SPIES AND SPINNERS Cover Reveal | Annika Martin (@annika_martin) – Author

Spies & Sinners #1-4
Annika Martin
Publication date: February 16th 2017
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense

Spies & Sinners #1-4
Annika Martin
Publication date: February 16th 2017
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense

COLE
She hates him. And now she has to play his girlfriend.

Deadly abs. Deadly aim. Deadly brilliant. Cole is one of the Association’s top agents, but he’s never come up against a psycho like Borgola…and he’s running out of time.

Then he catches Angel cracking the man’s uncrackable safe. He’ll blackmails her into helping him. He can’t worry about her safety. She’s just some criminal…right?

But the deeper they fall into Borgola’s web, the more innocent Angel seems…and the more real those fake kisses start to feel.

MAC
Where do you hide when your ex is the world’s most dangerous psycho?

Laney fled to Bangkok—new life, new identity, new everything. She keeps mostly to herself until the night she meets arrogant, gorgeous Professor Peter Maxwell and the sparks fly. He shatters her defenses—along with her pride when she discover he only seduced her to steal some secrets.

Just hours later, she finds him shirtless and sweaty, chained up in the hotel basement. He’s some sort of undercover agent. She should probably leave him there after what he did to her, maybe even kick him for good measure. But her pscyho ex is on his way back—she can feel it in her bones—and she could use a dangerous friend.

THORNE
He’s gorgeous. He’s a killer. And he can never discover he’s Benny’s father.

Nadia fell for the most feared hitter on her late father’s payroll, but she’s not sorry; without Thorne she wouldn’t have their beautiful boy. Now Thorne’s burst back into her life, arrogant and demanding, making himself right at home. She can’t let him figure out Benny is his…so she enlists a friend to play their son’s daddy.

Thorne knows exactly how Nadia sees him—as a brute and a killer just kinky enough to play her sexy games. And that’s how it has to stay. Leaving her two years ago was the hardest thing he ever did, but it was the only way to protect her. Now his undercover mission has thrown them back together…and it drives him crazy to see her with this other man, this new family.

HUGO
What do you do when dangerous criminals win your twin sister in a card game? Trade places, of course.

Zelda and her sister grew up with identical faces, but their paths went in opposite directions—Zelda became a secret agent while her sister got caught up in drugs. Zelda will do this one last thing to save her sister. She’s handled lethal men before…she can do it again.

But things don’t go as planned. Zelda ends up getting traded deeper and deeper into South America. Suddenly she finds herself at the beck and call of a domineering and mysterious new captor. Is he just another criminal? Or is could this be the legendary killer she spent so many years hunting back in her secret agent days?

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Grab Thorne for FREE!

 

Author Bio:

Annika Martin is a NYT bestselling author who lives with her awesome husband and two cats in a home full of plants, sunshine and books. She’s heavy into writing love stories about criminals–some of them are dirty and fun, others are dark and intense. She also writes as the RITA-award winning author Carolyn Crane. Get on Annika’s private email list here: http://eepurl.com/qzztT

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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SWEET VENOM Cover Reveal | Kirsty-Anne Still – Author

Sweet Venom
Author: Kirsty-Anne Still
Release Date: Feb 28, 2017
Add to TBR

There are two sides to every story.

Until there are three.

And ours isn’t for the faint of hearts.

***

SWEET VENOM is a crazy in love novel set in three point of views – crazy, crazier and craziest. This is a love triangle that is not made for those looking for an easy love story or an obvious end.
If I were you, I’d be careful who you fall for.

This is STANDALONE.
Meant for mature readers due to murder, violence and sex.

Sweet Venom | Cover Reveal
Sweet Venom | Cover Reveal

“Sorry!” I exclaim, noticing a young woman in a purple satin hoody. “I wasn’t looking where I was going!”

“It’s okay,” she says, her voice delicate. “Flower,” she says, a small, polite smile lays upon her pink lips and holds out a freshly cut pink orchid with a pink ribbon around it. “Treasure it.”

I take it, mesmerized by the beauty of the orchid. I look up, but she’s no longer looking at me and starts to slip away, but I grab her wrist before she can disappear.

“Thank you,” I tell her, grateful.

“No,” she starts to say, a bright smile bears her teeth. “Thank you.”

I let her go, leaving her to continue on through the groups of people.

“Ashley!” Lawson yells above the crowds and I look up to see him using a street light to get him higher than the crowds of people. “C’mon!”

I look once more behind me, noticing the blonde’s gone. I face toward Lawson who urges me to get to him and I listen. I keep the flower close to me and make my way through the masses. I catch up, the flower protected against my chest as I try to get passed people without damaging it. I make it to the front of a shop where everyone’s waiting and as I fall before them, I allow the flower the breathe.

“That got crazy,” I say, exhaling heavily. “But got given this,” I mention, putting the flower out.

A white tag declaring MARDI GRAS falls from my palm and I look proud with this collectable.

“By who?” Lawson barks, stepping forward to grab my hand. “Who gave you this?”

“I don’t know,” I say, looking at the orchid. “Some girl … she had a hood up, but she was blond. Why does it matter?”

Lawson says nothing, but takes the flower from me. His gentle with it, delicately touching it as if it’s the most fragile things he’s ever been given. I watch him pick at the ribbon with the tag on it. His face pales and he returns his gaze to me.

“It’s got your name on it,” he states and he spins the Mardi Gras tag to show my name in clear, curly red lettering.

My heart sinks.

“What?” I ask, reaching for it. “How is that possible?”

“Where is she?” he asks, his voice taut. “Which direction did she go in?”

“I don’t know,” I tell him, trying not to let fear get a grip on me. “Back towards our balcony, I guess. Who gave me this?”

I can see that Lawson doesn’t want to reply. His jaw becomes tight and he wets his lips, shuffling between his feet. I also see his effort not to run in that direction making the situation even harder to understand.

“Lawson,” I say, trying my hardest not to sound frightful. “What the fuck is going on?”

My question puts him more on edge, so he’s looking over his shoulder at everyone behind him. It’s now I see that they all hold the same solemn, bereaved look he did when he saw the pink orchid. Slowly, he turns back to me with a severely grave look in his eyes and he seems to have entered a trance as he looks back at the orchid. Gradually, he brings his eyes from the flower to mine and I see fear in them.

“She’ll rain down petals before she rains down hell,” he whispers, reluctantly giving me the flower back.

“What?” I ask, feeling my brow tightening. “What the hell does that mean?”

“Ashley,” Lawson starts, trying to steady his voice as his eyes fall once again onto the flower in my hand. “That’s the mark of death.”

Author, graphic designer, book worm, peppermint tea obsessive.

Kirsty-Anne stumbled across her love for writing as she started university. Over the last couple of years she’s found the style of writing that best defines her and her work. Her favourite genres to write are romantic suspense with dark themes, but loves to push her boundaries.

  

THE DEEP END Book Trailer | Kristen Ashley (@krinstenashley68) – Author

 

 

✮✮✮ A delicious world of erotica, BDSM with alpha-subs and their Dommes, and a gripping love story…Welcome to The Bee’s Honey! Check out the amazing trailer created by Book Candy Studios ✮✮✮

Fall into THE DEEP END and preorder your copy today!

 

 

The Deep End | Kristen Ashley

About THE DEEP END (Erotic Romance Releasing March 7, 2017):

Enter a decadent sensual world where gorgeous alpha males are committed to fulfilling a woman’s every desire…

Olivier isn’t sure what he’s gotten himself into when he joins the Honey Club, only that a dark part of him hungers for the lifestyle offered by this exclusive club. Here, no boundary will be left untested…and one’s deepest fantasies will become an exquisite reality.

When Amélie invites Olivier to surrender, she gives the alpha submissive what he craves. Soon they both find themselves falling harder than they ever anticipated—but as their connection deepens, the truth about Olivier’s past could destroy everything…

Gripping and seductive, The Deep End is the first book in a sensational new series from bestselling author Kristen Ashley.

Amazon | Kindle | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | GooglePlay

Kobo | IndieBound | BAM

 

 

The Deep End | Kristen Ashley

 

 

TRAILER: https://youtu.be/5xilSf4ZniI

 

 

Kristin Ashley - headshotAbout Kristen Ashley:

Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA and nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorize and she hadn’t taken her first breath!). Her mother said they took Kristen away, put her Mom back in her room, her mother looked out the window, and Gary was on fire (Dr. King had been assassinated four days before). Kristen’s Mom remembered thinking it was the end of the world. Quite the dramatic beginning.

Nothing’s changed.

Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana and has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus, she’s blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her family was (is) loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write. They all lived together on a very small farm in a small farm town in the heartland. She grew up with Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched).

Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up.

And as she keeps growing, it keeps getting better.

 

WEBSITE * FACEBOOK * TWITTER * NEWSLETTER * GOODREADS * PINTEREST * INSTAGRAM

 

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PARK AVENUE PRINCE Blog Tour | Louise Bay (@louisebay) – Review

Park Avenue Prince by Louise Bay
Release Date: February 13th
Genre: Contemporary Romance

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Louise Bay truly delivered a knock out read!  Park Avenue Prince is the coolest, freshest and sexiest book about life, love and relationships. Fueled by intense emotional baggage, it’s a breathtaking journey learning how life and love is a precious commodity regardless how long or short it may be.
 
Sam Shaw does not do relationships. Sam Shaw practically doesn’t do anything.  He just move into 740 Park Avenue and will have his old beat up couch delivered along with a mattress from Ikea.  This sums up Sam Shaw’s millionaire lifestyle.
 
 740 Park Avenue apartment is not his home.  It’s only an investment. Therefore he doesn’t need “life trappings” to make his life better.  He believes the more you have the more you could lose.  It’s a mantra that has governed his entire life after losing his parents in a car accident when he was 12 years old.
 
Grace Astor grew up on Park Avenue.  Grace has cut the ties to daddy’s money and decides to purse her dream to own an art gallery.  Her life is all about not living the “Park Avenue Princess” lifestyle. Which brings us to her choices in men.  He dates men who are fixer upers. Men who need fixing or nurtured in life, careers and relationships. She gives her heart to their struggles. Therefore it was not insta-lust at  their first introduction. Who she saw at her art gallery was another millionaire in the perfect suit who thinks he can buy anything and everyone he wants. 
 
When the two become friends they decide to try something new and take advantage of their attraction and enjoy physical pleasure with no emotional attachments. Slowly and surely Grace begins to imprint herself into Sam’s life.  He finds himself buying a bed – a real one and a new couch among other things.  This is what makes Sam Shaw book boyfriend swoon-worthy.   His reasoning – he wants to have Grace under him in bed.  Therefore he needs to make some necessary adjustments in his lifestyle choices.  You will enjoy theses   changes as you read their epic love story.  It will break your heart;  it will heal your soul. And after all is done, the quote below will sum it up beautiful. 
“Life is not measured by the number of breathes we take..
But by the moments that take our breath away”-  Author Unknown
4 KINK Review | Source: Advanced copy gifted by author and Social Butterfly PR
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THE PRINCE OF PARK AVENUE FINALLY MEETS HIS MATCH IN A FEISTY MANHATTAN PRINCESS.

I’ve made every one of my billions of dollars myself—I’m calculating, astute and the best at what I do. It takes drive and dedication to build what I have. And it leaves no time for love or girlfriends or relationships.

But don’t get me wrong, I’m not a monk.

I understand the attention and focus it takes to seduce a beautiful woman. They’re the same skills I use to close business deals. But one night is where it begins and ends. I’m not the guy who sends flowers. I’m not the guy who calls the next day.

Or so I thought before an impatient, smart-talking, beyond beautiful heiress bursts into my world.

When Grace Astor rolls her eyes at me—I want to hold her against me and show her what she’s been missing.

When she makes a joke at my expense—I want to silence her sassy mouth with my tongue.

And when she leaves straight after we f*ck with barely a goodbye—it makes me want to pin her down and remind her of the three orgasms she just had.

She might be a princess but I’m going to show her who rules in this Park Avenue bedroom.

 

Read Today!

$2.99 for Release Week ONLY!

pap-teaser10-v2About the Author:

USA Today bestselling author, Louise Bay writes sexy, contemporary romance novels – the kind she likes to read. Her books include the novels Hopeful, The Empire State Series, Parisian Nights, Promised Nights, Indigo Nights and King of Wall Street.

Ruined by bonk-busters and sexy mini-series of the eighties Louise loves all things sexy and romantic. There’s not enough of it in real life so she disappears into the fictional worlds in books and films.

Louise loves the rain, the West Wing, London, days when she doesn’t have to wear make-up, being on her own, being with friends, elephants and champagne.

She loves to hear from readers so get in touch!

Connect with Louise:

Faceboook: https://www.facebook.com/authorlouisebay/
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/louisesbay
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8056592.Louise_Bay
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1WqwGAf

5 One-Hand Reads Guaranteed To Light Your Fire This Valentine’s Day

CLICK THE BOOK COVER TO READ FULL REVIEW

5. Indigo Nights by Louise Bay
This book was worth the hangover the next day from lack of sleep. It’s magical, dirty, real and erotic with a side of orgasms. Who needs chocolate? This is truly a great substitute as well. You will not be able to control the increase heart rate, the sense of euphoria, the tingling sensation and the ultimate wave of pleasure. Hear what I am NOT saying!

Indigo Nights | Louise Bay

 

4. Owned by M. Never
If you ever wonder what the dark side of D/s, master/slave relationship was like…look no further. Ellie wakes up the next morning in a cage with a hangover from being drugged. She is isolated, starved and sleep deprived for days while Kayne waits for her to give in and submit.

Owned | M Never

3. American Queen by Sierra Simone
Sierra Simon’s writing is my illustrious drug of choice. And I am totally addicted. You will find yourself experiencing anxiety, increase heart rate, palpitations and insomnia. The sex scenes are downright combustible, provocative, lewd and depraved. And that’s a good thing!

American Queen | Sierra Simone

2. Outsider by Olivia Cunning
Olivia Cunning is back at her absolute best! Nobody does rock star romance like her. NOBODY! To give Reagan, Trey and Ethan’s story the justice it luxuriously deserves, it is eye-popping scorching hot from start to finish. Olivia Cunning took a human story of family bonds, success, the power of music and created a “Rockstar Romance Powerhouse.” This is by far the best romp of the year. It holds you on the edge of your seat before arousing you out of it.

Outsider | Olivia Cunning

1. Priest by Sierra Simone

The sex is hot and forbidden. It’s the forbidden that pulls you in and makes you keep turning the pages. It’s the forbidden that keeps you wondering just how far? And it delivers.
Like all good dirty books, it has your toes twinkling and your lady bits twitching. There are times you will put away the Kindle and let a breathe out and say, “Whoa, get yourself together girl”

Priest by Sierra Simone

 

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SO, there you have it! Our take on the best reads for Valentine’s Day 2017. What books would you add to our list or take away. Leave a comment and tell us. We would love to know some of your favorite one-hand reads!

UNTIL SAGE Cover Reveal | Aurora Rose Reynolds (@auroraroseR) – Author

Until Sage by Aurora Rose Reynolds
Release Date: May 9th

Add to your TBR at: http://bit.ly/2kFKniP

UNTIL SAGE | Aurora Rose Reynolds

 

about-the-book-yellow

Sage Mayson had Kimberly Cullen once, and the memory of that brief encounter has tortured him since the moment he pushed her away. He should have followed his gut, but he didn’t, and now he’s left watching the woman he wants more than anything from afar.

Kimberly vowed to protect her heart from Sage, but when her sister is murdered and her world starts to fall apart, he’s the one person she finds herself leaning on.

Getting a second chance is something Sage knows is rare. He’s not going to squander the one he’s been given, and he won’t take no for an answer when it comes to making Kim his.

But what Sage doesn’t know is Kim has a secret that could leave them both devastated and heartbroken.

aurora-rose-reynolds

http://aurorarosereynolds.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/AuroraRoseReynolds

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7215619.Aurora_Rose_Reynolds

 

 

BURN Release Blitz | Helen Hardt (@helenhardt) – Author

Burn (Steel Brothers Saga #5)  by Helen Hardt

Release Date: 14th February

Genre: Contemporary Romance
#steelbrothers #helenhardt #waterhousepress



Goodreads


Synopsis

Jonah Steel is knee deep into trying to solve the mystery surrounding his family and his brother’s abduction, and the arrival of his best friend has complicated the situation…although not as much as his infatuation with his brother’s therapist, Dr. Melanie Carmichael. The quiet humility of the blond beauty has him enthralled, and he burns for her as he never has for any woman. 

Melanie Carmichael is intelligent and driven, yet filled with regret. She has fallen in love with gorgeous Jonah Steel, but fears she may never be able to tell him. The demons from her past have come for her…and she may not get out alive.



Meet The Author:


New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Helen Hardt’s passion for the written word began with the books her mother read to her at bedtime. She wrote her first story at age six and hasn’t stopped since. In addition to being an award winning author of contemporary and historical romance and erotica, she’s a mother, a black belt in Taekwondo, a grammar geek, an appreciator of fine red wine, and a lover of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. She writes from her home in Colorado, where she lives with her family. Helen loves to hear from readers.



Facebook   Twitter

Buy Links for all Helen’s Books: http://www.helenhardt.com/book/



Buy Links:


All buy links can be found here for all of Helen’s books: http://www.helenhardt.com/book/burn/

Burn Buy links:

Nook         Kobo

Giveaway 

 

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The Steel Brothers Saga continues……..


Surrender (Steel Brothers #6) – Releases 16th May 2017



 

TEMPT ME Release Blitz | J. Kenner (@juliekenner) – Author

 

 

Tempt Me_J Kenner_300dpiSometimes passion has a price …

When sexy Stark Security Chief Ryan Hunter whisks his girlfriend Jamie Archer away for a passionate, romance-filled weekend so he can finally pop the question, he’s certain that the answer will be an enthusiastic yes. So when Jamie tries to avoid the conversation, hiding her fears of commitment and change under a blanket of wild sensuality and decadent playtime in bed, Ryan is more determined than ever to convince Jamie that they belong together.

Knowing there’s no halfway with this woman, Ryan gives her an ultimatum – marry him or walk away. Now Jamie is forced to face her deepest insecurities or risk destroying the best thing in her life. And it will take all of her strength, and all of Ryan’s love, to keep her right where she belongs…

Amazon – http://amzn.to/2bF9L6H 
Amazon UK – 
http://amzn.to/2k7xJcA 
Print – 
http://amzn.to/2ci9nFQ 
iBooks – 
http://apple.co/2cEzIQA 
Kobo – 
http://bit.ly/2cnbvi9 
Google Play – 
http://bit.ly/2cr84EO

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“Kiss me,” he says, and I close my mouth over his, losing myself in the sensation of being body on body like this, so close I can’t tell if the heartbeat I’m feeling belongs to Ryan or me.

We move slowly at first, but there’s no holding back, and soon our motions are frenzied. Soon, he’s exploding inside me. Soon, I shatter in his arms.

“Oh, baby,” he murmurs when we’re sane again and he’s looking at my face with eyes filled with love. “You are so beautiful.”

I bend and kiss him—my heart overflowing. And I can’t help but think how different it is with Ryan than the men I’d been with before. Before, when a guy called me beautiful, I’d mentally cringed, at least a little.

Because the truth is, I am beautiful. It’s not an ego thing—it’s just an empirical fact. It’s useful, and I’ve definitely traded on it. But it’s not who I am. Not the heart of me. And in my life BR—

Before Ryan—whenever a guy called me beautiful, I never knew if he cared about me, or if he was just happy to have a pretty piece of a**.

With Ryan, I know without a doubt that he loves me. And the beauty he sees in me is more than what a camera sees.

He sees the whole woman. A lover, a friend. He sees a girl he can laugh with. That he can talk to. A woman to spend long, lazy nights with. A woman with hopes and dreams and fears and doubts.

He sees me. Jamie Archer. And that’s a really nice feeling.

“I love you,” I say, those little words just spilling out of me. “You’re the best thing that ever happened to me.”

The moment I say the words, though, I regret them. Not because they aren’t true—they are.

But because I can see the response on Ryan’s face, though he knows enough not to say the words out loud.

If that’s true, then why won’t you marry me?

 

Julie - J Kenner Author PhotoJ.Kenner (aka Julie Kenner) is the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, Wall Street Journal and #1 International bestselling author of over seventy novels, novellas and short stories in a variety of genres.

Though known primarily for her award-winning and international bestselling erotic romances (including the Stark and Most Wanted series) that have reached as high as #2 on the New York Times bestseller list, JK has been writing full time for over a decade in a variety of genres including paranormal and contemporary romance, “chicklit” suspense, urban fantasy, and paranormal mommy lit.

JK has been praised by Publishers Weekly as an author with a “flair for dialogue and eccentric characterizations” and by RT Bookclub for having “cornered the market on sinfully attractive, dominant antiheroes and the women who swoon for them.” A five time finalist for Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA award, JK took home the first RITA trophy awarded in the category of erotic romance in 2014 for her novel, Claim Me (book 2 of her Stark Trilogy). Her Demon Hunting Soccer Mom series (as Julie Kenner) is currently in development with AwesomenessTV/Awestruck.

Her books have sold over three million copies and are published in over twenty languages.

In her previous career as an attorney, JK worked as a clerk on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and practiced primarily civil, entertainment and First Amendment litigation in Los Angeles and Irvine, California, as well as in Austin, Texas. She currently lives in Central Texas, with her husband, two daughters, and two rather spastic cats.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | YouTube | Amazon Author Page

UNTIL SYDNEY Release Blitz | Marissa Dobson (@marissaMDobson) – Author

Until Sydney by Marissa Dobson

Series: Tanner Cycles Book One
Release Date: February 14, 2017

Forbidden fruit is so much more tempting…

The one woman Coal Tanner was never supposed to touch was the very same he couldn’t resist. She was his best friend’s baby sister, putting her strictly off limits. Not to mention, she was ten years his junior. Yet, she was the only person who made him feel alive, wanted, and everything in between. When he gets a call from his friend asking him to protect her, it’s not just her safety that’s on the line but his heart.

Sydney Manor wants to turn her life around after her family is ripped apart. Alone, she’s doing her best to start over, until a man from her past swoops in, trying to save her from the dangers lurking around her. How can he protect her when he knows nothing about the sordid things her family became involved with once he’d left town, years earlier? How can she pretend they are just friends when, unbeknownst to him, he’s owned her heart since he’d come to her rescue on the playground when she was six?

Now that life has thrown them together again, he might have a second chance if he can keep his doubts from forcing him to push her away again—even if it’s for her own good. Coal’s business has taken off, keeping him working long hours, giving him everything he ever wanted. But now that she’s back in his life, he realizes something’s been missing—her.

Amazon USAmazon UKBarnes & NoblesiBooksKobo

Chapter One

Outside the office windows, the world went by unnoticed by Coal Tanner as he continued working late into the night. Work didn’t stop just because the day faded into darkness. He put his heart and soul into Tanner Cycles and his work was never done. There were always parts to be found and ordered, clients to contact, designs to be approved, and more. The business had exploded far beyond what he’d thought it would. While that meant he had to take on more of an administrative role, leaving the hands-on work to his brothers, he still received the same rush of adrenaline with each completed project.

His cell phone vibrated along his desk, stealing his attention from the computer screen. Unknown caller. For a moment, he debated not answering it. The only people who had his number were his brothers, and a few friends. Business calls went to his office phone first and if he wasn’t there, they would be directed to his cell phone. This call never came through his office, meaning it was either someone close to him or a wrong number. With everyone’s number that was important to him programmed into the phone, it was more likely the latter. Still, he found himself putting his work on hold and picking up the call.

“Hello?”

“Fuck, man, I thought you weren’t going to answer.”

“Jay?” Coal’s original frustration fizzled out as the voice of his old buddy drifted through the speaker. “How’s it going?”

“Not so good. I was locked up tonight, but that’s not why I called.” Jay paused for a moment and lowered his voice. “It’s Syd.”

“Fuck, man!” He dragged his hand through his hair and leaned back in his leather office chair. “Tell me you didn’t get her involved in your shit.” It was bad enough that his old buddy couldn’t clean his act up but to bring his sister down with him took the whole mess to another level.

“Nah, but she’s in trouble. If they can’t find me…” Jay hesitated. “You know what will happen. Fuck! You’ve got to help me. That’s my baby sister.”

Yeah, he knew what would happen. They’d go after anyone connected to him, which would leave Sydney with a bullseye on her back that she might not even know about. “Where is she? Still living at your old house?”

“Yeah. I know it’s a few hours’ drive from you, but I don’t have anyone else to call that can keep her safe.”

“What about your dad? Can’t he watch out for her?” With the mention of Mr. Manor, Coal’s chest tightened. He didn’t like the idea of Syd being alone with him, even if he was her father. Whenever he was strung out on drugs, he turned abusive and Coal wouldn’t force anyone to suffer that torment, especially not Syd.

“He’s been locked up for a couple years now. Guess I’ll be joining him…” There was noise on the other end and Jay’s voice rose a notch. “I’m begging, man—you’ve got to help her.”

“Don’t sweat it. I’m heading out now. She’s not going to be happy, but I’ll have to bring her up here with me. It’s the best way to protect her. I can’t be gone from the shop for months.” Coal hit the save button on the document he was working on and shut down the laptop.

“I don’t give a shit if you drag her away kicking and screaming. Just protect her. If anything happens to her—”

The line went dead and Coal tossed the phone back onto the desk. No doubt his time was up. Coal didn’t need Jay to finish the threat for him to know his friend would hold him responsible if anything happened to Syd. Jay wouldn’t place the blame on himself for getting into this mess and leaving Sydney at risk. He would only see Coal’s inability to protect her.

Coal would drop everything to make sure she was safe. It didn’t matter, because there was no way he was letting her get caught up in the shit her brother left her in the middle of.

Shoving his laptop into his bag, he glanced at the clock on the wall, realizing it was past midnight. “Fuck.” It would take him at least twelve hours in the car, and that was with him breaking the speed limit and not hitting any traffic. He needed to get there quick if he was going to get her out of town before whoever Jay owed money to came looking for him. He grabbed his cell phone off his desk again and scrolled through his contacts. Knuckles.

The late hour didn’t faze him as he hit the button to call his old friend. Knuckles was a good guy, loyal to the family, and had been their pilot for more than ten years. There wasn’t a doubt in Coal’s mind that he could trust him to be willing to jump his aid now.

“Yeah?”

“Knuckles, I need a lift. How soon can you make it to the airstrip?”

“Tonight?” There was a hush of a female voice in the background, letting Coal know that Knuckles wasn’t alone. “Fine, man. Give me twenty. Will I be waiting for you? I have another run tomorrow afternoon, so I need to be back before then.”

“No, just drop me off in Pittsburgh. Then you can return, get some sleep, and be ready for Cal. File the flight plan. I’ll see you when you get here.” He didn’t give Knuckles a chance to respond before hitting end on the cell phone and placing it back on the desk. Who knew how long it would take him to convince Sydney she needed to get out of town? He wouldn’t hold Knuckles up when his brother, Callaway, needed him to pick up a cycle from Texas they were going to restore.

He left his laptop bag sitting by his desk and headed up the steps to his place. While his brothers shared a house on the other side of the landing strip, he preferred his privacy, so he’d turned the third floor of the warehouse into his own private condo. It had been used for storage but with some time, money, and a lot of cleaning, it had turned into a sanctuary where he could get away from work, at least as much as he would allow himself. He’d gather a few things in case he got tied up in Pennsylvania and once they were in the air, he’d arrange for a rental car.

Flying out of Pittsburgh’s airport with Syd would be too risky. Too many people could see them traveling through the terminals. He’d need to get her out of the city, possibly out of the state, before they could risk Knuckles flying them back to Minnesota. By then it would be easier to just continue the trip back by car, rather than wait for Knuckles. Especially if she’s fighting me every step of the way.

* * *

Every step Sydney Manor took in the old house produced a creak that seemed more sinister now that she was alone. It wasn’t the first time in her life she had been home alone, but this was the first time no one would be coming back to her. She was alone in the world and finding someone on the porch when she arrived home from work had left her uneasy. It was a friend of Jay’s but his cryptic warning told her he’d be trouble.

Terrified, she made sure every door and window was locked, before escaping to what had once been her sanctuary—her room. She needed to figure some things out. With her father and two brothers behind bars, how was she going to pay the bills, handle whatever legal fees they needed, and everything else? She needed to come up with a plan. Instead, all she could think was that she was the last Manor standing. All of the males in her family had ventured down the wrong route in life, while she’d vowed to stay out of trouble and away from the drugs that had ruined her family.

Maybe she needed to leave the area. The part of town they lived in had become so consumed by drugs and crime, it wasn’t safe there any longer—especially not without Jay or someone there. At eighteen having just graduated from high school a couple of months ago, surely she could find work somewhere else. A hundred bucks was all she had to her name, but there had to be something in this shit hole they called home that she could sell.

A fist pounded on the door, and fear rose within her. Without turning on a light, she reached over to her nightstand and grabbed the handgun she had placed there. The gun was her father’s, but he’d taught her how to use it years ago. He must have known he was going to prison and she’d be left with Jay. This had been his gift to her, so she could protect herself if the time ever came. Her brother had been into the same shit as her father so he had to realize that one day this would be her fate. They’d sheltered her, protecting her from the worst parts of their lives. Now, something about this whole situation screamed that she had been tossed directly into shark infested waters. What was she supposed to do?

The pounding on the door stopped, then resumed; whoever it was had gone to the back door. She wanted to creep out of her room and see who it could be but whoever was there in the middle of the night hadn’t come for a visit. They were coming because of something Jay had done. She didn’t want to die because he owed someone money, or someone wanted drugs. The hundred dollars she had in her purse was all she had. She couldn’t pay someone off.

The noise subsided and her breaths came easier. The person at the door would be back, though; she wasn’t going to get rid of her problems that easy. Knowing that she needed to get out of there, she eased off the bed and began to throw things into a duffle bag. There was no place to go but she couldn’t stay. She had to do something.

“Sydney.” The male voice was unfamiliar.

The stairs creaked and she pressed her back to her bedroom wall. She held the gun out before her, knowing she needed to relax, focus on the target, and be ready when he entered her room.

“Syd…” The soft, husky voice drifted through the door.

It can’t be. Maybe it was her ears playing tricks on her but she swore that voice belonged to someone she knew. Someone she could trust. With the gun at the ready, she couldn’t stop the dash of hope from blooming within her. Could he have known and come for her? All these years later, would he be her saving grace again?

Without a sound, the bedroom door handle turned and the door drifted open. Could she do this? Could she really pull the trigger? She didn’t know but her finger hovered over it. Give me the strength…

“Syd…” A man stepped through the open door and her heart skipped a beat.

“Coal!” Tears streamed from her eyes. She wanted to go to him and have him wrap his arms around her, but fear rooted her to the spot. How did he know she needed him?

“Damn it, why didn’t you answer me!”

“What do you want?” Suspicion crept into her words. Was he tied into the mess Jay was in? She knew he and his brothers had left the state and made it big but it didn’t stop the misgiving from tainting her thoughts. What was the big man behind Tanner Cycles doing slumming in her neck of the woods? Now that he was a rich man, he never came back to their old stomping grounds.

“Syd.” He stepped farther into the room. “I came for you. Get your stuff. We’re going somewhere safe.”

“I can’t…” She didn’t know why she said that. While she had dreamed about him coming and rescuing her from the mess she called her life, now that he was here, she was scared. But did she fear leaving everything she knew behind or her feelings for him? She wasn’t sure. He could have any woman he wanted. Why would he want her?

“Can’t?” He tipped his head toward the half packed duffle bag on her bed. “It looks like you were considering just that when I arrived.”

“They’re after me.” Her gaze drifted toward the window as she wondered if they were outside. Were they out there waiting for her to come out? Would they eventually make their way inside and find her? She couldn’t stay cooped up in the house forever. She’d have to go grocery shopping; after all, there was nothing left in the refrigerator expected a sour container of milk and Chinese food from three days ago. Damn you, Jay!

“I know. That’s why I’m here.” Watching her intently, he inched closer to her. “How about we put down the gun?”

“Huh?” She followed his gaze and realized she was still pointing the gun at his chest. “Shit!” Carefully moving her finger away from the trigger, she lowered it. In her heart, she knew she couldn’t shoot Coal, even if it turned out he was part of Jay’s mess.

“Give it to me.” He held his hand out for it.

“I might need it.” There was no safety on the gun and she already had one round ready in the chamber, just in case. “They were already here.”

He closed the distance between them and with one hand, he cupped the side of her face, while with the other, he reached for the gun that she now pointed at the floor. “Do you trust me, Sydney?”

“Yes.” The single word came out more like a squeak as she could finally take in the man before her. Before the darkness and shadows prevented her from getting a good look at him. The pictures in the magazines and online didn’t do him justice. His broad shoulders and thick biceps made her feel small. She wanted to reach around his neck and unravel the tie that kept his shoulder length, dark brown hair out of his face. In the years since he’d left the city, he’d transformed from a young man with an attitude to a man who was beyond sexy.

“Syd, are you listening to me?” He took the gun from her hand and placed it on the dresser.

“What?” She blinked away her thoughts and the anxiety rushed back. “I, umm…”

“Finish packing. We’re leaving.” He stepped back from her and she had to wrap her arms around herself to shake off the chill.

“I don’t have anywhere to go.” Even as she argued, she went to her dresser, pulling out the few things she wanted to take with her.

“You’re coming home with me.” He stepped to the window and glanced out at the street. “Take everything you need. You won’t be coming back here for a while, if ever.”

She tossed the last of her clothes into the bag before grabbing her purse and the money she’d hidden from Jay in her nightstand. “Maybe Jay will get out and…”

“I doubt it.” He stepped back from the window and nodded to the bag. “Ready?”

“Why do you doubt it?” While she could take a guess, she wasn’t even sure what he’d been arrested for. “He has to come back.” If he didn’t get out of jail and take care of whoever was looking for her, how would she be able to move on with her life? Wouldn’t they continue looking for her, until he squared things with them? She wasn’t sure if he owed them drugs or money but she had no doubt he owed them big for them to already be at the house looking for him.

“Syd…” As his gaze fell on her, the words faded away, and sadness shined back at her when she looked him in the eyes. “Fuck! I could kill him for putting you in the middle of this.”

“It’s bad, isn’t it?” The pieces of the puzzle were falling into place and she realized it was worse than she thought. If Jay had called Coal to get her out of the city, her brother wasn’t coming home anytime soon. But it wasn’t even that; it was the caution in the way Coal acted. He hadn’t turned on any lights and he stuck to the shadows as if expecting someone to be lingering around the house, watching for her. “They’re going to kill me because of him, aren’t they?”

“No, baby.” He wrapped his arm around her and pulled her tight against his body. “I’m going to protect you, but we’ve got to go. Do you have everything you want? Anything that’s not important we can replace once we get where we’re going.”

When she nodded, he stepped back, grabbed her duffle bag, and slid it over his shoulder. “Let’s go.”

She reached back to the dresser, her hand brushing against the butt of the gun when his arm wrapped around her waist and pulled her away. “Wait.”

“No.” He tugged her toward the door and when she fought him, he pushed her up against the wall. “Can you guarantee me that gun isn’t stolen? That it hasn’t been used in a crime? Damn it, Syd, I know what Jay’s been doing all these years. Tim…your dad…do you want to end up like them? Getting caught with a stolen gun…using the fucking thing…what the hell are you thinking?”

“I’m thinking about staying alive. Just because they’ve done those things doesn’t mean I’ve done anything wrong.”

“Still so naïve.” He tucked a strand of her hair behind her ear and shook his head. “The police know you. They know you’re connected to Jay. With him out of the picture, they’re going to be wondering if you’re picking up where he left off. Just like Jay took over from your dad. In the twenty minutes I’ve been here, I’ve seen two police cruisers. Do you think that’s a coincidence? Every single officer who knows your family is wondering if you’re in on it, too. They don’t have any proof, but you’re the last one left and look where you’re living. They’ll be watching you.”

“But I’ve never…” She tried to argue but he was right. Three months earlier, Jay was dropping her off at work and they were pulled over for speeding. The car was searched and Jay had drugs on him. He was arrested and she was questioned as if she was guilty by association. That was when she started putting money aside, with the intent on getting the hell out of town. Everyone who knew her family thought she was no good, just like them. “Why come back if you think I’m just like them? Surely you don’t want to tarnish your perfect appearance. Mr. Millionaire with it all together, what are you doing here? Slumming?”

The sound of glass shattering stopped him from giving an answer. Instead, he took her hand and pulled her down the stairs, toward the front door. “Stay behind me.”

“You don’t go toward the noise. That’s how everyone ends up dead in a scary movie. Shouldn’t we go back upstairs?” Upstairs they’d find them, but there, she had the gun. They could protect themselves. “I can’t run forever. Maybe I should just face them.”

“Bullshit.” At the bottom of the stairs, he glanced out the window next to the door before opening it. “Let’s go.” He pushed her out the front door, keeping her close to him, as a figure came out of the kitchen.

“Don’t fucking move!” the figure in black hollered at them as Coal slammed the front door behind them.

“Move!” He pulled her down the deserted street as bullets rang out behind them. They ran toward the car he pointed to, clicking the universal remote “Get in.”

As she climbed into the passenger side, she chanced a look back at the house in time to see a man lumbering off the porch, his weapon pointed in their direction. Coal got in the driver’s seat and started the engine. Moments later, gunshots echoed through the stillness of the night. Terror filled her, stealing her breath from her lungs.

“Coal!”

About the Author:

Born and raised in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area, Marissa Dobson now resides about an hour from Washington, D.C. She’s a lady who likes to keep busy, and is always busy doing something. With two different college degrees, she believes you are never done learning.

Being the first daughter to an avid reader, this gave her the advantage of learning to read at a young age. Since learning to read she has always had her nose in a book. It wasn’t until she was a teenager that she started writing down the stories she came up with.

Marissa is blessed with a wonderful supportive husband, Thomas. He’s her other half and allows her to stay home and pursue her writing. He puts up with all her quirks and listens to her brainstorm in the middle of the night.

Her writing buddy Pup Cameron, a cocker spaniel, is always around to listen to her bounce ideas off him. He might not be able to answer, but they’re helpful in their own ways.

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