Feature – Heartbreaker by Belinda Williams

Heartbreaker

Hollywood Hearts #2
by Belinda Williams
Publication Date: June 26, 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

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WHEN LOVE IS AN ACT, WILL HER HEART BE FOOLED?

Lena Lyons, one of Hollywood’s hottest female stars, has a celebrity problem: she’s too famous.

Lena’s had stalkers before and figures the crazies come with the territory, but when things start going dangerously wrong on the set of her latest movie, her production company aren’t taking any risks. They hire Marc Romero, Hollywood security expert. And Lena thought stalkers were bad—Marc appears to hate his job and anything celebrity, including Lena.

Still reeling from her divorce, the last thing Lena needs is a brooding investigator who won’t let her out of his sight. Worse still, his plan to protect her involves him going undercover as an up-and-coming actor and pretending they’re a couple.

Lena has no choice but to get close to the mysterious man who won’t share anything about himself. With her life depending on her acting skills, she must convince everyone Marc’s the man for her. But will she be able to convince her heart it’s all an act?

Escape behind the scenes with the second installment of the Hollywood Hearts series, perfect for fans of Rachel Gibson, Victoria Dahl, Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Liliana Hart.

About Belinda Williams

Belinda is a marketing communications specialist and copywriter who allowed an addiction to romance to get the better of her.

Belinda is the author of the contemporary romance series, City Love, about four young professional women living in Sydney juggling love, work, friendships and life. The series is published by Momentum (Pan Macmillan), and available from all major ebook retailers.

Belinda is currently working on a new series: Hollywood Hearts. HEARTTHROB is available now, and the second book in the series, HEARTBREAKER, is due for release in June 2017.

Belinda was named a top ten finalist in The Romance Writers of Australia Emerald award in both 2013 and 2014. Her debut novel, Radiant, a paranormal romantic suspense, is also available on Amazon.

Her other addictions include music and cars. Belinda is a music lover and her eclectic taste forms the foundation for many of her writing ideas. Her healthy appreciation for fast cars means she would not so secretly love a Lamborghini. For now she’ll have to settle with her son’s supercar Hot Wheels collection and writing hot male leads with sports cars.

Belinda lives in Sydney, Australia.

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Feature – Her Surprise Engagement by Ashlee Mallory

Meet the Author:

Ashlee Mallory is a USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and thrillers. She currently resides in Utah with her husband and two kids. She aspires to one day include running, hiking and traveling to exotic destinations in her list of things she enjoys, but currently settles for enjoying a good book and a glass of wine from the comfort of her couch.

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About the Book:

 

Single mom Daisy Sorensen doesn’t believe in fairytale endings—at least not for her. All she wants is to enjoy a much-needed, stress-free family vacation at a friend’s Lake Tahoe home. So of course everything that can go wrong does. Including a gorgeous man and his daughter showing up in the middle of the night.

Soon-to-be Governor Jack Harrison has had a crazy week, but he’s sure nothing can top arriving to find a bathrobe-clad, beautiful stranger in the home he’s staying in for the week. He’s wrong. When things spiral out of control the next morning, Jack makes Daisy an offer she can’t refuse. She’ll pretend to be his fiancée and he’ll help her open the bakery she’s been dreaming about.

But in between late-night campfires and days on the lake, Jack finds himself falling for the strong, stubborn woman for real.

Excerpt:
Daisy didn’t know how long she’d been working when she was struck by how quiet and still the house was and, realizing the rain finally had stopped, she’d decided to take a break and stepped outside onto the deck to appreciate the beauty of Lake Tahoe, the open sky above her.

She might not have planned this vacation, but she was coming around to thinking this trip might be what she’d needed—no, they all had needed—after all.

It was in this relaxed state of mind that Daisy finally stepped back inside the house, ready to turn in.

At least until her gaze rested on the tall, strange man who bore an uncanny resemblance to the state’s lieutenant governor standing in the kitchen. If that hadn’t sent her heart racing, the sound of shattering glass a second later nearly had her heart bolting from her chest.

Every instinct called for her to scream at the top of her lungs and retreat back into the shadows of the deck. Only, upstairs the kids and her aunt were resting and safe—for now. And she meant to keep them that way.

Which meant she needed to get this guy out of the house.

But first, she needed something to protect herself with. She scanned her surroundings before resting on the bottle opener sitting on the kitchen counter. If only she could reach it before he—

“Wait. Just hear me out,” the guy said in a smooth, even voice, softened probably to offer her comfort—at least before he tried to stab her to death. He raised his empty hands in front of him as if to show her he was unarmed. “I’m Jack. Jack Harrison. I’m a friend of the Vaughns.”

Jack Harrison. It really was the lieutenant governor? The man who’d spoken at last month’s seminar at the women’s business center about starting up a small business? A seminar where she’d spent a good five minutes—okay, maybe ten—fantasizing about what it would be like to run her fingers across that strong jaw or through those waves of sandy brown hair.

What was he doing here?

“You know the Vaughns?” she asked more cautiously.

“I spoke to Emily Vaughn a couple of days ago, and she assured me the place would be unoccupied this week. I promise, I’m not here to hurt you. In fact, my own daughter is upstairs right now.”

She sighed in relief as the adrenaline and fear that had poured through her a moment before seeped away. He wasn’t here to kill her. Of that she was almost certain.

He glanced down to the loan forms she’d left sitting out on the counter that outlined her miniscule savings, nonexistent assets, and lack of references or contacts that would make the loan ever happen. “Are you Daisy? Daisy Sorensen?”

“Yes. But, if you don’t mind”—she snatched up the documents—“these are personal.”

“Daisy Sorensen,” he said as if testing the words. “I know Payton married a Sorensen last year—I’m guessing you’re related?” He returned those bright blue eyes to her again, and his sensuous lips slipped into an easy smile.

A smile that sent a ripple of sexual awareness through her. Something she thought she was incapable of feeling, at least for a very long time.

Wait.

She glanced down. Oh, holy Mary, Mother of…

What am I wearing?

Was she really standing in front of the lieutenant governor in her old threadbare bathrobe? And socks. Fuzzy socks.

Where was that lightning when she needed it to strike her down?

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Feature – Comeback Cowboy by Sara Richardson


COMEBACK COWBOY – On sale June 27, 2017

About the book

A WOMAN NEVER FORGETS HER FIRST COWBOY . . .

As a single mother, Naomi Sullivan is used to doing things on her own. She’s finally saved enough from working at the Cortez Ranch to buy a lovely home for her and her little girl. Life is going as planned. But when her high school sweetheart comes riding back to town, this self-sufficient woman feels something she hasn’t felt in years: red-hot, unbridled need for the handsome cowboy who left her behind.

Lucas Cortez doesn’t plan on being in town long. Yet when he sees Naomi again—the gorgeous girl he never stopped loving—he’s tempted to hang up his hat and stay awhile. He’s already charmed his way into her daughter’s heart, but he’ll need more than sweet talk and roses to convince Naomi to give them a second chance-especially when she’s hiding a secret that could change their lives forever…

Excerpt
A yellow Volkswagen Beetle blitzed toward Lucas, picking up speed. Yep, he’d know that car anywhere. Naomi.

He watched her draw closer and closer, and just like it always did when Naomi got near, his heart picked up. Would she stop and give him a lift to the ranch? They hadn’t exactly been alone since he’d come back to Topaz Falls. She’d made sure of that.

As the yellow car sped around the curve, he lifted a hand to flag her down, but the car didn’t slow. Maybe she hadn’t seen him. Waving his arms, he stepped onto the shoulder…

Shit! The car was coming right for him! Adrenaline fired through him and sent him rolling into the ditch just as the car’s brakes screeched. The thing skidded and fish tailed, likely taking out half of the tires’ tread.

Breathing in the scent of burnt rubber, Lucas stared up at the sky. Well, that’d been one hell of a close shave.

The car door opened and out Naomi flew, stumbling down the embankment in her polished red heels, to where he lay on the ground.

“God, Lucas. I was so distracted I didn’t even see you.” Her delicate hands covered her face. “My god, I almost hit you.” She staggered a few steps.

That got him off the ground. “Hey.” He hurried over to her, brushing the gravel off his ass. “I’m fine.” He’d been through a hell of a lot worse than a tumble down into a ditch. “See. No blood. I’m good.”

She nodded, but seemed to be on the verge of hyperventilating. Which meant she was in no condition to get behind the wheel of that car.

“Why don’t I drive you back to the ranch?” He slipped an arm around her waist to support her, and he couldn’t resist drawing her close to him, closer than she’d been in ten long years. She still smelled like carefree summer afternoons—a subtle hint of lemon along with the coconut oil she used to use to soften her hands. That scent, the feel of her leaning into his body, roused a sudden overpowering greed. He’d never hungered as desperately for something as he hungered for her. To turn her fully to him. To feel those breasts he used to kiss so intimately against his own chest again. He knew that body, remembered every curve and bend, every fine detail…

“I’m okay,” Naomi whispered, shaking him off. “I can walk.”

Of course she could. But she did hand him the keys before hurrying to climb into the passenger’s seat without his assistance.

Lucas folded himself into the driver’s seat. “All right, then. We’re off.” He started the engine and backed up, then turned carefully out onto the highway.

He stole a glance at Naomi. Her soft lips twitched as he studied her. It wasn’t her full, bright, beautiful smile.

But it was a start.

————————————

About the author
Sara Richardson grew up chasing adventure in Colorado’s rugged mountains. She’s climbed to the top of a 14,000 foot peak at midnight, swum through Class IV rapids, completed her wilderness first-aid certification, and spent seven days at a time tromping through the wilderness with a thirty-pound backpack strapped to her shoulders.

Eventually Sara did the responsible thing and got an education in writing and journalism. After a brief stint in the corporate writing world, she stopped ignoring the voices in her head and started writing fiction. Now she uses her experience as a mountain adventure guide to write stories that incorporate adventure with romance. Still indulging her adventurous spirit, Sara lives and plays in Colorado with her saint of a husband and two young sons.

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Feature – On The Plus Side by Alison Bliss


ON THE PLUS SIDE – On sale June 27, 2017

About the book

Big girls don’t cry. They go after what they want.

Thanks to her bangin’ curves, Valerie Carmichael has always turned heads-with the exception of seriously sexy Logan Mathis. Just Valerie’s luck that the object of her lust-filled affection is also best friends with her overprotective brother. But Valerie’s determined to get Logan’s attention…even if it means telling a teeny little lie to get a job at his new bar.

Logan can’t remember a time when Valerie didn’t secretly fuel all his hottest fantasies. Now the curvaceous she-devil is working behind his bar, tempting him every damn night. It’s only when he finds Valerie’s naughty things-to-do list that Logan decides to break every rule in the book-by making each red-hot deed a reality.

No one warned them that they were going to fall this hard. And no one warned them that sometimes the smallest secrets can have the biggest consequences.

Excerpt
Valerie Carmichael needed a drink. A strong one. Because it was the only way she envisioned herself getting through the night.

An elbow nudged into her side, bringing her thoughts back to the crowded bar. “I can’t see anything through all of these people,” Brett said, scanning the room with his eyes. “Come on, let’s go to the other side so I can get a better view.”

Sighing, Valerie trudged behind him without a word.

When Brett had asked her to attend the grand opening of Bottoms Up, a new bar in their hometown of Granite, Texas, she’d hesitated to say yes. Sure, she was curious what the inside of the recently remodeled bar looked like and had no doubt the place would be jam-packed with handsome, available men. But it was still the last place on earth she wanted to be.

She knew better than to hang out in bars with her older and only—thank God—brother. Every time she’d done so in the past, the nights had always ended the same way. Brett would spend the entire evening hovering over her like a rabid pit bull, daring any single guy with a glint in his eye to look her way. Because Valerie turned heads. She always had.

Oh, she wasn’t silly enough to believe she looked like some gorgeous supermodel with a lean, trim figure or anything. She definitely didn’t. But she had a pretty face, banging plus-size curves, and a lively personality. And that was good enough for her. Valerie was just…Valerie. And damn proud of it.

Across the room, Sam and Leah emerged from the dense crowd, with a beer bottle for him and a glass of water for her. Apparently, Leah was still on that damn diet and counting calories so she would fit into her wedding dress. Though why she didn’t just buy the dress in a larger size was beyond Valerie.

Leah blinked at the sight of her. “Val? What are you doing here? You said you weren’t coming.”

Valerie shrugged. “I changed my mind.”

“Are you feeling okay?”

“Yeah, sure. Why?”

“When you said you didn’t want to go out, I assumed you were sick. You never turn down a night out.” Leah placed her palm lightly against Valerie’s forehead. “You sure you don’t have the flu or something?”

Valerie laughed and pushed her friend’s hand away. “Oh, stop it. I just didn’t feel like getting dressed up. I’m getting tired of the whole bar scene.”

Then Valerie’s heart stopped, along with her lips. Oh God.

Brett stood there talking to a tall, dark-haired man who had one thumb hooked in the front pocket of his jeans while he leaned comfortably against the wall with his right shoulder. She couldn’t see the other guy’s face, but she didn’t need to. Valerie recognized all six feet, two inches of him. Logan Mathis.

————————————

About the author
Alison Bliss grew up in Small Town, Texas, but currently resides in the Midwest with her husband and two sons. With so much testosterone in her home, it’s no wonder she writes “girl books.” She believes the best way to know if someone is your soul mate is by canoeing with them because if you both make it back alive, it’s obviously meant to be. Alison pens the type of books she loves to read most: fun, steamy love stories with heart, heat, laughter, and usually a cowboy or two. As she calls it, “Romance…with a sense of humor.”


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Feature – The Bet by Elizabeth Hayley


THE BET – On sale June 27, 2017

About the book

Jace “the Jet” Benning is a legend on the football field. And off. He has the arm, the charm, and the reputation of being the hottest player in the league.

Too bad Dr. Alessandra Mastrazacoma is not impressed.

With a busy schedule and a bruised heart, Alessandra doesn’t have time to date, but when she is lured into making a friendly bet with her best friend, she finds herself agreeing to go out with the next guy that asks…and to give him three shots, three dates, before pulling the plug.

Jace also has a friendly wager with his friends going, and it involves making sure the slightly klutzy, but very pretty, doctor will be his date to the biggest night in sports. With two wagers and two hearts on the line, will Aly and Jace win or are they betting to lose?

Excerpt
He was close enough that she could smell the faded scent of cologne on his skin, but somehow he still felt too far away. She wondered if he could hear her heart speed up at his sudden change in proximity. “Oh. What did you need to see me for?” she asked. She could hear her voice shake as she spoke, but she was pretty sure Jace wouldn’t notice it. Or if he did, he would just attribute it to her extreme lack of social skills and not to her stomach flipping inside itself.

“I was hoping we could go out sometime.”

Her eyes widened in disbelief. Did this strong, handsome professional football player just ask her out? Her? The person whose makeup drawer consists of not much more than lip gloss and SPF 50 tinted moisturizer? The person who asked if she could take a picture of him holding his balls?

No, she decided. He was certainly, most definitely not asking her out on a date. Mainly because she realized that if he had asked her out, she’d have no choice but to say yes. Damn Lane and her stupid idea.

He’d said he was hoping they could go out sometime. That wasn’t a question. Thank goodness. And if it had been, it certainly wasn’t a question she wanted to say yes to. She could barely be in the same room with this man for more than two minutes without making an ass of herself. There was no way she’d last an entire night.

She needed to get out of there. Fast.

Feeling the urge to flee at any cost, she tried to sidestep him. But his body followed hers and his large hands wrapped around her biceps, holding her in place with a firmness that seemed as sexy as it did entirely inappropriate. “I need to get back to work,” she said to his chest.

He dropped his hands, essentially releasing her from captivity. But she didn’t move her legs. She just lifted her head enough that she could make eye contact with him. For the first time, she noticed how green his eyes were. The color of grass on a rainy spring day. They seemed to pin her in place more than his grasp had. “I need to go.”

“Yet you’re still here,” he said simply as he cocked his head playfully to the side.

She crossed her arms over her chest, a display of power and frustration that she didn’t actually feel.

“Are you going to kiss me again?” he asked, obviously amused.

“No.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, I’m sure.” And then, “I need to go.” This time when she stepped past him, he didn’t stop her. Though a part of her wished he had.

“You said that already,” he called.

She didn’t turn around. “But I’m actually leaving this time.”

Just when she felt herself gaining some distance from him, he trotted up next to her, walking beside her at the same quick pace. “Answer my question.”

“You didn’t ask one.”

“Yes, I did.” He was clearly confused. “I asked if you wanted to go out sometime.”

“No. You said you hoped we could go out sometime. That’s a statement. And statements don’t require responses, so I didn’t give one.”

“You’re very literal.”

Alessandra didn’t reply.

“Oh, okay. I get it now. I have to phrase things as questions if I want you to talk to me.” He thought for a moment. “Has anyone ever told you you’re very literal?”

She stared ahead as she walked. “Yes. You just did. And you really do need to go. You can’t come into patients’ rooms with me.” That was her out. He would realize that he couldn’t follow her around all day, and he’d leave. Her first stop was only two doors down, but the ten feet or so seemed like miles.

Especially when Jace spoke again. “Even though you drive me completely insane, you’re beautiful and smart and intriguing in a way that somehow makes me want to kiss you and kill you at the same time.”

Despite her intense need to get away, his words halted her movement, and her eyes were on him again, admiring the way his perfectly pink lips moved delicately as he spoke.

“And now that I have your attention again, Dr. Coma,” he said, flashing her that bright smile again, “will you go out with me?”

Dammit.

————————————

About the author
Elizabeth Hayley is actually “Elizabeth” and “Hayley,” two friends who love reading romance novels to obsessive levels. This mutual love prompted them to put their English degrees to good use by penning their own. The product is Pieces of Perfect, their debut novel. They learned a ton about one another through the process, like how they clearly share a brain and have a persistent need to text each other constantly (much to their husbands’ chagrin).

They live with their husbands and kids in a Philadelphia suburb. Thankfully, their children are still too young to read.

Elizabeth Hayley’s writing motto is best captured by the words of Patrick Dennis: “I always start with a clean piece of paper and a dirty mind.”

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Feature – Roaming Wild by Tracey Devlyn

Meet the Author:

USA Today bestselling author Tracey Devlyn wanted to be the next Dian Fossey and explore the wilds of Africa, but that was before she met chemistry and calculus and realized a business major, rather than a science degree, might be more up her alley.

Tracey writes contemporary and historical romantic suspense, historical mysteries, and mainstream thrillers. An Illinois native, Tracey spends her evenings harassing her once-in-a-lifetime husband and her weekends torturing her characters.

For more information on Tracey, including her Internet haunts, contest updates, and details on her upcoming novels, please visit her website at http://www.TraceyDevlyn.com. Want information about Tracey’s new releases to be delivered to your email inbox? Consider signing up for her newsletter http://traceydevlyn.com/contact. Tracey can also be found at http://Instagram.com/TraceyDevlyn, http://Twitter.com/TraceyDevlyn or http://www.Facebook.com/AuthorTraceyDevlyn.

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About the Book:

She’s loved him forever…

The last thing traveling nurse Evie Steele expects to find aboard the RV housing her mobile health clinic is her brother’s best friend. As always, Deke’s close proximity stirs her forbidden desires and long-suppressed dreams. But his sudden reappearance in her life and curious interest in her patients makes Evie wonder what he’s hiding.

…but now his secrets could destroy them both.

Special agent Deke Conrad is in big trouble. Not only does he have a thing for his friend’s little sister, but what should be a routine mission is turning into a tour of temptation and survival. He fooled himself into thinking he could keep the beautiful and dynamic Evie in the dark while he used the cover of her Med Mobile to track down a merciless wildlife trafficker. But he didn’t anticipate the lure of her scent or the warmth of her smile…or the string of dead bodies littering their path.

When Evie winds up in his enemy’s crosshairs, Deke must unleash every weapon in his arsenal to save her, including his heart. But will he be too late?

Excerpt:

July 31
Steele Ridge, Western North Carolina

Deke pushed through the door of Blues, Brews, and Books—or, as the locals liked to say, Triple B. It was good to be back in Steele Ridge, which had formerly been named Canyon Ridge. His family had moved here right before he entered the fourth grade and stayed through his junior year before returning to their hometown of Rockton.

For him, Steele Ridge would always be his true home. He’d made lifelong friends here, and it was the place where he’d become a man.

His eyes took a moment to adjust before settling on the lone figure stationed at the bar. Zigzagging his way around islands of low and high tables, he slapped his friend’s broad shoulder. “Hello, shit for brains.”

Rather than be startled by such an abrupt greeting, Britt Steele angled his lumberjack body around and held out his hand. “You’re late.” He shook Deke’s hand before bellying up to the bar again. “Some of us have to return to work, you know.”

Deke slid onto the barstool kiddie corner to his friend’s. “Can’t even work up an ounce of sympathy.” He nodded to the bartender, Grady. “My last vacation was over a year ago. I’m going to enjoy every second of the next fourteen days.”

Britt eyed the sling cradling his arm. “What happened? Keyboard attack you?”

Deke did his damnedest not to lie to those he cared about. As far as his friends and family knew, he worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Office of External Affairs, traveling all over the Southeast Region in search of his next story. Or he could be found cooped up at the Asheville field office banging out articles for the Service’s quarterly newsletter. All true—but not the whole truth.

“You have no idea how threatening the office environment can be.”

“And I hope I never do. How are you healing?”

The dull, throbbing pain in his shoulder served as a constant reminder of how quickly a mission could go wrong, even with hours of careful planning. Matteo had gotten the worst of it, though. SONR’s engineer had spent three days in the hospital after the surgeon had dug the arrow out of his leg. The damned thing had gone so deep that the tip had embedded in bone.

Clenching his jaw, Deke flexed his fingers and lifted his elbow until the action caused an involuntary wince. Better than yesterday, but he wouldn’t be playing basketball anytime soon.

“Getting there.”

“What do you have planned, besides lunch with a friend you’ve blown off for months?”

“Not a damn thing.”

“You’re going to stare at your apartment walls for the next two weeks?”

“Maybe. If the mood strikes.”

“Don’t see it. I’ve never known you to be idle, in over twenty-five years.”

“I’m hoping to sleep away the first two days.” Deke rubbed his tired eyes. “I’ll see where things go from there.”

“Tough assignment?”

He chose his words carefully. “They get more complicated every time.”

“Complicated how? Don’t you just go into an area, interview people, take some pictures and then write up an article?”

“I wish it were that simple.”

“What can I get you?” Grady asked.

“Surprise me.” He glanced at Britt. “You order food yet?”

“Yeah. Hope you’re in the mood for a burger.”

“Do you order for Randi?”

“Not a chance,” a new voice said.

Randi Shepherd cuddled against Britt’s side and kissed him. Although she kept it short, Deke could feel the power of their intimacy from two feet away. A pang of envy clutched his chest, and he shifted his attention to Grady’s nimble hands. What he wouldn’t give to have a woman love him as Randi loves Britt. It was a notion that had filtered through his thoughts a lot lately.

“He knows better.” Randi wrapped Deke in a warm hug. “Seems like forever since we saw you last. You gonna hang around Steele Ridge for a while?”

“I’d planned to. Mind if I rent the loft above the bar for a few days?”

“Of course. I’ll have someone run up there to see if it’s habitable.”

“Thought you didn’t have a plan,” Britt said.

“My plan is not to have a plan.”

Randi laughed. “Let me go check on your food.”

He watched his friend’s gaze follow Randi from the room. “How’s domestic life treating you?”

“Bit of an adjustment at first, but we’ve settled into a groove now.”

“A good one?”

“The best.”

“How’s the Center?”

Thanks to a hefty investment from Britt’s younger brother, he was running a Wildlife Research Center on the outskirts of town.

“I hired a botanist to study the red wolves’ habitat and the surrounding conservation area.”

“Is that trepidation or skepticism I hear in your voice?”

“Fear.” Britt lifted a beer mug to his lips. “She’s my cousin.”

He searched his memory for another conservationist in the Steele family. “Not Riley.”

“Ding, ding, ding.”

“The Kingston menace?”

Britt smiled.

“What the hell were you thinking? She used to plant shit bombs in our sleeping bags.”

“She just got back from a research expedition in Costa Rica and needed a job. The Center needed a botanist, so everyone’s happy.”

“Can’t wait to see how long that lasts.”

A gust of air signaled the arrival of a newcomer to Triple B. Even before Deke turned, a buzz of awareness sprinted down his spine. Only one person had ever had that effect on him.

The last person who should.

Evie Steele.

Even though he’d known her since she’d toddled around on chubby legs, he’d first noticed her crystal blue eyes, silken black hair, and long, long legs right after she turned sixteen. He’d come upon her sunbathing in a gut-socking white bikini. The sight had stopped him cold. Then the heat had come. Scorching, blood-searing heat.

When she’d glanced at him over her bare shoulder and thrown out her sweet Evie smile, he could only stare at the way the triangle of white material molded her firm ass. She’d twisted around, and his attention had torn from her rounded bottom to mouthwatering breasts that would fit his hand perfectly.

Somewhere between fifteen and sixteen, his Squirt had…developed. And he’d stirred. For her. Evie. The girl who, up to that point, had been like a sister to him. Guilt had consumed him.

For years afterwards, he’d done everything he could to avoid her.

Avoidance hadn’t stopped his thoughts. His vivid dreams. His comparing every woman he looked at to Evie’s perfection.

Evie Steele had squirmed her way into every conscious thought and desire he possessed. No amount of cursing, women, or distance had managed to shake her hold.

At one point, when she’d cleared high school, he’d considered braving Britt’s big brother wrath and asking her out. But she’d plunged into college and nursing school at the same time he’d been invited to join a newly formed black ops unit with the Service.

Now, four years later, their journeys were still worlds apart. With a degree under her belt, Evie would be starting a career. Whereas kids, family, and settling down had begun visiting his thoughts, as of late.

Britt had found soul-searing happiness with Randi. She smoothed his edges, cared for him in a way no one else ever had. And he’d almost lost the love of his life to a greed-driven trophy hunter.

The power of that kind of love struck fear in Deke’s heart and warmed it, at the same time. Problem was, he didn’t have a wife, fiancée, or even a girlfriend. Not one viable candidate.

His gaze locked on Evie’s across the bar, and the pressure on his chest intensified, became crushing. Time had passed, and his lecherous guilt had faded. They were both adults now. If not for the twelve years separating their ages, Evie might have been the one.

But he could never ask her to put her career on hold to be with him and start a family. What if she did and then couldn’t stomach the demands of his career? She would’ve given up so much, for what?

Heartbreak.

Resentment.

Anger.

Hate.

He swallowed back his longing and returned to his beer, allowing the familiar mask to drop in place.

Forcing away the memory of last year’s stolen kiss.

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Feature – The Day of the Duchess by Sarah MacLean


THE DAY OF THE DUCHESS – On sale June 27, 2017

About the book

The one woman he will never forget…

Malcolm Bevingstoke, Duke of Haven, has lived the last three years in self-imposed solitude, paying the price for a mistake he can never reverse and a love he lost forever. The dukedom does not wait, however, and Haven requires an heir, which means he must find himself a wife by summer’s end. There is only one problem—he already has one.

The one man she will never forgive…

After years in exile, Seraphina, Duchess of Haven, returns to London with a single goal—to reclaim the life she left and find happiness, unencumbered by the man who broke her heart. Haven offers her a deal; Sera can have her freedom, just as soon as she finds her replacement…which requires her to spend the summer in close quarters with the husband she does not want, but somehow cannot resist.

A love that neither can deny…

The duke has a single summer to woo his wife and convince her that, despite their broken past, he can give her forever, making every day…

Excerpt

Chapter 1
DESERTED DUKE DISAVOWED!
August 19, 1836
House of Lords, Parliament

She’d left him two years, seven months ago, exactly.

Malcolm Marcus Bevingstoke, Duke of Haven looked to the tiny wooden calendar wheels inlaid into the blotter on his desk in his private office above the House of Lords.

August the nineteenth, 1836. The last day of the parliamentary session, filled with pomp and idle. And lingering memory. He spun the wheel with the six embossed upon it. Five. Four. He took a deep breath.

Get out. He heard his own words, cold and angry with betrayal, echoing with quiet menace. Don’t ever return.

He touched the wheel again. August became July. May. March.

January the nineteenth, 1834. The day she left.

His fingers moved without thought, finding comfort in the familiar click of the wheels.

April the seventeenth, 1833.

The way I feel about you . . . Her words now—soft and full of temptation. I’ve never felt anything like this.

He hadn’t, either. As though light and breath and hope had flooded the room, filling all the dark spaces. Filling his lungs and heart. And all because of her.

Until he’d discovered the truth. The truth, which had mattered so much until it hadn’t mattered at all.

Where had she gone?

The clock in the corner of the room ticked and tocked, counting the seconds until Haven was due in his seat in the hallowed main chamber of the House of Lords, where men of higher purpose and passion had sat before him for generations. His fingers played the little calendar like a virtuoso, as though they’d done this dance a hundred times before. A thousand.

And they had.

March the first, 1833. The day they met.

So, they let simply anyone become a duke, do they? No deference. Teasing and charm and pure, unadulterated beauty.

If you think dukes are bad, imagine what they accept from duchesses?

That smile. As though she’d never met another man. As though she’d never wanted to. He’d been hers the moment he’d seen that smile. Before that. Imagine, indeed.

And then it had fallen apart. He’d lost everything, and then lost her. Or perhaps it had been the reverse. Or perhaps it was all the same.

Would there ever be a time when he stopped thinking of her? Ever a date that did not remind him of her? Of the time that had stretched like an eternity since she’d left?

Where had she gone?

The clock struck eleven, heavy chimes sounding in the room, echoed by a dozen others sounding down the long, oaken corridor beyond, summoning men of longstanding name to the duty that had been theirs before they drew breath.

Haven spun the calendar wheels with force, leaving them as they lay. November the thirty-seventh, 3842. A fine date—one on which he had absolutely no chance of thinking of her.

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About the author
New York Times, Washington Post & USA Today bestseller Sarah MacLean is the author of historical romance novels that have been translated into more than twenty languages, and winner of back-to-back RITA Awards for best historical romance from the Romance Writers of America.

Sarah is a leading advocate for the romance genre, speaking widely on its place at the nexus of gender and cultural studies. She is the author of a monthly column celebrating the best of the genre for the Washington Post. Her work in support of romance and the women who read it earned her a place on Jezebel.com’s Sheroes list of 2014 and led Entertainment Weekly to call her “gracefully furious.” A graduate of Smith College & Harvard University, Sarah now lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.

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