Coming Soon

Are you ready for THE FLIGHT OF HOPE by USA Today Bestselling Author HJ Bellus?

This Standalone Contemporary Romance set to release October 26th.

PRE-ORDER AVAILABLE NOW

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2xU1AtS

Amazon INT: getBook.at/TheFlightOfHope

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A tragic accident. A mother in mourning. Can a second chance rise from the wreckage?

Marlee Foster’s life was just getting started. She couldn’t wait for the return of her husband from deployment. After all, he’d be there just in time for the birth of their daughter. The welcome home party is full of joy, but on the way home, tragedy strikes…

When Marlee loses her husband and daughter, her friends and family do their best to heal her broken heart. But painful reminders of a future she’ll never see haunt her every day in the small town. Her only hope at a second chance is to leave it all behind…

As she sets out on a soul-searching adventure, the mourning widow wonders if the wilderness will give her hope for a brighter future or if she’ll forever be chained to a devastating past. During her journey, Marlee is about to learn that love has a funny way of coming back to those who need it the most…

The Flight of Hope is a heart-wrenching contemporary romance in the vein of Nicholas Sparks. If you like emotional journeys, strong-willed heroines, and second chance romances, then you’ll love HJ Bellus’ touching tale.

Buy The Flight of Hope to settle in with a tear-jerker today!

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PRE-ORDER AVAILABLE NOW

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2xU1AtS

Amazon INT: getBook.at/TheFlightOfHope

TFOF teaserTFOH Teaser 2TFOH teaser 3TFOH teaser 4

HJ Bellus is a small town girl who loves the art of storytelling. When not making readers laugh or cry, she’s a part-time livestock wrangler that can be found in the middle of Idaho, shot gunning a beer while listening to some Miranda Lambert on her Beats and rocking out in her boots.
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Inked Killer PREORDER BANNER

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INKED KILLER by A.J. Norris

Tattoo Crimes Series #2

Romantic Suspense

Limitless Publishing

The murderer is behind bars, but the town of Webster still isn’t safe…

The psychopath who terrorized the town six months ago is in prison, but more young women are being found dead. Detective Harry Hunter suspects the deaths may be the work of not one, but two copycat killers.

When his two main suspects disappear and the case is suddenly reassigned, Harry fears the body count will continue to rise, while the mystery remains unsolved. But he isn’t about to give up.

His heart is on the line—but the elusive suspects won’t take a vacation to let Harry deal with his personal life…

They threaten to destroy everything he loves, and if he’s to have any hope of catching the inked killer, Harry must make the ultimate sacrifice…

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/InkedKillerTBR

Amazon Universal: getBook.at/InkedKillerAJN

Tattoo Killer, Book 1: myBook.to/TattooKillerAJN

And coming soon Inked Killer (6)

And coming soon Inked Killer (2)

MEET THE AUTHOR:

A.J. Norris is a romantic suspense and dark paranormal romance author. She enjoys being able to get inside someone else’s head, even a fictional one, and see what they see. Watching how her characters deal with difficult situations or squirm with the uncomfortable ones makes the hard work of writing all worth it. However, writing and reading weren’t always in her foremost thoughts. In fact, her love affair with writing came as a shock to everyone she knows, including herself. At a young age, she rarely opened a book, unless forced to read something for school. But that’s all behind her now. She wrote her first book several years ago, which turned out to be a surprisingly cathartic process, and she hasn’t been able to stop writing since.

A.J. loves going to the movies, watching her son play baseball, and communing with other writers. She’s a member of two writer’s groups and RWA. She lives in southeastern Michigan with her family, who are extremely tolerant (at least most of the time) of all her late nights behind the computer.
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Lunar Shadows by T.F. Walsh
🎩🎩🎩🎩 hats from Red!
This was a great, quick, cute read! I love the world that the author put together. This was my first read from T.F. Walsh but won’t be my last! There are two worlds, Earth and Tapestry. Tapestry has a lot of fantastical beings from goblins to trolls to Dragon shifters. This one happens to be about goblins. Zana is a half goblin who doesn’t feel welcome in either world. She looks too human for the goblins and too different for the humans. She makes her home at Warts Market where Klurt, a father figure, accepts her. Klurt’s nephew, Shadow, comes to town and all hell breaks loose. Zana is a strong character, she isn’t whiney and gets things done. Shadow is still trying to find his way as a goblin and finds it with Zana. They have instant chemistry and soon bond over grief. Together they were amazing. The pacing was a bit fast throughout the book, but didn’t really take away from the story! I wish there was more Zana and Shadow and look forward to reading more from this author!

Title: Lunar Shadows
Series: The Guardians Series Book 2
Author: TF Walsh
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: September 19, 2017
A powerful seer. A fight to stay alive. A soulmate to protect.

Zana believes she can stop death. After all, why else would she receive prophetic dreams? Now she just has to actually save someone. But nothing prepares her for the Lunar Festival’s events; a tragic death, her vile ex acting all cave-man on her, and the sudden appearance of Shadow, a hunky and arrogant Guardian from the kingdom. Except, she’s done with men after what her last one did to her. But when her latest vision shows Shadow’s demise, she is determined to prove her gift is a blessing not curse.

Shadow is visiting his uncle for a small vacation. When he stumbles across a murdered family member, eliminating the threat is a must. Bumping into Zana at the crime scene, a beautiful vixen, smart and stubborn, has him questioning her involvement. But when she declares he’s in danger and will protect him, he’s not sure if he should be flattered or insulted. 
As they close in on the killer, Shadow starts to believe the real danger might be losing Zana and the grip she has on his heart. Will Zana and Shadow survive a danger beyond their imagination? 

This is a standalone, steamy paranormal romance with a HEA.
Shadow’s hands shook as he clenched the goblin’s shoulders and pinned her to the wall. He glanced at the knife she’d dropped at his feet. Not a speck of blood stained the weapon. Or had she wiped it before he’d arrived? The girl didn’t behave like a killer. He’d encountered enough in his lifetime to recognize one. But why had she been crouching over Klurt with a blade? Evil did come in all guises.

“I’ll ask only one more time,” he demanded, his voice climbing. “Did you murder my uncle?”

Her eyes were watery pools, and the healed scratch from brow to cheek told him she’d seen her share of fights. When she spoke, she growled. “Get off me. I found him like this. I work at the markets.”

Shadow loosened his hold, and she pulled free, dropping to her feet. She reached his chin in height.

“Who are you?” he asked, blocking her way out of the office in case she bolted. 

His gaze swept to his uncle. The goblin who had given him, an orphan, a roof as a child, fed him—had offered Shadow hope. The image in front of him undid him completely. Klurt had taken in every stray goblin, taught them respect and discipline, pushed them to get an education. Someone with a heart as huge as Klurt’s should have never met such a vile ending.

Numbness threaded through Shadow, though, in his mind, he shoved away the emotions, the pain, just as he’d been trained to do in the queen’s army. Feelings made him weak, and that moment was about him taking charge.

The female in front of him with amber locks leaned over and picked up her blade. He backed up in case she swung the weapon.

“See? It’s clean.” Her voice held more power than her small frame would suggest. “I was chasing the killer, but he escaped.”

Okay. She wasn’t going to attack, though it was no real surprise she had a knife. With no law existing in Tapestry, everyone did what he or she had to. Sivath, the goblin chief, had been setting up an enforcement group to aid goblins, but that was four years ago. Maybe things had changed since Shadow was home last.

“What’s your name?” he demanded.

“Zana.” She tucked the blade into her boot.

The girl had a strong, angular face with golden irises and ruby lips. No blood on her clothes. But a trail of crimson splattered across the vinyl flooring in front of Klurt. Shadow studied Zana’s boots. Pristine. Blood stained her cheek as if she’d wiped it with the back of her hand, yet her natural beauty intrigued him—urged him to lower his guard—which was ridiculous. If it weren’t for her long ears, she’d pass for a human, and he didn’t recall there being a half-blood in town when he was last in Pryvale.

“You’re a half-goblin,” he stated.

She ignored him and knelt near Klurt again. Her body curled forward, and the softness of her cries tightened his chest.

What the shit was going on? The macabre scene wasn’t sinking in, yet the metallic smell clawed at his nostrils. It wasn’t the homecoming he’d expected. Weeks ago, he’d sent Klurt a message saying he was visiting for a few days, and, ever since, he’d been picturing the embraces, the laughter, and the food. He still had Klurt’s house key, so he had left his gifts there, found the Wart Markets location pinned to the pantry door, and then came to see his uncle at his work. Now the plans to create new memories and see Klurt chuckle again were stolen.

It was Shadow’s mistake; he should have gone to the office first, but none of that mattered. Only tracking down the culprit and making them pay mattered.
T.F. Walsh emigrated from Romania to Australia at the age of eight and now lives in a regional city south of Sydney with her husband. Growing up hearing dark fairytales, she’s always had a passion for reading and writing horror, paranormal romance, urban fantasy and young adult stories. She balances all the dark with light fluffy stuff like baking and traveling.

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Dear Bridget,

I’m writing this letter because it’s highly doubtful I’ll ever garner the courage to say this to your face.

So, here goes.

We’re totally wrong for each other. You’re the proper single mum with a good head on your shoulders. I’m just the carefree British doctor passing through town and temporarily living in your converted garage until I head back to England.

But here’s the thing… for some bloody reason, I can’t stop thinking about you in very inappropriate ways.

I want you.

The only reason I’m even admitting all of this to you right now is because I don’t believe it’s one-sided. I notice your eyes when you look at me, too. And as crass as I appear when we’re joking around about sex, my attraction to you is not a joke.

So, what’s the purpose of this note? I guess it’s a reminder that we’re adults, that sex is healthy and natural, and that you can find me just through the door past the kitchen. More specifically, it’s to let you know that I’m leaving said door cracked open from now on in case you’d like to visit me in the middle of the night sometime.

No questions asked.

Think about it.

Or don’t.

Whatever you choose.

It’s doubtful I’ll even end up sliding this letter under your door anyway.

–Simon

ADD TO GOODREADS

Dear Bridget, I Want You will be available on all platforms on September 18th!

Pre-orders are available at the following:

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Every time I considered leaving my room, I would grab the framed picture of Ben and stare at it. The urge to go to Simon was so strong; I basically hadn’t put down the framed photo of my deceased husband in an hour. I was lying in my bed, holding a picture of a dead man while fantasizing about one who was very much alive and in the other room. With the door cracked open waiting for me. There was one part of Simon’s note that I just kept reading over and over.

I want to make you come. Hard. I want you to get lost in me and I want to hear you say my name over and over while we fuck.

While we fuck.

While we fuck.

I was pretty sure that Ben had never used the word fuck like that before. Did we even fuck? We made love, sure. Our sex life was normal—at least, I think it was normal. Don’t get me wrong, the passion wasn’t the same as when we first got together. But after ten years, both of us working full time and raising a child, it was normal to have some of the desire dwindle, wasn’t it?

While we fuck.

I looked at the picture of my husband and sighed. We didn’t fuck. Not even in the beginning. And I felt guilty for that now. Maybe we should have been fucking. I certainly didn’t do anything to entice him to want me the last few years. Was it my fault our sex life had gotten boring? I rested the picture of Ben over my heart and laid my hand over it. I could feel my heart beating out of control beneath my fingers.

Shutting my eyes, I tried to force thoughts of Simon from my mind. But it was no use. Visions of his hard, sculpted body hovering over me had infiltrated my brain. So, here I was, a thirty-three-year-old, single mother lying in my bed all alone with a picture of my dead husband held to my heart while I visualized fucking another man.

Fucking.

Not making love.

I needed my head examined.

After two hours and no sleep in sight, I decided the only way I was going to be able to get any rest was if I got everything I was feeling off of my chest. Flicking on the light, I carefully set the framed photo of my beloved Ben on my nightstand and then opened the drawer and dug out a pen and piece of pretty stationery. I would write down my thoughts to clear my mind. I had no intention of actually giving the letter to Simon, so there was no reason to filter anything I said.

Dear Simon…

★★★★

We hope you enjoyed this preview!

Penelope Ward is a New York Times, USA Today, and #1 Wall Street Journal Bestselling author of thirteen novels. With over a million books sold, her titles have placed on the New York Times Bestseller list seventeen times. She is the proud mother of a beautiful 12-year-old girl with autism (the inspiration for the character Callie in Gemini) and a 10-year-old boy. Penelope, her husband, and kids reside in Rhode Island.

Facebook Fan Group | Facebook | Website |Twitter | Instagram

Vi Keeland is a #1 New York Times Bestselling author. With more than a million and a half books sold, her titles have appeared in over eighty Bestseller lists and are currently translated in seventeen languages. She lives 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.

Website | Facebook Fan Group | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Hot stuff by Kim Karr book trailer reveal!

Hot Stuff by Kim Karr from Bibliophile Productions on Vimeo.

He’s the newly drafted star quarterback.

Hot. Arrogant. Too sexy for words. 

Ready to score.


She’s the new intern, and the coach’s daughter.

Driven. Determined. Prepared to conquer the world.

Completely off-limits.


And this is the NFL.

A place where adrenaline runs high and rules aren’t meant to be broken.

Are you ready for some football?

It has never been SEXIER. 


PREORDER LINKS:

Amazon US: http://bit.ly/HotStuff_US

Amazon CA: http://bit.ly/HotStuff_CA

Amazon AU: http://bit.ly/HotStuff_AU

Amazon UK: http://bit.ly/HotStuff_UK

Paperback: http://amzn.to/2vWpl6b


BOOK INFO:

Title: Hot Stuff

Author: Kim Karr

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: September 27, 2017


ADD TO GOODREADS:

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GOODREADS GIVEAWAY IS LIVE ENTER NOW:

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/250449-hot-stuff





Releasing September 26th, we are very excited to announce that CA Harms’ next book is…

FOREVER DEVOTED!

This Contemporary Romance is book 2 in the Crazed Devotion series!

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A stubborn man, an independent woman.
Oh how those two things clash.
Former Marine, Benjamin Keaton has a drive in him.
A strong willed nature to seek and conquer.
When he meets Elizabeth Berfield he finds out one thing and he finds out fast.
He has met his match.
She doesn’t let anyone tell her what to do, especially a man.
A battle of wills and a game of survival unfolds. Oh what a ride it is.
But Ben vows one thing,
He will be Forever Devoted to Liz. He will make her see that he is the man for her.
But will his determination be enough to convince her that he’s worth the risk?
Or will Liz do what she always does and remain headstrong and push away the one man willing to protect her heart.
ADD TO YOUR TBR ON GOODREADS:

Cover Designer: Melissa Gill of MGBookcovers

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MEET THE AUTHOR:
C.A. Harms is like any other addicted reader. She enjoys happy endings and HEA love stories. She hasn’t always been a lover of Romance and had once been addicted to a good Mystery. Just recently she has taken on a new liking and now is a full blown Romance novel addict.
She lives in Illinois and enjoys spending time with her husband and two children. You will always find her with her kindle or paperback in hand as it is her favorite pass time.
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From New York Times Bestselling author Kristen Ashley, comes the third and final book in her Magdalene series—THE TIME IN BETWEEN—releasing August 29, 2017! Don’t miss the amazing trailer below, and pre-order your copy today!

About THE TIME IN BETWEEN (Magdalene Series #3):

After a painful loss, Cady Moreland is coming to Magdalene to start the next chapter of her life. A chapter that began eighteen years ago but had a heartbreaking ending. The time in between was full of family and friendship, but Cady could never get the man she fell in love with all those years ago out of her heart.

Coert Yeager has learned to live without the girl who entered his life right when she shouldn’t and exited delivering a crippling blow he never would have suspected. The time in between was full of failing to find what he was missing…and life-altering betrayal.

But when that girl shows up in Magdalene and buys the town’s beloved lighthouse, even if Coert wants to avoid her, he can’t. A fire in town sparks a different kind of flame that won’t be ignored.

As Cady and Coert question the actions of the two young adults they once were thrown into earth-shattering circumstances, can they learn from what came in between and find each other again?

Preorder your copy of THE TIME IN BETWEEN today!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBook | Google Play

Add to your Goodreads

5% of the proceeds from the first week of sales of THE TIME IN BETWEEN release will be given to HALO Animal Rescue in Phoenix, a no-kill shelter. HALO stands for “helping animals live on” and is a shelter started by a mother/daughter team of committed animal advocates who have done a huge duty for animals in this area, and continue to do so with unwavering love, support and energy. For more information on HALO or to donate to the work they do, go to www.halorescue.org.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/embed.animoto.com/play.html?w=swf/production/vp1&e=1498668475&f=s17KyAY9l01BfxvD32HWBA&d=0&m=p&r=360p+480p+720p&volume=100&start_res=720p&i=m&asset_domain=s3-p.animoto.com&animoto_domain=animoto.com&options=

Direct Link: https://video214.com/play/s17KyAY9l01BfxvD32HWBA/s/dark

And don’t miss the first titles in the Magdalene Series!

THE WILL
SOARING

About Kristen Ashley:

Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA and nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorize and she hadn’t taken her first breath!). Her mother said they took Kristen away, put her Mom back in her room, her mother looked out the window, and Gary was on fire (Dr. King had been assassinated four days before). Kristen’s Mom remembered thinking it was the end of the world. Quite the dramatic beginning.

Nothing’s changed.

Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana and has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus, she’s blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her family was (is) loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write. They all lived together on a very small farm in a small farm town in the heartland. She grew up with Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched).

Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up.

And as she keeps growing, it keeps getting better.

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Today we have the pre-order blitz for The Lucky Heart by Devney Perry! Be sure to preorder your copy now!

Title: The Lucky Heart

Author: Devney Perry

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Day: August 15th

About The Lucky Heart:

Life on his ranch could be their future. If they can overcome their past.

Felicity’s life story reads like the script to a bad soap opera. Girl’s high-school boyfriend becomes a drug addict. Girl falls for boyfriend’s best friend. Girl leaves them both behind only to return home years later for murdered ex-boyfriend’s funeral. Now she’s back home in Montana, ready to start fresh. She’s got a long list of amends to make and relationships to rebuild, including one with the man who has owned her heart for sixteen years.

Silas doesn’t need much. He’s got a great horse, close friends and the Lucky Heart ranch, but something has always been missing. He’s not an idiot. He knows the missing piece is Felicity. And now that she’s returned to Prescott, he’s got a second chance to win her heart. This time, the only thing standing in his way is history. Drudging up the past is going to be about as painful as playing tug of war with barbed wire. But if they can heal old wounds, he’ll get the girl he should have had all along.

Preorder Today!

Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Paperback

Check out the trailer:

About the Author:

Devney lives in Montana with her husband and two children. After working in the technology industry for nearly a decade, she abandoned conference calls and project schedules to enjoy a slower pace at home with her kids. She loves reading and, after consuming hundreds of books, decided to share her own stories.

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Enter Devney’s Giveaway:
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Today we have the teaser reveal for The Lucky Heart by Devney Perry! Be sure to preorder your copy now!

Title: The Lucky Heart

Author: Devney Perry

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Day: August 15th

About The Lucky Heart:

Life on his ranch could be their future. If they can overcome their past.

Felicity’s life story reads like the script to a bad soap opera. Girl’s high-school boyfriend becomes a drug addict. Girl falls for boyfriend’s best friend. Girl leaves them both behind only to return home years later for murdered ex-boyfriend’s funeral. Now she’s back home in Montana, ready to start fresh. She’s got a long list of amends to make and relationships to rebuild, including one with the man who has owned her heart for sixteen years.

Silas doesn’t need much. He’s got a great horse, close friends and the Lucky Heart ranch, but something has always been missing. He’s not an idiot. He knows the missing piece is Felicity. And now that she’s returned to Prescott, he’s got a second chance to win her heart. This time, the only thing standing in his way is history. Drudging up the past is going to be about as painful as playing tug of war with barbed wire. But if they can heal old wounds, he’ll get the girl he should have had all along.

Preorder Today!

Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Paperback

Check out the trailer:

About the Author:

Devney lives in Montana with her husband and two children. After working in the technology industry for nearly a decade, she abandoned conference calls and project schedules to enjoy a slower pace at home with her kids. She loves reading and, after consuming hundreds of books, decided to share her own stories.

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Enter Devney’s Giveaway:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Adonis_BANNER_excerpt

Get hot this summer with Adonis in Athens by Kat Mizera!
Keep reading for an EXCERPT!
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: July 18th

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ADD TO YOUR TBR → http://bit.ly/2sPbpK4

Paige Carter’s fling with the dark-haired, green-eyed Greek was short, but it rocked her world. Her only regret was not finding out whether she’d ever see him again before he returned to Greece.

Apollo Lakkas earned his degree and was thrilled to return to Greece to begin work with his family’s shipping business. His only regret is the way he left the sweet blonde he met in Vegas—who may or may not be his wife.

When an unexpected proposal throws Paige into a panic, she packs a bag for Athens and does the one thing she knows she must do before she can face any kind of future…reconcile her past.

The moment their eyes meet once again, Paige and Apollo feel the same spark that ignited them down the aisle. Will they be able to plan a future together or is their love destined to be nothing but a bittersweet memory?

Adonis_TEASER2

EXCERPT:

It was hotter than she imagined the hinges of the gates of hell would be. Paige Carter stepped out of her apartment and immediately felt the makeup she’d so carefully applied begin to melt off her face. With a sigh of frustration, she hurried to the stairs and walked down, looking at her watch. She was running late, as usual, and her boyfriend would undoubtedly be annoyed. She didn’t mean to fall behind, but somehow it always happened where Tom was concerned. She often wondered if, subconsciously, she did it on purpose. Nothing else made sense, because she was always punctual for work and other appointments. There was something about him, though, that brought out the procrastination and disorganization she usually kept at bay.

Tom Malone was the kind of guy all her friends were looking for. Not only was he handsome, smart, and funny, he also made an excellent living as an accountant and owned a beautiful home in a gated subdivision. He drove a Mercedes, bought her nice gifts and was generally a good guy. As far as she knew, he’d never cheated, never done drugs and barely drank other than the occasional beer. He’d given her a key to his house, a drawer in his dresser and had asked her to move in repeatedly. He didn’t have a single flaw, she thought irritably as she got into the sauna that was masquerading as her car. Maybe that was the problem.

Turning up the air conditioning and willing the cold air to start coming out sooner rather than later, she rolled down a window and pulled out of the parking lot. She had no idea why Tom had been so adamant she meet him at their favorite restaurant at 6:00 on a Friday night. It was June and work had slowed down a little for her, so all she really wanted to do was put on shorts and a T-shirt and either lounge by the pool with a good book or watch a couple of movies; this time of year, if she wasn’t by the pool, she wanted to be inside, away from the Las Vegas heat.

She turned on the radio and mindlessly hummed along, wondering what Tom was up to. In the 18 months they’d been dating, he’d often surprised her with unplanned weekends away, tickets to shows, and random day trips. It wasn’t her birthday or any kind of anniversary, so tonight could be anything from a romantic dinner for two to a formal ceremony where the mayor granted her keys to the city.

She almost snorted at the thought, chuckling at her own sarcasm. Tom was such a good guy, she hated being so out of sync with him. Quiet and unassuming, he was always there for her, supportive and as interested in her needs as a guy could be. Maybe too much so, she thought with a grimace. If Tom did have a fault, it was that he seemed to read her mind. If she so much as looked at a purse online, it would appear on her doorstep a day later. If she’d forgotten to schedule an appointment for a haircut, and her hairdresser was booked, he’d make a few calls and an opening would miraculously appear. Sometimes, she wanted to figure out how to afford the purse or get the appointment herself—and he refused to let her. He thought his job was to take care of her, but she just wanted someone who would be there to lend moral support.

Reaching out to push the auto-tune buttons on the radio to find something she knew, she stopped on an adult contemporary station and sang along to the end of Billy Joel’s “Just the Way You Are.” The romantic lyrics made her a little melancholy and she was about to change the station yet again when the next song froze her hand in place. The first few bars of Bruno Mars’ “Marry You” inexplicably brought tears to her eyes, and for the first time in ages she thought of him. Apollo. She could still picture his mesmerizing green eyes, chiseled features and body reminiscent of a Greek god. Literally. Tall, Greek and even-hotter-than-Vegas-in-summer good-looking, she did her best not to think about him. Or the spring break he’d come to Vegas. Or the nights they’d spent dancing and kissing as if nothing else in the world existed, running from casino to nightclub to the gondola ride at the Venetian. Or how he’d brought her body alive in ways that made her shudder just thinking about them. No, thinking about Apollo was a bad, bad idea. Especially when she had a night planned with Tom. She hit the button to change the station.

Since it was already 6:10, Paige pulled up to the valet and all but snatched the ticket from the young man’s hand. Tom never yelled or got angry when she was late, but she could see the disappointment in his eyes and it was worse than when a parent looked at you that way. It made her uncomfortable, having that much power over a grown man, so she did her best to avoid being in that situation. Today had just been a long day at work and when it was this hot, she felt sluggish.

Pasting a smile on her face, she approached the hostess. “Hi. My boyfriend is probably already here and—”

“Miss Carter!” The hostess’s eyes twinkled as she grinned at her. “Oh, yes, he’s here! Your whole family is here! Are you totally excited?”

Paige cocked her head slightly, her brows knitting together. “Um, what?”

“Uhh…” The girl’s face darkened slightly and she turned away, fidgeting with something on her computer. “Oh, um, maybe I was mistaken. What’s your boyfriend’s name again?”

Paige had a funny feeling in the pit of her stomach. “Tom. Tom Malone.”

“Okay, yes. Um, follow me.” She strode into the heart of the restaurant and Paige had no choice but to follow, scanning the tables for Tom.

They walked all the way to the back and the hostess turned with a smile. “You’re here in the back room—have a wonderful evening!” She opened the double doors that led into the big room usually reserved for private parties and Paige stepped forward with trepidation.

“There she is!” Tom was grinning broadly as he approached her, and Paige’s stomach dropped.

“What’s going on?” she whispered under her breath as he brushed his lips across hers.

“Wait and see!” he whispered back impishly.

Paige nearly groaned as she spotted her parents sitting at a table with her sister, Nicky, and her Aunt Sue and Uncle Paul. Her father gave her a thumbs-up while her mother waggled her fingers. She glanced from her parents to Tom and then across the room where she spotted her traitorous best friend, Raegan Warner, who should have warned her that something was going on. Because something was definitely going on.

“Tom!” She squeezed his hand harder than she intended and he turned in surprise, his eyes widening slightly.

“Honey, I know you’re always cranky after a long week at work but trust me, okay? You’re going to like this!” He kissed her cheek and pulled her along with him to a table at the front of the room, where his parents and sister were sitting.

“Why is everyone so dressed up?” she hissed in his ear. “I’m in capris and a T-shirt!”

“You’re gorgeous no matter what you’re wearing!” he whispered.

She wanted to roll her eyes but he was being so sweet and earnest, she mentally chided herself as she gave him a little smile. “Thanks—but you know I hate surprises.”

“This one is worth it!” he grinned, pulling out her chair and waiting for her to sit down.

“Hi, Mrs. Malone, Mr. Malone.” Paige nodded at his parents before turning to his sister, Jean, who hated her. “Hi, Jean.”

“Hi.” Jean raised her eyebrows. “Nice Duran Duran T-shirt.”

“That’s what happens with surprises,” Paige said lightly. “If I’d known, I would’ve dressed for a special occasion.”

“Since it’s not that special of an occasion,” Jean muttered, “I guess you’re dressed fine.”

“Jean!” Tom gave his sister a dirty look but she merely shrugged.

He sighed but after a wink at Paige, turned and let out a low whistle. “Excuse me, everyone! Now that Paige is here, I have an announcement.”

Paige was getting more and more nervous as she looked up at Tom. Her parents’ obvious happiness, Jean’s grumpy attitude and the number of friends in the room made his intentions perfectly clear; he was going to propose again and she had no graceful way to refuse him.

“Mr. Carter.” Tom took a wireless microphone that seemed to appear out of thin air and walked across the room to Paige’s father, Seth. “You know how I feel about Paige.”

Seth smiled. “I think everyone does, son.”

No, no, no, Paige thought, her eyes wide, stomach churning as he spoke.

“So after nearly two wonderful years together, I was hoping to get your blessing to ask for her hand in marriage.”

Fuck me loud, Paige groaned inwardly. She cut her eyes to Raegan, who was slowly realizing that the shock on Paige’s face was not laced with excitement.

“Well, of course you have my blessing,” Seth replied. “But I’m not the one who has to marry you. Ultimately, it’s Paige’s decision.”

The guests began to twitter and chuckle, whispers filling the room as Tom walked back towards Paige, pulling a small black box out of his pocket.

I’m going to kill him, she thought, too horrified to move and wondering how the hell she was going to get out of this.

“Paige, would you come down here please?” he asked.

Paige gulped, a roaring in her ears telling her she might start hyperventilating any moment now. She was screwed. There was no way to walk out of here without making a fool of herself, embarrassing Tom, or some combination of the two.

“Honey?” Tom spoke again, his smile faltering slightly.

“Oh, for fuck’s sake,” Jean muttered. “Just say no and spare us all the headache of watching the two of you make the worst decision of your lives!”

Fuck, fuck, fuck. Paige stood on wobbly knees, struggling to breathe, breaking out in a cold sweat. “T-tom?” Her voice was barely a whisper but her eyes were pleading with him to stop this insanity. He had to know she was going to say no. Why else would he have done it so publicly? This was more than a disaster; this was a nightmare and apparently she wasn’t going to wake up before the bad part.

“Sweetheart, I—” He took her icy cold hand in his and pulled her towards him.

“Tom, no!” she whispered frantically. “Please—not here.”

His smile fell a little further. “Paige…”

“Put the microphone down,” she implored, blinking away tears that were threatening to fall. “I have to talk to you—alone!”

He frowned. “Honey…”

“If you truly love me, you’ll do this for me.” She was whispering, desperation in her voice and written all over her face.

Tom took a deep breath and let it out slowly, before picking up the microphone and smiling broadly again. “My girl seems to want this part to be private. Can you give us a couple minutes?” He put down the mike amidst boos, cheers and catcalls, and pulled Paige from the room. They walked around the corner and down the hallway where the bathrooms were. Finally, he leaned against the wall and met her gaze. “Why do I get the feeling it’s not that you don’t want me to propose in there, it’s that you don’t want me to propose at all?”

She swallowed. “It’s not that black and white,” she whispered, searching her mind for something she could tell him to make him understand. To make him think about her needs. Hell, to make him stop trying to move so fast.

Raegan told her she was crazy. She worked as a waitress at a casino on the Strip and seemed to meet the very worst possible guys, so Paige thought her opinion of Tom was a bit skewed. Raegan was right about one thing, though: Tom was one of a kind. He wanted to be in a committed relationship and was willing to put in the work to make that happen. He’d already proposed once and she’d had to gently point out that they were both still young, needing time to get to know each other and grow up a little too. He’d been disappointed, but seemed to take her words to heart. He’d bought the house not long after that and seemed intent on showing her how much of a grown-up he was. She just wished he would slow down. Growing up, to her, didn’t mean giving up all semblance of youth; it meant living and exploring to find out who you were and what you really wanted in life. Tom was on the fast track to leaving behind every bit of childhood and focusing on retirement.

If she could get him to slow down, to stop rushing all the milestones, it would be easier to love him. She didn’t want a mortgage, babies and a dog at 24. She wanted to travel, go to concerts, and get beyond an entry-level position at her job. Tom said he understood, but actions spoke louder than words and his actions said the opposite. He wanted a spouse and a white picket fence sooner rather than later. Paige wanted that too, but later rather than sooner. Was it so wrong to want to enjoy life as an adult without a lot of responsibility for a little while longer?

“Then what is it, exactly?” he asked, his normally easygoing smile turning into a scowl. “I moved too fast the first time, but dammit, Paige. It’s been almost two years!”

“Eighteen months,” she contradicted, warring with herself about whether to just let him go and get this over with or to try to explain so that he would be patient a little longer.

“Paige, what’s going to change at 24 months or 36 months or, hell, 100 months?!”

She bit her lower lip and tried to articulate her reservations. “It’s just…I don’t…” She couldn’t seem to do anything but sigh.

“Do you love me, Paige?” he asked tightly, his brown eyes boring into hers intently.

“I do,” she whispered. “But we’re at really different places in life right now.”

“That again?” he demanded. “Jesus, you want to wait until we’re 30? Forty? I mean, how old will be old enough?!”

“It’s not about age!” she protested. “It’s about lifestyle… You have the big house and the car and the job. You want the wife and babies to go with it, and I’m not ready.”

“What do you want to do?” he asked in frustration, calming down now that she’d admitted she loved him.

“I want to focus on my career and get to a point where I feel successful, instead of one step above entry-level. I want to travel. I want to go on adventures… You’re only 26, Tom. Why don’t you want to go on adventures?”

He looked startled, his eyes narrowing a little. “I, um, well, like what?”

“Swimming with sharks in the South Pacific or zip-lining across Costa Rica or excavating shit in the desert in Egypt—I don’t know! Don’t you dream about anything other than accounting?”

He met her gaze sadly, stuffing his hands—and the box with the ring—in his pockets. “You,” he said softly. “I dream about you.”

Embarrassment and guilt tore through her, making her want to cry. He didn’t deserve a woman like her—he deserved better. He wasn’t the kind of guy who dreamed about adventure; his dreams were about reality. Life, love, marriage, children and retirement; that summed up Tom Malone and it was the opposite of everything Paige wanted. There was just no way to explain that without hurting his feelings.

“There’s something I have to tell you,” she finally said, taking a step away from him and looking anywhere but his face. “I, um, I’m kind of…already married.”

“Huh?” Tom looked too confused to even be angry.

“I mean, I think I am.”

“What?! You think you’re married? How can you not know?”

“It was a crazy fling during spring break, three years ago.” She looked down. “He was leaving to go back to school the next morning and we couldn’t find any papers or anything so we…assumed we hadn’t actually done it, like legally, and…forgot about it.”

“Forgot about it? Are you kidding me?” He was staring at her as though a unicorn horn had just poked through her forehead.

“It was spring break…drinking, partying, carrying on—a too-much-fun overload—and then he was running to catch his flight and eventually going back to Greece… We weren’t sure what we’d done. So he left me his information and said to call him. I never did.”

Tom was still staring at her. “Let me get this straight. Three years ago you had a wild week with some guy from Greece, whom you may or may not have married, but instead of finding out, you went your separate ways and decided to just ignore it?!”

Hearing it spoken out loud like that, it really sounded dumb, but all she could do was nod.

“Is that your idea of an adventure?”

Her eyes shot up and met his, hurt, guilt and a twinge of anger running through her. “That’s not fair,” she said hotly. “Name one college student who didn’t do something dumb!”

He arched his brows. “I can name at least one.”

She scowled. “I’m sorry! I can’t help who I am! It’s not like I’ve changed…I’ve always been this way and you asked me out anyway. I’ve never lied about who I was and I’ve tried to compromise, to do some things your way while still doing other things my own way. You just don’t seem to want to do any compromising on your end, and now—”

“No compromising?!” He glared at her. “Everything I’ve done has been a compromise! If it were up to me, we’d already be married and living together! Instead I keep waiting and putting my life on hold so you can grow up!”

“How have you put your life on hold?” She frowned at him, suddenly tired of this, tired of everything. “Your career is on track, you bought the big McMansion in the suburbs, you have a fancy car and the monthly golf date at the country club. How is delaying putting a ring on my finger holding you back?”

“Single guys don’t get the corner offices or the partner offers—they’re too busy partying to snag the better clients.”

“So you need a wife to further your career?” She was getting pissed now, folding her arms across her chest. “All that stuff about dreaming about me was just bullshit!”

“No! Honey, wait.” He ran a hand through his thin brown hair and sighed. He reached out and gently put his hands around hers, pulling her closer to him. “Listen, that came out all wrong. I’m sorry.”

“Tom, I don’t know if I can do this anymore,” she admitted. “I love you, but we’re in really different places in our lives. Sometimes it feels like you don’t know me at all.”

“What do you mean?”

“If you wanted me to say yes tonight, this wasn’t the way to do it. You know I don’t like surprises and gathering all these people stressed me out—even if things were perfect between us, I might’ve said no because it’s just so overwhelming for me.”

“I’m sorry.”

“And I know you love this stuff. In the end, I don’t ever want to be the reason you don’t do something. I don’t want to hold you back.”

“You’re not.” He looked sad. “But I kind of feel like your heart is somewhere else.”

“That’s not true!” she protested. “I’ve never been unfaithful! Never!”

“That’s not what I meant. I know that’s not who you are…but you’re in a different place in life. You want your freedom for a while, to explore the things you feel are missing, and I’m ready to settle down. Maybe…” He met her eyes almost guiltily. “Maybe we need a break.”

“A break?” She blinked.

“At the very least, you need to find out, one way or another, if you’re married. If you are, you need to do something about it. If you’re not, I still think we need some time to think about the future, about where we want to be in a year, five years…ten.”

“I…okay.” She didn’t know how to argue because he was right. Even though it could be different between them, he obviously wasn’t willing to find middle ground. He wanted things to be the way he wanted them; her needs and wants weren’t his priority, even though he made it appear that they were by spoiling her with gifts she didn’t need and the type of overwhelming attention she didn’t want.

“Let’s take a little time to regroup. You can sort out your…marital status and I can think about the idea of adventures.”

She looked up into his handsome face in surprise. “Really? You’ll think about adventures?”

He shrugged. “For me to love you, I’d think I’d have to.”

“It has to be a choice,” she said softly. “Not a burden.”

“That’s why I have to think about it.”

“That’s fair.” She paused. “Tom, my parents don’t know—”

He smiled faintly. “About your possible marriage? I figured. Don’t worry. I’ll cover for you.”

“You will?” She looked at him curiously. “Why?”

“Because you’re right—I didn’t make tonight about you…it was about me. I wanted the big party, the big surprise, the big engagement. I know you, though, and I knew you wouldn’t like it. I just hoped you wouldn’t be able to say no.”

“I’m sorry,” she said quietly. “But that’s not fair to either of us. I do have to find out, one way or another, whether or not I got married three years ago. And you have to decide if you’re willing to put off the white picket fence dream for another year or two, until I’ve had time to follow some of my dreams too. Once we get married and have kids, everything will change, Tom, and I don’t know that I want to give up that much freedom at 24.”

“Maybe some time apart will make us see that we’re meant to be together,” he said.

“Maybe,” she whispered softly, leaning up to press a chaste kiss on his cheek.

“Go ahead and go,” he said, releasing her hands. “I’ll think of something to tell everyone.”

“Oh. No, that’s not fair. We should tell them together. I can—”

“Tonight was my fault,” he admitted. “I never should have put you on the spot like that, so I’ll make it right.”

“But what will you tell them?”

“That I shouldn’t have planned something like this without talking to you first and that you want a private, romantic engagement, not something this big or ostentatious. When they ask where you are, I’ll say you’re upset with me and that I’m giving you time to cool off. In a few days, we’ll tell people we’re taking a break.”

“And then?” she asked, looking over her shoulder at him.

“I don’t know.” He met her gaze sadly. “I guess we’ll regroup when the time is right.”

Adonis_TEASER1

About the Author:

Kat Mizera is a South Florida native. Born in Miami Beach with a healthy dose of wanderlust, she’s called Los Angeles, Long Island, upstate New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Atlanta home. She’s never been able to pick which locale is her favorite, but if pressed, she’d probably choose the west coast.

Kat’s a typical PTA mom with a wonderful and supportive husband (Kevin) and two amazing boys (Nick and Max). When she’s not writing, she’s either scrapbooking or indulging in her second love (after writing) – traveling. Greece is one of her favorite places in the world. She loves that Athens is a big city with a small-town feel. The food, beaches and culture keep her going back as often as possible. She hopes to retire there one day so she can spend her days writing books on the beach.

Kat has been a working freelance writer for nearly 30 years. She sold her first article–a review of a rock concert–for $10 in 1985. Since then she’s been an entertainment journalist, waitress, bartender, legal assistant, food critic, magazine editor, substitute teacher, and sports writer. She also spent some time working at A & M Records in Los Angeles.

As you can guess from her series, the Las Vegas Sidewinders, Kat loves hockey. She is also a freelance hockey writer, covering her favorite team, the Florida Panthers, and any other teams that have an interesting story. The rest of the time, she writes novels: sexy, romantic fiction that she hopes makes you as happy as it makes her. There’s something enticing about hockey players and romance…

Connect with Kat:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorkatmizera/
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2lzRBG6
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorKatMiz
Bookbub: http://bit.ly/2li6zRe
Website: http://www.katmizera.com

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