Posted in Cover Reveal

Beefcakes Author: Katana Collins———–

——–

 

Title: Beefcakes
Author: Katana Collins
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Cover Design: Julianne Burke, Heart to Cover

Cover Art: Sean Murphy

Release Date: March 24, 2020

 

Blurb
I might as well permanently add the label “Ex” to my name. I’m
an Ex-Mr. Universe. Ex-Mr. Olympus. An Ex-Hollywood Stuntman. But no one from
my small hometown cares anything about that. They only care that I’m the
ex-boyfriend to the beloved Mayor’s daughter, Elaina Dyker.
And now, ten years later, I’m back, helping my siblings run my mother’s
bakery while she takes on chemo. What should have been a routine cupcake
delivery turns into utter chaos when the bachelorette party thinks I’m a
stripper. And what’s worse? Elaina is the maid of honor.
But the meme about us sure went viral fast. My small hometown has become
positively infested with tipsy bridesmaids looking for my erotic cupcakes.
Now Hollywood’s knocking again–and this time they want me and my ex, Mr.
Beefcake, and Ms. Prude, to star in a reality show.
It could solve all my problems—except her.

 

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Author Bio
I love coffee.
As an author and a story-teller, it is the lifeblood to which my ideas
take flight. And I believe in giving credit where credit is due. Occasionally
someone (ie – my husband) will try to secretly switch out my beloved regular
coffee for decaf. I always know the difference. ALWAYS (I’m looking at you,
SEAN).
I am incapable of achieving the perfect ponytail. I’m dyslexic. I can
never wear white without spilling on myself. And I’ve never read Pride and
Prejudice (gasp!).
When I was younger and stole my mother’s Harlequins to read beneath the
covers with a flashlight (seriously, did we ALL do this? I think we did.), I
wanted to read about the tough as nails heroine. The perfectly imperfect girl
with quirks and attitude and sass. And the anti-heroes who were anything but
“Prince Charming.” Forget the knight on a white horse… give me the bad boy on a
motorcycle.
So, now, I write those romance novels I craved to see on the shelves all
those years ago—the sassy heroines. The badass heroes. I spend my days in the
throes of my imagination and am loving every minute of it. I can travel
anywhere and become anyone I want to be. One day, I’m a mechanic in Boston and
the next, I’m a vampire stripping in Las Vegas.
Since penning my first novel back in 2012, I’m now an international
author with 15 published books, in a wide range of contemporary romance
genres–(Paranormal, New Adult, Small town, Erotic Suspense… you name it!).
After living for a decade in Brooklyn, NY, I took the plunge and moved to
beautiful (although kinda chilly) Portland, Maine. I now live full time in
‘Vacationland’ with a kind of mean cat, a mellow chihuahua, and a very NOT
mellow lab-pittie mix. Oh, yeah… there’s a husband who draws comics somewhere
in that mix, too.
I can usually be found in a coffee shop with my nose in my laptop wearing
fabulous (albeit sometimes impractical) shoes.
I love connecting with readers and fellow sassy storytellers, so feel
free to drop me an email at katana.collins@gmail.com or connect with me on
Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (@katanacollins). You can find a list of my
available books over on my
Bookshelf or if you’ve already
read a book, it would make my day if you wrote a review!
Author Links

————————————-

Posted in Cover Reveal

Hawk ( The Boys of Summer #4)

Title: Hawk ( The Boys of Summer #4)
Author: Heidi McLaughlin
Genre: Sports Romance

Release Date: November 19, 2019
Hosted by: Buoni Amici Press, LLC.

AMAZON | APPLE | NOOK | KOBO

It’s another season of Renegade baseball and, as they say, the boys are back in town. All except for all-star pitcher, Hawk Sinclair, who has returned to his hometown and back to the ranch he grew up on to rehab after shoulder surgery.

Real estate agent, Bellamy Patrick, feels like she’s failing at being a single mom. Her son is having a hard time fitting in and she’s hoping that playing baseball will be the answer. When he doesn’t make the team, she’s willing to do anything to help him… except that! And that’s exactly what the little league coach expects.

When Hawk’s asked to coach a team of misfit kids, he balks…until he sees how the program is run and how boys are left out. That’s when he knows he has no choice but to do the right thing and turn these boys into the players he knows they can be.

Heidi McLaughlin is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of The Beaumont Series, The Boys of Summer, and The Archers.

Originally, from the Pacific Northwest, she now lives in picturesque Vermont, with her husband and two daughters. Also renting space in their home is an over-hyper Beagle/Jack Russell, Buttercup and a Highland West/Mini Schnauzer, JiLL and her brother, Racicot.

When she’s isn’t writing one of the many stories planned for release, you’ll find her sitting court-side during either daughter’s basketball games.

Heidi’s first novel, Forever My Girl, has been adapted into a motion picture with LD Entertainment and Roadside Attractions, starring Alex Roe and Jessica Roth, in theaters January 19, 2018.

To stay connected with Heidi visit www.facebook.com/authorheidimclaughlin or heidimclaughlin.com

 

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Posted in Cover Reveal

CHERISHING HIS FOREVER by LeAnn Ashers is releasing December 10th!!

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CHERISHING HIS FOREVER by LeAnn Ashers is releasing December 10th!!

 

Add it to you TBR today! http://bit.ly/CHFTBR

CherishinghisForever-ebooklg.JPG

Jessica
I was eight months pregnant and on the run from my ex when I met the love of my life. The Navy Seal who saved me in more ways than one.

Chase made his way into my life, completely turning it upside down. He made me feel safe and gave me so many things I’d never fathomed I could have.

He became a dad to my son.

But just as my life started to feel perfect, I was hit with a bombshell. The mafia my ex belonged to had a bounty on my head.
Chase
My life truly started the day I met Jessica, and I vowed to keep her and our son safe.

But now they wanted her. And even worse, they were after my son.

What they didn’t know was that I was waiting for them. I had been trained for this.

I’d never let anyone harm my family. They’d have to go through me first.

They tried taking it all away, but they quickly realized it was a battle I would never lose.

Add it to you TBR: http://bit.ly/CHFTBR

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Catch up on the FOREVER Series!
#1 Protecting His Forever: https://amzn.to/2oVedFb
#2 Loving His Forever: https://amzn.to/32ElQyg
#2.5 Breaking Free: https://amzn.to/2CeKKsR

MEET THE AUTHOR:
LeAnn Ashers is a blogger-turned-author who spends her days reading and writing. She released her debut novel early 2016, and can’t wait to see where this adventure continues to take her. LeAnn enjoys writing about strong-minded females and swoon-worthy, protective alpha males who love their women unconditionally.

 

Posted in Cover Reveal

One Complicated Christmas

 

 

Title: One Complicated Christmas
Author: Mika Jolie
Genre: Contemporary Holiday Romance

Cover Design: Hang Le

Release Date: November 21, 2019

 

Blurb
Fans of Jill Shalvis and Nora Roberts will be swept
away by One Complicated Christmas, a second-chance standalone holiday romance
in a small town, set with mistletoe lurking around every corner. Grab a glass
of spiked eggnog and enjoy.
What’s
a girl to do when she needs to bury the memories of her past?
Apparently, book a room at a cozy Vermont inn
for Christmas…as if that’s going to fix years of pining for the one that got
away. It doesn’t matter. This holiday getaway is exactly what the doctor
ordered. I’m ready to close that heartbreaking chapter in my life for good and
start the new year with a bang.
It should be easy.
Except there’s one problem—Joe Parker—with
that killer smile and those drown-in-me brown eyes. The man who was supposed to
be my forever, but instead left my heart shattered and in disarray.
He’s here. In this wintry hamlet. Daring me to
risk everything for him. Again.
I came to this small town looking to leave the
past behind me, not get reacquainted with an old flame. And yet, one kiss, and I’m
consumed by feelings—heart, mind, and soul. He still makes me tingle in all the
right places.
Denial is a powerful tool, but how long can I
fight falling for him all over again?
Can I trust him enough to give us another
shot?

 

 

Author Bio
Mika Jolie
lives in New Jersey with her Happy Chaos—her husband and their energizer
bunnies. She’s a lover of words, wonder, an old-fashioned, and the
whimsical delights of everyday living. When she’s not writing swoon-worthy,
sexy relatable romance, you can find her on a hiking adventure, beachin’ it at
the Jersey shore, apple, blueberry picking, or whatever her three men can
conjure up.
She loves
to hear from readers. Connect with Mika on BookBub, her reader group Mika
Jolie’s Wildflowers, Facebook, Amazon, Instagram, Goodreads, and
BookandMainBites

 

Author Links
Reblogged on Lisa Books Holiday Blog Hop @ https://lisabookblog.blogspot.com

 

Posted in Cover Reveal

The Naughty List

 

 

Title: The Naughty List
Author: Caisey Quinn
Genre: Steamy Contemporary Holiday Romance
Release Date: December 10, 2019

 

Blurb
HOLLIS ROSSI is tired of being good. What’s it ever gotten her, anyway?
When her boss, the infamous and illusive Jonah X, passes her up for a
promotion because she’s “too wholesome” to handle being his personal
assistant, she sets out on a mission to prove him wrong.
Her naughty list contains everything she plans to do to show him she’s
not the innocent, naive girl he thinks she is. She just didn’t plan on him
finding it. 
As Jonah shows her the ropes of being bad, she can’t help but wish he’d
show her some other ropes–like the ones in his bedroom. 
The Naughty
List 
is a steamy contemporary holiday romance.

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for a limited time

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Excerpt

“Look.” I
point at the recipe. “Flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, lemon zest,
salt, almond milk, canola oil, vanilla, lemon juice, and fresh blueberries. The
streusel on top has some vegan butter in it, but that’s everything.
Promise.” 
He leans
close enough that I can smell the sharp clean scent of his body wash and
expensive aftershave. 
“Huh. Well
they’re way better than the last ones.” He practically inhales another one.
My teeth
sink into my lower lip and tug. “Um, yeah. I over-mixed those. And I didn’t
know you were supposed to mix your wet and dry ingredients separately. My mom
gave me some tips this time.” 
His eyes
drop to my mouth but I’m not sure why. Jonah doesn’t see me like that. He never
looks at my mouth. Maybe the way to his heart really is through his
stomach. 
“Can I keep
this?” He retrieves the recipe from the countertop. “I might have Erma make a
big batch for some friends of mine.”
“Mmhm.” I’m
temporarily stunned from the way he’s openly watching my mouth. Our faces are
close enough to touch. 
Erma is his
housekeeper and she’s an amazing cook. I’d be jealous of her but she’s sixty
and looks like Mrs. Doubtfire so I don’t think she’s Jonah’s type. 
“Thanks.
Don’t give the dogs any of my muffins,” he teases. 
Zeus gave
up long ago but Achilles is still staring longingly at the muffins.
He moves to
exit the kitchen and my brain resumes full function once he’s out of my
personal space. 
“Jonah, wait.” 
He turns,
his hip bones doing that sexy V thing that make my mouth water. 
“I actually
need that recipe back.” My body shifts into panic mode as he regards me warily
with the recipe in his hand. “I’ll type you up a better copy. I need to make a
few adjustments anyway and I can’t remember what website I got that one
from.” 
My heart is
racing and my words are coming out on top of one another.
Jonah’s
expression says I’m acting as crazed as I feel. 
He doesn’t
make a move to give it back. 
“Jonah,
seriously. I need that one. Please.” 
I have no
poker face. I’m practically begging and that is not like me. 
“You need it?” He cocks his head to the side,
amusement dancing in his eyes. 
For a few
seconds, I worry he’s going to pull some big brother crap on me—hold it over my
head and make me jump for it or something. I get enough of that from Mikey and
Tony. I definitely don’t need it from Jonah. 
Thankfully
he just shakes his head and starts to hand it back. 
Until his
eyes catch the writing on the back. 
“What’s
this?” He glances at me then back at the list. “Your Christmas wish list on
here, Rossi?” 
“Give it
back, Jonah. I’m serious.” I can’t breathe. 
I reach for
it and he steps backward. “Hang on a minute. I need to know what to get you for
Christmas.” 
His
eyebrows shoot up as soon as he makes out the words. His lips move as he reads.
I never noticed that before. 
I give
myself a mental slap. I’m losing sight of what’s important here. 
“Adult
toys, lingerie, and law breaking?” Jonah nods appreciatively. “Aren’t you a
busy little elf this holiday season?” 
“Shut up.
My sister-in-law wrote that. She thought it would show you that I deserve the
job.” I sigh heavily. “You’ve had your fun. Now give it back.” 
He hasn’t
made it to number six yet. 
Please, sweet baby Jesus, don’t let him make it
to number six.
“Hang on,”
he says, reaching out and keeping me at arm’s length. “What else have we got
here?” 
“Jonah!” I
make a grab for the list, swiping my hand wildly, hoping to at least tear
it. 
I miss,
catching his towel instead. 
In one
split-second, my entire universe takes a hard left. 
Jonah’s
towel falls and he is naked, holding a piece of paper that suggests I sit on
his face. 
Author Bio
Caisey Quinn is the
bestselling author of over 15 romance novels.


Her books have been both traditionally and independently published and have
ranked in the Amazon Top 10 on half a dozen occasions. Her Neon Dreams series
(HarperCollins – Avon/William Morrow) has been translated into multiple
languages including French and Italian and distributed world-wide.

 

You can find her living out her very own happily ever after with her husband
and two children in a small town in Alabama.

Author Links
Giveaway

Re-blogged on the Holiday Blog Hop @ https://lisabookblog.blogspot.com

Posted in Cover Reveal

Hotshot Deceiver

Title: Hotshot Deceiver
Series: A Cocky Hero Club Novel
Author: K E Osborn
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: TBA
Cover Design: Kellie Dennis at Book Cover by Design
Photo: Reggie Deanching
Model: Michael Scanlon

 

We all have secrets.

 

Like the fact that I portray myself as a simple florist, living a mundane life.
Which is a far stretch from reality.
My family is rock god royalty. My father an ‘80s icon, my siblings all celebrities in their own right. Then there’s me, Lyric Griffin, hiding in plain sight trying to be everything I’m not.
Along comes Eddie, someone I find myself completely attracted to. I’m simply Lyric to him, not a princess of rock. He’s gorgeous, a little cocky, and knows what he wants — me.
But I made a mistake.
I trusted him, and he betrayed me.
Is Eddie nothing but a hotshot deceiver?
The thing about secrets, they always have a way of coming out in the end.
From International Bestselling Author K E Osborn, comes Hotshot Deceiver – a novel, based on Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward’s Cocky Bastard. Featuring Eddie, with guest appearances from Pixy, Chance and Aubrey.

 

Australian author K E Osborn was born and raised in Adelaide, South Australia. With a background in graphic design and a flair for all things creative, she felt compelled to write the story brewing in her mind.


Writing gives her life purpose. It makes her feel, laugh, cry and get completely enveloped in the characters and their story lines. She feels completely at home when writing and wouldn’t consider doing anything else.


HOSTED BY:

 

Posted in Cover Reveal

CHERISHING HIS FOREVER by LeAnn Ashers

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CHERISHING HIS FOREVER by LeAnn Ashers is releasing December 10th!!

 

Cover Designer and Photographer: Regina Wamba

 

Add it to you TBR: http://bit.ly/CHFTBR

CherishinghisForever-ebooklg.JPG

Jessica
I was eight months pregnant and on the run from my ex when I met the love of my life. The Navy Seal who saved me in more ways than one.

Chase made his way into my life, completely turning it upside down. He made me feel safe and gave me so many things I’d never fathomed I could have.

He became a dad to my son.

But just as my life started to feel perfect, I was hit with a bombshell. The mafia my ex belonged to had a bounty on my head.
Chase
My life truly started the day I met Jessica, and I vowed to keep her and our son safe.

But now they wanted her. And even worse, they were after my son.

What they didn’t know was that I was waiting for them. I had been trained for this.

I’d never let anyone harm my family. They’d have to go through me first.

They tried taking it all away, but they quickly realized it was a battle I would never lose.

Add it to you TBR: http://bit.ly/CHFTBR

Catch up on the FOREVER Series!
#1 Protecting His Forever: https://amzn.to/2oVedFb
#2 Loving His Forever: https://amzn.to/32ElQyg
#2.5 Breaking Free: https://amzn.to/2CeKKsR

Cherishing His Forever FULL.png
MEET THE AUTHOR:
LeAnn Ashers is a blogger-turned-author who spends her days reading and writing. She released her debut novel early 2016, and can’t wait to see where this adventure continues to take her. LeAnn enjoys writing about strong-minded females and swoon-worthy, protective alpha males who love their women unconditionally.

 

Posted in Cover Reveal

Feisty Author: Julia Kent

 

 

Title: Feisty
Author: Julia Kent
Genre: Romantic Comedy/Contemporary Romance

Cover Design: Hang Le

Release Date: January 28, 2020

 

Blurb
AN ALL-NEW STANDALONE FROM NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR JULIA KENT
 
I’m not too proud to admit that finding Mr. Right involves swiping right. Right? Welcome to dating in avocado toastland.
 
Here I am, on my first blind date, ever, courtesy of a smartphone app and my two annoying best friends.
 
So what is Chris “Fletch” Fletcher doing, walking across the room, looking at his phone like he’s pattern matching a picture to find a real person he’s never met before?
 
Oh.
 
Oh, no.
 
The guy I drop-kicked in seventh grade cannot be my blind date. The guy who earned me this infernal nickname.
 
That’s right.
 
Feisty.
 
More from New York Times bestselling author Julia Kent as Fiona “Feisty” Gaskill gets her chance at love – drop-kick included.

 

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Author Bio
New York Times and USA
Today
bestselling author Julia Kent writes romantic comedy with an edge.
Since 2013, she has sold more than 2 million books, with 4 New York Times
bestsellers and more than 19 appearances on the USA Today bestseller list. Her
books have been translated into French and German, with more titles releasing
in 2019.
From billionaires to BBWs to new adult rock stars, Julia finds a sensual, goofy
joy in every contemporary romance she writes. Unlike Shannon from Shopping for
a Billionaire, she did not meet her husband after dropping her phone in a men’s
room toilet (and he isn’t a billionaire she met in a romantic comedy).

She lives in New England with her husband and three children where she is the
only person in the household with the gene required to change empty toilet
paper rolls.

 

Author Links

 

Posted in Cover Reveal

NIX * Series: Daring the Kane Brothers #4

 

 

Title: NIX
Series: Daring the Kane Brothers #4

Standalone Series

Author: Kelly Gendron
Genre: Steamy Contemporary Romance

Cover Design: Kelly Gendron

Photo: Wander Aguiar

Model: Colton R.

Release Date: November 26, 2019

Blurb
Single dad. Computer geek. One-night stand. Not
looking for love. 
That’s how my profile reads
And I was getting away with the whole no girlfriend status
Until Payton Tucker showed up
Damn, that woman walks in a room and the world stops
spinning
Gravity pulls me right to her
Not to mention, my kid likes her
But, as my profile reads, I am NOT looking for love
Especially with a woman who smells, feels and touches me
just like my first love–– the same woman who walked out on me and our kid
So, Payton Tucker can take her makes the world stop spinning
sexy blue eyes and go right back to where she came from
But, to be on the safe side–– considering she is a lot like
my MIA ex, before I send Payton Tucker on her way, maybe I should discover
exactly where she came from…

 

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Author Bio
“Bad boys, give ’em a little time and
experience, and they will evolve into misbehaving men!”
You can
usually find USA Today Bestselling Author, Kelly Gendron tucked away in a quiet
suburb in upstate NY writing her steamy, blush producing
romances. But when she’s not creating HEA stories, you can find her
representing a reputable group of nursing facilities. If you Google her, she’ll
pop up there too. And please google her! Kelly loves to hear from her
readers and to meet new people! 
Author Links

 

Posted in Cover Reveal

Darker Than Love

 

 

Title: Darker Than Love
Authors: Anna Zaires & Charmaine Pauls
Genre: Dark Romance

Cover Design: Najla Qamber Designs

Release Date: January 28, 2020

 

Blurb
Once upon a
cold, dark night, a Russian killer stole me from an alley.
I’m
dangerous, but he is lethal.
I escaped
once.
He won’t
let me do it twice. 
The revenge
is his. 
The
betrayal is mine.
But so are
the lies to protect the ones I love.
We’re cut
from the same twisted cloth. Both merciless. Both damaged. 
In his
embrace, I find hell and heaven, his cruelly tender touch destroying and
uplifting me at once.
They say a
cat has nine lives, but an assassin has just one.
And Yan
Ivanov now owns mine.

 

 

Pre-order Links
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Excerpt
“So, how
long have you worked at the bar?” the guy with the skull tattoos—the seemingly
kinder one—asks when I remove my winter jacket and we sit down in the living
room. With its Soviet-style orange wallpaper and brown drapes, this place looks
like it hasn’t been renovated since the eighties, but the ratty couch we’re
sitting on is surprisingly comfortable. Maybe I will take him up on his offer to sleep here. That is, if they don’t
kill me and dump my body in the river before sunrise.
I think my
captor was just testing my language skills with that proposal, but I can’t be
sure.
“Mina?” the
man prompts, and I realize I zoned out instead of answering his question. Now
that some of the adrenaline is fading, the extreme exhaustion is back, muddling
my thoughts and slowing my reactions. I want nothing more than to stretch out
on this couch and fall asleep, but I might not wake up if I do.
The
Russians might decide that what I heard merits killing me rather than just
keeping me captive overnight.
“I’ve
worked there for a couple of years,” I answer, my voice shaking. It’s easy to
sound terrified… because I am.
I’m with
two men who may want to kill me, and I’m in no state to defend myself.
The only
thing that gives me hope is that they haven’t already done so. They could’ve
easily murdered me in the alley; they didn’t need to bring me here for that. Of
course, there’s another possibility, one that every woman must consider.
They might
be planning to rape me before killing me, in which case bringing me here makes
perfect sense.
The thought
makes my stomach churn, the old memories threatening to crowd in, but
underneath the fear and disgust is something darker, infinitely more fucked up.
The brief sizzle of arousal I’d experienced at the bar was nothing compared to
how it had felt when the dangerous stranger caged me against the wall,
caressing my face with that cruel gentleness. My body—the weak, ruined body
I’ve spent the past year hating—had come to life with such force, it was as if
fireworks had ignited under my skin, liquifying my core and burning away my
inhibitions.
Was he able
to sense it?
Did he know
how badly I wanted him to keep touching me?
I think he
did. And more than that, I think he wanted to. His eyes—a hard, gem-like
green—had watched me with the dark intensity of a predator, taking in every
twitch of my lashes, every hitch of my breath. If we’d been alone, he might’ve
kissed me… or killed me on the spot.
It’s hard
to tell with him.
“Do you
like it? Working at the bar, I mean?” the tattooed man asks, bringing my
attention back to him. Now he is easy
to read. There’s unmistakable male interest in the way he looks at me, an
obvious gleam in his green eyes.
Wait a sec.
Green eyes?
“Are you
two brothers?” I blurt out, then silently curse myself. I’m so tired I’m not
thinking straight. The last thing I need is for these two to imagine I’m
gathering information on them, or—
“We are.” A
smile lights up his broad face, softening his harsh features. “Twins, in fact.”
Shit. I did
not need to know that. The next thing
I know, he’ll be telling me his—
“I’m Ilya,
by the way,” he says, extending one big paw toward me. “And my brother’s name
is Yan.”
Oh, fuck.
I’m so screwed. They are going to
kill me. “Nice to meet you,” I say weakly, shaking his hand on autopilot. My
grip is as limp as my voice, but that’s okay. I’m playing a damsel in distress,
and the more convincing I am, the better.
Too bad the
act is mostly real these days.
Ilya squeezes
my hand gingerly, as if afraid of inadvertently crushing my bones, and hope
nibbles at me. He wouldn’t be so careful with me if they were planning to
brutally rape and kill me, would he?
As if
reading my thoughts, he gives me another smile, an even kinder one this time,
and says gruffly, “I’m sorry about my brother. He’s used to seeing enemies
around every corner. You will walk
away from this unharmed, I promise you, malyshka. We need to keep you overnight
as a precaution, that’s all.”
Strangely,
I believe him. Or at least I believe that he
intends me no harm. The jury is still out on his brother—who chooses that exact
moment to walk in, carrying a cup of tea in one hand and two beers in the
other.
My breath
catches in my throat as he—Yan—sets the drinks on the coffee table in front of
us and sits down between me and Ilya, unapologetically wedging himself into the
too-small space. Instinctively, I scoot to the side, as far as the couch
allows, but that’s only about six centimeters, and my leg ends up pressed
against his, the heat of his body burning me even through the layers of our
clothing.
He’s shed
the suede winter jacket he was wearing earlier, and is now dressed like he was
in the bar, in the stylish dress pants and button-up shirt. Except his sleeves
are rolled up, exposing muscular forearms lightly dusted with dark hair.
He’s
strong, this ruthless captor of mine. Strong and superbly fit, his body a
deadly weapon under those perfectly tailored clothes.
“Tea,” he
says in that smooth, deep voice of his, so different from his brother’s rougher
tones. “As per the princess’s request.”
“Thank
you,” I mumble, reaching for the cup. My hands are visibly shaking, my
breathing is shallow, and I’m sweating—and none of it is an act. I can smell
the clean, masculine scent of his cologne—something sensual and airy, like
pepper and sandalwood—and his nearness unsettles me, making my insides riot
with a confusing mixture of fear and desire. Even if he wasn’t danger
personified, I’d be drawn to his magnetic good looks, but knowing what I know
about him—about what he does and what he might do to me—I can’t control my
helpless response to him.
Even my
tiredness recedes, leaving me jittery and high, as if I’d downed two liters of
espresso.
I’m acutely
aware of his gaze on me as I bring the cup to my lips and take a sip,
suppressing a hiss at the scalding temperature of the water. I’m trying not to
look at him, to just focus on my tea, but I can’t help staring at his hands as
he reaches over and grabs a beer, then twists off the cap with a practiced
motion. His fingers are long and masculine, and though his nails are neatly
groomed, the calluses on the edges of his thumbs belie the elegance of his
appearance.
This is a
man used to doing things with his hands.
Terrible,
violent things.
A normal
woman would be repulsed by the thought, but my heart hammers faster, and an
aching pulse starts between my legs, my underwear dampening with liquid heat.
The darkness in him calls to me, making me feel alive in a way I’ve never
experienced before.
It’s as if
like recognizes like, the wrongness in me craving the same in him.
Ilya picks
up the remaining bottle, his hands thick and rough, with a few tattoos on the
back. There’s no pretense in him, no attempt to hide what he is behind an
elegant mask. “To new friends,” he says, clinking his bottle against his
brother’s and then, more gently, against my cup of tea. I risk a glance at him,
but catch Yan’s hard green gaze instead.
I quickly
look away, but not before a betraying flush crawls up my neck and covers my
face. “To new friends,” I repeat, staring into my cup as if I might see my fate
written in the tea leaves. I’m not sure I want Yan to know about the effect he
has on me—though he probably already does.
I’m not
exactly at the top of my game tonight.
“Yes, to
new friends,” Yan murmurs, his large hand landing on my knee and squeezing it
lightly.
Startled, I
look over at him and see him tipping back the beer, his strong throat working
as he swallows. It’s a strangely sensual sight, and my insides clench as he
lowers the bottle and meets my gaze, his eyes darkly intent as the hand on my
knee moves a couple of inches up my thigh, closer to where I’m wet and aching.
Oh God.
He knows.
He
definitely knows.
“Ilya,” he
says quietly, still holding my gaze. “Make us a couple of sandwiches, will you?
I think Mina here is hungry.”
“She is?”
Ilya sounds confused as he stands up, and I look up to find him frowning at
us—specifically, at my thigh, where Yan’s hand is resting so possessively.
Slowly, tension permeates his big body, his hands flexing at his sides as his
gaze swings to his brother’s face.
“I don’t
think she’s hungry,” he bites out, his voice low and hard. His eyes cut to me.
“Are you, Mina?”
I swallow
thickly, unsure of what the right answer is. If I’m reading this right, Yan has
just staked some sort of an exclusive claim on me, one that I would reinforce
if I admitted to this made-up hunger.
Is that
what I want?
To send
away the brother who’s been nice to me, so I could be alone with the man who
proposed dumping my body in the river?
“A… a
sandwich would be nice.” The words don’t seem to belong to me, yet it’s my
voice saying them, even as my brain scrambles to figure out the implications.
“That is, if it wouldn’t be too much trouble.”
Ilya’s
mouth thins. “Fine. I’ll see what we have in the fridge.”
And turning
around, he stalks off, leaving me on the couch with his brother.