Blog Tour + Chapter One – CONFESSIONS: ROBBIE by Ella Frank

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Confessions: Robbie, an all new tantalizing contemporary MMM Romance by Ella Frank, is available NOW!

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Relationships are complex.

Love ever-changing.

And when it comes to rules of the heart,

they were made to be broken…

That’s what Robert Antonio Bianchi was telling himself, anyway.

Otherwise, he really had no excuse for what—or who—he’d done.

No excuse, except for his lonely heart, a pitcher of margaritas, four Bitter Bitches, and the apparent need to confess all his weaknesses to the two men he knew would bring him nothing but trouble.

But trouble was nothing new.

Just ask his crazy sisters or any of his friends, and they’d be the first to tell you:

If there was a bad decision to be made, Robbie always had a knack for making it.

And thus begins the story of the priest, the princess, and the prick.


CHAPTER ONE

CONFESSION

If there’s a bad decision to make, I will make it.

DRUNK-DIALING IS never a smart move. But drunk-dialing a married man? That is a monumentally stupid move.

That was the thought rolling around Robbie’s muddled brain as he stood with his best friend Elliot at the bar of CRUSH and tossed back his fourth Bitter Bitch. The conversation he was having with himself wasn’t a new one—or a welcome one, he thought as he swayed on his feet and kind of stumbled into the stool beside him. But forgetting his lonely life with alcohol and men who were all wrong for him seemed like an increasingly good way to cope tonight.

The hum and throb of the bass beat was rattling through him, but instead of feeling the pull he usually did to head out to the dance floor and have fun, tonight it seemed to be having the opposite effect. It was making him think really stupid thoughts.

“You’re so wasted, Bianchi,” Elliot said as he grabbed Robbie’s arm and guided him to the barstool. “What’s that? Your third shot? And how many margaritas did you have at dinner?”

Robbie held up two, then three fingers, and shrugged. “Who cares? Everyone had their New Year’s on Sunday. Tonight’s mine, and I want to celebrate.”

“If you celebrate any more, you aren’t gonna remember your first night out of the New Year.”

“Don’t care,” Robbie said, as he waved his hand through the air with flourish and leaned a little too much into the action. Luckily, Elliot was there to prop him up. “I wanna have fun tonight. Do something I shouldn’t.”

Elliot leaned his elbows back on the bar so he was facing the dance floor and said, “Why don’t you get out there and let someone do you instead? You look gorgeous tonight, darling.”

He’s right, I do look cute, Robbie thought.

In his skinny jeans and purple V-neck tee that was practically a second skin, Robbie had gone all out with smoky eyes and a new pink shade of gloss he’d bought a couple of days ago that tasted like—mmm, strawberries. He could totally hit the dance floor, find a willing man, and let him do all kinds of things. But that seemed so boring tonight, so normal, and so not what he wanted.

He wanted wild. He wanted adventure. He wanted danger. And when the two men he knew were both those things entered his mind, Robbie quickly shook his head, trying to shake them free.

Stop thinking about them, he ordered himself, but that was easier said than done. One of them was one of the sexiest men he’d ever seen, and the other the most frustrating—and what was worse was that he couldn’t have either of them even if he wanted to. What was with everyone being fucking married all of a sudden? And to each other?

But oh the dreams he’d been having lately. The three of them, all sweaty and naked; they were enough to make him want to

No, no, no. That is the worst idea you could have, Robbie told himself. Drunk or sober.

Worst.

Idea.

Ever.

Plus, you don’t even like one of them. So stop obsessing over it.

“Earth to Robbie…” Elliot said, waving a hand, and Robbie shrugged.

“I don’t know. I’m just not in the mood.”

You’re not in the mood to grind all over a naked man? Okay, where the hell is my best friend and what did you do with him?” Elliot asked as he swept his black bangs out of his eyes.

“I don’t know.” Robbie slumped forward on the bar, dramatic as ever, and looked up at Elliot from under his lashes. “I think I’m in a state of mourning, El, and I don’t know how to get out of it.”

Elliot frowned. “Is this about Logan? I thought you were happy for him and Tate?”

“I am, but— Ugh. They just got engaged, and now all of a sudden, he’s married. Married.”

“I know, babe. But you knew it was coming.”

“Doesn’t make it any easier. Knowing there are two more beautiful men off the market forever due to a ring and a piece of paper is just depressing.”

“Two more men?” Elliot said, regarding him with a suspicious eye. “Who else do you know who’s hitched?”

Julien, Robbie instantly thought, as an image of the famous chef came to mind.

Julien “the Prick” Thornton. And this time, as Julien’s name ran through Robbie’s head, he made a point to roll the Jul over his tongue the way Julien had when he’d introduced himself that night at the bar. That’s right…Julien “I’m gay, gorgeous, and, oh yeah, married to your worst enemy” Thornton. He was hitched.

“No one,” Robbie said, and pouted. Then he swiveled on the stool to look out at the men gyrating all over one another. “You go and play for the both of us. I’m going to sit here and—”

“Ferment?”

“Okay that word is too big for my brain right now,” Robbie said, and winced. “Go and feel up the muscles and men for me. Someone should get some enjoyment out of them.”

Elliot pursed his lips. “I don’t know…”

“I’m just gonna sit here. Not going anywhere,” Robbie promised, crossing a finger over his chest.

“Your heart is on the other side, genius.”

Robbie switched sides and did it again. “I’m just gonna drown my sorrows so my body hurts tomorrow and will take my mind off my broken heart.”

“Aww, cheer up, Buttercup. Your Prince Charming will come to you one day soon.”

“Well, until then”—Robbie gestured for the bartender—“I’m going to drink myself into a deep slumber in the hopes that maybe he’ll come on me, or, you know, at least kiss me back to life.”

Elliot placed a hand on Robbie’s arm. “Do not go anywhere. I’ll be back for you.”

“I can’t feel my legs to move, so… I’ll stay. Like a good little boy.”

“Don’t know how good you are, but…” Elliot chuckled, then before he headed out to the dance floor, said, “Where’s your phone?”

Robbie dug into his pants pocket and pulled it free.

Elliot opened the contacts and scrolled down to his name, and then set it on the bar in front of Robbie. “You need me, call. Do not leave this seat.”

Robbie touched his fingertips to his temple in a sloppy salute and then hiccupped. “Yes, sir.”

“Okay. Be back for you soon.” Elliot then turned to the bartender and said, “No more after this for him.”

When the bartender nodded, Robbie’s mouth fell open. “Hello, you’re not my mother.”

“Lucky for you. She’d be spanking your ass right now, not to mention your sisters, and I’m sure you’d much rather have that done by a man who would then pound it afterward. I’ll be back.”

Robbie dismissed Elliot with a wave of his hand, and then took great interest in scrolling up and down his list of contacts, searching for someone to occupy his time. It wasn’t until he saw Julien’s number that he realized how drunk he was, because that was the only excuse he could think of as to why he hit call.

Well that, and: If there’s a bad decision to make, I will make it.

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About Ella

Ella Frank is the USA Today Bestselling author of the Temptation series, including Try, Take, and Trust and is the co-author of the fan-favorite contemporary romance, Sex Addict. Her Exquisite series has been praised as “scorching hot!” and “enticingly sexy!”

Some of her favorite authors include Tiffany Reisz, Kresley Cole, Riley Hart, J.R. Ward, Erika Wilde, Gena Showalter, and Carly Phillips.

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Blog Tour + Chapter One – REMEMBER ME WHEN by Brooke Blaine

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Experience the heartbreakingly beautiful journey of Ollie & Reid in…Remember Me When, the emotional conclusion to The Unforgettable Duet from Brooke Blaine, is now LIVE!

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My worst nightmare and your greatest fear became a reality.

Remember Me When is the second and final book in The Unforgettable Duet and should only be read following Forget Me Not.

Chapter One

THE UNFORGETTABLE DUET
© 2018, BROOKE BLAINE
CHAPTER ONE

“IT’S MONDAY, AND you know what that means,” Mike said as he cut off Big Bertha’s engine and looked over at me expectantly.
I patted my pants pocket to make sure I’d shoved my wallet inside before we’d headed out this morning, and when I felt the outline of the trifold, I nodded. “Yep. Extra-bold coffee comin’ up.” As I popped open the passenger-side door, Mike’s hand landed firmly on my arm, halting me before I could get out of the ambulance, and I looked back at him over my shoulder.
“It means don’t be a chickenshit, Ollie, that’s what it means.”
Lifting my eyebrows, I glanced around, searching for whoever it was Mike thought he was talking to, and when he read my quizzical expression, he snorted.
“Yeah, that means you,” he said.
“You callin’ me out?”
“Damn right I am.”
I shook my head. “I’m not a chickenshit, and you know it.”
Mike shrugged and let go of my arm. “Fine. Prove it.”
“I can’t do that.”
“You can. You just won’t.”
Yeah, whatever, he had me there. Something always held me back from saying much more than hello to the guy in the fitted chinos and starched collared shirt and tie that I saw most mornings in the coffee aisle at Joe’s Grab ’N Go, and Mike never could resist an opportunity to rib me for it. I never should’ve told him about my crush in the first damn place, but being my best friend as well as my work partner meant we tended to overshare in the time between calls.
“He’s straight, Mike. Leave it alone, huh?”
“You don’t know that for sure.”
I picked up a container of mints and shook a couple into my mouth before tossing it back in the console. “Trust me. I know.”
“You ask him since the last time I saw you?”
Rolling my eyes, I ignored his question and pushed open my door. “You want that coffee or not?”
“Mhmm. The date for you, too.”
“Jesus,” I muttered, slamming the door before he could make any other requests. I could hear him chuckling behind me as he got out to pump the gas. And out of the corner of my eye, a flash of red pulling into a parking spot had my heart beating a bit faster. It was ridiculous that I’d even wonder for a second if I’d see him, since hardly a weekday had gone by in four months when I hadn’t. But that flutter of anticipation still sent a thrill through me, the handful of minutes seeing him every morning the highlight of my day.
That’s it. I need to get my damn life back. Working all these overtime shifts to pick up some extra cash over the holidays—and giving the guys with families some time off—had sent my extracurricular activities into a tailspin. If I didn’t get laid soon, I’d crash and burn. Or, worse, hit on the straight guy.
“Hey, Ollie,” Mike called out, and I paused with my hand on the door to the Grab ’N Go before moving aside to let the woman behind me pass through. When I turned around, a mischievous grin played on his lips as he inserted the gas pump into Big Bertha’s tank and began to hip-thrust.
Oh for the love of—
“And while you’re at it, maybe grab me one of those apple fritters, would ya? And a soda for later?”
So much for New Year’s resolutions, I thought. That had lasted less than a week. Not that I could blame him when it came to the tempting basket of freshly baked goods that sat by Joe’s register every morning—even I had a hard time passing on those. Still, Mike had wanted to lose the twenty pounds that had crept up since Halloween and made me swear I’d keep him in check.
“You sure you wanna do that?” I asked.
Mike looked pointedly over at the red Mazda3 and his smile grew. “Life’s too short to pass on the good stuff, wouldn’t you say?”
That fucker. I shook my head and shot a glare his way, and then I went inside, determined now to buy out the apple fritters and personally stuff ’em down his meddling throat.
“Morning, Oliver,” Joe greeted me from behind the counter where he was ringing up a customer, and I smiled his way before grabbing a handheld basket and heading down the aisle for Mike’s Sprite. I took the third bottle from the front—yeah, I never took the first one of anything—and laid it in the basket as the freezer door slapped shut behind me.
I kept a tight grip on the handle as I took my time walking toward the far aisle, the anticipation building in my gut. Finally, I rounded the corner, and just as he was every day, Bluebird stood in front of the coffee station, refillable mug in hand and somehow looking more gorgeous than I remembered. My memory never did him justice.
I didn’t move as he placed his mug beneath the machine’s spout and hit a button, and I knew exactly what he’d get, the same as every morning: a latte with light foam and three sugars, two creamers.
Today he was dressed in a pair of black slacks, with a white button-down shirt and a midnight-blue tie—always so well put together, from his stylishly tousled dark brown hair, so dark it was almost black, down to his black loafers. A couple of days of stubble covered his usual freshly shaven jaw, and I imagined how it’d feel under my hands as I took either side of his face and pulled him toward mine—
“Dammit!”
Bluebird’s curse shook me out of my stupor as my feet managed to move again, and as I got closer, I saw that the usual brown liquid coming out of the machine was a cloudy white instead.
He let out a frustrated sigh. “Hey, Joe,” he called out to the owner. “Latte machine’s down.”
“Again?” Joe scratched his jaw and then said, “Sorry about that, Reid. I’ll get someone out to fix it today.”
“No problem,” Reid replied, dumping out the hot water from his mug into the tray, and hello, I finally had a name to go with the face: Reid. How was it I’d gone so long without knowing?
I pulled out a couple of large disposable cups from the rack and reached for the coffee pot at the same time as Reid, our fingers brushing each other ever so slightly before we both jerked back. His touch shot through me like an electric jolt to my heart, and the surprise that lit his eyes told me I wasn’t the only one affected.
“Sorry,” he said, and then cleared his throat. “Damn static.”
That wasn’t static, I thought, but I wasn’t about to enlighten him, so instead I gestured to the almost empty coffee pot. “No problem. Go for it.”
“Oh…uh…” He glanced at how little was left and shook his head. “That’s okay. You were first.”
“Nah, go ahead. Something tells me you need it more than I do.”
“You sure?” Reid asked, his forehead creased like he didn’t want to impose, but I wouldn’t have minded him taking the last of the coffee every day, so long as those dark chocolate eyes of his stayed on me.
“I insist,” I said, and then leaned in to whisper conspiratorially, “Besides, I know where Joe keeps the spares. I’ll just make another pot.”
A grateful smile lifted his lips. “Thanks.” Then he poured himself a full mug of coffee and scratched his jaw as he said, “Ever have one of those mornings?”
“All the time.”
Reid looked up at me, and then his eyes shifted down to my name and title patched in on my uniform. Oliver McFadden. Paramedic. “Yeah, of course you do. Paramedic, huh? I don’t know how you do it.”
“Helps that we can filter caffeine through IVs for a quicker hit on bad days.”
He laughed as he ripped open three sugar packets and dumped them into his drink. “I think I’m in the wrong field.”
“What is it you do?”
“I teach music education at Castle Hill.”
“Middle schoolers?” I whistled. “I think I’ll stick with my job.”
“I wouldn’t blame you some days. They’re mostly a good group, but man, there’s a few whose mission is to run off the new teachers.”
“And you’re one of the new ones?”
“Four months running.” He tossed the empty packets into the trash and then held his hand out to me. “I’m Reid, by the way.”
I stared at his hand for a couple of heartbeats before taking it in mine. His long fingers were cool to the touch, unlike my perpetually hot ones. It could be negative fifty outside, and my hands would still be warm. “Ollie,” I said, and then shook my head slightly. “Well, Oliver, but everyone calls me Ollie.”
“Ollie,” Reid repeated, still shaking my hand. “I’ve never met an Ollie before.”
“Mom was a big fan of Laurel and Hardy. I’m just glad she didn’t go with Stan.” As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I realized that was an unnecessary reference because he probably had no idea who the hell Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were, but Reid surprised the hell out of me by laughing.
“Your mom has good taste. I used to watch their stuff at my nan’s,” he said, and then let go of my hand.
I missed the contact immediately.
Before I could respond, Joe’s gnarled fingers clamped down on my arm as he hobbled in between us and hit the side of the latte machine with his cane.
“I don’t think it’ll respond to a beat-down, Joe,” Reid said, as he stirred two creamers into his coffee.
“Worked once before. By George, I’ll do it again.”
As Joe whacked at the machine, Reid shook his head at the stubborn man. Then he capped his mug and smiled at me. “Thanks again, Ollie. I owe you one.”
“Anytime,” I said, and meant it. “Hope your morning improves.”
“I’m counting on it. Bye, Joe. I’ll leave the money on the counter.”
Joe grumbled what sounded like a goodbye and kept fiddling with the latte machine as I rinsed out the coffee pot and started up a fresh brew.
Two steaming mugs and a bag full of apple fritters later and I was climbing back into Big Bertha, still reeling from my run-in with Reid. It was so unlike me to moon over a guy, for fuck’s sake, but there was something about him that had caught my attention from day one and never let go. Today’s encounter had only served to pique my curiosity. I’d always thought him older, maybe mid- to late twenties, but he said he’d only been at Castle Hill for four months. Maybe that meant he was fresh out of college? Or could be he’d relocated from somewhere. Definitely somewhere still in the South, since he seemed to have the manner of someone who’d grown up with parents who drilled in the Yes, sirs and No, thank you, ma’ams so telling of this part of the country, though his accent didn’t betray much of a twang.
“That has got to be the biggest, dumbest grin I’ve ever seen on your ugly mug,” Mike said, staring at me like I’d grown two heads. “Did you finally do it? Did you ask him out?”
I tossed the bag of fritters and soda into Mike’s lap. “Feel free to choke on those.”
“Ahh, I’m gonna take that as a yes, then. He shoot you down?”
After setting the coffees in the console, I fastened my seatbelt and waited for Mike to get the hint we needed to get moving.
“The hell, man?” he said. “You gonna leave me hangin’?”
I arched my brow in his direction, and when I didn’t say anything, he gave a grunt and started up the rig.
“One of these days, Ollie,” he grumbled, pulling out of the gas station. “You know all my personal shit. See if I spill my guts anymore.”
“You wouldn’t know what to do if you couldn’t talk about Deb twenty-four seven.”
“Hey, it’s not my fault I scored a good one. Just letting everyone know what they’re missing out on.” As Mike slowed down behind traffic, he glanced over at me and waggled his black eyebrows.
“Make sure to do us a favor and hand out barf bags the next time you get started.” I nodded at the bag of pastries in his lap. “And don’t tell Deb I’m doin’ a horrible job of keeping you accountable.”
“Nah, she likes my love handles.”
“Bullshit.”
He laughed and tore into the bag of fritters with one hand, while keeping his other on the wheel. When he’d made me swear last week that I’d keep him on track while he “cut the crap,” I’d thought he was nuts. Even with an extra twenty pounds on his strong six-foot build, Mike was as attractive as ever. Black, close-cropped curls, a permanent tan, and dimples that only seemed to have deepened the past few months.
The hot ones are always straight. At least they are in Floyd Hills, Georgia, I thought, my mind drifting back to the man I always made sure to run into during the workweek. And yeah, I got that straight vibe from Reid too, though even he couldn’t deny the spark that had ignited when our hands had brushed against each other. That wasn’t enough to hang any hope on, though, much as I wanted to.
“His name’s Reid,” I said, breaking up the quiet in the cab, and when Mike’s head jerked in my direction, a fritter half shoved in his mouth, I was unable to keep the smirk off my face anymore. “Teaches music at the middle school.”
As I casually sipped my coffee, Mike’s jaw practically hit the ground. “No shit.” A horn sounded from behind us, and Mike stepped on the gas, shaking his head. “About damn time. What else did you talk about?”
“Nothing. Joe came over to give the coffee machine a concussion, and that was the end of that.”
“Dammit, Joe. Way to cock-block.”
“Nah, he didn’t know.”
“Well, you have an opening now,” Mike said, winking at me. “And that was only a pun if you want it to be.”
“Oh, Jesus. I’ve done it now.”
“What?”
“Created a monster who uses puns against me.”
Mike laughed as I flipped on the radio to drown out any other comments his sugar high wanted to lob out, but when Bing Crosby began to croon about a winter wonderland, Mike groaned and jabbed at the buttons to change the channel.
“I can’t believe they’re still blasting Christmas music in January. Didn’t they get the memo that Santa Claus already came to town, and all he brought me was a damn snow blower? When the hell am I gonna use a snow blower around here? I think my in-laws called in a favor.”
Chuckling, I brought my coffee up to my lips and blew softly, while Mike continued to flip through the stations until a country song began to play. He started to sing along, something about naming babies and dogs, which would normally have me eye-rolling him to death. But since his mouth was now otherwise occupied and he wasn’t digging for more information out of me, I didn’t bother putting up a fight to change the channel. Let him belt out “Boot Scootin’ Boogie” for all I cared. Until a call came in, my mind would be preoccupied by…other things.
A quick tone alert came through the radio, and I punched the music off as a call came through from dispatch.
“Unit 110, please respond Code 3 to the intersection of Mercer and Thomas on a multi-vehicle accident with injuries. Fire responding for possible extrication.”
I picked up the receiver. “Ten-four, Unit 110 en route. ETA less than two minutes,” I said, as Mike dropped the plastic bag on the ground at my feet and flipped on the lights and siren.
“Not how I’d want my day starting out,” he said, cutting through an intersection to make a left on Mercer.
“Saddle up,” I said. “I have a feeling it’s gonna be a long one.”
Traffic going east was already beginning to back up, the roads congested at the height of morning rush hour. Now with the accident up ahead and the cars unable to move to the side, Mike had to pull us into the suicide lane to get by. From the opposite direction, a backup unit, along with two police cars and a fire truck, veered toward the intersection, though it looked like we’d get there first.
I could see the smoke rising up ahead, and as we got closer, it seemed to be coming from beneath the hood of a black four-by-four truck that had smashed into a—
“Oh shit… Ollie…” Mike’s voice trailed off as we both caught sight of the crushed passenger side of the car that had been T-boned. The crumpled car had been no match for the bigger vehicle; it looked like they’d skidded into the middle of the intersection during impact. The car’s hood punched up at an awkward angle with the truck half inside, and broken glass littered the road.
I’d seen the sight so many times before, but never had the breath left my lungs in a rush, never had a faint ringing sound filled my ears, and never had a wild sense of panic seized my chest like it did right then.
Because the mangled car, the one I was responding to, was none other than Reid’s bright red Mazda3.

Author’s Note:
The Unforgettable Duet must be read in order, beginning with Forget Me Not.
Ollie & Reid’s journey continues in book two, Remember Me When.

Read Remember Me When today!

(Free in Kindle Unlimited)
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About Brooke

BrookeBlaine

Brooke Blaine is a USA Today Bestselling Author of contemporary romance that ranges from comedy to suspense to erotic. The latter has scarred her conservative Southern family for life, bless their hearts.

If you’d like to get in touch with her, she’s easy to find – just keep an ear out for the Rick Astley ringtone that’s dominated her cell phone for years. Or you can reach her at www.BrookeBlaine.com.

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Blog Tour + Chapter One – FORGET ME NOT by Brooke Blaine

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Experience the heartbreakingly beautiful journey of Ollie & Reid in…

Forget Me Not, the first all-new contemporary MM Romance in The Unforgettable Duet from Brooke Blaine, is available NOW!

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Three sugars, two creamers.

That’s how you took your coffee every morning at Joe’s Grab ’N Go.

But you don’t remember that.

You don’t remember anything.

Anything, that is, except me…

That day…

And the tragedy that catapulted us together.


CHAPTER ONE

“IT’S MONDAY, AND you know what that means,” Mike said as he cut off Big Bertha’s engine and looked over at me expectantly.

I patted my pants pocket to make sure I’d shoved my wallet inside before we’d headed out this morning, and when I felt the outline of the trifold, I nodded. “Yep. Extra-bold coffee comin’ up.” As I popped open the passenger-side door, Mike’s hand landed firmly on my arm, halting me before I could get out of the ambulance, and I looked back at him over my shoulder.

“It means don’t be a chickenshit, Ollie, that’s what it means.”

Lifting my eyebrows, I glanced around, searching for whoever it was Mike thought he was talking to, and when he read my quizzical expression, he snorted.

“Yeah, that means you,” he said.

“You callin’ me out?”

“Damn right I am.”

I shook my head. “I’m not a chickenshit, and you know it.”

Mike shrugged and let go of my arm. “Fine. Prove it.”

“I can’t do that.”

“You can. You just won’t.”

Yeah, whatever, he had me there. Something always held me back from saying much more than hello to the guy in the fitted chinos and starched collared shirt and tie that I saw most mornings in the coffee aisle at Joe’s Grab ’N Go, and Mike never could resist an opportunity to rib me for it. I never should’ve told him about my crush in the first damn place, but being my best friend as well as my work partner meant we tended to overshare in the time between calls.

“He’s straight, Mike. Leave it alone, huh?”

“You don’t know that for sure.”

I picked up a container of mints and shook a couple into my mouth before tossing it back in the console. “Trust me. I know.”

“You ask him since the last time I saw you?”

Rolling my eyes, I ignored his question and pushed open my door. “You want that coffee or not?”

“Mhmm. The date for you, too.”

“Jesus,” I muttered, slamming the door before he could make any other requests. I could hear him chuckling behind me as he got out to pump the gas. And out of the corner of my eye, a flash of red pulling into a parking spot had my heart beating a bit faster. It was ridiculous that I’d even wonder for a second if I’d see him, since hardly a weekday had gone by in four months when I hadn’t. But that flutter of anticipation still sent a thrill through me, the handful of minutes seeing him every morning the highlight of my day.

That’s it. I need to get my damn life back. Working all these overtime shifts to pick up some extra cash over the holidays—and giving the guys with families some time off—had sent my extracurricular activities into a tailspin. If I didn’t get laid soon, I’d crash and burn. Or, worse, hit on the straight guy.

“Hey, Ollie,” Mike called out, and I paused with my hand on the door to the Grab ’N Go before moving aside to let the woman behind me pass through. When I turned around, a mischievous grin played on his lips as he inserted the gas pump into Big Bertha’s tank and began to hip-thrust.

Oh for the love of—

“And while you’re at it, maybe grab me one of those apple fritters, would ya? And a soda for later?”

So much for New Year’s resolutions, I thought. That had lasted less than a week. Not that I could blame him when it came to the tempting basket of freshly baked goods that sat by Joe’s register every morning—even I had a hard time passing on those. Still, Mike had wanted to lose the twenty pounds that had crept up since Halloween and made me swear I’d keep him in check.

“You sure you wanna do that?” I asked.

Mike looked pointedly over at the red Mazda3 and his smile grew. “Life’s too short to pass on the good stuff, wouldn’t you say?”

That fucker. I shook my head and shot a glare his way, and then I went inside, determined now to buy out the apple fritters and personally stuff ’em down his meddling throat.

“Morning, Oliver,” Joe greeted me from behind the counter where he was ringing up a customer, and I smiled his way before grabbing a handheld basket and heading down the aisle for Mike’s Sprite. I took the third bottle from the front—yeah, I never took the first one of anything—and laid it in the basket as the freezer door slapped shut behind me.

I kept a tight grip on the handle as I took my time walking toward the far aisle, the anticipation building in my gut. Finally, I rounded the corner, and just as he was every day, Bluebird stood in front of the coffee station, refillable mug in hand and somehow looking more gorgeous than I remembered. My memory never did him justice.

I didn’t move as he placed his mug beneath the machine’s spout and hit a button, and I knew exactly what he’d get, the same as every morning: a latte with light foam and three sugars, two creamers.

Today he was dressed in a pair of black slacks, with a white button-down shirt and a midnight-blue tie—always so well put together, from his stylishly tousled dark brown hair, so dark it was almost black, down to his black loafers. A couple of days of stubble covered his usual freshly shaven jaw, and I imagined how it’d feel under my hands as I took either side of his face and pulled him toward mine—

“Dammit!”

Bluebird’s curse shook me out of my stupor as my feet managed to move again, and as I got closer, I saw that the usual brown liquid coming out of the machine was a cloudy white instead.

He let out a frustrated sigh. “Hey, Joe,” he called out to the owner. “Latte machine’s down.”

“Again?” Joe scratched his jaw and then said, “Sorry about that, Reid. I’ll get someone out to fix it today.”

“No problem,” Reid replied, dumping out the hot water from his mug into the tray, and hello, I finally had a name to go with the face: Reid. How was it I’d gone so long without knowing?

I pulled out a couple of large disposable cups from the rack and reached for the coffee pot at the same time as Reid, our fingers brushing each other ever so slightly before we both jerked back. His touch shot through me like an electric jolt to my heart, and the surprise that lit his eyes told me I wasn’t the only one affected.

“Sorry,” he said, and then cleared his throat. “Damn static.”

That wasn’t static, I thought, but I wasn’t about to enlighten him, so instead I gestured to the almost empty coffee pot. “No problem. Go for it.”

“Oh…uh…” He glanced at how little was left and shook his head. “That’s okay. You were first.”

“Nah, go ahead. Something tells me you need it more than I do.”

“You sure?” Reid asked, his forehead creased like he didn’t want to impose, but I wouldn’t have minded him taking the last of the coffee every day, so long as those dark chocolate eyes of his stayed on me.

“I insist,” I said, and then leaned in to whisper conspiratorially, “Besides, I know where Joe keeps the spares. I’ll just make another pot.”

A grateful smile lifted his lips. “Thanks.” Then he poured himself a full mug of coffee and scratched his jaw as he said, “Ever have one of those mornings?”

“All the time.”

Reid looked up at me, and then his eyes shifted down to my name and title patched in on my uniform. Oliver McFadden. Paramedic. “Yeah, of course you do. Paramedic, huh? I don’t know how you do it.”

“Helps that we can filter caffeine through IVs for a quicker hit on bad days.”

He laughed as he ripped open three sugar packets and dumped them into his drink. “I think I’m in the wrong field.”

“What is it you do?”

“I teach music education at Castle Hill.”

“Middle schoolers?” I whistled. “I think I’ll stick with my job.”

“I wouldn’t blame you some days. They’re mostly a good group, but man, there’s a few whose mission is to run off the new teachers.”

“And you’re one of the new ones?”

“Four months running.” He tossed the empty packets into the trash and then held his hand out to me. “I’m Reid, by the way.”

I stared at his hand for a couple of heartbeats before taking it in mine. His long fingers were cool to the touch, unlike my perpetually hot ones. It could be negative fifty outside, and my hands would still be warm. “Ollie,” I said, and then shook my head slightly. “Well, Oliver, but everyone calls me Ollie.”

“Ollie,” Reid repeated, still shaking my hand. “I’ve never met an Ollie before.”

“Mom was a big fan of Laurel and Hardy. I’m just glad she didn’t go with Stan.” As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I realized that was an unnecessary reference because he probably had no idea who the hell Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were, but Reid surprised the hell out of me by laughing.

“Your mom has good taste. I used to watch their stuff at my nan’s,” he said, and then let go of my hand.

I missed the contact immediately.

Before I could respond, Joe’s gnarled fingers clamped down on my arm as he hobbled in between us and hit the side of the latte machine with his cane.

“I don’t think it’ll respond to a beat-down, Joe,” Reid said, as he stirred two creamers into his coffee.

“Worked once before. By George, I’ll do it again.”

As Joe whacked at the machine, Reid shook his head at the stubborn man. Then he capped his mug and smiled at me. “Thanks again, Ollie. I owe you one.”

“Anytime,” I said, and meant it. “Hope your morning improves.”

“I’m counting on it. Bye, Joe. I’ll leave the money on the counter.”

Joe grumbled what sounded like a goodbye and kept fiddling with the latte machine as I rinsed out the coffee pot and started up a fresh brew.

Two steaming mugs and a bag full of apple fritters later and I was climbing back into Big Bertha, still reeling from my run-in with Reid. It was so unlike me to moon over a guy, for fuck’s sake, but there was something about him that had caught my attention from day one and never let go. Today’s encounter had only served to pique my curiosity. I’d always thought him older, maybe mid- to late twenties, but he said he’d only been at Castle Hill for four months. Maybe that meant he was fresh out of college? Or could be he’d relocated from somewhere. Definitely somewhere still in the South, since he seemed to have the manner of someone who’d grown up with parents who drilled in the Yes, sirs and No, thank you, ma’ams so telling of this part of the country, though his accent didn’t betray much of a twang.

“That has got to be the biggest, dumbest grin I’ve ever seen on your ugly mug,” Mike said, staring at me like I’d grown two heads. “Did you finally do it? Did you ask him out?”

I tossed the bag of fritters and soda into Mike’s lap. “Feel free to choke on those.”

“Ahh, I’m gonna take that as a yes, then. He shoot you down?”

After setting the coffees in the console, I fastened my seatbelt and waited for Mike to get the hint we needed to get moving.

“The hell, man?” he said. “You gonna leave me hangin’?”

I arched my brow in his direction, and when I didn’t say anything, he gave a grunt and started up the rig.

“One of these days, Ollie,” he grumbled, pulling out of the gas station. “You know all my personal shit. See if I spill my guts anymore.”

“You wouldn’t know what to do if you couldn’t talk about Deb twenty-four seven.”

“Hey, it’s not my fault I scored a good one. Just letting everyone know what they’re missing out on.” As Mike slowed down behind traffic, he glanced over at me and waggled his black eyebrows.

“Make sure to do us a favor and hand out barf bags the next time you get started.” I nodded at the bag of pastries in his lap. “And don’t tell Deb I’m doin’ a horrible job of keeping you accountable.”

“Nah, she likes my love handles.”

“Bullshit.”

He laughed and tore into the bag of fritters with one hand, while keeping his other on the wheel. When he’d made me swear last week that I’d keep him on track while he “cut the crap,” I’d thought he was nuts. Even with an extra twenty pounds on his strong six-foot build, Mike was as attractive as ever. Black, close-cropped curls, a permanent tan, and dimples that only seemed to have deepened the past few months.

The hot ones are always straight. At least they are in Floyd Hills, Georgia, I thought, my mind drifting back to the man I always made sure to run into during the workweek. And yeah, I got that straight vibe from Reid too, though even he couldn’t deny the spark that had ignited when our hands had brushed against each other. That wasn’t enough to hang any hope on, though, much as I wanted to.

“His name’s Reid,” I said, breaking up the quiet in the cab, and when Mike’s head jerked in my direction, a fritter half shoved in his mouth, I was unable to keep the smirk off my face anymore. “Teaches music at the middle school.”

As I casually sipped my coffee, Mike’s jaw practically hit the ground. “No shit.” A horn sounded from behind us, and Mike stepped on the gas, shaking his head. “About damn time. What else did you talk about?”

“Nothing. Joe came over to give the coffee machine a concussion, and that was the end of that.”

“Dammit, Joe. Way to cock-block.”

“Nah, he didn’t know.”

“Well, you have an opening now,” Mike said, winking at me. “And that was only a pun if you want it to be.”

“Oh, Jesus. I’ve done it now.”

“What?”

“Created a monster who uses puns against me.”

Mike laughed as I flipped on the radio to drown out any other comments his sugar high wanted to lob out, but when Bing Crosby began to croon about a winter wonderland, Mike groaned and jabbed at the buttons to change the channel.

“I can’t believe they’re still blasting Christmas music in January. Didn’t they get the memo that Santa Claus already came to town, and all he brought me was a damn snow blower? When the hell am I gonna use a snow blower around here? I think my in-laws called in a favor.”

Chuckling, I brought my coffee up to my lips and blew softly, while Mike continued to flip through the stations until a country song began to play. He started to sing along, something about naming babies and dogs, which would normally have me eye-rolling him to death. But since his mouth was now otherwise occupied and he wasn’t digging for more information out of me, I didn’t bother putting up a fight to change the channel. Let him belt out “Boot Scootin’ Boogie” for all I cared. Until a call came in, my mind would be preoccupied by…other things.

A quick tone alert came through the radio, and I punched the music off as a call came through from dispatch.

“Unit 110, please respond Code 3 to the intersection of Mercer and Thomas on a multi-vehicle accident with injuries. Fire responding for possible extrication.”

I picked up the receiver. “Ten-four, Unit 110 en route. ETA less than two minutes,” I said, as Mike dropped the plastic bag on the ground at my feet and flipped on the lights and siren.

“Not how I’d want my day starting out,” he said, cutting through an intersection to make a left on Mercer.

“Saddle up,” I said. “I have a feeling it’s gonna be a long one.”

Traffic going east was already beginning to back up, the roads congested at the height of morning rush hour. Now with the accident up ahead and the cars unable to move to the side, Mike had to pull us into the suicide lane to get by. From the opposite direction, a backup unit, along with two police cars and a fire truck, veered toward the intersection, though it looked like we’d get there first.

I could see the smoke rising up ahead, and as we got closer, it seemed to be coming from beneath the hood of a black four-by-four truck that had smashed into a—

“Oh shit… Ollie…” Mike’s voice trailed off as we both caught sight of the crushed passenger side of the car that had been T-boned. The crumpled car had been no match for the bigger vehicle; it looked like they’d skidded into the middle of the intersection during impact. The car’s hood punched up at an awkward angle with the truck half inside, and broken glass littered the road.

I’d seen the sight so many times before, but never had the breath left my lungs in a rush, never had a faint ringing sound filled my ears, and never had a wild sense of panic seized my chest like it did right then.

Because the mangled car, the one I was responding to, was none other than Reid’s bright red Mazda3.

ForgetMeNot-AN

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Book two, Remember Me When, will be released on February 26th, 2018.

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About Brooke

Brooke Blaine is a USA Today Bestselling Author of contemporary romance that ranges from comedy to suspense to erotic. The latter has scarred her conservative Southern family for life, bless their hearts.

If you’d like to get in touch with her, she’s easy to find – just keep an ear out for the Rick Astley ringtone that’s dominated her cell phone for years. Or you can reach her at www.BrookeBlaine.com.

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New Release + Chapter One – PEEP SHOW by Isabella Starling

Title: Peep Show
Author: Isabella Starling
Genre: Romantic Suspense/Dark Romance
Release Date: January 25, 2018

Blurb

She’s stripping.
I’m watching.
She’s playing.
I’m watching.
She’s mine, I’m coming…

Bebe Hall is a heartbreaker. She’s the it girl of the moment, a partygirl
nobody can stop in her path of self destruction. Bebe Hall isn’t the star of
her own story.

She’s the star of mine.

My name is Miles O’Reilly. I’m a photographer. An agoraphobic. A millionaire. A
womanizer. I’m confined to my apartment. I don’t leave. Ever.

But when she sees me with my latest online conquest in the window of my
apartment, my attention shifts to Bebe.

And once I see something I want, I don’t give up until it’s mine.

Forever.

Peep Show is a 90,000 word novel with themes of voyeurism and dark scenes
that may be upsetting to readers. If you are brave enough, come meet Miles.
He’s been waiting for you.

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Chapter One

I stumbled into my bedroom, giggling to myself and shaking on too-high heels and too much vodka.
A glance in the huge mirror on my wall reminded me of what I mess I was when I had too much to drink. My silver sequined dress was riding up, revealing a hint of my ass under the shiny fabric. My hair was wild, the dark brown locks a halo around my head, and my brown eyes glowed with excitement. At least my makeup was still in place, the perfect smoky cat-eye enhancing my looks, making me appear demure yet sexy. I’d perfected the art of it, making sure I always had someone eager to buy me a drink.
I sank down on my bed and pulled off the murderous black heels that had been torturing me all night. But it was okay – I’d learned to handle the pain, and when I was dancing, it never mattered anyway.
I lay back and I stared at my ceiling, letting myself think about what my life had become, but only for a short minute.
The key was never to focus on it for too long. I had to forget, and drinking, dancing and partying, was the only way I could do it. If I stopped twirling, stopped tipping back glass after glass, I risked stopping long enough to think about what I was doing. And that was the last thing I wanted to do.
I needed to forget about Posy. She was long gone, and there was no bringing her back.
I pushed myself off the bed shakily, and walked over to my window to let some fresh air in. There was nothing quite like a nice fall breeze to clear my head, and God, I needed some fucking clarity.
I opened the blinds and looked outside, the street below me illuminated with streetlights. It was gone four a.m., and most of the lights in the apartment building next door were off. I lived in a nice neighborhood of townhouses, about three apartments per floor and three floors total. It was a nice place to live, and, of course, I wouldn’t have been able to afford it if it hadn’t been for my parents’ stack of cash in my bank account.
Being a trust-fund baby definitely had its benefits.
My eyes traveled upwards and focused on the only illuminated apartment across the street from me. I could see right into their home, but the minimalistic apartment seemed to be empty, even though it was lit up.
I wobbled on my feet and opened the window wide, enjoying the breeze on my face, slowly bringing me to my senses once again.
A thumping noise interrupted my reverie, and I looked up again, right into the apartment opposite mine. Except now, it wasn’t empty anymore.
Now, there was a dark, impossibly tall figure pressing a naked woman against the window, fucking her savagely, mashing her tits against the window, her mouth opened in an endless gasp as he took her from behind.
My mouth gaped in surprise, and I moved a little to the side, hiding in the darkness and watching the show they were putting on with a smirk on my face.
The woman had small but perky tits. Her skin was dark, almost ebony, a sharp contrast to the pale man standing behind her, towering over her. She was tiny and curvy, and he was fucking enormous.
He was all toned muscle and dark, slicked back hair. His strong, muscular arm was wrapped around her neck in a chokehold, strangling the screams right out of her. And his skin was covered in dark, menacing ink, the black color stark against his light skin.
I wanted more.
I wanted to keep watching.
I shifted on my feet to get a better view of what was going on before me.
He fucked her like an animal. I could see his hips working, pushing, thrusting inside her from behind, claiming her petite body and making her mouth open in a silent scream. He fucked like a beast, and he looked like a monster. I fell in love with him right then and there.
My fingers shook as I reached for my purse, scrambling to find it on the bed and trying not to look away from the scene in front of me at the same time. I wanted to watch. I wanted to see his face when he filled her up. I wanted to see if he’d pull her hair back like I imagined he would.
I managed to get my phone out of my handbag, bringing it in front of my face and quickly snapping a picture of them. It was blurry as fuck, but it would have to do. Suddenly, I felt awake and sober, staring into the cold night outside and wishing I could swap places with the wild-haired beauty. I wanted him inside me.
A burst of inexplicable jealousy bubbled lazily in the pit of my stomach, but I did my best to ignore it. Instead, I kept snapping pictures of them. Of him.
Wishing I could see him better, I moved from behind the curtain a little bit closer to the window. My breath made foggy circles on the glass and my hands shook as I dropped my phone and reached under the hem of my dress.
The silver sequins felt cold and exciting on my fingertips, and I touched them gently before spreading my own trembling legs apart, slowly outlining the wet, dripping shape of my pussy lips between my thighs.
I was so wet.
In fact, I was fucking leaking all over my panties, the image across the street making my pussy drool so much I flushed in embarrassment.
But I couldn’t help myself. Couldn’t resist slipping my fingers under the sodden satin fabric of my panties, outlining my perfectly waxed pussy as I shivered under my own touch. It felt so strange, voyeuristic, to be watching them do this only on the other side of the street. And it was horny as hell.
My fingers worked their magic between my legs, slowly teasing my cunt open and finding my clit. I’d let someone kiss me at the club that night, but I didn’t bring anyone back with me, which was strange for me. I liked having someone to go home with. It made me feel wanted.
I remembered his hot, needy lips. He was a nice guy, not one I’d usually go for, which was probably the reason I hadn’t brought him back home with me. He had a buzzcut, and his face was clean-shaven too, and I loved the prickly feeling of his features under my fingertips, and the push of his bulge against my tummy. But I didn’t let myself have it. I really didn’t do nice guys, because I wasn’t a very nice girl.
Lips parting in a gasp, I braced myself against the windowsill as my fingers stroked me towards an orgasm. His hand was squeezing her throat so tightly she looked like she was out of breath, her chest heaving and her mouth open so wide.
She was crying.
He was fucking her so hard, so savagely, with so little mercy, that the poor girl was crying her eyes out, all the while coming all over his dick.
Fuck!
I gasped, my fingers working in fast, messy circles to get myself off. I came with a desperate cry, my pussy making a mess all over my fingers. I’d always been such an easy comer, ever since I learned how to get off by myself.
My eyes felt strained as I looked back up, and then opened as wide as they possibly could as I stared at them. He was still choking the girl, her eyes closed and her breathing ragged, but his own gaze was firmly fixed on me.
I panicked. Surely he couldn’t see me – my room was barely illuminated. But I saw them both so fucking well.
He grinned at me. Two rows of perfectly straight, impossibly white teeth glaring in the darkness of the night. He ran his free hand through his dark, slicked back hair, and carelessly scratched at the stubble growing on his chin. Then, he reached in front and pinched the girl’s nipple so hard she threw her head back in a scream I couldn’t hear.
He kept staring, and I couldn’t look away and my heart leapt when he knocked on the window. Two sharp raps, whispering something in his girl’s ear, making her eyes fly open in panic, glance across the street, and she saw me.
I stared at her. I stared at them both, unable to move, my pussy juices dribbling down my thighs.
He raised a hand and waved at me, an easy smirk playing on his lips. The devil waved and nudged the girl he was fucking, motioning for her to do the same thing. When she shook her head, his hand wrapped tighter around her throat.
And she looked at me sheepishly, and waved, just like he had.
I’d never wanted to be someone else until that moment, when I wished with absolute desperation that I was the beautiful petite girl next door getting her pussy slammed by a stranger.
He thrust inside her one last time and my own fingers repeated his motion. His eyes remained locked on me as he came, the girl crumpling in his arms, only him holding her up as he spurted inside her. My fingers fell away from my body, my poor cunt spasming by itself, leaking down my thighs, ruining the sequins of my dress and covering them in my own pussy juice.
My legs shook and my cunt spasmed as I came again.
I watched him let go of the girl, gently laying her down on the floor. I could only see her naked back against the glass, her shoulders hunched as she cried her release out, her whole body shaking with pent-up orgasms.
And then he stepped up to the window, in all his glory. He must’ve been over 6 feet 5. He was fucking enormous, so tall she looked like a child at his feet.
And he was completely naked, save for the condom on his dick.
His fucking cock matched his height, making my mouth water at the sight of it. He was ripped, muscles everywhere, looking not just like he worked out regularly but like he made it his mission to keep his body in perfect shape.
His cock was still hard as he took the condom off, discarded it on the floor and stroked slowly.
He grinned at me, and stroked his cock lazily with one hand as he wrote on the steamed-up window with the other.
My eyes danced across the words and I stepped forward, letting the light of the streetlights outside illuminate me. I knew he saw me now, because he jerked his dick faster, and it made me fucking ecstatic. He liked what he saw. And how couldn’t he? I was always sure to be groomed to 5 feet and 10 inches of polished, manicured and slutty perfection.
I followed his fingers writing in the window and lifted my dress up, showing him my ruined panties.
His eyebrows shot up and he smirked at me, licking his fingers and palming his shaft with fast, needy motions.
I stared at his words in the window, written clumsily, some of them fucked up because he’d tried to write their mirror reflection so I could read it.
My pussy tingled at his crudeness.
My heart thumped in anticipation.
And my mind reeled with the possibilities.
I DARE YOU TO GO NEXT.

Author Bio

Dark, dirty and taboo is what Isabella Starling is known for.
An Amazon top 25 bestselling Author, Isabella has 10 books under her belt in under a year. She is a self-proclaimed Tumblr gif addict and always looking for her next forbidden story.
If you pick up a Starling book, you can count on a bad-mouthed, bossy man who will dominate his woman with a rough hand.
Add just a sprinkle of taboo, a touch of BDSM and a pinch of suspense, and you’re all set for a story you won’t forget.

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Chapter Reveal – THE REBOUND by Winter Renshaw


THE REBOUND by Winter Renshaw releases on February 2nd!

Check out the sneak peek of Chapter One below, and add The Rebound to your TBR!


Synopsis

The last time I saw Nevada Kane, I was seventeen and he was loading his things into the back of his truck, about to embark on a fourteen-hour drive to the only college that offered him a full ride to play basketball.

I told him I’d wait for him. He promised to do the same.

But life happened. I broke my promise long before he ever broke his. And not because I wanted to.

We never saw each other again …

Until ten years later when Nevada unexpectedly returned to our hometown after an abrupt retirement from his professional basketball career.

Suddenly he was everywhere, always staring through me with that brooding gaze, never returning my smiles or “hellos.”

Over the years, I’d heard that he’d changed. And that despite his multi-million dollar contracts and rampant success, life hadn’t been so kind to him.

He was a widower.

And a single father.

And rumor had it, he’d spent his last ten years trying to forget me, refusing to so much as breathe my name … hating me.

But just like a rebound, he’s back.

And I have to believe everything happens for a reason.

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Prologue

Yardley Devereaux {Ten Years Ago}

He sent my letter back.
I re-read my words, imagining the way they must have made him feel.
Nevada,
I’m writing because you haven’t been taking my calls or answering my texts. I’m sure you’ve heard the rumors, so I thought you should hear it straight from me…
I’ve broken my promise.
But you should know that I never wanted to hurt you, none of this was planned, and I still love you more than anything I’ve ever loved in this world.
This is something I had to do. And I think if you’ll let me, I can explain in a way that makes sense and doesn’t completely obliterate the beauty of what we had.
Please don’t hate me, Nevada.
Please let me explain.
Please answer your phone.
I love you. So much.
Your dove,
Yardley
The paper is torn at the top, as if he was about to rip it to shreds but changed his mind, and on the back of my letter, in bold, black marker, is a message of his own.
NEVER CONTACT ME AGAIN.

Chapter One

Yardley Devereaux, age 16

I don’t belong here.
I realize being the new kid makes people give you a second look, but I don’t think it should give them permission to stare at you like you have a second head growing out of your nose. Or a monstrous zit on your chin. Or a period stain on your pants.
At this point it’s all the same.
Not to mention, I don’t think anyone can prepare you for what it feels like to eat lunch alone, like some social reject.
The smell of burnt tater tots makes my stomach churn, and the milk on my tray expires today. I’m pretty sure the “chicken patty on a bun” they gave me is nothing more than pink slime baked to a rock-hard consistency. I’m unwilling to risk chipping a tooth, so I refuse to try it.
Checking my watch for the millionth time, I calculate approximately 3 1/2 hours left until I can go home and tell my parents what an amazing first day I had. That’s what they want to hear anyway. Dad moved us here from California with the promise that we were going to be richer than sin, whatever that means. But if Missouri is such a gold mine then why doesn’t the rest of the world move here? So far, Lambs Grove looks like the kind of place you’d see in some independent film about a mother trying to solve her son’s murder with the help of a crooked police department, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, JK Simmons, and Frances McDormand.
Okay, I’m probably being dramatic.
But this place is pretty lame. I miss the ocean. I miss the constant sunshine and the steady stream of seventy-five degree days. I miss the swaying palm trees.
I miss my friends.
Forcing your kid to move away from the town they’ve grown up in their entire life—in the middle of their sophomore—year is cruel. I don’t care how rich dad says we’re going to get, I’d have rather stayed in Del Mar, driven a rusting Honda, and paid my own way through a technical college if it had meant we didn’t have to move.
And can we talk about my name for a second? Yardley. Everyone here has normal names. Alyssa. Monica. Taylor. Heather. Courtney. If I have to spell my name for someone one more time I’m going to scream. My mom wanted my name to be special and different because apparently she thinks I’m special and different, but naming your daughter Yardley doesn’t make her special. It just makes it so she’ll never find her name on a souvenir license plate.
I’d go by my middle name if it weren’t equally as bad, but choosing between Yardley and Dove is akin to picking your own poison.
Yardley Dove Devereaux.
My parents are cruel.
I rest my case.
I pop a cold tater tot into my mouth and force myself to chew. I’ll be damned if I’m that girl sitting in third block with a stomach growling so loud it drowns out the teacher. I don’t need more people staring.
Pulling my notebook from my messenger bag, I pretend to focus on homework despite the fact that it’s the first day of spring semester and none of my teachers have assigned anything yet, but it’s better than sitting here staring at the block walls of the cafeteria like some loser.
Pressing my pen into the paper, I begin to write:
Monday, January 7, 2008
This day sucks.
The school sucks.
This town sucks.
These people suck.
After a minute, I toss my pen aside and exhale.
“What about me? Do I suck?” A pastel peach lunch tray plops down beside me followed by a raven-haired boy with eyes like honey and a heartbreaker’s smile. My heart flutters in my chest. He’s gorgeous. And I have no idea why he’s sitting next to me. “Nevada.”
“No. California. I’m from Del Mar,” I say, clearing my throat and sitting up straight.
The boy laughs through his perfectly straight nose.
I can’t take my eyes off his dimpled smirk. He can’t take his eyes off me.
“My name,” he says. “It’s Nevada. Like the state. And you are?”
“New,” I say.
He laughs at me again, eyes rolling. “Obviously. What’s your name?”
My cheeks warm. Apparently, I can’t human today. “Yardley.”
“Yardley from California.” He says my name like he’s trying to memorize it as he studies me. I squirm, wanting to know what he’s thinking and why he’s gazing at me like I’m some kind of magnificent creature and not some circus sideshow new girl freak. “What brings you here?”
He pops one of my tator tots between his full lips, grinning while he chews.
Nevada doesn’t look like the boys where I’m from. He doesn’t sound like them either. He isn’t sun kissed with windswept surfer hair. His features are darker, more mysterious. One look at this tall drink of water and I know he’s wise beyond his years. Mischievous and charismatic but also personable.
He’s … everything.
And he’s everything I never expected to come across in a town like this.
A group of girls at the table behind us gape and gawk, whispering and nudging each other. It occurs to me then that this might be a set-up, that this beautiful boy might be talking to this awkward new girl as a dare.
“Ignore them,” he says when he follows my gaze toward the plastic cheerleader squad sitting a few feet away. “They’re just jealous.”
I lift a brow. “Of what?”
He smirks, laughing at me like I’m supposed to ‘get it.’
“What?” I ask. If this is a joke, I want to be in on it. I refuse to add butt-of-the-joke to the list of reasons why this day can go to hell.
“They’re jealous because they think I’m about to ask you out,” he says, licking his lips. Nevada hasn’t taken his eyes off me since the moment he sat down.
“Should I go inform them that they have absolutely no reason to shoot daggers our way?”
His expression fades. “Why would you say that?”
“Because …” I laugh. “You’re not about to ask me out.”
“I’m not?”
I peel my gaze off of him and glance down at my untouched lunch. “Why are you doing this?”
“Why am I doing what? Talking to you? Trying to get the courage to ask you on a date?”
I glance up, studying his golden gaze and trying to determine if he’s being completely serious right now.
“You’ve never seen me before in your life and then you just … plop down next to me and ask me on a date?” I shake my head before rising. If I have to dump my tray and hide in the bathroom until the bell rings, then so be it.
“Where are you going?”
My lips part. “I … I don’t know. I …”
Nevada reaches for me, wrapping his hand around my wrist in a silent plea for me to stay. “Do you have a boyfriend back in California? Is that what this is about?”
“What? No.” This guy is relentless.
“Then go on a date with me,” he says, rising. “Friday.”
“Why?”
His expression fades. “Why?”
The bell rings. Thank God.
“I was new once. So I get it,” he says, fighting another dimpled smirk. God, I could never get tired of looking at a face like his. “And, uh … I think you’re, like, really fucking hot.”
Biting my lower lip and trying my damnedest to keep a straight face, I decide I won’t be won over that easily. It takes a lot more than a sexy smile, some kind words, and a curious glint in his sunset eyes. If he truly wants me … if this isn’t a joke and he honestly thinks I’m “really fucking hot,” he’s going to have to prove it.
“Bye, Nevada,” I say, gathering my things and disappearing into a crowd of students veering toward two giant trash cans.
I don’t wait for him to respond and I don’t turn around, but I feel him watching me—if that’s even possible. There’s this electric energy pulsing through me from the top of my head to the tips of my toes. I’m not sure if it’s excitement or anticipation or the promise of hope … but I can’t deny that it’s real and it’s there.
Making my way to the second floor of Lambs Grove High, I find my English Lit classroom and settle into a seat in the back.
For the tiniest sliver of a second, I imagine the two of us together. We’re laughing and happy and so in love that it physically hurts—the kind of thing I’ve never had with anyone else.
The tardy bell rings and a few more students shuffle in. My teacher takes roll call before beginning his lecture, but I don’t hear any of it.
I can’t stop thinking about that beautiful boy.


About the Author

Wall Street Journal and #1 Amazon bestselling author Winter Renshaw is a bona fide daydream believer. She lives somewhere in the middle of the USA and can rarely be seen without her trusty Mead notebook and ultra portable laptop. When she’s not writing, she’s living the American dream with her husband, three kids, and the laziest puggle this side of the Mississippi.

And if you’d like to be the first to know when a new book is coming out, please sign up for her private mailing list here —> http://eepurl.com/bfQU2j

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Cover Reveal + Excerpt – PEEP SHOW by Isabella Starling

Title: Peep Show
Author: Isabella Starling
Genre: Romantic Suspense/Dark Romance
Cover Design: Letitia Hasser, RBA
Photo: James Critchley
Release Date: January 25, 2018

Blurb

She’s stripping.
I’m watching.
She’s playing.
I’m watching.
She’s mine, I’m coming…

Bebe Hall is a heartbreaker. She’s the it girl of the moment, a partygirl nobody can stop in her path of self destruction. Bebe Hall isn’t the star of her own story.
She’s the star of mine.
My name is Miles O’Reilly. I’m a photographer. An agoraphobic. A millionaire. A womanizer. I’m confined to my apartment. I don’t leave. Ever.
But when she sees me with my latest online conquest in the window of my apartment, my attention shifts to Bebe.
And once I see something I want, I don’t give up until it’s mine.
Forever.

Peep Show is a 90,000 word novel with themes of voyeurism and dark scenes that may be upsetting to readers. If you are brave enough, come meet Miles. He’s been waiting for you.

ADD TO GOODREADS

Excerpt

Chapter One

I stumbled into my bedroom, giggling to myself and shaking on too-high heels and too much vodka.

A glance in the huge mirror on my wall reminded me of what I mess I was when I had too much to drink. My silver sequined dress was riding up, revealing a hint of my ass under the shiny fabric. My hair was wild, the dark brown locks a halo around my head, and my brown eyes glowed with excitement. At least my makeup was still in place, the perfect smoky cat-eye enhancing my looks, making me appear demure yet sexy. I’d perfected the art of it, making sure I always had someone eager to buy me a drink.

I sank down on my bed and pulled off the murderous black heels that had been torturing me all night. But it was okay – I’d learned to handle the pain, and when I was dancing, it never mattered anyway.

I lay back and I stared at my ceiling, letting myself think about what my life had become, but only for a short minute.

The key was never to focus on it for too long. I had to forget, and drinking, dancing and partying, was the only way I could do it. If I stopped twirling, stopped tipping back glass after glass, I risked stopping long enough to think about what I was doing. And that was the last thing I wanted to do.

I needed to forget about Posy. She was long gone, and there was no bringing her back.

I pushed myself off the bed shakily, and walked over to my window to let some fresh air in. There was nothing quite like a nice fall breeze to clear my head, and God, I needed some fucking clarity.

I opened the blinds and looked outside, the street below me illuminated with streetlights. It was gone four a.m., and most of the lights in the apartment building next door were off. I lived in a nice neighborhood of townhouses, about three apartments per floor and three floors total. It was a nice place to live, and, of course, I wouldn’t have been able to afford it if it hadn’t been for my parents’ stack of cash in my bank account.

Being a trust-fund baby definitely had its benefits.

My eyes traveled upwards and focused on the only illuminated apartment across the street from me. I could see right into their home, but the minimalistic apartment seemed to be empty, even though it was lit up.

I wobbled on my feet and opened the window wide, enjoying the breeze on my face, slowly bringing me to my senses once again.

A thumping noise interrupted my reverie, and I looked up again, right into the apartment opposite mine. Except now, it wasn’t empty anymore.

Now, there was a dark, impossibly tall figure pressing a naked woman against the window, fucking her savagely, mashing her tits against the window, her mouth opened in an endless gasp as he took her from behind.

My mouth gaped in surprise, and I moved a little to the side, hiding in the darkness and watching the show they were putting on with a smirk on my face.

The woman had small but perky tits. Her skin was dark, almost ebony, a sharp contrast to the pale man standing behind her, towering over her. She was tiny and curvy, and he was fucking enormous.

He was all toned muscle and dark, slicked back hair. His strong, muscular arm was wrapped around her neck in a chokehold, strangling the screams right out of her. And his skin was covered in dark, menacing ink, the black color stark against his light skin.

I wanted more.

I wanted to keep watching.

I shifted on my feet to get a better view of what was going on before me.

He fucked her like an animal. I could see his hips working, pushing, thrusting inside her from behind, claiming her petite body and making her mouth open in a silent scream. He fucked like a beast, and he looked like a monster. I fell in love with him right then and there.

My fingers shook as I reached for my purse, scrambling to find it on the bed and trying not to look away from the scene in front of me at the same time. I wanted to watch. I wanted to see his face when he filled her up. I wanted to see if he’d pull her hair back like I imagined he would.

I managed to get my phone out of my handbag, bringing it in front of my face and quickly snapping a picture of them. It was blurry as fuck, but it would have to do. Suddenly, I felt awake and sober, staring into the cold night outside and wishing I could swap places with the wild-haired beauty. I wanted him inside me.

A burst of inexplicable jealousy bubbled lazily in the pit of my stomach, but I did my best to ignore it. Instead, I kept snapping pictures of them. Of him.

Wishing I could see him better, I moved from behind the curtain a little bit closer to the window. My breath made foggy circles on the glass and my hands shook as I dropped my phone and reached under the hem of my dress.

The silver sequins felt cold and exciting on my fingertips, and I touched them gently before spreading my own trembling legs apart, slowly outlining the wet, dripping shape of my pussy lips between my thighs.

I was so wet.

In fact, I was fucking leaking all over my panties, the image across the street making my pussy drool so much I flushed in embarrassment.

But I couldn’t help myself. Couldn’t resist slipping my fingers under the sodden satin fabric of my panties, outlining my perfectly waxed pussy as I shivered under my own touch. It felt so strange, voyeuristic, to be watching them do this only on the other side of the street. And it was horny as hell.

My fingers worked their magic between my legs, slowly teasing my cunt open and finding my clit. I’d let someone kiss me at the club that night, but I didn’t bring anyone back with me, which was strange for me. I liked having someone to go home with. It made me feel wanted.

I remembered his hot, needy lips. He was a nice guy, not one I’d usually go for, which was probably the reason I hadn’t brought him back home with me. He had a buzzcut, and his face was clean-shaven too, and I loved the prickly feeling of his features under my fingertips, and the push of his bulge against my tummy. But I didn’t let myself have it. I really didn’t do nice guys, because I wasn’t a very nice girl.

Lips parting in a gasp, I braced myself against the windowsill as my fingers stroked me towards an orgasm. His hand was squeezing her throat so tightly she looked like she was out of breath, her chest heaving and her mouth open so wide.

She was crying.

He was fucking her so hard, so savagely, with so little mercy, that the poor girl was crying her eyes out, all the while coming all over his dick.

Fuck!

I gasped, my fingers working in fast, messy circles to get myself off. I came with a desperate cry, my pussy making a mess all over my fingers. I’d always been such an easy comer, ever since I learned how to get off by myself.

My eyes felt strained as I looked back up, and then opened as wide as they possibly could as I stared at them. He was still choking the girl, her eyes closed and her breathing ragged, but his own gaze was firmly fixed on me.

I panicked. Surely he couldn’t see me – my room was barely illuminated. But I saw them both so fucking well.

He grinned at me. Two rows of perfectly straight, impossibly white teeth glaring in the darkness of the night. He ran his free hand through his dark, slicked back hair, and carelessly scratched at the stubble growing on his chin. Then, he reached in front and pinched the girl’s nipple so hard she threw her head back in a scream I couldn’t hear.

He kept staring, and I couldn’t look away and my heart leapt when he knocked on the window. Two sharp raps, whispering something in his girl’s ear, making her eyes fly open in panic, glance across the street, and she saw me.

I stared at her. I stared at them both, unable to move, my pussy juices dribbling down my thighs.

He raised a hand and waved at me, an easy smirk playing on his lips. The devil waved and nudged the girl he was fucking, motioning for her to do the same thing. When she shook her head, his hand wrapped tighter around her throat.

And she looked at me sheepishly, and waved, just like he had.

I’d never wanted to be someone else until that moment, when I wished with absolute desperation that I was the beautiful petite girl next door getting her pussy slammed by a stranger.

He thrust inside her one last time and my own fingers repeated his motion. His eyes remained locked on me as he came, the girl crumpling in his arms, only him holding her up as he spurted inside her. My fingers fell away from my body, my poor cunt spasming by itself, leaking down my thighs, ruining the sequins of my dress and covering them in my own pussy juice.

My legs shook and my cunt spasmed as I came again.

I watched him let go of the girl, gently laying her down on the floor. I could only see her naked back against the glass, her shoulders hunched as she cried her release out, her whole body shaking with pent-up orgasms.

And then he stepped up to the window, in all his glory. He must’ve been over 6 feet 5. He was fucking enormous, so tall she looked like a child at his feet.

And he was completely naked, save for the condom on his dick.

His fucking cock matched his height, making my mouth water at the sight of it. He was ripped, muscles everywhere, looking not just like he worked out regularly but like he made it his mission to keep his body in perfect shape.

His cock was still hard as he took the condom off, discarded it on the floor and stroked slowly.

He grinned at me, and stroked his cock lazily with one hand as he wrote on the steamed-up window with the other.

My eyes danced across the words and I stepped forward, letting the light of the streetlights outside illuminate me. I knew he saw me now, because he jerked his dick faster, and it made me fucking ecstatic. He liked what he saw. And how couldn’t he? I was always sure to be groomed to 5 feet and 10 inches of polished, manicured and slutty perfection.

I followed his fingers writing in the window and lifted my dress up, showing him my ruined panties.

His eyebrows shot up and he smirked at me, licking his fingers and palming his shaft with fast, needy motions.

I stared at his words in the window, written clumsily, some of them fucked up because he’d tried to write their mirror reflection so I could read it.

My pussy tingled at his crudeness.

My heart thumped in anticipation.

And my mind reeled with the possibilities.

I DARE YOU TO GO NEXT.

Author Bio

Dark, dirty and taboo is what Isabella Starling is known for.

An Amazon top 25 bestselling Author, Isabella has 10 books under her belt in under a year. She is a self-proclaimed Tumblr gif addict and always looking for her next forbidden story.

If you pick up a Starling book, you can count on a bad-mouthed, bossy man who will dominate his woman with a rough hand.

Add just a sprinkle of taboo, a touch of BDSM and a pinch of suspense, and you’re all set for a story you won’t forget.

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