Thursday, June 21, 2018

Between the Shade and the Shadow by: Coleman Alexander (BLITZ)

Title: Between the Shade and the Shadow 
Author: Coleman Alexander 
Series: Beyond the Realmless Collection (Book 1) (Interconnected Standalones)
Genre: Coming of Age Dark Fantasy 
Release Date: June 21 2018
Edition/Format: 1st Edition / Format ~ eBook and Print 
In the deep heart of the forest, there are places where no light ever shines, where darkness is folded by pale hands and jewel-bright eyes, where the world is ruled by the wicked and kept by the wraiths. This is where the Sprites of the Sihl live.
But Sprites are not born, they are made. On the path to Spritehood, spritelings must first become shades. They do so by binding a shadow: a woodland creature, who guides them through their training. Together, they keep from the light and learn to enchant living things, to bind them, and eventually, to kill them.
Ahraia is a shade who has bound a wolf for a shadow, as strong a shadow as there has ever been. But while her wolf marks her for greatness, Ahraia struggles with the violent ways of her people. Illicit as it is, she would rather be running wild beneath the moons. But a test is coming, and the further she and her shadow wander out of the darkness, the deeper they wander into danger. Ahraia’s time is coming and what awaits her at the end of her test will either make her or kill her . . .

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Beautiful Savage by: Victoria Ashley (BLITZ)

Title: Beautiful Savage
Author: Victoria Ashley
Series: Savage & Ink Book 2
Genre: Contemporary Romance w/ Dark Elements
Release Date: May 21 2018
Edition/Format: 1st Edition/Format ~ eBook & Print


I can’t breathe… I don’t want to. With every breath that fills my lungs, I feel the pain she’s fighting and it’s killing me slowly, reminding me of the day she got ripped away.
I’ve gone thirteen years without her, and as if she was never gone, she walks back into my life, feisty as h@ll and set on running from me.
I refuse to let that happen. 
She’s my Lex. It doesn’t matter if I have to destroy everything in my path that leads to her—I will.
I’ve been in love with her since the age of nine. I lost her once, and you better d@mn well believe that I will walk through the fires of Hell before losing her again.
She’s broken… 
Ripped apart by the world. I’m making it my mission to piece her back together again and claim her as mine.
Every part of her sexy body has been possessed by me. 
I know she sees she’s not the only one who has changed with time. I’m rough, savage, and just as damaged as she is.
But there’s one thing I’m capable of—always have been—and that is loving her.
I promise to do everything in my power to show her, no matter what it takes or how much it hurts.


I never thought I’d lay eyes on Jax Kade again, and the moment I realized the rough, edgy man I allowed to take me home and have rough sex with me was him… my world came crashing down around me.
I’m no good for him. 
Not for the sweet, protective Jax that took care of me back when no one else would.
I’m damaged, unrepairable…
I need medicine to escape this reality—the pills, c@caine, and liquor aren’t even enough to numb the pain of my past.
Years without Jax destroyed me—ruined me forever—and being back in his life will only ruin him the same.
I could never do that to my beautiful Jax. I never meant to find him, and I sure as hell never meant to want him again as much as I did before we were ripped apart.
It doesn’t matter that I need to stay away from him. It doesn’t matter that I fight to keep my distance. Jax refuses to let me go.
He doesn’t care how messed up I am. My biggest fear is destroying the only person I’ve ever been capable of loving, but he’s not giving me any other choice… 

***Disclaimer: This entire series is graphic with detailed violence, sex, and language.
If you’re offended by books that have explicit content, please proceed with caution.***

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Rare Blood by: Susan Old w/ Interview & Giveaway

Title: Rare Blood
Author: Susan Old
Series: The Miranda Chronicles Book 1
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Zairesue Books
Release Date: Mar 13 2018
Edition/Format: 1st Edition ~ Format eBook & Print
Miranda Ortega loves to surprise people who underestimate her...
...especially powerful, wealthy, brilliant vampire nobility.
Tristan Mordecai has no sense of personal boundaries.
Miranda feels control of her life slipping away as she is pulled into a nocturnal world of Lamborghini driving, Chanel wearing, egomaniac assassins with a strict liquid diet.
What's a young woman from the cornfields of Illinois to do?

As the couples maneuvered close to our table, I had this sense that many of them sniffed in my direction. They were 20-something, beautiful people without tans. The dresses, heels and expensive suits were amazing. Each had a bit of drama and mystique to their look. All the Houses were represented. The music became international. A woman from the House of Cups appeared in a gorgeous glistening silver kimono and did a graceful dance with fans. Sir Diego and Sir Franco performed a tango. How could I have ever thought he held passion for me? What a great actor. Sir Ruben was sitting at the bar talking to a member of Lady Kananga’s House. He brought Lady Kabedi over to the table for an introduction. She had graceful long limbs and her hair was braided with golden threads.

“It is an honor to meet you,” she stated. “Lady Kananga will be pleased to know you are wearing the bracelet. She wanted me to tell you to push on the lion’s head if you are threatened.” Before I could ask what she meant, Sir Ruben pulled her onto the dance floor.
“They are a sweet couple,” I said to Lady Lockporte. I looked at the bracelet, but did not press the head as I was not sure what would happen.
“She is the only member from another House my brother has been allowed to date,” she noted my surprised look. “The Houses are very competitive. The Magus likes to keep it that way but, between you and me, that is changing. Lady Kananga and I are encouraging alliances between Houses. Though why an exquisite, brilliant vampiress like Lady Kabedi is interested in my brother I will never know.” I laughed.
The Narcissus staff placed small plates with cubes of raw steak on each of the tables. Small three-prong silver forks were used to eat their only meal. “Angus, my favorite,” Lady Lockporte said.
I watched Sergio devour a few pieces. It left a slightly red stain on his lips. He self-consciously dabbed them with a napkin.
“It’s just very rare,” he said.
“You won’t believe this,” Sir Ruben sat down with Lady Kabedi. “They are calling you Dorothy, you know like the drop-a-house-on-a-witch girl” he laughed.
“They are a bit afraid of you. Amazing!” Sir Franco added.
“Because,” Sir Diego added, “they can’t just dismiss you as a ‘Short,’ lines are being blurred. That is quite unsettling for vampires. To put it frankly, it’s the thought of our prey fighting back.”
“So, you’re saying I freak-out the undead. Unbelievable.”
We sat silently after that watching the dancers as I started to comprehend my unique status. Suddenly there was commotion at the entrance to the club. Sir Steve moved the dancers off the floor and signaled for the music to stop.
“This is a first,” Sir Ruben said. “The Wizard of Oz has arrived.”
The Magus walked out on the dance floor wearing a black suit with shimmering lapels and a black shirt. All the vampires stood and bowed slightly. I stood and bowed but only after Sir Diego gave me a nasty look. The Magus had two attendants following a few feet behind. He stood in the center of the room and held up his arms as though giving his blessing to the gathering. Then he walked over to our table. A red velvet stuffed chair appeared out of nowhere. After his highness was seated, the rest of us followed suit. The music resumed and the dancers returned to the floor.

Friday, April 27, 2018

The Duel for Consuelo by: Claudia H. Long

Title: The Duel for Consuelo  
Author: Claudia H. Long
Series: Tendrils of the Inquisition Book 2
Genre: Historical Fiction/ Historical Romance
Publisher: Five Directions Press
Release Date: Aug 9 2011
Editions/Formats: 1st Edition ~ Formats eBook & Print
A heart-stopping story of love and betrayal in the time of the Inquisition.
Consuelo, beautiful healer, is trapped by her family's history of conversion at the point of a sword. Born to a Crypto-Jewish mother, raised as a Christian, and bound to her family's traditions, Consuelo struggles with her loyalties and the pull of the Enlightenment. She sees the possibilities of love and fulfillment, but when her mother's secret is discovered she is forced to put her love and her very life at risk to save her mother.
This story brings the struggle to life and showcases the beauty, terror, courage and sacrifice that honor and family demand in the final decades of the ruthless scourge of the Inquisition.

She was sure she saw a light flicker before she actually heard the door open. She lifted her head, for a moment unsure of where she was. The aroma of the herbs and spices reminded her that she was in the Castillo pantry, an odd enough location to warrant disorientation, without taking into account her exhaustion after the stresses of the past two days. She waited silently, intending to let the approaching figure take whatever it was she was looking for. She assumed it was Cayetana, or even Doña Josefina, come looking for some staple from the pantry. Perhaps a green to make a tea from, to soothe a troubled tummy or a restless sleeper.

The figure turned to the side, going around the couch where Leila lay in deep, sound slumber, and Consuelo started with surprise. The figure was a male, and in an instant she had no doubt it was Juan Carlos. "What are you doing here?" she whispered.
"Shh." He put the candle down on the desk. Consuelo looked up from the pallet. It was on the floor of the pantry so she was at Juan Carlos' feet. She moved to sit, pulling the heavy blanket up with her. She was wearing only her chemise, and her long chestnut hair was braided loosely down her back. This was no way to receive a visitor.
Juan Carlos knelt on the edge of the pallet. "Shh," he repeated. "Don't make a sound. You will wake your mother."
"What do you want?" Consuelo said quietly.
"Consuelo," he said. She waited. "I've been gone so long. I didn't know what I would find on my return." He put his hand on her shoulder and she leaned her face into his arm. She felt her pulse race.
"There is time for this in daylight," she whispered.
"I leave at dawn." He stroked her hair. "Our futures. They are forever intertwined."
Consuelo held her breath, waiting for the words that would justify this visit. No further words came. "Is that what you want?" she asked.
His hand lingered on her shoulder, then slid down to her breast. Her breath caught in and her whole body tensed. "I think you know." He slipped his hand under her chemise.
"Are you out of your mind?" she hissed.
He put his fingers to her lips. "Your mother's hard won rest should not be disturbed. There are few guests left so she would be the only one on this side of the house who would hear us. We could go to my room but I am still sharing it with Leandro and I have no intention of sharing you as well."
"We are not going anywhere. You must have lost your mind." And yet she could not pull away from him. She felt her heart in her ears, her throat close. His hand trailed over her breast and she felt the tip quiver under his fingers, and the icicle of sensation travel down her body.
"You want me. I want you."
"This is madness. We can't."
"Don't be afraid," he whispered.
How can I not be afraid? My life, my world hangs in the balance. He bent down and kissed her on the lips.

Claudia Long is the author of Josefina's Sin, The Duel for Consuelo, The Harlot's Pen, and Chains of Silver. Three of these take place in Colonial Mexico during the Inquisition. She lives in Northern California where currently practices law as a mediator for employment and housing discrimination cases as well as complex business disputes. She is married and has two grown children and one magnificent grandchild.

Twitter  @CLongnovels

Monday, April 23, 2018

Josefina's Sin by: Claudia H. Long w/Creative Post

Title: Josefina’s Sin
Author: Claudia H. Long
Series: Tendrils of the Inquisition Book 1
Genre: Historical Fiction/ Historical Romance
Publisher: Five Directions Press
Release Date: Aug 9 2011
Editions/Formats: 1st Edition ~ Formats eBook & Print
A thrilling and passionate debut about a sheltered landowner’s wife whose life is turned upside down when she visits the royal court in seventeenth-century Mexico.
When Josefina accepts an invitation from the Marquessa to come stay and socialize with the intellectual and cultural elite in her royal court, she is overwhelmed by the Court’s complicated world. She finds herself having to fight off aggressive advances from the Marquessa’s husband, but is ultimately unable to stay true to her marriage vows when she becomes involved in a secret affair with the local bishop that leaves her pregnant.
Amidst this drama, Josefina finds herself unexpectedly drawn to the intellectual nuns who study and write poetry at the risk of persecution by the Spanish Inquisition that is overtaking Mexico. One nun in particular, Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, teaches Josefina about poetry, writing, critical thinking, the nature and consequences of love, and the threats of the Holy Office. She is Josefina’s mentor and lynchpin for her tumultuous passage from grounded wife and mother to woman of this treacherous, confusing, and ultimately physically and intellectually fulfilling world.

At the far end of the room, a door I had not previously noticed opened, and all fell silent.  Before us stood a tall woman, almost as tall as Manuel, with luminous black hair piled high into a complicated twist and held with glittering barrettes of amethyst and silver.  Her huge eyes were the same eerie jet, under perfectly arched coal-colored brows.  Her skin was pale, almost ghostly, and she was so thin that her skin stretched taut over her aristocratically bony nose. She had a tiny, rosebud mouth that nearly vanished under the sway of her eyes.
The women curtsied; the nuns inclined their heads.  I knew what to do, Angelica having tutored me in that courtesy, at least, and I dropped into a deep curtsey before the Marquessa.  “Who is this?” she said, her voice high and thin.  I looked up, knowing that she meant me.  Angelica led me forward.
“Marquessa, this is Doña Josefina Maria del Carmen Asturias de Castillo, wife of Manuel Castillo.  She has come to pay her respects.”
“I kiss Your Mercy’s hands,” I said.
She laughed, a reedy, almost wheezing sound.  “Your Mercy?  That’s for priests, silly woman. 
Call me Your Highness, like everyone else!”  

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Redeeming the Stepbrother by: Andrew Grey w/Creative Post & Giveaway

Title: Redeeming the Stepbrother
Author: Andrew Grey
Series: A Tale from St. Giles Book 2
Genre:  M/M Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: April 10 2018
Edition/Formats Available In: eBook & Print
Family can be a blessing and a curse, but for artist Florian, it’s a nightmare he longs to escape.
As chief designer for Bartholomew Artist Porcelain, Florian specializes in painting birds. He also watches them in the wild to distract himself from his short-tempered mother, at least temporarily. Florian’s heart is too soft to leave his stepsister, Ella, to suffer alone. Still, he can’t help dreaming about one day finding happiness and love.
When Count Dieter von Hollenbach arrives in town to visit a friend and present an award, he isn’t looking for romance. Then again, he doesn’t expect someone as perfect as Florian to come into his life. To make sure Florian is all he seems and that their connection is genuine, Dieter keeps his title to himself.
But he isn’t the only one with a secret.

At a masquerade ball to celebrate the award, some of the masks fall away, but those that remain in place could destroy the love beginning to grow between them.

This area was marshy during part of the year and I had to be careful where I walked so I didn’t sink into the muck, but it was perfect for birds of all kinds.
I wasn’t disappointed. I emerged from the tall reeds to spot a great blue heron about twenty feet away. It was beautiful, and I didn’t want to scare it, but I also wanted a picture. I had ideas for a series of works featuring the impressive bird—tall, statuesque, shining in the sunlight.
I slowly moved back into the reeds, lifted my camera to position it between the long grass stems, and began snapping pictures. It was stunning, and I’d gotten enough to be able to represent the detail I wanted when a splash startled the bird and it flew away, darting over the water.
“Scheisse,” a deep voice swore. I knew the word from my high school class as a version of “shit,” but wondered why I was hearing German. Another splash came, louder than the first, so I slowly worked my way forward to see what the trouble was.
“You scared the bird,” I scolded and then saw a man, taller than me. He had to be well over six feet and was dressed like someone out of a forties period movie, with a wool hat, a coat complete with elbow patches, and puffy pants. His boots and legs stuck in the mud almost to his knees. An old pair of binoculars hung around his neck. I bit my lower lip to keep from laughing.
“Will you help me?” he asked, and I slowly made my way closer.
“Got yourself in a mess, didn’t you?” I was careful not to get caught in the same bog. “You have to feel before you step.” I managed to get close enough to take his hand. “Pull up one foot and try not to lose your boot.”
“I am.” He lifted his foot, the sucking sound loud in the stillness. He got the foot loose and stepped toward me.
“Hold on.” I bent down a bunch of the reeds. “Step on those.”
He did and got his other foot loose, though this time the mud nearly got his boot. It hung on his foot as he swung around, and he tugged it back on and stepped onto the grass.
“Come this way.” I led him through the reeds, back toward dry ground and the cars.
“I think you come here often,” he said, swatting cakes of mud off the knees of his pants.
I wondered if that was some German version of the old pickup line for a second, but tossed the thought away.
“Yes. I’m familiar with the area. I watch the birds so I can paint them.” I took a step onto solid ground, mud all the way up my boots but sparing my pants. Good. There would be hell to pay if my pants were caked with mud. “I’m Florian.” I held out my hand.
“Dieter,” he said as he shook my hand.
I stomped my feet to get some of the mud off my boots. They would dry soon enough and the mud would flake off pretty easily. “On vacation I take it? Judging by the accent and all.”
“In a way.” Dieter pulled off his hat, exposing light blond hair down to his shoulders that would make a model green with envy. “I’m here on business and decided to take some time to see the sights.” He held up his binoculars. “I study birds back in Bavaria and wanted to get a look at some of yours here. I didn’t realize there would be hazards.” He smiled a little, and I relaxed. At least Dieter had a decent sense of humor to go along with an amazing smile and eyes the color of the sky. My cheeks heated as thoughts of what I’d like to do with his full pink lips went through my head.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Chains of Silver by: Claudia H. Long w/ Interview & Giveaway

Title: Chains of Silver
Author: Claudia H. Long
Series: Tendrils of the Inquisition Book 3
Genre: Historical Fiction/ Historical Romance
Publisher: Five Directions Press
Release Date: Mar 15 2018
Editions/Formats: 1st Edition ~ Formats eBook & Print
Crypto-Jews, secret Jews of Spain and Mexico, are still very much in danger in 1721. Fourteen-year-old Marcela Leon's parents are dragged away to face the last auto-da-fé of the Inquisition in colonial Mexico. Although her parents survive, Marcela’s life is forever changed. Sent to the Castillo hacienda for her protection, Marcela has difficulty grasping that safety requires silence about her beliefs. Her forthright speech and budding sexuality lead her into situations beyond her comprehension, ending with her exile to the northern silver-mining town of Zacatecas, where she becomes housekeeper to a Catholic priest.
Marcela grows up to be one of the richest, most powerful women in Zacatecas, adjusting to her separation from her mother and the loss of her religion. But she can neither understand nor forgive her mother’s obstinacy and abandonment. Her husband's death unleashes a new cascade of disasters, and Marcela at last recognizes and appreciates the source of her mother's power, and her own.

“Marcela, I told you there would be no Judaizing in this house. Yes,” he said, gesturing to Consuelo, “she can teach her children whatever she wishes, but I told you, I am the master of this house, and I will not have my children indoctrinated with your heresy. Consuelo has respected my order, but you have not.”

“That is not true!” I exclaimed. “I did nothing of the sort! Who said this? Was it that whore, Martha?”
“Watch your mouth,” Juan Carlos said.
“Joaquin?” Consuelo said.
“No, Marcela. Not Martha. Badilón. My son. And he would not lie.”
“Consuelo just said I wouldn’t either. And I didn’t. I don’t. I didn’t. What did he say?” I could hear my voice out of control, and those tears I had stopped earlier now flowed freely. “I never…”
Joaquin narrowed his eyes. “Are you calling my son a liar?”
“Wait,” Consuelo said, holding up a hand. “What did he say, Joaquin?”
“She told them some heretical story about a queen named Jezebel. A Jewish queen. The queen of the Jews.”
They stared at me. “Doña Consuelo,” I appealed. “You know that story, don’t you? It’s in the Bible. It isn’t heresy.”
“Which gospel?” Joaquin asked.
I swallowed. “Not in the gospels. In the Bible. Kings.”
“The Bible of Moses? The Hebrew Bible?”
“It’s the first part of the Bible! The part with Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve aren’t heresy, are they?”
“Don’t get smart with me!” Joaquin was red under his brown skin, and a vein pumped in his temple.
“Marcela,” Consuelo said, “it’s a story from the Bible. But you must only tell stories that are in the Christian part of the Bible. Don’t you understand that?”
I shook my head. “It’s one of the only books we had. I read every word of it. I didn’t know some stories couldn’t be told.” I wiped the tears that wouldn’t stop.
“Don’t cry,” Joaquin said. “You disgust me. As you yourself said, you’re not a child anymore.”
Joaquin’s words stung. The words had been said under much different circumstances. And they didn’t escape Consuelo. “What’s this?”
Juan Carlos rose. “As of this morning, Joaquin wanted to marry Marcela.”
I spent the night awake in my room. For the next three days I did the chores I normally did, took the little ones, changed the diapering cloths, and helped Columbina, Ernesto, and Josefina-Merced with their letters. I ate with the family and was treated, if anyone deigned to notice me at all, like a ghost. I did not reenter Josefina’s office.
On Sunday the entire family went to Mass. Joaquin said nothing to me, looked through me. I was not given charge of any of the children, and no one spoke to me except as absolutely necessary. When the midday meal was served, Joaquin cleared his throat.
“Marcela, you will be leaving us. I have written to your mother, and she has agreed. You will be traveling to Zacatecas, in the north, where you will keep house for my brother Neto. He is a priest in that city and in need of a housekeeper. You leave tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow? I will be going home tomorrow?”
“No, you will not be going home at all. Your mother has agreed. It is too dangerous for you in Hermosillo still, and she hasn’t the means to protect you.”
“Or feed you,” Juan Carlos added.
Joaquin shook his head. “I will see to it that your family doesn’t starve. But you will be leaving, and taking your troublemaking ways with you. Your mother was not pleased by our report, you must know.”
I was so taken aback that I was silent.
“She should not have been surprised,” Juan Carlos said. “She herself has beguiled the entire city of Hermosillo, glowing as she does. It seems the apple did not fall far from that tree.”
“Nothing to say? No gratitude?” Joaquin said.
Finally I found my tongue. “Your report?”
“She brought you up to be a decent girl. She has no idea where you got the wiles to attempt a seduction. She is ashamed of you.”
“A seduction? It was you! You who kissed me!”
Consuelo laughed shortly. “You have a lot to learn, young lady. If your mother didn’t teach you, this will. A girl’s virtue is her only worth in a man’s eyes.”
“An unfair comment,” Juan Carlos said.
“Hardly. And your virtue is yours to defend, Marcela. By God’s grace, Joaquin saw through your wiles.”
I could not speak. My defense of my blamelessness would fall on deaf ears, not the least of which were my own. I had enjoyed the kisses, I had wanted more of them, and not only to benefit my family. I stared down at my hands, my face suffused with shame.
Consuelo said my name softly. “A stint in the mountains, away from bad family influences, will do you a world of good. You are a smart girl, as smart as a boy, and as unscrupulous. But your heart is good, and you will grow into a better woman away from here.” I could not meet her eyes. “In any event,” she went on, “it is decided. So go pack your trunk, and say your prayers. Zacatecas is a mining town, its citizens are rough-hewn, but the air is reported to be good and the future is yours to make of it what you will.”
A mining town in the mountains, far from my mother. I could not imagine a worse sentence for my crimes. I didn’t know which of my two sins was the greater: drawing the eye of a powerful man or telling the story of a queen.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Escort by: Skye Warren w/Giveaway

 Title: Escort
Author: Skye Warren
Series: Standalone Title
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: Mar 20 2018
Edition/Formats: 1st Edition ~ eBook & Print
There is no shame in pleasure. And no love in business.
I have a blind date tonight, and I know with 100% certainty that I'm getting lucky. There shouldn't be any surprises, not for one as jaded as me, but when I walk into the penthouse suite of L'Etoile, everything changes.
1) For one thing, Bea is heartstoppingly gorgeous. Pale green eyes and endless freckles. Curves I want to spend all night exploring, as if her body was made for me.
2) Her innocence makes me want to use my entire inventory of bedroom tricks on her and then invent a few more.
3) Except that... she’s a virgin.
I can initiate her into the world of desire without letting her get attached, can't I? A few hours of tutoring, and at the end of the night a small fortune will be deposited into my bank account.
Yes, you read that right. There are many words for what I do. After all, mine is the oldest profession. I'm an escort, which means this date is nothing more than a mutually enjoyable transaction.
But once I realize one night with her won’t be enough, I’m the one who's screwed.

“Oh God,” she says on a groan. “I’m screwing this up, aren’t I? There’s probably a secret handshake or something and I don’t know it. You must think I’m insane.”
I shake my head, slow and slight. “No secret handshake, I promise. There’s only you and me, having a conversation about pleasure.”
The word seems to take her aback. “Pleasure?”
“That’s the nature of my business, yes.” My body tightens, because it would be pleasure indeed to touch this woman. To kiss her. To make her moan for me.
Although I might have to rethink that plan, because the word pleasure might as well have been medieval torture based on the way Bea looks at me. “I thought we were going to have sex.”
She sounds so forlorn it could break my heart.
Instead I laugh, a small huff of breath, because I can’t afford to have a heart.
“Sex,” I say, standing to full height, circling the scuffed oriental coffee table, standing behind her chair. “And pleasure. Pleasure and sex. They’re interchangeable.”
I brush my knuckles over the side of her neck, a demonstration. Her wild curls tickle my skin.
It’s provocative, this. If she had agreed to dinner I would have started with small touches, a glance of my palm against the small of her back as I pulled out her chair, holding her hand while we talked over a glass of wine. Perhaps being so bold as to run a finger along the inside of hers, where it’s more sensitive. She would shiver; her gaze would meet mine.
There’s an order to these things. You can move fast or slow, but there’s still an order.
“We can skip the pleasure part,” she says, her voice high, her breathing faster. Her chest rises and falls in the black dress, made all the more alluring by how much it covers. She’s a mystery. The black sky in the city. I have to work to see her secrets.
“No,” I chide gently. “We focus on the pleasure. That’s the point.”
“What if—” Her breath catches as I drop the back of my hand over her collarbone, a reverse caress. That’s what one does for a skittish creature like her. “What if I have a different point?”
“And what point would that be, my sweet Bea?”
“I want to lose my virginity,” she says, so fast it comes out as a single word.
IWANTTOLOSEMYVIRGINITY. It takes my lust-warmed brain a full minute to comprehend. She’s not only nervous, this woman. She’s a virgin.
My hand freezes. I yank it away. “Pardon me?”
I can’t have heard her correctly. There is no chance in hell that this beautiful young woman, as strange and interesting as she is, is a virgin. No chance in hell that I was the one tasked to be her first. I could not possibly spread her legs and thrust inside her, knowing that no one’s ever been there. It would be a physical impossibility. Never. No possible way.
“It doesn’t have to take long,” she says, suddenly earnest. Almost begging me. “I don’t need…you know…whatever you do for other women. I only want the sex.”
My God. “You are insane.”
A scrunch of her nose. “Well, you don’t have to sound too surprised. It is what I requested when I called. The woman said that’s what you do.”
“I’m not taking your virginity.” On some level I might have guessed this about her. If I had considered it even possible, I might have. Virgins don’t hire me. They stammer and giggle and turn away from me, their protective instincts strong enough to send them in the opposite direction. So perhaps I can be forgiven for not recognizing this one, so forthright.
Bea frowns. “Is that a different department or something?”
She’s mocking me. She’s mocking me for being, well, prudish, and I feel strangely buoyant. I could float away with the absurdity of it. “Yes, it’s a different department. The department of a frat boy who fumbles around in the dark.”
“Are you seriously not going to do it?”
The irony is enough to flatten me that this is a woman I might have pursued outside this job. She would have been too young for me, even if I weren’t an escort and she wasn’t my client. That wouldn’t have stopped me from wanting her.
But in another incarnation, if I had been one of those fumbling frat boys, I would have followed this woman to the ends of the earth. That’s a hypothetical scenario on multiple levels, but I’m good at hypotheticals, which is another reason I’m good at my job.
So good that I please every single client I’ve ever had.
Until this one, apparently.

Skye Warren is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of contemporary romance. For those new to her work, consider the following bestselling series...
Experience the dark glamour and forbidden love of the Stripped series. The mafia romance prequel TOUGH LOVE is free!
Meet the gritty and dangerous men of Chicago Underground... start reading for free with book one, ROUGH.
Fall in love with the sexy modern fairy tale the Beauty series, starting with Beauty Touched the Beast.
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Links Below Go to Amazon

The Stripped Series
Experience the Stripped world of dark glamour and forbidden love…
Tough Love (Stripped, #0.5) Free Download
Love the Way You Lie (Stripped, #1)
Heartbreak (Stripped, #1.5) Free Download
Better When It Hurts (Stripped, #2)
Even Better (Stripped, #2.5)
Pretty When You Cry (Stripped, #3)
Caught for Christmas (Stripped, #3.5)
Hold You Against Me (Stripped, #4)

The Chicago Underground Series
Meet the gritty and dangerous men of Chicago Underground…
Rough (Chicago Underground, #1) Free Download
Hard (Chicago Underground, #2)
Fierce (Chicago Underground, #3)
            Wild (Chicago Underground, #4)
Dirty (Chicago Underground, #5)
Secret (Chicago Underground, #6)
Sweet (Chicago Underground #7)
Deep (Chicago Underground, #8)

The Beauty Series
Fall in love with this sexy modern fairy tale…
Beauty Touched the Beast (Beauty, #1) Free Download
Beneath the Beauty (Beauty, #2)
Broken Beauty (Beauty, #3)
Beauty Becomes You (Beauty, #4)
Loving the Beast (Beauty, #5)

The Dark Nights Series
Take a trip to the dark side with this twisted series…
Keep Me Safe (Dark Nights, #0.5)
Trust in Me (Dark Nights, #1)
Don't Let Go (Dark Nights, #2)

The Dystopia Series
Experience a world thrown into darkness and the men who find love in it…
Leased M/M Novella  
Caged M/M Novella  

Endgame Series
It’s all about revenge and seduction in the game of love…
The Pawn (Endgame, #1)  
The Knight (Endgame, #2)
The Castle (Endgame, #3)

The Masterpiece Duet
Endgame Series Spin-Off (Damon Scott)
The Prince (the Masterpiece Duet, Prologue) (FREE DOWNLOAD)
The King (the Masterpiece Duet, #1)
The Queen (the Masterpiece Duet, #2)

Criminals & Captives
These dangerous books will leave you breathless

Standalone Sexy + Dangerous Romance
These standalone books will hold you captive …