
Series: San Diegan Series #3
Author: S.M. Soto
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: August 20, 2018
Happy ever afterâs donât exist for girls like me.
For the past nine years, Samantha Paisley has been playing a tiresome game of back and forth with her longtime friend with benefits, Alexander Clark. Growing up in a toxic environment, Samantha never learned how to love or how to be loved.
So, when Alex tries to get closer to the fiery, foul-mouthed red-head, she cuts herself off from the only man she lovesânot wanting to destroy the one stable relationship in her otherwise turbulent, troublesome life. But Alex will stop at nothing to have his woman by his side and in his bed, even if itâs the last thing he does.
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FREE on August 20 ONLY!
S.M. Soto was born and raised in Northern California where she currently resides with her son. Her love for reading began when she was a young girl, and has only continued to grow into adulthood. S.M. lives for reading books in the romance genre and writing novels with relatable characters. She refers to herself as a bit of a romance junkie. S.M. loves to connect with readers and eat copious of donuts that will surely lead to her demise (carbs are life).
“Corinne Michaels and Melanie Harlow are a match made in heaven. Five-Sweet-Stars for this unforgettable collaboration!” --A.L. Jackson, New York Times bestselling author
Hold You Close, an all-new second chance standalone romance by New York Times bestselling author Corinne Michaels and USA Today bestselling author Melanie Harlow, is available now!
From NYT Bestseller Corinne Michaels & USA Today Bestseller Melanie Harlow, comes a second chance standalone romance.
Ian Chase broke my heart at seventeen, and I’ve spent the last eighteen years hating him for it.
He makes it easy, with his smart mouth and playboy lifestyle—which I unfortunately have to observe since he lives behind me. Every time I see him climbing out of his pool, practically naked and unreasonably sexy, my blood boils.
I’ve always loved to loathe him.
I never planned to need him.
London Parish is my little sister’s best friend, not that it stopped me from falling for her.
Our history is complicated. The only thing we have in common is being godparents to my sister’s three adorable kids—until our lives are changed in one tragic moment.
Now we’re trying to raise the children we love, mourn an unthinkable loss, and fight an undeniable attraction.
My life is already upside-down, and the last thing I need is for old feelings to resurface.
Because I’ll never be able to keep her, no matter how hard I try to hold her close.
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About the authors:New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Corinne Michaels is the author of nine romance novels. She’s an emotional, witty, sarcastic, and fun loving mom of two beautiful children. Corinne is happily married to the man of her dreams and is a former Navy wife.
After spending months away from her husband while he was deployed, reading and writing was her escape from the loneliness. She enjoys putting her characters through intense heartbreak and finding a way to heal them through their struggles. Her stories are chock full of emotion, humor, and unrelenting love.
USA Today Bestselling Author Melanie Harlow likes her martinis dry, her heels high, and her history with the naughty bits left in. When she's not writing or reading, she gets her kicks from TV series like VEEP, Game of Thrones, House of Cards, and Homeland. She occasionally runs three miles, but only so she can have more gin and steak.
Melanie is the author of the AFTER WE FALL series, the HAPPY CRAZY LOVE series, the FRENCHED series, and the sexy historical SPEAK EASY duet, set in the 1920s. She lifts her glass to romance readers and writers from her home near Detroit, MI, where she lives with her husband, two daughters, and pet rabbit.
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Series: Rascals #3
Author: Katie McCoy
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: August 20, 2018
Five guys. One bar. And a whole heap of sexy trouble…
Liam Callahan is devastatingly handsome, infuriatingly aloof and… my new boss? Put that at the top of the list of ‘Things I Wish I’d Known (Before I Was Panting in His Arms During a Sizzling Midnight Make-out Session.)’
My bartending gig at Rascals was supposed to be a fresh start for me. Now I’m juggling drink orders AND red-hot sexual tension - but I refuse to let Liam’s smoldering stares throw me off my game…
Until one late night leads to another. And another. Liam has a reputation as Mr Heartbreaker, but he’s revealing a whole new side of himself: funny, playful, and most definitely NSFW. But this rascal has made a rule of never getting in too deep, and despite the real connection between us, something’s holding him back.
Can we find a way to put the past behind us and move on? Or will my new beginning end in heartbreak before it’s even begun?
Find out in the hot new stand-alone romance from Katie McCoy!
#4 Soulmate - Oct 15th
#5 Troublemaker – Dec 10th
Available at other retailers soon
Releasing October 15, 2018
Releasing December 10, 2018
Katie McCoy is a self proclaimed sushi addict, Cardinals baseball fanatic, and lover of all things theatrical. A St. Louis native transplanted to Brooklyn, she acts, sings, and shakes her booty when she isn't writing books about hot men and the girls who love them.
Block Shot, a standalone enemies-to-lovers, second-chance romance from Kennedy Ryan is coming September 10th!
Block Shot by Kennedy Ryan
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publishing Date: September 10th, 2018
Cover Designer: Letitia Hasser, RBA Designs
Photographer: Nikki Ormerod
Model: Arsenii SavitckiiJARED
If I had a dollar for every time Banner Morales made my heart skip a beat...
The heart everyone assumes is frozen over.
Her anger is...arousing.
Every glare from those fire-spitting eyes, every time she grits her teeth,
gets me...well, you know.
If I had a dollar for every time she's put me in my place, I'd be an even richer man.
I'm a successful sports agent because I assume "no" means you'll think about it.
I'm sure what you meant to say is "Coming right up.”
They say even rich men don't always get what they want,
but those men don't know how to play the game. The trick is to keep them guessing.
Take Banner. She assumes she's winning, but this game?
She doesn't even know how to play.
If I had a dollar for every time Jared Foster broke my heart, I’d have exactly one dollar.
One night. One epic fail. One dollar...and I'm out.
I've moved on.
I’ve found success in a field ruled by men.
Anything they can do, I have done better.
They can keep the field while I call the shots, blocking them when I have to.
And Jared has the nerve to think he gets a second chance?
Boy, please. Go sit down. Have several seats.
I'll just be over here ignoring the man carved from my fantasies with a lust-tipped chisel.
Oh, I didn't say the struggle wasn't real.
But I've got that one dollar, and Jared won't have me.
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($50 Gift Card + Signed BLOCK SHOT Paperback):
About KennedyA Top 30 Amazon Bestseller, Kennedy Ryan writes about women from all walks of life, empowering them and placing them firmly at the center of each story and in charge of their own destinies. Her heroes respect, cherish and lose their minds for the women who capture their hearts.
She is a wife to her lifetime lover and mother to an extraordinary son. She has always leveraged her journalism background to write for charity and non-profit organizations, but enjoys writing to raise Autism awareness most. A contributor for Modern Mom Magazine and Frolic, Kennedy’s writings have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul, USA Today and many others. The founder and executive director of a foundation serving Atlanta Autism families, she has appeared on Headline News, Montel Williams, NPR and other media outlets as an advocate for families living with autism.
Connect with Kennedy
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Confessions: Priest, book three in the steamy contemporary MMM Confessions Series from Ella Frank, is LIVE!
I am complex.
My love is all-encompassing.
And when it comes to my heart, there is only one rule:
Don’t mess with what’s mine.
Until the age of seven, I was Joel Alexander Donovan, son of Jimmy.
The man who terrorized a town and made its citizens fear
the very ground he walked on. Including me,
the day I realized that ground ran red with blood.
At age eighteen, I became Priest.
A man without a past.
A man determined to right the wrongs of my father.
A man who never believed anyone could love the son of such a monster.
But then a thief stole my heart.
A sweetheart lit up my world.
And I forgot for a moment you should never turn your back on your enemy.
And thus begins a lesson to those who would seek to harm: Never underestimate what the Priest will do to protect the Princess and the Prick.
Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!
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Start the series with Confessions: Robbie today!
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About EllaElla Frank is the USA Today Bestselling author of the Temptation series, including Try, Take, and Trust and is the co-author of the fan-favorite contemporary romance, Sex Addict. Her Exquisite series has been praised as “scorching hot!” and “enticingly sexy!”
Some of her favorite authors include Tiffany Reisz, Kresley Cole, Riley Hart, J.R. Ward, Erika Wilde, Gena Showalter, and Carly Phillips.
Connect with Ella:
Mailing List: www.bit.ly/1hEYtgn
Center of Gravity, an all-new emotional standalone by K.K. Allen is releasing September 20th!
Cover Design by Okay Creations
Photographer - Lauren Watson Perry
Cover Models - Morgan Lyn and Iszac Lambourne
I came to L.A. with dreams bigger than me.
To learn from the best choreographers in the business and secure a professional dance gig working for Hollywood’s elite.
Everything was going according to plan—until I was literally shoved into the arms of the one man who could make or break my career.
Come to find out, it wasn’t my career I had to worry about.
It was my heart.
Everything about Alexandra “Lex” Quinn screamed amateur, save for the way she moved across the dance floor.
She was athleticism and grace, precision and passion, and she had a stage presence I couldn’t tear my eyes from.
I wanted her...on my team, in my bed.
There was only one problem…
I couldn’t have both.
Add it to your TBR - smarturl.it/CenterofGravity_
About K.K. Allen
K.K. Allen is an award-winning Contemporary Romance author, University of Washington Alumni, and Seattle Seahawk fan!!
K.K.'s debut romance novel, Up in the Treehouse, was named the Best New Adult Book of the Year by RT Book Reviews, an honor beyond belief! Named the Queen of Angst by her readers, K.K. promises to take your emotions on an epic ride every single time with very real, coming of age romance stories.
At age twelve, K.K. picked up a pen and wrote her first novel, a YA rock star romance that will never see the light of day :) She continued filling notebooks until she was finally ready to share her work with the world.
K.K. currently lives in central Florida with her son, works full time as a Digital Producer by day, and writes every other waking hour.
Follow K.K. Allen
Website - http://www.kk-allen.com/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/authorkkallen/
Twitter - https://twitter.com/KKAllen_Author
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/kkallen_author/
I fell for Connor Drake. I didn’t want to; I fought against it, but I fell in love with him anyway. With his words. With his poetry. With him. The gentleness and beauty of his soul that speaks directly to mine. He writes as if he can feel my heart, hear its cadence and compose the exact right lyrics to accompany every beat and flow.
I’m in love with Connor…so why do I feel an inexplicable pull to his best friend, Weston? Grouchy, sullen, brooding Weston Turner, who could cut you down with a look. Fiercely intelligent with a razor sharp wit and acid tongue, he’s the exact opposite of Connor in every way, and yet there’s electricity in the air between us. The thorny barbs Weston wraps around himself can’t keep me away.
But the more time I spend with these men, the more tangled and confused my emotions become. When they both sign up for the Army Reserves during a time of increasing strife in the Middle East, I fear I’ll never unravel my own heart that sometimes feels as if it will tear straight down the middle…for both of them.
Bring Down the Stars is an emotional, angst-filled novel of unrequited love by bestselling author, Emma Scott, and is inspired by the classic tale, Cyrano de Bergerac. (Roxanne) It is Book I in the Beautiful Hearts Duet, coming this summer. Book II, Long Live the Beautiful Hearts, to be released a few weeks later. #lovetriangle #confusedhearts #notamenage
5 Star Review by Ashley
I can't....I don't know where to start with this...Maybe the dedication that made my eyes misty. Maybe the way Emma Scott ripped my heart out in the first few pages. Maybe the way I got drop kicked right in the feels. Maybe the way my chest ached the whole way through........
Let me start with Weston. It slayed me that he didn't think he was good enough. The tragedy of his youth put that idea in his head. It was an unlikely friendship that kept him moving. Gave him something to focus on besides the pain in his heart. Connor. Light and smiles and more opportunity than Wes could ever dream of.
Goodness me how I loved Weston. Tough walls with a tender heart and soul. Loyal. Arrogant. Protective. Always pushing himself to be better, be more. It was Autumn who saw that in him. Saw him. And he saw her too. Her ambition. Her kindness. Her intelligence and drive. Her passion. But Connor saw her first....
Connor who wanted to make it work but couldn't get the words right so he turned to his best friend who could always find the words. The angst. Oh the angst! At times it was nearly suffocating. How Weston longed from so close but so far. How Autumn tried and tried to break through to him. When she thought she was getting nowhere but really she was just digging herself deeper into him. And then the turn...
Bring Down the Stars is the epitome of loyalty and longing. Honor and unconditional love. Weston and Connor and Autumn's story had my heart was breaking racing and yearning for something I knew was just getting more and more out of reach of all of them. And that ending- I'm beyond speechless and I need a big hug.
5 Star Review by Brittany
There are honestly no words that can adequately describe this book and how it made me feel. And this book is extra special because not even two months ago, Emma Scott lost her eleven-year-old daughter after she suffered a heart attack due to a rare heart condition. For Emma to be able to publish this so soon after Isabel's death just proves how strong she is. Pushing through her grief, trying to find normalcy.
I love the whole I'm-dating-this-guy-but-I'm-falling-for-his-best-friend trope. Connor is a good guy, he really is, and if he were real, I'd definitely date him. But Weston, my goodness, he's the sweetest, most romantic man in the whole entire world. Connor and Weston are best friends, they have a really strong relationship that you can feel through the pages, and it's the type of relationship where they'd do anything and everything for each other and go everywhere together. So it's only expected that they'll end up dating the same girl.
Except that at the end, things don't go well. Things get real messy and your heart will stop a few times. It's not what I expected at all. In fact, the whole (I'm not sure I can say what it is, because it might be a spoiler) thing that got them to the ending was unexpected. I didn't expect the book to take the turn that it did.
And the preview into the next book... I shouldn't have read it, but I did and now I am very anxious to read the next book. All I want is for all three of them to be happy, and I'm not sure if that's going to happen.
READ THIS BOOK!!! You won't regret it!
5 Star Review by Lorena
Wow, just wow! This book deserves 10 stars all around!
I don't know how to even start my review because I'm still trying to get my thoughts together. This book really blew me away, like literally! I have not read any books by this author but damn, did she impress me immensely with this book. I am so beyond in love with it.
You get the two best friends that fall for the same girl but only one of them can catch her. Autumn seems to have that allure that she doesn't even know she has. But both Connor and Weston are smitten with her. But only one will win her heart.
Connor is easy going, charming and the rich handsome boy, while Weston is the brooding, quiet, wrong side of the tracks handsome boy. I'd be conflicted because they both have excellent qualities, but you can only choose one so who would it be? I honestly, hands down would go for Weston with his poetic self. He knows how to woo a woman.
Connor and Autumn start dating but she feels him completely different at times. Like he's not the same person and she's conflicted. When she starts really getting to know Weston, she starts developing strong feelings for him as well so that puts her in a confused state. Who shall Autumn end up with?
The end really had me balling my eyes out. I mean, I don't think I felt my heart shatter like this in a while. These boys who are now men have enlisted in the army and are now away fighting for our country and putting their lives in danger. But my heart hurts for both of them because not only are they fighting a real war but also the war of love for the same woman.
Weston oh Weston had my heart from the moment he started pouring his poetic words onto paper.
I'm beyond and over the stars with this books. I was smitten from beginning to end and now I am sitting here impatiently awaiting the next book to find out the conclusion.
An emotionally riveting read!
You guys, you seriously need to read this AMAZING book. It is beyond AMAZING actually.
Emma Scott is a bestselling author of emotional, character-driven romances in which art and love intertwine to heal, and in which love always wins. If you enjoy thoughtful, realistic stories with diverse characters and kind-hearted heroes, you will enjoy my novels.
Series: Deathstalkers MC
Author: Alexis Noelle
Genre: MC Romance
Release Date: August 20, 2018
Those are the rules.
I can’t claim her--a club girl.
A club whore if we're cutting the shit.
But Carly is different,
Something about her makes me want to break all the rules,
Break the code,
Keep her for myself,
And make damn sure my brothers don't touch one inch of her.
That's a dangerous promise,
Alexis Noelle lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with three kids. On top a writing career, she is a full-time student and a full-time mom. She loves spending time with her kids, although she has to hide the computer from them when she is writing! She love being active and being outdoors, especially if it involves any kind of shopping.
She has always been passionate about writing. She loves to read romance books and feels like being able to lose yourself in a book is one of the more exciting aspects. The books she loves to read and write will be ones that make you feel for the characters. Ashley believes that you should have an opinion on every character in a book whether you love them, hate them, or think they are up to something.She also believes that the most important critic is your reader, so she loves to hear from the readers. She want her fans to be open & talk to her about what they want for the characters in the story, and what they would like to see happen.
Sarah Robinson’s sexy NUDES is on sale! Be sure to grab your copy by August 26th!
Praised by #1 New York Times Bestselling Author Lauren Blakely, as "Passionate, emotional and uplifting!", contemporary romance author Sarah Robinson brings readers a new standalone novel set in the glamorous hills of Hollywood and tackling challenging themes like the intersection of sexuality and female empowerment.
Ben Lawson is making a comeback...
After a few tabloid headlines, they think they know me. They don't know a damn thing. As CEO of a movie production company, I'll show them who I really am when we hit it big at the box office. My ex thought her smear tactics would ruin me, but I'm unbreakable. Rising from the debris, I swore I'd never let a woman distract me like that again. But then, my leading actress walked on the set and changed everything.
Seductive, sexy, and unapologetic, Aria Rose could break me. I wanted to help her, protect her...love her. Instead, I destroyed her.
Aria Rose is baring it all....
I knew better. I knew not to trust another Hollywood heartthrob with a reputation like his. He was my boss and became my ruin. I should have stayed far away from him. Ben Lawson promised me the world. He even promised me his heart.
But he destroyed everything--my heart, my career, us.
Get Your Copy Today:
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Aria woke with a jolt, looking around the dark bedroom. As her senses slowly began to adjust, she looked for the source of whatever had disturbed her. Her cell phone vibrated against the surface of her nightstand, the screen lit so brightly it cast a square light onto the ceiling above.
Yawning, Aria grabbed for it. She glanced over at the man in bed next to her, her heart filling with warmth at the sight of his sleeping form.
Finally focusing on her phone, she realized she had dozens of missed texts, calls, and emails.
"What the hell?" she whispered to herself, sitting up.
Aria, are you awake? WAKE UP NOW.
Don't look at the news. We need to talk. 911.
Is that you on E! News? Did you allow that?
OMG, ARIA! WHAT THE HELL?
What did you do?!?! This is career suicide!
Her heart began to race, panic swarming her every cell as she quickly clicked out on a website link her best friend sent her. A photo popped up, and then another, and another, and another, and Aria knew exactly what she was looking at.
Aria could barely breathe, trembling as she searched social media and entertainment news sites. The photos were everywhere. She was everywhere. Her breasts, her body, her love life on full display for the world to see.
It would have been bad enough if they'd just been images of her posing, but these were pornographic. These were her in her most intimate moments with a man she'd...
A sob stuck in her throat. Did he do this?
She looked at the man still sleeping beside her, fear gripping her heart.
This couldn't be happening.
Two Months Earlier
"Wait until you meet our lead." The heavyset producer's eyes glinted with excitement as he spoke. He brought a sandwich up to his lips, taking a bite and continuing around a mouthful of food. "She's only had small roles up until this film, but she's up-and-coming. No doubt about it. Aria Rose is poised to take the world by storm come Oscar season."
Ben didn't reply, too distracted watching the producer trying to wipe a blob of mayonnaise off his tie. Arthur Atwood was a large man with a messy comb-over and an ill-fitting suit, which must have been a deliberate choice since Ben knew Arthur made a handsome salary.
Is he licking his tie?
His new right-hand man was actually licking mayonnaise off his tie. Not a good sign. Ben made a mental note never to ask Arthur to have a meeting over lunch at his desk again.
"Bugger, it's in there good," Arthur muttered in his thick English accent, dropping his tie and slapping his hands on his knees. "All right. Enough of that. Ready for a tour of the studio?"
"Very," Ben replied, balling up the parchment paper his own sandwich had been wrapped in and tossing it into the wastebasket beneath his desk. He stood, rolling his shoulders and stretching his neck from side to side.
They'd spent the morning touring the corporate offices on the lot of Shepherd Film Studios where Ben would be officially starting in two weeks as the company's new chief executive officer. He had agreed to come in on Friday to tour everything and meet the crew on their final day of filming—but the pressure was already on.
One of the oldest movie production companies in Hollywood, Shepherd Film Studios was well respected, but struggled to adapt to new changes in the industry—the rise of streaming services, quicker distribution on the internet, and other changes that appealed to younger generations.
Maguire Industries had recently purchased the studio and placed Ben in charge to fix that. He had one year to prove to the board at Maguire that he could turn Shepherd Films back into a thriving production company or they'd dismantle the company and sell it off for profit.
He was Shepherd Films last resort, and thank goodness, too. No one else in Hollywood was desperate enough to throw him a lifeline. Being an embarrassing public spectacle for the last two years had been by far one of the biggest setbacks in his professional life to date—and his personal life was to blame.
"Have you seen any of her movies?" Arthur held the door to the office open for him, and together they headed down the hallways of the main offices. "She's a bombshell—literally one of the most gorgeous women I've ever seen."
"Aria Rose?" Ben replied, racking his brain for a mental image of the actress. "I've seen a few. Very pretty. She's very talented but never been a lead."
"Scarlet's Letters is her first starring role, and she's perfect for it. We can watch the dailies from today's filming, and you'll see what I mean. We were really lucky to score her for this film."
Ben had wondered about that, too. Aria wasn't necessarily A-list, but she was an up-and-coming fan favorite among millennial and younger generations. Her social media attention was nonstop, and there was an almost cult following to her that had made Hollywood execs begin to take notice. Yet, he'd seen the budget this morning. She was being vastly underpaid for this film, and he wasn't sure why.
They passed the guards at the front desk of the main offices and stepped out into the sun. "How did your team manage to sign her?" Ben asked.
"Sheer luck, I'd gather. She was following the script around—or so I heard. Determined to be part of it, though I can't say why exactly. The script is great—historical World War II romance with a Hester Prynne theme—and we're already getting some Oscar buzz from it. Still, it's a long shot, and it's nothing like her previous films."
Ben pulled a pair of sunglasses from his suit pocket and placed them over his eyes. The bright Los Angeles sun was beating down on them as they climbed onto a golf cart to traverse the large lot to the studios. "Sounds like we're the lucky ones, then."
"You've got that right," Arthur agreed, taking the driver's seat since Ben was still mostly unfamiliar with the area.
A few minutes later, their golf cart pulled up outside a large warehouse-type building that read STUDIO E in large black letters across the top. Ben climbed out and followed Arthur to a small door off to the side, a red light lit above the door.
Arthur pointed to the light. "That means they're filming, so not a peep." He placed a finger to his mouth, indicating they needed to be quiet.
Ben nodded, and they entered the building only to be immediately shrouded in darkness. It might be his first day at Shepherd Films, but Ben was no stranger to movie sets and felt immediately at ease as they carefully made their way over to where the camera crew was.
Ben's father, Roger Lawson, was a highly sought after cameraman who'd taken a career most people overlooked and became the best. He'd taught Ben to do the same—excel in everything by putting his whole heart into every project, no matter how small or large. As a young boy, he'd spent many a summer day with his father at work, learning the business of not only filming, but creating movies, in general.
Newly thirty years old, Ben had spent the last decade putting his father's words into practice, rising through the ranks to become one of the hottest names in film production. He only wished his father was still alive to see his ascent, or at least, he had wished that until his ex-wife smeared his name through the tabloids during their divorce.
Never fall in love with an actress. The one rule his father had told him before he died that Ben had ignored. Lesson learned.
"Am I to be punished for helping a fellow human being?" A strong female voice broke through the silence around them.
Ben stepped around a crowd of onlookers to see the set. Behind him was an entire crew, and not a single dry eye. The emotion on everyone's face surprised him. Following their attention to the main set, he saw the set was a bedroom. Sitting on the edge of the bed was a tall, broad-shouldered man with his head in his hands, wearing a soldier's uniform from the 1940's.
In front of the downtrodden soldier was a statuesque blonde, her hair flowing down her back in one long, chunky braid. Pieces of her golden mane escaped the braid, framing her face and highlighting her soft, pink cheeks. Pale blue-gray eyes brimmed with tears as she folded her hands over her heart.
"I won't lie, James," she continued, her voice softer now. "I can't."
The soldier suddenly stood, gripping the woman by her upper arms. "You have to lie, Anna. Your life is at stake—my life, our life. You'll be imprisoned, and everything we've dreamt of will be over."
She steeled herself, her jaw tightening. "If this is real...if our love is real...then we'll survive this. Without the lies, the tricks, the falsehoods. We can survive this, James."
Ben felt a swelling in his chest, a lump in his throat. He wasn't even sure what the storyline was about, and yet, he was captivated by the woman in front of the cameras. Her presence was powerful...she was powerful.
"No, Anna." He dropped her arms and stepped back, a look of disgust on his face. "We can't survive this. Not if you choose their lives over mine...over ours."
The blonde shook her head slowly, her hand now on her stomach as if she might be sick. "You can't mean that, James. You can't make me pick between loving you and my purpose in life."
"It's them...or it's me. Now or never, Anna."
Ben focused on the actress's face, expecting to see her acquiesce to the steely-delivered ultimatum. Instead, her chin pushed up and she inhaled deeply. Everything about her posture and stance screamed strength, and yet, in the exact same moment, those blue-gray eyes ached with pain. Ben nearly forgot he was watching actors because her portrayal was so genuine...she was so genuine.
"Goodbye, James." Her voice was gentle, but resolute.
The soldier's nostrils flared angrily, before he slowly shook his head. "Goodbye, Anna." With that, he walked out of the door and left her standing alone in the bedroom.
She waited a moment, staring after him. Her hand slowly lifted to her lips, covering her mouth as a loud sob ripped from her throat. In an excruciating display, her body dipped forward slightly before completely crumpling in on itself. She fell against the edge of the bed, sobbing into its sheets, as the lights on set dimmed.
"Cut!" the director yelled. "Holy fuck. That was amazing, Aria!"
The blond actress pushed up off the bed, smiling and wiping the tears from her cheeks. Everyone in the studio erupted into applause, and Ben joined in. She deserved every second of it after that performance.
A surge of excitement ran through Ben's body—he could do this. With acting like this, there was no way their movie wouldn't be a success. There was no way he wouldn't be able to bring this studio success within the year with a film like this.
"Hey, Russell," Arthur called out to the director and ushered Ben over to him. "Meet our new studio head, Ben Lawson."
Ben extended a hand to the grungy looking man with long, curly black hair to his shoulders. "Good to meet you, Russell."
"Please, call me Russ. I'm Russ Rains, director. I'm sure you've heard of me." He donned a cocky smile. Metal and bracelets around his wrists made a clanking sound as they shook hands—a not too unusual fashion choice in this city.
"I have," Ben admitted, though he didn't really like this man's ego already. It was certainly nothing unusual in Hollywood, and Ben had met the type many a time before. Russell Rains was a legitimately well-known director with several big box office hits under his belt, though it had been many years since his last. "Your work is amazing, Russ."
"Thank you, Benji," Russ said with an obnoxious chuckle. "Come on. Let me introduce you to our leads."
"I'll meet you back at the office," Arthur told Ben. "Have fun on set!"
Ben followed Russell onto the bedroom set where the actress he'd been so captivated by was hugging the soldier who'd just broken her heart.
"You were amazing, Travis," she said to him, pulling back from their embrace to smile at him.
Something inside Ben stirred—irritation, anger? He wasn't sure, but he didn't like seeing the man's arms around the beautiful blonde.
"Sweet pea, come meet our new studio head," Russ called out to Aria, who visibly bristled at his demand. Ben made a mental note to ask about the director's dynamic with the actors later. "This here is Benji."
"Ben Lawson," Ben corrected the director, extending his hand to the woman. "Aria Rose," she replied, taking his hand with a gentle squeeze. Her fingers were small and warm around his, and there was something sad about letting go. "Pleased to meet you, Mr. Lawson. This is my co-star, Travis Peters." The soldier shook his hand next. "Good to meet you, sir."
"Please, call me Ben," he instructed them both. "Travis, you were fantastic. And, Aria, I have to admit that your performance just now was incredible. I was unbelievably moved."
Her pale pink cheeks darkened as she looked down at her hands. "Thank you."
"I have no doubt this movie will be phenomenal."
Russ slapped a hand on Ben's back. "Hell, yeah. That was our last scene, so we're officially wrapped." The director stepped away from them and yelled to the entire crew. "It's a wrap, fuckers!"
Ben didn't even cringe at the man's abrasiveness this time.
The crew clapped and cheered, and everyone was hugging and high-fiving each other. A swarm of people came onto the bedroom set to congratulate Aria, pushing Ben backward as he watched her gracefully accept their praise.
In fact, he couldn't take his eyes off her, and it only had a little to do with how unbelievably attracted he was to her. As he stepped to the side, he watched how she smiled, laughing and embracing her co-workers. It was captivating. Aria commanded a room, not just when she was acting, but as herself. Her eyes danced and shone as she spoke to the crew and other actors, her smile wide and transformative.
He felt drawn to who she was, not just what he saw, and it was intoxicating. Though, what he saw was certainly breathtaking. Gorgeous wasn't enough to describe this woman, or the way her long neck dipped into thin shoulders and a deep collarbone. Her breasts pushed against the dark red dress she was wearing that highlighted her hourglass silhouette, and her golden braid hung down over her shoulder with a weight and visible softness he'd never seen before.
Someone bumped Ben's shoulder as they rushed in her direction, bringing Ben back to reality. What the fuck am I doing? He was barely six months out of a long divorce and had sworn off women entirely for now. And an actress? That was not happening. No way would he repeat his previous mistake twice. Not to mention that he was her boss, essentially, and that it would be a major conflict of interest. That was even assuming she was single and interested in him, which...
Why am I even thinking about this? Ben shook the thought from his head, unsure when the last time was that he'd ever felt this foggy-headed over a woman.
Aria's laughter peeled through the air just then, melodic and joyous. Ben swallowed hard, shoving his hands in his pockets and heading for the door. He had to get out of there. Now.
He wouldn't let himself fall for another actress, not even one as beautiful as Aria Rose.
About the Author:
Aside from being a Top 10 Barnes & Noble and Amazon Bestseller, Sarah Robinson is a native of the Washington, DC area and has both her Bachelors and Masters Degrees in forensic and clinical psychology. She is newly married to a wonderful man who is just as much of an animal rescue enthusiasts as she is. Together, they own a zoo of rescues including everything from mammals to reptiles to marsupials, as well as volunteering and fostering for multiple animal shelters.
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Enter Sarah’s Giveaway:
“This series grips you by the throat and refuses to let go—and you’ll be begging for more the entire time.” -- Sierra Simone, USA Today Bestselling Author
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Descend into sanity.
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About CD Reiss:CD Reiss is a New York Times bestseller. She still has to chop wood and carry water, which was buried in the fine print. Her lawyer is working it out with God but in the meantime, if you call and she doesn't pick up she's at the well hauling buckets.
Born in New York City, she moved to Hollywood, California to get her master's degree in screenwriting from USC. In case you want to know, that went nowhere but it did give her a big enough ego to write novels.
She's frequently referred to as the Shakespeare of Smut which is flattering but hasn't ever gotten her out of chopping that cord of wood.
If you meet her in person, you should call her Christine.
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