We are so excited to bring you the Cover Reveal for Kristen Proby's Love Under the Big Sky Series! The Love Under the Big Sky Series is a Contemporary Erotic Romance series made up of three full-length, standalone novels and one novella published by Pocket Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster! Grab your copy of all of the books in this amazing series!
CHEMISTRY WAS NEVER THIS SEXY IN HIGH SCHOOL.
In her sizzling new series, USA Today bestselling author Kristen Proby sets the stage for a passionate reunion under the breathtaking Montana sky.
Cara Donovan’s summer tutoring job is turning out to be a challenge—and not just because of her troubled twelve-year-old student. It’s his uncle Josh who’s the real problem. If problem is the word for an irresistibly cocky, muscle-bound rancher with a taste for tight Levi’s and shameless flirtation. . . .
Cara is nothing like the wallflower Josh King remembers good-naturedly teasing in high school. This Cara is gorgeous, confident, fun. From the moment the fiery teacher steps foot on his family’s Lazy K Ranch, the stubborn playboy is determined to corral her. So what happens when his luscious lover takes over the reins?
The first in a steamy trilogy, Kristen Proby’s enthralling novel is filled to the brim with one hardworking family’s triumphs and challenges, all the wild adventure of the modern West, and a whole lot of titillating fun.
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In the second book in the Love Under the Big Sky series from this New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of the With Me in Seattle series, life in Montana gets spicy when a woman and her divorce lawyer sign off the papers—and sign on to love.
Now that his best friend, Josh, has happily settled down with his true love on a Montana ranch, small-town lawyer Ty Sullivan starts thinking that maybe single life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. And when Lauren Cunningham’s no-good ex-husband comes after her for an unexpected trust fund, Ty steps in to protect her. But soon he can’t help but think of her as more than a client. Lauren’s in no mood to jump into another relationship, so how can Ty convince her that her mistake wasn’t getting married, but marrying the wrong guy?
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FALLING FOR JILLIAN
From New York Times bestselling author Kristen Proby comes the third romance in the Love Under the Big Sky series, featuring a veteran struggling with PTSD and the one woman who can help him recover—and learn to love again.
Jillian thought she was a city girl through and through; the fast cars, high fashion, and glamour—she loves it all. But when her ex tells her he’s having a baby with his new wife (after Jillian struggled for years to get pregnant), she hightails it back to Montana to cry on the shoulder of her best friend, Cara.
But in truth, Jillian would rather be comforted by someone else…specifically Zack, Cara’s brother-in-law. Zack is a veteran of the Iraq War who came back to the family ranch to raise his preteen son after the boy’s mother took off. He’s struggling to re-establish a relationship with his son, and warding off the demons of PTSD, which still haunt him. The last thing he needs is bold, brassy Jillian…but why can’t he keep his hands off her?
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(Releasing November 30th)
Sparks fly like snowflakes when a klutzy but gorgeous novice crosses skis with a hot resort owner in this tempting tie-in to New York Times bestselling author Kristen Proby’s popular Love Under the Big Sky series!
Grace Douglas is on a practice run for her friend Cara Donovan’s bachelorette party ski weekend in Aspen. The problem is, despite living in rugged and picturesque Cunningham Falls, Montana, Grace is the clumsiest person ever born. To prepare for the trip, she is taking lessons at a local ski resort. She just prays that they have an ambulance on standby.
Sexy hotelier Jacob Berkley is ready to play ski instructor, but he quickly discovers that the best place on the mountain for Grace is in the lodge with a hot toddy. Her sense of humor and easy laugh quickly pull him in, and soon he’s determined to help her get off the bunny slope for a fun vacation with her friends. He just didn’t expect their steamy chemistry to trigger an avalanche of desire straight to his heart.
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Excerpt from LOVING CARA (Book 1)
“This is a great place,” I murmur, and turn in a complete circle, taking everything in. The forest is thick here, but with a clearing by a wide pool of water,which is being fed by a creek that empties into it via a beautiful waterfall about twenty yards away. Slabs of rock frame the pond, making a natural ledge to sit on and enjoy nature.
“This is where I’ve always come whenever I’m happy or mad or just need to think.” Josh wraps his arms around me from behind and kisses the top of my head.
“You brought me to your happy place?” I ask, half kidding, and turn my head to kiss his biceps. I can’t seem to keep my lips off this man.
And he doesn’t seem to mind.
“It seems that anywhere you are is my happy place these days, Carolina.”
I gasp and look up into his soft brown eyes.
“So, I brought the person who makes me happy to my happy place,” he clarifies.
Well . . . wow.
Before I can respond, he kisses my lips quickly and then pulls away to grab a blanket out of a saddlebag. He takes me by the hand and leads me up onto the rocks by the water. He spreads the blanket out and pulls me down next to him.
“Are you hungry?” he asks, and pushes my hair back over my shoulder.
“Not quite yet.”
He nods and his eyes heat as they rake down my face, my neck, and over my tank top, which I know shows off the girls nicely.
If he was going to keep me perpetually turned on today, I was happy to return the favor.
“You are so beautiful,” he whispers, and leans in to claim my mouth gently. His lips are gentle and soft, sweeping across my own rhythmically yet slowly, sending shivers down my arms and making my stomach clench.
He has only touched me with his lips and my stomach is clenched. I’m panting, ready for him to take me right here, in the middle of nature.
He cups my cheeks in the palm of his hand and pulls me closer, sinking into the kiss, but then he abruptly pulls back, his brows pulled into a frown.
“You really are warm,” he mutters, and feels my neck and forehead.
I laugh at him as I rub my hand up and down his firm chest. “It’s hot outside, Josh.”
“Let’s cool off.” He smiles down at me wickedly and begins to peel me out of my clothes.
“We might give the wildlife quite a show,” I warn him mildly, excitement coursing through me.
“That’s the plan.” He winks at me and quickly strips out of his own clothes. He pulls me up onto my feet and peels my jeans and panties down my legs.
“Now what?” I ask with a wide smile.
“Now we cool off.”
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Kristen Proby is the author of the popular With Me in Seattle series. She has a passion for a good love story and strong characters who love humor and have a strong sense of loyalty and family. Her men are the alpha type—fiercely protective and a bit bossy—and her ladies are fun, strong, and not afraid to stand up for themselves. Kristen spends her days with her muse in the Pacific Northwest. She enjoys coffee, chocolate, and sunshine. And naps. Visit her at KristenProby.com.
Title: The Deal(#1)
Author: Z. Elizabeth
Genre: Erotic Romance
Release Date: 1st December 2014
What happens when you fall for the enemy?
Thanks to their fathers' feud, Nicole and Craig have been enemies since the moment they were born. But six years ago they fell in love... They just never told each other.
Motivated by their grandparents' money, they agree to a simple deal: Stay married for a year and unravel the secrets and lies surrounding their fathers. Bound together, they must figure out why the two former best friends have spent the last thirty years ignoring one another and prohibited any contact between Nicole and Craig.
Craig is more than happy to uncover their fathers' past if it means he gets Nicole for real.
Nicole wants to keep the past exactly where it is and she will fight Craig every step of the way.
With only limited time together, delving into their family history could be the mistake that will break both their hearts.
What happens when secrets and lies are revealed? Can Nicole and Craig live their Happily Ever After after waiting six long years to be together? Or will one secret be enough to break them apart, just like their fathers?
'I'm doing this for us, Nic'
*THE DEAL is suitable for 17+ due to graphic sex scenes and language*
*This is a STANDALONE novel. Book two is a companion novel.
Craig has me backed against the wall, his hands either side of my head and his face is within inches of mine. I can feel his hot breath spurt on my face and his eyes are burning with anger. He look like he wants to punch everything in sight. Okay, so maybe I went a bit too far, but fuck him. I wanted a reaction from him and I sure as hell got one.
I plaster myself to the wall. I know he would never touch me in a million years, but something primal is in front of me and between being scared of Craig, I am getting turned on by this too. We have yet to have angry make-up sex and right now, as much as I want my bath, sex would not go amiss.
“Are you trying to fuck me up, Nic? Trying to turn me into a jealous fucker because I damn well am right now.” He spits out. His eyes are all over my face, from my lips to my eyes to my lips again. “I nearly punched the shit out of your little work buddy earlier. You fucking LEFT ME in bed this morning after our fight last night and then I see you all fucking happy as Larry with dickwad. Do you know how that made me feel?
I shake my head and go to push him off me, but that only spurs him on and his body becomes flush with mine. I have to bite back a groan at the contact. He wraps his hands in my hair and brings my face even closer to his. I can literally taste the beer on his lips and all I want to do is taste it on his tongue. But I need to stand my ground and not let him get one over on me.
“Well maybe you should stop trying to dig into the past, Craig, leave it the fuck alone. I've already told you I feel fucking bad for this morning but you're a big boy, you should have learned how to set an alarm by now.” I bite back, “And I didn't bring Jamie along to make you jealous, you wanker, I brought him along to meet you all. But no, you turned it into a pissing contest. I am no ones okay? I am not yours so calm your fucking jealousy.”
He takes a deep breath and closes his eyes. He unravels one hand from my hair and punches the wall next to me. I jump at the thud his fist makes and he falls forward, his face resting on my shoulder. I stand still, wondering what he is doing and I feel him wrap both hands around my waist. My hands are still idle at my waist, not wanting to touch him.
“Nic, you are mine. No matter what the hell happens. You. Are. Mine.” He murmurs into my ear and plants a kiss on my neck.
“Yeah, yours for 8ish more months.” I say and feel him shake his head and tighten his grip on me.
“No.” is all I hear from him. His words are confusing me and unless he cannot count how long we have left, he's going insane.
“No.” and with that he lifts himself back up and slams his lips onto mine. I falter back into the wall and Craig moves with me. His lips are hard and rough against my own and I try to keep up his pace. I wrap my arms around his neck, wanting to be closer to him, needing him closer. Our tongues are battling against each other, I can taste the beer and a moan escapes from the back of my throat. I feel Craig's hands move down towards my arse and one hand grabs a cheek while the other grips my thigh and he hoists me up so my legs are wrapped around his waist. He pushes up further into the wall, so he can hold me in place and I can mould myself to his body; all the while our lips never parting. His kisses are like my next breath. I crave them all day and when I do get them upon mine, its like everything is put into place, I can breathe and let out everything I have been holding in all day.
Craig moans into my mouth when I take over dominance and bite his lip, sucking it between my teeth before running my tongue to sooth it. My hands pull at his hair, his hands are gripping my arse and I am writhing against him. I can feel him pulsating through his jeans and I can feel the hardness of his dick pushing into my own jeans and each time I move it causes friction for both of us and guttural groans escape us both.
Craig rips his mouth from mine and begins to attack my neck. He bites, sucks, licks and all I can do is roll my head to the side to grant him more access while I purr with need and want for this man in front of me.
“Craig, I need you to fuck me.” I whisper while he's biting my pressure point. I swallow hard and suddenly we are on the move towards the bedroom. His lips don't leave my neck until he throws me down on the bed and right there, that very second I can see just how jealous and angry and pissed off my husband is, but I can also see the passion and the need and want for me, and fucking too right, I am going to be another statistic to prove just how fucking awesome angry make-up sex is.
Z. Elizabeth is a debut author who grew up in Wales, UK and wishes she knew how to speak fluent Welsh. Bore da (Good morning), Wedi Bleno (tired) and Ydw (yes) just don't cut it.
Reading has always been a part of her life since she was a young kid and writing came quickly after she discovered her love for studying English Language and writing fiction. Since graduating with a degree in BA Journalism, writing is embedded into her everyday working and personal life. At 15, she finished a full length novel and thought nothing of it until now. The Deal is loosely based upon that story and it's one that she is hugely proud of writing and re-writing and re-writing...
When she isn't slaving away at her day job, you can find her daydreaming about her book boyfriends, reading the next hot book out or binge eating with her friends, continually shocking them with the filth that flies out of her mouth.
Z. Elizabeth hopes that her characters end up on your book boyfriend/girlfriend lists and her book ends up on your favourite list, maybe even your bookshelf.
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“I guess I should have talked to you about…the other weekend. I get the sense that you wanted to do those things to me. Fair assumption?”
Fair.” I nodded, afraid of the next words to come out of her mouth.
“Well, I’m not sure I’m into that. It looks pretty fucking terrifying.”
“It’s all about trust. I’ll never take you farther than you want to go.”
She huffed and averted her hardened gaze. “I have issues with that.”
“No shit.” I mumbled. Her eyes cut to mine. “I read you like a book, Dillon. You think I didn’t realize that you have trust issues when you can't even look me in the eye when I’m inside you?” I ran a lock of her champagne hair between my callused fingers.
She scrunched her nose and looked out to white-capped waves crashing against grey stone.
“I want to earn your trust.” I took a step closer.
“Who says I want you to? I never asked you to. We were just messing around, Slade. If you hadn’t noticed, I mess around with a lot of people.”
Red flames licked my vision. My fists clenched at my sides and every muscle in my body went rigid. “You still fucking around with other people?”
“If I was?”
“Fuck, Dillon. I haven’t been with anyone since we started–”
“Started what? Started fucking? I’m just the town slut. Down for a fun time, nothing more. Surprised one of your buddies didn't warn you not to get involved with me.”
“Oh, they did.” I grumbled, thinking back on Wild's warning not to get wrapped up in Dillon. Too little, too late. That ship had sailed.
She arched full eyebrows at me, gnawed her lips between her teeth until they turned winter white while anger flared in her indignant eyes. “Don’t fucking come back to my house, Slade. Don’t fucking do it. From the beginning you've acted like you have some sort of macho bullshit claim on me, why is that?” She nailed me with her pointer finger.
“Because you’re mine.”
©Adriane Leigh - 2014
Title: All I Need Volume One
Author: Scarlett Metal
Genre: Erotic Romance
Release Date: 11th August 2014
Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll.
It might sound cliche, but this is my life and I make no apologies for it. I party hard and f*ck my women even harder, sometimes more than one at a time. Music is my life and nothing else matters.
Then I met her. She turned my world upside down with one smile...
Would I be able to give up the life I loved for her?
Scarlett lives in the Midwest with her sexy husband, two girls, andthreefurbabies. She dabbled in writing right after college but it wasn't until she took up blogging about eight years ago that she started writing seriously. After writing a few boring service pieces for some online publications, she went back to her true passion, fiction. When she's not busy writing steamy stories, she can be found with her nose in a book, camping, or geocaching with her family. She loves Diet Coke, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, and 80's hair bands.
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New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Kristen Proby is the author of the bestselling With Me In Seattle series. She has a passion for a good love story and strong characters who love humor and have a strong sense of loyalty and family. Her men are the alpha type; fiercely protective and a bit bossy, and her ladies are fun, strong, and not afraid to stand up for themselves.
Kristen spends her days with her muse in the Pacific Northwest. She enjoys coffee, chocolate and sunshine. And naps.
Connect with Kristen: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
Cover Reveal: Besotted (The Billionaire Banker Series – Part 3) by Georgia Le Carre~Teaser and Giveaway
‘What about BDSM? Are you going to teach me something about that?’
He looks at me over the rim of his glass. ‘Why? Are you interested in being a submissive?’
‘I don’t know. I could be. What is it?’
‘It’s a game.’
‘I like games. Start me off and I’ll tell you if I like it.’
He stops smiling, his eyes change, darken. Very deliberately he positions his drink right in front of him, tips his glass sideways and allows the liquid in it to pour onto the table. I watch the puddle grow on the table. At some point before the glass is empty he stops pouring. I lift my eyes from the spill and look at him. His eyes are expressionless, watchful. The silence stretches. I break it. ‘Well?’
‘Clean it up,’ he says.
‘I don’t need to repeat myself, do I? It is a punishable offence.’
For a moment I feel confused. Was this the thing that has everybody hot up the collar? Do I want to be his little slave? The answer is obvious and immediate. I don’t. Definitely not. But I’ll let it play a little more and see where this little game goes. I turn towards the paper towels.
‘Not with the paper towel.’ His voice cracks like a whip.
I turn towards him slowly. Our eyes clash, a look of impatience about his. What does he want me to do? Clean the table with my tongue? The thought is unsexy, off-putting. ‘With what then?’
He leans back and folds his arms across his chest. ‘With your sex.’
And suddenly I am wet. The idea is shocking but incredibly, unbelievably erotic. I hook my thumbs into white lace and push them all the way down. I step out of them.
‘Give them to me.’
I bend down to retrieve them and walk towards him. I look into his eyes as I drop it into his outstretched hand. He puts it into his trouser pocket.
I pull myself onto the table and opening my legs slightly so he can see what I am doing, slowly drag my sex across the spill. Something flashes in his eyes. His drink is cold on my warm skin. When I have pulled myself across the liquid I stop and look to him.
He nods slowly. ‘You,’ he says, and there is a touch of admiration in his voice, ‘are an excellent pupil. You never do more than what you are instructed to do.’
I say nothing. Just hold myself in that position.
‘Now spread your legs,’ he orders.
Georgia Le Carre lives in England, in an old 19th century romantic cottage surrounded by a magical garden filled with fruit and walnut trees. When she is not feeding words into her laptop, she is either curled up in bed with a box of chocolates and a good read, or lost in a long walk in the woods. Especially on moonlit nights. And often with the man of her dreams.
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Rafflecopter code is a Rafflecopter giveaway
Author: Dawn Robertson
Series: Hers #5
Release Date: TBA
I am a Failure.
I am a Wife.
I am a Business Woman.
I am Bold.
I am Broken.
I am Lonely.
I am Strong.
The only person who has ever fought for me, will only fight with me now. After finally letting my walls crumble for a man, he has destroyed me from the inside out. I should have known that a broken bitch like me would never get a happily ever after. What did I expect?
But what he doesn’t realize is, I am not going to let him walk away so easily. He turned my world upside down, and now I will do the same to his. I just pray our daughter doesn’t become collateral damage.
I am Seven James-Parker, and this is the second part to my story.
Dawn Robertson is a twenty-something indie erotic romance, and mother. She lives in sunny senior citizen packed Florida, where she wrangles her kids, and Pitbull puppy.
Dawn can normally be found swearing like a sailor, making late night drive-thru appearances, arguing with her kids (or being run over by their power wheels), reading a steamy romance while hiding in her bathroom, writing her little heart out on her laptop (or dragging her Macbook to the Genius bar praying they can save her latest work in progress), or sipping on a smoothie. She loves to hear from her fans, readers, and authors alike. Feel free to drop her a message.
Dawn rarely takes life seriously, so be sure to expect heavy sarcasm from her. She is also the life of the party, so be sure to meet up with her at one of the many author events she will be attending in the next couple months. Buy her a shot of whiskey, and she will love you for life.
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M. Pierce is the bestselling author of Night Owl, book one in the erotic Night Owl Trilogy. The author lives in Colorado and owns a rabbit named Laurence.
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Double Cover Reveal - Night After Night & First Night (Seductive Nights #0.5 & #1) by Lauren Blakely ~ Sexy Teasers and Giveaway!
Lauren Blakely is well known for writing sexy, heartfelt and humorous contemporary romance as well as deeply emotional new adult stories -- one commonality in all her books is the scorching hot sexy times. We are thrilled to help Lauren reveal the cover for her first erotic romance book in The Seductive Nights series!
The first novel in this erotic romance is NIGHT AFTER NIGHT, releasing May 12. It is a standalone romance. There is also a prequel novella releasing with it called FIRST NIGHT. (This is a reworking of the previously released ebook FIRST NIGHT AND EVER AFTERS that is no longer available on retailers, but will be republished in its new form in May)
Are you ready for some sexy covers?
A sensual, emotionally-charged erotic romance from the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Lauren Blakely...
He plays to win and isn't afraid to break all the rules...
Fiery bartender Julia Bell has been hit on by her fair share of customers, but has never been tempted to dip so much as a toe in that particular dating pool. She wants a man who can claim her body AND captivate her mind. Enter Clay Nichols, a lawyer with a dirty mind and a mouth to match. Confident, sexy, and commanding, he takes Julia to new heights of pleasure. And after one unforgettable weekend together, he craves more of her. If only she hadn't taken off without saying goodbye...
Julia has no room in her life for commitment, not while she has serious trouble breathing down her neck, thanks to the criminal dabblings of a former flame. She doesn't want to involve anyone she cares about in the kind of danger that's chasing her and that's the problem with Clay-she's falling for him. Hard. He makes her heart race, and sets her body on fire.
He's determined to keep her in his life, no matter the cost. She's the woman he desires in every way. But when the past threatens to destroy any chance at a future, she has to make a choice -keep running, or give love a shot with a man who can hold her imagination, and her heart, night after night...
An erotic novella from the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Lauren Blakely...
It was only supposed to be one night...
When the sexy-as-sin lawyer walked into her bar in San Francisco, Julia Bell simply wanted a break from the troubles that kept chasing her. That escape came in the form of sinfully handsome Clay Nichols, a man who captivates her mind AND turns her inside out with pleasure. The attraction is electric and they share one scorchingly hot night together, but they also discover there is more than just off-the-charts chemistry; the connection between them runs deep.
Clay never thought he'd return to New York with this woman still on his mind. But he can't get her out of his system, and he needs more of her...He wants more than just the first night...
*This is a prequel novella to the erotic romance NIGHT AFTER NIGHT.*
Message from Lauren:
I am having a blast writing Clay and Julia's love story. They are a super sexy and feisty couple and I can not wait to share them with readers! Clay is all alpha male hot guy in a suit with a tender heart, and Julia is one of my favorite heroines. I do feel I should warn readers -- he's my dirtiest of my dirty-talking heroes, and if you've read Playing With Her Heart that's saying something ;-)
Her eyes darkened with lust as she stared at him. Her reaction made him hotter, harder.
"I'm being punished for turning you on?"
Another shake of his head. "No. You are being rewarded for turning me on. But we're doing it my way. You teased the fuck out of me, and now I want to watch you squirm. Crawl up on my bed and get on your hands and knees."
She held up her wrists, a sexy wink in her eyes. "I've been waiting for this."
"Go, woman. And leave your shoes and stockings on."
Lauren Blakely writes sexy contemporary romance novels with heat, heart, and humor, and her books have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iBooks bestseller lists. Like the heroine in FAR TOO TEMPTING, she thinks life should be filled with family, laughter, and the kind of love that love songs promise. Lauren lives in California with her husband, children, and dogs. Her novels include Caught Up In Us, Pretending He’s Mine, Playing With Her Heart, and Trophy Husband. She also writes for young adults under the name Daisy Whitney.
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When I wake up in a dark, unfamiliar room, I have no idea what's waiting for me in the shadows. My imagination conjures up demons of the worst kind.
Reality is much worse:
A collar with no leash. A prison with no walls. And a life stripped of meaning.
I am presented with a vile contract and asked to sign. It outlines the terms of my servitude. The only information I have about my captor are the two small letters inked at the bottom: J.S.
Armed with only my memories, I must do everything I can to avoid becoming ensnared in his twisted mind games. But in the end, it all comes down to one choice:
Resist and die.
Or submit, and sign my life away.
Oh God. It’s him. There’s no mistaking that rich, masculine treble.
What’s he doing down here?
“M-Mr. Stonehart,” I stutter, turning. I curse my inability to hide my surprise. He totally caught me off-guard. I have to look up to meet his eyes. Then up some more.
The face that I find is so striking it should belong to a Greek god.
He’s younger than I expected. Late thirties, maybe early forties.
That means he started his company when he was younger than me!
Dark scruff lines his angular cheeks. His jet-black hair is styled in long, natural waves. My fingers itch to run through it.
He has a prominent nose that might be too big on a less imposing man, but on him, it’s perfect.
In short, he’s a package of the purest masculinity I’ve ever seen.
And then there are his eyes. Oh my God. His eyes. They pierce into me like honing missiles. They are the deepest black I have ever seen. They would be frightening if they weren’t so beautiful. When the light reflects a certain way, you catch a glimpse of the purple underneath.
They are like midnight sapphires. His eyes reveal a cunning intellect. Those eyes do not miss a thing.
Add all that to his towering height, his wide shoulders, his confident-yet-at-ease posture… and Stonehart cuts an intimidating figure.
My gaze darts to his left hand before I can stop it. No ring. He’s unmarried.
He looks down at me, expectantly. His eyes narrow ever so slightly, and I feel like I’m being dissected, measured up, and tucked away in some small corner of his brain. I imagine this is what a gemstone feels like under the magnifying class of the most critical appraiser.
Stonehart clears his throat. I come to with a start, realizing I haven’t said anything in ages. I open my mouth, but the capacity for speech seems like a foreign concept to my brain. “I—”
Somebody bumps into me from behind. I stagger forward. I’m not used to these shoes, so my heel steps the wrong way. My ankle twists under me, and I start to fall.
I don’t fall far. The hand still on my elbow tightens, and Stonehart pulls me into him.
I plaster myself onto the solid steel wall the man has for a body. I catch a scent of his cologne. It’s a deep, musky smell with a hint of charred spruce that is all male. It scrambles my thoughts even more.
“Sorry!” a rushed voice calls out. From the corner of my eye, I see the postman giving a hurried, apologetic wave.
Although the sequence lasts less than a second, it feels like an eternity. Pressed up against him like that, I don’t want to move. I know that I couldn’t have made a worse first impression.
Stonehart eases me off him with a firm yet gentle grip. Our eyes meet. I flush the most vibrant red. His fingers graze my forehead as he brushes a lock of hair out of my face.
Any tenderness I may have imagined vanishes when Stonehart takes out his cell. He long dials a key and growls an order. “Steven. See the delivery boy leaving right now? Have his building pass revoked.”
I gape. Stonehart keeps speaking. “Wait. I thought of one better. Bar his company from accessing the building.” There’s a pause. “For how long? Indefinitely. FedEx can talk to me when they have an improved employee selection program in place.”
The phone call gives me just enough time to compose myself. My heart’s still beating out of my chest. But nobody has to know that.
I speak without thinking. “You’re going to restrict the entire company from serving this building because of that?”
Stonehart humors me with an answer. “A company’s employees are its most important asset. Their behavior reflects the organization as a whole. If FedEx decided that clown is good enough for them, it tells me they’re sloppy. I do not do business with sloppy organizations.”
“What about the other tenants in the building?” I ask. “Won’t that piss them off?”
When I hear myself and realize how improper my question is, my cheeks flame red again.
Stonehart’s eyes darken, as if he cannot believe I asked that question. I open my mouth to apologize for my imprudence, hating the way my professional skills have evaporated into thin air. I’m cut off by a short, barked laugh.
“Miss Ryder.” He sounds amused. “I believe that is the most direct and honest question anybody has dared ask me in weeks.” He takes my elbow again and leads me to the elevators. I have to take two quick steps to match one of his long strides.
“Yes,” he continues. “They will be ‘pissed off.’ But the perk of owning a building—” he hits the elevator call button, “—is that you get to make executive decisions.” He gives me an unreadable glance as the doors open. “That is, at the risk of being questioned by inexperienced interns.”
If that isn’t a loaded remark, I don’t know what is. I flush scarlet red for the third time since I’ve met him. I’ve never had a man throw me so off balance.
The elevator is packed, for which I’m infinitely thankful. The trip up will give me some time to properly compose myself.
Gratitude turns to panic when the crowd files out, meek as mice, when Stonehart steps in. None of the people waiting in the lobby follow us.
The doors close. I’m alone in here with him. My heart’s beating as fast as a hummingbird’s wings.
He catches me staring. “Impressed?” he asks.
“They know you,” I manage.
His dark eyes flash with amusement. “Astute.”
I live near beautiful Seattle, Washington. I grew up reading all types of fantasy books before discovering the wonderful world of romances in high school. Now, I spend most of my time writing about sexy men and the women who love them.