Thursday, October 16, 2014

A FAIRE IN PARADISE by Tianna Xander

A FAIRE IN PARADISE by Tianna Xander

Paradise Series 17

What’s going on in Paradise? Apparently, shape shifters are real and they’re attracted to middle-aged plus-sized women.

At least that’s what Alexa finds when she gets to Paradise. She doesn’t expect to find her friend Milla there, happily dating two men. It doesn’t help matters when she finds out that all of the single guys are gorgeous and the town motto is to care for and protect all women and children. In fact, the whole thing sounds too good to be true.

When the townsfolk suddenly start shifting into wild animals in front of her, Alexa is certain she’s gone mad. Is she strong enough to stay in Paradise with its strange secrets and the two hot guys she’s falling for who insist she is their mate?


“So, when ya gonna take me out, sugar?” the woman asked as she combed out his hair.

Damn! Why couldn’t he remember her name? She’d only cut his hair every two months since they retook Paradise six years ago. Why couldn’t he think? His mind spun, his gut burning. He studied the woman. Leaning close, he took another sniff. She smelled nice, but she wasn’t his mate.

A slight breeze hit him when the door opened and a woman walked in. Hair as straight as a preacher’s morals and black as sin itself floated around her shoulders. It shone in the artificial light, its glossy strands reflecting blue-black as she strode to the cash register. Tight jeans showed off her ample curves with hips wide enough to take a man.

Now that’s a woman. His nostrils flared. Wade took a deep breath and groaned. “What’s that delicious smell?”

What’s-her-name leaned down, pressing her lips against his ear. “That would be me, sugar.” She straightened when he chose to ignore her comment. “The usual cut then?”

Wade grimaced at her tone. She sounded pissed.

“You know what?” He stood quickly, grabbed the black nylon material draped around him and yanked it free. She wasn’t getting a razor anywhere near his head using that tone. “I forgot I have an appointment in…” He checked his wrist. Damn! He’d forgotten his watch, as well? “In about fifteen minutes. I gotta run.”

Grabbing his hat, he jammed it on his head and hurried for the door.

It wasn’t until he nearly ran down the woman at the counter, buying shampoo, of all things, that he realized where that wonderful aroma originated. His gut clenched, his insides going into meltdown as he stared at the gorgeous woman who stood in front of him.

He wanted nothing more than to grab a lock of that glossy black hair that fell around her shoulders and bring it to his nose. Perfect brows rose with surprise when he grabbed her upper arms. Sparks flew between them, and the hair on his arms stood on end, the sensation not unlike a transformer exploding in a lightning strike.

The woman, no, the goddess, stared up at him, her startled gaze frozen in a mask of beautiful and obvious amazement.

It did Wade’s heart good to know she was as affected by their contact as he was.

“Excuse me.” Wade managed to squeeze the words out as he stood staring at pure feminine perfection.

His heart raced, his chest ached, and he realized he’d forgotten to breathe. What really shook him up was when his beast lifted its head and he sniffed the air again.

Mate! The word shimmered in his mind. Deep within his human form, his cat stretched, unsheathed its claws, a low rumble in its throat, his throat, and it repeated the wonderful, fateful word…mate.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

BLAKE'S HOME by Cheryl Dragon

BLAKE'S HOME by Cheryl Dragon

Love Shack 1

Plenty of men have tried to get ranch hand Blake Louis to The Love Shack but none succeed. At the White family ranch, Blake has found friends and a home. He desperately wants to stay. Yet he must keep his shifter secret and avoid his feelings for Jared White. This job has to work out. No one ever wanted him forever—none of his family did—so why would a rich successful rancher want more than a roll in the hay with a dirt poor ranch hand?

Screwing the staff is a bad idea but Jared White needs more than sex from Blake. The men are friends but he’ll risk it for a chance at more. Love has never worked for Jared and a childhood rival delights in sabotaging him. Jared can’t give up hope. He believes that Blake is the one.

The only smart place to start is The Love Shack, a neutral place where Jared isn’t the boss and Blake isn’t the hand. Determined to win Blake’s heart, Jared delves into Blake’s past. As amazing as the sex is, Blake resists sweet promises. Love, trust, and happiness are as crazy to Blake as the bobcat he can shift into.



Streamers and balloons dotted the wide yard behind the massive house so no one missed the party, as if anyone could. The massive outdoor barbecue was an acre of people solid. Nonessential work at the White Ranch was suspended for the sixty-fifth birthday of the patriarch and owner. The families from the three bordering ranches and their staff were also invited.

Blake Louis hadn’t seen that many people outside a big city, and he rarely went to the city. His muscles ached for any excuse to hop on a horse and ride out into the open fields. As a ranch hand here for all of four months, he knew the White family, but everyone else was just by reputation and gossip.

After working his hour at the barbeque, Blake hung back and helped where needed. He didn’t have shiny new boots, crisp collared shirts, or even new jeans. The event was far from black tie, but even the White boys brought out their best hats and boots for the occasion. So Blake just watched, content in the fact that he liked his new job and had eaten his fill of excellent barbeque.

A well-built man with curly brown hair nodded to Blake from several feet away. Blake smiled and almost looked behind him. His attempt to be invisible had failed. The man was from the Chester ranch and had been strictly hanging with that group most of the day. It took time, but Blake was starting to catch on about some of the rivalries and egos. Even on a huge Montana ranch, politics and games still happened. That didn’t mean Blake couldn’t enjoy the view of hot men.

Blake stoked the fire and pretended not to notice the attractive man coming closer. The four ranches were neighborly and competitive at the same time. Blake was still new and didn’t want to step on the wrong toes. The flutter of arousal was hard to ignore.

“Are you the master chef?” the man asked.

Blake lifted his worn hat and wiped his forehead. “No, not me. Just a ranch hand helping out. I’m not the best at being social. Blake Louis.”

The other man extended his hand. “Randy. Nice to meet you, Blake. You should circulate and meet some new people.”

Shaking Randy’s hand, Blake felt a playful squeeze. The sexual undercurrent tormented him. “I’m fairly new to White’s Ranch. It’s a big place with plenty of work.”

“Gotta have some fun, though. It’s a party.” Randy took two steps closer and slowly pulled Blake in a bit before releasing his hand. “I haven’t seen you at the Love Shack. You should come by the Chester ranch some time. No work, just a ride or something. It’s nice to have fresh blood around here.”

Fresh blood? The term left Blake uneasy. “A good ride is a nice way to spend a day off.”

“I’ll hold you to that,” Randy said.

Blake nodded as Randy was called away by one of his earlier companions. Avoiding major personal entanglements was a goal of Blake’s, and he’d managed to succeed since getting this job. He wanted to find a place to settle, and this place had potential. Moving on all the time had grown old.

None of his previous employers had treated employees as well as the Whites did. The family members worked every bit as hard as the staff and weren’t snobs. The pay was better than fair, and the food was great. Blake wanted a future here.

The only problem was the crush Blake had on the sexy youngest son, Jared White. Over the months the attraction had grown to friendship and a longing for something more. Blake did his best to hide his affection, but Jared was friendly.

The target of Blake’s interest crossed his path, and he stopped short. “You did your time, you’re supposed to be enjoying yourself.”

Blake grinned at his biggest temptation. The man was just shy of thirty and haunted Blake’s dreams. “I was just people watching.”

The fact that Jared was the main guy he’d been watching until Randy had interrupted him hopefully remained a secret. Jared had short black hair, blue eyes, and plenty of muscles to make women and men stare. A sturdy six feet two, Jared made it hard for Blake not to lean on that sexy shoulder. But Blake had years of practice at self-control on many levels.

Jared made this job complicated for Blake. Every place he’d worked, he ran into an issue. White’s was a nice place. Crushing on the boss’s baby boy wasn’t smart--even if Blake was two years younger than Jared. Blake had bigger reasons to stay away and his shifter secret was harder to explain than his turbulent childhood.

“I’ve been trying to drag him to the keg, but he’s trying to impress you.” Frankie Saunders wandered up next to Jared.

Blake shot the other ranch hand a look that said shut up! Frankie was a lean, mean, blond, spiky-haired, gay flirting machine in his mid-thirties who loved to stir any pot nearby. He’d become Blake’s friend and the only one who knew about his crush. However, thanks to the picnic, Blake had learned that gay wasn’t something that needed to be a secret here.

“You’re a hard worker, Blake. Enjoy your time off. We don’t do huge parties like this all the time. Come to the Shack tonight and have some fun.” Jared smiled and patted Blake’s shoulder.

Hank, the oldest of the White boys, called Jared over, and the sexy cowboy was gone. Blake stopped flexing and relaxed.

Frankie’s grin got even bigger. “We need to go to the Shack tonight. He invited you. Take the hint and hit on him already. Or is Randy more your type? Playing hard to get was smart. Jared noticed.”

“I don’t know Randy at all, and he came up to me. But he mentioned the Shack too. Jared is basically my boss. I don’t want to screw this up. He’s just being nice.” Blake looked out at the crowd and felt like he was being watched. “All these people are making me nervous.”

Frankie shrugged. “There is some checking out the competition at these events. Enjoy the eye candy while it’s here. You have more options than Jared, if doing the boss is so scary.”

“The Love Shack is asking for trouble.” Blake shoved Frankie playfully. Having a job where it was safe to be gay motivated Blake even more not to slack. The Shack was where men went to drink, hang out, and hook up in the back room. The amenities of the Shack were free to anyone who lived at or worked for the four ranches that supported it; the old pole barn sat on the spot where the four properties met. Rumor was it used to be an emergency shelter when weather turned or vehicles gave out--now it had two functions.

“No, the Love Shack is about having fun. You don’t have to go to the back room. The front has a bar, pool table, TV, and all that. Plus it’s free and not far. Saves hands from blowing their paychecks in bars or on hookers. Keeps them from driving when they’ve had too many--you can always get a ride. Everyone wins. You don’t have to suck anyone’s dick.” Frankie grinned like he knew Blake couldn’t resist.

Blake liked having friends and people who had his back. The Love Shack sounded appealing, but Blake didn’t drink too much. Giving in to temptations wasn’t a habit for him. To say his mother had addiction issues was an understatement. He wasn’t about to repeat her mistakes.

What he really wanted was to move up and have a career, if he could stay here. Love was a fantasy sold by society. “Getting drunk and screwing random guys won’t earn me a promotion.”

“Screwing Jared might. Show him your take-charge side,” Frankie teased.

“I don’t want a job that way.” Blake noticed the big guy from earlier eyeing him. “Who is that Randy guy?”

“Randy. That Randy? He’s a Chester. The middle son of the Chesters’ ranch. There are a zillion Chesters. They employ cousins and all live there. Hell, they reproduce like bunnies,” Frankie said.

“So why’s he looking at us?” Blake didn’t let the flattery or surprise show. Randy was a family member. Here it didn’t matter what color you were or where you came from. You were part of the owners’ level or staff level. They interacted and respected one another, but staff was replaceable. Blood was not.

He’d been invited riding by a Chester? The guy was well dressed, but he could’ve been staff. Crap! Jared was a good guy, but Blake didn’t want to upset any of the owners. He could go and be social at the Shack. Blake shifted his weight and sucked in the fresh air of fall. It was still nice out, but winter was coming. He’d need better clothes to trudge through snow. Being from the south, he didn’t really want to experience a real winter up here.

But he didn’t want to leave White’s Ranch. The thought of leaving knotted up his gut.

“Don’t play dumb. I saw Randy drooling all over you before. He’s the gay one that I know of. Plus he and Jared always had a little competition between them. That little ranch hand hottie next to him is Carter. I’ve seen them screwing at the Shack. But they get into group stuff. Way too wild for you. Come on, you need to know more of these people.” Frankie led Blake by the arm.

“Sure. Thanks.” Blake checked out Randy and the ranch hand. If he wasn’t going to go after Jared, he’d need to have a little fun eventually. Then again, a casual group thing, maybe no one would notice or care?

“Those are the Greens. The oldest son is a closet case, sort of like Hank, but their patriarch isn’t as open-minded as Mr. White. At least that’s the word around the barns. They are known for showing horses and breeding them for racing.”

“Hank’s in the closet?” Blake hadn’t paid much attention to the elder White brother except for work. Tall, broad, and intimidating by any standards, Hank was mid-forties and all business.

“Yes and no. He’s a workaholic. He and Jared never go to the Shack on the same nights. Hank is extremely discreet. He has a glory hole addiction, so nothing personal.” Frankie rolled his eyes.

“You like Hank?” Blake had noticed the glint in Frankie’s eye when he talked about him.

“I like all hot gay men. I don’t discriminate. He might need a little help out of the closet someday, and I’ll probably still be here. But you have a good shot with Jared so stop dragging your cowboy boots.” Frankie glanced down. “You really need to get a new pair too. Not to be a fashion diva, but everything you own is pretty worn. Winter here is rough.”

Blake always wore his stuff totally out before splurging on new things or used things. “I’ve moved around a lot. Money is tight. Not every ranch is cool with gay hands or pays decent. Plus, I don’t like waste. When something wears out, I replace it. But it’s still warm out--no reason to pull out the new winter stuff.”

“You’re good here. Everyone likes you, even Hank is impressed. Clothes I get, but those boots look older than you are. Okay, fine, I’m dropping it, but you’re on your feet a lot. Solid quality is what I mean. It’s not allabout show.”

“I’ll look into it.” Blake had resoled his uncle’s old pair a few times. Maybe someday...

Frankie turned and pointed at the small circle. “Last of the four families are the Austens. They are more proper, very religious and conservative. Heavy into traditional cattle, they don’t diversify and don’t socialize except when it would be rude not to. See, they’re all clustered together. None of their staff is here.”

“Weird. They don’t let their staff come? Glad I didn’t get hired over there. I’ll try to keep it all straight. It’s a lot of people to learn. Their staff comes to the Shack?” Blake asked.

“Austen staff? Sure, but they don’t want to get caught with their pants down. The Austens only support the Shack as an emergency shelter but understand the social outlet keeps the barn well maintained. It’s not all about the sex. Plenty of the straights come for a free drink and premium sports on a big TV. When they’re horny, they venture into town, but the rest of us enjoy the perk of the back room. You’re missing a huge benefit of working here. Lots of stress-relieving, hard, sexy cowboys. They’d love to have you there.” Frankie bit his lower lip.

“Subtle.” Blake laughed, but the temptation grew bigger. “Jared asked me so I guess I should go.”

Frankie nodded. “It’s not a date so don’t get weird. Get him in the back room and enjoy. That’s a step in the right direction.”

The idea sounded great, but Blake didn’t want to be just sex. That’s all he’d really had from men all his life. He didn’t want to get his heart mangled when he was finally feeling safe here.

Maybe it was a mistake, but he’d begun to hope for more in life than hard work, poor wages, and random gay bar hookups. Love was a mysterious thing that happened to others. Security was real. He had the ranch skills and somewhere he’d be more than just a hand.

“We’ll see.” Blake shrugged.

“Hedging your bets. Blake, you’re good. You’re the best hand here. Everyone knows that you have a diverse background, and you’re an asset. Hank wants you on his dairy addition project,” Frankie said.

“I know nothing about dairy cows. I’ve worked goats, pigs, cattle, and horses, but dairy is not my area.” Blake had already told that to Hank.

“Right, but you learn fast and you’ve done a bunch of different stuff. Pigs and goats--Hank has talked about both. Moving around and working ranches all over is good experience Hank and Jared don’t have. Most of us grew up locally without opportunities. We ranch what we know. Cattle and horses. That’s Montana.” Frankie nodded to the big blue sky.

The view made Blake never want to leave. Acres of rolling grass and countless heads of cattle grazing in the distance. The Whites’ main house was a huge two-story aptly painted white with maroon trim. The employee housing was the nicest Blake had ever seen. “Winters will be rough.”

“Brutal, but it’s every bit as pretty with the snow. We find ways to stay warm.” Frankie headed toward the dessert tables.

“Did you boys get enough to eat? You both look a little lean to me,” Mrs. White fussed.

“I’m stuffed, thank you, ma’am,” Blake said.

“It was delicious,” Frankie added.

“I hope you saved room for the main cake. You have to try it.” She wagged a finger at them.

“We will. Can’t wait.” Frankie nodded.

Blake wanted to contribute, but he found himself tongue-tied. Women always found fault with him. His mother. His aunt. Nothing he ever did was good enough or right. Mother figures especially made him uneasy.

Men he could handle. Men he understood. He took off his hat and smiled politely at Jared’s mother.

Jared walked up next to his mother. “Where’s Hank? It takes two to carry that monster cake out. Why can’t you just make a few shorter cakes?”

“It’s not as impressive.” She put her hands on her hips.

“This isn’t a wedding.” Jared rolled his eyes at Blake.

“If one of my two single boys would give me a wedding to throw, maybe I wouldn’t need to go all out for your father’s birthday? Get these two to help you. Hank is dealing with the Greens. They’re always trying to buy all our best horses.” She pointed out her eldest son.

“I’ll help,” Blake said a little too enthusiastically. Then it was too late to take it back.

He followed Jared into the big house, enjoying the view of Jared’s ass in tight denim.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

THE LORD by Laura Tolomei

THE LORD by Laura Tolomei

The Virtus Saga Book 8

The book that ends it all—the fight, the unbalances, the uncertainties, the denial, the incomprehension—and begins everything anew: life, love, sex, passion and the future of their world forever assured! Be sure to catch the explosive conclusion of the hottest dark fantasy series on the web!

Join Duncan, Ylianor and Chris in the explosive conclusion of the Virtus Saga. The book that ends yet begins it all anew.

Angel or Demon? Angel and Demon! Two faces. One fucking gorgeous man! And only two people to switch him either way. Now he’s going to prove himself to the entire universe. The past in his power. The present in his lust. The future in his temper. Because as he says, us is sex!

Last book of the series, Virtus Saga's chapter 8 continues and finishes the dark fantasy story of Prince Duncan Caldwell, now Leader of the High Council, Lord Templeton, his lover and co-leader, and Ylianor Meyer, their woman and the other co-leader. The tale started in The Sex, Virtus Book 1, with Duncan and Ylianor meeting again after a ten-year estrangement. Then it continues in The Game Book 2, The Festival Book 3, The Leader Book 4, The Pledge Book 5, The Heat Book 6 and The Princess Book 7, each picking up from where the previous one leaves off. Given the saga nature of this ongoing fantasy series, it is advisable to read each book in sequence.



“Everybody’s feeling it at work.”

“They’ll feel it all the more the second you get your ass up on that stage.”

“Me?” What? Did I miss something? “What are you talking about?”

“That it’s your turn up next.” Duncan glanced at the two men splitting their woman to bits, one ramming her front, the other her back. “Right after they’re done.”

“But I could only do it with her.” It was such self-evident axiom, he felt stupid for saying it. “Or with you.” This was even dumber. “But if she—”

“She’ll be all yours for this special performance.” The leader grinned. “Nothing in between the two of you.” His tone became huskier, “Weren’t you worried she was getting all work and no play?”

“Yeah, but…” To show his true feelings right there in front of everyone, Chris was not sure it was such a great idea.

“Listen, Angel.” Cupping his face between his palms, the prince drew him near. “You and her were the first to make me understand how easily sex brings out your deepest emotions, even the ones you fight so hard to deny.” So close they could have kissed. “If you go up there, it’ll get my point across faster and more effectively than any of the other acts did so far.”

“I don’t see how it could make a difference who’s up there.” Chris held on stubbornly. “Everybody’s paying marginal attention as it is—”

“They’ll be exceedingly attentive if it’s you and her.”

No, he did not need Duncan to kiss him and make him lose perspective of what they were talking about.

Which was exactly what the prince did.

Remember what I told you at Plantimore Cliffs? Unfortunately, he also deepened the sweet exchange by slipping his tongue inside and sweeping Chris’s wet cavity as though it belonged to him.

Which, for the record, it did.

“Hem…” If Chris could mumble, it was because Duncan had broken off the kiss. “Vaguely.” Well, he might have remembered had the kiss not fucked up his mind.

“I told you it was high time you showed how much you love her.” With a chuckle, the leader tilted up his head. “And I meant it not just for Richard’s sake.” His black eyes flashed. “And that’s what I expect you’ll be doing in a few minutes from now.”

Chris straightened and focused. Yeah, now he recalled what Duncan had said and how easy it had been to let his love flow in front of Richard and Lucy.

“It’s going to be even easier now, Angel,” Duncan whispered in his ear, “Now that you’ve accepted it yourself, and that you’re not afraid of showing how much you care for her.”

“And I owe it all to you.” Because no one knew him better than Duncan did. No one knew how to push his buttons better than Duncan did. “But shouldn’t you be up there with us?” It was not a challenge, more like a reasonable request. “I mean we’re all in this together. As much as I love her, I love you, too.”

“Are you going to hold the princess’s logic against me?” Duncan teased.

It was a clear reference to how Ylianor had convinced them to a three-way pledge.

“I most certainly will.” Chris gave the prince his best smile. “It’s as true today as it was when she said it.” His lips captured Duncan’s. Taking the initiative, his tongue forced them apart for a taste of his amazing lover. “If not more.”

“All right, I may join you.” His gaze shifted to the center.

The two men were coming all over their woman and blazing with the force of their collective love.

“But you start first. I don’t want them to miss your vibes or to get them mixed up with mine.”

Hardly recovered from their deep sharing, of fluids and feelings, the three were moving off, and already another woman was petitioning for her and her lover’s chance to be in the spotlight. “Leader, Romy and I—”

“Sorry, ladies,” Chris cut them off. “My lovely mate needs a definite break.” Getting up, he reached the table where Ylianor was standing. Don’t you, sleeping beauty?

I never thought the great Lord Templeton would stoop so low as to embarrass himself in front of everyone, she mocked.

Then again, maybe she did not deserve it.

Orders from above, dearie. So he played it rough. Nothing I’d be doing of my own volition, he lied shamelessly. Not with a no-good slave, anyway. But the second he clasped her arm to pull her close, all pretenses fell from him.

No, he did not fight the tide of love overwhelming him as he brought his lips down on hers. To be honest, he could not. She tasted so sweet, exciting and yielding in his arms he simply wanted to drown in her and melt his fire in her slippery liquid that enveloped him like a nurturing balm. And his reaction was opening her up in ways he had seen happen only with Duncan. It was like there had been one last barrier between them that was crumbling under his complete acceptance of this love.

Every part of it.

None excluded.

By the gods! What a selfish bastard he had been to deny her for so long!

Let’s not dwell on the past, Demon, her soft voice boomed in his mind, Only on the future and on your powerful love. Bending against him, she parted her lips wide, swallowing his tongue whole.

He became lost in her. It was not just a physical sensation. It was more of an immaterial one, with her holding him inside her, like the son she was carrying, except it was the man she had within her.

Yes, she had always owned him.

Only he had been too foolish to admit it. And it did not feel strange anymore to have two people own him. It was not like he was split up among them, either. No halves, the whole of him belonged to both. Body, mind and spirit completely devoted to two, angel and demon, both sides of him at their complete disposal, one shiny being for two.

With the love came the irresistible attraction, the one he felt for no one else but these two astounding individuals, the same that justified his vicious side and the bloody game. For he had his answer now. He did not play it because he wanted to hurt her. He played it because he could be truly himself with her alone. If with everyone else he had to erase the memory after acting out his deepest fantasies, with her he had no need to, for she accepted him exactly as he was. Now he could keep doing it without remorse or guilt. Not just because the prince was a part of it, and that alone had made it possible for his two opposites—the angel and the demon—to reunite. Because she was the key to it all, and this awareness had just brought that game to a whole new level. A sophisticated and seductive level he would have never thought possible. A level he could access only with her as his victim, his prey, his woman. And that turned him on more than if he had his knife at hand right now, or almost as much as having her body crushed to his despite the pronounced belly of her now visible pregnancy.

Never in his life would he have thought to crave a woman the way he craved Ylianor. He—who had scorned women, pregnant ones in particular—could not keep his hands off her. His cock had become so thick with a mere kiss that it ached. Whether because his tongue had reached her stomach, or whether because her cunt rubbed against his groin with that characteristic sway of hers and took care of his erection—whatever the reason, his arousal was maddening, requiring an immediate satisfaction he had no intention of granting at the moment.

Pushing her gently toward the table, he made her lie down as his mouth broke the tantalizing kiss to move down to her cunt. He did not hurry to reach it. He wanted to take his time to nibble and savor her most delicious parts, like her breasts. Tonguing her taut buds was a way to hold his excitement in check, or so he hoped. Truth was—the more he stroked her pointy tips, the stiffer his meat piece became. Which was nothing comparable to when he went close enough he could smell her craving.

Talk about wet!

She was dripping like a fountain, her honeydew trickling down her thighs. Her flavor was even worse. Strong and pungent, it clung to the tip of his tongue before it slid right down to his balls. Her clit was a throbbing knot begging for someone, anyone, to burst it. Her inner lips were so puffed up he could just imagine how fiercely they would cling to a shaft, any shaft and swallow it whole in one avid gulp.

He went further down…oh, boy!

Her ass was always a temptation he could never resist. He lifted her legs, so he could also see the wrinkled entrance he longed to possess right here, right now. Even if it was with his erection, he forced himself to bide his time and let the tongue have fun with it first. Rimming the narrow edges was a way of increasing his anticipation, anyway. He just hoped he would not explode instead of her, not yet anyway.

Plunging inside confirmed how close he was to the edge. But she was closer. The trembling of her flesh as he penetrated it again could not hide it. And raising his gaze, he understood the reason why.

Straddling her, knees pressed around her face, Duncan was feeding her his gigantic equipment. That was certainly bound to tip her over the edge, so Chris did his best to help her. Returning to the swollen clit dancing on its own, his tongue crushed it under a savage attack. At the same time, he let go of one of her legs. With calculated ferocity, he shoved into her pussy and ass, stuffing both with two fingers each.

It was the end of her.

Arching her back, Ylianor shattered under his very eyes. Lucky for everyone, Duncan occupying her mouth prevented her scream from leaving their heads. Or perhaps luck had nothing to do with it. If he knew anything of how the three of them worked, his lover’s choice of sexual service had nothing casual about it. He and Duncan both knew how loud sleeping beauty could get when she lost control, and this was undoubtedly one such occasion.

Despite his cock’s furious jerks and protests, Chris continued ignoring it. Concentrating instead on her drenched cunt, he lapped it generously, teasing the swollen edges of her pussy and thrusting into their welcoming entrance. Her ass was equally welcoming, opening up to his solicitation as though it wanted nothing else, while she kept coming over and over, unstoppable.

“Fuck, Angel.” The leader’s throaty whisper did not go lost on Chris. “I think I’m about to come.”

“No, wait for me, lover.” He lifted both her legs again. “Aren’t we supposed to give them the best show ever?”

“That’s why you should hurry up.” The prince’s full lips curved in a snarl. “‘Cause she’s too hot for me to slow down any.”

“I understand perfectly.” No, Duncan did not have to spell it out.

Adjusting her rear hole in front of his erection, he swung his hips forward and centered it at the first hit. Unsurprisingly, she came again. No, actually she had never stopped coming, and her frenzied convulsions hampered his thrusts to her guts with all that clenching and relaxing of her muscles in fast waves. But the moment he was half inside, the swells took over and sucked his rigid beast to the hilt, also beyond had there not been a natural limit. Incredulous to say the least, Chris could practically remain still while her contractions did all the work, accelerating it to the point he lost it mere seconds after he had penetrated.

With Duncan’s climax filling her mouth and overflowing down her cheeks, Chris unloaded a split second apart. And the prince catching his lips in a deep kiss intensified everything.

Too bad it had to finish. Were it up to him, he would have let it go on and on like their orgasms, which seemed endless because time had slowed down to freeze their moment. But eventually, everything sped up again.

“I want more of her.” Prince Caldwell’s growl testified to his deep-rooted craving, in case his hard cock did not talk loud enough.

“Me, too.” Chris waited for Duncan to pull out of Ylianor’s mouth. “And if you just lie down, we can share her again.” Raising her from under her armpits, he cradled her against his chest.

The new position took only a second. Prince Caldwell slid to fill her place. Then Chris fitted Ylianor’s butt over the thick equipment standing on its own. After his fucking, she was nice and large enough to receive just about anything. So Duncan’s shaft speared it to the hilt in no time at all. When he was securely embedded, Chris spread her legs and plunged in the silky wetness of her slit.

Wet was an understatement.

She was more like an ocean of moistness, and he was only gladder the prince’s erection ramming her rear tightened her front space, too, or he would have felt nothing otherwise. With the double penetration, instead, her pussy squeezed enough for his monster to come close to a climax again.

He loved it. Flattening her against his lover’s chest, feeling her flesh wrapped around him, smelling her and Duncan with one gulp of air—Chris was floating on his own sensations. Not just the physical ones, the emotional ones as well. His intense love was like a giant balloon grown to fill the sky. Pushed upward by Duncan and Ylianor’s strong feelings, it would take him next to nothing to turn into his fiery essence and soar. It would take next to nothing to tear both his lovers away from the material dimension they were in and—

Stop, Angel! The deep voice exploding in his mind followed the powerful restraint Chris was coming to learn as the leader’s control over him. We don’t want to give that much of a show.

Refocusing, Chris suddenly realized that everyone was staring at them. Literally. No one was having sex. No one was even kissing. Their gazes all glued on them, like Duncan had said they would, including Cecilia and David’s, who were watching from a side.

“I’ll be damned!” Chris exhaled softly, slowing his pumping.

“I told you.” Catching his gaze, the leader held it. “You’re too good for them not to notice.” Shifting slightly, he managed to slip his huge monster inside sleeping beauty’s ass to the very root. “Only you should keep it to the sex.”

Fortunately, their voices were more like whispers, so for sure no one heard them.

“Yeah, I get it.” Turning, he caught the green eyes full of love. “It’s just a fuck, sleeping beauty.” Which was the farthest thing from the truth. “So don’t your hopes up.”

Monday, October 13, 2014

THE WARRIOR Box Set by Rebecca Royce

THE WARRIOR by Rebecca Royce

The Warrior Series by award winning author Rebecca Royce - Initiation, Driven, Subversive, Redemption, and Justice - all in one place.

Rachel Clancy was born to fight the monsters that go bump in the night. In a post-apocalyptic world, she and her fellow Warriors are all that stand between what is left of humanity and the monsters who stalk them. Her destiny seems written--fight or die. Until one fateful trip Upwards changes everything. Follow the story as one sixteen year old girl changes the course for human kind forever.

Initiation is the story of sixteen year old Rachel Clancy, born with a specific set of genes that let her fight monsters, she has trained her entire life to kill Vampires and Werewolves. Knowing since birth what her destiny would be has not made the onslaught of emotions she faces as she journey Upwards any easier. It doesn’t help that her father is drunk and her best friend just doesn’t get ‘it.’

Rachel isn’t prepared for the level of deception she faces, and before long she will find herself on a quest she is in no way prepared to handle. What happens next will alter not only Rachel’s life but the lives of everyone she knows. She will learn beyond a shadow of a doubt that sometimes the monsters we know are worse than the ones we don’t and that love can surprise us when it comes from somewhere we never anticipated it.

If she lives, she will be a Warrior. If she doesn’t, no one will ever remember her name.

When Rachel Clancy turned sixteen, she inadvertently changed the lives of everyone around her. Now, six months later she has to figure out how to live with what has happened.

Sent back into the wilderness—this time with a new love—she will find herself face-to-face with two people she never thought to see again: the boy she thought she loved and the man who wanted to destroy her since birth. If Rachel can learn what drives her forward, there may be a chance for everyone to start again. If she fails, all is lost.

Rachel Clancy has been through a lot. With a mission to fight vampires, while losing two boyfriends—one to a vampire and one because of his daddy issues—she is in charge of a secret revolution that could change Genesis, her home, forever. Her confidence is shot, her hands are shaking, and she hasn’t felt a real emotion, except for anger, in a long time.

But Rachel should never be counted out. She sees things others can’t, even if her ideas are considered downright traitorous. The life destined for Rachel is to lead in the world, filled with vampires and werewolves instead of romance and flowers—always forced to fight to stay alive and vanquish any threat to her friends and family. But no matter how many times she’s won, the evil that has stalked her never forgets her name….

Rachel Clancy made a decision to erase herself from the lives of her friends and family. She did this, she believes, to free herself up to make some hard decisions. Only to realize out she was manipulated by a master into doing just what he wanted. Now, she is alone with no one to turn to for help.

But fate isn't done with Rachel. When she is thrust back into the path of her former people—who have no idea who she is—she will find that life gives second chances. Will she gain redemption? Or is it too late…?

My name is Rachel Clancy, and if you’re reading this, chances are I am dead. I have returned to Genesis, my family and Chad. I think I might even be happy. But you know, happy endings aren’t for everyone least of all me.


Excerpt from Book One - INITIATION 

“My mother used to call this apple cider weather.”

I had been doing my best to pretend I was unaffected by Jason’s presence, but I wasn’t. He felt warm, even the distance we walked apart, like he was a hot presence in a world of freezing cold eventualities.

“I know what apples are. We get them sometimes. What is apple cider? Some kind of drink?”

“Breaks my heart that you live in a world with no apple cider.” The grimace on his face was a huge indication then he meant what he said. He really was…beautiful, in a way most guys, or even grown men, were not.

Jason seemed to light up from the inside out. Maybe it came from actually being outside all the time but his skin glowed with freshness. Or maybe it was a Werewolf thing, a monster thing.

“Do you do this all the time? Take on Warriors and not tell them why you’re holding them prisoner?”

He raised an eyebrow, his lips quirking into a smile before falling straight again. “Do you feel like a prisoner?”

“Do you answer every question with a question?”

“No.” He shook his head. “I did promise you answers. But first, tell me if you feel better out here? Less likely to hurl away all that fine turkey?”

I stopped walking and turned to look at him. “I feel much better, thank you.” I got my first look at the house we had just exited. I covered my mouth with my hand to suppress my gasp and I looked again. It wasn’t really a house—it was a giant tent—standing in front of a dozen giant tents just like it. I could see from where I stood how it was built. The walls were solid, but only because large beams in the ground held them up. I hadn’t thought to feel the walls earlier. Why would I? They had looked like concrete, but they weren’t, they were actually cloth and something else—vinyl, maybe?

“You guys are prepared to leave at any time, aren’t you?”

“We’re nomadic. We never stay anywhere very long.”

I couldn’t be sure, but I thought I heard sadness in his voice. I could ask him about it. He’d put his emotion right out there for me to hear it, which begged the question: just how well did I want to know Jason?

At some point, I was going to turn a corner with this Werewolf where I was going to start thinking of him as a living, breathing, cognizant being whose head I wouldn’t be able to cut off. I wasn’t sure I wanted to do that.

And yet…

“Would you rather stay put?” I spoke the words.

"Maybe. See, I can still remember what it was like, to have a house that was a home, to have neighbors, to go to school."

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

THE PRINCESS by Laura Tolomei

THE PRINCESS by Laura Tolomei

Virtus Saga 7

The book that reconnects it all—love, sex, lust, but also the princess to her power. Don’t miss the seventh chapter of the Virtus Saga.

Alone. The future of his world on his shoulders, Prince Duncan Caldwell has to connect the dots. To pick up the pieces of broken love. Before the new edition of the Game. Before the terrible loss awaiting him at Black Rose. But not alone. Not without his angel. Certainly not without his princess. For only her power will save him.



“So how is this going to help us?” Suddenly attentive, Chris shifted. “They already know we fuck like crazy.” His new position had drawn the prince closer than before, if at all possible. “And that stunt you pulled in the attic leaves no one any doubts we belong to one another—”

“This isn’t going to be about us.”

“Then…” As the dots connected in the angel’s head, Duncan saw his eyes brightening all of a sudden. “It’s going to be about her.”

“Exactly.” Too late he realized his crotch was digging in Chris’s belly. “We’ve been so bent on showing everybody what we feel about one another. We totally neglected to put her in the picture.” And it was driving him crazy, especially since his angel’s cock was as stiff as his. “So it’s time to set the record straight. Yours most of all, since you always play like you care nothing for her.”

Friday, October 3, 2014



Jenson has loved Mike his whole life, but he has never known how to tell Mike how he feels.

After high school Mike leaves for college and his Hollywood dream, while cowboy Jenson stays behind in their small East Texas hometown. Neither man knows what to say to go beyond friendship, even though they come together through all of the best and worst times of their lives.

The most amazing moments keep bringing them back together, but through huge love and terrible loss, sickness and health, their timing never seems right to take their relationship to the next level.

When the universe gives them one final chance, Jenson must overcome his fear and say the most important something before it's too late.



Chapter One

THE LAST weekend before school started was always a bitch of a letdown. This year was no damned exception, even if Jenson Thackerson didn’t have to go back. He’d graduated in May, maybe not with honors or nothin’, but with enough to get him a decent job, if his mom and dad decided to kick his ass off the little ranch they owned.

No, the letdown came from all of them taking Sandy Kinder’s big van down to Corpus and tearing it up for a long weekend. There, he could pretend that nothing was gonna change, that Mike Simon wasn’t going to leave in three days and go off to North Carolina to go to acting school.

“UNC has an acting school?” he’d asked when Mike had gotten the letter.

Mike had snorted, his blond hair all wild as he set to pulling out this big-assed book from the school library, and there it was. UNC. North Fucking Carolina. That was a twenty-four hour drive away from Podunk, Texas. Twenty-four hours and forever, might as well be.

Jenson wasn’t doing no more school if he could help it. Oh, if he got his ass kicked out and couldn’t get a job cowboying, he had the grades for trade school. He was okay with cars, decent with putting in a new light switch. He’d go for mechanic or electrician.

Mike had called about an hour ago, asked him to meet out at the cemetery after dark and bring some smokes, and he did it. Of course he did it. Daddy was already swimming in the bottle, and Momma was in her room with the dog-eared book she’d stolen from the library and her Marlboros, dreaming of a life that didn’t involve cow shit and washing stains out of boys’ underpants.

He parked his old Chevy out on the maintenance road and watched the last rays of the sun go down. He pulled out the pack of smokes and tapped the end against his palm a few times before pulling off the plastic. He’d have one while he waited.

The humidity made everything lazy, even the mosquitos, and he couldn’t help but think that tomorrow he was going to be out here, just another redneck driving down gravel roads acting like that was something special, and Mike would be in his perfectly clean little Toyota with his boxes and his books, heading to the East Coast.

It wasn’t fucking fair.

Oh, not that Jenson wanted to go back East anywhere. What he wanted was Mike. The trip to the beach had given them some stolen kisses and a few quick gropes, but Jenson wanted more.

He wanted full-on naked. He wanted to fuck. He wanted to hear Mike beg for it. He knew Mike would.

The very thought made his dick hard in his jeans and made him curse when his cigarette burned his fingers.

He heard a husky chuckle. “You ever going to learn how to smoke, man?”

Jenson turned to see Mike wandering over, coming to sit next to him on the tailgate. On the wrong damned side.

“Scoot, man,” Mike said, and he did, because he was always willing to do for Mike.

“What’s up, Mike?”

“Been a long couple days. You?”

“Been trying to decide if I have to apply for jobs.” He sighed. “You all packed?”

“I am. Yeah. I wish you were coming. It looks like a kick-ass campus.” Mike took a smoke, lit it, and the flame shuddered in the wind.

“I ain’t smart like you.” What else could he say?

“I’m not all that. I just….” Mike shrugged. What was Mike going to say? That Mike had tried? Because that was the God’s honest truth. Mike fought for it, worked hard.

Jenson did too. It just didn’t matter. He wasn’t school material. He lit another cigarette, trying not to cough. Lord.

“You think you’ll stay at home?”

Like it mattered. Neither one of them could afford long-distance phone calls, and Jenson, well, shit, he wasn’t much of a letter writer. Maybe postcards, if he remembered to buy stamps.

Jenson nodded. “If they’ll let me. If not, I’ll try cowboying out with the C Bar.” Mr. Carlson ran a huge Beefmaster operation.

“Such a cowboy.” Not like Mike. He was gonna be something bigger than a shiftless drover.

“I don’t know what else to do. Be a drunk like my dad, I guess.” He laughed, trying not to sound so damned bitter.

“I vote for cowboy over drunk, I think. Drunks are a little creepy. My mom knows lots.” Mike’s momma was a bartender over at the Rail. She scared him a little, being so hard and fierce, always broke and always fighting. She loved Mike, though, more than life.

“So does mine.” He gave up on the smoke, grinding it out on the old toolbox at the foot of the truck bed. “I wish you didn’t have to go, man.”

“I know, but I can’t stay here. It’s over for me here.”

“Why?” He was about to get his begging on. “Stay, Mike. Please. Just stay.”

“I can’t, Jen. They’re going to kill me.”

“What? Who? What the hell are you talking about, man?” He turned to look at Mike, finally, and reached out for his best friend.

Mike was staring away from him, out over the gravestones.

“Mike? What are you talking about?” Who would hurt any of them? They were just kids.

Mike turned to face him, and Jenson gasped, jerking back in pure surprise. A huge set of stitches stretched from eyebrow to chin, the skin raw and sliced to hell. Mike’s eye had this metal thing over it, and for a second it looked like his best friend was a robot. One of them kind that went berserk in the movies and shot sparks.

“Jesus. What happened?” He didn’t know what to do. His hands fluttered with the need to touch.

“Got jumped out at the fairgrounds. Said they wanted to make sure they never saw my fag face on the big screen.”

His mouth fell open. “Oh fuck. Oh God, Mikey.” He hadn’t called Mike that since grade school.

“I can’t stay here. Everyone knows about me. Everyone. I’m not like you, you know?”

What did that even mean? “Mike. I’m like you, and you know it.”

“I do, but no one else does. You got Allie at the dances. You can pass. Me? No one ever looks at me and thinks ladies’ man.” Mike touched his face, winced. “Now for sure I can’t be the romantic lead.”

“I’m sorry.” Had he done something? Had someone told about them kissing at the beach? Christ. “Mike….”

“Yeah.” Mike reached out, touched his hand.

He grabbed on, not daring to move any closer or do nothin’ else. He might hurt Mike if he tried anything else. “Promise me you’ll keep in touch somehow. I know it’s corny and all, but please.”

“I swear to God. I’d take you with me, if I knew how. I would, but….”

But he was still safe here, and Mike… Mike would always be queer, always be running. And what was a guy like him, like Jenson, going to do at a fancy college back East?

“That ain’t gonna happen. You need to be safe.”

“It isn’t. Once I figure it out, though, I’ll bring you. Show you everything.”

“I’d like that.” Hell, he’d even get an extra part-time gig and save his pennies, if he could go see Mike at school.

“It’s a promise.” Mike squeezed his fingers. “Can we sit here until morning, together? I’m heading out at 8:00 a.m., and I’ve never… you know. It’s a long way by myself.”

“We can.” He wanted more than just sitting, but he knew Mike needed strength and quiet, not grappling and groping and possibly getting caught doing crazy shit. He held Mike’s hand and waited for the sun to come, knowing he was losing something incredibly important, but not knowing how to keep it. Or even say it.

“It’s supposed to be amazing, man, growing up, right?”

“It’s a gyp.” He was convinced of that. Totally overrated.

“Yeah? Then when’s the good part?”

“I don’t know.” Jenson took a deep breath and squeezed Mike’s hand. He needed to cowboy up and be positive. Mike needed his good thoughts. “Maybe after you get out of college?”

“Maybe. I’m so fucking scared, man. These guys in the program are trained, good. They’ve done more than playing Li’l Abner in Mrs. Fincher’s yearly musical. And now there’s this.” He waved at his face. “I’m going to be a freak.”

“Is…?” Jenson swallowed hard. “Your eye, I mean. Is it…?”

“It’s got a scratch, that’s all. The cup deal is to keep the blood out of it.”

“Keep you from itching it too, huh?” Jenson chuckled, the sound dry as a bone. “You’ll be dashing.”

“I’ll be the scary serial killer, maybe. Mom says if I’m lucky, it’ll only be a thin scar.”

“Just take care of it.” He rubbed his thumb over Mike’s knuckles.

“Yeah…. I’ve never not lived in the same town as you before.”

“I’ll miss you.” Now they were just getting sappy. Jenson looped his fingers around Mike’s wrist, turning back to the sky.

At some point Jenson fell asleep, leaning on the wheel well of his truck, and when he woke up, Mike was gone, the sun was up, and it was over.

They’d said they’d call and shit; Mike had said they’d visit somehow. Jenson wasn’t sure how it was possible, let alone probable. He felt more alone than he had in more than ten years, since him and Mikey had become inseparable.

He couldn’t imagine how Mike felt. Jenson couldn’t even try to know.

All Jenson could try was to go to the ranch and get to work.

Thursday, October 2, 2014



He’s an elite vampire from a distant planet…an Alpha of the Blood.
But he’s no match for one spunky and opinionated Earth woman!

The Alphas of the Blood are an elite, alien race of vampires. They escaped a devastated planet that was overrun with plague-infected beasts and came to Earth for a chance at a new life…a new beginning.

The change is bitter-sweet for Zeenon Akba, who lost much of his family in the plague wars and fears his only brother might have carried the infection to Earth with him. But when Zee stumbles upon a pretty human female being stalked by an infected, he’s determined to help her, even if it means killing his own brother.

Aware of their many differences and the necessity of finding a blood slave to be his mate, Zee doesn’t intend to lose his heart to pretty and spunky Brooke Carlin. So why can’t he get her out of his mind?



He unbuttoned the blouse she wore, pulling it aside. Though he’d intended to remain clinical about the blood exchange, the first sight of the soft, milk chocolate mounds of her breasts bulging from a lacy white bra nearly made him forget what he was doing.

His mouth watered at the sight. His fangs elongated.

He closed his eyes and embraced his alpha, feeling its potency slide over him. The energy he embraced was hot and welcoming and urgent. Hungry.

His skin swelled under the change. His core temperature rose. Lust, anger, fear…every emotion he’d brought into that place intensified, flowing over him like fur over a beast when it changed. His alpha was like a beast. It was beast-like in its level of need…in the simplicity of its purpose.

If it hungered it ate. If it lusted it took, it tasted and ravished. The alpha was a sentient being with Zee’s humanoid form as its skin. But its mind was not human. Its mind was strength and power and ravenous hunger.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014



Ruthless Russians mini-series
Harlequin Presents #3274
October 2014 (09-16-14)

The story: Innocent debutante Madison Archer has hit the headlines for a scandal not of her making. Now, marriage to the unscrupulous Viktor Beck is the only way to save what’s left of her reputation!

The contract: Maddie has always featured in Viktor’s plans to take over her father’s company and expand his empire. The intense attraction between them only sweetens the deal he’s offered....

The secret: Though love doesn’t beat in Viktor’s heart, he’ll show Maddie just how hot their chemistry can be. But even this corporate shark is in for a shock—his wild socialite is still a virgin!




MADISON ARCHER SET her morning coffee down, hot liquid spilling over the rim, as she read her Google alerts with growing horror.

Madcap Madison Looking for New Master?
Archer Heiress into Heavy Kink
San Francisco Bad Boy Dumps Very Bad Girl

The articles made lurid claims about a lifestyle and relationship between Maddie and Perry Timwater. A completely nonexistent relationship.

The fact that Perry was the source caused the coffee to sour in Maddie’s stomach.

His supposed exposé of their fictitious relationship claimed she was a submissive with a serious pain fetish and need for multiple partners. She gritted her teeth on the urge to swear as she read it was her inability to remain faithful that forced Perry to end things between them.

Maddie wouldn’t mind ending Perry right that minute. Betrayal choked her.

How could he have done this?

He was her friend.

They’d met their freshman year at university. He’d made her laugh when she’d thought nothing could. Not after her epic fail trying to get Viktor Beck’s attention. She’d started university with a broken heart and Perry had helped her paste over the cracks with friendship.

She’d helped him pass his accountancy courses. He’d played platonic escort for her and she’d provided him entrée to Jeremy Archer’s world—an echelon above his own.

But never, not once, had their friendship ever taken a turn toward something heavier.

Pounding sounded on her front door. “Maddie! It’s me, don’t freak.” Then barely a second later, the double snick of locks sliding back was followed by the door swinging wide.

Holding a bag from their favorite bakery aloft, her black bob swirling around her pixie face, Romi Grayson kicked the door shut behind her. “I come bearing the panacea for all ills.”

“I’m not sure even chocolate and flaky pastry can make this situation better.” Maddie slumped against the back of her chair.

Eyes the same vibrant blue as Maddie’s glittered with anger. “So, Perry’s lost his mind, right?”

“You saw the articles?”

“Only after reporters woke me from a dead sleep demanding my opinion of my best friend’s darker sexual proclivities.” Romi’s mouth twisted wryly. “Proclivities I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t have even if you weren’t still a virgin.”

“You’ve got that right. I’ve never been able to trust one man enough to have sex, much less multiple partners.”

As ridiculous as that might seem at twenty-four, it wasn’t going to change anytime soon, either.

“If you ask me, it’s got less to do with trust and more to do with the fact you imprinted on Viktor Beck like a baby bird when you were a teenager and you’ve never gotten over him.”

“Romi!” Maddie was in no mood to hash out her unrequited feelings for her father’s dark-haired, dark-eyed, to-die-for-bodied golden boy.

“I’m just saying…”

“Nothing you haven’t said before.” Maddie’s stomach grew queasier by the second.

Along with the rest of the world, Vik would see the articles, but she couldn’t afford to think about that right now, or she really was going to lose it. “Father is going to kill me.”

This new scandal was bound to crack even the San Francisco tycoon’s icy demeanor. And not in the way Maddie had always craved.

He’d sent her away to boarding school months after her mother’s death and Maddie had courted media attention in the hopes of gaining his. It had worked for her mother, Helene Archer, née Madison, the original Madcap Madison, but Maddie had come to realize the strategy had backfired pretty spectacularly for her.

In the nine years since Helene’s death, Jeremy had developed a habit of thinking the worst of his daughter. When he wasn’t ignoring her existence all together.

“If he doesn’t die of a stress-related heart attack first.” Romi put a chocolate-filled croissant in front of Maddie.

“Don’t say that.”

The other woman grimaced. “Sorry. Stuff just comes out. You know what I’m like. Your dad is wound pretty tight, though.”

Maddie couldn’t argue that.

“I think this time, Perry’s diarrhea of the mouth has me beat anyway.” Romi chewed her pastry militantly. “What was he thinking?”

Morose, Maddie stared at her friend. “That he wanted the money the tabloid paid him for the story?”

She’d had no idea that turning down his latest request for a loan would result in her utter humiliation. How could she? Friends didn’t do that to each other.


Maddie usually played peacemaker between her two closest friends, but she wasn’t about to stand up for Perry this time. “What am I going to do?”

“You could threaten to sue and demand a retraction.”

“Based on my word against his?”

Romi made a sound very close to a growl. “You two have never even kissed with tongue.”

“But we have kissed, for the cameras.” Perry had always made a joke of it.

He had been Maddie’s go-to escort for years and more than one article speculating on their relationship had been run, often quoting anonymous sources and always accompanied by the joke kissing pictures.

“Do you think he’s done this before?”

“Sold confidential details of your supposed relationship?” Romi asked.


“You know what I think.”

Maddie sighed. “That he’s a leech.”

“Always has been.”

“He was a good friend.” Maddie couldn’t make herself claim he still was.

Romi just gave Maddie a disbelieving look, no words necessary.

Ignoring it, Maddie said, “I probably can’t prove we never had a relationship, but I can sue them for libel in the details.”

“His word against yours.”

“But he’s lying.”

“This is something new for the tabloids?”

Feeling hopeless, Maddie pushed her croissant away.

“You could always sic your dad’s dogs on Perry. That media fixer of his could be cast in Shark Week on the Discovery Channel.”

“I should.” Even supposing her dad cared enough to assign his media fixer’s precious time to helping Maddie.

Romi’s expression turned knowing. “But you won’t. Perry was your friend.”

Maddie opened her mouth, but Romi put her hand up, forestalling words. “Don’t you dare say he still is.”

“No.” Maddie swallowed back emotion. “No, it’s pretty clear he’s not my friend and maybe he never was.”

“Oh, sweetie.” Romi came around the table to hug her.

Maddie fought down stress-induced nausea. “I thought he was real.”

“Instead, he turned out to be just another one of the plastic people.” Romi’s tone reflected her own experience with that. “All looks and no substance.”

Maddie choked out a morbid laugh. “Yeah.”

A bugler’s reverie sounded from her smartphone.

With a snicker, Romi moved back to her seat. “Daddy’s PA?”

“I thought it was appropriate.” Maddie clicked into her text messages, unsurprised to see that there were dozens.

While she checked her phone periodically throughout the day, Maddie only had sound alerts set for certain people: Romi, Perry—who was going off the list today—Maddie’s father, his personal assistant. Viktor Beck.

Not that her father’s business heir apparent contacted Maddie these days. But still, if he did…she’d get an audible alert.

Ignoring the numerous messages from friends, acquaintances and the media jackals, Maddie clicked into the one from her father’s PA.

Mtg w Mr. Archer @ 10:45—confrm 2.

Mr. Archer. Not Mr. A, even though the PA had used text speak for the rest of the message. Not your father. That might have been too personal.

“He wants to meet this morning.” Maddie bit her lip, considering what she’d have to change to make that happen.

Romi nodded. “Are you going to go?”

Maddie considered putting off her morning plans for the meeting with her father.

“No.” It wasn’t as if her showing up when he called was going to make Jeremy any less angry.

She shot a quick text back to the PA offering to come anytime after noon-thirty.

Fifteen minutes later, Romi was gone after a final pep talk when the strains of Michael Bublé’s “Call Me Irresponsible” sounded from Maddie’s smartphone.

Her father was calling her. Personally. Not texting.

Any other time, she would be thrilled. But right now? The crooner’s smooth voice was as ominous as the sepulcher tones of a Halloween horror flick’s soundtrack.

Maddie put the phone to her ear. “Hello, Father.”

“Ten-forty-five, Madison. You will not be late.”

“You know I have a standing morning appointment.” Not that he knew what it was.

Maddie had tried to tell him once, but Jeremy had mocked the very idea of his flighty daughter doing anything worthwhile. Worse, he’d made it clear how useless he thought it was to spend time volunteering at an underfunded public school predominantly populated by the children of poverty-level families.

Since then, Maddie had kept her two lives completely separate. Maddie Grace, nondescript twentysomething who loved children and volunteered a good chunk of her time, had nothing in common—not even hair and eye color—with Madison Archer, notorious socialite and heiress.

“Cancel.” No give. No explanation. Just demand.


“It’s important.”

“No. It is not.” His tone was so cold it sent shivers along her extremities.

“It is to me.” She wished she could be as unaffected by his displeasure as he was by hers. “Please.”

“Ten-forty-five, Madison.” Then he hung up.

She knew because the call dropped.


Wearing the armor of her socialite Madison Archer persona, Maddie got off the elevator at the twenty-ninth floor of her father’s building in San Francisco’s financial district.

None of the nerves wreaking havoc with her insides showed on her smooth face.

Makeup applied to highlight, not compete with, the blue of her eyes and gentle bow of her lips, she’d styled her chin-length red hair in perfectly placed curls around her oval face so like her mother’s. No highlights had ever been necessary for the natural copper tones.

Her three-quarter-length-sleeved Valentino black-and-white suit wasn’t this year’s collection, but it was one of her favorites and fit the image she intended to convey. The wide black banded hem of the straight skirt brushed a proper two inches above her knees and the Jackie-O-style jacket with a statement bow was a galaxy away from slutty.

She’d opted for classic closed-toe black Jimmy Choo pumps that added a mere two inches to her five-foot-six-inch height. Maddie carried a simple leather Chanel bag, her accessories limited to her mother’s favorite Cartier watch and diamond stud earrings.

Maddie didn’t look anything like the woman described by Perry in his “breakup interview” with the press.

She walked into Conference Room Two without knocking, stopping for a strategic pause in the doorway to allow the other occupants a moment to look their fill.

She wasn’t going to scurry in like a mouse trying to avoid the cat’s attention.

The brief moment had the added benefit of allowing her to take her own lay of the land.

Seven people sat around the eight-person conference table. As to be expected, her father occupied one end. Maddie was equal parts relieved and worried to see his media fixer at the other end, but not happy at all to see the man seated to the right of her father.

Romi was right that Maddie had had a crush on the gorgeous Viktor Beck since he started working for Jeremy Archer ten years ago. The unrequited feelings had evolved from schoolgirl infatuation to something more, something that made it impossible for other men to measure up.

That first year, Maddie had still had her mother and Helene would tease Maddie for her blushes in the tycoon-in-the-making’s presence.

Maddie had learned to control her blushes, but not the feelings the handsome third-generation Russian engendered in her.

Having him here to witness her humiliation tightened the knot of tension inside her until she wasn’t sure it would ever come undone.

Less understandable, but not nearly as upsetting, was the presence of two of her father’s other high-level managers in the remaining chairs on that side of the table. Her father’s PA sat to his left, with an empty chair beside her.

The final man at the table had a powerful presence and a familiar face, but in her current state of highly guarded stress, Maddie couldn’t place him.

Everyone had a stack of papers in front of them. It took only the briefest glance to see what they were: printed-out copies of the news stories Maddie had seen earlier on her smartphone. Underneath them was an individual copy for each person in the room of the actual tabloid the original story had run in.

Vik’s pile was different. It had what looked like a contract on top. Looking around the table, Maddie realized everyone else had a copy of that as well, but on the bottom of their pile—the stapled corner was the only thing visible in the other piles.

She looked at her father and gave him the sardonic expression she’d been using for years to mask her vulnerability. “I don’t suppose it occurred to you to discuss this with me privately before bringing in a think tank.”

“Sit down, Madison.” He didn’t even bother to respond to her comment.

Which should neither surprise, nor hurt. So why did it do both?

She waited a count of three before obeying his brusque order, deliberately ignoring the stack of papers in front of her. “I assume we’ve already drafted a letter demanding a retraction?”

When her father didn’t answer, she stared pointedly at his media fixer.

“Is it likely your ex-lover will recant his commentary?” the fixer asked in a flat tone.

“First, he was never my lover. Second, he doesn’t have to recant his lies for us to sue the tabloid for libel.” Though her chances of winning the suit weren’t high without Perry’s honesty.

“I am not in the habit of wasting time or resources on a hopeless endeavor,” her father said.

“The story is out there and that can’t be changed,” she agreed. “But that doesn’t mean we leave Perry’s lies unchallenged.”

Her father’s eyes were chips of blue ice. “If you wish to challenge your ex-lover’s lies, you may do so, but that is not my concern.”

“You don’t believe the stories?” she asked with a pained incredulity she couldn’t quite hide.

“What I believe is not the issue at hand.”

“It is for me.” There were only two people in that room whose opinion Maddie cared about.

Her father’s and Viktor Beck’s, no matter how much she might wish that wasn’t the case.

Her gaze shifted to Vik, but nothing from the stern set of his square jaw to the obscure depths of his espresso-brown eyes revealed his thoughts.

There had been a time when he might have tried to encourage her with a half smile or even a wink, but those days were gone. There’d been no softening in his demeanor toward her since her first trip home after going away to university.

And while that might be her own fault, she didn’t have to like it.

Her father cleared his throat. “Those tawdry stories may have precipitated this meeting, but they are not the reason for it.”

Maddie’s attention snapped back to her only remaining family. “What do you mean?”

“The issue we are here to address is your unacceptable notoriety, Madison. I will not sit by while you attempt to rival other heiresses for worldwide infamy.”

“I don’t.” Even when Maddie had tried to court her father’s attention by gaining that of the media, she hadn’t gone that far.

Okay, so she and Romi were known for their participation in political rallies of the liberal variety, which included a well-publicized sit-in protesting cuts in local school funding. That Maddie had gone further, bungee jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge with five others and unfurling a giant banner that read Go Green or Go Home, was beside the point.

There were videos online of her bungee jumping in less politically motivated and slightly more risky circumstances. The snowboarding had been a total failure, but she’d always loved downhill skiing and learning to jump had been fantastic. Of course, only her tumbles made it into the media.

But she hadn’t done a thing to get herself in the papers in over six months. Not since hitting the headlines with a nighttime adventure in skydiving that had resulted in her hospitalization with a hairline fracture to her pelvis.

Her father had not only ignored her exploit, but he’d also ignored Maddie’s injury. And not only had he refused to take her phone calls from the hospital, but he'd also made it clear, through his PA, that Maddie was not welcome at the family mansion for her recovery.

She’d been forced to hire a nurse to help during the weeks of her limited mobility. Romi had offered to stay with her, but Maddie refused to take advantage.

“Am I to understand you didn’t read Madison in on the contents of this contract?” Vik asked, unexpected disapproval edging his deep tone. “Do you actually expect her to agree?”

“She’ll agree.” Her father gave her a stern glare. “Or I will cut her out of my life completely.”

The words were painful enough to hear, but the absolute conviction in her father’s voice stabbed straight through Maddie’s carefully cultivated facade to the genuine and all-too-vulnerable emotions underneath.

“Over this?” she demanded, waving her hand toward the printed articles. “It’s not true!”

“You will not continue to drag my name and that of my company through the mud, Madison.”

“I don’t do that.” While she’d managed a certain level of media notoriety, it had never before been because of anything even remotely like the lies Perry had spewed to the tabloids.

Her father began reading the headlines out loud and weak tears burned the back of her eyes. Maddie refused to give in to them, wishing she could be as genuinely emotionless as the steel-gray-haired man flaying her with other people’s words.

“I told you, he lied.”

“Why would he?” the media fixer asked, sounding interested in an almost clinical way.

“For money. For revenge.” Because she’d turned him down one too many times and compounded that by refusing his latest request for a loan. “I don’t know, but he lied.”

How many times did she have to say it?

“It is time for definitive measures to be taken,” Jeremy said, as if she hadn’t spoken.

“On that at least, we can agree, beginning with the demand for a retraction. I can do my own interview.” Even though she hated that kind of direct contact with the media.

She considered offering the ultimate sacrifice of integrating her Maddie Grace life with that of socialite Madison Archer in order to combat the negative image that clearly concerned her father.

Jeremy dismissed her offer with a slicing gesture. “I believe I’ve made it clear that the current scandal is not my primary concern.”

“What is your concern?” she asked, confused.

“The capricious lifestyle that has resulted in your unacceptable and notorious reputation.”

“You want me to come work for AIH?” she asked with zero enthusiasm and even less belief.

The last time the issue of Archer International Holdings had come up, her father had made it clear he no longer harbored dreams of her one day taking over.

His harsh bark of laughter was all the answer she needed. “Absolutely not.”

“You want me to get a job somewhere else?” She could do that.

She preferred using her education as a volunteer teacher’s aide, but if it would help her relationship with her father, she would get a paying job—which hopefully wouldn’t conflict with her volunteering schedule.

More derisive laughter fell from her father’s lips. “Do you really think any reputable charity or business would hire you right now?”

Heat climbed up her neck, ending in a very rare blush. She’d become adept at hiding her emotions, even suppressing her blushes of embarrassment a long time ago.

But suddenly, she realized that if it did become known that Madison Archer was Maddie Grace, the school might be forced to disallow Maddie’s volunteering. All because a man she’d thought was a friend had turned out to be a lying, manipulative, opportunistic user.

“He wants you to get married,” Vik informed her, no indication in his tone or demeanor that he was joking.

Her father did not jump in with a denial, either.

For the first time, she looked around the room to see how the other occupants were reacting. Her father’s media fixer and PA were both busy on their tablets, ignoring the conversation now, or giving a pretty good pretense of doing so.

One of his managers was looking at her with the type of speculation that left Madison feeling dirty, but the fact he had the articles about her spread out in front of him could have something to do with that, too.

The other manager was reading through the paperwork and the man who Maddie did not know was looking at her father, his expression assessing.

Vik’s expression was enigmatic as always.

She met her father’s gaze again, finding nothing there but implacable resolve. “You want me to get married.”


“Who?” she asked, unhappily certain she already had an inkling.

“One of these four men.” Her father indicated Vik, the two other managers and the man she did not know. “You know Viktor, of course, and I am sure you remember Steven Whitley.” Jeremy nodded toward a manager she was fairly certain had been divorced once already and was nearly twice her age.

Maddie found herself acknowledging both men with a tip of her own head in some bizarre ritual of polite behavior. Or maybe it was just the situation that was so bizarre.

He indicated the manager whose look had given her the willies. “Brian Jones.”

His expression was benign now, almost pitying.

“I thought you were engaged,” she said, her voice almost as tight as her throat. But that couldn’t be helped.

Hadn’t Maddie met his fiancée at the last Christmas party?

“Are you?” her father asked, annoyance clear in his tone. “Miss Priest?”

His PA looked up from her tablet with a frown. “Yes, sir?”

“Jones is engaged.”

“Is he?” Miss Priest didn’t sound concerned. “He is not married.”

“But I will be.” Brian stood. “I don’t believe I’ll be needed for the rest of this meeting, if you’ll excuse me, sir?”

“Did you read the contract?” her father demanded.

“I did.”

“And you are still leaving?”

“Yes, sir.”

A measure of respect shone in her father’s eyes even as he frowned. “Then go.” He nodded toward the stranger on the other side of Maddie as if the introductions had not been interrupted by the defection of one of his candidates. “Maxwell Black, CEO of BIT.”

Maxwell smiled at her, magnetism that might actually rival Vik’s exuding from him. “Hello, Madison. It’s good to see you again.”

He wasn’t overtly sexual, but there was a vibe to him that made Maddie wrap her arms protectively around herself. This man carried power around him the same way Vik did, but with a predatory edge she hadn’t experienced from her father’s heir apparent.

Then, she’d never been his business rival.

“I don’t believe we’ve met?” She forced her arms to fall to her sides.

“I saw you at the Red Ball last February.”

She remembered going to the charity event that raised money for research into heart disease, but she didn’t remember seeing him.

“I would have remembered.”

“I’m glad to hear you say so.” His teeth flashed in a blinding white smile. “But I meant what I said. I saw you there. We were not introduced.”


Her father cleared his throat in that disapproving way he had, but if he expected Maddie to say it was a pleasure to meet the man—under these circumstances—he didn’t know her very well.

But then that had been her problem most of her life, hadn’t it?



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