HIS Mafia Princess
Family First, book 1
by April Zyon
Published by Evernight Publishing
Cover by (the amazing!) Jay Aheer
Gregorio Bosco worked his way up the ranks of The Family. He never had trouble killing, selling, or anything he was tasked to do. He’d been trained to take over for Giovanni when he stepped down, but that all changed when Alessandra was taken. She was the only good in his life, and he’d do anything in order to protect her—no matter the cost to anyone around him.
Alessandra Morello was born into a life that she didn’t understand. She thought she was the daughter of a wealthy industrialist, however she learned it was far from the truth. She’s pulled into the center of a war with Gregorio as her only constant. Her attraction for the older man has only grown over the years, but can there be a future for them in their twisted world?
Be Warned: BDSM, anal sex, sex toys, orgies
Gregorio was pissed off that he had been called to the mansion, again. He had to get a hold of his men, or the Boss wouldn’t let him take over in the timeframe given to them. It wasn’t because of his fuck up, but one of his underlings. The little bastard was dead now. Greg had personally seen to it. No one got away with stealing from the family, not under his watch. Period. Now if only he could get the Boss to agree that times needed to change and the stakes had to be higher so that their family ran even tighter, because the Russians were trying to move in on their turf and usurp their power. It was up to Gregorio as the Boss’s right hand—and eventual heir—to ensure that they died trying instead of taking over the area that they had carved out for themselves.
When he was let into the Boss’s study, he stood loose in front of the man. Gregorio was armed and ready for anything. “You called?”
“Gregorio, take a seat.” The man didn’t pose it as a question, and Gregorio knew it. It was an order. Once he was sitting, the Boss nodded. “I hear you took care of the mistake.” The Boss sneered as he said the last word, as if it were dirty. “And you made an example?”
“Yes, sir. I did. He’s currently hanging with his hands cut off and his gullet filled with molten silver. His silver-filled body was left on the lawn of the Russian Boss’s home, as per your request. We will need to be more careful with our recruits. How this one passed as Italian, I will never know. It was the theft from the small general store that got him. The girl recalled him speaking Russian as he stole from her. She was injured and in the robbery, she remembered our underling because he had come to collect the protection fee two days earlier.”
Gregorio smiled. It was a smile of pure darkness as he thought of the pain the man suffered. He then tilted his head slightly as he asked the next question. “You let your daughter leave without a guard?” Gregorio changed the subject to one he really wanted to know. That woman had gotten under his skin and had been there since she was sixteen when he saw her naked in the pool house. That was when he was third in the organization. Gregorio killed the second because he was jacking off to Alessandra. Only he was allowed to even think of her in that capacity, and he ensured that every-fucking-one knew it. Even the Boss knew now that Gregorio had declared himself to the man.
“She plays golf with her friends every Thursday. Her guards are with her. Have you learned more of her mugging?”
“I have.” Another reason Gregorio was angry; he was here when he should be tracking the bastards that hurt her. No one hurt her and lived.
“And?” the Boss asked impatiently.
“One of them is sitting in my basement tied to a chair. I was in the middle of discussing respect with the man when you called.”
“It’s more than respect,” the Boss said angrily. “You would do well to remember respect yourself.”
Gregorio had to bite the inside of his cheek. “Yes, Boss. I’m sorry.” He hated those words because it was a reminder of just how much more Gregorio had to learn. Just saying them had him wanting to kill someone.
“That’s better. You have to remember who you are speaking with at all times. Yes, I have been grooming you to take over, but that’s in the near future. In the meantime, you’ve much to learn, things I had to learn the hard way through trial and error and a lot of blood lost.”
“Thank you, sir.” Those words came from his mouth in a near growl. It wasn’t that Gregorio didn’t appreciate what the Boss was doing for him, but the simple fact was that he was impossibly impatient at times.
“Now, what was offered to Tomas to make him turn from his Family?”
“Half million and the promise of a new life. Beyond that, it was the tie to his long lost relative who was a Russian that we didn’t know about.” He shook his head decisively at that statement.
“The Russians are growing bolder. They are searching out long lost Russians in our family’s men and enforcers. Seems as if we need to work on our own genealogy so we can head these off at the pass when possible.”
“They want what we have. They want the docks. They want the refinery and everything else we have. Everything we’ve worked so hard to get.”
“That I worked so hard to get. That my Father worked so hard to get. Don’t forget, Gregorio, you are only being groomed because I didn’t have a son but a daughter. One that I would kill for and one that will never know the reality of her life.”
Greg knew the truth though. The old man had twin sons that were older than Alessandra, but they were born from his whore so they would never hold any sort of position of power inside of the organization.
“I agree. She’ll never know the truth of this life. Not as long as I live. That’s my blood vow to you, Boss.” He would give it too, his blood to keep Alessandra safe, to keep her pure and to keep her out of this life.
He was going to say something else when the doors opened. Gregorio was on his feet with his weapon drawn on reflex.
The man who stood in the doors literally pissed his pants. “I’m sorry, Boss, but we got a note you have to read.”
Gregorio holstered his weapon and watched. He was curious about what would have anyone daring to open the door when he and the Boss were in a conference. No one but Alessandra dared do such a thing. She would breeze in when they were planning war and not realize what she walked in on.
When the Boss stood fast enough to send his chair flying behind him, Gregorio knew it had to involve Alessandra. She was the only one that would garner that sort of reaction in the man. “Those fucking bastards!” The Boss yelled out his frustration. “Get everyone here.” He looked at Gregorio. “Someone took Alessandra. Took her in the middle of a crowded lunch at the Country Club.”
Gregorio saw red. He shook in his fury. “Who?” He spoke to the man that brought the note. “Where are her guards?”
“They were found in their cars, both with holes in their foreheads. Whoever did this made it personal. They wanted these men to see who killed them.”
“Boss?” Gregorio waited for his orders to find the woman that held both of their hearts.
“Go. Find her. Take her to safety. I’m done with these Russian bastards on our turf.”
“You calling a war?”
“They did when they took her,” the Boss said as he pulled his weapons from his desk.
Release Day!! Handcuffed by Destiny
Handcuffed by Destiny $100 Contest Winner is Ronda Flowers Reed
A broken woman… After being kidnapped, tortured and surviving the brutality of human traffickers, Destiny Warren still finds every day a struggle. Every single minute she works to overcome her injuries, both visible and hidden. Despite her overpowering fear, she finds herself drawn to her rescuer, Brandon Bowers.A man of honor… Bran Bowers was raised by his grandmother with a sense of responsibility and a serious demeanor. He’s spent his life working for everything he has, but Mother Nature and fate seem to be taking turns dealing his cards lately. Between a flash flood that wiped out his home, and a beautiful woman who’s scared to accept his protection, Bran has to roll up his sleeves and take a stand.A mountain to climb… They say that love conquers all, but can it also overcome the horrors of PTSD? Destiny isn’t sure she can let Bran in, but she can’t seem to let him go. Will Bran walk away knowing he can never know her completely, or is he handcuffed to his own destiny?
**Note from the author: This story reflects on a woman’s victimization at the hands of terrible people. Possible triggers are involved in the storyline and thus should be taken into consideration.
Crawley Creek Series
Lori King is the author of more than twenty five Amazon best-selling romance novels, as well as a full-time wife and mother of three boys. Although she rarely has time to just enjoy feminine pursuits; at heart she is a hopeless romantic. She spends her days dreaming up Alpha men, and her nights telling their stories. An admitted TV and book junkie, she can be found relaxing with a steamy story, or binging in an entire season of some show online. She gives her parents all the credit for her unique sense of humor and acceptance of all forms of love. There are no two loves alike, but you can love more than one with your whole heart.With the motto: Live, Laugh, and Love like today is your only chance, she will continue to write as long as you continue to read. Thank you for taking the time to indulge in a good Happily Ever After with her.
It’s week 3 of our Exclusive Excerpts from the Shifters Hallows Eve Anthology from Romance Rebels Publishing! This week brings us The Tiger’s Bride, by R.E. Butler….
“I’m not going to hurt you. It’s magic, Valerie. I need you.” His voice changed, from a growling tone to one of pleading. She felt like he was reaching inside her and squeezing her heart.
“What are you doing to me?” she whispered, pressing her palm to her chest.
He opened his mouth but only an anguished groan came from his throat. He clutched his stomach and fell to the floor. She wanted nothing more than to go to him, but she ignored the impulse and turned to the door, rattling the knob several times. Moving to the window, she shoved the curtains back and gasped at the scene. A small yard was bordered by woods. Through the thick trees, she could…
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October is drawing closer, and that means my new anthology, Cuffed & Claimed, will be releasing! It’s up for preorder now on iBooks, and it will hit the other sites for preorder in September! Check out these blurbs for the 10 stories, and click on each authors link to read an excerpt!
Cuffed & Claimed
What’s better than an Alpha man in uniform?
Ten of them. Turn up the heat with ten BRAND-NEW law enforcement stories from some of the hottest USA Today, Amazon, and International best-selling romance authors around. These commanding men in uniform will fulfill your every sinful fantasy, and leave you panting for more.
Featuring stories by: Caitlyn O’Leary, Daisy Philips, Elle Boon, Fiona Archer, Holly Roberts, Jenika Snow, Lori King, Lynne St. James, Sherri Hayes, and Sydney Lea
Her Hearts Protector
by: Caitlyn O’Leary
It’s the worst case scenario for David Sloane as a Military Policeman. An earthquake has rocked Las Flores, leaving devastation in its wake. The local government leans heavily on David to lead the manhunt to recapture the escaped convicts.
In the midst of the chaos, former army nurse Sarah Kyle arrives with the International Aid Workers. As David comes face to face with the woman he’s never forgotten, danger continues to escalate as the desperate prisoners do anything they can leave the island.
When conditions deteriorate will these former lovers survive, let alone have the happily ever after they deserve?
by: Daisy Philips
Cat Conroy had fallen for a bad boy before and it hadn’t ended well. Scott Weston was trouble with a capital T. He claimed to be a CPA but in Cat’s experience, accountants rarely carried guns to work.
Undercover FBI agent Scott loved Cat from the moment he met her. Unfortunately, the lies he had to tell were driving them apart. Would she be able to forgive him when the truth finally came out?
by: Elle Boon
Hailey’s tired of seeing men she considers her brothers nearly killed. The Navy was the one place she considered home, until now.
Maddox is used to playing cat and mouse, his job is to keep the United States safe from terrorists. However, the ends always outweighed his own needs. Only this time, with Hailey’s life hanging in the balance it wasn’t the same.
As threats escalate, and Hailey is placed under his care 24/7 will he be able to keep things professional? Or will it all fall apart as secrets are uncovered and the threats are closer than either thought?
In His Custody
by: Fiona Archer
English teacher Mercy Jones has sworn off men, especially the edgy ones. So why does the new substitute history teacher have to be dangerous, raw, and challenging—on every level? His uncompromising masculinity and questioning mind captivate Mercy, tempting her to risk her heart.
Detective Aidan Shaw is a cynical bastard. But when working undercover to eradicate a high school drug network, Aidan meets an intelligent, feisty blonde. Mercy’s warmth and generous spirit awaken a part of him buried deep for too long.
But as he closes in on the criminals manipulating innocents for profit, the stakes grow ever higher.
by: Holly S. Roberts
Street Justice combines a sexy alpha cop, a bohemian woman with a heart of gold, and a half-Shepard half-Poodle mix with a leg-humping need to prove who’s top dog in the neighborhood. With suspense, humor, and steamy romance Street Justice will have your alpha-cop fantasies on full alert.
by: Jenika Snow
I had no choice but to come back. I knew I’d run into Law, my bear-shifting ex, and the man I still loved.
I thought I could move on.
I was wrong.
Brittin is the only woman I will ever love. She is it for me, even if she broke it off. I screwed up when I lost her, and I spent the next two years regretting it.
Now she’s back, and it’s my chance to show her I can be the man she deserves.
The Lawman’s Lover
by: Lori King
A divorcee whose broken dreams are buried so deep she can’t remember where she put them.
A Deputy Sheriff with a mountain of responsibilities weighing him down.
A fling. No strings attached. No plans for the future.
Until someone’s heart gets broken.
Find out how Deputy Colby Bricker and waitress Elizabeth Newcomer take their shared past and build a new future, in this sister story to the Crawley Creek Ranch Series.
by: Lynne St. James
Ethan Price thought a job as a small-town police detective in Willow Haven would be easy after five years as a pilot in the Air Force. Then a rash of break-ins puts the entire department on alert and the woman he loves at risk.
Anna Taggart is smart, stubborn, independent, and doesn’t think she needs anyone. Having her heart broken before, she refuses to give in to her feelings for Ethan no matter how hard he pursues her.
Will Ethan be able to convince Anna life is too short not to love?
Seducing the Detective
by: Sherri Hayes
When Detective Janey Davis is sent to the small town of Liberty to consult on a recently discovered John Doe, she’s paired up with Deputy Kyle Reed. She’s run into his type before—handsome, overly confident, and he has the ladies fawning all over him. It should be easy to resist her attraction to him. If only someone would tell that to her heart.
by: Sydney Lea
Undercover FBI agent Nikolai has been treading a fine line between right and wrong for the last few years and everything he has worked for is thrown into utter chaos the moment he risks it all to save Harper. Harper’s life has just been turned upside down, and now she must rely on the one man who has been lying to her from the moment they met.
Can they overcome all the dirty lies told between them?
Remember, all proceeds from this project will go to support the families of law enforcement killed in the line of duty! Don’t hesitate, because it’s only 99 cents!
Just because I know you’re all waiting anxiously for release day!
Pushing the door almost shut behind him, she gestured to the two side chairs in front of the window. “What’s on your mind?”
She was caught off guard when he ignored her suggestion to take a seat and instead turned to face her. They stood inches apart—so close she could feel the heat of his body—and his scent flooded her senses. She swayed slightly, and his hands came out to cup her at the elbows. Steadying her, his lips curled up slightly on one side.
She blinked at him in confusion and shook her head. “What?”
“You asked me what was on my mind, and I told you the truth. You are. You’ve been on my mind for months, and I can’t seem to shake you.”
“To shake me? You want to shake me?” Her brain was having a difficult time processing what he was saying. Part of her wanted to believe he was truly interested in her, but the broken part of her soul flared to life, reminding her that he deserved better.
“No, I don’t want to shake you. Shit, this isn’t coming out right. I should have practiced.” He released her arms and shoved his fingers into his hair, mussing his black curls even more. A lock fell over his brow, and she reached out and pushed it back before she even realized she was doing it. The instant her fingertips touched his forehead, his eyes drifted shut for a moment. When they opened again, they were lit with a flame of desire. The butterflies in her belly swarmed into her throat, stealing her voice as she stared up at him in shock. “Destiny, I know you’ve been through hell, and I wouldn’t blame you if you told me to take a hike, but damn it, I have to speak my mind. I want you. For more than just friendship.”
To her surprise, her entire body reacted to his statement, flaring to life. She hadn’t felt anything but mind-numbing cold inside for weeks. Ever since Knox chopped all her hair off and shoved a knife into her shoulder. Her hand instinctively went to rub at the scar she knew was under her shirt.
“I-um…I-just…” she stuttered, dropping her eyes away from his. She couldn’t take the intensity in his gaze anymore. He was so full of desire and hope, and she couldn’t remember what hope even felt like.
Lifting a hand, Bran cupped her cheek and forced her to look at him again. “I know you’re not ready for the kind of intimacy a real relationship takes, but I’d like to take you out. On a date. We can get to know each other outside of the ranch. Then, when you’re ready for something more, I’ll be here waiting.”
His palm was hot against her cheek, and she could feel the calluses on his fingertips. He was a man who truly worked for a living, and she admired that about him. There was a lot that she admired about Brandon Bowers, but was she really ready to date someone?
“I’ve never been on a date,” she murmured absently.
Bran groaned softly. “That’s perfect. Let me be the first man to wine and dine you, pretty girl.”
“I don’t know if that’s a good idea.” She shook her head, withdrawing a half step and bracing her hand on his chest. “You deserve a woman who can—”
Bran’s finger on her lips cut her off, and he frowned at her, “Don’t. Don’t ever tell me you’re not enough for me. You’re perfect the way you are, and I know what you’ve been through. I wrote the police report, remember?”
She cringed, remembering that horrific time in her life when she’d had to relive the hell all over again in order for it to be documented. It was like having someone slice her heart open and pour salt in an already festering wound.
“I can’t forget.”
“And I’m not asking you to,” he assured her. “I’m only asking that you start learning to be Destiny again with me at your side.
Amazon UK: https://goo.gl/BE1G3f
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Amazon CA: https://goo.gl/pN1ES0
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A new man is in town, and she can’t resist…Exclusive Excerpt from KD Jones #ShiftersHallowsEve
In our second sneak peek at the stories in Shifters Hallows Eve, we get a look at KD Jonesstory: Once Upon A Hallows Eve….
It was an unadventurous life, but it was filled with peace and calm. She wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. She adjusted the bunny ears that were part of the costume she’d picked for today. Starting October first, each day leading up to Halloween she would wear a different outfit. Today she had decided to wear just the ears.
The chimes rang out as Mindy rushed to the store. “Did you see him?” she asked, out of breath.
“See who?” Rita turned to look at her more petite friend, who was looking a little thinner than normal. She worried about her friend’s health.
“The Conrads’ son! He’s here in town running their store for a few weeks while they take a vacation.”
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Have you been dying to read the #CrawleyCreek Series? For a limited time get Volume 1 for #99cents! The first 3 stories for one LOW price to celebrate the… release of Handcuffed By Destiny on August 23!
There was a couple of inches of snow drift across the front lawn, but when she turned the corner and faced west, brown grass poked through just a dusting of snow, and the wind stole her breath from her lungs. Grey clouds filled the sky and the scent of snow was on the air. Tipping her head down, she hurried across the yard to the massive barn doors, pausing only long enough to tug one open and squeeze through it.
Compared to the cold outside, the warmth of the barn was intoxicating. The smell of animals and hay filled her nose and she sneezed loudly.
The deep voice was followed by a masculine chuckle, and she jerked in surprise looking for its owner. When she didn’t immediately spot anyone she frowned.
“Thank you, um, whoever you are?”
A black cowboy hat appeared over the top of a stall next to a brown horses head. Under the hat was a strong face, with a sharp jaw and a meticulously trimmed goatee and mustache. His nose was a little large, and as she stepped closer she could see that it was also slightly crooked with a telling bump in the middle. The smile on his face was amused as he allowed her to look her fill. But his dark black eyebrow rose when she remained quietly standing several feet away from him.
Concern filled his brown eyes and he reached one long arm over the stall door opening the latch. Her vision suddenly filled with the huge sexy body of a real life cowboy and she felt her chest tighten. He was beautiful. Black curly hair peeked out from under the brim of his hat, barely curling over his ears and the collar of his heavy brown coat. His wide shoulders filled out every spare millimeter of the material, and a powerfully built chest drew her gaze further down until her eyes struck gold. Framed by perfectly cut chaps was a thick looking bulge of blue denim and zipper, and Lacy nearly groaned out loud at the many wicked images running through her brain.
“Are you all right?”
She jumped in surprise at his question and felt a hot blush creep up her cheeks. “Yes, I’m sorry. That was ridiculously rude, please excuse me.” She stepped forward with her hand out, “I’m Lacy Denvers.”
“Ah, Denvers, yes Marilyn said we were going to have a guest for a couple of weeks.” The hand that took hers was enormous, and it engulfed her grip until she could barely see her own skin. She could feel calluses on his palm and a shiver went up her spine at the touch. What would that feel like on other more sensitive parts of her body? “Pretty unusual for someone to book a vacation in North Dakota in the winter.”
She was taken aback by the comment, and frowned up at him. At five foot eight, Lacy wasn’t a short girl, but the cowboy was at least eight or nine inches taller than she was, so her head had to tip back to see his eyes. “I booked the trip last summer. I wanted to get away from the city and I wanted to learn how to ride. Is that a problem?”
“Want to learn how to ride, huh?” The teasing flirtation in his voice made her pussy clench and her breasts swell. This time it was his eyes that slowly wandered down her body taking in every bit of her before coming back up to meet her pointed gaze. “I have no doubt that you can learn how to ride like a pro here at Crawley Creek.”
She nodded sharply refusing to acknowledge the innuendo. His eyes had turned a darker color, and his pupils had grown along with the bulge behind his zipper. The attraction was clearly mutual. Her heart was racing in her chest, and she turned back to the horse he had been working with in order to give herself some breathing room.
“She’s pretty, does she have a name?”
The cowboy stepped closer to the stall. Suddenly her palms were sweating too, and she was glad she had on so many layers so that he wouldn’t be able to see the hard nubs of her nipples poking through her shirt.
“She is a he, and his name is Toto.”
Lacy snorted and then covered her mouth in embarrassment. “Sorry, you don’t mean, Toto like the dog in Oz do you?”
“Is there another Toto?”
A giggle slipped out, and then turned into a full on loud laugh. Toto snuffed in his stall and looked at her with large brown eyes. The cowboy seemed amused at her enjoyment. He stepped closer and reached his hand up to run it over Toto’s forehead. The horse nuzzled him, and bobbed its head asking for more affection.
“Here, reach up and touch him. He’s like any other male, if you stroke him right he’ll be yours.” His voice was low and deep, and his eyes were locked on Lacy while she reached up to run her hand over the soft white spot on Toto’s forehead. Toto truly did seem to appreciate the gesture, and he tipped his nose to sniff at her arm.
“He’s beautiful. This is the closest I’ve ever been to a real horse.”
“Toto is honored to be your first.”
Lacy’s eyes darted over to look at the cowboy. His flirtations weren’t subtle, and his eyes blatantly said that he would be up for a hot sweaty fling. She pondered for less than a breath before she turned to face him.
“Are all cowboys this forward?” She cocked her head to one side watching him. His eyes shuttered and the heat seemed to seep out of them instantly.
“I apologize. It’s not often a beautiful woman appears in the barn out of nowhere. I have some more work to do, but you’re welcome to look around, just make sure to stay out of the stalls without someone with you. All of the horses are gentle most of the time, but accidents happen. You’re such a wisp, one kick and you’d be done for.” While he spoke, he reached back over the wall of the stall and pulled up a bucket that must have been on a hook inside. There was a collection of unusual tools inside the bucket, but she didn’t have a chance to ask him what they were before he was headed down the walkway and out the doors.
Excerpt from Beginnings:
“I’m sorry Mrs. Crawley, but the news isn’t good.” The doctor’s kind face had deep-set wrinkles bracketing his thin lips and framed a smile, but today they made his tipped frown seem pitifully sad. “It seems you have a hostile uterus.”
Sera stared at him trying to absorb his words, but all she heard was “hostile”.
“Yes. Basically your womb isn’t an ideal place for the implantation of a fertilized embryo. The likelihood of you ever conceiving is slim, and even if you did conceive, the chances that the pregnancy would be supported longer than the first trimester are extremely improbable. I’m sorry. I know that’s not what you were hoping to hear—”
“Not what I was hoping to hear?” She knew she was in shock, and that made it all the easier to blast her disappointment with anger. “I think that’s putting it rather mildly Martin, don’t you? And why are you calling me Mrs. Crawley? My name is Sera, and I’ve been coming to you for almost fifteen years. You know everything there is to know about my physical health, and you’ve never once mentioned that I had a hostile womb.”
“Seraphina it’s not something I could have known based on the standard pelvic tests we do annually. The fertility testing you had in Grand Forks highlighted some disturbing inconsistencies. As you know fertility science is still in its infancy. We only know so much about why the female reproductive organs are sometimes lacking. I’ve reviewed your tests extensively, and I even had a colleague of mine review them for a second opinion. Unfortunately, he agreed with my results. You’re barren.” Martin Warburg took off his glasses and set them on the desk in front of him, his gaze sympathetic. After several moments of tense silence, he sighed and gestured to the phone on his desk. “Would you like me to call Abe for you?”
Abe. Her husband. The man who’d loved her for the last fifteen years unconditionally. The sweetest, kindest soul on the planet. He’d supported her through month after month of negative pregnancy tests, and ten years of disappointment. Now she had to tell him that she was a defective wife. Unable to give him the children he so badly wanted. The family they’d dreamed of creating together.
“No. Thank you, but I need some time to…um…digest this information. I’ll talk to him soon.” Rising from the hard wooden chair where all of her dreams had been dashed, Seraphina Crawley brushed her braid behind her shoulder, and picked up her pocketbook. “Thank you, Doctor.”
Martin rose to his feet quickly, and began to move her way. “Sera, you shouldn’t be alone to process this news. Let me call Abe and have him come collect you. Your car will be fine here in the lot.”
“I said, no thank you. I appreciate everything you’ve done for me and all the time you’ve devoted to this, but now that we know how futile it is… Well, I suppose it’s best to just let the things that are out of our control, go. Tell Lenora that I said hello.” Reaching for the handle on the door, she hurried to put as much distance as possible between herself and the terrible news.
The sunshine was dimmer, and the day seemed significantly drearier as she stepped out of the office onto the sidewalk. Montford was a very small town, so there was no one on the street to see her sorrow as tears began to fall from her eyes. By the time she’d settled in behind the wheel of her car, she was gasping for air around the sobs of pain that echoed around her. Logically, she knew they were from her own throat, but somehow it seemed she was completely separate from the emotional response. She could feel herself trembling, hear the sniffles, and taste the vomit on the back of her tongue, but she still wasn’t ready to accept it was real. No matter what she did, or how healthy she lived her life, she’d never be a mother.
She’d known instinctively for a while that something was wrong. She was an only child, but not for lack of trying. Her parents had always wanted more children, but medical science wasn’t as good in the forties and fifties. Nowadays they were able to give women more of an idea of what was wrong…in most cases.
Struggling to calm her raging emotions, she closed her eyes and focused her energies on slowing the tears. Once her breathing eased back to a normal rhythm, she reached for the keys and shoved them into the ignition with a silent prayer that her old clunker would start today. The last thing she needed was more to deal with. Between Montford and Crawley Creek she would have twenty minutes to figure out how she was going to tell her husband the bad news.
At thirty years old, she felt like her life had just ended.
Excerpt from Rough Ride Romeo:
Horror washed over Roman when he twisted around to find a woman standing just inches from the tailgate of his truck. Thankfully, she looked unharmed, but she also looked pissed off. By the time he’d thrown the door open to get out, she’d darted around the truck and was in his face.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing? You just ran over my bike!” she yelled, slamming her palm against his chest and knocking him off balance as he tried to stand up. He landed on his ass on the seat with his legs spread off kilter, and her right between his knees glaring daggers at him from her cobalt blue eyes. Rich, brown hair was tied back in a messy braid, and a pair of aviator sunglasses sat on top of her head, but it wasn’t her shades that drew his attention. It was her fury, and the frustrated anguish that filled her curses. “God damn it! Why the hell weren’t you…how the hell did you…damn it!”
Lifting his hands in an attempt to calm her, he murmured, “Easy there, sweetheart—”
“Don’t start that country boy charm shit with me, bucko. I’m not buying it. You just wrecked my bike, and you’re going to pay for the damages,” she snapped, poking her finger into his chest. Standing in front of her now, the size difference between them was more obvious. At just over six feet, Roman was fairly average height in this part of the country, but this little biker chick was more than a half foot shorter than he was, and based on the way her jeans and t-shirt clung to her body she was perfectly molded underneath.
“I’m not arguing that a bit, Miss…” he paused hoping she’d fill in the blanks, but she just spun on her heel and headed back to where her bike was still stuck under the back end of the truck.
Dropping to her knees, she ran her hand over the handlebars which were now slightly twisted. “Oh Hal, my poor baby. Damn country folks don’t even know how to drive in an empty parking lot. I can’t believe with all of this space around him he couldn’t even manage to…damn it all to fuck.”
Well she certainly has a colorful vocabulary, he thought, and an oddly personal relationship with her motorcycle. The bike didn’t look terrible, but then again, it was hidden in the shadow of the truck. Reaching for his keys, he stepped closer to her, and said, “If you’ll just scoot over some, I’ll pull forward and we’ll see what the damage is. I’m awfully sorry about running over your bike, but—”
“But what? But it was somehow my fault that you backed over the one and only vehicle besides yours in the whole parking lot?” she demanded.
Damn she was a squirrelly one. There was something about the fire in her eyes and her fierce temper that clashed with the frustration and sorrow in the slump of her shoulders. She was more than just angry over the accident. Something else had this strange woman upset.
“No. It was absolutely my fault. I was just going to say, I happen to know a mechanic that can fix it for you. I’ll cover the cost, of course.” He tried to relax all of his body so that he didn’t seem threatening in any way. For some reason, he really wanted her to trust him, and give him a chance to make things right. He wanted to protect her from whatever demons were haunting her.
The moment the thought raced through his brain he tossed it aside. That was the silliest thing in the world. He had no interest in getting involved in anyone else’s demon hunting. He had plenty of nightmares riding around with him every day. No, he was just offering to take care of this because it was his responsibility as a human being. He’d caused the damage, and he’d fix it.
“What happened here?”
Bran’s deep voice made Roman groan and lean his head against the door of the truck. Just what he needed.
“This dumbass just backed over my bike!” the petite little hellion said, tugging at the saddlebag that was caught on his trucks trailer hitch. “If you smashed my laptop I’ll rip your balls off and feed them to you.”
Her threat made him grimace, and cover his family jewels as he exchanged a sick look with Brandon. Shoving his hat back out of his eyes, Brandon bent to take a look at the motorcycle and then shook his head. “You sure did a number on it, Romeo.”
“Romeo? Is that your name? Officer, I want this man arrested, or fined, or something.”
Bran was clearly fighting back a grin as he nodded. “It’s Sheriff Bowers, ma’am, and this dumbass”— Bran gestured to Romeo—“is Roman Freemont. I certainly understand why you’re upset Miss…”
This time she didn’t leave the opening hanging. “Scott, Franki Scott. And I’m way more than upset.”
Melissa Snark: Hunter’s Mark, exclusive excerpt!
Our first SNEAK PEEK into the new anthology from Romance Rebels Publishing: Shifters Hallows Eve, is courtesy of Melissa Snark’s Hunter’s Mark…
“I won’t. You have fun with your boyfriend.”
“I don’t have a boyfriend.” Not at the moment anyway.
“Then you’ve got the hottest stalker I’ve ever laid eyes on.” Misty grinned and aimed her finger toward the lobby, currently hidden behind the partition. She mouthed, “He’s waiting for you.”
Brow raised, Victoria turned and moved in the direction indicated. As soon as she passed the partition, she got a clear view of the ER lobby. A dozen or so patients waited to be seen, including a couple superheroes and a man wearing a banana costume. Her gaze flew straight past them.
A dangerous man occupied an entire row of three vinyl seats. He sat in the center chair and manspread—his arms draped across seatbacks to either side, legs…
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Bryce Evans: Obsessions
KD Jones: Desolation
Are both #FREE right now!
A city run by shifters? In Alpha city, wolves, bears, tigers, panthers, and jaguars live together in peace, centered and led by the Council of Alpha’s. Ryder Malone, is the Alpha of his werewolf pack. He carefully balances his responsibilities as the official head of the Council, and older brother to his sister Zoey, but when she decides to leave for college, he finds himself drawn to her roommate. Like an obsession, London Grey is under Ryder’s skin. To his shock, the young witch orphan, and her best friend decide to move back to Alpha City with Zoey to create a new business. But someone in Alpha City doesn’t want them to succeed. Like a bad itch, mysterious happenings haunt the newcomers and the town’s Alpha. Can they figure out the mystery before tragedy happens? Or will Ryder and London’s own chemistry cause them to miss the obvious?
Maggie James was sixteen years old when the Earth self-destructed. She’s spent the years since fighting to protect herself and the band of subway-dwelling misfits who took her in. Every day is a struggle to survive, and she’s seen the best and the worst of humanity. Hope seems lost until a tall, gorgeous hunk of a man from another world appears out of nowhere.
Captain Liam Estros a soldier for the Drastan Nation who has been sent to investigate a mayday call over five years old. Believing the detour a waste of time, he doesn’t take the hunt for survivors seriously until he’s captured and taken hostage by a small human woman.
In a world torn asunder by ignorance and violence, some will always revel in the chaos, preying on those just trying to survive. Heroes will rise from the ashes, and hope will come from the stars. Two hearts and two species. They must both overcome terrible odds to find love in desolation.
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