New Release & Giveaway: Frisk Me by Lauren Layne

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SYNOPSIS: Officer Luc Moretti had no idea that his dive into the East River would have him drowning in a media frenzy. No matter how many times he tells reporters he was just doing his job, they’re determined to make him into NYC’s newest hero. Coming from a long line of NYPD’s finest, Luc knows that being a cop has nothing to do with headlines and viral videos, and he’s more than ready to get back to life away from the cameras—until he meets the gorgeous but jaded journalist assigned to film a TV special on him.

Ava Sims may be the only woman in NYC who isn’t in love with Officer Moretti. That’s why she’s going after the real story—to find out about the man behind the badge. Ava’s determined to keep things strictly professional, but the more time she spends around Luc, even she has to admit there’s something about a man in uniform . . . and she can’t wait to get him out of his.

Purchase Links: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOOGLEPLAY | KOBO | iBOOKS | BOOKS-A-MILLION

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AUTHOR INFO: Lauren Layne is the USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance.

Prior to becoming an author, Lauren worked in e-commerce and web-marketing. In 2011, she and her husband moved from Seattle to New York City, where Lauren decided to pursue a full-time writing career. It took six months to get her first book deal (despite ardent assurances to her husband that it would only take three). Since then, Lauren’s gone on to publish ten books, including the bestselling Stiletto series, with several more on the way in 2015.

Lauren currently lives in Chicago with her husband and spoiled Pomeranian. When not writing, you’ll find her at happy hour, running at a doggedly slow pace, or trying to straighten her naturally curly hair.

AUTHOR LINKS: FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | TWITTER | WEBSITE | GOODREADS | AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

Enter to win one of two prize packs featuring books from Julie James and Rachel Van Dyken! To enter the giveaway, just click here.

New Release: A Tempting Ruin by Kristin Vayden

Title: A Tempting Ruin
Author: Kristin Vayden
Genre: Regency
Series: Greenford Waters Legacy
Publisher: Blue Tulip Publishing
Release Date: July 28th

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Synopsis

He might be a gentleman by title, but he was a rogue at heart…

Beatrix Lamont is in hiding. Sequestered at Lady Southridge’s country estate, she assumes the identity of a lady’s companion: never once expecting her past would catch up with her.
It does, however, in the vexing and seducting form of Lord Neville.
Determined and far too charming for his own good–after all who simply demands a woman marry him?
Not a gentleman.

Lucky for Lord Neville, being a gentleman has never been an option, especially when it comes to Beatrix, the woman would try the patient of a saint, and every encounter with her leaves his body yearning for more.
Caught between wanting her for himself and needing to protect her from dangers that lurk in the shadows of both their pasts, he must eventually make a choice.
Become the gentleman he’s never been–or play the seducer she brings out in him, and hope in the end she’ll forgive him for using her to catch a killer.

***This is an Interconnected Standalone***

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Excerpt

“Good afternoon.” Lord Neville’s voice broke through the serene silence of the orangery, startling Beatrix and causing her heart to practically take flight. Quickly she spun to face the man speaking, a hand covering her heart as she willed the racing cadence to abate.

His grey eyes took her in with a calculating glint as he lazily stood from his perch on the alcove bench.

There was nothing for it; he knew. It was useless to pretend otherwise. “Hello, Lord Neville. Were the theatrics to your liking?” Beatrix asked with a saucy lilt to her tone as she watched him close the distance.

He clapped slowly, drawing out the gesture. “It might have fooled me…” he replied offhandedly as he shrugged.

“But?” Beatrix asked.

“It was your hands.”

“Pardon?” Beatrix asked, confused as she lifted her hands and inspected them.

“When you’re nervous, you tend to touch your fingertips to your thumb in succession. It’s a telling habit.”

“I do?” Beatrix asked as she studied her hands once more then turned her gaze to the man before her.

“Yes.”

“How did you know—“

“The library.”

Beatrix caught her breath then released it slowly, but she could tell by the spark in his gaze that he hadn’t missed her reaction.

Damn the man.

The library… it was nothing. Rather, it should have been nothing.

“Oh.” She tried to recover.

His amused chuckle caused her to narrow her eyes, but, rather than show any remorse, his grin grew.

Becoming more devastatingly alluring by the moment.

Heaven help her, but she was helpless against the man. She shouldn’t be. There had been just a few stolen moments shared… nothing lasting.

Nothing that should create such a draw.

But it was there, nonetheless.

“You’re doing it again.” He glanced down to her fingers then met her gaze once more.

Sure enough, she felt her fingers pause as she realized he was indeed correct. How was it that she had never noticed that about herself, yet he, a… well, not a total stranger… had memorized such a nuance?

“Be that as it may…” Beatrix straightened her shoulders and took a few steps to the left, avoiding his direct approach. “…what is it that you want?” she asked in a clipped tone.

“The truth,” he replied softly, tilting his head.

“Concerning?” Beatrix asked, taking another side step toward a leafy orange tree.

“Concerning why you’re here, of course.”

“I would think it’s obvious,” Beatrix replied loftily as she wound around the orange tree’s trunk, keeping an eye on the approaching lord.

Lord Neville clicked his tongue and shook his head, all the while sending her a mischievous grin that melted her insides. “Miss Lamont, we both know that I’m after far more than the obvious… or, in this case… what you wish for me to believe. I’ll warn you that I’m not so easily deterred.”

“Oh, is that so?” Beatrix sent him an arch look. “It would seem that you are quite… easily startled,” she shot back.

His gaze narrowed as he paused in his approach. “What made you create such an assumption?”

“Why, the library of course.” She bit back a grin at the irritated flash in his gaze upon turning the tables back on him.

“The library? Tell me, Miss Lamont, was that before or after I compromised you?” he asked with a dark grin.

“You — oh! You know very well that—“

“That if any matron of society had stumbled into our cozy little interlude you would have been ruined… which was why I walked away. Walked… not ran… as you just implied.”

Beatrix bit her lip and glanced away, hating that he was right and had used her shortsighted attempt at victory to turn her own wit against her.

Miserable man.

“You did leave… the next day, that is,” she reminded him, watching his expression as it was fixed upon her.

“I did,” he replied then took another step toward her.

She placed the tree between them but peeked around the trunk. “Why?” she asked, unable to meet his regard as she spoke.

“Why?” he repeated softly.

Beatrix swallowed her cursed pride and glanced up, compelled by her curiosity to be brave. “Why did you leave so abruptly?”

“For being so expertly compromised—“

“Oh bother.” Beatrix rolled her eyes and stepped away, irritated, and gave her back to the lord. “It was a kiss—“

“Perhaps for you…” Lord Neville’s hand grasped hers and halted her recession.

Just as she remembered, his hand was warm, enveloping hers completely. A shiver of delighted expectation ripped through her as she slowly turned to face him. Blinking, she waited as his gaze roamed her features and settled on her lips.

“As I was saying… for being so expertly compromised…” Amusement danced in his expression. “…you’re truly innocent. I do believe I will have to remedy that,” he whispered as he leaned in and brushed a whisper of a kiss across her jaw.

It was as if a thousand butterflies took wing in her belly as she caught the masculine scent of his skin so close to hers. She should reprimand him for taking such liberties…

But she rather liked that he was.

He withdrew and studied her, as if asking if he should continue. Reaching up, Beatrix stroked his jaw, memorizing the texture of his slight stubble as it tugged at the fabric of her glove.

Without hesitation, he pulled her in, meeting her mouth in a kiss that was as intense as it was powerful. Strong arms enveloped her, drawing her into the lee of his commanding presence. His kiss demanded she return the passion, and, without a thought, she kissed him back, instinctively. His flavor was familiar and igniting, comforting and compelling all at once. The soft scent of the orange grove swirled around her, adding to the magic of the moment. His teeth tugged at her lower lip as he pressed against her, reminding her of the power in his arms. Reaching up, she allowed her fingers the delight of exploring the planes and ridges of his shoulders, adding to the attraction already smoldering within.

His fingers traced up her arms, teasing the ribbon at her neckline then lacing behind her head as if removing himself from a sweet temptation. His kiss gentled as he continued to playfully nip at her lips. Beatrix held him close, losing herself in the moment, committing every nuance to memory as she traced his lower lip with her tongue as he lingered.

“Come away with me,” he whispered against her mouth.

“No,” she replied, nipping his lip impishly. Surely he hadn’t asked in earnest.

He pulled her in tighter with a slightly irritated growl before he lowered his head to trail kisses down her neck. “Yes.”

“No… you’re mad.” Beatrix spoke far too breathlessly to be taken seriously.

His tongue tickled her neck as he whispered, “I prefer persuasive.”

“I’d say incessant,” she shot back as she leaned away to meet his gaze.

He grinned then reached up to tug on a curl that had fallen near her face. “Incessantly persuasive.”

“Fair… but you must know that I cannot go anywhere with you. I’m here with Lady Southridge, and I cannot leave.”

“Why?” His grin faded. “It is all but apparent that you were not abducted, as I was led to believe, and, according to my deductions from reason, it is only logical that the duke was at least somehow aware that Lady Southridge took you away. Dear heavens…” He took a step back. “…please tell me she has not deluded herself into thinking she’s your protection!”

“I have no idea to what you are referring—“

“You indeed do, so do not insult my intelligence with so weak a lie.” He spoke in clipped tones.

Beatrix folded her hands in front of herself and stepped away. “I’m afraid I cannot give to you that which you ask.”

“Then I’m afraid I have no other option,” Lord Neville replied and started toward her.

“Wh-what do you think you’re doing?” Beatrix asked, not sure how to interpret the determined gleam in his eye.

“What I should have done in the library months ago,” he mumbled.

Beatrix backed up till she felt the cool stone wall at her back. At his knowing grin, she narrowed her eyes and turned to run.

But he was too quick. In one motion, he swept her into his arms and proceeded to walk toward the orangery’s exit.

“What are you doing?” Beatrix demanded as she struggled in his arms. One foot was able to get a proper kick to his person, and he grunted in response.

“Miss Lamont, I’ll be quite upset if you ruin this jacket,” he replied with far too much control.

Irritated by his composed attitude, Beatrix gave another kick just to spite him.

“You’ll pay for that later,” he promised.

“We shall see about that. Now, let me down! I demand it!” she shrieked as she bucked in his arms again. “What exactly are you planning to do? Waltz up to Breckridge House and knock on the door?”

“Waltzing would prove to be difficult at this point… however, walking up to the front door will suffice.”

“Why?”

“I believe that was my question… to which you fully refused to answer… therefore requiring me to resort to my more assertive measures.”

“This is not assertive. This is asinine!” Beatrix glared then gasped as she had a brilliant idea. Without hesitation, she reached up and mussed his hair, causing the dark chocolate curls to go from tame to wild as they erratically stuck from his head.

“What—? Did you truly—?” He all but dropped her and ran his fingers through his hair.

Beatrix wasted no time and sprinted as fast as her slippered feet could carry her across the grass toward Breckridge House.

The sound of Lord Neville pursuing her was enough incentive to give one final burst of speed that would have surely gotten her to the safety of the servants’ entrance, if not for the root of a tree that seemed to spring out of the earth. One moment she was running, cursing her corset as she gasped for breath; the next moment she was flat on her back, unable to breathe at all. Hands at her throat, she tried to gasp, but no air entered her starving lungs.

“Damn it all,” Lord Neville swore then hauled her up and, with one hand, felt for the laces of her corset.

And the world faded to grey.

 

****

 

Neville ground out a low oath as he felt the hoyden in his arms go limp. To be honest, in his efforts to restrain her, he hadn’t acted in the most gentlemanly fashion, but that was the way it was with Miss Lamont. He lost his bloody mind around her; all rational thought evaporated like water on a hot stone. He felt for the offending corset then reached down and withdrew a knife from his boot. With one motion, he carefully slid the knife’s edge along the back of her gown, damning himself with each snap of the laces, till the garment hung loosely, exposing the creamy white skin at her back. Glancing away from the temptation, he laid her gently on her back, taking a deep breath when he noticed the soft rise and fall of her chest, signifying the life-giving intake of oxygen. It was hard enough to get the breath knocked out of oneself, let alone while wearing a corset.

Another reason to thank the good Lord he was a man.

Though he had to give her credit for the speed at which she ran; it was impressive to gain that kind of velocity in skirts.

He studied her face, tempted to count the smattering of freckles on her nose, the kind that simply highlighted the softness of her skin. They were a reflection of the caramel tones of her eyes; eyes that were just starting to flutter open. Long lashes blinked as her gaze grew in focus. Damn, but she was beautiful. It was no wonder he lost all reason around her. But it wasn’t her outer beauty that has so captivated him… it was her wit, her inability to take him seriously.

Ever since the incident with Mary — heavens above, how he wanted to forget it all — everyone in the ton had done one of two things: feared him or ignored him. Neither of which were boons as far he was concerned. But Miss Lamont, Beatrix, as he thought of her… When everyone else had given him a wide berth, she’d elbowed him in the ribs; when everyone else had deferred to him, she’d put him in his place. In the library at Greenford Waters, it had taken him all but a few seconds to know she was different, that she was, in a word, perfect — for him at least.

But, of course that hadn’t given him license to kiss her like he had, regardless of how much he’d wanted to continue kissing her… amongst other things. But that was before, when he’d assumed he’d have time to pay her court, to clear the mystery surrounding his name before approaching the duke with his suit for her hand. Then she had been taken, or so he’d thought, and all the other details had seemed trivial.

So here he stood — sat, rather — in the middle of the English countryside with Miss Beatrix flat on her back, gasping as she filled her lungs with air and completely unlaced… without one ounce of pleasure to be had by either of them! How was it possible? Irony at its best. He could do nothing but laugh as he considered the situation.

“Why, in heaven’s name, are you laughing?” she ground out between breaths. Her brown eyes were stormy and angry, yet all he felt was a deepening of his attraction, a delight at finding some new nuance about her.

“It is of no consequence,” he replied, choking back his mirth as he stood.

“I doubt that,” she said a bit easier since her breath was now less labored. She made a movement to sit up, her eyes widening like tea saucers as she reached back to feel her, well… back.

“You— How—? I cannot believe—“

“I assure you it was all in efforts to save your life, not ravish you… though I must say the idea does have some merit—“

Her growl cut off his words.

“If I could stand, I’d slap that grin right off your handsome face.

“Oh, so you think I’m handsome? I always fancied I was quite dashing in grey.”

“I loathe you.”

“Ah, I’m quite fond of you myself.” He shrugged. “But considering your current state of well… undress, I do think we ought find you a way to remain decent. Wouldn’t want to offend my tender gentlemanly sensibilities.”

“You are impossible.”

“Not entirely.”

“Yes, entirely, completely and unequivocally.” She lay back down and closed her eyes. “What exactly happened to me?”

He glanced up as a few servants exited the nearby door and gasped as they saw them then rushed back inside. By his estimation, he had about two minutes before Lady Southridge found them. Which would play into his plan quite nicely… better than his original plan in fact.

He took a seat beside Beatrix and patted her hand patronizingly, loving the leap of annoyance in her expression as he did so. “You were overwhelmed with my kissing prowess and fainted in my arms. But don’t worry…” He leaned in. “…your secret is safe with me.”

“Liar… I distinctly remember running from you.”

“Odd.” He shrugged.

“And tripping…”

“You are quite clumsy,” he added with a grin.

“Am not! Of all my sisters, I’m the most graceful,” she replied with a pout.

“Not high praise for your sisters, I’m afraid.” He tugged at his cravat. Surely, the neck cloth was beyond repair, so he tugged at the offense and removed it completely.

It would add to the story.

“Do not do that! You can’t just remove your neck cloth!” Beatrix scolded in a whisper as she glanced about from her position on her back. “No, no — this won’t do. I must— You must— Turn around!” she demanded as she sat up, holding the back of her dress together as she did so.

“Why can I not remove it? After all, I’m still far more presentable than you, my dear,” he shot back as he stood and reached out to help her stand. “Are you stable?” he asked gently as she placed all her weight on her feet.

“Yes, no thanks to you,” she spoke with derision.

“I do believe I saved your life. A little more gratitude would be appreciated.”

“For the last time, I was running from you! You are the reason I’m even in this state!” She took a tentative step and then hissed.

“You’re injured. Let me help.” He reached for her.

“No, you have helped quite enough,” she bit out and backed away, but her ankle must have been weakened from the fall, and she began to stumble.

Lord Neville reached out, grasped her waist, and pulled her in, supporting her. His gloved hands touched the soft skin of her exposed back. Bloody gloves, always in the way! Lilac and rose clung to her skin, and he inhaled deeply, committing the scent to memory. What had started in the library many months ago was about to be finished in only a few seconds, if he had any say in it.

 

Lady Southridge - Third Edition

 

Greenford Waters Legacy

The Only Reason For the London Season

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What the Duke Wants Cover

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Portrait of young beautiful girl. Fashion photo

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Author Bio

authorpictureprof Kristin Vayden

Kristin’s inspiration for the romance she writes comes from her tall, dark and handsome husband with killer blue eyes. With five children to chase, she is never at a loss for someone to kiss, something to cook or some mess to clean but she loves every moment of it! She loves to make soap, sauerkraut, sourdough bread and gluten free muffins. Life is full of blessings and she praises God for the blessed and abundant life He’s given her.

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Eagle Elite Reading Order

I keep getting asked what the “real” reading order for the Elite series is…so here you go the reading order and the explanations behind my insanity 😉

Elite

Elect

Entice

Elicit

Bang Bang

Enchant (Series prequel you can technically read after you’ve read the first two, its only a few chapters but it really helps shed some light on things that happen in Elicit)

Enforce * this book is Elite from the guys FOUR POV’s, I always suggest readers attack it when they are waiting for the next book to release, but I don’t suggest you dive in until you’ve finished Elicit.

Ember

Elude

**Enamor is a bonus novella in the back of Elicit that deals with Nixon/Trace
**Evoke is a 3 chapter bonus novella on WATTPAD for free that you can read in between Elite/Elect

 

YOU GUYS READY FOR EMPIRE??? My plans for release haven’t changed, I’m still looking at a November release, we will see how that goes! Thanks for all the Elude love and if you haven’t yet snagged it HURRY up, the price is changing within the hour!

Elude is UP for pre-order!

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I’m so excited that Elude is UP and ready for you guys! It releases July 9.

If you’re freaking out over not being caught up with the Eagle Elite series REMEMBER every book (except the first two) can be read as stand alones so even if you aren’t caught up you can read Elude.

If you want to read a short novella that should catch you up as much as possible, download Bang Bang for 99 cents! HERE for Amazon or HERE for iBooks!

[Read more…]

It’s Release Day! The Consequence of Revenge

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After losing his best friend to another guy, the notoriously too-confident Max Emory suddenly feels lost. He may have devastatingly good looks, an abundance of charm, and a claim to one of the biggest hotel empires
around, but he has no ambition anymore. So when his fed-up friends decide
they’ve had enough of his moping, they sign him up to be the next bachelor on the reality series Love Island. And between his pride and his forged signature on an ironclad contract, Max just can’t say no.

Now he’s stranded in paradise with twenty-four women, oneterrifying goat, and Becca, the breathtaking barista who already turned him down back home. The closer Max gets to Becca, the more determined he becomes to win her over. As she gets to know him better, things start heating up. But is Becca really after Max’s heart—or is she after the cash prize she could claim once the cameras stop rolling?

The Consequence of Revenge – #SAVEMAX

#SAVEMAX

 

After losing his best friend to another guy, the notoriously too-coRevengenfident Max Emory suddenly feels lost. He may have devastatingly good looks, an abundance of charm, and a claim to one of the biggest hotel empires around, but he has no ambition anymore. So when his fed-up friends decide they’ve had enough of his moping, they sign him up to be the next bachelor on the reality series Love Island. And between his pride and his forged signature on an ironclad contract, Max just can’t say no.

 

Now he’s stranded in paradise with twenty-four women, one terrifying goat, and Becca, the breathtaking barista who already turned him down back home. The closer Max gets to Becca, the more determined he becomes to win her over. As she gets to know him better, things start heating up. But is Becca really after Max’s heart—or is she after the cash prize she could claim once the cameras stop rolling?

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Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she’s not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.

She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband, adorable son, and two snoring boxers! She loves to hear from readers!

Want to be kept up to date on new releases? Text MAFIA to 66866!

You can connect with her on Facebook www.facebook.com/rachelvandyken or join her fan group Rachel’s New Rockin Readers. Her website is www.rachelvandykenauthor.com .

 

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Capture ~ Cover Reveal!

A BRAND NEW STANDALONE FROM RACHEL VAN DYKEN
Capture is a spin-off from the Seaside Series.

Release Date: August 20, 2015

Losing your ability to speak at the age of seventeen; it’s not normal or fair.

But trauma, has a way of throwing normality out the window.

 

Dani lives anything but a normal life.

Her sister is married to one of the biggest names in Hollywood.

Her best friends are rockstar duo AD2.

And she has more love around her than most people experience in a lifetime.

But that doesn’t change the fact their parents are dead.

Or that it’s her fault.

It seems her new normal is being a mute, living on the inside, unable to actually communicate on the outside.

That is until Hollywood’s newest heartthrob Lincoln Greene hires her as his assistant for the summer.

He’s gorgeous, completely unavailable, and unobtainable.

But that doesn’t stop her from wondering…if things were different…would he want her?

If she was whole, would he be the other half?

 

10630556_779171738816368_5037807212955301261_o

Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she’s not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.

She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband, adorable son, and two snoring boxers! She loves to hear from readers!

Want to be kept up to date on new releases? Text MAFIA to 66866!

You can connect with her on Facebook www.facebook.com/rachelvandyken or join her fan group Rachel’s New Rockin Readers. Her website is www.rachelvandykenauthor.com.


The Consequence of Revenge – #SAVEMAX

#SAVEMAX
maxteaser3b

 

B00RH1NV6U

After losing his best friend to another guy, the notoriously too-confident Max Emory suddenly feels lost. He may have devastatingly good looks, an abundance of charm, and a claim to one of the biggest hotel empires around, but he has no ambition anymore. So when his fed-up friends decide they’ve had enough of his moping, they sign him up to be the next bachelor on the reality series Love Island. And between his pride and his forged signature on an ironclad contract, Max just can’t say no.

Now he’s stranded in paradise with twenty-four women, one terrifying goat, and Becca, the breathtaking barista who already turned him down back home. The closer Max gets to Becca, the more determined he becomes to win her over. As she gets to know him better, things start heating up. But is Becca really after Max’s heart—or is she after the cash prize she could claim once the cameras stop rolling?

 

10630556_779171738816368_5037807212955301261_o

Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she’s not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.

She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband, adorable son, and two snoring boxers! She loves to hear from readers!

Want to be kept up to date on new releases? Text MAFIA to 66866!

You can connect with her on Facebook www.facebook.com/rachelvandyken or join her fan group Rachel’s New Rockin Readers. Her website is www.rachelvandykenauthor.com .

 

The Consequence of Revenge – #SAVEMAX

#SAVEMAX

 

B00RH1NV6U

 

After losing his best friend to another guy, the notoriously too-confident Max Emory suddenly feels lost. He may have devastatingly good looks, an abundance of charm, and a claim to one of the biggest hotel empires around, but he has no ambition anymore. So when his fed-up friends decide they’ve had enough of his moping, they sign him up to be the next bachelor on the reality series Love Island. And between his pride and his forged signature on an ironclad contract, Max just can’t say no.

 

Now he’s stranded in paradise with twenty-four women, one terrifying goat, and Becca, the breathtaking barista who already turned him down back home. The closer Max gets to Becca, the more determined he becomes to win her over. As she gets to know him better, things start heating up. But is Becca really after Max’s heart—or is she after the cash prize she could claim once the cameras stop rolling?

 

10630556_779171738816368_5037807212955301261_o

 

Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she’s not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.
She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband, adorable son, and two snoring boxers! She loves to hear from readers!
Want to be kept up to date on new releases? Text MAFIA to 66866!

You can connect with her on Facebook www.facebook.com/rachelvandyken or join her fan group Rachel’s New Rockin Readers. Her website is www.rachelvandykenauthor.com.

 

 

 

Elude Teaser

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I know, I know. I always say this. I tell people I’m not going to post any more teasers from Sergio’s book and what do I do? I post a teaser.

Don’t hate me.

It’s not my fault.

Let’s just blame the mafia. Life is easier that way 😉

No more excuses, here’s the teaser, don’t forget to add the book to goodreads or pre order it if you are a Nook/iBooks user! Amazon links will be live a few days before release!

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CHAPTER ONE

 

Six weeks earlier

 

Sergio

 

Loneliness tasted like hell. It also, lucky for me, tasted like a fifth of whiskey and what would most likely be a throbbing headache come tomorrow morning.

I brought the bottle to my lips and tilted it back, my eyes trained on the fire in front of me, the flames licking higher and higher, reminding me that I wasn’t exactly in any position to ask God for any favors…it may as well have been hell waving back at me and confirming my suspicions.

I’d killed too much.

I’d lied even more.

And I was officially out of favor within my family — within my world.

I hissed as a drip of whiskey landed on my blood-caked knuckles. Beating the shit out of the wall hadn’t even stopped the anger.

Ah anger, that was something I could talk about, something I could tangibly feel as it pulsed through my body. It had been my mistress for so long that I knew if I actually let it go — I’d be even more lonely than I already was.

I tried to take a deep breath, to calm myself down, but air wouldn’t go into my lungs, I felt paralyzed and on an adrenaline high all at once.

Maybe that was another part of my punishment. I had exactly twenty-four hours before I had to marry a Russian.

And not just any Russian.

An enemy, a double agent who had worked for both the FBI and, apparently, the Nicolasi family. She had sold out her own crime family, the Petrovs, and now… she was under the protection of the Italians.

How messed up was that?

I took another swig of whiskey and eyed the clock. Make that twenty-three hours and fifty-eight minutes.

I wasn’t drunk enough.

I wasn’t even close.

Marrying someone for protection I could do. Marrying someone and even killing them afterwards? Piece of cake. After all, that was my MO. I was a killer, a ghost, whatever the family wanted me to be.

But marrying someone, keeping them safe, only to watch them die within six months?

No. Hell no.

She had leukemia.

So why keep her alive this long?

I snorted and took another sip of whiskey. “I’d be doing her a favor by killing her.”

“Ouch,” a light airy voice said from somewhere in the room, causing all my hair to stand on end. “So as far as pep talks go, yours officially needs work.”

I carefully set down the whiskey, not trusting myself not to throw it in her direction in an anger-filled rage. “I was talking to myself.”

“Another sign you need to get laid.” She laughed.

I didn’t.

“Go away, Arabella.”

“My name’s Andi.”

“Your legal name is Arabella Anderson Petrov. Care to know your social security number and credit score as well?”

“Romance is lost on you.” I felt her move around the room. The air seized with electricity; she’d always had a presence about her, and right now I was five seconds away from losing my shit and ramming my head into the fireplace just so I could escape it all.

“Don’t I know it,” I huffed and reached for the bottle again.

Small warm hands clasped around mine before I could get there. I jerked away, causing her to stumble in front of me.

White-blond hair covered her soft features. Big brown eyes blinked back at me. I hissed in a breath and cursed. “You should go.”

“We need to talk.”

“Oh goody. Is this the part where you tell me I have to give up my virginity on my wedding night?”

“What?” She blinked like a startled deer, then a weak smile pulled her lips upward.

I ignored the way my body reacted and rolled my eyes in irritation.

“Aw, he has jokes now. At least, I hope it’s a joke. You’re not, are you? A virgin, I mean.”

I snorted and eyed the bottle, calculating my odds on reaching it before she stopped me, then gave up. “Fine.” I huffed. “Hurry up and get to talking so I can get drunk.”

Andi sat opposite me in the leather chair and tucked her feet under her body. She was small, around five-one, but she packed a punch, knew how to use every automatic weapon on the market, and I was pretty sure I had once overheard that she was well-versed in torture. Looking at her, you’d think she was just graduating high school and getting ready to go shopping for her favorite pair of shoes with Daddy’s credit card.

“You’re upset,” she finally said.

“No.” I licked my lips and leaned forward. “I’m enraged. There’s a difference.”

Her eyes narrowed. “You know you can talk to me — since you’re stuck with me for the next… while. That is, unless you kill me first… like you did that FBI agent.”

My blood ran cold. No one knew about what I’d done last week. When I’d gained intel from another agent. “Her cover was blown. I did her a favor.”

“Did you?” Her eyebrows arched.

“Have you ever been shot, Andi?”

She sighed and leaned her head back against the lush cushion. “No, why? Are you going to educate me on what it feels like?”

I exhaled and popped my knuckles; the sound reverberated through the empty room. “It happens in three stages.”

“What does?”

“Getting shot.”

“You mean you don’t just pull the trigger?” she joked.

Ignoring her, I continued. “Shock. It’s always the first emotion because the human brain hasn’t yet caught up with the fact that you’ve been wounded. So your body starts going into shock, and then the pain happens, but it’s not the type of pain you’d think. It burns, but it’s more of an empty, hollow pain, that starts to spread from the wound throughout the rest of your body until a slow chill starts to descend. When the chill descends, the shock wears off and confusion sets in. Why was I shot? Why me? What have I done? As humans, our brains aren’t meant to understand violence, so we have to logically explain it away. I had to have done something wrong to get shot. Or maybe I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The minute your brain finds something that makes sense you move onto the last stage.”

Andi barely moved a muscle. “Death?”

“Worse.” I reached for the bottle and took a long swig. “Denial.”

“Why is denial worse?”

“You tell me.”

Her eyes closed briefly before she offered a shrug. “Because it means you aren’t ready.”

“Look who just earned an A in class,” I mocked. “And you’re right. Denial happens when you realize it shouldn’t be you, that even if your brain connected the dots, it isn’t yet your time. The lovely little memories of your life start to play on repeat in your head — the moments you should have done something but didn’t, the things you’ll never say, the things you’ll never do. And then… you either get lucky or, if I’m the one who pulled the trigger, your memories will click off after about one minute, and you’ll be no more.”

The fire crackled.

Andi refused to look at me.

“I’d make it fast, Andi.”

“Are we seriously doing this?”

“What?” I shrugged.

“Having a conversation in what should be a nice cozy room, about you killing me?”

“It would be a kindness.”

“Go to hell!”

“Already there, Andi. Already there. Don’t you know? I belong nowhere. My family’s punishing me, the FBI’s investigating me for the murder of my superior, and now I have to marry a Russian whore.”

“So…” She stood. “…you’d rather kill me than marry me?”

“Was I not clear? I thought I was… Allow me to say it slower, perhaps in Russian? If that’s all you people understand.” I stood, meeting her chest to chest. “I’d rather kill you than see you suffer… I’d offer a dog the same kindness.”

“I’m not a dog.”

“You’re Russian.”

“Stop saying that.”

“What?” I sneered. “The truth? Well, sweetheart, it doesn’t get any truer than your reality. Allow me to kill you before your family or cancer does, and at least you can own your own death rather than fearing it.”

She reached for me, touched my shoulders, and then cupped my face. I hated it because I liked it; my body leaned without me telling it to. She was so warm. “And what makes you think I fear my own death?”

“Everyone is afraid of dying. The hardest part is never admitting we’re mortal, but coming to terms with the fact that we have no control over how long we’re given. You do.”

“No… I don’t… You’re trying to take that control.”

“Say the word.” My hand moved to the Glock strapped to my thigh.

“I’m not afraid.” Her lips trembled. “At least not of death… but I am afraid of something.”

“Oh yeah?” I hissed. “What’s that?”

“Yours.”

Confused, I stepped back, immediately looking for a weapon. “I don’t understand.”

“You wouldn’t.” She shrugged. “Because you, Sergio Abandonato, are already dead.” She moved gracefully across the room. “You’re dead inside… and you don’t even know it. Forget cancer — and take a long hard look in the mirror — that’s what death looks like.”

 

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