Pre-Order Blitz ~ Love, Me ~ by ~ Anna Brooks

Title: Love Me
Series: A Pleasant Valley Novel
Author: Anna Brooks
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: April 25, 2017




Vaughn Morris survives on denial and hope. He spends his days permanently marking other’s skin and his nights trying to forget the scars imbedded in his soul. When he returns back home desperately seeking approval from the mother who left him for dead, the last thing he expects to do is fall in love with a woman who is just as closed off as he is.

 


 

Rayne Garner hasn’t truly lived in years. She made a promise to her high school sweetheart, and she refuses to break it. Nobody has made her question her loyalty until Vaughn forces her to face reality, no matter how brutal it may be.

As tempers clash and ugly truths are revealed, a friendship they didn’t need turns into a love neither thought they wanted. But Rayne and Vaughn not only have to fight for each other, they must survive threats from a past they’re both trying to move on from.








“Vaughn, look . . .” I whisper.


“I am. And I really like what I see.”

 


I knew earlier that he was trouble, but now, with his hands on me and the thoughts I’m having that I know I shouldn’t be . . . I’ve gotta squash this before anything starts. “Listen, I—”

 


His hair moves freely as he shakes his head. “Don’t blow me off. I know that’s what you’re about to do. Don’t do it.”

 


“I’m a lesbian,” I blurt out. “I’m flattered, but sorry.” I’ve rehearsed the line so many times I almost believe it myself. Wish I believed it sometimes.


He laughs. It catches me so off guard that I find my jaw open, and I’m staring at the way laughter changes the hard angles of his face to soft ones that make him less intimidating and more beautiful.

 


“Why are you laughing? You’re the one in a gay bar.”


“I’m here for Kenny and Brad. I’m not gay, darlin’, and if you think that, then I gotta step up my game.”

 


“I’m not interested in playing games.” I cross my arms defensively. “Besides, I didn’t say that you were gay. I said I was a lesbian.”


He laughs again. Once he catches his breath, he takes another shot. “The way you were moving your hips. Grindin’ on my cock . . . Damn, baby. Got me hard as a fuckin’ rock. You’re not a lesbian.”

 


“Yes. I am.” This is what I tell people when I get hit on, because the truth is too hard to bear. Sometimes, I just don’t want the reminder that I won’t have anything else.

 


“You’re not a lesbian.”

 


“Fine.” I sigh. “Caught me. I’m asexual.”

 


He huffs. “No, you’re not.”

 


“Am too.”

 


“Are not.”


“Am too!” I screech.


He extends his arm and runs a finger around my knee and up to the hem of my very short dress. I try to pretend he doesn’t affect me, but my breath hitches in my throat, and my cheeks heat up. When he traces just beneath the hemline, I shiver. Dammit. Asshole.


“No. You’re not.” He smirks and squeezes my thigh before letting go.







Anna began writing when she thought the world would want to hear her sick lyrics through song. Since then, she’s realized her childhood dream wasn’t so far-fetched, just misguided. Now she writes romance with real emotions and happy endings. If Anna isn’t writing or reading, she can be found by a space heater painting her nails and drinking a ridiculous amount of Diet Dr Pepper. She also likes to hang out with her husband and two boys. If it wasn’t for them, she wouldn’t ever leave the house. Anna was born in Wisconsin but now lives in the Evergreen State. 






Book giveaway for Love, Me: A Pleasant Valley Novel by Anna Brooks Mar 23-Apr 28, 2017

Enter to win one of 1 free copy available. Giveaway dates from Mar 23-Apr 28, 2017. Enter to win a signed paperback copy of Love, Me, the latest romance …




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Pre-Order Blitz ~ Letting Love Go ~ by ~ Katharina LeBoeuf

Title: Letting Love Go
Series: Damaged Heart Series #1
Author: Katharina LeBoeuf
Genre: New Adult/Contemporary Romance
Release Date: April 18, 2017
Cover Model: Peyton Anthony
Photographer: Kruse Images and Photography
Cover Designer: Cover Me Darling


Seven years ago, high school sweethearts Emma and Ryan were torn apart in the most shocking and unexpected way.
Over the years, Emma Leroux has learned to survive by building walls around her damaged heart. Exploited and betrayed by those closest to her, grieving the loss of her father and never really letting go of her first love has Emma at a new low in her life.
Desperate for a fresh start, Emma decides to go on a week-long vacation with a friend. Along with a change in scenery, she finds a new strength in herself and may also have found the one person who can open a door she thought was forever closed.
Justin finds himself at a crossroads in his life and he’s intent on making a fresh start. When he sees Emma for the first time, he knows she’s the one he’s been waiting for to walk into his life. Tearing down Emma’s walls isn’t as easy as he hoped it would be, but he’s not going to let her slip away without a fight.
After serving his time in the military and finishing his MBA, Ryan returns home to New Orleans. He has never given up on the dream that he and Emma could resurrect what they’ve lost. He’s determined to find her and win her back.
Will Justin be the one to help mend her damaged heart? Can this new relationship survive the shadows of their pasts, or will Ryan change everything?

Katharina LeBoeuf grew up in New Orleans water skiing on the bayous and getting her fill of Cajun food. She graduated from LSU School of Nursing and currently works as a Registered Nurse. 
She loves sitting in her hammock and reading a good book. On the rare occasion there’s not a book in her hand, she’s watching her favorite shows like Friends, Seinfeld, The Walking Dead, and Criminal Minds on Netflix. She loves cheering on her boys during their baseball games and attending plays her daughter performs in. Oh yeah, and she loves writing! 
Katharina lives in Orlando with her high school sweetheart, three children, a smelly cat named Chester (it’s not his fault) and a dog named Rhett.

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Pre-Order Blitz ~ Camouflage ~ by ~ Kathleen Maree

Title: Camouflage
Author: Kathleen Mareé
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: April 6, 2017

On the surface, Giselle Duzido could be called many things.

 


Sassy, determined and breathtakingly beautiful.

But one thing that would never come to tongue, is broken and fragile; because she’s learned to keep that part of herself locked up tight. The veneer she chooses you to see – has it all. Her designer brand is on the rise from her original base in Sydney, to two more stores in Los Angeles and New York; a part of a world she has always fit into seamlessly.

Career-wise? She’s flourishing. Social status? Almost famous!

But scratch just beneath her surface and there it is, eating away at her insides. But at some point, doesn’t Sel deserve to have the happily ever after?

She may look just like another twenty-something woman, searching for that earth-shattering love…

But it’s all just a camouflage.


“I got totally caught up in this unpredictable story and I would highly recommend it.” – Reader Review

 



 

“The writing is easy to read, the story is fresh and I couldnt put this book down and finished it in one sitting.” – Reader Review


 

“Really gripping start to the book had me hooked right away- I had to know what was going to happen!” – Reader Review


From the earliest age I was a born storyteller.

Ask my parents and they will tell you I had a gift for making a simple event seem like an elaborate one. Purposely? No. Innocently? Yes. It was my imaginary world that initially led me to believe I wanted to be an actor. All of that role playing and living in fantasy… it was an obvious direction for me. However, becoming quite uncomfortable with the limelight quickly saw that dream diminish.

Over the years I turned my world of fantasy into stories, and eventually began writing them down. Before I knew it, ‘Cut’ had been completed.

When I am not busy writing my next story, I am a working mum, housewife and sometimes hockey wag 🙂 In other words, probably some kind of circus act who specialises in juggling 😉

I hope you enjoy my blog, where I will be posting thoughts, other books I am currently reading and even sneak peeks of my novels. I encourage any feedback, comments or direct messages via my contact page should anyone wish to get in touch.

I am so thrilled to be sharing my journey and hope you enjoy my stories as much as I enjoy writing them.

Dream often. Believe always.

 

 

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Pre-Order Blitz ~ In Blood We Trust ~ by ~ Elodie Colt

Title: In Blood We Trust
Author: Elodie Colt 
Genre: Suspenseful Dystopian Romance
Release Date: April 5, 2017
2078. The Future, as it was once called…
A better time you imagine? Most would say yes.
Jordan would say they’d switched one evil for another…

Ever since the SDCT—the Scientific Department for Cancer Treatment—made a scientific breakthrough, creating a cure for cancer and therefore saving billions of lives from the cruel disease over the last few decades, the world seems to be a better place.
But the Cure came with a side effect. 
The Recipients need to consume human blood along with it, and as Jordan has the rarest blood type, she needs to donate every week. To keep a tight legal structure between Recipients and the rest of the population, the FDR—Federal Division for Recipients—was created, making her job as Sergeant at the NYPD hell on earth.
The real trouble, though, begins the day she becomes burdened with a case that will force her to extend the law to its limits. Worse still—the new Lieutenant, Aiden Davis, has set an eye on Jordan, and it doesn’t help that he is an unrelenting, too-hot-to-be-allowed ex-marine and more intense than she can bear. But her past makes it impossible to get involved with anyone without resurfacing memories of the one fateful night she desperately wants to forget.
And when the one man she’d never wanted to lay eyes upon again—the man who had inflicted pain on her worse than anyone could ever imagine, the man who had drained her until there was nothing left—shows up once again, her growing attraction toward the new Lieutenant seems to be the least of her problems…

I took a gulp of air bracing myself for what was about to come. Sheryl knocked on the door, and I ran my hands over my dress in an attempt to smooth out the fabric. My need for food nearly made me sick. I hoped my stomach stayed quiet.
Patrick and Davis lifted their heads simultaneously as we entered.
“Patrick,” Sheryl greeted him. Her voice changed to a sweeter tone as she addressed the newcomer. “Lieutenant Davis.”
I stood next to Sheryl but deliberately stopped a foot behind her. Davis looked at Sheryl, but to my surprise, his gaze never went lower than her face despite the amazing view she provided at chest height. He gave her a short nod in greeting, neither overly friendly nor unfriendly. I bit my lower lip. He didn’t seem like a social kind of guy. Was that a good thing or not?
“Ah, yes,” Patrick said, adjusting the knot of his tie before standing up. “Lieutenant Davis, let me introduce you to my best.”
Davis raised his eyebrows appearing surprised that Patrick was referring to two women, and it was only then that his gaze finally fell upon me.
His eyes zoomed in on my face, his stare penetrating me. I automatically held my breath. Then, he raked my body head to toe with one quick but thorough glance. Fast. So fast, I nearly missed it.
My heart did a crazy little jump. Was he checking me out? Why would he do that when a sexy goddess like Sheryl was standing next to me? I suddenly felt very naked, as though he’d just stripped me down to nothing but my underwear with his intense, unwavering stare.
Davis elegantly rose from his chair. He was so intimidating—respect and power pouring from him in waves—I had the urge to avert my eyes, but they appeared to be glued to his. My headache from before was suddenly forgotten.
He stepped around the desk closing the distance between us in a few strides. He towered over me when he stood that close—claiming my comfort zone—his strong neck at my eye level. I bit back the urge to step back. Or was it an impulse to step forward? Confusing.
“Sergeant Jordan Lively,” Patrick introduced me, oblivious to the wordless conversation that the Lieutenant and I were having, although I wasn’t sure what exactly our silent exchange meant. Standing that close, I could make out the color of his eyes that continued to bore into me—deep blue with shades of turquoise that reminded me of the sea’s hue. I remembered seeing that color printed on the old postcards of a tropical island paradise that had been swallowed by a tsunami decades ago. I think it had been called ‘Hawaii’ or something exotic like that.
Simply stunning. Beautiful, drown-worthy, and unique.
His eyes flitted back and forth between mine until stopping to rest on a particular spot. I could read the question on his face. Everyone asked the same question when they met me the first time: Why was there a misshaped little speck of gray next to my left pupil whereas the rest of the eye was a regular green like the right one? I usually gave my standard excuse: Genetic. No one knew the real truth besides me.
As if on cue, Davis’ gaze landed on my scarf most likely wondering why I was even wearing one. Understandable. It was far too hot in here. I was probably the only person in this part of the country who even owned scarves.
“A pleasure to meet you.”
His voice skimmed my senses, an underlying timbre I couldn’t quite decipher swinging with it. The way the word ‘pleasure’ left his mouth sent funny vibrations through my belly. It took me a second to realize that he’d extended his hand to shake mine. I grasped his hand, and I swear I felt a thumb softly caress my skin before he pulled away.
“It’s an honor,” I managed to say before lifting my chin a little higher. I didn’t want him to think he’d intimidated me. He stepped sideways to greet Sheryl long before his slicing gaze left mine.
“And Detective Sheryl Frayman,” Patrick informed.
“Welcome, Lieutenant Davis,” Sheryl greeted him with a strong voice emanating way more confidence.
“Thanks. Nice to meet you.”
Polite. Nothing more. Was I imagining it? I threw a sideways glance at Sheryl expecting to find disappointment on her face, but instead, she smiled after Davis’ eyes found mine again.
My heart rate increased pounding through my eardrums. Damn, it was stifling in here. The air conditioning must have conked out again.
“What are you specialized in?” Davis asked, perching on the office desk and crossing his ankles. Sheryl folded her hands in front of her but didn’t answer. Davis looked at me expectantly. Apparently, the question was meant for me.
“Murder and rape,” I answered. No point in sugar-coating that. I swear I saw his nostrils flare a tiny bit. Yeah. The question wasn’t exactly one people used to reply with ‘Really? What a great thing to do!’
“Why?” he asked. That was a question I couldn’t possibly answer honestly. It would be a, let’s say, extremely heavy topic to discuss during an initial meeting.
“Because it’s so much fun,” I blurted sarcastically, quirking an eyebrow. I regretted my words as soon as they were out of my mouth. What had gotten into me? Must have been the low blood sugar. Sheryl’s head shot in my direction, and I could feel her what-the-fuck-are-you-doing glare on me. I glared back, shrugging. What was an appropriate answer here?
“Jordan!” Patrick exclaimed in shock, but Davis didn’t seem to bother. His expression hadn’t changed in the slightest still deeply lost in analyzing me. His stare made the air around me even more stifling.
He smacked his lips, the movement attracting my attention. I imagined tracing a finger over them which was silly, really. “You’re one of the best in what you’re doing. That only comes with a proper amount of devotion,” he stated, continuing to study me carefully.
We were getting into dangerous terrain. I needed a way out, so I prompted, “You mean the satisfaction I feel when I finally put the bastard behind bars?” In all honesty, I felt immense satisfaction when I took one of them down during an exchange of fire. It was exhilarating, giving me the feeling I’d done the world something good. However, that wouldn’t be the appropriate thing to say if I wanted to stay professional. I always tried to hide my dark side as best as I could.
“Sergeant Lively apprehended over thirty criminals on her own last year,” Patrick threw in, doing his best to cast a positive light on me. “She tends to work alone.”
Davis nodded in acknowledgment, though he seemed distracted. I transferred my weight to my other foot. God, my heels were killing me. And you couldn’t even open a window when you were stuck on the hundredth-something floor! 
Elodie lives in the outskirts of Vienna, Austria, with her longtime boyfriend. She is not a native English speaker, but that doesn’t keep her from putting her fantasies on paper in that beautiful language. Never trained as a professional writer, she started writing as a hobby, which quickly grew into an obsession. 


Elodie has an unhealthy addiction to chocolate cookies – which is why she forces herself to go to the gym twice a week – has a weakness for electronic music, and in her spare time she can be found exploring movie databases for the latest DVD releases. 


Additionally, she’s busy with reading and writing and gets easily lost in Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and Erotica. In her own works, she likes to create rich dystopian stories which consist of bold heroines, sexy guys, and hot romances. 


Her biggest idol is the British author, Stephanie Hudson, author of the epic saga “Afterlife”. Elodie secretly hopes to get the chance to meet with Stephanie one day, and talk to her about how she created the greatest story ever written. 


The only thing she hates about writing is that she loses all the precious time she could spend reading the hundreds of books that are still on her to-read list.

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Pre-Order Blitz ~ A Strange Companion ~ by ~ Lisa Manterfield

Title: A Strange Companion
Author: Lisa Manterfield
Genre: New Adult Paranormal
Release Date: April 4, 2017

 

Kat Richardson isn’t running away from grief; she’s just hiding out in a gloomy Welsh university town until she’s sure it’s gone. Now, one year, nine months, and 27 days after the climbing death of her first love, Gabe, she thinks she’s ready to venture out into the relationship world again. And Owen—a cake-baking, Super Ball-making chemistry student—appears to be a kind, funny, and very attractive option.

 


 

But the arrival of Kat’s newly adopted niece, Mai, forces her home to northern England, where she runs headfirst into all the memories of Gabe she’s tried to leave behind—and discovers that Mai stirs up an unnerving feeling of déjà vu. Before long, Kat’s logical, scientific beliefs about life after death are in battle with what she feels to be true—that reincarnation is real and Gabe has come back to her through Mai. The question now, is why?

 


Taking on the topics of love, loss, and how we deal with grief, A Strange Companion is a twisted love triangle among the living, the dead, and the reincarnated.

“A Strange Companion hooks the reader with its very first line and never lets go. The voice is unassuming and introspective, the prose elegant, and the descriptions sensuous.” ~Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators

“Manterfield presents a story – part romance, part mystery – about love and loss, and learning to live again. Reminiscent of The Art of Racing in the Rain, we can’t help but embrace the dream that the ones we have loved and lost may one day return.” ~Julie Mayerson Brown, author of The Long Dance Home

“This beautiful blend of heartbreak, finding one’s self, grief, forgiveness, loss, and second chances, is a perfect rainy day read. I cannot say enough good things about this book! Read it with a box of tissues, as you will cry your eyes out.” ~The Reading Wolf

I ran my hand along the log, waiting for my fingers to find the small indentations I knew would be there. They didn’t. The initials and the heart that Gabe had carved into the bark of the log now lay beneath a smooth carpet of moss, as if our love was something lost to the past. I pressed my finger into the moss but not a single tear would come. I simply sat there on the log and remembered.
Grief, apparently, had a mind of its own. It had snuck up on me in unexpected places, but now that I needed it, it would not do my bidding. I pushed up off the log, wiping at my dry eyes. I would be home for three full weeks, plenty of time to go looking for grief. My hometown was filled with memories of Gabe and I’d keep looking until I found them all.

The tiny dot of light I’d seen grew bigger. As it wrapped around me, my eyes were drawn towards it. I felt suddenly light and my mind seemed to float somehow in my head. I wanted to get up, to pull myself from the ground and go, to step into the warmth of the light and allow it take me away from here.
A man’s voice filtered into my ears in a hazy blur. It was a kind voice, calling for me. Gabe. He’d found me. He’d come to deliver the rest of his message. I lifted my head to listen, determined not to miss a word this time.
“Miss?” said the voice. “Are you all right?”
I was close to the light now. If I kept on going, I was sure I wouldn’t come back. I wondered if Gabe would be there, arms open, waiting for me. I wanted to go. I had to get him. I pushed myself off the ground and moved towards the light.
“Stay where you are!” yelled another voice, a woman’s this time. 
A surge of pain shot through me. I opened my eyes and stared into the brightness. My head spun and the light seemed to flash all around me. I struggled to find my balance as a wave of nausea passed through me. Two dark figures moved in, their welcoming hands reaching for me. As my knees buckled I glimpsed the glint of a rectangular badge as the pool of light flashed across the word “Police.”

Mai dropped to her knees and wrapped her arms around Frida’s enormous head. She rested her cheek against Frida’s bristly fur and the two of them lay there as if they’d been best pals forever. Luke reached down and ran his hand along Frida’s back. As he moved back to stroke again, his hand paused on Mai’s arm, curled around Frida’s neck.
Luke froze. 
I felt the air around us go still—all except for one crackle of energy that danced between Mai and Luke. I felt it, Luke felt it, Frida felt it . . . and so did Mai.
Luke cast his eyes down at the little girl at his feet, who stared, unblinking, back at him. His brow wrinkled, as his mind struggled to understand what I knew his heart felt. Then, something passed between them that I had once seen pass between Luke and his brother. It was more than love, more than understanding, more, even, than blood. It was a deep connection, a spark between two people, two souls, who were inextricably intertwined. 
Luke looked at me. “Did you feel that?”
I nodded.
“What was it?”
I hesitated. I knew exactly what it was, but how could I tell Luke? It was one thing to tell Maggie about my suspicions, but Luke was Gabe’s brother. Was it fair of me to risk opening up the hurt I knew he’d spent the past two years trying to heal? But perhaps I wasn’t the only one Gabe needed to visit. I felt a prickle of excitement at the possibility that someone else might finally understand.
Glancing back to make sure Luke and I were out of earshot, I leaned in and whispered. “I think it’s Gabe.”
Luke narrowed his eyes at me. “He’s haunting her?”
I shook my head. “Do you believe in reincarnation, Luke?”
He shrugged, but the expression of curiosity on his face prompted me to take a chance.
“I didn’t either until I met Mai.”


 

Lisa Manterfield is the award-winning author I’m Taking My Eggs and Going Home: How One Woman Dared to Say No to Motherhood. Her work has appeared in The Saturday Evening Post, Los Angeles Times, and Psychology Today. Originally from northern England, she now lives in Southern California with her husband and over-indulged cat. A Strange Companion is her first novel. Learn more at LisaManterfield.com.

 


 

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Pre-Order Blitz ~ Prowlers & Growlers Boxed Set

Grab this special pre-order price before it goes up!

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When The Snow Flies by Gina Kincade & Kiki Howell

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The Jaguar’s Consort by Aliyah Burke

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Hades Playground by Isis Pierce

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Under The Crescent Moon by Amy Lee Burgess

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The Demon The Witch and The Firebird by Phoenix Johnson

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Changes by Angelica Dawson

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Arcane by Erzabet Bishop

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Chicks Dig Scars by Kathleen Grieve

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Swelter by K.C. Stewart

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Fallen In Sin by Marissa Farrar

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Surprise Announcement ~ Provocative ~ by ~ Lisa Renee Jones

SBPRBanner-PROVOCATIVE-BA

Provocative (White Lies Book One) by Lisa Renee Jones
Release Date: April 18th
Genre: Contemporary Romance

A Note from the author:

Hi everyone!

I am BEYOND excited to introduce my WHITE LIES DUET! This is a sexy, intense, psychological thriller, that is provocative in every way, thus why I named book one: PROVOCATIVE. And since this series takes me back to my indie roots, the pricing is lower than my New York titles, and the release dates are close together.

Here are the details on the series:

  • PROVOCATIVE, book one, will be out on April 18, 2017 and priced at $2.99 – includes the free novella REBECCA’S FORGOTTEN JOURNALS for those readers who purchase during release week or pre-order where pre-order is available.
  • SHAMELESS, book two, will be out on July 11, 2017 and priced at $3.99
  • BOTH books will be full-length!
  • I’m also giving away prizes on my blog every day in April to celebrate! Entry is super easy. Just comment! The link to my blog is HERE so be sure to subscribe!

And now, without further ado, the covers for the duet, blurb for book one, and CHAPTER ONE of PROVOCATIVE! I can’t wait for you to meet the dirty talking alpha, Nick “Tiger” Rogers. I hope you enjoy him as much as I enjoyed writing him!

Provocative Final Border

ABOUT THE BOOK

Book one in the sexy and intense new White Lies duet by Lisa Renee Jones!

There are those moments in life that are provocative in their very existences, that embed in our minds forever, and sometimes our very souls. They change us, mold us, maybe even save save us. But some are darker, dangerous. If we allow them to, they control us. Seduce us. Quite possibly even destroy us.

The moment I walked into Sonoma’s Reid Winter Winery and Vineyard and made eye contact with Faith Winter for the first time was one of those moments. Provocative because I know at least one of her secrets, of which, I suspect she has many. Provocative because she believes I was a stranger to her when we met, but I am not. Provocative because I sought her out, with no intention of touching her. But now I have. Now I want her. Now I have to have her. But that changes nothing. It doesn’t change why I came for her.

Pre-Order PROVOCATIVE Today!

Special $2.99 pre-order price – will increase after release!

Amazon alert: http://bit.ly/ProvocativeAmazonAlert

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iBooks: http://bit.ly/ProvocativeiBooks

Kobo: http://bit.ly/ProvocativeKobo

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34602810-provocative

Read Chapter One Now:

pro·voc·a·tive

adjective

  1. causing annoyance, anger, or another strong reaction, especially deliberately.
  2. arousing sexual desire or interest, especially deliberately.

Chapter One

There are those moments in life that are provocative in their very existences, that embed in our minds forever, and sometimes our very souls. They change us, mold us, maybe even save us. But some are darker, dangerous. If we allow them to, they control us. Seduce us. Quite possibly even destroy us.

The moment I stepped into the mansion that is the centerpiece of the Reid Winter Vineyards and Winery wasn’t one of those moments. Nor were any of the moments I spent weaving through a crowd of suits and dresses cluttering the circle that is the grand foyer of the 1800’s mansion, fancy tiles etched with vines beneath my feet. Nor the ones spent declining three different waiters offering me glasses of various wines from one of the most established vineyards in Sonoma, meant to entice me to buy their bottles and donate money to the charity hosting the gathering. Not even the instant that I spotted the stunning blonde in a snug black dress that hugged her many lush curves proved to be one of those moments, but I would call it a damn interesting one. The moment I decided the blonde silk of her long hair belonged in my hands and on my stomach was also a damn interesting one. And not because she’s fuckable. There are plenty of fuckable women in my life, a number of whom understand that I enjoy demands for pleasure, which I will definitely provide, and nothing more. This woman is too prim and proper to ever agree to such an arrangement, and yet, knowing this, as she and her heart-shaped backside disappear into the congestion of bodies, I find myself pursuing her, looking for more than an interesting moment. I want that provocative one.

I follow her path formed by huddles of two, three, or more people, left and right, to clear a portion of the crowd, scanning to find my beauty standing several feet away, her back to me, with two men in blue suits in front of her. And while they might appear to blend with the rest of the suits in the room, they hold themselves like the parasites I meet too often in the courtroom, those who most often call themselves my opposing counsel. My blonde beauty folds her arms in front of her chest, her spine stiff, and if I read her right–and I read most people right–I am certain that she’s found trouble. But lucky for her, trouble doesn’t like me near as much as I like it.

Closing the space between me and them, I near their little triangle just in time to hear her say, “Are we really doing this here and now?”

“Yes, Ms. Winter,” one of the men replies. “We are.”

“Actually,” I say, stepping to Ms. Winter’s side, her floral scent almost as sweet as the challenge of conquering her opponents that are now mine, “we are not doing this here or now.”

All attention shifts to me, Ms. Winter giving me a sharp stare that I feel rather than see, my focus remaining on the men I want to leave, not the woman I want to make come. “And you would be who?” the suit directly in front of me demands.

I size him up as barely out of his twenty-something diapers, without experience, the glint in his eye telling me he doesn’t realize that flaw, which makes him about as smooth as a six-dollar glass of wine everyone in this place would spit the fuck out. A point driven home by the fact that he’s wearing a three hundred-dollar Italian silk tie, and a hundred-dollar suit, no doubt hoping the tie makes the suit look expensive, and him important. He’s wrong.

“I said, who are you?” he repeats when I apparently haven’t replied quickly enough, his impatience becoming my virtue as my role as cat in this game of cat and mouse is too easily established.

Unwilling to waste words on a predictable, expected question that I’d never ask, I simply reach into the pocket of my three-thousand-dollar light gray suit, which I earned by beating opponents with ten times his experience and negotiation skills, and finger the unimportant prick my card.

He snaps it from my hand, gives it a look that confirms my name and the firm I started a decade ago now, after daring to leave behind a certain partnership in a high-powered firm. “Nick Rogers?” he asks. “Is there another name on the card?” I ask, because, I’m also a fearless smartass every chance I get.

He stares at me for several beats, seeming to calculate his words, before asking, “How many Mr. Rogers sweater jokes do you get?”

I arch a brow at the misguided joke that only serves to poke the Tiger. Suit Number Two, who I age closer to my thirty-six years, pales visibly, then snatches the card from the other man’s hand, giving it a quick inspection before his gaze then jerks to mine. “The Nick Rogers?”

“I don’t remember my mother putting the word ‘the’ in front of my name,” I reply dryly, but then again, I think, she didn’t ask my father, to change my last name either. She just hated him that much.

“Tiger,” he says, and it’s not a question, but rather a statement of “oh shit” fact.

“That’s right,” I say, enjoying the fruits of my labor that created the nickname, not one given to me by my friends.

“Who, or what, the fuck is Tiger all about?” Suit Number One asks.

“Shut up,” Suit Number Two grunts, refocusing on me to ask, “You’re representing Ms. Winter?”

“What I am,” I say, “is standing right here by her side, telling you that it’s in your best interests to leave.”

“Since when do you handle small-time foreclosures?” he demands, exposing the crux of Ms. Winter’s situation.

“I handle whatever the fuck I want to handle,” I say, my tone even, my lips curving as I add, “Including the process of having you both escorted off the property by security.”

“That,” Suit Number One dares to retort, “would garner Ms. Winter unwanted attention in the middle of a busy event. Not that Ms. Winter even has security to call.”

“Fortunately, I have a phone that dials 911 and the ability to call it without asking her.”

If she’s your client,” Suit Number One says, clearly inferring that she’s not, “you’re obligated to operate with her best interests in mind.”

“My decisions,” I reply, without missing a beat, and without claiming Ms. Winter as a client, “are always about winning. And I assure you that I can think of many ways to spin your story to the press that ensures I win, while also benefiting Ms. Winter.”

“This isn’t my story,” Suit Number One indicates.

“It will be when I’m finished with the press,” I assure him, amused at how easily I’ve led him down the path I want him to travel.

“This is a small community with little to talk about but her,” he says. “She doesn’t want her foreclosure to become the front page story.”

My lips quirk. “If you don’t know how easily I can get the wrong attention for you here, and the right attention for Ms. Winter, you’ll find out.”

“We’ll leave,” Suite Number Two interjects quickly, and just when I think that he’s smart enough to see the way trouble has turned from Ms. Winter to them, he looks at her and says, “We’ll be in touch,” with a not so subtle threat in his tone, before he elbows Suit Number One. “Let’s go.”

Suit Number One doesn’t move, visibly fuming, his face red, that white ring thickening around his lips. I arch a brow at Suit Number Two, who adds, “Now, Jordan.” Jordan, formerly known as Suit Number One, clenches his teeth and turns away, while Suit Two follows.

Ms. Winter faces me, and holy fuck, when her pale green eyes meet mine, any questions I have about this woman and the many I suspect she now has of me, are muted by an unexpected, potentially problematic, palpable electric charge between us. “Thank you,” she says, her voice soft, feminine, a rasp in its depths that hints at emotion not effortlessly contained. “Please enjoy anything you like tonight on the house,” she adds, the rasp gone now, her control returned. Until I take it, I think, but no sooner than I’ve had the thought, she is turning and walking away, the absence of further interaction coloring me both stunned and intrigued, two things that, for me, are ranked with about as much frequency as snow in Sonoma, which would be next to never.

Ms. Winter maneuvers into the crowd, out of my line of sight, and while I am not certain I’d label her a mouse at this point, or ever for that matter, considering what I know of her, I am most definitely on the prowl. I stride purposely forward, weaving through the crowd, seeking that next provocative moment, scanning for her left, right, in the clusters of mingling guests, until I clear the crowd.

Now standing in front of a wide, wooden stairwell, my gaze follows its path upward to a second level, but I still find no sign of Ms. Winter. A cool breeze whips through the air, and I turn to find the source is a high arched doorway, the recently opened glass doors to what I know to be the “Winter Gardens,” a focal point of the property, and a tourist draw for decades, settling back into place. Certain this represents her escape, I walk that direction, and press open the doors, stepping onto a patio that has a stone floor and concrete benches framed by rose bushes. No less than four winding paths greet me as destination choices, the hunt for this woman now a provocation of its own.

I’ve just decided to wait where I am for Ms. Winter’s return when the wind lifts, the floral scent of many varieties of flowers for which the garden is famous touching my nostrils, with one extra scent decidedly of the female variety.

Lips curving with the certainty that my prey will soon to be my prize, I follow the clue that guides my feet to the path on my right, a narrow, winding, lighted walkway, framed by neatly cut yellow flower bushes, which continues past a white wooden gazebo I have no intention of passing. Not when Ms. Winter stands inside it, her back to me, elbows resting on the wooden rail, her gaze casting across the silhouette of what would reveal itself to be a rolling mountainside in daybreak. The way I intend for her to reveal herself.

I close the distance between us, and the moment before I’m upon her, she faces me, hands on the railing behind her, her breasts thrust forward, every one of her lush curves tempting my eyes, my hands. My mouth. “Did those men know you?” she demands, clearly ready and waiting for this interaction. “Did you know them?”

“No and no.”

“And yet they knew the nickname Tiger.”

“My reputation precedes me.”

“I’ll take the bait,” she says. “What reputation?”

“They say I’ll rip my opponent’s throat out if given the chance.”

“Will you?” she asks, without so much as a blanch or blink.

“Yes,” I reply, a simple answer, for a simple question.

“Without any concern for who you hurt,” she states.

I arch a brow. “Is that a question?”

“Should it be?”

“Yes.”

“It’s not,” she says. “You didn’t get that nickname by being nice.”

“Nice guys don’t win.”

“Then I’m warned,” she says. “You aren’t a nice guy.”

“Is nice a quality you’re looking for in a man? Because as your evening counsel, Ms. Winter, I’ll advise you that nice is overrated.”

She stares at me for several beats before turning away to face the mountains again, elbows on the railing, in what I could see as a silent invitation to leave. I choose to see it as an invitation to join her. I claim the spot next to her, close, but not nearly as close as I will be soon. “You didn’t answer the question,” I point out.

“You wrongly assume I am looking for a man, which I’m not,” she says, glancing over at me. “But if I was, then no. Nice would be on my list but it would not top my list, however, nowhere on that list would be the ability, and willingness, to rip out someone’s throat.”

“I can assure you, Ms. Winter, that a man with a bite is as underrated as a nice guy is overrated. And I not only know how, and when, to use mine, but if I so choose to biteyou, and I might, it’ll be all about pleasure, not pain.”

Her cheeks flush and she turns away. “My name is Faith.” She glances over at me again. “Should I call you Nick, Tiger, or just plain arrogant?”

“Anything but Mr. Rogers,” I say, enjoying our banter far more than I would have expected when I came here tonight looking for her.

She laughs now too, and it’s a delicate, sweet sound, but it’s awkward, as if it’s not only unexpected, but unwelcome, and an instant later she’s withdrawing, pushing off the railing, arms folding protectively in front of her body, before we’re rotating to face each other. “I need to go check on the visitors.” She attempts to move away.

I gently catch her arm, her gaze rocketing to mine, and in the process her hair flutters in a sudden breeze, a strand of blonde silk catching on the whiskers of my one-day stubble. She sucks in a breath, and when she would reach up to remedy the situation, I’m already there, catching the soft silk and stroking it behind her ear.

“Why are you touching me?” she asks, but she doesn’t pull away, that charge between us minutes ago now ten times more provocative with me touching her, thinking about all the places I might touch next.

“It’s considerably better than not touching you,” I say.

“My bad luck might bleed into you.”

“Bleed,” I repeat, that word reminding me once again of why I’m here, why I really want to fuck this woman. “That’s an extreme, and rather interesting choice of words.”

“Most bad luck is extreme, though not interesting to anyone but the Tigers of the world, creating it. You’re still touching me.”

“Everyone needs a Tiger in their corner. Maybe my good luck will bleed into you.”

“Does good luck bleed?” she asks.

“Many people will do anything for good luck, even bleed.”

“Yes,” she says, lowering her lashes, but not before I’ve seen the shadows in her eyes. “I suppose they would.”

“What would you do for good luck?”

Her lashes lift, her stare meeting mine again. “What have you done for good luck?”

“I came here tonight,” I say.

She narrows her eyes on me, as if some part of her senses, the far-reaching implications of my reply that she can’t possibly understand, and yet still, the inescapable heat between us radiates and burns. “You’re still touching me,” she points out, and this time there’s a hint of reprimand.

“Holding onto that luck,” I say.

“It feels like you’re holding onto mine.”

With that observation that hits too close to the truth, I have no interest in revealing just yet, I drag my hand slowly down hers, allowing my fingers to find hers before they fall away. Her lips, lush, tempting, impossibly perfect for someone I know to be imperfect, part with the loss of my touch, and yet there is a hint of relief in her eyes that tells me she both wants me and fears me.

A most provocative moment, indeed.

“Have a drink with me,” I say.

“No,” she replies, her tone absolute, and while I don’t like this decision, I appreciate a person who’s decisive.

“Why?”

“Good luck and bad luck don’t mix.”

“They might just create good luck.”

“Or bad,” she says. “I’m not in a place where I can take the risk for more bad luck.” She inclines her chin. “Enjoy the rest of your visit.” She pauses and adds, “Tiger.”

I don’t react, but for just a moment, I consider the way she used my nickname as an indicator that she knows who I am, and why I’m here. I quickly dismiss that idea. I’d have seen it in those pale green eyes, and I did not. But as she turns and walks away, and I watch her depart, tracking her steps as she disappears down the path, I wonder at her quick departure, and the fear I’d seen in her eyes. Was the root of that fear her guilt?

That idea should be enough to ice the fire in me that this woman has stirred, but it stokes it instead. Everything male in me wants to pursue her again, and not because I’m here for a reason that existed before I ever met her, when it should be that and nothing more. It is more. I’m aroused and I’m intrigued by this woman. She got to me when no one gets to me. Not a good place to be, considering I came here to prove she killed my father, and maybe even her own mother.

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Book two: SHAMELESS will be out on July 11th!

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About the Author:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT series. Suzanne Todd (producer of Alice in Wonderland) on the INSIDE OUT series: Lisa has created a beautiful, complicated, and sensual world that is filled with intrigue and suspense. Sara’s character is strong, flawed, complex, and sexy – a modern girl we all can identify with.

In addition to the success of Lisa’s INSIDE OUT series, Lisa has published many successful titles. The TALL, DARK AND DEADLY series and THE SECRET LIFE OF AMY BENSEN series, both spent several months on a combination of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling lists. Lisa is presently working on a dark, edgy new series, Dirty Money, for St. Martin’s Press.

Prior to publishing Lisa owned multi-state staffing agency that was recognized many times by The Austin Business Journal and also praised by the Dallas Women’s Magazine. In 1998 Lisa was listed as the #7 growing women owned business in Entrepreneur Magazine.

Lisa loves to hear from her readers. You can reach her at www.lisareneejones.com and she is active on Twitter and Facebook daily.

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