Friday, September 23, 2016

COVER REVEAL: That Christmas Feeling by Karyn Gerrard @KarynGerrard #ComingSoon #HolidayRomance



Got the rights back to 'That Christmas Feeling' from Evernight Publishing. It will be completely redone, no longer an erotic romance, and while it will still be a short story/short novella, it will be a lot longer than 8600 words it presently is. (at 22,385 words) Contemporary mainstream romance.

The cover is by Marianne of www.Facebook.com/NowickiProductions  Website is HERE: http://www.premadeebookcovershop.com/

Working on revisions now. Hope to release later in the fall through my own KG Publishing.

Here is the very unofficial blurb:

Though Connall Doyle achieved many of his professional goals, model, sometime actor, along with a modicum of financial security, his life of late has been empty. Christmas this year does not hold any appeal. But when offered the chance to go on a sports and poker trip to a secluded wilderness camp, Connall jumps at the opportunity to escape the city and tragic holiday memories.

A spur-of-the-moment holiday excursion brings the devastatingly handsome Connall to Kerrie Kelleher’s doorstep during Christmas week. It is not only his stunning good looks that draw her, but the sadness she sees in his eyes. Surrounded by all the holiday trappings and a searing hot attraction Connall cannot deny, he begins to wonder if that Christmas feeling will be enough to heal a painful past and allow love to enter his heart.

COMING SOON! Later this fall! Watch for it!
KARYN GERRARD




Karyn Gerrard, born and raised in the Maritime Provinces of Eastern Canada, now makes her home in a small town in Northwestern Ontario. When she’s not cheering on the Red Sox or travelling in the summer with her teacher husband, she writes, reads romance, and drinks copious amounts of Earl Grey tea. 

 Even at a young age Karyn’s storytelling skills were apparent, thrilling her fellow Girl Guides with off-the-cuff horror stories around the campfire. A multi-published author, she loves to write sensual historicals, particularly in the Victorian era. She also writes contemporaries. Tortured heroes are an absolute must. 

 As long as she can avoid being hit by a runaway moose in her wilderness paradise she assumes everything is golden. Karyn’s been happily married for a long time to her own hero. His encouragement and loving support keeps her moving forward.




Thursday, September 22, 2016

BOOK SPOTLIGHT: Love From Left Field by Megan Ryder @TastyBookTours @MeganRyder1 #Giveaway #Sports

Can Miranda and Lucas let go of old grudges and hold on to their new love?

LOVE FROM LEFT FIELD
Knights of Passion #2
Megan Ryder
Released Sept 13th, 2016
Tule Publishing

She wants to save the Knights…

When Miranda Callahan’s father, principle owner and hands-on dictator of the Georgia Knights, has a heart attack, the responsibility to make the team an independent success becomes solely hers. Though everyone expects her to fail in her new role, Miranda is determined to take her team to the top and earn her father's love and respect on the way. The only other obstacle is the League's consultant – a secret crush from her past – the man trying to take over the team, and the one person who can save them all.

He wants revenge…

Lucas Wainright is a turnaround consultant, hired by the League to save the Knights and so many other teams – only this time it’s personal; before being ousted by Seamus Callahan, Lucas' family had been the owners of the team. Now, he has the perfect opportunity to regain his rightful position with the Knights, if he’s willing to suppress his scruples and his attraction to Miranda Callahan.

Can Miranda and Lucas let go of old grudges and hold on to their new love?







EXCERPT – LOVE FROM LEFT FIELD

"Really? So you think that I'll be here, ready to kiss you whenever you want?"
The smile that crossed his face was one of pure male arrogance, confident in his own sex appeal. "Oh yeah. No obligation here."
He stood and stalked around the desk. Too late she realized that she'd poked the tiger and he was deadly serious about his intentions. He swiveled her chair so she faced him, her chair bracketed between his knees. He braced his hands on the arms, trapping her neatly so she couldn't escape. Only she had no intention of trying to get away. That kiss had replayed in her mind several times in the few days since the event and she wanted to see if it was exhaustion that had made it so great, or something else.
She tilted her head to the side and relaxed her body, allowing a small smile to spread across her lips. "So now you're going to prove it was a good kiss? Give it your best shot, lover boy. Let's see what you got."
He leaned forward and gently brushed his lips across her, lightly, as if drawing a feather across her skin. She shivered and he chuckled, a low male sound deep in his throat. His lips skimmed her jaw line, brief, barely whispers of a touch, designed to tease, to taunt, to increase her desire. She moaned and went to reach for him.
"Oh no. Stay still for this." He grabbed her hands with his, and placed them on the arms of the chair, imprisoning them with his own.
He nudged her face up with his nose then rewarded her with a deep kiss, soul stirring yet innocent. After a moment, his tongue slid along the crease of her lips and she opened them, welcoming him in. The kiss quickly turned deeper, hotter, their tongues entwining and exploring. His mouth tasted of coffee and sweetness, like the butter-cream frosting of cake, and she couldn't get enough of it.
Slowly, chest heaving with exertion, he pulled back, resting his forehead on hers while they both caught their breath.
"Still think it was obligation?"





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Don't miss book one in the Knights of Passion Series





Ever since Megan Ryder discovered Jude Deveraux and Judith McNaught while sneaking around the “forbidden” romance section of the library one day after school, she has been voraciously devouring romance novels of all types. Now a romance author in her own right, Megan pens sexy contemporary novels all about family and hot lovin’ with the boy next door. She lives in Connecticut, spending her days as a technical writer and her spare time divided between her addiction to knitting and reading.



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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

BOOK SPOTLIGHT: Intercepting Daisy by Julie Brannagh @TastyBookTours @julieinduvall #Giveaway #Sports

Her heart may be in more danger than her job.

INTERCEPTING DAISY
Love & Football #6
Julie Brannagh
Released Sept 6th, 2016
Avon Impulse


From USA Today bestselling author Julie Brannagh comes the next fun and incredibly sexy novel in her beloved Seattle Sharks series.

When Daisy Spencer wrote an erotic novella about the Seattle Sharks' backup quarterback and her #1 crush, Grant Parker, she never expected it to become a runaway bestseller. If anyone discovers she wrote the sexy story, her days as a flight attendant for the Sharks would be over. But once she gets to know the real man behind the fantasy, her heart may be in more danger than her job.

Having Seattle fans think squeaky clean Grant is wild in bed is the last thing he needs-even if it might be closer to the truth than he will ever say. As he spends his days, and nights, with the gorgeous Daisy, he's not interested in going back to the lonely life he once led. But when the real author of the novella is finally outed, Grant and Daisy must both reveal the secrets they've hidden away or risk losing a love that's better than any fantasy.


Excerpt (Very Sexy)
Grant Parker heard a loud crack as he rolled over in his date’s bed and onto something buried in the sheets. He looked at the sleeping form next to him and sighed in relief when she didn’t stir.
He extracted an e-reader from under one of his hips as he sat up and stared at a large horizontal fracture in the screen in the dim light from her bathroom. Crap. Grant couldn’t remember her name, but he was willing to bet she remembered his. Even more, she was probably going to be pissed about the broken e-reader.
Shaking his head to clear out some of the cobwebs, he knew he needed to get his ass out of here. He had a hundred bucks in his wallet. He’d leave the money to replace the e-reader (along with a note) ten seconds before he walked out the front door of her apartment. Still too drunk to drive, he would call Uber as soon as he got outside.
He’d met her at a bar last night. She was exactly what he’d wanted: a woman who wanted one night with him. They’d had a lot of drinks, and they’d taken a cab to her place. Minutes later, they were naked. He’d had her twice before they both fell asleep from sheer exhaustion. He wondered what the biggest aphrodisiac was for the women who fucked his brains out on a regular basis: that he played pro football or that they were delighted to discover he was an excellent lay. She’d have several orgasms to remember him by.
The Sharks’ PR department worked overtime to craft his squeaky-clean image. Grant had arrived in Seattle as a result of being drafted out of his small, conservative Christian college’s football team. The Sharks had cut their former backup QB after a DUI and a sexual assault arrest. Grant was in the right place at the right time. Grant’s parents were also the nationally known pastors of a megachurch in Texas, which seemed to seal the deal for the Sharks.
It was clear in Grant’s combine interview with the team’s head coach and the general manager that any hint of bad behavior in his personal life would not be tolerated. The team believed Grant’s background and football skills would go a long way to smoothing things over with angry fans. Grant wanted to play for Seattle. It was the perfect situation.
The Sharks’ PR department circulated pictures of him to the local media with approved dates—girls from the local Christian college, for instance. He’d take them to dinner and a movie or a game. He’d walk them to their front door by ten pm, kiss them on the cheek, and make sure they were safely inside before he got in his car and went looking for what he really wanted: raw, anonymous sex with someone he knew he had no intention of seeing again.
He didn’t lie to anyone he was with. He had told each woman before they went to her place that he was in for one night and one night only. He told them he didn’t have sex without protection, which he provided. They nodded, smiled, and tried every sexual enticement in their arsenal to change his mind. It seemed that the women he dated always wanted what they could not have. If he met someone who boinked his brains out and told him to leave as soon as he got dressed, he’d be back for more. So far, it hadn’t happened.
He knew he was playing with fire for being so public. He knew he should find a woman who was interested in a mutually beneficial (and highly confidential) arrangement. He wasn’t callous or cavalier toward anyone else’s feelings. He just wasn’t interested in getting tied down to anyone, at least in the short term. If he got caught having multiple one-night stands, his carefully constructed image would blow up in his face, and any chance he had of succeeding Tom Reed, the Sharks’ starting QB, would be gone.
He understood his behavior could be chalked up to doing the forbidden, to the idea he was getting away with something he shouldn’t do. What kind of idiot would jeopardize eight million dollars a season for standing on the sidelines with a clipboard sixteen Sundays a year by taking such a risk? The Sharks organization wanted their fans to believe Grant spent his evenings with his playbook and turned in early. Alone. Preferably after reading a few pages of the Bible and saying his prayers. He was a normal, healthy guy with a normal, healthy sex drive. Was this a crime?
Grant wanted to watch the Sharks’ starting QB Tom Reed on the sidelines holding a clipboard as Grant threw TD after TD. He wanted to be the guy in the hundred-foot-tall mural screen painted on the side of Sharks Stadium. He also wanted to be the guy who’d get his pick of twice as many women who all wanted to do him. After all, the ladies wanted the real thing: a starter.
He clicked on the small button that activated the e-reader. It still worked, despite the cracked screen. He saw the title of the last book she was reading, Overtime Parking; a picture of him crossing the tarmac at an airport to get on the Sharks’ team plane was on the cover.
He’d been the subject of a lot of press, but someone had written a book about him? He hadn’t seen this yet. He was surprised his agent or the team publicist hadn’t told him about it. He’d have to call them both tomorrow. Maybe he should take a look at a page or two to figure out if this was an unauthorized biography.
He touched the unbroken part of the screen with his fingertip, and the text appeared.
And I shoved Parker’s football pants down with both hands. He was naked beneath and sporting a gigantic erection.
“Want it?” he said.
“Yes.” I unzipped my jeans and wriggled until both jeans and underwear slipped to my knees. I unhooked my bra and pushed my sweater up around my neck. I lay back on the hood of his car in the team’s parking lot, spreading my legs, entirely exposed to him. In full view of anyone walking past. The parking lot was full of cars; it was a matter of time before we were discovered.
I reached down to touch myself, to move my fingers in the wetness I felt dripping out of me. I wanted to show him I could come from staring at him and stroking my clit. I wanted him to see it all and to want me as badly as I wanted him.
“Fuck me,” I said.
He yanked my jeans and my panties off and pushed my legs up over his shoulders. I couldn’t concentrate on anything besides his arms caging me, his mouth on mine, his hard, massive dick entering me seconds later. I arched into him, my nipples scraping against his rock-hard chest. He grabbed my ass to pull me into his pistoning hips. Somehow, it was even more thrilling to know we might have an audience, and I ground into him as a result.
“Oh, God. Fuck me! I have to have you!” I told him as I moved against him. He pounded into me, over and over. I heard flesh slapping against flesh and the muffled groans of satisfaction deep in his throat. I wrenched my mouth from his, raked my nails down his back, and let out a loud cry.
“More!” I cried out. “Harder!”
“Oh, I’ll give it to you harder,” he growled as he thrust again. I wrapped my legs around his hips as tightly as I could. My clit rubbed against his pelvis as I moved against him. The hood of his car was cold but slippery against my back. It was going to be covered with our juices by the time we were done. There was nothing like the smell of sex; it surrounded us in the cold night air. I reached down to grab his ass with both hands, pulling him closer.
“Faster,” I cried. “More!”
“I’ll give you more,” he said roughly. “I’m going to fuck you, and then I’m going to fuck you again. Right here. Where everyone can see us. They’ll know how dirty you are, how badly you want it. How you’d fuck them too.”
He was breathing hard. He thrust faster, and I could feel myself coming, lust and adrenaline coursing through my bloodstream as I reached between us to rub my clit. “That’s it,” he said. “You want it. You want everyone to see you coming all over me, don’t you? Come for me. Come now.”
I let out a scream as my entire body convulsed around him. The waves of pleasure and release went on and on. I must have blacked out for a few seconds; I could hear applause and whistles as I came to. I saw a knot of guys a few feet from us; I was beyond caring that I was laid out like a naked, panting feast in front of them. I was limp in his arms, and he grinned down at me. He turned, made a slight bow to the onlookers, and turned back to me. His dick was already getting hard again as I watched.
“Ready for round two?” he said. “I’m going to do every nasty thing to you you’ve ever dreamed of. In front of them. And you’re going to love every minute of it.”

Grant stared in shock at the broken e-reader’s screen. What the hell was this?


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USA Today Bestselling Author, Julie Brannagh has been writing since she was old enough to hold a pencil. She lives in a small town near Seattle, where she once served as a city council member and owned a yarn shop. She shares her home with a wonderful husband, two uncivilized Maine Coons and a rambunctious chocolate Lab.

When she’s not writing, she’s reading, or armchair-quarterbacking her favorite NFL team from the comfort of the family room couch. Julie is a Golden Heart finalist and the author of contemporary sports romances.


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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

BOOK SPOTLIGHT: Embrace Me by @AnnMarie_Walker @Amy_KRogers @TastyBookTours #Giveaway

Return to the dangerous and seductive romance 
that got pulses racing in the Chasing Fire trilogy...

EMBRACE ME
A Chasing Fire Novella (#3.5)
Ann Marie Walker & Amy K. Rogers
Releasing September 20th, 2016
Berkley Intermix

Hudson Chase and Alessandra Sinclair's heartracing romance continues in this hot, new novella in the Chasing Fire series.

Return to the dangerous and seductive romance that got pulses racing in the Chasing Fire trilogy...


It took ten years for Hudson Chase and Alessandra Sinclair to find their happily ever after, and they’re not about to let anything get in their way...

Nothing could stop the passion between Allie and Hudson—not time or distance. Not even tragedy, betrayal, and blackmail. But now they’re facing a new challenge: wedding planning. And while Allie’s social status demands she put on the event of the century, her well-intentioned family and friends have her doubting her walk down the aisle...

Hudson knows tensions are pushing Allie to the brink, but he’s not letting her throw everything away over some flowers and cake. He has plans for his new bride, and unlike their last adventure, he's determined that this time there will be no unwelcome surprises. But for all his determination and control, there’s one element Hudson Chase has never been able to predict—and she has some adventurous ideas of her own...






Hudson spun to face her and within seconds Allie was in his arms, the hard planes of his body crushing her against the alley’s brick wall. Both hands framed her face as Hudson sealed his mouth over hers. His tongue pushed passed her lips, taking her in a lush, deep kiss she felt echo to her very core. Allie’s hands found their way into his hair, her fingers twisting through the dark waves, trying in vain to hold him to her when he broke their kiss.
            His face hovered mere inches from hers. “You’ve been a bad girl tonight,” he rasped.
            Just those few, roughly spoken words had her heart racing with excitement. Hudson was in control and she wouldn't have it any other way. In the boardroom she stood her ground, going toe to toe with her stubborn husband on a wide range of issues. But in the bedroom he was her dominant lover and although there was a time she would have never considered such behavior a turn on, there was no denying the effect it had on her. There was a freedom in surrendering herself to him, a liberating sense of self unlike anything she’d ever experienced. With Hudson she was able to let go of her inhibitions and explore the wanton lust only he could evoke.
            A soft moan escaped her lips as he ran his tongue up the column of her throat.
She hadn’t expected him to show up at her bachelorette party and had certainly never imagined him dragging her out of the club cave-man style. But there he was, touching her, kissing her, and all she could think about was how badly she wanted him.
            “Did you enjoy having those men rubbing themselves all over you?” The hard ridge of his erection pressed against her though the soft fabric of her skirt. Behind them a muffled bass beat a hypnotic rhythm through the club’s darkened windows. It pounded through them, urging her to grind her body against him.
            “It’s only you Hudson. It’s always been only you.”
            “You can prove it to me when we get home.” He stepped back, leaving her warm and wanting, to reveal their limo idling behind him. He reached for the handle and gave the door a hard yank. “After you.”

            Allie slid across the leather bench with Hudson close behind. Before he had even settled onto the seat she was in his lap. “We don't have to wait until we get home.”





Praise for the Chasing Fire trilogy


"Exceptional...Seriously sexy and sinfully steamy. Can't wait for more from this writing duo!"--New York Times bestselling author Tara Sue Me

"Walker and Rogers strike the perfect balance between blistering physical desire and heartfelt connections..."--RT Book Review  

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Though thousands of miles apart, Ann Marie Walker and Amy K. Rogers are in constant contact, plotting story lines and chatting about their love of alpha males, lemon drop martinis and British supermodel, David Gandy. You can find them on twitter as @AnnMarie_Walker and @Amy_KRogers. 



Amy K. Rogers


Ann Marie Walker

Start the Chasing Fire Series Now




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Sunday, September 18, 2016

BOOK SPOTLIGHT: The Soldier's Scoundrel by Cat Sebastian @TastyBookTours @CatSWrites #Giveaway #MM #Historical

Two men only meant for each other.

THE SOLDIER'S SCOUNDREL 
Cat Sebastian
Releasing Sept 20th, 2016
Avon Impulse

A scoundrel who lives in the shadows 

Jack Turner grew up in the darkness of London’s slums, born into a life of crime and willing to do anything to keep his belly full and his siblings safe. Now he uses the tricks and schemes of the underworld to help those who need the kind of assistance only a scoundrel can provide. His distrust of the nobility runs deep and his services do not extend to the gorgeous high-born soldier who personifies everything Jack will never be.

A soldier untarnished by vice 

After the chaos of war, Oliver Rivington craves the safe predictability of a gentleman’s life-one that doesn’t include sparring with a ne’er-do-well who flouts the law at every turn. But Jack tempts Oliver like no other man has before. Soon his yearning for the unapologetic criminal is only matched by Jack’s pleasure in watching his genteel polish crumble every time they’re together.

Two men only meant for each other



Jack absently skimmed his finger along the surface of his desk, tracing a swirl through the sand he had used to blot his notes. Another case was solved and done with, another gentleman too drunk on his own power and consequence to remember to pay servants and tradesmen, too dissipated to bother being faithful to his wife. Nearly every client’s problems were variations on that same theme. Jack might have been bored if he weren’t so angry.
A knock sounded at the door, a welcome distraction. His sister always knocked, as if she didn’t want to interrupt whatever depravities Jack was conducting on the other side of the door. She did it out of an excess of consideration, but Jack still felt like she was waiting for him to do something unspeakable at any moment.
She was right, of course, but still it grated.
“Come in, Sarah.
“There’s a gentleman here to see you,” she said, packing a world of both disapproval and deference into those few words.
Really, it was a pity she hadn’t been born a man because the world had lost a first rate butler there. The butlers Jack had served under would have been put fairly to shame.
“Tell him to bugger off.” Sarah knew perfectly well he didn’t take gentlemen as clients. He tried to keep any trace of impatience out of his voice, but didn’t think he quite managed it.
“I have customers downstairs and I don’t want a scene.” She had pins jammed into the sleeve of her gown, a sign that she had been interrupted in the middle of a fitting. No wonder her lips were pursed.
“And I don’t want any gentlemen.” Too late, he realized he had set her up for a smart-mouthed response. Now she was going to press her advantage because that’s what older sisters did. But Sarah must have been developing some restraint, or maybe she was only in a hurry, because all she did was raise a single eyebrow as if to say, like hell you don’t.
“I’m not your gatekeeper,” she said a moment later, her tone deceptively mild. But on her last word Jack could hear a trace of that old accent they had both worked so hard to shed. Sarah had to be driven to distraction if she was letting her accent slip.
“Send him up, then,” he conceded. This arrangement of theirs depended on a certain amount of compromise on both sides.
She vanished, her shoes scarcely making any sound on the stairs. A moment later he heard the heavier tread of a man not at all concerned about disturbing the clients below.
This man didn’t bother knocking. He simply sailed through the door Sarah had left ajar as if he had every right in the world to enter whatever place he pleased, at whatever time he wanted.
To hell with that. Jack took his time stacking his cards, pausing a moment to examine one with feigned and hopefully infuriating interest. The gentleman coughed impatiently; Jack mentally awarded himself the first point.
“Yes?” Jack looked up for the first time, as if only now noticing the stranger’s presence. He could see why Sarah had pegged him straight away as a gentleman. Everything about him, from his mahogany walking stick to his snowy white linen, proclaimed his status.
“You’re Jack Turner?”
There was something about his voice—the absurd level of polish, perhaps—that made Jack look more carefully at his visitor’s face.

Could it—it couldn’t be. But it was.

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Cat Sebastian lives in a swampy part of the South with her husband, three kids, and two dogs. Before her kids were born, she practiced law and taught high school and college writing. When she isn't reading or writing, she's doing crossword puzzles, bird watching, and wondering where she put her coffee cup.




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Thursday, September 15, 2016

BOOK SPOTLIGHT: Mixing Temptation by Sara Jane Stone @TastyBookTours @sarajanestone #giveaway #Contemporary

A beautiful but broken woman must decide if true love is worth 
risking everything...including her freedom.

MIXING TEMPTATION
Second Shot #3
Sara Jane Stone
Releasing September 13th,2016
Avon Books


In the third installment in Sara Jane Stone's dazzling Second Shot series, a beautiful but broken woman must decide if true love is worth risking everything...including her freedom.

After a year spent living in hiding—with no end in sight—Caroline Andrews wants to reclaim her life. But the lingering trauma from her days serving with the marines leaves her afraid to trust the tempting logger who delivers friendship and the promise of something more.

Following an accident that nearly robbed him of his hopes for the future, Josh Summers believes life has given him a second chance. He wants to settle down with the woman who stole his attention and his heart. And he’s willing to wait until she’s ready to be more than “just friends.” When fear of discovery leaves Caroline pretending to be his date, Josh tempts her to try the real thing—a relationship built on trust, not lies.

But then the past threatens and Caroline must risk everything—including her freedom—to bury her demons before she can take a chance on happy-ever-after.

“May I lick the whipped cream off your face?”
Josh lowered his fork to the pie dish and waited for the Big Buck’s dishwasher to catch up with the conversation. Pie—not flowers—had offered him the perfect way to transition from the guy who found her in the woods to her friend. And he couldn’t resist the temptation to switch from small talk to damn near close to begging for a kiss.
And a date, he thought. I’m going to ask her out today.
Caroline raised one perfect, dark eyebrow. One hand clasped a spoon and the other rested on the stainless steel work surface that on busy nights held stacks of dirty pint glasses waiting for her attention. Right now, it was just the two of them and the pie. The bar wouldn’t open to Forever’s local logging population and the university students who outnumbered the men and woman born and bred in this section of the Willamette Valley for another hour.
“No,” she said. Her tongue darted out from between her pink lips that always looked as if she was wearing a kiss-me-now lipstick. Or course, he knew the woman whose ideas of accessorizing involved a concealed weapon tucked into the waistband of her pants did not bother with makeup. She licked the whipped cream teasing the edge of her mouth. “I’ve got it under control.”
He nodded, refilled his fork and lifted another bite of key lime pie to his mouth. He always asked—for a touch, a taste, a kiss—but he never pushed. Caroline would shift the parameters of their dessert-based friendship in her own time. Or she wouldn’t and he’d be forced to come to terms with the fact that the future he daydreamed about—settling down with Caroline, buying his own home, maybe a dog—would replace sleeping with Megan Fox on the top of his Never Going to Happen list.
“You’re going to Noah’s wedding on Saturday night?” he asked, sliding back into friendly chitchat. He’d waited a year to kiss Caroline the first time. And he’d sit tight for another if it meant more sugarcoated kisses. To hell with his siblings’ opinions.
“Just because I can take the dishwasher apart and fix it every time it tries to quit on us”—she nodded to the restaurant-grade appliance behind her—“doesn’t mean Noah wouldn’t fire me for missing his wedding. Plus, he’s closing the bar for the night. Everyone else is going.”
“Everyone else is in the wedding,” Josh pointed out. Big Buck’s owner and manager was marrying Forever’s former bad girl, who’d burst into his life over a year ago, demanded a job, and quickly worked her way up to assistant manager. And the only other bartender on the payroll right now was the groom’s best friend and the bride’s big brother.
“True. But I owe Noah. I can’t miss his wedding.”
Fair enough, he thought.
“A couple of months ago, you asked me out on a date,” Josh pointed out.
“I was feeling brave at the time.”
“Are you canceling?” he challenged. If she said yes, he’d kiss her again. Maybe not today, but one day soon. And he’d reminder her why she’d summoned the courage to ask in the first place. He’d caught her looking, her eyes roaming over his biceps with a flicker of something more than friendship in their green depths. And if given the chance, he would let her run her fingers over his T-shirt, mapping the muscles beneath . . .
“No, I’m not canceling,” she said thoughtfully. “I’m still working out the details.”
“Be my date to the wedding.”
Her eyes widened, staring back at him as if he’d dropped to one knee and suggested they follow her boss down the aisle.
“No,” she said firmly. “Josh, I . . . Just no.”
Caroline refused to look away. She’d spent months learning to read Josh’s facial expressions, forcing herself to look past the red-gold stubble that screamed ‘I’m too sexy for this bar.’
Or his shirt.
Or her . . .
Right now, the corners of his mouth threatened to fall into a frown. Disappointment. But he never let his smile falter for long. He always took a moment. Looked away and then returned his gaze to her as if she hadn’t turned him down twice in ten minutes.
But he knows I’m a long way from whipped cream kisses in the bar’s back room.
And dates.
Yes, she’d asked him out once. But then reality had come crashing down on her. Her life consisted of washing pint glasses and staying out of sight. She couldn’t hope for more—not even a single night out at one of the restaurants near the university—with a federal warrant hanging over her head.
Of course, the police weren’t actively looking for her. As far as she knew. But if the local cops, or even a state trooper passing through town, found out who she was . . . If they learned why she kept to the shadows, she would be under arrest and turned over to the military. She would have to pay the price for her unauthorized absence. For refusing to deploy alongside the men who’d turned a blind eye when their commanding officer ordered her into his bed. The men who’d laughed with Dustin when he’d said he would force open her mouth and make her take him between her lips . . .
And then there was the elephant in the bar’s back room that would also tag along on their date. She hadn’t had sex—oral or otherwise—because she wanted to since before she joined the marines. Josh had never treated her like a victim, but there was a first time for everything.
“I’m sorry,” she added. “But I can’t go to the wedding as your date. There will be too many people. And everyone knows you. If they see me with you . . . they’ll ask questions. And I can’t give them answers. I need to stay in the background, hiding behind a plant or something. And then leave as soon as they cut the cake.”
“A wedding probably isn’t the best place for a first date.” He pointed his fork at her. “Maybe once I get my own place, you can help me christen the kitchen.”
She raised an eyebrow. “That assumes a lot for a first date.”
He laughed. And the familiar sound threatened to lead her into his version of the future. One where they would kiss in the kitchen and then—
“I was talking about baking a pie together,” he said. “I’d invite you over to the farmhouse, but I didn’t think you’d take kindly to receiving the third degree from my siblings and their significant others.”
“Probably not a good idea,” she murmured. She’d spent the past year trying to avoid his two older brothers and his sister. It wasn’t hard seeing as his family lived in Independence Falls, a solid hour’s drive from Big Buck’s Bar. Chad Summers, the middle brother, had tried to befriend her, stopping by the bar’s back room with his girlfriend, a drop-dead gorgeous woman who’d served in the army. But Caroline had shut down their attempts.
Josh Summers remained the one and only person she’d let in since she’d showed up on Noah’s doorstep. There was something about the way he accepted the word ‘no’ that broke down her defenses. He never tossed the word aside, questioning whether it was a knee-jerk response. He never pushed—not once—under the pretense that he knew what was best for her. Not since that first night when he’d found her in the woods. Even Noah, who’d had her back when they were deployed together, pushed. Her fellow soldier turned boss tried over and over to talk her into visiting the local gun club with him. She said no and he asked again and again.
But Josh always listened.
“Have you started looking for a new apartment?” she asked, steering the conversation away from dates that might lead to compromising situations.
“I’m looking, but not for an apartment. I’m still sitting on my split from when we sold the family trucking company. I want to use the cash to buy a piece of land. Someplace with a nice view of the mountains, maybe space to put those viticulture classes I’ve been taking to use and grow some grapes. Not a lot. I’ve learned enough to know that is one tough business. I’d rather keep my day job with Moore Timber and put my blood, sweat, and tears into building my own home.”
“You can do that?” The question slipped out before she could mask the surprise in her voice.
“I’ll need help, but I know what I want. Four bedrooms. Maybe five. Plenty of space to spread out. Timber frame. A second story that is open to a great room below. And one helluva kitchen with all the modern appliances. I’ll hire an architect, and a builder. But I can swing a hammer with the best of them.”

Four bedrooms. Plenty of space . . . 


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After several years on the other side of the publishing industry, Sara Jane Stone bid goodbye to her sales career to pursue her dream-writing romance novels. Sara Jane currently resides in Brooklyn, New York with her very supportive real-life hero, two lively young children and a lazy Burmese cat. Join Sara Jane’s newsletter to receive new release information, news about contests, giveaways, and more! Visit www.sarajanestone.com and look for her newsletter entry form.



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