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Healing Their Hearts (Faith to Love, #6) By Cleopatra Margot Christian Contemporary Romance Paperback & ebook, 302 Pages June 21, 2020
After spring’s many trials, Knox County Sheriff Liam McKay is ready for a season of restoration. He needs time to grieve the loss of his grandmother and work on becoming a better husband and father. Liam learned the hard way that life is fragile, and he doesn’t want to miss out on any precious moments.
Emma McKay loves her role as a wife and mother. After she lost her parents, the McKay family became her saving grace. Being married to a police officer brings both challenges and adventures into her life, though, and when something hits on a more personal level, will her past be brought into the light?
Officer Mark MacLaughlin is motivated by two things: his family and his job. Add a beautiful stranger to the mix, and Mark can’t help but want to get to know her better. But when he takes on fatherhood for a three-year-old girl, he has to learn how to blur the lines between his personal and professional life too.
Evangeline Taylor was on the way to confront her past, until her plans came to a grinding halt. Now injured and stranded in a tiny Nebraska town, Eva’s heart opens up. The town, the people, and maybe one handsome police officer in particular help her to heal…but will they be enough to make her stay?
With his back pressed snug up against the wall in the narrow hallway, Mark knocked on the door. “Lainee? I need you to respond to me. I won’t hurt you, I promise. My name is Mark. Remember me? Can you say something for me?”
The three-year-old remained silent. Mark tipped his head back against the ramshackle wall and sent up a silent prayer. So far, he wasn’t getting anywhere, and they’d arrived on the scene well over an hour ago.
A neighbor had reported that Steve was being belligerent, and Brenda had been spotted with a fresh purchase of booze. Though both had denied it, the last straw had been drawn, and that was the end of it.
Sweat trickled down his back because the house had no AC, and he was beginning to wonder if the child was even in her room like Steve and Brenda had insisted upon.
“510 to 512.” Braeden’s voice rang through the earpiece Mark wore. “The parents are in separate patrol cars and we’re about to head to the station. Any luck?”
Mark pressed his button and said quietly, “Not yet. I’m working on it.”
Braeden must’ve decided he didn’t need more info, because he didn’t say anything further. Mark rapped on the door again.
“Lainee, can you hear me?”
This time, Mark heard muffled crying. He swallowed past his strong distaste for Steve and Brenda Olson, then eased to his feet. The only option now was to open the door and pray to God he didn’t scare her.
Mark’s heart about broke when he stepped into the room, even though he’d seen it before. Filled with just a beat up bed and a couple tattered toys, this ill-kempt room wasn’t the place for a little girl to grow up.
Lainee was sitting in the corner, and Mark crossed and knelt a couple feet from her. “You’re safe now, okay? Can you come with me? I’ve got an apple down in my car, if you want some.”
Distrusting blue eyes met his. “Gone?”
The fact that she, at only three years of age, had to ask that about her own parents made Mark’s blood heat. “Yes. They’re gone. You’re safe now.”
Other Books in the Series
About the Author
Cleopatra Margot resides with her family and their golden retriever in small town, rural Nebraska. Inspiration for her novels comes from both real life + fictional characters and storylines in her brain. The town of Believe is based on her own hometown, but with embellishments. She and her two younger siblings are homeschooled, and enjoy traveling with their parents and the dog. When she’s not writing, Cleopatra enjoys Bible journaling, time with family and friends, playing cards, being outside (when it’s not subfreezing temps), laughing, singing, and enjoying life.
1 winner will receive an ebook of The Floods Came by Cleoptatra Margot Ends June 25, 2020
No White Knight
Publication date: April 30th 2020
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Handsome devil. Hate-worthy. Walking scandal.
I’m catching one feeling with him and it’s got teeth…
If I was a bird, I know who I’d paint white.
The cocky dolt who swaggered up thinking he’d buy my ranch out from under me.
I know his reputation—those stormy eyes and chiseled looks ruined half this town.
Spare me the pick up lines and pretty words.
I’d rather chew nails than get roped up in anything with him.
I ain’t selling off my home, my inheritance, or my horses.
Not even if I desperately need the cash when trouble comes calling.
But there are two things I didn’t count on.
Holt’s as stubborn as a bull.
He’s also hiding a rough and tumble country boy behind that big city suit.
Everything flips upside down the day he says he’ll help save my land.
Because I can’t let anybody uncover the awful secret on my property.
Not even gorgeous stallions turning I-hate-you into what-are-we-doing.
He’s no white knight.
The way Holt kisses is a warning…
Nothing will ever be the same after this dark knight rocks my world.
From Wall Street Journal bestselling author Nicole Snow – a rogue of a man plays for keeps when he collides with a determined small-town firecracker. A bantery enemies to lovers thriller. Full-length standalone romance novel with all the Hell Yeah Happily Ever Afters.
This girl hits below the belt.
That’s one area, though, where I’m never insecure. I’m actually grinning.
There’s a fire in her, and frankly, I respect her more for calling me the douchebag I am for coming out here and sizing up her land without even a how-do-you-do?
“Don’t even try it,” I say. “I grew up around here. I know how to handle horses.”
“I hope you mean riding. Wouldn’t know it just looking at you.” Another once-over, like my suit’s some kind of scarlet letter branding me an outsider. “You look like New York. Tell you what—you ever want your country edge back, I’ll break you in until you’re raw around the edges and leave you begging.”
I arch both brows. “Sweetheart, I don’t think you meant that to come out the way it did,” I say, biting back a bigger grin.
Libby makes a disgusted huff, rolling her eyes so hard they go white.
“Keep it in your pants, cowboy.”
“Again,” I point out, “you seem to be putting a whole lot of thought into what’s in my trousers. You been missing me, Libby? Had a little crush I never knew about and now we’re all grown up and you want to play?”
I step closer to her.
I can’t help it.
Women look at me like I’m dinner. Sure, they hear the stories.
I’m bad news, but the kind of bad news you want to hear to learn a few dirty tricks.
Everybody wants a ride.
Nobody ever tries to buck me off.
Not like Libby.
And that just makes me want to get under her skin and live there. I smile slowly, leaning down toward her, close enough to purr in her ear.
“You want to play house,” I say, “you gotta call me Daddy.”
Her eyes go wider than the moon.
She makes a strangled sound in the back of her throat.
That hot-pink flush in her cheeks turns brilliant red, and there’s no mistaking the fury.
Her mouth thins to a tight line.
The only warning I get is Sierra shouting.
“Oh, no, Libby, don’t—”
Too late. Libby plants her hands square on my chest and pushes me.
I mean, hell.
It’s a miracle she catches me off kilter, considering she barely comes up to my collar.
But I’m thinking less about being impressed and more about the sky spinning and the world whirling by as I topple backward.
My ass lands hard in a puff of yellow dust that flies up and spills back down, coating my freshly dry-cleaned black suit.
Nicole Snow is a Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author. She found her love of writing by hashing out love scenes on lunch breaks and plotting her great escape from boardrooms. Her work roared onto the indie romance scene in 2014 with her Grizzlies MC series.
Since then Snow aims for the very best in growly, heart-of-gold alpha heroes, unbelievable suspense, and swoon storms aplenty. With over a million books sold, she lives for the joy of making two people fight with every bit of their soul for a Happily Ever After.
Current fan favorites include her Enguard Protectors series, accidental love novels, plus long beloved MC romance thrillers like the Grizzlies and Deadly Pistols.
Publication date: April 28th 2020
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Love is timeless…
Nash Nation loves zeroes and ones, over-sized monitors and late office hours. He’s too busy taking over the world to make time for relationships—that is, until his new neighbor Willow O’Bryant barges into his life, and now Nash can’t shake the feeling that this isn’t the first time she’s interrupted his world.
Then, the dreams start. And in the dreams—memories.
Memories of a girl named Sookie who couldn’t count on love or friendship, never mind forever. Memories of a library and a boy called Isaac and secrets made in private that destroyed his world.
The memories seem real, but who do they belong to?
When Nash and Willow discover the truth, life as they know it unravels.
The bridge between this life and the next is shored up by blood and bone and memory. Sometimes, that bridge leads to the place we’ve always wanted to be.
NOTE: This is a completely revamped re-release version of this title with new characters and is a standalone with a HEA
“This thing we got… I told you, it won’t be easy.”
“Nothing good is ever easy, Isaac.”
There was a pause as unasked questions hovered around us. I considered what life would be like with Isaac, that no matter how committed we might be to our relationship, we could not exist in a vacuum. Struggles would follow us wherever we went, and would spill out to our families, our loved ones, our friends.
He waited. Although Isaac was the one who moved with caution, the one who refused to assume that the easy road would be ours to travel, he waited for me to come to a decision. He wanted me to say yes, but wouldn’t ask the question. He would not lead me anywhere, but would be waiting for me when I arrived—if I didn’t turn back.
“Isaac?” He nodded again and brought me closer. His cheeks were wide, his features strong and he closed his eyes, as though he relished the feel of my fingertips over his face. “Will you love me? No matter what happens?”
Isaac pulled me around him, holding me against his large body, his hand around my waist. His voice was quiet, but filled with strength, with conviction. “Always.”
No one had touched me like Isaac. He had a way about him, something real and honest that was assured by his long, perfect fingers down my back and the slip of his tongue inside my mouth. There was no fear, not when those fingers gripped me tighter, when he slowly lowered my zipper and held my hand as I stepped out of my dress.
He watched me then, and even though a different Riley might have been shy, I liked the way his stare felt against my bare skin. It was me he wanted, only me; only I could sate his hunger, redeem that desperate look that had caught him in a silent pause.
Isaac still held my hand, arm extended with that hard, greedy gaze working over me. He made me feel needed, wanted, he made me feel necessary. And when he pulled my hand to rest it against his heart, I held my breath, waiting to hear what he thought, hoping he wanted me as much as I wanted him. “My sweet… my beautiful Riley.”
He stepped back, my fingers trailing away from his chest, and tugged off his shirt, dropping it to the floor, instantly forgotten. Isaac picked me up and carried me to the bed, divesting me of everything that kept me covered, and everything that kept him hidden from me.
I had never seen a naked man before. I’d never been naked with a man before. But there I lay on Isaac’s large bed covered by his long legs and muscular thighs, my small frame underneath him, open to him as he took control and showed me what it meant to be loved.
“You and me, Riley, there’s nothing but this. Nothing else but this, how we are right now.”
Isaac never spoke much of his feelings, the things that rocked his soul, the many worries that kept him up at night. Maybe he didn’t know how to say he loved me, but just then, with Isaac’s warm, solid body right against mine, skin to skin, touching me like no one ever had before, I decided words weren’t all that important.
“Nothing else, my love. Nothing else at all.”
Eden Butler is a writer of contemporary, fantasy and romantic suspense novels and the nine-times great-granddaughter of an honest-to-God English pirate. This could explain her affinity for rule breaking and rum.
When she’s not writing or wondering about her possibly Jack Sparrowesque ancestor, Eden patiently waits for her Hogwarts letter, reads, and spends too much time in her garden perfecting her green thumb while waiting for the next New Orleans Saints Superbowl win.
She is currently living under teenage rule alongside her husband in southeast Louisiana.
Please send help.
The Run Around
Publication date: April 28th 2020
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Contemporary, Romance
Arranging a wedding for her brother and a five-time thoroughbride tests Hope’s skills and patience. She’d believed the vows would be the most dangerous part of the ceremony, but a baseball to the head during the photography session proves her wrong and lands her in the sights of her brother’s best friend, Fredrick.
He wants her to plan his wedding.
She wants to be his bride.
Diving into the treacherous world of wedding planning, Hope keeps her word and arranges the vows for the one man she believes she could love. He doesn’t know how much she cherishes him and his friendship.
What she doesn’t know lands her in the heart of a royal mess.
A sensible woman would’ve been delighted to be her future sister-in-law’s maid of honor, as it implied cordial relationships or some sort of bullshit like that. I knew better.
I made an excellent scapegoat.
As the wedding party’s weakest link, everyone expected me to trip on my dress, maybe break an ankle along with my neck, or spill the entire wine fountain onto the floor. My brother claimed he loved me, but I believed he’d been the one to spread the rumor I was the world’s clumsiest woman.
When I secured my revenge, it would be sweet.
But first, I needed to survive my brother’s wedding without being responsible for a single hiccup. Playing to my brother’s misconceptions, I’d spent months tripping over nothing on purpose so I could transform myself into the image of traditional beauty and grace.
I’d even lost twenty pounds so my dress would fit.
The wedding would be a disaster, but I would emerge from the chaos smelling like roses, red wine, and garlic bread. Honestly, I doubted the wedding would make it to the reception.
Some weddings had bridezillas. We had a thoroughbride, and if she got it into her head to run, I wished my brother the best of luck catching her before she fled from the church. My proposal to have the wedding on a yacht, where my brother’s thoroughbride couldn’t escape, hadn’t earned me points with anyone.
The bride hated the ocean.
My brother was smart enough to catch onto my implication.
It wasn’t my fault Amy wasn’t exactly the most reliable woman in the world when it came to marriage. Once was a fluke. Twice was a trend. Five incidents of running from the wedding was evidence the thoroughbride would strike again, and my dear old brother would be saddled with the fifty thousand dollar bill, as he refused to believe Amy would run out on him.
Oh, no. Amy would never run out on him.
Bernadette Franklin is a figment of imagination owned and operated by two cats, a few plants, and a human.
(The Invincibles, #3)
Publication date: April 27th 2020
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense
When the odds are against them, they fight for each other.
First loves torn apart…
With a Tuscan backdrop of romance and innocence, sixteen-year-olds Miles “Grinder” Stone and Pia Deltetto learn of love and loss. After a whirlwind romance, they return to their separate lives with a hope of reconnecting someday.
Broken and battered…
Severely wounded in battle, Grinder refuses Pia’s sympathy and pity. However, when he realizes the true danger Pia is in, Grinder will do anything to save the only woman he’s ever loved. With everything on the line, she’s forced to trust himr with her estate, her life, and her heart. But has too much time passed to bring to shattered souls back together where they belong?
Four hours later, I raced out of customs at the Florence airport and into Pia’s waiting arms. My heart raced as I touched her warm, opened her lips with my tongue, and the rest of the world went silent. There were no more birds singing, no sounds of the traffic that surrounded us. Even the wind stilled as I focused solely on the way her body shuddered as I brushed soft kisses from her mouth, down her neck, to the smattering of freckles on her bare shoulder.
“Tell me there’s somewhere we can be alone.”
“Sì,” she said, leading me outside to where a car sat waiting. “Do you want to know where we’re going?”
I shook my head. “I don’t care.”
When the driver opened the back door and we got in, I pulled her into my arms and devoured her mouth like a starving man. We spent the next hour with our lips fused together in one long kiss.
The driver pulled up to what looked like a resort. I got out and waited for Pia to put her hand in mine. I pulled her close and kissed her again. “I can’t get enough of you.”
“Come,” she said as I grabbed our bags from the driver and followed her down a walkway to a villa that looked like a miniature of the one at Valentini.
Once inside, she put her hands on the hem of my shirt; I grabbed the back and pulled it over my head.
“Santa Madre di Dio.” She rested her hand on my bare torso, leaned up, and kissed me.
“Pia,” I breathed. “If you want me to stop…tell me now.”
She wound her fingers in my hair and pulled me closer. My blood throbbed, and my heart beat frantically in my chest. All at once, I felt like we were melting into each other, our two bodies dissolving into one.
She reached up and slid her dress off her shoulders. It floated to the wood floor, landing in a heap at our feet and leaving her naked but for her pale pink knickers.
“Touch me,” she demanded, bringing my hand to her breast. I couldn’t resist a taste. My mouth covered her nipple, and we both groaned. Her skin tasted like the sweetest honey; I wanted to lick her everywhere.
I write stories set in places I love with characters I’d be happy to call friends. The women in my books are self-confident, successful, and strong, with wills of their own, and hearts as big as the Colorado sky. And the men are sublimely sexy, seductive alphas who rise to the challenge of capturing the sweet soul of a woman whose heart they’ll hold in the palm of their hand forever.
I’m an Amazon best-selling author, and a PAN member of Romance Writers of America. I speak, teach, blog, am an executive sommelier, and all-around entrepreneur.
I grew up an East Coast girl, and then spent half my life on the West Coast. Now my husband, our two boys, and I happily call Colorado home.
Publication date: April 8th 2020
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Dark Romance, Romance
Everyone thought I was married to the perfect man. But if Conall Walsh were perfect, I wouldn’t have killed him.
I thought I got away with it until I received an anonymous note at the ballet company I dance for:
You were a very bad girl. If you don’t want me to report what I know about last night, meet me at the old opera house after rehearsal. I will tell you the price of my silence when you arrive. If you speak of this or bring anyone with you… no deal.
But his price isn’t money. It’s me.
THIS IS A STANDALONE contemporary dark romance.
There’s a crackling sound and then a booming male voice magnified over a speaker.
“I neither need nor want your money, Ms. Lane” It’s a smooth, rich baritone. But I can’t tell if the voice belongs to someone old or young. And I don’t recognize it.
“Do you know he beat me? He threatened to kill me. What was I supposed to do? He practically owned this city. Do you know how much power he had? What other choice did I have?” I shout into the mostly empty theater.
“Do you know how much power I have?” he counters.
Obviously a lot if he can get into this building and have electricity running in it. “I don’t deserve prison,” I say.
“Murder is a serious crime.” His tone is similar to the one you’d hear in the principal’s office after being caught vandalizing a dumpster behind the school.
“Please…” I feel the hysteria bubbling over as my gaze continues to dart around the cavernous theater, trying to find where he’s hiding, what perch he observes me from. “Please…” I say again… “You said you’d tell me your price. How much? Please. I’ll pay you anything.”
“No, Ms. Lane. Not money. I have plenty of that. The price of my silence is your obedience.”
The stillness that follows this announcement is so complete you could hear a pin drop on the black dance tarp. What the hell does that mean?
“Empty out your dance bag in the center of the stage and spread out all the contents,” he says.
I freeze at that. There’s a gun in my dance bag. I’m not that stupid, that I’d just go meet some mysterious blackmailer without going home to get a weapon first. I mean, come on.
“I want to remind you that we aren’t in a 1940’s noir film. I have a phone on me at all times, and I will use it to report you if you hesitate again.”
I take a deep breath. My hands are visibly shaking as I empty out the dance bag, arranging the contents, carefully concealing the gun in a dance sweater.
“What are you hiding from me?” the voice asks again.
I look around the otherwise empty theater, trying desperately to find the source of that voice.
“Do you want to go to prison, Cassia?”
His use of my first name startles me. It feels too familiar in spite of everything.
The voice continues. “No. Lies. I want to see what you’re hiding.”
I don’t know how I thought I would get away with this. Did I think he’d just show up and confront me in some straight forward face-to-face way? Did I think he’d let me see him? Did I think I’d have a clear shot, and he’d just stand politely still while I put a bullet in him?
What the hell was I thinking?
“Last chance to save yourself,” he says, his patience running out.
I feel like I’ll hyperventilate as I unwrap the gun from the sweater and lay it out on the brightly lit stage. I flinch and look around me as if he’ll somehow swoop down, materialize on top of me, and rip me apart for daring to try to defend myself.
He chuckles. “Were you planning to build a body count? Gotten a taste for it, have you?”
“N-no,” I stammer.
“No, Sir,” he corrects. “I expect a basic level of formality and etiquette when we’re in this space together.”
Everything inside me freezes at this. When we’re in this space together.
KITTY THOMAS writes dark stories that play with power and have unconventional HEAs. She began publishing in early 2010 with her bestselling COMFORT FOOD and is considered one of the original authors of the dark romance subgenre.
To find out FIRST when a new book comes out, subscribe to Kitty’s New Release List: KITTYTHOMAS.COM
Who Will Save Your Soul: And Other Dangerous Bedtime Stories
Publication date: April 14th 2020
Genres: Adult, Romance
Features four novellas by New York Times bestselling author Skye Warren. Each standalone story ends in a happily ever after.
WHO WILL SAVE YOUR SOUL
Emily’s a pathological liar. When her life is at stake, will anyone believe her?
One dress. One dance. Lucia has one chance to change her life—and the lives of her family.
Jessica is on the run when her car breaks down. A small town sheriff can’t be her knight in shining armor.
Cold. Rough. Merciless. The foreman of the construction crew is going to make her pay every last cent.
“What are you doing here?” I sputter.
He lifts a crystal tumbler, one finger of some no-doubt expense liquor at the bottom. “Having a drink. You said the kitchen was off limits, but I was thirsty. Hope this is okay.”
His twinkling dark eyes tell me he knows it’s not okay.
Challenge lights the air between us, electric and hot. Part of me wants to pick up the phone on the side table and call mother. The second she knows he’s stomped all over her oriental rugs with his muddy work boots, he’s fired.
That would be a cheap win, though. Too easy. Too banal. Besides, I like the thought of him stomping all over her oriental rugs with his muddy work boots.
“Of course,” I say, sarcasm sharpening my words. “We always offer gardeners top shelf vodka.”
He merely lifts a dark eyebrow. How is it possible for eyebrows to look low class? His do. They’re a mess, broad and unruly. I want to run my tongue over them, smooth them out.
“Do you always show up half-dressed for them, too?” he asks in a musing tone. “Because that’s a real perk. They should put that in their classified ad.”
My cheeks burn hot as I realize how little I’m wearing. The bath towel covers from the slope of my breasts to the tops of my thighs. It’s held together by so little—only the tuck of terry cloth. If it came undone right now I’d be naked in front of him.
“Tell me your name,” I demand, lifting my chin.
“So you can tell your mother about me?”
“Maybe I will.”
“And if I tell her that you came downstairs in only a towel? That you tried to have sex with me? That you were the one who drank half the bottle of scotch?”
My mouth drops open. “That’s a lie.”
“Does that surprise you? That other people lie, too?” He must see the shock on my face; his smile is smile and smug. “Yes, I know about you. Poor little Emily Coulter, can’t tell the truth to save her life.”
A knot around my throat, pulled taut by thick dirt-stained fingers. “How would you know that?” That’s my family’s dirty little secret, but not the worst one. Not by far.
“I know lots of things.”
“And anyway, why are you back already? It’s only been three days. The hedges don’t need to be trimmed every damn day.”
His smile comes slow. “You don’t trust me?”
“Not as far as I could throw you.”
There’s something strange about him, something a little dangerous.
Unfortunately that only makes me like him more.
Skye Warren is the New York Times bestselling author of dangerous romance. Her books have sold over one million copies. She makes her home in Texas with her loving family, sweet dogs, and evil cat.
Dear Future Ex-wife
Publication date: April 23rd 2020
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Romance
I, Harley McQueen, do not take Nathan King to be my husband…
I wish I could say no to this wedding. But to save our fathers’ company, my ex-best friend needs a fake bride to bail him out of his latest scandal.
Nate has a reputation with women.
I want the promotion my father has denied me for years.
Together, maybe we can make this fake marriage work.
As long as I don’t fall in love with him…
“Hey there, Queen,” Nate says as he approaches me with a wicked smile on his handsome face. “You look happy to see me,” he jokes, wiggling his eyebrows.
My throat closes up at the sight of him. His dark, wavy hair is gelled and styled to perfection. Tall and muscular, he fills out every inch of the navy suit that molds to his body. Women drool over him now, but I know the nerdy boy who had hair that would never stay put. His teeth were such a mess, he wore braces until our sophomore year of high school. And for a few years, I was several inches taller than Nate. But now, when he leans in to hug me, he has to dip down to meet my height.
He towers over me, his masculine scent filling my nostrils as he kisses my cheek. My skin tingles from the unexpected contact. Heat rushes to my face, which is now on fire from his delicate touch. He’s only doing this because he knows I won’t make a scene in front of our families. Nate takes every opportunity he gets to irritate me.
For as much as I hate him, I still miss him. So, when I hug him back it’s a real one. I don’t want to let him go, and the feeling seems to be mutual.
Nate clutches me, his fingers digging into my back. “You look good,” he whispers against the shell of my ear, sending chills down my arms. “I can see the Pilates paid off.”
I gasp at his comment.
Nate laughs in response.
I hate showing that he has any effect on me. More than anything I wish he didn’t have a single ounce of control over me. But he does.
Nate tugs on a strand of my hair, twirling it around his finger. He did this when we were kids because he thought it was funny when I slapped him. My former best friend was an oddball. And now, he’s doing it to torment me. Men like Nate can smell desire on women. He damn well knows I think he’s hot. Nate looks like a walking orgasm in his expensive, silky suit that was tailor-made for him. Everything about him screams sex and money.
“Let’s get started,” my dad says, snapping me back to reality.
I flick Nate’s finger, and he drops his hand to his side. He stares me down with his hauntingly beautiful eyes. When I turn my back to Nate, Stefan is still standing behind the chair he rolled out from the table for me.
Nate sits across from me, though no amount of space is enough because I can practically feel the heat from his gaze rolling down my arms. Our parents get comfortable at the heads of the table, my dad to my left and Richard on the right. Nate’s wingtip hits my heel under the table. I ignore him as he taps me again. A few seconds later, his silky dress sock slides up my calf. I stare across the table at him, and he challenges me with one look.
Do it, his eyes demand. Fight me, Queen.
I hold my breath when his foot grazes my inner thigh. His gaze is pointed down the table at my dad, but I don’t miss the corner of Nate’s mouth lifting slightly into a satisfied smirk. He wants to play with me.
Game on, King.
Jillian Quinn is an international bestselling author of contemporary romance. Her books are light and funny but also on the steamy side. So, don’t be surprised if you have to fan yourself with your Kindle.
As a lover of coffee and a collector of book boyfriends, you can find Jillian most days, thinking about her next romance novel as she pours another cup.
(The Five Families #3)
Publication date: April 15th 2020
Genres: Adult, Romance
It was supposed to be business.
Two families, one wedding, zero emotion.
My father’s mafia outfit had saved my life.
I owed them everything.
An arranged marriage was hardly a sacrifice when I would have already been long dead had it not been for them.
I would give up my independence for the Lucciano Family.
I would bind myself to the man whose family tore my life to pieces.
Matteo De Luca was vicious claws sheathed in refinement and class.
He saw my untamed independence as a challenge.
I saw his alluring authority as a threat.
There was a ruthless storm that raged in his oceanic gaze. A majestic tidal wave of temper and domination looking to break on my rocky shores.
He would annihilate me.
Rip open my layers until all my pretty secrets were scattered at his feet.
The worst part? I wanted to experience whatever it was Matteo had to offer, and I hated myself for it.
I wanted to launch myself at him.
To kiss him. To kill him.
To end the debilitating torture of the unknown.
The moment our paths collided, our lives were altered irrevocably.
Taking us from enemies allied by a strategic marriage to something dark and consuming.
Something that tasted like obsession.
“If it’s so upsetting to you, why did you agree to it in the first place?” The question wasn’t antagonistic. I truly was curious why she had agreed to the marriage.
At last, her spite-filled eyes found mine. “Because I’m loyal. Because I would do anything for my family.” Finding herself again, her voice regained some of its iron toughness.
“Do you believe the marriage challenges your loyalties?”
“No. I am a Genovese and a Lucciano.”
“Until we marry. Then you’ll be a De Luca and a Gallo.”
She made no reply, but her steadfast gaze answered for her. She would sooner die than be either of those things.
I shouldn’t have cared how she felt. It was irrelevant to my plans and the future of my family, but that didn’t seem to matter. The stirrings of a serpentine anger slithered deep in my gut. I tightened my fists, refraining from grabbing her and shaking sense into her stubborn brain.
What exactly was it I wanted her to understand? That she wanted me? That there were worse things in life than calling herself mine? It hit me like a freight train that I wanted, no … needed, to get under her skin and crumble her brick wall of resolve. I needed to see her come undone and offer herself to me like a sacrificial lamb. I needed to make her so thoroughly mine that she saw me when she looked in the mirror.
I closed the distance between us, caging her against the back of the couch.
Her eyes widened with alarm, but she didn’t fight against me despite what had to be a feral gleam in my eyes. I eased onto one knee beside her and lowered my face to glide my lips along the shell of her ear. Her breathing shuddered.
“You think I’m the worst thing that could happen to you? I promise you could have done a lot worse.” When I pulled back and met her eyes, her customary fire had returned.
She slammed her hands against my chest, shoving me away, then stood toe-to-toe with me. “I’m well aware of just how vile you men can be.”
“You men? So, it’s not just me, it’s the entire gender?”
“What does it matter to you? I thought this was business?” she spat, eyes blazing.
“The arrangement is business, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to fuck you. I know you want to fuck me too, regardless of how much you fight against it.”
“You seem to know everything, don’t you?” she spat condescendingly.
“I know you.”
Her posture relaxed, and a vicious smile lit her face. “That’s the one thing you’ll never know. Whether we have sex or not, you’ll never truly know me.”
Her certainty took me aback. I scoured her features and could discern nothing but absolute confidence. She had no intention of letting me in. Ever. Why did that bother me so much? Like she’d said, this was supposed to be business.
I hadn’t gotten where I was in life without a relentless ambition to win. If she was going to pit us against one another, my competitive nature had no choice but to prove her wrong. Maybe if she hadn’t been so goddamn sexy, I could have walked away from the challenge. But as it stood, I was ready to go down with the ship if necessary. I would fight until the end—rip open her layers until all her pretty secrets were scattered at my feet.
Gripping her arms, I spun Maria around and pulled her back to my chest. Her muscles tensed, but she didn’t pull away. I lowered my mouth and nipped at her neck, coaxing a shaky breath from her.
Within a year of self-publishing her first book, Jill Ramsower quit her job as an attorney and dedicated her days to churning out romantic adventures. She likes to think of her books as contemporary romance with a touch of fantasy–at its core, her writing is about the connection between two people. Sometimes that connection involves a little magic…
With Jill’s books, you can count on confident heroines, plenty of steamy tension, and deliciously assertive leading men. There are no guarantees in life, but with her books, you know everything will work out in the end. However, a perfect ending would not be nearly as satisfying without a seemingly insurmountable challenge. Jill loves to add plenty of adversity in her stories, creating unforgettably dynamic characters and sneaky plot twists you will never see coming.
Jill is a Texan, born and raised. She manages the hectic social calendars for her three active children and occasionally spends an evening with her dashing husband. Aside from being an author and a mom, she’s a travel junkie and loves to read when she is not lost in her own stories.
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Women's Fiction * Contemporary Romance Romantic Comedy * Children's Picture Books