COVER REVEAL ~ IT SEEMED LIKE A GOOD IDEA AT THE TIME by Kylie Scott

We are thrilled to bring you the cover for the next standalone from New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Kylie Scott.

IT SEEMED LIKE A GOOD IDEA AT THE TIME will release on AUGUST 7th!

 

 

“Addictive like all Kylie Scott books, you’ll swoon, laugh, ache, put your life on hold, and compulsively read until the wee hours of the night—only to reread the whole thing the next morning. Perfection!” – Katy Evans, New York Times bestselling author.

Returning home for her father’s wedding was never going to be easy for Adele. If being sent away at eighteen hadn’t been bad enough, the mess she left behind when she made a pass at her dad’s business partner sure was.

Fifteen years older than her, Pete had been her crush for as long as she could remember. But she’d misread the situation—confusing friendliness for undying love. Awkward. Add her father to the misunderstanding, and Pete was left with a broken nose and a business on the edge of ruin. The man had to be just as glad as everyone else when she left town.

Seven years later, things are different. Adele is no longer a kid, but a fully grown adult more than capable of getting through the wedding and being polite. But all it takes is seeing him again to bring back those old feelings.

Sometimes first loves are the truest.

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kyliescottimageKylie is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author. She was voted Australian Romance Writer of the year, 2013 & 2014, by the Australian Romance Writer’s Association and her books have been translated into eleven different languages. She is a long time fan of romance, rock music, and B-grade horror films. Based in Queensland, Australia with her two children and husband, she reads, writes and never dithers around on the internet. You can learn more about Kylie from http://www.kylie-scott.com/

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KFF is on tour with MOGUL by Katy Evans

mogul-SBPRBANNER-BT.jpgMogul by Katy Evans
Publication Date: May 31, 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Mogul Amazon-2 (1)

A brand new contemporary romance from New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author Katy Evans is AVAILABLE NOW!

He’s my most delicious secret.

The hot Suit I had a one-night stand with one evening.

I didn’t know anything about him, not even his name.

Only that we shared a taxi, and he was staying at the hotel where I worked.

We met in room 301. Where he commanded not only my body but my soul.

The next day he was gone and I only had a memory of him.

I could still taste his kisses, feel his demanding touch.

I searched for him for months. Daydreaming about him. Wondering if I’d ever find him.

Until the day I find myself staring face to face with his jeweled black eyes again.

He says lets keep it casual, and my heart knows that falling for this workaholic in a three-thousand-dollar suit is off the table.

Because he has a secret. One that’s a deal breaker for me.

My Suit has a name.

Ian Ford.

And this is our story.

Mogul-AN.jpg

Read Mogul Today!

Amazon Universal | iBooks | Nook | Kobo

Add to your Goodreads

Excerpt:

My eyes lock on a third figure sitting with them. As I near, the man glances my way before quickly shifting his gaze. I continue to stare at him as I approach, and it doesn’t take long for his gaze to return to me. His large figure rises to full height as he stands to greet me, and I feel a bolt of electricity hit me in the chest as familiar eyes stare back at me.He’s tall. Dark-haired. Gorgeous. With deep, thick-lashed eyes you want to sink into. And lips to suck on like they’re all that exists between you and heaven. I stop walking, stop breathing, because . . . he is here.

A moment passes and Bryn seems to notice my shock.

But shock doesn’t come close to it.

Because never in my whole life has my heart leapt so far and fast. It feels as if it’s ripping out of my chest. I can barely force my legs to move for fear of hearing my knees knock together. I struggle for air, but it feels like someone cut off my windpipe connecting my nose and lungs.

He wears a white dress shirt and black slacks, and his face is chiseled and brooding. The real shock lies in the intensity brewing in his dark eyes as they stay locked on mine. My heart speeds up as I hold his gaze. The city bustles around us. Making eye contact is not something I do often, living in a city of millions, but I can’t take my eyes off him.

The memory of having him inside me returns with a vengeance.

Bryn begins to introduce us. “Um. Ian, this is—”

“Sara. We’ve met,” Hot and Dirty Workaholic interrupts with a stiff smile.

Our eyes meet, and for a moment it feels like nothing else exists.

His name is Ian.

Fucking Ian, with his serious, handsome face and shiny, black hair. He’s as lit as I remember. Straight out of a Suits episode, and I am dying.

 

Mogul-Teaser3-AN

Reviewed by Tracey Lou on behalf of KFF

Forget when Harry met Sally. Think when Sara met Ian. Oh my, I was blown away and I was just a few pages in. I’ve read quite a few books by this author and I have never been disappointed. Who knew that bumming a ride with a total stranger would change their lives forever.

Ian was a high flying producer with his fingers in many pies. Devoted to his grandma, he was tall, handsome and delectably yummy, but emotionally off limits. Trust was an issue for him and he held a part of himself back as to not be hurt again.

Sara was a dancer with big dreams of Broadway. Still waiting for her big break, she was helping her friend with dog walking duties and working in a hotel to make ends meet.

Even at first glance, there was an instant chemistry between these two characters. The looks, the touching and the glimmer of lust and amusement in each other’s eyes meant that this instant attraction was obviously mutual. They couldn’t keep their hands off each other.

What started out as a one night stand developed into so much more. This was a love story waiting to happen, but it wasn’t going to be an easy one, and this is what I loved about this book. If it doesn’t come easy, then it’s worth fighting for.

I read this book without putting it down and for me, that’s an instant hit. I fell in love with both characters, they were so down to earth and real and I immediately connected with them. The storyline flowed throughout, the hot steamy sex scenes were just that, hot and steamy. This is one story I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to my fellow readers. Katy Evans is by far becoming one of my favourite authors and the excitement I feel every time she releases a new book knows no bounds. Congratulations on a well deserved 5 stars and more, and I look forward to reading more of your work.

Mogul-Teaser5-AN (1).jpg

About the Author:

Katy Evans is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. Her debut REAL shot to the top of the bestselling lists in 2013 and since then 9 of her titles have been New York Times bestsellers. Her books have been translated into nearly a dozen languages across the world.

Connect with the Author:

Email: katyevansauthor@gmail.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/authorKatyEvans

Twitter @authorkatyevans

MOGUL by Katy Evans is LIVE!

mogul-SBPRBANNER-RB.jpg

Mogul by Katy Evans
Publication Date: May 31, 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Mogul Amazon-2 (1)

A brand new contemporary romance from New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author Katy Evans is AVAILABLE NOW!

He’s my most delicious secret.

The hot Suit I had a one-night stand with one evening.

I didn’t know anything about him, not even his name.

Only that we shared a taxi, and he was staying at the hotel where I worked.

We met in room 301. Where he commanded not only my body but my soul.

The next day he was gone and I only had a memory of him.

I could still taste his kisses, feel his demanding touch.

I searched for him for months. Daydreaming about him. Wondering if I’d ever find him.

Until the day I find myself staring face to face with his jeweled black eyes again.

He says lets keep it casual, and my heart knows that falling for this workaholic in a three-thousand-dollar suit is off the table.

Because he has a secret. One that’s a deal breaker for me.

My Suit has a name.

Ian Ford.

And this is our story.

Mogul-AN.jpg

Read Mogul Today!

Amazon Universal | iBooks | Nook | Kobo

Add to your Goodreads

Mogul-Teaser3-AN

Reviewed by Tracey Lou on behalf of KFF

Forget when Harry met Sally. Think when Sara met Ian. Oh my, I was blown away and I was just a few pages in. I’ve read quite a few books by this author and I have never been disappointed. Who knew that bumming a ride with a total stranger would change their lives forever.

Ian was a high flying producer with his fingers in many pies. Devoted to his grandma, he was tall, handsome and delectably yummy, but emotionally off limits. Trust was an issue for him and he held a part of himself back as to not be hurt again.

Sara was a dancer with big dreams of Broadway. Still waiting for her big break, she was helping her friend with dog walking duties and working in a hotel to make ends meet.

Even at first glance, there was an instant chemistry between these two characters. The looks, the touching and the glimmer of lust and amusement in each other’s eyes meant that this instant attraction was obviously mutual. They couldn’t keep their hands off each other.

What started out as a one night stand developed into so much more. This was a love story waiting to happen, but it wasn’t going to be an easy one, and this is what I loved about this book. If it doesn’t come easy, then it’s worth fighting for.

I read this book without putting it down and for me, that’s an instant hit. I fell in love with both characters, they were so down to earth and real and I immediately connected with them. The storyline flowed throughout, the hot steamy sex scenes were just that, hot and steamy. This is one story I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to my fellow readers. Katy Evans is by far becoming one of my favourite authors and the excitement I feel every time she releases a new book knows no bounds. Congratulations on a well deserved 5 stars and more, and I look forward to reading more of your work.

Mogul-Teaser5-AN (1).jpg

About the Author:

Katy Evans is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. Her debut REAL shot to the top of the bestselling lists in 2013 and since then 9 of her titles have been New York Times bestsellers. Her books have been translated into nearly a dozen languages across the world.

Connect with the Author:

Email: katyevansauthor@gmail.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/authorKatyEvans

Twitter @authorkatyevans

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SPEAKEASY by Sarina Bowen is LIVE!

Sarina Bowen’s all-new contemporary romance standalone in the True North Series, SPEAKEASY, is live!

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Sometimes you fall for Mr. Right. And sometimes for Mr. Right Now…
May

Did you hear the one about the girl who walks into a bar and catches her live-in lover kissing someone else? No? You’re the only one in town who missed it.
Luckily Alec is there to wrap me up in strong arms and carry me out the door before things get too ugly. And that’s not all Alec is good at. Our unexpected chemistry makes him the perfect rebound guy.
Alec
I should know better than to hook up with my rival’s little sister, but the fiery look in May’s eyes really turns my crank. She needs cheering up, and I’m just the guy for the job.
It’s not like I’ll fall in love. Not even after a string of scorching hot trysts, and the realization that we’re good at the same things: wild nights and familial disappointment. I don’t do love, never have, never will. So this is the perfect arrangement, for both of us.
Nobody would approve, but nobody has to know…

Purchase Links:

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Paperback

4.5 Stars ~ Reviewed by Rachel & Sharon Thérèse

This series is a total joy to lose ourselves in! There is something really heart-warming when we open our Kindles and devour one of Bowen’s books. The True North series is especially one of our favourites for sure. We’ve read all of these stories and fallen head over heels in love with these fun characters. Although these novels are standalones, we highly recommend you read them in order to avoid spoilers. The reason we say this is because the author carries on the stories of all the other couples from the previous books. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why we adore this series so much.

“ …love is messy, unpredictable and occasionally loud.” 

This story focuses on May Shipley. She’s sat on the fringes in previous books so many times that we felt she really needed her story told, and thank goodness we were given what we wanted! If you’ve read the other books you will know May has not had it easy. She’s been well and truly through the wringer and now thinks it’s high time she gets her life back on track. She’s not had the best of luck in her love life but in breezes Alec and blows her plan to smithereens! The way Alec deals with her insecurities made us swoon! They do say timing is everything and we think Alec was just the guy to help.

“You think I’m never a drag?”
“No. I think you invented fun. I always have fun when we’re together.”
“But that’s not me, that’s us. You and I are just a naturally fun combo, like peanut and chocolate.”
 

Alec, what a guy! We simply adored him. Hardworking, loyal and gorgeous to a fault, what’s not to love? He’s also out to prove himself much like May. His professional life is flourishing but needs further investment for his dream of an accomplished business owner to come true. In the past he’s been known as a bit of a party animal and not the best at being responsible, so he’s out to show his family just what he’s capable of. Alec is not the relationship type at all and prefers casual hook ups; however, when May storms into his life, it makes him question his choices. These two on paper were not the most ideal couple, but does that really matter when it comes to a point that their chemistry just cannot be ignored? They absolutely sizzled and of course, Sarina did a tremendous job of telling their exceptional and sometimes messy journey.

“Because this is my role in life, if there’s a song, I make it louder……. If there’s a pretty girl in my arms who wants my tongue in her mouth, I give it to her.” 

With some series, we felt that maybe they’d run their course. With this one, we felt it could have run on and on. The stories told by this author are always fresh and uplifting. We feel like we get the whole package; angst, off the wall chemistry and plenty of fantastic banter from not only Alec and May but also the rest of the Shipley’s. We have to mention Grandad Shipley. He was an absolute hoot and has impeccable timing! We think he’s our new favourite Shipley.

“I know what sexual satisfaction looks like, and it looks like that.”
“Thanks for the five-star review ….”
 

Although we loved this read, the reason for our 4.5 stars is we felt the story ended rather abruptly. We are huge fans of epilogues and for us, we felt Alec and May deserved just one for chapter to conclude their story. Saying that, this is a personal view and no way affected our enjoyment of the book. To satisfy our hunger for more, we are hoping May and Alec’s story continues in the next book so fingers crossed there is one! As always, this author’s writing just seems to get better and better! We have been well and truly spoilt with more superb stories from our friends in Vermont. Bravo Sarina!

Meet Sarina

Sarina Bowen is the RITA® Award winning author of over two dozen contemporary and LGTB romance novels. She most recently hit the USA Today bestseller’s list in February, with Brooklynaire. Formerly a derivatives trader on Wall Street, Sarina holds a BA in economics from Yale University.

Sarina Bowen is a New Englander whose Vermont ancestors cut timber and farmed the north country since the 1760s. Sarina is grateful for the invention of indoor plumbing and wi-fi during the intervening 250 years. On a few wooded acres, she lives with her husband, two boys, and an ungodly amount of ski and hockey gear.

Stay in touch with Sarina for updates on her website or follow her! She’d love to hear from you!

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Series Buy links

Bittersweet: Amazon ~ U.S | U.K | CANADA | AUSTRALIA

iBooks | B&N | KOBO

KFF’s Review

Steadfast: Amazon ~ U.S | U.K | CANADA | AUSTRALIA 

iBooks | B&N | KOBO | Google Play

KFF’s Review

Keepsake: Amazon: U.S | U.K | CANADA | AUSTRALIA

iBooks | B&N | KOBO | Google Play

KFF’s Review

Bountiful: Amazon Universal

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KFF’s Review

HIM & I by Melody Eve Excerpt Reveal

Him&I-SBPRBANNER-ERHim&I-FINAL-AMAZON

Love is a risk.

Roman has never been willing to take those odds, until now.

A beautiful stranger, overheard telling the desk clerk she’s on her honeymoon alone, arouses something in him. Something primal. Something protective. He finds himself doing and saying things he swore he never would in an effort to understand the pain in Aria’s sensual eyes.

His scars are so deep, they may never heal.
His need for control is ingrained.
His desire for her is unparalleled.

The challenge of winning her may be the biggest risk of all.

Add to GoodReads

Excerpt

“Don’t think you can play me that easily, Ms. Savage. I’m the master, and you’re still learning the game.” He stands and slips his tie off folding it neatly. Then he leaves me there hot and bothered and disappointed beyond belief. How dare he!What does he mean he’s the master? And what game is he referring to? I was just flirting hoping for a repeat of this morning out here on his patio, a little exhibitionism. I wasn’t playing at anything.

I wasn’t then, but I am now. He likes to control. I’ve witnessed it on multiple occasions. It’s time to take that away from him and see how he likes it.

I stand and strip off my tank top, step out of my skirt, and kick off my flip-flops. I round the table and push through the gate separating his patio from the sandy, sparsely inhabited beach. I’m still sporting a thong but absolutely nothing else. I don’t know if it’s a topless beach, and I don’t care.

I stretch my arms over my head scooping my hair into a fresh messy bun and wrap the rubber band from my wrist around it just as my feet touch the edge of the water.

“Aria!” Roman’s voice booms from behind me. I turn with a wicked smile and see him standing still in his suit pants and dress shirt holding up my top and skirt with fury in his eyes.

Bingo, now let’s see who’s the master and what game we’re playing. He catches my expression and lowers his gaze to my naked breasts. Right before my eyes, I watch him turn into a lunatic. Face red, veins bulging and pulsing from everywhere, he throws open the gate on the patio and storms through the sand in his thousand-dollar shoes and ten-thousand-dollar suit.

But I’m safe in the water, or at least I’m pretty sure I am. I wade out deeper feeling more secure but only for a moment. My eyes go wide when he storms into the ocean dressed from head to toe with the look of an enraged maniac on his face.

Nerves scramble my brain, and I laugh as I swim further away from him. My depth is of no concern to this man full of possessive insanity, in fact, it may be propelling him.

“Aria, come here this instant! This isn’t a nude beach. It’s not even a topless beach for Christ’s sake!” he yells before diving underwater in my direction. Oh my God, for the first time since I let spontaneity take over, I worry about the repercussions of my actions.

What will he do when he catches me? He will catch me of that I am sure. I can see crazy in his eyes. He’s angry, and I am wild. He is possessive, and I need to be free. He is controlling, and I am rebellious.

I dart to the right, but it’s too late. His hand closes around my ankle, and I take in a huge breath right before he pulls me under. I can’t see him, my eyes are closed because of the salty water, but his hands are around my waist hauling me to the surface.

“Are you out of your fucking mind, woman? Somebody could have seen you.”

I try to blink the water from my eyes since he has my arms pinned to my sides. “So?”

“So? You just finished telling me that you’re mine while we are here, and in case you haven’t noticed, we are still here!” he shouts, and I recoil. I’ve never been shouted at by a man, especially right in my face.

I roll my lips inward and hold my breath unsure of what to say or do next. It turns out I don’t have to say or do anything. He turns toward the shore and starts walking us in that direction pushing through the water with such force it leaves a wake behind us. I know, I looked!

He turns me in his arms so that my front is plastered to his hiding my breasts from onlookers’ eyes of which there are only two—an elderly man and his wife sunning in lounge chairs a couple of doors down. I wave at them, and the woman waves back smirking in solidarity.

Roman is overreacting. I’m naked, so what? Women all over the world sunbathe topless and nude. He’s acting like I committed a felony.

“Stop fraternizing with the neighbors,” he growls. How did he know I waved?

“You can’t tell me what to do.”

“Oh yeah? You’re not swimming naked anymore, are you?”

“Because you hauled me out of the water like a sack of potatoes!”

“A sack of potatoes has more sense than you right now.”

“I don’t think I like your tone.”

“I don’t like your defiance,” he says storming through the patio doors with his clothes dripping water all over the carpets. He doesn’t stop to put me down. Instead, he makes a bee-line for the bedroom. Goodie!

He tosses me on the bed, and I laugh. I can’t help it, he is being so absurd. “You’re a caveman, Roman Forrest. You know that, right?”

He closes the door to the bedroom.

“You act like I’m your wife.”

He shoves his hand through his silky black hair and unbuttons his wet shirt.

I pull a sheet over myself suddenly feeling exposed and nervous.

“You don’t own me, you know,” I say, but he says nothing and walks in his squishy shoes to the edge of the bed and yanks the sheet off the bed.

“Hey!”

“You wanted to be naked so bad, why the sudden modesty?” he snaps.

“Because it’s my body to do with as I please. I wanted to skinny dip out there, and now I want to cover myself in front of you. You’re acting like a loon.”

“I’m acting like a man who doesn’t want to share his woman with the whole fucking world!” He unzips his slacks and shoves them down along with his black boxer briefs. He kicks off his shoes and socks and crawls up the bed pushing me down to hover over me.

Unsure of how far to go, I lower my voice but stand my ground. “I’d hardly say that grandma and grandpa are the whole world, and since when am I your woman?”

“Since the first time I put my mouth on you,” he says and lowers himself down to take my mouth in a rough, demanding kiss. My toes curl, my belly flips, and I fight the urge to wrap my arms and legs around him for oh, maybe two seconds, tops.

Meet Melody

Melody EveMelody Eve is a Midwestern mother of five children and five fur babies. She is a contemporary romance author who loves writing sexy Alpha male heroes and smart, passionate heroines. Keep your eyes open for Melody’s new release, Him & I on Amazon in 2018.

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A Wish For Us by Tillie Cole Chapter Reveal

 

 

 

Amazon  | iBooks | Kobo | Nook

 

 


From the author who brought you A Thousand Boy Kisses comes the new emotional novel, A Wish For Us.
A story of music. A story of healing. A story of love conquering all.

Nineteen-year-old Cromwell Dean is the rising star of electronic dance music. Thousands of people adore him. But no one knows him. No one sees the color of his heart.

Until the girl in the purple dress. She sees through the walls he has built to the empty darkness within.

When Cromwell leaves behind the gray skies of England to study music in the South Carolina heat, the last thing he expects is to see her again. And he certainly doesn’t expect that she’ll stay in his head like a song on repeat.

Bonnie Farraday lives for music. She lets every note into her heart, and she doesn’t understand how someone as talented as Cromwell can avoid doing the same. He’s hiding from his past, and she knows it. She tries to stay away from him, but something keeps calling her back.

Bonnie is the burst of color in Cromwell’s darkness. He’s the beat that makes her heart skip.

But when a shadow falls over Bonnie, it’s up to Cromwell to be her light, in the only way he knows how. He must help her find the lost song in her fragile heart. He must keep her strong with a symphony only he can compose.

A symphony of hope.
A symphony of love.
A symphony of them.

 

Cromwell
Brighton, England
The club pulsed as the beat I was pouring into the crowd took over their bodies. Arms in the air, hips swaying, eyes wide and glazed as my music slammed into their ears, the rhythmic beats controlling their every move. The air was thick and sticky, clothes slick to people’s skins as they crammed into the full club to hear me.
I watched them light up with color. Watched them get lost to the sound. Watched them shed whoever they’d been that day—an office worker, a student, a copper, a call-center worker—what the hell ever. Right now, in this club, most probably high off their faces, they were slaves to my tunes. Right here, in this moment, my music was their life. It was all that mattered as their heads flew back and they chased the high, the near nirvana I gave them from my place on the podium.
I, however, felt nothing. Nothing but the numbness the booze beside me was gifting me.
Two arms slipped around my waist. Hot breath blew past my ear as full lips kissed my neck. Spinning my final beat, I grabbed the Jack Daniels beside me and took a shot straight from the bottle. I slammed the bottle down and moved back to my laptop to mix in the next tune. Hands with sharp fingernails ran through my hair, pulling on the black strands. I tapped on the keys, bringing the music down low, slowing the beat.
My breaths lengthened as the crowd waited, lungs frozen as I brought them to a slow sway, readying for the crescendo. The epic surge of beats and drums, the insanity of the mix that I would deliver. I looked up from my laptop and scanned the crowd, smirking at seeing them on the precipice, waiting . . . waiting . . . just waiting . . .
Now.
I slammed my hand down, holding my headphones to my left ear. A surge, a thundercloud of electronic dance music plowed into the crowd. Bursts of neon colors filled the air. Greens and blues and reds filled my eyes as they clung to each person like neon shields.
The hands around my waist tightened, but I ignored them, instead listening to the bottle of Jack as it called my name. I took another shot, my muscles starting to loosen. My hands danced over the laptop’s keys, over my mix boards.
I looked up, the crowd still in the palm of my hand.
They always were.
A girl in the center of the club drew my attention. Long brown hair pulled back off her face. Purple dress, high necked—she was dressed nothing like everyone else. The color surrounding her was different to the other clubbers—pale pink and lavender. Calmer. More serene. My eyebrows pulled down as I watched her. Her eyes were closed, but she wasn’t moving. She was still, and she looked to be completely alone as people crashed and pushed around her. Her head was tipped up, a look of concentration on her face.
I built up the pace, pushing the rhythm and the crowd as far as they could go. But the girl didn’t move. That wasn’t normal for me. I always had these clubbers wrapped around my finger. I controlled them, in every place I spun. In this arena, I was the puppet master. They were the dolls.
Another shot of Jack burned down my throat. And through another five songs, she stayed there, on the spot, just drinking in the beats like water. But her face never changed. No smile. No euphoric high. Just . . . eyes closed, that damn pinched look on her face.
And that pink and lavender still surrounding her like a shield.
“Cromwell,” the blonde who was all over me like a rash said into my ear. Her fingers lifted up my shirt and tucked into the waistband of my jeans. Her long nails dipped low. But I refused to tear my eyes away from the girl in the purple dress.
Her brown hair was starting to curl, sweat from being sandwiched by clubbers taking its effect. The blonde who was one step from wanking me off in full view of the club snapped my fly. I keyed in my next mix, then grabbed her hand and threw it away from me, snapping my fly closed. I groaned when her hands slid back into my hair. I looked at my mate who had spun before me. “Nick!” I pointed to my decks. “Watch this. And don’t mess it up.”
Nick frowned in confusion, then saw the girl behind me and smiled. He took my headphones from me and moved to make sure the playlist I’d set up played on cue. Steve, the club’s owner, always let a few girls backstage. I never asked for it, but I never turned them down either. Why would I refuse a hot bird who was up for anything?
I swiped my Jack off my podium as the blonde smashed her lips to mine, pulling me back by my sleeveless Creamfields shirt. I wrenched my mouth from hers, replacing it with the Jack bottle. The blonde dragged me into a dark spot backstage. She dropped to her knees and started again on my fly. I closed my eyes as she went to work.
I sucked on the Jack as my head hit the wall behind me. I forced myself to feel something. I glanced down, watching blond hair bounce below me. But the numbness I lived with every damn day made me feel virtually nothing inside. Pressure built at the base of my spine. My thighs tightened, and then it was over.
The blonde got up. I could see the stars in her eyes as she looked at me. “Your eyes.” She reached out a finger to trace around my eye. “The strangest color. Such dark blue.”
They were. Coupled with my black hair, they always drew attention. That and the fact that I was one of the hottest new DJs in Europe, of course. Okay, maybe it was less to do with my eyes and more to do with my name, Cromwell Dean, gracing the headline spot on most of the biggest music festivals and clubs this summer.
I zipped up my fly and turned to see Nick spinning my next mix. I cringed when he failed to transition the beats like I would have. Navy blue was the backdrop to the smoke on the dancefloor.
I never hit navy blue.
I brushed past the girl with a “Thanks, love,” ignoring her hiss of “Prick” in response. I took my headphones off Nick’s head and put them on my own. A few taps of the keyboard later, the crowd was back in the palm of my hand.
Without conscious thought, my eyes found their way to the spot where the girl in the purple dress had stood.
But she’d gone. So had the pale pink and lavender.
I threw back another shot of Jack. Mixed another tune. Then zoned the fuck out.
*****
The sand was cold under my feet. It may well have been the start of summer here in the UK, but that didn’t mean the night wind didn’t freeze your balls off the minute you stepped outside. Clutching my bottle of booze and my cigarettes, I dropped down to the sand. I lit up and stared at the dark sky. My phone buzzed in my pocket . . . again. It’d been going off all night.
Pissed off that I actually had to move my arm, I pulled out my mobile. I had three missed calls from Professor Lewis. Two from my mum, and finally, a couple of texts.
Mum: Professor Lewis has been trying to get hold of you again. What are you going to do? Please just call me. I know you’re upset, but this is your future. You have a gift, son. Maybe it’s time for a fresh start this year. Don’t waste it because you’re angry at me.
Red-hot fury shot through me. I wanted to throw my phone in the damn sea and watch it sink to the bottom along with all this messed-up shit in my head, but I saw Professor Lewis had texted too.
Lewis: The offer still stands but I need an answer by next week. I have all I need for the transfer except your answer. You have an exceptional talent, Cromwell. Don’t waste it. I can help.
This time I did drop my phone beside me and sank back into the sand. I let the rush of nicotine fill my lungs and closed my eyes. As my eyelids shut, I heard quiet music playing somewhere nearby. Classical. Mozart.
My drunken mind immediately drifted off to when I was a little kid . . .
“What do you hear, Cromwell?” my father asked.
I closed my eyes and listened to the piece of music. Colors danced before my eyes. “Piano. Violins. Cellos . . .” I took a deep breath. “I can hear reds and greens and pinks.”
I opened my eyes and looked up at my father as he sat on my bed. He was staring down at me. There was a funny expression on his face. “You hear colors?” he said. But he didn’t sound surprised. My face set on fire. I ducked my head under my duvet. My father pulled it down from my eyes. He stroked my hair. “That’s good,” he said, his voice kind of deep. “That’s very good . . .”
My eyes snapped open. My hand started to ache. I looked at the bottle in my hand; my fingers were white as they gripped the neck. I sat up, my head spinning from the mass of whiskey in my body. My temples throbbed. I realized it wasn’t from the Jack, but from the music coming from further down the beach. I pushed my hair back from my face then looked to my right.
Someone was only a few feet away. I squinted into the lightening night, summer’s early rising sun making it possible to make out the features of whoever the hell it was. It was a girl. A girl wrapped in a blanket. Her phone sat beside her, a Mozart piano concerto drifting quietly from the speaker.
She must have felt me looking at her, because she turned her head. I frowned, wondering why I knew her face, but then—
“You’re the DJ,” she said.
Recognition dawned. It was the girl in the purple dress.
She clutched her blanket closer around her as I replayed her accent in my head. American. Bible Belt was my guess, by her thick twang.
She sounded like my mum.
A smile tugged at her lips as I stayed mute. I wasn’t much of a talker. Especially when my gut was full of Jack and I had zero interest in making small talk with some girl I didn’t know at four in the morning on a cold beach in Brighton.
“I’d heard of you,” she said. I stared back out over the sea. Ships sailed in the distance, their lights like tiny fireflies, bobbing up and down. I huffed a humorless laugh. Great. Another girl who wanted to screw the DJ.
“Good for you,” I muttered and took a drink of my Jack, feeling the addictive burn slide down my throat. I hoped she’d piss off, or at least stop trying to talk to me. My head couldn’t take any more noise.
“Not really,” she shot back. I looked over at her, eyebrows pulled down in confusion. She was looking out over the sea, her chin resting on her folded arms that lay over her bent knees. The blanket had fallen off her shoulders, revealing the purple dress I’d noticed from the podium. She turned to face me, cheek now on her arms. Heat zipped through me. She was pretty. “I’ve heard of you, Cromwell Dean.” She shrugged. “Decided to get a ticket to see you before I left for home tomorrow.”
I lit up another cigarette. Her nose wrinkled. She clearly didn’t like the smell.
Tough luck. She could move. Last time I checked, England was a free country. She went quiet.
I caught her looking at me. Her brown eyes were narrowed, like she was scrutinizing me. Reading something in me that I didn’t want anyone to see.
No one ever looked at me closely. I never gave them the chance. I thrived on the podium at clubs because it kept everyone far away, down on the dancefloor where no one ever saw the real me. The way she was looking at me now made nervous shivers break out over my skin.
I didn’t need this kind of crap.
“Already had my dick sucked tonight, love. Not looking for a second round.”
She blinked, and even in the rising sun, I could see her cheeks redden.
“Your music has no soul,” she blurted. My cigarette paused halfway to my mouth. Something managed to stab through my stomach at her words. I shoved it back down until I felt my usual sensation of numbness.
I sucked on my cigarette. “Yeah? Well, them’s the breaks.”
“I’d heard you were some messiah or something on that podium. But all your music comprised was synthetic beats and forced repetitive bursts of unoriginal tempo.”
I laughed and shook my head. The girl met my eyes head-on. “It’s called electronic dance music. Not a fifty-piece orchestra.” I held out my arms. “You’ve heard of me. Said so yourself. You know what tunes I spin. What were you expecting? Mozart?” I glared at her phone, which was still playing that damn concerto.
I sat back, surprised at myself. I hadn’t talked that much to anyone in . . . I didn’t know how long. I took in a drag, breathing out the smoke that was trapped in my chest. “And turn that thing off, will you? Who the hell goes to hear a dance DJ spin, then comes to a beach to listen to classical music?”
The girl frowned but turned off the music. I lay back on the cold sand, closing my eyes. I heard the soft waves lapping the shore. My head filled with pale green. I heard the girl moving. I prayed she was leaving. But I felt her drop beside me. My world darkened as the whiskey and the usual lack of sleep started to pull me under.
“What do you feel when you mix your music?” she asked. How the hell she thought her little interview was a good idea right now was beyond me.
Yet, surprisingly, I found myself answering her question. “I don’t feel.” I cracked one eye open when she didn’t say anything. She was looking down at me. She had the biggest brown eyes I’d ever seen. Dark hair pulled off her face in a ponytail. Full lips and smooth skin.
“Then that’s the problem.” She smiled, but the smile looked nothing but sad. Pitying. “The best music must be felt. By the creator. By the listener. Every part of it from creation to ear must be wrapped in nothing but feelings.” Some weird expression crossed over her face, but hell if I knew what it meant.
Her words were a blade to my chest. I hadn’t expected her harsh comment. And I hadn’t expected the blunt trauma that she seemed to deliver right to my heart. Like she’d taken a butcher’s knife and sliced her way through my soul.
My body itched to get up and run. To pluck out her assessment of my music from my memory. But instead I forced a laugh, and spat, “Go back home, little Dorothy. Back to where music means something. Where it’s felt.”
“Dorothy was from Kansas.” She glanced away. “I’m not.”
“Then go back to wherever the hell you’re from,” I snapped. Crossing my arms over my chest, I hunkered down into the sand and shut my eyes, trying to block out the cold wind that was picking up and slapping my skin, and her words that were still stabbing at my heart.
I never let anything get to me like this. Not anymore. I just needed some sleep. I didn’t want to go back to my mum’s house here in Brighton, and my flat in London was too far away. So hopefully the cops wouldn’t find me here and kick me off the beach.
With my eyes closed, I said, “Thanks for the midnight critique, but as the fastest-rising DJ in Europe, with the best clubs in the world begging for me to spin at their decks—all at nineteen—I think I’ll ignore your extensive notes and just keep on living my sweet as fuck life.”
The girl sighed, but she didn’t say anything else.
The next thing I knew, the sun was burning its light into my eyes. I flinched when I opened them. The screech of swarming seagulls slammed into my head. I sat up, seeing an empty beach and the sun high in the sky. I ran my hands down my face and groaned at the hangover that was kicking in. My stomach growled, desperate for a full English breakfast with copious cups of black tea.
As I stood, something fell from my lap. A blanket lay on the sand at my feet. The blanket I’d seen beside the American girl in the purple dress.
The one she’d been wrapped in last night.
I picked it up, a light fragrance drifted into my nose. Sweet. Addictive. I glanced around me. The girl was gone.
She’d left her blanket. No. She’d covered me with it. “Your music has no soul.” A hard clenching feeling pulled in my stomach at the memory of her words. So I chased it away like I did anything that made me feel. Caging it deep inside.
Then I took my arse home.

 

 

Tillie Cole hails from a small town in the North-East of England. She grew up on a farm with her English mother, Scottish father and older sister and a multitude of rescue animals. As soon as she could, Tillie left her rural roots for the bright lights of the big city.After graduating from Newcastle University with a BA Hons in Religious Studies, Tillie followed her Professional Rugby player husband around the world for a decade, becoming a teacher in between and thoroughly enjoyed teaching High School students Social Studies before putting pen to paper, and finishing her first novel.

Tillie has now settled in Austin, Texas, where she is finally able to sit down and write, throwing herself into fantasy worlds and the fabulous minds of her characters.

Tillie is both an independent and traditionally published author, and writes many genres including: Contemporary Romance, Dark Romance, Young Adult and New Adult novels.

When she is not writing, Tillie enjoys nothing more than curling up on her couch watching movies, drinking far too much coffee, while convincing herself that she really doesn’t need that extra square of chocolate.

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