REVIEW BLITZ ~ ENGAGED TO THE EMT by Piper Rayne

Today we are delighted to be sharing ENGAGED TO THE EMT by Piper Rayne

A Sexy FAKE RELATIONSHIP rom com standalone written by a duo of two USA Bestselling Authors

Luca Bianco is a jerk. There I said it.

He thinks he’s so suave and sexy, walking around in his paramedic uniform stretched out by all his hard muscles and saving lives every day. I swear he thinks every woman in the world would kill for a chance to be with him.

Men like Luca are good for one thing only—a one-night stand—not commitment. I don’t care if my friend did pay good money at a charity bachelor auction for me to go on a date with him, I refuse to do it.

That is until Luca offers me a deal I can’t refuse, and I agree to be his pretend fiancé.

The heat that’s simmered between us for a decade ignites and I’m not sure even Luca will be able to kickstart my heart after I call code blue.

What’s that saying? Love is blind?

Not true. I can see this head-on collision coming a mile away.

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Reviewed by Emma-Louise on behalf of KFF

Holy Moly! These Bianco brothers need to come with a warning label. Hot blooded Italian men with more oomph than a stampeding herd of elephants. Finally we get the book of the baby of the family, Luca. His ma’s favourite baby boy, the one who’s reckless and very carefree; maybe too reckless at times. His latest stunt came as no surprise to this reader; he would hate to disappoint his family.

Lauren has hate/hate feelings when it comes to Luca. All this revolves around childhood receptions. Lauren is very much a take charge and independent woman who won’t live her life by anyone else’s rules.

“You would’ve hurt me. Dating you would have been like signing up to get my heart broken”

Like any other book by these authors, there is comedy and there is seriousness. Family is an integral part of this series, be it by blood or by choice. The front that people show versus their real selves can cause so many bumps in the road. Along the way in this book, this very issue bites one particular character square in the bum.

The continuing question of who is setting the vacant warehouse fires continues on in this instalment and the answers are finally revealed. Thank you, ladies.

Once the heat and passion of these two got going it was hot and heavy for a considerable amount of pages and I was not sorry about that for one minute. The scorched the pages. Piper and Rayne are able to create such deeply rooted and emotionally feeling characters. Luca and Lauren were people I could relate to and was cheering for. Considering their past and the differences they fit together effortlessly.

I truly enjoyed visiting with the Bianco’s and their wonderful ladies. Well done ladies and thank you again.

EXCERPT

© 2018 Piper Rayne
All rights reserved.

 
The light from the street reflects the humor shining in his eyes. “I’m just sick of the fighting.”
“Fighting is what we do best. It’s basically how we communicate.” Then all the puzzle pieces join together in my head. I’m so stupid. “You want something.”
We pull up in front of my house just as I realize what a fucking moron I am.
“Nope.” He takes the keys, grabs the bag of food and gets out of the car.
He’s totally playing me. I might not be a psychologist who can quickly spot a liar, but Luca, I know too well. Not well, but when it comes to our interactions—I know him. And this nice Luca, taking me to a Hawks game, buying me dinner, wanting to eat with me…this isn’t the Luca Bianco I know.
I climb out of his car, the slam of the door echoing down the dark residential street. “Tell me what it is you want.”
His lips remain straight, not even a hint of a smile or smirk.
Another clear sign that this isn’t the Luca I know.
“Come on. Let’s eat.” He nods in the direction of my house.
“By prolonging whatever it is, you’re just pissing me off, which means if you need something, I’m more than likely going to say no. Or we could play a little game…”
“How about we eat?” He waits patiently as I insert the key into my door, disengage the alarm that Cristian, Luca’s brother insisted we get installed.
Police officers. Jeez.
We step inside and he’s the one to shut the door and flick the lock.
“Planning to have your way with me?” I’m not serious as I walk into the kitchen to grab us some drinks, utensils, and napkins.
The sound of the television blaring drifts into the kitchen seconds later.
With my hands full, I head back into the living room. “Feel free to make yourself at home,” I deadpan, handing Luca a Vitamin Water and a napkin.
“Thanks.” He lifts the napkin and drink. “And thanks.”
We sit on the couch because although our house is nice and newly redecorated thanks to Maddie’s mad skills, the family room area is small and the best place to see the television is the couch. No worries though, there’s still a cushion between us.
I open up my box of food, a little bit of steam hitting my face. “I can’t just sit here and watch soccer with you and not know what you want.”
I hate that I’ve had to resort to being sincere in my request.
He opens up his own box and I’m a tad jealous I didn’t get the burger. It smells and looks delicious.
Luca doesn’t respond, just stands and heads into the kitchen.
He knows our house way too well thanks to his brothers always suggesting we meet here when we go out.
I pop a cauliflower floret into my mouth, tasting the Korean flavor makes my mouth water. Opening up my Vitamin Water to cool my tongue, I ignore Luca’s return, instead, fixating on the television as he rounds the coffee table in front of me. The couch dips with the weight of his body which is now closer than before.
I’ve never been alone with Luca, much less this close. I feel a shift in our volatile relationship like the stillness before a storm. It’s too quiet. It’s too calm. Too…enjoyable.
“Here.” My gaze shifts from the television, although I couldn’t tell you the score of the game and I see he’s holding half his burger out to me.
“What’s this?” I ask, loading my mouth with another califloret.
Man, it’s hot.
“I think you had a little bit of drool dripping from your mouth when I opened the container. How about we share?”
He smiles. A smile I’ve only ever seen on his face with his friends, or his brothers, and especially his mom. He doesn’t even wear this smile when he’s with girls. At least not that I’ve ever seen. That fact runs around my stomach stirring up the butterflies to max flight.
I don’t like this.
It’s too damn calm.
Where are the eighty mile per hour winds?
“Luca, if you don’t tell me what you want, I’m going to kick you out of my house.” I take half the burger and slide my cauliflower and fries closer to him as an offering.
“You can’t just wait?” he asks, seeming disappointed.
“HA!” I point to him with a greasy finger. “You do want something from me. Tell me what it is.”
“You’re ridiculous you know that, right? A normal person would wait.”
I shake my head. “No, they wouldn’t.”
See, this feels good. This feels right.
“LUCA!” I scream.
He blows out a breath. “Fine. I need a favor from you.”
 

 

 

Piper Rayne, or Piper and Rayne, whichever you prefer because we’re not one author, we’re two. Yep, you get two USA Today Bestselling authors for the price of one. Our goal is to bring you romance stories that have “Heartwarming Humor With a Side of Sizzle” (okay…you caught us, that’s our tagline). A little about us… We both have kindle’s full of one-clickable books. We’re both married to husbands who drive us to drink. We’re both chauffeurs to our kids. Most of all, we love hot heroes and quirky heroines that make us laugh, and we hope you do, too.

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THE DARKEST CORNERS by Sydney Jamesson is LIVE!


We are thrilled to be sharing
USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR Sydney Jamesson’s all-new psychological suspence novel,
THE DARKEST CORNERS

Check it out and grab your copy for ONLY $2.99 special release week price!

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This standalone novel is not a romance. It is psychological suspense with a complex love story woven through it. Expect lots of angst, emotional scenes and edge of your seat suspense as a single father and a troubled young woman confront their deepest, darkest fears together.

After surviving a life changing event, celebrated artist Maxwell Grant has not touched a paintbrush or a woman in four years. During that time, he has tormented himself over an unspeakable act he dare not admit to, even to himself.

His one chance at redemption comes through a journal left behind by Harriet Harper, a mysterious woman in his night school class.

Shocked by what he reads about her tortured existence, he becomes obsessed by her and falls headfirst into a dangerous game of he said, she said, not knowing who to believe—who to trust.

When a dangerous character from Harriet’s past appears, events take a turn for the worse and he must say and do whatever necessary to save his sanity and, more importantly, his four year old daughter, Poppy.

Some secrets never get to see the light of day; others are just waiting to be uncovered … with shocking consequences.

The Darkest Corners is now available with all fine retailers at the special release week price of only $2.99!

Amazon eBook: UNIVERSALU.S | U.K | CANADA | AUSTRALIA

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

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Available 23rd November – Kobo: U.K | U.S | CANADA | AUSTRALIA

Available 23rd November – Nook

BOOK TRAILER

EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT 

© 2018 Sydney Jamesson
All rights reserved. 

 
~~ Alone and grieving, I considered allowing Hope’s parents to take care of Poppy, to raise her as their daughter. Seeing her there in the hospital so helpless, a small, motherless bundle, terrified me. I could have walked away.
I did not.
Almost four years ago, I had to dig deep, contain the fear shredding my confidence and get through, because some days that’s all it was—getting through.
During that first month when I’d held Poppy in my arms, I trembled, so scared I would drop her, feed her the wrong formula, dress her too warmly… and changing those nappies! Jesus Christ! The bloody smell had me keeling over.
Some days I fell to my knees, overwhelmed by what could only be described as a baptism in fire. But I’d do it all again in a heartbeat. I made the right decision, the only possible decision any father could make—to raise her as best I could.
Harriet also ventured into the unknown. It takes a special kind of fear to force a person to leave behind what they once loved the most; to consider the unknown a better option than facing up to what you have come to know as your family.
I had to know why.
I kicked off my jeans, my T-shirt, and climbed into bed.
It was going to be a long night. ~~
 

 

5 Stars ~ Reviewed by Sharon Thérèse at KFF

 
It was either switching the light off and getting through the following day wondering how The Darkest Corners would pan out or reading it through the night. I chose the latter and had no regrets over lost sleep. Left speechless, hopefully I’ll be able to put together a few coherent words for this page-turner of a psychological thriller which isn’t just gripping as it is heart-stopping. My advice. Don’t let this stand-alone slip under your radar and starting it in the evening is at your own risk. Why, you might ask? This must-read that left me guessing throughout is deeply absorbing and the characters so complex, I felt as if my reasoning was being tested! In a nutshell, my thoughts were all over the place when I finished and I couldn’t have been more awake.Ooh boy, did Maxwell Grant fool me or what! In fact, the sad part was he’d been torturing himself for four years. Successful artist and single dad, he’d lost his art mojo and hadn’t touched a paint brush since a traumatic happening caused a loss of interest in just about everything. Even his lively daughter couldn’t get him out of his slump. Then a finding piqued his curiosity. What he did with it I’d define as a tad stalkerish, invading the privacy of someone who seemed to me to be a victim, perhaps survivor would be a better word. Was I off the mark though? Well, what I read devastated me and although him intruding didn’t feel right, it was by no means malicious. And I was still no nearer the target.

I liked Max a hell of a lot, felt awfully sorry for him and in spite of the fact that he doubted his parenting which to my mind of thinking, was more than adequate, his relationship with Poppy simply melted my heart. An endearing child if ever there were one, her delightful quirks not only lightened up the story but also made me grin from ear-to-ear. The detail used in her persona is nothing less than outstanding. Poppy’s mannerisms; her giggles and chatter, her dress and footwear sense literally bowled me over.

Max’s best friend gave him a warning. He’d either have to stop being impertinent in art class and offer his students words of encouragement or lose his job. Making an effort to change his attitude was positive all round. There was a stirring of excitement in the classroom, I enjoyed his well-thought-out remarks, observing how his social skills improved and honestly thought Max’s life was taking a turn for the better. Wrong again! This would be the beginning of an emotional and painful rollercoaster ride of deceit, a loop of lies entwined in the darkest corners of betrayal.

Harriet/Harry Harper. Hmm…to the likes of me and definitely Max, she was that ray of sunshine missing, what he needed and been waiting for. But at times, pieces of her puzzling past didn’t quite ring true with me. That shouldn’t have been so because she gave me no cause to think otherwise. Perhaps it was me being too impatient since spending time trying to suss out plots is my thing. I have to say I had no problems connecting with this outgoing, attractive gal trying to get on in life. I felt she deserved the best; however, wait for the bombshell…the drop literally floored me. And get this. The least of the author’s intentions were letting her readers off easily and she complicated matters more with revelations I, for one, never saw coming! The cadence of the story changed its rhythm; had me sitting on the edge of my seat, figuratively speaking of course, and the incredibly visual narrative made me gasp into my pillow.

The author’s created superb characters, her storyline which is masterfully paced (skipping a sentence or two won’t even cross your mind), is unique. Told in first-person past tense, you’ll be in for a surprize regarding the narrative, too. She’s laid down a solid foundation in the first half a dozen chapters; hence, the lack of dialogue in them. It wasn’t missed at all, the rest of the book giving me enough to get myself totally lost in the players’ words. The further I got into the story, every layer revealed had more depth with even more intrigue, and I can’t tell you how enthralled I was by it all. Therefore, I can safely say that this read is the best thriller I’ve read this year. And why I hadn’t discovered Jamesson’s writing before is beyond me. Bravo!
 

5 Stars ~ Reviewed by Donna on behalf of KFF

 
Due to surviving a life-changing event, budding artist Maxwell Grant hadn’t picked up a paint brush or engaged with another woman for the past four years. What had happened caused him to live in torture, but then a conflict of wills begins when he finds a journal belonging to Harriet Harper, a woman who attends his night school class.Max battles with the idea of reading the journal or handing it back to Harriet, but his curiosity wins and what he reads has him so shocked that this woman has endured so much in her life. Getting close to her by the words written has him developing feelings for her, which could be a dangerous game. The one thing Max must do is make sure lines don’t get blurred and ensure that his 4-year-old daughter, Poppy is protected. When a dangerous character makes an appearance, it is a game of cat and mouse. Who is telling the truth and will Max be able to handle a very difficult situation he finds himself in?

Max is a very complex character and once I started peeling away his the layers, I found myself being drawn to him and his wretchedness. The relationship he has with his daughter was a very sweet and Poppy is a very cute little pink princess. She clearly loves her daddy to bits and also she seems to connect to Harriet which was really endearing. Harriet was very hard to read. I was quite intrigued by this mysterious woman and desperate to see where this was all going to lead to.

The writing throughout was exquisite and I couldn’t put this book down. Also, I urged a book buddy to catch up with me as I needed to speak to somebody about this story. The twists and turns had me gasping and saying oh my goodness through most of the chapters. I would read a part and think I knew where it was leading to only to be thrown of course and discover it was something I never saw coming. The suspense is so thrilling, and I found myself shouting at my kindle as if I was in some sort of car crash that was going in slow motion. I couldn’t believe some of the choices Max was making and all the time I kept thinking about the effect his actions would have on Poppy.

Even if you have never dipped your toe in this genre. I would highly recommend that you do. Personally, I love psychological suspense stories, and nobody will be disappointed with this story, especially if your heart melts at a single father with such a cute daughter who will touch your heart from the first page of their interaction. To sum up; heartfelt, dramatic, scary and romantic, I haven’t stopped thinking about The Darkest Corners since I closed on the last chapter.
 

 

Meet Sydney

Sydney Jamesson is an English teacher by day and a USA Today bestselling author of romance, suspense by night. She is nocturnal by nature and loves nothing more than staying up late, listening to music and being inspired to write. She has always scribbled things down; in her home is one enormous waste paper basket full of discarded phrases, opening lines and pieces of dialogue that have hit her like lightning in the middle of the night or whilst parked up at a set of traffic lights. Her bestselling trilogy, The Story of Us is available worldwide, and she has been thrilled to continue Ayden Stone and Beth Parker’s epic love story in The Story of Us Series: Into the Blue, comprising: Blue Genes, Blue Hearts, Blue Moon. More recently, Sydney has focused on psychological suspense.

THE DARKEST CORNERS is a complex love story filled with lots of angst, emotional scenes and edge of your seat suspense as a single father and a troubled young woman confront their deepest, darkest fears together.

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EXCERPT REVEAL ~ SEDUCE ME by Kelly Elliot

Today we are delighted to share an excerpt of Kelly Elliot’s all-new second chance romance stand-alone, SEDUCE ME

 
What happens when you’re forced to seduce the one person you vowed never to love?

You get screwed … in more than one way.

I walked out of Tucker Middleton’s bedroom seven years ago, leaving him hurt and angry. Now I need his help; the only way I can get it, is to make him think I want him back.

The only problem is we have silently vowed to hate one another for the rest of our lives. In order to get Tucker to help me—I have to seduce him.

Easy right?

Hell yes! I’m the CEO of CMI Consulting. If I set my mind to something, I make it happen.

Charleston Monroe is playing me for a fool. If she believes for one second I’m going to let her walk into my life to help her save the very job that ripped her away from me, she’s got another thing coming.

She thinks she can seduce me, and I let her believe she can. After all, I’m getting what I’ve always wanted.

Her.

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EXCERPT

 
Rolling over, I pulled the covers over my head and moaned.“Oh shit,” I whispered. Even my whispered words hurt my head. Ihadn’t drunk like that in a long time.Note to self: Give up alcohol. Except wine. Wait. No. Never ever give upwine.

With my head still buried, I tried to think back to last night. The

last thing I remembered was talking to that guy . . . Brad. No Billy.

Bobby? Brady?

Who cares? I need aspirin.

I pushed the covers over my head and went to get out of bed. I

froze when I saw the sheets.

Oh. My. God.

These aren’t my sheets.

Turning, I looked at the bed.

This isn’t my bed.

Glancing down, I gasped.

I’m not wearing any clothes.

Covering my mouth, I jumped up. “I didn’t. Oh God, please tell me

I didn’t. Terri! I’m going to kill her.”

Frantically looking around, I saw my purse on the chair in the corner.

Rushing over to it, I dug through it until I found my phone.

As I waited for that whore to answer her phone, I mumbled, “She

broke the number one girlfriend code. Don’t let your friend leave with a

guy when they’re drunk!”

“Hey, girl! So? Did you get laid like you wanted? Please tell me yes

’cause this would make a great story.”

My heart jumped to my throat as a small sound came from my lips.

“Wh-what? Why? How could you? You let me go off with him? What if

he had killed me!”

She laughed. “Hardly. But then again, you do drive him up a wall,

and he has mentioned snuffing you out a time or two.”

My finger and thumb went to the bridge of my nose. “What are

you talking about?”

Terri muffled the phone, then laughed. “Hello? Terri! I’m at a

strange man’s house, I don’t remember anything, and I’m naked.”

“Wait. You’re naked?”

“Yes!”

“Oh, wow. Shit just got really interesting. Where’s Tucker?”

Tucker? How in the hell would I know where Tucker was?

“I don’t know! I don’t care. Terri. I don’t know where I am. He

could come back any minute, and I’m standing here naked. Oh my God.

Do you think I had sex with him?”

“Do you feel like you had sex?”

Stopping, I jumped around a bit. “No. I’d be sore if I did, right?

Fuck if I know, it’s been so long.”

Terri sighed. “It really has been that long. You’ve done forgotten

how it feels, huh?”

“Aww, hell, Mr. Pootie!”

“I’m sure he’s fine. Let’s get back to what happened between you

and Tucker last night.”

I shook my head as I glanced around the room for my clothes.

Dropping to my knees, I looked under the bed.

“Why are we talking about Tucker? I have bigger problems.”

Then I heard a male voice clear his throat.

“Oh God,” I whispered. “He’s in the room, Terri. I’m naked! I can’t

find my clothes.”

Terri laughed. “Okay, well, have fun. Tell Tucker I said hey.”

My brows furrowed, and I was about to say something when the

line went dead.

It was then I felt the change in the room, and everything from

last night came crashing back into my poor brain, causing my head to

pound harder.

Slowly lifting up, I peered over the bed, only to find Tucker leaning

up against the doorjamb. He wore a shit-eating grin on his face, and

fuck me, he looked so gorgeous.

Oh no.

I swallowed hard. “Um . . . I can’t, um. Well, it appears I am . . . you

see, I can’t find my, ahh . . . the dress I had on.”

Jesus. Why do I act like an idiot around him? Why!

“Your clothes had throw up on them. They’re almost dry.”

My stomach dropped. “Did we . . . ?”

He smiled. Full on dimples and all.

God, I want him. Even in my current hungover condition, I’ve never wanted

this man more than right now.

Wait. No. I don’t!

Yes . . . yes, you do.

Crap. What if I already had him? And I don’t remember. I’m going to be so

pissed off if we had sex and I don’t remember it.

“No, we didn’t sleep together, and for the record, you got yourself

undressed.”

Relaxing, I let out the breath I didn’t realize I held in.

 

 

Kelly Elliott is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling contemporary romance author. Since finishing her bestselling Wanted series, Kelly continues to spread her wings while remaining true to her roots and giving readers stories rich with hot protective men, strong women and beautiful surroundings.

Her bestselling works include, Wanted, Broken, Without You, and Unconditional Love, to name just a few.

Kelly has been passionate about writing since she was fifteen. After years of filling journals with stories, she finally followed her dream and published her first novel, Wanted, in November of 2012.

Kelly lives in central Texas with her husband, daughter, and two pups. When she’s not writing, Kelly enjoys reading and spending time with her family. She is down to earth and very in touch with her readers, both on social media and at signings.

To find out more about Kelly and her books, you can find her through her website: www.kellyelliottauthor.com

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GOOD TIME by Jana Aston is now available!

Today we are thrilled to be sharing Jana Aston’s all-new romance GOOD TIME!

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BLURB

There’s one thing you should know.

I wasn’t that drunk.

I was more than sober enough to put a stop to it.

The truth is, it was my idea. I’m the one who suggested it.

I knew it was crazy, but it’s not as if I’d be the first girl to get married on a whim in Las Vegas. I wouldn’t even be the last girl to get married on a whim in Las Vegas.

So what’s my excuse? I liked him. I liked the idea that he’d be stuck with me, just for a little bit.

Because nothing good ever lasts, so you might as well have a good time while you can.

Available Now!

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EXCERPT

© 2018 Jana Aston
All rights reserved.

 
He thinks I’m funny. And exasperating. And bossy. And beautiful, he said that I was beautiful.It’s not the worst start in the history of starts, but I’d like to know more.I pull out a stool and sit down at the island countertop so I can watch Vince work. It occurs to me once again what a shit wife I am. I don’t cook. I don’t give blow jobs. I haven’t asked if he needs anything dropped off at the dry cleaner. I don’t wear sexy lingerie. Maybe I should change? To be fair, the blow job thing is not my fault. I did offer that first night. I meant to yesterday but he distracted me with his tongue and that was that. Gah, I’m just the worst.“What are you thinking about?”

“Giving you a blow job.”

“Yeah?” Vince responds easily, as if we’re talking about where the cutting board is. “Do you have a list of specific requirements for how you’d want that to happen?”

So he’s open to the idea, is what I’m hearing. Maybe he’ll want to date after the annulment and he’ll fall in love with me? It’ll make a great story for our grandchildren.

“You say that like I’m demanding.”

“You are.”

“I’m extremely easy-going! Everyone says so!” No one says that, actually. But it’s probably just because it’s never come up. It’s not as if I go around asking people if they think I’m easy-going, but if I did, they’d say yes. Probably. At least everyone except Vince would.

“You have a very easy-going way of getting your own way,” Vince states as he sets a pot of water on the stove to boil.

I suppose I can see where he might think that. That might even be a fair assessment.
I’m really self-aware. I need to add that to my list of positive attributes.

“So for the blow job, can I tie you up?”

“No.” The answer is firm, his lips twitching like the question was amusing.

Humph. “Can you tie me up?”

“How are you going to give me a blow job if you’re tied up?”

Dammit! Worst. Wife. Ever. “I suppose without my hands it’d be more like you using my mouth to masturbate while I did nothing, wouldn’t it?”

“What a visual you paint, Payton.”

“You’re still welcome to tie me up though. It doesn’t have to be tradesies.”

“Tradesies,” he mutters with a shake of his head, but he’s smiling as he uncorks the wine and pours two glasses.

“So, where do you see yourself in five years, Vince?” Might as well dive in with the talking.

He looks up from rolling back his shirt sleeves, a look of confusion flashing across his face replaced with an amused narrowing of his eyes.

“Excuse me? Is this an interview?” He laughs, placing a pan on my stovetop before rummaging through my cabinets for a bottle of olive oil.

“This is serious. You’ll be old and divorced. Think about that.”

“An annulment doesn’t count as a divorce. It doesn’t count as anything.”

“Try telling that to Britney. She’s gonna have that nineteen-hour marriage on her Wikipedia page until she dies. Wikipedia, Vince. That’s forever.”

“Okay, whoa. Let’s step back a moment here.”

“Do you need a wife with benefits?” I press on, because taking a step back doesn’t sound like it will get me anywhere.

“What exactly does that mean?”

“I have health insurance. Do you need health insurance? I could add you to my plan. It’s very reasonable, adding a spouse only costs like an extra two hundred dollars a month. It’s a really good plan, too. At least that’s what Lydia told me and she works in Human Resources so she would know. I’m no benefits package expert.”

“That’s not what the term ‘with benefits’ means.”

“Listen, in this case I think it’s exactly what that means. Society is the one who turned the word ‘benefit’ into something dirty.”

“So there’d be no sex in this exchange?”

“Don’t be ridiculous. Of course there’d be sex.”

“Did you just talk yourself into a circle?”

“Maybe.” Dammit.

 

 


MEET JANA

Jana Aston likes cats, big coffee cups and books about billionaires who deflower virgins. She wrote her debut novel while fielding customer service calls about electrical bills, and she’s ever grateful for the fictional gynecologist in Wrong that readers embraced so much she was able to make working in her pajamas a reality. Jana’s novels have appeared on the NYT, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists, some multiple times. She likes multiples.

 

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DIRTY SEXY GAMES by Laurelin Paige is LIVE!

 

DIRTY SEXY GAMES (Dirty Games Book 2) by Laurelin Paige

Release Date: 6th November

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Cover Designer: Laurelin Paige & Tom Barnes

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The conclusion of the surprising love story begun in Dirty Sexy Player.

I didn’t have a plan for him.

He was the means to an end, a workaround to the cruel terms of my father’s will that would allow me to inherit his company.

I hadn’t planned to fall for him.

I hadn’t planned to enjoy every minute of our wedding, hadn’t planned to gasp his name so many times that night, hadn’t planned for the sexy games on our honeymoon.

He didn’t plan for his secrets to come out.

And neither of us planned for heartbreak.

 


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Start the duet 
#Free Prologue – Dirty Sexy Bastard
HERE  

#Read Book 1 – Dirty Sexy Player
HERE
 

Reviewed by Emma-Louise on behalf of KFF

Picking up right where Dirty Sexy Player left off, we are catapulted back into the dark chasm that is the relationship of Weston and Elizabeth. Each on a journey of self-discovery, can two power-driven people ever discover the middle ground? A marriage of convenience with two people who are anything but easy or convenient.

Both suffered terribly as children. Parents often make the worst mistakes when it comes to their own children. Intentional or not, they always leave scars. Weston and Elizabeth spend so much of this duet treading on hypothetical landmines. Positively, one of them will always make a stand to communicate the issues as they are.

“You got it?” he asked again, meaner, more intense.
“I got it. No games. We’re together, and it’s real.”
“You better never doubt this is real.”
 

Games. Games play a part in the lives of Weston and Elizabeth and no, I’m not talking about Chess or Monopoly. They thrive on trying new and different things together. Their honeymoon is a perfect example, neither has tried everything in the world and they are more than willing to give it a go with each other. Some of the sweetness but hottest scenes of this book happened when they were playing.

Weston is tested beyond anything he’s ever known. His priorities and loyalties have to shift and he spends so much time flipping back and forth about what is the right course of action. Elizabeth on the other hand, has been dipping her toe into her inner strength. She has a steel rod in place of a spine and she’s never selfish with her strength. She’ll protect anyone who needs her even at great personal risk.

The funniest part of this book and there were several really hilarious parts, was a re-telling from Dirty Filthy Rich Love. It was such a minor bit but boy, did it make me laugh. I know my description is vague, but where would the fun be in telling all in a review.

There is plenty of character interaction between Weston, Elizabeth and their parents. It was such a joy to watch how the scenarios played out considering the history and troubled waters dividing them. Children can place their parents in a position that is next to unwinnable and as shiny as their armour is, we, as their children find it hard to see past the damage their armour carries.

‘…even though he was mine, too, even though I was still a queen on my own–Weston King was the one who ruled me.’ 

There was angst, there was pain. There was enough laughter to fill a comedy club, and who can forget Donovan. He may mean well but he plays his games at champion level. I’d not mess with him in a million years. I’m a self-professed lover of the emotional and self-fulfilling books. I need fast-paced but detailed and slow. This author can pull it off every single time. Thank you and congratulations.

EXCERPT

 
As soon as we were in our suite, the bomb exploded, the bomb being Elizabeth. “We’re alone now, so just tell me straight. You knew I was always going to France. If you wanted to be with me, you had to know it would involve living there. Is that not something you’ll even consider? Is it Sabrina? Is it Reach? Is it Donovan? Because if it’s fucking Donovan who’s keeping you from—”I grabbed her hands, which were flying in midair as she yelled, and pulled them behind her back at her waist as I cut her off with a searing kiss, my tongue plunging into her open mouth, robbing her of oxygen. When she was thoroughly kissed, her lips pliable, her body sagging in my arms, I let her go.“I’m tired, Elizabeth. I’m not discussing fucking anything tonight.” I took off my tuxedo jacket and threw it on the desk. Then I began working on my cufflinks. “What I think we both need now is to release some tension.”

Her spine straightened, her neck growing longer as she stared at me in shock. “You think we’re going to have sex now?”

I loved how she made it sound disgusting, like she wasn’t interested, even when I’d just been kissing her and had felt the lean in her body, had tasted the desire in her mouth.

Two could play the indifference game.
I shrugged. “I’m fucking someone tonight. If you want it to be you, you better take off your dress.”

Her mouth slammed shut, and she only seemed to consider it for two seconds before she was fumbling with the zipper at her back. She struggled with it, but I didn’t help her. It made me stiff to watch her frantically trying to strip down, just because I told her to. Just because she thought I might find a better offer if she didn’t.

Like there was a better offer than her.
Like there was anyone but her.

I didn’t take my eyes off her as I unbuttoned my vest and tossed it to the side with my jacket. I’d loosened my tie by the time she got her dress undone. It fell to the floor and she was left wearing a strapless corseted bra, one that had a low back so it couldn’t be seen with her dress on, and matching lace panties—both in a white ivory so virginal and bridal it seemed dirty.

Jesus, she was a fucking wet dream.
And she was my wife.
 

 

MEET LAURELIN

With over 1.5 million books sold world wide, Laurelin Paige is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling Author. She is a sucker for a good romance and gets giddy anytime there’s kissing, much to the embarrassment of her three daughters. Her husband doesn’t seem to complain, however. When she isn’t reading or writing sexy stories, she’s probably singing, watching Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead, or dreaming of Michael Fassbender. She’s also a proud member of Mensa International though she doesn’t do anything with the organization except use it as material for her bio. She is represented by Rebecca Friedman.

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EXCERPT REVEAL ~ HATE NOTES by Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward

A standalone romance novel published by Montlake Romance

By: New York Times Bestselling Authors Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward

Release Date: Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Hate Notes final ebook coverIt all started with a mysterious blue note sewn into a wedding dress.

Something blue.

I’d gone to sell my own unworn bridal gown at a vintage clothing store. That’s when I found another bride’s “something old.”

Stitched into the lining of a fabulously feathered design was the loveliest message I’d ever read: Thank you for making all of my dreams come true.

The name embossed on the blue stationery: Reed Eastwood, obviously the most romantic man who ever lived. I also discovered he’s the most gorgeous. If only my true-love fantasies had stopped there. Because I’ve since found out something else about Mr. Starry-Eyed.

He’s arrogant, cynical, and demanding. I should know. Thanks to a twist of fate, he’s my new boss. But that’s not going to stop me from discovering the story behind his last love letter. A love letter that did not result in a happily ever after.

But that story is nothing compared to the one unfolding between us. It’s getting hotter, sweeter, and more surprising than anything I could have imagined.

Something new.

But I have no idea how this one is going to end . . .

Hate Notes final paperback cover

Photo/Cover Details:
Photo Credit: Tijana Vukovic
Model: Dusan Susnjar

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Please Note: Because Hate Notes is published by Montlake Romance, a division of Amazon, the ebook and paperback will only be available on Amazon. If you are an Amazon Prime or Kindle Unlimited member, you should NOT pre-order the eBook. The Hate Notes ebook will be free for both Prime and KU members on release day!

Sign up for Penelope & Vi’s mailing list now and be the first one notified when it goes live! ➜ HERE 

EXCERPT

© 2018 Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward
All rights reserved.

 

Grabbing my laptop, I searched my history and called up the last website I’d visited.
Eastwood Properties is one of the largest independent brokerage firms in the world. We connect the most prestigious and exclusive properties with qualified buyers, assuring the utmost privacy for both parties. Whether you’re in the market for a luxury New York City penthouse with a view of the park, a waterfront Hampton estate, or an enchanting chateau escape in the mountains, or you’re ready for your own private island, Eastwood is where your dreams begin.
There was a link to search properties, so I typed in the name of the place the woman had mentioned in the voice mail: Millennium Tower. Sure enough, the penthouse popped up for sale. For only twelve million dollars, I could own an apartment on Columbus Avenue with sweeping views of Central Park. Let me write you a check.
After drooling through a video and two dozen photos, I clicked on the button to make an appointment to view the property. An application popped up, the top of which read: For the privacy and safety of our sellers, all prospective buyers are required to complete an application to view properties. Only buyers that meet our stringent prequalification criteria will be contacted.
I snorted. Great prequalification criteria you have there, Eastwood. I wasn’t sure I had enough money to take the train uptown to get to that swanky place, much less buy it. God knows what I’d written that had qualified me.
I closed the website and was just about to shut my laptop and go back to bed again when I decided to take one more peek at Mr. Romantic on Facebook.
God, he was gorgeous.
What if . . .
I shouldn’t.
No good ever came out of ideas formulated while drunk.
I couldn’t.
But . . .
That face . . .
And that note.
So romantic. So beautiful.
Plus . . . I’d never seen the inside of a twelve-million-dollar penthouse.
I really shouldn’t.
Then again . . . I’d spent the last two years doing everything I should do. And where had that gotten me?
Right here. It’d gotten me right damn here—hungover and unemployed, sitting in this crappy apartment. Maybe it was time I did the things I shouldn’t be doing for a change. I picked up my phone and let my finger hover over the “Call Back” button for a while.
Screw it.
No one would ever know. It could be fun—getting all dressed up and playing the part of a rich Upper West Sider while satisfying my curiosity about the man. What harm was there?
None that I could think of. Still, you know what they say about curiosity . . .
I pressed “Call Back.”
“Hi. This is Charlotte Darling calling to confirm an appointment with Reed Eastwood . . .”

 

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

91FFBs19XQL._UX250_

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.

Sign up for Penelope & Vi’s mailing list now and be the first one notified when it goes live!  HERE

Do you like texts better than email? Receive text notices of Vi’s new releases by texting the word BOOKS to 77948 You will ONLY receive a text when a new book goes live – no other messages at all!

Find Vi here

Website | Facebook Fan Group | Facebook

Twitter  @vikeeland | Instagram  @Vi_Keeland

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Penelope Ward photo

Penelope Ward is a New York Times, USA Today and #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author.

She grew up in Boston with five older brothers and spent most of her twenties as a television news anchor. Penelope resides in Rhode Island with her husband, son, and beautiful daughter with autism.

With over 1.5 million books sold, she is a twenty-time New York Times bestseller and the author of over twenty novels.

Sign up for Penelope & Vi’s mailing list now and be the first one notified when it goes live!  HERE

Find Penelope here

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Twitter @penelopewardauthor | Instagram

 Goodreads | BookBub | Gmail

 

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Beat

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TICK TOCK by Jane Harvey-Berrick is LIVE!

Today we are thrilled to share bestselling author
Jane Harvey-Berrick’s all-new highly anticipated military romantic suspense novel, TICK TOCK

ADD TO GOODREADS

 

Forget SEALS, Marines, Fighter Pilots – I have the most dangerous job in the world. And I love it.

James Spears is part of an elite group who lives and breathes danger. Where others run from it, he walks towards it, calm, focussed ice-cold. James is a top EOD operative.
Explosive…
Ordnance…
Disposal…

You’d call him a bomb disposal expert. Or crazy. A guy with a death wish. He’s heard it all before and he doesn’t give a shit. He’s the best.

They say he doesn’t have blood in his veins, he has ice. They say he has no nerves.

All that’s about to be tested.

Amira is recruited by the CIA to infiltrate a terrorist cell living in rural Pennsylvania. She’s the perfect plant, no one would ever suspect her. Because her brother was killed when a bomb was dropped on the Syrian hospital where he was working as a doctor. And now hate burns deeply inside her. She’s perfect.

That’s what they tell James when he’s told to train her to be the best damn bomb-maker there is. In a secret camp, deep in the woods, James teaches her everything he knows about building bombs. He’s not a praying man, but now he’s really hoping that he’s doing the right thing.

Codename: Hansel and Gretel

Book 1 in the EOD Series

ONE-CLICK YOUR COPY TODAY!

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amazon: universal

AVAILABLE IN KINDLEUNLIMITED

 

reviewed by sharon thérèse at kff

Tick Tock is like no other military romance I’ve read. Not only did it exceed my expectations, but its power storyline unbalanced me to the point where I had to sit back and seriously think about what I’d read. However, there were moments the story begged me to turn the pages at lightning-fast speed and when I did, I found myself re-reading passages, chapters, highlighting and making notes. It’s extremely believable, sheds light on the dangers a bomb disposal expert faces day in, day out and the attitude he has towards a profession he’s dedicated his life to and loves. Also, I take my hat off to the author for tackling an issue such as is religion with so much delicacy and consideration for her readers’ feelings. Add love and war to the mix and it’s an angst-ridden novel.

James has a mission and it’s the most complicated one he has ever had to take on. His thoughts regarding it are loud and clear; he’s not happy when he finds out exactly what’s been asked of him. It seems like an impossible task, the clock is ticking and only his expertise can stop a disaster. It’s difficult to imagine what it would be like training two people who have no idea from one end of a bomb to another. But James never loses his cool; he has a job to do and will give it his all. Showing Alan Clayton and Amira the intricacies of explosives not only conveyed to me how high-risk it was for his students but James’ sensitivity and patience towards them I found nothing less than splendid. And I have to say I had no trouble investing in this beautiful man whose soul is so generous, and whose only concern is the safety for those he teaches.

Born to Muslim parents, Amira is an enigma. Used to the ways of the western world, I didn’t question her religion per se, but how she measured her true faith. At times, her inner conflicts confused me. I wondered why she’d agreed to being recruited by an intelligence agency and although a past happening was an influencing factor, I couldn’t quite come to terms with her reasoning regardless of her misery. Emotions run high, giving the story that added bite and throwing my feelings into a real turmoil–especially in one scene where I felt she’d been unfair to James. Hers and James’ relationship is such a complicated one and I’d be fibbing if I didn’t say I wanted to jump into my Kindle to give them both a good talking to; separately, of course! There’s no time or place for lovey-dovey scenes here, nonetheless, these two opposites have chemistry, the action flows at a fast pace and intrigue abounds from all corners of the globe.

It cannot be denied that Harvey-Berrick’s a courageous storyteller. Tick Tock is a very character driven story and you can easily see that she’s done her homework. Facts have been used from her research without prettying results up, the detail essentially setting the story in a stressful environment under harsh conditions. But I’d like to make something clear if you’re having doubts, something I give a lot of importance to. This story is neither racist nor hate-oriented. It is about two brave people striving for their goals. It’ll make you hold your breath and just wait for the ending, it knocked me for six! The secondary character development is spot on. Clay; what a marvellous man so full of life, so lovable. I’d really like you lovers of military romances to give book one in the EOD series a chance. You won’t regret it! Bravo Harvey-Berrick and thank you for the exceptional narration from Amira and James’ viewpoint.

PROLOGUE & chapter one

© 2018 JANE HARVEY-BERRICK
All rights reserved.

 

 

PROLOGUE

 

We’re born alone and we die alone.

I’ve never been afraid of dying. It’s living that scares the hell out of me.

But in the bomb suit, I am utterly alone.

There is no today, no yesterday, no tomorrow.

Just here, right now.

There is no God, no Devil, no good, no evil.

Just me. And the sound of my breathing, loud and rhythmic.

Just me. And this bomb.

A bomb is a device that is designed to kill, maim or harass.

I’m not afraid. I don’t have time to be afraid.

The sun burns down, the light is a white haze, sweat runs into my eyes. The longer I’m out here, kneeling in the dust, the more vulnerable the team watching my back.

I can’t be quick. I have to be certain.

Because if I’m wrong, I die.

I am an EOD operator.

Explosives

Ordnance

Disposal.

Bomb disposal.

I am the Tick Tock man.

__________________________________________

CHAPTER 1

James

I raised my SA80 rifle and aimed at the man’s chest. Got him!

From 20 yards, I couldn’t miss. But then again, neither could he.

He was driving an old Jeep, so battered that it looked as though string and chewing gum held it together. He revved the engine threateningly and I ducked behind a lamppost so he wouldn’t be able to run me over. I couldn’t see the driver’s hands. What was he doing with his hands? He could be reaching for a weapon, or he could be arming a device that would blow a hole through the world.

Shit just got serious.

I gestured with the rifle, my voice harsh and gritty—a command.

“Raise your hands and place them on the steering wheel.”

He didn’t move, he just stared at me, his eyes narrowed with hatred.

“Raise your hands now!”

Still nothing.

The soldier next to me started to twitch.

“Staff! He’s not doing anything! Does he even speak fucking English?”

He’d got a strong Geordie accent, so it sounded like, Stav! Ees not dooin’ ennyfink! Doos ee even spook fookin Eenglish?

“I don’t know. Do you?”

He gave me a quick, nervous grin. But my joke had helped him to relax. Or maybe he’d just stepped back from the edge of a big mistake.

I took a pace forward, pointing my SA80 at the insurgent.

“Hands where I can see them!”

Even if he didn’t speak English, my meaning was clear.

But I was distracted by the soldier next to me who was jigging from foot to foot like he wanted to piss his pants.

I glanced toward him.

“Calm down, it’s alright…”

Suddenly, there was a loud bang, a flash of light from the Jeep, and a cloud of dust and blue smoke flared upward.

I lowered my rifle and swore.

“Staff Sergeant Spears!” bellowed Captain Elderman, shaking his head. “If that had been a real device, you and your men would be very fucking dead right now. You should have made sure his hands were in sight. It’s a good thing this is a training exercise in Wiltshire and not a real life situation in Ifuckingdontcareistan. I expected better of you, Spears. See me in my office later.”

Then he strode away.

The Jeep driver grinned, tossed a V-sign with his fingers, racing off in a cloud of dust, the exhaust rattling asthmatically.

“Sorry, Staff,” said my Lance Corporal, his expression crestfallen. “I fooked it oop.”

“You, me, both,” I sighed.

We joined the rest of the Troop and trudged back to the bus that would take us from the training ground to the barracks.

The pack on my back weighed 110 pounds: 50lb of basic Army shit; 60lb of EOD kit. It was 31oC and I was sweating my ‘nads off. English summers weren’t supposed to be this hot.

It was sheer relief to climb onto the bus and crawl to a seat at the back where I could dump my pack and drink some tepid water from my flask.

I looked around at my team that I’d been attached to, all from REME—the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. They were good lads, but young and inexperienced. At 29, I was the oldest. Next stop thirty. When did I get so old?

I leaned back against the seat and closed my eyes, letting the weariness take me. Within minutes, I was falling asleep. That was something you learned in this job: catch some ZZZs while you can. Hours in your sleeping bag can be few and far between on a deployment in a hostile environment. Over the years, I’d trained myself to sleep anywhere: in a hammock, up a tree, in a tank, or lying on a slab of concrete. Time and opportunity was all I needed.

Although a nice soft bed with a nice soft woman in it wouldn be even better, but I took what I could get.

When the bus arrived back at base, I was jolted awake.

Military bases are all essentially the same: red brick housing for families, low concrete barracks for unmarried personnel, ugly buildings, boring offices, hangars for planes or transport, tarmac parade grounds—grey, functional, depressing.

The Ministry Of Defence kept promising to tart up the living quarters, but I hadn’t seen any signs of it lately. At least we all had single rooms now, except for recruits who hadn’t passed basic.

Back at the Armoury, we returned our weapons, and the ammunition was carefully counted. No one wanted ammo to find its way into the wrong hands.

“Well done, lads,” I said, grinning despite my tiredness and our joint failure. “Not a bad op today—we were tight … right up until we had a weapons-grade fuck up. Think about how it could have been improved so next time we’ll be on it.”

“Yes, Staff,” came the muttered replies.

The smile slid from my face as I turned and headed toward the building housing the REME officers.

Not all officers are wankers. By the law of averages you occasionally come across one that you don’t want to shoot. Elderman was alright, not that I knew him well. I’d only been attached here for three weeks—barely enough time to find my way around base.

If I’d been overseas on ops, I’d have used the time to unofficially requisition some better kit for my men. There was always something they needed that the bastard of a Quartermaster wanted to keep tidied away in his nice, neat stores. Raiding his supplies could be a useful training exercise for my team. Unofficially, of course. But on a home base, it would be viewed as highly unprofessional and probably career ending—amassing spares on ops was viewed differently.

Totally against regulations. But that was the thing about the men who were in my trade: ATs, Ammunition Technicians—bomb disposal officers—we made lousy soldiers, but we made great ATs.

Our minds worked differently from most soldiers—we were trained specifically for that reason. We had to see three steps beyond everyone else. We were taught to analyze, taught to think. And that made us independent—which most officers hated.

We were the opposite of fighter pilots: they tell everyone who will listen that they’re a pilot and that speed is life. I didn’t tell anyone what I did, and speed is death.

Captain Elderman accepted my salute briskly and waved me into a chair.

“Fuck up today, Staff. Not your finest hour.”

“No, sir.”

He’d seen what happened, I didn’t need to apologise for it.

The Captain leaned back in his chair, tapping a cheap plastic biro against the scarred desk.

“I’ve had an unusual request come across my desk and someone at Division HQ thinks that you’re the man for the job.”

I stared at him warily. In my experience, a volunteer was someone who hadn’t understood the question.

“It seems our friends across the pond need some help—someone with your skill-set, as it turns out. Working with their own EOD teams—some sort of training exercise. You need to report to RAF Croughton tomorrow. Apparently the Yanks are so keen to have you, they’re sending transport to pick you up. Be packed and ready by 0700.”

I wasn’t expecting that—a training exercise with American military?

Could be interesting: Americans trained hard. Fifteen years ago, they said they wanted to be world leaders in EOD within ten years, and maybe in terms of equipment, support, numbers and capability they had it all going for them. In the British Army, we’d been trained for decades by learning how to neutralize everything the IRA could throw at us. There was a different background of knowledge to draw on, which was just as well, because we definitely weren’t funded to the same level.

“Yes, sir. How long am I going for?”

He frowned and looked at the paperwork.

“Doesn’t say. Best expect to be away for a few weeks.”

“Yes, sir.”

I took the orders that he handed to me and flicked through them as I headed back to my room, growing more and more confused.

The orders simply said when and where I’d be picked up: nothing about the training exercise, how long I’d be away, what I’d be doing, which regiment I’d be working with, or who’d requested me. Weirdly, the only contact was an email address that went to an office I’d never heard of at the MOD HQ in London.

It didn’t seem as though Elderman had been told anything more than was in my orders.

It wasn’t completely unusual to do training exercises with our opposite number in the U.S. Army; I’d even trained with Navy SEALs, and EOD teams in the U.S. Marine Corps—but this was definitely different.

For one thing, it looked as though I’d be travelling by myself rather than with the Unit I was attached to; and for another thing, there was nothing to say where I was heading. Besides, the logistics of these sorts of joint exercises always took months to plan. I should have heard something about it before now.

I pulled out my phone and Googled RAF Croughton:

“Royal Air Force Croughton houses the 422nd Air Base Group whose function is to provide installation support, services, force protection, and worldwide communications across the entire spectrum of operations. The group is located in the UK and supports NATO, U.S. European Command, U.S. Central Command, Air Force Special Operations Command, U.S. Department of State operations and Ministry of Defence operations. The group sustains more than 450 C2 circuits and supports 25% of all European Theater to continental United States (CONUS) communications.”

In other words, spook work.

There was a story behind this deployment, I just didn’t know what it was. Because it sounded like the sort of thing that would usually be undertaken by the Special Forces ATOs. But since I’d been dumped in a dead end unit after the incident in Afghanistan, it gave me a chance to escape to something more exciting—and possibly save my career.

So there was nothing for me to do but pack my bags. Since I’d only been in Wiltshire for three weeks, I hadn’t exactly made myself at home and I’d travelled light in the first place. Packing wasn’t an issue: where to store my Ducati Sport 1000 was. I didn’t trust those clumsy bastards in transport, the Royal Logistics Corps, not to damage it.

But as I was leaving in 12 hours, I didn’t have a lot of choice either.

I decided to shoot a text to my mate Noddy, reminding him that he owed me, and asking him to look after my wheels until I got back.

He agreed, but also wound me up by threatening to ride it while I was away. Noddy had been in my platoon but left the Army five years ago, and now he weighed 300 pounds and had as much balance as a lame hippo: if he tried to ride my bike, they’d be taking him to A&E and my bike to the knackers’ yard.

For a moment, I thought about texting Vanessa, but then remembered that we’d broken up a month ago because she didn’t like being in a long distance relationship. She hated me being sent away all the time, bitching and moaning about cancelled dates and missed birthdays; complaining when she found ants in her kitchen and I wasn’t there to sort it out. What the hell did she think the Army was? A holiday camp where you could come and go as you liked?

The Army was my home—the only one I had, so I did what I was told—mostly—and went where they sent me.

I tried not to think about what I was going to do when I’d served my 22 years. Returning to civilian life at 40 didn’t hold any appeal for me. A few people stayed on after they’d done their full stint, but not many.

I shook my head: I still had 11 years before I had to face that horror story.

I settled down on my hard bunk with my hands behind my head and wondered what the Army had in store for me this time.

EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT

© 2018 JANE HARVEY-BERRICK
All rights reserved.

 

 

I’d known that she was standing behind me, watching me. I’d heard the creak of her cot as she climbed off the bed, heard the soft rustle of sheets, and listened carefully as she’d opened the door.
I waited for the soft footfalls that meant she was walking towards me or towards the bathroom, but when I didn’t hear anything, I turned around.
She was a mess.
Her left cheek was creased from sleeping face down on her pillow, and her hair was a knotted tangle, stuck to her head on one side, greasy and uncombed. Her t-shirt was thin and her tits pressed against the worn material so I could see the darker tint of her nipples underneath. Her legs were long and smooth, with skin the colour of caramel. And those eyes—the eyes that had seemed older glaring at me through her niqab were soft and liquid with surprise, then narrowed in anger, and finally drooping with shame.
She stumbled backwards away from me, slamming the door and muttering to herself.
I didn’t know if I was amused, insulted, or just as surprised as her. My dick twitched with appreciation of her curvy figure and a nice pair of legs.
I hadn’t expected the woman to be so young, maybe mid-twenties, maybe late-twenties—my age. I definitely hadn’t expected her to be attractive. I’d imagined some sour, bitter bitch, her sharp tongue cutting chunks off men who got in her way.
But this woman was beautiful. It was probably just as well she covered herself from head to toe. Being attracted to a CIA asset was a terrible idea—and we both had a job to do.
Clay appeared from the other cabin.
“It’s a beautiful morning, brother,” he smiled.
My brain took a second to reboot then I shook my head in amusement. This guy was congenitally happy—it wasn’t normal. My smile faded when I took in how he was dressed: sandals on his feet, and a loose white robe, similar to those I’d seen Iraqi men wear.
“What’s with all that?” I asked, nodding at his robe while I sipped my coffee.
“Have some respect, brother,” he said, pointing a finger at me, and nearly dropping a handful of sweets in the process. “Damn! You almost made me drop my Gummi Worms. Damn, you made me cuss and I’ve only just said morning prayers.” He sighed. “You’re a bad influence, James. And put some damn clothes on.”
“What are those sweets you’re eating?”
Clay looked shocked.
“You’ve never had Gummi Worms?”
“Don’t think so. They look too much like, well, worms. What are they made of? Gelatin?”
He closed his eyes for a second then squinted up at the rising sun.
“Damn,” he said softly. “Gelatin—that’s definitely not halal. You want them?”
I pulled a face and he dropped the colourful sweets in the dirt, shaking his head sadly.
“This shit is hard.”
“But you’re not really a Muslim, are you?”
He grimaced, still staring at the dust-covered sweets by his feet.
“I’m a seeker,” he said finally. “There are a lot of fine words in the Qur’an, but I don’t subscribe to any religion in particular.” Then he looked at me seriously. “But I’d better damn well convince the ISIS cell that I’m a convert.”
“That’s why you’re dressing like one of them?”
He nodded and stroked the straggly beard that he was growing.
“The robe is a Didashah: white for the summer, and darker, heavier fabrics in the winter.” He grinned at me. “It’s surprisingly comfortable in this heat. Free-balling is mighty fine.”
I groaned.
“Mate, I don’t want to think about your meat-and-two-veg—that’s just nasty.”

 

Meet JANE

Writing is my passion and my obsession. I write every day and I love it. My head is full of stories and characters. I’ll never keep up with all my ideas!

I live in a small village by the ocean and walk my little dog, Pip, every day. It’s on those beachside walks that I have all my best ideas.

Writing has become a way of life – and one that I love to share.

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