Series: Crimson Elite #2
Author: T.L. Smith
Genre: Romance (standalone)
It wasn’t meant to be this way—she shouldn’t have fallen for my brother and left me for him. But she did. And now I’m left to pick up the pieces of my shattered, broken heart. And to top it off, they want me to come to their wedding. Do they think I’m a pushover? Do they think of me as a joke? The old saying stands true, ‘why have enemies when you can have family.’
I understand it now, better than I ever have in my life.
There’s one unexpected surprise though, Storm. She blew in just like one and makes the pain diminish. She’s exactly as her name describes her—she is a storm. A beautiful and powerful one.
But not all things are meant to last. Like a storm that wreaks havoc, some things cause anguish, and in my life she may very well be one of them.
Title: Hold Me Today
Series: Put A Ring On It #1
Author: Maria Luis
Genre: Sexy Contemporary Romance
Release Date: January 17, 2019
Rock bottom has never felt so good.
At least, that’s what I tell myself when I bargain with the enemy and score a renovation for my hair salon.
The enemy? Nick Stamos, my best friend’s older brother.
He’s got a body and face the Greek gods would envy but his personality needs a major overhaul.
Did I mention he’s seen me naked?
I may have crushed on him for years, but the only place I want Nick swinging his hammer nowadays is at my salon.
Except, he needs something in return. . .
A fake girlfriend.
And I’m just reckless enough to say yes.
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~ Mina ~
A masculine hand sticks through the closing elevator doors, cutting off my train of thought as I lurch forward to jab the KEEP OPEN button. I smack it once with a heavy, don’t-fail-me-now finger, then again, my gaze flitting to the doors that are inching closed like the gates of Mordor.
That hand balls into a fist and then a suit-encased forearm appears, followed by a long leg and a brown, leather dress shoe. The leather is so soft, so visibly supple, I wouldn’t doubt that they cost more than my mortgage.
At the Greek curse for “fuck”, and the more than familiar gravel-pitched voice, my back snaps straight, and I yank my gaze up. Up past the lean waist not even a suit jacket can hide. Up past the barrel chest and the bulging, I-swing-hammers-for-a-living arms. Up to a face that’s as unforgiving in its aristocratic, angular bone structure as his hair is a wild, dark mop on his head.
Only that curly hair and a pair of full, pillow-soft lips—not that I’ve ever tasted them, of course—make him seem more human than rigid statue.
Has there ever been more appropriate timing? I don’t think so.
She who asketh shall receive—or however the saying goes.
For possibly the first time in six years, I smile at the man standing just inches away.
Nick Stamos stares down at me, his pewter eyes hard and narrowed with suspicion. “Trying to amputate my arm, Ermione?”
My smile slips, hackles twitching like a cat’s fur standing on end when stalked by a predator. Er-me-o-ne. His tongue rolls over the R in my given name, his Greek accent perfect and sultry despite the condescension dripping heavy and thick with every purred syllable.
Don’t let him get to you.
Only, he’s gotten to me for years now.
“If by amputate you mean save,” I murmur with practiced flippancy, “then sure. It’s not my fault if technology doesn’t want to work for you.”
Those slate-gray eyes, unlike any pair I’ve ever seen, drop to where I’m still pressing the KEEP OPEN button. When his dark brows rise, taunting me with their perfect arches, I follow his lead and glance down at the illuminated button.
Air puffs up my chest with indignancy as I inhale swiftly. “You didn’t really need that arm, did you?”
Nick snorts derisively. Without sparing me another look, his big hand circles my wrist. His touch is bold, his skin hot. A shiver of something—revulsion, I hope—rolls down my spine, unwinding and unfurling until even my gold-painted toes curl in my heels. And, as though he fears I’m completely incompetent, he angles my still-pointed finger at the button to close the doors.
Pushes down and lingers, as though to taunt, see? This is how a contraption called an elevator works. Welcome to the twenty-first century, Ermione.
Ermione. Even in my head I can hear him slinging around the name I inherited from my maternal grandmother, knowing that it makes my mouth pinch and my hands clench.
My smile has, as it always does around him, completely evaporated.
The elevator pings shut.
Locking me in with Satan’s mortal sidekick, my best friend’s older brother.
Maria Luis is the author of sexy contemporary romances, though she may or may not have a few historical romances hiding in the cobwebs of her computer.
When she's not writing about strong men and the sassy women who sweep them off their feet, Maria is a historian who specializes in medieval England and 19th century New Orleans. What do the two eras have in common, you ask? Not much, except for disease, scandalous activities and crime--Maria's favorite topics.
Maria lives in New Orleans with her better half, where she can generally be found hiking with her two dogs, Zeus and Athena, kayaking in Louisiana's inter-coastal waterways, or curled up on the couch with a good book.
Vasby K. Webster & Ker Dukey Publication Date: January 7, 2019 Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Dark, Mafia, Romance
Venby K. Webster & Ker Dukey Publication Date: June 29, 2018 Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Dark, Mafia, Romance
Vladby K. Webster & Ker Dukey Publication Date: February 24, 2018 Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Dark, Mafia, Romance
About K. WebsterK Webster is the author of dozens romance books in many different genres including contemporary romance, historical romance, paranormal romance, and erotic romance. When not spending time with her husband of twelve years and two adorable children, she’s active on social media connecting with her readers. Her other passions besides writing include reading and graphic design. K can always be found in front of her computer chasing her next idea and taking action. She looks forward to the day when she will see one of her titles on the big screen.
About Ker DukeyMy books all tend to be darker romance, edge of you seat, angst filled reads. My advice to my readers when starting one of my titles…prepare for the unexpected. I have always had a passion for storytelling, whether it be through lyrics or bed time stories with my sisters growing up. My mum would always have a book in her hand when I was young and passed on her love for reading, inspiring me to venture into writing my own. I tend to have a darker edge to my writing. Not all love stories are made from light; some are created in darkness but are just as powerful and worth telling. When I’m not lost in the world of characters I love spending time with my family. I’m a mum and that comes first in my life but when I do get down time I love attending music concerts or reading events with my younger sister.
It’s the blog tour for J. Lynn Bailey’s Magnolia Road. Check it out and be sure to pre-order your copy today!
Title: Magnolia Road
Author: J. Lynn Bailey
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Day: January 29th
About Magnolia Road:
On the outside, Bryce Hayes is satisfied with the structure of her life, her demanding career, and a series of no-strings-attached relationships, but her brother bounces in and out of rehab, her mother thinks she can beat her son’s addiction, and her father is simply doing what he can to keep a semblance of “normal”. When Bryce’s father, Congressman Hayes, orders her to Granite Harbor, Maine, due to a string of threats to their family coming from an unidentifiable source, she doesn’t expect Ethan Casey, the sexy soldier who slept with her, then walked out, without so much as a goodbye, to be her landlord.
Ethan’s past is riddled with chaos, bullets, and loud noise. After returning to his small town after the war, he’s determined to get back to his roots. Peace, quiet, and working as a game warden for the Maine Warden Service sounds right as rain. But with Bryce in Granite Harbor, staying in his house on Magnolia Road, Ethan can’t stop thinking about his future—and that includes Bryce. But to make things right with the love of his life, he’ll have to open old wounds…and risk losing her forever.
About the Author:
J. Lynn Bailey has loved to write since she learned to read, around the second grade. When she isn't running after her children, watching COPS, or on the hunt for her next Laffy Taffy joke, you can probably find her holed up in her writing room feverishly working on her next book. She lives in Northern California with her family.
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Enter J. Lynn’s Giveaway:
Title: Scr*w You
Author: Renee Harless
Release Date: January 17, 2019
Did you ever send an explicit picture to your significant other?
Well, I sent one to my ex back in college and his best friend Zack found it and showed the entire fraternity. Sure, I should have known better, but I was young, stupid, and in love.
Six years later, Iâm bidding on a project for my exâs company against my nemesis, his best friend.
Now, Zackâs trying to make my life a living hell while my ex has me jumping through hoops to land this job.
A job that I need regardless of how my body reacts to Zack, but my heart may have a completely different contract in mind.
Renee Harless, her husband, and children live in Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. She studied Communication, specifically Public Relations, at Radford University.
Growing up, Renee always found a way to pursue her creativity. It began by watching endless runs of White Christmas- yes even in the summer â and learning every word and dance from the movie. She could still sing Sister Sister if requested. In high school she joined the show choir and a community theatre group, The Troubadours. After marrying the man of her dreams and moving from her hometown she sought out a different artistic outlet â writing.
To say that Renee is a romance addict would be an understatement. When she isnât chasing her toddler around the house, working her day job, or writing, she delves head first into a romance novel.
Today we are sharing chapter 1 from DARING THE DETECTIVE by Riley Cole. This is a historical romance series releasing from Jack's House Publishing and Daring the Detective is the third book in The Restitution League series. Check out the pre-order links for the book below. It releases January 22nd.
—Meet the Restitution League--
They’re thieves. They’re rogues. They’re well-armed for adventure.
The crew of the Restitution League fights injustice while wrestling with love and desire and the occasional throwing knife.
One blazing romance at a time…
DARING THE DETECTIVE by Riley Cole - Releasing January 22
PRE-ORDER DARING THE DETECTIVE
Purchase in print on Amazon
He’s everything she disdains. She’s nothing he admires.
But love has its own delightful logic.
Whether bartering with Barbary pirates or angry Gypsy kings, Zadie Whitlock lives by her wits… and the business end of her parasol.
Detective Caleb Burke lives to right wrongs. He can’t abide Zadie’s daring, impulsive ways, especially after she leaves him bound to a library shelf with his own handcuffs.
Still, he can’t ignore the passion the damned woman ignites.
Nor can Zadie dismiss his smoldering allure. Which is troublesome in the extreme, because Caleb Burke isn’t the man for her. He’s too honorable, too loyal, and far too likely to follow the rules.
Dazzled by her indomitable spirit, Caleb makes a fateful choice that sets the two of them on a hunt for lost Viking treasure. Failure will see his career in ashes, and Zadie on trial for her life.
Pursued by deadly forces, they’ve got the power of the Restitution League on their side… and their own stubborn hearts in the way.
READ CHAPTER 1
Restitution League Headquarters, London
The moment Meena Crane introduced her to the tall, quiet man in the shadows, Zadie Whitlock’s knees went weak. Her reaction had nothing to do with his glorious physique or those penetrating brown eyes. Unfortunately.
It was the badge pinned to his jacket that sent her spinning. Who would have guessed the League included a blasted detective?
Though her intuition screamed at her to leave, she curled her fingers around the haft of her parasol and allowed her hostess to finish the introductions and shepherd her toward the sitting area at the back of the impressive offices.
If it weren’t for the crusher glowering at her from the corner, she would have been impressed. The League’s offices were even grander than she’d expected. All polished wood and modern business machinery, the space crackled with energy. And the members themselves outshone their workspace. Bright and engaging, Meena Crane and her crew appeared capable of tackling the direst of cases. But despite the favorable impressions, Zadie ached to make her excuses and back straight out of the building.
Zadie smiled at her very pregnant hostess and tried her best to pretend that Caleb Burke didn’t exist, but that was a losing proposition. Lean and powerful, he exuded the cynicism of a man who’d seen every form of deceit. Perhaps if he weren’t watching her like a hawk outwaiting a mouse, her stomach wouldn’t ache so. She’d heard the League was composed of confidence artists and thieves, all reformed now, of course. But she hadn’t expected them to include a man with a badge.
That could change everything.
And the man sensed it. His casual pose didn’t deceive her. He was gathering up every crumb of information she offered. And many she didn’t mean to reveal.
Zadie continued to avoid his gaze, wishing she could dismiss his presence as easily. As if any woman alive could ignore that beautiful mouth, or the broad shoulders stretching his light wool jacket to its limit. But looks aside, it had taken her only seconds to realize he possessed the type of quiet confidence that made a man extraordinarily dangerous. He wouldn’t hesitate to toss her in jail should she give him the least opportunity.
But Aunt Margaret had gone missing, under the worst of circumstances, and Zadie had no idea where to begin searching. She could steal a diamond stickpin straight off a man’s tie, face down the roughest crew of smugglers, or authenticate an Egyptian vase at a glance.
But finding one slender, gray-haired treasure hunter had her at a loss.
As if she could read Zadie’s thoughts, Meena paused, teapot poised above a cup, and smiled reassuringly. “How can we help you, Miss Whitlock?”
It was a simple question, with a simple answer. As with most things in life, though, it was the part in between that was bloody complicated. Zadie returned the woman’s smile, pretending she wasn’t tempted to tear straight out of the building.
With a grace amazing in a woman so obviously increasing, Meena leaned across the table and offered Zadie a cup. She sipped the excellent Darjeeling and nodded slowly, buying a last few seconds before she had to make up her mind about confiding in this Restitution League.
“My aunt has disappeared.” The words rushed out before she could reconsider her course of action. “I have cause to believe she’s in danger.”
Meena stilled. “Surely the police could assist you?”
“They are investigating, but they’re not looking in the right place.” She gestured helplessly. They’d interviewed her several times since the housekeeper had reported her aunt missing. But she hadn’t volunteered anything that would really help. She didn’t dare. And now, with a detective looming over her, she was treading a fine line again.
Edison Sweet, the bear of a man sitting next to the typewriter, flicked a glance at Burke and snorted. “Now we’re getting down to it.”
The pretty blonde at his side, Briar Sweet, punched him in the arm. “Let her speak, you great lout.” Then she gestured at Zadie. “Pardon my brother. He often speaks without consulting his brain first.” She sent him an arch look. “Not that it would help.”
The playful banter eased the tension in Zadie’s shoulders. Still, the question remained: how much should she tell them? Too little information would hamper the search for her aunt. Too much could land her straight in jail.
Spencer Crane, a legendary thief in his own right, took his wife’s hand, twining his fingers with hers as he studied Zadie. “You said she’s in danger. What makes you so certain?”
Pain began to pulse behind her right eye. “It’s all rather complicated.”
Crane grinned wickedly. “Good stories generally are.”
Zadie risked another glance at the detective. His features were carefully schooled, revealing nothing. She sighed. “I came home two nights ago to find the house tossed and my aunt missing. The window in her study was open, and I found this.” She dug in her pocket for the emerald necklace and held it up for the group to see.
The Cranes leaned close, studying the way the gems shifted from light green to dark as they swung in the light.
“They’re exquisite,” Spencer Crane acknowledged. “Worth a small ransom.” He winced. “I beg your pardon. A poor choice of words.”
Zadie waved away his apology. It was nothing but the truth. “A large one, I would think. But their sentimental value is even higher. They were a gift from the love of her life.” She stuffed the piece back into her pocket. “I’ve never seen my aunt without them, but I found them wrapped around the fingers of the skeleton she keeps in the corner of her study. She meant for me to find them. I’m certain of it.”
Nelly, the little office girl, scrunched up her nose. “Wot’s she doin’ with a skeleton?”
“My aunt is a physician. Long retired, but she still sees the occasional patient.”
Briar Sweet straightened the sleeves of her severe black dress. “Whatever happened, she had time to leave you a sign. You said she’s a treasure hunter. Is she after something valuable?”
Zadie rolled her eyes, and immediately wished she hadn’t as a shaft of pain shot through her forehead. “She would say so, but I fear it’s a fantasy. She’s spent the last ten years trying to locate a lost Viking temple, but I doubt it exists. She hasn’t found so much as an old nail.”
Meena nodded thoughtfully. “But if someone else believes she’s on to something valuable…”
She shrugged, acknowledging the unspoken possibility.
Like a great bird suddenly taking wing, Burke pushed away from the wall and swooped toward her before perching on the arm of the other sofa. “But there’s more to the story, isn’t there, Miss Whitlock?”
This time, she met his eye. Determined to ignore the way her head throbbed, she forced herself to take another sip of tea. It was now or never. Take the plunge and hope he’d overlook her recent…activities…or remain silent and hamper the League’s ability to find her aunt.
When she considered it that way, there was no choice.
“Indeed.” She focused on the Cranes. “I suspect whoever took my aunt—or frightened her away—is after me.”
Burke’s warm voice sent a dark shiver down her spine. “And whatever you’ve done isn’t exactly legal, is it? Which means you’ve been less than candid with the police.”
Zadie raised her chin. “I suppose that would depend upon one’s interpretation of legal.”
“How about a magistrate’s interpretation? Would that do?”
Zadie clasped her hands in her lap, all the better to avoid smacking the smug detective across the face.
The rest of the group was quiet now, watching the two of them as if they were opponents in a boxing ring, circling each other, fists raised.
She clamped her teeth together. The thought of all that masculine power took her breath away. Why couldn’t he be a fellow thief? A minor lord? A fishmonger or a chimney sweep? Anything but a bloody crusher.
Burke cut in to her thoughts. “When we got your note yesterday requesting our assistance, we looked into your shop. You don’t sell stolen goods…as far as I can tell.”
“I don’t,” she agreed. “I sell Egyptian décor. Most of it is of modern manufacture, but I also handle antiquities. Only those of known provenance, naturally.”
The detective ignored her assurances. “You just said you believe your aunt was taken to get back at you. I doubt a customer dissatisfied with a reproduction bauble would go to such lengths.”
Briar Sweet thrust her finger against the haft of a fine throwing knife, sending the weapon spinning about on the desktop. “It would have to be someone very angry.”
“Or very desperate,” her brother added.
The weight of Burke’s gaze pressed down on her, but he said nothing, letting the silence stretch until it rang through the room, cold and accusatory.
Zadie stared back, unwilling to let him see the turmoil roiling inside her. She was at the edge of the cliff now. Nothing for it but to jump straight off and let the consequences be what they would. Her aunt’s safety trumped all. She took one last, deep breath. “I retrieve things,” she admitted.
“Ah.” Burke smiled, but it held no warmth. “The more valuable the better, I imagine.”
“Well, that’s no surprise,” Briar pointed out. “Who’d pay to get their dodgy old bric-a-brac back?”
Nelly sparked to life again. “It weren’t in the news, but my friend Angie swears the Templar’s ruby was stolen from ’er employer. Are you the one who got it back?”
Rather than answer, Zadie took a long sip of tea.
Burke crossed his arms over his chest. “I don’t think Miss Whitlock would care to answer that.”
“O’course.” Nelly ducked her head, but not before she sent Zadie an approving wink.
Zadie swallowed, trying to think her way through this tricky pass. If she didn’t admit to any specific crimes, Burke would have no standing to arrest her. Most likely. She cleared her throat. “Companies--legitimate concerns—hire me to retrieve stolen jewelry and art.” The smugglers and crime lords that availed themselves of her services needn’t be discussed.
“Fair enough,” Burke said, but she could tell by his expression he only half believed her. “But legitimate or not, the people you repossessed things from might not be so understanding.”
Zadie nodded miserably. “That is exactly my concern.”
Meena set her cup aside. “Is your aunt involved in your business?”
“No. As far as she is aware, my only source of income is Frobisher and Franks.” Despite the moniker, the shop was all her own. The imaginary male proprietors existed only to reassure the curio-buying public that two upstanding men were behind the venture. Even two years later, she still congratulated herself on the deception from time to time.
“And she disappeared the day before yesterday?”
Zadie nodded. “She was gone when I got home from the store.”
Spencer Crane glanced at the clock on the wall. “So it’s been almost three days.” He looks at the group. “The sooner we get started, the better.”
Burke slapped his thigh. “Miss Whitlock must have enemies scattered about Greater London. Where would you suggest we begin?” He tossed the question at Zadie.
Anger flamed in her chest, overriding her fear. She threw up her hands. “Isn’t that your job, Detective?”
Meena Sweet swirled the last bit of tea in her cup. “If someone absconded with Miss Whitlock’s aunt because they wanted revenge—”
“Or the return of an item she retrieved,” Briar Sweet added.
“Or that,” Meena acknowledged. She locked eyes with Burke. “Hiding a hostage is tricky business. The longer one keeps them, the worse the danger. If someone’s holding her aunt hostage, wouldn’t they have contacted Miss Whitlock by now?”
Burke gave Meena a smile so grand, it made Zadie’s toes curl. “That is an excellent point.” The grin faded as quickly as it bloomed. He turned his attention back to Zadie. “Though I’m not inclined to dismiss the idea completely.”
Though she prided herself on her extraordinary composure, Zadie’s cheeks burned. “Of course not. We should examine every possible avenue.” Even if it meant confessing to theft.
She straightened her spine and met his gaze, willing him to understand just how desperate she was to see her aunt safely home. Though she prayed Meena’s reasoning was correct. If Aunt Margaret’s silly treasure hunt was to blame, her heart could stop aching with guilt.
Meena and Burke traded a long look. She had the sense that her request hung in the balance. By the time Burke nodded, her fingers ached from balling them into fists.
He stood and planted his hands on his lean hips. “We’ll take your case.”
Relief propelled Zadie to her feet. Thank God. They’d help her. And Burke didn’t seem inclined to toss her in jail. Yet.
She nodded to each of the crew. “Thank you. Thank you all.”
Every one of them smiled back, except Burke. He was staring off over her shoulder. “Whether we’re dealing with a mess of your own making or not, I’ll need to examine your aunt’s study.”
“That makes sense. I can take you there now, if you like.”
“Before we begin, I have several conditions,” he said. “They’re nonnegotiable.”
“Of course.” The words tumbled from her lips, but inside, she froze. He wanted her to confess to the thefts she’d hinted at. She squared her shoulders and prepared to pay the price.
“You’re not to leave my sight,” he ordered. “I don’t trust you. I want you at my side for the duration of this case. And second…” He paused. The glint in his eye stole her breath. “You will obey my every order.”
Zadie nodded, but she couldn’t seem to form words. Too many naughty, delightful images were flashing through her brain. His too, if the current of energy crackling between them was any indication. If they weren’t in a crowded room, in the middle of the day… She shook off the enticing possibilities.
Besides, she had a stipulation of her own. “Agreed. But you must promise you won’t arrest me for theft.”
He hesitated so long, she worried she had overplayed her hand, but finally, he shook his head. A small smile tugged at the corner of his mouth, telegraphing his answer. “I’m not interested in your retrieval service. I promise I won’t arrest you for whatever thefts you may have committed.”
The air left her lungs in a great whoosh. She grinned so hard, her cheeks ached. “Good enough.”
Burke ran a hand over his jaw, and suddenly, he looked disconcertingly tired. “I have a murder case I need to follow up on, but I should be able to collect you in a few hours.”
With her husband’s help, Meena struggled to her feet. “You’ll probably be more comfortable waiting at your shop. Briar and Nelly can keep you company. Henry can drive you. Take the clarence.”
The two younger women looked pleased with Meena’s suggestion. Zadie was too. The unexpected support left her lightheaded. And dangerously foolish.
She eyed the rugged detective. She wanted to kiss him. Wanted to know if the skin above the stubble dusting his cheeks was as soft as it appeared.
And why not? Her throat dry, she struggled to swallow. Once they got Aunt Margaret safely home, they’d never cross paths again.
“Thank you,” she said, and before she could talk herself out of it, she leaned in, pressing her lips to his cheek.
It was soft. Delightfully so.
She wanted to kiss him again, but even in her delirious state, she realized that would stretch the bounds of propriety beyond the breaking point.
She pulled away, steeling herself for his reaction. Would it be shock? Distaste? A whisper of disgust?
In the end, his response was far more disturbing. White teeth flashed in a feral, wanting grin that made her knees wobble.
She bit down on a surprised gasp. The man had a wicked, wicked center.
It was a good thing she had pressing plans. Plans that would see her halfway around the world once her aunt was safe. Plans that would occupy her long after thoughts of a certain police detective faded away.
Irritated beyond all reason, Caleb stalked into the study Zadie’s aunt used as an office, eager to find whatever clues he could. He needed to solve Dr. Whitlock’s disappearance and get far away from their newest client. Quickly. His sanity demanded it.
The hansom ride to her house had been excruciating. She took up too much space, too much air, too much of his psychical energy. He couldn’t breathe. Couldn’t think.
She was a charlatan, an opportunist, and a stunningly attractive woman who wouldn’t hesitate to wield all the skills at her disposal to flummox any man foolish enough to enter her orbit. He knew the sort. She’d take on any job, with no regard for legalities, or her own safety, as long as the fee was high enough.
But then she’d kissed him. Caleb scratched his cheek. It hadn’t even been a real kiss. But it did make him want another, a deep, breathtaking kiss that would leave both of them gasping for air.
He jerked his head back, startled by the direction his thoughts were taking. He didn’t even like her. And yet that one feather-light kiss had sent him ass over teakettle.
Impatient with his own imaginings, he focused his attention on the room, straining to make sense of the scene. She’d described it accurately. Papers were flung about as if someone had made a hasty search. Before touching a thing, he stood in the center of the space and breathed. He couldn’t have articulated what he was after. It was too ephemeral to name. He only knew he did it at the scene of every crime. He wanted to see it as the criminal, and the victim, might have seen it.
And here, he sensed urgency. There was no blood, no torn draperies or overturned furniture. No indication of a struggle. Either Zadie’s aunt had been threatened with a weapon, or she’d fled of her own accord.
After waiting in the doorway, allowing him space, Zadie joined him in the study, moving close enough that her fragrance radiated over the few inches separating them. Sweet, with a bite of spice, it called to mind exotic locales shimmering with heat.
He clenched his jaw, willing away the distraction, and forced himself to focus on the room itself, soaking in the details, letting his mind imagine the scene. Like the other rooms in the house, it was tastefully furnished. There was the desk, of course, and the chair opposite, where he imagined her aunt’s occasional patients sat. A skeleton stood in the corner, suspended from a black wire stand. The skull regarded him with detached interest.
Zadie pointed at it. “That’s where I found the necklace.”
He stepped around the desk, careful not to tread on the papers littering the floor. She was right to dismiss robbery as a motive. Too many items of value remained in plain sight. Shelves of finely bound volumes lined the wall behind the desk, and a silver ink set and letter opener sat, untouched on an expensive-looking leather blotter.
Zadie scooped a blank paper from the floor and held it out to him. “Here’s something.”
He held it up to the light from the window next to the desk. A dark footprint covered most of the surface.
She picked up another sheet. “Here’s another.”
Caleb compared the two prints. “Same boot.” So they were after a single intruder. The lugs were thick, the heel worn almost away. “Work boots. Large ones.” He examined the rest of the papers but saw no other prints. “Do you have any male servants?”
“No.” She thought for a moment. “I can’t think of the last time a man was in the house, actually.”
He rolled the pages into a tube and stuck them in the inside pocket of his jacket. “Probably our intruder, then.”
“Oh no.” Zadie brushed past him to pick up an ancient book, its pages yellowed with age. “Her treasure map. She kept it in this volume.” She thumbed through the pages, then held the book by its spine and shook it. Eyes wide, she looked up at him. “She must have taken it with her.”
Caleb squinted at the bookcase behind the desk. Old books, new books, thick tomes, and sheaves of journals crowded the shelves. Clearly, only the one volume had been removed. Whoever had grabbed the book knew what they were after.
Zadie was right. Her aunt had probably removed it herself.
But had she been coerced? He refrained from voicing that dark thought, though the prickle between his shoulder blades didn’t bode well. If someone believed the treasure existed, a map could be worth killing over. “You’re certain no one else knew about it? Not the housekeeper or one of the maids?”
Before he’d completed the question, Zadie was shaking her head. “I’m the only person she confided in. She worried that it would put people in danger.” A pained look crossed her face. “I used to laugh at that.”
A pencil poised to roll off the edge of the desk caught his attention. He snatched it up and tapped out a rhythm on the blotter while he let his imagination sift through the evidence at hand. Best to start with what they did know…or could reasonably surmise. Whatever his motives, the intruder had rushed up the steps, kicked in the door, and barreled in. A glance would have told him the front parlor was empty. Less than a second, and he’d have been in her study.
Not enough time for her aunt to remove her necklace, grab a map, and get out.
She’d had some warning. But how?
The answer smacked him between the eyes. Zadie’s aunt had seen the intruder walking by on the street below.
He inched forward, gaze on the quiet view outside. “It was someone she recognized, or someone—”
“Who didn’t fit,” Zadie chimed in.
“Exactly.” He paced the office, clasping his hands behind his back. “It’s the only way she would have had time to get her map and leave you the necklace.”
Zadie seemed to be thinking through the scenario as well. “That makes sense.”
“But it’s not the only explanation that fits the facts,” he cautioned.
“I know.” She twisted her fingers together. “And it doesn’t explain the intruder’s motives.”
“No, it doesn’t.” He gave her a small smile, trying to ease her guilt. And then he thought of a marvelous distraction. “Are you up for an experiment?”
“What do you want me to do?”
“Let’s assume your aunt was at her desk.” He pointed at the desk chair and pulled the drapes wide. “When you see me walk toward the house, pretend to grab the map, then put the necklace where you found it. I want to see if you can evade me.”
“What makes you think I want to try?”
The heat in those few words was enough to make him hard. Painfully, achingly hard. Despite their dissimilarities, their opposing temperaments and the way she was able to anger him with the smallest shrug, he smiled. Grinned, actually. “You should try, Miss Whitlock. Because when I do catch you, you’ll find yourself in more trouble than you can handle.”
He laughed. There was no getting the better of her. Not with words, anyway.
He was still laughing as he hurried down the hall and out the door, shutting it behind him. Then he strolled off down the street. Not the way they’d come. He thought he’d try the opposite direction first. Her aunt would have seen them coming sooner from their original direction. He wanted to try this under the worst possible conditions.
The corner would do. He turned on his heel and walked back toward the house, careful to temper his stride. A seasoned criminal wouldn’t move too quickly…or too slowly. He strove to mimic the pace of a man with an agenda, but a man loath to attract attention.
He walked up the front steps at a sedate pace, then kicked softly at the broken door. Even though he barely brushed it, the door swung open hard enough to bang against the wall. He rushed in, taking only the briefest instant to scan the front parlor and the hallway toward the kitchen. It only took three steps to reach the study.
Zadie already had one leg hooked over the windowsill. She smiled at him, relief obvious in the set of her shoulders. “She could have made it.”
“Easily.” He crossed to her and held out a hand to help her back in. “It’s clear she could have—”
A harsh male voice called out from the pavement. “Hold it! Hold it right there.”
Two uniformed officers were rushing toward the house, followed by a dark-suited detective. Avery Pitcairn. The nastiest detective on the South London force.
“Miss Zadie Whitlock?” Pitcairn called out, loud enough to be heard over the cascade of footfalls behind him. “You’re wanted for questioning in the disappearance of Dr. Margaret Whitlock. It’s best for all concerned if you come along quietly.”
Holy blazing hell. He had to stop them. It made no sense, but the feeling was so strong, he couldn’t help himself. He had to prevent them from arresting her.
He yanked her back inside. “Do as I say. Exactly as I say. Trust me,” he whispered.
Her face pale, Zadie nodded.
He couldn’t turn her over. She hadn’t harmed her aunt. He didn’t know how he knew it, but he did. It was simply the way his detective brain worked. Bits and pieces of evidence coalesced into a larger picture. And the picture he had so far convinced him Zadie was innocent. Besides, if he was wrong, he could cart her off to Newgate himself. And he hated Pitcairn. A cruel little weasel of a man, Pitcairn took an outsized pleasure in the misfortune of others. Particularly women.
He couldn’t allow it. Which wouldn’t protect him from the consequences of what he was about to do.
He shoved his misgivings aside and greeted the ginger-haired officer. “You’re too late. I already have Miss Whitlock in custody.”
The shorter detective jerked to a stop halfway into the room, the whiskers of his large mustache quivering. “What?” He squinted at him. “Burke? Thought you worked out of the Yard. What the hell are you doing out here?”
“I am at the Yard. Miss Whitlock is a person of interest in a very sensitive case. I’m to take her there immediately.”
The man huffed. “More important than a possible murder? Her aunt is missing.”
“I’m aware of that.” Caleb pulled his handcuffs from his trouser pocket. “My case takes precedence. Trust me. There are people above me you don’t want to upset, if you know what I mean.”
Pitcairn’s cheeks reddened. “No, I don’t know.”
“Orders from the highest level.” Caleb tried to sound apologetic as he slid his hand down to Zadie’s wrist and snapped on the cuff.
Her gasp filled the room.
The other detective gave her a searing glare. “Did you know Dr. Whitlock’s solicitor dug up her will? Left everything to this baggage here. She’s the woman’s only living relative.”
“What?” Zadie gasped, earning her another angry look from Pitcairn.
His expression was still flat and cold when he turned his attention back to Caleb. “Didn’t mention that, did she?”
He laughed, but the sound held no mirth. “We had a bit of luck with that piece. The housekeeper knows the solicitor. Her sister’s his cook.”
He crossed to the window and squinted out at the street. “Where’s your carriage?”
“The driver’ll be right back,” Caleb lied. “Had to drop Morgan and Fitz at the Limehouse docks. We weren’t expecting Miss Whitlock to be here.”
Nor had he expected her to have such a strong motive to make her aunt disappear. Though the house was modest, it spoke of comfort…and more wealth than many enjoyed. His impassive, police officer’s expression firmly in place, he studied her, checking for any of the telltale signs of a liar. But all he saw was shock.
Pitcairn chewed the ends of his mustache while he ruminated. “Can I have her when you’re done?” he asked finally.
“I don’t see why not. As soon as the toffs running my investigation allow it.” Caleb snapped the handcuffs around her other wrist.
Pitcairn jerked his chin at Zadie. “Good. There’ll be plenty of time for us to chat once you’re locked up. Come on now, lads. Nothing else we can do here.”
Caleb waited until the lot of them had funneled out the door and back into their wagon before he allowed himself to consider what he’d just done.
Ruined his career, most likely.
Zadie turned her back toward him and wiggled her fingers, jangling the chains. “About these? You promised.”
Preoccupied with the weight of his actions, it took a moment for Caleb to process her statement. He eyed the cuffs. “I promised not to arrest you for theft. I never promised not to arrest you for murder.”
“That’s not funny. Take these off.”
It wasn’t. Not in the least. But the sight of her, helpless before him, chest heaving, lips parted, was the most erotic thing he’d ever seen.
He ran a hand over his mouth. Holy hell. He’d just tossed his career in the sewer, and all he could think about was throwing her on the nearest couch and undoing the tiny pearl buttons running down the front of her bodice.
Afraid he’d make good on his imaginings, he turned toward the window and watched the officers depart. “It’s not meant to be funny.” The consequences of what he’d just done certainly wouldn’t be humorous.
The catch in her voice pricked at his conscience. Whatever disaster he’d just made of his career, torturing her wouldn’t help. Old habit had his fingers around the key in his vest pocket before he’d even realized he’d decided to free her.
She evaded his gaze, but the strong pulse beating at the side of her neck and the way her breasts moved with the rhythm of her breathing suggested she didn’t fully trust him to unlock the things.
Nor did he. He walked behind her and rubbed his thumb over the inside of her wrists, tracing the delicate pulse. The skin of her thighs would be this soft. This warm. “I could renege on my promise.”
She shivered. “You wouldn’t.”
“How do you know? We’ve only just met.”
“I know you’re an honest man.”
Caleb snorted, trying to shake off her sensual spell. “Not all policemen are honest. Far from it.”
“You can’t know that.”
“Oh, but I can.” She tossed her head back, flinging a dark curl out of her eyes. “It’s your friends. The League. They trust you, and I trust them.”
But could he trust himself? Maybe he should steal a kiss before he released her. He considered it, thinking long and hard about how she’d feel in his arms, but propriety and a healthy dose of self-preservation won out. Toying with a woman as bright and sensual as Zadie might leave a scar.
And he had plenty of other things to worry about now. He jabbed the key in the lock. The cuffs fell away, severing the electric connection between them.
She rubbed her wrists. “They’ll be expecting you to bring me in.”
“I know.” He dropped the cuffs back into his pocket.
Something in his tone must have concerned her. She scooted back, just out of reach. “You wouldn’t.”
“Of course not.” He ran a hand through his hair. “But I’ll need to explain why you’re not in custody.”
She strode back and forth across the worn carpet, obviously considering alternatives as well. Outside, the light was fading as afternoon slid into a golden autumn dusk. He’d be expected at the station before long. There wasn’t much time to lose.
And then he had it.
It was an idiotic idea, but it was the best he could come up with. He motioned her to him and spread his legs, bracing himself for what was to come. “Hit me,” he commanded.
She backed up until the bookcases stopped her. “This is no time for jokes.”
“Hit me,” he insisted. “Make it good.”
“I can’t do that.”
He caught her gaze and smiled. “There were a couple of times at the League you would’ve loved to plant me a facer.”
Her delicate earrings swayed as she shook her head. “I was angry then. This…this is cold-blooded.”
Still giddy with panic over what he’d just done, he grinned. “I can make you angry, if you like.”
She rolled her eyes.
He turned the side of his face toward her. “Hurry.” Before he came to his senses. Before he did the reasonable thing and took her to the station himself.
Her lips parted as she drew in a fortifying breath and then, before he had time to steel himself, she balled her hand into a fist and swung.
SEDUCING THE SCIENTIST by Riley Cole
PURCHASE SEDUCING THE SCIENTIST
Purchase in print on Amazon
Riley has a long fascination with all things Victorian. She loves the peculiar mix of science, mysticism and innovation that collided in the Victorian Era.
To say nothing of bustles. Bustles and elaborate hats and parasols. Parasols for rain. Parasols for sun. And parasols that morph into swords…of course.
Sadly, Riley has little use for umbrellas in the dry foothills of the Eastern Sierra, but she consoles herself with forest hikes and dips in cool mountain lakes. Besides—no matter where one resides—a proper cuppa never comes amiss.
If you enjoy a little high adventure—and a lot of desire—with your historical romance, delve into Riley’s version of late Victorian London.
Thieves, rogues, and love await…
For more information about Riley, please visit her website, “like” Riley on Facebook and follow her on Twitter. Sign up for Riley’s newsletter to be notified about upcoming releases. She’s loves hearing from her readers. Email her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.Riley’s Jack’s House releases include Rejecting the Rogue and Seducing the Scientist from the Restitution League Series.
Title: Bound To Break
Series: Bound To Series - Book One
Author: Rachael Tonks
Genre: NA/Contemporary Romance
Release Date: January 16, 2019
Leo is desperate and running from the dark secrets of his past.
When he’s taken in by the wealthy Conway family who found him near death, he hoped it would be the new start he craved.
What be didn’t expect was to find himself falling for the youngest Conway, Cassie.
He can't keep his eyes off the hot yet innocent housemate...or his hands.
Cassie is everything Leo knows he can't have. Shouldn’t have.
But that doesn't stop him from wanting her.
Growing closer by the day, combined with the off-the-charts chemistry, makes for an unstoppable connection that Leo just can’t fight.
To the outside Cassie lives a perfect life. Only, it’s not quite as perfect as it may seem.
Dancing is Cassie’s only focus...until Leo walks into her life, making her realize she’s met the one guy who could change her future... the one man that could shatter her heart.
Can the pair overcome all that stands in their way or are they bound to break?
Rachael Tonks is a romance author with a love of books, and a particular love of the romance genre. As a child Rachael could always be found with her head in a book, but it wasn’t until the beginning of 2015 when Rachael’s love of books really took over. Reading spurred on her desires to put pen to paper and write down the story of the characters screaming for their story to be told. Starting out her career with a new adult romance novel, she has now published multiple novels, ranging from dark romance to contemporary. Rachael lives in the steely suburb of Sheffield, in the north of England with her family. She has 3 beautiful children and a crazy dog. She loves nothing more reading with a good cup of tea and is self-proclaimed chocoholic!
Read a short sneak peek from chapter two below or grab the full, first two chapters here: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/qi0wfckd79
It was the gorgeous guy I’d seen in the elevator. And here I thought we’d had a little spark.
Bennett Fox grinned like he’d already been named my boss and extended his hand. “Welcome to Foster Burnett.”
Ugh. He wasn’t just good looking; he knew it, too.
“That would be Foster, Burnett and Wren, as of a few weeks ago, right?” I iced my subtle reminder that this was now our place of employment with a smile, suddenly thankful my parents had made me wear braces until I was nearly sixteen.
“Of course.” My new nemesis smiled just as brightly. Apparently his parents had sprung for orthodontic care, too.
Bennett Fox was also tall. I once read an article that said the average height of a man in the US was five-foot-nine-and-a-half inches; less than fifteen percent of men stood taller than six feet. Yet the average height of more than sixty-eight percent of Fortune 500 CEOs was over six feet. Subconsciously, we related size to power in more ways than just brawn.
Andrew was six foot two. I’d guess this guy was about the same.
Bennett pulled out the guest chair next to him. “Please, have a seat.”
Tall and with gentlemanly manners. I disliked him already.
During the ensuing twenty-minute pep talk given by Jonas Stern—in which he attempted to convince us we weren’t vying for the same position, but instead forging the way as leaders of the now-largest ad agency in the United States—I stole glances at Bennett Fox.
Shoes: definitely expensive. Conservative, oxford in style, but with a modern edge of topstitching. Ferragamo would be my guess. Big feet, too.
Suit: dark navy, tailored to fit his tall, broad frame. The kind of understated luxury that said he had money, but didn’t need to flaunt it to impress you.
He had one long leg casually crossed over the other knee, as if we were discussing the weather rather than being told everything we’d worked twelve hours a day, six days a week for was suddenly at risk of being in vain.
At one point, Jonas had said something we both agreed with, and we looked at each other, nodding. Given the opportunity for a closer inspection, my eyes roamed his handsome face. Strong jaw, daringly straight, perfect nose—the type of bone structure passed down from generation to generation that was better and more useful than any monetary inheritance. But his eyes were the showstopper: a deep, penetrating green that popped from his smooth, tanned skin. Those were currently staring right at me.
I looked away, returning my attention to Jonas. “So what happens at the end of the ninety-day integration period? Will there be two Creative Directors of West Coast Marketing?”
Jonas looked back and forth between us and sighed. “No. But no one is going to lose his or her job. I was just about to tell Bennett the news. Rob Gatts announced he’ll be retiring in a few months. So there will be a position opening up for a creative director to replace him.”
I had no idea what that meant. But apparently Bennett did.
“So one of us gets shipped off to Dallas to replace Rob in the southwest region?” he asked.
Jonas’s face told me Bennett wouldn’t be happy about the prospect of heading to Texas. “Yes.”
All three of us let that sink in for a moment. The possibility of having to relocate to Texas shifted my mind back into gear, though.
“Who will make the decision?” I asked. “Because obviously you’ve been working with Bennett…”
Jonas shook his head and waved off what I was beginning to question. “Decisions like this—where two senior management positions are being merged into one office—the board will oversee and make the final determination of who gets first pick.”
Bennett was just as confused as me. “The board members don’t work with us on a daily basis.”
“No, they don’t. So they’ve come up with a method of making their decision.”
“It’ll be based on three major client pitches. You’ll both come up with campaigns on your own and present them. The clients will pick which they like best.”
Bennett looked rattled for the first time. His perfect composure and self-assuredness took a hit as he leaned forward and raked long fingers through his hair. “You’ve got to be kidding me. More than ten years, and my job here comes down to a few pitches? I’ve landed half-a-billion dollars of ad accounts for this company.”
“I’m sorry, Bennett. I really am. But one of the conditions of the Wren merger was that due consideration be given to the Wren employees in positions that might be eliminated because of duplicity. The deal almost didn’t go through because Mrs. Wren was so insistent that she not sell her husband’s company, only to have the new organization strip away all of Wren’s hard-working employees.”
That made me smile. Mr. Wren was taking care of his employees even after he was gone.
“I’m up for the challenge.” I looked at Bennett, who was clearly pissed off. “May the best woman win.”
He scowled. “You mean man.”
We hope you enjoyed this sneak peek of We Shouldn’t!
WANT MORE? You can grab the full first two chapters here: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/qi0wfckd79
SYNOPSIS:Bennett Fox walked into my life on one hell of a crappy Monday morning.
I was late for the first day at my new job—a job I’d now have to compete for even though I’d already worked eight years to earn it, because of an unexpected merger.
While I lugged my belongings up to my new office, a meter maid wrote me a parking summons.
She’d ticketed a long line of cars—except for the Audi parked in front of me, which happened to be the same make and model as mine.
Annoyed, I decided to regift my ticket to the car that had evaded a fine. Chances were, the owner would pay it and be none the wiser.
Except, I accidentally broke the windshield wiper while slipping the ticket onto the car’s window.
Seriously, my day couldn’t get any worse.
Things started to perk up when I ran into a gorgeous man in the elevator. We had one of those brief moments that only happened in movies.
You know the deal…your body lights up, fireworks go off, and the air around you crackles with electricity.
His heated stare left me flush when I stepped off the elevator.
Maybe things here wouldn’t be so bad after all.
Or so I thought.
Until I walked into my new boss’s office and met my competition.
The gorgeous man from the elevator was now my nemesis. His heated stare wasn’t because of any mutual attraction. It was because he’d saw me vandalize his car. And now he couldn’t wait to annihilate his rival.
There’s a fine line between love and hate—and we shouldn’t cross it.
We shouldn’t—but straddling that line could be so much fun.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Vi Keeland is a #1 New York Times, #1 Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author. With millions of books sold, her titles have appeared in over a hundred Bestseller lists and are currently translated in two dozen languages. She resides in New York with her husband and their three children where she is living out her own happily ever after with the boy she met at age six.
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Sex, Not Love
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Life on Stage series (2 Standalone Books)
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Worth the Fight
Worth the Chance
Worth It All (Complete Fighter Series)
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Made for You
Vi's Co-written Novels
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(Previously titled: Dear Bridget, I Want You)
By:Vi Keeland & Dylan Scott
Left Behind (A Young Adult Novel)
Series: The O'Connor Brothers
Author: A.S. Kelly
Genre: Sports/Contemporary Romance
A year ago, she begged me to stay.
A year later, it’s my turn to beg her not to go.
My obsession. My downfall.
I tried to resist, to keep her at a distance.
I tried to save myself.
But no one will be saved here, not even a selfish bastard like me.
My life has always been about sport and family, including my stupid brothers. Until that night, the night I made the worst decision of my life. And I’m still paying the price for it.
We both are.
But the time has come to take back control of the situation, to risk it all, to convince her to let me in because she can’t be anything other than mine.
I am Ian O’Connor, and I’m about to accept this challenge: try to hold onto the only woman I’ll ever be able to love.
And even if I already know how this badly written romance is going to end, I won’t back away. This time, I’m going all the way. Because I only want her.
And I have no intention of losing her.
I’m an O’Connor, the O’Connors never lose.
MEET THE AUTHOR
A. S. Kelly was born in Italy but lives in Ireland with her husband, two children and a cat named Oscar.
She’s passionate about English literature, she’s a music lover and addicted to coffee.
She spends her days in a small village North of Dublin, looking for inspiration for her next stories.
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Meet the Author:
USA Today Bestselling Author Traci Douglass writes fiction bursting with romance, usually mixed with a healthy portion of snark. Her stories feature sizzling heroes with quick wits and troubled pasts and smart, independent heroines who always give as good as they get. Her books are published with Harlequin/Mills & Boon, Entangled Publishing, and Tule Publishing. She’s an active member of Romance Writers of America (RWA), Indiana Romance Writers of America (IRWA), and the International Thriller Writers (ITW), and holds a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University.
About the Book:
Now her birthday is fast approaching and she just can't take it any longer. She's finding a guy before her birthday in five weeks or she's adopting two more cats and fully embracing becoming "the crazy cat lady."
But when her latest date ends in epic failure--everyone thinks of her as the "proper librarian," she realizes what she needs is to ruin her reputation. And she knows the perfect guy to help her: the baddest bad boy in town. This Army vet won't know what hit him...
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“May I help you with those?” a sales clerk finally asked, probably sensing a sizeable commission, though her tone seemed sincere. She unlocked one of the dressing rooms, then helped Mel hang everything on the hooks inside. “My name’s Andi and I’ll be outside if you need anything. Let me know.”
Adam took up guard position beside the door and Mel shook her head. “I’m telling you, if you’re right and I fit into even half of these, I owe you a beer.”
He leaned a shoulder against the wall and crossed his arms, pulling the material of his shirt tighter across his chest. Mel’s mouth dried. “Okay. And what do I owe you if I’m wrong?”
The slight flirtation in his tone made her pulse thud.
The words teetered on the edge of her lips, but she chickened out. “I don’t know.”
“Hmm.” He turned away again. “Get to changing.”
She shut the door, then stared at all the clothes on the hooks. Since high school, she’d worn the same style, the same size. She knew what worked for her and what didn’t. Handing him back the stuff after she was done and making him take her to a different store because she’d been right would be sweet revenge. Those thoughts warmed her chilled skin as she slowly undressed.
“How’s it going in there?” Adam called a short time later.
“Dandy.” She pulled a pair of jeans off a hanger and tugged them on. “Give me a minute.”
“You’ve had five already. Not that I’m counting the seconds out here or anything.”
Mel sighed, picturing him leaning against the wall, looking effortlessly gorgeous and drawing all sorts of female attention without even trying. He’d always been far too sexy for his own good.
Surprisingly, the jeans slid up her legs and over her butt with ease, like they were made for her alone. She buttoned and zipped them, then turned to look in the mirror, her mouth open in shock. They fit. Like a second skin.
Mel glanced at herself in the mirror again, checking all the angles and finding nothing amiss. No muffin top, no pinching, nothing but a perfect fit.
He knocked on the door again. “Are you stalling because you owe me a Bud Light?”
His deep chuckle soothed her in all the right places.
She grabbed a light blue top off another hanger, the fabric a silky rayon jersey with a cowl neck and cap sleeves. A far cry from her usual twinsets and pearls. She pulled it over her head then wriggled it down to her waist. The clingy material hugged her curves without being too revealing and the color made her skin glow.
“All bets are off until you let me see you…” His words died off as she opened the door. Adam stood frozen, his gaze moving slowly upward from her bare toes, his blue eyes darkening as they trekked over her hips and thighs to her chest. Mel had long since stopped breathing. The backs of her knees tingled, and time seemed to slow. Each flick of his eyes felt like warm honey on her skin, all slow and sweet and delicious. He swallowed hard and she tracked the movement of the muscles working in his strong, tanned neck, wishing she could nuzzle the hollow at the base of his throat.
Yep. She’d buy this outfit and wear it whenever Adam was around.