CHAPTER REVEAL                                        ABSINTHE by WINTER RENSHAW

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The name on the screen was “Absinthe.”

I knew her as the sultry voice blowing up my phone for late night chats about Proust and Hemingway interspersed between the best phone sex I never knew I could have.

We’d never met.

Until the day she walked into my office, her cherry lips wrapped around a candy apple sucker and an all too familiar voice that said, “They said you wanted to see me, Principal Hawthorne?”

 

Coming August 8th

 

 

 

Prologue



Ford

“You wanted to see me, Principal Hawthorne?”
I know that voice. I’d know it anywhere.
Glancing up from my desk, I find a girl in skintight athletic leggings and a low-cut tank top standing in my office doorway, her full lips wrapped around a shiny sucker and a familiar electric jade gaze trained on me.
It’s her.
The woman I spent most of all summer chatting with under the anonymous veil of a dating app—one in specifically meant for adults seeking connections but not commitment. I purchased a stock photo for seven dollars, chose a pseudonym, Kerouac, and messaged a woman by the name of Absinthe who quoted Hemingway in her bio when everyone else quoted Nickelback and John Legend.
Fuck.
Me.
“You must be Halston.” My skin is on fire. I stand, smooth my tie, and point to the seat across from me. I never knew her name, but I’d know that voice anywhere. I can’t even count how many times I came to the sound of her breathy rasp describing all the wicked things she’d do to me if we ever met, reading me excerpts from Rebecca. “Take a seat.”
She takes her time pulling the sucker from her mouth before strutting to my guest chair, lowering herself, cleavage first, and crossing her long legs. The tiniest hint of a smirk claims her mouth, but if she knows it’s me, she’s sure as hell not acting like it.
“You want to tell me what happened with Mrs. Rossi?” I ask, returning to my seat and folding my hands on my desk.
I may be a lot of things; overconfident prick, allergic to commitment, red-blooded American man …
But I’m a professional first.
“Mrs. Rossi and I had an argument,” Halston says. “We were discussing the theme of The Great Gatsby, and she was trying to say that it was about chasing the elusive American dream. I told her she missed the entire fucking point of one of the greatest pieces of literature in existence.” She takes another suck of her candy before continuing, then points it in my direction. “The real theme has to do with manipulation and dishonesty, Principal Hawthorne. Everyone in that book was a fucking liar, most of all Jay, and in the end, he got what he deserved. They all did.”
My cock strains against the fabric of my pants. It’s her voice. It’s her goddamned sex-on-fire voice that’s doing this to me. That and her on point dissection of classic American literature. Sexy, intelligent, outspoken. Three elusive qualities I’ve yet to find in another human being. Until her. And knowing that now, I couldn’t even have her if I wanted her, isn’t doing me any favors. If I don’t compose myself, I’m going to be hard as a fucking rock.
“Language,” I say. The room is growing hotter now, but I keep a stern, undeterred presence.
She rolls her eyes. “I’m an adult, Principal Hawthorne. I can say words like fuck.”
“Not in my office, you can’t.” I exhale. “And not in class either. That’s why Mrs. Rossi sent you here.”
“The jackass behind me was drawing swastikas on his notebook, but I get sent down here for saying ‘fuck.’” Her head shakes.
“I’ll discuss that with Mrs. Rossi privately.” I scribble a note to myself and shove it aside.
“You’re really young for a principal.” Her charged gaze drags the length of me. “Did you just graduate from college or something?”
Six years of school and two years of teaching place me in the budding stages of a career shaping and educating the minds of tomorrow’s leaders, but I refuse to dignify her question with a response.
“My age is irrelevant,” I say.
“Age is everything.” She twirls a strand of pale hair around her finger, her lips curling up in the corners. The cute-and-coy shtick must work on everyone else, but it’s not going to work on me. Not here anyway. And not anymore.
“I said my age is irrelevant.”
“Am I the first student you’ve ever had to discipline?” She sits up, crossing and uncrossing her legs with the provocative charm of a 1940s pin up. “Wait, are you going to discipline me?”
I take mental notes for her file.
–       Challenges authority
–       Difficulty conducting herself appropriately
–       Possible boundary issues
“I’m not going to punish you, Halston. Consider this a verbal warning.” I release a hard breath through my nose as I study her, refusing to allow my eyes to drift to the soft swell of her breasts casually peeking out of her top. Knowing her so intimately over the phone, and being in her presence knowing she’s completely off limits, makes it difficult to maintain my unshaken demeanor. “From now on, I’d like you to refrain from using curse words while on school grounds. It’s disruptive to the other students who are here to actually glean something from their high school education.”
“I don’t know.” Her lips bunch at the corner, and she fights a devilish grin. “I mean, I can try, but ‘fuck’ is one of my favorite words in the English language. What if I can’t stop saying it? Then what?”
“Then we’ll worry about that when the time comes,” I say.
“You could always bend me over your knee and spank me.” She rises, wrapping her lips around the sucker before plucking it out of her mouth with a wet pop. “Or maybe you could fuck my brains out and break my heart.”
“Excuse me?” My skin heats, but I refuse to let her see that she’s having any kind of effect on me.
“You’re him,” she says, as if it’s some ace she’s been keeping up her sleeve this entire time. “You’re Kerouac.”
I’m at an extraordinary loss for words, trying to wrap my head around all the ways this could go very fucking wrong for me.

 

 

Wall Street Journal and #1 Amazon bestselling author Winter Renshaw is a bona fide daydream believer. She lives somewhere in the middle of the USA and can rarely be seen without her trusty Mead notebook and ultra portable laptop. When she’s not writing, she’s living the American dream with her husband, three kids, and the laziest puggle this side of the Mississippi.

 

And if you’d like to be the first to know when a new book is coming out, please sign up for her private mailing list HERE

 

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                                     BLOG TOUR                                                    COCKY CHEF by JD HAWKINS

 

Cocky Chef by JD Hawkins

Release Date: July 31st

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Designer: Letitia Hasser from RBA Designs

Model: Christian Hogue



 

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Blurb

You can call me arrogant as much as you want. But when you’re the best at what you do and have the hottest restaurant on the west coast, with enough Michelin stars to make Gordon Ramsay’s head spin, you’ve earned the right to your confidence.

When I give an instruction in the kitchen, it’s not a suggestion–it’s an order. So when a new chef thinks she can do things her way, and dares to say so to my face, even her sharp wit and gorgeous pouty lips don’t make it okay.

But I have to admit, she’s got talent. She’s creative in the kitchen and not even that double-breasted chef jacket can hide her perfect body. As I get to know her, I can’t help wanting to know everything she thinks. I’ve never met a more talented chef. And I’ve never met a sassier and sexier woman in my life.

There’s only one way this push and pull can end.

With her in my bed, begging for more.

 

 

★ ★ ★ ★

Reviewed by Klaire Sutherland on behalf of Kindle Friends Forever

It’s no secret that I thoroughly enjoy this author’s books. They err on the side of perfection and Cocky Chef is no exception. I picked one fault with this book, a silly thing that bears no mention in the grander scheme of things. Fans will devour Cole and Willow and if you’re new to JD Hawkins, you won’t look back. Thankfully he has a great back catalogue to tuck into.

I kind of like the cover, it is in keeping with all of Mr Hawkins books. Simple and pleasing to the eye, I think this is what initially draws the reader. Then the blurb, it’s not hard to envisage Gordon Ramsay – only hotter, way hotter. Cole Chambers is the epitome of arrogance to begin with. When faced with the young chef Willow from Idaho I asked myself who exactly the cocky chef was. She exerted a flash of arrogance when they first met and kept up the steady strong woman persona throughout the book. Cole’s temperament was more explosive than Willow’s, she kept her down to earth character throughout. Both characters had been stung before, both in very different ways. Cole had to climb his own mountain with his trust issues and eventually he sees what the reader sees in Willow.

What I especially liked about Cocky Chef was the distinctive imagery that JD Hawkins imparted upon the pages, within his scenes. While it is certainly true that this author can write a scorching hot scene, of which there are many in Cocky Chef, it is also true to say that this man’s words can feed the soul too. My mouth salivated with some of Cole and Willow’s kitchen scenes. The knowledge taken to write such depth about food is quite something. Again, a book full of class and flair. If you are looking for a ‘smutty’ read you won’t exactly find that in Cocky Chef, once again JD Hawkins proves that a title and a cover should not be judged. His written word is impeccable, as always.

But…this book did not light a fire under my butt. Cocky Chef didn’t excite me as much as previous books had. Yes, the story is as fresh as one can be, the characters and plot developed almost perfectly. You can see the acts playing out in formation. And I think this is the problem. I know what I’m getting when I read a JD Hawkins book. There are no rough edges, it’s as contemporary as contemporary comes. No surprises. I didn’t feel much emotion in this book when reading, except perhaps a little happy when Cole and Willow find their way. The struggle didn’t seem insurmountable. Dare I say it – an easy read. For many this is fine, but Cocky Chef didn’t have the edginess I would have liked.

Still, it’s a highly recommended read, as are all JD Hawkins’s books. You certainly won’t be disappointed picking up Cocky Chef, even if just to lick that cover!

 

 

EXCERPT:

She lets out a sigh of relief, but my cock hears something different in her gasping exhale. I bring my thumb slowly to a speck at the side of her mouth, fingers resting on the round perfection of her jawline. She stills under my touch and catches my gaze, time slowing with the deliberateness of my movements.

I brush the speck, but don’t pull away. Instead, I bring my thumb back across those ever-pouted lips, tracing their dip and fullness, letting her feel the texture of hands rough and scarred from a lifetime in kitchens, our eyes locked together in a moment of anticipation, emotions raging like an angry sea against the dam of the distance between us.

Her lips part slightly, I feel her shortening breath on my hand, and I push my thumb between those juicy, perfect lips, fingers pressing against the base of her ear. Her gentle gasp breaks the silence, before she closes those soft lips around my thumb, the sight of them pressing against my skin making my cock full against my pants. Her teeth gently squeezing my nail, tongue flickering as I push the finger inside the hot wetness of her mouth.

My other hand already on her waist, I pull her toward me, press her lithe body up against mine. Those magnificent hips swaying and rubbing against mine, her weight shifting onto me, breasts heaving, nipples so hard now I can feel them through that sweater dress.

“You’re fucking incredible,” I growl. Prelude to pulling her toward me, my finger in her mouth still, angling her head so I can taste the tenderness of her neck, run my sensitive tastebuds down the taut muscles, follow the path that leads me to the front of her chest. Quiet moans getting louder as I run my tongue down the softness of her cleavage, her dress my enemy now as I pull it down and bury my teeth in her breasts.

“Oh God…” she moans. “Cole…”

 

 

About the Author:

JD Hawkins writes erotic romance with modern-classic alpha males and strong, independant women. He currently lives with his wife in Los Angeles, CA. He loves to travel and has lived in many places, including New York City, India and Thailand. When he isn’t writing, JD enjoys surfing, training in Mixed Martial Arts, reading and taking naps. He’s always loved making up stories, especially ones inspired by real life.

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                  SPECIAL EXCERPT REVEAL                       THE BEAUTY OF US by KRISTEN PROBY

 

From New York Times bestselling author Kristen Proby comes a sexy, new standalone contemporary romance in her Fusion Series, THE BEAUTY OF US, releasing August 22, 2017! Check out the chapter below and get to know Trevor and Riley!

 

About THE BEAUTY OF US:

New York Times bestselling author Kristen Proby delivers another sizzling novel in her delectable and sexy Fusion series.

Riley Gibson is over the moon at the prospect of having her restaurant, Seduction, on the Best Bites TV network. This could be the big break she’s been waiting for. But the idea of having an in-house show on a regular basis is a whole other matter. Their lives would be turned upside down, and convincing Mia, her best friend and head chef of Seduction, that having cameras in her kitchen every day is a good idea is daunting. Still, Riley knows it’s an opportunity she can’t afford to pass on. And when she meets Trevor Cooper, the show’s executive producer, she’s stunned by their intense chemistry.

Trevor’s sole intention is to persuade Riley to allow Best Bites TV to do a show on her restaurant. But when he walks into Riley’s office, he stops dead in his tracks. The professional, aloof woman on the phone is incredibly beautiful and funny. But can he convince her that he’s interested in Riley for himself? Or is he using the undeniable pull between them to persuade her to agree to his offer?

 

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And Don’t Miss the First Three Novels in the Fusion Series, LISTEN TO ME, CLOSE TO YOU, and BLUSH FOR ME!

 

 Chapter 2

~Trevor~

I didn’t sleep worth shit last night. I waited for a response to my e-mail from Riley for a while; I’m not exactly sure why. I just don’t like the thought of her being embarrassed.

Because she has no reason to be. She didn’t know who I was, and it was closing time. She was venting to her friends.

It’s really no big deal.

But I could see the mortification in her big blue eyes when she realized who I was, and that doesn’t sit well with me.

When no response came, and for all I know she hasn’t even read the e-mail yet, I sat down for a game on the PS4. I don’t travel anywhere without it. Some people read to unwind. Some go to the gym, and there are times I do the same. But to truly relax, I enjoy gaming. I have since I was a kid.

So I settled in the apartment the network has rented for me this month and played online with my friends, talking about our days and shooting the enemy.

We played well past midnight, and I usually would have gone right to bed afterward, but my mind was still turning, making falling asleep impossible. The restaurant is better than I imagined through my research on their website and customer reviews. It’s visually stunning, the food is fantastic, and they’ve hit the mark on the sexy factor.

But added to that, the five women who own the place are all beautiful, smart, and will make for great TV. Viewers will eat this show up, pun intended.

I lean over the sink and wash my face, not bothering to shave today, and as I dry off, I reach for my phone.

I have several new e-mails.

The most recent is from Riley Gibson.

Trevor,

Thank you for your kind email. I apologize again for the conversation last night. I would like to promise that we don’t always talk like that at work, but that would be a lie. At least we keep it to closing time over a glass of wine.

Enjoy Portland,

Riley

I grin and sling the towel over my bare shoulders. Riley isn’t what I had pictured in my head before I got here. I knew that she was pretty because their photos are on their website, but she’s much prettier in person.

And animated.

Working with her will be fun.

And a test to my libido. Because Riley is fucking sexy. I’ve never mixed business and sex before, and I don’t plan to start now, but keeping my hands off her will be a test of wills.

And that too should be fun.

After my run this morning, I stopped by a bagel place to eat and read a newspaper, came back to the apartment for a shower, and I think I’ll go to Seduction for lunch. I hadn’t planned to go back there until my meeting with Riley tomorrow, but I also haven’t had lunch there yet.

I dress quickly in jeans and a red T-shirt and walk the six or so blocks to the restaurant.

They’ve just opened, so they’re not busy yet. The atmosphere is calm, the lighting a bit brighter than last night, making it a fun spot to meet with colleagues or friends for lunch.

I’m seated on the far side of the restaurant, where it meets the bar, and I can see Riley and the other women sitting around a high table, talking.

Loud enough for me to hear.

“So, he’ll be here tomorrow. Filming doesn’t start for another week, unless the timetable has been moved up,” Riley says, studying her iPad and checking things off a list. “It would be great if we could watch our language.”

“Right,” Mia says, rolling her eyes. “Because that’s gonna happen.”

“Just watch the F-bombs then,” Riley says with a grin. “And I’ll do my best not to vent to him about my horrible dating experiences. Not that I’ll be having any more of those.”

“I wish I’d been here for that,” Addie says with a smile. “It’s hilarious.”

“No, it’s not,” Riley says, but smiles and covers her lips with her fingers. “Okay, it’s a little funny. I’ll be working from home today.”

“Why?” The blonde speaking, I presume Cami, asks.

“Because I have a roofer coming today,” Riley says. “But if you need me, just call. I can come back after he leaves.”

“Go.” Mia waves her off. “We’ve got this.”

The girls all stand, about to go their own ways to get their day started. They’re clearly good friends, which will come across well on film.

Riley walks out of the bar and glances up, spotting me.

“Hi.” I offer her a smile and motion for her to join me. She sits, sets her iPad aside, and squares her shoulders.

I love a woman with grit.

“Why are you here?” she asks.

“I’m having lunch,” I reply, and gesture to the salad sitting in front of me. “It’s delicious. Adding the brussels sprouts is smart.”

“I’ll pass that along to Mia,” she says, and then laughs. “I guess you heard the part where I asked the girls to not swear.”

“I did,” I reply, and patiently butter a piece of warm bread. “Don’t worry about that stuff. They’re adults.”

“With potty mouths,” she says.

“And we can bleep stuff out, or ask them to rephrase. You’ve already got the gig, Riley. I wouldn’t be here otherwise. This isn’t an audition.”

“I know.” She sighs and reaches over to take a piece of my bread, surprising and delighting me. “I just want things to go smoothly.”

“Perhaps you should order lunch too.”

“I don’t have time,” she says, and then her blue eyes widen as she realizes what she just did. “I’m so sorry. I eat when I’m stressed out, and I didn’t—”

“No.” I hold my hand up to stop her. “It’s fine. I like that you’re relaxed with me. I think you need to relax more often.”

“What are you, my life coach now?”

“If you like. Did you cancel those dating sites like I suggested?”

She bites her lip and looks to the side, then nods. “I did.”

“Good.” I take a bite of salad and nod. “Are you sure you don’t want some food?”

“I rarely have time to eat,” Riley says, and checks the time on her phone. “In fact, I should go. I have to meet the roofer at my house.”

“What’s wrong with your roof?”

“It’s old,” she says with a shrug. “That’s what happens when you buy an old house. I’m fixing it up a little at a time.”

I nod, and find that I don’t want her to go quite yet. I want to talk more, to learn more about her.

“Why don’t you come to my apartment tonight and I’ll cook you dinner?”

She pauses and stares at me for a moment. “Why?”

I laugh and set my fork down. “Because I asked you to. We’re going to be working closely over the next few weeks, we might as well get to know each other a little better. Also, we can discuss my new duties as your life coach.”

“Well.” Her lips twitch as she thinks it over for a moment, a myriad of emotions moving across her beautiful face, and finally she says, “Okay. Do you mind texting me the address and the time?”

“Not at all,” I reply, and immediately pass her my phone. “Plug in your number and I’ll text you this afternoon.”

She complies, passes it back, and smiles. “Okay, see you later.”

And with that, she’s off. Her ass swaying enticingly in her tight skirt, calves flexing from the height of her heels, and the food I’m currently chewing immediately tastes like cardboard.

Jesus.

And I just voluntarily offered to spend time with her. Alone.

I’m a fucking glutton for punishment.

[no ornament]

“I’m starving,” Riley immediately says as I open the door. She’s in jeans and a well-loved University of Oregon sweatshirt, her hair is pulled up in a ponytail, and she looks like she could be a co-ed herself. “I forgot to eat today.”

“Does that happen every day?” I ask as I gesture for her to come inside and close the door behind her.

“Most days,” she admits. “Is this one of those bad choices that you’re gonna coach me through?”

“Yes,” I reply, and lead her into the kitchen. “You have to eat.”

“I know, I just get focused on other things, and the next thing I know, the day is gone and I’m starving.” She passes me two bottles of wine. “I didn’t know what we were having, so I brought red and white.”

“Thanks.” I grin and set them both on the counter. “I made salmon and asparagus with baby red potatoes. What goes best with that?”

Her eyes light up. “The white. Holy shit, are you a chef yourself?”

“I went to culinary school,” I reply, and squeeze some lemon on the salmon before plating it. “But I discovered I was better at a desk job.”

“That’s unusual,” she says, her head tilted to the side as she listens. “Most people fight to get out of a desk job.”

“Not me. I have a ton of respect for Mia, because being a chef isn’t easy, and pleasing people sucks.”

“True.” Riley nods. “She doesn’t get many plates sent back to her, but there are a few. Can I pour you a glass?”

“No thanks,” I reply, and reach in the fridge for a bottle of water. “I don’t drink alcohol.”

“Oh.” She frowns. “I’m sorry. I can drink water too.”

“It’s fine,” I reply, and pat her shoulder. “I don’t mind if you drink. I just don’t.”

“But last night, you were drinking Jack and Coke.”

“Nope, just Coke.”

She sits at the table, still frowning. “I’m sorry.”

“There’s nothing to be sorry for.” I set our plates down. “I’ve been sober for ten years. I’m not the kind of alcoholic who can’t be around others having a drink. It was never that bad for me. I’m just a better person if I don’t drink.”

“Good for you for knowing that,” she says, holding her glass out to clink against my water. “This looks delicious.”

“You sound surprised.”

“I expected pizza or Chinese takeout,” she says. “Honestly, that’s probably what you would have gotten from me. I’m also surprised that you’re not staying in a hotel.”

“I’m here long enough that the network sprung for the apartment. They usually do when I’m somewhere longer than a week or so.”

“You must travel a lot for this job,” she says, eating her food like a starving child. I don’t know if she even tastes it, she’s eating so fast.

“I travel often,” I reply, and grin when she takes the last bite. “Are you going to lick the plate?”

“Maybe,” she says with a grin. “I’m not even embarrassed that I ate that so fast. It was delicious.”

“I’m glad you liked it. There’s more.”

“No, I’m good,” she says, and reaches in her bag, pulling out a pad of paper and a pen. “You can eat while I interview you.”

“For what?”

“For the position of life coach,” she says with a sassy grin. I want to kiss that grin right off her face, but instead I take a bite of potato and gesture for her to begin.

“Okay, first question: What qualifications do you have that make you a good fit for this position?”

“Well, I have a few years on you, so I would say wisdom with age.”

She tilts her head to the side, the way she does when she’s turning something over in her head. “You can’t be that much older than me.”

“I’m thirty-seven.”

“Seven years,” she says, rolling her eyes.

“A lot can happen in seven years,” I reply, and sip my water.

“Okay, I’ll give you that.” She checks something off on her paper.

“Did you really write down questions?”

“Of course. I’m the queen of lists and the roofer was at my house forever.” She bites her lip as she looks at her list. “How many women have you life-coached in the past?”

“Well, I didn’t have an official job title, but I have two younger sisters, and an ex-wife, so I would say three.”

“But the wife is an ex, so maybe that did go well?” Riley asks. “And are your sisters productive members of society?”

“As opposed to being in jail?” I ask, laughing. “You’re hilarious, Riley.”

“You didn’t answer the question.”

“My sisters are great. The older one is married, a stay-at-home mom with two kids, and the younger one is a waitress.”

“But the ex-wife thing didn’t work out.”

“She’s not a mess, we just both decided that she shouldn’t be my wife anymore.”

“Why?”

I sit back in my chair and wipe my mouth on my napkin. “Because she thought it was a good idea to have sex with other men.”

Her eyebrows climb on her forehead and she blinks twice. “That’s a good reason.”

“I thought so.”

“Okay, next question.” She checks something on her paper and looks up at me with a smile. “How do you intend to be compensated for your work?”

“I’m working pro bono,” I reply with a wink.

“Why?”

“Because I’m going to be here anyway, and why not.” I shrug and finish the food on my plate. “What else do you want to know?”

“Is my coming to a virtual stranger’s apartment by myself one of the bad decisions you should have coached me on?”

I smile and set my plate aside so I can lean on the table. “Did the girls tell you that coming here by yourself was a bad idea?”

“I only talked to Cami and she thought I should come. Plus, I have a concealed carry, so I feel pretty confident that I’m safe.”

I raise a brow and cross my arms over my chest. “You carry a gun with you?”

“Hell to the yes,” she replies, and offers me a sweet smile. “I’ve been meeting strange men on the Internet. You bet your ass I’ve been armed.”

“Good idea,” I reply with a nod. “There are a lot of crazies out there.”

“Yes. But I think that if you’re gonna meet a crazy, it could be anywhere. Online, in a bar, at the gas station. They’re everywhere.”

“That’s true too,” I reply, and nod. “Well, I’m glad you’re being cautious.”

“I’m nobody’s victim,” she says, as casually as if she’s telling me her shoe size.

That’s fucking sexy.

“Do you have any other questions?”

“Not really,” she says, and shrugs. “I didn’t really write anything down. But it was fun to interrogate you a bit.”

“Now I have questions,” I reply, and smile when she cocks her head and purses her lips. “Do you really think you need a life coach?”

“No, I have my shit together,” she says with a grin.

“Why were you really on all of those sites?”

She shrugs. “Because it’s not easy meeting people. And sometimes a girl wants to go out on a date.”

“You don’t need me,” I reply, and smile. “But I’ll be around for a while, just in case.”

“Just in case I slip and fall back into the online dating?”

“That, or if you just want to have dinner, or chat. And I think we should watch a marathon of Star Wars. Your lack of knowledge is cause for concern.”

“It’s kind of a guy thing,” she says.

“I know many women who like Star Wars.”

“Well, I would watch one or two.”

“You need to see them all to understand what’s happening.”

“That’s a lot of hours of my life that I’ll never get back,” she says with a frown. “Aren’t there CliffsNotes somewhere? A speedy way to get caught up?”

“No,” I reply, and fist my hands in my lap so I don’t reach out and tuck her hair behind her ear.

Or yank her against me so I can kiss the fuck out of her.

“Are you okay?” she asks.

“Are you always this observant?”

“I’m an overthinker,” she says. “So yeah, I’m an observer.”

“I’ve been labeled an overthinker too,” I say with a grin.

“Would you say it’s an accurate assessment?”

“Oh yeah,” I say with a nod, and stand to clear our plates away. She stands to help. “I’ve got this.”

“No way, you cooked, so I’ll help clean.”

She walks ahead of me, her empty glass in one hand and her plate in the other. “Do you use the dishwasher, or do you wash by hand?”

“There are people who still wash by hand?”

“I’ve heard of them, but I’ve never seen them in the wild,” she says, and smiles up at me when I join her. “So I guess that means we use the dishwasher?”

“Yes.” She rinses and I load, and a few short minutes later, we’re done.

“Well, I suppose I should go,” she says, and checks the time on her phone. “Oh, Cami texted. I guess I should reply so she doesn’t think you killed me after the entrée.”

She smirks and types on her phone, then turns it off and looks up at me.

“Thanks for dinner.”

“You’re welcome.”

“I’ll see you tomorrow morning.”

Unfortunately, it won’t be in my bed.

“You will.”

“Okay.” She gathers her bag, notepad and pen, and walks to the door. “Sleep well tonight.”

I grin and congratulate myself for not dragging my fingertips down her cheek.

You sleep well tonight, Riley.”

“Okay. Bye.”

She leaves and I close the door, letting out a slow breath. Jesus, she’s sexy and funny and smart as fuck.

And I’m not going to touch her while I’m here.

 How the fuck am I going to do that?

 

Don’t miss the first chapter of THE BEAUTY OF US! You can read it here!

About Kristen Proby:

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Kristen Proby is the author of the bestselling With Me In Seattle and Love Under the Big Sky series. She has a passion for a good love story and strong, humorous characters with a strong sense of loyalty and family. Her men are the alpha type; fiercely protective and a bit bossy, and her ladies are fun, strong, and not afraid to stand up for themselves.

Kristen lives in Montana, where she enjoys coffee, chocolate and sunshine. And naps.

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                                RELEASE BLITZ                                                 BAD BOSS by CLARISSA WILD

 

 

Title: Bad Boss

Series: Unprofessional Bad Boys

Author: Clarissa Wild

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: July 19, 2017

Cover Designer: Booming Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

BookFunnel 

 

 

What do men want more than anything? Money and women.

As the CEO of one of the biggest companies in the city, I am one lucky man.

Everyone wants a taste of what I’ve got to offer, and it’s massive. Girls fight over me in droves.

In my fantasy, of course. I had to make some sacrifices to get to the top.

To protect myself and the company, I always have to hide my dirty little secret…

I’m a panty sniffer.

What? A man has needs. Mine are just a bit more… outrageous. Instead of dating, I hoard panties.

Except it’s about to blow up in my face.

Why?

Because a beautiful girl just showed up for a job interview … the same girl I just bought a pair of panties from anonymously…

And what do I do?

I let my junk do the thinking, and hire her as my intern.

 

Author’s note: Don’t take it too hard, it’s just a book, not a big D. But this guy does have one. I’m not kidding. His schlong is huge and his ego is too, so beware. And as always … if you don’t like slapstick jokes and corny romance, don’t bother to read.

 

 

Reviewed by Emma-Louise on behalf of KFF

“A man has needs. Mine are just a bit more… outrageous. Instead of dating, I hoard panties.”

Bad Boss, what a heck of a journey, the blurb caught me by total surprise.  What a way to catch the reader.  I’ve read all sorts of kink books, but I’ve never come across a man like TJ Morrows before in my life.  What a wonderfully eccentric and enjoyable character TJ is.  He had me in stitches of laughter so many times.

“It’s not like I can just come out with my name and let the whole damn world know I’m a pervert, now can I? I need to be undercover.  Subtle and secretive.  Like a ninja”

A male character with a penchant for kinky is a delight to behold, especially when done correctly.  But, to see Lesley is just as kinky with an additional scoop of sass and brazenness was so fun to watch.

Bad Boss was full of ups and down and carried me along with the story as it unfolded. I loved how the push and pull happened with Lesley & TJ.  How real it all felt and just how well it was written. Nothing was rushed, everything felt right and even though it was book 2 in a series it can be read as a standalone. I so enjoyed this book.  It was fun at times, it was serious at others and most important it was a well built up, slow burn romance.  

 

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I close twitter and go about my business, but my conversation with that girl keeps haunting me. When I check in a few hours later, she’s already sent me the tracking code. A package filled with sweet, sexy panties is on the way.

 

And I can’t stop myself from immediately using her email to search for her online. Is it sneaky? Yes. But I’m too obsessed to listen to that little voice in my head telling me I’m wrong for doing this. I just wanna find out who she is. Where she’s at. What she looks like. What her favorite movies and books are. What she likes to eat for breakfast.

 


 

It doesn’t take me long to find it either.

 


 

Somehow, on an obscure website, her old email address still lingers, where she mentions switching over to a new, anonymous one. So I use the old email to find her Facebook profile and bam … I’ve got a hit in minutes.

 


 

Not too bad for some half-assed detective work.

 


 

Guess she didn’t think about covering her tracks. Or maybe she just thought no one would be interested enough to find out.

 


 

But oh boy, when I find her pictures … real pictures … I’m smitten.

 


 

A pretty face hides underneath soft, blonde hair, the perfect flush on her cheeks. Her smile … so damn bright, it could light the room. And her curves … ouch, they’re so hot that I’m on fire from just looking at her.

 


 

Beautiful is an understatement.

 


 

I’m flabbergasted. Just blown away that a girl like her … sells panties to online strangers.

 


 

Who’d have thought?

 


 

Damn, I’m seriously impressed. When I look through her pictures of her drinking and partying with friends, but also hard at work on her laptop, I get the sense that she’s someone who lives out loud and loves life.

 


 

And that look in her eyes makes me choke up.

 


 

Goddamn, TJ, keep it together.

 


 

I click away from her pictures and back to her profile, still not capable of stopping myself from snooping. In her posts she talks about her classes and the work she’s doing with her ‘secret’ new business. And then there’s a post about her job application, and how she just sent it in with Morrows.

 


 

My company.

 


 

My inbox bleeps.

 


 

I click on the notification and stare at the email in complete shock.

 


 

From: LesleyFischer@Gmail.com

 

To: TJMorrows@Morrows.com

 

Subject: Application – Internship

 


 

It’s her.

 

Panty girl, applying for an internship at my company.

 

A grin slowly spreads on my face.

 

This is going to be interesting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clarissa Wild is a New York Times & USA Today Bestselling author, best known for the dark Romance novel Mr. X. Her novels include the Fierce Series, the Delirious Series, the Stalker Duology, Twenty-One (21), Ultimate Sin, Viktor, Bad Teacher, RUIN, and the Indecent Games Series. She is an avid reader and writer of sexy stories about hot men and feisty women. Her other loves include her furry cat friend and learning about different cultures. In her free time she enjoys watching all sorts of movies, reading tons of books and cooking her favorite meals.

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Excerpt Reveal & Pre-Order: Beautiful Mistake by Vi Keeland

 

The first time I met Caine West was in a bar.

He noticed me looking his way and mistakenly read my scowling as checking him out.

When he attempted to talk to me, I set him straight—telling him what I thought of his lying, cheating, egomaniacal ass.

You see, the gorgeous jerk had wined and dined my best friend–smooth talking her into his bed, all along failing to mention that he was married.

He deserved every bit of my tongue-lashing and more for what he’d done.

Especially when that lazy smile graced his perfect face in response to my rant.

Only it turned out, the man I’d just told off wasn’t the right guy.

Oops. My mistake.

 

Embarrassed, I slunk out without an apology.

I was never going to see the handsome stranger again anyway, right?

That’s what I thought…until I walked into class the next morning.

Well, hello Professor West, I’m your new teaching assistant.

I’ll be working under you…figuratively speaking.

Although the literal interpretation might not be such a bad thing—working under Professor West.

This was going to be interesting…

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An excerpt from Beautiful Mistake…

 

The class was completely empty. I wasn’t even sure he knew I was still in my seat. If he did, he was good at ignoring me as he packed up his laptop.

“Contrary to the rumors you’ve probably heard, I don’t bite.”

I jumped when he spoke. Now that the lecture hall was no longer filled with students, the acoustics of the large space bounced his deep voice all over the walls.

I stood and began my walk of shame down to the front of the classroom. There was no doubt I owed the man an apology, even if he wasn’t a professor—a professor who would be my new boss for at least the next fifteen weeks. I wanted to kick myself in the ass for not apologizing last night before I left the bar. Now it would seem like I was only doing it because of the situation I was in.

Which was true, don’t get me wrong, but I didn’t want it to seem that way.

I took a deep breath. “I’m so sorry about last night.”

His face was unreadable. “I figured you might be, right about now.”

“I obviously thought you were someone else.”

“So I assumed. You thought I was the asshole. The one with the big dick, was it?”

I shut my eyes. For the last ninety minutes, I’d replayed the entire exchange from last night over and over in my head. I thought I’d remembered everything I said, but apparently I hadn’t. When I reopened my eyes, Professor West was still watching me. His stare was pretty damn intense.

I started to babble. “My friend Ava went out with this guy Owen for a month or so. He was full of shit from day one, but she didn’t see it. Actually walked up to her when she was leaving work one night and said, ‘Do you mind if I walk you home? My mother always told me to follow my dreams.’ She fell for it, the entire act, from the first day. Then one Saturday, he was supposedly out of town on business, and she was across town running errands for her mother. She took a shortcut through Madison Square Park on her way back from the grocery store and ran into him. He was with his wife and kids.”

“And you thought I was him, apparently?”

I nodded. “She came in during my shift and started drinking Long Island iced teas. When Owen walked in, she pointed to where he was standing and said he was the one in the blue shirt.”

“And we were both wearing blue shirts, I take it?”

I couldn’t help but smile, thinking of Ava last night. “Actually, no. Ava’s not much of a drinker. Turned out she was more sloshed than I thought. Owen’s shirt was brown—not even black that could be mistaken as navy or something.”

I saw Professor West’s lip twitch.

“Anyway, I’m really sorry. I barely gave you a chance to speak, and then when I realized what had happened, I was so mortified I didn’t even stop to apologize.”

“I accept your apology for last night. Even though you shouldn’t be approaching a man in the hallway to tell him off alone, your intentions were admirable.”

I should have shut up and been grateful he’d accepted my apology. Should have. “Why can’t I approach a man in the hallway?”

He leveled me with a stare. “Because you’re five foot nothing in a loud bar, and no one would have heard you if I’d dragged you into the men’s room and locked the door.”

I folded my arms over my chest. “I can take care of myself.”

“I didn’t say you couldn’t. I said you shouldn’t put yourself in those situations.”

“But you insinuated that I couldn’t by making that statement.”

He zipped his leather bag closed. “Ms. Martin, I just accepted your apology for calling me an asshole last night. Would you like me to retract that acceptance?”

God, I really was an idiot. Being around this man seemed to turn me into a psychopath. “No. I’m sorry. I acted like a jerk, and I’d like to start over, if that’s possible.”

He nodded. “Everything prior to this morning is forgotten.”

“Thank you.”

“But this morning is not. I won’t accept lateness. Don’t let it happen again.”

I swallowed. “It won’t.”

He lifted his worn, brown leather laptop bag over one shoulder. “Meet me here at five tomorrow. We’ll go over the syllabus and the classes you’ll teach, as well as my grading rubric.”

That was smack in the middle of my shift, but I’d figure something out. “Okay.”

“Are you done for the day?”

“I am. I actually have to get to work. I’m covering Ava’s shift because she isn’t feeling too well after last night. We both work at O’Leary’s.”

“You waitress there?”

“Waitress, bartend, occasionally tell off patrons.”

That earned me a full smile from Professor West. God, he should do that more often. No, forget that. He definitely shouldn’t.

“I’ll walk out with you.”

We walked through the halls together and out to the parking lot. When we arrived at my car, I stopped. “This is me. So…five o’clock tomorrow?”

Professor West looked at my beat-up old Subaru. “You’re parked in a spot reserved for the Provost. You got a parking ticket.” He squinted. “Actually, it looks like you have two parking tickets. Was your inspection expired or something?”

Crap. “Umm…no. I keep an extra ticket in the glove compartment and stick it on my windshield when I’m forced to park illegally.”

His brows shot up. “Inventive.”

“Obviously it doesn’t always work.”

“Obviously.”

“They need more parking. When you’re late, it’s impossible to find a spot.”

He studied me. “Lateness is a frequent occurrence for you, I take it?”

“Unfortunately, it is.”

“Then I should clarify something I said earlier.”

“Oh, no, that’s not necessary. I won’t be late for your class.”

He took a step closer and leaned in. “I’m glad to hear that, Ms. Martin. But that’s not what needs clarification.”

I swallowed. God, he smells good.

“Earlier I told you I didn’t bite students.” He smiled, and I felt the wickedness from it shoot down to some interesting places. “I don’t. But I make no promises about not biting feisty TAs.”

★★★★

We hope you enjoyed this extended preview!

 

 

 

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Vi Keeland is a #1 New York Times Bestselling author. With more than 1.5 million books sold, her titles have appeared in over eighty Bestseller lists and are currently translated in sixteen languages. She resides in New York with her husband and their three children where she is living out her own happily ever after with the boy she met at age six.

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                               EXCERPT REVEAL                                                         STRONG ENOUGH                                         by Melanie Harlow & David Romanov

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Strong Enough, an all-new sexy standalone from USA Today Bestselling author Melanie Harlow and David Romanov is coming June 19th!

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Strong Enough

by Melanie Harlow & David Romanov

Genre: Contemporary MM Romance

Publication Date: June 19, 2017

 

I wasn’t looking for Derek Wolfe.

I wasn’t looking for anybody. All I wanted was to start a new life in America. But when I found myself stranded here with no place to go, he came to my rescue, offering me a place to stay.

He’s smart, successful, and sexy as hell—I can barely sleep knowing he’s right down the hall. And when the chemistry between us explodes one night with fierce, fiery passion, it’s hard to deny there’s something real between us.

But he does.

He says he was drunk. He says it was a one-time thing. He says he’s not into guys and what we did meant nothing.

He’s lying. Because it happened again, and again, and again. And it’s better every time.

I know we could be good together, and I want the chance to try, but I’m done hiding. If he’s not strong enough to admit the truth, I’ll have to be strong enough to walk away.

Excerpt:

Figuring I’d had enough booze to blunt his effect on me, I rolled up the sleeves of my black button-down shirt and moved next to him. “I’ll help you.”

“Okay.”

I caught him trying to not to look at my wrists and forearms, and it made me smile. How does it feel to want someone and have to hide it? “You wash, I’ll dry?”

“Sounds good.”

We worked in silence, shoulder to shoulder, and I found myself increasingly—and disturbingly—pleased at the thought of him being attracted to me and being forced to conceal it. It was fucking horrible of me to take pleasure in his discomfort, but I liked being secretly wanted. Being illicitly desired. Being the object of his covert glances and maybe even his darkest, dirtiest thoughts. I let our arms touch more than necessary, as thrilled by the physical contact as I was by the thought of what it might be doing to him.

For there is no man who does not sin.

My dick started to get hard, clearly unbothered by the whiskey that was breaking down my inhibitions, pushing past all my defenses, and letting my imagination run wild.

What’s in that gorgeous head of yours, Maxim? What’s behind those cobalt eyes? What would you do to me, if I let you? What would you let me do to you?

“Carolyn is so nice,” he said, handing me the last serving dish left to be dried.

What? He was thinking about Carolyn right now? He wasn’t supposed to be thinking about Carolyn—I was, goddammit!

But I wasn’t. “Yeah.”

He turned off the water. Rested his wet hands on the edge of the sink. “I didn’t realize you had a girlfriend.”

And I heard it in his voice—the slightest edge of jealousy, so faint I might never have noticed it had I not been so hyperaware of everything about him right now. I fucking loved it.

“She’s not my girlfriend.”

“Oh.” Now there was confusion. “I guess I misunderstood.”

“She wants to be my girlfriend.”

Silence.

Of course there was silence. Maxim would never ask what the problem was. But I wanted to tell him. I wanted him to know. I wanted to share the impossible longing I felt with one person who might understand it.

“The problem is me.”

He was completely still. Before I could stop myself, I covered his right hand with my left. “Sometimes I don’t know what I want.”

He yanked his hand from beneath mine and we faced each other.

For the first time tonight, I looked him right in the eye. Nothing around us existed for me anymore. I heard only his breath. Smelled only his skin. Saw only his guarded expression.

I had to have him.

Check Out the First THREE Chapters of Strong Enough HERE

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About Melanie:

Melanie Harlow writes sexy, emotional romance about strong, stubborn characters who can’t help falling in love. She’s addicted to bacon, gin martinis, and summer reading on the screened-in porch. If she’s not buried in a book or binging on Netflix, you might find her running, putting a bun in someone’s hair, or driving to and from the dance studio. She lives outside Detroit with her husband and two daughters.

Melanie is the USA Today bestselling author of the HAPPY CRAZY LOVE series, the FRENCHED series, MAN CANDY, AFTER WE FALL, IF YOU WERE MINE, and the sexy historical SPEAK EASY duet, set in the 1920s.

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About David:

For David Romanov, STRONG ENOUGH is to a great extent autobiographical. Born in Russia and raised in Europe, he landed in the United States at the age of 24, where he learned a lot about cultural differences between East and West. David firmly believes in ‘The One’ and learning through love. When he isn’t traveling or educating Melanie in Russian culture, he enjoys books and the company of his husband and dog in Los Angeles.

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                                 COVER REVEAL                                    HOT COP by Laurelin Paige & Sierra Simone

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“Filthy, fun, and filled with heart. Hot Cop is going on my re-read shelf.”

–Audrey Carlan, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author

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Hot Cop, an all-new sexy, standalone from New York Times Bestseller Laurelin Paige and USA Today Bestseller Sierra Simone is coming June 13th!!!

Hot Cop by Laurelin Paige & Sierra Simone
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis

From NYT Bestselling Author, Laurelin Paige and USA Today Bestselling Author, Sierra Simone comes a steamy contemporary romantic follow-up to last year’s bestseller P*rn Star.

You have the right to remain sexy.

Anything you say can and will be used to get you in my bed.

You have the right to use my body to give yourself a delirious, life-changing orgasm.

If you have trouble…don’t worry, I’m a bit of an expert in that department.

There’s nothing ‘thin’ about my blue line, if you catch my drift, and trust me, I know how to put those handcuffs to good use.

***

Livia Ward wants a baby before she’s thirty. And even though Officer Chase Kelly is exactly the kind of cocky jerk this librarian has sworn off, he is undeniably hot. Both of them think they can give each other what they want–a few nights of fun for Officer Kelly, a no-strings baby for Livia–but this hot cop is about to learn that sex, babies, and love don’t always play by the rules.

Excerpt:

I’m absolutely serious when I repeat my request. “Your baby. I want your baby.”

He swallows. “That’s.” He nods. “No.” He shakes his head. “I.” He fidgets in his chair, looking around the restaurant. “Waiter!” he calls to the server walking by who is most definitely not our waiter.

“Can I get you something, sir?”

“I’m going to need another drink.” Chase holds up his beer. “Another two drinks.”

“I’ll tell your server,” the waiter says and slips away.

I open my mouth but Chase says, “I’m going to need a minute.” I start to speak anyway, and he puts a finger up to silence me.

I sigh. I knew I was going about this wrong. I should have blown him first. Or I shouldn’t have approached this from the sex angle at all. Should never have let him think it was a date. Should definitely not have let him touch me like I did.

God, though. I can still feel his fingers. Feel how they brushed across my pussy. Feel how they stroked inside me.

I shiver at the memory.

He was right—I didn’t just come here tonight without panties because I didn’t want panty lines. The truth is I’d been prepared to use any means necessary to get what I wanted, including the old razzle dazzle. Problem was he razzled me first.

I should have been straightforward from the beginning. Hopefully this isn’t too botched to salvage.

I glance at Chase who is studying me, eyes squinted. He hasn’t indicated that he’s ready for me to speak, but fuck that. I have things to say.

Leaning forward, I rest my elbows on the table. “Look. I’m not a crazy cop stalker, if that’s what you’re thinking. Or someone who’s trying to trap you into a marriage or a relationship or even child support.”

His expression doesn’t change. “You have no idea what I’m thinking.”

“Then what are you thinking?”

The twinkle is back in his eyes, which is a relief. “That you’re a crazy cop stalker who’s trying to trap me into a marriage or a relationship or child support.”

I stifle a laugh. “I’m not. I promise. I don’t want anything from you. Other than the baby, I mean.” And really hot sex. Repeated hot sex.

“You don’t want anything from me,” he repeats, somewhat skeptical.

I clarify. “I want a baby. But no marriage. No relationship. No child support. No parental claim at all.”

He finishes the last of his beer and leans back in his chair. “I still don’t understand.”

He’s a smart guy. So either he’s playing dumb on purpose or he’s caught up on some part of the details.

I decide to make it as simple as possible. Speak the language he speaks best. “It’s easy, Chase. You want to have sex with me.” I feel sensual and strong with my bold statement.

But suddenly I’m afraid I’ve jumped to conclusions and my confidence falters. “You do want to have sex with me, don’t you?”

It’s his turn to look at me as though I’m playing crazy. “Yes, Livia,” he says with wide emphatic eyes. “Yes.” He pauses only a second before adding, “Do I need to make myself clearer? Because I can, but it wouldn’t be appropriate in a public venue.”

I bite my lip, pressing my thighs closer together to ease the newest wave of agony. “I think we’ve already pushed the limits of public decency. But you’re the cop. You’d know better than I would.”

His lip curls up on one side, and I know he’s considering. Damn, what I’d give to have a peek at the naughty imaginings going on inside his mind, because I know they’re naughty from the gleam in his eye. Very naughty.

“Chase…” I warn.

“You’re right, you’re right. Already pushed the limits. Go on.” But the gleam in his eye remains, and I’m giddy knowing that I’m prey, and he’s a predator just biding his time.

“Okay,” I say, my voice barely steady. “So, when you have sex, there are these microscopic things called sperm that come out of a man’s body when he ejaculates.”

“Liv, I know about sperm. But go on ahead and tell me about ejaculation. I’d like to hear what you have to say about that.”

His gaze never leaves mine and I flush picturing his cum in unproductive places—places that won’t make a baby—on my belly, on my breasts, spilling down my throat.

No, inside me. That’s where I want it most.

I lick my lips. “I’m saying you want to put it in me. I’m just asking to keep it afterward.”

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About Laurelin:

USA Today and New York Times Bestselling Author Laurelin Paige 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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About Sierra:

Sierra Simone is a former librarian who spent too much time reading romance novels at the information desk. She lives with her husband and family in Kansas City.

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