Friday, November 9, 2018

Worth the Wait by J.B. Heller


Worth the Wait
J.B. Heller
(Alpha One, #2)
Publication date: November 8th 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Suspense

What happens when an ex-marine who has never known real love falls for a vivacious redhead about to give up on the concept?

When Zak locked eyes on the feisty redhead storming the lobby of an upscale hotel, he didn’t stand a chance. In iridescent green tights, she had grown men cupping their balls as the fire flashing in her eyes passed over them and Zak was a goner. He saw through her smart mouth and quick wit to the fragile woman beneath her bravado.

Ellie was beginning to think that love was reserved for a select few and she simply wasn’t one of them. One after another, failed relationships have taken their toll on her vibrant spirit, leaving the once fiery bombshell feeling tarnished and inadequate.

Zak’s determination to prove himself to Ellie goes a long way towards breaking down her walls and opening her heart to all the possibilities of their future together. Just when they feel like everything is falling into place one phone call reveals a life altering, explosive secret. Together they need to learn how to expand their love and reinforce their connection while guarding against the danger fixated on them.

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Book 1 – Worth the Risk – is also 99¢ this week!

EXCERPT:

Before she can continue on with her self-depreciative speech I gently, but firmly, place my hand over her mouth. “Enough, Ellie,” I tell her, my tone leaving no room for misinterpretation. I mean business.

To my absolute shock, Ellie listens. Her jaw slams shut beneath my hand. I expected her to lick it or try to bite me—it wouldn’t be the first time—but she does nothing. Her eyes lock on mine, uncertainty and confusion shining in their depths.

I drop my hand slowly from her mouth, then slide it around her jaw. “Enough,” I whisper as I move in closer, bringing my chest just an inch from hers. Keeping our eyes locked together I explain my frustration. “You say men don’t want to stay with you because you’re a lot to handle…and Red, you’re right.”

Her entire body solidifies.

Sliding my hand down her throat I feel her pulse race rapidly under my palm. The further my hand travels, the softer her body becomes. It’s just her stubborn resistance keeping her from melting into me the way I know she wants to.

When I reach her hip, I squeeze. A tiny moan escapes her before she can stop it, and I smirk. Not once have I allowed my eyes to roam her incredible body. I read everything she refuses to say aloud in her green depths. She knows I’m different. She knows this thing with us is different.

I know she says she’s ready for sex, but apprehension is clear in her eyes. And I refuse to take her until she is as sure about me as I am about her. Bringing my free hand to her other hip I curl my fingers into her flesh that peeks from her between her T and shorts, then lift and swing her into my lap. The startled look on her face vanishes the instant she feels my erection pushing up into her ass. Her gaze morphs into desire and

lust.

“I want you, Angel. I’ve wanted you from the second I laid eyes on you. You fascinate me. Entertain me. Calm me. Captivate me. Arouse me. And you do it all, without even trying.” I press my forehead against hers as I relish the feel of her rapid breaths against my lips. “Don’t doubt me. Don’t doubt this. Us,” I plead, sick of dictating how she should feel, but desperate for her to understand. “I am not them.”

Finally, after what feels like an eternity, Ellie nods against my forehead. “Okay,” she whispers. I feel the relief that one single word brings, all the way down to my goddamned toes. Her hips rock against me, ever so gently, teasing me. Her soft hand slides around my neck, coming to rest in the hair at my nape. She stokes her long fingers through my hair and I tip my head back, letting her take control, and loving every second of it.

She presses an open-mouthed kiss to my throat, scraping her teeth against the sensitive flesh as she moves down to my collar bone. My cock is rigid, straining to be freed. Her ass pushes harder against it, grinding down on my length. My fingers dig further into her lush hips as I take over, shifting her until my cock presses against her centre, then I set the pace.



Author Bio:

JB Heller is an average Aussie housewife in her early 30’s with a wicked sexy imagination. JB and her family live in Central Queensland, Australia on a mini farm of sorts, surrounded animals.

She writes both romantic suspense and contemporary romance with a healthy splash of wit. You’ll love her dashingly handsome alpha hero’s and their feisty counterparts. Then swoon over her beautifully damaged, and flawed characters.

Most day’s JB can be found glued to her laptop, taking advantage of school hours now that all three of her kidlets are in school. Or trolling Pinterest for her next potential muse. And when she needs a break from the voices in her head she indulges in one of her favourite past times, reading or binging on netflix.

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Book Blast Willow Bloom and the Dream Keepers by E.V. Farrell


Willow Bloom and the Dream Keepers
by E.V. Farrell

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. E.V. Farrell will be awarding the use of the winner's name in the sequel to Willow Bloom and the Dream Keepers to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


GENRE: YA Fantasy
Willow Bloom’s biggest challenge is to organise her thirteenth birthday party. However, a walk in the woods near her home provides some big surprises – a mystical guardian from another world, a magical forest, and the discovery that her parents are part of a secret order that protects dreams. With the discovery comes a calling. A prophecy tells of a young one who can push back the dark forces that threaten to corrupt our hopes and dreams. Is Willow that young one? Can she take on the forces of evil, the Underlord Maliceius, and win?









Read an Excerpt


Willow swallowed uncomfortably at the unexpected sadness in her mother’s words. She held back a few moments. “Mum,” she said softly, “why hasn’t there been a Light Keeper in our family for so long? And what exactly is a Light Keeper?”



Her mother didn’t answer straight away; there was a faraway look in her eyes.



“Those are big questions, Willow, that require big answers.”



Audrey slowly tucked her hair behind her ears then crossed her arms on the table.



“There haven’t been many Light Keepers anywhere for over a century and there are very good reasons as to why, and we will tell you. But just not right now – not all at once. And why I haven’t been Awakened – well, I wasn’t chosen. Simple as that.”



She lowered her eyes.



Willow stared at her mother. She wanted to say something but felt completely lost for words. So she had been chosen and her mother not? Why?



About the Author:
E.V. Farrell lives in rural Victoria with her husband and two sons. This is her first novel.


http://www.hooklinebooks.com/young-adult-novels.php

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ev_farrell

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com



    on sale during the week of the tour for only $0.99

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Willow-Bloom-Dream-Keepers-Farrell-ebook/dp/B07GDPSRH5/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0


Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/willow-bloom-and-the-dream-keepers


Giveaway

E.V. Farrell will be awarding the use of the winner's name in the sequel to Willow Bloom and the Dream Keepers to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Have a Heart by Jodi Watters



Title: Have a Heart
Series: Love Happens #4
Author: Jodi Watters
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: November 9, 2018



Blurb

If he had one, she'd be the woman he'd give it to.

A runaway
bride, searching for happily ever after.
A Navy
SEAL, who doesn’t believe in such things.
A bar, in
the middle of nowhere, and fate, who’s been awaiting this day. 


Tessa
When I left
my groom at the altar, I didn’t care where I went, or who I met along the
way. 
When I
walked into a roadside bar in Nowhere, California, I wasn’t planning on
staying.
When I sat
down beside Jason Reynolds, I had no idea who he really was. 
My world
turned upside down.
Now all I
want to do is save him.

Jason
I tried to
ignore her. The beautiful train wreck who’d crashed my pity party.   
I tried to
fight temptation. Her sweet smile and smart mouth threatened my misery.
I tried to
walk away. My blackened soul didn’t deserve her bright, hopeful light.
My team
calls me Tin Man for good reason.
Love has no
place in my life.












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Excerpt


         I’m a wisher. Always have been.
As a young
girl, I’d stand before my closed bedroom door, wishing a Barbie Dream House
would appear on the other side.
“No way,”
my dad would sneer, a cigarette between his lips. “Not unless I hit the ponies
tonight.” Despite his habit of gambling our grocery money, neither ever
happened.  
As a
gangly teenager, I’d stand in front of a mirror, wishing for bigger boobs and a
fuller bush because I’d just seen Candace Michaels naked in the locker room
after third period P.E. class. You could say I was stunted in comparison. My
only solace was knowing those envious breasts would sag one day.
As a
community college graduate, I stood before the liquidated store I’d just
purchased thanks to a small business loan, providing employment to the two most
important people in my life, wishing to God I’d always be able to pay their
salaries. Theirs before mine, it turned out, on occasion. No matter. There was
currency in independence.
I also
wished I could twirl a baton, participate in a flash mob, and eat cake every
day without gaining weight. But, as my dad always said, I could wish in one
hand and shit in the other and see which one filled up first.
His best
and only advice.  
Through it
all, I’ve stared at nineteen different sheets of paper, always questioning what
I’d written, wishing many times over I was a poet. That I carried within me a
grace to evoke tender emotion, along with the guts to expel the toxic ones,
using nothing but a pen and the alphabet. Oftentimes I missed the mark, yet I
sent the messages anyway.
Yes, I’m
an old-school letter writer. A throwback to another generation. It’s not by
choice, believe me. This obsession started years ago, and I only write to one
person.
Him.
Lately,
I’ve avoided it. There’s been nothing to say.
But now,
in the middle of the night, I suddenly have plenty to say. To write.
The man
lying in bed next to me gives me pause. I know he’s asleep before I turn to
look, his breathing slow, but his body tense. Ready for the unexpected. A
learned habit that might never leave him. There’s something precious in seeing
him sleep, the weight of a nation briefly lifted. In repose, he becomes more
man than machine, despite himself.
More real.
More reachable.
Careful
not to jostle the blankets, I slide the remote from his slack hand and turn up
the volume on an informercial to cover the sound of my movements. No easy feat,
given he has catlike reflexes and can hear footsteps two doors down. Smiling,
my heart expands. Those are only a few of the many skills that make him
straight-up cool, in and out of a uniform.
So far, so
good, the light from the TV guiding me as I crawl out of bed and grab paper and
pen from the dresser. Not bothering to cover myself, I stand in the same spot
and write what’s in my heart, the words clambering to come out. It’s all I can
do to make my cursive scroll legible. Most of my letters are like this. Born of
furious inner thoughts.  
       Dear... I begin, then pause on the next looping letter.
I always
write friend.
The safety
of our anonymity now gone, I write his name instead, personally addressing him
for the first time. He feels like two different men to me, both of whom I love,
but neither of which I deserve.
       It’s odd
to use your name. I might never get used to that. I might never write you
another letter either. It feels wrong now, as I look at the face of a man who’s
been my sounding board, my guiding light, my surprise of a lifetime. Soft with
sleep, his burdens at rest, it’s a face that proves every sappy love song
right. Love—and let’s be honest, a daily dose of sex—really is all you need.
And pizza.
       Love, sex,
and pizza. The ultimate threesome. But I digress.
       Everybody
has one, you know. A love story. Even the non-believers, one of which is the
man embedded within my soul. Some of the stories are good, some bad. Some of
them, for the very lucky, are even great. Those are the ones that last, defying
a low survival rate.  
       I’ve
always wished mine—I mean, ours—to be a lovely tale that played out like a
metaphoric fable, where hummingbirds sipped nectar from orange blossoms on
dew-dampened spring mornings, our love growing from the softest flutter of
paper-thin wings, to a steady beat so sure and strong, you could tell the time
and temperature by it. What appeared outwardly fleeting could easily withstand
the rigors of Mother Nature. Bring on the hurricane. We’ll wait for the
rainbow.  
       Go ahead.
Laugh your fine, cynical ass off. I was thirteen when I dreamt that gem up, and
while you might be hero material to me and many others, you’re no fairy tale
prince. God knows, I’m no princess, so I’m laughing right along with you. We’re
the sorriest pair of hummingbirds ever.
       But the
thing is… I don’t care how it really happened.
        Just
that it did.
I continue
to bleed words of love, and then regret, onto the page, desperate to say
everything I need to. Confess my sins the only way I know how.
“Hey.”
The
rustling of sheets interrupts me, and I quickly slide the paper into the
drawer, reaching for his discarded t-shirt at the same time.
Slipping
it on, I cover my nakedness and grin at the scowl that crosses his gorgeous
face. Rolling to his side, his unguarded eyes beckon
me.      
“C’mere.”
Patting the bed, his voice is rough with sleep.
Without
hesitation, I let him envelop me in his strong, capable arms.
Nuzzling
my hair, he asks the question I’m prepared for. “What were you doing? It’s zero
dark thirty.”
“Nothing.”
Burying my face in his neck, I kiss him and fight tears, feeling far more
secure than I should. The taste of his skin is achingly familiar, and I let my
lips linger. The privilege, I know, is temporary. “Just shaking off a dream.”
“Mmm,” he
rumbles, and it’s the sexiest sound I’ve ever heard. “A good one or bad?”
The answer
is complicated.
“Both,” I
finally admit, the tears falling unbidden. I hide them, and the darkness allows
me my privacy. “Tighter,” I whisper, and he just seems to know, the band of his
arms flexing.
My
breathing is shallow, but my love is deep, and I selfishly ask for more.
“Tighter. Please.”   
Screw
hummingbirds and orange blossoms.  
      This is the love story—the sad, but true story—I’m meant to be in.









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AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU


Free in Kindle Unlimited





AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU


Free in Kindle Unlimited











Author Bio


My love for
steamy romance began when I was in junior high. A friend and I noticed a
dumpster of discarded paperbacks behind our local dime store. Covers missing
and each book split down the spine, I scanned the pages for any love or lust
words—and curse words, too. From that point on, I scoured the public library
and the paperback racks at every store, reading anything labeled romance. I said
a tearfully grateful goodbye to Judy Bloom, and Jackie Collins began ruling my
world.

I live with
my high school sweetheart husband in the desert Southwest. Awesome in the
winter, not so much in the summer.

My life
long goals are to think before I speak, smile more and swear less, and actually
weigh what my driver's license states I do. 



Author Links

Safe Rider by Jessica Ames

Title: Safe Rider
Series: A Lost Saxons Novel #2
Author: Jessica Ames
Genre: Contemporary MC Romance
Release Date: November 9, 2018
Cover Design: Kellie Dennis at Book Cover by Design


Rule #1 of getting life back on track: don’t fall for a biker…

A new life; a new start—that was what Liv needed after escaping her violent marriage. Moving to Kingsley was a chance to rebuild what was broken and show the world she wasn’t defeated by her past. No part of that plan involved falling in love with a biker.

Dean never expected to want the sweet woman living across the street. She’s not his type, yet he can’t stay away from her. When trouble follows Liv, he’s one step behind, ready to defend her because his time in the Lost Saxons Motorcycle Club has taught him two things: how to ride and how to protect what is his. And Liv is his—even if she doesn’t know it yet.








Chapter Two


Present day…

I'm unloading groceries from my car when I first see him. It's the roar of the engine that draws my attention. It's so obnoxiously loud in the quiet cul-de-sac that I can't stop my eyes from gravitating towards the sound. As I do, the mid-afternoon sunlight catches the chrome pipes, momentarily blinding me before the bike moves into the shadows of the trees lining the road.
I don't know a thing about motorcycles, but I can appreciate the beauty of it. It's a beast of a machine, with an emerald green fuel tank and pearl accents. It's a bike designed to catch attention, and it does. Even if it didn't, the man riding it would. To say he's imposing is an understatement.
With fascination—and a healthy dose of trepidation—I watch as he stops the bike in the driveway opposite my house and pulls off his helmet.
His head is covered in a thin layer of dark fuzz, which is at odds with the amount of hair covering his jaw, and every inch of skin not covered by clothes is inked. I'm more than certain his body is covered in even more artwork than I can see.
He isn’t classically handsome, nor is he the type I would usually find attractive, but there is something about him. Maybe it’s the bad boy vibe, or the confidence of his movements—I'm not sure. He's only wearing plain, boring, black jeans—nothing special—but they do fit him perfectly. The dark denim hangs in a way that accentuates his narrow hips and his tight bum. Beneath his leather vest he has on a loose, dark sweatshirt, the sleeves pushed up to his elbows. Looking at him, it’s like he rolled up out of hell to cause mayhem. Simon could never pull off that look, not in a million years. He is a trousers and button-up shirt kind of guy.
He's also a huge bastard—one that should not be entering my head at all.
My breath catches and all thoughts of Simon vanish as the biker turns and I get a full view of the back of his vest. There are two crossed swords dripping blood onto a skull wearing a helmet. This is macabre enough, but it's finished off with a T-cross piece over the skeletal nose and red, burning coals for eyes. The words 'Lost Saxons' are arced across the top of the garment, 'Kingsley' across the bottom.
He's not just a biker, he’s a biker.
I'm not a native to Kingsley, but I also don’t live under a rock; I know what the Lost Saxons Motorcycle Club is. They're well-known, even outside the former colliery town. If the newspapers are to be believed, they deal in drugs, weapons—anything that will give them a quick payout. They're criminals, a gang of men dedicated to living outside the confines of the law, and from the looks of it, I have one of their members living across the road from me.
And he definitely lives there because he's moving up the path towards the front door with a comfortable ease that only comes from being in your own space.
The bands around my chest loosen a little as he steps inside the house, the front door banging closed behind him, and once again peace and tranquillity return.
I’ve been in Kingsley for more than a year, but I’ve only been renting this property for the past three months. It’s the first time I’ve felt truly happy since I left Simon; the therapy, the breathing techniques, the finding something good in each part of the day is working and I finally feel as if I’m moving forward.
But now I have a biker living on my road.
Maybe I can move somewhere else…
Except, I signed a twelve-month tenancy agreement. Why? Because this house has a good square footage, is in a quiet part of Kingsley and was a bargain.
Now, I’m wondering if Mr Biker is the reason why the rent is so cheap.
I shake myself.
Firstly, for being so judgemental; I’m not usually. This is because so many people have judged me over the years and usually they come to the wrong conclusion. Secondly, because in the months I’ve lived here, this is the first time I’ve seen him. Clearly, he’s not a frequent visitor to the house.
I stare at the now-closed door and sigh. Maybe I should worry about my own problems and not who is living across the street from me. But I can’t help but feel concerned. I left my old life behind, reclaiming what was left of the woman I was before I met Simon. Even after all this time, I’m still trying to work out who this version of me is, but I figure she’s the kind of woman who would not care about the biker living across the street. I also figure she is the kind of woman who doesn’t get involved in other people’s business unless it becomes her business.
But he is a problem and he most definitely is my business, because he lives spitting distance from my front door. I don’t need the kind of trouble this man and his Club will bring. I need quiet, and I need safety. I don’t need the police camped on the front lawn.
Feeling irritated—and a little anxious—I reach into the boot of my car, gather up my shopping bags and heave them out with a grunt. Juggling my load, I fumble for the lid of the boot and manage to get it closed without dropping anything. This is a feat in itself, given how heavy these bags are. How much did I buy?
This is something I have struggled to get used to since I set out on my own: shopping for myself. I was so used to getting whatever Simon wanted, not what I wanted or needed that I now have a tendency to overindulge when I’m in the supermarket. I have to remember I’m on a budget and that I can’t afford a hundred pounds a week food bill. But the freedom to do as I please goes to my head more often than I would care to admit—even after all this time.
I barely take two steps before I feel something shift. Then, the weight of the bags changes as the plastic splits from handle to seam. Laden down as I am, I can do nothing but watch in seemingly slow motion as my milk carton hits the concrete at force, spraying white into the air like a geyser while the rest of the contents spill out onto the pavement, my apples rolling to settle in the gutter.
Well, shit.
I move to my car and carefully place the other bags in the boot before turning back to the carnage I have wrought. A white river of milk is free-flowing across the paving slabs and staining the grassy verge.
Shit, shit, shit.
I move to pick up the first fallen item—a ruffled looking lettuce—when a deep, gravelly voice says, "Do you need a hand?"
I jump practically out of my skin; I can't help it. It’s not a normal response and I know this, but I can't stop it. My flight response battles with my fight for dominance as I spin around. And my body, which has been conditioned to react over the years, tries to recoil. It takes everything I have to stand still as I let out a garbled yelp.
"Jesus!" I gasp out as I realise the voice belongs to my neighbour from across the street: the biker.
For a moment a tendril of fear works through me, but it winds back a notch when he doesn’t make any sudden movements. I put a hand to my sternum, trying to control my thrumming heartbeat, then drag in a shuddering breath as my counsellor’s voice sounds in the back of my mind: I am in control; I can keep myself safe.
And I can. I have been doing it for months now quite successfully.
For his part, Mr Biker looks contrite and slightly concerned, as if worried I may keel over. It is a possibility, given how much of a workout my respiratory system is getting, courtesy of him.
"You nearly gave me a coronary,” I snap, which is probably not the best idea, given the present company, but shock makes my mouth engage before my brain. 
"Fuck," he mutters, as a tattooed hand runs over his buzzed head. My eyes of their own volition follow the movement and I have to drag my gaze back to his face. "I didn't mean to scare you."
“It’s okay,” I mutter.
This close up, I can see his eyes are pale, a blue so light it looks grey. He’s also wearing a ring through his left nostril that I shouldn’t like, but find I do. I don’t usually like piercings, nor do I like tattoos, but he pulls both off perfectly. Too perfectly, really. He’s nothing like Simon who was more at home in a suit rather than jeans and never left the house without ensuring his hair was perfectly styled. I doubt this man cares about that kind of thing; he’s dressed for comfort. He’s rough, hard, but there is something about him that I like—and I don’t even want to dissect that.
Boy, do I have bad taste in men? First Simon, now I’m lusting over a criminal. I should become celibate and join a nunnery.
But he is good looking, even under the bad boy appearance.
“Do you have another bag?”
“What?” I pull my attention from scanning the thick scruff of beard covering his jaw. It’s verging on wild and this close to me, I can see it has copper-flecks among the brown.
“A bag: do you have another? To put the food in,” he clarifies, speaking slowly, as if I’m not with it—which I’m not. I’m rattled having him in my space, and not just because my hormones are standing to attention. The man belongs to one of the most notorious biker gangs in the country, and he’s also at least five inches taller than I am. He’s bulky, in an athletic way, rather than a steroid way, but that means nothing; Simon wasn’t built but he could still overpower me. That in itself is enough to make me wary, although I do everything not to show it.
He’s not going to hurt you.
Breathe it out, Olivia.
“Oh. Yeah.” I move back to the car and find a spare shopping tote tucked away. When I turn back to the biker and hand him the bag I do it with a lot more confidence than I feel.
He takes it without a word, opening it up and gestures for me to hold it for him. I do so without question. Why? I don't know. I should run into my house and hide because this man is dangerous. His leather vest with the skull on the back, the tattoos, the swagger: everything about him exudes just how dangerous he is. Except, he's standing on my driveway, helping me to collect the remains of my scattered shopping.
Are bikers supposed to be helpful?
I stand silently as he puts each item into the open tote bag, unsure what to say.
“Your milk is fucked,” he tells me unnecessarily because I can see that, “but the rest should be salvageable.”
I stare at the river of white wending over the concrete. This means another trip to the supermarket, unless I can survive with black coffee for tonight.
“Crap,” I whisper.
He runs a hand over his beard, and I notice his tattoos span down his arms to the backs of his hands as well. His skin is covered with so many different designs that it’s difficult to take it all in, but I see he has the same insignia on the back of his leather vest tattooed on his left forearm. On his right wrist, just above the palm, the word ‘Karma’ is stamped. I don’t even want to think why he has that tattoo. What karma is he dealing out?
Realising I’m staring—again—I pull my gaze back to his face, but he doesn’t notice my gawking because he’s focused on the milk spillage.
“It’s only milk,” I say. “No use crying over it, right?” 
Then his lips quirk and I forget he’s a dangerous criminal because my mouth is suddenly dry. It softens his entire demeanour and I suddenly want to see him smile every day.
“I guess not. I have some in the house, if you need it.”
I wonder when he was here to bring milk; this is definitely the first time I’ve seen signs of life at the house across the street.
“Do you want me to grab you some?” he continues.
As tempting as that is, I shake my head. “I think I’ll survive one evening without milk, but thank you.”
This is debatable but I’m not keen on being indebted to this man—even if it is only milk. It’s a ridiculous thought but my brain is completely frazzled right now. At least this is the excuse I’m giving myself.
He hands me the newly filled bag and I take it with murmured thanks, trying not to react as his fingers brush over the back of my hand. I can’t deny the way that feels. There is electricity between us—at least on my part, although I swear I see a slight widening of his eyes at our touch. Perhaps I imagined it because it’s gone so fast I can’t be sure it was there in the first place.
He sniffs then clears his throat and my cardiac muscle gets another workout as it beats faster.
“You just moved in?”
“Oh, yeah. Well, about three months ago.”
He blinks and then his brow pulls together. “Shit, really? Three months?”
I nod.
“I need to start coming to the house more.” He jerks a thumb in the direction of the property he disappeared into before. “I own number fifteen, but I spend most of my time at the clubhouse.”
The clubhouse. With the dangerous bikers where he is a member. This sobers me completely and brings me out of my fantasy. It doesn’t matter how nice he’s being, how polite, I need to bring this to an end. I do not need his kind of drama in my already drama-filled life.
“Thank you for your help, but I should get the food inside before it spoils.”
He studies me. Intently. I try not to squirm under that look. “I’ll help.”
“Oh, there’s no need.”
“I’ll help,” he repeats, as if I didn’t protest.
This annoys me, but I don’t have the chance to voice this because without invitation, he plucks the tote from my hands and reaches into the boot. He wraps a fist around the whole lot and pulls it out as if it weighs nothing, and without a word starts up the path to the front door.
My front door.
Crap!
I quickly reach for the boot, pulling the lid down and tug my handbag up my shoulder as I jog after him. His legs are longer than mine though and he eats up the space in a few steps. This means he’s waiting for me outside the porch when I reach him.
He lifts the bags slightly. “These are heavy, darlin’; do you want to open the door, so I can put them inside?”
I really don’t. It’s one thing him carrying my bags from the car to my front door, but him being inside my house... I’m not sure I’m comfortable with that at all. But I don’t want to be rude and I don’t want to upset the potentially dangerous biker with the cute face and overinflated sense of chivalry either.
I hesitate too long because his smile fades and his jaw tightens. I see the anger flash in his eyes as he realises why I’m hesitating. Muscle memory is a powerful thing because my brain doesn’t register it’s not Simon; all it registers is the perceived danger. To my mortification, I recoil back as if he struck me. My life with Simon may feel like a decade ago, but that primal instinct to protect myself is still the first thing to switch on when I meet someone new—someone I don’t yet know is safe.
His eyes narrow further. It’s like watching a train wreck in slow motion, and I can do nothing to stop the destruction.
There is a moment of silence that seems to span an era. It’s so quiet all I can hear is my own ragged breathing and his huffing.
Finally, he speaks.
“Christ, you try to fucking help someone and this is how they thank you?” He grinds the words between clenched teeth. Then he snorts and shakes his head. Not too gently, he dumps the bags on the ground and leans into me. I pull away from him, my back hitting the side of the storm porch as he gets into my space, all six-foot-plus of him. I have to raise my chin to meet his gaze, and I wish I didn’t because he looks hurt beneath the anger and for some reason that doesn’t sit right with me.
“For the record, I was just going to take your bags inside for you. I usually leave the raping and murdering for the weekend.”
He gives me the dirtiest look I’ve ever seen, turns on a booted heel and starts back up the path. I let my lungs finally reboot and draw in air when he reaches the end of the drive, and I’m filled with a new emotion. This one is abject embarrassment. He didn’t do anything wrong. All he did was try to be nice and I treated him like crap. Did I really think he was going to come into my house and hurt me?
I don’t know.
Old habits die hard.
Shit.








Jessica Ames was raised in a small market town in the Midlands, England. She lives with her crazy mongrel terrier and when she’s not writing she’s playing with crochet hooks. From the moment she was old enough to hold a pen she created fantastical stories and by the age of 17 had written her first full-length novel: a fantasy story about an exiled boy king. It was a cliched mess, but she realised she could, in fact, write and finish a book!

Knowing she needed to make money, she found work in the publishing world. Over the next decade, she honed her skills and worked hard to learn everything she could about writing. In January 2018, in a moment of insanity, she quit her job in magazine publishing to write books full time.






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