Saturday, January 25, 2014

Release Day: The Broken Parts of Us by Ker Dukey

The Broken Parts of Us by Ker Dukey
Some people search their whole life for a connection -- a reason to be here, and feel life in all of its intensity.. But what if you never wanted to experience that emotion? Jasper lived his life coldly determined never to fall in love. Some people impact your life in a moment, and will stay in your life forever from then on.
What if an irresistible force crashes into you -- not once, but twice, and from a totally unexpected source? Jasper must overcome past demons that are still plaguing him and his friends. He must face future choices he never knew he would have to make. Sexual chemistry can come in all forms.
When the lines blur between friendship, love and lust, a new darkness finds its way into their lives. Either these relationships survive or die forever broken ……
in The Broken Parts of Us
Jasper Except
Coming to the dance studio was like slow torture for one reason. Kyra. She's a dance instructor here...
She stirs something inside me, primal and deep that I refuse to give knowledge to. She's also my wet fucking dream. I want inside that tight little body so bad, but she's important to River, and as bad as I want her, I know I won't want her for longer than my needs take to be satisfied. So I don't pursue her, even though when she smiles at me, all nervous and coy, my dick strains against my jeans. I have to hold him there to stop him from tearing through and slithering up her leg.

The Broken( The Broken book# 1)
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About this author
When not lost in her mind of characters Ker can be found reading or spending time with family.
She has a passion for music, attending concerts with her sister and enjoying the occasional nights out with girlfriends.
She can also be found having in-depth chats about book boyfriends on face book in some amazing groups and blogs
Author Ker Dukey Q&A 
How long have you been writing and who influenced you?
Since I was a teen and my mum, she had a million books and always encouraged us
to read and she liked to write also, so it’s in my blood :)
What inspires you while you were writing?
Everyone! Strong people who overcome a lot,
Your favorite author or book
Oh God! That’s like asking best band I couldn’t possible pick just one.
Where is your favorite place to write?
In the corner of my living room with earphones on and the light out haha!
What makes you laugh/cry?
Will Farrell he just makes me die of laughter, I love him
Worst Habit
Hair twirling, I am constantly twirling a strand of hair and breaking the ends :/
Embarrassing Moment
Flashing the window cleaner, my blinds were left open :’(
What’s the last movie you watched and loved? 
Drive with Ryan Gosling, it was dark and a great film.
One of your favorite quotes.
How you treat me is your karma
The gadget you can’t live without
Smart phone
 Top three things on your bucket list
1.Travel America,
2.Own a muscle car
3.Be sexually ruined by Chris Hemsworth  :o
I have never…
Joined the mile high club
 Is writing your full time occupation?
Yes :)
From the novels you have written who is you favorite character and why
It was River for her strength but Jasper has stolen my heart. He was just a great character to write
 Are any of your characters based on someone you know or are they all a product
of the pen? 
They are all the productive of an active imagination :)
Contact Links



Friday, January 24, 2014

Promo: Hope Restrained by M.S. Willis


She was meant to be his assassin
A forced player in a rivalry within The Estate
Yet her loyalty was to no person but herself
When Hope is taken captive by Xander Black
She becomes the one thing that can ensure Aaron’s reign

Raised within a rival crime network, Hope Delacroix wanted nothing to do with The Estate. A fierce warrior, Hope is given no choice but to kill Aaron Carmichael. Caught in her attempt, Hope is captured by Aaron’s top guard in an effort to discover who sent her.

Ever loyal and protective, Xander Black’s sole objective is to defend Aaron and Maddy. Willing to do whatever is necessary, Xander gives in to darkness in order to force information out of Hope.

As Xander enslaves Hope to break her down completely, he learns that in the two years since Joseph Carmichael’s death, dissension still exists within The Estate.

“I find it ironic that your name is Hope…especially considering that you have none.” ~ Xander Black


Buy links:

Madeleine Abducted (Estate #1) - 



Joseph Fallen (Estate #.5) -


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Spotlight and Review: Whore by Michelle Hughes

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Can a virgin be a whore? I guess it depends on your definition of the word. Working a minimum wage job, I was struggling to save up money for college. Things were tight but I was managaing to scrape by. At least I had a roof over my head, right? Wrong. My mother was moving on to husband number five and decided to sell the house without giving me notice. The bank took care of that with a thirty day grace period.
Taylor Ross walked into the coffee shop where I worked and offered me the perfect solution. His father was a regular customer and apparently thought highly enough of my service to mention me in his will. I couldn't just take money but when offered me a job with a great salary including room and board, how could I refuse? I didn't know at the time just what services Taylor thought I'd offered his father.
He wanted me to embrace my inner whore and in return my financial worries would be over. There was only one problem. I had no idea what that meant. Taylor was willing to train me, so the only real question was what was I willing to do to have everything my heart desired?
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Chapter 1
The coffee shop had worked me like a mad woman today. With the Christmas holidays approaching in the mall there wasn’t even time for a break. I needed the longer hours but my feet were killing me and I was glad it was close to closing time. All I wanted to do tonight was sink into a hot bath and relax. Glancing up at the clock I sighed in relief noticing there was only half an hour left.
“Miss Burns?” A deep, masculine voice pulled my attention to a handsome, well-groomed man standing at the front counter. I’d seen attractive men before obviously, but none that took my breath away with a single look before.
“I’m Laura, how can I help you?” My eyes clashed with his deep blue depths, and I felt my stomach clench in some strange sensation that made my heart race.
“Taylor Ross.” His full lips lifted in a confident smile and he extended a manicured hand over the counter.
The strange butterflies filling my stomach at his smile left me staring at him in confusion before I accepted his greeting. The feel of his warm palm against mine forced a sigh from my lips and my face flooded with color.
His face seemed vaguely familiar, but I knew if I’d met this man before I wouldn’t have forgotten. “I’m sorry, but have we met?” Snapping out of fantasy land I gave my libido a mental kick.
“My father is Leonard Ross.” His brow lifted and he seemed to be searching my face for some recognition.
With a smile I realized this was Lenny’s son. Lenny was one of my favorite customers and a regular. I hadn’t seen him in a few weeks and I missed his wisdom.
“Lenny is such a sweetheart.” My smiled broadened as I thought about all the advice he’d offered me this year. “How’s he doing? This place hasn’t been the same without him.”
Lenny helped me not panic when my mother had run off with her newest attraction a few months ago. He reminded me that I had the inner strength to rise above any challenge. She’d taken everything from the house but at least hadn’t depleted my savings account. I had a little put back for my college education but thanks to her dropping the ball on her part of the rent, it forced me to realize I would have to put off my dreams for another year while I recouped.
Lenny had offered me money to help offset some of my losses but I couldn’t take advantage of our friendship that way. He was a nice old man but I was too proud and wouldn’t take his charity. Living with a mother who used people left and right, I refused to accept handouts.
“I’d like to talk to you about that. Privately.” His handsome face took on a stern expression and my smile vanished.
“Um. Okay. I’ll be closing up soon?” I had no idea what he could need to talk to me about, but I respected Lenny enough to show his son a little common courtesy.
“I’ll wait then.” He gave a curt nod of his head, then walked over to sit down at one of the tables.
The crowd was thinning out as closing time for the mall approached and I started doing my nightly prep work for closing. Working here was relatively easy and the cleanup didn’t take long. With everything stocked for tomorrows opening, I cashed out the drawer and walked the nightly receipts and profit back to the manager’s office.
My feet were dragging and I wanted to get home quickly. I hoped whatever Lenny’s son had to speak with me about wouldn’t take long. Granted he was a nice visual distraction but I didn’t have time in my life to consider men in that way.
I grabbed my purse from under the counter and walked over to his table. “I need to lock up. Maybe we can talk on my way out?” Trying not to be rude I offered a tentative smile. Having a conversation at my place of employment after hours wasn’t something upper management approved of. The owners were decent people but they expected all their employees to do the job they were paid for and reminded us often that we worked for them.
“I’m afraid this conversation might take a little time. Perhaps we could go for a drive?”
“I hope you don’t take this the wrong way, but I don’t know you.” The man was impeccably dressed and his father was a nice man, but still he was a stranger. Courtesy was one thing, being irresponsible, another.
“I understand your hesitation but my driver will be with us. You’ll be safe in my company.” His smile, which I assumed was meant to be reassuring, didn’t meet his eyes and did little to make me feel comfortable.
I didn’t understand the feelings this man brought out in me. Men didn’t really touch my radar. My goals involved getting an education and making a better life for myself. Relationships didn’t factor into my bottom line. So why this man had me interested, I couldn’t say.
“Just a moment of your time Miss Burns. I would prefer speaking to you in private.” I could tell instantly that he was a man accustomed to getting his way and for some reason I didn’t want to deny him. I nodded.
He waited as I locked the door to the coffee shop and then followed at my side as we exited the mall. A limo was waiting and my confused eyes met his. “You obviously weren’t kidding when you said you had a driver.” Who was this man? I assumed Lenny was successful but obviously he was more than I’d imagined.
“I always say what I mean Miss Burns.” A small smile touched his lips as he led me toward the car by resting his hand on the small of my back.
People didn’t pull up to the mall in limousines normally. Who had the type of money that afforded someone the privilege of being escorted around this way? No one I was associated with.
The driver walked around to the back passenger door and opened it. For a moment I felt a sense of panic. Getting into a car with a stranger was never a smart idea. “Maybe you should just tell me what this is about.” I took a few steps away from the open door and crossed my arms over my chest. There were still people filing out of the mall so I felt relatively safe.
He ran a long-fingered hand through his dark hair and the look he gave spoke of impatience. “I wanted to break this to you in a more delicate manner but obviously you don’t trust me. My father has passed away.”
For a moment I stared at him dumbfounded. The last time I’d seen Lenny, he seemed vibrant and full of health. “But he didn’t look sick?” I really liked Lenny and the thought of not talking to him again made my heart ache.
“It was rather sudden.” His expression wasn’t what I expected for a man who’d just lost his father. Actually he looked irritated. “He left instructions about helping you and that’s why I think we need to talk.”
Why on earth would Lenny do something like that? We had talked about my goals and dreams but he certainly didn’t owe me anything. Just speaking with him had helped me decide on the path I wanted to take with my life. “Your father was very nice to me, but I’m sure you have more important things to deal with at the moment.”
A strange look entered his eyes and I didn’t know how to decipher it. All I can say is it left him looking less annoyed and maybe somewhat confused. “Be that as it may, I need to honor my father’s final wishes. At least talk with me.” He motioned toward the open car door and the smile on his face seemed saddened.
The change of attitude made me feel a little guilty for arguing with him. The man had just lost his father after all. I didn’t need his help but if he felt the need to discuss it then I could at least hear him out. I attempted to smile and slid into the leather seat of the limousine.
Being surrounded with such luxury instantly made me feel out of place. I was a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl and this was a caviar type of world. I fidgeted with the collar on my uniform shirt waiting for him to get in. When the door closed behind him I felt claustrophobic.
The man took up entirely too much space even in the spacious backseat. It wasn’t his size, although he was over six feet tall and filled out that business suit extremely well. What really overwhelmed me was his air of confidence, something I’d never possessed.
He rolled down the divider window between us and the driver and told him to circle the block before returning his attention to me. His deep blue eyes seemed to be taking in every inch of my appearance. It was very unnerving. My hands moved to my lap to wring nervously together.
“So how did you and my father meet?” His gaze bore into mine and I immediately looked down at my hands. He intimidated me in ways that I couldn’t explain.
“Um, he came into the coffee shop a year ago and we just hit it off.” Thinking that Lenny and I would never talk again was depressing. The man knew a little about everything and I was like a sponge soaking up his knowledge. He was the reason I wanted to attend college, there were so many things to learn about the world we lived in. My eyes watered and I fought to contain my emotions.
“I didn’t realize you’d known him that long.” His voice seemed laced with steel and I glanced up at his handsome face, shocked by the rage that played on his features again.
I inched a little closer to the door. My mothers’ parade of boyfriends in my life had taught me that an angry man was something to be avoided at all costs. When I was nervous I tended to babble.
“Yeah. I can’t believe it’s been that long. Lenny was so experienced. I swear he taught me more about life than the last twenty years of living it has.” I probably would have kept on talking to cover the fact that he made me nervous, but he cut in.
“You’re just a child!” The wrath in his voice frightened me at first then anger kicked in at his rudeness. I didn’t know this man well enough for him to yell at me and I certainly wasn’t a child. I was doing him the favor by agreeing to talk.
“It’s impolite to scream at people you don’t know. Age has little to do with manners. If that’s how you treat people you can let me out of this car.” I didn’t mean to come unhinged at his comment but I was tired of people thinking they could walk all over me. My mother had done that enough before she decided to abandon me.
“I didn’t mean to be offensive.” His tone calmed and I felt my face flush.
“Sorry. I’m afraid things haven’t been very easy lately. I didn’t mean to take it out on you.” The truth was I didn’t want to be that bitter, angry person my mother had turned into. This man wasn’t at fault for my problems and I felt guilty for adding more burdens on top of the loss he’d already suffered.
“I think I can help you with that.” There was a tick in his jaw even as he attempted a smile.
“Forget I said anything.” Talk about being embarrassed. I didn’t need his help and this conversation wasn’t why I got in the car with him. “I really appreciate that you want to honor your dad’s wishes, but he doesn’t owe me anything.”
“He obviously felt he did. What would it take to get you to a comfortable place Miss Burns?” A stony look fell over his face and I was baffled by his mood swings.
Babbling again, I launched into a quick outline of my goals. “All I want to do is save up for college and make a new life for myself. I’m working on that now so you can rest easy. Lenny gave me the courage to know I could reach that goal. There’s really nothing else I need.”
“Then allow me to pay for your education and expenses to live that dream.” His smile didn’t reach his eyes and my own widened at his generosity.
“I couldn’t do that! I really appreciate the offer but I’m working to pay off some debt and I’ll hopefully start next fall.” If I was anything like my mom I’d jump at his offer, but I had a different set of values. “I really appreciate the thought though.”
“My father obviously cared for you a great deal. It’s the least I can do.” He didn’t sound happy about offering and I knew it was just out of respect for Lenny that he spoke the words.
“Thank you, but I have everything figured out. Your dad gave me more than enough by encouraging me to make goals for myself.” He didn’t need to know I was drowning in debt and doubted my own ability to make that goal a reality. The offer was tempting but I wasn’t a freeloader.
“I’m trying to help you. I’m afraid I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if I didn’t assure myself that my father’s final words were honored.”
I couldn’t believe that Lenny had even thought of me in his last moments. Yes we were friends, but I’d just assumed his life was full of people that he felt appreciated him. I was just some girl in a coffee shop and we’d never met anywhere else.
“I don’t know how to say this nicely but I wouldn’t feel right taking money from you.” I hoped I was explaining this right.
“So if you won’t take money, what about a position in my company?” Was he gritting his teeth? I understood he wanted to fulfill Lenny’s promises but what I didn’t get was why he seemed so infuriated about it. I was offering him a way out.
“Um, I’ve only worked at the coffee shop. I’m sure I don’t have the experience to work for you.” I knew that Lenny was involved with something that bought and sold companies. I really didn’t understand how that worked.
“We have positions that you can train in while you work. Of course you’d be making a better salary than the one you currently have. If you won’t let me pay for your education, the ‘least’ I can do is offer you a chance to obtain your goals faster.”
I didn’t know what to say. A job making more money would help me out and if he was willing to let me start at the bottom should I refuse? The man didn’t seem like he knew how to take no for answer. “I guess that would be okay.” He seemed determined to do something and this wasn’t really a handout, was it? I mean I would be working.
I watched as he reached into his back pocket and pulled out his wallet. He offered me a business card. “I’m sure we can make this situation work out for both of us.”
Taking the card, I slid it into the pocket on my uniform shirt. “Are you sure this is something you want to do? You really don’t know enough about me to offer a job.”
“Trust me Miss Burns, this will be beneficial for both of us.” The smirk on his face confused me. “Come to my office Monday morning at eight and we’ll take care of all the paperwork.”
“I’ll need to give the coffee shop notice.” I hoped this wasn’t a bad idea. Making more money would help me out, but working for a man not knowing what was involved with the job description was daunting.
“Understandable. I believe your shop opens at ten, so you should still be able to get the paperwork started Monday?”
“Um. Okay.” I looked down at the card again and noted the address for the company was downtown. I had Monday off so the time wasn’t a problem. “I guess we can talk about everything then.” He’d relaxed and I got the feeling he was the type of man accustomed to getting what he wanted.
He rolled down the driver’s window and gave instructions to return to the mall. We didn’t speak on the way back and the entire ride left me feeling very uncomfortable. I thanked him as we pulled back in the parking lot. With a brief nod of his head, he pulled away and left me walking towards the bus stop.
Continue reading on Amazon

Michelle Hughes

Michelle Hughes began her career in writing as a paranormal romance author. In 2009 she released her first book, A Night at Tears of Crimson. In 2011 she was hit with an idea for a romance that had nothing to do with vampires and readers seemed to relate more to the alpha male and virgin romances, so she continued along that line.
Prior to a career in writing she was a singer/songwriter who performed all over the US with a satellite syndicated talent showcase as their host. Michelle lives in Alabama with her husband and five children. Writing is her second love with family always being first. If you’d like to find out more about Michelle, please visit her links.


Whore 4 Star Review

Laura Burns is a self-sufficient young woman, barely makings ends meet. Working a job that paid minimum wage, her dreams of going to college to make something of herself had been placed on hold.

Not into the dating scene she still held onto her “V” card. Taylor Ross, executive, owner of Ross industries, powerful, rich and drop dead gorgeous. 

 Dominant alpha doesn’t do relationships, indulges himself with kinky pleasures at his command. He has a business deal for Miss Burns, and when she accepts her life changes in ways she could have

 never imagined.  photo rlshower.gif

Yikes, hot and delicious sessions of sexual orgasmic explosions, as Taylor teaches Miss Burns how pleasuring her will pleasure him, and they do, over and over.

The word pleasure was over used and there were some spelling/grammar errors but all in all a good short story. 
Laura did flip back and forth between confident and lost but what the hell she wasn’t even old enough to drink so I shrugged it off as young and naïve.

I have to admit my mind wandered to Mr. Ross even after I put my kindle down, I took him to bed with me and dreamt I was his whore!

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Release Day Blitz: Next to Forever by S. Moose

Title: Next to Forever
Author: S. Moose
Release Date: January 23, 2014
Next to Forever is the final book in the Never Letting Go series.

The past will always come back to haunt you and hidden truths are uncovered, as darkness looms over the lives of Erin and Connor on their journey to forever. Filled with love and happiness, as well as a baby and a wedding on the way, Erin and Connor seem to have it all -until life throws them a twist. As tragedy strikes, Erin and Connor have to make one of the toughest decisions in their lives. Will they have their happily ever after or will they have to say goodbye forever?

Out of nowhere, Sophia drops her fries and her mouth hangs open. “Soph?” Her eyes grow wide, and I wonder what she’s looking at. Vander and I turn around, and suddenly I feel my world rock. How can Connor do this to me? The tears threaten my eyes, and my heart beats a million beats a second. Vander holds my shoulders, but I push him away and get up from the table. Marching over to my idiot fiancé and his whore, my fists are clench at my side, and I’m ready to raise hell. “Connor! What the fuck?”
 His eyes open and he lets go of Olivia. She turns around and smiles at me. Why is this bitch smiling at me? This isn’t a fucking social call. “Erin, it’s so good to see you.”

 Everything in me screams to punch this bitch in the face and break that ugly fake nose. “Bitch, get your STD infested hands off my fiancé and back the fuck up.” I push her away and get in Connor’s face. “How could you?” He’s speechless and doesn’t answer me. “Oh, no, you asshole! Tell me now! Why are you with Olivia?”

 I graduated from St. John Fisher College with my BA in 2011. I love writing and it's always been a dream of mine to publish my work. Reading is a passion of mine and the recent self-publishing authors have inspired me to do the same.
I want to inspire others with my words the way I have been inspired through countless works of literature. I think that everyone has a purpose in life, it just takes time to find it.

Goodreads Author Page: 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Cover Reveal: Love Chocolate and Beer by Violet Duke

Author: Violet Duke 
Title: Love Chocolate and Beer
 Series: Cactus Creek
Genre: Contemporary Romance
 Release date: January 30th

Romance has met its most unlikely match-up…

Luke Bradford is a chocolatier on a mission.  After moving his chocolate shop, and newly single life, to the quirky town of Cactus Creek, Luke wants nothing more than to devote all his energy into making his business a success—by taking the romance market by storm.  But his grand plans get thrown for a loop when he locks horns with the feisty beer-brewing beauty next door who calls his ‘romantic idealism’ a load of fairytale bull.  Soon, driving the woman sparking nuts becomes another wickedly fun priority he simply can’t get enough of. 

In his defense, she’s addictively easy to incite…and plain impossible to resist.

Beloved local brewmaster Dani Dobson is beyond riled up.  It’s bad enough the new shop owner in town comes locked and loaded with both a distractingly rugged charm and sexy flashing dimples, but the whole only-in-the-movies variety of romance he’s selling—the kind her world has been crushed by before—is really doing a number on her allergy to unrealistic clichés.  What’s worse, he’s created an annoyingly clever ad campaign that dubs ‘beer joints’ like hers as the “cave where romance goes to hibernate.”  The nerve of that man.

Combustible chemistry or not, damn it, this means war.  The stakes…very likely, her heart.

You can pre-order Love, Chocolate and Beer now!

Violet Duke is a former professor of English Education who is ecstatic to now be on the other side of the page writing wickedly fun contemporary romance novels.  Besides writing and feeding her book-a-day reading addiction, she can often be found tackling reno projects with her power tools and trying pretty much anything without reading the directions first, or cooking 'special edition' dishes that laugh in the face of recipes.  Violet lives in Hawai'i with her two cute kids and similarly adorable husband.


Goodreads Author Page: 


Nice Girl

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Blog Tour: Jilted Again by Alexander Anderson


 Noelle Fournier has dreamed of being a bride ever since she was born.
After a devastating broken engagement five years ago, she’s now engaged to the dashing Dmitri Orlov and more than ready for her happy ending complete with an antique diamond tiara and Tiffany blue wedding cake.
 Her world is suddenly shattered when Dmitri reveals on their wedding day, he’s given his heart and soul to someone Noelle never imagined would hurt her. Chaos ensues.
Here is some of what you need, If any of this is wrong just let me know.
Buy links:
Jilted Again Excerpt
This young woman would be the perfect wife.
Noelle Fournier was lovely, poised, well spoken, and according to her paperwork, he thought she might be single. Dmitri Orlov felt an urge to smile at how easy it would be to capture her.
Instead, he continued the examination. Leaning forward, he easily moved the tip of his finger against her chin, and gently positioned her head closer to the chin rest. Her skin was like silk.
“Can you read the chart from top to bottom?” She read it clearly, loudly, and with a hint of something exotic in the inflection of her voice. Her posture was straight as an arrow.
It was time for him to marry. Why not her?

Noelle had decided to see Dr. Orlov for her eye exam after hearing his radio ads every morning and evening on her drive to and from work. She liked his voice.
Had she known when she walked into his office that he was going to be a late-thirties, sapphire-eyed, stunner of a man, she probably would have dressed differently.
Maybe not.
When she caught sight of him in the waiting room, she’d been shocked. With a small gasp, she did a once-over of her outfit and decided she had unknowingly captured sexy without the dash of slutty her younger self might have attempted to add.
Throughout his standard questions about her medical history, he maintained eye contact. She had to wonder if it was just her or if he gave this level of intensity to all his patients.
When he’d darkened the room and rolled a stool immediately in front of her, she noted how good he smelled. If she wasn’t mistaken, he was wearing the barest amount of Tom Ford Noir, her favorite men’s cologne.
Yeah, he was hitting all her personal triggers. She wondered how easy it would be to get his attention.
Please don’t let him be gay. With her losing streak, he was more than likely happily married to the man of his dreams. Worse would be if he was straight but seriously minded the fact that she was a size sixteen.
“Ms. Fournier, are you aware you have a slight astigmatism?” His voice on the radio had been sexy. His voice in person, in a darkened room, mere inches from her was almost more than she could handle.
She cleared her throat, embarrassed. “No. I wasn’t. My eyes started to hurt after my contacts were in for only a couple of hours. I figured I should come in for an eye exam before I couldn’t spend my usual endless hours in front of the computer screen.”
He nodded and stood to turn on the lights. Noelle blinked at the sudden brightness and sat back from the exam equipment. Her posture, always perfect as drilled into her brain by her mother, highlighted her generous cleavage for his viewing pleasure.
The moment his eyes dipped, she noticed and high-fived herself mentally. Most men, no matter their personal “type” could avoid appreciation of her girls.
Raising his gaze, he studied her thoughtfully for a long moment. “There’s no need to worry. You can still wear your contacts.
There’s a specific type designed for patients with astigmatism called toric lenses. You’ll like them. They’re very easy and comfortable to wear.”
He flashed her a brilliant smile that showed her his straight, white teeth. “Other than that and the nearsightedness, which I have as well, your eyes are in excellent health. Overall, you’re just about perfect.”
The last part was murmured under his breath and he turned to finish writing up her exam results.
“Thank you,” Noelle said quietly, momentarily taken aback. Was he attracted to her? She concentrated on aiming every open and available vibration in the universe squarely at Dr. Orlov.
“Miss Fournier or is it Mrs. Fournier?” he asked while still scrawling away, facing away from her.
“It’s miss. As in never married.” Noelle hadn’t intended to sound so eager when she replied.
“I see.”
A small sentence she wasn’t sure how to interpret. Hell, she was probably reading far too much into this. She sat on the edge of the exam chair, praying she would be able to stand gracefully if he asked her the question she hoped he would.
“Miss Fournier. Would you like to go to dinner on Saturday?” He asked the question as if he wanted to borrow a pen.
In a split second, the end of her former engagement flashed through Noelle’s mind. How she hadn’t been able to process the sensory overload of the rejection. How still she’d been as she struggled to remain upright.
She’d gone to his apartment in the middle of the day to drop off custom, sterling cufflinks as a surprise for their wedding day.
She loved giving little gifts to people she cared about.
He hadn’t been expecting her and was talking to someone on the phone.
She only realized he was home when she heard him say, “I will. I’ll tell her tonight.”
He abruptly ended the call as she stepped through the door to his office. He must have felt Noelle’s eyes boring a hole in the back of his head because he slowly turned around. Their eyes locked and somehow she knew he was thinking of a lie to buy himself time.
With crystal clarity, she knew exactly what was happening and what he needed to tell her. The betrayal she knew was coming felt similar to the falling sensation one had while dreaming.
For Noelle there would be no safe awakening to discover it was just a dream.
He shrugged in resignation, threw his hands in the air, and vomited out his oh-so-simple explanation. Every word had the ability to slice through bone.
He was in love with someone else and did not want to marry her anymore.
Just moments before her interruption, he’d discovered his ex-girlfriend was pregnant with his child. Not so ex after all. In that instant he realized he was in love with her…not Noelle. He had been in love with her all along. He didn’t want to marry Noelle. He felt pressured by Noelle.
“I didn’t ask you to marry me,” Noelle said through gritted teeth.
"Not in so many words. It’s everything about you.”
It was that sentence said so bluntly and coldly that still stung. As if there was something wrong with her. As if her desire for love and marriage made her abnormal in some way.
He began to recite all the things he found wrong with her – things that suddenly occurred to him once he could no longer hide the fact that he’d been fucking his ex-girlfriend behind her back.
He needed to shed some of that weighty guilt and what better way than to list her many faults? Who could blame him for being a lying, cheating piece of shit when she had so many character flaws?
Noelle was overwhelming with her thoughtful little gestures – who could compete with that? She did things for him without asking like a puppy always eager to please – didn’t she realize how annoying that was? She was hyper-organized – no one human should be so structured and it drove him crazy. She never got tired – what was she, the Energizer bunny?
Noelle listened as he rambled on. Her engagement was over. In less than one minute, this man had dashed her dreams of becoming his wife by getting another woman pregnant – and then had the fucking nerve to blame her.
She picked up the large, tan-striped Jonathan Adler vase from the side table in the living room and hurled it at him.
Then everything went dark.
Noelle woke up in her own bed, in her own apartment, with no idea how much time had passed or how she’d gotten there.
Her mother, her best friend, her stepsister, and her mother’s-boyfriend-of-the-month all stood over her. Each of them had foreheads creased with worry. Their expressions ranged from concern and worry to sheer pity and mild disgust. Then Noelle laughed manically and passed out again.
She had been unceremoniously dumped one month before her dream wedding.
It had been four years, one month, and three days since her ex-fiancé broke her heart into a million pieces. She had pieced her heart back together with gorilla glue and duct tape.
She thought she might be ready to take a chance on another relationship.
“Ms. Fournier? Would you like to go out with me to dinner?” he asked again. She could tell he was wondering at her long hesitation. Probably thinking he’d misread her signals or was trying to think of an excuse to turn him down.
She shook herself from her unwanted trip down bad memory lane. “Yes, I would.” she answered clearly and stood up gracefully.
“What time, Dr. Orlov?” Her smile was confident yet demure.
“It’s Dmitri, please,” he told her.
“I know.” It was her turn to flash her megawatt smile.
“May I pick you up at seven o’clock tomorrow?”
“As delightful as that sounds…I’d rather meet you.” She was eager, not stupid. What if he turned out to be a psychopath or a stalker? “These days, women can’t be too careful.
Dmitri Orlov was handsome. The fabric of his button-down light blue oxford seemed to ripple off his shoulders. His hair was black as coal and his eyes shone like blue flames.
He owned a successful business – he was a doctor – but still…he could have a cage under his bed just waiting for his next sex slave.
Her train of thought meant his next statement caught her completely off-guard.
“I agree completely. To allay suspicion, I prefer to stalk my victims in daylight,” he teased her with a straight face but ruined it with a wink. He took out his cell. “Do you have a food preference or any allergies I should know about?
“Food allergies?” She had to laugh but admitted it was sweet of him to ask. It showed concern and forethought. She could get used to that again.
“No. No food allergies but will there be dessert?”
 Here was her first subtle test. If he flinched or even squinted to indicate in the slightest that dessert should be the last of her dinner desires then there would be no dinner, ever. She wasn’t going to deal with that again. She dared him to do anything other than admire her endless curves.
“Oh, there will be dessert, Ms. Fournier.” His dark eyes traveled to her lips and the slight smile at the corner of his mouth gave off an air of male smugness.
She liked his confidence.
Noelle was barely five-four. She always made sure she wore heels and they had to be at least three inches. The higher the heel, the stronger she felt. She didn’t care how they pinched or hurt her feet at the end of the day. She felt taller and that made everything better.
Her curves hit in all the right places and he glanced briefly in admiration at her full breasts. Yes, sexy and available had won. She reached up and brushed a lock of her dark auburn hair behind her left ear. He followed the movement. She was wearing gray pearl stud earrings, luminescent against her pale ivory skin, and her burnt-umber eyes stayed on his.
For just a moment, she wondered if he was thinking about kissing her. He had that look in his eye that waiting until their date might be too long.
Dmitri returned to making the dinner plans and she mentally sighed.
He swiped away at the small screen on his phone. “I know this nice Italian restaurant. The owner greets you personally and they make an Ossobuco that you will never forget.”
“Sounds delectable.”
“I mainly go for the tiramisu but I’ve never been disappointed in anything I’ve eaten there.” He glanced down at his phone screen. “May I have your phone number so I can text you the address?”
“Of course.” Noelle rattled off her number too loudly in the quiet exam room and wished she could act coy and disinterested.
The thought of going on a real dinner date – with this man – had her positively giddy with excitement.
She hadn’t been with a man in six months. Since she’d snuck out in the middle of the night, it wasn’t exactly something she wanted to shout from the rooftops.
He’d been handsome, charming, fun, and great in bed. He just wasn’t husband material. He wanted to date her but marriage didn’t interest him.
For Noelle, marriage was priority number one. She was thinking about her future. Her mission was to find the right man until death do us part who would be a decent role model for her future children.
Her one-night-stand wasn’t that man.
Dr. Dmitri Orlov might just be the right man.
“Excellent. I’ll see you tomorrow at Lombardi’s.”
“I look forward to it, Dmitri.” He nodded and flashed a dazzling smile that sent her mind spinning off into a thousand possibilities.
She inclined her head and left his office. She could feel his eyes on her ass as she paid the receptionist, slipped her sunglasses over her eyes, and stepped out into the bright afternoon.
Dmitri watched Noelle leave with a sense of anticipation. She would be easy. He would make her fall in love with him and he’d marry her. Finally, he would have the life he needed. He wasn’t getting any younger. He wanted a wife and possibly a family.
He would try to be good to her and she would never know about his damaged past. He would forget all about the other one, the one that tore his soul apart.
Alexandra Andersen is a romance author, online editor, and founder of Wine & Drama. Alexandra is an avid traveler and spends her time drinking coffee and wine in between writing. It is her firm belief that the universe expands to allow you to realize your inner most dreams and desires.
She believes you can get everything you want and deserve out of life. You deserve love. You deserve happiness. But, most of all you deserve a good life. Be passionate always. Your life is truly what you choose to make it.
She plans on moving one day to a little cottage in the English countryside. Where she can write in peace and finally meet a horseback riding, whisky drinking, foxhunting Darcy-esque Lord to shack up with. For now, she'll settle for sushi, pedicures, small unruly children, crème brulee, and Malbec wine.
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