Friday, March 17, 2017

Release Day Blitz: Burning Hearts by KM Lowe






๐Ÿ”ฅ BLURB ๐Ÿ”ฅ

Being a fireman is a tough job. For Jase McGrady saving lives, helping people and supporting his colleagues are rewards in themselves. And then the unthinkable happened.

Jase had a life, a job he loved, a fiancรฉe, a future. Until the one thing he believed he could always win against took the one thing he loved. And he couldn’t do a thing to save her. One fire and Jase’s life had gone up in smoke.

Jase has now managed to piece his life back together but it’s been hard. He’s adamant that he’ll never love again.

And then Grace Montgomery walks into the station.

Grace is soft, kind and gentle. She’s a capable firefighter but as the only female in the station, Jase just can’t help his protective streak making an appearance. Grace starts to break down his walls and opens up to him about her own history of abuse.

As the emotional storm rages, can Jase and Grace learn to weather it together or will their own personal demons pull them apart?

Can Jase forget his lost love and allow Grace into his heart, or is it forever burnt and ravaged from the past?




#ReleaseDay #KMLowe #Romance #Firefighters #SpecialPrice #OneClick #FiveStars #MustRead #BurningHearts








AUTHOR LINKS

Goodreads - www.goodreads.com/KMLOWE 
Amazon Page - http://amzn.to/2mzqJ9m  


Release Blitz: Love Under Contract by Sharon C. Cooper

Love Under Contract by Sharon C. Cooper 

Jenkins & Sons Construction 

Publication Date: March 17, 2017 

Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance



Timing is everything. Sumeera Robinson refuses to settle for less than she desires, even if what she craves is the sexy, smart, and charming Nicolas Jenkins-Moore. At her age, she wants marriage and a family, not the empty promises Nick offers. Yet, there is just something about the man that makes moving on nearly impossible. As the new senior manager of Jenkins & Sons Construction, Nick’s five-year plan is on track with marriage and starting a family at the bottom of the list. Sumeera is as beautiful inside as she is on the outside, but not even she can entice him to abandon his carefully plotted road to success. That is until she walks away without looking back, leaving him yearning for her presence in his life. Nick is determined to convince Sumeera that he wants the same things she wants. But will an unexpected development keep them from the life they desire? Or will fate bring them closer than they’ve ever been before?

About Sharon C. Cooper

 
Award-winning and bestselling author, Sharon C. Cooper, is a romance-a-holic – loving anything that involves romance with a happily-ever-after, whether in books, movies, or real life. Sharon writes contemporary romance, as well as romantic suspense and enjoys rainy days, carpet picnics, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. She’s been nominated for numerous awards and is the recipient of an Emma Award for Romantic Suspense of the Year 2015 (Truth or Consequences), Emma Award – Interracial Romance of the Year 2015 (All You’ll Ever Need), and BRAB (book club) Award -Breakout Author of the Year 2014. When Sharon is not writing or working, she’s hanging out with her amazing husband, doing volunteer work or reading a good book (a romance of course). To read more about Sharon and her novels,
visit www.sharoncooper.net



Thursday, March 16, 2017

Release Blitz: Beauty of the Beast by Rachel L. Demeter

Beauty of the Beast by Rachel L. Demeter 

Fairy Tale Retellings, #1 

Publication Date: March 15, 2017 

Genres: Historical Romance, Fairy Tale Retelling, Gothic Romance, Adult

๐ŸŒน Special $2.99 sale price through March 19th ๐ŸŒน

๐ŸŒน Buy ๐ŸŒน


๐ŸŒน Book Blurb ๐ŸŒน

Experience the world’s most enchanting and timeless love story—retold with a dark and realistic twist.
  A BEAST LIVING IN THE SHADOW OF HIS PAST Reclusive and severely scarred Prince Adam Delacroix has remained hidden inside a secluded, decrepit castle ever since he witnessed his family’s brutal massacre. Cloaked in shadow, with only the lamentations of past ghosts for company, he has abandoned all hope, allowing the world to believe he died on that tragic eve twenty-five years ago.
  A BEAUTY IN PURSUIT OF A BETTER FUTURE Caught in a fierce snowstorm, beautiful and strong-willed Isabelle Rose seeks shelter at a castle—unaware that its beastly and disfigured master is much more than he appears to be. When he imprisons her gravely ill and blind father, she bravely offers herself in his place.
  BEAUTY AND THE BEAST Stripped of his emotional defenses, Adam’s humanity reawakens as he encounters a kindred soul in Isabelle. Together they will wade through darkness and discover beauty and passion in the most unlikely of places. But when a monster from Isabelle’s former life threatens their new love, Demrov’s forgotten prince must emerge from his shadows and face the world once more… Perfect for fans of Beauty and the Beast and The Phantom of the Opera, Beauty of the Beast brings a familiar and well-loved fairy tale to life with a rich setting in the kingdom of Demrov and a captivating, Gothic voice. Beauty of the Beast is the first standalone installment in a series of classic fairy tales reimagined with a dark and realistic twist.

  Disclaimer: This is an edgy retelling of the classic fairy tale. Due to strong sexual content, profanity, and dark subject matter, including an instance of sexual assault committed by the villain, Beauty of the Beast is not intended for readers under the age of 18.

๐ŸŽฌ Book Trailer ๐ŸŽฌ









๐ŸŒน Excerpt ๐ŸŒน

~ Isabelle bravely takes her papa’s place ~

Quite a while later, as Isabelle relaxed and soaked in the hearth’s warmth, she found herself nodding off to sleep. Her mind detached from the stress of the past few days and receded to another time and place. She recalled her journeys with Papa when she’d been little more than a girl. All the villages they’d passed through; all the faces they’d seen. She thought of reading fairy tales beneath a bejeweled sky, of leaning against a mountain of crates as Papa pointed out the constellations and their eternal stories— Rattling seized her attention and ruptured her thoughts. 

She peered at Papa, who was carefully examining his teacup. Not with his sightless eyes, of course—but with wandering fingertips. The same impressive coat of arms engraved the fine proclaim; Papa ran his weathered fingers over its surface, clearly in awe of the raised gold decorations and studded gems. The thing must have cost a small fortune. Indeed, she’d never beheld such finery. Even the wares Papa had once sold paled in comparison. The faded brim of his top hat hung low and covered his glassy eyes. Then her mouth went dry as he slipped the teacup inside his coat. Has he gone mad—or simply grown that desperate? It was completely unlike Papa to steal. How could he—and after being shown hospitality?

  Her outcry startled him. He half leapt from the chair—and Isabelle watched in horror as the teacup tumbled out from the coat. It rattled and rolled onto the stone ground, shattering into a million pieces. A gloved hand broke through the darkness, quicker than a lightning strike. The hooded figure emerged from the shadows and seized Papa by his cravat. His other hand clasped a branch of flickering candles. The illumination flashed across the dark folds of his cloak, soaking him in a pool of light. “Stealing from me, are you? Breaking my family’s keepsakes?” A sharp jerk forced Papa to his feet. The rough movement sent the top hat tumbling from his head and onto the stone floor. Papa’s waxen features melted into an expression of horror and confusion.

  Her heart pounding, Isabelle lunged forward and frantically cried out, “Let him alone! It was an accident. Don’t you see that you’re frightening him?” “Good.” The simple declaration threw Isabelle into stunned silence. Papa called out for her as the man strode from the sitting room, his solid legs eating up the ground in swift, decisive strides. Mon Dieu, he was physically dragging Papa through the castle. This isn’t happening. It cannot be… “Stop it! Stop it now—you monster!” Isabelle picked up her skirts and frantically chased after them. Parts of the castle were dark and unkempt, causing her to trip several times over wayward pieces of furniture. Her heart violently pounded in her ears. The man moved impressively fast; between his agile stride and sweeping cloak, he almost appeared to float through the corridors. 

Plopping onto the stone floor, his dog gave up trying to keep pace. Dust motes rose and fell in midair like ashes, obscuring her vision. She followed the branch’s illumination, watching as the candlelight threw prisms along the walls and floor. “Please, monsieur. Have mercy, I beg you! He didn’t know any better. He's not in his right mind. He would never—” “No one steals from me.” His low voice echoed in the darkness, steady as a war drum. Isabelle felt herself descending. She ducked as she crossed a low archway, where she was met with a steep flight of stairs. A mouth into Hell. The ceiling lurked unusually low and was strung with cobwebs. Isabelle hiked up her skirts, which were now a filthy mess, and raced down the decayed steps. The hooded figure kept a swift pace while she desperately pursued Papa’s frightened cries. Plagued by the darkness, Isabelle tripped and crashed down the stone steps. Pain cascaded through her body, knocking the breath from her lungs. Her skinned knees and elbows throbbed, her heart pounded, her head burned. She spared a moment to catch her breath as she struggled to her feet and resumed her vain quest. Papa’s muffled pleas and the sound of slamming bars ripped at her very soul.

  The dank dungeon was nearly black. She slowed her pace, moving toward a beam of light at the far end. Rats the size of kittens scurried across the stone floor and filled the darkness with their terrible squeaking. Her heart thudding, Isabelle rushed through the maze of cells, following Papa’s voice and that flickering light. Chains and crude-looking objects littered the ground—torture devices from a past age, she realized with a shudder. She found them. Papa was grasping the rusted bars; disoriented and frightened, he was murmuring incoherent pleas. Tears fell from his sightless eyes, though Isabelle knew he fought to restrain them. The branch of candles sat in front of the cell, its wavering light illuminating his terrified expression. “Forgive me. I have wronged you when you showed my daughter and me hospitality and mercy. Please, monsieur!”

  The man towered before him, silent and still. His long arms remaining crossed, he stood with his lean torso straighter than a broadsword. His hood was drawn back, though Isabelle couldn’t see his face from her angle. “Papa, I’m here,” she said beneath the weight of a strained breath. “I-Isabelle?” Not sparing a moment, she dashed over to the cell—and the man slowly rotated into sight. Except he resembled more of a beast than any man she’d ever seen. Isabelle clamped both hands over her mouth and forced her eyes away. The sight burned—and the inferno in his gaze only kindled that fire. Half of his face looked monstrously twisted; charred mounds of puckered flesh distorted the features beyond any recognition, draining him of all traces of humanity. Those heaps of burned, leather-like skin gleamed and glistened in the candlelight. His hairline receded on the left side of his face and slanted high above a shriveled ear. Under the severe scarring, his age was more or less indistinguishable—though Isabelle guessed he wasn’t a day under thirty-five. But his eyes were breathtaking. Two brilliant sapphires. There was also a great sadness and anger in those eyes, as if he’d suffered more than his share of original sin. 

Alas, as she gazed into his eyes, all she saw was blue ice—an endless, arctic landscape of cold desolation. The man turned away, appearing greatly affected by her stare, and hastily rearranged the hood. His scarred hands trembled as he smoothed down the cloak’s thick folds. “Release him,” she demanded. “He didn’t mean any harm. I—” “No one meddles with my family’s possessions. He can rot down here as my prisoner. He ought to count himself fortunate that I haven’t taken his hand.” “Your prisoner? This... this is a mistake! You must believe me. He’d never—” A deep, husky chuckle cut through her plea. “Even so.” “Please. Just let him out.” “It’s too late for that.” Those words seemed to speak volumes. He exhaled a long breath, and Isabelle watched as it unfurled against the darkness in a cloud. Silence. “Why... why are you so angry? Why must you be so hateful? So cruel?” “If I let him go,” he said at length, “what can you offer in return?” Isabelle couldn’t find her tongue. She wandered directly in front of the cell, almost in a lucid trance, and clasped the cold bars. Papa was huddled in the corner now, coughing and shivering. 

Guilt, unlike anything she’d known before, pulsated through her. I’m to blame for this. And if Papa stays here, he’ll die well within a fortnight, likely much sooner… “Get out of my sight.” The man’s voice jarred Isabelle from her inward stupor. She turned to him and stepped forward, raising her chin at a defiant angle. I am not so easily broken or frightened. I am a survivor. She scanned her empty, dank surroundings: the cold stone walls, sweeping cobwebs, and blazing branch of candles. Despair encased her. Stark emptiness. She dared to step closer while a faint trace of pity bloomed inside her heart. They stood centimeters apart. Heat radiated from the man’s body, surrounding her, immersing her. Isabelle vainly searched for softness him, but only a dark, embittered spirit reached her. She stared up at his towering frame and gestured for him to bow forward. He hesitated, then did as she commanded. Her hands shook, damn her, as she peeled back his hood and met that piercing gaze again. Half of his face was handsome—devastatingly so. In her twenty-two years of life, she’d never beheld such haunting beauty. Jet‑black waves, rich and flowing, framed the chiseled lines of his startling features. Stubble peppered the strong curve of his jawline and shadowed a smooth, sculpted cheekbone. The right side of his face was striking, beautiful—a stark contrast to its wrecked counterpart. And within those patrician angles and intense eyes, she encountered his humanity. His was a face of inconsistencies. Complex. Damaged. Predatory. And more than a bit intriguing. “I will stay with you,” she heard herself whisper. “In my father’s place.” “Isabelle—no! I forbid it!”

  The man folded long, strong arms across his broad chest. His gaze crawled down her face and settled on the rise of her breasts—planting directly on her silver cross. “I demand he’s seen by the finest of physicians.” “Isabelle! Listen to me! I’m an old man. I’m dying. I—” The man’s dark, strangely erotic voice cut through the cellar, and his eyes whipped back to her own with a startling force. “As my mistress.” “What?” “You must stay here as my mistress. For as long as I demand. Perhaps forever.” Forever. The word rang with a note of finality. “Please, Isabelle! I beg you. Don’t do this!” How could I endure it? “Do as I say and your father shall safely return home.” He waved his cloaked arms with a magician’s delicate grace. “Your father—whatever family you may have—shall want for nothing. A house, clothing, anything they require. You only need to say the word. Your father will be under my protection—under the care of nurses and physicians—until his last breath.” Isabelle briefly recalled what—and who—was waiting for her back in Ruillรฉ. This fate wouldn’t be much worse. 

This desolate castle could serve as the perfect hideout. Papa would live in France, free from Raphael’s clutches and in the hands of the world’s greatest physicians… “How... how can I trust you?” And does he even have the wealth to uphold such a promise? “You cannot.” She had faith Papa would send help once his health recovered. Or she’d find a way out, means of escape. In the interim, she would survive this grim castle and whatever horrors it concealed. Papa would not. The castle would crush him beneath its dark heel in a matter of days. Isabelle glanced at Papa again, then stared into the man’s brilliant eyes. 

There, lurking within those expressive depths, she found the softness she’d pursued minutes before. She sucked in her breath and nodded her agreement. “It is done.” The man swept backward. “He’s to remain down here till first light. Then our agreement shall be carried out. In the meantime, I will bring blankets and food—” “But it’s so cold! He—” “Stole from me while he was a guest in my castle.” He would not compromise. That much was certain. “I demand to stay with him.” “As you please.” He unlocked the cell. “Beyond the dungeon lies a labyrinth. Try to escape, and you’ll be lost forever.” He tapped the wall with his booted heel. It swiveled, spun, and rotated, sweeping her captor to the other side...


   

๐ŸŒน Meet the Author ๐ŸŒน

Rachel L. Demeter lives in the beautiful hills of Anaheim, California with Teddy, her goofy lowland sheepdog, and her high school sweetheart of fourteen years. She enjoys writing poignant romances that challenge the reader’s emotions and explore the redeeming power of love. Imagining dynamic worlds and characters has been Rachel’s passion for longer than she can remember. Before learning how to read or write, she would dictate stories while her mother would record them for her. She holds a special affinity for the tortured hero and unconventional romances. Whether crafting the protagonist or antagonist, she ensures every character is given a soul. Rachel endeavors to defy conventions by blending elements of romance, suspense, and horror. Some themes her stories never stray too far from: forbidden romance, soul mates, the power of love to redeem, mend all wounds, and triumph over darkness. Her dream is to move readers and leave an emotional impact through her words. Don’t be a stranger! Rachel loves to connect and interact with her readers:

๐ŸŒน Enter the Giveaway ๐ŸŒน







Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Cover Reveal: Avarice Unleashed by A.C. Melody


AVARICE UNLEASHED COVER REVEAL



Hell hath no fury...

Saphiel's gone and it's all Kami's fault.
Panicked and riddled with guilt, she turns to the only one who can help, only to fall into the wrong hands time and again. It seems opportunity has knocked, and not a single enemy is willing to miss out. Everyone wants their dues and Kami's the perfect bait.

All she wants is to reunite with Saph and she'll face off with the Devil, himself, to do it.
Facing herself and the reluctant truths of her heart are a whole other matter, especially when it could be too late. Will the unforgiving Avarice ever pardon her for endangering them both?

As the calendar races toward Beltane, sickening plots of greed and single-minded obsessions continue to unravel all around them, but their greatest challenge awaits in the aftermath of retribution. Can they find some semblance of redemption in one another at last, or will the demon within change everything?

...like a Devil unleashed.


Now Available on Kindle Unlimited

BOOK #1


Devils Only.
It was a permanent note-to-self tattooed right above Kameo Kross's panties, because anything less was a disappointment. Had anyone cared to issue the warning: Be careful what you wish for, she might have thought twice before wording it like an actual invitation.

Kami doesn't fear pain, death or eternal damnation. She fears only submitting completely. A matter she usually has well in hand... until an unexpected detour into kink and a relentless bastard of a new boss decide to put all of her resistance–and chosen ink–to the trickiest of tests.

Warning: This a work of Dark Erotic fiction with possible triggers. If you are faint of heart, easily squeamish or sensitive to religious/world views and violence, please do not read this book.

Cliffhanger Warning: This is the First of Three books and ends in an abrupt cliffhanger.


BOOK #2


Run.


That’s Kami’s first instinct when shit gets a little too real for her peace of mind.

Kink was supposed to be an escape, a release, but her mysterious Dom robbed her of that and there’s no going back. Her job was supposed to be an accomplishment, a step forward, but Mr. Kress took that from her and twisted it to his own design.

They want her to submit.

If Kami had her way, they’d both be kissing her ass on her way out the door.

Now, there’s a new threat hanging over her head. An unknown enemy wants to expose all of Kami’s sordid, depraved secrets to the media. Little do they know, that even she has no clue who in the hell she really is...but someone does.

Someone who’s about to reveal an incomprehensible tale. A truth that will unravel Kami’s entire life at the seams. Everything she’s ever believed will be altered as she’s thrust into a world she’d never feared existed, and only one undeniable fact will ring through the loudest:

Running had never been an option.

Trigger/Content Warning: This book contains unorthodox religious views, graphic anal sex, explicit language, dark eroticism, BDSM, violence and references to demonology, paganism and the occult. Intended for mature 18+ audiences only!



A.C. Melody is a quirky, unconventional and often contrary (mostly to her muse) hybrid author, both traditionally and self-published. She has a soft spot for hard ass alphas and the strong women who capture their hearts. Her favorite part of writing, is having the ability to explore her favorite subjects from unique angles. Also, she loves putting her characters through the ringer one way or another, to expose all of the various facets that make them tick. She's guilty of putting all her money on the underdogs, the anti-heroes and the shameless whores.

Outside of writing, A.C. is a confessed javaholic who loves reading, music, gaming, American Football, ancient civilizations, foreign cultures and everything supernatural. She has an insatiable curiosity that tends to earn her more hobbies than time. You can find her in the beautifully green Pacific Northwest with her two teenage sons and two blue-eyed, Himalayan-Siamese mixes who think they own the joint.


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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Release Day Blitz: A Real Man Volume 3 by Jenika Snow















This box-set contains the following A Real Man books: Feral, Dirty, and Viking. Also includes a bonus book: Riding Her Rough!





Synopsis


Everyone Needs A Real Man.


This is the third volume in the Real Man series.

Included are:


Book 4: Feral

What Lexi doesn’t know is that I’ve noticed her for years and wanted her as mine for just as long. It would be safer if I kept her at a distance, which I’ve managed to do … but I can’t anymore.

I won’t.

I hope she’s ready to be mine, because she’s about to see exactly how feral I can be where it concerns her.



Book 5: Dirty


I want to get my dirty hands all over her. I want to make that creamy pale skin of hers dark from grease, and red from holding onto her.

And I’ll do all of that, because there’s no way I’m backing off, not until I know I have her.



Book 6: Viking

I’m a Viking, a savage, dangerous and violent. I don’t give up when I see something I want. I’ve been searching for Ingrid my whole life; I just didn’t realize it until I looked into her blue eyes.

She will be mine. No matter what.














Jenika Snow is a USA Today Bestselling Author that lives in the northwest with her husband and their two daughters. Before she started writing full-time she worked as a nurse.



Author Links








Release Blitz: Forbidden Princess by Alexa Riley









goodreads-badge.png




Tabitha is destined to marry a king and unite her powerful family with another. But she’s never been one to do what she’s told, and she’s decided to make her own destiny.

Vlad has devoted his life to guarding his king and never thought about taking a wife. But all bets are off when a sassy, dark-haired princess appears.

These two are hot and fast, but when Tabby’s parents step in, things get messy. Can they forgo tradition and make their own way, or will the divide break them?

Warning: Okay, okay…stop asking. They get their story. Happy now?





*Tabby*
Putting one last curl into Al’s hair, I step back and take a look at my handiwork.
“You look like a hooker. One of those American ones,” I tease her, smiling. I think we nailed it. My obsession with my favorite movie Pretty Woman gave me the idea to go with a Vivian Ward look. I love doing Al’s hair, but she hardly lets me anymore. It’s not like when we were little and I did it every day before she learned to do it herself.
She doesn’t like her long blonde locks, but I love them. They always make me think of a fairy tale, which seems appropriate since we are both princesses.
“As long as I don’t have to dress like a hooker, it’s perfect,” she tells me, making me laugh. I don’t think I could get Alena to show that much skin, even if I held her down and put the outfit on her myself.
“I say keep it simple on the outfit.” I walk over to the bed, picking up a dress I know will look perfect on her. I talked her into getting it forever ago, but it’s sat in the back of her closet since then. “This.”
I hold up the green dress, knowing it will make her blonde hair even brighter. She might not like her hair, but I think it makes her shine like a star. Plus, the dress is somewhat modest, coming to her knees, with little capped sleeves. It will look perfect on her. Maybe a little too perfect for our plans though. This dress might not scare away her future husband.
“I can’t wear that. I’ll have to wear heels.”
I have to stifle a laugh. Alena is the worst in heels. It’s actually pretty comical to see her in them. Like a little baby deer learning to walk.
“Yep. I’ve seen you in heels. You’re a walking accident waiting to happen. So heels it is.”
I pick up a pair of black heels that will go well with the dress. The point is to make her seem like a mess if we want to scare away the man demanding her hand in marriage. The man who will take my sister away from me. It’s always been the two of us. I still remember when Mom brought her home from the hospital. I thought she’d be mine to take care of, to protect from the crappy-ish parents we had, and that’s what I did. And that’s what I’m doing today.
We are going to send this potential husband running for the hills. Though after the picture I saw of him, I’m not sure he’s ever run from anything in his life. He has his sights set on my sweet, innocent little sister, and I don’t know if he can be stopped. She’s too soft for a man who looks like he could rip someone in half with his bare hands.
Handing her the heels, I grab my own dress. Unlike Al, I love dressing up. Hair, makeup, and clothes have been my obsession since I could walk. I slip on the tight red dress and pull at it a little to make sure it’s all in place.
“Wait, are you trying to get his attention so he’ll marry you? I thought we were scaring him off,” Alena says.
I watch as panic lights up her face. I did try and take Al’s place when I found out someone had called for her hand in marriage. I knew she didn’t want to get married, just like me. At least not to a king. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life as royalty. I want something more simple. But for Alena I’d do anything, including asking if I could take her place. I was older and had been asked multiple times, but each time, my parents turned them down. The one good thing they’d ever done for me. But when King Roman called for Al, our parents jumped all over it and he would have no one but her. From my understanding I don’t think trying to get him to look at me could possibly work. He was intent on having Alena. The only thing we could do was make him think she wasn’t that great of a catch. It’s all we could come up with. Though I have a feeling this isn’t going to work. Alena never gets how much she really glows without even trying.
But I can’t help but wonder at the look on her face. Is there jealousy there? Maybe she likes the king a little more than she’s willing to admit aloud.
“Whatever you want,” I tell her. Because I will do whatever she needs me to do. We always do that for each other. We’re a team. A team that is about to be split up.
“Girls!” my mom yells before the door opens. “Let’s go.” She gives us a glance to make sure we look presentable because that’s all she cares about. She turns and heads out of the room, a glass full of wine in hand like always. Hopefully she’s had enough to not be a total pain-in-the-ass tonight.
I watch Alena slip on the heels and almost fall over. I snort, unable to help myself, while putting my own on.
“Come on.” I lock my arm with hers to help her walk so she doesn’t hurt herself before we even get there. We make our way towards the great room with only a few minor stumbles along the way.
“I don’t know if I can do this,” Al whispers. I hate the tremble in her voice. It makes a protectiveness rise up in me “I’m so shy. I don’t know if I can make a fool of myself.”
“I’ll be right here. We’ve got this,” I reassure her.
I’m not going anywhere, and I’ll be right here to make a fool of myself right along with her. Hopefully this king will think we’re a hot mess and run for the hills, wanting nothing to do with us. She looks up at me and nods.
When we turn the corner into the great room we both freeze. Everyone looks at us, but my eyes go to one spot, and I feel every part of my body come alive.
“Holy fuck,” I whisper to myself.
The man standing against the far wall has his eyes trained on me. They are the greenest I’ve ever seen in my life. His giant arms are folded over his chest, and I know instantly from his stance he’s a guard. He’s built like a tank, with big muscles and a wide chest. His hair is so thick and dark, I know our babies would have hair just like him. Oh. My. God. I can’t believe I had that thought.
As if he can read my mind, a smirk pulls at his full lips.
Someone steps in front of him, blocking my view. I don’t know if I’m thankful for that or not. It’s then I notice it’s Roman. His eyes are focused fully on my sister. He looks almost angry. It’s then I realize it’s because she’s looking where I was looking. At the mystery man with green eyes. I can see jealousy written all over Roman’s face.
“Sweetheart, this is King Roman,” I hear our mother say.
I glance over at her and see she’s got a giant smile on her face. She’s all too happy to pass her daughter off so easily. She doesn’t care if Alena even wants to go. No, not my mother. I stare at her for a moment, and for the first time, I really feel hate for her.
Lost in my reverie, I miss Roman come flying across the room. He grabs Alena, who was tripping over her own shoes. He pulls her towards him, and I watch my sister melt into him as if she’s done it a thousand times.
I glance back to my mystery man, who’s now moved closer. He stares right at me. I feel like he can see though my clothes. His gaze roams over me as if he owns me, as if he has personal knowledge of my body. I’m used to men looking at me, but this feels different. I know he wants me, but it’s more than that. He wants to own me. The thought should piss me off. It’s why I’ve never liked this arranged marriage crap. A man showing up and taking me just isn’t going to happen. But why now, with this stranger, am I feeling a tingling all over my body at the thought?
“Hi,” I hear Al say, and it pulls my eyes reluctantly away from the man.
Her voice is awkward and doesn’t sound anything like her. I can’t help but snort. I know the sound gets her, because she starts to fight a laugh.
“Tabby,” she says, her eyes still locked with Roman’s. I’m a little shocked she’s holding his stare. “I think our plan is working.”
His eyes narrow on her. It takes everything in me not to burst into laughter. I can feel my body shaking, wanting to let the laughter go, but I fight it back.
“You can’t say that out loud. He can hear you,” I say out of the corner of my mouth, but I know everyone can hear me.
I sneak a glance at my green-eyed mystery man, wanting to focus my attention on him again, wanting to make sure those eyes are still on me. Damn, maybe I’m starting to feel that ownership crap, too. Yep, eyes still on me, only this time he’s smiling at me. It makes him not look so deadly. Unlike Alena, I can’t hold a stare, so I look away, feeling my face heat at being caught ogling him. I’m never shy, but something about him makes me feel that way.
“Roman.” My mystery man speaks for the first time. “I think she’s good.” I glance back to Alena, who’s still in King Roman’s arms, feet dangling off the ground. He places her on her feet and takes a step back. I can tell he’s fighting it. He doesn’t want to let her go.
“Tabby?” Roman says my nickname but doesn’t look at me. He won’t look away from his betrothed.
“No, I’m Alena.” My sister corrects him like she thinks it’s an honest mistake. Yeah right, this man knows who she is. If I had to guess, from the way he’s acting he knows everything about her.
“I know who you are, my princess.” He looks over at me, taking his eyes off Alena for the first time since we walked into the room. “Tabitha.” He says my full name this time. Only Alena calls me Tabby. “Can you take my princess to her room to remove these ridiculous shoes before she hurts herself?”
“Hey, she isn’t my servant,” Al snaps at him, and I watch her square her shoulders in a very un-Alena-like way.
“I help Alena with stuff all the time.” I jump in. Maybe if he thinks she needs me, I can go with them when they marry. It would be a fight with my parents because they want to marry me off, too, but Roman is very powerful. Alena frowns at my random comment, clearly not getting it. I can tell this man will do anything to have her, so maybe now I can convince him that I need to go with her. That’s what’s really been bothering us this whole time—the thought of no longer having each other. It’s always been Al and me.
“Then help her remove the layer of what’s painted on her face as well,” Roman adds.
Alena takes a step back from him, and I think she wants to smack him. She isn’t seeing what I’m seeing. I’m guessing he’s seen pictures of her before and he wants that Al. Not this made-up one we created in hopes of scaring him away. I kind of like that.
“Alena. Do as you’re told,” our mother half-whispers, half-scolds. Her scolding tone is no different, even in front of a king. I can’t fight my eye roll.
Roman turns to look at our mother. Her face is scrunched, and I can tell she’s pissed. We’re going to get it later.
“You don’t give her orders. She will be Queen in one week’s time. She doesn’t take orders.” Roman’s voice is stern and final. He just gave her a command, and it will be followed. He earned a few points in my book right there. He stood up for her and put our mother in her place.
“Except from you, I guess,” I hear Alena say, looking down at the floor and taking another step back from Roman. Clearly she’s trying to get space from him.
“All your whispers are too loud. Keep them in your head,” I tell her, a little too loudly myself. Crap, we are terrible at this.
“Alena,” Roman says, drawing our attention. He doesn’t look mad. In fact, he looks like he’s fighting a smile. Yep, we are definitely terrible at this.
“Please.” The word, laced with urgency, comes from his lips, and I can tell it’s not a word he uses often.
Al grabs my hand and pulls me from the room, clearly wanting to escape. I glance back over my shoulder to my mystery man. I don’t know his name, but from the look on his face, I don’t think I will ever escape him.



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Alexa Riley is two sassy friends who got together and wrote some dirty books. They are both married moms of two who love football, donuts, and obsessed book heroes.
They specialize in insta-love, over-the-top, sweet, and cheesy love stories that don’t take all year to read. If you want something SAFE, short, and always with a happily ever after, then Alexa Riley is for you!
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