Archive | March 2014

Dance by Teodora Kostova Release day Blitz 3/27/14


Book Description:
Jared Hartley is happy. He has a
starring role in a popular West End musical, great friends, adoring
fans and his own flat in Central London. A relationship is not
something he has ever really wanted. Making big plans for the future
is not in his nature – Jared is content with his single status and
enjoying all the benefits of that lifestyle.
He doesn’t even
realise something is missing in his life.
Until he meets
Fenix.

Fenix Bergman has a dream – to perform on Broadway.
When he gets offered the lead role in Poison – a new musical based
in London, he accepts, immediately recognising the huge potential of
the show.

Fenix thinks he has his life completely
figured out – he will move to London, help Poison become the new
West End hit and bide his time until Broadway comes knocking on his
door. He has never wished for anything else but proving to himself
and the world that he is a performer worthy of the biggest theatre
stage.
Until he meets Jared.

Jared and Fenix’s lives
collide and they fill each other’s missing pieces. Neither of them
expects to feel so much, so fast for the other.

Neither of
them expects to need someone so badly when love hasn’t even been in
their plans.

But when Fenix’s star becomes too bright for
London, will the dream he’s chased all his life ruin the dream he’s
holding in his hands?

Will he survive getting everything he’s
ever wanted?

Will Jared?

*explicit sexual content,
graphic language and adult themes. Recommended for readers 18+ only*

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Author bio:
Hi, my name is Teodora and I live in
London with my husband Ted and my son Jason. I’ve been writing ever
since I can remember, but it became my full time job in 2010 when I
decided that everything else I’ve tried bores me to death and I have
to do what I’ve always wanted to do, but never had the guts to fully
embrace. I’ve been a journalist, an editor, a personal assistant and
an interior designer among another things, but as soon as the novelty
of the new, exciting job wears off, I always go back to writing.
Being twitchy, impatient, loud and hasty are not qualities that help
a writer, because I have to sit alone, preferably still, and write
for most of the day, but I absolutely love it. It’s the only time
that I’m truly at peace and the only thing I can do for more than ten
minutes at a time – my son has a bigger attention span than me.
When
I’m procrastinating, I like to go to the gym, cook Italian meals (and
eat them), read, listen to rock music, watch indie movies and True
Blood re-runs. Or, in the worst case scenario, get beaten at every
Wii game by a six year old.
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A Cry for Hope by Beth Rinyu Book Blitz & Rafflecopter giveaway 3/26/14

A Cry for Hope Book Blitz

Book Blitz

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Book Title: A Cry for Hope
Author: Beth Rinyu
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Release Date: March 21, 2014
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

Synopsis

Hope McAdams life as she knew it ended on the same day that her eight year old son’s did.

Eight months later she’s trying to regain some semblance of normality, while trying to repair her once perfect marriage to a man who was her best friend, but now a complete stranger. Coming to the painful realization that she must fix the hole that’s deep within her heart, she goes home to the place that she grew up in hopes that time and distance will heal her wounds and lead her back to the man she loves.

Nick Abate is an old friend of Hope’s whose heart is also on the mend. He’s home on leave from the Marines, and when he and Hope reconnect, their friendship picks up right where they left off, years ago. They both begin to heal and feel whole again with the help of each other. But when their friendship crosses the line, will Hope be able to forgive herself and move on, or will the guilt that she is harboring once again cause her to slip back into the place that she has just escaped?

What happens when two tortured souls place their trust in each other? Will they find their way back to the ones they love or will their hearts remain connected forever?

Meet the Author

Ever since I can remember, I have always enjoyed Creative Writing. There was always something about being able to travel to a different place or become a different person with just the stroke of a pen – or in today’s world a touch of the keyboard. I am the author of The Exception To The Rule Drowning in Love, An Unplanned Lesson, An Unplanned Life and A Cry For Hope. Currently working on A Will To Change, a companion novel to A Cry For Hope, due out Summer 2014.

My life is not as interesting as my books or the characters in them, but then again whose life is? I was born and have lived in New Jersey my whole life. I’m a mom of twin teenage boys, a teenage stepson, a crazy Border Collie and a cat with an identity crisis! I guess you can say writing is my form of Calgon! I am married to a wonderful guy – but we’ll keep that between us, I don’t want him getting a big head!

excerpt

“Look at me, Jamie! Look at me and tell me that you’re willing to walk away from everything we have and I’ll be gone. I’m not ready to give up on us, but if you are, then just say the words and I’ll stop trying.”

“Hope, stop it!”

“Stop what? Stop trying? Stop trying to have the man that I love more than anything in this world love me back? Stop trying to make myself feel worthy of your love again? What do you want me to stop, Jamie?”

“What do you want me to say, Hope? That everything’s going to be okay? That things are going to be the way they used to be between us? Because I don’t know if that’s ever going to happen. Or do you want me to take you upstairs and fuck you like a stranger, the same way I’ve been for the past eight months?”

“I don’t know what I want any more, Jamie. I miss my husband. The man that I could tell anything to. The one that I used to laugh and cry with. The one who would hold me in his arms and comfort me whenever I was feeling down.”

“He’s gone, Hope. He drowned in that ocean the same day that Charlie did.”

I bit my lip and fought the tears. “So what are you trying to tell me? That I’m just keeping myself afloat in this marriage only to have you never resurface?”

His eyes filled with tears. “I wish that I could answer that question for you, but I can’t. Because, the truth is, I don’t even know the answer to it myself.”

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That’s A Lie by Victoria Klahr Release Blitz 3/25/14

That’s A Lie
Author: Victoria Klahr
Release Date: March 25, 2014
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Add It: Goodreads

Synopsis
Seth is back.

When he walked back into my life, it almost felt like the pieces of my broken heart could be fixed. I thought we could go back to being best friends, but then I started to feel what I had been blocking out for years. I tried. Boy, did I try! But once I started to let him in, I wanted nothing more than to cross that line from friendship into something more…

Just when I think I can move on and let myself be happy, an ugly reminder from my past comes storming in and threatens to destroy the sliver of hope that’s been growing since Seth came back.

Do I even deserve to be loved?

“I’m not asking to fix your heart. I’m not asking to mend you. I love each and every shattered piece of you. I’m asking that you let me love you. Let me love each piece of your broken heart, and I swear to you I will make up for every heartache you have ever experienced.”

I came back for Josie.

I knew I’d have to fight for her, but with the loss of her dad and the truth about what happened with her and Blake, I quickly realized that making her mine was going to be a lot harder than I first thought. The problem is, I can’t pretend like she’s just my best friend. I can’t pretend I don’t want more.

I’m willing to do anything to get her to admit she has the same passionate feelings for me, because I know once she opens up and stops lying to herself, I can show her what it really means to be loved. It’s a battle of wills, but my love for her is stronger than her will to stop me.

So I fight for her. I fight because I know she deserves it.

Where to Buy
That’s A Promise (Promises Promises #1)
*Free March 25 and March 26
Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU

That’s A Lie (Promises Promises #2)
Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU

About the Author

Victoria Klahr (pronounced like “Claire”) lives in Elizabeth City, North Carolina with her husband and daughter, Stephen and Alexis. She loves her chug (Pug/Chihuahua), Bandit, and three year old to pieces. She loves to stay home and take care of them, even if they do drive her insane at times. She is a huge and proud book nerd who looks at her bookshelf in admiration daily. She has her Associate’s degree in Business Administration, but her passion has always been the stories that talk to her in her head. One day she decided to take a chance and let the voices write her story. She has never felt more certain or comfortable about who she is than when she writes.

Where to Find Her
Victoria Klahr Writes | Facebook | @Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads

Lucky Numbers (A Trouble Maker Novel) by Kelly Gendron Cover Reveal & 3Rafflecopter giveaway /25/14

Cover Reveal

LuckyNumeberscover1Book Title:Lucky Numbers: TroubleMaker Book Three
Author:Kelly Gendron
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Release Date:April 29, 2014
Hosted by:Book Enthusiast Promotions

Synopsis

One locked safe, a troublemaking tattoo, and two determined people… add up to unlocked secrets and a love that just won’t stop.

Luke “Lucky” O’Conner is a committed bachelor. His motto…“Nobody’s ever getting this Lucky.” So when Kaley Harlow walks into his tattoo shop and somehow leaves with the only record of the numbers to his new safe tattooed on her sexy little hip, Lucky’s motto is threatened. If he wants to see those numbers again, he has to get close. Closer than he’s ever gotten to any woman. And he has three weeks to do it.
Kaley Harlow, a happily washed-up former child star, is out to ruin her reputation. She’s through with people looking at her like she’s still that innocent little girl in pigtails. Not to mention, her agent has just signed her up for a movie contract. But, really, all Kaley wants is to start a new life and finally go to college.
When Lucky happens into Kaley’s life for the second time, the hot, tattooed badass is exactly what she needs to sabotage her image. But this badass has a secret, one that could ruin more than just Kaley’s reputation.

excerpt

“It’s called A Mirage of Impulse.”

He scrubbed a hand over his chin. “I didn’t take your friend for such a passionate person. I like it,” he said, eyes fixed on the vibrant canvas.

“Don’t let the high heels, fake red fingernails or what I like to call daggers, and the fancy clothes fool you. She’s a pretty awesome person,” she laughed.

He stared straight ahead and continued to deny her his attention. Either the painting enthralled him or she’d been right all along. He was the type of guy who got off by making a girl work for it—for him. Kaley might have been that girl a few years ago but no more would she beg for any guy’s attention. She drummed to a different beat now, one that was a bit louder and a whole lot bolder.

Hand entwined with his, she thrust her shoulders back, and faced him. “You think you saved me back there, don’t you?”

His head tilted and he looked down at her from the corner of his eye. “Yes. I do.” He turned, giving her his full attention. “As I told your friend, unlike my former employee, I can tell when a woman’s not interested. And, love, you were lookin’ for some kind of escape from that guy back there.” He glanced at her mouth for another second that felt like a minute before looking back up at her. “It’s your eyes. I told you, they’re a dead giveaway.”

“Oh, yeah,” she lifted her chin, “and just what are they saying now?”

Her cocky boldness got her a slight jerk from his hand. Her body fell forward against his hard one. His dark hazel gems fell too. They drifted over every inch of her body. Every heated place she wanted him to touch. She licked her bottom lip, and then she bit it. Beneath cloaked eyes, he observed the whole ordeal. Her breasts swelled against the thin material of her dress, and for the first time that night she remembered she had on a thong. Her pussy pulsated and the string tugged tighter between her ass cheeks. She wanted him, right there. Wanted him to slip his hand up her dress and…

The side of his mouth lifted and those dark eyes twinkled. “Do you really want me to say that out load?”

Again, like at the tattoo shop, the man insinuated that he had the ability to read her eyes. Ignoring the building heat between her shaky thighs, and his deliberate comment, she lifted her head. “You’re a real smooth one. Aren’t you, Lucky?”

“Lucky?” The other side of his delicious mouth lifted to complete the sexiest smile ever. “I see we’ve graduated from what my football coach used to call me.” He squeezed her hand, running a thumb over the top of her fingers. The little touch soared through her entire body. He bent down closer to mouth. “Now, don’t go letting the dapper clothes, or my charming smiles fool you. I’m not all that smooth. In fact, I’ve been known to be a little rough at times.”

“Hmm…” She lingered on his remark, what he meant by it and how it had made her hotter than hell. Glancing over his shoulder, she shifted back to him with a smile. “I’m sorry to disappoint you but you’re not going to get the chance to be smooth or rough right now for it appears my friend is on her way over here to save me.”

“And I’m sorry to disappoint you, Kaley, but your pretty awesome friend obviously doesn’t have the ability to read your eyes like I do.” His voice lowered, “‘Cause we both know you ain’t in any need of being saved, at least not yet.”

Meet the Author

Kelly GendronKelly resides in a quiet suburb somewhere between Buffalo and Niagara Falls, NY. Her day job? Kelly’s worked in the healthcare field for years, representing a group of reputable nursing facilities in the WNY area.
She’s been faithfully writing for three years. However, she wrote her first book ten years ago but had to put it down to raise her son as a single mom. When her son got a little older, she was able to pick it back up. That’s when she settled into her newly married life and started to seriously write again.

Kelly loves to hear from her readers! Visit her Blog, FB Page, Goodreads, Twitter. You can find all the links on her Website~ http://www.kellygendron.com.

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Everything by Jeri Williams Cover Reveal 3/24/14

Cover Reveal

Everything

Book Title:Everything
Author: Jeri Williams
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date:April, 2013
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

Synopsis

Dacey’s Harper is a 22 year old college student who lives in a very small town where everyone knows her name, to everyone in town she is known as the niece of the town crazy and is next in line to jump on the crazy train. Dacey however, is doing her best to keep it all together; including an unsympathetic father, a stepmother who has raised her as her own, a larger than life stepsister who at times she doesn’t even know what to do with and not to mention her Adonis God of a boyfriend. Top that off with her spicy Latin best friend and, let’s not forget her crazy aunt who has the world’s best one-liners, Dacey has her hands full but all that changes with one phone call and Dacey is left questioning EVERYTHING.

excerpt

I lay curled up in that ball crying until I couldn’t cry anymore.

My phone buzzed with text messages, then phone calls several times, but I didn’t answer them. They weren’t from Aria or Opal, so it didn’t matter.

The morning sky turned to afternoon and still I lay there; I couldn’t move. If I moved, more shit would happen to me, the world would find something else to throw my way. So I lay there. The afternoon sky turned to dusk, and I heard the front door open and close. Aria was home, and I knew she would come looking for me, knowing she saw my car. Sure enough, 10 minutes later the door opened and her head popped in.

“There you are. Why are you in here?”

I didn’t answer.

“Are you sleeping?”

I was glad my back was to the door; I pretended to be asleep.

“Dacey?”

She stood there for a few more minutes, then closed the door quietly so as not to wake me. I didn’t want to talk to anyone not right now, not for a long while.

The dusk sky turned to evening, and there was a soft knock and Aria stuck her head in again, saying softly that Trevor was here and wanted to come in.

“Did something happen, Dacey?” her voice wavered.

I didn’t have a chance to reply because he came in the room and asked Aria to give us some privacy.

She didn’t know, so she closed the door and left.

“Dacey, why haven’t you answered my text or calls? I’ve been worried.”

I still had my back turned to him, and he didn’t make an effort to face me…I wanted everything to go back to normal and I was silently wishing for; because the world couldn’t shit on me this much in three months, could it? It wasn’t this mean, was it?

“Why are you here?”

“I wanted to check on you and make sure you were OK, and I want to finish our talk.”

“I’m alive, and talk.” I avoided using the word “OK” because I was far from OK.

So far from OK, I would never be OK.

Meet the Author

Jeri Williams lives a super fabulous lifestyle (by fabulous, she mean’s kinda lame) in the hot Florida sun and loves reading of any kind (except instruction manuals and cereal boxes). She has always written stories and made her family listen to them since she was young, although this is her first book she has ever published. She is a mom of an up-and-coming Jerry Seinfeld (in girl form) and also enjoys being right and knowing everything, although she is hardly ever right and really doesn’t know anything and is obsessed with inventing miniature zoo animals you can carry around in your pocket (although not really).

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Outlaw (A Wanted Series Novel) by Amanda Lance Book Blitz: 3/23/14

Outlaw book blitz

Book Blitz

outlawBook Title: Outlaw: A Wanted Series Novel
Author: Amanda Lance
Genre: New Adult Romance
Release Date: TBD
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

Synopsis

I shouldn’t have done that job.

I shouldn’t have stolen that girl.

And I sure as hell shouldn’t have fallen for her.

Charlie Hays knows two things: how to steal, and the red—the rage that keeps him going. In Wanted when a last minute heist goes bad, he kidnaps the only witness, Addie Battes. But just when everyone begins to think he has gone and made the biggest mistake of his criminal career Charlie wonders if he hasn’t made the best one.

Every love story has two sides…

Meet the Author

A native of New Jersey and lifelong nerd, Amanda Lance recently completed her Master in Liberal Arts at Thomas Edison State College after her BA in English Literature and AFA in creative writing.

She currently resides in Easton Pennsylvania with her boyfriend and their spoiled hound dog. She is a cliché book nerd who is terrible at math, clinically obsessive, and prone to addictive behavior. She may or may not be a recluse.

excerpt

Expecting her to run away, I never imagined her to move her hand on top of mine. It was a simple thing, but it made me relax and release the rail—the first of many things I was ‘bout to let go.
Like a couple of magnets, our arms moved together too, making the rest of my anger fall away. It was the first time in a long while I hadn’t felt the pinch of rage on the surface, and it reminded me of being naked in front of a girl for the first time…that fear of bein’ laughed at, your pride hanging out to dry. But as spooked as it made me, I knew even then that it wasn’t all bad, that maybe it was an okay way to feel—that she made me feel that way.
“Did anybody bother you?” I asked. She smiled and I knew she was gonna answer like a smartass.

“Polo’s whistling got to me after awhile.”

I couldn’t hide my smile. “That ain’t what I meant.”
“I know,” she admitted. “No, no one bothered me. It was like I was invisible.”

I nodded, pretty sure that my brain and mouth wouldn’t work again if I tried to express what I wanted to. Instead, I just sighed and she did the same.

“Polo said you, um—paid off some people to leave me alone?”

The ship gossip. I should have figured. I shook my head. “He wasn’t supposed to do that.”

“So it’s true?” she said between biting her lip.

I didn’t have to answer for her to already know the answer, so I kept quiet and stared out at the water. I didn’t regret paying off some of the guys, but I wish she hadn’t known about it, neither. I wanted her to have confidence in me, to think I could handle things all by myself. I’d wanted people to be able to rely on be before, though not nearly that bad, and it didn’t feel as important as now.

“And here I thought I was blending in so well.”

Was she serious? I looked at her and grinned. “Not with those legs.” If I had a sock I woulda jammed it straight down my throat, ‟cause apparently she didn’t like me talking ‟bout how nice her legs were. I almost wanted to laugh—if she only knew what I was really thinkin’ most of the time.
She took her hand away from mine, and the second she did I looked away from her, too embarrassed at myself to even apologize again. And even though I wasn’t looking straight at her I could feel that awkwardness between us—pictured how bad she was blushin’.

I didn’t think I’d get so lucky to have her touch me again when she rested her forehead against the side of my shoulder. Even though we weren’t touching skin to skin, it startled me so bad that I almost turned to stone ‘cept for looking down at her. Maybe she was messing with me, but I didn’t care. This felt way too good.

Taking it a step further, I started playing with her messy hair, laughing to myself that there was any of it still up at all. Unable to help myself, I put my nose up against her hair and pulled out that tie thing in there and breathed deep. With all her other smells, I was sure I caught a whiff of the sea there.

Addie’s heart started to beat faster when I made sure her hair thing was around her wrist. Mine went in faster too and I blamed that for why I was so dizzy. When I told myself that though, I knew it was a lie. She was what was making me dizzy, what was giving my lungs such a hard time and tearing up my stomach the last couple of days. And though it hurt like hell, it was still the best I’d ever felt in my whole damn life.

I’d never been in love before, but now that I was—I could understand how people went crazy.

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Wilde Riders by Savannah Young Review Blitz & Rafflecopter giveaway 3/22/14

Wilde Riders

Review Blitz

Donna’s Review 5 stars*****

Loved the book and can’t wait to see what happens to the other three brothers. This story centers on Cooper Wilde. He is a up and coming wall street advisor. He has a plan for his life. He is rising up the scale to make a million by thirty. He owns a BMW. He has returned home to New Jersey from New York to help his brothers in the family bar, they are in trouble since their fathers death six months before. His brothers, Jake, Tucker, and Hunter with him also have a band together. Enter, Riley Smith. She is also from New York and is an up and coming personal in a big bank. She is in New Jersey to check out Haystackers, the bar that the Wildes’ own. She is tired of dating the wall street type of man. She is attracted to Cooper thinking he is from New Jersey and not an executive. He decides if he is to have a chance with Riley he needs to not let her know about his real job. This is a cute romance and I know you will enjoy it

 

wilde ridersBook Title: Wilde Riders
Author: Savannah Young
Genre: Romance
Release Date: February 11. 2014
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

Synopsis

FOUR WILDE BROTHERS…ONE WILDE COUNTRY BAND

WILDE RIDERS is the first novel in a spicy new contemporary romance series about four sexy brothers, their small-town bar and their local country band. WILDE RIDERS can be read as a STAND ALONE NOVEL or as part of the SERIES.

Cooper Wilde spent his entire adolescence counting the days until he could escape rural northwest New Jersey. Now at 26, he can’t believe he’s coming back. But his late father’s bar, Haymakers, is in financial trouble and his older brother, Jake, has asked for Cooper’s help.

Riley Smith, 25, is fresh out of her Ivy League MBA program and wants to make an impression on her employer, H & C Bank. Her first solo assignment is a fraud investigation on a business loan they made to Haymakers.

Even though Old Town is less than 90 minutes from New York City, Riley feels like she’s stepped into another world in this remote, one-bar town. Riley can’t wait to do her business and get back to the city as quickly as her sports car will take her…until she meets Cooper Wilde. He’s not like the other guys in this rural town and Riley feels inexplicably attracted to him.

excerpt

The drive into New Jersey is exhausting. My only saving grace is that most of the traffic is going into the city instead of out of the city like I am. You’ve got to love those bridge and tunnel guys. I wouldn’t date one but I have a little bit of respect for them. The commute into Manhattan turns a nine hour work day into an eleven hour one, if you’re lucky. I can feel my stomach start to knot as I get further away from the city and further away from civilization. Pretty soon I’ll be in the sticks surrounded by woods and farmland. I can almost smell the manure that will no doubt take days to completely rid from my nasal passages. I pray that I don’t run into any animals, especially cows, which are huge, smelly and completely freak me out. The only live animals I ever care to see have to fit comfortably in a handbag, like a Chihuahua or Teacup Poodle, for example.

I have an appointment with a man named Jake Wilde. He asked me to come early, before the place opens at noon, so he could give me his full attention. I try to imagine what someone named Jake Wilde would look like and all I can come up with is an old gunslinger like Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven.

As I pull into Old Town the place looks exactly like I thought it would. The buildings in the town square are old and I image the place hasn’t changed much in the last hundred years or so.

Haymakers is just past the town square, down the hill from the deli, next to the gas station. Those were the exact directions I was given, in those words. I take that to mean the town only has one gas station and one deli.

When I pull into the parking lot, there’s only one other vehicle sitting there. It’s an old beat-up Dodge Ram. Nothing like fitting the country bumpkin stereotype like a glove. I have a brief moment of panic and wonder if it’s safe to park my BMW in the dirt lot. Then I remind myself where I am. Who is going to mess with it in the middle of the day? A stray deer from the woods out back? The only thing I probably have to worry about is it getting dusty.

I take in a deep breath. I have to be thankful there’s no manure smell yet. The quicker you do this, I remind myself, the quicker you can get back to the lovely asphalt jungle you call home.

I’m hit with a gust of wind as soon as I get out of my car. How is it possible that Old Town is even windier than lower Manhattan? I didn’t think I’d ever find a place windier than Wall Street. Even the Windy City didn’t seem this windy when I had business in Chicago.

When I enter the bar, I try to smooth down my thick hair, which I know is probably a complete mess from the gust. I’m surprised by the homey feel of the place. How could someone like me possibly feel at home in a country bar? Even if I was wearing jeans and cowboy boots, if I even owned jeans and cowboy boots, I wouldn’t fit in at a place like this.

I hear someone clear his throat and I turn to see a guy about my age, mid-twenties, standing next to me. I can’t help my surprise when I see he’s wearing khakis and a polo shirt, like he just stepped off of a golf course. He looks as out of place in this country bar as I feel.

“Are you Jake Wilde?” I ask.

The guy gives me the faintest hint of a smile but it’s almost as if it pains him to give that much. His deep brown eyes look even more distressed and I can’t help but wonder what’s behind those sad eyes.

He rakes his fingers through his thick dark hair. “A little windy out, isn’t it?”

My hand automatically goes to my hair and I try to casually flatten it down again. I imagine I must look like I just stepped out of a wind tunnel.

“Your hair looks fine,” the guy tries to assure me. But he’s got that hint of a smile on his face again and it makes me wonder if he’s lying just to make me feel better.

“I’m Cooper Wilde,” the guy says as he offers a hand.

I don’t know why I suddenly feel nervous about shaking it. It’s a business meeting. That’s what people do. But the way this guy is looking at me gives me the feeling that he might be interested in more than just business.

But I’m not, I remind myself. Not only because I’ve all but sworn off men, I’m here to do a job. I’ve been working for H & C Bank for two years and this is my first solo assignment as a lead investigator. If I continue to do well, I’ll be well on my way to becoming a Vice President before I turn thirty. I don’t need a man to throw me off my career trajectory. And definitely not some guy in a country bar in rural New Jersey.

I take his hand and give it a quick shake but I can’t bring my-self to look into his smoldering eyes again. “I’m Riley Smith.”

“I figured that,” Cooper says.

“Why is that?”

That hint of a smile has returned to his face again. “We don’t often get women in business suits in the bar.”

I’m not sure why I’m suddenly overcome with the urge to get a real smile out of Cooper Wilde. I don’t know even know the guy but it somehow seems important. I get the feeling he hasn’t really smiled in a while and it’s long overdue.

Not that I’ve had much occasion for real smiles myself lately.

“My brother will be here in a minute or two. He’s just printing a few documents from the computer. Purchase orders and receipts.”

I nod and look around the place. From the outside, I thought it was going to be a dive but the place actually has character. I can tell the wooden bar is old, and it looks hand carved, as do the barstools. There’s a large stage area that looks new. That’s one of the expenses I was charged with investigating. I try to image what the place looks like filled with patrons watching a local band play on a Friday night.

“Ms. Smith?” I hear a deeper male voice say.

I look up to see another guy approaching. He also looks around my age, mid-twenties, but he looks more like what I’d expect inside a country bar. He’s wearing a white button down shirt with jeans and cowboy boots. His hair is lighter than Cooper’s and his face is rounder, more boyish, but there’s definitely a family resemblance between these two guys. They’re both about the same height, around six feet, with athletic builds, like they play sports.

“I’m Jake Wilde,” the lighter haired guy says.

I try not to laugh as I look at Jake. He’s young, attractive and nothing like Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven. So much for my speculation about his name.

I notice Jake has papers in his hands. “Maybe we should have a seat at one of the tables.” He motions to a table closest to us.

“Would you like something to drink?” he asks. Jake has one thing that Cooper doesn’t. An absolutely killer smile. It’s the kind of smile that can probably get any girl into bed in a matter of minutes. Well, any girl except me. I no longer fall for guys with smiles like that. It hurts too much the next morning when they say they’ll call you, and give you that smile, and you know they’re lying and you’ll never hear from them again.

“I’ll take some water,” I reply.

Jake actually winks at me before he turns to head towards the bar. The guy knows how to charm people I’ll give him credit for that.

I notice Cooper now has the papers in his hand. Without saying anything, he sits down and I follow.

“I think this is everything you’ll need as far as the fraud investigation is concerned. We’ve got purchase orders for all of the improvements as well as receipts for the completed work. You’re sitting at one of the new tables right now. And you can see the new stage from here. I’d be happy to take you up to the new roof, if you’d like to see it.”

Cooper pushes the stack of papers toward me. I quickly thumb through them. I’ll make a few phone calls when I get back into the city to verify everything and cover my butt. At first glance, though, everything looks clean. It doesn’t seem like a case of fraud, more likely poor bookkeeping.

“The loan hasn’t been paid in months,” I say even though that’s not really my department. I’m here only for the fraud investigation. They’ll be dealing with someone else regarding the default on the loan.

“I know,” Cooper says, and I can see more darkness over-shadow his already dark eyes. “I’m going to try and fix that.”

Jake comes back with three bottles of water. “Bottle okay or would you like a glass?” he asks.

“Bottle is fine,” I say.

Jake sets the bottles down on the table and takes the seat right next to me. I’m a little taken aback by how much space he commands. And not just because of his size. It’s his energy—his being—that’s so large.

“So what did I miss?” Jake asks.

Cooper eyes his brother and I can see there’s a little bit of animosity between them. Or at least there is on Cooper’s part. Jake seems kind of oblivious to it.

Cooper rubs his temple and says, “I was just telling Miss Smith that we’re willing to cooperate with her investigation in any way we can. I’ve given her all of the documents she’ll need.”

“Great,” Jake says. He gives me another one of his charming smiles then looks at me like he’s undressing me with his eyes.

I reflexively pull my suit jacket tighter even though I’m revealing nothing. I’m wearing a conservative button-down banker’s suit but I still feel like Jake can see through it somehow.

“I’ll look at the papers more closely when I get back to the city. I assume these are copies I can take with me?”

“Of course,” Cooper replies. The guy is all business. It’s in sharp contrast to his brother who seems more like a non-stop-party kind of guy.

“Did you decide if you want to see the roof?” Cooper asks.

When Jake laughs, Cooper glares at him.

“What?” Jake says. “If that’s supposed to be a pick up line, you’ve got a lot of work to do.”

“It’s not a pick-up line,” Cooper says through clenched teeth.

Still grinning, Jake asks, “You’re really going to show her the roof?”

“It’s not necessary,” I state. The last place I want to be is in the middle of these two guys’ drama. There’s obviously a lot more going on than just showing me the roof.

Jake leans close to me and I catch a whiff of his cologne. It’s a spicy and masculine. “Why don’t you let me show you the new stage we had built?”

I can feel the heat radiating from his muscular body and I’m quickly reminded by my body’s reaction that I haven’t had sex in over six months.

I gulp. “That’s not necessary.”

I can feel several beads of sweat roll down my forehead. I’m getting hot, and it’s not because of the temperature of the room has changed. It’s Jake’s closeness to me.

I jump from my chair. “I have everything I need.” I feel like waving the papers in front of my face like a fan but I refrain. I just need to get out of the bar and away from Jake. Then I’ll be fine.

That’s what I tell myself anyway.

Cooper rises from the table and gives me an odd look. I wish I could figure out what it would take to make the guy smile but I can’t stay next to Jake a minute longer. He’s like catnip and I’m the cat. I need to escape and get some fresh air.

“Thank you both for your cooperation,” I say.

“You’ll let us know if you need anything else?” Cooper asks.

“I will. It was a pleasure meeting you.” I put out my hand for Cooper to shake.

This time, when he touches me, I make a point of looking into his eyes. They seem to have gotten even darker and deeper in just the last few minutes and that makes me even more curious about him.

Business, I remind myself. You’re here for business and then it’s back to the city.

“It was nice meeting you, too,” Cooper says and once again, he only gives me the hint of a smile.

When Jake clears his throat, it breaks the moment between me and Cooper. I’m embarrassed that I lost control. I’m supposed to be a professional.

I noticed Jake has his hand out and I realize he wants me to shake it. The last thing I want is to do is touch Jake. I don’t want to get caught up in his charismatic web like a fly.

I give him a ridiculous wave instead and I feel like an idiot when he frowns.

“I’d better get going,” I say as I turn and make my way toward the door.

When I look back at the two brothers, they’re both staring at me. I don’t know why that makes me so nervous. I don’t plan on ever seeing either one of them again.

When I’m finally outside, I take in a deep breath of what I think will be fresh air and instead, I’m assaulted by the small of cow manure.

Great. Just great.

I hop into my car and turn the air conditioning up as high as it will go. I take in another deep breath and try to get the stench of cow dung out of my nasal passages. I can’t believe I’m shaking. I’m not sure if it’s because of Cooper or Jake. Maybe it’s a little of both. But I’m definitely rattled.

I just need to get out of Old Town and get back to the city, I tell myself. Then things will get back to normal.

As I put the car into reverse and begin to pull out of my parking space, I keep thinking: I just need to get out of here and get back to the city.

When I step on the accelerator to go forward, I drive right into an old Chevy pick-up truck that’s headed straight for me.

Meet the Author

Romance novelist Savannah Young grew up in rural northwest New Jersey in a place very similar to the fictional Old Town, which is featured in her books. When she’s not at her computer creating spicy stories, Savannah is traveling to exotic locales or spending time with her husband and their bloodhounds

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