Sunday, April 2, 2017




Title: 24 Roses
Author: Elena M. Reyes
Genre: Contemporary/Erotic Romance
Release Date: March 27, 2017



Blurb

24 roses.
24 days filled with declarations of love.
24 moments where life will mark her as mine.

I’ve loved Anahi Pratt since she moved in next door at the age of twelve. With her knobby knees and a mouthful of braces, she made my heart thump harshly inside my prepubescent chest. One look into the greenest eyes I’d ever seen, and I was hooked for life. Owned.

However, I was tongue-tied and confused and did the only thing I could: offer my friendship.

Over the years, those feelings never changed. Instead, they grew—morphed into something deep and profound. But never once did she see me as more than a friend. Never did she see the man that worshipped the ground she walked on. The man that needed to be what she wanted. Needed.

I stayed on the sidelines until that day:

A crash.

Her life on the line and my world came to a screeching halt.

Life is short and changes in the blink of an eye, a lesson I suddenly understood. There wasn’t a second to wait. No more hiding behind the guise of friendship.

She was mine, and it was time I claimed her.








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Excerpt

“How can you say that with this hideous scar on my thigh?” Fuck, she could be as stubborn as a mule.
“That scar…” I hissed out, my eyes searching the floor around her feet for the broken glass I’d heard fall through the door. It was nothing big. A small figurine broken in two pieces. Taking the remaining steps between us, I paused in front of her. “This is proof that what could have been tragic…wasn’t.” Taking her face in my hands, I tipped it up and lowered my forehead to hers. “It means that you are okay and here with me. That a drunken asshole crying over his divorce didn’t take the most important thing in my life away.”
“Stop.” Prying my hands from her face, she brought them between us and squeezed. “It isn’t your job to fix this. I was the one that left the jerk I’d agreed to have dinner with mid-meal and drove off in a rush. I was the one that didn’t notice the car not stopping as his light turned red. I was the one that put herself in this position time and time again.”
“Fuck are you talking about, Anahi?” Every muscle within me tensed as I waited for her to explain herself.
“That I should’ve listened to you when it came to the men I dated.”
Staring into her sad green eyes, my heart clenched. Her pain was mine. “Shit happens, and it was not your fault.”
“Had I been paying attention and not thinking about the ‘what ifs I…” Anahi’s face bloomed with a sudden rush of embarrassment.
“Tell me.” She shook her head. “Please.”
“You want to know? Because trust me, I remember everything about that night.” Letting out a bitter chuckle, she stepped back and released my hands. I missed her warmth immediately. “Fuck!” Ani yelled out while turning around. Placing her hands on the top of her dresser, she hung her head. A sob was caught in her throat, and I rushed forward to wrap her in my arms.
The pain medication she’d been on tended to make her emotions fluctuate a bit.
“Talk to me, babe.” With my arms secured around her waist, I pulled her in closer. Ignored what the feel of her warm skin against my own created. “Let me in.”
“I’m sorry.” Wiping at her eyes, Anahi took in a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Didn’t mean to pull the crazy chick card on you.” This was said with a laugh, but there was real hurt behind the action. “There’s too much going on upstairs, and I don’t know how to handle it. Between nightmares and anger, it’s a constant roller coaster.”
“Start from the beginning,” I hummed against the top of her head. “You’ve never wanted to give me details about that night. Always vague and avoiding—something about what happened is hurting you. Let me in, dollface.”
“Why do you always call me pet names?” Diversion tactic if I ever heard one; that, and she needed her ego stroked. Not that I minded in the least. For some unknown reason, Ani felt as if the small scar over her sculpted brow was this heinous thing that offended the world.
“Because I can.”
A huff, and then a smack to my arm. “That’s not an answer.”
“And neither is yours. Tell me what’s eating you up inside, Ani.”
“Every time I close my eyes, I see those high-beam lights coming at me followed close by the sound of screeching tires.” A shiver so hard ran through her that it rocked me to my core. All I could do was hold her tighter, with my presence show her that I was here for her. “Next came the sound of metal bending—caving in on itself—as a searing pain shot up the side of my body. It burned. The intense jolt caused me to almost black out, but even as everything intensified around me, I had only one thought in my head.”
“Say it,” I whispered low into the crown on her head.
Running her fingers over my hand, she shook her head. “Doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, Bryson, but it’s those what ifs that eat me alive. I’ve lost time I don’t know if I could ever get back.”
“You want to know what tortures me about that night?” Turning her around so my blue eyes could meet her green ones, I placed my hands at her hips and squeezed them lightly before holding her in place. No more hiding. Anahi wasn’t running away from the damn truth that was currently smacking us in the face.
Bringing a shaking hand up, she cupped my jaw. “What?”
“The fact that I almost lost you when I’d just realized that I’ve always owned you.”





Author Bio

Elena M. Reyes was born and raised in Miami Florida. She is the epitome of a Floridian and if she could live in her beloved flip-flops, she would.

As a small child, she was always intrigued with all forms of art—whether it was dancing to island rhythms, or painting with any medium she could get her hands on. Her first taste of writing came to her during her fifth grade year when her class was prompted to participate in the D. A. R. E. Program and write an essay on what they’d learned.

Her passion for reading over the years has amassed her with hours of pleasure. It wasn't until she stumbled upon fanfiction that her thirst to write overtook her world. She now resides in Central Florida with her husband and son, spending all her down time letting her creativity flow and letting her characters grow.


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Title: Dark Desires
A Contemporary Romance Collection
Authors: Various
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Cover Design: Mae I Design
Release Date: June 13, 2017



Blurb

Ready to meet your next book boyfriend? How about 22 of them?

Prepare to ignite your nights with some of today’s hottest contemporary romance novels, starring the baddest of bad boys, bikers, billionaires, and more!

Inside the Dark Desires omnibus collection, you’ll find over one million words of burning hot fiction from today’s NEW YORK TIMES, USA TODAY and International bestselling authors!

NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Catherine Vale writing as Kate Nova
USA TODAY bestselling author Muffy Wilson
and
Ivy Layne
Madisyn Ashmore
Normandie Alleman
Ann Omasta
JH Croix
Donna Alam
Jade Kerrion
Charlotte Casey
Rebecca Norinne
Ines Johnson
Cathryn Cade
T.L. Smith
Amity Cross
Amie Stuart
Author Quinn
Tameri Tiara
Beth Yarnall
Gabi Moore
Alix Nichols
K.C. Falls








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Excerpt


Bishop’s Desire by Normandie Alleman

The phone woke me up at 1:17 AM. Phone calls that time of night always sent a chill up my spine. They were never good news.

“Reverend Soto?” A female voice rattled over the other end of the line.

“Yes?”

“This is Kay Long. I’m sorry to bother you, but I didn’t know who else to call.”

“Yes, Kay. How can I help?” I made sure to sound more awake than I was.

Kay prattled on, and I could hear the worry in her voice.

“It’s George. He’s gone off the wagon again. Down on Bourbon Street, and I can’t get him to come home. I’d go after him myself, but I can’t leave the twins, and I can’t put them in a stroller and go get him. Not down at the strip clubs.”

“True.” That wasn’t a practical solution. Mrs. Long had twins who were going on about six months old now. Her husband had been attending AA meetings at the church semi-regularly. He’d been trying.

Rain pinged steadily on the roof, and I really didn’t feel like getting out of bed and heading down to the French Quarter. “Don’t you think he’ll catch a cab when he’s ready to come home?”

“Maybe, but I’m afraid he’ll get locked up, like last time. And I can’t afford the bail money. Not with all these diapers and formula. Can you please help me?”

I held the phone out and sighed. “Want me to go looking for him?”

“I hate to ask, but yes. Unless you can think of another way to get him home without an incident.”

I couldn’t. “I’ll see what I can do. Do you recall the name of a few of his favorite places?”

“Maybe check the Booby Trap or the Leopard Lounge. George likes all those titty bars. I’m sorry Father. I can’t imagine that you’d know much about those type places.”

I smiled. Mrs. Long would be shocked to learn some of the things I knew about.






Title: Stiff Drink
Series: Runaway Billionaires: Arthur Duet #1
Author: Blair Babylon
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: April 2, 2017



Blurb

Genevieve is a lawyer, not a babysitter, and certainly not a dog trainer. She is just about to become a full barrister, a British attorney, when her law mentor dies unexpectedly. She is shuffled off to another barrister, one who’s nothing at all like her kind and decent former mentor, and then she is assigned the office’s worst case: Arthur Finch-Hatten, six-feet and four-inches of ripped, loaded, hot English nobleman who is wasting his life and his inherited estate so audaciously that his younger brother is suing him for control of their family’s earldom. There is a darn good chance that Arthur will lose everything.

Unless he shapes up.

Her new boss hasn’t been able to convince Arthur to mend his ways. His uncle’s lectures haven’t had any effect on his depraved debauchery and lavish lifestyle. 

The only way for Genevieve to make partner is to win Arthur’s case, and the only way to win his case and save his earldom is to keep him from spending his days hungover in bed and his nights pouring Cristal on naked, drunk women before flying off in his private jumbo jet to the next party.

Arthur was enough to make any woman need a stiff drink.









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Hard Liquor - Runaway Billionaires: Arthur Duet #2

Releases May 16, 2017

 
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Author Bio

Blair Babylon is an award-winning, best-selling author who regularly publishes contemporary romance and romantic suspense fiction. Because professional reviews of her other fiction usually included the caveat that there was too much deviant sex, she decided to abandon all literary pretensions, let her freak flag fly, and write hot, sexy romance.


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As a little girl, all Leaf Hatathli dreamed of was growing up and having a family of her own, but fate had something else in mind for her. Instead, she’s spent her life as a mercenary working for the Goddess, acting as her hand of justice in a world torn apart by the reappearance of magic. It’s a lonely business, and Leaf had given up on the idea of ever being someone’s beloved. After all, who could love a woman who’s possessed by a sex demon? When Mir DePaul, Alpha of the Shiraz Pride, is captured by slavers he never expected rescue to come in the form of his true mate. And he certainly never expected his mate to be a Shadow, a human sharing a body with the spirit of a demon. He shares his body with his tiger spirit, and they both know their mate when they see her. Even if she refuses to believe it. They’ll do everything they can to convince Leaf and her demon that their love is real…as soon as they escape the contingent of death wizards hunting them down. Everything has a price, and Mir will do anything to keep his mate safe while she tries to save the world from an ancient evil that threatens them all. In a world full of sex witches and lust demons there is a lot of hanky panky going on, so fair warning you may have some clutch your pearls, or vibrator, moments.











With over forty published books, Ann is Queen of the Castle to her husband and three sons in the mountains of West Virginia. In her past lives she's been an Import Broker, a Communications Specialist, a US Navy Civilian Contractor, a Bartender/Waitress, and an actor at the Michigan Renaissance Festival. She also spent a summer touring with the Grateful Dead-though she will deny to her children that it ever happened. From a young Ann has had a love affair with books would read everything she could get her hands on. As Ann grew older, and her hormones kicked in, she discovered bodice ripping Fabio-esque romance novels. They were great at first, but she soon grew tired of the endless stories with a big wonderful emotional buildup to really short and crappy sex. Never a big fan of purple prose, throbbing spears of fleshy pleasure and wet honey pots make her giggle, she sought out books that gave the sex scenes in the story just as much detail and plot as everything else-without using cringe worthy euphemisms. This led her to the wonderful world of Erotic Romance, and she's never looked back. Now Ann spends her days trying to tune out cartoons playing in the background to get into her 'sexy space' and has accepted that her Muse has a severe case of ADD.









Synopsis
 


Captain John Franzen. Inside the lines... It's the definition of life for Tracy Rhodes, and she has no choice about that. Lines--lots of them--are what happens when one is sworn in as second-in-command of the free world. But the lines are crushed beneath the boots of Captain John Franzen, assigned as a special advisor to her security team for a high-profile event in Vegas. The towering warrior with the haunted stare shatters her composure, invades her libido, and makes her yearn for things she shouldn't. Sweaty, illicit things...with her body pinned beneath his... Outside the boundaries... John Franzen, six and a half feet of rigid composure on the outside, is a lost man on the inside. Why the hell is he even alive? A guy isn't supposed to survive eleven years in Special Forces, especially after the crazy missions he's been assigned. Accepting the security gig in Vegas is just a favor to a friend--a way to fill time that's become too damn empty lately. Until the cushy "babysitting job" becomes the most treacherous mission of his life--and the politician he's protecting becomes the woman in his bed. The lover beneath his bonds... The submissive he longs to claim forever. Breaking all the rules... She's destined for marble halls and an oval office. He's wired for dirt and violence. Will her passion be enough to tame his demons...to claim the ultimate wild boy as her own?


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Teaser

He pulled back, watching his hand curl on itself in midair. He thought of all the damage that fist had done, to so many shitheads and losers over the years, but was now a symbol of utter helplessness—inches from a person he was aching to help. Fate was getting in all its best taunts today. His spirit hadn’t agonized this much even when the news about Nichols had come out. And the pain in this stall is about you…how? Easy answer. It wasn’t. But no way in hell was he leaving her in here, all but drowning herself in several senses of the word. If she ordered him all the way out of the shower, then he’d abide—and simply sit on the tile outside. One puddle for another; no difference to him physically—but he would stay here for her, whether she asked for it or not. Even if it fucking killed him. For now, he chose to simply settle back on his haunches. Nearly as an afterthought, reached and cranked the spray off. In the eerie silence after, Tracy joined her quiet sniffs to the heavy drops of the draining water. John re-balled both his hands, hating even the inches between them. To not even touch her, let alone resist the baser need to clutch her close… Fuck. Waterboarding had nothing on this shit. And the worst part hadn’t even sunk in. She’s just following your lead, asshole. That was the worst part. In protecting her from his secret side, he’d been locked out of her secrets too. In shielding her from his darkness, she’d made sure he stayed right there—in the dark. Away from the ability to even give her some light… Moron. You. Same sentence, Keoni John Franzen. Finally, she snuffled with more determination. Jerked up her head a little, long enough to slide him a furtive side-eye, but nothing more. She pulled her hand all the way back in, tucking it beneath her chin as she settled her head against the wall again. “I want to talk to Craig.” A brutal exhalation left him. His throat tightened. His chest compressed. Hell, nothing was comfortable. Nor was it meant to be. “I know you do,” he murmured. “I’m…scared.” Screw uncomfortable. Everything was agony—especially when she wouldn’t even let him do anything about it. No. When he’d pushed her away out in the bedroom, letting her walk away with the impression that he wouldn’t do anything. “I know you are.” At least he had words. Paltry proxies, but they’d have to suffice somehow. “I have no idea what to do.” “But you don’t have to figure it out alone, ku`uipo.” Her face contorted again, though not with impending tears. Her eyes flared with irritation. “Don’t call me that.” He barely repressed a grin. “You’re gorgeous when you’re all hissy kitten.” “Yeah? Well, I have Tigress claws, remember?” “Fine, fine.” He held up both hands. “Maybe you just want ‘ma’am’ again?” “And maybe you just want me to hunt down a flattening iron.” His chuckle was impossible to tame. Her glower went from simmering to smoky. He had no idea there were so many nuances of gray. In her eyes, they were all fascinating. “Maybe you can just close your eyes and pretend I’m Craig.” The offer was sincere—he was up for any creative solution here—but her laughter, high and biting, was nowhere near a vote of approval. “That’s so not going to happen.” He frowned. “Why not?” “Because I’d know the difference.” “How?” “John.” Her laugh mellowed to a watery eye roll. He suddenly knew how Luke must feel when a test wasn’t studied for. “I’d know the difference between you and any other man.” And just like that, no more feeling like her teen kid. Feeling everything like the jerk who’d probably made the biggest mistake of his life with her earlier, and would spend the rest of his mortal days cussing himself out for it. “Fuck.” Might as well start now. “Ku`uipo.” Her tigress side flared in a swift snarl. “What didn’t you understand about not calling me that?” “And what don’t you understand that I’m only here to help?” The backlash, his higher ground pick of a reply, was still better than choice two: smashing one hell of a kiss on her feisty lips. “It slipped. So skewer me.” Her regard softened. “It’s okay. Just…be careful.” Now he was the one clinging to his scowl. “You don’t even know what it means.” “I can guess by your tone.” “And that’s a bad thing?” “When your voice alone makes me want to come over there and maul you? Yeah.” She glanced again, letting her stare linger longer—to his intense pleasure. More intense than he wanted to admit, but couldn’t deny. Not when the heat from his skin met the wetness of his clothes and created a new experience for him. Steam Bath—in SenSurround. “Tracy.” He heeded her request—the tone was new; perhaps the first time he’d ever used it outside a bondage dungeon before—though its replacement was just as merciless. Perhaps more so. He issued her name as a declaration…a command. Nothing he’d ever use on his battalion members, because this asked for a different kind of obedience. No. Demanded it. “What?” She’d dropped her head but lifted it again. Her eyes had turned huge as a pair of London moons. “Do you…want…to maul me?” For the first time since he’d crawled in here, her body loosened. She opened up a little, still staring with the moon in her eyes—only now, joined by the comets in her energy. Untamed rogue comets—all aimed his direction. “‘Want’ isn’t the word I’d use.” Flames licked the edges of her voice—and now the length of his cock. Fuck, how this woman got to him. How her spirit and sass challenged him. How her desire affected him… “Tracy.” He didn’t hesitate about wielding the dungeon command now. Doubly deep, three times as severe. “Wh-what?” Oh, yeah. He also liked it when her defiance wobbled a little. What would it be like to make it shake a lot?” “Get over here and maul me.”
AboutTheAuthor
USA Today bestselling romance author Angel Payne has been reading and writing her entire life, though her love for romances began in junior high, when writing with friends on "swap stories" they'd trade between classes. Needless to say, those stories involved lots of angst, groping, drama, and gooey kissing. She began getting a paycheck for her writing in her twenties, writing record reviews for a Beverly Hills-based dance music magazine. Some years, various entertainment industry gigs, and a number of years in the hospitality industry later, Angel returned to the thing she loves the most: creating character-based romantic fiction. Along the way, she also graduated with two degrees from Chapman University in Southern California, taking departmental honors for English, before writing five historical romances for Kensington and Bantam/Doubleday/Dell. Angel found a true home in writing contemporary-based romances that feature high heat and high concepts, focusing on memorable alpha men and the women who tame them. She has numerous book series to her credit, including the Kinky Truth series, the Secrets of Stone series (with Victoria Blue), the W.I.L.D. Boys of Special Forces series, and the acclaimed Cimarron series. Temptation Court, a new series being launched through the Dark Nights Discovery project, debuts in 2016. Angel still lives in Southern California, where she is married to her soul mate and lives on a street that looks like Brigadoon, with their awesome daughter and Lady Claire, the dog with impeccable manners. When not writing, she enjoys reading, pop culture, alt rock, cute shoes, enjoying the outdoors, and being a gym rat. AuthorLinks


 
Title: The Fine Line
Author: Alicia Kobishop
Genre: New Adult Romance
At 17, Olivia Evans has her life mapped out. Work two part-time jobs, study hard during her senior year, and save enough money to get her own place. There's no room in that plan for romance. If watching her mother's serial relationship disasters taught her anything, it's that getting attached to a man is a waste of time and a recipe for heartbreak.
When she meets 19-year-old street racer Logan Tanner, a guy as unique and compelling as the '69 Mustang that purrs under his mechanic's hands, her heart beats wildly against the walls she's built around it. 
From the moment the notorious playboy's intense, hazel eyes lock with hers, everything in her world slides off-kilter. With every encounter, every touch, and finally, every kiss, Logan slips past all her defenses.
But the moment she stops running from the inevitable, every reason she'd resolved to hold men at arm's length comes crashing down around her in an emotional, complicated--even dangerous--mess. Leaving her to decide if love is worth the hassle, or worth fighting for.

"A-freaking fantastic read, I have found another author to add to my stalker list. There was such realness involved and the adrenaline that you got from the scenes was amazing." ~Endless Reading "Whew! I finished the book and immediately went into this review because it left such a huge impact on me." ~Itching for Books Blog "Here's hoping that more books like this one will be written, cause if so, then the indie world just got that much better." ~ Book Reader Chronicles "For this to be the author's debut novel, she did an AMAZING job. I mean this is going on my favorite's list. I fell completely in love with the story and the characters. Such a wonderfully written story." ~Verna Loves Books "This is the perfect book for anyone who loves a new adult romance story. The Fine Line is a fun and exciting story of learning to trust and love. This book was amazing from start to finish." ~A is for Alpha B is for Books "Wow, I'm currently bawling like a baby, it's been a long time since I had a cry with a good book and The Fine Line is just that! The storyline was catchy and entertaining." ~Morphy's Book Blog  "I enjoyed it very much, and then realized as I sat down to write this that it is Alicia's Debut Novel. Debut. Wow. Girl can write a book. Pace is spot on, and I had a very awesome relaxing afternoon reading this one." ~Courtney - The Bookish Babe "Another debut novel that just blew me away!" ~Desiree - A Love Affair With Books
The colorful glow of the city lights reflected throughout the interior of the car as we drove. The night air was still warm enough to have the windows down, and the breeze felt refreshing on my skin. A blues song played on the car stereo while the waves of the wind pushed against my hand as I held it out the window
Logan’s fingers tapped on the steering wheel to the beat of the music, then he looked at me and instantaneously busted out singing the words of the song. I laughed at the face he was making as he sang. He was so into it. The words were something about “riding with the king.”
“Oh, now I know what you really think of yourself!” I joked.
“It’s B.B. King, Liv! He’s the king, not me!” he defended, pretending to be hurt.
I found it intriguing that someone my age would be listening to blues. Logan seemed so different from other people my age and, yet again, I found myself trying to wrap my head around the idea that…for the first time ever, I was interested in finding out more about a boy.  As the song ended, Logan turned the volume down.
“The phone call that Gavin took earlier…It was for a race, wasn’t it?” I asked.
Logan looked at me and nodded.
“Why do they call Gavin? Why don’t they call you?”
He shrugged. “Gavin is better with the negotiations. I’m better at the driving. It works well for both of us.”
Negotiations. Gavin’s expertise. I admit, experience would come in handy for when he dives fully into the real-estate biz.
“You didn’t go tonight.” It wasn’t a question. More of an observation. Although, I did wonder why he passed up the chance. 
He looked at me and smiled. “I guess I had better things to do.” 
“What about the police? Isn’t street racing…?” I decided not to finish. We both knew it was not exactly legal.
He chuckled. “I’ve got nothing against cops. Police are good. We just don’t want to see them during a race…or before or after a race, for that matter.”
“Isn’t it a little risky, though? You never know when they could show up.”
“We take precautions. I don’t race unless there are spotters around to let us know if police are getting close. We change the location as much as possible. There is always a risk, though.” He paused. “The real risk is dealing with some of the idiots that want to race.”
“What do you mean?”
He shifted in his seat, beginning to look uncomfortable. “You never know if the other guy is on something or if he even knows how to handle his car, among other things. The police are the least of my concerns.” He looked at me. “I almost called off the race last week. The one that you came to.”
“Why?”
He didn’t answer right away. Instead, he started tapping the steering wheel again. “Derrick was more jittery than normal. I didn’t have a good feeling about it.”
“Why didn’t you call it off?”
His expression became serious as his eyes fixated on the road. “I don’t know.”
He knew why. He just didn’t want to tell me. “Why do you do it if it’s so risky?”
He pondered the question for a moment as if he had never really contemplated that thought before. “It’s easy. And fun. And a hell of a lot better than working nine to five, six days a week.”
We pulled up to a two-story commercial building which had four overhead garage doors in the front and an entry door on the side. The sign above the overhead doors said “Tanner Automotive.” We parked in the lot in front and walked towards the building.
“This is my shop.”
“Your shop?” I found it hard to believe that a nineteen-year-old owned his own building.
“Yes,my shop. My dad left it to me and my uncle. My uncle runs the business. I help him out when he needs it, and I live in the apartment upstairs.”
“Geez, must be nice,” I teased.
“Actually, it is pretty nice,” he grinned back at me. “Look, I may not work nine to five but that doesn’t mean the shop’s not important to me. It is. I train the mechanics. I’m here when we’re short-staffed or overloaded with work and plenty of times when we’re not, too. I’ve just been lucky enough that it’s done so well and that Craig hasn’t pushed me to be more involved.”
“You don’t want to be more involved?”
I watched as he unlocked the side door. “I’m cool with the way things are at this point. Maybe someday that will change, but for now it’s all good.”
We entered a hallway which had stairs to our left, and the garage was straight ahead. We walked into the garage, and Logan switched on the florescent lights, revealing a sizable object underneath a grey canvas cover in the very first car bay. The remaining three car bays were empty, making the room appear enormous. Against the walls were shelves and peg boards stocked with tools and auto supplies. Each bay had its own tool station which included several different tool chests.
We moved to the back of the garage, and Logan tossed his keys on a metal desk. I took a seat in the swivel chair in front of the desk and stared curiously at an old-time movie poster that hung on the wall.
“It’s John Wayne,” Logan explained, noticing my interest in the poster. “My dad was a huge John Wayne fan. He always had those movies on when I was growing up. We even had a room in our house specifically designated for all the John Wayne memorabilia that he collected.”
He leaned back against a tall Craftsman tool chest directing his attention to the grey canvas cover in front of us, silently staring at it for a moment.
“Why did you bring me here?” I asked softly.
He turned his face to me, meeting my eyes. Slowly he shook his head as if he wasn’t sure he knew the answer. My heart skipped a beat. What was it about looking into his eyes that made me feel so…at peace…and thrilled at the same time? 
He stepped toward the canvas cover then slowly removed the cloth, rolling it up along the way to reveal an old white muscle car with black racing strips which traveled from the front bumper to the back bumper. The condition of this car wasn’t nearly as pristine as the Mustang. The dull finish had several nicks and scratches, and a few small spots of rust lined the bottom.
“It’s a ’72 Nova,” he disclosed as he walked around the car, taking in the sight of it as if it were for the first time. 
“Your current project?”
“Not really,” he shrugged. “This one’s been on hold for a while. I’ve barely looked at it since…” He didn’t finish. Just got lost in thought. After a moment, he cocked his head to the side. “Hey, do you wanna go upstairs and get a drink?”
I frowned at him suspiciously. “Is that why you brought me here? You know you’re not going to get lucky with me, right?”
He let out a laugh then bowed his head down as he shook it, trying to hold back any more laughter. He couldn’t hold back the gigantic smile on his face, though. “Don’t worry. I’m not going to try anything with you. I think you’re cool, Liv. You’re someone I could hang out with, that’s all, nothing more. Friends have drinks together, right?”
I nodded, feeling embarrassed that I jumped to conclusions. I stood up from the chair. “Alright then, let’s go.”
“Usually it’s the guy’s mind that goes there,” he teased as we walked up the stairs to his apartment. “I like the way your mind works.”
“Oh, please! You have to admit, it sounded a bit forward,” I counter attacked.
The apartment was only half the size of the garage downstairs. The d├ęcor consisted of a few posters on the wall, a couch with a coffee table in front of it, an oversized round wicker chair in the corner, and a giant TV. A breakfast bar separated the kitchen from the living room. I took my shoes off, sat down on the couch, and brought my knees up, resting them on the cushion. 
Logan handed me a beer, sat down next to me, and raised a brow. “Now it’s my turn to ask the questions.”
He didn’t ask anything too deep or too personal, and I was grateful for that. We spent the next few hours laughing and talking about everything from our favorite foods and music, to embarrassing moments, places we’ve been and want to go, and a rather extended round of “would you rather.” I found out that he would rather get a cardboard cut between the toes than get poked in the eye. And I informed him that I would rather drink pickle juice than sour milk. 
There were no awkward silences or lulls in the conversations. I showed him that I could walk across a room with a full bottle of beer on my head without spilling it, and he showed me that he could spin a pen around his fingers so fast that it looked like moving helicopter propellers. Towards the end of it all, as we started to get tired, I asked him about the blues music that he was playing in the car earlier.
“There’s such a raw emotion behind the really good blues music. The guitar speaks to you in a way that doesn’t happen with any other genre,” he explained.
“So, let’s hear it. Play me your favorite blues song,” I challenged.
He turned it on, then looked at me with a small smile. He stepped over to the couch and sat down beside me, as the track started. It was a mellow song with no vocals. I didn’t expect it to have such an effect on me, but he was right. The guitar’s voice had a way of grasping my emotions, squeezing them tight, then pulling them out of me. I was hooked no more than thirty seconds into it. 
I faced him, somewhat shocked that this beautiful music moved me in such an intense, hypnotic way. He stared straight ahead, looking at nothing in particular absorbed in the melody.
Slowly, he turned his face to me, and our eyes locked. We stared at each other for several moments, taking each other in. The friendly smile I attempted quickly faded as the intensity in his eyes increased and the atmosphere became much more than friendly. His brows furrowed as his gaze moved slowly from my eyes, to my hair, to my lips, and back.
I’m not sure if I leaned into him, or if he leaned into me, but we slowly inched closer until I could feel his minty breath on my face, his nose on my nose, and my heart pounding rapidly in my ears. I longed so badly for him to kiss me, yet hated my lack of control. Was it the music that was causing me to lose myself in him or just…him?
Heat emanated from his lips as they gently touched mine, hesitating in place for several moments, and igniting a surge of fire through my blood. The longer the kiss lingered, the more my skin began to burn, and when my lips parted and his tongue slowly discovered mine, I felt the rush of the touch throughout my body.
My hands slowly moved to his face, then the back of his neck, and I pulled him toward me. His fingers weaved up the hair at the base of my skull as he drew me closer. My body and mind were completely enraptured in the moment, my self-control rapidly fading away to nothing with each passing moment. Logan Tanner was kissing me in a way I had never been kissed before. It was happening, and although it was going against my plans, it was so fucking right.
He began to lay me down onto the couch and then stopped, abruptly pulling away, forcing himself back up to a sitting position. Following his lead, I sat back up, too. His eyes focused on me for a moment, the confusion in his them matching that which was in my heart, the look on his face mirroring my thoughts…Holy shit, that was intense.
He took me behind the neck and drew me closer to him, his lips no more than an inch from mine. Then, just at the moment I thought he would continue our kiss, he closed his eyes and placed his forehead on mine, taking a deep breath in. 
My heartbeat was almost deafening as it pounded throughout my body, my chest moving up and down as I tried to catch my breath and regain composure. Pulling away, he opened his eyes and looked at me with intensity, passion, and…confusion. 
“This isn’t why I brought you here, Liv,” he whispered. “I didn’t mean for that to happen.”
Then he kissed me softly on the forehead and slowly leaned back into the couch cushion. Maybe it was the music, maybe it was the drinks, but a mixture of emotions flooded my senses. I was both grateful and disappointed that he stopped and baffled at why I couldn’t. I was mad at myself for being so irresponsible, but at the same time, I couldn’t deny the feeling of both peace and excitement that he gave me.
My head found a place to rest in the nook between his chest and his shoulder, as my arms held him. Closing my eyes, I became lost in the music.
Alicia Kobishop is a contemporary romance writer who lives in Milwaukee, WI, USA with her husband and two children.
Before trying her hand in writing, she worked her way up in the field of administrative healthcare with experiences ranging from working within a large local healthcare organization, to smaller independent physician practices.
In early 2013 her life took a change of course when she re-evaluated her passions in life, and sought out to try many new things. She reclaimed her childhood passion for reading, and after reading tons of fictional novels in a short amount of time, and loving every moment of it, she became absorbed with the idea of taking her experience with books to the next level, and decided to write one. Nine months later, her debut novel, The Fine Line was published.

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