Excerpt Reveal – Giveaway: Denial (Careless Whispers #1) by Lisa Renee Jones

denial

 

Title: Denial

Author: Lisa Renee Jones

Series: Careless Whispers #1

Release Date: November 24th 2015.

About the Book 

From New York Times bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones, the first book in the CARELESS WHISPERS series.

Please note: This is the standalone spinoff of the INSIDE OUT series. New readers can enjoy this without reading INSIDE OUT but those who love INSIDE OUT will FINALLY find out what happened to Ella!

Ella Ferguson awakes alone in Italy, unsure of who she is, and a gorgeous man has claimed her as his own. He’s tall, dark, and sexy, with money and power, the kind of man who makes a girl want to be possessed. And he does possess her, whispering wicked wonderful promises to her, stealing her trust and her heart. Soon though, the past finds her, yanking her from a cocoon of passion and safety. Everything is not how it seems. The truth will shatter her world, but it can set her free, if it doesn’t destroy her first.

Goodreads

 

Read Chapter one on Lisa’s website here: http://lisareneejones.com/books/denial/#read-an-excerpt

Excerpt

His hand slides to my back and he leans me toward the table, forcing me to catch myself on my elbows. He holds me there, his body cradling mine, his lips a breath from a touch. “I won’t let you fall.”
“I know,” I say, and I do now. Beyond time and reason, I trust this man.
His mouth brushes mine and then trails down my jaw, slowly teasing a path to my ear, where he whispers, “I’m not going to claim to own you the way he did.” He flattens his hands on my belly, possessiveness in the touch. “I’m just going to make you wish I did.”
My lips part with the erotic promise, and he is already kissing me, licking into my mouth, his tongue a sultry, seductive promise that he can make good on his vow. And while I do not wish anyone to own me again, I want what he offers in a way that defies reason.
He nips my lips and licks away the sweet ache, and somehow I feel that lick between my thighs where I am already wet and aching. His whiskers rasp on my cheek, down my neck to my shoulder, a wicked burn that is torment and pleasure at the same time. Like he is. His hands settle on my waist, lingering there, teasing me with all the places they could go, until finally he is caressing my body, up and down, a slow, sexy, torturous exploration.
He pinches my nipples again and he is not gentle, but I do not seem to want gentle. My sex clenches and my knees crush his hips. His lips curve to a small, satisfied smile that is wickedly sexy, and rawly male. He leans in and licks one of my throbbing nipples, sending a shiver down my spine, and I arch upward, the table biting into my elbows, but I do not care. He is sucking me, dragging deep on the knotted peak, and pleasure tingles through my nerve endings, my sex, forcing my legs to squeeze his hips again.
My arms tremble with my weight and he responds without me asking, moving closer and laying me on top of the table. My spine flattens on the hard surface and he lingers above me. “I want more.”
“More what?”
“Everything,” he says, his lips nuzzling my ear as he repeats, “Everything, Ella. Can I have it?”
The question affects me, but not as much as the way he waits, genuinely seeking my approval. He takes power but somehow gives it to me as well, and this is freedom to me, safety. Things I do not think I have often felt in my life. “Yes,” I whisper. “Yes.”
He inhales as if my approval surprises and pleases him, as if it is a gift he relishes, not a property he owns. And it is then that I give myself the freedom to just let go, the muscles in my body easing in ways they hadn’t before. I do give him everything. His mouth caresses mine and he whispers, “That’s what I wanted,” as if he knows I’ve made that decision.
And already his lips are traveling down my neck, tongue flicking here and there, his hand caressing, squeezing my breast. He assaults my senses with pleasure, touching me, kissing me, driving away my memories and enemies. His whiskers rasp my belly, his lips pressing to the center, his tongue flickering into my navel, and I tremble with the silent promise it will soon be where I want it to be. His hand flattens over my sex, inches lower until he is flicking my clit, back and forth, back and forth.
He lifts my legs to his shoulders, spreading me wide, and I am vulnerably his, and aroused beyond belief. He lowers his head, his breath a warm tease on my sensitive places, and I grip the edge of the table, bracing myself for what is to come. He laps at my nub, the barely there touch, and I am breathing hard, wishing I could touch him, incapable of moving, and the muscles of my sex clench so tightly it hurts.
He licks my clit and I am both relieved and on edge in the same moment, ready for more, for that everything he has promised me. Another lick follows. Yes, please, more, I think, and as if he’s heard my silent plea, he gives it to me. His hands slide beneath my backside and he lifts me to his mouth, and it is nothing shy of sweet bliss when his mouth closes down around me. He sucks, drawing deeply on my sensitive flesh, lapping at me, licking me again in all the right ways and right places. I am panting and moaning, and I barely recognize the sounds as my own. Sensations ripple through me and when his fingers slide inside me, I am undone, tumbling into orgasm. The intensity jerks my body and I lose all time and space. It’s escape, sweet, blissful escape, and he keeps me there, slowly bringing me down, the licks of his tongue growing softer, slower. Until I am sated, limp, and he pulls me back onto his lap, my head resting on his shoulder, his hand flattening between my shoulder blades.
“Everything or nothing,” he whispers, and this time, I do not believe he is talking about orgasms and pleasure.
I lean back to look at him, and the idea of what we are becoming is a sweet seduction, threatened by the emptiness of my past. “What if everything is too much?”
He drags two fingers down my cheek. “Sweetheart, I don’t have a ceiling. We’re going to find out if you do.”

 

For More information on The Inside Out series page including: buy links, and excerpts for the previous two and also upcoming releases. Visit Lisa’s website here: http://lisareneejones.com/connected-books/inside-out-series/

 

Pre-Order Links

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1MzkBpQ
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1VQue7X

 

About the Author

Lisa-Renee-Jones-Headshot-275

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT SERIES, and is now in development by Suzanne Todd (Alice in Wonderland) for cable TV. In addition, her Tall, Dark and Deadly series and The Secret Life of Amy Bensen series, both spent several months on a combination of the NY Times and USA Today lists.

Watch the video on casting for the INSIDE TV Show HERE

Since beginning her publishing career in 2007, Lisa has published more than 40 books translated around the world. Booklist says that Jones suspense truly sizzles with an energy similar to FBI tales with a paranormal twist by Julie Garwood or Suzanne Brockmann.

Prior to publishing, Lisa owned multi-state staffing agency that was recognized many times by The Austin Business Journal and also praised by Dallas Women Magazine. In 1998 LRJ was listed as the #7 growing women owned business in Entrepreneur Magazine.

Lisa loves to hear from her readers. You can reach her at on her website and she is active on twitter and facebook daily.

Blog   Twitter    Facebook   Goodreads   Amazon

Giveaway

mug denial

Pre-order Denial and enter to win a CARELESS WHISPERS mug and you will also receive as bonus, exclusive scenes that re-visit Sara and Chris from INSIDE OUT and an ALSO an early look at Lisa’s new series DIRTY MONEY.
You can find the form here – http://lisareneejones.com/pre-order-promotion-for-denial/

denial excerpt

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Excerpt Reveal: The Fall Up by Aly Martinez

the fall up cover ebook

 

Title: The Fall Up 

Author: Aly Martinez

Release Date: October 26th 2015.

About the Book

I wanted to jump.
He made me fall.

As a celebrity, I lived in the public eye, but somewhere along the way, I’d lost myself in the spotlight.

Until he found me.

Sam Rivers was a gorgeous, tattooed stranger who saved my life with nothing more than a simple conversation.

But we were both standing on that bridge for a reason the night we met. The secrets of our pasts brought us together—and then tore us apart.

Could we find a reason to hold on as life constantly pulled us down?

Or maybe there’s only one direction to go when two people fall in love at rock bottom—up.

Goodreads

 

Excerpt

Chapter One
Levee
It was raining. Isn’t that the way all great love stories start? And also usually end? The midnight air was cool against my skin as I stared off that bridge. My blond wig was secured in place by a headband, and chunky sunglasses covered my whiskey-colored eyes. I didn’t look like myself any more than I felt it. Bruises from the night before painted my legs while fresh scabs covered my knees, but it was the hollowness in my chest that hurt the most.
Yep. Still me.
Which was exactly why I was standing on that bridge, wishing for the mental fortitude to hurl myself off.
A man’s voice interrupted my thoughts. “You finally gonna do it tonight?”
I instinctually smoothed my fake hair down and pressed the bridge of my glasses closer to my face, sealing out any possible glance he could catch. I stared ahead as I snapped, “Excuse me?”
“I’ve seen you here three nights in a row now. I was just wondering if tonight was going to be the night you finally jump.”
My eyes flashed wide, but since they were covered by the dark glasses, my reaction remained hidden. “I just like the view. That’s all.” What a load of shit.
I watched him nod out of the corner of my eye. “Yeah me too. It’s gorgeous up here.”
Shuffling my feet to the side, I attempted to slip away as he pulled a pack of cigarettes from his pocket and offered it my way.
“You want one?”
I shook my head and then crept down a few inches to put distance between us.
“Suit yourself.” He used a hand to shield the lighter from the wind, but the constant sprinkle of rain made his task impossible. “Damn it,” he cursed with the cigarette tucked between his lips. “Little help?” he asked, swinging his gaze to mine.
Arching an eyebrow, I asked, “With what?”
“It’s raining…and windy…and I’m trying to burn one.” He tilted his head, equally as incredulous.
“You want me to call God? We had a bad breakup recently, but he might be willing to do me one last favor.”
He breathed an exaggerated sigh of relief. “That would be fantastic. What’s the big guy’s response time like these days? Last time we spoke, it was”—he paused to look at his watch—“oh, twenty-seven years.”
A soft laugh bubbled from my throat, and one side of his mouth lifted in a gorgeous grin.
“I’m not exactly in the mood to wait that long, so maybe you could just block the wind with your body?” His smile spread as he stepped toward me, forcing my gaze to nervously bounce away.
“Sorry. Can’t help you there. Lung cancer and I broke up too.” After gathering the back of my wig into a ponytail, I pulled it over my shoulder and turned away from him. The chill of the wind blasted my face and roared over my ears as it rushed past me.
I went back to staring out at the dark, choppy water, becoming lost in the idea of how cold it might be.
Is tonight the night?
No.
My feet would more than likely never leave the edge of that bridge, but there was a definite reason why I was imagining ending it all. Exactly zero other people in the world would understand why. I had it all, and I dreamed about losing it all—more often than I would ever admit, even to myself.
After stepping out of my heels, I slipped my foot between the bars on the railing. The wind slammed my bruised leg against the metal. “Shit,” I hissed as pain shot through me.
“You think that hurts? Imagine falling twenty-five stories then crashing into the water, which might as well be concrete, at speeds upward of seventy miles per hour,” the man said, leaning on the metal railing next to me.
“Wow. Someone’s done some research,” I said sarcastically, barely sparing him a glance.
“Daily,” he responded frankly, causing my surprised gaze to swing to his. Simply shrugging at my reaction, he turned his back to the railing and propped himself up on his colorfully tattooed forearms. “You forget I’ve been here the last three nights in a row too.” He smirked, lifting the cigarette up to his lips for a deep inhale.
“Listen, I’m not going to jump if you’re some kind of caped crusader on a mission. I just needed some fresh air.” I pointedly glanced at his cigarette.
A laugh escaped his mouth in a grey puff. “Fresh air is overrated. Especially given the reason you’re standing here.” He knowingly arched a dark-brown eyebrow.
“Riiiiight,” I drawled, rolling my eyes behind my glasses. “Okay, well, I was just heading out anyway.”
“Then my work here is done.” He bowed, and the corner of my mouth lifted in a smile as I stepped back into my shoes and walked away.
I shook my head at the random stranger. Then, a thought struck me, stopping me only a few feet away. Spinning back to face him, I asked, “Wait. Were you reaching out to me as a cry for help?”
“Oh look. Designer Shoes has a conscience!” He dropped his cigarette to the damp ground, stepping on it with the toe of his well-worn, black boots. Bending over, he picked the butt up and tucked it in his pocket.
At least he didn’t litter.
“Oh look. Tattooed Stalker has jokes!” I smarted back.
He smiled, pulling another cigarette from his pocket and then pausing just before guiding it between his lips. “Were you judging me based on my tattoos? I’m offended.” He feigned anguish then laughed while lifting his lighter to once again battle the wind for a nicotine fix.
I wanted to walk away, but he wasn’t wrong. I did have a conscience, and right then, I was worried that it might really be his night to make good on his apparent numerous visits to the bridge.
With a huff, I headed back towards him, praying that I could wrap it up as quickly as possible then head back to my house for a few hours of sleep. Or, more likely, lie awake while staring at the ceiling and crying.
“Are you planning to jump for real?” I asked.
His smile fell as he focused on the water. “Nah. I don’t have the balls to do something like that. Talking to you wasn’t a plea for help or anything. You just look worse than usual tonight.” His gaze slid down to my battered legs.
“Oh!” I exclaimed in understanding. “That’s not at all what you’re thinking. I fell down some stairs.”
He quirked his lips in disbelief.
“I’m serious!”
“I’m sure you are,” he told the wind. “You can go. I’m good.”
I could have walked away, but for some reason, I pulled my jacket tighter around my shoulders and silently stood there while he finished his cigarette.
After a final deep inhale, he flicked it over the railing of the bridge.
Apparently, he does litter.
Turning to me, his face became serious. “You need to call the cops before he makes the decision to end it all for you.”
“Who?” I asked, watching the burning ember hit the metal column then explode in a million different sparks before disappearing down to the water below.
Lucky cigarette.
“The stairs…and whatever inanimate object you’re blaming for those bruises you’re hiding behind sunglasses at one in the morning. You should call the cops before…” His voice trailed off, but his dark gaze narrowed on mine. His eyes bored into my hidden stare, combining with the rain and wind to send chills down my spine.
I took the moment to secretly assess him. He was insanely sexy, but nothing like the men I was accustomed to. His chin was the kind of scruffy that made women weak, but it was obvious he didn’t pay four hundred dollars for his personal hairstylist to shape it. Judging by his shaggy, brown hair that begged for me to thread my fingers in it, I wasn’t sure he was even a barbershop kind of guy. He stood a few inches taller than I was in heels, so I pegged him at around six one. And while his tattooed forearms were deliciously sculpted and his shoulders were notably defined, his body didn’t appear to be swollen with muscles from hours spent at the gym. By the aura of bad boy he gave off, I would have expected him to be a self-consumed, arrogant prick.
He wasn’t though.
He was just an average guy worrying about the well-being of an average girl.
Only he couldn’t have been more wrong, and a pang of guilt hit me hard.
Just not hard enough for me to do anything to correct his assumptions about who I was.
Very softly, I attempted to put his fears to rest. “I promise it’s not what you’re thinking.”
“Okay,” he responded, unconvinced. He nodded to himself before dragging another cigarette from his pocket.
I watched him struggle for a second before I scooted towards him, using my body to block the wind.
Biting the cigarette between his straight, white teeth, he smiled devilishly around it. “Thanks.” Flicking the flame to life, he hunched over until a stream of smoke swirled up from the red tip.
“You should stop smoking.”
“Noted.” He exhaled through his nose.
We went back to silently staring over the side of the bridge. The familiar lights of the San Francisco skyline danced all around us. And, even as tourists and locals alike passed by us, I felt an odd, and unbelievably comfortable, isolation standing there with him.
When my teeth began to chatter, his attention was drawn my way. “I’m not here to jump. You really can go.”
I nodded but didn’t move away.
He chuckled, crossing his arms over his chest and rubbing his biceps for warmth.
“How are you not frozen?” I asked, taking in his thin Henley for the first time since we met.
Shrugging, he dropped his cigarette, answering as he bent to retrieve it. “Thick skin? I’m used to it? I come here a lot? I’m half Eskimo?”
I eyed him suspiciously. “You’re cold, aren’t you?”
“Fucking. Freezing,” he admitted, tucking his arms close to his body and blowing into his hands. “I just came up here for one smoke. Then I saw you. Now, come on. Be a lady and loan a man a jacket,” he joked, tugging on the edge of my coat.
I laughed, hugging it even tighter around my body and stepping out of his reach. “How about we both just leave? Then neither of us have to worry about the other plummeting to their death.”
“Sounds like an amazing plan.” He shoved his hands into the pockets of the tattered jeans riding low on his hips. As we began the hike back down to the foot of the bridge, he asked, “You have a name, Designer Shoes?”
I smiled and shook my head, not willing to lie—or divulge the truth.
“Yeah. Me either,” he replied.
I bit my bottom lip to suppress a laugh.
Side by side, we trudged the rest of the way in silence.
When we got to the foot of the bridge, he turned to face me and sighed. “Well, I genuinely hope I never see you again.”
My head snapped back in shock, and maybe a little hurt.
But he quickly corrected himself. “No! I just mean… Shit.” He ran a nervous hand through his hair while I watched, amused. “I just mean, given the way we met… I…um. I hope you never have a reason to go back up there.”
I teasingly tipped my head to the side. “But I really like the view.”
He cleared his throat. “Right. Of course, the view. Okay, well, have a good night.”
“You too.” I smiled tightly, but my feet didn’t budge. I told myself that it was because I didn’t want him to see my car or the bodyguard waiting for me behind the wheel. But, in reality, I just wasn’t ready to leave. Home wasn’t where I wanted to be. I didn’t actually want to be anywhere.
Not even standing at the foot of a bridge, talking to a witty and sexy man.
Okay, maybe I wanted that a little bit.
“Yep. Have a good night,” he repeated, shoving his hands inside his pockets and slowly backing away.
I gave him a quick wave, which he returned before he jogged in the other direction.
I smiled to myself, shaking my head at the entire interaction—secretly lamenting that it hadn’t been longer.

About the Author

Born and raised in Savannah, Georgia, Aly Martinez is a stay-at-home mom to four crazy kids under the age of five, including a set of twins. Currently living in Chicago, she passes what little free time she has reading anything and everything she can get her hands on, preferably with a glass of wine at her side.

After some encouragement from her friends, Aly decided to add “Author” to her ever-growing list of job titles. So grab a glass of Chardonnay, or a bottle if you’re hanging out with Aly, and join her aboard the crazy train she calls life.

 

Connect with Aly

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the fall up excerpt reveal

Excerpt Reveal: Cocky Bastard by Vi Keeland, Penelope Ward

cocky bastard cover

 

Title: Cocky Bastard 

Authors: Vi Keeland, Penelope Ward

Release Date: August 17th 2015.

About the Book

He was someone who belonged in my wildest fantasies instead of a rest stop in the middle of Nebraska.

A sexy, cocky, Australian named Chance was the last person I expected to run into on my cross-country drive.

When my car broke down, we made a deal. Next thing I knew, we were traveling together, spending sexually-tense nights in hotels and taking unplanned detours.

My ordinary road trip turned into the adventure of a lifetime. It was all fun and games until things got intense.

I wanted him, but Chance wouldn’t make a move. I thought he wanted me too, but something was holding him back.

I wasn’t supposed to fall for the cocky bastard, especially when I knew we’d be going our separate ways.

All good things must come to an end, right?

Except our ending was one I didn’t see coming.

Goodreads

Sneak Peek

I wondered if the vibration would feel good between my legs.
The sun caught the chrome of a Harley Davidson parked a few spots over, gleaming in the sweltering midday sun. I waited until Maroon Five finished playing on the radio, oddly fixated on the two-wheeled-man-toy as I fished in my purse for my cell phone. The motorcycle was simple—high gloss black and shiny silver, worn leather saddlebags with a skull embossed below the initials C.B.
How good would it feel to ride? Wind blowing through my long hair, arms wrapped around a man with a tough sounding nickname, engine purring beneath my jean clad thighs. Horse? Drifter? Guns? Wait. No. Pres. My imaginary biker was most definitely called Pres. And he’d look just like Charlie Hunnam.
I glanced down at my iPhone and found a half dozen new messages from Harrison. Inwardly, I smirked. Certainly, there is no one named Harrison that ever rode a Harley. Tossing my phone back in my bag, I cut the engine of my packed BMW and glanced behind me into the backseat. Boxes piled to the ceiling were beginning to make my full-size car feel claustrophobic.
A bus full of travelers pulled into the rest stop. Great. I’d better go in now and get my lunch, otherwise I’d never get out of here. Ten hours into a cross-country trip from Chicago to Temecula, California, I was somewhere in the middle of Nebraska with about another twenty some odd hours to go.
After a fifteen-minute wait inside for Pepsi and Popeyes fried chicken bites that I planned to eat back in the car, I stopped into the small souvenir shop. I was so tired and didn’t really feel like driving the additional five hours I had to go before finding a place to sleep for the night. Yawning, I decided to stall and browse for a few minutes. Checking out some trinkets, I eventually picked up a Barack Obama bobblehead and shook it mindlessly, watching its maniacal smile as the head bounced up and down.
“Get it. You know you want it,” a deep, raspy voice said from behind my shoulders. Startling me, it caused a knee-jerk reaction that resulted in the bobblehead slipping from my fingers and falling to the ground. The head broke off of the spring neck and rolled away.
The woman at the register shouted, “I’m sorry, ma’am. You’ll have to pay for that. Twenty dollars.”
“Damn it!” I spewed, following the path of the rolling head. As I bent down to pick it up, there was the voice again from behind me.
“And to think, some people say he’s got a good head on his shoulders.” He seemed to have an Australian accent.
“You think this is funny, asshole?” I asked before turning around and getting my first look at the man behind the voice.
I froze.
Oh. Shit.
“You don’t need to be a fucking bitch about it.” His mouth curved into a wicked grin as he handed me the bottom half of Obama. “And for the record, I did think that was really funny, yes.”
I swallowed and seemed to lose my ability to speak as I took in the Adonis standing before me. I wanted to smack that cocky smile right off his face, though—his gorgeous, chiseled, scruffy face, framed by a thick head of copper-brown hair. Fuck me. This man was insanely hot, not someone I expected to come across out here. This was the middle of nowhere USA, not the Australian outback for Christ’s sake.
I cleared my throat. “Well, I didn’t think it was funny at all.”
“Then, you need to take the stick out of your arse and lighten up.” He reached out his hand. “Give it to me, Princess. I’ll pay for the damn thing.” Before I could respond, he grabbed the two broken pieces from me, and I cursed at the shiver that ran down my spine from the brief contact of his hand brushing against mine. Of course, he had to smell amazing on top of it all.
I followed him to the register as I fished through my messy purse for money, but he was too quick and had paid for it already.
He handed me a plastic bag containing the broken bobblehead. “There’s some change in the bag. Buy yourself a sense of humor.”
HUE-MA. That accent.
My jaw dropped as he walked away and out of the store.
What an ass.
It was. A fine one. A thick, juicy, round ass hugged tightly by his jeans. God, I really needed to get laid, because it didn’t seem to matter that this guy had just insulted me to my face; my panties were practically wet.
After several minutes of staring into space at a shelf of Nebraska Cornhuskers t-shirts, I gave myself a mental kick in the butt. My reaction to the incident proved that fatigue had gotten the best of me; I wasn’t usually that short-tempered. It was time to shake off the bizarre encounter and get moving. My stomach was growling, and I was looking forward to breaking into the fried chicken once I hit the road. I snuck a piece out of the box in my bag as I walked out of the building. My chewing ceased when I noticed him two spots down from my car—sitting on the very motorcycle I’d been fantasizing about earlier.
Approaching slowly, I hoped he didn’t notice me. No such luck. Instead, when he spotted me, he flashed an exaggerated smile and waved.
Frantically searching for my keys, I rolled my eyes and muttered, “You again.”
He snickered. “Did you end up buying a sense of humor?”
“I used the change to buy you some couth instead.”
Chuckling, he shook his head at me. Running his hand through his hair, he put his shiny black helmet on and cranked the Harley. The rumble shook me to my core.
Getting in the car and slamming the door, I couldn’t help taking one last look over at him, seeing as though I’d never see this guy again in my lifetime. He winked through the helmet, and my pathetic heart fluttered.
I watched through the rear view mirror as he backed out of the spot. I expected him to take off like a bat out of hell, but after moving away slowly, he abruptly stopped. He kept trying to rev the bike to get it to move, but nothing was happening. Eventually turning off the engine, he removed his helmet and ran his hand through his hair in frustration before getting off to inspect things. I should have just left, but couldn’t take my eyes off him as he struggled to get it to run. Man, that sucks.
I dipped one of the chicken bites into the honey mustard sauce and popped it into my mouth, continuing to watch this like a spectator sport for several minutes. At one point, he took out his phone and made a phone call as he paced back and forth.
Putting his phone away, he looked in my direction and glared at me. Caught in the act of watching him, I let out a nervous laugh. I didn’t mean to laugh at the situation, but it just came out. He raised his brow, and that made me cackle harder. He slowly walked toward me, clutching the helmet by his side. He knocked on my window, and I lowered it.
“You think this is funny, Princess?”
“Not really…maybe.” I snorted.
“Well, I’m glad you finally managed to find your sense of humor.”
HUE-MA.
God, his accent was sexy.
He arched his neck to look into the backseat and took notice of all the boxes. “You homeless or something? Living out of your car?”
“No. I’m in the middle of a cross-country move.”
“Where you headed?”
“Temecula.”
“California.” He nodded. “Me, too.”
I looked toward his Harley. “Well, it looks like you’re not exactly headed anywhere anytime soon. I guess it’s payback for calling me a bitch.”
“Well, that would seem to be the case.”
“That it’s payback?”
“No, that you’re a bitch.”
“Very funny.”
“You know what’s even better than payback?” he asked leaning into the window, his cologne intoxicating me.
“What?”
He wiggled his brows. “Karma.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Come around and have a look at the back of your Beemer.”
BEE-MA.
I got out and walked around to the back of my car to find my right rear tire was completely flat.
What? This cannot be happening.
With my hand on my forehead, I looked over at his smug expression. “Are you kidding me? Did you know my tire was flat all this time?”
“I noticed it right around the time I caught you popping chicken and laughing at me, yes. It was real hard for me to keep a straight face at that point.”
I didn’t know how to change a tire to save my life. I couldn’t believe what I was about to ask of him.
“Do you know how to change a tire?”
“Of course I do. What kind of a man would I be if I didn’t know how to change a tire?”
“Will you help me? I know you have no reason to want to…after our little altercation, but I’m seriously desperate. I don’t want to be stuck out here all alone at night.”
“Let me ask you a question.”
“Okay…”
He rubbed the scruff on his chin. “How badly do you want your tire changed?”
I backed away from him. “What exactly are you getting at?”
“Get your mind out of the gutter, sweetheart. I’m not fucking propositioning you if that’s what you think. You’re not my type.”
“And what exactly is your type?”
“I typically go for women who don’t have the personality of a door knob.”
“Thanks.”
“My pleasure.”
“So, what are your conditions?”
“Well, as you clearly know from your laughing fit, my Harley is experiencing a technical malfunction at the moment. It needs a part that I don’t have. I just called a tow company. But I’m on a deadline, and like you, I need to get to California.”
“You’re not suggesting…”
“Yes. Yes, I am. If I change your tire, you let me ride with you.”
“Ride with me?”
“Ride me, yes.”
“What did you just say?”
“You’re hearing things.”
I shook my head to rid the images now flashing through it. Did my tired mind only imagine that he just said that, or was he messing with me?
“I cannot drive hundreds of miles with a total stranger,” I said.
“It’s a fuck of a lot safer than driving alone.”
“Not if you’re a serial killer!”
“Look who’s talking. You’re the one who decapitated a U.S. president.”
I couldn’t help but laugh. This situation was seriously insane.
“Holy shit, Princess, is that a laugh at your own expense, I see?”
“I think you’re making me delirious.”
He stuck out his hand. “So, you in?”
I crossed my arms instead of taking it. “What choice do I have?”
“Well, you could always have him change your tire.” He gestured to a large and scary-looking man who seemed to be watching us. This guy looked like Herman Munster in the flesh.
Letting out a deep breath, I conceded. “I’m in. I’m in! Just get me out of here.”
“I thought you might say that. Please tell me you have a spare.”
“Yeah. But I have to move some of my boxes so you can get to it.”
He started to crack up when he got a load of the situation inside my trunk. “Damn, what the hell is all this crap?”
I looked into his eyes and answered honestly, “My entire life.”
I temporarily piled the contents of the trunk onto the pavement. He got the spare out and immediately got to work.
As he was changing the tire, his white t-shirt rode up, exposing his tanned, rock-hard abs and a thin trail of hair that ran into his underwear line. Unwanted tension built between my legs. I needed a distraction, so I walked over to his bike and sat on it, gripping the handles and imagining what it would be like to ride in the wind. But all I could envision now was him in front of me, and that wasn’t helping.
He slid his body from under my car. “Be careful, little girl. That’s not a toy.”
I hopped off and ran my finger along the letters emblazoned on the saddlebags. “What’s C.B. stand for anyway?”
“Those are my initials.”
“Let me guess…Cocky Bastard?”
“See…I would have told you my name, but since you’re so clever, I think I’ll just let you guess.”
“Whatever, Cocky.”
He lay back down on the ground. “I’m just tightening up these nuts, and we’ll be ready to go.”
“Nuts?”
“Lug nuts…on the wheel, dirty girl.”
“Oh.”
Hopping up, he lifted his shirt and used it to wipe his forehead. “All set.”
Damn.
“That was quick. Are you sure it’s on right?”
“I’ve got a few screws loose, darling, as you’ll soon find out, but none of them are on your wheel.” He winked and for the first time, I noticed his dimples. “We should probably stop tomorrow and get a new tire put on. This spare is really not meant for long term use.”
Tomorrow. Wow. This was really happening.
“We should get going,” I said. “I’ll drive. I need to be in control of this situation.”
“Whatever you want,” he said.
I could feel the tension in my neck as I backed out of the spot. This was going to be very interesting to say the least. He wasted no time digging into my chicken bites.
I playfully slapped his hand. “Hey, lay off my food.”
“Honey mustard? I prefer barbecue.” He licked his thumb, and I swore at myself for getting turned on a little. This was going to be a long ride.
He smirked and lifted the plastic bag from the souvenir shop. “Did you even open it?”
“No. What’s the point? It’s just a broken bobblehead.”
Handing it to me, he said, “Is it?”
With one hand on the steering wheel, I took out the bobblehead which was…in one piece.
“What the…how did you?”
“You seemed to like it, so I paid for the other and bought you a different one. You were too busy looking through your purse to notice.”
I couldn’t help but smile and shook my head.
“Well, whaddya know. A genuine smile.” He held out his hand. “Here…gimme.” When, I handed it to him, he took an adhesive strip off the bottom and stuck it to the dash. Obama’s head was now bopping up and down with every movement of the car.
I broke out in laughter at the ridiculousness but also couldn’t help the warm feeling that came over me with that sweet gesture. Maybe he wasn’t really a bastard at all.
We were quiet for a while as he lay his head back and shut his eyes. Somewhere along I-76 after the sun set into a bright orange glow that illuminated the horizon in the distance, he turned to me.
His voice was groggy. “I’m Chance.”
After several seconds of silence, I said, “Aubrey.”
“Aubrey,” he repeated in a breathy whisper, seeming to contemplate my name before closing his eyes again and turning his head away.
Chance.

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About the Authors

Vi Keeland

Vi Keeland is a native New Yorker with three children that occupy most of her free time, which she complains about often, but wouldn’t change for the world. She is a bookworm and has been known to read her kindle at stop lights, while styling her hair, cleaning, walking, during sporting events, and frequently while pretending to work. She is a boring attorney by day, and an exciting smut author by night!
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Penelope Ward

Penelope Ward is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author. She grew up in Boston with five older brothers and spent most of her twenties as a television news anchor, before switching to a more family-friendly career. She is the proud mother of a beautiful 10-year-old girl with autism and a 9-year-old boy. Penelope and her family reside in Rhode Island.

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cocky bastard excerpt reveal