•ARC Review• Sico by Esther E. Schmidt!

Synopsis

Sico is a callous man; no feelings, and no love for himself nor for others. That is until a certain woman spikes a surge of possessiveness inside him. Enough to claim her as his ol’lady on the spot without knowing her background. Realizing she’s not whom she appears to be, he finds himself feeling unworthy and works hard to become the very man she deserves.

Simi lives behind a mask. Events from her past have pressured her into labeling herself to prevent more damage in the future. For her it is easier to hide behind a lie; because people, no matter if they are close or not, will always judge.

When a club enemy strikes, retaliation draws blood and fighting is no longer an option but a necessity. The choice to do what’s right may lead to clearing a path for the future or create one where the fire of hell will take away everything that’s innocent and pure. Lives are lost, hearts will merge, but will there be a future left or will the need for blood and revenge drown everyone in its path?

Sico can be read as a standalone. For a greater reading experience, recommended reading order:

“Zack” Areion Fury MC book one

“Deeds” Broken Deeds MC book one

“Dams” Areion Fury MC book two

“Tyler” Areion Fury MC book three

“Pokey” Areion Fury MC book four

“Sico” Areion Fury MC book five

My thoughts 💭

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This book was amazing, emotional and intense! Apparently, I love a$$holes because I loved Sico🤷🏾‍♀️. He was a jerk but when he commits he’s all in and that was so cute. When you understand his past you get why he is the way he is. Simi and Sico only stop arguing when they’re intimate but Calix gives them suggestions and it made me more interested in him lol. This was a great addition to the series!

•Cover Reveal• Mercenary Princess by Setta Jay!

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Mercenary Princess, the first in a thrilling, new erotic contemporary romance series by Setta Jay is coming August 16th!

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A crown princess living a dangerous double life and a sinfully sexy Russian billionaire with a ruthless penchant for collecting secrets: a match set for disaster.

For years, one man has ruled Sophia’s fantasies. The harmless obsession keeps her warm on the nights her double life starts to take its toll. She, unfortunately, gains his attention at the worst possible moment, when she’s in the middle of a dangerous job. Now, she’ll be forced to protect her heart along with her life of lies.

Add to GoodReads: https://bit.ly/2K5X2G8

About Setta:

Setta Jay is the author of the popular Guardians of the Realms Series. She’s garnered attention and rave reviews in the paranormal romance world for writing smart, slightly innocent heroines and intense alpha males. She loves creating stories that incorporate a strong plot with a heavy dose of heat.

An avid reader her entire life, her love of romance started at a far too early age with the bodice rippers she stole from her older sister. Along with reading, she loves animals, brunch dates, coffee that is really more French vanilla creamer, questionable reality television, English murder mysteries, and has dreams of traveling the world.

Born a California girl, she currently resides in Idaho with her incredibly supportive husband.

She loves to hear from readers so feel free to find her on social media or send her an email and she will happily reply.

Connect with Setta:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/settajayauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SETTAJAY_

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BookBub: https://bit.ly/2uwbCAW

Facebook Reader Group: https://bit.ly/2Lhn6Sq

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https://www.settajay.com

•Release Blitz/Review• The Price of Brimstone by Allie Gail!

Title: The Price of Brimstone
Author: Allie Gail
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: July 18, 2018
There’s a monster in my basement.
That isn’t a metaphor, in case you were wondering. And it isn’t the tagline to some midnight horror flick. Fact is, Locryn Price is nothing if not a monster. One part human, the other part demon, the guy’s got a slab of ice where his heart should be.

Ironic, considering the rest of him is hot enough to start a fire underwater.
Not exactly what I was expecting to find when I came home from college to surprise my brother. I mean, I always knew Russell was a little warped, but now we have a pissed-off, wisecracking demon in shackles and chains as proof.
The October winds are stirring, bringing more than just storms. Two of our friends are missing. Loc knows something, but he isn’t talking. And to complicate matters further, my former crush Max has joined forces with my brother. They think they’ll get answers using spells and pentacles and brute torture.
But the devil prefers to bargain.
My innocence in exchange for the hostages. Those are his terms.
Now I’m in his world. A world of demons, deception and the sweetest of seductions.

And losing my way in the darkness never felt so good.
My thoughts 💭
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

There has to be a sequel!! It just can’t end this way! I need more Locryn! This book was compelling and well written! I couldn’t stop reading! Jude was so sweet trying to save everyone and I’m glad she ended up where she wanted to be but I need more! Lol!

His eyes, wicked as the devil’s soul, shimmer like jewels as he watches me with a fixed stare. “What sort of person are you, Judith? Do you embrace your nightmares? Or do you run from them?”
In the midst of the whirling snow, the carousel picks up speed. I was right – the tune is changing, growing wilder, more discordant. If I thought the music was unsettling before, it’s downright terrifying now.
“What are you doing?” I look around in alarm. The Tilt-A-Whirl is zipping past twice as fast as before. The icy wind whips my hair, stinging my cheeks. Beside me on the platform, Loc gazes at me impassively as if nothing at all is wrong.
Slowly, dreading what I’m about to see, I turn my head to look down at the stallion between my legs.
One of its round crimson eyes rolls back and settles on me with a demonic glare.
“Loc…” I am frozen in terror, afraid to look away. Afraid to move. Afraid that one of these fiendish beasts will sink its teeth into me, or worse. The shrill calliope music clashes in my ears, and the carousel continues its runaway orbit.
“Yes, Jude?” His voice is maddeningly calm.
“Make it stop. Please make it stop.”
“I don’t think so. Not just yet.”
“Dammit, Loc, I’m not fucking kidding…”
Reaching around me, he grabs the pole and swings one leg over the horse, pressing his body flush against mine. The stallion shakes its painted mane and I close my eyes to shut out the sight of those devil eyes.
“I don’t like this,” I announce through clenched teeth. “I seriously don’t like this.”
“Sh-h,” Loc breathes in my ear. The feel of his warm, hard body so close to mine does crazy things to my hormones. “It’s only a nightmare if you believe it is. Don’t be afraid of what you don’t understand. Open your eyes. See the world the way I see it. Get to know that part of me a little better. Take it in, baby. Take it all in.”
Unable to resist his soft coaxing, I do as he requests, shooting a fearful glance at the animated steed on my left. It makes a vicious braying noise and lashes out at the air with its front hooves.
“They’re beautiful, aren’t they?” he murmurs.
“I don’t know. They’re…” I’m at a loss for words here. Beautiful? I’m not sure that’s how I would choose to describe the demon horses. I suppose they are, in an aesthetic sense, but like the dissonant music they seem so…evil.
So unnatural.
So dark.
So…
Like him.
He slides one hand around my waist, the other moving up so he can trail his fingers down my neck. The stallion flies in its neverending circle, yo-yoing up and down with us on its back, a blur of snowflakes shrouding the landscape in white as the jarring melody thrums in my veins.
“I can feel your pulse racing,” he whispers. “It feels good, doesn’t it? The adrenaline. The excitement.”
I turn my head a bit so he can hear me over the spectral music. “You feel good.”
He brushes his lips lightly against my cheek, his breath warming me as he chuckles softly. “Mm, sweetheart. You have no idea just how good I can feel.”
Maybe not, but I’d very much like to find out.
Impulsively, I let go of the brass pole and stretch out a hand to tentatively stroke the stallion’s painted black muzzle. It doesn’t seem to object, though the vacant eyes roll back once again to give me another indecipherable look.
Behind me, Loc purrs his approval. “There. Now was that so hard?”
Steadying myself with both hands on his thighs, I relax against his chest. My fears begin to recede. All I can think about right now is the hard body cradled against mine, and how intoxicating it feels to be this close to him.
“Sure you don’t want a tour of the funhouse?” he teases.
“Not on your life.” I don’t even want to think about the hellish horrors he might dredge up in there. Haunted carousels are bad enough. The last thing I want is to see the reflection of a demonic clown in one of those funhouse mirrors.
His hands roam beneath my hoodie to cup my breasts, and I arch my back with a whimper as he slides his fingers inside my bra. All he does is brush them across my nipples, but the light touch has them instantly stiffening into hard peaks. “Loc…”
His voice is a husky whisper. “What is it, precious?”
“Let’s get out of here. Please.”
“You know what’s going to happen when I get you home, don’t you?” He squeezes my breasts, and I squirm against him. I want his hands all over me. His touch does things to me that are pure magic. Black magic, surely, but at this point I’m beyond caring.
“Yes. You’re going to…” I trail off, suddenly uncertain. By now I should know better than to second-guess his intentions. What if I’m wrong?
“I’m going to fuck you,” he clarifies firmly. “Very hard and very deep. And just when you think you can’t take any more, I’m going to fuck you again. And again. And again. Are you starting to see a pattern emerging here, love?”
Unable to speak, I merely bite my lip. Oh, God…
“All I’m asking from you is one word,” he continues. “Because I’m giving you something I’ve never given anyone before. A choice. I’m offering you an out. I’m willing to release you from your debt if that’s what you want. I’ll still hold up my end of the bargain, no strings attached. All you have to do is tell me no, and I’ll send you back to Kansas and you will never hear from me again. But if you say yes, then know that I will not be holding back. Your body will be mine, to use for my own pleasure, and I won’t let you deny me anything.”
Stunned, I turn my head to gaze at him in astonishment. Is he serious? After everything that happened, after everything my brother did to him, he’s willing to just forget it and let me off scot free? With no repercussions whatsoever? He’s a demon. Demons make deals. They don’t let people back out of them. They don’t possess the compassion for something like that.
But maybe…half-human demons do.
Brushing his lips across mine in a feather-soft kiss, he asks, “So what’s it going to be, Jude?”
My heart hammers against my chest. The sad part is, I don’t even have to think about it. I know what I should do. I know the logical thing to do. The smart thing.
Unfortunately, what I should do and what I want to do are two very different things.
One day, I know I will look back on my naïveté and realize how foolish I was for following him so blindly.
Today is not the day.
Yes,” I whisper.
The lights on the carousel flicker and go dark.
The platform slows its relentless turn.
Suspended from their poles, the horses cease their thrashing and gaze lifelessly into the night, inanimate playthings once more.
And the music, having reached its crescendo, ends in a rolling clap of thunder that resonates through the air before tapering off into silence.
Born and raised in rural Alabama, Allie Gail currently resides in sunny Florida with her own blue-eyed Prince Charming and a hyperactive hamster named Toot-Toot. Always an avid reader, she took to her keyboard on a whim in 2012 and that was the last anyone ever saw of her. (Just kidding – I did venture out of the house that one time back in 2014, but only because I was tricked into it. Stupid hurricane.)

Her genres of choice are paranormal romance and rom-com, featuring goofy but headstrong heroines and the sexy, snarky men who love them. When her indecisiveness doesn’t have her obsessively typing, deleting, then re-typing the same scene over and over, you can usually find her lurking online. Stop by Facebook and say hello!
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•Chapter Reveal• Corrupt Desires by Jennifer Bene

Also available via Kindle Unlimited
Phee knows that girls like her don’t get the fairytale…

Falling for a man like Bryant Holbrook is just begging for heartbreak. Rich boys don’t look twice at waitresses from the fog, at least not until now. One smart-mouthed taunt and his turquoise eyes are all over her. That cocky, bad boy grin tempting her with the impossible.

It should have stayed a one-night stand.

Now, it’s too late.

Phee is pulled into a world of danger and corruption where Bryant must put everything at risk to keep her safe, or risk losing her to keep his father’s dream alive.

*This is a standalone full-length novel with an intense, heroic Dom, BDSM, drama, suspense, and a world of corrupt men that make this fairytale darker than most. How far would you go for your happy ending?

“Phee, what the fuck are you doing? I rang the bell twice! Come grab table nine!” Alex made a noise of irritation as he threw his hand in the air and stomped back into the kitchen.
“I got it,” she called out, but her eyes wandered back to the glittering glass towers outside the café. Clear-skied days were the whole reason she’d taken this job. A job that was a train and two buses away from her tiny apartment. A job that was only above minimum wage because of the tips… but it was worth it to be out of the fog. And on days like this, when the reflection of the blue sky blurred in all those shimmering windows, she just wanted to enjoy it for a minute.
Leaning forward on the counter, her eyes traced the shining office building all the way to the top. Birds wheeled past, playful in their loops and dives, unfettered by gravity, and more free than she could ever hope to be.
“PHEE!” Alex’s shout yanked her back to reality. Cringing, she turned around to see his reddened face in the window to the kitchen, but it wasn’t clear if that was from how pissed off he was, or the heat in the back. Rolling his eyes, Alex sighed. “You back with us now, or should I just hire the girl that came in here looking for a job yesterday?”
Shit.
“No, no, I just got distracted. Sorry!” Wiping her hands off on her apron, Phee hurried to grab the plates, giving him her best don’t-be-mad grin. Lifting them high, she tilted her head towards the windows. “Come on, you can’t be angry today, Alex. The sun is out, there’s blue sky, and—”
“And you are about to lose that tip if their food gets any colder. Move it!” Alex waved a spatula at her, and she stuck her tongue out at him, laughing as he turned away, muttering curses beyond the window. The fact that he still bothered to curse about her meant he hadn’t decided to fire her, yet, but the only way to keep her job was to actually do it.
The man and woman at table nine were so wrapped up in conversation they barely noticed as she slid the plates in front of them and offered to refill their drinks. They waved her off, too intent on each other to bother actually answering. So, Phee just smiled at the normal shitty behavior of the downtowners and turned to scan her section.
Fuck. How long had they been sitting there?
There was another table occupied near the windows, and she flinched knowing it had probably been too long by their standards no matter what. And, to make it better, they were all in nice suits. Idiot. She groaned internally, calculating how much her tip had dropped while she’d been staring out the window. She hadn’t even taken their drink orders yet. Slapping her most chipper smile on her face, she smoothed down the apron over her hips and tugged out the order pad as she approached their table.
“Afternoon, gentlemen, what would you like to drink?” Her cheeks ached a bit with the strain of the over-enthusiastic smile, but she held it as the quiet conversation stuttered to a halt in front of her. The older man facing her glanced up and Phee caught the plastic glint of a COF badge attached to his breast pocket.
Cabal of Freedom. He was government. Weird.
The justice building was only a few blocks away, but there were other restaurants, nicer restaurants so much closer. It was rare to see one of them at the Elsinore Café, and curiosity unfurled inside her as she strained to read the print on his badge. With a sigh, the man flipped his menu open, glanced over it, and then slapped it shut impatiently.
“Just bring us water, we need a minute.” He was curt, his voice sharp and commanding as he immediately ignored her and turned his focus back to the man on his left.
“Sure thing! I’ll be right back with your waters.” Tucking the order pad in her apron, Phee was about to walk away when the man sitting closest to her glanced up. His gaze caught hers like an electric shock. Bright turquoise, as if someone had laid the pretty stones on top of a light so that every facet glinted and fragmented to form his irises. With eyes like that he should have been some great sea god, walking out of the clear ocean, surrounded by sparkling sunlight — wearing a lot less clothing — ready to command the world to bow at his feet.
He definitely shouldn’t have such a tired expression on his face, or be wearing the boring charcoal suit he was in. A suit that stretched across his shoulders as he leaned forward on the table, breaking their momentary connection without really seeing her. Turning sharply on her heel, she hurried back behind the counter. Her hands moved on auto-pilot to fill glasses with ice and water, because her mind still preoccupied imagining the guy on her fantasy beach.
Get your head in the game, Phee. Stop daydreaming.
Her grandfather’s voice echoed in her mind and she did her best to listen. After all, men from downtown didn’t look at girls like her. People from the fog flitted on the edges of their existence, watching as they controlled the city of Lakehurst like the engineers of destiny they were. Born into privilege, born into power. Men like the sea god had never spent a day down in the fog, which meant she was being ridiculous. Of all men to want a second glance from, it was definitely not going to happen with the hottie that she’d just spent a glorious minute picturing mostly naked, walking out of the ocean, ready to bring the fierce power of the ocean’s waves—
“Holy shit, I am so fucking tired. When is our shift over?” Regan groaned, interrupting her fantasy as she squatted down to grab a few sets of wrapped silverware from the bin under the counter.
“It’s barely noon, you’ve got a long way to go.” Phee laughed as she picked up the three glasses in front of her and looked up to see the ocean god having an animated discussion with the COF man. She couldn’t help but stare at the strong line of his jaw as he spoke, clenching his teeth between words like he was biting back things he wanted to say. The third man with them wasn’t even paying attention to the conversation. His body was rigid in the seat, back straight, eyes scanning the room casually before returning to the hot guy.
“Maybe Alex will let me leave early, I was up so late last night.” Regan was just sitting on the rubber mat behind the counter, ignoring her tables again. Hiding.
“Maybe you should get up and take care of your tables so I don’t have to help you pay your rent again next month?” She sighed, recognizing her own hypocrisy as Regan scrunched her face up and groaned. “Tips, Regan. Smile, take care of your tables, and get tips. I love you, but you can’t crash on my couch forever if you lose this apartment like you did the last one.”
“It would be easier to get tips if I could just swish my ass around like you do. I swear, being flat as a board on both sides is the worst possible—”
“Shut up,” Phee hissed quietly and Regan rolled her eyes. Best friend or not, Regan could really whine when she wanted to. Sulking against the shelves, her ash-blonde hair was currently tucked in a messy bun as she stretched one long leg out in front of her. A whole three inches taller than Phee, her friend had always reminded her of an aspen tree. Pale, tall, and thin. She used to be jealous of her friend’s effortless grace, but it never mattered the moment Regan opened her mouth. “For the record, I do not swish my ass around.”
“Oh fuck off, Phee. I swear, if I could ask for one thing for my birthday, it would be boobs. And an ass. Okay, two things, boobs and a nice ass that would get me tips without having to run myself into the ground.” Regan looked up at her again. “If I had your ass I’m sure Alex would let me go home early.”
“Regan!”
“You know he has a thing for you. He’s always saying ‘Morning, Phee’, and ‘Oh, Phee, you’re so pretty today’.” Her voice was mocking, and Phee groaned, checking the window to the kitchen to ensure their boss wasn’t listening.
“Alex is nice to both of us, Regan,” she whispered, glancing back to her new table to see that their conversation looked a little less intense, which meant she needed to get over there with the drinks.
“Sure, he’s nice, but Alex only wants to bend one of us over this counter.”
“Seriously, shut up!” Phee kicked her in the leg, and Regan shoved her back, almost making Phee spill the waters. “Regan, what the—”
“It’s true! No matter what you think.” Her best friend cackled as she pushed herself to her feet, winking as she turned to walk back to her half of the café with silverware in hand. Regan may be obnoxious on even her best days, but Phee still envied Regan’s ethereal looks, and Regan was jealous of her because she had her mother’s curves. A waist that looked narrow only because her hips were so big, and a ribcage that made her chest look bigger than it was. A perfect hourglass, Regan always complained. But Phee always felt massive next to the sleek elegance Regan pulled off even if she was in sweatpants and a t-shirt.
That was what best friends were for, though. They saw the best in each other, and always pointed it out, even if it was with playful jealousies and taunts.
Adjusting the glasses in her hands Phee headed back to the table with the trio and forced herself to look straight ahead, past the ocean god, and smile at the government guy. The salt and pepper at his temples revealed his age, but unlike many others of his status he hadn’t dyed it dark to match the rest. Everything about him screamed power, and the confidence that came with wielding it.
As each of them rattled off their orders she felt the plastic smile covering her face, heard herself asking the right questions, but her eyes were drawn to the custom-tailored suit the government man wore. There was a large gold ring on one hand that looked important. Manicured nails. Sharp responses out of an elegant face. As she finished writing the orders down the blond man on his left adjusted his jacket and she caught sight of a handgun holstered under his arm. Her heart hammered in her chest but she forced her smile wider, nodding at them so she could scurry away before her face revealed what she’d seen. She was always terrible at hiding her feelings and the panic was going to show.
Why the fuck did he have a gun?
Phee met up with Regan at the kitchen window as she posted up an order for Alex, and she silently tucked her ticket in just behind. Glancing back at the table, Phee watched the trio talking. Well, it was mostly the COF man and the sea god doing the talking, but it looked tense. Regan had taken a few steps towards her side of the café, already filling up with the lunch rush, but she paused. “Hey, what’s up?”
“Nothing.” Phee turned away from the table, watching Alex as he wandered back and forth getting another order ready.
“Seriously, hey, look at me.” Regan’s voice dropped with concern as she tugged Phee’s arm so she would meet her eyes. “I was just messing around before, you know I’m not mad at you, right? I was kidding about you-know-who.” She tilted her head at Alex in the kitchen. “I’m just tired today. You know when I stay up late I’m a total bitch. Don’t be upset?”
“No, I’m not, I swear. It’s just—” Phee glanced back over her shoulder and looked at the table of men again. The ocean god was leaning back and laughing now, even more gorgeous than before without the serious lines on his face.
“Ohhh, hello… He’s cute.” Regan grinned and she felt the blush in her cheeks, grateful the olive tones in her skin would hide it a little.
“Agreed. He’s hot, but the guy across from him has a fucking gun under his jacket. I think he’s security for the government guy. The older one by the window is wearing a COF badge.” She kept her voice low, trying to act natural as she mentioned it, but Regan’s eyes went wide and she looked over again with her mouth hanging open. Phee pinched her arm. “Stop staring! You’re going to kill my tip if they think I’m over here gossiping about them.”
“You are over here gossiping about them.”
“Not the point.” Phee rolled her eyes.
Regan laughed. “You know, if he’s got security he’s probably high up. We get people in here sometimes with those badges, but none of them have security.”
“I know. Weird, right?” Phee was about to say more, but the loud clang of the bell in her ear made her wince. Both of them turned to see Alex grinning on the other side of the window.
“Wow, girls, are we slow already?” Alex raised his eyebrows, his sarcasm biting. Regan sighed, and his eyes flipped to her. “Problem, Regan? Because this is your order. Table two.”
“No problem, Alex. I’m super excited to carry food, can’t you tell?” Regan smiled brightly before she grabbed the plates Alex pushed through the window. Despite his best efforts, he laughed, but Phee bit her cheek so she didn’t encourage her. They both needed to keep this job.
After Regan wandered away Alex turned back to her.“I’ll have your order up quick, Phee.”
“Thanks, Alex.” She gave him a brief smile before she hurried to bus the two tables that had just finished. They had left a grand total of sixteen dollars in tips, and she groaned. She spent almost nine dollars a day just getting to and from work, but there was no time to sulk. Four other tables had arrived while she’d been preoccupied with ocean gods and government men with guns. Phee managed to take their orders quickly and tack them up in the window. As she was putting plates into the back to be washed, she heard the bell and Alex’s call of, “Table Fourteen.”
Finally.
Approaching the trio with their food, she saw the COF man on a cell phone stand up to walk outside. The ocean god was chatting with the security guy, laughing as he spoke a little too loudly. “She was so boring. I swear, there weren’t two brain cells in her head to rub together.”
“So why did you even go out with her, Bryant?”
“Because it’s what I’m supposed to do, Nate. I can’t show up at an event like that without a date. My uncle would have a fit and you know it.” The last words were said more quietly across the table, and Phee grew irritated as the asshole insulted some random girl. Worse, the jackass seemed to be deliberately ignoring her, even as she balanced the heavy serving tray on her shoulder. “Next time I’ll happily deal with his wrath just to avoid the torture of having someone talk about nail polish for twenty minutes.”
“Maybe next time you should ask out someone you actually find interesting then,” Phee muttered as she leaned down to shove a plate in front of the ocean god. Bryant. He looked up at her in shock, those turquoise eyes still an unreal shade of blue, and then he laughed as she slid the other plates onto the table.
“Is that your suggestion? What a novel idea. And exactly where would you suggest I find someone interesting, miss?” Bryant grinned at her, cocky and amused, and she made herself ignore how handsome the smile made him.
“Well, I happen to think I’m pretty interesting, but I’ve never seen you in here before. So, maybe it has to do with where you choose to spend your time.” Phee tucked the tray under her arm as a blush heated her cheeks. What the hell was happening with her mouth?
Why was she even talking to these customers like this? Especially with one being COF and one carrying a fucking gun?
“It sounds like you think I should ask you out on a date.” Bryant’s surprise showed in the half-laughing way he said it, and the fact that he found the idea funny made Phee bristle further.
“It sounds like you don’t make a habit of challenging yourself by asking out women who might have something interesting to say. But, then you probably couldn’t complain over lunch about it, and then what would you have to discuss?” Phee felt her stomach flip as the brazen words escaped, but inside she imagined herself at the edge of a beach, leaves wound in her hair as she pushed back the ocean god with a forest army. A woodland queen not willing to bend to his sun-drenched charms.
Men like him always thought they could do whatever they wanted, say whatever they wanted, act however they wanted, but he hadn’t come up against her yet.
“Well—” Bryant started to speak, but she cut him off with a polite smile.
“Enjoy your meal, gentlemen.” Phee turned so sharply she felt her hair flare behind her, and she immediately went to take the orders of a new table. One side of her was trembling with nerves as the reality of what she’d said sank in, the idiotic tone she’d used… but the other side was being carried in branch like arms across damp sand as the ocean receded. Victory. Even though it would probably end up in a complaint, and a shitty tip.
Half an hour later, Phee dropped the check off at the ocean god’s table without a second glance at him. Then she headed behind the counter to grab items from the bakery case for a to-go order.
“Ah, excuse me?”
Phee’s head snapped up to see Bryant leaning on the glass case, smiling as he looked her up and down. Damn him for his good looks. She made her voice calmly professional to cover the thrill that ran up her spine as those ridiculous eyes checked her out. “Yes? Can I do something for you?”
“Actually, yes. I’d like six blueberry muffins to go, and your phone number.” His smile grew wider, and she hated that she’d failed to hide the surprise on her face.
“That’s not funny.” Phee scowled, dropping the bag she had been preparing for another customer on the counter. Snapping open another, she started putting muffins in it as she fought the embarrassed heat in her cheeks. The ocean was rising in his favor again.
“I’m not trying to be funny. I really would like your number, and I happen to like the muffins here.”
“Why?” Phee folded the top of the bag over and stared at him across the case.
“Because you make them fresh daily? Or at least, that’s what the menu says. If it’s not true, maybe you can tell me all the dirty secrets of this place over dinner.” Bryant grinned. “For example, does the soup of the day actually change every day?”
Stupid, charming—
The ocean wasn’t just rising, it was knocking down her line of tree soldiers, the sun glinting off sea foam as it eroded the earth from beneath her feet. Phee scoffed, fingers tightening on the paper bag. “Is this your attempt at interesting conversation?”
“You asked me why I liked the muffins,” he replied, not losing the cocky tilt of his grin.
“That isn’t what I meant and you know it. Why are you asking me for my number?”
“Because I’d like to call it,” Bryant answered with a more serious tone, but his smile wasn’t fading. Brazen, he leaned over the register and grabbed a pen before ripping a napkin out of the holder. With a flourish of the pen he pushed the napkin towards her across the top of the bakery case. It had a phone number on it. “Listen, if you won’t give me yours, at least give me a call. I’m serious about dinner.”
“Why?” Phee was too surprised, too unsettled by the shift in her actual reality and her internal fantasy to do more than repeat the same question.
“Because I agree with what you said. You seem interesting, and you’re beautiful, and you did have the balls to suggest we go on a date.” Bryant grabbed another napkin and held it out to her with the pen, his grin widening. “Come on. Can I have your number?”
Her head was spinning, all quick-witted remarks fleeing as a tidal wave of privileged charm built in front of her. Stop it. She slammed her heel down on the earth in her mind, her soldiers roaring their encouragement with the creaking weight of a thousand trees standing against the gale of a hurricane. On the outside she just smiled, grabbed the napkin, and wrote her number down.
“That’s twelve dollars and ninety cents.” Phee handed him the napkin with her cell phone number on it and the bag of muffins at the same time.
“I’m Bryant, by the way,” he said, smiling brighter than the sun outside the windows as he took the bag and the napkin and handed her a fifty.
Avoiding his grin, she stepped over to the register to ring him up. “Thirty-seven and ten in change,” she muttered as the drawer popped open.
“Keep it.”
“That’s too much,” she said, half-way through counting the bills into her hand when he slid in front of the register.
“Think of it as a bribe for your name?” Bryant tilted his head, still grinning like fucking with poor waitresses was his favorite game to play. In her head, the water was clouded with silt and leaves and sticks as the ocean met the earth in a clash, but neither side gave way.
Stalemate. Would it be stupid or smart to play along?
“I promise I can talk about a lot more than café food…” His eyes dropped to her lips for a second, the lower tone of his voice sending a shiver down her back. He was flirting, and he was fucking good at it. A rich, cocky, jackass probably looking to entertain himself for a night with the mouthy waitress that would make a good story for his next lunch meeting. It irritated her for a second, but as she imagined him half-naked again, eyes tracing his broad shoulders beneath the boring suit, Phee didn’t think she’d mind being wined and dined by him — or ending up in his bed for that matter. But that would be all it was.
It’s just fun. You will not fall for his bullshit.
“Phee. My name is Phee.” She met his eyes, and he glanced over his shoulder once before turning back with a look of victory.
“Phee,” he repeated, that low tone turning her name into a sinful promise. “Well, Phee, I’ll call you soon.”
“You do that, Bryant.” She smirked, wrapping her fingers around the biggest tip she’d probably get all day.
“Count on it.” He winked at her, grinning like he’d already won as he headed for the door and stepped out into the sunlight. In her head she was breathing hard, whispering commands in the language of the trees to fortify defenses at the beach because Bryant wasn’t done with her. That was obvious.


Jennifer Bene is a USA Today bestselling author of dangerously sexy and deviously dark romance. BDSM, Suspense, Dark Romance, Thrillers — she writes it all. Always delivering a twisty, spine-tingling journey with the promise of a happily-ever-after.

Get the latest book news (and a FREE book at signup) here: http://tinyurl.com/jbeneauthor


•Cover Reveal• The Man In Black by Soraya Naomi!

Title: The Man in Black
A Chicago Syndicate Standalone Novel
Author: Soraya Naomi
Genre: Dark Mafia Romance
Release Date: August 9, 2018
Blurb
Brielle
He consumed my mind. I never even crossed his.
From the moment I met Michael, mysteriously brooding and dressed like a dark
angel, there was something electric between us. Or so I thought.
What I believed was a seductive and undeniably raw attraction has ended up
being something else entirely, something I never foresaw.
Because he’s a skilled liar and a master manipulator, and I downright misread
his intentions.
And now I’m afraid that falling for the man in black might become my biggest
regret.

Michael
An overwhelming remorse haunts me after losing my fiancée, but I’m not a man
who can afford to lower my guard.
I’m a ruthless criminal, one of the top members of the merciless mafia, the
Chicago Syndicate, and I moved back home to keep to myself and do a job.
But when a curvaceous pastry chef with a beautiful smile and a possible link to
my former life catches me in a reckless moment, I’m forced to watch her and
strategize a plan.
Because I’m not sure if she’s out to get me or if she’s just an innocent
civilian who doesn’t know that the restaurant she works at is actually a front
to launder Syndicate money.
And I intend to find out if she’s playing me while I’m playing her. But then
the demons that haunt me force me to make a huge mistake…

Deceit has a price—I just have to make sure I don’t pay with her life.

A standalone novel from the Chicago Syndicate world.

Also Available
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
All free in Kindle Unlimited
Author Bio
Soraya Naomi’s writes love stories with a sinfully seductive
blend of lust, deceit, lies & men who love hard and at all costs. 


Her #1 Organized Crime debut series Chicago Syndicate was released in 2014.
She’s honored that For Fallon won “Best Breakout Novel 2014” in the
Novel Grounds Semi Annual Literary Awards.
Author Links

The Professor by Luke Prescott review!

Synopsis

I’m Professor Drake Grayson. I’ve been teaching Psychology for the last few years at Fox University. It’s a great university, filled with a wide variety of students. Some eager to learn, some eager to get in my pants.

I’ve never crossed that line. I’ve never taken advantage of the power I have. I’ve never wanted to bend a student over my desk like I have with Emma Bower. She makes me want to forget I’m her professor and teach her things that she’ll remember forever. But is the risk worth it?

I’m Emma Bower. I’m in my last year of Fox University as a Psychology major. I can’t wait to get out into the real world and pick people apart. It’s been an amazing four years filled with memories that I’ll never forget.

Especially the penetrating stare of Professor Grayson. That man has been in every fantasy I’ve had since the day I walked in his class. I know he’s untouchable, forbidden, he’s my professor, my mentor. But what if his touches lasted longer and his eyes darkened with a wicked grin? What if the professor everyone wants, wanted me? Would the risk be worth it?

There’s only one way to find out.

My thoughts 💭

This book was hot! Emma and Drake were so good together! I just disliked when she called him professor when they were together 🤷🏾‍♀️😂😂😂

Disgrace by Brittany C. Cherry Review!

Synopsis

Each day I prayed for my husband to love me again.

After fifteen years together, he walked away from me, and into the arms of another.

I didn’t know how to cope. I didn’t know my worth. I didn’t know how to exist without him by my side.

All I wanted was for him to come back to me.

Then, Jackson Emery appeared.

He was supposed to be a distraction for my mind. A summer fling. A confidence boost to my bruised heart.

We were perfect for one another, because we both knew we wouldn’t last. Jackson didn’t believe in commitment, and I no longer believed in love. He was too closed-off for me, and I was too damaged for him.

Everything was fine, until one night my heart skipped a beat.

I didn’t expect him to make me laugh. To make me think. To make my sadness somewhat disappear.

When our time was up, my heart didn’t know how to walk away.

Each day I prayed for my husband to love me again, yet slowly my prayers began to shift toward the man who wasn’t right for me.

I prayed for one more smile, one more kiss, one more laugh, one more touch…

I prayed for him to be mine.

Even though I knew his heart wasn’t destined to love.

*This book was previously known as Between the Notes.*

My thoughts 💭

This was one of the most amazing and emotional books I’ve read this year! This book gave me all the darn feels and I mean all of them! This book had me crying every few chapters! Grace and Jackson were made for each other but they had to experience so much pain and heartbreak before being able to know true love when it found them. I loved this book and I most definitely recommend it!